Lonely Hearts

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He’s downstairs waiting for you,” said Dad, balancing on his cane.

He was Danny, the terrific guy I’d managed to snag thanks to an online dating service.

“You going out again? You were just out the other night. This fellow is rushing things… doesn’t he have anyone else to spend time with?”

Dad’s tone was disgruntled. Illness and old age had made him waspish.

“I won’t be out late, Dad. I’ll be home in time to say goodnight.” I finished brushing my hair and glanced at the mirror. I’d never be beautiful, but the face that smiled back at mine was pretty – full of happy anticipation.

“I don’t like this online dating stuff,” said Dad. “Back in my day, we met people at church or through family. We sure as hell didn’t meet ’em on some machine!”

Dad had been one of the reasons I’d looked into an online dating service. Working full time and entertaining him in the evenings didn’t leave much time for meeting men the traditional way. Besides, I was tired of waiting for my prince to come. I was young and I was lonely. I wanted my chance for love.

“That fellow could be anybody. You’re too trusting. I don’t like him.”

“Dad, please. Danny’s a gentleman. I’ve met his parents. There’s nothing for you to worry about.”

“He’s not good enough for you. You could do better. Even your girlfriends say so!”

Stung, I answered more snappishly than intended. “What they say or think isn’t important. Now stop it, Dad – I’ve got to get ready.”

With sour mutterings, Dad turned away.

Since that magical morning several weeks ago when Danny and I had driven past my office, intent on playing hooky for the day, we’d been seeing each other regularly. Before him, my life was lonely. Now there was happiness and fun.

Maybe even love.

We were living our own fairytale… or would be, if people would leave us alone.

Dad didn’t try to hide his dislike of Danny. Neither did my girlfriends, who had a habit of making cutting remarks: he was too short; too shy; too awkward.

Like Dad, they told me I could do better.

It wounds a person to discover that people closest to you don’t always have your best interests at heart.

Dad’s an old man. I understand his feelings. He’s afraid of losing me.

It’s the attitude of my friends that hurts. I’d expected them to be happy I’d found my soulmate. Instead, they bruised me with their criticisms. But I guess I understand them, too… lonely, themselves, they didn’t want to lose a fellow member of The Lonely Hearts Club.

I almost let them ruin things for me. I almost looked at my sweet guy through their jaundiced eyes.

But love won out…

Did I give two figs if Danny was an inch shorter? If he tended to be quiet and shy around others?

We had something special. To hell with the unhappiness and acid opinions of others. This was my life.

After one final look in the mirror, I hurried downstairs where my guy was waiting.

__________________
Word Count: 519
Author’s Note: This story is written in response to ThainInVain’s weekly flash fiction challenge. This week’s challenge (here) was to continue an author’s story that had already been posted to #FFC41 over the past 41 weeks. I chose to continue Heather B Costa’s story, All I Need Is You (found here).

About Kate Loveton

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time... ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?
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29 Responses to Lonely Hearts

  1. Reblogged this on Trials of a wanna-be-published writer and commented:
    The very wonderful Kate Loveton did me the great honour of choosing one of my stories to continue for this week’s TiV prompt.

    Check out her story (it’s way better than mine!):

  2. Pingback: Flash Fiction Challenge – Week 42 Submissions | Thain in Vain

  3. Mark Gardner says:

    Woot! Excellent continuation. Might be the best continuation yet!

  4. Nice work! You transitioned into your story very well, and it had the same tone and voice as Heather’s. And I think you two should ping pong this story! TiV

  5. Helen Espinosa says:

    Well done, Kate! πŸ˜‰

  6. Good, smooth transition from Heather’s initial story, and a very appropriate continuation. Superb, as ever.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Keith! I’m so pleased to learn that you thought the transition from Heather’s story to my own was smooth. Thanks for reading and commenting – you always make me smile with your kind comments! πŸ™‚

  7. Kate,
    Your writing never disappoints.
    i agree with Willow, this is very life-affirming to read and listening to your own heart is always admirable.
    Well delivered!
    My best to you
    john

  8. Hear, hear! Nice story.

  9. Lucy says:

    I just gained 10 pounds, Sister Grime. How sweet was this! Yes, it was sweet but well done. Lucy

    • Kate Loveton says:

      πŸ˜€ Well, Sistah, I figured you could do with a little fattening up! I loved your comment! Are you missing my twisted take on things? I think I am, too. I need to get back to the Outer Limits and take a stroll into the Twilight Zone again… I’m missing it.

      Hope you’re doing well! I’m a behind in reading my favorite bloggers – been trying to get stuff done around the house before going on vacation next week. I know you’ve got a story or two out there I’ve got to catch up on. I hope you ventured into the Twilight Zone in your stories; it’s a destination I like very much.

      • Lucy says:

        I’m behind in my reading as well. I’m still not up to snuff. I hope you have a great time on vacation. It’s a cruise you’re going on, right? We’ll talk before you go. Lucy

  10. willow1945 says:

    Very nice, Kate–I really like this one; it’s very life-affirming to read about someone listening to their own heart instead of the criticisms and self-serving doubts of others!

    • Kate Loveton says:

      I think it probably takes a lot of bravery to listen to your heart when those close to you are chipping away at a new relationship. I think relationships are most vulnerable to this right at the beginning. I’m glad the character chose to go her own way and that she had the presence of mind to pretty much figure out the motivations of her dad and her friends.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Willow! πŸ™‚

  11. Thanks Kate for picking one of my stories for this week’s prompt. You did an awesome job with it and I am anxiously waiting to see how things turn out wit Danny!

    Maybe we should play story ‘ping pong’ with this and see how long we could carry on writing a chapter each?

    Great work! ❀

  12. Nice transition, and I understand the conflict. I date a guy in high school who was in the Navy and inches shorter than I. Great guy, very kind and thoughtful. I also like that you’ve set it up so that something baaad could happen. What’s next?

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Ah, Noelle, are you tempting me to make poor Danny into a psychopath, and someone whose capacity for oddness was only something that was picked up by Dad and the girlfriends? You bad girl… you’re trying to lead me down the path of temptation! A little side trip to the Twilight Zone, huh? I’ll have to think about that. (grin)

      Thanks for reading, friend. πŸ™‚

  13. You picked up the story smooth as butter. I like the conflict between the girl and her father. It fits well. ❀ ❀

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Tess! I tried very hard to pick up some sweetness in the sequel. Heather’s story was a very romantic, tender and hopeful tale; I wanted to pick up those themes in my story, but also add a bit of conflict. I always enjoy reading your comments, Tess – thank you. ❀

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