Masks and Kisses #LoveBites2020

Sometimes love just bites… A group of author friends I know has a system of flash challenges associated with seasons of the year. I missed out on Monster Mash, hosted by Siobhan Muir, in October and Tipsy Santa, hosted by Ever Addams, in December of last year. This New Year I managed to make it out to the New Year Revolution hosted by Cara Michaels. Now I’ve somehow also managed to make it out to the Love Bites flash fiction blog hop of the series, hosted by Katheryn J. Avila, with a chance at one of two prizes! The challenge ran from the 10th of February until tonight. I’m coming in just under the wire here again to submit my piece of flash.

So without further ado, here is my addition to the Love Bites blog hop using the prompt “the fake relationship”! Be sure to share and/or comment across Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere using the #LoveBites2020 hashtag. Don’t forget to check out the other tales under the tag, too!

Masks and Kisses

“Happy Valentine’s Day, my love.”

I turned around in my desk chair, the office hum droning around me, to find Eric poised with that signature charming grin and dashing twinkle in his eyes. From behind his back he presented a dozen red roses and an enormous box of chocolates that would give anyone diabetes if eaten all in one sitting.

“Eric… I thought we agreed to wait until we both got off work and were home,” I said quietly, flashing an apologetic ‘oopsie’ kind of smile at the nearest coworker that looked our way. They just scowled and looked back to their computer screen.

“I know we did, but I wanted to surprise you. Can’t I surprise my beautiful babe?” The innocence in his voice always made my heart melt. Eric leaned over to kiss my cheek, setting the flowers and chocolates on the corner of my desk.

A smile genuinely tugged at my lips. Heat slowly flooded my cheeks, turning them about as rosy as the roses I guessed. “Yes. You can. Just not here.” I gave him a playful shove and he chuckled. “Now go home. I’ll see you tonight, and thank you. It’s very sweet of you.”

Eric gave me a wink and one last kiss before turning and striding off through the cubicles so I could return to my work.

“You’re so lucky,” Nancy, my nearest coworker breathed as she leaned toward me. “I bet he’s the perfect guy.”


“Amanda Christine, will you marry me?”

I turned around in my chair from the shocked gasp of my mother and the jaw-drop of my father to find Eric down on one knee, presenting a stunningly gorgeous, and quite pricey based on its size, rock. Shock rattled my frame. Followed by confusion and then settling dread. My mother’s eyes burned into the back of my head, eagerly awaiting my answer.

I knew what she expected me to say.

I knew what Eric expected me to say.

And I knew what I really wanted to say.

“Well?” Eric pressed. The twinkle in his eyes not so dashing and innocent anymore. “Will you do the honor of making me the happiest man alive and marry me?”

I tugged at the sleeve of my sweater, rubbed a thumb over the bruises. Casting a fidgety glance aside I whispered, “Yes.” The shakiness to my voice went unheard, drowned out by my mother’s enthusiastic cheering that garnered attention from the whole restaurant.

What else could I really have said? No? We were the perfect couple.


The wadded ball of toilet paper in my hand did little to stem the blood flow. Pristine, crimson drops splashed at the porcelain white sink of our bathroom- No. His bathroom. I would have to make sure all those spots of blood left no trace to mar his perfect household.

Glancing in the mirror I caught sight of my state for the first time since I locked myself in against Eric’s pounding fists. My eye was swollen and turning a sickly blue-purple already. Fresh blood flowed down my cheek, mixing with tears that left a bitter, salty taste in my mouth each time I sobbed. The toilet paper in my hand soaked up the blood with the pace of a plague.

What felt like hours could have simply been minutes. The crashing outside the bathroom door had quit finally. Eric no longer yelled and body-slammed the door, which I had jammed shut by a broken towel rack. His voice still resounded in my head though, pounding just like the budding headache. My eyes kept hitting replay every time I blinked.

“Why do you have to make me so angry?! I asked you to do one simple thing! One!”

“I’m sorry. I just ran out of time. I’ve been up since five for work and-”

“Excuses! All of them! You couldn’t even do something as small as clean up the kitchen from dinner before I came home. You worthless bitch!”

Another crash startled me back, followed by a lazy thud at the door. “Amanda… Come on, baby. I’m sorry. Come out of there, dollface.”

I could only stare at my broken reflection.


The stillness of the night struck me first. So quiet my ears rang. I could have heard the blood hit to the ground. The high shrill in the distance broke the peace. Hues of red and blue came to dance across my front window in numbers.

For the first time in years, I smiled.

750 words / © 2020 Daelyn Morgana

Starting Over

What do you do when everything you’ve planned for and accounted for happening absolutely flops?

Simple. You start from scratch again with a new approach and a new vision.

For most people the thought of starting over is terrifying. Myself included. It sounds simple, to start over, but it’s anything but simple. Starting over means any ground you’ve gained is gone, right?

Not necessarily.

At the new year I promised myself I was going to get back on track with many things. Some in more easily manageable ways than previous years. This blog for starters. In the beginning of this journey I posted three to four times a week. I joined in the Snippet Sunday blog hop group every week, I tried to write updates and other tidbits every Tuesday and Friday, and I tried to keep up with P.T. Wyant’s Wednesday Words flash fiction prompts. Since I started working full time with crazy hours a few years back this blog started to fall by the wayside, and with it went my writing.

So, this year I promised myself something smaller to get back into the game. I promised myself that this year my goal — at least in regards to this blog — was simply to post once a week, at any point in the week. (I try to stay away from Sunday’s and Saturday’s though.) It didn’t matter what I was posting either. I just had to make one blog post a week. As much as I miss the Snippet Sunday group and would love to join that again, too, I know I’m not ready to jump back into the mix. At least not until there is more coherent and stable writing going on in my life again.

But, as you guys can tell by the little calendar to the right, I haven’t exactly kept that promise to myself thus far. I missed the last two weeks in posting anything at all. I can make excuses for why I missed all I want. I forgot, the work week was too busy, I was too exhausted, college got in the way, blah blah blah. . . But it doesn’t change the fact I broke my promise to myself.

However, it also doesn’t mean I’m a complete failure. Life happens. Shit happens. A lot. I get that more now than I have in previous years of starting over. Did you know that if your goal is to form a new habit it actually takes an average of sixty-six days to integrate it into your routine successfully? No wonder I always fall apart after NaNo months! That’s only thirty or thirty-one days. I need two months, bare minimum, to make that habit stick. Or any habit for that matter.

Along with that habit tidbit I learned something else this year. One night last month while joining a meditation group (the New Leaf Meditation Project — great group, by the way) I was shown a new perspective that has since kept me thinking: You don’t have to wait for a new year to start over fresh. Everyone hangs all their hopes and goals on January 1st. New year, new me, new attitude. Right? Well, kind of. Sure, the change in the calendar year seems like a great fresh start and clean slate but that doesn’t mean the new year has to be the only time you embrace the new.

What about a new month? A new week? A new day? Every one of them is a chance to start fresh with a clean slate. Don’t hate Monday’s because it means life is back to the daily grind, love them instead because it’s a new week and a fresh start all its own. (I learned that from the group, too.) Just because it seems less impactful to pick a Monday, or even a random Tuesday in the middle of February, to start fresh doesn’t mean the energy won’t still be there to begin anew. There is absolutely nothing stopping you, or anyone else for that matter, to embrace the new day whenever you feel fit too.

Energy flows where intention goes, as they say.

So if your intention is to put aside the half-baked successes or complete flops in the middle of a random Tuesday during mid-February to start over with fresh eyes again, then you put aside the half-baked successes and complete flops from the last five weeks and you start over with fresh eyes. Fuel those fires instead of starving them. Find what makes them ignite and then cocoon yourself in the flames. Maybe it’s a type of music that fuels that passion and drive. Maybe it’s a certain practice that gives you the energy to conquer the day. Maybe it’s something slightly more involved like a vision board. Like this one…

Image result for vision board examples 2020

Image Source: Morning Coffee With Dee

Whatever it may be that fuels your fire, use it to the fullest.

Now comes the part you don’t want to hear. You have to want it enough to actively work for it or you’re just going to keep standing still in a repeated cycle.

So that’s my advice for the week. Starting over doesn’t have to be terrifying. You can take from what failed and what kind of worked and rebuild from there with fresh eyes. Or you can completely scrap and begin anew. All that really matters is you make the goals manageable, you put the work in and give it your all, and you stay kind to yourself as you wade and stumble through the deep waters toward success.

Long story aside, this is me saying I’m starting fresh this week and re-igniting my drive for the things I want out of life. It starts with this blog, and from there it’ll be wherever the wind takes me in writing and college.

What do you need to start over on in the new week? Or, how do you revamp what’s only kind of working to make it more successful for you?