Another flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds. This week's goal is to write a protagonist that is a balance, unlikeable yet nice enough to keep us reading about them. Move beyond the standard black hats and white hats of the Western. 1000 words or less, due Friday noon via a link
I was doing a Valentine's story, with my heroine a sweet young thing taken advantage of - I like her better as a little unlikeable. Here's my story - 676 words.
A Valentine's Gift
She shivered as he settled his cloak over her bare shoulders for the quick dash from the limousine . Shivered not from the evening chill, not from the silk lining of the cloak, but from anticipation.
Kathleen had known Victor for several years, their paths crossing at various clubs and charity galas, but as no more than nodding acquaintances. He drove a luxury car, dressed in expensive clothes, dated a succession of beautiful women, and was her latest target. She was from a rich family, an only child, and had quickly learned to use her beauty, wit, and charm to get whatever she wanted from men. Now she wanted Victor, but on her terms. Kathleen had seen women quickly succumb to his smoldering gaze, but when he'd tried that with her at a charity ball he'd seemed surprised at her resistance, her continuing coolness towards him. He'd recovered quickly, praising her beautiful green eyes - never guessing they were contacts, tinted to complement her red hair, with a bit of UV filter added in.
He'd persisted in his attempts to charm her though, and finally, after she made his seduction a New Year's resolution, she started to thaw. She'd begun to smile and flirt back, laugh and touch his arm as they shared an afternoon coffee at a sidewalk cafe, or a carriage ride in the park, then would draw back for several days and ignore his calls. He would then send her more flowers and jewelry, with beautiful letters begging her to see him again, she would relent, and it would repeat.
She'd grown tired of the game though, so had decided that tonight, on Valentines, she would give him his reward. Victor had somehow managed reservations at the city's most exclusive restaurant, but when he'd suggested that they dress elegantly, with a bit of nostalgia, Kathleen had claimed her wardrobe was too sparse. He'd then sent over a beautiful ball gown, flowing to the ground in delicate layers of green, strapless to show off her delicate shoulders and more than a hint of cleavage. She'd recognized the gown's designer, and was impressed. She'd remembered how he'd praised her long pale neck, so she'd swept her hair up, holding it with an antique clip he'd sent her.
She felt, and looked like, a southern belle. For his part, Victor was elegant in the simple black and white of a perfectly fitted tux, the only colour a blood red cummerbund and matching cloak lining. She had to admit they made a lovely couple, as they walked between the tables towards their private booth she could feel the envious eyes of all the women on her.
Victor was a perfect date, picking a selection of delicious menu items, complementing them with the most expensive wines, listening attentively to her, all the while touching, stroking, caressing her, always subtle, just a gentle finger along her forearm, a brief tap of his thigh against hers, a soft feather-like touch to her neck as he leaned forward to whisper in her ear. She flushed at all the attention, her bare skin tingling, and was soon touching him back, whispering, flirting. She was ready for the next step in her plan, so suggested that they skip dessert and leave.
Soon they were in his penthouse apartment, with lights dimmed, soft music in the air and champagne in a bucket by the leather couch. She excused herself for a moment - her eyes were tired - and took out her contacts. She wanted to take her hair down too, but he begged her not too so she indulged him.
She settled back on the soft couch, picked up her glass, smiled, and looked into his eyes. Deep, dark eyes - she felt like she was falling into their black pools.
Time seemed to stop, she felt frozen in place, aware of her pulse beating just under the skin of her neck as Victor leaned closer and whispered softly into her ear, "And now, my dear, my final gift to you - eternal life."