Today marks part 2 of the #REN3 blogfest, in which I continue the tale of Dant, Remi, and Jana. For those who didn’t catch my first installment, check it out here. The Rule of Three Blogfest is a shared setting collective storytelling experience, hosted by Damyanti, J.C. Martin, Lisa Vooght, and Stuart Nager, and you can see some of the latest news and entries by checking Stuart’s online paper.
There are a different set of prompts every week and a 600-word limit (not counting the title). Because I have to push it as much as possible, this entry (like my last one) is exactly 600 words. The prompt I chose was: A relationship becomes complicated. The exact way this prompt applies won’t be fully apparent until later installments, but I assure you that I’ve used it (in triplicate, actually). As requested, I’ll mention the word count and the prompt at the bottom as well.
Old Times’ Sake
Jana found an envelope wedged in her door when she opened it in the morning. It fell to the ground face-up. A sketched picture of a tulip stared up at her. She sighed. Tulips were her favorite. Three men would remember that, but only one wouldn’t simply buy a picture of a tulip and paste it on there. Remi. She eyed the trashcan by the door.
What was Remi thinking? What if Tegan had come by this morning and seen it? She slipped Remi’s note in her pocket and hurried out. Now she’d have to make a stop before the flower shop. There was only one person who could talk sense into Remi. Hopefully he was awake.
Jana hustled down Faraday Street, giving up on trying not to jog when she passed Metley. She was sweating by the time she saw the familiar sign: Heriot’s Pass, home of Dant’s famous Renaissance Brown. The windows were still shuttered.
She knocked. “Dant?”
The door to Heriot’s swung open, protesting with a squeak that Dant never got around to fixing. He always said it gave the place character. She edged her way in. The bar smelled like soap. It always did before customers came in.
The voice of a man swearing echoed from the back. Jana smiled. Dant was in the back bar. It was never a good thing when he had to clean up back there. She made her way through the connecting hallway, wondering what sort of crazy private party had been held last night.
When she got to the back bar, she found Dant scrubbing under a bench on his hands and knees. He wore a mask over his nose.
Dant jerked up and banged his head on a table. He rolled to the ground.
“What the fu—” Dant’s eyes locked on her face and widened. He rethought his exclamation. “Jana? What are you doing here?”
She fished out Remi’s letter and tossed it to him. “An employee of yours left that in my door this morning.”
Dant pushed himself up. “Remi? How’d he wake up early enough to get that to you?”
“What am I supposed to do?” Jana asked. “If Tegan had seen that he’d have flipped. Can you talk some sense into Remi?”
“Of course,” Dant said. He tore the envelope open.
“Don’t—” Jana protested.
Dant pulled out the note and held it up to the light. “Congrats for everything, Jana. I wish you all the best. I’m headed to the Espadon overlook today for old times’ sake. Meet me if you want. Love, Remi.”
It was sweeter than she had expected. No pleading. It hardly sounded like Remi. “I can’t just run off to the river to meet an old boyfriend. I have work. I have a fiancé,” she said.
Dant nodded. He laid Remi’s note on a table and sat down. “I know. Didn’t sound like him, though. Maybe Remi went and grew up while we weren’t looking.”
“Too little, too late,” Jana said. She watched Dant stare at the floor. “You actually think I should meet him?”
Dant shrugged. “It’s the first time I’ve heard him act like a grown-up. Maybe he just needs to end it clean, hear it from your own lips.”
“Then he’ll have to hear it another time,” Jana said. “Please tell Remi not to leave letters in my door anymore.” She spun around and left. She exited Heriot’s and headed west. The flower shop was east. Her heart beat like a jackhammer. Damn it all, Remi! And damn Dant too.
She was headed to the Espadon.
Prompt: A relationship gets complicated. Word Count (according to MS Word 2010, excluding the title): 600.
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to check out the dozens of other fantastic writers participating in the #REN3 blogfest. The easiest way to find them is just to read Stuart’s online paper (and as a bonus, you get to see how cool paper.li is).