Photo Flash: Rounds
Sunday, April 20, 2008, 5:35 PM

Once a week, the girls at Writer's Retreat come up with a short story known as a flash based only on a photo.


Title: Rounds
Wordcount: 525

Hellfire rose in Shannon’s belly as slowly, sensuously, Dev moved his hands under the bottom of her shirt. Goosebumps followed the path of his fingers, all the way up to her breasts, which suddenly felt too big for her bra. A strangled sound came from her throat when he touched her. She forgot the discomfort of sitting on the ground, the feeling of rough bark against her back. Nobody told her being touched like this was—

“Let me,” he whispered, his breath soft against her ear.

Oh, God.

She’d had a crush on him since the sixth grade, ever since he’d snapped the strap of her training bra. In the seventh grade, she’d admired his jeans, so tight he had to unzip them to sit down. When they were sophomores, he’d chucked her under the chin and told her she baked muffins like rocks and she’d wasted an entire day hating him and crying about it.

Let me stop loving him, she'd prayed to God. Please. I’ll do anything, even stop masturbating.

Love from a distance hurt. The childish obsession with him had morphed from fun to anguish. Enough was enough, wasn’t it?

The movie Kill Bill was an inspiration. Life as she’d known it before had been set on its ear and kicked to the cosmos. In an all Hell-breaking-loose situation, she wanted Uma Thurman’s certainty of spirit, strength and courage. Prowess with the sword couldn’t hurt, either. So she began taking private lessons in Kendo, learning the art of the sword. Over the years--ichi, ni, san--her body grew lean and tight.

Two weeks ago, almost five years after she thought she'd forgotten him, Shannon had beaten Dev in her first Kendo competition. The two of them had been dry-throated at facing each other across the floor; the world of Kendo was small outside of Japan, although the sport had grown since Kill Bill's success. It had been a toss up on who was more surprised to see who.

And weird how life turned out, she thought.

Now, Dev’s lips touching feather-soft at the corner of her mouth brought a lump to her throat. Crazy to think that winning that competition would finally catch his attention. Was she dreaming?

Slowly, as if he savored the contact, Dev began kissing his way across her lips and she felt her mouth quiver. His fingers shifted against her chin, the tip of his thumb massaging her lower lip in a soft, downward motion. She felt the palm of his hand at her neck and the tips of his fingers played across her heated cheek. His hand moved up to cup the base of her head, a gentle yet firm affirmation that she was his.

Her mouth parted in an excited gasp, and his tongue slipped between her lips, his mouth demanding. Growling, she shoved at him, and he forced his tongue inside her mouth again, over and over in a mimic of sex. Not wanting to be dominated, she stiffened and bit his tongue. He withdrew, but only far enough to bite her bottom lip in retaliation.

She wasn’t going to win this round.

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