I’m back! Did you miss me? I missed all of you–both readers and fellow bloggers. Tuesday Tales is made possible by author, Jean Joachim, who manages us all each week by providing either the word or the picture we use as inspiration. Each Tuesday Tale is an unpublished work in progress, giving you a glimpse into our creative processes. Many of the stories begun here have gone on to become published novels. In my case, the novella, Forever and Always, which began as a Christmas short story, and Hello Again, my latest release, a paranormal, suspense romance.
Today’s Tuesday Tales are all based on the word prompt, CANDY. I’ve missed a few weeks due to my vacation. With that in mind, I’m picking up the plot line from Wedding Bell Blues, my new contemporary romance.
Here’s your TT!
They were more than halfway through the first course, and Paul couldn’t contain his curiosity any longer.
“How’s your soup?”
“This is the best vichyssoise I’ve ever tasted.”
“I’m glad you’re enjoying it. Feel like telling me what happened now?” he asked.
“I don’t know where to start,” she admitted.
“Why did you call off the wedding?”
“Long story short, I caught him with a coworker in my office at school, and they weren’t marking papers. Anyone could’ve walked in on them. Mom was upset, but there was no way I could forgive him, not for that. I put on a brave front, kept my mouth shut about what I’d seen more out of pride than to protect either of them, and told everyone I’d decided that we really wouldn’t suit and tried to get on with my life. He said the break up was mutual.”
“You did the sensible thing, MJ, although I’d have told everyone what a scumbag he was if it had been me. If a guy can’t be faithful before the wedding, he won’t be after.”
Visions of his father filled his mind. He’d been a class-A jerk who used his fists to justify his actions. The bastard had strayed more than once, but Mom had forgiven him time after time—for the cheating, for the broken bones and bruises, for everything. He’d hate to think of MJ living that kind of life.
“It gets even better,” she said bitterly, her eyes bright once more, pulling him out of his own painful memories. “They were married on what should’ve been my wedding day and had the reception at the Athena Hotel, the way I’d planned. The bridesmaids wore the dresses I designed, in the color I’d chosen. They even had the same damn menu I’d selected, including the wedding cake I’d chosen and the candy-coated almonds take-aways. Knowing Mark, he got a real deal on everything.”
“He’s got a lot of nerve, I’ll agree, but forgive the expression, the bride sounds a little gutless. You’re better off without a man like that. So why are you here? If there wasn’t a wedding, why come on the honeymoon?”
“Because I paid for it,” she stated defensively, “and I couldn’t get my money back. Mark wouldn’t let me buy the cancelation insurance. I decided I deserved to get something out of this mess, but he’s taken that away from me, too. He’s bringing her here to enjoy my honeymoon.”
“You’re not making sense, sweetheart. How the hell can he do that?”
“Don’t patronize me. Paul. I’ve had enough of that lately to last me a lifetime.”
“I didn’t mean to be patronizing; I’m sorry.”
“I’m sure Mark called the resort, cancelled my reservation, and rebooked a room in his name. The manager thinks it’s their fault, but I asked. Mark and Melena are arriving tomorrow.”
“It could be a computer glitch, just like the manager said. This is a popular place, and you did say it was his choice not yours.”
“Mr. St. Louis said the room was cancelled four weeks ago. That’s when Mark tried to buy the vacation package from me for half of what I paid. The place was booked solid, obviously because of that treasure hunt. I told him that since I’d paid for the damn thing, I intended to use it myself and it wasn’t for sale. He called me a cold, vindictive bitch, among other things I won’t repeat, and told me I’d be sorry.”
“It’s still circumstantial, but it does sound damn convenient, especially considering how hard it would be to get a booking here at the last minute like that. So, if you’re sure he’s done this, how are you going to prove it?”
“How can I?” she asked, throwing her hands up in frustration. “It’s his word against mine, and even you’re skeptical about it. What choice do I have? If I keep my mouth shut, the resort will pay for a few nights at a bed and breakfast in Saint Pierre and refund me the money I paid for the trip. The trouble is I know it wasn’t the resort’s fault. That’s why I want to go on that excursion with you in the morning and then make my way to the airport. I can’t face him, Paul, I just can’t. I’ll get myself back to Watertown, but if he realizes I spent the night here with you, he’ll see that everyone back home gets his spin on it, and Mom will be the one to suffer the embarrassment of that, too, and since she doesn’t even know I’m here…”
A single tear trickled down her cheek. “I never expected him to pull a trick like this.” She put down her spoon and reached for her champagne flute. “I wouldn’t have even thought he could do it.”
“It was probably easier than you’d think. He’d have had all the information, right?”
“If it’ll make you feel better, I’ll punch out his lights for you.”
She chuckled weakly, sniffled, and took a large mouthful of her wine, almost emptying the glass. “I’d give anything to forget how stupid I’ve been.”
“Not stupid. Trusting. The offer to beat him up still holds.”
“It probably wouldn’t help. Knowing him, he’d have you charged with assault, and I’d feel badly seeing you tossed in jail.”
“That wouldn’t help my career any either. So, who is this paragon you almost married?”
The hand carrying his spoonful of soup to his mouth froze. The name conjured up the memory of a sadistic bully who enjoyed watching those he considered beneath him squirm. Like most bullies, he was smart enough to pick on those who couldn’t defend themselves. He’d humiliated Paul a few times in grade school until he’d started weight training and learned to box. Paul had decked him in the ring, and Mark had left him alone, but he’d made life miserable for so many others. And the worst of it was, the bastard had been untouchable. His uncle had been the school principal. No one bothered to tell on Mark because he or she would be the one who’d end up in detention. How on earth had MJ gotten involved with that jerk? Better yet, how could Ron have condoned that relationship?
“Not Markos, the Achilles Heel?”
“One and the same,” she said resigned. “I know what you’re going to say. Ron probably said the same thing, but I thought Mark had changed. He made me feel special. He could be demanding, but I didn’t realize what he was really like until it was too late. Mama liked him, but she was at the point where anyone with his own teeth, a heartbeat, and a penis was fine.”
That’s it. Now, please take the time to check out the other Tuesday Tales.