Good morning and welcome to another set of Tuesday Tales., the closed blog where stories begin and novels are born. Each week, a small group of authors share scenes from work in progress giving you an insight into how they create the novels you enjoy. This week, I continue with Same Time Next Year. The word prompt to use was CABINET.
Like a child finally allowed outside to play after a lengthy incarceration, Twyla spread her arms wide and took a deep, cleansing breath, absorbing the scents of a newly washed world. Around her, some of the plants still glistened with droplets of rain and puddles steamed in the sun. As she crossed the lawn to the stone path, wet grass tickled her toes, darkening her tan leather sandals.
She nodded to the people she passed. What on earth were they putting in the food these days? Those girls—surely no more than fourteen—had bigger breasts than she did. Those puppies might be perky now, but give them fifty years and they would be trying to have sex with their kneecaps.
Jealous, old lady? Damn it, yes!
What had happened to all the years between today and her last visit here? She’d lived, traveled, raised a daughter, grown old, but had she ever been happy? Had her eyes ever filled with love and joy like those of the young woman sitting under the tree watching the man swing a toddler in the air?
Hurrying toward the main building, she spied Nessa waving at her from one of the tables on the veranda. The woman wore a long-sleeved white blouse. Her short salt and pepper hair ruffled in the breeze, but there was a quiet air of sophistication about her.
Twyla ran her hand through her russet mane, recently trimmed, but still probably a wild mess around her face. No matter what she did, she would never look polished as her mother would’ve said.
Suck it up, buttercup. That’s never going to change.
She straightened her green cotton top and beige crop pants and smiled as she mounted the steps.
“Sorry. I was working on something and got carried away,” Twyla offered in apology and sat across from Nessa.
“Not a problem. I just got here myself a few minutes ago,” she said and chuckled. “Mavis went on and on, as she so often does. She’s made all of these plans for the pre-wedding reunion and wanted to make sure I invited you to join us. I think she’s worried about numbers, but when all’s said and done, her gathering will outshine the wedding. Raven and Peter should’ve realized that when they gave her carte blanche to plan this.” She shook her head. “Can you imagine? She’s arranged a sock hop for Friday night right after the rehearsal dinner. With Frank’s lumbago, we certainly won’t be twisting the night away. At any rate, it’ll all start Wednesday evening with a meet and greet. The inn will provide everything, including a bartender.”
Shrugging, Twyla grinned. “That’ll help. I’m sure a few guests will need to be fortified before the night’s over. I assume she’ll have cute name tags for everyone, as if this were some kind of weird high school reunion?” Mavis would certainly want to make this the event of the century.
“God, I hope so.” Nessa nodded and rolled her eyes. “Otherwise, I’ll have to introduce myself to everybody. Not that I’m the only one who’s changed. I’m sure most of the men will be bald and paunchy, and some women will have more junk in the trunk than they did.” She giggled. “Mavis claims ‘everyone’ is coming, not that she’s shared who everyone is. Will you make it?” Her brow creased, and her mouth became a dark red inverted U. “If you don’t, she’ll find a way to blame me for your absence. She’s quite impressed with the fact that you’re a bestselling author. Don’t be surprised if she doesn’t find a way to capitalize on that.”
Twyla sympathized with the woman, remembering the way Mavis had picked on her. Once a bully, always a bully, but tyrant or not, she wasn’t quite ready to be the woman’s trained monkey for the event. Caprice, her agent, would be thrilled about the free publicity though.
“I’ll make sure Mavis knows that whether I attend or not has nothing to do with you. I’m not really part of the ‘old gang’ as she called you all when we spoke the other day. I was only here for a month or so each year—less than that the last time. I’ll try to make it, but Nessa, I’m here to work, and while I’m happy to socialize once in a while, it can’t be my first priority.”
“I understand that. Can I ask what you’re working on?” She lowered her voice. “Or is it a professional secret?”
Twyla nodded. “Writers can be a superstitious lot and, to me, speaking about a book before it’s completed is bad luck.”
Ezra approached them, stopping next to the wooden cabinet to pick up a pitcher of ice water.
“Hello, Mrs. Wilson. Nice to see you out and about again,” he said, filling their water glasses. Would you like menus?” He smiled.
Was the boy flirting with her? More than likely he was just buttering her up to find out about Lana. She lowered her gaze. Wasn’t she doing the same damn thing?
Swallowing her discomfort, Twyla smiled. “Nothing to eat for me. I just finished a thermos of your aunt’s soup. It was delicious, and I believe it truly does have medicinal qualities.”
He winked. “My aunt swears by it and so do most of the family.” He turned to Nessa. “What about you, Mrs. Prendergast?”
“No food—Mavis had enough stuff at the meeting to feed the population of a small country. Have you ever tried deep fried avocado? It probably has a gazillion calories in it, but it’s to die for. Actually, I’ll just have gin and tonic.”
Ezra nodded. “With lime?”
“And I’ll have a glass of pinot grigio,” Twyla added, glad she wouldn’t be having coffee. She needed a little liquid courage for what was to follow.
“With a glass of ice and club soda on the side,” Ezra finished for her.
“Am I that predictable?” she asked.
“It’s my job to know what you lovely ladies want. I’ll be right back.”
That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on Tuesday Tales.