Oh, Dear (Fiction inspired by Emilio Pasquale photo)

This story is inspired by Emilio Pasquale’s photo. I didn’t ask permission to post the photo here, but you can view it in another window by clicking the link on the first sentence. (Trust me, you should see it!)


“Yes, Mr. Collins. The cabin will be set just how you requested. I took excellent notes.”

Samuel tapped his fingers on his desk. “You’ve got the dozen pink roses and the box of truffles in the bedroom?”

“Yes, sir.”

He exhaled. “Thank you, Josie. Everything has to be perfect; exactly like it was twenty years ago.”

He hung up the phone and rested his forehead in his hands. He knew his future depended on the success of the upcoming weekend. Twenty years ago, he had taken Deana to the rustic cabin on their honeymoon. They hadn’t had much money and, although the cabin was only two hours north of Phoenix, the climate was a world away. Three weeks ago, Deana moved out. Now, he had to prove to her that he still loved her. Recreating our honeymoon for Valentine’s Day is perfect!

He picked up the phone again and pressed the first programmed call number.

“What do you want?”

He gulped. “Listen, Deana. Just give me a chance.”

“I’ve already given you too many.”

“Please, just meet me at the Ponderosa Inn and Cabins on Saturday.” When the silence dragged on for several awkward seconds, he continued, “Cabin 9. Just one more chance. Please.

“That’s where we spent our honeymoon.”

“I remember.”

“I don’t think-”

“Don’t think, just show up.”

She sighed. “Fine.”

He exhaled and his shoulders slumped with the release of tension. “The room is ours at two, if you want to head up early. I have a couple things to take care of, but I’ll be there by four.”

She snorted. “Another one of your business weekends, huh? Never mind. We’ve been through-”

“No!” He took a breath to calm his panic. “No, wait, it’s not like that. I’ve reserved two hours of spa time; you pick the services.”

“Oh.” She paused. “They have a spa now?”

“They added it a few years ago.”


He smiled. “You won’t be disappointed.”

He hung up the phone and dialed the Ponderosa Inn.

“Hi, this is Samuel Collins,” he said once the front desk picked up the line. “I need to schedule two hours of spa services for Saturday.”

“I’m sorry. The spa is fully booked until Sunday afternoon.”

“How much would it cost to make it happen?”

“Sir, it’s Valentine’s Day. The schedule is full.”

“Okay, okay.” He ran his fingers through his thinning hair. “Can you call people who are scheduled between two and four to find out if they will sell their appointment? I’ll pay any price.”

“Sure, Mr. Collins. I’ll see what I can do.”

“I appreciate it, Josie.”

***        ***        ***

On Valentine’s Day, Samuel called Deana. “Yes, the spa appointment is all set. When you check in at the front desk, ask for Yolanda and she’ll get you started.”

“I’m impressed. I didn’t think you could pull it off. I always planned our vacations.”

“I’m full of surprises.”

“Wait a second; you didn’t have your assistant set everything up, did you?”

“Actually, no.” That would’ve been smarter. “I’ve made our dinner reservations for 6pm, so that should give you enough time to get ready.”

“All right.”

“I love you, Deana.”

The line disconnected. She’d avoided saying she loved him for months. He didn’t pick up on it at first. A twinge of pain ran through his chest. He should’ve asked questions. He counted out twenty-three one hundred dollar bills; enough to cover the spa appointment and tips. He folded the wad in half and shoved it into his blazer pocket. He grabbed his overnight bag and headed to the car.

At four-twenty, he parked his car in the dirt parking to the left of the main building. He patted his pocket and strode into the lobby. The heat from the fireplace across from the front desk enveloped him as the door eased closed. He detected a sweet smell commingling with the pine scent, and just then, he noticed the plate of chocolate chip cookies on counter.

A brunette with large eyeliner-rimmed brown eyes greeted him with a smile. “Good afternoon.”

“Hi. You must be Josie?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I’m Samuel Collins. I wanted to thank you for your help getting this weekend set up.” He pulled out the wad of bills and peeled four bills away. He handed her the cash. “This is for you.”

Her eyes widened. “No way!”

“Do you have an envelope?”

Josie reached into a drawer to her right and pulled out a letter-sized envelope with three green pine trees stamped in the upper left corner.

He took the envelope from her manicured fingers. “Are the Davenports dining in the main room tonight?”

Josie’s nails clicked the laptop keys. “They have a six-thirty reservation.”

“Perfect. I owe them for the spa appointment.” He stuffed a few bills into the envelope and tucked the rest into his pocket. He handed the envelope to Josie. “Please see that this gets to those who attended to my wife today.” His phone vibrated in his pocket and he checked the screen. Deana. He tapped the screen. “Hi, hon-”

“What is wrong with you?” she shrieked.

He pulled the phone from his ear and turned away from Josie after catching sight of her perplexed expression. “I have no idea.” He didn’t know how to answer. “How was the spa?”

“Nice, until I got back to the cabin!”

“Why? I had them set it up exactly how it was for our honeymoon.”

“We didn’t have two deer in our bed on our honeymoon!”


“Two deer. In our bed!”

“Hold on.” He turned to Josie. “She says there are two deer in our bed?”

Josie nodded. “Yes sir, just as you requested.”

“I didn’t ask for that!”

She pulled out a manila folder and flipped through some papers. “Right here.” She handed the paper to him. Scrawled in purple ink was, ‘two deer for our anniversary.’

Samuel rubbed his forehead. “No!  It was supposed to be a card that read, “To my dear for our anniversary.”


If you didn’t check out the link to Emilio’s photo at the beginning of the story, here’s a second chance. You really should see the photo that inspired this story – it’s awesome!

I purposely left the ending open so you can determine how it plays out. If you’re a romantic, then she ended up finding the mixup “endeering” (sorry, that was really bad) and laughed at the mishap and they lived happily ever after. If you are a cynic, then she was so mad she drove home that night and reconciliation hopes were dashed 🙂

I still have a lot of “stuff” going on, but I couldn’t resist this distraction from the weight of life. I appreciate all the kind comments and prayers that many of you have sent my way. You all rock! I hope to be back more regularly soon.


58 thoughts on “Oh, Dear (Fiction inspired by Emilio Pasquale photo)

  1. joannesisco February 13, 2015 / 5:59 AM

    This picture is certainly very intriguing and worth at least a dozen different stories!!

    I can’t help but feel a bit sad for Samuel …. the best laid plans …. 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:46 PM

      Thanks for reading, Joanne! I bet there are many other stories from this. I’m still curious about what really led up to that scene, haha.

      • joannesisco February 17, 2015 / 5:44 AM

        LOL – that makes two of us, but I don’t think Emilio is going to spill the beans 🙂

        • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 9:03 AM

          I know… that’s awfully cruel of him 🙂

  2. nrhatch February 13, 2015 / 7:17 AM

    Oh, deer! 😛

    Glad you carved out time and mental space to do some writing.

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:47 PM

      Thanks, Nancy! Glad you stopped by to read it 🙂

  3. Polysyllabic Profundities February 13, 2015 / 7:30 AM

    I’m glad I hadn’t seen the picture first….I burst out laughing at the end! Great story. Hope you’re doing well.

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:47 PM

      I’m happy you found the humor in it, Susan. I actually wrote the ending first and filled it in from that!

  4. Debbie February 13, 2015 / 7:59 AM

    Janna, how delightful it is to see you back here (even if it’s just a “dip-your-toes-in-the-water” temporary appearance!) I love this story, and it’s perfect for Emilio’s photo (and Valentine’s weekend). Part of me wants to think Deana has a good sense of humor and reconciles; the other part sees this as the final nail in poor Sam’s coffin! Prayers ongoing, my friend!

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:48 PM

      I’m glad you liked the story, Debbie! I think Deana could go either way (depending on the reader’s mood, haha 🙂 )

  5. Michael February 13, 2015 / 8:41 AM

    Deer me. How unfortunate. 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:49 PM

      Yes, his plan kind of went off track 🙂

  6. Sean February 13, 2015 / 8:41 AM

    I will say that the story was unique and it kept my mind wondering how you were going to play the photo. It helped that I saw the photo first because it was different. It made me wonder how you would tie in the photo with your story. It’s always a pleasure to see what you come up with. I guess another month for the next photo AARRRGGGHHHHHH. 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:50 PM

      Thanks for reading, Sean! I’m glad the story held your interest. Maybe I’ll post fiction again before March, but I look forward to Emilio’s photos’ too 🙂

  7. suzicate February 13, 2015 / 10:54 AM

    Now, that is just too funny! I always love seeing what you come up with…looking at the photo, this was not what I expected, ha!

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:51 PM

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story and found the humor in it, Suzicate!

  8. Kir Piccini February 13, 2015 / 1:41 PM

    I want to believe she STAYED! 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:51 PM

      Then, she stayed, Kir 🙂 (That’s the beauty of an open ending, haha!)

  9. Emilio Pasquale February 13, 2015 / 2:46 PM

    Dear me! How totally unexpected. Even though you are going through some very difficult times right now, I’m glad you found the time, and incentive, to write. You certainly haven’t lost your talent. And you never have to ask permission of me to post one of my photos. I hope you got away from real life with this if only for a brief moment. And please, try not to wait another month.

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:53 PM

      Thank you so much for the planting the idea to write a story for that photo – I had a lot of fun with it, Emilio. I can’t wait until we team up for March – that is, if you’re up for it! Oh, and thanks for permission to repost photos with stories I write for them. I’ll always link them back to you, of course 🙂

      • Emilio Pasquale February 17, 2015 / 4:08 PM

        Just tell me when you want a photo and I will send you one. I enjoy these as much as I think you enjoy them. And it’s got to take your mind off real life for at least an evening, no?

        • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 9:04 AM

          You got it, Emilio. Your photos and the resulting stories are great distractions, so I say “more, please” 🙂

        • Emilio Pasquale February 22, 2015 / 11:27 AM

          I’ll send a new one your way within a day or two! 🙂

        • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 10:29 PM

          Sounds good! I don’t know if it will be a February or March post, but we don’t have strict rules anyway, haha 🙂

        • Emilio Pasquale February 23, 2015 / 3:24 PM

          Well, actually I do have strict rules. But I haven’t found it necessary to sit you down and explain them to you! 🙂

        • jannatwrites February 26, 2015 / 11:11 PM

          Ooohhh…I could be a rule-breaker and I don’t even know it? Cool!

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:54 PM

      Maybe I’m just really tired (I am) but I’m not getting this… but thanks for stopping by, Widdershins 🙂

      • Widdershins February 16, 2015 / 9:35 PM

        I don’t think my brain was working either … I’ll blame in on the flu!!! 🙂

        • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 10:05 PM

          So you were blogging under the in”flu”ence? Sorry, I know that was lame! I hope you are feeling a bit better by now, Widdershins 🙂

  10. firstandfabulous February 13, 2015 / 7:52 PM

    I saw the picture prior to reading since I come here by way of Emilio (more than once) 😊 but I had to wonder where you were going with this. Nice work. And I’m thinking Deana has just about lost her sense of humor when it comes to Mr. Fix-it. There’s the door. We’ll still be friends. NEXT!

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:57 PM

      Hehe, she may just have reached the end of her rope… personally, I’d have to laugh if I found 2 deer in my bed 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by and reading the story.

  11. agjorgenson February 14, 2015 / 8:52 PM

    The photo is great and the story greater still!

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:58 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Allen! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:58 PM

      Thanks for reading, Kathy! I’m glad you liked the story 🙂

  12. Lance February 15, 2015 / 2:01 PM

    Your dialogue is better than ever.

    more please

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:59 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Lance. I’m glad you found the dialogue believable!

  13. Trifocal February 16, 2015 / 5:37 AM

    Great story; nicely paced, deft humour and a perfect match for the picture. Thank you for posting it- made my day 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 8:59 PM

      Thanks so much for reading and for the nice comment, Trifocal. I’m glad you liked the story!

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2015 / 9:00 PM

      Thanks, Bjorn! I’ve missed writing, so I might post fiction here once a week (if life permits.)

  14. siralaska February 17, 2015 / 9:26 PM

    Wow! I really enjoyed that, and was a little disappointed that it ended! One thing I’ve always had trouble with is just writing everyday, normal events, within the context of a story without making them boring and you nailed it. I was actually a little tense when Deana yelled at him over the phone when he was at the desk!

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 9:05 AM

      Wow, thanks so much for reading and for your comment – it made my day! I am glad that the mundane seemed interesting – that’s such an awesome compliment, Siralaska 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 9:06 AM

      Yay! I’m glad you enjoyed, Phil. I sure had fun with it… it’s such a cool photo.

  15. GodGirl February 19, 2015 / 2:17 PM

    Haha, love a good pun! Nicely delivered 🙂
    Thinking of you with all you’re going through, and glad to see you could get a bit of writing time in.

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 9:07 AM

      Thanks, GodGirl – glad you enjoyed the story. I do appreciate the kind thoughts, too… still could use them 🙂

  16. Aquileana February 19, 2015 / 10:50 PM

    Great flash fiction with cool witty blends… It totally fits the photograph, indeed…
    Very nice! ⭐ Best wishes. Aquileana 😀

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 9:07 AM

      Thanks so much for reading, Aquileana – I’m glad you liked the story!

  17. Imelda February 22, 2015 / 8:42 PM

    Oh no!!!! 🙂 I hope Deana has a sense of humor. That was a fun read, Janna. 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 10:32 PM

      Thanks for reading, Imelda! If you want her to have a sense of humor, then she does – and they had a wonderful night (well, after the deer were relocated!)

  18. Imelda February 22, 2015 / 8:43 PM

    and yes, the photograph was lovely.

  19. pattisj February 22, 2015 / 11:01 PM

    Ha! Two deer…That was a great story.

Got an opinion? Share it!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s