Guilt (Part 1)

Tommy’s crossed arms answered my question before he spoke.

“She called again didn’t she?” I asked, there in the open doorway,one hand on my hip, the other clutching my bag and briefcase. I already knew the answer, I just needed to hear him say so.

He just stood there, trying as hard as he could to not look guilty. The right side of his mouth was clenched in a way that lead me to believe he was biting the inside of his cheek. His stiff tense arms resting on his chest, while leaning against the fridge. The eyes, those crystal clear blue eyes, always a sure giveaway to when he was lying. Tommy can make you think he is looking you dead in the eye but he isn’t. He is looking at the space right between your eyes. A little trick he had taught me when I had my first public speaking assignment.

“Look Jess, I did not have to tell you she called, I’m just being honest with you”

Angrily I threw my coat on the table, although it looks as if it made it to the floor. I don’t care.

“Actually you did not tell me, I guessed, and where was this new form of honesty six months ago?”

I walk towards my desk, not really having a reason to be there, just not wanting Tommy to see my eyes slowly starting to form with tears.

“Don’t start with me Jess”

I can hear the annoyance in his voice as he makes his way to the fridge to grab a Coors.

“Don’t start with you? You are the one who brought this person into our life, and you better be the one to get rid of her, or else I will.”

This was a writing prompt from

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

our task….

This week, focus on dialogue and body language to set a scene or move a story forward, limiting your use of narration. You have 450 words, beginning with the line: His crossed arms answered her question before he spoke.

If you are writing memoir this week and find the opening line too restrictive, incorporate the idea of crossed arms as close to the beginning of your piece as possible.

This was very new to me. I am a beginner and would appreciate and kind of constructive criticism….just be nice!!!

After this, I do believe my vodka is calling!

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20 thoughts on “Guilt (Part 1)

  1. You definitely left me wanting to know who “she” is!

    “His stiff tense arms resting on his chest, while leaning against the fridge.” Should probably have been “rested on his chest while he leaned..”

    Here I'd like to know what the giveaway was. Something in his eyes? “The eyes, those crystal clear blue eyes, always a sure giveaway to when he was lying.”

    Loved that last line!

  2. Is is wrong I dislike Tommy because he drinks Coors? That's like drinking water.

    Ok, the writing is very good. I'm anti-adverb but that's a me thing. I like how you laid out the tension with them in small ways. Your scene blocking was outstanding. I would love to read more.

  3. Yeah, the Coors never felt right. I am not a beer girl at all. I know Coors, Ice House and Budweiser, that's it. Tommy just should of had a vodka instead!

  4. the last sentence was so dark! creepy! are you going to turn this into a short story? the only sentence i didn't like was: Angrily I threw my coat on the table, although it looks as if it made it to the floor. I don't care.

    I would just say “Angrily I threw my coat on the table” because the “I don't care” doesn't really flow with the rest of the piece.

    Wicked job! I just joined #writeonedge and didn't know we could change the first sentence prompt a bit or that it doesn't have to be right at the top.

    Lemme see if this will link up to my piece. it won't let me link to my blog: writereadrepeat.com

    I am having trouble commenting on blogger platform for some reason. So uh I gotta sign up with my old blogger.

  5. Thanks! I think I may try to turn it into a short story. This is only the second time I have linked up w/ Write on Edge so I may have the rules wrong. I have read a few other post, some of the writers changed it up a little. Who knows?!

  6. I loved the interplay between the characters – her anger and his frustration seemed really clear.

    One thing I'd do is change “did not” to didn't for the guy, but keep it “did not” for the girl. It might make his response seem a little more casual (even if it's just a facade), and give hers more emphasis to play up that she's ticked off.

    Great job!

  7. Nicely done.

    Regarding the following: “He just stood there, trying as hard as he could to not look guilty. The right side of his mouth was clenched in a way that lead me to believe he was biting the inside of his cheek.” Especially because this is in first person point of view, you'll really want to concentrate on the feelings of the narrator. “trying as hard as he could” could lend a history to the piece, but in something this short, it draws attention to a perspective that the narrator wouldn't necessarily know. Try something like: “He just stood there, wooden. I wanted him to react, to show a twitch of his cheek or a bead of sweat, something, anything. Instead there was silence.”

    This was a strong scene, and I think with a little more focus on her anger and frustration, it would be unstoppable.

    Great, great job!

  8. I agree with the previous commenters. This is a great piece overall! I think the dialogue needs a little tweaking to flow better. The trick I use is to read it outloud to myself. If it sounds funny, for me at least it tends to mean I've got something that isn't working right in the dialogue. Great job.

  9. I like the suggestion of turning his “did not” into “didn't” and leaving hers alone to emphasize the conflict a bit. The body language is written well; I could see them staring each other down, complete with the image of him staring between her eyes instead of into them.

  10. I really liked the body language here. There were a couple of tense shifts that you might want to keep an eye on and the dialogue was a bit stiff, BUT you left me wondering about who “she” was and what realtionship they had exactly. Is “she” the ex? The lover? The wife? Intriguing. 🙂

  11. I liked the tension, and wanted to know more about who “she” was and how this was going to get resolved.

    I think you've gotten a lot of great advice about how to try to continue to polish it, to make it even stronger!

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