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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ROMANCE genre (04/19/07)

TITLE: The Seventh Year Itch
By Christine Dunn
04/24/07


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“Happy Anniversary!”

Laura sat up in bed, as Leo handed her a large, squishy parcel. Somewhat hesitantly, she began to tear open the shiny paper emblazoned with hearts.

“I’ve been so excited about this!” Leo sat on the edge of the bed. “It was supposed to keep ‘til later, but I just couldn’t wait to see your face!”

Last year it had been a hand-held vacuum which lay beneath the wrappings and ribbon. Worryingly, according to Leo it suited her so well!

Laura held up this year’s offering and again faked a smile.

“Wow. I love it. How did you know this was just what I needed?” She buried her head into his not-so-strong-anymore chest.

“Well, according to anniversary tradition, the gift for the seventh year of marriage involves wool. I hope I got your size right, but I really thought the colour would suit you.”

He was so sweet! Sure enough, the jumper was royal blue, almost the colour of her eyes. It was just all the baubles on the front which worried Laura a little.

“I was kind of hoping you could wear it tonight.” Leo smiled, shyly.

Of course! How could she forget the annual trip?

“I’ve booked ‘our place’ again. Tonight at seven.” Leo winked, proud of his little ‘surprise’.

“I can guarantee that your ‘vision in blue’ will accompany you.” She planted a kiss on his cheek, and climbed out of bed.



********************************

‘Our Place’ was the little student hang-out where Laura and Leo had first met. Back then, Leo was a popular Bible College student who could be spotted in a crowded room, by his thick, auburn hair and infectious laugh. Well, at least he still had that infectious laugh.

“Any idea what you’ll have this time?” Leo asked as he drove slowly.

“Hmm…” Laura pondered. “I’ll wait and see.” She wriggled around awkwardly in the passenger seat, trying to avoid the irritating itch that was creeping all over her skin beneath the fuzzy blue jumper.

“Good old Simonie’s, eh?” Leo laughed. “You can’t beat it. Cheap and cheerful! I might go for the Chicken Maryland again, myself…”

Laura listened half-heartedly to Leo’s vocal indecisiveness. Fighting the major temptation to scratch, she pulled back the sleeve of the blue jumper. She gawped in horror as she studied the bumpy rash now making its way up her arms.

“…now someone once said that they did very good salmon. I think it could have been Doug…”

Leo wondered why his wife was so unresponsive these days. He remembered back to all the nights when they used to sit and talk into the early hours of the morning. Laura even appeared to be uncomfortable with his presence right now. She was just sitting there and…… itching?

“You alright, honey?” He glanced over curiously. The red, raised blotches on Laura’s neck and arms, almost made him swerve.

“I think so.” Laura again forced a smile, hiding the urge to sandpaper every inch of her torso.

“Well I don’t.” Leo looked more alarmed than ever. He knew his wife better than she thought. “That rash is very raised. It looks like an allergic reaction.”

“I’m fine really.” Laura winced. What else could she do except grin and bear it?

Leo thought for some time. It had been such a long time since he had been so quiet.

“I’m taking you to the out of hours surgery.” he finally decided.



**********************


The couple sat in silence in the empty waiting room. Eventually, it was Laura who broke the tense atmosphere, by beginning to giggle.

“If I didn’t laugh, I think I’d cry.” She began to laugh out loud.

Leo started see the funny side as usual. “Well, at least it’s a change of scenery. I hate to admit it, but I was getting so fed up with going to Simonie’s year after year.”

Laura stopped laughing. “Then why on earth have you been inviting me there for the past seven years?”

“Well, I figured it was your favourite place.”

Tears now began to well in Laura’s eyes, as she threw her red-raw arms around the wonderful man she had married.

“Oh, Leo. What would I do without you?” She wouldn’t replace him for the world.

Half an hour, and a bottle of chamomile lotion later, the couple emerged from the surgery arm in arm.

As for the blue jumper, Laura exchanged it for a ‘little black dress’, which she wore to their candlelit dinner at The Ritz the following week.


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This article has been read 740 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/28/07
I enjoyed this romance. You did a very nice take with the seventh year itch! Just goes to show how important communication is in marriage.
Sheri Gordon04/28/07
I loved your 7 yr itch illustration! Very clever, and good writing.
Catrina Bradley 04/28/07
Great lesson on communication! Good writing, and enjoyable read. :)
Mo 04/29/07
I liked the ending!
Julie Arduini04/29/07
This title is just perfect! I really liked this story, good dialogue and realistic communications or lackthereof for those married for a few years. Well done!
Loren T. Lowery04/30/07
As a huband, I can identify with much that is written here. Good job of showing us this side of romance : )
Jacquelyn Horne05/01/07
Cute. And different. Nice loving romance. Good job.
Lynda Schultz 05/01/07
Unique take on the theme and a great lesson as well. Good work.
Jacqueline Zerres05/01/07
This was too cute! Very descriptive. I especially loved - She buried her head into his not-so-strong-anymore chest. and---
Back then, Leo was a popular Bible College student who could be spotted in a crowded room, by his thick, auburn hair and infectious laugh. Well, at least he still had that infectious laugh.
Cheri Hardaway 05/02/07
An endearing story about growing old and "itchy" together. I loved it. Thanks, Cheri
Joanne Sher 05/02/07
Perfect title, and a delightful story to boot! Nice job.
Edy T Johnson 05/11/07
Oh, this is so delightful. Reminds me of my grandparents' relationship and how my grandma burned cookies for years "because your Papa likes them that way," only to discover it had just been his way of drying his new bride's tears when she burned her first batch---Uh! Why didn't I write about them for 'romance' genre?!

Anyway, I came calling to thank you for your comment on my Sparrow story, and I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed your story here---as well as your comment! Thank you, Friend!