Brat Farrar (bratfarrar) wrote,
Brat Farrar

Fic fragment: Last night

This is based on an exercise in the excellent book What If?, which was to take the line "where were you last night" and write just the beginning of a story. At some point I'll probably come back to this and extend it into a proper short story, but not right now. Right now I have a headache.

“Where were you last night” sat frozen on her tongue.


Where were you last night sat frozen on her tongue. Rosa would’ve liked to have said it, but she didn’t quite dare. Had it been anyone in the family but Jeremy, she might have, but his words were too biting and his eyes saw too much. So she contented herself with smoothing out the tablecloth again and saying “Good morning,” a bit too brightly.

“Good morning,” Jeremy said gravely in response. Somehow, despite being out all night (which she knew, having kept watch on the front door), he managed to look as rested as he couldn’t possibly be. His eyes weren’t bloodshot, nor his hair rumpled, and the creases on his suit were impeccable. She couldn’t understand how he managed it.

“I hope you like eggs,” she said, prompted by the timer. Scarcely hearing his response (“Eggs would be fine”), she went about the task of laying out breakfast in silence, her mouth full of the words she hadn’t said. Jeremy sat watching her, an odd expression on his face, although she was too distracted to really take note of it at the time.

Lillian came down to breakfast just as Rosa ran out of things to do, thus saving her from having to make awkwardly polite conversation with Jeremy. “Good morning, Rosa. Jeremy.” She slid into the seat next to him and began slathering jam onto a defenseless piece of toast. “I hope you both slept well last night.” Really, she couldn’t have picked a worse thing to say if she’d been trying.

Rosa couldn’t contain her flinch, and the look on Jeremy’s face intensified for a moment before being replaced by silent laughter. If there was anything Rosa disliked about him more than his quick tongue and observant eye, it was his ability to laugh without anyone noticing.
Tags: all fiction, fiction fragments, original fiction

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