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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: This Side of Paradise (not about the book) (07/14/11)

TITLE: Six Equals a Really Long Time
By Eliza Evans
07/21/11


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The crowd cheered as the limousine pulled away from the curb.

"Let's put the pedal to the metal, Barney," Jim said to the driver.

Suzanne sank back into the velvet seat and Jim leaned his head on her shoulder. "This is it, babe. You and me. Mr. and Mrs."

He checked his watch. “In approximately six hours, forty-five minutes, and twenty-six seconds I'll have you out of that dress and into my arms, Mrs. James Randall.”

Suzanne looked at her carefully chosen 'going-away' outfit. “Hmph. This is not a dress. It's a skirt and blouse.”

“It's gorgeous,” Jim hastened to add. “But you are more gorgeous.”

“Ha. Flattery.”

“That dress is so-o-o history, babe. Honeymoon, here we come!"

Jim, pressed her hand against his cheek. “I have waited such a long time for this day, Suz.” He turned to face her, his eyes gleaming with tears. “A long time.”

She nodded. "I know."

Then his voice got stern, impersonating Suzanne's father. “Not until Suzanne is twenty-two years old, young man, and you are twenty-five.” He wagged his finger. “And furthermore, you get a good job and court her proper.”

Suzanne beamed. “And you did.”

“Five years.” He bulged out his eyes making her laugh. “Felt like ten."

“Thank you, Jimmy.”

“I wasn't about to tell your dad this, but I would have waited longer. Of course I would have.” He wrapped a lock of her hair in his fingers and held it up to the sunlight filtering through the car window. “Pure gold,” he whispered.

Suzanne nuzzled against him, her voice shy. “And thank you for, you know, waiting until our wedding night, Jimmy.” She kissed his neck. A jolt surged through him taking his breath.

He tapped his watch. “Is this thing working,” he panted. “Six hours, thirty-three minutes.”

Suzanne giggled and gave him a playful poke. “Why do you keep saying six hours, anyway? It only takes an hour and forty-five to get to the cabin.”

“Why six hours, you ask?” He shifted his eyebrows up and down. "I've got a surprise for you, Mrs. Randall.”

Tapping on the partition, Jim said, “Cue the music, Barney."

“Will do.”

Jim handed Suzanne an envelope. “For you my darling wife.
Open that while I tune up my instrument.”

“Oh, no. Not the air guitar?”

"Yes'm"

Suzanne scoffed and rolled her eyes, but she loved his boyish ways.

Jim tapped the partition again. “Hit it!”

“I've got two tickets to paradise
Won't you pack your bags, we leave tonight,
I've got two tickets to paradise,
I've got two tickets to paradise”
came blaring through the car speakers.

Jim shrieked more than sang along and played his air-guitar with gusto.

Suzanne shook her head at him and opened the envelope. Pulling out two plane tickets to Paradise Island, Bahamas, she squealed so loudly that Barney swerved the car.

“What the...” he said, turning the music off.

Jim laughed. “I warned you, Barn. My lady is, uh, expressive.”

Suzanne put her hand on his arm. “But what about my clothes, Jim? I only packed for the cabin.”

“Your mom re-packed your suitcase, hon. We're on our way to the airport right now and we'll be in Bahamas in a little more than six hours.”

He studied Suzanne's face. Her hand was pressed against her mouth. She looked at the tickets again. “It's perfect,” she said and started to cry.

Jim cupped her face in his hands and kissed her wet cheeks, her chin, her forehead. “Shhhhh,” he breathed as he kissed her lips.

“I'm so happy,” she sniffled. “But I'm a little scared, too.”

“I want you more than anything in this world, Suzanne.” She lowered her eyes. Jim tipped her face to look at him. “And yes, I want you in that way. But more than anything, I want to make you happy. I want to live side-by-side, through thick and thin, Suz. Serving the Lord together. That's what I really want.”

Jim lifted Suzanne's hands to his mouth, first one and then the other. “We'll take it slow, babe.”

She watched him kiss each fingertip, delicately, one by one, with his warm, moist lips. It sent a delicious, tingly shiver through her body...right down to her toes.

She looked at her watch.


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This article has been read 644 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Deborah Porter 07/22/11
This entry is this week's randomly chosen winner of our weekly bonus prize--a free ratings feedback report. The author will be contacted today via the Private Messenger service with more information.

Congratulations. :-)

Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Laury Hubrich 07/23/11
I love your story. You did a great job but I think your ending fell a bit short. Your characters are wonderful, though. What an awesome surprise for a groom to plan for his bride!
Jim McWhinnie 07/23/11
Ah, romance.

I thought the dialog was right on. I might have edited down a shade but I sense that playful interplay is the delight of this story.

As a soul steeped in masculinity, I found my self blushing all the way through this piece. I reckon we tend to experience things more in terms of the actions rather than the conversations.

Gifted storytelling that brought the reader into the experience.
Kimberly Russell07/23/11
Not sure why you think it's so bad...it's....cute. Maybe a little predictable but I'm a sucker for a love story. Good job!
Joan Campbell07/24/11
You're definitely too hard on yourself with this one. I think it's delightful--sweet interplay between the characters, a romantic surprise and generally a clever take on the topic. I also enjoyed the little twist at the end, where SHE is suddenly the one to feel impatient. I know you asked for red-ink but you're going to have to wait for the indepth critique--I can't find too many negatives!
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/24/11
I love to read love stories, and this one did not disappoint. I really like how you carried out the theme of Christians "wait" until marriage. That does make for a happy anticipation anticipation of beginning married life. I thought it was all presented in good taste. I really like the twist at the end.--no criticisms here.
Lillian Rhoades 07/25/11
A truly emotion-packed story that titillates the reader's heart strings. Your writer's instincts were dead on - the story was "red hot",but the title was lukewarm. :-)

Red ink? This may be one place to consider: "This is it, babe. You and me. Mr. and Mrs." Not an expert on this, but I would rewrite as one sentence.

There was a warm, old fashioned, poignant flavor to your story about "true" love. With the exception of a few grammar issues, you told it well.
Noel Mitaxa 07/25/11
Loved the fun, the respectful sense of anticipation and the generosity behind the change of plans. Excellent work
Edy T Johnson 07/25/11
Good story - sorry, but I don't see anything to "red ink" at all! How can you "hate" this, anyway? Funny girl!
Patricia Turner07/28/11
Hey you!!! Love this sweet little romance. I can picture the air guitar, the golden hair and all, and the characterizations and conversation made this couple very real. The message, it's so much better to wait, is so well told too.

Huge congratulations on your very well deserved high placement!
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/28/11
Congratulations!!! You did it again! I'm glad this delightful story did not escape the judges' notice.
Beth LaBuff 07/29/11
I love this romantic-wistful slice-of-life story. This completely engaged this reader! Excellent -- and congrats on your EC!