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CREATING IS ONE THING—LETTING IT MARINATE IS ANOTHER

by
Cindy McDonald
 People are always
asking me: where do you come up with the ideas for your Unbridled series? I
always chuckle a little bit and then I explain: Well, hanging around the
backside (stable area) of a racetrack for twenty or so years will give you
plenty of fodder for story lines—trust me!

It’s true. So many
characters hang out at the racetrack: gamblers, liars, jockeys, agents (yes,
jockeys have agents), liars, horse trainers, exercise riders, veterinarians, crazy
blacksmiths, and did I mention liars?  There
are lots of liars. Oh yes, the racetrack is a treasure trove of characters, and
if you are paying close attention (I’m a watcher by nature) they will give you
as many storylines as your little heart desires.

Now just to be
clear, I have never seen anyone murder anyone else, nor have I been murdered
myself at the racetrack, so there is quite a bit of exaggeration placed in the
Unbridled books. And although the Unbridled books are fiction, there is a lot
of truth that lies between the lines.

Another question
people are always asking is: Cindy, where do you find the time to write? The
answer is quite simple, I make time. I write everyday. Sometimes I feel as
though I am handcuffed to my computer, but like anything else that you want to
do well, writing is a commitment.

I love to write in
the evenings. It is the quiet time of day, and after I have finished cleaning
up dinner, I pour a glass of wine—usually a chardonnay—I never drink red, it
makes me sweat. Wait a minute.  Maybe I
should reconsider—the sweating might help with those love scenes that I pen.

My stories are
taken from the original telescripts that I wrote for the TV drama series,
Unbridled. Warner Brothers sniffed around it, but the show never got sold, so
my telescripts are excellent outlines. Even with the scripts, it takes me
approximately ten to eleven months to write an Unbridled story. After months of
writing, rewriting, thinking, and yes banging my head off my desk the
manuscript is read to upload it to my editor, right?

Whoa, not so
fast—not for me anyway. This is where my writing and publishing habits may
differ from other authors. This, my friends, is where patience must persevere, and
sometimes that’s a mighty big order.

Okay, take a deep
breath, because it’s time for the marinating process to begin. Yep, that’s what
I said “marinate”. You’re probably wondering if I’ve hit my head off the desk
one too many times, not really. When I’ve finished a manuscript I do the same
thing most authors do—I start over from the beginning and read, tweak, read,
tweak, and then read and tweak some more. And after I’ve gone through this
procedure several times I close the file and let it marinate.

I let the file sit
for up to six weeks without opening it, without re-reading or tweaking it. But
I never stop thinking about it. I keep a notepad close by to jot down thoughts
during those six weeks that the manuscript is becoming juicy and succulent. It
is definitely an exercise in fortitude, but hey, ya know what? It always pays
off in a very big way because when I open the file to re-visit the story, I’m
reading it with fresh eyes and fresh thoughts and the results are always well,
fresh.

Hurrying my
manuscript is never an option for me. I want to make sure that it is a story
that my readers would not be able to put down. Every author has their writing
rituals, for me it is contemplation. Beyond marinating my manuscripts, I
usually take short breaks during the writing of a book as well. Sometimes, I
will walk away from a manuscript for a week or so. If I find that I am becoming
frustrated with my story, I know that it is time to take off my glasses, turn
off the computer, and go for a walk or take my dog, Harvey, for a nice long
run.
The sunshine clears my head and it feels good to stretch my legs for a while—I
was a professional dancer for twenty-six years, I need to move around a bit!
But if I return to the problem pages and nothing has been resolved, then its
time for a break from Unbridled for possibly a week or so. Honestly, it doesn’t
take long until I’m missing my characters and I’m back in the saddle tapping at
the keyboard once again.

Yes it’s true,
marinating and contemplation is a long process, however I am always pleased
with the outcome. I am usually able to publish two Unbridled books per year.
How? Well, I am always a book ahead—sometimes two books ahead of what you are
finding on 
Amazon.  Example: the fourth book of the Unbridled Series, Against
the Ropes, will release on June 1
st. I am almost half-way through
the fifth book, Shady Deals—it will be marinating by July. 

Whew!

I must admit
that no dust ever settles on my computer and those handcuffs come in darn
handy, too. ;}



Other posts on WWBB from Cindy McDonald:
Memories of Presque Isle
When writing romantic scenes where does one draw the line?
When reviews count for nothing.




Deadly.com
by Cindy McDonald

BIO FOR AUTHOR, CINDY McDONALD…

For
the past twenty years Cindy has helped her husband raise, train, and race
Thoroughbreds at their forty-five acre farm known as Fly-By-Night Stables near
Pittsburgh.
During those years Cindy has paid
close attention to the characters that hang-out at the back-side of the
track.  She found the situations and life style most intriguing. In 2005
she sat down at her computer and began a journey into writing about this life
that few understand.
Cindy has recently retired from making
her living as a professional choreographer. She owned and operated Cindy
McDonald’s School of Dance since 1985.  She studied at Pittsburgh
Ballet Theatre School and with the Pittsburgh Dance Alloy at Carnegie Mellon
University to name a few.  She has choreographed many musicals and an
opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards.


Enter the giveaway:
One signed paperback or ebook (winners choice, US/Canada), International – one ebook: DEADLY.COM HOTCOCO or DANGEROUS DECEPTION

DEADLY.COM

Make a note: never agitate a madman. Successful Thoroughbred trainer Mike West just made that mistake, and he’s gonna pay—more than her ever realized. But it’s all in the family; his sister, Kate, has been the object of the madman’s desire on the social network site “My Town”. Her constant rejections have infuriated him. People who seem to be in the way start turning up dead, and he’s got Kate and Mike next on his list! In the first book of “The Unbridled Series” Cindy McDonald introduces you to the world of Thoroughbred racing, while taking her cast of characters for a wild ride through a maniac’s mind.

EXCERPT:

The heat of a summer night wrapped its arms around Westwood Thoroughbred Farm. The farm’s vast one hundred acres nestled in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania outside the small town of Grantville. Westwood was a lucrative, bustling horse farm. In the mornings exercise riders would put the horses through their daily workouts. The stable hands would scuttle about the barn chattering in Spanish while cleaning stalls and filling water buckets. In the afternoon, the farm manager, Punch McMinn would deliver the horses to the racetrack where they would dash hell-bent–for-leather toward the finish line. 

Not tonight. Not for Kate West anyway. Kate was only looking for peace and quiet tonight. The glimmer of candlelight and the comforting scent of sweet lilac filled the room. She took a long, gratifying sip of her Sleepy Time tea with a drizzle of honey, a tiny indulgence to help her unwind. She ran her fingers through her blonde, silky hair. Dressed in a soft cami and a pair of pajama pants, she was feeling cozy and glad to have the evening off. She often worked late into the evening as a veterinary assistant at the racetrack. Tonight was going to be a hot one.

She stretched out on the sofa in her father’s study. The sweat dribbled down her neck to between her breasts. Her cami clung to her like a contestant in a wet t-shirt competition. She propped her feet on the coffee table. Her lips curled devilishly as she thought how her father would disapprove. 

Twenty-five-year-old Kate was much too old for scolding, but Eric West could be somewhat over-bearing. He loved the grandeur of the old Victorian-style farmhouse. He claimed that installing a modern convenience such as central air would compromise the home’s integrity. But he wasn’t home. She wiggled her toes, lifted her laptop from the couch, and logged onto a local networking website. The Wi-Fi delivered the site speedily to announce “MY TOWN” across the screen in bold letters. 

The blueness from the laptop’s screen illuminated Kate’s face. She arched a brow and she bit her lip softly when the picture of Giorgio appeared on the screen.

He’s logged on! Oh yes! There he is a delicacy of pure eye candy.

Giorgio had smooth olive skin. His long, dark hair swept across his broad shoulders. His eyes were a cool, inviting green. His jaw was square and strong. It was as if he wasn’t real, as if he was one of those erotic-looking characters on the cover of a romance novel. 

Kate chuckled to herself. She could easily picture this half-naked Adonis, embracing a buxom beauty with her brunette hair cascading over her shimmering bare shoulders with a title like Desire at Dawn scrawled over their heads. 

She had been cautiously chatting with Giorgio for several weeks after he had requested her friendship on the site. His picture was so stimulating, how could she resist? A congregation of attractive woman worshipped him with suggestive messages and invitations on his page. And why wouldn’t they adore him? His half unbuttoned shirt clarifies one thing. He’s ripped.

Among the women who paid daily homage to Giorgio was Ava West, Kate’s ex-sister-in-law. Kate had a healthy disdain for her. She was unfaithful to Mike, Kate’s older brother. Ava blatantly flaunted her beauty in men’s faces to get what she desired. Tall and leggy, beautiful Ava allowed her auburn hair to dangle so she could brush it back with a coquettish smile when in seduction mode. Like Giorgio, she too had green eyes, but they weren’t soft. They were definitely piercing. 

Every man’s wet dream featured Ava, and she knew it. She could be quite the smooth manipulator. Her messages to Giorgio weren’t so much suggestive as straight to the point. Ava liked men in multiples. One man, no matter how handsome, was just never enough for very long.

In general, Kate thought little of women who participated in cyber-sex; she considered it a pathetic, desperate activity. But merely flirting with a gorgeous man in cyber-space couldn’t hurt, right? She laid her fingers thoughtfully on the laptop’s keys just as a message popped onto her screen. 

“Want some company?”

Her fingers jerked from the keyboard. Giorgio! Has he been waiting for me to log on? Hmmm. Maybe he prefers sultry blondes over auburn, green-eyed manipulative monsters.

The cat and mouse game she’d been playing with him for several weeks had been a lot of fun. He had suggested hooking up several times, but she wasn’t prepared for a face to face meeting. Not yet anyway.

She licked her lips in delight as her fingers found their way back into position. I have to hold him off a little longer… make him want me… make him really want to be with me. She typed, “Soon… maybe.”






Writing Process of Daitoku Daiichi – Summaries

by
Daitoku Daiichi



“In
this busy, dusty world, having accomplished nothing, I suddenly recalled all
the girls I had known, considering each in turn, and it dawned on me that all
of them surpassed me in behaviour and understanding; that I ,shameful to say
for all my masculine dignity, fell short of the gentler sex.” – from the
Dream of Red Mansion.



As I have
interests in books, film, television and video games, they are often major
influences on my work. Although I like to write something innovative, I am also
aware of respecting the work of others before me. It can also be fun and more
meaningful to the reader when my novel references some other work.


One of the
main things I do before planning a story is to narrow down on these ‘selected
works’. For ‘Hot Spring’, the first in the series of Godfrey and Chucky’s
adventures, I spent two months ‘drawing out the essence’ from the Chinese
classic ‘Dream of Red Mansion‘. Since this revered classic had a common
theme with my story idea, I wanted to make sure that I don’t write a scene only
to discover it had been done before. Both my story and “Dream of Red
Mansion” deals with the growing up phase of a young boy in an affluent
household. In both stories, the young boy is uneasy with his father and
fascinated by his aunt. The adolescent is also discovering his conflicting
feelings for two of his female friends. But enough of the similarities for now.
VBT


The
original work has 120 chapters and about 2500 pages. I have the English
translation from Foreign Languages Press. I remember taking 6 months to finish
reading this, and I was sure I didn’t want to write something of that length.
So I did a summary of the timeless work, which helped me to remember some of
the major plot themes I had read before. You have to know how something is approached
traditionally, before you can give it a twist, don’t you?

In short,
the Dream of Red Mansions describes the slow decay of the esteemed Jia family,
and how the young heir Jia Baoyu awakens to spiritual discovery. Stripped bare
of all details, the classic is about a boy living in a large house with plenty
of women.
On the
other hand, in ‘Hot Spring’, the Gao family is prospering, and the story is
about how they overcome a threat to their business. There is still the
wonderful dynamic of a young boy living with many beautiful women in the hotel
and at school. On top of that, the Gao family hotel hosts wealthy tourists
Godfrey and Chucky, and even assists them on the adventure. The hotel’s name,
Red Jade Palace Hotel, is an allusion to the classic novel, and provides an
extra layer of amusement for its fans.

Doing the
summaries beforehand can really help an author to plan out the story well, and
ensure there is no unwanted repetition with a more famous cultural work. For my
second book I am already summarizing the films that I hope to pay homage to.
The same applies when a TV series or a video game inspired your writing
passion. If you want to read a fresh, innovative novel inspired by ‘Dream of
Red Mansions’, you should definitely catch your copy of ‘Hot Spring’ at Kobo
books.


The Wonderful Times of Godfrey and Chucky: Hot Spring

KOBO

Godfrey is young, wealthy and able-bodied. He has all the women you can imagine, and unbelievably deep pockets. But Godfrey wants more. His Great Greatness wants to rid the world of a menacing scourge, and restore what is truly superior to an elevated position. Why would anyone stop him? Who could possibly stop him?

Chucky arrives as the new assistant, and tries to perform every duty that is handed to him. What challenges for a dull servant! Look at him muddling through! With passports of exclusive privilege, the two adventurers make a splash in tropical Langkawi, where the water is blue and the girls are brown. Then they rendezvous with the locals in Singapore, where pleasures are plentiful and multicolored. Food and money are found in piles. Life in a global city should be, possibly, one of uninterrupted leisure…shouldn’t it?



Desire is a seductively red piece of jade, which resides even in our dreams.



“I am a healthy, strong and sexy male with a life, most of it sex life.” – Godfrey Mann


“I did not know how to reply, since the words were difficult to speak.” – Chucky

Inspired by English and Japanese gardens, Daitoku Daiichi is
committed to sharing scenes of beauty with his readers. He hopes that through
the mansion-like device of the novel, he can host a tea party to serve his
readers exotic delights. In the day, he is a tutor, essayist, gourmet and world
traveler. People somehow love to share their secrets with him, and he wants use
his gifts of perception to tell innovative stories.


Giveaway: 5 e-copies of The Wonderful Times of Godfrey and
Chucky: Hot Spring

Hot Spring Excerpts
Godfrey and Chucky discover a great way to fly.

Just like Master Gawd’s fast car, this big bird-like thing
has seatbelts. We watched a TV program where the Singapore Airlines girls,
called SIA girls, showed us how to evacuate in the event of an emergency. I
looked around and noticed that very few people were paying attention to the TV
program, and my master himself was alternating his gaze between the dinner menu
and the SIA girls that walked down the aisle. From the behavior of my fellow
passengers, I could only conclude that air emergencies did not happen very
frequently, so I felt reassured. They sound quite scary, these emergencies.


My master proclaimed, “They should have given us bigger
seats, don’t you think. There’s just barely enough space for me to stretch my
legs. What if one of those hot girls comes to sit on my lap?” He slouched
forward and wiggled his feet.


“They seem to be busy standing up and walking about to get
us things, master,” I replied, trying to defend the air servants.


“We might even have been short-changed, Chucky. Look at this
picture,” said master, pointing to the Krisflyer magazine. “They got these
first-class seats where you can like, lie down and roll about. That’s the way
it should be, don’t you think?”


“Yes, master. I guess they only have it for the bigger
planes.”


“They gave us a small plane, Chucky. This sucks.”

I was feeling a little upset because my master was not too
satisfied with our business class seats. It is very important that servants
work hard for the sake of higher authorities. I was actually quite happy that
we could get tickets just like that with our credit card, but I did not dare to
mention it to my master in case he would get angry. Usually when I book the
train in the Eastern Heaven, I have to make reservations beforehand.


Now, I was expecting this to be an unpleasant flight for my
master, but it turned out that things went the other way. The SIA ladies
started to walk down the aisle and gave us these strange-looking black things
wrapped in a see-through bag. There was one lady on Master’s aisle, wearing the
interesting dress with the shape of the female body and hair rolled up into a
bun with a neat, shiny side-parting. There was one lady on my aisle too,
wearing the same interesting dress with the shape of the female body and hair
rolled up into a bun with a neat, shiny side-parting. Both had a mild smile on
their faces and were walking down the aisles at about the same speed. When the
lady walking down Master Gawd’s aisle met Master Gawd, her smile widened and
she started talking a lot in a loud voice. Master Gawd greeted her and
introduced himself as ‘Great Godfrey’, and she chuckled and introduced herself
as ‘Mindy Wong’. Master mentioned that it was his ‘first time on your wonderful
airline’ and she proceeded to explain to Master that she was giving him
headsets for entertainment and that her beautiful dress was called the Sarong
Kebaya. Her English pronunciation was not the most clear and I think I might
have heard ‘headsex’ but I probably was mistaken. From my master’s reaction and
smiling face, the lady must have been quite beautiful and pleasing to his
taste.


When the lady walking down my aisle met me, her already-thin
smile almost vanished. She took out a yellow piece of headset and passed it to
me in silence before moving on really quickly. The yellow headset felt a little
tight as I spread it around my ears. I was fumbling about with the controls
while Master Gawd was already fully plugged in and flipping through the
channels. Then the most mysterious thing happened: the same SIA girl whom I saw
just a short while ago comes down the aisle once again. This time she looked at
me, with the same face as before, and spoke:


“I’m sorry sir, my colleague just now gave you the wrong
headset, which is for children. Here is the correct one.” She passed me a black
headset just like the one everybody else had.
I am blinking my eyes looking at this same SIA girl who I
saw moments ago. I think the take-off is making me imagine things, don’t you
think?


“Is there anything else I can get you, sir?”

“Sorry…I mean no. Well, I don’t know, it’s my first time.
Never mind.” I stammered.
The colleague who looked the same as the same-looking
colleague I met before, walked off briskly, leaving me to my confusion. Perhaps
this is what the ancient sages call ‘mystery of mysteries’.


When I was going to the washroom, the curtain happened to be
drawn and down the aisle I noticed a whole new area to the aircraft with many
people inside. The seats looked smaller than ours, and every seat had someone
in it. They were being served by a male steward, and when I asked him what this
area was, he stared at me with a confused look, and replied “This is economy
class, sir.” I felt somewhat relieved that I was not the only confused man on
the aircraft. This economy class seems to be quite popular though.


Our dinner was served to us in small boxes. Master Gawd
exchanged many words and glances with Mindy. I was not used to the descent to
Changi Airport, so I threw up into the throw-up bag. I felt a bit embarrassed,
but Master Gawd did not seem to mind.

Win a copy of YA novel Life and Times of the Heir and the Keeper

by 
Etta King 
Ah the guest blog! My time to shine!
What shall I share? This is rather like a “Show and Tell” isn’t it? Hmmm…well I
think I’ll go back in time a bit – not too far – and take a peek at a little
episode in dear Jonathan’s life. Now Jon is sort of the quintessential prodigal
son; he just loves doing whatever he wants, bucking convention (why should he
join the legacy of Reinhardt men inducted into the Keepers?) and breaking
hearts (didn’t an ex call him Delish? Yum!), yet he always finds his way home
(figuratively, of course, since he can’t wait to leave his grandfather’s
mansion…hey! I never said he was sane!). But don’t the daring ones always have
the most fun? Go to the best parties? Kiss the cutest girls? Perhaps there’s a
method to this madness? Let’s see…the year was…I’m blanking…the grade? 11th!
Oh high school, the wonder years…
Jon
I
was exhausted. But in a good way. A sated way. That was pretty much the only
reason I was smiling at the gentle nudging that was bringing me out of my coma.
I didn’t even have the blinding headache I associated with any and all brands
of Tequila. I was in an Aybee-trance. AB Baby, my sort-of, maybe, probably
girlfriend. Angelica B. McCarthy, to anyone who wasn’t a ‘close and personal
friend.’ Which was a grand total of probably five people. Yeah, AB was very
popular. She was also insanely cute. No, not hot, cute. She was a Blake Lively,
not a Megan Fox; you never could bring yourself to hate her, you just wanted
her to notice you. She had that effect, a subtle glow that made even teachers
curry her favor. And I was lying in her bed. How I’d gotten up here, I couldn’t
remember. What we’d done? Well I remembered that. That brought a second smile
to my lips.
“I
know what you’re thinking.” She whispered in my ear.
I
had to laugh. Somehow, I didn’t doubt that; she had a way of guessing people’s
thoughts.
“You
need to get up; I’m riding with Kit this morning.”
I
opened my eyes and raised a brow at that. Christopher, who insisted everyone
call him Kit, was her British “cousin.” The air quotes were unimagined; I was
pretty sure Kit and I were as related as he was to AB. I couldn’t mentally
reconcile what I knew was a lie, but I consoled myself with the fact that at
least I knew.

“Why
are you riding with him, you could be riding with me,” I replied with a crooked
smile. It was corny and I knew it, but she laughed.

“I
promised,” she said, brushing her hair out of her face. “Besides, Cassidy needs
the exercise, and you haven’t ridden since…” She paused and chewed her lip
before continuing. “Anyway, you know it doesn’t mean anything.”

Yes,
I hadn’t been near a horse since my father’s accident. That was what she’d
stopped herself from saying. But she ignored it and bypassed the awkward
moment. There were no awkward moments around AB. Did I know it didn’t mean
anything? Probably.
“Right.
So why do I need to get up, again? You’re not riding up here.”
“Haha,
hilarious. I need to get ready and my mom might stop by.” She rolled out of the
bed, automatically adjusting the Alice and Olivia tank dress she’d fallen
asleep in.
“Oh
right, and she hates me.” I couldn’t even say it with a straight face. She bit
back a smile herself.
“She
doesn’t hate you…what you did at the club…honestly; I don’t know how you dare.”
I
shrugged; I hadn’t exactly been in a great mood on that eventful day and I’d
forced her party of bird lovers into a smaller room with my ‘reservation.’ Yes,
I’d used my family’s name to outrank her. No, I wasn’t contrite. She’d made a
point of mentioning my spiked loafers one too many times. I couldn’t understand
how that was her problem.
AB
tossed my shirt at me and I sat up slowly, stretching in the process.
She
was looking around the room with a small frown.
“This
place needs a makeover.” I looked around too; It was an art piece, called AB;
from birth to seventeen.
“Less
Marilyn, more Audrey,” I made the observation more to myself, but she looked up
with a wide smile.
“Yes!
You totally get it!” She made a running leap for the bed and practically landed
on top of me.
“Really?
Necessary?” I asked, laughing.
“And
that’s why I love you.”
I
blinked. We hadn’t said that yet. Were we saying that now?
“That’s
why?” I asked, playing it cool.
“Yes,
because you act like you don’t care, but I know you do.”
“Maybe
I don’t really care.”
“No…you
care, you just hide it so well.”
Hide
what?
“Hide
what?”
“All
your secrets…why you’re so jaded…”
She was staring right into my eyes, hers so blue they were almost violet. I
felt like she was looking right into my soul. I blinked.
 
Life and
Times of the Heir and the Keeper
Amazon
 
Amazon Kindle  BarnesandNoble
They say college is a
lot of things; a haven, a four-year party, the place you met the girl – or guy
– of your dreams. What they don’t tell you is, the best part of college is the
drama YOU bring to the table! After all, that dirty little secret, that
not-so-little white lie, and those texts you wish you could erase from
cyberspace can’t stay hidden forever. At CU, someone’s always watching, and you
better hope there isn’t a camera phone on hand when you get caught.
It’s the Spring Semester, but it’s not all fun in the budding
sun for Jon and Franz. Follow them as they delve through the politics of secret
societies, the inevitable drama of the F-word (that’s FAMILY, for the
uninitiated), creepy Resident Advisors, creepier residents and girls who don’t
always say what they mean. Who wouldn’t need two months to recuperate?
Cheers! And GL!



Comment, share and join the tour and you could win a $30 Amazon Gift Card PLUS a Signed Paperback of Life and Times of the Heir and the Keeper:



Etta King is the author of the Caspian University novels, a series chronicling the life and times of a group of wealthy teens who inevitably discover the various flavors of college drama. Etta writes from her personal experiences as a college co-ed and as the product of an all-girls prep school. Here she witnessed the very eccentricities and foibles which she depicts in her novels.

In a home filled with books, it was no surprise that Etta grew to be an avid reader, and that translated into writing when she was thirteen. She wrote simply for the fun of it, whatever would come to mind, from fantasy to thriller to romance, and shared her stories with her friends.

In 2010, at twenty-one and just as she was about to graduate from college, Etta began writing “The Life and Times of Elizabeth and the Duchess.” This was a story which had first taken shape in 2008, after her freshman year, but had been put on hold. With graduation looming, Etta recalled the characters, and the events which had inspired them, and took pen to paper. Literally, as Etta enjoys writing out her stories before typing them out. Soon the first book had been completed and the series was born.

“The Life and Times of the Heir and the Keeper,” comes as the sequel to “Elizabeth and the Duchess,” and serves as the second semester of these teens’ college saga. Etta is currently working on the third book, in what will be an eight-part series.

Etta King lives with her family in Westchester, New York.





Excerpt from 
Life and Times of the Heir and the Keeper
I woke up to the sound of my phone
vibrating on the floor. I scooted out of bed, trying not to wake Elizabeth as I
went to pick it up. I missed it and I saw four missed calls. All from Chadwick.
Crap, it was six thirty-seven. I called him back and made my way to my bathroom,
while it rang.
“Hey,” I said when he picked up.
“Sorry, about that; you were on the phone when we went
upstairs.”
“Yeah, that’s okay, I’m home. Look,
Jon, I’m going to say this just this once and then I won’t say it again.” I got
an ominous feeling and leaned against the sink, ignoring the cold marble.
“Okay…”
“Judith,” he began and I bit down on
my groan. If ever I was tired of hearing one person’s name in a day.
“I don’t care what it is you did, I
really don’t.”
“I didn’t do anything.”
“Whatever. Just don’t do anything
else.”
“What?” I couldn’t help the irritation
creeping into my voice.
“Nothing else, okay? Just don’t lead
her on, don’t mess with her.”
“What the hell do you think I did?”
“Honestly? I think you hooked up with
her and never called her back. Or maybe you did and she didn’t understand how
you worked.” How I worked??
“Jesus, Chad, seriously?”
“Look, I’m not judging you.”
“Are you drunk?”
“I’m not judging you, I just want you to leave her alone, okay?”
I was silent; what the absolute fuck
had Judith said to Chad? What was her problem anyway? Three weeks was all it
had been, for God’s sake.
“I didn’t do anything to her, Chad.”
“So why is she calling me and crying?”
I massaged my temple and shook my
head.
“Because she’s Judith, Chad. Because I
haven’t told her about Elizabeth and I, and I don’t feel like calling her and
skipping that conversation, so I’d rather just not. Because yes, she called me,
called my house, sent me messages, but all I want is for her to calm down and
stop acting like I’m Judas. Because yeah, we’re friends and she feels that
means she has exclusive rights to my number. Because…” My God, I could go on
and on.
“Not because you hooked up with her?”
“She told you that?”
“You’re not saying you didn’t.”
“This is not about hooking up. I don’t
understand why she’s so anxious to talk to me, but that’s pretty much it. I’m
just not ready.”
“You’re an ass, Jon. You’re my friend,
but you’re an ass.”