Romance Mystery Creative Nonfiction

“So, what’s the catch?”

“What do you mean?”

“Like, what do you have to do now?”

“What do you mean, ‘what do I have to do’?”

“What’s Harry making you do that you got to leave early?”

“Ha, oh. You don’t even want to know.”

“That bad?”

“Mrs. Palumbo.”



“That’s vicious.”

“She needs her AC fixed, her window is broken somehow, and she said there’s something going on with the lights. So I’ll probably be with her most, or all, of the day Monday.”

“Well, make sure you bring your headphones.”

“It doesn’t matter. She still talks anyways. Then, she taps me on the shoulder if I don’t answer. The whole apartment stinks like cat pee, and there’s not even a cat.”

“Justin, that’s absolutely disgusting.”

“I know! Trust me, I know.”

“Your headache was that bad?”


 “Did you eat anything?”

“Yeah, I ate lunch. I don't know why it hurt so bad.”

“Oh, wow, that’s weird.”

“It was very weird.”

“Did you drink water?”

“Yes, honey, I drank water.”

“But you feel better now?”

“Yeah, the Advil really helped. It might’ve just been my sinuses.”

“Well, as long as you feel better now that’s good.”

“I feel better now that I get to be home with you. How was your day?”

“It was good, very productive. I did my errands, my phone calls, and I just finished the laundry right before you came in.”

“Wow. That sounds like a busy day off.”

“I know, it was. You’ve been getting up so early lately, going to the gym, and then staying at work later. It’s so inspiring to see you so dedicated to things. I figured the least I could do was get up, and handle my stuff.”

“Aw. Come here. You look so beautiful, you know that? I missed you, honey.”

“I have a surprise for you.”

“A surprise?”


“What kind of surprise?”

“It’s not big. I just wanted to do something for you, so I made you something.”

“You made it?”

“Mhm. Look in the oven.”

“Oh my god, no you didn’t.”

“Yes, I totally did.”

“You haven’t made these in forever!”

“I know. I figured you’d be happy.”

“Aw, honey. Thank you. That was so sweet”

“It didn’t take long. I wanted to.”

“Yeeeeeees. I’m so excited right now. I could eat, like, ten of these.”

“You’ve literally always said that since the first time I made them for you.”

“I know, and I’ve eaten ten on multiple occasions.”

“I completely believe that. It doesn’t help you eat them in two bites.”

“I know.”

“You’ve definitely eaten more than 10 before, too.”

“That’s insane. How was my metabolism ever that good?”

“Justin, your metabolism is still good.”

“Not that good. I can’t eat like that now.”

“Well, you were, literally, 18 years old.”

“Okay? I’m only 28. My metabolism should still be perfect.”

“That’s a 10 year difference.”

“Why does that matter?”

“Because we were seniors in high school! We were kids.”

“We were not kids.”

“You started dating me when I still had a curfew.”

“Well, your parents are crazy.”

“Remember you asked me to be your girlfriend at Ashley’s birthday party, and then you passed out on her mom’s bed because you got the spins so bad?”

“I smoked so much that night. I was so high. I needed to be high to ask you or I would’ve been too scared.”

“I still can’t believe you really thought I was going to say no.”

“I really did. I was like, ‘She’s so out of my league’. Then, you said yes, and I was like, ‘Yeeeeeeees’.”

“Remember you broke the lemonade pitcher because you leaned on the table too hard?”

“Oh my god. That was horrible. Her mom hated me so much after that.”

“Of course, she did!”

“What do you mean?”

“Justin, it was literally her great-great grandmother’s pitcher. She said it was from France.”

“How do you know it was her great-great grandmother’s?”

“Ashley told us multiple times.

“That’s horrible. I don’t even remember that.”

“You really don’t remember her telling us that? She told us at school the next Monday, and we talked about it so many times at my house.”

“I remember her saying something about France, but that’s it.”

“Well, it must not bother you that much if you don’t even remember her talking about it.”

“I mean, I’m obviously not happy it happened. Honey, what now you’re mad at me?”

“No, I’m not mad. It was, like, 10 years ago.”

“I know, so long.”

“Isn’t it crazy to think we’ve been together for that long?”

“It’s beautiful, honey.”

“It’s very beautiful. How are the cookies?”

“How do you think they are? I just ate four. This one is my last one for now.”

“Yeah, for now.”

“Oh, you know there’s no way I’m not eating 10 of these by the end of the night.”

“You just said you can’t!”

“That doesn’t mean I’m not going to!”

“You’re crazy. You’re going to feel sick.”


“You’re a glutton for punishment.”

“They’re just so good. I can’t help it, and these ones are, like, extra good. Did you put in more sugar than usual?”

“Yes, I did a little bit.”

“I can tell. They’re the perfect amount of sweet. Did you use extra cinnamon, too?”

“I did.”

“Wow. I know this is a big statement, but these might be the best you’ve ever made. 

“Whaaaat? Really?”

“Yes, they’re perfect. This was the best surprise. I needed it.”

“Thank you, and this is the least you deserve.”

“Aw, honey.”

“I just wanted to do something to match all the energy you’ve been putting in.”

“Thank you. I’m proud of you, too. I’m going to change out of these clothes. I feel so gross from work.”

“Okay. Oh, Justin! Before you go, I forgot to tell you.”

“Forgot to tell me what, honey?”

“That Harry called me today.”

“Harry called you?”


“When did he call you?”


“I know you said that. When did he call you?”

“It was around 12:30. He was on lunch break.”

“Why did he call you from work? Why is he calling you at all? How did he even get your phone number?

“I gave him my phone number.”

“When the hell did you give Harry your phone number?”


“Yesterday? Where?”

“Your job.”

“What are you saying, Tally? You weren’t at my job yesterday.”

“Yes, I was.”

“You did not come to my job yesterday. What are you talking about right now?”

“I’m talking about how I gave Harry my cell phone number yesterday at your job. I’m not surprised you didn’t know I was at your job yesterday because you weren’t at your job yesterday.”


“Yeah, you weren’t there so how could you have known I was there? Unless Harry told you. Which we both know he didn’t because we’re having this conversation right now.”

“Tally, why did you give Harry your number? What did he say? I was at work yesterday.  When did you go by?”

“Around the same time Harry called me today. It was about 12:30. He was on lunch break, and he told me you had called out this morning.”

“Why didn’t you tell me you went to my job? Why did you even go?”

“I didn’t tell you because I was waiting for Harry to call me back, and I came to bring you cookies.”

“You brought me cookies to work yesterday?”

“Yup, and you weren’t even there.”


“So, Harry is a horrible liar, and, unlike you, he actually has a moral compass that he follows.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means, unlike you, he couldn’t lie to my face, and told me that you called out of work to spend the day with your girlfriend.”

“Tally, no.”

“Yes, your girlfriend who is not me, your girlfriend of 10 years.”

“I don’t have another girlfriend.”

“So, anyways, I went by your job. Harry told me about your girlfriend. I asked him to please not tell you that he told me, or that I went by at all. He told me he had to think about it, and only if it would somehow benefit him. Then, Harry called me today to tell me he wasn’t going to tell you if I agreed to force you to forever be assigned to Mrs. Palumbo’s apartment, or else I’m going to tell your family what you’ve been doing. He also added that he felt too guilty not helping me because you had called out again this morning.”

“Tally, what are you even saying right now?”

“Your mom literally loves me more than you, and you know your cousins will hate you if I tell them.”

“Honey, listen to me. I don’t have another girlfriend!”

“You keep interrupting me.”

“I can’t believe this.”

“That might be the first truthful thing you’ve said this entire conversation.”

“No, it’s not. Harry is lying! He’s doing this to get me to have to always work on Mrs. Palumbo’s apartment! It’s a sick joke, honey.”

“Stop calling me honey.”


“Because it sounds like absolute bullshit, and I hate it coming from you.”


“Because everything you say is absolute bullshit. There’s nothing sweet about it. Everything you say is shit, Justin.”

“Tally, listen to me–”

“Which is exactly why I made you these cookies.”

“What do you mean?”

“I made you these cookies for all the energy you’ve been putting in. These aren’t the ones I originally brought to your job, just for the record.”


“I gave those to Harry to bring home for Tyler and the girls. I made you these fresh today, and you’re right I added some ingredients.”

“What’re you talking about?”

“I added extra sugar, extra cinnamon, and I added a new ingredient.”

“What did you add?”

“I just wanted to make them really represent you, ya know?”

“I don’t get it. How do they represent me?

“The secret ingredient, silly!”

“What’s the ingredient, Tally?

“They’re full of shit, Justin. Just like you.”

March 11, 2023 03:08

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Amanda Lieser
00:51 Mar 17, 2023

Hey Victoria, This was such a clever address of the prompt. I love that it started off light hearted while ending in a perfectly vengeful way. I had a feeling something was up and I’m so glad you gave us some clues. You did a great job!


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Chris Campbell
01:49 Mar 16, 2023

Victoria, This relationship went pear shaped very quickly. Was Justin telling the truth? Does Harry have ulterior motives? One thing is for sure, Justin has a "Bunny Boiler" simmering in his life. He might have to sleep with one eye open. All that sugary sweetness at the beginning set us up for a sour end. Well done with the all-dialogue story and well done on the change of pace at the end.


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Hope Linter
22:49 Mar 15, 2023

Good work with the dialogue. I like how Tally plays out a very long line for Justin to ensnare himself. Good twist there.


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