Today is a Promptly Penned day (as if you couldn’t tell by the pretty banner above). Usually, we have a prompt that we have to incorporate into the story, but this is kind of a “Tell this story” kind of thing. My original thought had me literally writing three lines of text and being done with it. But, that’s not who I am as a writer, so I went all in.
The Prompt: Write about the three things he could never tell her.
Ryan and Annie had been together for twelve years, eight of which they’d spent in marital bliss. Well, mostly marital bliss. Every couple had their ups and downs, right? At the end of the day, what mattered most was that they loved each other and they were a team.
Other couples envied the hell out of their ability to communicate with simply a look. Annie’s raised eyebrows when Ryan went to grab another piece of pie at the Mikaelson’s dinner part last week stopped him in his tracks. He’d simply shrugged and said, “Got to watch my cholesterol,” with a pat to the left side of his chest.
Or when Annie’s cheeks flushed red when Ryan shot her a smoldering gaze across the room before bedtime the night before. That particular look had been witnessed by their children, who promptly pretended to gag and ran upstairs to their bedrooms with a shouted, “Good night you gross old people,” over their shoulders.
Certain things didn’t need to be said between them. They just knew.
But there were a few occasions where Ryan felt as though he couldn’t tell Annie what was on his mind, for fear of breaking her heart. Or her issuing a swift kick to his shins.
He hated her pot roast. There, he admitted it. In his mind, in the corner of the bathroom across the house from where she currently stood, spicing up the meat he’d shovel down his gullet and pretend was the best damn thing he’d ever tasted. But in reality, it always tasted a little like shoe leather. From a boot that had been worn on the filthy streets of Rome. In the middle of summer. But she was so goddamn proud of that particular dish, that he ate it with a smile and always asked for seconds. He never cared that he’d end up having to down an entire roll of Tums after–because the smile on Annie’s face when he told her how amazing it was made every second of discomfort worth it.
Their first date had been an accident. It might’ve seemed like a funny story to him so many years later, but he knew deep down, it’d embarrass the hell out of her, and there was no way he’d ever intentionally do that to her. So, Ryan had let her go on believing for twelve years that he’d meant to ask her out, rather than her best friend Miranda. Annie’s face had lit up so beautifully when he asked, he didn’t have the heart to tell her he meant the girl sitting next to her. And the way her entire face bloomed with happiness…well, he’d seen her in a different light that day. And he made it his mission in life to make her smile like that every day, since.
The job she thought he went to every day was a lie. Ryan had first been recruited by the CIA when he’d just graduated college, about a year before he met Annie. Of course, when he signed on to work for The Agency, they’d given him specific instructions never to tell anyone his actual job. Annie thought he went off to some big IT firm where he sat at a desk all day helping people reboot their computers. In actuality…well, he probably shouldn’t have even been thinking about what he did, since she’d always had a way of figuring out when something was bothering him.
Knock, knock, knock.
“Ryan, honey? Are you in there?” Annie’s voice carried through the bathroom door.
He straightened and flushed the empty toilet. “Yeah, baby. Just washing up for dinner. I’ll be out in a minute.”
Water gushed from the tap as he twisted the antique porcelain handle of the faucet. The scent of almonds filled the air as Ryan dutifully washed his hands and prepared to choke down his beloved wife’s pot roast.
Read the other prompts by clicking the links below:
Also, happy birthday to me.