Relationship On The Rocks

Reads: 567  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 6

Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Review Chain

Kass and Joel are struggling to keep their relationship alive. A planned getaway to help them reconnect turns into an errupting event that nearly destroys their already rocky marriage.

This story is my entry in a Review House contest.

"Hello?  Hi!  What's up?  What??  Damn!  Seriously??  Oh, your boss has a life so you can't??  No, Disappointed!  We need this weekend!  I know.  I'll get over it." 

I take a deep breath and continue. "So, when are you leaving?  Really??  Wow!  Talk about short notice!  I'm surprised you didn't call me on the road!  Ya, I get it!"

I stretch the phone out in front of me, give it the ol' one-finger salute, and bring it back to my ear.  "Yup, I'm still here.  Nope.  Not angry.  Disappointed. Oh?  When did you do that?  Wow, very efficient!  Oh, come on Joel!  Give me a break!  You hit me with your five day meeting the night before our much needed, 4 day, reconnect getaway!  What do you expect??  Oh right!  You'll make it up to me my ass!  I'll get over it.  No worries.  Everything is going to be just fine!  Well,  I'm going over Gails.  Have a safe trip and a great meeting!"  I slam the phone down and just sit there, balling my eyes out.

When my tear ducts are finally empty, I jump up, grab my keys, and head to Gail's, blasting Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive" all the way.  That song always gives me strength.  By the time I arrived in her driveway, I am rip-roaring mad.

It takes four doorbell rings for Gail to open the door.  "Kass!  What are you doing here?"

"What took you so long to open the door?"

"I was on the phone.  C'mon in.  What's going on?  Is Joel in the dog house again?"

"Forever this time!"  Something tugs at my insides, but I consciously ignore it.

"Coffee?  Or wine?"

"Definitely wine!"

Gail comes into the living room with a bottle of Merlot and two crystal wine glasses.


"Well, you're special Kass.  So, tell me what's going on."

For the next five hours, we drink wine and talk.  Wel, Gail listens.  Suddenly, Gail looks at her watch.  "Oh my God!  It's 10:00!  I'm so sorry Kass, but I really gotta take a shower and get to bed.  I'm leaving early in the morning to go visit my parents."

"No problem Gail.  I'm talked out anyway; I really need to sleep.  Thank you for the wine and the ears!  You're a good friend!"

We walk to the door, and as I walk out I look back at Gail,  "Say hello to your parents for me.  Thanks again!  Good night."

"I will.  Goodnight Kas.  Get a good night's sleep."

Thirty minutes later, I lay in my bed replaying the entire evening until I fall off to sleep.I wake up at noon the next day, take a much-needed shower, dress, and make my coffee.My head is crystal clear.  I'm gonna take my own little getaway.While sipping coffee, I pack a bag and call the hotel to reserve a single room.

On the long drive to the beach, I listen to my ocean waves meditation tape.  I arrive in a peaceful trance, ready for the beach.  My room is inviting.  I open the drapes, grab a bottle of wine from my bag, a glass from the counter, and take a seat in the ocean air on my balcony overlooking the rocks and the beach.I sip my wine, mesmerized by the rush of the waves breaking on the rocks.  There are very few people on the beach.  I am happy.  I am serene.  While staring at a couple who are standing at the edge of the water, I realize they are familiar.  He is Joel's height and build.  Her stance is familiar.

I stare for what feels like hours.  Finally, they turn and walk toward the hotel.  My heart flutters with anxiety.  It's Joel.  I know his walk.  I know his swim shorts.  I know him. But, who is the woman holding on to his arm?  I cannot see her face under her floppy hat.  She appears to be older than me, but her body seems well preserved.  Her bathing suit is one piece, but it hugs her curves beautifully. Something is very familiar about her.  Well, no matter who she is, she isn't me! I watch them until they reach their hotel room door, which is directly on the sand.

I cry myself to sleep and wake up early Saturday morning.  I spend an hour on the balcony drinking coffee and staring out at the ocean.  It's going to be a glorious day, for some of us.I'm going to check out and go home.  I cannot figure out the rest of my life while watching their romantic getaway weekend.  I'm numb and I'm empty. 

After a long, hot shower, I take my time getting ready.  My hair is perfectly styled; my makeup is flawless.I put on my favorite white, off the shoulder, handkerchief bottom summer dress that always makes me feel like the epitome of femininity.  I put my bag in the car, then go directly to the hotel restaurant for a quick lunch before my long ride home.

The hostess seats me at a window table overlooking the rocks and the ocean.  The view is breathtaking.  The waves silently pounding against them, spewing foam into the air reminds me of my life.  I am a rock.  I am strong.  I will survive. 

My thoughts are interrupted by a familiar male voice, "Kass?? 

It was Joel.  Joel and his lady friend.  I just stare, at her.

"Kass, look who I bumped into at the meeting!"

I continued to stare.  Am I dreaming?

"Kass, it's your cousin Rose!  Don't you recognize her??

Rose laughs and says, "Kass, I know we separated on bad terms.  But, that was thirty-five years ago.  I forgive you.  Can't you forgive me?  Please??"

I jump up from my seat and wrap my arms tightly around her.  "Oh Rose!  Yes!  I forgive you!!  It is so wonderful to see you!  You have absolutely no idea!"


Submitted: September 12, 2020

© Copyright 2023 KatV. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:


Evan Drake

Aw, such a sweet ending. You almost had me with that scene on the beach. Getting blown off like that just to find him having an affair would have been harsh. Although, he never called and mentioned running into Rose, and why was he on the beach? Hmm? Conspiracy thoughts are running wild here. But anyway, I like how you presented Kass. There's a lot said about her without use of any exposition or descriptors. Also, a nod for writing in present-tense. I always found that so difficult and could never pull it off.

The opening conversation on the phone kind of broke the immersion though because it's in first-person but there's only side of the conversation presented.

Great work. Good luck with the contest.

Thu, October 1st, 2020 8:21pm


I'm really happy that this little story engaged your mind; I'd hoped it would! I was a little nervous starting it off with a one sided telephone conversation, but challenged to see if it could work. Thank you so much for your feed back Evan! Means alot to me! Thank you for helping me grow as a writer!

Thu, October 1st, 2020 2:44pm


I liked the twist at the end because it really seemed like Joel was having an affair, but it turns out it was Kass' cousin? I do admit so more context on who Rose is would be nice although it's not necessary. Kass definitely had a strong personality throughout this, and the beach scene of her watching Joel and Rose gives a good sense of her thought process as she (mistakenly) realizes Joel blew her off to have an affair. That said, the one sided conversation at the beginning bothered me because it's in first person, so third person would have been a better choice if you wanted to attempt withholding information from the reader, not that I'm sure why that's needed. Stylistically, there's a lot of telling throughout the story, and the description that is there seems like it's not really describing important details. For example, Kass giving the phone the "ol' one-finger salute" is great description because the reader automatically knows how Kass is feeling, and the way the words are written give Kass a strong voice. However, later on you're very specific about music she listens to and clothes she wears and how those make her feel rather than letting the reader infer that meditation music is calming or that she likes a particular dress. I think the main issue is sentence structure as you use lots of shorter sentences, many starting with I, and it makes the whole story very choppy and disjointed. Short sentences are great for getting a reader's attention because they stand out. A place where you do it well is Kass repeating the mantra "I am a rock. I am strong. I will survive." as it shows her inner thoughts and determination to not let Joel's supposed affair hurt her any longer. Having more sentence variety would help immeasurably with flow as well as giving more context to the scenes such as about settings and minor characters.

Fri, October 2nd, 2020 11:48pm


Thank you so much for taking the time to provide me with such in-depth feedback Grey! I don't have much experience writing short stories; in fact, I've none at all. I don't know much about style; I'm not even sure I have one. I'm simple, I guess (if that's a style). Anyway, I'm developing and I can use all the help I can get. So I'm very appreciative!

I wasn't trying to withhold information from the reader. I did the telephone conversation one sided to show that his business trip was sudden, and the way he told her (over the phone vs in person) added insult to injury. I also thought it could be the first "seed" in the readers mind about that something was rotten in Denmark.
I wanted to show the story rather than tell it.

Kasa makes quick decision; doesn't think them thru. She moves on emotion. She went to her friends to avoid seeing Joel when he came home to throw a suitcase together. She bolted for a weekend at the beach to escape it all. She was decided to end their leave him in that one moment. She was feeling depressed, disappointed, alone, and rejected. She needed to feel pretty, to build up her strength. I tried to show all of that in her actions. I tried to show that in the length of time she spent getting ready to .... just go home. She spent an hour on her hair and picked out the dress that made her feel most feminine. I wasn't trying to demonstrate her taste in clothing at all.

This was a fun, learning exercise for me Grey. I appreciate the feedback of experienced writers like yourself. Thank you again for taking the time to read my story and give me such detailed feedback. I very much appreciate!

Fri, October 2nd, 2020 7:50pm


Poor Kass, that would be such a terrible thing to see, especially when you're trying to get away from it. I enjoyed reading her story and seeing how it played out. It was a surprise at the end and I always like something unexpected.
I was a little confused though with her feelings at the end. I feel like it was meant to be passive aggressive but only the passive side came across because of her overly sweet comments. If that's what you were going for I wonder if a sentence showing her feelings could help the aggressive side of that. I think that before that you did do well to show Kass' emotions. In the beginning you really did well to show how annoyed Kass was at Joel, and how close she was to breaking point.
I know you haven't written a story for ages and this one was great. It had a lot of strong points like the progression of events and the emotions at the beginning.

Wed, October 7th, 2020 10:09am


Thanks Archia. I'm not sure story writing is my thing. I'm a simple writer; not flowery or imaginative. Maybe I will take a creative writing course.

Kass's comments didn't match her emotions because she was trying to hold it in. Kass hugged Rose tightly because she was relieved it was her cousin and not "an affair". She didn't say a word to Joel because she still wasn't 100% sure that it "isn't" an affair, and she is not ready to discuss any of it with him in front of Rose. There is similar history between Rose and Kass, which is why she hesitated in the first place; they haven't spoken for years because of it. I was trying/hoping to show that conflict and put doubts/questions in the readers mind. Perhaps a dialogue of her thoughts might have helped in some places. I know I failed to make my point of her needing to "feel beautiful", when I tried to show the amount of time she spent on getting ready to ...just go home. I think I've realized that it's very hard to get what your thinking and meaning expressed by showing instead of saying. Perhaps narrative might have been the best way to write this.

Anyway, I had fun with it and hopefully I've learned some from the great feedback I've received from you and Grey. Things to think about and practice with for sure.

I do need some clarification though. Grey felt my story flow seemed choppy and disjointed, mainly due to my sentences. I think of disjointed as difficult to follow. Yet you felt the progression of events was a strong point, which means you followed it along.

Can the progression of events be strong while the story flow is choppy and disjointed? What I think I understand is that the progression of events (plans cancelled by hubby over the phone; venting to a friend to calm down; escaping to clear her head; seeing her husband with another woman; finding out the other woman is her cousin) was good; however, I didn't connect them smoothly. And....I didn't connect her emotions with the reader all the way thru from beginning to end.

So, my combined takeaway would be to improve my sentences (lengthen, fatten & fluff them), focus on how they lead into each other and tell emotions to the reader (like: feeling the ugliness of rejection, Kass took extra time to build herself confidence. She spent an hour on her hair alone, making sure every strand was in place; her makeup took another 30 minutes and it was absolutely flawless. She searched thru her suitcase for the perfect dress, the lightest, flowiest, prettiest one she had with her; the dress that made her feel like the epitome of femininity. She went from feeling stuck in a deep black hole, to sitting on a fluffy white cloud.).

Anyway, thanks so much for your very much appreciated feed back Archia. And thanks for the contest experience! Cheers!.

Fri, October 9th, 2020 6:35pm


This was an excellent story. The ending really caught me off guard. I was thinking something totally different was going to happen when she was staring at her.
Your writing style is very intriguing, especially with the onside phone conversation. The ending was refreshing, I'm glad it didn't turn into a crazy drama. I really enjoyed it.

Thu, November 12th, 2020 2:12am


Thank you so much for reading and providing feedback! I was originally going to let it be a typical triangle with a sad/bad ending. But then I decided that's typical and I wanted something different. I really wasn't sure what I was going to do until I got there. And .... it actually left it open for me to continue should I decide to practice more with it. Thanks again!

Thu, November 12th, 2020 2:39pm


I don't know if you are still interested in comments on this story, but in case you are I'd like to offer two thoughts:
1. The rhythm in this story is all off. Every scene/event crowds upon the next. I'm not sure how to fix this, whether paragraphing is enough, or maybe inserting some description.
2. Joel's appearance is abrupt, almost an example of deus ex machina: of all of the hotels in the world, they happen into the same one. You could fix this, say, by having Kass notice a sign welcoming some business group.
Otherwise, I'd like to commend you for telling a complete story in so few words.

Sun, February 6th, 2022 3:16am


Yes I am still open for comments on EVERYTHING I write. Thank you so much for taking the time to give them!
This was one of my first short stories for a contest with a word limit. It felt rushed, especially as I trimmed it up to fit the word count. I truly appreciate your comments and one day I will attempt to rewrite and include your suggestions. I do believe breaking it up some by adding description will improve the story. The welcome sign at the hotel might be a nice lead in ... hint to her that Joel is there, but I wanted to accentuate her complete surprise so that later she can slowly connect many dots that should have made her aware a long time before. My original idea was that there was no "company business meeting" .... just him and his girlfriend ..... who happened to be her distant relative WHO has a "similar" past with her and a younger boyfriend. I was trying to leave that open for a deeper, longer story.
Again, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment!

Sun, February 6th, 2022 7:27am

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