Archive | September 2014

Starting Over #9

Tuesday TalesWelcome to TUESDAY TALES. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘pretty’.

Today’s snippet is part of a new WIP, tentatively titled ‘Starting Over’.

The story of Victoria and her antique shop in Oak Grove Square continues. Earlier in the tale, Victoria purchased a trunk full of old items from a handsome, but seemingly cold and uncaring, man. He enters Victoria’s life again, coming with an odd and surprising gift, a packet of old love letters. His appearance in her life leaves her full of conflicting emotions.

Enjoy – and feel free to leave a comment. Click the link here to go back to the main Tuesday Tales site for more entertaining story snippets.

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OGS_icy daySleet fell all night matching the cold ache wrapped around Victoria’s heart. In the morning a pristine icy, white veneer covered the neighborhood. Pretty – but oh so dangerous to drive in. This California girl wasn’t going to risk it. She wasn’t going anywhere. Even the Texans, and the other ‘transplants’ that lived on her street weren’t chancing it. No vehicles passed the house until two days later when a bright winter sun rose to warm the frosty shell.

At least the ice storm had stilled the construction at the end of the block. “Take that Mr. Burdett, Mr. Cold Hearted Developer,” she spoke aloud. She laughed softly to herself, picturing the shiny blue BMW Roadster he drove attempting to navigate the icy roads.

A few hours later, the crunch of tires advancing slowly down the street announced the eminent return of ‘normal life’. The ringing cell phone a little later seconded that motion, even if it was just Heather from City Hall, calling to postpone the first merchant’s meeting until the weather cleared.

The following day all that remained of the winter interlude were remnant patches of icy in the shady spots. Cars sported filthy, muddy films from driving on the sanded roads. And of course, the news – and Facebook – was covered with all the jokes about a little ice or snow can shut down the entire state of Texas.

After a few lazy days camped out at home, it was nice to be headed back to Serendipity and Oak Grove Square. Victoria felt relaxed and refreshed. But after tallying her checkbooks in her down time, she desperately needed some customers and a nice trickle of revenue. Hopefully this new merchants association that was holding its first meeting would help her, and the other business owners in the square.

It must be nice to be Mr. Developer with all of his money and a lucrative business, she thought. Damn! Why did he keep sneaking into her mind like this? She’d only seen him twice and was not impressed with him. He was arrogant, cold, and unfeeling. So, why did his face keep popping up at the oddest moments? Damn him!

Trying to banish the unasked for images in her mind, Victoria pulled into her parking space behind the businesses. She was surprised to see so many vehicles already filling up the small lot. Walking over to City Hall she surveyed the sleepy little town. No one appeared to be open yet, except for Java Time.

When she walked into the city’s meeting room she knew why. Almost all the seats were already taken. She spotted an empty spot next to Marie, from Three Tarts Bakery and made a dash for it. On her way past, she spotted Hank and Jacqueline, heads tipped close together in intent conversation. Her curiosity almost got the best of her as she halfway wished there was an empty chair there, just so she could observe the two for amusement. She did hesitate a little as she passed by, but they were talking so low she couldn’t overhear any of their conversation.

She slipped into her seat just as Holly approached the front of the room.

Marie leaned over and whispered, “I’m glad you made it. I was I’d see you here today. There’s something I’d like to ask you after the meeting.”

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Starting Over #8

Tuesday TalesWelcome to TUESDAY TALES. After a brief summer hiatus, we’re back on track. This week we’re writing to a picture prompt. Only 300 words, so the reading is quick.

Today’s snippet is part of a new WIP, tentatively titled ‘Starting Over’.

The story of Victoria and her antique shop in Oak Grove Square continues. Earlier in the tale, Victoria purchased a trunk full of old items from a handsome, but seemingly cold and uncaring, man. He enters Victoria’s life again, coming with an odd and surprising gift, a packet of old love letters. His appearance in her life leaves her full of conflicting emotions.

Enjoy – and feel free to leave a comment. Click the link here to go back to the main Tuesday Tales site for more entertaining story snippets.

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TT_pic promt 092214Thoughts of escape raced through Victoria’s mind like the running of the bulls at Pamplona. Running away – it was her modus operandi. Turn and flee, rather than face the demons – real or imagined.

That’s how she had ended up in this place and time.

Run away.

Move away.

Start new projects.

Learn new hobbies.

Start a new life – take up a new vocation.

Anything to avoid looking within too deeply, or too intently.

She knew what could help in her healing was a weekend away at her friend Sheri’s. Just her and her thoughts. The rustic setting on the acreage overlooking Ray Roberts Lake created a buffer from civilization. She needed to stop running and get to the bottom of these conflicting emotions. It was a perfect location for introspection.

Find Peace. It would become her new mantra.

Water always helped her. It was a calm and healing balm for her soul. Ray Roberts Lake wasn’t Laguna Beach, her favorite retreat spot. But, as Dorothy wasn’t in Kansas anymore, Victoria wasn’t in California either. At least the lake view from Sheri’s porch was liquid and full of gentle movement. And quiet.

Too bad it was so darn cold and icy right now. Sheri would have to wait for company. Victoria wasn’t going to attempt an hour’s drive north in this weather. She would have to find another mode to attain peace. Without running away this time.

A vision of Toby’s face, with its brief look of gentle compassion, drifted into her memory. That face was compelling and piqued her interest. Too bad that wasn’t usually the face he showed the world. So which one was the real Toby, she wondered?

Starting Over #7

Welcome to TUESDAY TALES. After a brief summer hiatus, we’re back on track. This weeks prompt is ‘curly.

Today’s snippet is part of a new WIP, tentatively titled ‘Starting Over’.

The story of Victoria and her antique shop in Oak Grove Square continues. Earlier in the tale, Victoria purchased a trunk full of old items from a handsome, but seemingly cold and uncaring, man. He enters Victoria’s life again, coming with an odd and surprising gift.

Enjoy – and feel free to leave a comment. Click the link here to go back to the main Tuesday Tales site for more entertaining story snippets.

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CNJ_hot teaA cold front eased into north Texas that afternoon, sliding down from Oklahoma. As it wrapped its icy tentacles towards Fort Worth customers fled from Oak Grove Square. The only shop doing any business now was Java Time. Victoria stood at her storefront window watching people enter the coffee shop, shivering and huddled in their jackets. Moments later they’d exit – hands wrapped around a precious beverage wafting curly steamy wisps in their faces.

The tiny furnace in back struggled to keep the little shop warm. It couldn’t compete with the onslaught of freezing air seeping its way inside through the crevices around the door. Old buildings, they’re beautiful creatures but you can’t keep them warm or cool, Victoria muttered. She thought briefly about nudging the thermostat higher. Instead she decided to close up an hour early. There probably wouldn’t be any customers the rest of the day anyway. She may as well join the masses fleeing towards home in an effort to avoid traveling home on icy roads.

Sitting at home, with her own cup of steaming hot tea in hand and puppies gathered at her feet, she picked up the bundle of old letters that Toby had delivered earlier that day. Curiosity had her antsy to dive into the old envelopes. But a tentative feeling of invading Charlotte’s privacy stalled her fingers. Should she? Or, shouldn’t she?

After reading the woman’s old diary, she felt like she knew Charlotte. Somewhat. But reading letters, even as old as they were … well, that seemed a little more intrusive.

Curiosity won.

An hour later, a soft sigh escaped Victoria’s lips. She sat still, her tea cold and forgotten beside her. The love she saw expressed in these letters between Charlotte and Edward caused an ache in her chest. It was so pure. So strong. And had lasted for so many years. What would it be like to have that kind of love in her life? Her chest heaved high as another sigh eased its way into the world.

Starting Over #6

Welcome to TUESDAY TALES. After a brief summer hiatus, we’re back on track with a new prompt, ‘ribbon’.

Today’s snippet is part of a new WIP, tentatively titled ‘Starting Over’.

The story of Victoria and her antique shop in Oak Grove Square continues. Earlier in the tale, Victoria purchased a trunk full of old items from a handsome, but seemingly cold and uncaring, man. He enters Victoria’s life again today, coming with an odd and surprising gift.

Enjoy – and feel free to leave a comment. Click the link here to go back to the main Tuesday Tales site for more entertaining story snippets.

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“I don’t have the money to buy anything today. I’m tapped out for purchases this month.” Victoria shook her head back and forth to emphasize the ‘no’ in her words.

“I’m not selling. They’re yours. My foreman found these hidden behind a panel in the bedroom wall. I thought you’d be interested in them. For yourself. Or for your shop.”

CNJ_old love lettersShe took the bulky envelope he offered her. Her irritation subsided and was replaced with curiosity. A musty fragrance emanated from the contents as soon as she lifted the yellow flap. She peered inside. The thick bulky package appeared to be a stack of smaller envelopes. She tipped the package and slid the bundle out. A stack of old envelopes lay in her hands, bound by a faded ribbon – probably red in an earlier life. The top envelope was addressed to Charlotte Copeland and bore a 1942 postmark.

A puzzled look crossed her face. “How can you bear to give up pieces of your family’s past?”

“They’re not from my family. They’re from a decrepit house we’re tearing down. The old lady that lived there died years ago. Her son sold the house – for a pretty penny too. I doubt he cares about anything we find there. Can’t say as I blame him. I’m not one for holding on to the past either.” His head swiveled, glancing around the small shop. “Unlike you, who seem enamored with the past.”

“Aren’t there pieces of your past that you like to hold onto? Memories that warm your heart?”

“Ha! Not me. I’m a realist. What matters is today. And what I do today that makes me money. That’s what I care about. Not dusty worn-out fragments you can’t change.”

“Hmmmm.” Victoria stroked the pack of letters softly and held them closer to her chest. “I’d venture a guess that Charlotte feels differently about that sentiment. It appears that she too liked to hold onto her memories. I can’t wait to read these. I wonder why she had them hidden though.”

“Who knows? Who cares? Read away.” He tipped his head to the side, staring at Victoria.

She glanced up and caught his intent gaze. For a flash she saw a look of warmth in his eyes and felt a flash of sizzle run down to the tips of her toes. She felt frozen, unable to move, unable to avert her eyes.

He said softly, “Just wondering … do you ever take off your rose colored glasses?”

She wanted to retort with a smart ass answer. But his question seemed backed with authentic intent. She was loathe to ruin an honest question with a sarcastic reply. “Occasionally. But then I find I don’t always like the coldness in the world I see. So I quickly put them back on where a wealth of warm fuzzy memories surrounds me. It’s a safer world then.”

He lifted a hand in the air, then dropped it back down. “My memories aren’t of a safer place. I learned …” A quiet silence filled the room. “Never mind. Let’s just say that the greenbacks of today are what makes my world safer.” The warmth was gone from his eyes. The unsentimental statue was back in place.

Victoria missed the ‘other’ man. He seemed tender and caring. She didn’t much care for this guy. But … he did bring her the old letters. “Thanks. It’s Toby, isn’t it?”

“Good memory. Yes.”

“You aren’t with TL Burdett Developers are you?”

“I am TL Burdett Developers. Why?”

“Oh, then it’s just that you’re the guy that’s building houses in the field by my house. But you probably don’t care that I can’t walk down there to see my longhorns grazing in the wildflowers any more, do you?”

Toby burst out in laughter. “No sweetheart. You’re right. I care more about my houses than your old cows. Sorry. Your rose colored glasses can’t save you from this reality.”

Victoria winced. She didn’t realize that her face gave her away. Every time. She opened her mouth to speak. And closed it. She didn’t trust herself to utter anything polite.

“For what it’s worth …” Toby began, and then stopped. “I’m sorry. I’ve got to go.” He spun around towards the door and hurried out. He didn’t look back.

She didn’t move. She watched his every step, even as the door jangled shut. Conflicting emotions swirled around, creating a knot in her stomach and a tightness behind her eyes. “Damn him,” she muttered to herself. “Arrogant idiot. Stupid money grabbing SOB. Heartless.” Luckily no other customers were in the store to hear the string of utterances spewing from her mouth. The packet of letters she held was no consolation. At that moment, she didn’t even realize that her hands held anything.