Things To Be Certain Of

Submitted into Contest #156 in response to: Write about two characters arguing over how a past event happened.... view prompt

28 comments

LGBTQ+ Urban Fantasy Asian American

This story contains sensitive content

(CW: language)


"It was a Thursday when we first met." 


"No darling. It was definitely a Friday." He sips his Dark and Stormy, leans back on the bar, eyes sweeping the crowded room. 


I ball my fist as the woman in the white dress giggles. 


"I've heard that you can be a little unreliable." She's flirting with him, pouting a bit, and yes, I am jealous. This may be new, our relationship, but I need to hold onto it this time. We've come so close before, I'm not letting him slip through my fingers again. 


"Sweetheart, you can be certain of me." He boops the woman on the nose with a finger.  


"All right, all right. Maybe it was a Friday." It wasn't, but I need his attention on me, not her. 


He grins at me, swats my thigh. "It was a Thursday." He remembers everything. He turns back to the fluttering woman. "You know, this cheeky monkey tried to ignore me the first time we met?"


"No!" She feigns shock. "Who could ignore you?" 


"Yup! Had his little headphones on, hoodie pulled up. Did everything I could to get his attention, but he just kept turning away." 


I sigh. He isn't lying: I guess that's what it might have looked like, but the truth is, I was terrified of him. 


She looks at me for the first time, trying to figure out, no doubt, how I finally managed to snare him. 


He continues: "He noticed me though." 


I did. I noticed him and couldn't get him out of my head. He pushed his way into my brain when I was struggling through algebra, or burning dad's dinner again, or - god! I'm cringing still at the memory! - trying to unhook Melissa Collins' bra on a pile of coats at Adam Willett's party. 


"Then, he started to pursue me!" 


"I didn't!" It comes out louder than I intend. 


"You sought me out, darling. Remember? That time at the lake?" 


I looked for him, that bit's true. But after we connected at the lake, he pursued me! 


I'm about to say this, when he continues the story. 


"You were never made for that hunting stuff, honey. Too sensitive by far. Anyway, here he was on a hunting trip with these dreadful alphas all camped up by the lake: beer in one hand, weapon in the other. Such a cliché!" He drains his drink. "Looked cute in the camo though!" 


I flush. I've never been good with compliments, whereas he throws them out like birdseed and expects just as many back. 


"Carry on. Tell her what happened at the lake. Barman! Another Dark and Stormy please." He gestures for me to carry on the story. 


"I was on this camping trip…"


"Tell her why you were on the camping trip, sweetie." 


I sigh. "It was an internship of sorts. I wanted to see if I could impress the big bosses." 


"Right." The woman folds her arms. 


"But it just wasn't my scene. It was all…" 


"It was all bears, beers and boobs! He hated it! Sorry darling. You go on." 


"It was all bears, beers and boobs. Yes, I hated it." 


I hated it so much. Every gonna fuck up any beast that moves, made me tear up and bite my little vegetarian lip; every skull it! Skull it! shamed my preference for sipping a crisp Pinot Grigio; and every, her tits were ugly, made me want to hide under the nearest boulder with my hands that had recoiled from breasts since the Melissa Collins incident. 


Under a crumpled moon, I crept to the lake, my footfalls soft against a chorus of them snoring and farting. 


And there he was. 


"And there I was, legs dangling over the jetty!" He beams. " I said 'hello there! We've met before!'"


He didn't. He said nothing. I said nothing. But I went and sat by his side, because I recognised him, and because, despite the unlikely meeting spot, I wasn't all that surprised to see him there. 


"He was quieter then," I tell white dress woman. "We sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity…" 


"And then he said 'I've been thinking about you almost non stop.'" 


"No, I…" 


I didn't. I thought it, but I didn't say it, because I'm just not that brave. 


He taps my arm. "Yes, remember, and then I said…"


He said: "I was hoping we'd meet again," and looked so far into my eyes that I broke out in gooseflesh. Then he said…


"And here we both are." 


And there we both were. 


He held me until sleep carried me into vibrant dreams of us together, intertwined, eternal. When the clovery light of morning tugged my eyelids apart, he was gone. 


He sucks his drink noisily through his straw. "Anyway, from then on he was relentless in his pursuit of me." 


"I wasn't!" The petulance in my voice grates, even on me. They exchange a raised eyebrow, he and the white dress woman. My jaw clenches. "I was mad at you for leaving when I was so comfortable in your embrace. I didn't seek you out, you were just always there. You followed me!"


I fold an arm across my body, sip my wine. She’s staring at me, white dress woman. She’s wondering what someone as glamorous and elegant as he is doing with a fractious asshole like me. Work it out, Sherlock Hoe! Work it out then move on. 


He did follow me. I know it. I was thinking about him a lot, but I was mad as a pocket of wasps that he left me there on the jetty shivering. But there he was, everywhere I went. At that agonising dinner where I finally came out to my blank faced dad, he was skulking in the shadows of the restaurant; on that horrific date with a pretty, shallow cellist who told me how he’d use and abuse me and I almost went along with it, until he raised a glass to me from the bar; and oh! how he was there to clean up my wounds when three of us were beaten and slashed leaving that bar. 


“You don’t have to be here,” he’d said, dabbing iodine into my wounds. “You could come away with me.” But I’d turned my face away, ashamed of how much I wanted to go with him. Scared of what it would mean if I did. 


“Well, irrespective of who pursued who, here we are.” He winks at the woman. “And so deliciously happy we are together, aren’t we honey?”


He lays a possessive hand on my thigh, squeezes - maybe a little too hard - breathes a lingering kiss onto my cheek. 


See! We’re happy. Move along Hoelene! He’s mine. 


“And I’ll always be yours, darling.” He stands, takes the white dress woman by the hand. “But I never said anything about being monogamous.” His arm snakes around her waist, drawing her close. She laughs, exposing her pale throat, on which he lays his lips, softly trailing them lower, lower. Her eyes flutter to a close and she leans her body against him. He practically carries her from the bar. 


And I shatter into a million pieces watching my beloved Death move on to his next willing tribute.  




July 29, 2022 02:13

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28 comments

Michał Przywara
20:45 Jul 29, 2022

A good read :) One of those lovely stories that takes on a completely different meaning when we get to the twist. And it starts off so unusually too. We have what appears to be a couple, or on-again/off-again couple, but one of them is shamelessly flirting with a third person. So naturally we read on to find out more. But the situation just gets more and more bizarre. They keep running into each other, and while they're a fit in principle, they never actually end up together. Like a recurring missed connection or something. And curious...

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Jay Mc Kenzie
21:47 Jul 29, 2022

Thanks so much Michal! That's very much what I was going for.

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20:19 Jul 29, 2022

Jay this was SO intriguing! The narrator and his partner are almost in a battle of wits, along with a battle over the memory. It’s easy to see that the narrator is fascinated and … very captivated by this man. And the way you describe him, it’s no wonder! I think this partner enjoys making people fall for him. And while he intends to keep the narrator to himself, he doesn’t have a problem enjoying others as well. I wonder how he would feel if the tables were turned … Great job here! I was invested all the way through! 👏👏👏

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Jay Mc Kenzie
21:48 Jul 29, 2022

Thanks Hannah!

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Yves. ♙
06:28 Aug 07, 2022

Ooh!! LOVE the twist on this one. Definitely a fan of sorta-queer-but-also-something-entirely-different stories, and this delivered on that front 100%. Thanks for sharing!

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Jay Mc Kenzie
08:56 Aug 07, 2022

Thanks! :)

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L. E. Scott
05:16 Aug 02, 2022

What a sad twist at the end. Lovely story though.

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Jay Mc Kenzie
06:24 Aug 02, 2022

Thank you!

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Aditi Bhowmick
16:15 Aug 01, 2022

Such a witty story. The end left me like ‘ huh? wth!’ But then I guess that’s what you were trying to do. I’ve to re-read it after the twist was revealed and really enjoyed it both the times :) Great job!

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Jay Mc Kenzie
17:50 Aug 01, 2022

Thanks Aditi! Appreciate you reading.

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Daniel R. Hayes
07:45 Aug 01, 2022

Hi, Jay! I thought this story was amazing! You did a great job writing it and since I mostly write horror, I can't tell you how refreshing it is to escape that world and read something this good! You are super talented, and I loved it! 😀

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Jay Mc Kenzie
08:00 Aug 01, 2022

Thanks so much Daniel! What a lovely thing to say.

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Daniel R. Hayes
15:38 Aug 01, 2022

You're welcome. I'm looking forward to reading more of your work!

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Zelda C. Thorne
18:23 Jul 31, 2022

Urgh I feel so sorry for him! But he was also warned so... Nah, still feel sorry. Interesting read. I enjoyed trying to work out what their relationship really was, and then the end was just urgh, of course... Hoelene LOL

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Jay Mc Kenzie
20:13 Jul 31, 2022

Ha! Glad you liked the Hoelene. :)

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Riel Rosehill
10:03 Jul 31, 2022

Oh I love stories of Death, personified! 🤩 And this was so clever, I was just like... What's going on here? Something was off, and it all made perfect sense once you revealed that guy was Death. Wow. First I was just like, sympathised with the narrator, because how horrible is this, your boyfriend flirting with a stranger in front of your face? But then the whole story took on an entirely different meaning - all the scenes, that first sounded like a built up to romance, suddenly are leading down a darker path. This is so smart, how you made ...

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Jay Mc Kenzie
10:16 Jul 31, 2022

Aw, thanks so much! :) I enjoyed writing it, despite the dark nature of it.

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Beth Jackson
09:58 Jul 30, 2022

Wowsers Jay!!! What a story! The tension was amazing - how could he flirt so shamelessly with the woman while his partner was right there? And then the line about not being monogamous - I was still struggling to pull myself together when I hit the twist at the end. Ooof. Everything changed. This was super clever, Jay and so well done. I really enjoyed it, thanks for sharing! :-)

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Jay Mc Kenzie
10:34 Jul 30, 2022

Thanks Beth! So glad you enjoyed it :)

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04:44 Jul 30, 2022

I was not expecting that ending. I had to go back and read again. Everything was totally there. Loved it.

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Jay Mc Kenzie
04:47 Jul 30, 2022

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it :)

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Courtney Moore
02:02 Jul 30, 2022

This is one of the those stories that, when the twist is revealed, you have to back and re-read to notice the little clues along the way. It's subtle, yet bold. Great work, Jay!

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Jay Mc Kenzie
04:29 Jul 30, 2022

Thanks Courtney!

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14:41 Jul 29, 2022

Everything is beautiful. I like the simplicity of the story, and the metaphor laced in between the lines. I adore the pacing and the delicate relationship between these people. I love the twist at the end although I was pretty shocked by it. Like I sat for a second wondering how he'd leave him and go with some other lady until I realized who he really was. That's very good. And because of the end, the entirety of the story, the scenes, this man, makes me sad. Maybe happy too. Because now, perhaps, he can be free from death's hold and preten...

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Jay Mc Kenzie
21:50 Jul 29, 2022

Thanks Abigail. I wanted it to be one of those stories that means something else I've you get to the end. Really glad that came across. Thank you for reading.

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Michele Duess
17:45 Aug 05, 2022

Ah I feel so badly for the narrator. He's invested so much in this lover who just stated he won't be monogamous. Who is basically gaslighting him. "This is the way it happened." And the narrator has to deal with the flirting with the woman in white. "Sherlock Hoe" made me laugh but in the end it was a very sad story.

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Seán Mc Nicholl
19:08 Jul 30, 2022

Jay!! What a great story! Flirting with Death! Had to re-read the whole thing when I read the final line. It’s so so so good! I loved the charm and smarm of Death, such a great character! And “Hoelene”! Brilliant!!

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Jay Mc Kenzie
20:11 Jul 30, 2022

Ah, thanks Sean. Little one there for the Discorders:)

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