wordwhacker: (NaNo 2004)
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Written for Word #120 over at [livejournal.com profile] 15_minute_fic

Pandora's Speech (flash, 499 words)

Every time Claire opened her mouth, she regretted it.

Until that point she'd have them. They would watch her with an open lust, imagining what it would be like to talk to her, touch her, become a part of her world. She loved that look, because even as it was searching her, it left the wearer open to be searched, and she saw the small print on their soul. She saw the real drive behind the intent, the quiet words that lurked behind the statement that he made with his cologne - man perfume, she liked to call it - and his half-open button-down shirt and his hard, tousled hair.

Behind it all was someone who needed validation. And she had the power to validate.

Until, of course, she opened her mouth.

He stood up and moved toward her, and Claire cursed herself for not shutting him down before he thought it was safe to move. There was no stopping it now. She turned back to the bar, signalled for another drink. After a moment she felt him standing next to her.

"Can I buy you a drink?"

Feigning indifference, she waited until the barkeep brought her the drink she'd already ordered before she turned to him. Phrases came to mind, and she tried to picture herself saying them in the deep, slow, deliciously pithy voice of a femme fatale. Maybe: A little late for that. Or she'd toss the martini back with an elegant flourish and say, You can now. Or maybe she would look him up and down and let a little smirk play on her lips as she let her eyes linger, and then she'd say, What're you buying?

"Um, okay, sure," she said. Damn, was she coming on too strong? "I mean, I just got one, but if you want to get me one I'm sure I'll be here for a while. I mean, I'm not a drunk or anything, so I don't want you to think that - " You're talking too much, stop talking so much! "Okay, maybe you shoudln't, I don't think it's a good idea to accept drinks from strangers - not that you're strange or anything - that's a weird word, isn't it? Stranger? I mean, you're not strange at all, you're pretty cute actually - " Oh god, don't say that out loud! "Not that I'm judging your looks, but I was looking at you, while you were looking at me, and I, well, you know, it just sort of happened. I do that a lot. Look, I mean. Not..."

She sighed. She'd done it again.

He looked puzzled. "So... is that a yes?"

She blinked. "Um... sure, that would be fine - thank you. Really. I appreciate it."

"Put the next one on my tab," he said to the barkeep.

A thousand thoughts sprung into her mind, but she fought them off. Keep it simple, Claire. Just keep it simple. Say it in one word, just one. Keep... it...

She gestured to the stool beside her. "... Sit?"
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March 2011

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