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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: Dark Chocolate
By Linda Boulanger


She sat staring at the window, watching the rain cascading down the pane in patterned sheets. Awesomely mesmerizing, she thought. Kind of like her, many would have said. At 34, Tamra Collins was still stunning, breathtakingly so. She worked hard to remain that way. She always ate right, exercised, and purchased all the latest and greatest in healthcare products.

Almost always…she smiled as her slender fingers worked to dislodge another chocolate from its crinkly paper captor. Dark chocolate…how many could she eat before they were no longer good for her? Dark chocolate was God’s gift to conscientious women; a little piece of heaven in firm brown packaging that melted into soft, soothing pools of lush creamy liquid on the tongue.

Again she smiled and the last of the hard façade dissolved, leaving the beautiful face awash with a soft serenity. She looked around the room. She loved it here. The bed was always too soft, the pillows too hard…there was no TV, no exercise facility, and it usually rained the entire week of her visit. Yet when she returned home she would feel as if she had stayed at the finest hotel with the best of spas; a refreshing week….alone.

Almost alone…she went to stand before the single bag that was already positioned atop the wooden bench that allowed her easy access inside the makeshift traveling wardrobe closet. She ran her hand across the soft outer cover until it fell across the hard spot that had been its target. She unzipped the bag and removed her Bible, her ticket to a week alone…with God. This year her week of prayer and seeking was to be focused on the future. God had blessed her in life. She’d always put Him first and sought Him on all matters. For that she had been greatly rewarded. But lately she had felt a new longing for….well, love. Up until now her career, her friends, and her cat had been enough. Yet suddenly she yearned for strong arms to pull her into a soft embrace; minds that exchanged as hearts melded and lives meshed into one. At her age and as set as she was in her life, it would have to be a God thing and she quickly said as much to her dear Friend.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door. Dark brows furrowed above blue eyes. She pushed her unruly blonde curls back as she crossed the floor to see who had dared to disturb her time with God. The hard mask was firmly reinstalled.

“Yes!” She opened the door with an impatient jerk. Her breath caught at the sight of the handsome man who stood on the other side.

“Sorry to bother you but I’ve just checked in for my weekly pilgrimage to reconnect with an old Friend. I usually go to Enid but felt led here this year. Not sure why. The owner thought perhaps you might be willing to show me a good place for a bite to eat…”

She looked him over. He was exactly the opposite of her in every way. His hair was dark, features handsomely defined though not elegantly chiseled as were hers. The corners of his mouth and eyes showed tiny tell-tale lines of ever-present laughter. Those eyes…brown pools of soft, delicious….dark chocolate.

“I’d love to. Let me get my wrap.” She returned her Bible to the top of her suitcase, patting it. A loving smile played on her lips. “You work fast, my Friend!” she whispered. Glancing out the window she noticed the rain had stopped. It would not be the week she was used to. She looked to the box on the tabletop; dark chocolate…God’s gift. She thought of his eyes and smiled.

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This article has been read 594 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Pat Sipperly04/30/09
Good descriptions! Was she staying at a retreat center? Where's the address to this place?
stephanie erickson05/02/09
Love the chocolate connection. Was a bit confused as to why the handsome stranger knocked on her door.
Carolyn Summerset05/07/09
There seems to be a disconnect from the openning paragraph with the rest of the story.
Mona Purvis05/07/09
This story is yummy. Loved how she was ready for God's answer. Why spend time with Him if you don't respond, right? Good story.
Deborah Porter 05/07/09
Hi Linda. I just wanted to leave a quick note to congratulate you on your 2nd place win in Level 1, and to let you know you also did extremely well overall, ranking 40th out of all the entries for the week. That's very good for a Level 1 entrant.

It was a big week of entries, so you really deserve an extra pat on the back.

If you would like to see the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards.
Again, well done. :-)

Hope to see you at the FaithWriters' Conference in August.

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Myrna Noyes05/08/09
Charla Diehl 05/08/09
My curious side kept asking, Where exactly is your MC--at a Christian retreat center, a B & B she goes to each year for spiritual renewal, or ??? The opening paragraph could have included that bit of info.
Liked the story and the connection to chocolate--which made this a sweet entry. Congrats on your EC placement.