The TipsyLit prompt asked for a character to be forced into a position where they had no choice but to take a risk. In typical fashion I’ve bent the rules, so both my main characters put their necks on the block. I’ve stuck to the word limit though. Well, as near as makes no odds.



You know what hoverflies look like. A hint of the exotic. Bright markings, remarkably beautiful. Yet designed to deter predators even so.

They’re called hoverflies for good reason. They hover. But they also shoot forwards, dart backwards, jump sideways. Never resting long in the air, moving, trying to avoid capture. Wary, always wary.

You can’t catch one. They move quicker than you can. However, if you’re patient, the hoverfly will come to you. Sit quietly, very still. Don’t move, don’t swat it away. The fly will hover, appraise you, give you the once over.

Finally, if you are very patient and still, and unthreatening, it will settle on you. It likes your smell, your taste, your stillness. It will become still too, its shiny gauze wings folded gently over the show-off body. Eyes still alert. They are, I swear they are. Even as it dips its head to drink the fine beads of sweat on your wrist, the eyes are alert.

Once the hoverfly has settled, you may move. Be slow about this. Even, easy, quiet movements. The hoverfly will stay where it is, unconcerned, quite happy with life. Happy to settle on you, settle with you, with the gentle consideration you’re giving it.

It was like that with Cassie and me. She’s beautiful, exotically so, but nervous, cautious, wary around men. Always was. They flocked round her beauty, and she kept moving, kept watching. Turning suddenly to see what was coming at her. Swiftly away when she felt threatened.

I was never very good with women, certainly not when they were as lovely as Cassie was. As she still is. I felt sure that I didn’t stand a chance with her, but I was totally smitten. I loved her so much that I finished with Sarah, my then girlfriend. How could I stay with her when I felt so strongly about somebody else? It wasn’t fair to Sarah. And there was the thought in my head that, in the impossible event of Cassie even noticing me, let alone wanting to be with me, the hoverfly in her might be put off by my being with somebody else. Sarah had to go. I know it hurt her, but it surely caused less hurt than my sticking around, being half-hearted.

But the impossible happened. Cassie did come to me. I kept calm and still. Let her get used to me. At first she watched me from the corner of her eye, while keeping moving, all the time, never allowing the clusters of more eager suitors to get close to her. Ever watchful, ever cautious, but eventually, she found me. Gently settled, delicately folded her wings. Unafraid on and with me. Still watchful of others. Still cautious. But knowing I meant her no harm, she settled.

We’re hoping to get married soon. I’m looking forward to it. I like being half of a couple. The sense of belonging, of being wanted and valued. I like this a lot. I waited such a long agonising time for it, aching to be with her, tortured by her always being elusive, always poised for flight.

Some people, when referred to as a pair, as ‘A and B,’ get hot under the collar, protest that they’re individuals. We both like that our names are conjoined, that we are two halves of a single whole.

Cassie and Ellen. Has a lovely sound to it, doesn’t it? Cassie and Ellen.