Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sample Sunday

Today I'm sharing another excerpt from my story, You Make Me Feel Brand New, that's part of the WG2E anthology. The first excerpt is below on Sunday, February 19th.



Anxious to share what had happened with Mac, the next night Jan waited for Verna outside the restaurant for our regular Friday dinner. Of her three friends, she and Verna were the closest. They shared everything, and Jan could always count on her to be honest. Since the restaurant wouldn’t seat incomplete parties, they had to wait for Kathy and Noreen. She and Verna squeezed into a corner of the crowded lobby.

“I need to tell you something before the others get here.”

Verna folded her arms across her ample chest. “Sure. What’s up?”

“Tell me what you think about this. Last night I cooked for a dinner party for Mac Sinclair, one of Ron’s associates. He stayed right there in the kitchen with me the whole time. At first I thought he just wanted to see how I fixed everything. You know how some people want to make sure you don’t poison them. We talked a bit, but most of the time he sat there watching me.”

“So? What’s wrong with that?” Verna asked with a curious frown.

“I caught him staring at my legs, and realized he wasn’t hanging around to pick up cooking tips. It made me a nervous wreck.”

“So did he say anything out of line?”

“No, not out of line, but he invited me to the party. He said it would be good for business because the guests are rich, big name athletes.”

Verna raised an eyebrow. “So?”

“I don’t think he wanted it to be all business. He said he’d be the only one with no date.”

Verna laughed. “Don’t say the word like it’s so offensive.”

“What?” Jan whispered, hoping nobody in the lobby had overheard. “Why are you laughing?”

“So is he a leper or something?”

“Lord, no! He’s the finest man I’ve seen in a long time. That’s what’s got me so –”

“I think flustered is the word you’re looking for?”

“Yes. No. Oh, I don’t know. Verna, He’s only in his early thirties. Why would he be interested in me?”

“You underestimate yourself, Jan. I’ll bet he thinks you’re his age. Did you refuse?”

“I haven’t been out with a man other than Robert in twenty-five years. I wouldn’t even know how to act.”

For twenty-five years Jan been in a marriage that died a slow and painful death. Although Robert was a decent man and a good provider who’d remained faithful, he’d been emotionally distant. Nurturing the intimate side of their marriage was unimportant to him, and he proved it regularly by forgetting her birthday, their anniversary and even Mother’s Day. Whenever she voiced her disappointment, he would stuff cash into a card thinking it would pacify her. He rarely took her out. Romance after the wedding had been pointless to him.

Kathy and Noreen came in the door looking as distinctive and night and day. Kathy always wore something Afrocentric with her head wrapped in colorful fabric, while Noreen looked every bit the Vogue model. Verna waved to get their attention. Once the hostess had seated them, Verna announced, “Jan has something she needs to share. Go ahead, girl.”

Jan gave her the evil eye.

“What’s up?” Noreen asked. “Come on, spit it out.”

“Okay. Just promise me you won’t laugh.” She told the entire story but didn’t mention Mac’s age then waited for their reactions.

“What does he look like?” Noreen asked. “And how much money does he make?” The resident expert on single life, she’d never been married and delighted in being unattached.

Kathy shot her a disgusted glare. “When are women in our community going to understand those aren’t the two most important issues in life?”

Noreen rolled her eyes. “They should be. Only a fool wants a broke, ugly man.”

When they finally stopped laughing, Jan answered. “He’s very good looking, and a body that could boil water, and works as a sports management agent.”

“So what’s the problem?” Noreen asked.

Verna answered her question. “He’s only about thirty-five, Noreen.”

Noreen’s face lit up. “Aw, sookie sookie now! You know how I feel about those young tender morsels. ”There’s nothing better than waking up next to a healthy, robust, young brother.”

Kathy pinched the bridge of her nose as if she’d suddenly developed a migraine. Noreen’s preoccupation with sex irritated her. “For God’s sake, Noreen. Can’t we ever have a conversation without you stepping into the gutter?”

“Honestly, I’m afraid,” Jan confessed. “I haven’t been with anyone except Robert since I was twenty-one. Singleland has changed a lot since then. I’m way out of my league here.”

The mood at the table instantly changed. Verna reached across and took her hand. These were the times her friends were at their best.

“Honey, you just have to step out there. Once you take the first step, it won’t be so scary. He sounds decent. It wouldn’t hurt to see him once. The dinner party would be a safe place to get to know him, since other people will be there.”

“So you don’t think there’s anything wrong with seeing a man so much younger than I am?”

“That’s the new Hollywood trend. Besides, you’ll need someone strong around to fan you when you start having hot flashes.” Noreen ran her fingers through her expensive weaved hair and laughed.

“What time is the dinner party supposed to start?” Verna asked, checking her watch.

“He said around eight.”

“So call him, girl,” Noreen urged. “It’s just after seven now.”

The idea sent Jan’s stomach into a double flip. “What would I say?”

“Just ask him if he got a date. If he says no, tell him you’d like to join him, if it’s okay.”

“So what if he says he asked someone else? Then I’ll feel like an idiot.”

Kathy, the quietest and most serious one, never spoke frivolously. Jan valued her opinion. “Say something pleasant like, “Good. I hope everything goes well.”

“Take my word for it,” Noreen reassured her. “If he had someone, he would’ve asked her before last night. Call him.”

They prodded her on until Jan rose from the table and took her cell phone into the ladies room. After she took a few deep breaths, she dialed and waited for him to pick up.

“Sinclair.” His husky tone sent a shiver up her spine.

“Hi, Mac. It’s Jan Davis. I’m not pulling you away from your guests, am I?”

“No one’s here yet. I hope you’re calling to say you’re coming tonight.”

Jan exhaled a silent sigh of relief. “Yes. I’d like to join you, if you still want me to come.”

“How soon can you get here?” The expectancy in his voice relieved her, and sent a spark of excitement through her at the prospect.

“I’m over near Lenox Mall. I can be there in about twenty minutes.”

“What’s your favorite wine?”

“I don’t drink, but a sparkling water with lemon will do just fine.”

“I’ll meet you at the door with a glass.”

“Okay. I have to say goodbye to my girlfriends, and then I’ll be leaving.”

“Ring the downstairs bell when you get here, and I’ll buzz you in.”

“Well?” Verna asked with her palms raised in curiosity as Jan approached the table.

“He said he’ll be waiting for me at the door. Pray for me, ladies.” Jan grabbed her purse and left the restaurant with her stomach flipping like she was riding the Goliath coaster at Six Flags.

Available on Kindle: http://amzn.to/xrX3Nj Nook: http://bit.ly/xzfJkC & Smashwords http://bit.ly/zShmg1 for $2.99

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