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Writing Exercise: Create a sense of something pending

He sat down in the leather recliner just inside the door to the office and and watched her pace in front of her desk, the light from the window alternately highlighting her face and then brushing her back as she turned. “Since you’re so fond of notes, put it on paper.” he told her. Confused, she stared at him but his next words left no doubt he was serious. “Sit in your chair. Get a pen. Write it down.”

Turning back to her desk, she made a face at his curt instructions but was careful to hide it from him as she sat down. She plucked a piece of paper out of the printer tray and picked up a pen. After a long moment she carefully wrote “I need some time on my own.” No, that’s not quite right. “I think we need some time apart to decide where our relationship is going.” That’s not completely right either. Why was this so hard? She took a deep breath and tried again. “I don’t like how I’ve been feeling lately.” She continued “I don’t want to be with you right now. I don’t like-” her hand paused momentarily. “-how you seem to be feeling about me.” That wouldn’t go over well, she thought tiredly, rubbing a hand across her face as if that would force the right words to emerge. The tentative discussion she had started over the breakfast table this morning had suddenly turned into something entirely unexpected and she felt worry creep over her at the turn it was taking. Shoving her chair back from the desk with legs that refused to stop trembling, she walked to the bay window and stared out. “This isn’t high school,” she bit out, speaking in a low voice. “I’m not going to pass you notes. There’s no reason I can’t say this to you out loud. I know why we’re together and this isn’t going -”

“You know?”

The sheer lack of expression on his face would have been a warning but even with her back to him she could picture his careful movements and hear the creak of leather as he rose from his chair and it continued to rock in the absence of his weight. She didn’t hear his footsteps but imagined she could feel the heat of his body as he stood behind her, not even an inch of space separating them. His warm hand smoothed its way up her arm and across her shoulder and rested against the back of her neck. The pressure it exerted felt far greater than the actual weight of it.

“I don’t think you know anything,” he breathed, the gentle exhalation that carried his words brushing across her ear.