Home » Creative writing » Entanglement – Part Three

Entanglement – Part Three

Woman With Black Hair Illustration

Photo via Flickr from Vectorportal.com

Part One, Part Two

FYI – Each of these chapters is exactly 620 words long. If any one of them looks longer than another, it’s probably due to the number of paragraph breaks, especially if it contains more dialogue.


She set free the tickling hair that collected in her back collar as she moved, but she was grateful her black fringe hid her eyes while she was thinking. When she was ready, she tucked the wispy layers behind an ear and said, “How would you know I was out of orange juice?”

“The first time I came over was the only time you asked if I wanted a drink and actually brought it.” He turned to face her. “After that …?”

She began to smile. “I point you to the fridge,” she recited on cue as if reading his mind.

He added, “… and the glasses.”

“Is that rude, too?”

“You ask as if you don’t know.”

“But if I let you get what you want … how’s that rude?”

Miller looked away and rubbed his forehead with one palm. He groaned, “Ohhh.”

She was laughing now.

“Damn, Aliss. Were you raised in barn?”

“Maybe I was raised on a bed of straw, in a litter of ten …”

He began to laugh as she went on, ” … all female and feminists. ‘You horrid man!’ ”

“Then I should be thankful my sort is countenanced here at all.”

Aliss put an arm around his shoulder. “I rather like men who watch PBS and talk all romantical like that.”

Miller turned a wide grin toward her, sheepishness around his eyes making them wander the areas near hers. He dipped his head down, gently grazed his temple against her cheek, and lifted it again to return his gaze out into the street.

Aliss kept hold of him and pressed the side of her face to his shoulder. She studied the street, too. “You can watch it with me next time,” she said as the sidewalk on the opposite side came into focus in all its pools of shadow, pitches of darkness, and beams of reflected light.

“I’d be honored to watch it with you,” he said, “as wordless as you want me to be. As silent as you need.”

A quiet moment passed, broken when Aliss asked, “Was it your mother who taught you how to treat guests?”

“Yeah. But I know that kind of thing isn’t written in stone.”

“So you don’t really mind?”

She didn’t need to see him to be sure the sound he made was a mixture of a sudden, truncated impulse to laugh at her question and surprise that she’d asked it.

“I come back, don’t I?”

Across the street, between the first and second buildings at their left, north, not so far away from the end where Aliss’ building was, a face familiar to her was almost visible. She knew him, as always, from his shaved head, filling in for herself the sharp eyes and lips and expanse of brow that she’d never seen broken by expression, and the nose, large though not overpowering, fitting somehow to soften the air of authority he had that made her avoid him each time he appeared. The sight of him gave her a start, provoking a small movement that Miller noticed.

“Something wrong?” he said.

Her hand dropped down to his waist and held there, tighter even as she thought of letting go. She was weary of wanting to let go of Miller and hold on to him at the same time. She was tired of feeling that she wasn’t making decisions, but letting a series of things happen to her because she couldn’t feel them as choices. She felt as if the thing she was missing, the piece of herself that must have been there once, but hadn’t come back, would irritate her until all her choices would be made out of that feeling and nothing else.

“I …” she said, “I don’t know.”


18 thoughts on “Entanglement – Part Three

  1. This is a very interesting exchange, but what makes me most curious is her inability to identify a situation as a que for a decision, and that if she does make a choice, it’s out of irritation of not being able to. If I got this correct, it reminds me of a past post of yours while you were cooking dinner. Rice, I believe. Anyway, I really enjoy this story and will have to go back and read Part 1, and wish you clarity and patience πŸ™‚

    Take care,

    • I guess some of me has found its way into my character. I guess that happens to all us writers. How can it not? Yes, Rice was about the strangeness of walking into possible disaster, small ones maybe but seemingly clear, but not stopping. Without thinking about it much, I seem to be examining the possible reasons for that again.

      Thanks so much for reading this, Jennifer. I appreciate your feedback and the good wishes. πŸ™‚

  2. This really sparked my interest, Re! I second Jennifer’s comment: it seems that she feels she is just floating through life, allowing things to happen around her and to her rather than actually choosing a path to go down. As a reader I sense her feeling of restlessness and loss.

    • Thanks for reading this, Nicole. Reading that you sense some of Aliss’ feelings made me feel so good inside, like I’m on the right track.

      I’m so glad to hear it’s interesting for you. I know (of course!) what’s going on, so it’s wonderful to hear what you and Jennifer are thinking here at part three. I’m just about to start part five. Six and seven are in my head and telling me not to go to bed until they’re on virtual paper. But I’m going to actually try to get some sleep before I get to them. πŸ™‚

    • Whew! Thanks, Jessie. I liked those lines, but I worried they might be ‘darlings’ that needed to get clipped. When I read the story out loud, they sounded right in Miller’s mouth (to me) so I left them in.

      As for that second man … I appreciate your reaction.

  3. Y’know something Re? I feel my pulse quicken as I start reading…..that’s such a great feeling to have, because it means I’m really getting into it.
    You pack so much information into such a short span of words. Love the dialogue too….it comes across so natural somehow, and so nuanced.
    I’m totally hooked to this story…and gagging for more! (not exaggerating!) πŸ™‚

    • Yay! I’m so glad it’s entertaining you, that you like the components and are looking forward to more. Thanks for giving it the chance to interest you. I’m working to deliver more. ❀

  4. I found your blog through the feature on Daily Post, so I guess your comment about how it would help to have writer’s Freshly Pressed is valid. I realized early in the blogging effort that photos might be key to attracting views and thus followers. Since I’m an artist and a writer, that comes naturally for me. I think it’s important to stay true to yourself. Finding images that you feel go with your work is valid, but when it comes down to it, the writing must grip those who pass by, or all the followers in the world won’t get your work read. Though followers ‘like’ my writing with their attached photos, it’s very hard to determine if they actually read it. I see you have comments directly related to your writing…that seems to say, ‘success’ in sharing your work. Keep writing and blogging, and your followers will grow.

  5. β€œI …” she said, β€œI don’t know.” Whoa! She doesn’t know if something is wrong…her instincts are off.
    There’s the safety of Miller — soft, yielding, and the danger of the stranger — hard, commanding.
    Or will the danger be in looking for that missing piece of herself?

  6. I just read through parts one and two but couldn’t quite summon up the urge to hit like or to pass comment. I wasn’t sure what was holding me back, but was reminded of the time I ‘tried’ to read the Hobbit (unsuccessfully) as a child.

    And then I read part three and it hits me! One and two didn’t quite capture my imagination, no matter how much I tried. Three then comes along and draws me in with the dialogue.

    It was, for me, the missing dialogue. For some reason the scene setting intertwined with and through dialogue, in part three, grips me and carries me along and it’s comparative absence in one and two required that I apply more self discipline and patience when reading.

    I have noticed this so many times; when I am choosing what work of fiction I will next decide to read – I seem to love the interplay between characters moreso than passages without it.

    • I do understand what you mean, Mark. It feels good to know that you gave this story that one extra chance that helped it bloom for you. (At least so far. πŸ™‚ )

      I’ve noticed as a writer, that it can be hard when you think your main character is interesting enough to carry the weight of the story before they have much interaction with other characters. Your comment gives me something to consider when I tackle another one. How do I integrate the different ways that folks prefer to be drawn into stories? Definitely something to think about. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. The additional dialogue in this chapter gives me more insight about Miller’s character – a bit about his proclivities, and a bit about his desire to spend time with Aliss, and possibly protect her. This third character, whom Aliss recognizes by his shaved head, has piqued my interest. Wondering what he symbolizes for Aliss, given the host of emotions and insecurities that registers in her, upon seeing him. Possibly some history/ memories there? It’s hard to put down the story now because I can relate to this fear/inadequacy that Aliss is feeling toward the end, about letting choices happen to/for her, rather than making them (decisions). Her vulnerability comes through, though she is guarded. I think that your effective character development is what keeps the reader engaged. This is clearly the case here. I’m left wanting to know about how Aliss and Miller will be personally affected by the relationship that is “blooming” between them, and how this new character might affect that transformation.

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