Infidelity – 300 word version

Infidelity

It was dark in the wings. I should have been in the Green Room but I wanted to watch the performance.

A strong arm slipped around my waist. It felt so right that I couldn’t help myself. I turned towards Frank, tilting my face up to his. He kissed me. I yielded, as I would have done for Jim, and then thought, ‘No, I don’t need to pretend…’ and kissed back enthusiastically.

How long is eternity? Two seconds? Three seconds? That is how long the kiss lasted, but it brought its own sort of eternity.

And then it was over.

Frank stepped back.

“Liz, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that. I’m so sorry. You’re a married woman.” Even in my swirling Arcadian haze of arousal I noticed that he didn’t say that he was a married man.

“Don’t be sorry, Frank. Don’t be sorry”. My right hand stroked his chest feverishly. The quartet on stage was reaching its climax.

“Oh, Liz, you are just so…Liz, I love you’.

Why did Jim never speak to me like that? Why did he never kiss me like that?

I felt guilty that night as I went to bed. Jim didn’t seem to notice anything. He kissed me goodnight, rolled over, and was snoring gently within a minute. Normally I liked Jim’s snores. They weren’t loud, they just rumbled gently and reminded me that my man lay beside me; a comfortable knowledge of security. That night, though, they grated.

‘Liz, I love you’. The joy of that knowledge! And its guilt. Lying there beside my sleeping husband thinking of another man’s love.

And then, knowingly and deliberately, I imagined Frank’s embrace, the look of bewildered joy on his face, his tender words. I allowed the joy to seep through me. I went to sleep.

 

17 thoughts on “Infidelity – 300 word version

    • Dear Neil
      It’s very kind of you to read and comment on a second story. It’s interesting to hear that you preferred the shorter version. I bear in mind, though, that you are a very sophisticated reader, with vast experience of flash fiction. I suspect that most readers would take more from the longer version, but I shall be monitoring feedback attentively!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Linda
      It’s very kind of you to read both short and long versions of this story and to comment. Your comment about Jim is very important as regards the (half-finished) novel from which this is taken – so thank you very much!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  1. There is something in the brevity of the 100-word version that leaves us feeling delicious. We don’t really want to feel her guilt! Not that infidelity is ever okay but we can understand her desire for love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dale
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Your comment is very interesting, that the brevity “leaves us feeling delicious”. It’s a very important point for me to remember, because I’m the sort of writer who likes to unravel people’s motivations, and sometimes the story really doesn’t need that!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad my comment was interesting to you. I have discovered a love for writing these short stories, even as I also enjoy my longer pieces – but they are really just recounting of my days, whereas here, I try more for stories.
        Sometimes the story does not need the unravelling 😉

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  2. Thanks again for showing this to us, Penny.
    For a flash fic, the shorter version is perfect. It teases and leaves everything to the imagination. Temptation is often there, to give in or not, is a kiss already infidelity? How about thoughts?
    The longer version is more like a teaser for a longer piece all together. We get more emotions but also more guilt. Did Liz experience similar passion with Jim at the beginning of their relationship, are they just comfortably living together no, a bit boring but safe? Or was there never such a spark? And would Frank and Liz be similarly fascinated if their love wasn’t forbidden? All this would need to be answered with the longer piece. And Frank’s mysterious wife who’s hardly mentioned would have to have her fair share of the story as well.
    The short one is just over. Two people, sparks fly. The end. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Gabi
      What a generous and detailed comment – thank you so much!
      You are absolutely right that the stories are taken from a longer (much longer!) piece, and I think you’re very astute in saying that the 100 word version is complete while the 300 word version is more of a teaser. The novel-draft from which these are taken is currently on hold – I hope to get back to it when I’ve finished The Owl on the Pergola, round about Christmas this year.
      Thank you once again!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Personally, I like both versions. The flash was a great stand-alone and gave us what we needed to imbed ourselves in the characters and could imagine our own versions of where she went from there.
    The longer version sets the stage for the next act. Again, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions. What will tomorrow be like?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Russell
      Thank you so much for your generosity in commenting in detail on the two stories. I’m glad you enjoyed them both. And the comments are very encouraging, because the 100 word story let you “imagine our own versions of where she went from there” and then the 300 word story allows “the reader to draw their own conclusions. What will tomorrow be like?”. You seem to be implying that the writing tugs the reader onward, which is great because I am working on a novel and to tug the reader onward is crucial!
      So thank you, my friend! I really appreciate the effort and thought.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What an emotional roller coaster you’ve taken us on! This kiss has obviously affected her profoundly, and poor Jim is oblivious to how she’s feeling. It was clever of you to associate her state of arousal with the quartet on stage reaching its climax.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Magarisa
      Thank you for reading and commenting so thoughtfully. How astute of you to detect the undertone of concern for Jim (“poor Jim”). I’m glad you appreciated the connection between Liz’s arousal and the quartet on stage. It’s a natural association for me to make, as I love music and I’ve performed in quite a few operas.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Good emotion in your story, Penny. Well written. I read the 300-word version. She has to decide if a moment’s thrill is worth giving up a marriage for. If Jim finds out, the marriage could be over or will never be the same. Someone might have seen and will tell him. Also, according to the story, she doesn’t even know his marriage history so he’s almost a stranger to her. That can be dangerous. He might even have a troubled mental problem. She might spend long days regretting giving up on her marriage. It would be even worse if children, even grown children, are involved. I have relatives who have suffered. I would say to her BEWARE. The ins and outs of it make a good story though. All the best on your other work in progress. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Suzanne
      Thank you for reading and commenting in such detail. Feedback like this is ever so valuable in helping me improve as a writer. You are right to highlight that Liz has some very careful thinking to do. (Shall I give you a teaser about how the story continues? Oh, alright then…! Liz’s mother plays a key role in helping Liz clarify her thoughts and feelings about Frank).
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Penny for the teaser about your story. I’ve seen so many situations in my own family I’m full of story ideas. I especially know about mental problems. My mother had Alzheimer’s and my husband was bipolar. —- Suzanne

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