Flash Fiction: The Proposal


‘Henry,’ he said. ‘Please.’
‘Henry,’ she replied, but silently she said, ‘Doctor Berrisford,’ thinking about all the people he’d touched, and the parts of them he’d seen that no one else ever had.
‘We know each other well enough now, don’t we?’ When he smiled she could imagine the boy he once must have been.
‘Jean,’ she said. ‘Or Jeanie. Whichever you prefer.’
‘Jeanie,’ he said, taking her hand. She waited, not knowing quite for what or how these things were done.
The outside door opened and the wind swept in Julius. Jean pulled her hand out from Doctor Berrisford’s.


This is a 100-word piece of flash fiction, inspired by the photo above (provided by JS Brand). Apologies that it’s more of a scene than a story, but I’m thinking about characters for my fourth book, and this name just seemed to work. It’s a Friday Fictioneers story, a world-wide group of writers looked after by Rochelle Wisoff-fields. Anyone can write something and join in. Click here for more information.


I’ve been away from Friday Fictioneers for a while, but I have been busy. I met fellow FF, Neil MacDonald, and had the pleasure of judging the Farnham Short Story competition for his writing group. He interviewed me about my writing, here. And, the paperback of my second novel, Swimming Lessons, has been published by Tin House in the US, and Penguin in the UK.

43 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: The Proposal

  1. I love the way you show the secret love. The formal title in her mind, the fact that he’s the one pushing the relationship. This is how it should be done: you tell us almost nothing, yet show us everything. Everyone should aspire to write so well.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Not sure Jeanie would ever get those unwelcome images out of her head. Brilliantly uncomfortable piece. I’m left wanting more and trying to fill in the gaps. For example, I don’t think the good but somewhat timid doctor will win her heart especially as I have decided Julius is Jeanie’s fly-in-the-ointment son. And you achieved all that in a hundred words!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am imagining a young and naive Jeanie and a almost middle aged gynaecologist(?), Dr. Berrisford, really attracted to each other . I wonder how the relationship will shape up for them, if it will end well.
    Wonderfully written, Claire.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A nice level of sexual tension here, Claire – wondering if something has happened between them before or if this is the first time. Great writing. Congrats on all you’ve been up to – sounds like a productive time

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ll write my own ending then! Next time Henry makes certain Julius is somewhere else and Jeannie accepts him. And of course they live happily ever after, have a raft of kids, and live to a healthy old age.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I imagine so much from this scene and the comments… the third person perspective where I imagined I was reading it from a first person narrative, I seem to be be inside her, and the conflict between the two men rippling underneath…. great way to test out your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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