As you may have noticed, I’ve been stuck in Clare and Dominic land lately, which may not be a bad thing (unless you’re reading it and thinking: enough already!). There might be hope for me writing a novel at some point in the next 20 years.
Anyway, since I’ve been using the daily prompt to construct the story around, I was stumped (haha, get it? Daily prompt = stump? Hahaha!) as to how stump was going to make an appearance in what really needed to be a hospital scene without me doing some advanced writerly gymnastics and world-building and dazzling fingerwork or maybe just write: she was stumped. (But, for some reason, in the particular scene that needs to be written, it wasn’t going to happen.) So it won’t. But I’m not going to deny you a story with stump in it so you get a flashback to the July 4th picnic.
Flashback warm nights
Almost left behind
Suitcases of memories,
Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper
Matriarch Alice is bearing down on me. Forget deer in the headlights, this is deer in front of a very elegantly dressed, take no prisoners, freight train. I notice that Dominic has deserted me. Thank you, Dominic!
Alice extends her hand. It’s unlined. Encircling her thin wrist is an emerald tennis bracelet.
“You must be Clare. I see my son has already abandoned you. He must think you are brave.”
I am fierce! “Nice to meet you, Mrs. Rossi.”
“You may call me Alice. I dropped Rossi when my husband decided to play pat-a-cake with his secretary.”
“Why should you be sorry? You’re not related to her, are you?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think so. At least not closely, because I’m certain I’d remember something like that.”
“How amusing: Rossi is an Italian nickname for a redhead such as you.”
My fingers automatically dart to my straight dark red hair.
“Imagine Dominic bringing home a redhead. Of course, he hasn’t brought home any girl since high school and then he claimed that she was scared off by me. Can you imagine such a thing?”
Yes. “No, I really can’t.”
She smiles and then a strange sound emits from her throat like a purr. Her green eyes flash. “I was afraid he might choose that Amazon Barbie since she’s been trying to get her claws into him since they met.”
I grin. Amazon Barbie. It fit.
Alice raises an eyebrow. “You’ve had the doubtful pleasure of meeting Amazon Barbie?”
“Yes, I have.”
Alice nods. “Good. It’s always intelligent to know what you’re facing. I wish you luck with Dominic, Clare. Not that I think you’ll need it. He’s smitten. It’s Amazon Barbie that strikes fear in me.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
She rolls her eyes and touches my arm, her pale pink nails long and sharp. “Please don’t call me ‘ma’am.’ Yes, I’m old. We needn’t rub it in. Alice, please.”
“I’m sorry. Alice.”
“Good girl. Prepare for battle.”
I deflate on the nearest thing, a tree stump and watch Dominic approach, smiling. (Those dimples!)
“You survived,” he said.
“I am fierce.”
He sits next to me, puts his arm around my shoulders, and kisses my temple. “Yeah, you are.”