Highly Commended Story - Junior Category
“Keeping Secrets” by Adrienne Wilborn, Vista Unified School District, USA, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2018.
Tatiana Rusberg looked at herself in the mirror as she applied her red lipstick. She was going on a date with her rich boyfriend Thomas Kyson. They were having dinner for his birthday at the restaurant he chose. Tati heard a honk and she knew it was Thomas waiting for her. She ran outside in her high heels. She could see him in his Ford Explorer. Tatiana loved that Thomas didn’t use his money for just himself. He used his money for good things like supporting charities. That’s why he didn’t have much stuff in his apartment.
“A yellow dress with pink shoes? You have no sense of fashion!” Thomas teased.
“Oh, come on Tommy! You know you like my dress,” Tatiana said. Thomas hated being called Tommy.
“You’re right. You do look nice.” Thomas said with a smile.
Thomas and Tati laughed, and they talked about their week as they drove to have dinner. When they entered the restaurant, Thomas’s phone rang.
“I’ve got to take this call,” Thomas explained stepping back through the door.
There had been many times Thomas had stepped out, and Tati began to wonder why it happened so often, especially on his birthday. Maybe if she snuck around the back she could hear. She could come up with an excuse if he caught her. She slinked out after him and walked silently to the side of the building where she heard his voice.
“No, I haven’t done that yet. I’m with her now. I’ll tell her, Marianna,” Thomas said. “I’ll see you first thing tomorrow.”
Thomas was cheating on her! Tatiana rushed back inside and was taken to their table. She told the waiter it was Thomas’ birthday and ordered all of the most expensive things on the menu, pretending to sip fancy red wine when Thomas came in.
“Who is Marianna?” Tatiana screamed, throwing her wine at him. “I trusted you!”
Thomas was too surprised to answer.
“Thanks for the ride home. Enjoy your cab.” Tatiana said. She grabbed his keys and stormed out.
Tatiana parked the car and left the keys inside. She shut off her phone when Thomas called and had changed out of her dress when there was a knock on the door.
“Thomas, just leave!” Tatiana yelled thinking he had followed her. But a lady’s voice answered.
“I have a proposal for you.”
“Sorry, I thought you were my boyfriend,” Tati said, opening the door. “We just broke up.”
“I know,” said the woman. “It was perfect. I’m Mrs. Thomas Kyson.”
“Marianna—is his wife?” Tati gasped.
“I’m Lila, actually about my proposal….”
“What do you want from me?” Tati asked confused.
“I have a plan to destroy Thomas,” Lila cackled. “But I can’t do it alone.”
Tati wasn’t usually into getting revenge, but she was really hurt and angry. Thomas never said he was married. Learning he was cheating with her instead of on her was still bad. “How can I help?”
“You’ve already done so much. Thanks to you, no one will believe Thomas didn’t do it.”
Tatiana nodded, “Wait-- didn’t do what?”
Lila lunged at her and everything went black. When Tatiana woke up she was upstairs to her room, gagged on her bed with her hands and feet tied.
“I didn’t answer your question earlier,” Lila said. She was playing with one of Tati’s kitchen knives. “You see, after the restaurant, with his car parked out front, and all the yelling, no one will believe that Thomas didn’t kill you. We’ll know the truth, but you and I won’t tell our secret.”
Tati heard a car door outside then a knock on her front door followed by Thomas’s voice in the living room. Tatiana’s fear grew when Lila smiled and hid behind the door instead of looking worried.
“Tatiana, we need to talk!” Thomas called. His footsteps moved up the stairs. “I should have told you sooner. Marianna is my divorce lawyer.”
The bedroom door opened as Thomas continued, “I love—” his smile froze as he saw her. “—you.” The knife handle swung from behind the door, hitting Thomas on the back of his head. As Lila stepped over Thomas toward her, Tatiana screamed.