Hello, everyone, and happy Tuesday! Kyra here to introduce our next blog series. While the “Leading Man Obsessions” was fun (and at least for me, a welcomed weekly distraction…still swooning over quite a few of those images…) the Chicks decided to mix things up a bit with this next series. Rather than do 7 stand alone posts, we’re going to do a multi-author flash fiction story. Each of the next 7 Tuesdays, a different chick will pen a new, short addition to it. And as we all write romance but specialize in a variety of subgenres, this is sure to get interesting.
The wonderful Ms. Gemma suggested we start with this beautiful image inspired by Erin Hanson’s poem “What if I fall?”, as it has come to offer inspiration to so many of us. And who couldn’t use a bit of inspiration now and then, especially when such inspiration leads to the spinning of a fun, unpredictable romantic tale?
Along the way, we’d love to hear from you, our readers. Tell us what you enjoyed in the story, what you’re guessing will happen next, ideas for our next flash fiction story, etc. We love hearing from you!
So find your favorite reading spot, get comfy, and enjoy part one of this series’ flash fiction story WHAT IF YOU FLY?
~~WHAT IF YOU FLY – PART ONE~~
Olivia Buffenbarger pushed aside the last set of double-doors and stepped out of Lincoln Elementary with a sigh. She loved her students, every single one of them, but some days they made her weary to the bone. Today had been one such day, with drama kicking off ten minutes after the first bell when Noah dropped a worm onto a screaming Callie’s blonde head and ending with Zach and Austin’s head-to-head collision as they scrambled to be first in line to leave.
Nothing a long soak in the tub and a chilled glass of chardonnay couldn’t remedy. She tipped her chin skyward, savored the late September warmth on her face and quiet in the air that could only be found here after four o’clock on weekdays, and set her sights on the nearly deserted parking lot. Oh yes, that wine was definitely calling her name today.
A sniffle drew her gaze to the left, and Olivia was surprised to see one of Lincoln’s newest students sitting alone atop the school’s concrete front steps . Mazie Ray was Shirley Temple cute, with rosy apple cheeks and a head full of auburn ringlets. The girl had been placed in Susan Thomas’ 1st grade classroom, across the hall from hers. Timid and shy, Mazie often sat apart from the other students at lunch or out at recess, and it broke Olivia’s heart to see her here yet again by herself.
“Mazie?” Olivia asked as she approached the small girl. “Honey, is everything alright?”
Mazie sniffled again, then lifted one small shoulder to her ear and dropped it back down. Olivia lowered herself side saddle onto the step beside her and smoothed her pencil skirt.
“Did you miss the bus?”
She shook her head. Ringlets bounced right then left and back again.
“Oh. Well, do you have a ride home? Is someone coming to get you?”
“My daddy’s coming ,” Mazie said, her voice barely above a whisper. “But not ‘til later. I asked to stay late, to try out for the talent show, but…but I can’t.”
Olivia wrapped a gentle arm around her shoulders. “Sweetheart, everyone is welcome to try out for the show. Did one of the kids tell you otherwise?”
The ringlets bounced right and left again. “No. I just…I’m scared, Miss .” Her cherubic face turned toward Olivia’s, stained with tears. “What if…what if the kids laugh at me? What if they say I’m no good?”
Ah, the age old fear of failure plagued even the youngest students nowadays. The picture hanging in the teacher’s lounge flashed to Olivia’s mind, the one depicting a little girl in her tutu, magic wand and floppy wings. What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?
Everyone had the potential to fly if only they had the courage to take the first step. Even Mazie Ray.
Olivia smiled down at the girl and brushed a thumb across each cheek. “No one will laugh at you. I promise.”
“But how do you know?”
A smooth, low voice answered from behind them. “Because if they try, I will string each and every one of them up on the flagpole by their underwear.”
Olivia turned to chastise the newcomer for his old school solution, but the rebut lodged in her throat as David Ray, Hickoryville’s most handsome and eligible bachelor, came into view . Still dressed in a custom-fit slate gray suit and glowing white shirt, he crossed the school’s front walk with a long, confident gait. His short auburn hair was the same shade as his daughter’s, but rather than ringlets held a carefree wave that made Olivia’s fingers yearn to explore them.
Only, she couldn’t. Not just because he was the father of a student—and Lincoln had a strick policy against dating parents of any students in their grade—but because she’d sworn off relationships after the last one had tanked the end of summer break. As in, tanked like the Hindenburg. When it came to men and relationships, that picture in the teacher’s lounge seemed to apply to everyone but her. She was done falling, done trying to fly. Yep, becoming a crazy cat lady was sounding better and better every day.
Though, the way Mr. Ray loosened his tie, shrugged out of his jacket and slung it over one shoulder like some runway model prepping for a tailored photo shoot, her resolve couldn’t help but waiver just a little. Lord, he was a freaking corporate Adonis. Damn her heart for skipping a beat or four.
“Now.” He lowered himself onto the step before his daughter in one smooth motion, warm brown eyes sparkling with interest. “What’s this I hear about you not trying out for the talent show?”
….. to be continued…..