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Old 11-21-2013, 11:18 AM   #1
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"Finish This" 11/21/13 - The Lingering Dream Of A Lonely Heart

This is a writing exercise inspired by a similar one on another site.



As the title suggests, the idea is to finish the story. Every week, we will make a new thread here in the Exercises forum. The premise (the concept) and starter (first part of the story) will be posted. The premise and starter are chosen from this thread.

Once the weekly premise and starter is posted, writers can read it, think a bit, then finish the story however they like. They will have 7 days to do so. "Finishes" should be less than 750 words.

Anyone can contribute a "finish". Read the exercise, then post your finish in single post below - one post per writer. You are free to edit your post as many times as you like for the duration of the contest.

Any "finishes" deemed to be jokes, not serious attempts, trolling, or off-topic will be removed from the exercise. Repeat offenders will be banned from the exercise permanently.

After 7 days, the thread will be closed to new posts. If there are enough substantial "finishes", we'll take the premise, starter, and finishes and post them - with author credit - to a story submission under the "Finish This" user account.

And remember: this is not a contest. There are no losers - only winners. It's about having fun, stretching your imagination.

So - have fun!


This Week's Exercise: "Finish This" 11/21/13 - The Lingering Dream Of A Lonely Heart

The Premise (submitted by LaRascasse)
She's unexpectedly reunited with an old flame who broke her heart. Their eyes meet, her heart soars - and his wife and children come into view.
The Beginning (submitted by LaRascasse)
"What do you mean you're still at the airport, Faye?" groaned the exasperated assistant over the phone.

"I mean they won't let a single flight leave New York until this blizzard clears," Faye yelled into the receiver. The patchy reception gave her only garbled bits of response for a few infuriating minutes before she gave up. She swore loudly enough for a few similarly stranded passengers on the concourse to give her a long stare.

"All passengers for Pacific Air flight 213 to Los Angeles, kindly go to the Pacific Air kiosk on the ground floor."

"At last," Faye groaned, getting up and walking towards the nearby counter. She approached the dour looking man.

"Faye Gardner. Give me my boarding pass," she spat out, too tired to be bothered with politeness any longer. The man gave her a withering look before handing it to her. She looked at it for a few seconds, mystified.

"Excuse me, sir. It says here that the flight is for tomorrow evening. I'm sure there's been a mistake."

"I'm sorry, ma'am, but that is the earliest flight which the FAA will let us fly," came the deadpan reply. "The Met estimates the blizzard to go on till tomorrow afternoon."

"Look," said Faye exasperatedly. "I think I know what this is about. I have money. Will a few hundred dollar bills get me on an earlier flight; say one leaving later today?"

"As I said, ma'am," continued the uniformed tormentor. "There will be no flights taking off from JFK today. Will you be needing accommodation till then?"

"I will."

An hour later, she sat in the lobby of the St. Regis hotel, surrounded by a swarm of chattering travellers. The snow was beginning to fall in sheets outside. She took out a large spiral binder from her bag and began browsing through the possible candidates for the Spring catalogue.

All at once, there was total silence around her. Faye had this uncanny ability to dissociate herself from a madding crowd. Her total, undivided attention was on the pictures of clothing in front of her. She sighed disapprovingly as the garments became sluttier with every passing page.

"I'm too old for this."

Thirty five wasn't really too old, but she felt like she was from a different century when she saw the modern day fashion trends. Most of the designers seemed intent on how "fuckable" their dresses could make someone look. An art form had gradually given way to vulgarity.

Nevertheless, Faye patiently looked at each glossy page and studied the design on it intently. As a senior editor of Vogue, she knew that there were people counting on her tastes to evolve with the times, without losing their discerning ability.

She stopped at one svelte violet design and observed it closely. There was a floral embossing running down the side of the dress, from the shoulder to the hem. The pattern melded nicely with the darker shade of the borders. The more Faye looked at the dress, the more it reminded her of the one she wore to her high school farewell party.

Of course, she was a geeky, bespectacled and overly freckled little girl back then. None of the guys gave her a second glance, except for her best friend, Ryan. They met up at each other's place to do their homework together every weekend. It was a ritual of sorts, similar to the ritual of her promising herself she would finally tell him about her huge crush on him on one of those study dates.

"Next time," she promised herself after each weekend.

That farewell party was supposed to be "the time". She had spent hours on end, rehearsing her speech to the mirror until her reflection seemed as head over heels in love with her as she was with Ryan. At the party, however, she suddenly became aware of people swarming on all sides. The effect was nauseating and kicked her OCD into high gear. She had to sit down and control her breathing, trying to muster up the nerve to speak her heart out.

... only she didn't. That party was the last she ever saw of him. She moved all the way to the other coast to forget about her failed love. The image she adored for the first eighteen years of her life remained steadfast in her mind so many years later. She drowned herself in her work, rising to the post of senior editor at record speed, but that school girl standing in the party, too scared to speak never died. It also meant she needed the occasional Prozac to get through the day.

"Faye Gardner."

This time the voice broke through to her, snapping her out of her reverie. She got up and walked to the reception desk, holding her boarding pass in hand. The cheerful receptionist handed her the key to her room and told her about the dinner arrangements. She thanked him and made her way to the elevator before she saw him.

For a long while, Faye was convinced that she was still in the throes of romantic nostalgia. She actually pinched herself to make sure it was real. Her heart leapt to her throat and beat fast enough to choke her. Her eyes took the diameter of saucepans and her mouth went dry.

Ryan Coulter stood at the concierge desk, splitting his attention between the helpful man behind the counter and his tablet. His eyes whizzed back and forth while he tapped away furiously at the screen. Seventeen years later, he still looked like a precocious teenager -- all the way to his unblemished face and smooth hair. Only now, he had traded in his Yankee tees and GAPs for a two thousand dollar business suit and swapped his funky old watch for a solid gold Patek Philippe.

The rest of the crowd receded into a colourless blur. Faye's eyes remained glued to the man who she broke her heart over all those years ago. She kept loving him with all the little pieces, every second of every day. The memory of his broad smile, his genial laugh and his calming voice kept her sane at the lowest points of her life. He looked every bit as endearing as the image prominently framed in her mind. She closed her eyes and let the situation sink in. Her heart grew wings and soared high above the clouds to a happy place that Prozac could never take her to.

She opened her eyes and saw a harried woman standing behind him, holding a young boy and girl with either arm. Ryan carefully took the girl up in his arms and nuzzled against her face affectionately. Then, he placed his sumptuous lips on the woman's and kissed her gently, the way a happily married man kisses his wife.
"A great future doesn't require a great past." - William Chapman
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:12 AM   #2
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Faye stood frozen, unable to coalesce her conflicted emotions into a plan of action, and simply watched dumbly as the clerk handed Ryan his key. He put the girl down gently and picked up a suitcase and a duffel, then turned toward Faye. Panicked, she searched around for a place to hide, but there wasn't one. She was horrified, for once unable to think of what she would say, but to her surprise, Ryan strode right past her, family in tow. She turned and watched them step into the elevator. Maybe she was mistaken? No. She'd memorized every detail of his face, and that was definitely Ryan, stroking his young son's unruly locks and mirroring his wife's beaming smile.

The elevator doors began to close, and Faye's arm shot out, stopping them. She stepped onto the elevator and into the cozy family tableau. The woman's eyes met hers. "What floor?"

"Eight," Faye blurted. Ryan turned his head halfway, but still did not look at her directly.

"Great! That's where we're going." The little girl looked up at Faye with a frank expression. Her eyes made Faye's heart ache. The girl must have sensed Faye's emotion, because she smiled and stepped closer. She reached out her little hand and slipped it into Faye's, an innocent attempt to comfort a stranger. Faye was in agony, but she felt herself squeeze the little fingers gently, in thanks.

The elevator doors opened. Faye followed the family off the elevator and watched them proceed down the hallway. As they stopped at a door, the girl turned and looked at Faye again, then smiled and gave a little wave. Ryan stepped back as his wife carried the boy through the door. The girl followed as Ryan collected their bags. He straightened and looked directly at Faye for the first time. Her heart stopped.

He stared at her for a second that seemed like an eternity, then he gave an uneasy smile, turned, and carried the bags into the room, shutting the door behind him.

Faye felt her entire body sag, as if gravity suddenly remembered to affect her. Tears came to her eyes, but she blinked them off and swallowed the knot in her throat. She was a grown woman. She shouldn't be acting like a blushing schoolgirl. She hurried to her room and slammed the door.

Hours later, after a dozen phone calls to the airline to get her luggage located and delivered, there was a knock at the door. She stormed across the room and flung the door open, ready to deliver a verbal thrashing to whatever lackey the airline sent with her bags. She stopped with her mouth open, staring at Ryan. Gravity resumed its hiatus.

“Faye. I'm sorry I couldn't say anything earlier. Ellen doesn't like surprises. Especially old flames.” He stepped in the door, took Faye's face in his hands, and kissed her. So many things ran through her mind, she couldn't focus on any one idea, so she acquiesced and wrapped her arms around him, returning his kiss with all the passion she'd saved up for all those years.

As one, they stumbled into the room and collapsed on the bed, still locked in their heated embrace. She tore at his clothes, so he released his hold on her and assisted. Between kisses, Faye tried to make sense of it all.

“What...is this? You're...married, and...you have kids....We can't....This is wrong....”

Ryan pulled away from her just enough so that they could look each other in the eye. “My wife and I have an understanding. There is room in everyone's heart for more than one person. I love Ellen. My life revolves around her and our children. But I love you, too, and I have for all these years. I didn't recognize the signals back then, the subtle flirtations you made, and I have regretted my silence ever since. Now we have this one chance to share what we felt for each other back then, and I want to make the most of it. If this isn't what you want, tell me now, and I'll walk out the door and I promise I'll never bother you again.”

It was too much to think about, especially with the aching in her loins that the heat of his body against hers had awakened. She slipped off her robe and fell into him. There would be plenty of time to sort everything out later.

Last edited by ambiguityperson : 11-23-2013 at 04:14 AM.
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:50 PM   #3
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Finish This -- The Lingering Dream of a Lonely Heart

Faye stood immobilized near the elevator, unable to push the button, unable to take her eyes off Ryan, barely able to breathe. She saw the receptionist hand Ryan a room key, and a few seconds later, his family walked toward the elevator.

The attractive wife led the boy with one hand and carried the little girl in the other arm. Ryan trailed the three of them, carrying a couple suitcases.

Faye thought the boy looked about five years old and was an image of his father. The little girl couldn't have been more than three and had the features of her mother.

“Daddy, can I push the button?” the boy asked.

“Sure, Billy. Push the one with the arrow pointing up,” she heard Ryan say.

It was him! Faye's heart nearly burst when she recognized the same voice she'd last heard in high school. He was close enough that she could reach out and touch his sleeve, but Ryan was distracted by his family and took no notice of Faye.

When the elevator doors opened, Ryan and his family walked through them. Just before they closed, Faye made a split-second decision to board the elevator, too. She had no idea what she was going to do next, but it would give her an opportunity to spend a few precious seconds next to the man she'd always had a crush on.

“What number do I push, Daddy?” Billy asked.

“Press the number 9,” Ryan replied.

“Cute kids,” Faye heard herself blurt out. She hadn't intended to say anything, but something unknown inside her forced her to say it.

Ryan turned toward her and said, “Thank you.”

He did a double take when his eyes met Faye's. “You look familiar,” he said. The last time he'd seen Faye, she had auburn hair, but now she was a blond.

“I'm Faye Gardner,” she answered breathlessly.

“You're kidding,” Ryan exclaimed.

Ryan dropped both suitcases and wrapped his strong arms around Faye, lifting her off the floor, nearly squeezing all the air out of her lungs.

“Faye, is that really you? It's a small world after all.”

“Yes, it's really me,” she squeaked.

Ryan put her down and turned toward his wife, “Mary, this is Faye, the high school girl friend who was my first love.” Then he introduced his family, “This is my wife, Mary, and my kids, Billy and Heather.”

Faye expected Mary would give her the cold shoulder, but Mary warmly embraced her and gave her a lingering kiss on the cheek.

Later that evening, Faye was invited to join the Coulter family in the hotel dining room. Over dinner and several glasses of wine, Ryan and Faye caught up with each other's lives since they'd last seen one another, while the blizzard raged outside.

They discovered they lived only about half-an-hour freeway drive apart in the Los Angeles suburbs.
After dinner, Ryan invited Faye to his family's hotel room to continue their discussion. When the children had been tucked in for the night, and were asleep, Ryan and Mary confided to Faye they were swingers.

“Mary is bisexual, and we've been looking for a female partner for her,” Ryan explained.

He continued, “If you'd like to join us for a threesome when we return home, we'd welcome you.”

Faye couldn't believe her ears; the opportunity to spend more time with Ryan, the man of her dreams, brought tears to her eyes. "Yes, I'd like that," she replied.


After returning to California, Faye no longer needed her Prozac. She never married and focused instead on her career. Through the years, her sexual needs were met by both Mary and Ryan.
Bill and Heather called her Aunt Faye for as long as they could remember. She took them to Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, and SeaWorld San Diego when they were young.

As they grew older, she introduced them to the theater, concerts, museums, and art galleries. She always remembered their birthdays, attended their soccer games, and doted on their academic achievements through college.

They never knew how she came to be associated with their family until many years later, after their mother's funeral, when they finally learned the truth from their father.

Faye was forever grateful that she'd once been stranded by a blizzard in New York City.

Last edited by Privates1stClass : 11-26-2013 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:36 AM   #4
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Finish This" 11/21/13 - The Lingering Dream Of A Lonely Heart

“Of course he is married,” she cursed herself for being a fool. She swallowed down the hard lump in her throat as she felt the tears begin to well. She turned her back on the happy family tableau and walked to the elevators needing to put distance between her and them. At work they called her the Tiger Lady goddammit, and the Tiger Lady didn’t cry!

She flagged down a passing porter and requested her luggage be delivered to her room when it arrived from the airport and walked into the bar, the least family friendly place in this god forsaken hotel. She strode to the bar and swung up onto a stool. The bar tender came over and inclined his head.

“Grey Goose, neat,” her tone was abrupt and he didn’t waste time on small talk placing a glass before her and measuring two nips into it. Faye downed it in one large gulp and waved her fingers over the glass indicating that she wanted another. The second drink she took slightly slower while she mentally reminded herself that she was Faye Gardner, senior editor for one of the biggest fashion magazines. She didn’t take shit from anyone, she gave it. So why did it feel like her heart was breaking all over again. She signalled the bartender for another drink.

“So what about you?” Faye asked the bartender as he poured her drink. “You a settling down sort of guy? Got a little woman at home and kids and the perfect fucking house? Living the fucking American dream?”

“Not likely,” he laughed, “What I make here barely supports me let alone a family and mortgage.”

“But your dream,” she pressed him, “For the future.”

“I’m not much of a planner,” he shrugged noncommittally.

“When I was a younger I didn’t have the balls to take what I wanted. Now I have big brass balls, Tiger Lady they call me, but what I want has already been taken by someone else,” she mused more to herself than the bartender.

“Don’t know about Tiger but you’re a lady alright,” he peered over the bar at her form fitting suit and short skirt that had risen up her thigh.

“I could use a quick fuck. Whens your break,” Faye said almost dismissively.

“Don’t you want to know my name first?” he seemed surprised by her forthrightness.

“Not particularly,” she said easily, unbuttoning several buttons of her blouse exposing her cleavage.

“Well just so you know whose name to call out later, I’m Ryan,” he smirked.

“Oh fuck!” Realising she was losing it she stood up from the barstool, “I’m Tiger Lady. I do what I want, when I want, how I want,” she hated that her voice cracked, she really hated that the tears welled in her eyes again for the life she might have had, with a different Ryan, if she had been braver back then.

“I’m in room eight-oh-five. Send up a bottle of the Grey Goose for me, or better still bring it yourself.” He gave her a slow smile and she turned walking out. The lobby was full of families, all stranded like she was by the storm. Seeing them all happy despite their predicament only enhanced the feelings of loss she felt for a life she never had.

On the ride up, to her room she dug into her bag and pulled out the small bottle of Prozac popping two into her mouth and swallowing hard. The booze wasn’t helping her mood so she hoped the Prozac would give her the much needed lift she needed. A knock at the door meant her Grey Goose had arrived and she was disappointed to see the bartender had not brought it himself. She walked back into her room and poured herself a large drink trying to remember what she was doing before she was interrupted. “Oh yeah the pills,” she smiled and took two more with a large belt of her drink. “Yeah,” she thought. “This will help.”

Too drunk by this stage to be fully aware of her actions, Faye had forgotten she had taken motion sickness tablets before leaving for the airport and a small handful of Prozac and migraine medication to steady her nerves for the flight. She was chronically self-medicated and thought nothing of the amount of pills she swallowed, even using amphetamines from time to time to keep her weight down rather than diet and exercise.

Two hours later having no better offers, the bartender tapped softly on her door. It went unanswered as did the louder ones. He shrugged and walked away leaving the woman inside, finally free from pain and regret, to pass from this world to the next in drug and alcohol induced unconsciousness.
You only learn to be a better writer by actually writing ~ Doris Lessing

Last edited by xelliebabex : 11-26-2013 at 02:50 AM.
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Old 11-28-2013, 04:59 PM   #5
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The kiss tore the wings from Faye's heart and sent her plunging back to the painful reality of loss. She turned away, not wanting to see any further interaction between the man she never forgot and the family she wished never existed. She kept her gaze averted but couldn't stop herself from listening as Ryan and his family passed by her on their way to the elevators, the children chatting excitedly about exploring the hotel. After waiting enough time to ensure they were gone, Faye rose and also headed to her room.

Faye spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening in solitude. She ordered room service but barely touched her expensive meal, leaving most of on the tray back in the hallway when she finally exited her room in search of a drink in the main floor bar. Just as she entered the elevator, the overhead lights flickered and the door stopped only halfway closed. Then, almost immediately, the lights reset to full brightness and the door closed smoothly. Must be the storm, she thought, taking the disruption in stride. She remembered how inconvenienced she had been when Hurricane Sandy knocked out the power right in the middle of a fashion presentation she had been attending. This little blip was nothing compared to that crazy night in New York.

Faye settled into a small corner table in the bar and ordered a scotch with a dash of distilled water. Then she opened her iPad and began to respond to a long list of emails that demanded her attention.

An hour later, still engrossed in her work, she barely heard the soft voice say, "It's been a long time, Faye." And then it struck her. She looked up from her iPad and there was Ryan.

"I was hoping I would find you here," he said. "I saw you earlier in the lobby, but you didn't seem like you wanted to say hello."

Faye swallowed and then responded, "You caught me by surprise, just as you have now. So, let me fix that." She stood and stepped close to Ryan, so close that she could feel a slight temperature change. "Hello Ryan. It's nice to see you again." She raised her arms and welcomed his hug. He pulled her tightly to him and kissed her cheek. Faye pressed her breasts hard against his chest, sending him a silent message.

Ryan ordered a Manhattan. He joked that it seemed an appropriate drink to have while stuck overnight in the Big Apple. He explained that he and his family were on their way to resettle in Europe. It wasn't long before they had both finished two more drinks and recapped the years since high school. But then came an abrupt end to the small talk.

"Look," said Ryan. "I don't have much time. Can we go to your room?"

Faye had already become moist from staring into Ryan's eyes. But now the moisture between her legs turned to fire. "Let me go first," she said. "Follow me in five minutes. Room 1206."

Faye gathered up her iPad and purse and strode smartly from the bar. Her heart raced inside her chest and her nipples throbbed. She couldn't wait to feel Ryan on top of her...inside her. At the elevator bank, a car was sitting open and she rushed inside, thankful that the doors closed before anyone else could board. She pressed 12 and then leaned against the back wall of the car, letting her hand slide between her legs. She closed her eyes and rubbed herself through her clothing. She wanted to be oh so ready for Ryan's cock.

Through her closed eyelids Faye sensed a flicker, and then felt the jolt as the elevator came to a quick stop. She opened her eyes and saw that the emergency light had been activated and that the elevator panel lights had all gone blank. "No!" she cried out. "Not now! Not fucking now!"

Throughout the night, emergency crews rushed from building to building, freeing thousands of people trapped in elevators across the city. When they finally reached Faye at 9:30am, they found her sitting in the corner, her mascara streaked angrily down her face.

"Are you okay, ma'am," a fireman asked.

Faye didn't move, didn't answer. She was not okay.
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