Just a Tease by W.D. Ball

A trip to the comic book shop turns steamy for swingers Darren and Elizabeth, as they drive home. A tease gets turned around on the teaser; who then has the time of her life.

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Power of Love by Ian Jamieson

However, there was that night when she did creep through the midnight dark of silent streets to get to the jetty. It was bitterly cold, but she felt none of it. Along the jetty she had walked, the gentle susurration of the water lapping the pylons lulling and telling her that it was an easy and quiet way to go. The water was icy and after the initial shock she knew she would painlessly slide away. She scanned the shoreline, wanted to be certain there was no one there to bear witness or attempt some clumsy intervention. She was about to step over the edge, about to go to him, when there was a movement, the slightest feeling of a movement, but enough to tell her that she should not do it. She turned around, retracing where she had been, but also thinking where she had to go. Now, looking back at that night, it all made sense; she wasn’t meant to do it, because he was out there, trying to get back.

It was only a small boat, barely adequate for the work it had to do. But the cabin, cramped as it was, made up for it. Each morning, fog sitting damp and moist around the jetty, cloistering them, they would set out to monitor the winter migration of humpbacks. Some coffee each from the thermos she always brought, then the rhythmic chugging of the diesel as they set out for the open sea, his Jack Russell like some figurehead leaning forward on the prow and barking at the mist and spray. Mid-morning and the fog had melted away and the sea was glass smooth and glinting in the warming sun. I need a coffee, she would say. Me too, he would reply. Leaving his dog, a sentinel that barked at anything that drew close to their boat, they would go below deck and into the cabin; a breach of official protocol, but it never entered into their thinking. Lying there after, never wanting to leave that cabin or that moment, he would reach for the tattered book of poetry he’d found in the second-hand bookshop and each time he would read two poems to her, always concluding with something from Donne, all poems she barely understood. But his voice and the burning clarity and truth of certain lines kept her rapt.
Such huge and powerful creatures. A breaching whale and their small boat is overturned and the water comes in so quickly and he is pinned, pinned against a diesel engine that should never have moved and there is blood clouding the clear blue water, and all that there is begins to darken as they are pulled under. He looks at her, holding her eyes for just a moment and forever, and indicates with frantic gesturing that she must escape, she must swim out of the opening to their cabin. She tugs at him, but he cannot be moved, tries to shift the engine, tearing her nails. He mouths some words and pushes her away and with lungs bursting she leaves him there.
A sightseeing charter boat had seen the sinking, and two of their crew dragged her out of the water. They wrapped her in an old blanket smelling of petrol, hiding a nakedness she gave no thought to. And the sea was again glass smooth and glinting in the warming sun. 
People say how so-and-so could talk under water, supposed to be impossible. But it can be done, he did speak under water. And it echoes. She knew the three words that he said to her; it made things better and it made things worse.

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The fading of love by Rachel Bachy

Sarah was so thrilled from her latest encounter with James. Her brain spun with thoughts of “my favorite customer” and that wink! So cheeky, James. Her normal 4-block commute to work escaped her as she imagined James’s rosy cheeks, his tousled hair, his apron! She was in love.

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Love and Betrayal by Maame Aba Asiedu

Kwesi Boateng, a curious Ghanaian teenager, flies abroad to attend an International Youth Public Affairs Conference, to enlighten him on issues going on around the world, while building him academically and socially. Initially, the conference goes on smoothly, until he sets eyes on a Bahamian lady, namely Lala. She is a person of great beauty and remarkable physique. He tries to introduce himself, but unluckily his hormones take control, and he finds himself staring at her bust and her derriere, creating a terrible first impression. He is fully aware he has blown his chance and panics whenever he sees her, fearing that she despises him. Kwesi struggles to find an empty seat after the meeting starts while everyone is told to take their seat. He pitifully looks around for an empty one but cannot seem to find any even as grows embarrassed at being the only one standing. He is however grateful when his roommate Rahman, waves his hand to indicate that there is an empty seat beside him. After a long meeting in the unbearable heat of the multipurpose hall, the teens are finally released outside to wait for their buses to take them to their hotel. Kwesi is exhausted, and when he enters the bus, he falls asleep almost as soon as he sits down. He sleeps for a long time, unaware that the girl he fears has sat by him. When he wakes up, he is shocked but is able to appear calm and later, he engages in a hearty conversation with her. As they speak, he realises they have similar interests. They flood each other with details of their home country and interesting things about their casual life. When they arrive at the hotel, they exchange digits and he takes note of her room number. He goes to bed and wakes up after receiving a text from Lala and then a call asking him to meet her earlier than the usual breakfast hour to chat. The next morning, he is overcome with lassitude as he sits in the cafeteria, waiting for Lala, who is more than twenty minutes late. He is a bit peeved, yet his undying love for her compels him to be patient and wait. In the process, he drifts into slumber. He dreams that he defends Lala from the vicious grip of the chef who orders them out of the canteen. He is awoken by her touch when she arrives and they chit chat throughout breakfast. The two seem to have a perfect connection even as they are always seen together, laughing, completely engrossed in conversation throughout the two-week conference. A farewell party is organised on the final day of the conference. Kwesi is lost in the music blaring from the speakers while he stands behind Lala, dancing. To his dismay, the party ends and he finds himself in the comfort of his bed once again. However, he is clouded with thoughts of Lala and needs to see her desperately. After two attempts to pass the tight security to get to her room, he is sent to the authorities who lash out severe warnings of fury at him. Then, he is sent to his room. However he does not give up. On the final attempt, he reaches the door of Lala’s room, extremely drained, yet eager to claim his prize. He notices something unusual about Lala’s roommate, Hazel, but ignores her after she throws a cold attitude at him. Finally, he opens the door only to receive the biggest shock of his life.

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SHE is 'slightly overweight' (her words)and has started exercising to do something about it.

HE is 'slightly overweight' (once again her words) and joined the same exercise group.

What will happen ... it wasn't love at first sight, but once she's literally fallen at his feet will love develop?

You are bound to smile when you read this story, but it would be spoiling it if I told you the ending here.

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Love by Susan Rocks

She walks into the kitchen, looking at the stacks of dirty plates and cutlery. Later, she thinks, opening a window to release a fly ricocheting against the glass.

Now the memories are finally freed, she remembers the day Peter had taken off from work. She didn’t want to know what excuse he had given; the travel agency was part of his other life. She had left her assistant running the florist’s and Peter came up to the flat. They had made love slowly, relaxed and happy, for once no need to worry about the time. He had brought croissants and fresh peaches and she made her speciality – eggs benedict. She can’t bear to cook it anymore. They had carried her small dining table onto the balcony overlooking the High Street, feeding each other, as the smell of fresh coffee drifted up from the cafetière. Later, they had driven to the New Forest, following a sign pointing down a long gravel track full of potholes to a thatched pub. They ordered lunch and took their glasses of cider outside. Sitting in the shade of the thick-trunked oaks, they watched the wild ponies standing head to tail, swishing flies off each other’s faces, their foals laid on the browning grass nearby, stubby tails flicking and twitching. Holding hands while they ate the sandwiches filled with thick slices of rare roast beef smeared with mustard, they were oblivious to everything around them. They had gone for a walk, staying in the woods where it was a little cooler, arms around each other’s waists, making plans for the future. The day went far too quickly; it was wonderful to pretend they were a proper couple, not having to worry about being seen. Driving back to the real world, they saw clouds of dense smoke in the distance as yet more heathland caught fire in the endless searing heat, leaving ragged black scars across the countryside, a sad symbol of the drought-ridden summer.

The drawing room is cool and dim, filled with Trevor’s heavy old furniture they somehow never got around to changing as they coasted through their life. She pours another drink, watching the tonic water fizzing and bubbling as it mixes with the oily gin, and glances briefly at the many condolence cards propped among the ornaments of a lifetime. The weather is too lovely to dwell on death – funerals should be held on cold, grey grizzly days. She feels a sadness, as she takes her gin back to the shade of the tree, a sadness not so much for losing her husband, she realises, but for what could have been. She sits down, stroking the ginger cat that has joined her, seeking respite from the sun. How different would her life have been if Peter’s wife had let him go? Carol had known about them, of course she had known.

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Claws of ice tore at my stomach. I halted and stared down at the note resting on the doormat. Somehow, I knew the day I’d been dreading had, at last, arrived. As I picked up the note, my hand shaking, my mind revisited that fateful day.

I found the fence panel buckled by the pressure of an over-grown hawthorn and pushed at it until it provided a gap wide enough for me to squeeze through. The thorns ripped at my skin as I battled the foliage. I didn’t care, I was confident the evening would be worth it.

I followed the fence around to the side of the house and pointed my torch’s beam at a washed-out wooden French door. I pulled out my lock pick kit, and with my torch between my teeth, set to work. It was harder than I expected - the torch kept wobbling and the lock was rusty.

After a good ten minutes, I heard a reassuring click. I’d been watching this house all week. A big Edwardian place close to Brockwell Park. There’d been no activity, which meant the owners were away. I reasoned they would probably return at the weekend, so Thursday night was the best time to go in. I had high expectations of finding some saleable valuables inside. I needed to, I was desperate.

I crossed a small sunroom containing two wicker chairs, a coffee table loaded with magazines and a bookshelf stuffed with old-fashioned books. I’d check for any first editions on the way out. To my relief, the door opened into a large reception room. My heart bounced at my chest when my torch exposed a large display cabinet full of silverware.

I was cramming armfuls of silver objects into my bag, when I heard, “Hmm, Robert. What are we to do with you?”

I leapt two feet in the air and dropped my bag with an ear-shattering clunk, causing silverware to spill all over the Axminster. I spun towards the voice as a table lamp sprang to life. Sitting in a brown upholstered armchair was a small, stocky man with a large head, holding a whisky and smiling at me. Despite my knees knocking and my pulse racing I smiled back. The man reminded me of a singer my dad used to listen to – Matt Monro.

“H-how, h-how d’ya know my name?”

“Oh, I know a lot about you, Robert,” he answered, sipping his drink and smacking his lips with pleasure.

My initial reaction is always flight, so I lobbed a candlestick at Matt-man and ran for the nearest door. It was like trying to skip through porridge; I was using all my energy, but going nowhere. As I gasped for breath and slowly raised a knee, the man breezed past me and stood arms folded before the door. I feinted one way, then turned and made for another door. It was the same story, me pumping and wheezing and getting nowhere, while he whizzed past me and waited. After one more wasted attempt, I collapsed exhausted to the carpet. I didn’t understand how could he know me? And why did I run as if I was in a dream? Or, a nightmare.

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WAR, LOVE AND GRIEF by Marcus Stewart

Crossing the road to get a bus back home, she heard “Beanie!” shouted from behind her, and turned round to see an army truck stopped at the junction a few feet beyond. Soldiers were a normal part of the background now, it was as usual to see trucks packed full of soldiers as it had once been to see trucks full of potatoes, tools or parcels, and in her tiredness she hadn't given it a glance. But there among them all, standing up in the back of the truck, was Dennis, crouched to keep balance, waving, and smiling, smiling so broadly, among this cargo of men.

“What ’you up here for?” he shouted. She called back, “I’ve just been to see Mags!” and as she swayed her body in coquettish excitement, her heel slipped off the wet pavement and she stumbled. She giggled a goofy little giggle and then gave a perfect curtsey to top her performance. Dennis smiled at her with an expression of pure love. Unable to touch each other over the distance of only a few feet, they reached out to each other with unbreaking, broad, beaming smiles; smiles they couldn’t swallow down, that soared out in light beams and entwined in the space between them. It was such a beautiful surprise.

In moments, the truck started to pull away. “Keep that umbrella with you darling - look at me, I’m soaked!” He said, and he pulled at his thick wet army jacket to demonstrate. “Chin up Beanie! See you soon darlin’!” he shouted. She shouted back, “take care of yourself sweetheart” and they waved and blew kisses and mouthed “I love you” at each other as he and his truck became smaller and quieter and further away along the long straight road into the distance, until she could just make out him sitting down again as the truck went out of view. Maybe he was charmed after all.

The bus back was too full to get on, so she walked the four miles or so back to Gosport and happily replayed what had just happened in her mind. There had been heavy thunderstorms that morning so Maggie had loaned her her umbrella, but as the rain clouds drifted away she alternately used it as a walking stick or spun it around like a baton. It was unusually hot now, hotter than it had been for some time, and as Fliss felt the sunshine and the moist warmth of the air around her as the puddles dried away it really did seem that better days were coming.

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“It’s difficult to get traction at first, but soon we’re in this wobbling gallop down the avenue. It doesn’t occur to either of us to duck into any of the stores along the way. At this point, we don’t feel in danger – I mean he’s way behind us – but after a few blocks with him still hanging on in the chase, it seems like we should probably split up, just to limit the creep’s options.

“So now we have a choice: either run deeper into the neighborhood or out across the Weeds, which is what we called the wider fields of undeveloped land that borders the main avenue of our neighborhood, Monticello Beach.

“So, Marc is like, “I’m going this way,” and he hangs a left and disappears into the maze of little houses separated by narrow streets-without-sidewalks that make up the neighborhood; I cross the avenue at a diagonal and head toward the Weeds, in the direction of PS 277, where Marc and I are both in fifth grade.

“I felt that I knew the terrain behind our school well enough to make my escape by hooking around the rear of the low lying, block-and-a-half long building and then just disappearing around the far side, through the playground.

“So, when we split, the guy chasing us hooks a right and hangs on after me and its bad luck and all, but a fair split on the chances…anyway…I’m not worried when he keeps on after me.

“He’s thirty-five if he’s a day. No thirty-five-year-old alcoholic smoker is going to catch an eleven-year-old kid. Especially given the lead Marc and I have on him from the start. I mean he was more than half a block away from us when we first heard him screaming.

“I mean, what was he thinking? What an asshole. Like we’re going to just stand there while he’s cursing and running at us? If he had just walked up to us without saying a word, we’d have never seen him coming, but he yelled like an idiot from a distance, like a total schmuck, so we ran, which I think is totally reasonable. What else could he have expected?

“So, I’m sprinting around the corner of the rear of the building and I’m making for a rough maze of bushes that forms a staggered border that separates school property from the Weeds, but I haven’t considered the depth of the snow that’s sitting back there in erratic drifts.

“A series of storms had dumped something like twenty-two inches of snow on our small costal Brooklyn enclave by this time, and the harsh winter wind coming off Jamaica Bay had only served to sculpt ranges of deep drifts back there that had quickly slowed me from enjoying a light-footed sprint across a manageable snow pack to a labored slog through an unbroken field of white.

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Tim and Sam thought that their relationship would be filled with endless love after they tied the knot. Little did they know that their marriage would lead to a loveless end. Using a vignette style of writing, I based this short story on Suzanne Vega's Tom's Diner after having been struck by the idea of it one day.

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Love by Shekriah Marley

ennifer spent Monday lazing around and trying to get rid of the headache that just wouldn’t leave, but her mind was focused on his words. The words were burned into her mind, as if she had them written on paper and read them for hours, yet she only heard him say it once. It was worse when Michael got home; she avoided his eyes and tried to busy herself. He saw through it in seconds, of course that was only because he’s a profiler and they have been working together nine years. He reads her like a child’s book; although she disliked it she herself had managed to pick up on a few things over the years. So when he asked her what was wrong, she told him she had an argument with her mother, it wasn’t a full lie because she did have an argument with her except it was a few days ago. If Michael did pick up on the small bullshit, as he likes to call it, he didn’t say anything. The rest of the week was mostly a blur, filled with a whirlwind of issues. Arguments; her boss went into one over misplaced paperwork, her ex with the care about their son and another one with her mother. Jennifer barely had time to comprehend each thing as work just pilled up.

Friday topped it off, when she turned up to a crime a scene, Michael was already there with other agents. Keeping their relationship between the two was easy, or as easy as it could be but they both knew everyone else had their suspicions. She was in the master bedroom, the body across the bed; her eyes caught sight of a trail of blood and she followed it. As soon as she stepped into the en-suite the door was slammed, locked and she was face the face with a woman holding a gun to her head. Thirty minutes passed before the door was kicked in, a few shots but everyone was ok. Jennifer was ok physically but mentally was whole different level. Trapped and questioned by a killer. Jennifer was shaking throughout, almost petrified, but she kept as calm as she could and kept talking. Somehow she had managed to record the whole thing on her voice recorder, not that she had showed or told anyone about it yet.

A cold breeze pulled Jennifer from reminiscing the week. She took a glance around, now noticing a light from the first floor inside switched on. Her legs now crossed as she stared into the distance. A single question on her mind…

Has anyone loved you and meant it?

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SELFISH DREAMS by Lesley Juarez

There was a long moment of silence before I continued, “Ian. I’m really sorry. I’m sorry I let my selfish desire to own a manor get you and everyone else in danger. I know I should’ve said something despite what answer you would've given me but I didn’t. I can’t change the past but I can fix the present so the future won’t be destroyed.”

“Melissa…” he whispered, “It’s not your fault.”

“He’s right.” added Zac, “We all wanted to come here. We all make our own choices. You didn’t pick or control our fate. These kinds of things happen. That’s what life is all about, we face obstacles and overcome them. Maybe we needed this to happen to get our friendship tested. Who knows but what we do know, what I know is that we are all best friends here and we will make it out alive. This isn’t the first time we’ve crossed a rough situation.”

I smiled wryly, “Thank Zac, thanks for being a good friend. Well you’re more like a brother than a friend and I really appreciate your words. And Ian…” I said as I imagined his lovingly eyes, “Ian, I need you to know that I love you. No matter what’s happened you always stuck by me. I feel so alive and protected at the same time. I don’t want things to end this way.”

“It won’t be the end Melissa. We’ll get through this.”

“Ian, I’m going now. Ian, I love you.” I replied with a heartfelt smile.

The wall between us muffled out his voice as I got farther away. I didn’t wait to hear him I raced down the hallway; time was running out. All I thought about was if I can just find them, then my guilt would fade and forgiveness would blossom. Afraid, I made my way through the dark trail; a small strand of light illuminating the first set of steps. The stairs ahead were twisted in a perfect spiral, like a child’s slinky toy pulled from each end. I finally reached the last step and before me stood a tall oak door. The door stood towering above me; I let out a shaky breath. The dread and anxiety deadened my mind and body. In my frozen state I released another shaky breath as I closed my weary eyes. Maybe this was the end? All that crossed my mind was Ian’s face; I may never see it again… but I had to continue. I grasped the doorknob, the cold metal sending shivers up my already quivering arm. I drew in deep breaths. My heart ricocheted off my ribcage. I slowly turned the handle till there was a crack in the door. I shook my head rapidly disallowing my second thoughts to get the better of me. Almost mindlessly I swung the door open to see the fate that waited me. Inside everything seemed to spin as countless people gazed at me; their blurred bodies creating waves on my vision.

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The brightness of their skin and the curvature of their bodies delighted him. To him, they were the birds in the trees, resplendent with color, as they moved about the dance floor on musical wings. The rhyme and reason of feminine nature had resided in far-off lands before he found ballroom dancing. Still, women did not gaze at him; their glances swept over him, indifferent to his rounded middle and gruff features.

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MOVING ON FROM LOVE by Evan Campbell

At some point my heart begun to stutter with every breath I took, but I didn’t want to replace the organ. Together, we have learned the intricacies of life. The difference between a daisy and a rose. We have learned how to keep going; to persevere through clots that wanted to block us from each-other. We have fought the demons in my brain and the monsters in my skin and the arrows through my chest. But losing my heart would mean losing my pain tolerance, leaving nothing to protect me from a loss. Like the loss of a marriage, or the loss of a wife. Or, the loss of a heart.

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TIME AND LOVE by Laura Geall

The brightness of their skin and the curvature of their bodies delighted him. To him, they were the birds in the trees, resplendent with color, as they moved about the dance floor on musical wings. The rhyme and reason of feminine nature had resided in far-off lands before he found ballroom dancing. Still, women did not gaze at him; their glances swept over him, indifferent to his rounded middle and gruff features

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I stand up and slowly take a step closer to the edge of the cliff. I look out at the horizon and see the eagles making their night-time kills and the waves lapping against the rocks far down below.

I wonder if you saw all of it. I wonder if you listened as the rocks whispered their taunts to the ocean. I wonder if you heard the noise of the grumbling thunder miles into the distance.

I wonder how you could see all the beauty of what was in front of you and still do it.

(paragraph should be in italics) Your skin looks like the ash of all the years we burnt while getting here. I’m as ghostly and pale as the breath we are now full of.

I had never seen you cry before now. You scream and curse the mountain and stamp your feet. I beg you to stop, I don’t know what is happening to you.

It starts raining, your hair falls to your face. And I realise something. I realise quite how much I love the boy in front of me.

I take your trembling hand, and tell you the same thing you told me just weeks before.

“You’ll get better, I’ll help you.”

But I wasn’t good enough.

I remember the weeks before it happened. Your parents called me saying you were missing; looking back, the panic in their voice makes me think they knew what was happening to you. I wish they had told me. I wish I wasn’t so stupid to miss it.

I knew were you were instantly.

My heart was hammering in my chest. I had no idea what I was going to find.

(paragraph should be in italics) I run up to the mountain. The rain is so heavy it takes me a second to see you properly.

You are thrashing your hands into the soil and screaming so loud that all the swallows have long since flown away from the small shrubs surrounding you.

I throw myself on the ground next to you and grab your hands. You look up at me. Tears rolling down your cheeks. A gaping cut in your head is bleeding down your face and your hands are bruised and covered in blood.

Rain drips off your muddy chin. I don't know if it’s the cold or the fear, but your body is shaking violently.

I embrace you and take your hands gently. I pull off my hoodie and use it to wipe away the blood and water from your forehead and your hands.

“I don’t know what happened. I don’t remember coming here, I…” You stammer. The sheer look of panic in your face shatters my heart into a thousand tiny pieces. I don’t know how to help you.

“It’s okay. It’s gonna be okay.” I tell you, but you know I’m lying.

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