Writing 101, Day Eight: Death to Adverbs

Go to a local café, park, or public place and report on what you see. Get detailed: leave no nuance behind.

Today’s twist: write an adverb-free post. If you’d rather not write a new post, revisit and edit a previous one: excise your adverbs and replace them with strong, precise verbs.

Today’s prompt will be used to tell a portion of John & Jillian’s back story.


The sun was high and the day was warm when Jillian stepped out of her cabin.  She had spent her first 2 days in Cabo without talking to a soul and had loved every minute of it.  She couldn’t remember the last time she had read a magazine or novel for the mere enjoyment of it.  Now she had completed 3 novels and devoured every gossip magazine she’d found at the airport.  That type of reading wasn’t really her style though, and now Jillian needed another distraction.  If she stayed inside, she would dive into work or into some self-prescribed course of study.  She needed to get out.

Along with her breakfast each morning, she received a newsletter for the resort activities.  This morning as Jillian scanned over the items, she found one that stood out.  In one of the main buildings away from the beach there would be a beginners’ salsa class.  She had dismissed the idea at first, but the paper laid on the counter, calling to her all day.  What could it hurt? she thought.  It would be a nice way to get out, see some fresh faces, and have a little fun.

After strolling across the resort grounds to the main lodge, Jillian stepped into a spacious room that had been cleared and transformed into a makeshift dance studio.  Scattered around the room were around a dozen people.  Most of them stood in couples or groups.  A few were close to her own age, but many of the students looked like they were in their retirement years.  Their chatter was hushed as they rocked from one foot to another in anticipation of what was coming.  Jillian began to worry that it was a couples only class and she was the only single dancer there.  Even when the instructor walked in to introduce himself and begin the class, no other single dancers had arrived.

“Do not worry, Senorita.”  The instructor purred.  “You may pair with me during the partner dances.”  Jillian was barely able to stifle a laugh as she pictured herself partnered with the man.  He was six inches shorter than her and easily 30 years older.

Still amused by the image in her head, Jillian loocked around as the teacher turned to address the class.  Just then a side door opened and a new arrival to class stole in.  He was so quiet, no one but Jillian seemed to notice his entrance.   And notice him she did.  He was tall with a lean, fit body and dark tousled hair.  His hazel eyes darted around the room, trying to avoid detection by the teacher.  Jillian found herself staring and smirking with appreciation.  The man didn’t look like he wanted to be here any more than he looked like he belonged.  Just then the stranger’s eyes caught hers.  After a moment of surprise at the bold look, he sauntered over to where Jillian stood.

“It looks like you’re missing a partner.”  He thrust his hand out between them.  “I’m Jack.”

“Jill,” she said, giving him the shortened version of her name she’d used since childhood.

Shaking her hand, the smirk spread to his face.  “It must be fate.”

Staring into those warm eyes, she barely registered what he said.  After a pause that was only just too long, she said, “What do you mean?”

“I’m Jack.  You’re Jill.  You know, the two kids that went up the hill?”

Laughing, she pulled her hand away from his and did a slight curtsy.  “Nice to meet you Jack.  And yes, it appears I do need a partner.  Thank you.”

Their attention was drawn to the front of the room where the instructor was speaking to the class.  “Alright everyone, I see you all have a partner now, bien!  I am Salviano Ávalos Gil.  You may address me as Maestro Sal, or simply as maestro.  We will begin today with a basic cha-cha-cha to get you moving to the latin beat.  Everyone turn to your partner and get into hold.”  Maestro Sal began to explain the proper form to the class.  Jillian looked around as people began to move their stiff and untrained bodies into position.  Lifting her torso into a raised position and raising her hands to rest on her partner, Jillian was surprised to find his hands in their position on her back and supporting her uplifted right hand.

Without a word, they stood and listened as the maestro covered the basics of hold, correcting more than a few postures in the class.  Finally, he came up beside the two of them and chuffed.  It seemed he was disappointed at the lost opportunity to dance with Jillian.  “Good form,” he mumbled and turned back to the class.  “Now, the basic moves fo the cha-cha-cha are simple.”  Maestro Sal continued his instruction, eventually starting the music as he talked through the steps.  Without waiting for direction, Jack and Jill started to move through the simple steps.  Without breaking eye contact, they wandered through the basics before venturing into more advanced steps.

Jillian found herself confused.  Was she leading this man through the moves or was he actually able to dance?  With a slight tilt of her head and a raise of her eyebrow, she asked the unspoken question.  With a soft laugh he answered, “you seem capable of keeping up.  Good, because you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

With that, she found herself being whirled around and led through the more complicated facets of the dance.  Before long the rest of the class had stopped to stare.  Even Maestro Sal was watching with his mouth slightly agape.  As the music ended, Jack dipped Jillian in his arms until she felt her hair against the floor.  Breathless, she stared up into his hazel eyes.  For just a moment, this whole thing seemed a bit unreal.  Maybe she had fallen asleep in her hammock while reading again and this was all some fairy-tale world dream.

The light applause of the others in the room broke the reverie and Jack stood her back on her feet.  The maestro came close to them both.  “Maybe you don’t belong in a beginners’ class.  You go now.  Show your moves in the clubs, not here to show off.”

Although his tone was gruff, his eyes were twinkling when he turned the two of them toward the doors.  Before Jack walked through it, Jillian saw Maestro Sal slip him a business card.  “This place you can dance.  It is safe part of town and good for tourists.”  With a shrug he backed away and turned again to the class.

Standing again in the warm afternoon sun, Jillian pivoted to face this dark handsome stranger.  She was trying to size him up; to figure out what to make of him.  He came across as a nice enough guy.  He seemed like the kind of guy who could make anyone feel as if they had been friends for years.  She convinced herself that’s all his friendliness was.  She was a bookworm, a nerd, and no one a man like him would be interested in.  Making up her mind, she decided to get out before things got awkward. “It was nice to meet you Jack.  I’m sorry we didn’t get to dance more.  I guess I’ll just be…”

His warm eyes snapped up to meet hers as he flashed a lopsided grin.  He caught hold of her right hand as she heard music begin to play again inside the building.  “Not so fast, dancing queen.”  Jack’s arm dashed around her again to lead her into a dance right there on the sidewalk.  Embarrassed, she could only follow his lead and laugh with self concious trepidation.  “The guy was right, we’ve got moves.  It would be a shame to deny ourselves the pleasure.”

Oh, those words went straight to her belly and coiled there tightly.  She could only imagine what type of pleasure this man could bring.  As they continued the dance Jillian felt freedom from all the burdens she was here to get a break from.  Even as others started to gather around them, she didn’t mind.  She just kept looking at the enjoyment on Jack’s face and couldn’t hide her own.  As the music ended, some people began to clap, others began to slip away and a couple others even tossed money near their feet.

Laughing, Jack took her hand.  “What do you say we get out of here?  I could use a drink.”




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