Friday, August 14, 2009

Love Hesitates, by Melanie Avila

Laura bit her lip. Say something! She wanted to wipe her hands on her jeans but Jason was still holding them, looking at her with such adoration that she was afraid to move. He pressed his forehead against hers. What if she said the wrong thing? Tilting his head to one side, he slowly rubbed his cheek along her jaw line.

Her heart stuttered, and not in the way she always imagined it would. What the hell was wrong with her? Why was she feeling so… uncertain? This was what she wanted, what she dreamed about, what they talked about, and now that the moment was here her words vanished and her body urged her to flee.

Jason released one of her hands and swept her hair behind her ear, then brushed his lips down the length of her throat.

A sigh escaped her, but still no words. Her thoughts chugged around inside her head, stumbling over themselves—Yes! No! Yes! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?—but it was as if someone had poured fresh concrete into her brain and it was solidifying before she could speak.

She thought this was what she wanted, yet how could she be sure? Her throat ached, struggling against the pressure of the words she knew she couldn't say. He deserves an answer. She pulled back and tried to lose herself in the emotion his warm eyes brought bubbling to the surface.

It felt like hours, weeks, months had passed since he asked her to marry him, but her heart had only beat a handful of times.

She parted her lips. Say it! "Jason, I…"

The corner of his mouth lifted into that smile she couldn't resist and her heart flipped back into rhythm.

Laura lowered her eyes, embarrassed by her hesitation. The answer was there all along.


Jude Hardin said...

Don't do it! It's a trick!

With what we've seen so far this week I was expecting Jason to bite into her jugular there. ;)

This was good, Melanie.

My favorite line: was as if someone had poured fresh concrete into her brain and it was solidifying before she could speak. Strong image. Original.

My least favorite line: She pulled back and tried to lose herself in the emotion his warm eyes brought bubbling to the surface. Weak image. Cliche.

Can you see why I think the first is better than the second? Always try to choose the concrete (no pun intended) over the abstract. It's something I have to remind myself of as well.

Erica Orloff said...

Hi Melanie:
I had to laugh . . . I was waiting for the twist. Had I read this without all the others . . . I wouldn't have been waiting for a zombie to jump out. :-) So I read it twice.

A very sweet scene of the big leap of commitment. :-) Somewhere in you, a romance is lurking waiting to be written.


LurkerMonkey said...

Very nice! Yesterday I wrote somewhere (here? there?) about the difference between a scene and a story. Scenes are like paintings ... static, but expressive. This is a beautifully rendered scene that captures a lot of emotion in the space of a single second, possibly just one heartbeat. I remember that same moment, but from the other side--you know, even if you're pretty certain of the answer, it's still nerve-wracking!

And you were the first writer who didn't either attempt to kill someone or actually go ahead and do it and then eat the remains. Kudos for being a kind-hearted soul.

Natasha Fondren said...

Awww, goshdoggit, this is so sweet! I love it! What kind of fiction did you just consider trying the other day? I think you should add romance to the list!

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks everyone. I felt silly writing what now seems like a very mundane story after reading all the blood & gore. :)

Jude, the concrete line was the one I worked the longest on, so I'm glad you like it. I agree about the other. I wasn't as "on" this month and didn't spend as much time on this piece as I would have liked.

Erica, had I known it was "kill the one you love" month, I would have worked that in there.

Thanks Lurker. I had just finished Freudian Slip when I wrote this, so Erica was my inspiration.

Natasha, someone did mention a non-sex imprint... maybe that's in my future, lol.

E. Flanigan said...

I agree with what's already been said by everybody, so just one more thought ....

For me, the last line, "The answer was there all along," left *just* the right amount of ambiguity about what the answer was, or maybe what it should have been. She's embarrassed by her hesitation and now she seems about to say yes, but is that what she really wants?? Perhaps the answer that's been there all along is no, but because she thinks she should, she'll say yes.

I think my favorite part of the piece was the ambivalence.

Natasha Fondren said...

I agree with E. Flanigan. Particularly because it treats the reader like they're smart. And with the title, "Love Hesitates," it connects to the word "hesitation" at the end. And for me, the ambiguity was answered by the title, and I rather enjoyed feeling smart. LOL!

Kathryn Magendie said...

Yes, I agree with LurkerMky - I saws this woman clearly, yes, but her hesitation - her physical response to the moment - was acute - well done!

Hope y'all don't mind me stopping by - if I'm intruding, please pardon! I'm just blog walking around *smiling*

Melanie Avila said...

E & Natasha, I'm glad you like both the ambiguity. I've talked with several people about how I like to leave things open for interpretation, and I also like to make the reader think, so yay. :)

Thanks Kathryn!

LurkerMonkey said...


Not at all! We do a monthly short-fiction thing around here. On the first Monday of every month, I post a prompt and anyone who wants (we're a small group) can write a short story under 1,000 words and we post and discuss. Stop by in early September to see the prompt, and we'll be posting stories next week. If you want to write, my email is

Kath Calarco said...

Mel, I love ALL OF IT! It's as if I'm the one feeling the uncertainty of the moment, so THANK YOU for giving me a break from my banal day. Great job! I was in-to-it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lurker. I also want to add that I love the little touches of physicality showing he's there, too. This was a swee moment. I love the end as well. P.M.

Melanie Avila said...


PM, I wanted to show that he's just happy being in the moment and has no clue that she's freaking out inside.

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