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The Novel: Chapter 4… and 5!

standard June 18, 2010 1 response

First there was Chapter one, then Chapter two, wouldn’t you know it, that was followed by Chapter three and now… It’s time for Chapter 4 & 5, because I love you and I’m taking pity on you. And well, because Chapter 4 was really short.

Chapter 4

    “Sadie! Is that really you?” He reached down and scooped her into his arms, surprised by the overwhelming need to hold her close. She hadn’t changed much over the years. Her hair was still as crazy as he remembered and she had the exact same smile, right down to the dimple in the right cheek. He hugged her hard before reluctantly setting her back on the ground. “It’s good to see you too. What brings you to Ha… OOF.” He swooped down to pick up the little girl who had just careened into his legs.

    “Emily, can you say hi to Daddy’s friend, Sadie?”  In response she nuzzled her face into  his neck, whimpering quietly. Typical. Emily was always bouncing off the walls, except when he wanted her to be sociable. “She’s shy,” he apologized. “And she needs her nap. Are you staying in the hotel? Can we have coffee later and catch up?”

    “Sure thing! I’m here for the whole week, Room 704. Just give me a call.” 

    He watched Sadie walk away, slight hop in her step, and wondered what had brought her to Hawaii. He hadn’t seen her in years. He let himself wonder if maybe, just maybe, she wasn’t here alone, but Emily’s shrill “Who dat?” interrupted his train of thought. 

    “Dat, was an old friend of Daddy’s. An old, old friend.”

    “Hawow!” Emily called out to Sadie a second too late. The shining elevator doors had just engulfed her and Sadie never saw the small fist open and shut in a wave.

    “Let’s get you to bed kiddo.” Andy said to his daughter, “we have lots of swimming and fun waiting for us when Hunter gets back from camp.”

Chapter 5

    Jo jammed the flimsy plastic key into the lock over and over again, but the red light stubbornly refused to turn green and she finally had to admit that it just didn’t work.

    “Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn.” She rested her forehead against the wooden door and tried hard not to cry. How on earth was this happening? This was her big week. This was her dream wedding. It was supposed to be perfect. There’s no room for closet skeletons in perfect, no room at all. There’s room for flowers, and cake, and pretty dresses. There’s room for friends, and fun, and wine, lots, and lots of good wine, but there’s. Just. No. Room. For. Exes. Who. Broke. Your. HEART! Jo banged her head against the door in time with her thoughts until her forehead started to hurt. She looked down at the hotel key still grasped in her hand and stifled a shriek.

    Jo threw the offending piece of plastic on the floor and stomped on it for good measure. She knew she was acting like a brat, but just couldn’t stop herself, this was all just so damn unfair!

    Voices at the other end of the hall quickly put an end to the escalating tantrum. Jo picked up the card sheepishly and wondered what she should do. Did she dare head back to the lobby for a new card? What if Andy was still down there? And where the heck was Sadie? She’d have another key to the room, no?

    Just as the voices came closer, the elevator, so conveniently located in front of the door to Sadie and Jo’s room, opened. Jo jumped behind the potted plant right next to it seconds before the sliding door came to a stop. She held her breath, waiting to see if anyone would come out, pulling her carry-on bag a little further out of view. She didn’t think she could handle another chance encounter.

    Jo chided herself silently. Was she really going to spend the whole week hiding from people? This was so not OK. So not OK at all.

The Novel: Chapter Three!

standard June 11, 2010 1 response

A few weeks ago I posted chapter one of the novel I’ve been working on for well over a year now. Then I posted chapter two. And now? It’s time for chapter three! Be sure to click back and catch up if this is your first time here!

Chapter 3

    “Sadie!” Jo hissed. “I cannot be here. He cannot see me like this! How is this happening? Why now?” She ran her shaking hands through her tangled frizzy mop, damning airplanes and their overload of stupid static electricity. Why couldn’t she ever look like one of those super sleek models; each strand of hair always precisely in place, face unlined, clothes perfectly pressed? Jo glanced down at her stained and wrinkled cargo capris, covered in sweat spots, and took in her chipped home pedicure. Most of the toe nails were visible around the shimmery red, but the surrounding skin was still stained from her pathetic attempts at doing the job herself. Sadie grabbed Jo’s hands as she frantically tried to brush the wrinkles out of her grubby white button-down shirt.

    “Calm down.” She said, squeezing hard. “It’s OK.”

    “No. No it’s not.” Jo’s voice shook as she fought back the flood of tears that threatened to break free. “It is the opposite of OK. There might have been a time when this might have been OK, but this is not it. The last thing I needed this week was to see Andy again.” Jo yanked her shaking hands out of Sadie’s grasp and fumbled for the carry-on bag the porter had left at her feet. She just managed to grab the strap before breaking into a run.

    Jo reached the safety of the hotel lobby just in time, barely taking in the double story ceiling, marble counters, and how the whole space opened out onto a massive balcony that overlooked the beach and the ocean. The automatic doors slid shut behind her, protecting her from hearing what she imagined was taking place where she’d left Sadie. She shuddered as she heard her best friend’s shrill greeting, and her shoulders sagged as she also recognized the true delight buried in the pretend surprise of the greeting.

    “Andy! Is that really you? Oh my god! What are you doing here! It’s so good to see you!”

The Novel: Chapter two!

standard May 14, 2010 4 responses

Before you read on, if you’re new here, please hop on over here to read chapter one.

Chapter 2
Jo & Andy
Paris, France 1987

    They had walked hand in hand along the Seine, watching the sunlight glint off the water like jewels playing hide and seek in murk. They were on vacation, their first alone, and they were heady with the joy of being together in the city of love. The cost of the flight and the cheap tiny hostel had stretched their budget to its utmost limit so they spent their days just walking around the gorgeous city and ate bread and cheese at pretty much every meal. They were so wrapped up in each other that they’d barely noticed any of the architecture that they had supposedly flown so far to see. Intricate doorways and ornate stonework went unnoticed as they meandered from arrondissement to arrondissement passionately discussing everything under the sun from their mutual love of olives to the life that they were going to build together.

    “We’ll have just one child. A daughter. She’ll have big blue eyes and soft blond curls.” Jo said dreamily.

    “Oh, will she?” Her dark haired boyfriend had replied. “Blond with blue eyes, you say?” He’d laughed and poked her gently in the side as he pulled her towards him. He’d gathered her in his arms, his deep blue eyes locking onto her own bright brown ones, and kissed her gently on the lips. “If she’s half as beautiful as you, she’ll be a lucky girl and we’ll have to beat the boys off with sticks.” Jo had laughed and kissed him back and after a moment they had walked on.

    “She will be gorgeous and smart.” Jo had continued, in love with the image of this baby they would create together. “We’ll call her Emily.”

    “Emily? Why Emily?”

    “No reason, except we were just kissing on Rue Emile Zola.”

    He had laughed and they had walked on, but from that moment on they’d always joked about  baby Emily, born in a kiss on a crowded street in the heart of Paris.

The Novel: Chapter one

standard April 29, 2010 6 responses

I polled people on Facebook, on Twitter, and all around. “Should I post extracts from the book? Should I not? What if everyone hates it? What if it’s not ready?”

The consensus was: “Go ahead and post. Not everyone can hate it.” Hard to argue with that right? Plus the other people said that you all love me and even if you hate it you’ll lie. So there’s always that. Eh.

In any case. Here goes nothing. Or rather here goes the first chapter. I hope you enjoy.

Chapter 1

    “He’s here.” Sadie hissed at Jo as she struggled to hoist her overstuffed duffel bag out of the back of the hotel’s airport shuttle. “He’s here. Right now. In the hotel.”

    Jo ignored her for a moment as she looked around to see where the driver had gone. Sweat poured down her back, pooling in the dip just above her cotton capris. What  had she packed that could possibly weigh so much? She tugged some more before realizing that the strap had snagged itself on a hook in the back of the seat. Jo leaned into the van to free the bag and finally called back to Sadie.

    “Who’s here? What are you talking about? And why are you whispering?”
     “Shhhhhhhhhh!” Sadie said, “He’ll hear you!”

    “Who? Who is here and going to hear me talk about him.” Jo asked more quietly as she finally managed to yank the dark green canvas bag out. It hit the ground with a loud THWACK, causing a few hotel patrons to gaze their way.

    “Shhhhhhhhhh!” Sadie hissed again.

    “OK! What is the big deal?” Jo asked, finally turning to pay attention to her plump best friend. Her curly red hair was completely disheveled, exactly the same as always, though maybe a bit more frizzy than usual, probably because of the ridiculous heat and the humidity that hung in the air. Jo pushed back her own sticky hair and wiped some of the sweat from her forehead. A dip in the hotel pool would feel heavenly. Maybe Sadie’s hair looked like that because she’d already been swimming. Jo would have asked her, but her friend’s usually relaxed and happy face was creased with concern making the freckles on her forehead mass together in an alarming way.

    “What’s going on?” She asked again, looking deep into Sadie’s worried eyes and reaching for her shaking hand.
     “He’s here.” Sadie said, as though that explained everything.

    “Who? Jordan? No, he’s not, he doesn’t get here until Thursday.” Jo turned her attention to the porter who had just materialized take her bag to the front desk, she had no idea who Sadie was going on about, but she really didn’t want the man to lose her bag. Her bathing suit was in there and right now all she wanted to do was hit the pool.

    “No. Not Jordan. Andy. Andy is here. Right here. In the hotel.”

    Jo stumbled, reaching for Sadie’s arm to steady herself. Her chest constricted, and she struggled to take a breath in. She gasped, her hand flapping uselessly at her throat, wedding ring clinking against the locket nestled in the hollow. Jo looked at Sadie, eyes rolling wildly.

    Her throat unclenched, letting in a thin stream of air and letting out a strangled whisper. “What do you mean, he’s here? How is that even possible? What is he doing here?”

    “I don’t know.” Sadie said. She shrugged and shook her head. “ I spotted him at breakfast this morning. At first I thought I was mistaken, but then I saw him again in front of the elevator bank. There’s no mistaking that hair. And that voice. It’s definitely him.”

    Jo listened to Sadie and concentrated hard on breathing. She was not going to pass out here in the hotel lobby. She just wasn’t going to.

    “His voice? I thought you barely saw him? How did you manage to hear his voice?” Jo could hear herself getting shrill, but couldn’t stop the hysteria from breaking through. Shrill seemed inevitable, plus it was still better than fainting and making even more of a scene.

    His voice. There was a time Jo would have done anything to hear his voice again. Now the mere thought was sending cold sweat cascading down her back. And yet, it was all she could hear – his voice in her head. And, oh, his voice behind her!

    “No Emily! Freeze! You cannot run into the parking lot like that. Come hold daddy’s hand right now!” The familiar rich timbre shook Jo to the pit of her stomach, but the words caused both her eyebrows and Sadie’s to shoot straight up.

    “Daddy?” They both mouthed at each other? “Daddy?”
    “Emily?” Jo thought to herself. “He named his daughter Emily?”