Tag Archives | A.R. Hadley

Tea Leaves by A.R. Hadley

The kettle whistled.
She burned.
Drops of hot tea scalded her shins, ankles and knees after the mug hit the floor, breaking near her bare feet, splintering into fragments, searing her alligator skin. The jagged edges lay in nearly every corner of the tile floor.
The final crack in a day of unending pressure.
She stared down at the mess, every vertebrate in her body frozen, yet tense and rising, her blood hotter and stronger than the spilt peach tea, but her brain muddled — an avalanche of deadlines and bills, emails and chores. Happy was at the end of that list. Happy had been ignored.
Happy had spilled out onto the floor.
She knelt down, cracking a put upon smile, ready to pick up the pieces, to start again, to throw away, to make new, to boil and rise and dunk and stir, ready to sweep and cut and burn.
She refilled the kettle.
Intent on pouring a new mug.
She eyed the chair with the indented cushion.
She would sit, put up her feet and scorch her tongue on the leaves harvested and dried in the sun. She would surrender to the energy evaporating from the chamomile.
And tomorrow would be fresh.
Another day.
With no mistakes.
Isn’t that what all the great characters say?

About the Author: A.R. Hadley

ARHadleyBioA.R. Hadley writes imperfectly perfect sentences by the light of her iPhone.
She loves her husband.
Chocolate.
Her children.
And Cary Grant.
She annoys those darling little children by quoting lines from Back to the Future, but despite her knowledge of eighties and nineties pop culture, she was actually meant to live alongside the lost generation after the Great War and write a mediocre novel while drinking absinthe with Hemingway. Instead, find her sipping sweet tea with extra lemons on her porch as she weaves fictional tales of love and angst amid reality.

A creative writer since elementary school, A.R. all but gave it up after her children were born, devoting herself to the lovely little creatures, forgetting the pleasure and happiness she derived from being imaginative.
No more.
She rediscovered her passion in 2014 and has not stopped since — writing essays, poetry, and fiction. She is currently working on completing several novels as part of a romantic trilogy.

Day or night, words float around inside her mind. She hears dialogue when she awakens from sleep. She is the one who has been awakened. Writing is her oxygen. Cary Grant fans the flames.

Is Vanity Fair? by AR Hadley

laundry

it was a lie
the woman trusted in nothing
or no one
almost
nothing
for herself
the reality wasn’t real
she believed in everything reflected off another
the others lit up her mirror
blinking
satisfaction in their shining
while her own accomplishments
were shrinking
inside
the corners of her mind
or they were never there to begin with
disappearing
with tonight’s dinner
the chicken in the oven
the red potatoes cut and mixed with onions
the brownies done and squared
tasting divine
oozing a chocolate fudge
the fridge full of goodness
but mind you a little disorganized
the lemon scented mop ready to hit the swept floor
breakfast and lunch already served
dishes washed
laundry folded
how much more
how much more
it’s never enough
it’s piddly
another human
could do it with ease
a superwoman
probably
one of those other-worldly neon light blinkers
and not just today
but every day
forever
washing
the dishes
the clothes
the floor
always doing homework
and chores
missing my own sparkling banner
focusing instead on something else
on other women
comparing
always comparing
to the ones on the magazines
the super shiners
their neon signs somehow blinking brighter

a headline grabs my attention
the magazine article reflecting every evil disbelief
I saw in myself
what I was afraid of
everything I thought I lacked
and then
in an instant
I wrongly assume the other woman
the magazine superhero
is more skilled
more adept
more loved
BETTER
she must be better
her species must be far advanced
making leaps and bounds past me
and in that
blink
in that instant
my thoughts suddenly become
focused
on my disappearing accomplishments
the consumed chicken
the clean clothes
the spelling
the fractions
I’m focused on my daily
fading
repertoire
I am doing something
caring for other human beings
still
no cover of Vanity Fair wants to take my picture
I would not sell a magazine
SEX sells magazines
and today it sells past lovers
both male and female
whom the superwoman touts
the forty-five-year-old face looking pristine, practically godly
tall and blonde
cheekbones to die for
and the skill of make-believe held in more esteem than the honor of a king
I like her cheekbones though
sigh…
I like my cheekbones
mine
mine
mine
sharp
like my tongue

It’s the end of the day
I’m going to sleep
my face is soft
free of touch ups
free of rouge
free
my face has lived
is living
and is alive

my daughter cuddles up next to me
touching my fabulous cheekbones
asking
“what are those bumps along your jawline?”
Ha!
I can’t sell a magazine
I don’t want to sell a flipping magazine
and in that blink
in that instant
of magazine cover sexuality, touch ups and blazing career achievements
I. Am. Me.
beautiful
sexual
alive
cleaning
cooking
teaching
writing
pimples on my cheeks
me
do you see me
of course not
I am not on the cover of Vanity Fair Magazine

About the Author: A.R. Hadley

ARHadleyBioA.R. Hadley writes imperfectly perfect sentences by the light of her iPhone.
She loves her husband.
Chocolate.
Her children.
And Cary Grant.
She annoys those darling little children by quoting lines from Back to the Future, but despite her knowledge of eighties and nineties pop culture, she was actually meant to live alongside the lost generation after the Great War and write a mediocre novel while drinking absinthe with Hemingway. Instead, find her sipping sweet tea with extra lemons on her porch as she weaves fictional tales of love and angst amid reality.

A creative writer since elementary school, A.R. all but gave it up after her children were born, devoting herself to the lovely little creatures, forgetting the pleasure and happiness she derived from being imaginative.
No more.
She rediscovered her passion in 2014 and has not stopped since — writing essays, poetry, and fiction. She is currently working on completing several novels as part of a romantic trilogy.

Day or night, words float around inside her mind. She hears dialogue when she awakens from sleep. She is the one who has been awakened. Writing is her oxygen. Cary Grant fans the flames.

Typical Tuesday with A.R. Hadley

TypicalTuesday_RoutinesandRituals

I wake up and make my way to the kitchen and dip my finger into a jar of peanut butter.

No. Wait.

That’s what the sexy character does in the book I’m currently reading on a Tuesday morning before the sun and my kids wake up.

Jesse dunks a finger into the Sun-Pat and licks. It may not sound sexy, but trust me — it is.

The story is part of a trilogy (I’m in book three), and I read him before I exit my bed, when I go to bed at night, and sometimes (shh… don’t tell) I sneak away throughout the day, hoping to find fifteen minutes of quiet space away from other humans, tiny humans, so that I may continue to indulge in my own jar of peanut butter — books.

They are yummy.

I am lucky.

Every day is like Tuesday.

I spend each day with books, a notepad, my husband and my two kids.

notebookandcomputer

Tuesday could be filled with a homeschool group game of friendly kickball or doctor appointments or walking by the river, and they are always filled with math problems and hugs, breakfast and pencil sharpeners.

In the late afternoon I fold five baskets of wrinkled laundry as Turner Classic Movies blares a black and white. I laugh at Spencer Tracy.

His presence looms large, forcing me to acknowledge things I have numbed or forgotten.

It’s on the screen — life — and it’s in the spaces between the dialogue. It’s on the faces and foreheads and lips of the actors. It’s in Tracy’s eyes and frown lines.

It cannot be ignored.

Maybe I’ll cook an actual meat and potato dinner or I’ll buy tacos, and at bed time there will be a struggle and a snuggle.

Mom and dad win. Eventually.

The kids are in bed. I’m writing this essay. My eyes are heavy. I tap away on my iPhone. I wonder if anyone can relate to my words or thoughts, the endless spin cycle my brain functions on. I wonder who might be out there, in the universe, listening to my silent key pounding.

iphonewriting

My husband snores.

I can’t shut off my working mind. I’ll go to sleep soon. Maybe I’ll read about my peanut butter dipping Lord or I’ll dream up my own fictional character. It works, you know — dreaming. It leads to all kinds of possibilities and rainbows and friends and amazing, amazing things.

About the Author: A.R. Hadley

ARHadleyBioA.R. Hadley writes imperfectly perfect sentences by the light of her iPhone.
She loves her husband.
Chocolate.
Her children.
And Cary Grant.
She annoys those darling little children by quoting lines from Back to the Future, but despite her knowledge of eighties and nineties pop culture, she was actually meant to live alongside the lost generation after the Great War and write a mediocre novel while drinking absinthe with Hemingway. Instead, find her sipping sweet tea with extra lemons on her porch as she weaves fictional tales of love and angst amid reality.

A creative writer since elementary school, A.R. all but gave it up after her children were born, devoting herself to the lovely little creatures, forgetting the pleasure and happiness she derived from being imaginative.
No more.
She rediscovered her passion in 2014 and has not stopped since — writing essays, poetry, and fiction. She is currently working on completing several novels as part of a romantic trilogy.

Day or night, words float around inside her mind. She hears dialogue when she awakens from sleep. She is the one who has been awakened. Writing is her oxygen. Cary Grant fans the flames.

Uncoiled Spring by A.R. Hadley

“Colt!”

He huffed and waited ’cause she was always yellin’.

Screamin.

He stood behind a tree, barely peeking around the thick trunk, a new friend cupped in his palms, watching her. Rust colored smudges soiled her petticoat. She looked older, worn, probably ’cause they were leavin’ and probably ’cause she was always yellin’ and screamin’.

“We’ll make it, Earl,” he whispered into his prayer shaped hands.

waggon-wheels-336528_1280His mother turned and faced the other direction. She spit into the eerie orange dirt. “Colt!”

He ran up behind her in an instant. Without sound. “What?” He kept the toad a secret.

“Boy, you scared me. Don’t do that again. Do you have everything ready? In the carriage?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he replied, eyeing the old, broken down contraption, their only means of transportation, and yet, she seemed certain they could ride out of town in it.

The toad’s skin grated like sandpaper against Colt’s damp palms. He liked it though. He could feel the creature’s throat beating, tickling.

He felt life.

Always had.

The same life scurried through the dirt underneath his bare feet, and the dirt meant home. His home, on the wide open land … as far as the eye could see.

“I don’t wanna go.”

“Colt, we’ve been over this.” She sighed and adjusted his plaid collar, straightening him out. There. “You know we halfta go.” She knelt and placed her hands over his fists, unaware of the toad and seemingly oblivious to her son’s introspection. “You are the man of the house now.”

“No I’m not.”

“Yes, you are. I’ve told you—”

“—No. Pa is. What about him?” he asked, looking at his grandfather out of the corner of his eye.

Pa McMillan busied himself at the wagon, pulling the frayed rope over the breadth of their load. Colt grimaced, aware of the friction the twisted cable created in between the weathered skin of the old man’s hands.

The wind blew his grandfather’s thin, white hair, and it carried the golden dirt across Pa’s boots and across the plains. The dirt covered everything, leaving nothing untouched, and then it would vanish without a trace.

Poof.

Like Earl, Colt’s dad — not the toad. The toad remained safe inside the nine-year-old boy’s grasp. He wouldn’t let him go. Colt had befriended many an old Oklahoma creature, and they all had been named Earl. The four letters kept his father alive, reminding him. Mother chose to forget. To leave.

“Pa is my father.” She corrected him. “He’s not the man of our house. That’s you, Colt. Now, where is your sister?” She tilted her head up and looked about the prairie as she licked her thumb, and then she turned her attention again to her son, wiping a smidgen of clay from his dimpled cheeks.

“Stop it, Mommy,” he said, wincing, turning his face.

“Emma Jean,” she cried. Always Emma Jean, never Emma. “Go find her. Go on.” She waved him off. He blinked up at her. She stood, a statue, her gown marrying itself to the dirt.

“Go on, boy.”

Colt ambled away, strutting like his father, that’s what Pa always told him anyway. “Boy, you’re slow and thinking, just like you’re papa.” He must’ve heard it a million times.

Colt pulled his thumb back slightly, revealing an opening about the size of a dime. He peered down into the cavern of rocky-mountains-593156_1280his fists, and then he stroked Earl above his eyes, consoling his pet, assuring the brown-spotted confidant they would make it. Oh, the ride would be long alright, through uncharted territory.

Over mountains.

Tall mountains.

Scary mountains.

Colt had heard stories about them parts. He knew only one safe passageway existed through those Rocky Mountains, and people had died doing it another way, the wrong way, and for all Colt knew — his father had been one of the wrongs.

“There, there, Earl, don’t cry,” he whispered, stroking the amphibian’s skin. “We’ll be safe. We’ll make it alright.”

“Who in the devil are you talkin’ to?” Emma Jean appeared next to her brother, holding a rifle. The skirt of her pale pink dress was filthy.

“Nobody.” Colt closed his fists tightly and shifted his eyes, squinting as he turned toward the sun, toward the carriage, toward his new life and away from the old. The old house, the old path and the old dirt.

“Come on, kids,” Pa called, interrupting. “Get in. Your mother’s ready.”

“Aww, Pa, I was just shootin’ at some bunnies. I was gettin’ ready to go back for more,” Emma Jean said, stepping into the carriage.

“There’ll be plenty of time for shootin’ later,” her grandfather said, taking the gun and helping to hold her weight steady with the palm of his well-weathered hand.

“I can get in by myself.” Colt nodded.

Pa McMillan winked a reply, and then he took his place up front with the horses, next to his daughter.

“Scoot over, Em, you’re hoggin’ the whole seat.” Colt shoved his weight against his sister.

Emma Jean snorted and smirked. “Oh, I wish I’d seen some hogs.” She gripped the side of the carriage and peered across the plain, licking her upper lip.

“All you ever think about is killin’.”

“No, I think about boys too.”

“That’s gross.”

“I bet there will be some boys over on the other side of those mountains. I’m gonna teach ‘em how to shoot.”

The wagon began to move, startling the siblings. Emma Jean sat back and folded her hands on her lap like a lady; the black underneath her fingernails said otherwise.

Colt leaned over the edge, watching the wheels turn. They continued to spin inside his pupils, reflecting the road he hoped to remember, reflecting his whole life.

All he ever knew.

littlefrog1He moved his thumb a sliver and spoke in a whisper: “It’s okay, Earl. Shh. It’s okay.”

“What is that?” Emma Jean’s eyes spread like the wings of an eagle. She scooted closer. “Let me see.”

“No! Get away.” Colt gave her his shoulder. He leaned farther over the edge and opened his palm, releasing Earl in an instant.

Hop. Hop. Hop. Free. Free. Free.

“Go, Earl, go, please,” he whispered. He didn’t know how it was possible, but he longed for the little toad’s company as much as he wanted to see him set free.

Colt gripped the door, extended his neck and stared at Earl, until he was merely a speck, a dot, a piece of the orange dirt, shrinking and shrinking, a mirage — the toad, his house, the prairie, the place his father could find them when he returned.

Everything. Gone. In a blink.

About the Author: A.R. Hadley

ARHadleyBioA.R. Hadley has been a creative writer since elementary school, however, she all but gave it up after her children were born, devoting herself to the lovely little creatures, forgetting the pleasure and happiness derived from being imaginative.

No more.

She rediscovered her passion in 2014, and has not stopped since — writing essays, poetry, and fiction. A.R is currently working on a set of novels as part of a romantic trilogy, and also dabbles in penning short stories.

Day or night, words float around inside her brain. She hears dialogue when awakening from sleep. She is the one who has been awakened. Writing is her oxygen.

Connect on Twitter and Facebook.

The Door to Somewhere Leads to Me by A.R. Hadley

GOD pic

I made choices, lots of choices, but it was the dream that was random. I’m talking about a real, actual, sleeping-in-my-bed-goodnight-world, dream. Many things led me to here, right now, point A to point B, but the dream was the beginning, the turning point; and what followed, caused me to splinter into several pieces.

Splinter. Crack. Splice.

As I gathered up the shavings, starting that fateful summer, several doors began to open, doors I thought I had sealed off with cement long ago. Wrong. They opened, unravelling me. The most disconcerting and significant door, the one with the words — WRITER — emblazed across it, opened wide and shined a hard-to-miss spotlight on the path leading me back to me.

Sometimes I wonder, if I hadn’t had that particular dream, would I still have decided to write again? Would I have found me? God, I hope so, but it would not have been the same. It could not have been the same.

The unreasonableness of it all became the reason.

In 2014, a man I never met became my muse. I began writing my novel with the familiar stranger as my muse, and he was a man I did not choose — not consciously. I woke up one morning, knowing the man had been a part of my early morning dream. That dream. The random, unraveling, splintering dream. I recognized the man even though he was a hazy outline, as people often are in slumber-land.

Not clear, but clear. Him. An actor.

I only knew of him as an actor anyway, but that was all about to change. Everything about my life was about to change. The dream was a dream I cannot even recall today, but he was a part of it, and I built on whatever wild emotions I felt that morning, imagining an amazing story inside my head. I told the story to myself over and over without even realizing it was a story, without even realizing I had the makings of a book, and I continued to embellish upon that story inside my head for months, utilizing the outward appearance of the familiar man. He helped my character to come alive, and in the process, I came alive.

The beginning of the splintering, the day everything really changed, was the day the story burst from my heart and bled onto the page. A digital page. I opened the notepad on my iPhone and wrote. Finger-typed. I couldn’t stop writing, and I wondered why I had ever stopped.

I knew why.

I had always written, but I wasn’t a writer. Who me? Not me. Published clips, yes. Poetry, check. Essays, yes. A writer? No, no, no. And so, one day, a long time ago, I stopped. Fifteen some odd years ago:

I. Stopped. Writing.

I had two kids. I stopped. I wrote about the kids in a journal, but I stopped pursuing writing with a passion — my passion. I gave up, and deep down I knew the reason.

Fear.

It’s ugly little head held me back. Fear ruled.

It became the easy route.

The familiar.

I was raised with fear, told as a child I had to worry, over-worry, unhealthy worry, about someone wanting to kidnap me and take me away from my family, taught to fear the end of the world was near, always on the brink, led by example to fear people were judging me, and it turns out some people were judging me and are judging me. And ultimately, when I began my novel(s), I feared my good girl Christian conscience wouldn’t allow me to write. It wouldn’t allow me to take time away from my family, to do something selfishly.

Just. For. Me.

I initially held back because the story had to be told completely, in every way the characters dictated to me that I write, (awful little buggers.) I had to use language and actions I may not personally choose to do or speak, things others may find offensive. I had to speak the truth of those imaginary beings, and in the process, I spoke my own truth.

I discovered the me I had forgotten.

Fear gradually began to fall away. Scales dropped from my eyes. I began to write the scenes and people I saw in my mind, including the image of the man from my dream.

Free.

I spent the summer of 2014 writing and crying and heaving and sighing. I struggled. It wasn’t easy. It was difficult because I feared judgment, not just the normal judgment that comes with the territory of being a writer, but I was afraid because the very words I had to write, the story I had to tell, would entertain ideas and actions I had been taught to shame. I wrote about love and heartache and sex. Gasp! I wrote about sex. My body literally trembled as I typed on many occasions. I cried and cried. I sobbed. I released. I set the girl free who was imprisoned inside of me.

I became me.

And that man, my muse, he is real and alive. He is his own man, with his own life, and unbeknownst to him, he is part of my journey. He is a part of the splintering and the healing. I Googled him that summer, curious to see what he was up to, where he had been. I hadn’t seen him in a movie since I couldn’t remember when. I secretly hoped he would disappoint me, but instead he intrigued me. I learned he is a writer and an artist and a unique human being. He wasn’t at all what I expected. Nevertheless, my subconscious believed something about him I had seen on the movie screen, after all it chose him for a dream. Silly. Crazy. Nuts. Maybe. But still, he was solidified in there, in my mind, waiting. Ha, ha. Poor guy.

Well, in discovering parts of that man he chooses to share, parts perhaps hidden from his characters on the big screen, I continued to discover me. I was inspired. I am inspired by his faith. The man is a Christian, sticking to his beliefs even when it’s unpopular to do so, when it’s frowned upon, and even when he is teased or ridiculed. I am inspired by the art he creates and shares with his fans. The art touched my heart.

The man, his faith and his art reminded me we are all connected.

I believe we are all connected on this planet, and the comfort his art provided came into my life at just the right time. I connected to the vibes and the colors and the emotion with which he painted. I connected to the courage I felt he must possess, sharing his creativity with strangers. It inspired me to stop being afraid to share my own creativity.

Hey there lady, yeah you, YOU have value too. Me.

I do have value. I do, and still, it took me months to get to that place. Months of writing. Months of crying. Months of my husband holding my hand and telling me I wasn’t crazy, telling me everything happens for a reason.

A reason.

I need to write.

I need to share.

The random beginning was because of a dream, but the writing was finally a choice, a decision.

It could no longer be hidden beneath my forgotten.

I’m excited. I finally, at the time of writing this essay, ordered my very own piece of art the mysterious writer, actor, father, artist created, and I’m waiting for it to come in the mail. I’m excited! Each day, my first set of novels, a romantic trilogy, are on their way to being finished. I’m writing essays again, sharing my crazy, blasted feelings.

I’m writing.

That is what is amazing. That is the life … altering … decision. I am writing. If you had asked me years ago if I was a writer, I would have said no, even though I was always a writer. I know, I said it before, but it bears repeating:

I would have said no.

Today, I continue to work on owning the title — WRITER. I work on owning myself. Who I am, what I have to say, who I have to be. I work on it every day. And when I finally receive that piece of art, yay! (I have it now) in the mail, I will own it. I will take a picture of myself and my two children (we did!) surrounding it. Our faces will peek out beside the word GOD, beside the turquoise speckles, and I will send that photo (Lordy, I did) to Val Kilmer with a smile. He may never know all that it means, but I hope he smiles too. That is connection. That is our planets endless, circling energy — vibrating and healing and inspiring.

Life changing? Yeah! I’ll never be the same, but I am the same, only different.

Changed.

Open.

Free.

I rediscovered me.

About the Author: A.R. Hadley

ARHadleyBioA.R. Hadley has been a creative writer since elementary school, however, she all but gave it up after her children were born, devoting herself to the lovely little creatures, forgetting the pleasure and happiness derived from being imaginative.

No more.

She rediscovered her passion in 2014, and has not stopped since — writing essays, poetry, and fiction. A.R is currently working on a set of novels as part of a romantic trilogy, and also dabbles in penning short stories.

Day or night, words float around inside her brain. She hears dialogue when awakening from sleep. She is the one who has been awakened. Writing is her oxygen.

Connect on Twitter and Facebook.

Tinderbox by A.R. Hadley

suitedman1

He stood at the lectern, dressed to the nines.

Who does this guy think he is … Matthew Soren PhD?

“Fundamentally, faith in a higher power, a creator, is rooted in deceit. I will walk you through what led me to this belief. Because you see, I was not always an atheist…”

His words belie his stellar suit. More like a suit of armor. What are you protecting yourself from, Mr. Soren? 

When his speech ended twenty minutes later, the room burst into applause. I looked at the pacified crowd of college students. I watched them disperse and waited until they finished congratulating the handsome man.

Handsome?

I went right up to the knight in his armor, ready to put a chink in it. “What convinces you that you are right?”

“Excuse me?” He turned. His blue eyes traced the contours of my face.

Jesus Christ. 

I snickered. Out loud. Because after all, he didn’t believe in Jesus Christ.

“Are you a student here?”

“No.” Do I look that young? You look naïve. And you are still laughing. Like. A. School. Girl. Hush. 

“Um, excuse me.” I straightened my jacket and my face. “I said, what convinces you that you are right?”

He continued examining me with a subtle sensual scrutiny. “Did you listen to my speech, Miss…?”

“Ms. Carmichael.” I extended my hand, and as we touched, the hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention. Military attention. “And, yes, I did listen. I took notes.”

Arching an eyebrow, he smirked.

“I heard you were lecturing. I wanted to hear your speech. I teach literature, but I’m also a minister.” Ah, there’s the pity, over his face like a wet blanket. 

“If you took notes, you should know I already answered that question in—”

“—in your speech.” I finished his sentence. I can play this game. “You don’t do personal interviews then?” I peered at him, pretending he didn’t intimidate me. But he did. Unexpectedly so. It was his eyes. Blue like my favorite pair of jeans. Confident and blue. A perfect complement to his jet black hair.

I want to slide my fingers through it and… Stop it!  

“How personal do you mean?”

Argh! He didn’t miss a beat and the inflection in his voice only meant one thing. He caught me ogling. Those denim eyes studied every inch of my body with the precision of a stealth flier. “Mr. Soren…”

“It’s Matt.”

“Matthew, I would really like to ask you some questions.”

“To disprove my beliefs?”

“Your theories.”

“Beliefs, Ms. Carmichael.”

“It’s Tracey.”

“Would you like to prove me wrong over coffee, Tracey?”

Smooth, Matthew.

No wonder he convinces students to abandon any shred of spiritual curiosity. “Have you ever studied the cell, Mr. Soren?”

He smiled and cleared his throat. “Do you think there is a Christian argument I am not familiar with, Ms. Carmichael?”

“I’m not arguing.”

“Indeed. What is your motivation then?”

“The cell has…” He interrupted the start of my sermon merely by standing taller, if possible, because he already had a good six inches over me, and I wore heels, but nevertheless, he stood taller and he inched forward. His smile spread, and that obnoxious grin coupled with the yummy smell of him, probably Temptation or Obsession or some other aptly named cologne, all of him, rendered me practically speechless. I. am. Never. Speechless.

“Have coffee with me.” He brushed my bangs away from my eyes. “I’m not asking.”

Ahem. Neck hair. Prickle. Tickle. “What is your motivation?” Was that my voice? A mousy squeak?

“To kiss you.”

“To kiss me?” I fumbled. The entire length of a football field.

“Yes. Would you like me to demonstrate my motivation, here?” He looked around. “In the classroom?”

I recovered. “The brain—” Almost.

“What?” He laughed.

The brain. You have one. Speak.

“In the time it took for you to look at me like that—”

“Like what?” He managed to press closer to me. Space didn’t exist between us.

None.

“In the time it took for you to look at me, to suggest kissing me, to step forward, not to mention the blood that’s probably rushing to your lower extremities, not to mention the fact that you are continuously breathing.” He cupped the nape of my neck. “And that…” I stammered. “…all of it — a million little synapses are occurring in your brain. Right now. Instantly. Doing things you don’t even have to think about. You just do—”

His lips fell against mine.

You just do. You just do. You just do. 

I opened my mouth. His tongue slipped in, swirling, tasting and silencing me. Synapses on fire.

Brain… No. No thinking. Think. Think. Think.

I pulled away. Dizzy. Discombobulated.

Why is he having such an effect on me? An atheist. Jesus. That’s right, Tracey, only Jesus can save you from the sin of wanting to bed an…

He took my hand. “There’s a great little cafe on 8th.” He jingled the keys in his pocket. “I’ll meet you there.”

“You brought your car?”

“Yes.”

“And it was made at a factory, by hardworking men and women, as well as the parts?”

“Yes.”

“And have you met them, those people?”

“No.”

He knows I’m baiting him. He’s allowing it. Because he wants to silence me with his prowess. “Then your car, it must have come about by chance. No one created it, correct?”

The handsome devil smiled and shook his head. “Oh, we will have fun together.”

My face flushed. The last time I turned the color of a rose bush I was probably fifteen, with a crush.

This is insane.

“Fun?” I tilted my flaming red head to the side.

“You can spend all night trying to convince me.” His irises’ danced, wining and dining me. “I am very motivated.”

The suit and the promise of what was underneath of it left me out of my mind.

My brain.

I’m a goner. He put a chink in my armor. Lord help me. Save me. Forgive me of my sins. 

“All night, huh?” I grinned.

I’ll have you calling out the Lords name, Mr. Atheist Matthew Soren PhD, before the night is over. 

About the Author: A.R. Hadley

ARHadleyBioA.R. Hadley has been a creative writer since elementary school, however, she all but gave it up after her children were born, devoting herself to the lovely little creatures, forgetting the pleasure and happiness derived from being imaginative.

No more.

She rediscovered her passion in 2014, and has not stopped since — writing essays, poetry, and fiction. A.R is currently working on a set of novels as part of a romantic trilogy, and also dabbles in penning short stories.

Day or night, words float around inside her brain. She hears dialogue when awakening from sleep. She is the one who has been awakened. Writing is her oxygen.

Connect on Twitter and Facebook.

Powerful Weakness by A.R. Hadley

Silently asking
Reaching
Cheerleader from afar
Spurring me on
womanshandaboveheadWith your constant presence

No one inside my head to push
Enough just to listen
Can you hear the tick
Tick
Tick
Tick
Inside my head
In my insides

The pressure
The explosion
The need
Can you validate me
Can you make it real
Is anything real
What is real
The close kind of love is real
The kind that smothers
Infiltrates
Suffocates
The kind that doesn’t leave you to die

Giving without knowing
My place is easier because of it
My stance is solid
Even when I’m weak

Take it from me
Give it back
I’m strong
I’m strong
I’m weak

Connection has the power
To feed
To give
To unite
To strengthen

May the days that I’m stronger be more than when I am weak
Ah
But I am stronger
on the days
I’m weakest
Meekest
And open

About the Author: A.R. Hadley

ARHadleyBioA.R. Hadley has been a creative writer since elementary school, however, she all but gave it up after her children were born, devoting herself to the lovely little creatures, forgetting the pleasure and happiness derived from being imaginative.

No more.

She rediscovered her passion in 2014, and has not stopped since — writing essays, poetry, and fiction. A.R is currently working on a set of novels as part of a romantic trilogy, and also dabbles in penning short stories.

Day or night, words float around inside her brain. She hears dialogue when awakening from sleep. She is the one who has been awakened. Writing is her oxygen.

Connect on Twitter and Facebook.

Chasing the Charade by A.R. Hadley

“Are you ready yet?” He walked into the hotel bathroom, never looking better in his monkey suit, and stood near the sink.

tuxedoone“Tell me again why we had to share this room?” She held the curling iron to her head. “Couldn’t you have booked a suite with a separate bedroom?”

“We’ve been over this.”

“I know.” She sighed. “I just don’t understand your family sometimes.”

“We have separate beds.”

“Thank God.”

“You know my mother would die if she knew the truth, Casey.”

Lies. Of course. What does he know about truth?

“You have to tell her sometime.”

“Not today.”

“I should’ve … you should’ve said I was ill. There’s no reason for this … this charade.”

“My mother loves you.”

He had to go there.

Silently, she stared into the glass. Into his eyes. Her lips a hard pressed line, but her eyes soft and full of the love she tried to deny. She was unable to hide it though. She loved his mother. He knew that. And she loved him. Casey had wanted to keep the latter veiled, but it was too late. He saw her love — all of it, shining off the brown of her irises. The months long separation hadn’t changed the love she felt for him. It had not even cooled. Her love for him was hotter than the iron. The iron.

Shit!

A mist ascended her scalp like incense. His attention diverted to it. He grinned.

She unraveled the contraption. “Funny. Right. I’ll fry my hair. Just what I need tonight.” The steamed hair coiled and bounced.

His smile turned into a lure at the end of a line. “I remember this dress.” He touched her sangria colored gown.

With both of his palms on her hips, she couldn’t help but glance down. She stared at his fingers, her eyes like crazy glue, unable to shift, but her mind still sharp as a tack; aware that if they had stayed together he probably would have never remembered the dress he fondled, and maybe he would have never coveted her again — in the dress or ever. Now the old dress, the decoration in her closet, their closet, the closet they shared for years, was a symbol, gathering a static dust like their relationship.

“Yeah?” she replied, voice cracking.

“Yeah,” he said, holding her hips secure while peering into her eyes in the mirror.

She tilted her head down. He waited for her attention, but her gaze would not return, and so he released her and turned to walk away.

“Where, Mark?” She looked up with a start and caught the back of his head in the glass. “Where did I wear the dress?”

“At the anniversary party … their fiftieth.” He drew near and stood at her profile. “God, you know you haven’t womanatvanity_istockphotochanged? You’re still the—”

“I’ve changed.”

“You don’t love me anymore?” His voice was tender in all the right ways, his touch impossible to resist. She leaned into it as he stroked her chestnut curls.

“Mark,” she said, shaking her head. “Love isn’t always enough.”

“What is?” he whispered.

“We will be late.” She pulled away.

“They can wait.” He gripped her waist again.

“You are part of the wedding—”

“I’m part of you,” he said. “You can’t take the me out of you.”

“You took it.” Her thighs began to tremble. “You … you took it.”

“Tonight,” he said, his voice a balm, “tonight … I don’t want this to be a charade.”

Casey tilted her face away and pressed her palms onto the counter. Her eyes filled with tears.

“Don’t pretend you love me, C.J.” He searched her shimmering eyes. “Love me … be with me.”

“I am with you,” she said, twisting her head toward him in a flash, eyes wide, avoiding his implication. “I’m staying here, aren’t I? I agreed.”

Mark reached up and touched his wife’s cheek, stroking it. His fingers were behind her neck and tangled in her hair.

“Be … with … me.” He continued to gaze into her eyes. “I want you.”

Casey momentarily couldn’t speak. No man had touched her since Mark had moved out, and he hadn’t even touched her in the months leading up to the departure. Now his hands and breath were on her skin, and she was melting. Melting. Damn him. He could be so charming when he wanted to. Manipulative even. Everything was always about the chase though, the charm and the chase, and now he was chasing her.

Am I the other woman now?

It was nauseatingly fun for a moment, and then the moment would be gone, and yet there was still something.

There was something to his proposition of sex.

It would be just sex, wouldn’t it?

They weren’t divorced, but they clearly weren’t together. In name only. For the sake of the family. Mark’s pursuit was interfering with whatever life he had begun without her, and he was coming between the contentment she found in being alone, discovering herself again — herself apart from him. But … she was alone, she did have needs, and he could meet them comfortably. She had been unable to bring herself to be with a stranger, and she didn’t want to date. God. Date. It was too soon. And maybe it was too soon for this absent minded sexual reconciliation. It would be a one night stand.

Yes, a one night stand … unless … unless he could somehow manage to screw that up too.

There was still the ceremony and the reception to attend. He had hours to screw up, and then they might have hours to screw — each other, and their lives into a twisted bunch of irrecoverable knots. Nevertheless, the arrangement was sealed when she agreed to the whole cockamamie scheme, attending the wedding of his sister, sharing a hotel room — sealed when she said her own I do. She knew now that Mark would never truly be gone or over.

He is Mark.

He was her Marky-Mark-Mark. Somehow he would forever hold a little piece of her heart the way he held her now against the counter — hands demanding her attention, green eyes admiring her the way no one else did, making her forget every lie, fight and malice in their marriage that brought them to the moment they existed in now. No. For once in her life she wanted the moment to be the moment. No past. No future. No next minute, day or hour. No consequence. Fuck consequence. She tilted her head toward him, speaking all of the lonely and necessity without saying a thing. She stared into his eyes and parted her lips.

About the Author: A.R. Hadley

ARHadleyBioA.R. Hadley has been a creative writer since elementary school, however, she all but gave it up after her children were born, devoting herself to the lovely little creatures, forgetting the pleasure and happiness derived from being imaginative.

No more.

She rediscovered her passion in 2014, and has not stopped since — writing essays, poetry, and fiction. A.R is currently working on a set of novels as part of a romantic trilogy, and also dabbles in penning short stories.

Day or night, words float around inside her brain. She hears dialogue when awakening from sleep. She is the one who has been awakened. Writing is her oxygen.

Connect on Twitter and Facebook.

Jump Dive Leap by A.R. Hadley

Clouds forming all around me
Afraid to be myself
Afraid to write
Want to take flight

JumpLeapDiveWriteInto the unknown
Deep
Where no one can find me
Can I find me
Can I see myself there
In obscurity
Is what I have worth sharing

Myself
Losing the ability to trust that mirror

Forming words out of fear
Contemplating
Is it good enough
Reminding myself
That it is for me
To live
To breathe
To tell
To testify
To be alive
It is for the positivity
It is for the energy
It can only be truly seen
By those with an open heart
By those free
By those unafraid
By those willing to leap

About the Author: A.R. Hadley

ARHadleyBioA.R. Hadley has been a creative writer since elementary school, however, she all but gave it up after her children were born, devoting herself to the lovely little creatures, forgetting the pleasure and happiness derived from being imaginative.

No more.

She rediscovered her passion in 2014, and has not stopped since — writing essays, poetry, and fiction. A.R is currently working on a set of novels as part of a romantic trilogy, and also dabbles in penning short stories.

Day or night, words float around inside her brain. She hears dialogue when awakening from sleep. She is the one who has been awakened. Writing is her oxygen.

Connect on Twitter and Facebook.

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