Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sample Sunday: Number Six in Beyond Home

From the second short story in Beyond Home, Number Six. Here are the first 700 words (even!)


She was running down the sidewalk, and the train of her dress dragged along the ground, collecting all the dirt of New York City. After looking around frantically, she burst into the coffee shop in which Sean was sitting.

He couldn’t help but stare, along with everyone else. Is that Abigail?

Her curls were coming undone, and her makeup was smeared by her tears. With perfect composure, she moved to the bar and sat next to Sean. Her wedding dress poofed up around her, covering half of Sean’s leg.

“Can I get a coffee?” she asked the waitress.

He cleared his throat. “Abigail?”

She looked at him with wide eyes. “How—oh. Sean.” She grabbed a napkin from the silver dispenser between them and loudly blew her nose.

“Are you okay?” he asked, fiddling with his newspaper.

Abigail wiped her eyes with another napkin. “Oh, I’ve been better.”

“I didn’t know you were engaged.” He wanted to take the words back as soon as he said them. All he knew about Abigail was the contents of her computer, which he’d saved a month ago from a nasty virus.

She laughed loudly and covered her mouth to hide more giggles. The waitress came over with her cup of coffee, and Abigail nodded to her with a beaming smile. She put three scoops of sugar into the coffee and smiled at Sean. “I think that’s the first time I’ve laughed all day.”

He shrugged. “I guess my awkwardness has its uses.”

“I guess so.” She sipped her coffee and took a deep breath. “What a day.”

Sean folded his newspaper and smoothed it flat. Since meeting Abigail two weeks ago, he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her. She was funny, flirty, smart, gorgeous. . .and now she was sitting next to him in a wedding dress. Not exactly the setting he’d been expecting when he saw her again. “How’s your computer been?”

“Oh, great.” She nodded. “Works like new.”

How had he missed that huge engagement ring before? He wondered how much it had cost. When she’d brought her computer in, she told him she’d pay anything to fix it. Apparently money wasn’t an issue for her fiancĂ©, either.

Abigail held up her hand, looking at her ring. “I never wore this when I came around your shop.”

“Yeah, I was wondering how I could miss something like that.”

She shrugged and sipped her coffee again.

He wanted to ask if she decided not to wear it because of him or for some other reason. Instead, he asked, “Can I pay for your coffee?”

She looked at him, embarrassed. “Sure. I haven’t got any money on me.” She paused. “I was going to give her my ring.” She let out a laugh, but it was empty.

“No,” he said, “you should keep that.”

She avoided his eyes. “Right. I’m sure he’ll be wanting it back.”

Sean glanced out the window. “Where did you come from?”

“The Marriott Hotel on 85th and Albany. I think I lost them, though. . .well, it was just my mom after four blocks.” She sighed, putting her head in her hands.

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” he said. “I was going to get married once.”

Abigail looked at him. “You were?”

“Yeah, but she didn’t like it when I talked to strangers in coffee shops,” Sean said. The bride smiled. “Seriously, we were engaged, and she had everything planned out. A month before the wedding, I came home and she had all of her stuff packed up. She moved to Hawaii and married one of those entertainers in the cheesy tourist hotels.”

Abigail narrowed her eyes. “Are you making this up?”

Sean laughed. “I wish. Trust me.”

She took another drink of her coffee, then started playing with the ring on her finger. Sean remembered the ring he’d bought Teresa. It was much smaller, but she had cried when he brought it out, and then spent the next few days staring at it.

“It’s so weird that you’re here,” Sean said. “I was just thinking about you this morning.”

She raised her eyebrows at him. “I just ran away from my wedding, and you’re hitting on me?”


Beyond Home is only 99 cents on Amazon and Smashwords. Coming to B&N soon!

Happy New Year, by the way!

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