Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Prompt: Dinner with family, former child star, person with arthritis, neighborhood is changing

Sarah rolled back from the door with an economy of motion designed to hide the pain. Jason studied her closely as he stepped over the threshold and leaned down to kiss her cheek. “Flirt,” she whispered, her fingers brushing his chin.

He stood and closed the door behind him, giving her space to move down the hall into the family room. Following her, Jason breathed deep, the smells of home and family filling his awareness as he walked down the hall and paused momentarily unnoticed in the doorway.

Bill was handing Sarah a wine glass, their fingers brushing across each other’s as she reached up for it. God, they’d been in love since they were fifteen. Hard to believe it had been twenty years already. Sarah looked the same, and Jason guessed she always would. Bill had some gray in the hair he wore much shorter now. And glasses. Huh. Jason filed that away to tease old Eagle Eyes about later. Not that they’d be sharing a room or anything like they used to.

Dad was helping Mom in the kitchen, which meant she was ready for some rescue. Jason smiled to see them together. Why couldn’t it always be like this, he wondered briefly. He faltered and wanted to turn around and leave. He couldn’t get through the night without Alex. How could any of them?

Before he could blink the sudden haze from his eyes, Dad saw him and roared an overly jovial welcome. He came across the room, arms outstretched. Jason tried not to stiffen as those hands reached around to hug him. He couldn’t quite make himself return the hug, but he didn’t pull away before Dad did, and he put his hand on Dad’s shoulder, gave him a smile. “Hi, Dad.”

That was all, before Mom swept between them, clinging tightly to him. This was an embrace he could relax into, return freely. She drew back and clapped both hands on his cheeks. “You’re so thin! Come with me. Don’t they feed you out in Hollywood?”

It broke the ice, as she had intended, and everyone laughed. Jason followed her out into the kitchen and tied on an apron, slipping easily into his old role of Mother’s Helper. He could watch everyone from the island while he chopped vegetables and slapped butter on the garlic bread before he tucked it into the oven.

“Sarah looks well,” he said quietly to Mom. She ran her hand across his shoulder as she passed him on the way to the fridge, making a noise that could have been agreement. Or avoidance. It gave him pause. “Is she?”

Mom closed the fridge and gave him a level look. “Sarah’s fine, dear.”

His relief was fleeting. She was still giving him that look. Waiting for him. “Who? Dad? Not Bill?”

Mom shook her head, and a heaviness pressed against his heart, a aband of ice threatening to crush it. He reached for her hand. “Mom? What’s wrong?”

He vaguely noticed that all the sound behind them ha stopped. Everyone was watching them.

Dogs in house

Alex Clare, “Too late”

Time writing
~20 minutes

February word count


  1. Writing report:
    Novel editing, finish new text Ch21, preview Ch22

    Time: ~30min

  2. A get the sense a lot is going on. Good tension, even though I don't quite understand what's happening by the end.