As promised, here's the short story I wrote for the local contest. It's not paranormal, but has romance. I think it's cute. I'd be happy to hear what you think about it. If you don't want to comment here, you can always find me on Facebook and comment there. And now - THE FERRIS WHEEL.
Just looking up at the monstrosity caused Violet’s stomach to churn, but she couldn’t look away. Did it sway? No, wait. That was her. She had hoped the Ferris wheel would look smaller in daylight. She couldn’t have been more wrong.
“What did I ever do to you?” She finally tore her eyes away and looked at Crystal. “I’ll ride any other ride here. Why this one?”
“Relax, Vi. I have a secret weapon.”
A secret weapon? For a Ferris wheel? “I don’t think any kind of weapon will get me on one of those things,” Violet said, pointing at said ride.
“Don’t be so quick to say no.” Crystal looked over Violet’s shoulder and frowned. “Where is he?”
“Where is who?” Violet turned to see who Crystal was questioning. It was Brandon.
“Hey Babe,” Brandon said. “He’s coming.” He placed his arm around Crystal’s waist before giving her a kiss on her temple. Violet smiled at his personal display of affection. There wasn’t anyone in her life like that.
“Who’s coming?” Violet asked.
Crystal grinned like she had something up her sleeve. “Nick,” she said.
The mention of his name caused her chest to constrict. “Nick? As in Nick Roberts?”
Violet turned at the sound of his voice. His nice, deep, sexy sounding voice. What was he doing here? The last time she saw him, she had made a fool of herself by asking him out. And why would she think he’d ever want to go out with her? It wasn’t like she was shapely like Crystal. Unless you call straight a shape. Her hair had no curl, no bounce, and it certainly wasn’t blonde like most of the women that fawned over him. Those other women also didn’t wear glasses. Violet was blind without hers. Still, they’d been friends for nearly a year and she thought he liked her, so she risked asking him out. Even though his rejection was sort of expected, it still hurt. That had been two months ago; she hadn’t seen him since.
And now he was standing there, not two feet away, looking as hunky as ever. His t-shirt fit him like a second skin, accentuating the muscular body he owned. She knew he’d been working out, just not how much. The sight caused a lump to form in her throat.
He gazed at her and she was lost in his brown eyes.
“So, what’s this I hear about you afraid of riding the Ferris wheel?”
Violet snapped her head toward Crystal. “You told him?” she mouthed.
“Why don’t we go stand in line and we can talk about it there?” Crystal said.
Violet’s legs refused to move. “I’ll just wait in the beer garden.” Yeah, a drink would do her good. “You all go on without me.”
“Nonsense,” Nick said as he took her arm and slipped it through his.
No soft flesh there. His arm was solid muscle and she resisted the urge to feel more of it. She still didn’t want to walk to the ride, but once he touched her, her body didn’t care. It just followed right along with the rest of them; her mind be damned.
“What are you so afraid of?” Nick asked.
“Falling. Hurting. Dying,” Violet said. Making another fool of myself, she thought. Why did Crystal have to invite Nick? And why was it so damn important she ride the stupid Ferris wheel anyway?
“If I promise none of those things will happen to you, will you relax?”
She was tense, but how could he make a promise like that? She’d seen freakier things happen.
The four of them reached the back of the line and fell in place. Well, she would stand in the line, but there was no way she was getting on that ride. He’d have to pick her up and force her. Of course, if he picked her up, she probably wouldn’t care what he did with her, just as long as he didn’t let go. Oh God, she had it bad. Maybe standing in line wasn’t such a good thing.
Violet leaned into Crystal and whispered into her ear. “Why are we doing this? Have I done something wrong? If so, I’m sorry. I’ll clean the apartment; I’ll do your laundry. Just don’t punish me like this.”
Nick laughed. Crap. He heard her?
“It’s not Crystal’s fault,” he said. “I asked her to bring you.”
“And my job is done,” Crystal said. “See you in a little while.” She grabbed Brandon’s arm and dragged him off as he smiled and waved goodbye.
Violet stared at Crystal’s retreating body. The traitor. How could she do this? First the ride. Now Nick.
The line was moving much too fast. Violet’s heart started skipping beats. Sweat trickled down between her breasts. How was she going to get out of this?
Nick stood behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders. She jumped. “Relax, Violet. You can do this. I promise nothing bad will happen.”
He gently massaged her shoulders. Now she didn’t know if she was jumpy because of the ride or because of his touch. Every muscle in her body was clenched. She closed her eyes, trying to relax, while he continued to massage and propel her forward.
Her eyes flew open. The attendant was standing there holding the bar so they could slide onto the seat. The next thing she knew, she was sitting beside Nick. Her heart stopped and she held her breath. What was she doing? She had to get off.
“Give me these.” Nick gently removed her glasses.
“Hey!” She reached out for them, but once they were off her eyes everything became blurry. “I can’t see without them.”
“I know. You can’t be afraid of something you can’t see. Just pretend we’re sitting on a porch swing. Close your eyes if it’ll make it better.”
She could almost buy into that, until the swing started to move. They were apparently the last ones to embark as the ride didn’t stop to let any more passengers on. She was fine as the swing rose, but once it started downward, her throat met her stomach.
“Oh God.” She reached out to grab the bar and found his hands instead. He didn’t move them so she concentrated on the warmth of his skin instead of the movement of the ride.
“I want to apologize, Violet.”
“I might forgive you if I live through this. Why don’t we wait and see?”
Nick chuckled. “Not about the ride. About how I acted when you asked me out.”
Words escaped her. She did not want to have this conversation.
“You kind of shocked me,” he continued. “I didn’t think you were interested in me that way.”
How could anyone not be interested in him that way? Didn’t he look in a mirror?
“It wasn’t until after you left that I started thinking about you. I missed your jokes. I missed the little digs you gave me whenever I said something inappropriate. I missed you.”
Did she hear him right? He missed her? His fingers touched her chin and he turned her face to him.
“Violet.” His face was close to hers; she smelled mint. “I want to kiss you.”
She lamely nodded. Was this really happening? But he didn’t like her. Didn’t he? His lips were soft and warm and she melted into him. A fire burned deep inside her and she brought her hand up to the back of his head just as the Ferris wheel came to a jarring halt.
“What’s happening?” she screeched. Instinctively, she grabbed onto the first thing within reach – his hair.
He muttered a curse and his hand covered hers. Gently he uncurled her fingers. “It’s okay, Violet. You can let go. Nothing’s happening. They’re starting to let people off.”
She pulled her hand away. “I’m sorry. It’s just that I can’t see.”
“Then maybe you should put these back on.” When she realized he was putting her glasses on her face, she finished the process. Nick came back into focus, looking as handsome as ever and grinning from ear to ear.
“See. I told you you would survive the ride.”
The ride moved to the next position and jerked to another stop. Crystal’s secret weapon came to mind. Is that what all this was about? Distract her to get her on the ride? She pulled back and scooted away, keeping her eyes down.
“Violet, what’s the matter?” He slid closer to her.
Why was he tormenting her? What had she ever done to him but like him? “You tricked me?” she murmured.
His arm went around her shoulders. She wanted to die. Wasn’t it enough she made a fool of herself before? Now he only rubbed it into her face. Her vision became blurry and this time it wasn’t from the lack of her glasses.
“I’m sorry if it seems that way. I really didn’t know you were afraid of heights when I asked Crystal to arrange the meet. I figured it was an excuse. I just wanted to get you alone somewhere where you couldn’t run from me.”
He wasn’t making any sense. “Why would I run from you?” For two months she dreamed he’d make contact of some sort. For two months she lived in disappointment.
“Because you never returned my calls,” he said.
No way. Now she knew he was lying. “You never called. I can prove it.” She fished her phone out of her pocket and opened it up. After pushing several buttons, she lifted the phone to his face. “See, no calls from you.”
He looked at the phone for a moment and then his eyebrows raised. “Violet, that’s not my number.” He took the phone from her hands and pushed some buttons of his own. He held the phone up to her. “That’s my number.”
“What?” On the display were the calls she had been getting from “Number Unknown”. She had been ignoring him because she thought they were prank calls. How the hell had she done that?
“So, you were hoping I would call?” he asked. “You don’t hate me?”
God no, she could never hate him. She was afraid she’d screwed up their friendship. She smiled when it hit her: he likes her.
When she raised her head to tell him, her eyes scanned the horizon. Oh God, the ground was so far away. She gripped the hand rail and started to hyperventilate. Nick sprung into action and claimed her mouth with his. She could kiss him forever; she was in heaven. When she heard someone cough, she opened her eyes. The attendant was waiting for them to debark.
Violet batted her eyes at Nick. “Want to ride it again?”