It’s the first week of the month, and I’m excited to share my first published flash fiction piece. Croquet Kiss was first published in the August edition of Spark magazine. It is set on Jekyll Island during the time when millionaires holidayed on the Island. They often visited during the month of February, fleeing the cold winters of the Northeast. I hope you enjoy.
Croquet Kiss by Leslie DeVooght
Clarice’s yellow ball rolled to a stop beside John’s black one. With her precise putt, she’d created an irresistible target.
John pulled back his wooden mallet and swung with gusto. His competitive spirit vanquished his manners.
John’s ball smashed against her ball, sending it sailing over the manicured lawn. It rested in the rough under a sweeping oak. His shot went beyond defense and social graces, but her ball couldn’t have landed in a more perfect location.
Rowdy cheers rose from the gentlemen, entertaining her friends on the veranda of the Jekyll Island Club House.
Clarice glanced to the spectators.
The ladies paused—their glasses of lemonade suspended. They breathed a collective sigh, while their wide brim hats swayed like sailing yachts on an undulating sea.
With a smug grin, John tipped his hat to his friends. His chest swelled, confident of his skill. Surely this surge of masculinity would encourage him to act on the sparks that flew between them.
Clarice bit down on her lip, a smile pushing at the corners. Before John caught a glimpse of her expression, she tossed her white, lace sunhat and marched across the croquet court. She swung her mallet like a drum major’s baton, feigning irritation.
Last night, she’d tarried with John in the beam of the moon on the stoop of her uncle’s vacation cottage. And when John leaned into her, she tilted her chin, lips puckered—ready. But instead of warm lips on hers, he’d lifted her hand and politely pecked the back of her fingers—merely childhood friends.
Ire rose in her, warming her cheeks—time to take matters into her own hands.
“Tsk, tsk, Clarice.” John fell in line behind her. “What will you do now?”
“Hmmph.” She pulled her shoulders back and dabbed a renegade bead of perspiration daring to escape her hairline.
“Come on, please don’t be mad. I was simply following our President’s advice—‘speak softly and carry a big stick.’”
Undoubtedly, Teddy Roosevelt wouldn’t approve of his words being used to describe a lawn sport. And of course, John focused on the stick and not the speaking softly. Besides why were they discussing politics at all—certainly, a twist she hadn’t anticipated. What else could she do to show her willingness and still be called a lady?
She spun and faced him. “I—”
John nearly collided with her, as he waved to his cohorts. He snatched his hand down, and his fingers tangled with hers, then their eyes entwined.
Maybe he’d stop dawdling and draw her to him. Shivers dashed up her arms.
“Sorry.” He broke the trance, pulling his hand from hers.
Her cheeks burned—maybe not.