STOP! WARNING: I posted a “between the prompts” addition to Mav and John. If you’re following their story, you can read Third Degree here which takes place directly between The Mask and this post, The Shot. If you’re new and want to read from the beginning, go HERE to read their story from the beginning. Or enjoy it as a stand alone.
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His lips were inches from mine.
His thumbs traced hollows where my neck met my shoulder, my pulse racing beneath.
I broke his gaze, focusing on the bandage. “H-how…?” My free hand rose and I traced the outlying edges.
His muscles flexed beneath my finger tips. “I already told you.”
“No, you didn’t. Tell me.”
He tensed. “There was a party. Very high profile. Senators. Judges. CEOs. I was undercover for my employer as an investor.”
He sighed. “I’m a consultant of sorts.”
“Espionage. Companies hire me to test for security weaknesses. I also freelance on other… jobs. The party was one of those. My employer’s daughter, Tina, was my cover. I was her date.”
Unable to stop, my fingers branched out from the bandage, traveling the lines of his torso. “And?” How little I knew of the life he’d led.
“I was supposed to meet with a buyer. They either didn’t show, or decided not to approach me.”
My thumb discovered a rough ridge of skin on his abdomen, a scar about an inch long. I stroked it, wondering its origin. If it had come close to killing him. “Then what?”
“We were one of the last to leave. I escorted her to our car and -” He stopped, shaking.
The nausea returned, knowing what came next. I placed my hand over his heart, the thud reassuring me he’d lived. “You tried to save her.”
“There was a glint from a roof on the other end of the street. I covered her but -”
I pulled him closer, wrapping my arms around him in a hug. I barely noticed the sheet now exposed one breast – only wanting to hold him. “I know.”
His arms joined the embrace, holding me tight. “The bullet went straight through me, missing everything vital and punctured her lung and an artery. I woke up in the ICU. She didn’t live to see the ambulance.”
I listened, my ear over his heart, the beat music as tears trickled down my cheeks. Why hadn’t it occurred to me his faked death grew from the seed of reality?
“If I hadn’t moved, she might still be alive. The doctor said a quarter of an inch in any direction and I…. wouldn’t have made it.”
“Then you b-both would have died.” I broke down as sobs wracked my body, cleansing any remaining jealousy. “When I heard you were d-dead, I..I..I-”
“I know, Mav. Shhh, don’t cry.” His voice broke as he held me close. “I’m sorry. For everything.”
“I..I…I thought I’d never see y-you again.”
“I’m here. You’re with me now.” His hands rubbed my back, trying to soothe me.
“I…I was s-so mad at you. I…I hated you!”’
“I don’t always like me either, Mav.”
“I…I..I loved you.” The words escaped before I caught them, my emotions caged animals finally released.
“Look at me.”
My gaze lifted, seeking out his.
“I am so fucking sorry.” His cheeks were streaked with tears, but his eyes…
I knew that look.
They said he wanted me naked. Now.
One spark and my body caught fire again.
“Please, Mav.” His hands cupped my face, the gentle caress a surprise. “Please stay with me.”
My sheet loosened even more, my hands too busy exploring the changes time etched on his body, finding another new scar, this time on his lower back. How many more hid? How many times had he come close to death? I swallowed, trying to find the strength to speak. “You aren’t giving me much of choice.”
“They tried to kill me, Mav. Tina was collateral damage. They didn’t care about her. But you…” He tugged the sheet down, his fingers a feather down my sides as more shivers shook me. “I can’t let them hurt you.”
This is wrong. He’ll hurt me again.
I ignored the voice of reason.
I needed to celebrate life.
“Okay.” I stepped out of the sheet, my entire body bared as my skin glowed with the beacon of light from the doorway.
His only answer was a growl as cold tile pressed into my back.
The happy ending.
It’s what we all hope for, isn’t it? We all want everything to be neatly tied up in a bow.
In fiction, this can be, well, a little boring. Or predictable.
This week, we’d like you to write a scene that includes a happy ending – it doesn’t have to be the actual END of your story, if you’re working on continuations, but it should include at least one challenge for your hero to overcome.
Surprise us. Don’t give us what we expect.
Constructive criticism is welcomed, as always. Did I manage to surprise you? Or was this totally predictable?
Author’s note: This is not “the ending”, simply one of many challenges for them to overcome.
Unless you want it to be the ending…