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The Next Level
by RuthAnn Cornelson 
09/28/07
Not For Sale
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Tia looked across the table at Bruce, crunching annoyingly on an apple. So typical! Well, she wasn’t going to feel guilty. She took a bite of her sinfully delicious chocolate cake. The sun was setting, streaking the sky with various shades of purple. It was a beautiful evening marred only by what lay between she and Bruce.

Tia watched Bruce sip his grape juice. Purple sky, purple juice, she’d never particularly liked the color, such dark intensity. The color of royalty, kings and queens: the color of power and strength. She needed that now.

It was time to face the issue and either move ahead or end it now. “Listen Bruce, we can’t go on like this. I’ve moved as far as I can. Now you have to decide what you’re going to do, or quit.”

“Tia,” Bruce began, “I want to grow and improve, but I feel like you want to stay on this level. We’re going to stagnate if we don’t move on. Can’t you see that?”

Tia suddenly realized that he was serious. She’d always thought they could work it out, but maybe not. She looked down at the table, debating what to do. “Bruce, I’m just not ready to move ahead. I thought we agreed that we wouldn’t change any rules until we were both ready, and I’m not. I’m not ready to move deeper. I am happy with the way we do things now. Maybe we should end it.”

Bruce took her hands in his. “Tia, you can’t give up so easily. We’re having a disagreement, but we can work it out. A while ago I realized we needed some help and wrote to an expert for advice. I just got this response.” Bruce pulled a letter from his pocket. “Please listen and try to understand where I’m coming from.”

Dear Bruce,
Thanks for your letter. It is an interesting question and one not many people know about. I think the little pamphlet I’ve enclosed will help explain it all.
Good luck

Bruce handed the pamphlet to Tia. It was entitled simply, EN PASSANT. They both looked down at the chess board between them.

“En Passant, one of the most obscure and little known rules of chess,” Tia read. “OK, your right; it is a real rule. I suppose I could try and learn it and move to the next level. I guess sometimes change is good. Oh, go ahead, make the move. It doesn’t affect my strategy at all.” She smiled.

He grinned back and moved his pawn, taking hers. “This is going to be a great game. Thanks Tia. No hard feelings?”

“Yeah, OK,” she studied the board to counter his move. It WAS going to be a great game.

The purple sky had turned a star-studded black; so lovely - chess and stars and chocolate, and Bruce; a perfect night. (478)
_______________________________________________
En passant (from French: "in [the pawn's] passing") is a maneuver in the board game of chess. Such a move is the only occasion in chess in which a piece captures but does not move to the square of the captured piece. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/En_passant

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff  01 Oct 2007
Wow! Perfect in every aspect...story, writing and the twist was excellent. Love it!!
Verna Cole Mitchell  30 Sep 2007
You did it just right, getting all the pieces to fit together nicely--and fooling me in the process. Good job.
Marilyn Schnepp  29 Sep 2007
Loved the twist at the end; however, as an avid Chess Player, I never heard of that phrase...guess I'd better study up on it. (*.*)! Nice job! ...and intriguing to boot!
Laurie Walker 29 Sep 2007
LOVED IT! I never saw chess coming...
Kristen Hester 29 Sep 2007
I was hoping that the twist at the end meant their marriage was not in trouble. I was so happy everything was okay. This was fun. Good job.
Janice Cartwright 29 Sep 2007
Me neither. You got me good. I expected a twist of course, but chess was the furthest thing from my mind.
dub W 28 Sep 2007
Really interesting. Had me till near the end. Pretty good stuff. thanx
Deborah Porter  28 Sep 2007
Well done Ruth Ann! You got everything, and I definitely didn't expect the chess game twist at the end. You handled this mini-challenge wonderfully well. Love, Deb




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