An Excerpt And A Good Deal
Because everyone likes a good deal, and a little freebie…here’s an excerpt from my novel, “Just What I Always Wanted.”
And the good deal is that you can purchase the Kindle Edition on Amazon for just 99 cents through Sunday, Dec 14.
“She’s home,” I whispered, though I didn’t know why I sounded guilty.
I excused myself and went into the kitchen. Shannon was standing at the fridge. She’d already found the purple drink and was sucking it down with the refrigerator door still open. She was sunburned and her shoulders bore little white lines where the strings of her bathing suit had been. Seawater had given her hair that mermaid dreadlocked look.
“Did you like the beach?” I asked.
“It was better than I remembered,” she said.
“I have company,” I said. “Come meet my friend, and you can tell us all about it.”
She followed me curiously to the dining room.
“Shannon,” I said, “This is my friend Ben.”
Ben stood up and came to Shannon and shook her hand, very formally.
“Nice to meet you, Shannon,” he said, almost bowing, but I guess it just looked that way since he was so much taller than she.
Shannon looked puzzled and slightly annoyed.
“So what was the best thing about the beach?” I prodded.
She just stood there and stared at Ben.
“The beach?” I asked again.
She twirled the straw around to soften up the icy bottom of her drink, and then slurped up the last of it.
“I guess the best part was this kid Flaine—he was such a prick, and what a stupid name—his parents must be morons just like him—anyway, he got stung by a jellyfish. He was bawling like a baby. An ambulance had to take him away. I think he wet his pants even. I came close to peeing in my pants too—I was laughing so hard.”
“That certainly sounds like fun,” I said dryly.
“Why don’t you sit and have dessert with us?” asked Ben.
Shannon stiffened and glared at him. “I don’t think I need an invitation to eat in my own house,” she said.
I had already experienced how quickly her mood could change, but I was mortified that she showed it to Ben so soon. He didn’t react though; it must have been all the legal training never to look surprised.
“You’re right,” he said calmly. “That sounded kind of rude.” He didn’t actually say which one of them had sounded rude. “Cynthia,” he turned to me, “Do you have dessert to share with us?”
“Absolutely, I said. “Sit, Shannon.” And she did sit down, albeit with her arms crossed in suspicion. I hated to leave them alone for even the few seconds it took to go to the kitchen, but I didn’t have to worry, because not a word was spoken while I rushed in and out with plates and cheesecakes and cherries.
I gave them generous helpings and they occupied themselves with a concentrated eating effort. My relaxed meal was gone. I tried to start up a conversation.
“So what made this Flaine prick such a prick?” I asked as if that were the normal language of the house, for in the last week or so, it had become pretty much the case.
“Oh you know the type,” answered Shannon. She looked hard at Ben. “You know, the kind of pricks that think they own the place.”
Ben refused to take the bait. “Yeah, I know. Always trying to boss you around.”
“You got that right,” she said.
“Didn’t work though with the jellyfish,” Ben pointed out.
Shannon narrowed her eyes down to two large streaks of eyeliner. “Some animals you can’t boss around. They sting.”
I needed to jettison this uncomfortable subtext.
“Jellyfish come out when the water’s warm. This is pretty early for warm water in Rhode Island. Did you think the water was warm?” I asked.
“No, I froze my ass off,” she said dismissively, keeping her eyes focused on Ben. She leaned towards him. “Are you like Cynthia’s boyfriend?”
He leaned back and smiled at me. “I think maybe I’d like to be.”
She snorted. I had always thought that grown-ups all look about the same to kids—old. But I was wrong. She cocked her head, her voice sweet, her smile nasty. “How did you guys meet?” Shannon asked him. “Did you go to school with Cynthia’s nephew?”
Ben went for the wine.
Shannon pushed back her chair. “Gee, thanks for the wonderful dessert.” And she strode out of the room and shortly the music started to reverberate.
Ben looked at the empty seat where Shannon had been. “Holy shit,” he said.
“Yup, that’s my kid,” I said.
He put his elbows on the table and held his face in his hands, like he was waiting for story-time to begin. “Tell me again why you took her in?”
This was my opportunity to set myself straight with him. But honesty is an elusive place, and I only got halfway there. “Don’t judge her too quickly,” I said. “I know she can be quite nasty… and she is most of the time. But a tiny bit of the time, she is just a scared kid. Someone needs to take care of her. I don’t want you to think I’m crazy, but… I like her.”
“You like her,” Ben repeated, not asking a question, just considering the idea.
“Well, not right this minute of course.”
- Posted in: Humor