Friday, December 5, 2008

Chapter 4

I am back to writing my novel, and it feels pretty good. Here's an excerpt:

Chapter 4

Home. She loved her apartment. Josie lives in the front, right corner of a rambling old house on West End Avenue. Her neighbor and landlady is a dear friend, Frances Hartman-Merriweather. Frances was always perfectly dressed, coiffed and smells of Chanel No. 5. She had an age but never told it, because she often said “women should never divulge their age or number of lovers.” Frances is Tom’s aunt, and is a fountain of wonderful stories and adventures.

Josie heard a soft knock at the door, and then a sweet Southern voice that dripped of magnolia.

“Josie dear are you decent?”

“Frances you don’t have to knock.”

“Oh honey I will always knock just in case you are in the throes of passion with an amorous lover. It’s the appropriate thing to do sugar.”

“Ha nope no lovers tonight. Just me, you, Scooter and Thai food.”

“Mmmmm that pad thai smells decadent. Reminds me of a lovely summer I had on Kamala Bay with Prince Annan.”

“Prince Annan? Did Charles know about him?”

“Oh honey this was years before I met my dear departed husband, I was a teenager when my father was stationed in Thailand. Those steamy summer nights on the bay….I cried for weeks when we returned to the States. Then Prince Annan was just a lovely memory once I met my dear Charles.”

Charles Merriweather was a well-respected pediatrician in Nashville. He ran his practice out of his home, and Frances was his assistant. Frances and Charles never had children of their own, but they considered every patient they took care of family. Charles died shortly after their 42nd wedding anniversary. Alzheimers robbed him of his memories, but Frances posted all the patient pictures she could find on the walls of their bedroom when the end was near. Thousands of family members lined the walls of that bedroom when he passed.

“So Tom says he’s given you a project that has to do with Eldridge Hartman?”

“Yep I’m going to start on it tomorrow.”

“To this day I will not buy The Tennessean. They printed such lies about poor old Great Uncle El.”

“Like what Frances?”

“Oh the paper claimed that Eldridge committed suicide by hanging himself in his office closet. Such fabrications. He had nothing to be unhappy about. His was a life filled with men’s pursuits and loose women. What man would hate that?”

“Ha you have a point there. He certainly was a man’s man.”

“And he was as rich as Roosevelt, but his fortune was never found. I think the gold was taken by corrupt police investigators. Eldridge was not one to trust banks. The safe in his office was empty when the police arrived, and none of his employees turned immediately rich after his demise. Hoooo I am still feeling the heat from the pad thai. Please excuse me whilst I dab some cold water on my neck.”

“Powder room is all yours.”

“Honey the cold water knob came right off. Why don’t you ask Dan to lend a hand?”

Yeah that’s probably because I loosened it earlier as an excuse to get Dan up here, Josie thought to herself. There are only so many times you can tamper with the floaty thing in the toilet before a hot handy man will get suspicious. So she changed up her routine, and then forgot.

“Oh um sure Frances, I’ll call him right now.”

Dan was up in Josie’s apartment in under a minute. Dan was gorgeous, but in a rugged I-don't-know-that-I-am-a-Greek-God sorta way. Josie watched as Dan bent over and reached for a wrench in his bag. His brown hair that really needed a haircut fell in his face, and he pushed it back. She wanted to offer to hold it back for him...with her teeth. She sighed, and looked over at Frances, who was staring at her with a wizened smirk on her face.

“Anything else you need?” Dan asked as he bent over again to return the wrench to his bag.”


“What was that Josie?”

“Oh um nothing. I said done. Ahhh yeah nothing else. Thank you Dan.”

My bed could use some servicing came to her mind as quickly as she tried to stifle the thought.

“You’re welcome Josie. You know where I am if you need anything.”

“Hot….ha um thanks again Dan.” Josie closed the door and wondered how many brain cells just shot out of her mouth.

“Oh lord girl will you jump him already?”


“Honey you are a lovely woman, and Dan, well he’s just gorgeous. If there was any more chemistry in this room there would be an explosion. I love a good drama, but every drama needs a romantic interlude.”

“I know Frances. I would love a romantic interlude. Life is just complicated right now.”

“Everyone has complicated lives. Complication and drama make life worth living. Without it we would just go through the motions of living, but never actually experience life.”

“True Frances, true.”

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