Welcome to my weekly Wednesday Brief flash fiction entry! This is just a free piece of flash fiction (between 500-1,000) words based off of a prompt. I’m part of a wonderful group of flashers 😉 and I’ll have a link to a site where you can read other stories, after my piece.
“Last time I checked you don’t grab anything of mine.” I rolled my eyes at him, hugging my knees tighter to my body. “You’re more for the tall, stick slender, blondes with perfect skin.” I glared out into the darkness. “So yes, I’m prepared for a hand to berth from the ground and grab onto me.”
“Want me to grab something of yours?”
I felt him move and I wiggled out of his reach, landing my ass on the damp grass. “You’d wouldn’t have a hard time finding a handful–or three.”
“Don’t say that.” Derek pulled me back onto the blanket.
I protested as best I could with an ungodly shriek and kicking out at him. Somehow I ended up flat on my back, legs sprawled, one flip flop dangling precariously from my foot, the other painfully twisted around my ankle. Derek braced above me, his lower body keeping me pinned to the blanket. His forehead rested against mine, nose to nose, inhaling his breath and overwhelmed by the scent of his cheap homemade cigarettes and his cologne.
“You can have anyone you want Cassidy Anne Richards. You just don’t see that.” His lips brushed against mine as he spoke. I felt the world slip, slide upside down at the closeness, the way he felt against me.
“It’s okay Derek,” despite the pounding of my heart and the shivery flip flops that my stomach was doing my voice sounded pretty okay. “I got the phone call that my crazy old cat lady starter kit was going to show up in the mail. Three kittens and knitting supplies.”
“Knit me a dicker warmer, will you?”
Just like that he was off of me, and the air above me felt so cold compared to the seconds before. “Don’t know if my knitting needles are that small.” I clapped a hand over my eyes, trying to steady myself. Derek was a friend–hell he peed in the shared bathtub on purpose when we were toddlers. There’s video proof of it. He was strictly off limits. Not for my consumption.
“Your words wound me to the quick.”
“Shut up, you’re so full of it.” I stayed on my back, looking up at the stars. Derek flopped back down next to me with a groan. I could feel heat radiating off of his body, smell the familiar catch of fire to paper as he lit another cigarette. “When did this start?” I tipped my head to watch him.
“I thought I’d try it. I don’t really like it.” He exhaled and offered it to me. “It’s artsy right?”
“Again, you’re so full of shit.” I took it from him on impulse. “You’re really following through on this artist thing aren’t you?” Curious and cautious I brought it to my lips and took a drag, holding the smoke for a moment before coughing it out.
“Photography speaks to me.” He said. One long leg crossed over the other, and he rubbed the cigarette out on it before flicking it away. “On a spiritual level.”
Photography was one of the fluff classes he had signed up for when we decided that we’d take summer courses at the community college. His other classes were pretty heavy academically, he was topping out with a full credit load at twelve. I hadn’t picked an elective, rather focusing on psychology–again heavy on the academics, but I was having fun in the classes. He had asked to borrow a hundred bucks to scrape together enough to buy a second hand camera, and the money combined got him a decent one and some pretty neat lenses.
“I like the trio you have on display in the student gallery.”
“You saw those?” He whined at me. “I can’t believe you went and looked. They’re so bad compared to the others.”
“They weren’t supposed to be blurry?” I asked.
“They are perfectly focused and you know it.” He turned on his side, propped up on one elbow facing me as he talked. “I just couldn’t think of anything to take pictures of, so I just picked something.”
“It looks really good. They’re spooky.” The pictures were done in black and white print with heavy shadowing. A gnarled oak tree by the creek with a tire swing had provided hours of entertainment when we were younger. The focus of Derek’s pictures, it seemed so alone and haunted with no one swinging.
“I want to ask you another favor, Cassie of my heart.”
“Flattery might get you no where.” I rolled onto my side, mirroring his posture. “Just ask, Derek. Chances are I’ll say yes.”
“This project that I’m doing tonight is one of my free ones.” He said, “I’m supposed to hand it in next Friday, but come Monday we’re starting on portrait composition.”
I shook my head. “I don’t think I like where this is going Derek.”
“Come on Cassie. I want to photograph you.”
“Why me? I mean you could do your mom, or anyone else.”
“I’m not allowed to do family subjects for any of my projects.” He said. “Please, I promise you’ll have final say on the ones I hand in.”
“What’s the catch?” Worry and dread settled low in my stomach. I didn’t like getting my picture taken, and to have Derek photograph me was on a whole different level.
“That I get absolute free reign.”
“Don’t you trust me Cassie? I won’t make you look bad.” He cut me off then paused, “It would be really hard to make you look bad to begin with.”
I closed my eyes and gave in, and nodded. “Fine. I’ll do it. But only because it’s you, and I know you’re going to owe me something massive.”
“You’re the best.”
“Don’t freaking forget it, jerk.” I shifted, sprawling out once more on my back. “It is pretty once I get it out of my head that we’re in the middle of a cemetery.” The stars spread out infinite in number above us.