I have to apologize for getting a bit behind in our posts this week. I've had to direct my attention to other issues. BUT...we'll do our best to stay on track.
Today I'm sharing a snippet from my novel, 'Passing Loop'. The manuscript is all finished, but still needs a bit of tweaking while I find it a good home. In the meantime, I thought I'd share bits and pieces of it as things are edited (and re-edited).
I love this story. This is the only one that never came to me in a dream. It made me work hard for it so I'm going to work equally as hard to get it out there. I've been given some very helpful constructive criticism on it so I'll be referring to those notes while I trudge on.
This is a great scene because it gives a vibe of the relationships among the core characters. George, a neighbor and long-time friend of the family, has joined the Chisholms for dinner and has offered to show Chrissella around. Will it will help melt the ice on her disgruntled view of small-town life?
I hope you enjoy this snippet and, as always, feel free to share your thoughts.
As George and Gran talked ‘small talk’, Chrissella leaned over to her mother as they rinsed off plates and cutlery to put in the dishwasher, and whispered, “So, what’s this thing with these two?”
Enya did a side-glance, then whispered back, “I told you, Gran has crazy hearing skills. All I can say now is that he’s been sweet on her for a while but Gran is avoiding it. Don’t say anything. She’s kinda…sensitive about it.”
Chrissella dropped a few forks in the dishwasher, then looked at her mother. “We’ve been here a day and you are using expressions like, ‘sweet on’ and country bumpkin forms of ‘kind of’ and other stuff. I’m worried and, quite frankly, it’s more because I’ll end up taking on that lingo.”
George’s belly laugh startled her. “You can take the girl from the country and put her in the city, but you can’t take the country outta the girl.”
Chrissella wiped her hands on her jeans. “Does everyone around here have crazy superhero-like hearing abilities? If so, I may have to get my vocal cords removed.”
“That’s because our ears haven’t been damaged by city living,” Gran said, wiping her place mat with her napkin. “You’d best remember that. Now get that pie from the counter, the whipped cream from the fridge as well as some pie plates and dessert forks. And for the love of all that’s good in the world, there are towels right there. Your pants are not to be used that way.”
Chrissella was going to make a smart butt remark about how Gran used her napkin as a cleaning tool but stifled herself.
“Here, I’ll get the plates and forks, you get the pie and whipped cream,” Enya said, moving to the cabinet.
It was the biggest pie Chrissella had ever seen. She balanced the pie on her forearm as Gran had made homemade whipped cream, not the stuff from a can that Chrissella could have easily shoved in her armpit.
Please don’t let me drop it…please don’t let me drop it…
Thankfully, she made it to the table, pie unscathed, and put everything in front of Gran. “I was going to make you cut this up, but I think it’s best I do it.”
“Yes, I kinda figured. That’s why it’s there.”
“Enough chit-chat, and get cutting,” George said. “I’ve been waiting for this part all day.”
“Listen, you,” Gran said, her eyes on the pie, knife in hand hovering over the dessert. “You bring your patience to the table, or you get yours last.”
George chortled. “I’d expect nothing less.”
The pie was sliced up, whipped cream slathered on top, then plates were passed down each side of the table. Once Gran had hers in front of her, everyone dug in.
“So, City Girl,” George said around a forkful of pie. “Getting used to things?”
Chrissella poked at her dessert. She detested nut-type pie but faked eating it by smushing it around and eating the whipped cream. “I guess. Haven’t really gotten a chance to look around yet. The highlight so far has been losing a fight with a carrot.”
George almost spat out what was in his mouth, trying to repress a laugh. “Well, not the first time that’s happened. Least it wasn’t a stubborn onion. Maybe you should stick to stuff growing above ground at first. Give ya a fair fight.”
“Ack,” Gran said, pointing her fork in Chrissella’s direction. “This girl needs to toughen up. A little farm work won’t kill her. City life doesn’t teach kids anything but what they learn on television, that Internet stuff and those phones they all carry around. All of which are bad influences. No wonder there’s so much crime in the city.”
“Aw, now Lil,” George intervened, scraping the last of his whipped cream off his plate. “We’ve had our share of crime here in our small town. And we all know each other here. It’s all in who you make friends with, where you hang out and what ya do with your spare time.”
“Just whose side are you on,” Gran asked without looking up. “Besides, those were petty crimes. At least you don’t need to be afraid to walk the streets, night or day, here. And this girl is going to have very little spare time to get into any trouble.”
Chrissella frowned. “Um, hello? We’ve discussed this. I’m sitting right here. Talking about me, in front of me, drives me insane. If you got something to say, please talk right to me.”
Gran opened her mouth to speak, but George interrupted her. “Listen, Chrissella. I don’t know what your mom has planned for tomorrow, but I’d be happy to take ya down to the town and show ya around. We could check out the school, our main stores…stuff like that. ‘Sides looks like your mom could use a bit of rest.”
Great. A playdate with someone old enough to be her grandfather. Oh well. It would get her out of garden and yard duty for a while.
Enya piped up. “I think that would be a great idea, if you’re okay with it, Chrissy.”
Chrissella repressed an eye roll. Do I get a say in anything anymore? “Sure, why not. You’ll have to ask the Sargent-Major up there if I can be relieved of my duties for a few hours.”
Enya covered her mouth with her hand, while George laughed out loud.
Gran shot Chrissella a glare so fierce, Chrissella thought the utensils would dissolve. She cleared her throat then said, “Yes, I think it would be a good idea. It might make you appreciate where you are a bit more. And don’t think you’re getting out of your chores. They’ll be here waiting for you when you get back.”
“Right then,” George said. “I’ll come pick ya up after breakfast, say around ten or so?”
“I’m sure I’ll be woken up earlier so that’ll be fine. I’ll be ready.”
George leaned back, rubbed his belly, then said, “Well, ladies, I really enjoyed the meal. Excellent job, as usual, Lil. I know I’ll sleep good tonight. I should be on my way.”
They all got up to see George to the door. “We’ll see ya in the morning, City Girl.”
Chrissella smiled the best fake smile she could muster up. “Yep.”
After shutting and bolting the door, Enya and Chrissella cleared the rest of the table, filled the dishwasher and put it through, then put the leftovers away. When they got back to the living room, Gran was snoring away in her chair.
Enya and Chrissella decided to have an early night and went upstairs.
“What am I supposed to do before bed? There’s no tv, no computer and you won’t let me use my phone. There’s probably not even any WiFi here for me to access. Why must you torture me so?”
Enya hugged her. “You’ll understand one day. Besides, you’ll have a great time with George. I used to hang out with him when I was young. He is very wise and knowledgeable. Gave me some of the best life advice I’ve ever been given. He gave me the courage to move away with you. Give him a chance, Chrissy. He’ll be a great ally.”
“Well, great. I mean he seems nice and all but are there any…younger people around here? I’m starting to worry that my besties are going to end up being sixty and up.”
Enya laughed and rubbed her back. “I think that’s what George is planning by taking you to show you the school you’ll be going down the main strip. You’ll be able to find all the hangouts and meet people your own age.”
Chrissella pushed away and released a dramatic gasp. “You mean, there are hangouts here? Along with a main strip...in a place this small? I am all a flutter.”
“Smart butt. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
“I have been in shock since we landed here. Surprised? Not really. But I’ll give it a chance for you.”
“Thank you,” Enya yawned. “I’m going to bed. Have a good sleep.”
“That is debatable. Getting woken up while it’s still dark outside really sets the tone for the rest of the day. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to have a steamy, hot shower, which Gran will yell at me for in the morning, to induce sleepiness.”
Enya laughed. “Go for it. Night.”
While the hot water soothed her tense muscles, she silently hoped that at least a few of the 4500 people in that town were younger than her mother. After her shower, she plopped into her bed and fell into a deep sleep.