Bad News Blogfest: "Till Death Us Do Part"

Thank you to the lovely Francine at Romancing the Blog  for hosting the Bad News Blogfest.  There are no hard rules but the piece should be about a character receiving bad news with lots of emotional impact.  Here's my entry - its a snippet called ' Till Death Us Do Part.'  I have to warn you, it's rather lengthy vs. a normal post so if you want to skip, please do.  I shall catch up with you on my next post!  If you do read it, I hope you will enjoy it, please let me know what you think.

The following contains adult themes and the 'f b words', if this causes you serious discontent, please avert thine eyes and ears and read no more, I don't wish to offend anyone. Thank you *

Judith played with the small set of china figurines that sat on the tray gathering dust on the hallway table. She passed them by daily without a second glance however; today they seemed to call to her.  Picking up ' the Wife of Bath' figurine, she traces the lady's features. A present from her mother, an old family keepsake, it was her reward for graduating with honours in English. Definitely dusty. She'd have a word with Maddie, remind her what proper damp dusting entailed.  With unsteady hands, she fiddles with each of the figures, turning them just so. And she knows the reason her fingers are shaking is not because Jack had left her bed barely two hours earlier. The sheets were still warm, she thought as she'd pulled the bedroom door shut.

No, the shakiness was due to the fact that Camille, her oldest friend from university, and Jack's estranged wife would darken her doorstep, wanting to pick over their broken down marriage.  Sure, she was sympathetic, and yes, she loved her old friend but Judith couldn't let Jack go.  Not this time.  They were in love.  And, he was talking about coming clean with Camille this week.  That thought sent Judith's mind spinning out of kilter.  How could she face everyone?  She'd forever be branded the scarlet woman, home wrecker, and husband stealer. Whore.  She pleaded with Jack this morning to wait, give it a few months, let Camille move on, but he'd been adamant.  This week, he would tell Camille.

The intercom buzzed noisily from the kitchen and she hurried along to answer it.  "Hello?" 
"Its me."  Camille's cheery voice floated through the receiver.
"Come up."  Judith buzzed her friend in through the lobby.  She looked nervously around the room before flicking the on switch for the electric jug.  They would have tea first, and then she would break the news to her.  She patted down her sandy blonde hair, fixed her lipstick and walked gingerly, like a woman condemned to her own front door.  Actually Jack, you're wrong.  Judith smiled to herself as a silly thought slipped into her mind.  This would be the day.  She'd tell Camille herself.



A quick rap on the door, and Judith's bravado dissolves as she opens it.  Camille, a tall svelte brunette, dressed in casual biege chino's and a navy blue blouse sweeps into the hallway, camel coat tossed over her shoulder.  Both ladies 'air kiss' each other.


"Darling!  You look wonderful!"  Camille studies her old friend for a few seconds before releasing her.  "There's something different about you."


"New dress?"  She eyes the black Ralph Lauren number with envy.


"Bah! This old thing?"  Judith smiles animated.  "You look lovely as always."  She gestures towards the sitting room.  "Come through, I'm just making tea."


Camille glances at her delicate wristwatch.  "It's almost eleven, perfect timing."




With little coaxing and over two cups of tea, Camille starts with her usual rant about Jack leaving her.  How many times had Judith sat through this babble?


"Of course, I was having an affair with Bertie but come on, what do you expect with Jack being overseas so much?"  Camille wailed.  "I still love him."


Judith took a deep breath and counted down from five.  "Camille, sweetie.  You know, maybe its time to move on?  It's been almost a year now."


Camille looked surprised.  "Move on?"  Her voice wavers.


"Yes, I mean...maybe it's for the best.  You've got Bertie now.  Let Jack go."  Judith looked down at her jittery hands, and quickly put her teacup down.


"Let Jack go?  What the hell are you talking about Jude?"


"I j-just think that this is unhealthy, -for the both of you."


"Unhealthy?  What on earth do you mean?"  She pauses, flicking her head.  "Wait a minute, is there something you're not telling me Judith?


"No, why?"


"You seem a little too sure...I can't put my finger on it.  Has...Jack said something to you about me?


"Whaa-aat?  Jack? No!"


Camille's chocolate molten eyes scrutinise Judith at length, she places her teacup on the table before turning towards her friend.  "He hasn't called you?  Jude, I know you guys were close at varsity before he and I got together."  She leans into Judith who shies away, backing up against the sofa.


"Tell me."  Camille hisses, her manicured nails clutch at the black fabric of Judith's sleeve.


"No.  There's nothing."  Judith flinches at her touch, her voice worried now.


"If you were my true friend..."


A strangled noise leaves Judith's throat.  "Okay!  You've got me."  She hesitates, closing her eyes.  "He did call me."


Camille slaps her hands on the sofa.  "I knew it!  When exactly?"


Judith shakes her head, desperately trying to collect her thoughts.  "Gosh, a few months ago."  She'd met Jack for a drink, and they had talked for hours, washing away the years, uncovering the spark of attraction that they'd both felt before but had been too coy to act on.


"And?"  Camille demands loudly, bringing her back to the present.  "Why didn't you tell me?  What did he say?"


"Look, I'm really sorry.  I don't know how to say this."


Just.Say.It!"


"He's moved on; he doesn't love you anymore."  There she'd said it out aloud.


"What?"  Camille looks at her as if she were a specimen under a microscope.  "Who?"


Judith signs, staring back at her teacup.  "I-I don't know.  He wouldn't say.  Honestly, I think its someone from his office."


"Liar!" Jack would never cheat on me."  She stands, challenging Judith.


"Camille, you were having an affair when Jack left.  What's with the double standards?"


"Double standards?  I thought you were my friend."  She snaps angrily at Judith. 
"F*** You.  I'm leaving.  Seriously Jude, if you're taking Jack's side on this..."  Camille's hands are on her hips, her nostrils flaring, she grabs her coat and strides purposely to the hallway.  Judith watches silently from the safety of her sofa, her heart beating wildly.  This time she counts down from ten.




As Camille fumbles with the door, her gaze lands on the small tray of china figures in the hallway.  "F****** witch!"  She screams, and with a sweep of her camel coat, she sends the entire tray flying, the china crashing into pieces on the floor.  A horrifying noise like an dying animal fills the hall from behind her.  Judith steps forward carefully, her bright blue eyes staring in disbelief at the broken china. 


"Oh my god.  That was my 'Wife of Bath' from my mother.  You knew how much that meant to me."  Her face is twisted in anguish, fists clenched at her sides. 

"And the fact that some whore is screwing my husband means nothing to me?"  Camille spat.  Her eyes ablaze, her voice coated in hatred, dripping with accusation.  Judith shudders, her eyes widen as her hand automatically flies to her lips.  Covering her terrified groan.  A knot tightens deep down in her stomach as she feels the bile rise to her throat.  Oh my god, she knows.  Somehow, the b**** already knows.



 © 2010 T.Loto All rights reserved.

A/N:  Please share your thoughts, what did you think?

Comments

  1. How did she find out? ack! am dying to know u have to write a part 2 please

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  2. Aha! I may just do that. Thanks for stopping by. ;)

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  3. Wow, this caught me and kept me. I think it's time Judith calls Jack and tells him to shut up, or at least do not mention her name under any circumstances. I'm already telling Judith what to do.

    Cruel of Camille and those double standards.

    I'm feeling for Judith. Not liking Camille.

    Great story! Tell us more:)

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  4. Oh thanks Terry! I love your comments. You keep telling Judith what to do, she's a little indecisive. ;) In fact, she's going to call Jack right now...well after she's cleaned up the mess his ex has made.

    The truth is Jack and Judith would've got it together years ago whilst studying however the vivacious Camille caught young Jacks eye at the time, something he regrets now of course. *sigh*

    Am glad you enjoyed it!! x

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  5. I wish you could add a few dramatic chords of an organ to this, and maybe even throw in the wailings of that dying animal.

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  6. Ah Mya, for the opening scene I think that Chopins Prelude in E minor ( op 28.no.4) would be appropriate? LOL ;)

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  7. Love the post amazing narration and its drama at it's best i also favor Judith here maybe i feel sorry for her..but Camille she's cold i have to admit. Thank you for stopping by and the lovely comment you left as well as following me. So am giving a follow back too :)

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  8. Hello Wild Rose, thanks so much! *blushes* It's different to other pieces I've written, I wanted to take a really sensitive scene and layer in the emotions. Thank you for visiting and for following too. ;)

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  9. Oooh a very dramatic scene. I was interested how your writing style changed, sometimes it sounded almost like a screenplay and at others more in the style of a novel.The pace kept up all the way through and I loved the Wife of Bath symbol. Great stuff. :O)

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  10. Camille scares me. Double standards and violent to boot (trashing wife in the bath - true violence;-)

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  11. Nicely written. I can see this becoming a murder mystery the tension is so high. I hope Jack can stand up to his ex and I hope Judith never let's Camille near her again.

    Thanks for your comments on my post.
    Nancy
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

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  12. @Wendy - thank you! I enjoyed your piece too.

    @Madeleine, you're the only one thus far to comment on the Wife of Bath. I was tortured by Chaucer many years ago and the WoB left an impression. ;)) Thank you so much for your feedback, I'm still honing my writing so really appreciate it.

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  13. @Cinette - ah, that feisty Camille! She's a worry, trashing Wife of Bath - a big no no, quite right! Thanks for stopping by too. ;)

    @Nancy - thats an idea, I haven't delved into the crime fiction genre previously, however - passion is a great motivator! And, don't worry Jack will protect his lady love. ;)

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  14. Hard. Core! Love the realistic dialogue and the way the scene started one way but went into an entirely different direction, revealing a new layer to Judith's personality that I didn't expect. Well done!

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  15. China, like the human heart, is so fragile. Best keep it locked safely away when you are to face a tigress.

    You did a magnificent job of drawing us in. Camille needs a bit of attitude adjustment. And not from Jack.

    Judith must be her own hero in this or she will be dependent on Jack forever -- and a man wants a full partner not a dependent, needy woman.

    See? You got me speaking of them as real people. That's when you've done a great job of characterization. Roland

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  16. Intense. How the heck did Camille find out about the two? I wanted Judith to deck the crazy friend, take Jack, and never see that woman again. Great tension! :D

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  17. @ Liz - hello! Thanks so much for your wonderful feedback!! Am very chuffed! This is very different to my other pieces, possibly a little shocking, but I wanted to keep the language realistic with what two female adults in that situation would say. I liked changing gears with the scene, keeping the reader thinking. ;)

    Thank you for the follow too, looking forward to 'chatting' more. ;)

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  18. @ Roland, thank you dear, I'm so happy you could see them as real people!!

    I quite agree, Judith must become her own person, she's taken a backseat to Camille for too long and it's time to shed those old grey robes. Jack will be surprised to see how strong Judith really is.

    Thank you for your lovely feedback!

    PS: I was going to leave the china on the sideboard! ;)

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  19. @ Brenda, thank you!! ;)

    Female intuition is a powerful thing. Camille's mind is racing right now, she's putting dates, snatched conversations with Jack, and Judith together...her mind is piecing together those niggling parts of a jigsaw. She may have a little self denial here too, but her gut feeling tells her she's right.

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  20. Wow! Love the intensity in this scene - and I really like how you started it off, with the figurine. I want to read more!

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  21. Hi Talli! Thank you!! Oh I'm really chuffed you want to read more! ;) I have to confess, the figurine was the inspiration for this piece. xx

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  22. Hi,

    I tried posting yesterday but blogger started playing up, so here I am at last.

    I loved this piece. Great friction and pent up emotions on all sides, hee hee, with enough hint of adultery to want to read on. ;)

    best
    F

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  23. Check out my blog cos there's another award awaiting you :O)

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  24. You drew me right in! And so fast! And honestly, this piece kindda had it all, really. Everything that could grab my attention every time more, happened with great timing! GREAT job! =D

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  25. @ Francine, thanks so much, am so glad you enjoyed!! And thank you for hosting the blogfest too! :)

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  26. Oh wow @Madeleine, thank you! ;) I shall pop over to yours right now. ;D

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  27. @Clara - Thank you! ;D I was wary of the wordcount so the scene kind of escalated as soon as Camille arrived. I would've drawn it out under normal circumstances though. Glad you enjoyed and thanks so much for stopping by. ;)

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  28. Wow, the characterization is amazing. You could completely leave off dialogue tags and still know which person was talking. I really wanted Judith to woman up and tell Camille what's up, but that's complete fantasy. Doesn't happen like that in real life, especially when the circumstances of Jack and Judith getting together are complicated. Of course she'd feel guilt, though in my book o' morals, she shouldn't. This dialogue was wonderfully realistic and intense. Well done!

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  29. Hello Angela,

    Thank you for such wonderful feedback! I'm completely blown away and greatly appreciate it. ;) I really wanted to keep the dialogue real with this scene and the characters. Judith does need to stand up for herself but I think that would follow naturally. Right now, she's got to kick Camille out of her house. Am very happy you enjoyed it.

    Thank you for the follow too, I shall look forward to 'talking' more with you! ;)

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  30. Great twist! I loved the POV from the "other" woman (even though technically, she wasn't). I could have just strangled Camille and was anticipating Judith doing so!!! It feels like it should be a larger scene. I'd love to know what happens between all three characters after that little teaser. :)

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  31. Jacee - Thank you! ;) LOL! I think there's a queue to strangle our feisty Camille. I agree, it's easily a larger scene, I would normally draw this out however with the blogfest I was conscious of the length. So glad you want to know more about the characters! I'm going to let them simmer a while. I suspect Jack will need to be prepared as estranged/ex wife, is about to storm his office. TBD. There will be fireworks no doubt. LOL:)

    Thanks so much for your lovely feedback and for following.

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