Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Part 1) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #18.
Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 1)By John Howell and Entry 2) My own contribution.
Last week I set the following Challenge:
Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.
Here is the image prompt.
John Howell’s One Line Contribution.
“I’m going back to the baton since none of the musicians pay any attention to the rose.”
John Howell can be reached here …
Visit at Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell
La Vie en Rose
A hushed silence greeted the conclusion of Alaina Chamber’s performance. The crowd held its breath in anticipation as her long, elegant fingers raised the stem of the yellow rose from the piano. She kissed the petals then walked across to the waiting microphone. The familiar strains of the music had them roaring their approval. Then they fell silent and let the magic of her voice enfold them. Alaina smiled at them through tears and walked from the stage. Her adoring audience arose as one, and the sound of their pleasure reverberated through the New York night. They knew that their calls for encore were fruitless. For ‘La Vie en Rose’ was always her final song of the evening.
Alaina hurried to her dressing room and quickly changed into her favorite denim jeans and sweater. She added the baseball cap and joined her security team as they escorted her out to her waiting limousine.
She’d avoided the after party in the green room as always. The sound of the jumbled voices all telling her what they thought she wanted to hear made her want to scream at them to just shut up and keep drinking. Fame and honesty didn’t appear to walk comfortably together.
She gave a smile of greeting to the staff pulling the night shift in the lobby of her Central Park apartment. She let herself into her penthouse, leaned back against the door and took a deep breath.
The emotion of playing her hometown left her drained once the adrenaline high from her performance began dissipating.
The wine smelled wonderful and Aliana savored it, then grinned at herself. ‘Just as well I prefer my own company’. How long had it been since she’d craved all that adoration? How long had it lasted before it began to wither and pale? How long had it been since she turned her back on the one man in her life that truly loved her? She’d been too busy to be bothered with romance, focusing only on what would further her career. Then ridding herself of the people and things that would not. ‘I’m sorry, Anthony. I was so very wrong.’
Had it really been twelve years since she walked away without a backward glance in his direction?
Alaina stood a little unsteadily and hurried over to where she’d left her handbag, she opened it and gently removed the yellow rose. She inhaled the lingering remains of its soft, sweet perfume.
A single yellow rose had been waiting for her on her Grand Piano at every hometown performance she’d played in the last eleven years. She kept all of them pressed between the pages of her leather-bound journals. She read the note that had accompanied each of them, “Remember to always leave them wanting more.”
‘When do you give up, Anthony? It must be soon. You fell in love with your dream of what I was. I never lived up to it’.
“Cut it out.” She admonished herself, poured a hefty glass of Merlot and reached for a forbidden cigarette.
She sat alone as always and watched the dawn break.
Alaina had her third Orange juice of the morning seated in the limousine on the way to her late afternoon rehearsal.
Her performance was flawless, despite her tension clenched neck muscles.
She returned to her dressing room and issued her please do not disturb instructions. She’d sleep for a few hours then ready herself for the performance.
Alaina walked across the stage and the crowd roared then quietened as she seated herself at the piano.
She automatically sought out the rose. There was none. She played and sang her heart out, the music sheet blurring in front of her tear-filled eyes.
She moved on autopilot and finally arrived back at the sanctuary of her apartment.
Alaina drank down three whiskeys, and for the first time in memory she cried. The sobs racked her slim body, and her hands shook as she tried pouring yet another whiskey.
The pounding on the door irritated the hell out of her and she flung it open ready to do battle.
She gasped and took a step backwards.
Anthony smiled at her and handed her the yellow rose. This time the note read, “Are you ready to be happy yet, my sad little darling?”
Alaina smiled up at him through tears and laughed like a child. “I don’t deserve it.”
“Not always. But that’s just part of your charm. So, what now?”
“Now let us live both our dreams together.”
“And … I love you, Anthony.”
“There now. That wasn’t so hard was it?” He raised her chin and looked down into her eyes, “Now show me.” He murmured as they kissed any last doubts away.
Thanks so much for joining me here today. I look forward to seeing your comments. I will as always featuring each new contribution as I receive them. I have included a marvelous clip of the iconic Edith Piaf and La Vie en Rose simply because I love it.
I may be reached here …