go back to sleep

Seriously later than I’d like to be with this post today, but I am proud of myself for getting it done. I’ve also produced what I think is some quality draft writing. I’m sure you’ll let me know. ~ LZ

Different schedules are often a fact of life for a main character and love interest; almost no two people have the same commute, work demands, or types of jobs that lead to complete synchronization. The “date” is precious shared sync’d up time. That’s why breaking a date without a word is so awful. But one potential partner is going to be waiting on the other at some point. How those are handled is a great opportunity to show how much a relationship deepening in ways far more powerful than the words “I love you.”

Today’s entry for my 100 ways writing prompt is “go back to sleep.” It’s another scene for my WIP, We Fit, the sequel to We Three. I hope you will enjoy. Let me know in the comments.

inspiration cover for We Fit
creative inspiration cover for We Fit, sequel to We Three

Eric had called. The plane used on his flight to the northeast had to be inspected and another was being moved from the secondary hub in Chicago for the return flight pattern. He told them to expect him around midnight.

Jess had gone to her business class after an early dinner of cold cuts with Elena. When she got in, she showered then joined Elena in the living room. Together they watched the last half hour of an angsty new adult movie on Netflix.

As the time crept closer to eleven and they exhausted topics about their day and the movie, Elena’s yawning finally prompted Jess to kiss her and tell her to go to bed. She wasn’t as tired, had some reading to do for class anyway, and would wait up for Eric.

Elena’s smile following their good night kiss lingered in Jess’s mind’s eye long after the brunette had disappeared and she heard the door to the master bedroom shut. She opened her textbook and pulled her highlighter set from a pocket in her shoulder bag. She had learned to highlight, then organize and synthesize the ideas with a pen and paper outline. Finally she would transfer the notes onto her laptop for viewing during the online study group.

Eleven became midnight and Eric still hadn’t arrived home. Jess went to the front table tray and brought her and Elena’s phones back to the living room sofa in case a text from him popped up. She returned to her reading.

#

Eric stepped inside the house, forcing the long day out with a long exhale. He closed the front door by slowly but firmly pressing it into the jamb. Turning around he placed the convertible’s keys in the front table tray. He had already started removing his uniform in the car and now took the jacket and hat from under his arm. Opening the front closet he took the time to align the jacket on a hanger and hang the hat from a hook. This being his house he decided to take off pants in the hallway, also settling them onto a hanger in the closet. He loosened and removed his tie, unbuttoned his uniform shirt, putting them both on a third hanger.

He would take the whole ensemble to the dry cleaner tomorrow, and run some polish over his shoes, which was fine since he didn’t have another flight assignment for three days. The company’s rotation plan during the continuing pandemic exposed every crew for just two days of flights a week. The rest of the time they were expected to rest and get a COVID test at the first sign of fever or respiratory distress.

A positive test from anyone in a crew group would sideline the entire crew for two weeks, so they were all being very careful, grateful for continuing paychecks, even at half pay, when so many people in the rest of the industry, and the rest of the country, were furloughed or had lost their jobs.

Hearing the A/C kick in he turned and started across the floor in his underwear and socks. Around the end of the entry wall, he turned toward the bedrooms. He stopped abruptly when out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of blonde hair visible on the couch. He wondered what she had been doing up late. Looking down at Jess’s slumped form he deduced from the spread of books and papers across her lap and the surrounding cushions that she had fallen asleep while studying.

A pen rolled out of limp fingers and hit the floor. Jess jerked awake at the sound, looking around to see what had happened and her eyes widened upon seeing Eric.

“Hi,” Eric said softly. “You should probably go to bed.”

She rubbed her face and shook her head. “Was waiting up for you.”

“You didn’t have to.”

“I sent Elena to bed at eleven.” Jess looked around. When she found and picked up her phone, she exclaimed, “It’s nearly two. Wow. What happened?”

“The plane they sent was delayed by a storm front and then we had a few passengers who wanted to argue about wearing masks.”

“I’m sorry you had problems.”

“It’s not your fault. Really, you didn’t have to wait up.” Eric took Jess’s hand as she stepped around the couch. “Did you have class tonight?”

“Yeah. Two more people are online only now.”

“How are you feeling?”

“I get the test every time I’m on campus at the student health clinic. So far everything’s come back negative.” She rubbed her nose. Obviously they were still swabbing down at the college. “How are you doing?” she asked, leaning against the back of the couch

Eric mirrored her position a few feet away against a side table and crossed his arms over his chest. He probably shouldn’t have taken her hand, but he wouldn’t hug or kiss her or Elena until after he’d showered. He needed to get to that before he crawled into bed next to his wife.

“Everything’s fine so far, knock on wood,” Eric replied. “No one on my crew has had the slightest case of sniffles or a stray cough the last two weeks.”

“Do you think we’ll ever get back to normal?”

“Who the hell knows,” Eric replied with a shrug. “Most businesses, no matter what the government wants, aren’t anywhere near back to full service, so everything that feeds from that will continue to limp along.”

Jess sighed and rubbed her face again.

“You really should go to bed,” he repeated.

“I’m glad you’re home safe,” Jess said.

“You too.”

She looked at him as she stood once again and paused briefly. He interpreted the expression on her face as contemplating if she could hug him.

“In the morning,” he promised.

“In the morning,” she said with a sigh. She left him and walked past the master bedroom door before walking to her room.

Eric opened the door to the master bedroom quietly and slipped inside. He glanced toward the bed to confirm he hadn’t awakened Elena and moved quickly past the bed into the bathroom. The shower would probably wake her, but that couldn’t be helped. He was determined to be quick about it.

So what do you think?

~ Lara

2 thoughts on “go back to sleep

  1. Chantal van den Berg

    Wasn’t expecting you to make it this current, what with covid19… though what with eric being a fly boy t would ake for an interresting development and give you some options on things like his time flying or being quarantined.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Lara Zielinsky Post author

      I was unsure if I should include the virus but writing it just gave me so many opportunities to explore the care Eric, Elena and Jess have for each other. This is all still draft bits so I might not include them in the final version, but I have to admit it feels very right to write it with this context.

      Like

      Reply

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