Writing prompt exercise: ‘The tea had gone cold…’

Happy New Year folks! 😀

Starting 2016 off with a traditional writing prompt exercise 🙂

So this one has ended up, I feel, a scene that would be near the start of the story rather than an excerpt lifted from the middle. I think it just about works as a stand alone too. Hope you enjoy!

The tea had gone cold, as usual. Gina sighed, and picked up the mug from the desk.

“Marc, you haven’t touched your tea,” she said quietly. She didn’t get a response, but then, she hadn’t expected to. When Marc was poring over his research, he entered his own world, a universe separate from the reality around him. He forgot to eat, to drink, even to acknowledge his family, much less engage in meaningful conversation with them.

Gina had tried and failed to suggest Marc leave his work behind at the university when he returned home in the evenings. She supposed she should have known better, really. When they had first met, surrounded by the heady scent of an English summer garden and cigarette smoke at an outdoor university formal, everything bathed in golden sunlight, she had found his visions for the future fascinating. She had stood enthralled with the others as he spoke, and that night had found her dreaming of him.

As she stood by his side on this Sunday morning, watching his eyes flick this way and that over a spread of diagrams and letters she couldn’t even hope to understand, she was filled with a sudden urge to upend the contents of the mug over his head – but she didn’t.

“Marc, I don’t know if you remember, but I’ve invited my dad and your parents over later, and a couple of friends, to celebrate Rosie turning one. They’ll be here around two o’clock.”

They had one daughter, Rosa, a beautiful accident but not an unwelcome one, and when she had been born, things were a little better. Marc had been there for the birth and though he was still impossible to disturb when he was wrapped up in the work, he had helped, and there didn’t seem to be quite so much work.

Now, though, they were lucky if they could make it through one mealtime without his rising early to return to the study.

“My parents?” Marc said, suddenly sitting straight and making Gina jump. She had not expected that reaction.

“Yes,” she said, hugging the cold mug of tea with her hands. “Your parents. I did tell you.”

“You said they weren’t coming until…until the fifteenth,” Marc frowned, glancing at his desk calendar, which was a day-by-day ring bound one. He never flipped its pages to keep it up-to-date, but Gina did – she had learnt quickly that tidying the study was never a good idea, but Marc couldn’t stop her from at least turning the pages of the calendar. Not that he bothered to try working out how they did get turned.

She watched him, half irritated and half amused, as he did a double take. “Oh.”

“Anyway, don’t worry. I’ve taken care of everything. But I thought I’d just remind you…you can take a break for an hour or so, right?”

Marc’s gaze turned from the calendar to fix on her face. He looked a little dazed. “Er…so my parents are coming? Here? Today?”

Gina’s irritation took over, and she again struggled not to throw the mug’s contents into his face. However, something in her head snapped and for the first time, she did not hold her tongue.

“Yes, Marc, today. At two. I told you about this a few weeks ago, and I reminded you on Friday. It is not my fault if you weren’t paying attention, or that the only time you check your miraculously self-updating calendar is when a deadline is approaching. It is up to you whether you want to join us or not, but yes – your parents, my father, Tom and Harriet are all coming at two o’clock today to eat lunch, cake, and wish your only child a happy birthday.”

She did not wait for him to respond, tore her gaze from his still dazed face, and walked out of the room. She slammed the door behind her for good measure.

Some of the tea slopped out of the mug onto the wooden floor, and she felt an odd sense of satisfaction.

Hmmm, not sure am happy with this one. Have I packed too much in? Or is it the right amount if we take this as a piece in its own right and not a part of something bigger?

Comments always welcome 🙂

I hope you’re all enjoying 2016 so far! Obviously, my New Year’s resolution is to write more 😉

Thanks for stopping by!

Ro x

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