Flash Fiction Friday: Heat

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I feel weird about publishing bits of my book—let alone a rough draft—before it’s complete, not to be precious with my ideas, but because those characters need not be judged by one thing they do or have done; who they are as main characters throughout the entire story is not who they are as a whole. The minor characters, on the other hand, who support the main characters, do have their own stories to tell, even if they don’t know it yet.

I’m going to share drabbles of them: stand-alone flash fiction pieces that double as strip-teases. (That is, sneak peeks into the greater story, which strip away smaller bits in the story as if to dissect them.) They won’t be perfect, but this isn’t about perfection.

Isabelle’s background takes place after the Darlings have graduated high school and before meeting Rowena (main character). Inspiration for her background comes from I Know What You Did Last Summer, a song by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, but you should know inspiration with me is never what it seems. Her personality was decided way before hearing the song.~

Pale-covered leaves rustling on the ground and in the air as the wind blew were a tell-tale sign summer was over. Feet crunched against them as shoe soles hit the ground, while flying leaves crashed into legs and, twice, dog leashes. Patsy’s Tea & Coffee hustled and bustled with customers aching to warm up with hot coffee or liquid chocolate. A brown-eyed brunette sat in a chair in the corner of the cafe, away from the chaos, with her hot white chocolate—a rare, seasonal commodity, so much so she’d risked her heart growing attached to it: ’twas the least popular item on the menu, below water.

“Isabelle!” a familiar stranger greeted.

Isabelle smiled, looking up at him, but remained seated. Leo, her loyal boyfriend of two years and counting, leaned over and hugged her. The white apron around his waist was damp against her arm, prompting her to pull it closer against her side.

“How was your trip home?”

Good—the best in a long while. She’d met up with an old best friend, and her brother’s best friend was just as hot as she’d remembered when she left for university near this small town. His marriage, on the other hand, was new—and unpleasant. ‘Twas disappointing at best, more so after he’d introduced her to his wife: a woman much hotter than Isabelle, even on her “super-pregnant, tons-of-bloating, honey-why-are-you-torturing-me-like-this?” days. There was absolutely no hope now, unless something happened to Megan—which would leave either a hurt James, or a hurt-and-single-dad James, and Isabelle wasn’t interested in the latter, so there was no hoping for it. She was twenty-three; kids could come only when she was finished with university, unless she had a chance of becoming the Serena Williams of soccer.

It probably wouldn’t. Her major was her intended career path and passion; soccer was a mere hobby she rocked at, even when she skipped practice to flirt with guys at the grocery store.

“Long,” she replied. “Would have been nice if you’d been there.” She frowned, pouting.

He placed a hand over hers, smiled warmly, and started to say something before—

All the women, sans Isabelle, screamed. Shattered glass lay on the floor—he remembered hearing it now, in the midst of his focusing on his girlfriend, but…in a long, distant place far away from the woman before him.

She withdrew her hand. “I’ll let you get to the shop.” Her eyes locked on his as she finished her mug off, then broke when she stood. He started to say something else—to try again—before her missed her, but she smiled, eased past him and left.

Outside, in her car, she scrolled through her latest messages: at least ten stupid-sappy ones from Leo she still hadn’t read, one from Blake, seventeen from E.L. She skimmed through the texts from E.L., which mostly referred to her posts on  Instagram, and she grinned—and caught herself. This wasn’t the place, and it couldn’t be more obvious to her when she finally looked up, over her steering wheel and out her dashboard, in preparation to back out of the parking space: her eyes locked on Leo’s, through the cafe’s glass, for the second time today; he shook his head and turned away.

Thoughts? ❤️ Who do you think E.L. is? ?

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Comments on this post

Georgie’s gravatar

I like reading snippets of what you’re working on. I enjoyed this particular snippet about Isabelle, but I can see what you mean by characters being judged on just a small piece written about them. Even in real life, people are witnesses to the behaviour of someone that doesn’t reflect their story as a whole.

I can’t pick out who E.L. is, but I’m guessing probably a crush of Isabelle’s… ?

Liz’s gravatar

Oh, I forgot I never mention E.L. on my blog when I began writing a post detailing a little about my development process, because character development is my favorite part of writing. ??

Yeah. I also feel weird, though, because ah, sharing a bit of the rough draft just feels…odd? and scary. ? Because whilst I do feel I totally rock at writing, I do sometimes fear I’m not as brilliant at it as I might think, plus I change things a lot. ? So what I share might not even wind up in the actual story—ooh! I could share deleted scenes. ?

Liz’s gravatar

…but E.L. is a lovely, complex character who’s supposed to be a bit of a mystery. Like the Heather Sinclair of Degrassi, only s/he is actually in scenes.

Kya’s gravatar

Awesome! I think it’s great that you have shared this because I am really interested in what is going to happen next and to read the whole story. 😀