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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Ding-Dong (05/16/13)

TITLE: Just Walk Away
By Tal Bartelle


While sitting on the upscale restaurant’s outdoor patio, Amanda watched the man cross the street and head directly towards her. She didn’t know the man, just knew his schedule. She’d been tailing him for the past two weeks, and Amanda was both relieved and worried about the conclusion of her assignment. Relieved, because this was the last day, and worried, because the last days always brought her fear of the unknown consequence.

When the man was fifteen feet from Amanda, he stopped, and pressed the key fob he was carrying. Car lights flashed and the horn sang out one bleating note. Once inside and settled into the seatbelt he noticed a woman, to his way of thinking, seductively placing a bite of what he imagined was lemon meringue pie, his favorite, into her waiting mouth. The woman turned away and the man turned over the ignition, and drove away.

It was still light outside when Amanda got back to her office. She called her client and when the phone was eventually answered, a tired sounding female voice said, “You’re check is in the mail. Now, tell me what I just bought.”
“Nadine, are you sure you want to do this, right now? I just wanted to let you know that I’ll messenger over my report tomorrow morning.”
“Ding, please tell me now,” Nadine pleaded softly.
“Alright, but I think he’s on the way to you now. Should be there in maybe five minutes.”
“Then give me the movie trailer version.”
Amanda Ding, breathed in slowly and when her lungs were full of resolve, she said, “You were right. Every night that he works late, he’s not at the office. He’s working with his secretary, the brunette you mentioned. Nadine, I’m sorry.”
“Thank you, I guess,” said the dishonored wife, in a voice filled with shame.

When Amanda Ding got home, she found her fiancé waiting in the living room. After saying hello, she melted into his tender embrace. With a gentle kiss on her cheek, Adam took a knee while holding her right hand. Riveted to her big brown eyes, he smiled and asked in a nervous tone, “Amanda, will you marry me?”
Amanda hesitated. Not by surprise, but from the shadow cast by her client’s imminent divorce.
Catching herself, the bride-to-be said with joy filling her smile, “Of course, darling. Yes. A thousand times. yes.”
Adam, slipped the engagement ring he was holding in is other hand onto her finger and said, “I now pronounce you, Misses Amanda Dong.”

There was another hesitation. Adam spoke first. “Honey, what’s the matter?”
“Oh Adam, I can’t do that. I’m really very sorry, but …I just can’t.”
Still kneeling, he asked “Are you kidding me? You can’t marry me? Really?”
“No, no, darling. Of course I’ll marry you, and I’ll be the best wife ever, just like Pastor described last Sunday. It’s just…”
“It’s just what?” Interrupted the jilted lover.
“It’s just that I can’t take your last name. That’s all. I can’t be Amanda Dong,” she pleaded. I need to keep my own last name.”
“And why is that? Adam asked pitifully.
“Because of my practice, silly. I’ve worked long and hard to build up the ‘DING – Got it Right – Detective Agency’. I’m proud of what I’ve done. People know me by my name. Honey, I’m sorry, but I can’t change it. Besides, the ‘DING-DONG Detective Agency’ won’t inspire a lot of confidence,” Nadine said with a chuckle.”
“Sweetheart, I’m not asking you to change the name of your business, just change your name, to show the world that the two of us, you and me, are now one.”
“Sorry, Adam. I had no idea this would be so hard for you.”
“Well, it is. Learning that your job is more important than our oneness, hurts. You know I would always do whatever it took for you to feel secure, fulfilled and cherished.”
“I know that darling. That’s why I will marry you.”
“It doesn’t sound like it. Putting your career above our marriage doesn’t make me feel cherished, nor does it give me confidence in a lasting future with you. Sorry.”
“Oh, Adam, this whole ‘wives submit’ thing is so out-dated. Let’s just enjoy the love we have for each other, and not make things so complicated.
Adam said with conviction, “You should know, it’s God’s way for me, Nadine.” He kissed her on the check, said good-bye, and then walked out the door and out of her life.

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 05/25/13
This was a interesting tale that really held my attention from start to finish. Good ending, he stuck to his convictions...I enjoyed it. Thank you.

God bless~
Sara Harricharan 05/28/13
How sad. I can see how poor Amanda would have a hard time trying to keep her real life in order, while suffering through some of the slice of life moments like her detective agency. She was definitely right about keeping the name. I felt sorry for her that Adam walked out, but if he was willing to walk out, then it was best that he did just walk away.

Sad ending, but quite realistic and I'm glad the title gave a hint of what was coming. good job! Thanks for sharing!
C D Swanson 06/04/13
I've just looked again at what I wrote...I should have added, "good ending in that in portraying a realistic conclusion" as not all scenarios off the "paper" of the writer's mind necessarily have "happy outcomes." Again, very good tale, good job!

God Bless~