Luck and a Summer Wallflower

Submitted into Contest #104 in response to: Start your story with a character saying, “Are you coming tonight?”... view prompt

10 comments

Contemporary

“Are you coming tonight?” were the half expectant words of a now trusted confidant. In all the previous years she’d known Glika she would’ve found any such presumption dissatisfying, but having become close with her, Murcia found her hard to dismiss.

Parties were easier than ever with a real friend to bother.

Murcia stripped down from the already thin cover of her bathing suit, before stepping into the shower adjoining their bedroom. She wanted to be clean and she’d best do so quickly before Raphael came home.

She wasn’t much interested in the comfort of the water, as it beat down across her back.

Letting her mind wander just that little bit before the smell of chlorine was replaced by a vague floral scent.

Murcia could only be so thoughtless of course, while she wasn’t that invested in looking anything but plain, Murcia knew that it was something her husband would see fit to peruse.

Luckily, they owned more mirrors than sense. 

She looked on her own time, at skin, washed and smoothed with products of her husband's preference, the smells he preferred, the look he thought was most obedient to his vainglory.

Raphael walked in like he was a blessing on his own house, rarely there but to sleep and entertain.

He always had his expectations, but was rarely any more invested than she was beyond the vagaries of outside approval.

“Oh look at you, all clean and nice. Are you ready?“

“Are you?”

“I will be, but I’d rather not wait on you.” the implication would’ve only been infuriating, if he wasn’t worse about it. Murcia had always been a plain sort, half the ‘necessities’ among her toiletries were additions of his cajoling, his habits weren’t much better. Though his ego persuaded him to use a musky woodgrain sense rather than the flowery, sweet, and citrine smells he expected of her.

She shouldn’t twist it, he took about as long as she did to get ready for things like this. The difference was that Raphael would find it a thing to complain about, rather than the risk of having other people in his life.

It was a dynamic in their relationship that made it so easy to disregard him.

She was dressed and made up long before he was done redressing, and they were able to leave for the Gregory’s with some time to spare. 

Norm and Prudence were there to greet them, with disinterested appeals to propriety, as such she was able to leave Raphael to them.

Glika and Livius were there, Glika nursing some variety of mixed drink, while Livius looked to be in the throes of a potential aneurysm.

Murcia was no doubt greeted by others from around the cul de sac, and though she could recount the names she was no more invested than she was in her appearance. 

Once she managed first introductions with everyone, Murcia went by herself to the kitchen, which was surprisingly empty, considering the crowd Norm had managed to invite.

Murcia was able to content herself with the quiet while other party goers entertained their more varied interests.

It wasn't long after that, that Glika went to the kitchen in search of more stimulating refreshments, followed soon after by Prudence who seemed to be in want of something alcoholic.

"Do you mind mixing me a long island iced tea?”, she said to her closest neighbors and guests. 

Glika being among the kitchen sequestered ladies obliged, finding Prudence’s liquor stash with the practiced ease of a thief, before mixing equal parts vodka, tequila, gin, rum, triple sec, and about 1+1⁄2 parts sour mix and a splash of cola, most parts, keep in mind, were of the odd varieties that kept Prudence her own jolly brand of spiteful housewife.

That is until she’d realised it was Prudence's request, “Not without gratitude Pru.” she said, holding the glass high, as if Glika would pour out her own hard work.

“Oh come on, you’ve already mixed it!” Prudence protested, as if a few ascorbic sips of pleasure meant more than being nice. Prudence gestured at Glika, not willing to act out farther for the drink, “you can’t tell me it’s to your tastes.”

Glika held her other hand up, and emptied the glass in three swigs as if it were soda or lemonade. She licked her lips upon finishing the dregs of her glass, “you said it wasn’t my taste, but I didn’t exactly gag,”

“This ain’t the kinda drink you just ask people for, and certainly not if you're gonna be mean, Pru.”

“Would you stop doing this every time I ask for something?”

“Nope, I’m not a cabana boy! And you should know better already, say thank you like an adult or live with it when people steal your drink.” They continued arguing, while Murcia made her way out of the kitchen, the passions of the two women being a bit much for her taste.

It was easy enough to slip away with a less particular drink. She walked outside, seeing the Gregory’s recently repaired window.

It was odd that it had been broken at all, especially considering how few children there were living on their street. 

It wasn’t as if they’d lost anything they could report. Though knowing Prudence, they probably did have such things.

It really was a marvel how quickly one could have a repair done with the right funds. Raphael had every bit of want for that kind of financial position, she’d have found it funny if there was any pleasure to be taken from it.

But that was simply where she landed.

Trying to compare him to the person she actually spent her time with was rather fun, by some measures.

Glika was a woman lacking vanity, matching her husband's mode of conduct in an amusing way. She sometimes thought of the type of life they shared.

Greedy men with uninterested wives.

There was more to it, Glika actually seemed to love Livius, and not in that passive apathetic way Murcia was accustomed to.

Glika was much stronger than her, if she was capable of satisfaction she would have it, and Murcia had a hard time thinking that she’d be so different in love either.

July 29, 2021 06:31

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10 comments

Andrea Magee
10:21 Aug 08, 2021

A nice evocative read!

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Lily Rama
15:36 Aug 07, 2021

Amazing job! Your descriptions are so clear and vivid. Your writing is smooth and the dialogue is fantastic! Keep writing!

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Kathleen `Woods
03:27 Aug 08, 2021

Thanks for reading! The dialogue was really fun to write this time round, even in normal-ish english.

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Cannelle L
11:35 Aug 06, 2021

I love your story! Your d'inscriptions are so beautiful and unique. I can see how much care you put in your characters. Thank you for sharing!

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Kathleen `Woods
05:46 Aug 08, 2021

Thanks for reading! I'm glad they came out so specific!

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Cole Lane
17:04 Aug 03, 2021

This is so full of beautiful description, the emotions, the setting. Even the drink played a part as we view into this world on the cul de sac. I am definitely Murcia, I like to go to a party and watch people and wonder about what they do, where they like to go and make up elaborate stories about their life. lol That is either the writer in me, or I really just need to get out more often. :)

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Kathleen `Woods
02:45 Aug 04, 2021

thanks for reading! I'm glad she read so positively, she was pretty dower in the first pass.

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16:00 Aug 02, 2021

I love this story!! Your language, as always, is so descriptive and unique. The storyline was enjoyable and the characters felt real. Great job :)

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Kathleen `Woods
02:57 Aug 03, 2021

Thanks for reading! I've been having fun with these build'n drop characters.

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Kathleen `Woods
19:12 Dec 31, 2021

Discovery keys, for perspective character and themes. "Women and Apples" https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/86naio/ "Coffee by the pool" https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/c3hu4w/

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