An Untitled and Incomplete Story

Submitted into Contest #50 in response to: Write a story about a proposal. ... view prompt

85 comments

Drama Romance


So …


So?


So …


Are we simply going to waste our time repeating each other’s words, Danny?


Sorry about that. I guess... I am...a bit nervous.


Nervous? About what exactly?


This...seeing you again. The conversations. Off limit subjects. Unanswered questions.


When was the last time you went on a date?


I haven’t gone on any since my divorce.


Wow! That was almost five years ago right?


Oh, you remember that?


Of course, I do. My widowhood and your divorce. Hot topics of discussion for our reconnecting phone call. Accompanied by some ugly crying. Ring any bells?


Ya. Not one of my finest moments. What about you? How long?


My track record isn’t great either. Ten years. Since George’s death, to be precise. 


Interesting. Two rusty daters trying to get back to the game. 


When you put it that way, it feels like we are back in high school. Our first date? That was awkward with a capital A! I was so jumpy and I spilt the cola on the waitress. Luckily she didn’t throw me out. 


Do you...do you ever think about our date? About how happy we were?


I...wouldn’t say I think about it all the time. But I have never forgotten – the love, the heartbreak. In a way, those experiences helped me grow into the woman I am today. A realist.  


I might be crossing the line here. Do...you regret saying no to me back then?


I wish I had a better answer for that, Danny. No. I don’t regret rejecting your proposal. Not at all.


Ouch! That just hit the bull’s - eye. 


I told you I am a realist. 


Is that another way of saying ‘heartless’? Don’t roll your eyes. That was a joke. 


I remember you having a better humour sense than this. 


Everything was better back then...what happened to all of it, Lily? What happened to our love? Why wasn’t it enough? Why wasn’t I enough?


……………


Lily, say something. I swear I won’t make a scene. I couldn’t accept it then. But I can accept it now. 


Love, chemistry, compatibility – we had it all. But sometimes they aren’t enough, Danny. The timing … it just wasn’t right. We were too young. And we had different ideas – about career and life. It wouldn’t have worked. We would have ended up hating each other. 


What about him? George. Did you love him?


Now, what kind of question is that? Of course, I loved him. He was my husband. And he was a great father. 


Did you love him...like the way you love...d me?


I thought we agreed we wouldn’t discuss our ex-spouses today? I can’t do this. I should go. 


Lily, don’t. Don’t go, please. Come back. I am so sorry. That was the ‘green-eyed monster’ talking. 


Fine...


Hey! Can you get the parsley from the fridge?


Parsley? Why do you need the parsley now? Are you going to cook? Wait! I thought we had a dinner reservation?


Change of plans. I cancelled the reservation. I think I owe you a homemade meal for driving all the way here to meet me. Hope it’s ok with you. 


It’s more than ok. But honestly, you didn’t have to trouble yourself.


Don’t worry about it. Oh, that’s cilantro. I asked for parsley. The bag next to it. 


Oh my! They look almost the same. This is embarrassing. Here you go.


Thanks, Lily. Why don’t you take a seat? Shall I offer you another drink?


No. I am fine. I want to watch you cook. What are you making? It smells amazing! Where did you learn to cook like that?


I am making spaghetti with parsley- pistachio pesto. Cooking is one of the hobbies I picked up over the years. Apparently, I am quite good at it. 


Well, I am not a bad cook but my culinary world is very tiny. It’s the size of a notebook full of tried and tested recipes. I don’t really do well with exploring and experimenting. 


Life is too short, Lily. Explore. Experiment. Live a little.


Woah! That was inspirational. I am impressed, Danny. Equally surprised too. I admit I came here with a prejudiced mind – expecting a typical bachelor pad with an unmade bed and unwashed dishes. But this place? I wasn’t expecting this. What you have here is a home, in every sense. And you – you are still the same yet different, in a nicer way. 


Twenty-five years and a divorce. People change, Lily. 


Impressed again. What else has changed? I am intrigued. 


Not a long list I am afraid. But still a decent one. 


I am all ears.


Nothing dramatic. Small, gradual changes. I have better control over my emotions now. I have learned to talk less and listen more. More patient. More accommodating. 


Interesting. Is there anything that never changed?


If you ask me about a thing that never changed in me, it’s my love for you, definitely. This is not a corny line, Lily. My love for you is still the same. Pure. Intense. An addiction that I never want to get rid of. 


Wow! I am speechless. Who would have thought Daniel Johnson is truly a romantic at heart! 


Let me refresh your memory. I sell romance for a living. 


Oh, how could I forget that! How is it going? Drowning in fan mails already?


Not quite there. That wasn’t my intention anyway. My fascination is with the craft. It comes with numerous perks even though they don’t excite me much. 


I … am proud of you Danny. I am so proud that you pursued your passion and reached where you want to be.


Thank you, Lily. My only regret is… you weren’t there to share my journey. 


Um...is the spaghetti ready? Shall I set the table?


Ya. Go ahead. 


Mmm. My mouth is watering already. You must teach me someday how to cook this.


Someday. Sure.


Pull the chair and join me. Don’t mind me starting without you. I am famished. Today was a long day.


Your children...do they know we are meeting today?


Well, they know about my medical conference in Rome. I...didn’t tell them anything else.


I completely understand. An ex-boyfriend doesn’t usually fit in a dinner table talk. 


Don’t be bitter, Danny. I am trying. Sincerely. 


So what about you? Do you enjoy what you do? Being a clinical psychologist. Dissecting human minds.


It’s a rewarding job. Talking to people. Helping them understand themselves better. Showing them ways to heal. I love it.


That’s great! The hospitals in London...are they good?


Ya, they are. Why?


Heard the hospitals in Rome aren’t bad either. But the pizza – way better than what you get in London. And then the wine – the best! I could just go on and on.


Hold on, Danny! Are you indirectly asking me to move in here? With you? That is too fast. Even for you.


No. It’s not. My pace is just right. So what do you think? 


I think you are mad. What comes next? On bended knee with a ring?


That thought might have crossed my mind.


Is this another one of your geriatric jokes, Danny?


Only a part of it.


How was your ring shopping? Found any 2-carat solitaire?


I don’t have to. I might still have the one from years ago.


You have to stop this, Danny. I am usually a very composed person. But all these talks about moving, ring… too fast. Just too much to take in. It’s messing me up.


Is that a yes?


Yes to what?


To everything – Rome, pizza, wine, me. Not in any particular order.


I...have to go…it’s already late. Early flight to catch tomorrow. Packing. Checking out.


I hope I am not chasing you away...again.


No. Not at all. Thank you… for everything, Danny. Inviting me to your house... the exquisite dinner... lovely company.


Is this a goodbye, Lily?


Do you think we should see each other again? 


Do you want to? 


It’s not about what you and I want, Danny. Do you see a future for us?


I think we are already in the future. Fast forward twenty-five years.


Delusional.


You notice a pattern here – the way our story always ends?


You mean...on a cliffhanger?


No. Not a cliffhanger. A cliffhanger would mean a second chance. To fix the past mistakes. Our story is different. We are different.


What is our story, Danny?


Our story is...untitled, and incomplete.


Untitled and incomplete. I like the sound of it.


So?


So…



July 15, 2020 12:09

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85 comments

Elle Clark
18:26 Jul 15, 2020

Hiya - here as promised! I love the idea of this. It’s so brave to do something like this because there’s nowhere to hide. I think you pulled this off amazingly well! One or two suggestions - I think ‘fine, I’ll stay’ would work better as just ‘fine’ I also think you need a few connecting lines between her agreeing to stay and then realising that he’s cooking. Surely she would have noticed that he was cooking and not dressed when she arrived? Maybe rework that little section a bit to make that more realistic. I would also cut ‘temp...

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Roshna Rusiniya
04:58 Jul 16, 2020

Thank you so much Laura! Great feedback, as always! I was talking to myself while writing this to see how the dialogues sound like when spoken. I am glad it worked out well. I think your suggestions make absolute sense! I will fix those areas. Thanks again Laura!

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Elle Clark
06:03 Jul 16, 2020

I’m glad it was helpful! The talking to yourself thing clearly worked because this reads very naturally.

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17:20 Jul 15, 2020

Perfect!

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Roshna Rusiniya
17:36 Jul 15, 2020

Thank you Abigail! :)

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Orenda .
16:39 Jul 15, 2020

Enjoyed it a lot!!! do you mind giving your feedback on my recent submission? would help me a lot..🧡🧡

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Roshna Rusiniya
17:00 Jul 15, 2020

Thank you! Will do! :)

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Orenda .
17:03 Jul 15, 2020

thank you so muchhh

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Jen Park
14:56 Jul 15, 2020

Wow..... I wish you would not complete this story. The way it ended is perfect! One of the protaginst is romantic and emotional and one is realistic. I actually read this in Danny's point of view because I'm quite similar to him. I think you intended to put some realistic philosophy about life through the dialogue. Short and simple yet complicated and conveys lot of messages! I love it, Roshna! It was not boring even though it was pure dialouge.

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Roshna Rusiniya
16:08 Jul 15, 2020

Thanks Janey! Appreciate the great feedback. That was the real ending. ‘ Untitled and incomplete’ is actually the title! I put a note in the comments section about this.

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Rhondalise Mitza
14:30 Jul 15, 2020

Lovely work, Roshna! I liked it a lot. :D

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Roshna Rusiniya
14:33 Jul 15, 2020

Thank you Rhondalise! :)

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Batool Hussain
13:56 Jul 15, 2020

Wow, wow, wow, ... I could continue writing wows and they won't be enough to express my love for this story, Roshna. You nailed writing-a -story-with-dialogues-only. This is beyond perfect. And the title tops it all. So creative. I love it♥

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Roshna Rusiniya
14:23 Jul 15, 2020

Thank you. I am glad. :)

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Batool Hussain
16:15 Jul 20, 2020

You're welcome! I would be very happy if could check out my new story and share your views on it:) Thanks.

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Roshna Rusiniya
10:22 Jul 21, 2020

Sure

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. .
06:14 Aug 18, 2020

How??... Just how are you so talented? This is unbelievable, I mean I've read enough stories on here to know which ones I personally prefer and this has got to be up there! This is what I call pure talent👏👏👏👏

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Roshna Rusiniya
06:16 Aug 18, 2020

Thank you Sarah! I am honored! Just saw that you have liked my stories from the start and I am really touched. I liked your story and I think you are very talented. I am following you so I can keep an eye on what you write in the future. ❤️

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. .
06:19 Aug 18, 2020

Thanks, I really enjoy your stories- yet I may not always comment on them I do enjoy them so much! Keep up the great work because your work is incredible and I can't wait to see what you can do in the future!

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Roshna Rusiniya
06:21 Aug 18, 2020

Thank you for your kind words, Sarah! ❤️

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. .
06:21 Aug 18, 2020

:D

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Sadie Black
22:22 Aug 12, 2020

I really, really loved this one. My heart leapt!

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Roshna Rusiniya
02:37 Aug 13, 2020

Thank you Sadie! That’s the most romantic story I have ever written. :)

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10:28 Jul 27, 2020

When are you gonna realise it was just that the time was wrong... I’m listening to Dire Straits right now and your story fits perfectly! Great take on the prompt!

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Roshna Rusiniya
11:39 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you Elena! Appreciate you reading and commenting! :)

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A. Marya
02:00 Jul 22, 2020

I love how you told the entire story through dialogue, and the way it ended was bittersweet.

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Roshna Rusiniya
03:30 Jul 22, 2020

Thank you! :)

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María Barrios
22:26 Jul 20, 2020

I feel this could be the start of a novel. But that's just me. Although I do like it just the way it is.

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Roshna Rusiniya
06:20 Jul 21, 2020

Thank you for reading and commenting. Appreciate it! :) I haven’t thought about the Novel part actually. Just wanted to show one protagonist’s desperation and the other one’s confusion through dialogues.

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Dylan Thayer
19:44 Jul 20, 2020

Wow. I struggle with dialogue so reading this was very very impressive. I loved the line "like the way you love...d me"; the pause is perfect and very well written. I also love starting and ending with so (as others have said). I think "sense of humor" sounds better than "humour sense". Otherwise, I don't have any comments. Very well written =)

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Roshna Rusiniya
06:23 Jul 21, 2020

Thank you for reading Dylan. Appreciate it. Writing dialogues is not one of my strong areas too. So I am glad this came out fine. Humour sense and sense of humour. Well spotted. I read the story at least 5 times before submitting. Not sure why and how I failed to notice it. Thanks! :)

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Brittany Gillen
18:48 Jul 20, 2020

Roshna - Thank you for sharing your story. The conversation flowed naturally and both Danny and Lily felt like real people. It is so easy to sympathize with Danny and his unwillingness to give up on his first love. I love his line: "An addiction that I never want to get rid of." You can clearly see his pursuit and her hesitancy. My only feedback would be on the section in the middle where he asks her for the parsley and she is confused because she thought they were going out to dinner. If they are in his apartment and in his kitchen, I...

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Roshna Rusiniya
19:15 Jul 20, 2020

Thank you for reading and commenting Brittany. Appreciate it. Towards the middle, Lily got upset when Danny started talking about her husband and the love she felt for him. She was about to leave and Danny requested her to stay. He switched the topic to cooking to deviate her mind. I wanted to show it as a sudden decision from Danny’s side to make her stay.

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08:52 Jul 18, 2020

This was a nice way to explore the prompt, it made for a really nice story with a fitting title.

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Roshna Rusiniya
16:10 Jul 18, 2020

Thank you!

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Charles Stucker
20:32 Jul 17, 2020

Past passion reignited, a staple of romance writers. The patter has a nice rhythm. Using italics to separate the speakers is a nice touch, as is coming full circle by beginning and ending with and exchange of "So" Being the punster that I am, I might have been tempted to title this, "The Old So and So"

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Roshna Rusiniya
16:08 Jul 18, 2020

Thank you Charles for your feedback. Really appreciate it. This was the first time I was attempting a dialogue-only story. The title I chose first was ‘ untitled and incomplete’. Then I changed it to avoid confusing the readers.

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Faye S
18:31 Jul 17, 2020

It's interesting to write a story completely with dialogue, I would not have thought of that. I liked it but it does lack something. Since I probably go overboard with setting scenes, I like having it there. So these are my unfiltered thoughts, what I was thinking as I was reading. Did you think about adding more imagery, and discount it? I think I'd like to see a version with more descriptions on how they feel in each other's company, do they yearn to see each other again, do they feel safe, warm, happy? Or the part talking about the pi...

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Roshna Rusiniya
19:20 Jul 17, 2020

Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate it. I wanted to keep the emotions subtle without being dramatic. I wanted the reader to understand their feelings without explaining so much. My focus was entirely on their interaction, simple and casual yet complicated. I avoided other descriptions too. The other topics like food, job etc were only brought in whenever the protagonists needed a distraction. My style and execution of this story may not be upto everyone’s liking. I completely understand and acknowledge that.

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Faye S
21:04 Jul 17, 2020

Understood. I was curious to your thought process. Part of the interest for reading on this blog is how I am always blown away the variety and creativity of other authors interpretations. Thanks for sharing.

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12:23 Jul 17, 2020

Interesting choice to do dialogue only--really focused on the characters without worrying too much about setting. The end left me wondering what Lily was going to say! But I suppose a sequel might diminish the effect of the story

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Roshna Rusiniya
13:40 Jul 17, 2020

Thank you Emilie. Appreciate you reading and commenting. I wanted to keep the ending open like their story— incomplete.

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Hello, Roshna! I saw you are on break just as I come back, oh well! What a beautiful and intriguing story. I’ve never seen a style like this, and I quite enjoyed it. Although there was an apparent lack in description (which I know was the point), it was definitely something you accomplished to be proud of. Great job!

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