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Hilary Thomson, 04 Aug '12

Joanne’s sleeping face was more than Elise could take. She reached out to touch the girl’s cheek; to run her fingertips over that warm, smooth skin one last time before she had to leave.

This had never been part of Elise’s plan. She’d meant simply to catch the morning train in, finally deal to the pastor after years of hardhearted planning, and then be gone again on the evening train. Spending the night with one of the town’s residents wasn’t supposed to have happened, but Joanne’s kisses had been too much to resist.

Now, as the sky gained a subtle tinge of grey at the edges, Elise knew her only option was to leave straight away, without waking Joanne or risking seeing anyone else in the village. The train wasn’t due for another three hours, but she could walk to the next town over. There had been one just a few kilometres away; it would hardly be a pleasant stroll through the countryside with half a foot of powdery snow covering the ground, but her boots should keep the worst of the wetness out.

She had to leave before what she’d done caught up with her. By the time she was back in England, no one would be able to trace anything back to her, but right now she was chillingly vulnerable to discovery – one wrong move could be her ruin, so she had to step carefully.

Elise moved with great reluctance away from Joanne’s warmth. She collected her clothes from where they were scattered about the floor and pulled them on, wincing as the cold fabric moved against her skin.

A quiet snuffling noise came from the direction of the bed; Elise froze with her jumper half on, turning slowly to see that Joanne had rolled over and burrowed further into the blankets. Elise waited for half a minute, barely allowing herself to breathe, before she relaxed a little and finished dressing.

Halfway out the bedroom door, Elise stopped, looking back and biting her lip. She moved over to the small oak desk in the corner and found a pen and scrap of paper. She scrawled a note, kissed it, and placed on the pillow next to Joanne.

So close, her resolve crumbled. Elise leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to Joanne’s forehead, breathing in her warm, sleepy scent.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered as Joanne stirred, and then hurried silently away.

Comments · 5

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  • Anthony Blackshaw said...

    Welcome to Burrst Hilary :)

    I really enjoyed your debut, your writing style feels very familiar and I found myself quickly immersed in the scene. The little touches like - 'wincing as the cold fabric moved against her skin' ring true and really added to the reading experience. Excellent debut, I look forward to the next :)

    • Posted 7 years ago
  • Hilary Thomson said...

    Thanks so much! Constructive comments are always welcomed with open arms :)

    • Posted 7 years ago
  • Jamie Thomas said...

    I really liked this, I could happily read more about this story, and the lead up and aftermath, but it also worked really well as a singular piece too :) I also agree with Anthony about the little touches that made it feel extra special to read :)

    • Posted 7 years ago
  • Metta H said...

    This is vey powerful writing. I'd like to know more about these characters, what they did, although I think I can guess, and why one of them has to leave.

    • Posted 7 years ago
  • Hilary Thomson said...

    @Jamie Thomas Thanks so much! I always enjoy the little touches when I'm reading, so I try to put them in where I can in my own writing.
    @Metta H I'm glad you liked it; wanting to know more is a great reaction to a small piece like this!

    • Posted 7 years ago