Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. We Canadians celebrate that holiday back in October, with the turkey and all the trimmings. That way, we can do it all over again at Christmas. It really is the most economical meal for large families.
Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales, the weekly blog hop where great stories are born. Each week, using a word or picture prompt, the people who participate in this blog, share their works in progress with you. Fittingly, our prompt this week is the word THANK. I am sharing from my Women’s Fiction story, Same Time Next Year, my book within a book.
Twyla sighed and watched the small rodent scurry back under the leaves. She would project her mother now. It happened every time self-doubts and a sense of failure plagued her.
Dear, dear, foolish, stubborn mother. How certain she’d been of her convictions, of her duties, of her responsibilities, unable to bend and accept that the world might not be as black and white as she thought it was. There’d been no gray for her, no shades of possibility. What was right, was; everything else was wrong. Perhaps if she’d been able to set some of those dogged beliefs aside, shown her children that their happiness was as important to her as anything else, Ethan wouldn’t have gone off to war, a gentle soul in a hell he could never have survived. Mother might’ve been happier, and Twyla wouldn’t have gone looking for love in the wrong place, so desperate to matter to someone.
As she hurried along the flagstone path, she avoided looking up at the sheet lightning in the distance. Climbing the green stairs to the main building’s red door, she exhaled heavily. This wasn’t the time to think about her mother—she was down enough as it was. She reached for the door handle only to have it swing open, startling her.
“I’m so sorry,” an older man said, leering at her.
He reminded her of a wolf licking his chops, and she felt the hairs on the back of her neck bristle, as his eyes zeroed in on her cleavage.
“They really should put windows in these old wooden doors.” He smiled, his eyes crinkling.
“But it would ruin the esthetics, Frank,” the woman following him said, before Twyla could think of a scathing remark about the way he ogled her.
“Yes, but I almost mowed down this young lady in my haste,” he answered, grinning broadly to show off his even white teeth.
Seriously? Young lady? What a crock.
Teeth that white at his age had to be dentures.
The lyrics to David Lee Roth “I’m Just a Gigolo” raced through her mind.
Twyla tamped down the urge to say something derisive and smiled. She should feel flattered that she still looked good enough to get such looks.
“I’m fine. No harm done.”
The woman behind him popped her head around his side, the way a child peeked out from around its mother.
“Twyla Lancaster. I heard you were here. I recognized your New Jersey accent,” she cried, her eyebrows raised, a pleased smile on her face.
Did her face display the “Who the hell are you?” she felt? Twyla smiled and reached for the hand held out to her.
“It’s Nessa Rosenburg, Prendergast, now. This is my husband, Frank.”
Thank God the woman had introduced herself. She would never have recognized her.
“Nessa, how nice to see you again. You look marvelous—so different.”
It wasn’t just a line. Nessa had lost at least fifty pounds since the last time she’d seen her. In addition, her nose had been straightened as well as her teeth. Her mouse-brown hair was a gorgeous silver color that went well with her pale complexion and unusual gray eyes. Gone was the ugly duckling Mavis had teased so miserably.
Nessa grinned. “I’m not surprised. I was involved in a pretty bad accident back in 73. I had to have a little work done. I’ll tell you all about it someday. I must say you look amazingly the same. Mavis failed to mention that when she told me she’d run into you. Care to join us for a drink? We’re going to sit out here and watch the lightning before we go home.”
Smiling to take the sting out of her words, Twyla shook her head. “Not tonight, but thank you. I’m just on my way into dinner. Do you still live in the area? Maybe we could meet for coffee or something. I’m here until the end of the month.”
Nessa’s face lit up as if Twyla’s offer really meant something to her.
Guilt filled her. While the last thing she wanted to do was trade war stories with someone else who’d been part of her debacle back then, she’d liked the girl who’d been the butt end of so many of Mavis’s cruel jests.
“Actually, we live in Smiths Falls. We come her once a week for dinner, usually Saturday nights when prime rib’s on the menu. Why don’t I give you a call tomorrow, and we can set something up?”
She pulled out her Smartphone, and trapped, Twyla rattled off her cellphone number.
“Great. I’ll call you tomorrow. If you’re not interested in the roast, they’ve got a lovely salmon tonight, too.”
“The beef sounds good to me. I’m a carnivore from way back. I’ll expect your call.” She held out her hand to Frank. “Nice meeting you.”
“The pleasure’s mine.”
He reached for her hand, held it, his gaze raking her up and down, making her feel as uncomfortable now as it had back in her teen years. Some things never changed. Some men still didn’t seem to realize that women were more than a set of tits and an ass.
Pulling her hand away, she swallowed her bitterness and smiled. Maybe like Lana had said, he was just wetting his appetite by appreciating what he couldn’t have, but making her feel like a slab of meat right now didn’t increase her self-worth.
“If you’ll excuse me, dinner’s waiting.” She nodded and smiled.
“Enjoy your meal,” Frank said, holding the door open for her.
God, what was wrong with her? Did she really need to question everyone’s motives? Frank was old, probably older than she was, the product of a generation of dinosaurs where looking a woman up and down and appreciating what he saw was not only normal but acceptable. No doubt he had no idea doing so made him a jerk. Had those looks always bothered her? Not when Michael had done the appreciating, but look where that had gotten her. She was just too sensitive tonight, and the longer she stayed here, the worse it would get. Coming to The Colonel’s Inn could well be the biggest mistake she’d ever made.
That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on Tuesday Tales.