Let Them Think What They Will

Val caught her heel between the flagstones in the empty plaza. Her ankle twisted. When her knee struck the ground, her leather folio tumbled, the artist renderings and spec sheets fluttering out as it opened—she was helpless to stop it. The pain was stunning. Her hip struck the stone; her nerves sang in agony.

Running steps behind her forced her to push herself up, to look behind her.

The man who dropped to his knees next to her spoke quietly with a touch of an accent.

“Are you alright?”

Val blinked and shook her head. To speak would have been to unleash the tears balancing on her lashes.

He took her hands, pulling her up to sitting. She winced, breath hissing between her lips. He turned her palms up, running his thumbs over the heels of her hands, dusting the debris from her skin. His eyes were amber, his lashes impossibly long, his features severe.

Setting her hands down again, he stood. He bent to retrieve her things, gathering them with a practiced shuffle-tap and placing them inside the leather folio before offering to help her up.

Val took the offered arm and stood, smoothing her skirt as she did. She wobbled slightly and swore roundly. Her now broken Fendi pump had cost her as much as a full month’s split of the rent. She’d been enchanted by the impossible stiletto heel and the bow, not to mention that they were named for her—d’Orsay. A good luck charm for this, the meeting that would decide her future with the firm.

Some luck, she thought darkly. Her skirt was damp from the stones, her hair loosened from its pins by the fall and the misty air.

“This is remarkable,” the man said, touching his fingertip to the asymmetrical curves on the rendering. “Almost as if the artist was inside my imagination.”

“It’s… for a client,” Val stammered. She stuck out a hand. “Valentine Dorsay, Foxe and Dean Associates.”

“Valentine,” he repeated, taking her hand and squeezing gently. “Aubrey Finch.”

Val swallowed.

“Aubrey Finch?” she asked.

“We can’t have met. I’d remember.”

Val held back the urge to smooth the slight crease between his eyes as he struggled to place her. “This,” she said, picking up the rendering of the staircase, spiraling whimsically through fourteen feet of space, “is for your house.”

“For my—“ Realization dawned; his smile was radiant. “Foxe and Dean. Of course.”

“We’re both going to be late,” he said, checking his watch. “Shall we?”

He offered her his arm; the gesture should have seemed old-fashioned. Val put her hand on his arm and promptly stumbled on her broken heel.

Aubrey held her steady, but his gaze traveled down her leg, past her skinned knee to the offending shoe. He gestured towards the nearby row of wrought iron benches. Val hobbled with him, sitting gingerly.

Aubrey leaned down and began untying his shoes. Val watched him untie them both, then remove the left one, along with his sock. He tucked the sock inside the toe of the shoe before moving on the right one.

“What are you doing?” Val asked.

He smiled up at her. His warm, luxurious eyes, compelling in such an austere face, sparkled merrily.

“You can’t walk in those shoes, so we’ll both go in to this meeting barefoot and let them think what they will.”


Images courtesy of Pinterest. Click either image for source info.

This week, we want you to be inspired by pictures. Write a piece – fiction or creative non-fiction – based on your reaction to either of these photos. Or both.

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34 responses to “Let Them Think What They Will

  1. Can I just say, I’m falling in love with Mr. Aubrey Finch already???? More please!!!!

  2. Pingback: Red Writing Hood – Staircase/Mist | Write On Edge

  3. This was fun. Love their names. You don’t hear Aubrey often any more.

  4. I Love how the staircase turned into a shoeless entry, it gave it a little bit of fun! What an excellent job!

  5. This is so good. I can feel Val’s skinned knee and broken shoe. So good.

    Plus? You use prompts more creatively than anyone I have every read.

  6. Awwww! Such a lovely piece! I love that she fell twice!

  7. Love it! Very nicely done. That’s a great meeting scene.

  8. Fantastic! Instant fan here. Visiting through WOE.

  9. This is a great meet. His eyes were amber, his lashes impossibly long, his features severe. I can picture him. I am posting for the first time.

  10. What a gesture! What a man! I loved this. You have a power with descriptive language, setting the scene so perfectly that I can picture every detail in my mind’s eye. I loved when he brushed off the heels of her hands…great detail.

  11. Okay, I adore that he took his shoes off too.

  12. the writ and the wrote

    Beautiful. More, please. Also, could you please conjure up Mr. Finch right here in my bedroom? Thank you. 🙂

  13. The ending Cam. Oh it was just perfect. This whole piece was perfect. How I wish my name was Valentine:) How I wish I could write like this.

  14. Masterful. I love your reading your work – its gives me much to aspire to!

    Your prose is so precise and perfect for the subject matter, your characters engaging in the breifest of moments, and your use of both prompts awe-inspiring.

    Thanks for the great read!

  15. What a sweet guy. A definite connection established with this piece. Magic, mystery, broken expensive shoes…you’ve got it all 😉

  16. I think I may be in love with Aubrey already, and I got a great chuckle at the end there thinking of them both walking in barefoot. I’d say she’s got the job in the bag!

  17. I like how you described the two of them. It was like you were painting as well as writing.

    I like the names and the dialogue. This was really intimate. I didn’t pay attention to the picture prompts at all. I had my own visuals.

    excellent writing…..can’t wait to see what else you do with them. Bravo.

  18. So, so good! I love how you used both pictures in your story. But even more, I love your characters. You do an excellent job in a short time of capturing my interest and making me want to know more1

  19. Love, love, love Aubrey’s solution! And I enjoyed feeling like I was putting pieces of a puzzle together, just as Val & Aubrey were. :>

  20. How lovely. And enticing. Him, I mean.

  21. Awesome awesome… I love them both. He is awesome.
    Ok so I’m in love with your characters and your story. Excellent job

  22. I don’t think I can add anything to these comments, your use of both pictures and the story therin was so intriquing. you, more than anyone I know, can weave simple things into grander moments. Barefoot? Of course!

  23. This is so wonderful! I felt like I was watching it all unfold as I read this. Wonderful!

  24. Heehee, barefoot! I love him.

  25. Fantastic! You capture characters so well, and share them with us. The movements, the dialog, even the pauses…you make them come to life!

  26. Love love LOVE! I have developed a crush on a fictional character. 🙂

  27. LOVE the whimsy and the romance. The excuse/reason for the shoes with the link to Val’s name. Such gallant and knightlike behavior by Aubrey. This is a great story. I.LOVE.IT!

  28. I want to know how you figured out such a spot-on description of me for Aubrey. :-p

    The shoe-twist was one that I absolutely loved.

  29. More please!

  30. Beautiful! I would love to read more as well!

  31. Oh, swoon. Amber eyes? I am in love.
    There’s something about this line that will stick with me… “He offered her his arm; the gesture should have seemed old-fashioned.”
    It sets a tone and I can’t wait to read more!

  32. Okay okay new stories, new characters, fine…but since I’m just catching up now there better be some Will and Sam in my near future.

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