"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris ... then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Ernest Hemingway

Monday, 21 April 2014

It's in the Box. April Fools flash fiction for the Write...Edit...Publish prompt.

It’s in the Box

Alicia was in a world where she was in total control. Her fingers danced across the ivory keys, the notes cascaded like silver water, filling the space. It seemed to her that the music was a visible thing. She glanced out the window and she could imagine the notes moving among the trees, scattering on the lawn like little motes of light. 

A dark shadow moved through the trees, coming toward her. Her fingers crashed down on the keys, sending discordant judders throughout the space. Then she saw it was David. Her fingers moved across the ivory, silently, but Alicia could hear the notes in her head. She wondered what David was doing. He had a secretive look on his face and he clutched a parcel in his free hand. Oh! No! Not another surprise! Her eyes moved to the calendar on the grey wall behind the piano--April 1st. Their anniversary! So caught up in her music, she'd forgotten completely.

How well Alicia remembered David’s first gift to her, a classic Guerlain perfume from the 60s. He knew she loved vintage, and she appreciated that vintage perfumes were expensive and hard to track down. But it was a pity that he didn't appreciate that a perfume was a personal choice. You had to spray it on your wrist and a bit of paper and wait and see if you liked it a few hours later. Then you had to go back to the store and try another, then another...until you hit the right note.  

‘Do you like it?’ He'd squirted the air. ‘Mmm, what a bouquet…’

BouquetWhere did he learn such a word? Oh, those girls at the perfume counter had been educating him. Yes, a beautiful bouquet of cow dung…‘Mmm, a certain something, darling,’ she'd replied. How could she hurt his feelings when he'd gone to so much trouble? 

She’d sprayed it around their apartment, sprayed it in the linen cupboard, sprayed it in the kitchen bin, tried not to gag when she sprayed it on herself just before he got home from his nightly gig at the Performing Arts. When she applied her favourite Guerlain classic, Jicky, (Jackie Onassis' favourite perfume, she'd read once), David still thought she was wearing his ‘Ikkie’ (her word). Obviously his 'nose' wasn't that good!

Last week she’d been ready when he nuzzled her ear and whispered, ‘Are you wearing my perfume?’

‘No, honey. Perfumes don’t last forever, sadly. This is my Jicky.’ Thank God.

So, the second anniversary of their first date was today. Such a pity it fell on April 1st. She never knew whether David was kidding or not, but he was such a serious guy she couldn't imagine that 'Ikkey' was a joke. There'd be another gift today. No doubt perfume. She loved David, she really did, it was just his taste in perfume she loathed. She took a deep breath as he slunk inside, his cello bumping across his back. His eyes lit up when she turned on the piano stool and faced him. 

He waved a box under her nose. Promising--nice and small, hmm, maybe...it looked so pretty...

‘Happy anniversary my love! Open it!’ He shrugged off his cello and propped it against the piano.

She pulled apart the lavender tissue paper, praying it wasn't a repeat of last year. Uh oh.

‘David, you’ve outdone yourself!’ A minature bottle of ‘Ikkie.’ 

‘It was an extra they gave me when I bought the last bottle. I kept it for when you ran out.’


He put his arms on her shoulders. ‘Don’t you like it darling? I thought you loved that bouquet. Why, I could even smell it in the garbage bin.’

‘David, I must tell you…’

‘Hey, look Allie. Where did that come from?’  He whipped out another little box and flipped the lid.

There, winking at her from a bed of white satin was the most adorable white gold sapphire and diamond ring.

‘David! It’s exquisite!’

‘And so is my Alicia.’ He knelt on the floor, folding his six-four frame until he was level with her eyes.

‘My darling, will you marry me?’ 

‘Yes, yes, yes!’

‘You didn’t think I had it in me, did you?’

‘Er, no, yes, of course I knew you did, sweetie.’

‘Now, what about your little bottle of perfume?’

‘David, I need a change.’

‘Thought you might say that.’ He winked. ‘Hey, there might be another box somewhere.' He reached inside his suit jacket. 'Ta da!'

There it was, Jicky, its retro stopper catching the golden light.

‘How did you know I like Jicky?’

‘Well, do you really think I couldn’t tell the difference?' He chuckled. 'But I let you go on pretending. It was so funny.’

‘Oh, David. I should’ve been honest and told you I hated that perfume you bought me. I didn’t want to hurt you.’

‘I know darling. A woman who’ll wear perfume she hates for a year must really love her man. I fell in love with you all over again when I saw you spraying it on, just for me.’

‘Oh, David…’

‘Come here love. Let's do this. My knees are killing me.’ He took the ring and slipped it on her finger.

She turned back to the piano and strummed the keys, admiring how the diamonds glinted in the evening light. The strings of the cello joined her in harmony. She and David were made for each other, but she'd already decided she wasn't getting married on April 1st.

WORDS: 919

I hope you'll click on the names in the right hand sidebar and check out what others have imagined for the WEP April Fools prompt. Submissions are open until April 24. If you have a story, a non-fiction piece, a poem, a photograph that would fit the prompt, you are welcome to submit. Just leave a comment at the Write...Edit...Publish website.

Thank you for reading my story. Are there gifts you'd prefer to buy for yourself?


  1. Sweet and entertaining. Liked it a lot.

  2. Yes, Denise, perfume is one gift I prefer to select. Make mine French.Loved the play on words, the innocence of youthful love.

    1. Well, Guerlaine's as French as we get. Jicky is a bone-fide vintage classic French perfume. Swoon!

  3. That was cute and fun! :)

    Definitely prefer to choose my own perfumes, or better make that cosmetics generally, but after so many years the hubs knows what NOT to get.

  4. Very sweet and ROMANTIC, Denise.... Lovely flow and wonderful details.

  5. What a fun story! I'm so glad it had a good ending. I was worried for a moment there. He's a very smart man!

  6. I loved it! Sweet, romantic and heartfully tender!

  7. Very clever and oh so romantic. I'd put up with a bottle of Ikkie if someone would give me a sapphire and diamond ring.

  8. Romantically funny, Denise. I liked the sarcasm, and banter. And her slip "Ikkey".

    This gave me a smile :)


  9. I definitely had an emotional reaction to these two characters - and that's the mark of good writing! The prose rocks, too! :)

  10. Denise,
    I love this! So much fun! The characters are wonderful. To think she wore that perfume for so long JUST so she wouldn't hurt his feelings. Now that's commitment. Although, I must say, I think I would have said something a long time ago if it stunk that bad ;)

    Cheers! And so happy to read your work again!

  11. A delightful read. I love the bouquet of cow dung. Made me laugh. :-)
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

  12. How sweet! And down to earth. I love it.

    Hope you're doing fabulous, Denise!

  13. I had to look up judder.
    I appreciate a girl who likes her fragrance. Glad he knew that you can't just pick out anything for someone. That's a good prank!

  14. I could practically hear the music! :)

    P.S. Thanks for putting the button in your sidebar!

  15. I'm such a sucker for happy endings :-) Love the fact that he did notice after all!

  16. A lovely romantic gesture at the end after all she'd been through wearing a perfume she didn't like.

  17. lol, such a naughty trick! Love the ending.

  18. Aw, loved it.
    And yes I prefer to buy most things for myself. Especially perfume!


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