Following was my entry into the above contest. I didn’t expect to win ~ I don’t have a lot of experience with flash fiction, but it never hurts to try something new.
Emma slid the dress over her head, smoothing it out as she walked to the mirror to have a look at herself. The blue halter dress, covered in palm leaves and hibiscus flowers, was cut low. She felt good about herself – sexy even – for the first time in months. She walked into the living room with her head held high, a smile playing on her lips.
He didn’t look up from his cell phone. “Are you finally ready? We’re going to be late meeting my mom.”
Emma’s smile faded. “I’m ready.”
He started for the door, still buried in his phone. Emma’s eyes slipped to the ground as she followed him outside.
“Mary has questions about the quote we worked on today.”
“At 7:00 at night? Doesn’t she have a life?” She tried to keep it light, but her voice cracked. Emma reached for her husband’s hand. He pulled away.
“It’s an important job.”
Emma sighed, “I’m sure it is.”
At the beachside restaurant, a warm breeze played with Emma’s dress, revealing inappropriate amounts of thigh. Emma noticed men watching as she made her way across the patio to their table. His mom noticed too, giving her a little nudge and a grin. The darkness of the night and the soft lighting on the patio gave Emma’s tan skin a caramel glow. The cleavage she was so proud of an hour ago now made her self-conscious.
“You look beautiful tonight, honey.” His mom gave her a quick hug before they sat down.
“Thank you. You look great too. I love that dress.” Emma adored his mom.
“Doesn’t Emma look lovely, sweetheart?” He shrugged, sat down and opened the menu.
The phone rang and his face lit up. “Hi Mary….No, you’re not interrupting anything.” They talked for fifteen minutes as if Emma and his mom weren’t there. He even laughed. Emma hadn’t heard him laugh in months.
Dinner conversation centered on his job and how busy he and Mary were. Emma stared at her plate, pushing food around. His mom tried to change the subject.
“Emma, how’s school? What will your degree be again?”
Emma smiled at her ally. “Professional Writing. It’s going pretty well, I…”
“What a waste of money,” he sighed, “What are you going to do with a writing degree?”
Something inside Emma broke open. She put her fork down. “So all the times you helped me study was all bullshit, right? Every time I wanted to quit and you encouraged me to keep going was for what?”
She refused to let him see her cry anymore. Trembling, she held out her hand, “I’m not hungry. Give me the keys. I’ll be in the car.” He glared at her but said nothing in front of his mother.
As she walked away, he kept talking to his mom like nothing was happening. One man at the bar watched her go by. Emma smiled at him. She held her head high and let her dress dance with the wind.