Monday, September 5, 2011

Tuesday Tales #5 - Lies

This is my fifth Tuesday Tales, where writers are invited to create a story based on a prompt. This week's prompt was "boyfriend" but it has been changed to "lies". Both prompts work well for my story, and my are there plenty of lies in this week's chapter! My Tuesday Tales are part of a serial I've entitled "The Artifact". It's romantic adventure/suspense. Make sure to read all back issues before reading this one. Below is my list of previous Tuesday Tales.  Enjoy!

The Artifact
By Elizabeth Black

Chapter Five - Lies

Victoria let out an exasperated sigh. "Don, this is Julian Archer, my ex-husband. Julian, this is Donovan Fleming, my boyfriend."

Julian gave Don the once-over and laughed. He was a master at pushing buttons, as Victoria knew well, and she knew to fear the worst once the man opened his big mouth. "You replaced me with a pencil-pusher?"

"My pencil pushing probably earns five times what your Indiana Jones act does." Don pushed his fists into his hips, taking on a swagger so ridiculous and unlike him Victoria lowered her face into her palm in embarrassment. What was her problem? Why did she pick the most infuriating men to fall in love with? She didn't know Don well enough to love him - a month's worth of dates didn't lead in that direction - but did she even want to? He treated her well but the spark just wasn't there. They didn't have sex very often, which surprised her. If Don's lusts didn't surface soon, she'd consider ending the relationship but she didn't want to be alone. Seeing him become so angry and possessive over her in light of Julian standing only a few feet in front of her was the most passionate she'd ever seen Don. Miffed that he felt more sparks over a threat to his precious territory than to her as a woman, she clenched her jaw with anger as she listened to him rant. "Vic, were you really married to this poseur? When was the last time he's had a shower and shave? You should hear how she talked about you. Not good, buddy."

"So you still talk about me, huh, Vic?" Julian moved a few steps closer to her and grinned. "I know I'm impossible to forget." 

"Will you two stop it?" Victoria spoke low with a menacing warning but her two suitors refused to listen. Don's lack of passion was matched by Julian's overabundance of all manner of lusts; food, sex, adventure. His fever pitch exhausted Victoria, but when he left her and the fevered pitch of her life ended she crashed like a junkie coming off a bender. She needed her fix, but Julian hurt her to her core. He shredded her heart so badly she refused to date any man until she met Don - and she dated Don only because he was so ... bland.

"I can easily forget him but I doubt he'll let me go." Julian walked to Don close enough so that the two men could exchange blows, but Victoria new their display was nothing more than a territorial pissing match. Did they care at all about her or were they only interested besting each other? "I always come out on top. I bet he hasn't been on top in decades."

"That's it, asshole--" Don pulled one arm back and Victoria slapped him upside the head.

"I said stop it you two! I'm not some cow you can fight over until one of you wins. What do you think I am, a prize in a bet?" 

"Why didn't you tell me your ex-husband was going to be here? What other lies have you told me?" Don stood in front of Julian, blocking the other man's access to her. "I came all the way down here because you keep telling me I don't take your work seriously, and when I show up I find you with another man!"

Victoria tossed her arms up in frustration. I hope these two don't plan on bickering like this all day. If they do, I'll go get some lunch and let them take it out on each other in the street. "Oh, for God's sake! I had no idea he was here, Don. If I'd have known I would have demanded he be removed from the project and sent back to whatever tropical hell hole he came from."

"It's true, Don." Julian said. "She wasn't entirely happy to see me although I think she's changed her mind." Victoria remembered their passionate kiss and blushed so hard she feared she'd start sweating.

"Can we stop fighting for now? I want to get the Aphrodite in her place of honor in the exhibit and then go out and get some lunch. Julian, you mentioned conch fritters, grouper, and fried plantains. That sounds delicious. Let's go to the Bahamian Kitchen after I get this statue in her proper place. All this excitement has given me one hell of an appetite."

"Sounds good to me, Vic." Julian winked at her and Victoria could feel the fumes spouting off Don's head. Great, more games. "How about you, Don? Truce until we get some food in our stomachs?"

"I'm game as long as Vicky gets what she wants." His growl sounded so low she felt it rather than heard it. "But I'm not through with you yet, Archer. Far from it."

"Okay, children, quit squabbling." Victoria picked up her phone and pressed a button. "Rod, I'm setting up the statue and then going out to lunch for a few hours. Please take all calls. I don't expect to be back for awhile, maybe not until tomorrow."

She grabbed a small wooden crate filled with packing material and a hand cart. Carrying the Aphrodite of Rhodes in her arms to her display case was far too risky a venture. Better to transport her according to the rules.

"So you didn't know he was going to be here?" She hated it when Don pouted.

"No. Like I said, if I'd have known he was going to be here I would have had him removed from the project."

"But he's still here. Why not remove him now?"

She couldn't believe what he said. It took a special kind if chutzpah to to tell her how to do her job. "Because if he wasn't here I never would have found the statue after she was stolen."

"You don't need him anymore. Make him go away."

"There's no reason to. I don't feel threatened by him. He could actually be of some use to me. So he stays on." Julian smiled and was about to speak when his cell phone rang. He gave Victoria that smirk from one side of his mouth smile and answered his phone.

"So you're not going to start seeing him?"

"Don, there's a reason there's an "ex" in "ex-husband". Will you stop being so possessive? You're being childish." Her voice rose, tinged with anger. Why was he being so difficult? And why didn't he ever show such emotion when there was no threat to his territory?

"I can't help it! I find you here with some man and you expect me to look the other way?"

"What?" Julian held one hand over his ear, drowning out the bickering between Victoria and Don. "Kwame, speak up. I can't hear you--" He shouted into the air. "--over all the noise in this room!"

Victoria watched as Julian's expression changed from annoyance to a furrowed brow of incredulity. Then he laughed, his voice rattling against the walls, bouncing and shouting in her ears, mocking her. "Are you serious? What's wrong with the statue?" Don barked at her and she slapped him on the arm to shut him up. Her attention riveted on Julian's phone call, she took a few steps closer to him. "How could you tell? I should have picked up on something like that."

"Julian--" She whispered but he waved a hand at her to quiet her. 

"I'm as floored as you are. Why didn't you say anything when I came in the store?" The annoyed look returned. "Of course I was going to hurt you, you sniveling pig. You stole the Aphrodite of Rhodes, right out from under my nose!" His eyes widened and he laughed again with mirth Victoria didn't feel. "No, I'm not going to repay you for giving me this news. It's very bad news. Victoria is going to have to have a long talk with the Greek consulate for pulling a fast one on her. I have to go. We'll talk later."

"What were you talking about and why does it leave me feeling nauseous?" Victoria's stomach turned somersaults, fearing Julian's answer.

"I never expected this but I should have been on the lookout for it." Julian picked up the statue of Aphrodite, sat her with a thump on Victoria's desk, and patted her on head. "Your precious statue is a fake, my dear."

"What?" Victoria and Don cried in unison. 


For more stories from other authors, please visit the Tuesday Tales web site. Next week's prompt is "secret". Look for "The Artifact" to continue in the next installment.


  1. Ha! A fake? Lies are everywhere! Well Done!

  2. So didn't see that coming! Damn, what a twist!