The Answer

“How are things going with Daniel?” Thomas asks casually, as he makes himself comfortable on one of the fluffy couches at the back of the café.

“Why don’t we sit outside?” Catherine asks, nervously. “Everyone’s sitting at the terrace and it’s actually quite sunny today.”

“Nah, I’m alright here,” he says.

“But…”

“Oh, come on, Catherine, it’s packed outside!” he exclaims. “I didn’t come all the way down here to sunbathe on an overcrowded terrace. I came to see you and catch up.” He pats on the sofa next to him, inviting her to take a sit by his side.

“Alright,” Catherine sighs, as she sits down on a chair across from him.

“So?”

“So what?”

“How are things with Daniel?” he insists.

“It’s not Daniel. It’s David,” Catherine answers.

“Well, whatever. How are things with him?”

“Fine,” she says casually, as she makes a sign to the waitress, who comes in no time, pad in hand, ready to take their orders.

“Would you like something to drink?” the young waitress asks, as she stares at Thomas and gives him a shy smile.

“I’ll have a beer, thanks,” he says.

The girl puts her pad back in her apron pocket and turns around, as if Catherine was not there at all. “Er… I think I’ll have a glass of red wine, thank you!” Catherine says, wondering whether she got her order at all. She rolls her eyes and returns her attention to Thomas, who’s staring at her with that wicked smile on his face. “What?”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“Which question?” She starts biting her nails.

“I think you know very well what I’m talking about, so stop acting dumb,” Thomas answers. He leans towards her and slaps her hand off her mouth. “Stop biting your nails!”

She smiles shyly at the thought of those days when he would sit next to her at University and slap her hand off her mouth whenever he caught her biting her nails, as if she were a toddler. Long gone are now those days, when they were young and irresponsible and too selfish to think of the pain they were to cause to those who loved them.

“Sorry,” Catherine whispers. She takes a deep breath and lowers her gaze to her lap. “We’re doing fine, Thomas. I mean, it’s not easy now that I’m unemployed again, cause well, I’m quite stressed and I’ve had to travel quite a bit for some interviews, so… I don’t know…” she trails off. She looks at him warily, as if she were expecting to be told off. “Did I tell you about this job interview in the UK? It looks quite nice and…”

“I didn’t ask you about your job, Catherine,” Thomas interrupts her, this time with a serious look on his face.

“Well, yes, but you know…”

“I’m asking you whether you love him.”

“I…” Catherine casts him a pleading look. He has not changed at all, she thinks. He’s still that reckless young boy, who thinks of nothing or no one but his own happiness. “He does love me very much, Thomas. He’s a nice person, I…”

“But do you love him?”

Catherine sits there in silence and realises that in three years, she had always avoided to answer that simple question. Even to herself.

About ester.s.mingot

I have always enjoyed writing, but never really decided to do it professionally until last year. I had been unemployed for quite some time, and well, when I realised that I had had enough of wasting time, I decided to give it a try. Ever since I started I've written a book for Personal Novel under the pseudonym of Morgan S. Mingot. I've never taking any writing course before, so I hope to enjoy this one! English is not my mother tongue (I'm from Spain) so forgive any misspelling (or better still, tell me when I make them ;-)
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6 Responses to The Answer

  1. Anna2987 says:

    I really liked this. By the end, I wanted to read more to see what her answer was. Very smooth reading, good descriptions. When she was biting her nails and he slapped her hand away…loved it! That’s such a common thing for people who have known each other for a long time to do. Excellent touch.

    I have one suggestion. When you are using the dialogue tags, such as asks, says, etc., it would come off better if you used “asked” or “said”. It’s a story that has already been written (therefore already happened) so it wouldn’t take away from trying to sound in the moment. (Hopefully that makes sense). I’ve done some play writing…and using a present tense version such as says, asks, demands or any other dialogue tag, is very stage direction like. It’s how you would write something if you were letting the character know what they should be doing.

    Other than that, it’s great. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Well done!

  2. ester.s.mingot says:

    Thanks for you comment Anna,
    It’s actually very helpful, because I always wonder when it’s best to use past or present. To be honest, most fiction is written in the past, so I would agree that it’s kinda easier to read. It flows more, maybe. However, I’ve read some literature in the present tense, and it conveys so much power than the past cannot somehow.
    I don’t know maybe it’s my feeling. I actually struggled a bit to write it all in present; sometimes I changed to the past without even realising!
    Thanks!

  3. freckles says:

    Ah…. Me, thinks Thomas is still in love with Catherine. Will Catherine take the job in the UK? Will, she truthfully, admit to Thomas and herself, that she doesn’t love Daniel?

    Nicely done :)

  4. Hana says:

    Hi Ester. This was a very easy story to get into. You did a really nice job giving Catherine a likable personality (right off the bat) and Thomas a kind of a fun loving bad boy feel. I agree with Anna, the nail biting stuff was so charming. In weighing in on the verb tense, I’d offer that the present tense didn’t trip me up as much because you stuck to (and didn’t switch to the past tense). But I did find my eye going back to the verbs to see if I had read them right. Also, from the last line, one could make a point that the reader can “see” the characters saying things but they can’t really see inside Catherine which is where she would realize something. I don’t recall reading anything written in present tense, but now I’ll watch for it!

    • ester.s.mingot says:

      Thanks for your comments, Hanna!
      I guess I have to agree with you and Anna with the present/past tense.
      Oh, you should read something interesting in the present tense, it makes a different. I have to admit, sometimes it’s hard to get into the flow but then again, I like it. The last thing I read with a nice past/present combination was Poison Tree by Erin Kelly. I don’t think the story itself was anything to write home about, but then again, it’s nicely written. :-)

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