Marcie-Fleur Rushes In

Submitted into Contest #249 in response to: Write a story that begins with someone dancing in a bar.... view prompt


Coming of Age Contemporary Fiction

Sparkles of light from the overhead disco ball flickered around the dance floor of the Mug and Jug bar, mingling and refracting off Marcie-Fleur’s blue and silver sequined mini dress. She shimmied while a hundred butterflies beat their way out of her tummy and flitted around with the dancing lights. The rock band drummed and strummed their popular rhythms while the gravelly voice of the lead singer screamed out emotion-filled vocals. Marcie loved the music of this band, Xscape. Her arms, hips, legs, and feet clad in totally impractical killer heels moved in appreciation, relieving her pent-up energy. At the same time, her dark untethered hair swirled with each movement. She grooved and threw shapes in all directions, oblivious to the spectacle she made. Marcie always came alone. Always. No one she knew had an inkling she did this.

She had been overwhelmed by stress and needed to jettison some cobwebs and steam. After all her studies, she applied for several jobs and had her first interview lined up for the next day. She aspired to get an office job at a large firm in the city and had done a course on how to succeed at an interview. After doing homework about the company, she learned about its mother company, the industry, all the firms it deals with, and its mission statement and goals. It’s important not to wait until you have the job before you learn about it. Go into an interview well-informed, demonstrating good reasons why they need to have you on the team. Be willing to start as a newbie. Have the right combination of humility and confidence for the role you are applying for. And definitely dress appropriately. Her present disguise and makeup wouldn’t cut it. But she knew how to scrub up and look professional in clean-cut office attire. A chameleon by night and day. Part of the thrill had been going incognito.

Eventually, she went to the bar to order a drink. She bumped into two young, scruffy men who deliberately obstructed her. They didn’t appear drunk, but their overconfidence told a tale. 

“Whoa, little lady. My friend and I would love to get to know you,” said one of them, grabbing her arm before she could walk away.

“Yeah, we’ll get you a drink,” said the other, leering

“No, thank you,” she said, trying to twist free. “Let go.”

“We don’t think so.” The guy holding onto her tried to move her across to an alcove.

Marcie looked around and caught the eye of a bouncer on the other side of the room. She beckoned with her other hand, and he responded. Many people milled around, and he commenced weaving his way across to her with difficulty.

“I heard the lady say, no thanks,” said a tall, smartly dressed man. He moved from behind to in front of her and stomped on the aggressor’s foot, who promptly released Marcie’s arm. Her rescuer thrust him back into the waiting arms of the bouncer. The scruffy man’s mate backed away when Marcie’s rescuer raised his fists, preparing to punch.

“She’s with me,” he said.

Marcie wasn’t sure if this was leaping from the pot onto the element, but she obediently stepped aside. He put a protective arm across her shoulders.

“I’m Robert Brown.” He looked at her and frowned.

“I’m Marcie-Fleur Gray.” She glanced at him and quickly looked down. He stood too close for comfort.

“It’s not my place to say this, but if you were my girlfriend, you wouldn’t be dancing like that in a place like this.”

“Thank you for stepping in, but I’ve never had problems. I’ll keep your advice in mind, though . . . I’m heading home.”

“Looking like that?” His frown persisted, and his eyes darkened.

“I’ll grab my coat and take a cab. Don’t worry.”

“Who’s worried? It’s common sense. I’ll walk you to it.”

He followed her out while she thrust her arms into her sleeves. She wanted to escape as quickly as she could. He was being the big brother type, indeed not her type. 

A cab came down the road, and Marcie waved. It pulled over, and Robert opened the door for her. She dived in.

“Straight home, now,” he warned. Marcie wrenched the door shut. The cab left the curb, and Robert finally turned away.

“What a nerve. Who does he think he is? . . . 145 Trent Street, please.” 

She returned to the share house where she lived with several friends.

At home, Marcie laid out her interview clothes, selected some comfortable kitten-heeled mules, prepared everything for the morning, set her alarm, showered, and went to bed. She should have felt relaxed after her workout but lay in bed seething over Robert’s protective manner. It had been embarrassing more than anything. As if she couldn’t look after herself. 

On awakening, she sensed it was later than her alarm time. It hadn’t rung. It seemed lighter than it should have been. She looked at the clock face.

“Oh, no!” She had just an hour until her interview.

With no moments to spare, she leaped out of bed, into her clothes, applied a little makeup, twisted her hair into a bun, skipped breakfast, and tore out the door. The bus to town arrived within minutes. Amazingly, she had got back on track. 

The place she needed to go was several blocks away from her stop. Did she have time to walk? Maybe if she walked fast. She felt a raindrop, and within minutes, the heavens opened. In her haste, she hadn’t checked the weather, or she would have grabbed her umbrella. Damn! She couldn’t possibly arrive at an interview looking like a drowned rat. Someone alighted from a cab a short distance away, and she tore off to catch it. She noticed a young man on the other side of the street, also picking up his pace, with eyes on the cab. As she ran faster, to arrive before him, the man had darted across the road and grabbed the door handle. To her consternation, she recognized Robert Brown. He didn’t recognize her, thank goodness. She quickly sidled into the back seat ahead of him as he opened the door. A Deja vu moment. Hopefully, he didn’t recollect.

“Oi! What do you think you’re doing?” he said.

She tried to pull the door shut but this time he held onto it. 

What about sharing the ride and the expense?” he said. 

“Na-ah,” No way did she want to run the risk of him recognizing her. The door snapped shut after she gave it an even more giant wrench. “Driver, please take me to the Squibs building in Dover Street.”

The cab left Robert getting wetter by the second. Looking back to take another glimpse, she wondered if she had done the right thing. The pit in her stomach told her she had been mean.

She paid the driver, alighted, and walked into the building’s foyer. As she minced toward the elevator, she smoothed her hair and straightened her skirt and jacket. Five minutes to go, only four floors up. She would make it.

By the time the personnel manager called her into the interview room, she had reverted to cool and calm, with no hint of the earlier panic. The manager had received some information via Marcie’s online application. He took a few minutes to review her complete resume. She rattled off the facts about the business at the correct times and spoke positively about how she would manage the job and contribute. 

“Did you realize that we advertised another position as well?”

“Yes, I did. But it is more demanding, and as this is my first fulltime job, I decided to try for this one.”

“We interviewed many candidates yesterday, and with your skill set, knowledge, and work experience, I’d like to offer you the other position. It’s more pay, more responsibility, and you’ll be under team leader, Mr. Brown. We still have to interview the others, but I can tell you now that you impress me and have the right qualifications. So, if your referees speak well of you, you can start next week. I’ll get back to you, and hopefully, it all works out.”

She felt elated to have passed the interview with flying colors. She almost fainted when she looked up and through the window behind the manager. On the other side of the viewing glass stood Robert Brown, a bedraggled specimen, glaring at her.

“Oh, no,” she said.


“Oh, nothing, I just forgot something. Thank you so much. It sounds great.”

She left the room both happy and perplexed. Her butterflies had returned in full force. On her way to the elevator, she glanced around but didn’t see Robert; suddenly, he appeared before her, and she bumped into him. He grabbed her arms briefly to steady her.

“We meet again. It would not have hurt you to let me share the cab ride. Turns out, we had the same destination! ‘Na-ah,’ indeed.”

Marcie didn’t know which way to look. “You have no idea how sorry I am. I know that one good turn deserves another.”

“What on earth are you talking about?”

She winced. “I don’t suppose there’s any point in pretending. You’re sure to find out at some stage.”

“Find out what?”

 She paused and screwed up her face. “I’m Marcie-Fleur. It was me you rescued last night at the bar. It’s why I didn’t want to share the cab with you. And I didn’t want to be late for my interview. . . I think I’ve got the job.” Her voice had become a mere whisper.

He frowned and eyed her carefully. “You . . .you!”

“I’m so sorry. My bad. Please forgive me. I’ve learned my lesson.”

He did not look convinced. “I hope I never see so much of you as I saw last night. If you ever turn up here in anything so inappropriate –“

“I would never do that.” She shook her head vigorously.

“Or even at a work party . . . I’ll take you straight home.”

“I promise. I’m really not what you think I am.”

“I’ll be watching you like a hawk.”

“You’ll have to . . . I’m probably going to be on your team.”

“You haven’t come across as a team player at all.”

“I can do better, Mr. Brown. I promise. Goodbye for now.” 

After she entered the lift, she turned and saw Robert Brown still looking at her with the faintest smile. His eyes twinkled.

Maybe he wasn’t as bad as she had thought. But did she detect a laugh?

The End

May 09, 2024 23:23

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Will McAtee
16:35 May 16, 2024

Characterization was a little tropey, with dated modes of expected behavior from women. For someone so free on the dance floor, I would have liked to see Marcie-Fleur move beyond a “damsel-in-distress” role. Your strength in this story is your use of coincidence and irony to improve the overall dramatic effect in the narrative.


22:57 May 16, 2024

Thanks indeed, Will. Glad you liked it. Too formulaic? Maybe moving beyond is for her future, now that she has a challenging job. I mainly invented the other position with more responsibility to illustrate the fact that, though she is modest (Apart from the alter ego thing on the dance floor), her education places her in a different bracket from the other candidates. Sorry I couldn't add another scene with spectacular work performance as well.


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Jonathan Todd
17:34 May 14, 2024

Great story - I was dreading her savior from the club being the prospective boss and then she denied him the cab! As someone else has said your imagery is wonderful.


20:26 May 14, 2024

Thanks, Jonathan.


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Darvico Ulmeli
14:05 May 13, 2024

Doing multiple prompts? Thank you so much. I'm happy to see more writers do that (so that I can do it more and not feel awkward). Love your story.


21:41 May 13, 2024

Thanks a lot, Darvico. I have done that before, but it isn't ever intended. What happens is I read and reread the prompts and get an overall feeling for the main prompt/theme. Each option to this theme has a genre under it. A story will pop or evolve in my mind because of thinking about the prompts as a whole. But I have to decide which of those fits the story I am thinking about. I don't choose one on funny if the story isn't funny. I don't choose character if there are too many and lots of dialogue. I don't choose dialogue if it's mainly n...


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Martin Ross
14:09 May 12, 2024

I could SEE Marcie in that first para — great verbal imagery, from the capering butterflies to throwing shapes! “Fleur”/Gray was brilliant — really captured the dichotomy/paradox in her life by day and night. “Gray” and “Brown” also help create an air of ambiguity between Marcie and Robert. Intriguing examination of personal autonomy and social expectations — Marcie certainly has the right to express herself how and where she wants, but as we both illustrated, it is so dangerous out there, especially for young women. Both the toughs at the b...


21:11 May 12, 2024

Thank you, Martin. I didn't want Marcie to miss out on the job she had worked so hard to get. Robert had to seem to come around at the end.


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Brittany Dang
20:28 May 11, 2024

It was fun seeing multiple prompts used, even if it wasn't exactly intentional 😊


21:04 May 11, 2024

Thanks Brittany. Hope you liked it.


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Alexis Araneta
18:25 May 10, 2024

EEEK ! What a way to start a job ! I do love the humour in this. Also, you went for multiple prompts ! Lovely !


20:32 May 10, 2024

Thanks, Alexis. Sometimes prompts are difficult because the extra genre placed with them means a story that comes to mind doesn't quite fit the one you want to use. But I started off with the right prompt for this story and the others were incidental. Though I did toy with the idea of using another prompt. Glad you enjoyed it.


Alexis Araneta
23:21 May 10, 2024

TBH, I don't really follow the genre suggested at times. But I don't get docked so...good ?! Hahahaha !


03:55 May 11, 2024

Well, you might, as in not achieving a shortlist. I once accidentally chose the wrong prompt all together and then as I didn't know how to change it. Drat! I tweaked the story here and there to sort of make it fit the existing chosen prompt. LOL. Some of the other's stories I read actually hadn't done as good a job of tying in that particular prompt despite choosing it. It was approved. I rarely ever get an email saying anything other than a story has been approved and they love it. However, I stand by my stories (apart from the odd oops typ...


Alexis Araneta
04:28 May 11, 2024

I mean, like I always say, writing is an art and is therefore, subjective. What appeals to one judge or reader is the very thing another hates. You can't really please everyone, so just write as yourself and learn from those who you think offer something to your style. I know there may be meat and potato writers who might not like my style, but, oh well. Hahahaha ! What I meant by not following the genre is simply that grey genre tag in the prompts. Of course, the stories have to follow the prompt, but I think it doesn't necessarily have to...


05:01 May 11, 2024

Interesting. Your last comment. I guess resonance is the key. Does a story resonate. I like your stories!


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22:08 May 13, 2024

I thought about something else. A member who generally likes my stories didn't press 'like' to a story and despite his very positive overall subjective comments I concluded he didn't like romance. This is an art. To not respond to a story as a black and white 'like' or not. I'm sure the judges who read the stories try to look at the overall message, writing, theme, characters, setting, title, in an objective way. It must be very difficult.


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Jim LaFleur
12:52 May 10, 2024

Kaitlyn, I loved your story from beginning to end! Great job!


20:29 May 10, 2024

Thanks, Jim.


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Kristi Gott
12:29 May 10, 2024

This engaging story makes the characters come alive with well written dialogue, actions and descriptions. The concept has foreshadowing and I was guessing she would meet him again under different circumstances and wondering what that might be. Good writing style that flows naturally and a very enjoyable read!


20:28 May 10, 2024

Thanks for that, Kristi.


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Mary Bendickson
05:18 May 10, 2024

Not a great way to start a job.


09:35 May 10, 2024

Thanks for reading Mary. Bit of a disaster. I wanted her to come across as intelligent but clueless.


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