The bedroom doors burst open, allowing a couple to come into view. The man, who was wearing a refined suit which glittered in the sun, fidgeted nervously with one of the doorknobs. He could not take his eyes off her.
This is part three of ‘Doors Away.’ ❤ Enjoy!
Kneeling beside the edge of the pool, she smiled at her reflection in the murky waters. Her rain boots were strapped securely around her feet, and she knew that her companion was just behind her on the trail. Even though he had warned her to stay away from the cold water, especially on these smooth stones, she couldn’t resist admiring the way it all cascaded downhill.
“You were absolutely wonderful, sweetheart!” The woman knelt down in front of the young child, securing her camera back around her neck. With a smile, she reached out and pushed back the blond curls that framed her daughter’s face. “Are you ready to be done with our little photoshoot now?”
“Yes, mommy,” the child replied, her little crooked grin lighting up the porch. After a moment, her focus returned to the treasure she held tightly against her sweater. With obvious determination etched across her sweet face, she handed it back to her mother. “I don’t want to drop it and break it.”
“Yes, that would make all of us very sad.” Standing up, the woman approached one of the porch banisters and set the lantern there, a sly smile creeping up on her lips. “Let’s keep it lit up here for daddy to see when he comes home.”
Before the child could respond, the distant sound of crunching gravel came to their ears. As it quickly drew closer, the distinct barking of their German shepherds excitedly let the girls on the back porch know of the friendly visitor that was drawing near. The young girl squealed and clapped her hands, then flew across the dimly-lit yard, her mother on her heels.
In the seconds that followed, the pickup truck was parked and a handsome man hopped out, joyfully welcoming his girls back into his arms.
“Daddy!” the little girl cried as he picked her up and tousled her soft hair. “You’re finally home!”
With tears of his own streaming down his cheeks, he gave his wife a kiss, then transferred the military hat he wore to the head of his daughter. “It has been too long, sweetheart,” he whispered, drawing his family closer to his heart. “But I’m finally home.”
“Go on,” he said softly, his deep voice resonating in my ears; “jump.”
I grinned brightly, and without turning to look at him, I shook my head. My hair, which was coiled into a ponytail at the time, swished across my shoulders. As it did, I sensed that it hit something. Before I could swivel around, his lips were on my neck, his breath warming my cheek as it exited his nostrils. A squeal escaped my lips, and I curled my arm backward around his neck, giving him a funny side hug as I drew him closer.
“The water can’t be that cold,” he said, and I could hear the smile in his voice.
“If you think so,” I proposed, “go ahead and see for yourself.” I took a step forward on the dock, bringing him with me. The wooden platform groaned beneath our weight.
“Quit foolin’ around.” He came up around my side and gave me a side hug with both arms; I could feel his heart beating against my triceps. “Hop in.”
Shifting my right foot to one side, evening out my weight, I studied the water for a moment. The dock protestingly creaked again, and I stiffened when he said, “Or I’ll make ya.”
I turned my head toward him, smiling again when my auburn ponytail softly whipped his face. “You wouldn’t do that to me fully dressed, would you?” I said imploringly.
Holding my gaze, he lowered his right arm and let it slide down my spine until he reached the back pockets of my jean shorts. I raised my eyebrows ever so slightly, at the same moment he smiled coyly and slid my phone out of one of the pockets. “Now you’re ready,” he said matter-of-factly.
In a couple of quick movements, I unstrapped the gold wristwatch from my wrist, placing it where he’d dropped my phone on the grass, a safe distance from the water. “No, now I’m ready.”
At both of us moving our weight around, the wooden planks let out another loud complaint. I hardly noticed as I moved out of his reach by prancing down the dock.
“I’ll only hop in if you make me,” I declared with another smile.
Unfortunately, the dock had other plans. With one final creak, it broke loose from whatever was keeping it tied to land and sunk down, plunging me into the water with it. Before I could rise to the surface, he was in there right beside me.
We spent the rest of the afternoon laughing as we composed short conversations back and forth, splashing the other with the water from our very own lake in between smiles. My phone rang and buzzed several times, but not once did I respond to it. As the sun set in the sky behind the tall trees, we crawled out onto the bank, wringing out our clothes and continuing to talk, a very sweet way to end my favorite night of the summer.
I am easily inspired to write through photographs. When I don’t know the story behind how a picture came to be taken, my mind takes off with a story of its own, creating characters, extending the setting, forming a plot, until it is impossible for me to not write down what I’ve come up with.
The picture below, which I found online when looking for photo prompts, was the inspiration behind a 700-word short story that I’m sharing with you in this post. I’d love for you to read it, and I would love to hear what you think. ♥
After looking at the picture above, this is what I wrote …
I chuckled to myself, allowing the fingers of my right hand to intertwine with the fingers of his left. He complimented my hair, mentioning how he loved the way it flowed effortlessly down my back in soft, auburn tendrils. I subconsciously caught the curl that had fallen beside my face, quick to slide it behind my ear in one swift motion. I smiled; I loved his sweet comments, I always did, but they never failed to make me feel so shy.
We continued walking, both fallen silent, with not a thing on our minds but the gorgeous scenery around us. It was a comfortable silence; personally, it was my favorite kind of silence. It enveloped us, made me feel secure. I am unsure of how he felt, as his emotions never were written across his face, but he seemed just as peaceful as I. He squeezed my hand softly, and I smiled up at him. The sun, which was positioned in the sky just past his face, did its best to blind me with its light. I laughed heartily when the brightness reflected off the wire frames of my glasses, struck his vision, and caused him to cringe.
He smiled warmly at me, on the verge of laughter, yet always quick to hold it in. He once admitted that he tried not to laugh at the same time I did so that he could clearly hear my laughter, unhindered from any other noises. My giggling made him happy, he further explained, at which I blushed profusely. I replied by telling him that I loved the sound of our laughter as it mingled together, the sound of the joy within us that could not be contained. At the end of that conversation, we mutually agreed to laugh as much together as we did apart.
On that splendid afternoon, a quick walk through the forest was all that we’d planned on doing. I had a fresh cup of tea waiting for me back at the patio, which I very much wanted to drink. Despite this, I didn’t want to waste a single moment of the beautiful weather that surrounded me, that surrounded us. Thus, I forfeited my warm drink for a romantic walk, an outing I surely would not regret. Nothing quite got to me like being outside in the fall, especially when I was by his side. And that garden just up ahead … it was quite a sight to behold …
I voiced the suggestion of extending our stroll to include the garden, and he was almost too quick to comply. Eyeing him quietly, I let him lead, pondering why his face was all the while as radiant as the sun.
There are few things I appreciate more in life than the surprises planned by loved ones, much like the one he had planned for me that afternoon. We hadn’t gotten very far into the garden before he’d taken both of my hands in his, said a few very sweet things while deeply searching my eyes, then knelt down and asked for my hand in marriage.
A few days went by before I remembered to retrieve my abandoned cup of tea, and by that time, the forest had decorated the patio with a blanket of golden leaves. Some rested on the wooden planks that made up the flooring; others relaxed in the sun while seated on the table … and two lone leaves ended up in my tea cup itself. With a smile, I retrieved the cup in my left hand and placed the saucer in my right. Lifting my left hand ever higher, I admired the way the sunlight flickered off of my beautiful new ring, a promise of the new chapter in my life soon to come. The jewels softly painting my hand the rich colors of autumn, I laughed joyously, an overflow of the sheer contentment that was within my heart.