Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Truth or Dare (08/28/08)
TITLE: Chocolate Messages
By Marita Thelander
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“Come on, Becca,” Julie playfully pounded on the door.
Rebecca wrapped the plush hotel towel around her wet body and stepped out of the bathroom. “Your turn,” her mischievous grin equally matched that of her best friend.
“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” Julie remarked as she shut the door. “Our husbands will kill us if they find out.”
“The key word there is if,” Rebecca shouted through the closed door. “We need to make the most of our three short days.”
In record time, they prepared for a day of retail therapy. Late into the night the plan had been concocted as they lay in bed and shared a bag of dark chocolates, wrapped in red foil. Each piece held a special message.
One message inspired the two middle-aged friends to think outside the boundaries. In some twisted sort of way, that is what led to the decision to skip the daytime workshops at the Women’s Conference. Rebecca’s quick wit had dared Julie’s competitive nature and plans to hit the mall resulted.
Upon arrival, Julie’s mouth gaped open as she gazed at the colossal shopper’s paradise. “Whoa, Baby, look at this place.”
“I know. I told you it was huge. Ummm, Jules,” Rebecca held a tissue up towards Julie’s face. “You’re drooling. Here let me get that for you.”
Julie slapped at the offending hand, “I am not.”
Rebecca maneuvered through the masses with Julie’s firm grip on her shirt tail. “It’s crowded,” Julie’s small town insecurities peeked out.
“Just keep hold of me. I’ll bulldoze through.”
Unable to take it all in, Julie held onto Rebecca’s shirtsleeve as she relied on her confidence at this mall of wonders. Julie grinned as she caught the twinkle in the eyes of her cherished friend. Rebecca nodded towards the store.
“I sure do love you,” Julie blurted out. “Let’s go think outside the boundaries.”
Soon, the gal-pals had experienced the retail therapy success they had hoped for. They exited the store that caused some disgust and others to blush.
“So, I guess its no secret where we shopped,” Julie applied her Vanna White skills to the name on the bag. “Maybe our husbands won’t kill us after all.”
“Oh man, those poor young clerks had their hands full with us,” Rebecca’s suppressed laughter exploded. “I’m hungry now. Let’s go eat.”
Near the food court, the crowd pressed in again and Julie grabbed at Rebecca’s hand. Julie’s sudden timidity alerted Rebecca to her dear companion’s insecurities in a crowd. She squeezed here hand and smiled.
As she maneuvered through the crowd, a young woman clad in a black apron thrust a tray with samples in front of them. Rebecca blinked suddenly at the sight of the thin green leaf-shaped trial and took one. She didn’t hear a word the woman said about the treat, and without thought, she popped it into her mouth and began to chew.
“Eww,” Rebecca’s face contorted at the taste.
“What is it?” Julie had wanted to grab her own sample but refused to release her grip on Rebecca in the crowd.
“It’s waxy and bitter,” Rebecca spit the half chewed morsel into her hand. “I think its soap.”
In the restroom, Julie finally let go so that Rebecca could spit into the sink. She reached in her bag for her water-bottle and rinsed her mouth, swished, and spit.
Julie giggled, “You’re gonna foam at the mouth.”
“You know a real friend would hold my stuff while I vomit.”
This statement caused the quick exit of anyone nearby. Julie burst out in laughter as she watched Rebecca dig the waxy substance out of her molars.
“Such a dignified friend I have.”
“Shut-up and get me a paper towel.” Rebecca saw how ridiculous she looked in the mirror and the restroom echoed with their laughter.
Later that night, as they lay curled up in bed, Rebecca whispered, “Jules, I need to tell you something.”
“What is it?”
“I realized a great truth today,” Rebecca paused and scooted in closer. Without thought, she reached up and brushed the hair out of Julie’s face so she could see her eyes in the semi-darkness. “I have never had a friendship like this before. I’ve never allowed myself to get close to anyone. I feel free to be me when I’m with you.”
Julie stroked her dear friend’s cheek with the back of her hand, “And the truth shall set you free.”
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