Being Authentic Online #writing

Photo credit: DJOtaku via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

(Updated repost)

My fear of being authentic on this blog died a long time ago.

After some trial and error, making choices about what I would and not write about and being cautious in general, I’m as authentic as I can be in this space, though:

  • I don’t write about my work life;
  • I limit what I share about my family; and
  • I wait and breathe before writing about current events that get deep under my skin, if I write about them at all (though recent currents events make my fingertips itch.

But I was thinking…

Can a writer truly be authentic if they have to place limits on what they say?

Then, I came across the answer in this TinyBuddha article:

“Authenticity doesn’t have to mean complete transparency, but it does mean acknowledging what you really think and feel. Very rarely does a person think and feel only things that align with a polished online persona.”

Well, I’m not interested in having “a polished online persona”, at least, not at this point in time.

I’ll just continue striving for “authenticity” by sharing the times when my inner voice escapes my lips, I suffer from episodes of midnight madness or when I invite you to take a seat with me at the family dinner table.

For you writers and bloggers, how authentic do you feel you can be online? 

All Rights Reserved ©2017-2018 Marquessa Matthews

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How Long Have You Gone Without Doing It?

Photo credit: agahran via Foter.com / CC BY

(Updated repost)

Actually, I’m totally not blogging this…

For years, I posted daily and even had a blogging schedule.

Those days are gone.

Right now I’m just going with the flow.

Whatever.

Whenever.

Random.

Not-so-random revamped posts.

I’m no longer obsessed with having a blogging “streak”.

What’s the longest you’ve gone without writing creatively or blogging?

M  xoxo

 

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“Dirty & Flirty” – Part 4- #amwriting #fiction


“Something tells me that’s not necessarily true Ms. Davenport,” he challenged as I felt his eyes slowly travel the contours of my face.

I took a deep breath in and challenged him right back even though my body was enjoying the proximity of his.

“I’ll just have to prove you wrong, won’t I?”

Neither of us could keep a straight face and we both cracked up laughing. He backed away and sat on the edge of Mr. Bernstein’s desk.

“The look on your face was absolutely priceless.” Tyler couldn’t stop laughing. “I thought that you would pass out.”

“If you’d said something, I probably would have.” It was my turn to tell the truth. I watched him give me a slow seductive once over, from head to toe.

“Don’t do that,” I told him and sat down so that he couldn’t continue.

“I’m just trying to see how I didn’t recognize you in the first place. Then again, you were probably only 13 at the time, right?”

I nodded.

“You definitely didn’t look like this in high school.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment. When did you figure it out?”

“To be honest, it took me a few days. I don’t believe in that psychic shit so there had to be a logical explanation. It all led back to things that happened in my senior year. And then I remembered your eyes.”

“My eyes?”

“Yeah, they seemed very familiar to me from the start, as if they were laughing at me. And then I remembered having that thought once before. And it was about you. I just couldn’t remember your last name until Bernie said it.”

I leaned back in the chair, folded my arms and then crossed my legs. Tyler’s focus immediately landed on where my skirt hiked up a little.

“Yeah, according to all the other girls, I was the lucky junior to be paired up with the popular senior for orientation,” I said, mimicking a teenage girl voice.

“Sarcasm…I take it that you weren’t a fan? Did I act like an ass to you or something? I was pretty spoiled back then.”

“I know. And from the looks of it, not much may have changed,” I kidded, knowing that he could take it.

He laughed and shook his head as if he didn’t know what to do with me.

“No, you weren’t an ass to me. It’s just that being paired up with you made all the other girls want to be my instant friend. And I couldn’t just stay under the radar where I wanted to be.”

“Why did you want to stay under the radar?”

“That’s not important.” I said, skirting around his question. “The fact was that after that, I couldn’t get a moment’s peace from the latest Tyler J. news. All I heard was gossip about you, you and more you…blah, blah, blah.”

“So that’s how you knew all that stuff about me?”

I nodded.

“But what about me being afraid of water?”

“Oh, you told me that yourself when you were giving me a tour of the sports arena at school.”

Tyler was quiet and pensive.

“Well, I must have felt comfortable with you if I actually told you that.” He smiled and crossed his own arms. “Or maybe I needed to fill up all of that empty space in our conversation. You were so quiet that I thought that you might have been mute. Or a church mouse.” He grinned and gave me a flirty look. “I can see that that’s no longer the case.”

“No, that’s definitely not the case anymore.”

“So you thought I was cute?”

“Don’t fish for compliments…I never said that.”

“You don’t pull any punches, do you Laney?”

My brows arched at what he called me. Only my close friends called me Laney and by using it, he was showing me that he remembered.

“I just didn’t see what all the fuss was about, that’s all.”

Tyler didn’t flinch.

“Nothing like a little brutal honesty from a non-fan.”

“You seemed to be the picture perfect stereotypical party boy jock who everyone was impressed with.”

“Except you.”

I said nothing and stood up.

“And what do you think now?”

He got up from the desk and spun around like he was on display.

I laughed.

“I don’t know, maybe a more refined and older version of that teenage boy?”

I picked up my purse from the floor and started to angle myself toward the door but he blocked me.

“What about that coffee? You can explain to me in detail why you ran this morning. And I can tell you what I’m doing here. I know that you’re dying to know.”

I was curious but I also wanted to get away from him and regroup. I was about to say no when he stopped me before I could.

“Don’t say no.”

Tyler reached out and put his hand on my arm. I had to hand it to him, he knew how to give the kind of look that could make a woman reconsider a thing or two.

“It’s not a “no”. It’s more like a “maybe” as in maybe another time.”

Tyler laughed.

“Lawyers and their slippery words but I’ll take your “maybe”.”

I needed to get serious.

“Can we agree that you’ll never ever tell anyone about the coffee shop thing?”

He extended his hand and mimicked my seriousness.

“Sure. But only after we’ve had that coffee so you’d better jump on my offer quick. Monday – after work” I nodded. “Great, let’s shake on it friend.”

It wasn’t a real handshake – it was just an excuse to take my hand.

“Nothing about your handshake feels friendly to me Tyler.”

“It sure feels friendly to me.”

He brought my hand to his lips and kissed the back of my hand. Tyler was incorrigible and I liked it. He accompanied me to the elevators and I noticed how the receptionist eyed him as we walked by.

“One more thing…”

“If it’s for a real date, the answer is no,” I preempted him and pushed the call button.

“Now look who’s got the ego…Don’t get ahead of yourself just yet.” He laughed.

The elevator arrived. I got in and waited for him to finish his thought.

“It took a little time but I got more than what I wanted.”

He held the elevator door open to stop it from closing.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“I’d asked you for your name and number, remember? Now, not only do I know your name but I also know where you work which is much better than your number.”

As the elevator doors closed, Tyler laid one of his smiles on me.

“Because I know where to find you at all times. See you Monday, Laney.”

“See you Monday Ty.”

I laughed and shook my head all the way down the 25 floors.

©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

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“Dirty & Flirty” – Part 3- #amwriting #fiction

 

When I felt a presence next to me, I stood up and turned around.

“Delaney, meet Tyler Jordan. Tyler, meet Delaney Davenport.”

We both just stood there and stared at each other in shock for a long moment. A very, very long moment.

The shock on his face transformed into a slow and wicked smile but I couldn’t do the same.

I was beyond mortified.

I was busted.

“Delaney is joining Legal on a contractual basis. I’m looking forward to her working the same “magic” she did with that Toronto file we had last year,” Mr. Bernstein told him.

I was frozen.

What the hell was Tyler doing here? 

The last thing I pictured him doing was “working”. He came from money.

The confusion must have shown on my face. Or maybe my mouth was still open because I could see how thoroughly amused he was. I didn’t even notice that his hand was extended to shake mine. I quickly took it before Mr. Bernstein realized that something was wrong.

“Nice to see you again Delaney.” Tyler enunciated all three syllables of my name as he shook my hand. My mind raced.

Oh God, he wasn’t going to play us off as strangers!

I braced myself for the total embarrassment I was about to feel when he recounted the coffee shop incident. I could hear the flush of the toilet where my professional credibility would soon find itself.

Mr. Bernstein raised his eyebrows curiously as he looked from Tyler, to me, and then back to Tyler.

“The two of you know each other?”

Here we go…

I almost closed my eyes and held my breath, bracing myself for his words.

“You could say that,” Tyler’s eyes were steeled on mine.

When he hesitated to explain, Mr. Bernstein gave him an odd look and then looked down at our hands. That’s when I realized that Tyler hadn’t let go. I extricated my hand from his but he held on for a moment longer and then gave it a soft squeeze.

It was a silent reminder of what I had done to him in the coffee shop.

Touché.

“We went to the same high school.”

He remembered.

I didn’t know if I was more relieved that he hadn’t outted me or surprised that he had remembered our connection.

“And yes Bernie, Delaney can definitely work magic with these hands of hers. She has a way of knowing what people are thinking. Sometimes it’s almost as if she’s psychic.”

Touché. He was on a roll.

When Tyler finally let go, all I wanted to do was slap that arrogant grin off his face.

“What a small world!” Mr. Bernstein was amazed.

“It sure is.” Tyler finally took his eyes off me and turned to Mr. Bernstein. “Didn’t you need this file for your meeting in a few minutes in Patterson’s office?”

Mr. Bernstein looked at his watch and grabbed the file from him.

“You are absolutely right. I almost forgot.”

He turned to me and shook my hand. “Looking forward to seeing you next week.” Then he turned back to Tyler. “Be sure to be a gentleman and escort Delaney on her way out.”

“When am I not a gentleman Bernie? Ms. Davenport and I may even catch up over a coffee first. You still love coffee, right?”

Touché.

This time I gave him the evil eye. I’d had enough. It was time to snap out of my fog.

When Mr. Bernstein left us alone in his office, Tyler followed after him and shut the door.

“What are you doing? Why are you closing the door?”

“Making sure that you can’t run like this morning,” he teased. “And just giving us a little privacy.”

“I didn’t run.” The lie didn’t roll off my lips as well as I would have liked.

Tyler laughed and made his way back over to me. He stood about a foot away and looked down at me.

“You know that’s not true.”

I’d almost forgotten how tall Tyler was. Close enough for me to inhale his cologne, he was purposely creeping into my personal space to see how I’d react.

I stood my shaky ground. “Are you calling me a liar?”

“You said it, not me. What I will say is that you play dirty.” His voice was a deep whisper as he studied me. “Very dirty.”

“How so?” I whispered back.

Why were we whispering? The door was closed.

“That day we met, you really had me going. You even had me up part of the night,” Tyler admitted.

If this was going to be a battle of double entendres, he was going to lose.

“Really? I can’t believe that. I’d think that a guy like you would have much more interesting things keeping you up at night, Mr. Jordan.”

What in the hell was wrong with me? Playing with fire like this at my new job?

He inched a little closer and flashed me a bigger smile. I could easily see how Tyler used his arrogant charm to disarm and disrobe women.

“A guy like me? That sounds a little sinister. You are interesting. But now that we’ve been “officially” introduced, you won’t be keeping me up at night anymore, that is, unless you want to Ms. Davenport.”

There was already almost no room left between us but I stepped forward defiantly anyways.

“Is that some kind of veiled invitation Mr. Jordan?”

I could see that he was fighting the urge to respond.

“Is this the way you always try to impress women?”

“Always. Isn’t it working?”

As we stood there in a silent stand-off, I tried not to notice his blue eyes and how the corners crinkled when he grinned.

“Not at all,” I shot back but feeling a little ashamed at the sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach that argued otherwise.

“Something tells me that’s not necessarily true Ms. Davenport,” he challenged as I felt his eyes slowly travel the contours of my face.

I took a deep breath in and challenged him right back even though my body was enjoying the proximity of his.

“I’ll just have to prove you wrong, won’t I?”

©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

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“Dirty & Flirty” – Part 2- #amwriting #fiction

 

I was early and didn’t mind waiting on the HR agent in the lobby of Phoenix Enterprises after the taxi dropped me off. It gave me time to clear my head of that “near miss” with Tyler. It had to be karma boomeranging back in my face for pulling my little stunt on him.

“Ms. Davenport?”

I turned to face a short older woman dressed in a Hillary Clintonesque black pant-suit. Her mousy brown hair was pulled up in a tight bun and she peered at me over the rim of her glasses that almost hung off of her nose. She offered me a weak smile and extended her hand.

“I’m Mrs. Smith from HR. Nice to meet you. Let’s go upstairs to my office.”

Mrs. Smith? The bland name matched perfectly with her looks, demeanor and outfit. Even her handshake was sweaty.

Once inside the elevator, she punched the 15th floor and I could feel her trying to figure out what kind of small talk to make.

“So…” Mrs. Smith started, “You were referred by Mr. Bernstein. How do the two of you know each other?”

I could read between her lines.

What you really want to know is why and how Mr. Bernstein personally offered me a job…

“I handled the mediation side of a file for one of the Phoenix subsidiaries when I was working in Toronto. After the file was settled, Mr. Bernstein told me that if I was ever looking for a job in Montreal, I should give him a call.”

I followed her down the hall to her office where I took a seat in front of her desk. I quickly noticed that her office was spotless. Nothing was out of place and everything was neatly organized, even down to the color-coded old-school file folders behind her desk. There were no personal pictures of herself with family or friends, no cute little trinkets and nothing that spoke to who she was as a person. Mrs. Smith was all business.

She flashed me a well-practiced smile and pulled out a file from her desk.

“Senior executives like Mr. Bernstein never get involved with hiring. Actually, in the 7 years I’ve been in charge of HR, I’ve never gotten a call from above telling me to prepare a contract, especially like the one that you have.”

She was being very careful with her words and I could tell that she was intrigued at what I had negotiated. The poor woman was dying from curiosity and I wouldn’t be quick to save her.

“He must have been impressed with your skills…during that case.” There was a specific edge to that word – skill.

I could see the thoughts in her head.

She’s probably thinking that I did something “unladylike” to get here – potential mistress, gold digger…

“Well, I did manage to avoid months of costly litigation for both parties.”

Mrs. Smith didn’t look convinced but that wasn’t my problem.

She handed me the contract and paperwork and I was glad to be saved from small talk as I reviewed and signed off on everything. I didn’t wait for her to give me my copies – I took mine, folded them neatly and placed them in my purse.

“Well,” I pushed myself up and extended my hand, “Thank you Mrs. Smith. I’m looking forward to starting on Monday.”

“You can’t leave just yet. Mr. Bernstein requested that you drop by his office before you go. Let me call upstairs and let his receptionist know that you’re on your way up.”

Why does he want to see me?

Mrs. Smith made the call and shook my hand.

“It was a pleasure meeting you, Ms. Davenport. Welcome to Phoenix Enterprises.”

“Likewise Mrs. Smith.”

I found myself on the 25th floor, all the while hoping that Mr. Bernstein’s kindness wasn’t about to turn into requests of a sexual nature. I hadn’t gotten that vibe when he’d made the offer but then again, you could never be 100% sure.

The receptionist greeted me right away with a cute and genuine smile. Before I could even open my mouth, she tossed her long blond hair and greeted me.

“You must be Ms. Davenport. It’s nice to meet you. Go right in. Mr. Bernstein’s expecting you.”

I knocked and nervously opened the door.

Mr. Bernstein was pacing the room and speaking into thin air. Then I realized that he was on a conference call, hands-free.

“Delaney,” he shook my hand and ushered me in. “Glad to have you finally on board. I’m on the line with Abe and Demetrius.”

From the research I had done, Abe Goldstein and Demetrius Kojenco were the other executives.

“Abe, Demetrius, this is the young woman who saved us from all that useless litigation with that Toronto company last year. I still have no idea how she did it, but we were definitely the better for it. The next time you are in the office, be sure to stop by Legal to meet her in person.”

“Nice to meet you Delaney,” they chimed over the speakerphone.

“We need a pair of fresh eyes in Legal. Our current legal staff is still of the litigation mindset and we need to start taking a different approach when we hit bumps in the road. Bernie’s has spoken quite highly of you.” I wasn’t sure which one of them was speaking

“Thank you,” was about all I could muster under the compliments.

“If things work out, maybe she’ll decide that she’d like to work for us permanently instead of just on contract.”

Mr. Bernstein smiled at me.

No, there were no undertones of anything but business with him. I felt relieved.

Mr. Bernstein ended his call and gestured for me to sit down. His chair was definitely much more comfortable than Mrs. Smith. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Mrs. Smith had probably chosen an uncomfortable chair on purpose so that employees wouldn’t linger too long in her office.

“I’m serious about what I said. I’m hoping that you will end up with us long term.”

Just as I was about to thank him for the opportunity, there was a knock at the door. It would have been too much of a stretch to turn around so I didn’t bother attempting it.

“Wonderful! You brought the report. Come in, come in. Let me introduce you to someone.”

When I felt a presence next to me, I stood up and turned around.

“Delaney, meet Tyler Jordan. Tyler, meet Delaney Davenport.”

We both just stood there and stared at each in shock for a long moment. A very, very long moment.

The shock on his face transformed into a slow and wicked smile but I couldn’t do the same.

I was beyond mortified.

I was busted.

©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

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“Dirty & Flirty” – Part 1- #amwriting #fiction

 

My cell rang just as I was heading out the front door. I already knew who it was.

Ella was not an early-riser but I wasn’t surprised that she was calling. There was absolutely no way she would let me leave for the day without wishing me luck.

“Are you nervous?” I could tell that she had just opened her eyes. “I got up early just for you, girl. You should feel so special,” she teased.

I made my way to the elevators and punched the call button. “Nope, I’m not nervous. I’m really looking forward to this. It feels good to have a fresh start.”

“It’s good to hear you sound happy. And settled. Didn’t I tell you that moving back would do you a world of good? New digs, new gig, new you…”

“Hold on now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say “new you,” I laughed as I stepped into the elevator. “I’m still the same me.”

“Yeah, but the feisty old Delaney I knew back in the day is resurfacing little by little every single day.”

Feisty? Only little old ladies use that word, Ella.”

“Okay then let’s replace the “new you” shit with “new man.”

“No way! I don’t want or need any men in my life right now. I need a long break from the male species.”

Now that I was starting to feel relatively “normal” again, I had no interest in dating.

I made my way through the lobby, nodding to the security guard as I did. He gave me an approving once over and smiled.

Yes, that’s the reaction I’m aiming for.

I was dressed to impress for my first day. I’d worn my comfortable heels and took my time as I walked the few blocks over to the Holiday Inn hotel where I could easily grab a taxi. The streets were already bustling with people out, about and on their way to work. The smell of coffee and sugary doughnuts were in the air, making me hungry even though I’d taken the time to have a healthy breakfast.

“So I guess that includes the hottie from the coffee shop a few weeks ago?”

I laughed. “Who? Tyler Jordan? Definitely! Random meeting in a random coffee shop in a big city like this? I highly doubt that I’ll run into him again. And anyways, I don’t play well with players.”

“From what you told me, sounds like the two of you play quite well together. Do you think that he remembered you?”

“Of course not. Why would he? He had a reputation back then and from what I saw, he’s still on the prowl. ”

“Player or not, that was quite a dirty and flirty little trick you played on him. That psychic shit sounded hilarious!” Ella was laughing her head off. “On a different note, have you heard from your mother or Simon?”

I really didn’t want to talk about them this morning. It would just ruin my good mood.

“She’s still royally pissed off so I haven’t heard from her. And Simon has called me at least a dozen times asking me to come back.”

“I guess it’s hitting both of them hard that they’ve got to act like adults all on their own.”

“I guess so. But I’m not dealing with any of that drama anymore, right?”

“Good for you Delaney. Finally putting yourself first.”

I went to the beginning of the taxi line in front of the hotel and just as I opened the taxi door, I noticed a familiar face waiting at the traffic light across the street. He had a coffee cup in one hand, a small brown paper bag in the other and a huge grin on his face.

And he was staring right at me.

With full hands, he tried to gesture for me to stay put, wanting me to wait until the light turned green so he could get to me.

“Shit,” I said under my breath.

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s him.”

“Him who?” Ella’s voice perked up excitedly. “Tyler? Well, well, well, how about that? Speak of the devil and the devil appears.”

“Oh God! He’s waving at me. Of all the days for this to happen…I really don’t need this right now.”

I had one foot in the taxi and the other one still on the sidewalk. I lingered for a moment, trying to figure out what to do but there was only one choice.

I ducked into the taxi and told the driver where I needed to go. When I looked through the taxi’s window, I could see the disappointed look on face as we sped away.

“What were you saying a minute ago about a random meeting in a random coffee shop in a big city where you probably wouldn’t run into him again? God’s laughing at you!” Ella couldn’t contain herself. “Did you have breakfast?”

“What? What does that have to do with any of this?”

“You must be starving ’cause you just ate all your words.”

©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

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“Two Can Play That Game” – Part 4 – #amwriting #fiction

 

“I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have said any of that.”

She gave me an apologetic look and downed the rest of her coffee. Then, she abruptly stood up, grabbed her bag and headed through the coffee shop doors. I quickly picked up my coffee and trailed behind her.

“Wait! Where are you going? I don’t even know your name.”

As I tried to catch up to her, she didn’t look back.

When I managed to grab hold of her arm, she finally had no choice but to stop.

“How did you do that?”

She shook her head vigorously. “I’m sorry but I’ve got to go.”

I didn’t know what to say to get her to stay. But I did know that I wanted her name and number.

“Hold up! A minute ago, you had all the time in world and now you’re just going to jet? Come on, at least give me your number.”

She readjusted her bag on her shoulder. I noticed her take a deep breath and finally smile again.

“You don’t need my number.”

“Excuse me?”

“Why should I give you my number when I’m not interested?”

My mouth fell open in amazement. I couldn’t remember the last time a woman had shot me down. It felt like she’d thrown a bucket of ice-cold ice water in my face.

“Wow! You don’t beat around the bush, do you?” I was still a little shocked.

“No, especially when your interest lies solely in beating around my bush.”

Did she realize how twisted her words had come out?

From the smirk on her face, she had purposely chosen that double-entendre. Shit. She wasn’t just hot, she was explosive. And she had me from the moment of “be my guest”.

“That’s not true! Hey,” I tried to defend myself and though she had me on the ropes, I loved it. “Don’t be quick to judge. You don’t know me, remember?”

“That’s where you’re wrong. I told you a little white lie. I do know you. And the fact that I’m not even a tiny bit familiar to you is a little disappointing but that’s okay. I probably shouldn’t be that surprised.”

Had I slept with her and simply didn’t remember? Impossible. There was no way I would have forgotten a creature like her.

“You won’t believe me now but I did sense something familiar about you… And now I’m almost afraid to ask. How exactly have we…uh, met?”

I’m sure that I looked like a deer caught in the headlights of a car because her eyes twinkled wickedly.

“I’ll leave that up to you to remember.” She couldn’t contain her laughter anymore. “Didn’t I warn you that you might regret sitting with me?”

Someone called my name and in the seconds it took me to turn around to see that it was a co-worker of mine, my naughty girl with no name was almost half a block away.

“Wait!” I yelled.

She stopped and turned in my direction.

“Do you always go to this coffee shop?”

I watched as she lifted her shoulders as if to say, “maybe”. And then she disappeared around the corner.

Needless to say, not only was I late for work but that girl was the only thing on my mind.

All. Fucking. Day.

©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

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