The chilled rain fell upon my shivering pale, almost translucent skin. My clothes felt stretched paper thin and unbearably tight; soaking up the very essence of me it seemed. My hair was pulled back into a tight bun that now weighed heavy on my neck. It was as if the universe was telling me to look down, but I didn’t want to. I already knew what would be there, but it never got any easier. I felt that if I didn’t look down, then it wouldn’t be real. The reality was, I was just wasting time and making this much harder on myself. After all, it had already been three years; yet it felt as though it were yesterday.
Jeremy H. Benjamin
2/16/1988 - 3/31/2017
The inscription on his gravestone was that of his life, short. His parents were disgraced by Jeremy’s act of selfishness; so they said. Taking his own life on what was supposed to be a special day.
Happy Birthday to me.
I walked back to my car with heavy lead laden legs. Another year goes by where I can’t seem to let him go. I guess that goes with the final screw you Kelly. This was goodbye for good. I needed to heal and visiting him only let Benjamin win, again.
My therapist said I’ve been making great progress. I’ve been seeing Megan for the past year and she has really been helping me out. Not just in his death, but in helping me realize that Benjamin was very abusive mentally and verbally. No, he never hit me, what he did was enough on its own.
You need closure Kelly. I honestly believe by visiting his grave one last time to say goodbye would really help you move on. Death is never easy on anyone, but you really should try and move on the best that you can. Otherwise, he wins again and will continue to hold you in his grasp.
Benjamin was controlling and overbearing. I just didn’t know it until after he had been gone a few years. Megan helped me realize that I had chosen someone just like my father. I was my mother repeating the cycle so to speak.
Megan told me many times that it wasn't my fault he committed suicide. I was only leaving an abusive relationship. His actions were not my fault.
It was after my father died from a tragic car accident that I met Jeremy at a convention through work. I had seen him there for work before, but had never introduced myself and vice versa. He was incredibly handsome. Dark brown hair, bright blue eyes, chiseled jaw and muscular body. The women always flocked to him, young and old. He was beyond charming. What was even more impressive, was that he was polite and kind, but dismissive to the flirtatious behavior many women exhibited.
I’m sorry to hear of your father’s passing. Benjamin’s first words to me. I didn't know he even knew who I was to be honest.
Thank you, I appreciate that. I remember like it was yesterday. The events to follow and the heartache that crippled me.
Maybe just one slice, Kelly. You know how upset you'll be when you look in the mirror tomorrow.
You were gone longer than you said you'd be. You were supposed to be here 30 minutes ago. Do you even know how disappointing that is? You lied to me.
I was just visiting my mom that day. He made me feel like I was being nefarious. He made me feel like I had let him down. I had told him I was sorry, and that I wouldn't let it happen again.
It's okay Kelly, I just worry about you so much. I know you get sidetracked and God forbid something bad happened to you when you were driving. I wouldn't want to lose you like you lost your dad.
Benjamin always had a hand in everything I did. It didn’t start out like that though. He was kind and thoughtful. He courted me so to speak. Date nights once a week. That is until his jealousy took hold. We practically lived together, yet had separate apartments. It was ungodly to live together out of wedlock his parents said, but really it was so he could see other women he had met online I later found out before trying to leave him. That didn’t stop him from pressuring me into making love with him.
It was never loving and sweet like it should have been. He was way too rough and wouldn't even look at me when I asked him to. I went on autopilot most of the time. I never once climaxed. I don't think he cared or even noticed either.
It was all about appearances to him. That’s the long and the short of it. I had to move on. Megan was right, he wasn’t any good for me and manipulated everything I did. I couldn’t tell anyone what really was happening, because I didn’t know myself. Plus, even now, no one would believe me anyway. Also, he’s dead. You don’t talk ill of the dead. Unless it’s one on one with your therapist, right?
That night I decided to go out with a friend for my birthday. Megan told me I needed to reconnect with positive acquaintances. Benjamin alienated me from everyone that cared about me. I had to at least try to get back to a normal life. Megan’s positive reinforcement and tools needed to break the cycle of my father and Benjamin’s hold on me were starting to fade. I was finally realizing my self-worth. The deep seeded wounds were healing and it felt wonderful.
Becky and I were to meet at a bar called Martinis. Her choice, not mine. I wasn’t allowed to drink as per Benjamin. I was actually pretty excited to meet Becky at some random bar that I had never been to. I hadn’t hung out with her since I started seeing Benjamin, he didn’t like her of course.
I walked into the bar and was awe-struck. It was breath-taking. I thought it was just going to be some dump in the warehouse district on the river especially since train tracks were no more than 100 feet away. It was most definitely nothing of the sort.
The ceiling was that of a cathedral that was two stories high. I was enveloped with the scent of wood polish that came from the dark mahogany expansive rectangular bar. Decorative stained glass windows in colors of pink, purple, blue, green and yellow sparkled as if it were Christmas Eve when the world is bright and full of hope. There was a larger than life oil painting of a train on one wall with lamps of all sorts everywhere hanging from the ceiling and some standing tall from the ground up. The lamps of the latter looked like they belonged outside of a gated community. The bar had hundreds of bottles of high end alcohol encased in glass cabinets with even more stained glass intricately placed above the showcased bottles. The bar had to be at least a story high and no one seemed to gawk it the way I did.
“Kelly! Oh my gosh, you made it!” Megan startled me. I was so engrossed in my surroundings that I hadn’t seen her in the crowded bar.
“Megan, wow… you look incredible! I am way too under dressed for this place.” Megan was wearing a slim fitted red dress with quarter sleeves, black pantyhose and heels. She was so gorgeous with her shoulder length blonde curly hair pinned up halfway.
I was just wearing faded jeans and a long sleeved black top with my hair in a high ponytail that hung halfway down my back with a pair of black and rose gold Nike’s.
“Oh stop girl, you look great! God, I’m so freaking happy to see you again. I honestly thought you were going to bail on me!” She laughed lightheartedly and it was music to my ears. I hadn’t seen her since the funeral three years ago. My fault, not hers. I stayed busy working and hardly leaving my apartment. I secluded myself with Layla, my cat.
“Well, come on now. Let’s get a drink. Martinis on me! ” She laughed as she grabbed my hand and led me to the crowded bar full of laughter and intimate conversations of couples that looked so in love, or lust. Regardless, it was amazing and I felt so alive.
Becky ordered me a caramel apple martini since I had no clue what to even order. I took a tiny sip before we went to find an open table, of which looked futile, and it was incredible. I could hardly taste any alcohol. The sweet decadence of the caramel and the slight tang of apple cider flowed smoothly down my throat. I had no clue any sort of alcohol could taste this fantastic.
I followed her outside where there was extra seating with more lights strung up around the covered patio with heaters on that made the now cold night warm and inviting. The tables and chairs were all taken here too. It was then when I saw Becky walk up to a cluster of people laughing and smiling when she saw someone she knew.
“Ashley! Hey, girl! Of course I’d find you here.” She laughed as Ashley got up to hug her. They giggled and made quick jabs at each other in fun.
“Who’s your friend, Becky?” Ashley smiled at me and shook my hand.
“This is Kelly, an old friend of mine from high school. We’re celebrating her birthday!”
“Ah snap, happy birthday Kelly! It’s Amanda’s birthday too.” I looked over at the five other people from her group to find big bright blue eyes under long thick black lashes looking at me.
We locked eyes for what seemed to be an eternity, but was for only a moment all entwined together. She was perfect. Her wavy dark brown hair was even longer than mine. She was wearing jeans and a tee-shirt that said, ‘Adopt, Don’t Shop’ with a picture of a possum on it snarling under an unzipped black hoodie. It was one of those ironic tees that you either understood or you didn’t. I tore my eyes away from hers and started to look down at my shoes when she spoke up.
“Happy birthday, Kelly. You two should come join us.” I looked up again and found her looking at me still. Her voice was soft, sweet, warm and inviting all at once.
I looked at Becky who was greeting everyone, then back at Amanda. “Um, sure. That sounds good.” She patted the chair next to her.
I took small purposeful steps in her direction. I was so afraid I was going to fall. My heart was beating fast, my hands were sweaty and my throat felt extra dry; like it was starting to close up. What is going on with me? My stomach feels like it’s twisted up in knots and I feel nauseous. It’s that martini, it has to be. I only had a small sip though.
“Are you okay?” Amanda asked. Oh no, she noticed.
“Yeah, yeah of course. It must be this martini. It’s the first one I’ve ever tried before. I’ve also never been here, well… or any bar before really. I didn’t know a bar could even be so cool either until today. I mean, I’ve had a few drinks before like wine, but I didn’t like the stuff. I thought all alcohol tasted like that, so I haven’t tried anything else. Until now. Oh my gosh, I’m rambling. I’m so sorry, I’ll shut up now.” I felt my face begin to turn red with the heat of embarrassment.
“No, don’t be sorry at all! Please, sit.” She patted the seat next to her again. “So, how old are you today? I’m 32.”
“No way, I am too!” This was getting weird. Who is this woman? More importantly, why did I feel so jittery and excited? I wanted to tell her everything and nothing at once. I wanted to tell her how she’s the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I wanted to touch her soft looking hair and even brush it. What the hell is wrong with me? This is a woman, I've never felt this way after meeting anyone, let alone a woman.
"You're kidding me, right? No way! That's super cool." Amanda grinned and took a sip of her drink.
"Yeah, I usually don't do anything on my birthday. Just another day, ya know?"
"Oh, I totally get it. I was dragged out tonight by Ashley. But, I'm glad I let her now."
I blushed and looked away. "I'm glad I came out too now." What was going on? Was I flirting with her just now?
We talked for hours that night. It was as if we were in our own world that no one, not even her friends, could penetrate. I never wanted tonight to end. I know she felt the same way too, because after all of her friends and Becky left, it was just us. Closing time was approaching with a half hour left. I wasn't used to taking the first step at anything unless it was job related. I wanted to see her again. I had to spend more time with Amanda. This couldn't be it. I was never so sure of something in my life. Even thinking it to myself sounded unrealistic, I am such a fool. She's just being nice to me… right?
"Amanda, I uh wanted to see if maybe, I don't know, maybe you would want to hang out again sometime?" I could hardly get the words out. I've never been so bold as to even ask to see someone that I was interested in. Above all else, I've never been attracted to a woman before either. Then again, no man has ever made me feel like this.
"I would love that, Kelly. I actually wanted to see if maybe you'd like to go get breakfast? We could go to a Steak n Shake? There's one just across the river."
"Breakfast at two am? That actually sounds amazing. I am super hungry now that you've brought up food." I giggled.
Neither of us were drunk, or even tipsy. I only had that first martini and had drank soda ever since. Amanda had only two and that was now five hours ago. Time had never eluded me as did tonight. I wanted tonight to never end.
After two hours at Steak n Shake, I still didn't want to leave her. I was afraid I would never see her again. It was more than likely an irrational thought, but nothing in life was sure. I did know that. Before I could stop the next words from coming out of my mouth I blurted out, "Would you like to come to my apartment and watch Hulu maybe?" Oh crap, did I really just ask her that? I blew it, I know I did. Why would she want to come over? She barely knows me. Speaking of which, why did I ask? I just met her!
"Yes! I'd love to! We already like the same shows, maybe we can find something new for both of us?" The way she looked at me right now with her blue eyes made my heart hurt. People usually say that their heart 'flutters' or 'skips a beat,' but mine felt like it was aching. She took my breath away.
We put a cartoon series on called 'Adventure Time' so we could still talk. We had seen it before, so it was a perfect way to just have noise on in the background.
Our beautiful night ended somewhere around ten in the morning when we both fell asleep cuddling on my couch. I had never slept so well in my life.
I wondered if people in love felt this way. I've only read about such things in my books. I didn't know if this is what love was, but I wanted more than anything to believe it was.
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Hello! This story was just so amazing! No wonder why many people follow you! There's a clear-cut reason for it! Such an amazing job with this story! I absolutely loved it! :)
Hello to you too! Wow, your compliment is very humbling. I'm so very happy you enjoyed my story!!! I'll check yours out after I get my baby to sleep lol. 😊
Hello!! Of course! Do it whenever you please! :)
Hi Kase! This was expressive and touching. I hope everything goes well in the end for Kelly and Amanda! I loved your description of the places Kelly went and all her feelings at different moments. The story flowed very well and it was really good! Keep writing! :)
Hi Akshaya! I truly appreciate your comment on this story! It wasn't something I usually write about. I ended up loving this. I have thoughts on expanding this. I'll think more on that subject. Xoxo
Of course! :) Though it wasn't something you usually write about, it was a fantastic story!
Many thanks!!!!!!! 🥰
That first paragraph was so well written, it was so clear how exhausted and miserable Jeremy felt. This had a pleasant bittersweet tone, and the ending was really touching. Well done!
Thank you. This is my first romance I have ever written. So it was completely foreign to me to be honest. I just went with it. My work is usually pretty dark and twisted as a general rule of thumb. That being said, I don't know if you meant to say that Kelly was exhausted and miserable instead of Jeremy since he was 6 feet under. Lol. Thank you though for reading this short of mine. I'm going to read a few more of yours here in a bit. Dark writers UNITE!
Right, right, Kelly. Jeremy is 6 feet under, I guess you could say he's a really deep character... 😅 I've found that oftentimes my stories turn out a lot darker than I had planned, have you ever had that happen? I'm really glad to hear you're trying new things here. I usually don't write romance either, at least not as the main theme. I think this turned out really great, you should definitely keep trying new things!
Haha, I suppose you are aren't wrong there... deep indeed. :P Stupid pun intended. YES! My stories usually turn out a lot darker than I had planned as well! It's as if I just can't help myself. I know I only have 2 stories on here, but I've been writing since I was 12. Now that I'm 32, I finally am finding myself in my work. The release writing brings is incredible, isn't it? I've always been too 'afraid' of putting my work out there for anyone to see. How is that anyway to live? I mean, seriously. Life is entirely too short. :D
Stupid puns are the best puns... at least that's what I like to tell myself after making a really stupid pun. I'm so glad you found a place to share your stories! I set up a reedsy account way back in 2019, but I didn't start using it until the beginning of this year cause I was scared to share my stories. People here are so nice, I wish I started posting sooner. I always get a rush when I'm writing, but there's also a lot of frustration when I can't come up with anything. I'd say it's worth it though, and that way it feels even bett...
YES! I'm so glad I finally found a place to share my work as well! The people on here really do seem nice. I've only been on here around 3 weeks and already LOVE it! I love the idea of prompts a lot because it's like I'm back in Creative Writing class in high school. Same premise, really. Just a larger group audience etc. Haha
Kelly is me around girls. They're all just so cute. I feel like the plot about the dead abusive boyfriend left halfway through, so in a sense she had moved on? I think you should have alluded to him a bit more in the end and woven in how his grip of control had finally loosened on Kelly. I love this story, otherwise. Your descriptions are on point. You can really grasp her emotions. Super cute ending. I'm a sucker for wholesome romance stories (I don't try to do it. It's just my main genre). However, I also enjoy dark stories, so later this ...
I agree, it could have had a bit more of the deceased bf.. there are some edits I didnt make in time for the submission as well. I dont read romances to be honest lol. I've never even written one either! I stepped out of my comfort zone for this prompt actually. 😊 So I'm glad you liked it. Dark stories are my FAVORITE! I'm reading IT by Stephen King now. My favorite book EVER is 'The Shining' if you havent read that one.... you should! It's one of his best books in my humble opinion. Nothing like the movie either. I feel like the movie but...
I enjoyed your story - just got a little confused about who the MC was meeting at Martini's: Becky or Megan? Both were referenced in that scene - so maybe both? Great job describing Martini's - I could really see this funky bar right off the train track. Well done :)
Yeah, I wrote this story too fast and didnt get to edit it in time. I can't do it now since it was submitted eek.... Thank you so much for reading!!!
A good story having optimum taste for the readers.
Thank you very much!
I really like your writing style. You have a nice balance of descriptions and actions and the reader gets sucked in. My only critique is you switch names. It's Jeremy Benjamin, but then you call him Benjamin except for one time when it's Jeremy. Also, when Kelly arrives at the bar she was supposed to be meeting Becky, but it's Megan who startles her and then switches back to Becky. I was able to figure it out and it's not a big deal, but just so you know. Overall, I enjoyed it!
Omg! I cant believe I made those mistakes! Thank you for pointing them out!!! Jeesh, I think I was in too much of a rush. My bad. Thank you for reading this story and I'm glad you enjoyed it!
No problem. I get it. I’ve had to rush on some of my stories too.
This piece specifically taught me how to bring simple settings to life and read the character's thoughts. It's something I've been working on this week and this example gives me the confidence for my next piece. I really enjoyed the writing style. :)
Thank you so much for reading this!! I appreciate your comment! I'm so happy this piece helps you with your confidence in your next story! I'm so happy you enjoyed the writing style! 🥰
Hey, how's the writing going this week, what do ya think about the prompts? Also, on an unrelated but equally important note, I just checked and Killer Klowns from Outer Space has a 75% on rotten tomatoes... 😂
Hey! I'm actually on the brink of finishing the 'inheritance' prompt! I have to cut it short though because I'm going to go wayyyy over the 3000 limit if I don't darn it!! Gahh!!! I cannot wait for you to read this story. I'm super jazzed about it. My favorite piece thus far that I've written. I'm loving the prompts this week! I wrote my first romance ie: this one and I'm going to try and submit 3 total by Fri-yay!!! How are YOU doing with the prompts this week!?? Haha, I'm not sure if the 75% is good or bad... or both. Enlighten my old ...
Good morning!!!!! Magnificent Mile is FINALLY up! Go check it out and give me your HONEST feedback. I hope you enjoy it, as I surely enjoyed writing it. :D
Love sometimes surprises us when we least expect it to (aka love-at-first-sight). Thank you for writing a story that describes and expresses that so well. I hope that the fictional Kelly and Amanda were able to keep their relationship going after the end of the story. I can imagine them, hand in hand, walking through parks on a windy Spring day, pointing at the kites in the sky; or going to a lake, and sitting on a bench nearby, watching the ducks on the water and throwing bread crumbs to them, as well as people walking and biking aroun...
I am taken back by your beautiful words. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this and also, for leaving me a beautiful picture of what could come from Kelly and Amanda. In all honesty, I have never written a romance before. I wanted to try something new for this prompt to get out of my comfort zone. Reading your poetic response made me feel very accomplished. So, I thank you yet again. I truly loved writing this. I'm going to read some of your work in a few :)
I just updated/edited this short after my husband read it. I wasn't as descriptive as I could have been about the bar and it's surroundings among many other edits haha.
(This is a reply to both of your responses.) You're very welcome. It's not often that a story affects me the way yours did. It made me wish that I could be in such a relationship (I've been in an off-and-on long distance relationship; as if that weren't difficult enough, the personality differences haven't always helped, either), even though I'm hetero-male not a lesbian. I'm glad you have a spouse that you can share such experiences with in-person and hopefully on a fairly frequent basis. I confess I don't remember much about the b...
I am humbled that my story affected you in such a way. That is one of the highest compliments I have ever received. I have loved two people in my 32 years of life romantically. My first love broke my heart in two, as cliche as that sounds. I loved him so deeply and passionately that I believed I would never find another like him; and I also hoped I never would. I refused to love anyone again like I loved him. Four years passed before finding love again, in all reality I suppose I am lucky to be able to have loved twice like I do. My husband ...
(Sorry if I rambled a bit and digressed here and there. It would be easier if I could think in linear ways instead of wandering all over the place.) Indeed it did. I'm sorry about your first romantic relationship. It hurts when others hurt us (not so much physically, but emotionally). I'm glad that you found someone else after that and that you're both still together. I envy both of you. It's wonderful when you find someone special to share your life with. Wonderful in ways that sometimes words can't express (another cliche, but re...
Do NOT be sorry for my first heartbreak at all. I learned so much from that 'young love' if you will, that I refused to make the same mistakes. Most importantly, I found out what 'pure love' was from him... my son. Romantic love and motherly/fatherly love are entirely different. So, that heartache was worth it in order to have one of the best things that's ever happened to me! My husband and I have a daughter together and I am beyond blessed/lucky to have my little family. I absolutely do NOT take any of those things for granted. I never hav...