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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)

TITLE: Rise And Shine
By Joanne Sher


Alex stretched, slamming his hand down on his clock's snooze button. Reaching his other arm toward the middle of the bed, he found Brenda's nightgown, minus its contents, on the pillow beside him.

Rolling onto his stomach, he extended his left leg down off the side of the bed until it touched the floor. Turning his body, he maneuvered himself so both feet were on the ground.

With the least amount of exertion necessary, he rested his hands on the side of the bed and pushed himself up until he was standing upright. He wiped the sleep from his eyes, then begrudgingly turned off the alarm.

Man, do I wish I could just go back to sleep.


Alexandra wiped the sleep from her eyes and turned her head slowly toward the middle of the bed. She let out a quiet sigh of relief, finding Brian beside her, his chest moving rhythmically up and down.

She slid toward the edge of the bed as smoothly as she could, lowering her feet delicately to the floor. She lifted her body slowly from the mattress until she was standing beside it. She smiled: Brian hadn't moved.

She glanced at the clock. He'd be getting up in ten minutes, so she had to get busy.

Alexandra walked out to the kitchen and got the coffee brewing, then crept into the master bathroom, easing the door closed. She brushed her teeth, then grabbed her hairbrush and brushed out her golden tresses, working to remove every tangle. Once she was satisfied, she checked the mirror, and was turning to leave when she heard Brian's alarm.

I hope it won't be one of those mornings.


"Well, there's one item to cross off your to-do list." A lanky blonde in a sundress and sandals approached Alex with a smile, a large mug of coffee in her hand.

"Very funny, Brenda. Hilarious." Alex rolled his eyes, took the mug, and planted a half-hearted kiss about two inches to the right of her mouth.

Brenda moved closer, covering the top of his mug with the palm of her hand.

"Nice try, mister. I'm taking this java back unless I get a real token of your appreciation."

With a devilish smile, Alex put the mug on his dresser, grabbed Brenda by the waist and pulled her close. He brushed her hair from her face and kissed her passionately. Catching her breath, Brenda moved her head back and smiled, raising her eyebrows.


"Hey - where's my coffee?" Brian was sitting up in bed, looking about with a scowl.

"Coming right now, Brian." Alexandra shuffled toward the kitchen. "Was just getting it."

When Alexandra returned, Brian was washing his face in the sink. She placed his coffee on the counter.

"Thanks, Lexie." Brian pecked her on the cheek. "Breakfast almost ready?"

"About ten minutes. OK?"

He sighed. "I guess it'll have to be."


"I'd have brought you a ten-course meal if I'd known you'd be paying me like this." Brenda winked, playing with Alex's hair.

"That was just the appetizer, darling."

Batting her eyes, she backed off a bit. "But you, my dear, need to get moving. Your big meeting is in 45 minutes."

Alex sighed. "You're right, as usual. Rain check?"

"You got it. I'll be here." Brenda plopped down on the bed, watching Alex's every move as he walked toward the bathroom.


Alexandra lowered her eyes and lumbered back to the kitchen, putting a couple pieces of bread in the toaster and starting two eggs frying in the pan. Breakfast was assembled and on the table when Brian entered dressed for work, the morning newspaper in hand.

He sat at his spot and ate in silence, reading through the front section. Alexandra grabbed a glass of juice and sat beside him, glancing his way every minute or so.

"Well, I gotta get to work." Brian put the paper down and headed toward the door. "I'll be home at six - fried chicken on the table when I get home?"

She smiled and nodded.

Brian blew Alexandra a kiss as he walked out the door. "See you later."

Alexandra watched his car pull away, then walked toward the phone.


A familiar ringing disturbed Brenda's concentration on Alex. "I'll get it sweetie."

Brenda rolled over and grabbed the phone.


"Hi, Brenda. It's Alexandra."

"Hey, Sis! How's it going?"

"OK, I guess," Alexandra mumbled. "How about you?"

"Great," Brenda bubbled. "Just great."


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This article has been read 1617 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Cartwright07/12/07
I felt sorry for Alexandra and wished I could tell her to STOP and felt like giving Brian such a smack! But I didn't really "like" or trust Brenda and Alex either: they seemed sort of sleazy! Guess that means you did your job well!
Jacquelyn Horne07/12/07
Enjoyed the comparison of these two sister's lives.
Leigh MacKelvey07/12/07
Confidence can be encouraged if the people around you give it to you! If not, then you lose it completely in some cases. Good job of showing us a confident women and one who has lost hers!
Dee Yoder 07/12/07
The contrast in the lives of these two sisters shows how words and actions can be the source for a spouse to either help grow or wither a mate. Thanks for sharing this story.
Dixie Phillips07/13/07
Wow! I loved the "back and forth" of this piece. God has truly given you a gift.
Benjamin Graber07/13/07
This is a creative way to meet the challenge, which I appreciated. I liked how you contrasted the two stories, and how you showed the confidence that one woman had by the contrast.
Keep up the good work!
Patty Wysong07/14/07
Excellent showing of confidence and the Lack of it! Skillfully woven together. I think Lexie could have a great marriage if she'd act more confidently. ;-)
william price07/15/07
Nice story of contrasting situations. I don't
t think you had enough words to develope this the way you would have liked to. From a male perspective, from the info given, I'm not as sympathetic for the other sister as the other commenters. The "bad" hubby might have his own reasons for his actions. You know us guys have to stick together:)
Anyway the story was very well written. God bless.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/15/07
Your descriptions were so good. I liked good old Brenda's attitude, but I know her sister could have never gotten away with that.
This was a great read.
Sara Harricharan 07/16/07
Neat! I liked the contrast between the two...and the twist of the sisters. I kind of wish there was more to this so I could see what happens next. You kept me reading all the way through. A quick note was the Alex and Alexandra...I almost got confused a few times until I remembered that Alex was the guy and not just short for Alexandra. Just a thought! ^_^
Jan Ackerson 07/17/07
Wonderful job on the parallel structure--this is really food for thought. The only suggestion I'd give is to make the contrast between them even greater--but on the other hand, perhaps you were going for subtle, so I take it back. This is excellent!
dub W07/17/07
Top notch, as it should be.
Loren T. Lowery07/17/07
The way you showed the contrast was superb and the lesson oh so true. Great job.
Sally Hanan07/17/07
At first I thought that this was a Left Behind type of story with the nightie on the bed.:) I think the difficulty with writing this kind of duo is that it's next to impossible to get the kind of meat on it that you need in 750 words. That said, I still enjoyed the comparisons.
Sharlyn Guthrie07/17/07
You used a fresh, creative approach in delivering your message. This is such an excellent example of showing rather than telling. It shines!
Helen Paynter07/17/07
Great contrasts and parallels, but I did find it quite confusing to begin with - had to scroll up and down the first three or four paragraphs a few times to get it. From the remarks above, I'm clearly in a minority of one, so I shouldn't worry!!
I did enjoy the story, once I had it worked out, though.
Julie Ruspoli07/17/07
Very well done. The two different lives are so explained so perfectly.
Linda Watson Owen07/17/07
Great dialogue skill! You had me glued to every word! I enjoyed this novel approach to the topic.
Catrina Bradley 07/17/07
I like reading "different" approaches to a topic, and once again, you've come through for me. The more I digest this piece, the more it becomes clear. The attitude with which we treat our spouse (or we are treated) matters tremendously. Great foray into Level 4!!!!
Trevas Walker07/18/07
Your approach to delivery your message was very unique. I really enjoyed reading this.
Kristen Hester07/18/07
Oh, I really like the contrast and how it was tied together when we learn they are sisters. Very clever. I was confused also with the names. I thought Alex was short for Alexandra. Once I got the names clear, I enjoyed it very much.
Terry R A Eissfeldt 07/18/07
A very real look at a very real example of the differences in lives. Well done
Brenda Welc07/18/07
LOL If alexandra had been named Vicki you would have named all the persons in my family! All kidding aside this story was masterfully written! Great story content.
Maxx .07/18/07
This is a very good read. Loved it! :-) Great characters.
Pat Guy 07/18/07
I think you did a really good job of capturing the sadness of Alexandra's situation which all to familiar to many.

I sense the sadness of this piece, which is a good thing.

A great one to introduce yourself with Joanne! Kudos to ya girl!

Rita Garcia07/18/07
Congratulations Joanne, first time in Master's and your story is Mastercrafted all the way!
Janice Fitzpatrick07/18/07
Wow!Congrats on writing a great piece hon. I really like this. I could relate to both sisters and their situations and the dialogue was convincing.You've earned your way to Masters for a reason Joanne so don't you sell yourself short gf, this is really a good story.I was waiting for more though and wished we had 2,000 words to work with because this was indulging.:0) GREAT JOB! Janice+-
David Butler07/19/07
What a great twist! I thought that the first couple weren't cutting it as well as the second when I started; but then it worked the other way around. Had us fooled.
You really brought the couples to life, which is a sign of a master-writer.
There's a lesson in there somewhere, but I didn't quite grasp it. Was it "How to woo your husband"? or "Be confident!" or none of the above or all of the above?