I am writing a series of flash fiction pieces set in O’Shea’s Pub. See Romantic Flash Fiction Anyone? for more information. Here’s the sixth one. Friends to lovers… I hope you enjoy it.
The early summer sun felt good on his back as Jay pushed through the doors to O’Shea’s. He’d worked up a thirst during the twenty-minute walk from his house. While he walked, he’d been running through some work issues, trying not to think too hard about who he was about to meet.
He wasn’t happy about the low-level nerves that had kept his stomach tight and his thumbnail short for the past week since she’d emailed him about meeting up.
It was just Kate.
They’d been good friends through university and they hadn’t seen each other for a few years but it would be fine. They’d have a catch up over a few drinks, maybe call for a curry on the way home.
It would be fine. Great even.
Images of her had been flickering through his mind all week, but along with images of her had been images of Dan. By the time Jay had laid eyes on her at uni, they’d already hooked up and they never unhooked. Together. Forever.
He’d been too late and the bittersweet taste of that had haunted him for months. Until he’d wrangled that ghost into submission. So he’d fully committed himself to trying as many different tastes as he could at uni. He’d been determined that she’d never know. If you can’t have the girl, then have some pride and all that shit.
Yeah, he’d managed that for the most part. Although, he was pretty sure he hadn’t always been one hundred percent successful. That irked him, but what could you do? Too many nights drinking too much booze and pining for your best friend’s girl. There were bound to be some slip ups, right?
So here he was, searching O’Shea’s for her tell-tale red hair, his heart threatening to beat out of his chest, hoping he didn’t look too pathetically eager to see her.
He caught a brief glimpse of ruby red and like a heat-seeking missile started threading himself through the after work crowd. He saw her tuck a thick, glossy strand of hair behind her ear and remembered a hundred other times she’d done the same. Her little crescent moon tattoo appearing like magic on her neck, just below her ear – taunting him and testing him at the same time – his loyalty, his self-control – testing his self-respect.
He had never and would never blame her for his feelings. She’d never led him on, nor given him any idea that she’d felt even remotely the same. That wasn’t Kate. She was in love with Dan and she’d let the whole world see it.
Now he was close enough to see the sweep of her eye lashes and the freckles dotted over her cheek.
“K-t-.” The first attempt came out completely scrambled. He coughed and tried again. “Kate.”
She turned towards him and he watched her face light up. It was like the sun rising. His gaze swept over her, sparkling green eyes, rose coloured lips – the bottom one fuller than the top, soft pink in her cheeks. He saw them shape his name in a low whisper as she pushed her chair back to stand up.
She stepped into his arms. He felt the warmth of her body, smelled the wildflowers in her hair and closed his eyes. He needed to hold her. Just for a moment. Then he’d let her go. Well, he’d let her go in a minute or ten.
“Jay,” she laughed with her face pressed against his shoulder, “it’s so good to see you.”
“You too, Kate.”
Then he asked the question that had been drilling a hole in his chest for the past week.
He saw a rainbow of emotions cross her face: pain, sadness, acceptance and held his breath.
I’d love to get other writers involved in this. If you fancy writing your own piece of romantic flash fiction, shoot me a message and I’ll link to your story.