These entries from April's challenge were selected as Honorable Mentions. Those who completed this challenge are now encouraged to share their stories in the comments section of the "April Writing Challenge."
Sam and Jensen
Jensen double checked the time on her watch. She didn’t want to leave too early and wait, but she wasn’t a person to be late either. She mentally chided herself and grabbed her keys, heading for the door. Dealing with Sam always left her spinning.
She gripped the steering wheel with white knuckles and checked the time on the dashboard. Only a few minutes had passed since she left the house. The road seemed to stretch for miles. Logically, she knew the bistro where she agreed to meet Sam was only two point five miles away and, with traffic, it should only be a ten-minute drive. It seemed logic didn’t always seem to work the way she expected it to where Sam was concerned.
La Belle was a cute affair; a wide open patio, complete with a pastel garden of umbrella tables, wrapped around the front and side of the building. Inside offered floor to ceiling windows and the same pastel theme from outside.
Sam sat at one of the tables on the sparsely populated patio, his dark hair ruffled by the spring breeze. Jensen spotted him before she’d even parked. Her heart constricted; he was just as beautiful as she remembered.
Sam glanced around the bistro casually, even as he became increasingly anxious. Checking his watch for the third time, he glared at the face when he saw that only a minute had passed.
Sam’s head shot up at the sound of a car. Jensen’s blonde head poked up over the steering wheel, and his heart jumped; he hadn’t been sure if she would come, and now that she had, he wasn’t sure that it had been a good idea.
“Why am I here?” Jensen stood across from him, the pastel purple table dividing them.
“I,” Sam pushed off the table and stood shakily, “I thought it might be nice to catch up, to talk.”
“Talk about what exactly?” Her words were measured and biting, there was a hard edge to them that he didn’t remember.
“Talk about us–”
“There is no us.”
Sam recoiled as if she’d slapped him. “Have you missed me at all?”
Jensen opened her mouth to say something but swallowed the words. Instead she dusted off her immaculate skirt and offered him a business casual smile.
“Well, I guess this is goodbye.” She turned and began walking back to her car.
“Jensen, Jen, I don’t,” Sam could hardly speak around the lump in his throat, “I don’t want it to end like this.”
Sam looked almost alarmed, as if he couldn’t quite believe he’d said the words out loud. He hadn’t meant to. Jensen paused.
When they’d broken up, they had an unspoken agreement to stay out of the other’s life. It had been hard for Sam. He found himself drifting to the places that they had gone to together, the places that she had loved, in hopes of running into her. The one time he had run into her had been a disaster. He knew that he should at least try to move on, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Jensen had made everything more, not better or brighter, just more. He didn’t know how to let that go.
“There is nothing left to end.” The steely edge had returned to her voice.
Sam caught her shoulder lightly. “Jensen, please.”
She jerked her shoulder out of his grasp and continued walking.
Sam sat heavily on the colored wicker chair and watched her walk away. He was torn; part of him, a large part, wanted to give up and wait at La Belle until the world ended. Another part willed him after her. Her car was still parked in the lot; there was still time and there was still hope. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him.
There was a tap on the window, and there he was. It was like a scene straight out of a cheesy romance movie; the only thing missing was the rain. She rolled down the window.
“Hi, I’m Sam.” He stuck his hand out for her to shake. He was giving her a new beginning. She took his hand and smiled.
“No,” she said. The single word pounded through his head.
“You can’t just leave me here, Mere! Please just stay!” he pleaded from outside her car window.
“Give me one reason to stay!” she exclaimed. Desperation soaked into her words. Her eyes searched his, praying for an ounce of hope. He tried to grasp his thoughts, but they seemed too frenzied to make any sense.
“Well, I guess this is goodbye,” she said with a sigh.
“Wait! Meredith, I need you. I don’t want it to end like this!” She shook her head and looked down at the steering wheel.
“Another lie? Really, Pres? You clearly didn’t need me when you were kissing Carly,” she said more to herself than to him. A tear danced across her face gracefully as she slid on her sunglasses.
The window slid up. and she put the car in gear. His hand grabbed for the handle. His voice was shaky and quiet.
“I love you, Mere.”
Her car began to pull away as he followed, banging on the window and his voice rising into a booming forte.
“I love you!” he exclaimed.
“Meredith please!” he pleaded.
Her car began to pick up speed, and he followed, his hand grasping the door handle for dear life. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him, pleading for her to wait, to stay. The car became too fast, and he slowly began falling behind. As his hand slipped from the car, he fell to his knees. He cradled his head in his hands as he cried. “I love you,” he repeated over and over. When he finally looked back toward the road, her car was nowhere to be seen. The road seemed to stretch for miles. The previous year flashed through his head. The first time he heard her laugh, the first time her smile fell, her face when she learned about Carly.
“I never meant to hurt you!” he screamed into the silence.
A Love Story
It starts as a normal day. I’m doing what I love most – running with my best friend. I’ve been alive for fourteen years, and he’s been there my whole life. I thought I was doing pretty well for my age, though. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him, and I was still faster.
We’ve been through a lot, my best friend and I. He was there when I got sick and couldn’t stop throwing up, and I was there when he got bullied in middle school, his hot, wet tears dripping down my back as he held me tight.
I snap back to the present. The road seems to stretch for miles. Somehow, my best friend has pulled ahead of me, so I pick up my pace, panting. But something is wrong. My tired body falters, and I do something I’ve never done on a run before.
It takes my best friend a few seconds to notice because I hadn’t caught up to him yet. But when he sees me, he cries out and drops to the ground next to me. I hurt, and it’s a new feeling, so I let out a faint yelp. My best friend’s eyes go wide, his eyebrows pushed together, and he hoists me onto his shoulders. Although I am light, we had been running for a while and I know he’s tired.
After only a few minutes, we arrive at an all white building with red lettering on the front. My best friend talks quickly with a woman in all white. He keeps looking up at me, as if he needs to make sure I’m still here. We are ushered into a white room, and I feel myself being lowered onto an uncomfortable white table. The woman all in white beckons to my best friend, and they leave the room together.
Where are you going? I want to ask, but he’s gone.
When he comes back, his eyes are red. He kneels down and bends over me, shaking.
“I don’t want it to end like this,” he sobs.
His tears fall heavy on my head. What end is he talking about? I start to panic. I want to lift my head to look at his eyes, but I can’t move. He feels me struggling beneath him and goes into another wave of tears.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see the woman all in white enter and nod her head solemnly at my best friend.
He wipes back tears and says with a sad smile, “Well, I guess this is goodbye.”
Never in my entire life have I wanted to be able to say something to him more than in that moment. My whole body strains to push energy into my throat, but all that comes out is a whimper. My best friend runs his hand through my hair and kisses me on the forehead before standing up and stepping away, body racking with sobs. I look at him longingly, trying to convey my thanks for the life we lived and loved together.
I have one last thought before I close my tired, old eyes. The saying should really be “Men are a dog’s best friend” because that boy sure was mine.