Today’s prompt for Red Writing Hood was to write a conversation that shows us the relationship between two characters–in 300 words. I figured out my concept pretty quickly, but diving in was tricky, with a new character I didn’t really know. In any case, here’s more of the story about Carlo and Alison and their troubled marriage (previous excerpts here, here and here). In this case, Trouble is named David. How’d I do? Can you tell the relationship between these two?
“That,” David said, “was a great meal.”
Alison smiled, her fingers rubbing the container of pasta she’d been too tense to swallow. The bus boy cleared the table with practiced efficiency, then retreated.
…I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…
“Allie, I’ve really enjoyed working with you. You know that?” David’s voice interrupted Bing’s crooning, his hand creeping across the table toward hers.
Hastily, Alison picked up her water goblet and tipped it into her mouth, buying time, but she couldn’t think properly with his eyes gleaming beyond the glass, reflecting the flickering light of the oil lamp in the center of the table. “It’s nice to catch up,” she said at last. “Sometimes I miss home. It’s nice to hear the stories. To know that things haven’t changed.”
He reached for a straw and casually punched it through its wrapper. “Everything changes. You, me.” A hesitation. “Us.”
…and may all your Christmases be white…
She stared at his hands as they played with the paper. Her skin tingled, wondering what melodies those fingers might play on her skin, if only… “David,” she said softly, “I’m married.”
He looked up then. “So am I,” he said, and a shoulder twitched. “Technically speaking. But we’re both on the way out.”
Hearing it stated so baldly tore her insides open. She threaded her fingers together and squeezed tight.
“Hey.” David reached across the table and gripped her wrist. “I’m sorry. The last thing I wanted was to hurt you.”
Oh, the sympathy, like rain on the arid ground of her starved soul. She closed her eyes. Surely God couldn’t grudge her a little happiness, could He? “I’m not ready yet, David.”
He held her gaze for a long moment, then nodded. “I get it,” he said. “I was raised the same way. I’ll wait.”