Saturday, 16 April 2011

First Delusion - a YA flash fiction for Chuck Wendig's weekly challenge

Chuck Wendig of Terribleminds is an inspiration, he issued the Friday flash fiction challenge of April 15th.  This time around he gave five random words - Figure, Dusk, Flirt, Mobile Phone and Wig - to create a story with a 1000 word limit.

Check out the links to the Paris tango schedule at the end.

tango on the Seine photo by Brooksby 2007

First Delusion
999 words
by Angie Arcangioli

Three knocks on the door broke the laughter.  Chloe ran to open it wide and gasped when she saw him, the anticipation of meeting her father’s best friend was like waiting for Christmas.  He was here for the Paris Tango festival all the way from Buenos Aires. 

“Hello, you must be Chloe.” His deep voice echoed as he stepped inside. Chloe’s father budged past her and hugged Rex.  Rex was not his given name. The tangueros called him that because beautiful women wrecked their lives to fight for his devotion.

Rex hugged her father back and they laughed. 

“How long has it been?” Carlos asked.

“Sofia, the love of my life.  You’re younger every time I see you. ” Rex jested, dropping Carlos to hug her mother with such enthusiasm that he lifted her, swinging her around. She laughed heartily.

“You never change.”  Chloe saw her mother’s face lighten and Rex winked at her.

They moved to the room filled with singing people where her uncle played the bandoneon.  Chloe watched Rex as he warmly greeted every one with a kiss, a slap, some words.  He had something special for all.  He was unlike any Parisian, warm and bubbly.  Rex kept his eyes on Chloe; she was engulfed by his charisma.  He circled the room stopping at the chair next to hers. 

That evening her father threw a welcome party for Rex, it was years since he last visited Paris.  Everyone talked about the days before Chloe was born, a few couples danced in the big hall.

Chloe was fourteen; her figure was flowering gracefully into puberty.  She learnt to dance Argentine tango for fun in the house during parties but fencing was her passion.  The lead and follow of tango aided her footwork in competitions. She was regional champion in her age group and was nicknamed the tanguera. 

“I hear you’ve quit tango for fencing!  How many guys have you eliminated?”  Rex teased.

Chloe said nothing she was too shy and unaccustomed to such flirtatious attention.

“Oh come on, leave her alone. You’re too old for her.”  Chloe’s uncle chuckled. 

Everyone wanted Rex’s consideration but fell quiet when he told stories of Buenos Aires and the wealthy divorced women that flew there to dance with he and the other tangueros.  They asked him for his schedule, when could they see him while he was in Paris.  Everyone wanted a piece of Rex, he was captivating, his allure irresistible.

He moved his face close to Chloe’s and touched her hand.   The room was silent.

“When will I get to dance with you, my rose bud, tomorrow evening? I will be at the arenas on the quais de Seine, you must come.” Everyone laughed but Chloe; she turned pink.

Chloe’s father was behind Rex.

 “Rex, get real. You’ve already broken too many hearts.” Laughter filled the room again.

Chloe had heard stories about Rex and she was flustered, she knew at that moment that she wanted him to hold her.  It was a yearning inside her that was new, adrenalin rushed in her veins. She secretly decided she would go to the Seine to dance with him.

“Chloe, it’s getting late, remember you have a match tomorrow.” Her mother said softly in her ear.

“I can’t decide who is more beautiful, the mother or the daughter.” His eyes glittered.  He looked at Chloe and her mother smiling maliciously.

People began to leave and Chloe escorted some to the door kissing each person on the cheek as French children do.  Rex was the last.

“Remember, tomorrow at the Seine, nine o’clock sharp.” Rex joked and let her kiss him.

Chloe went to her bedroom. She had a plan.  She skyped her best friend. 

“Hi Isabelle. What are you doing tomorrow, I need help?”

“So did Rex come?” Isabelle snickered.  She knew all about him.

“Tomorrow night I have to go to the Seine, Rex will be there, he asked me to dance with him.  I need you to cover for me, I told my parents that we are going to a movie together, okay?”

“I’m stuck tomorrow. I wanted to come with you. What about your match?” Isabelle whined.

“It doesn’t matter, but if they call, tell them I’ll call back then call me, I’ll skip the match, I need a wig.” Chloe hung up before Isabelle could speak then jumped in bed.

The next day she rode her bicycle to the wig shop on rue Vaugirard and bought a brown bob shape cut.  It was discreet and she would blend in.

After dinner, her parents wished her a good evening with Isabelle. She left stashing the wig and her dance shoes in a scarf then ran to the bus to go the Seine before dusk.

The long June shadows from the dancing crowd pulsated. Rex glided over the pavement with a girl in his arms.  The crowd was huge. Chloe recognized many people but the wig and big shaded glasses hid her.

She waited on the steps of the arena for a long time. Her heart beating wildly; then joined the crowd.  She approached Rex and took his hand. 

“Oh my beauty, I’ve waited for you all night, dance this one with me.”

When the music ended Chloe lifted her glasses and grinned at Rex.  His face clouded.

“What are you doing here Chloe, you must go home.  This is no place for a kid.” 

Tears welled in Chloe’s eyes, she expected a loving embrace not anger. Rex took his mobile from his pocket, phoned her father and then escorted her to the taxi stand ranting at her stupidity.  She refused to look at him and entered the taxi crying.

“Chloe, go home, go back to your épée forget tango.”  He slammed the door to the taxi.

The taxi stopped in front of her house, her mother waited on the doorstep. She ran into her mother’s arms sobbing,

“Rex says those things to all the women. He’s just a flirt.”

A.E. Arcangioli, © 16 April 2011

Paris tango agenda - Quais de Seine

video tango on the Seine


  1. A YA story for terribleminds! And with those five words too! Great work!

  2. I hope it wasn't too cheesy.