Good morning friends! Welcome to Friday... *sips* It was a long time coming I tell you! Despite some computer issues this week, I've finally conquered the technology necessary to bring you a flash today :) Havan is flashing with me... so click over to her post if you get the chance as well!
Flash Fiction May #2 Hanging Shells (500 Words)
“What are you doing?”
Gavin shrugged, setting aside the first shell. His hand hovered over a sandy brown one with swirls of pink and orange that reminded him of the sunset on the beach. He could almost taste the fruity rum drinks and feel the sting of salt on his lips just looking at it.
“Gav?” Del took Gavin’s hand. Gavin resisted, but then turned his own hand to clasp Del’s. “Talk to me.”
“I’m stringing memories.” Gavin ducked his head. He eyed the drill. If he snatched his hand away, could he drown out the conversation he didn’t want to have?
“Oh, Gav.” Del squeezed his fingers then released his hand. “We’re going back next year. I made the reservation.”
“Then why?” Del reached up and set the lines of shells into motion. They tinkled and clinked, drawing Gav’s eye.
Seventeen strands, strung neatly on thin black twine. One for every year they’d been together. “Because I love you.” He smiled fondly at the shells, then transferred his gaze to Del. “One for the day we met… When Pete got drunk and we got in that fight at the bar--”
“That asshole. He had no business treating you like that.” Del scowled fiercely, as though it had been yesterday instead of decades ago.
Gavin nodded, because he did know, after seventeen years of being treated like a prince, that Pete had been abusive. At the time, he’d thought his volatile lover exciting. Young and stupid, he hadn’t realized that it wasn’t just drinking that made Pete mean, or that Pete’s anger wasn’t his fault or his problem. “Another shell for the day you proposed to me on that same beach a year later… Who knew there’d ever be a day that we could make our vows for real?”
He peeked at Del. His lover had fallen into a quiet state, eying the shells with new appreciation it seemed. A faint smile played with the edges of his mouth, and as always, that smile stirred Gavin in a myriad of ways.
“What’s the third one for?” Del finally asked.
“For coming to find me… when I ran away back in 1999, and for taking me home every year since.”
For just a second a flash of hurt shone in Del’s face, then a sunny smile erased it. “I want you to be happy, Gavin. It’s what I’ve always wanted. I’ll let you get on with your task.”
Taken aback by that flash of pain, Gavin put a hand on Del’s shoulder as his lover turned to leave. “Del? What is it?”
“It’s just… I thought this was home, and going to the beach was vacation.” He shrugged. “Stupid. I know.”