Whoa, relax. Yes, I rejected one of my Elvis writing prompt efforts (explanation to follow), but since I'm the one who did the rejecting, that means I can recycle it for you here!
See, over on the NovelFriends blog, we did a fun writing prompt and the keyword was "Elvis". My friend Delia Deleest mentioned that she managed to fit 17 song titles into about 200 words. Now, I hadn't read it yet, but subconsciously I channeled her idea as I was writing mine. I realized it when I was about half way through my first attempt.
I decided to finish it, but then wrote a second mini-story to go with the above NF blog post because I worried it would be too close to what she did. Turns out I was right. Go ahead and click the link to check out the original post - NovelFriends
And you're back! See? I told you they were fun!
Now you get to read my original (or maybe not so original) story. And I'm adding a picture of Bailey the basset hound, courtesy of my friend Sherry, because I realized after the fact that I was also channeling someone else as I was writing. (I see tons of Bailey pictures on FB, along with his 'sister' Babette.)
So, here we go...
“Elvis.” I stage-whispered the name as I tiptoed through the dark, then muttered under my breath, “This is getting ridiculous.”
The dew-wet grass chilled my bare feet and goose bumps rose up on my arms. It was cooler than our typical Memphis June nights and if my brat of a dog would just stay home for once, I wouldn’t have been out walking around in my pajamas at nine-thirty.
With a brisk rub over my bumpy arms, I crept forward and peered onto my neighbor’s back porch. The one that belonged to the tall, sinfully good-looking single guy who’d moved in a week ago.
I knew he was single because my meddling mama had done some snooping though the neighborhood grapevine. Once she found out Danny was only two years older than me at thirty, had a decent job, was the grandson of a friend of a friend, she’d promptly ordered me to “Go see if that boy’s lonesome tonight.”
The woman was pushy with a capitol P and desperate for some grand babies I might have even suspected her of somehow orchestrating Elvis’s new nightly wanderings, but she was on a cruise in the Caribbean, so my suspicious mind had no leverage on that one.
“Elvis.” I repeated the entreaty through clenched teeth, trying to sound commanding without raising my voice. Failing that, I resorted to insults and threats. “If you don’t get your mutt butt over here, you’ll be grounded to the leash.”
I put my foot on the first step, then remembered it had a loose board. A creak echoed in the silence.
Had that been me? I didn’t think so. My heart thundered in my chest, each beat loud in my ears. Another squeak reached my ears, as if someone were sitting on the porch swing.
Please, Lord, don’t be so cruel.
“Hey, Jude. Puttin’ this teddy bear in jail would make you the meanest girl in town.”
The deep southern drawl swirled my insides like a Tennessee twister. He knows my name? “Um, I’m…sorry. I didn’t mean…he doesn’t usually…”
Darn it. I was so shook up I couldn’t even form a coherent sentence.
The porch light flared to life, revealing my spoiled hound’s head resting oh-so-comfortably on the lap of my sexy neighbor.
“It’s actually my fault Elvis is here.”
“Your fault?” I asked in confusion, moving to the top of the stairs with reluctance. My hair was a mess and I had no make up on. Not how I’d envisioned us meeting.
“Well…” He hesitated, then took a deep breath and rushed on. “Your mother said we should meet, but—”
He nodded as he stroked Elvis’s long ear. “She stopped by the other day.”
I knew she was involved in this somehow! Hard headed woman.
Oh, God, what if he thought I’d sent her over to talk to him? I felt like an idiot. As if I needed my mother to find me a man. I was perfectly capable of managing my own love life. Eventually.
“Elvis, come,” I commanded, tucking a curl back into my wreck of a ponytail.
|"Elvis" aka Bailey|
He lifted his head. His droopy, puppy dog eyes shifted from me, up to Danny’s face. He looked back at me, gave a yowl of protest, then lowered his jowls back to the jeans-clad thigh he’d been using as a pillow.
When Danny made no move to push the traitor off the swing, I stalked across the porch. “In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s cold out here, so how about a little less conversation and hand over my dog.”
In truth, my anger had taken care of the goose bumps, but pretending to be cold was much better than revealing my humiliation.
As I reached the swing, I heard Danny mutter under his breath.
“It’s now or never.”
He sighed and raised his gaze to meet mine. “Listen, I’ve been wanting to talk to you since the first time I saw your face, but I felt like a fool rushing over to introduce myself. When I spotted you sprinting off my porch with your dog last night, I…um…”
When he trailed off, I lifted my eyebrows and crossed my arms over my chest.
“I left a trail of treats to get him back over here tonight,” he admitted.
I stared as his sheepish expression, completely dumbfounded, all anger deflated. This brown-eyed handsome man had planned this just so he could talk to me?
He dropped his gaze and shifted Elvis from his leg so he could stand before me. “So, I’m the one who’s sorry now. I won’t bother you again.”
Again, Elvis gave me The Eyes. He looked so lonesome I wouldn’t put it past him to cry.
I became as much a teddy bear as my dog and caught Danny’s arm when he would’ve brushed past.
Sticking out my hand, I offered a warm smile. “Nice to meet you, neighbor. Now, about that conversation…”
Thanks so much for reading! Hope you have a wonderful day, and I'm going to get back to writing Run to Rome, my Lost in Italy sequel.
Oh, hey, anyone got a title for this short little story?
Stacey Joy Netzel