This month, I decided to rekindle my connection with the Absolute Write Water Cooler forums and take part in the monthly blog chain. If you’ve been reading me long enough, you know I participated in these every month a couple of years back.
The theme for this month is Romance and several writers are posting on the subject. You can find the links to their entry at the end of this post.
At first, I thought about writing a commentary on romance in pop culture these days. It seems to me like there are a lot of abusive relationships being celebrated as sexy or romantic. Fifty Shades of Grey is an example. Animals from Maroon 5 is all about sex and stalking. Take Me to Church from Hozier portrays another broken relationship. I’ve read a couple of books in which the heroine lands in the hero’s bed three days after he violently asserted dominance over her.
This trend baffles me.
After some internal debate, I decided that I didn’t want to write a whole post about that. Instead, I kicked my behind to polish the first of my new serialized short stories series.
The first of The Quirks is entitled A Story About That Guy and just so happens to be a romance. Here are the first 500 words. The next “chapter” will be up next Wednesday. 😉
* * *
That Guy walked in Jamie’s Coffee for the third time this week. He had gotten a turkey sandwich on Monday and ham on Wednesday, each time with a bowl of our soup of the day and a large cappuccino. Brown tousled hair and blue eyes, That Guy strutted in with a laptop bag slung over a shoulder and a casual-with-a-hint-of-bad-boy vibe in his green polo shirt, jeans and leather jacket. Given today’s chilly weather, I doubly approved of the leather jacket.
I didn’t know anything else about That Guy, and I’d make damn sure to keep things like this. While he was still That Guy, he wasn’t The Ex and he could be anyone from yet-to-be famous TV star to understated millionaire to just another student.
“Next,” I said like I always did. I didn’t want That Guy to think I found him special or anything. It might lead to him ignoring me or worse, wanting to have a conversation, which always led to self-humiliation.
“Hello!” I added when he stepped up to the till. Jamie’s employees didn’t last long if they couldn’t pull off the friendly cashier smile. “What can we get you today?”
Again? He’d notice me. How? I had just been working here like many a faceless sandwich maker. Tracy had been here all three days too and he didn’t “again” her.
“I’ll have the Mediterranean Panini, please.” He ordered with the same part-absorbed, part-bland tone everyone used, but his voice had a spark, an avid taste for the world around him. Or maybe it was the hint of a growl behind the sweet caress of his tone that made me think of jungles.
I shouldn’t be noticing such details.
“Extra cheese, all veggies but the peppers? Will you get a soup of the day and large cappuccino with this?” I didn’t stutter! A part of me victory danced at my inconspicuous professionalism.
“So you do remember me!”
Damn! How did he know? I blushed beet red like the bowl of tomato soup I put in front of him. Blushed tomato red, then. Tomato red. Why am I staring at that soup?
“Well…” I chuckled —deadliest of all giveaways. “My boss…” I’m still staring at the soup, damn it!
I looked up to his baby blue eyes and warm smile. “He gets pissed when we don’t remember the regulars.”
Clean getaway or poor excuse?
“Yeah,” That Guy said.
Clean getaway. What a relief.
I gave him a quick smile and moved behind the sandwich counter. Jamie had gone Subway-style here with a long refrigerated counter of produce and deli meats for the client to choose from.
That Guy watched me assemble his sandwich through the glass protecting the sandwich bar. “I worked in a place like this for two weeks before I cracked.”
We had a somewhat something in common? Eek…
I had to find a way to discourage him from sharing more information, so I turned around to put his panini in the press on the back counter. Three minutes. I only had to hold on to my dignity for three more minutes.
* * *
Check out the other participants:
- Angyl78 jelyzabeth.com (link to post)
- Forbidden Snowflake www.vinjii.ch (link to post)
- BBBurke http://awritersprogression.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
- LeighAnderson http://leighandersonromance.com/ (link to post)
- Layla Lawlor http://www.laylalawlor.com (link to post)
- Aheïla (You’re here!)
- Kohuether www.kathmarketing.com (upcoming)