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Fun Friday – A Sneak Peek at my Story in Progress

Friday, May 29, 2015

I promised that if y’all were good chickens, I’d share a little bit of my work in progress. I posted on my Facebook Page earlier this week that this is the first time in years that, instead of reaching for my Kindle to read in bed at night, I’m equally as likely to reach for my tablet or laptop and write before going to sleep.

So here’s the scene I wrote after posting that on Monday.

—————————

If anyone noticed the big black SUV circling the lot of the gated condo complex, no one seemed to mind. In fact, Stone had seen a couple other cars do the same thing—though they appeared to have given up much more easily.

Bobby Patterson had warned him that the main parking lot at The Enclave at Hillsboro Village filled up pretty quickly in the evenings. Stone assumed he’d meant on weeknights when everyone got home from work. He’d assumed that, unlike DC, people in Nashville would actually drive their cars to go out on a Saturday night.

Ah, finally—someone pulled out of a visitor spot. He hated to crowd, but he wasn’t about to let the little roller-skate car that just pulled in the gate slip into the spot after he’d been waiting nearly twenty minutes.

Heart hammering in his chest, he leaned his head against the steering wheel. He couldn’t believe he was actually here. And not just for an interview or a visit. He was about to walk through those doors into the fancy lobby of this fancy condo complex and become a resident of Nashville, Tennessee.

He climbed out of the truck and stretched. On the busy road beyond the gates—Hillsboro Road—a low-slung coupe rattled past with the bump-and-thump of its music loud enough to reverberate in Stone’s chest. He really hoped the condo would be one of those on the backside of the building, away from the street, if it stayed this busy on the weekends. He’d lived in a nightlife-heavy zone far too long and, at thirty-seven, considered himself old enough to be allowed to admit to enjoying a quiet night in over partying on King Street—or Hillsboro Road—anytime.

Entering the travertine-tiled lobby, he glanced around. Bobby said he’d meet him here. But when he didn’t see his FBI Academy roommate anywhere, he figured he’d check in at the concierge desk, just in case Patterson was upstairs in the apartment waiting for a call instead of hanging out down here.

“May I help you, sir?”

“Sto—Preston Marshall. I’m supposed to be meeting Bobby Patterson here to get the keys to . . .” He fished his notepad out of his back pocket. “Apartment 459.”

“Ah, yes.” The concierge leaned over and pulled out a small lockbox from the locking file drawer under his desk. “Mr. Patterson sends his regrets. He is unable to meet you tonight, but asked me to give you the key. He said everything else you’d need would be waiting for you in the”—he arched a brow—“apartment.”

Before Stone could ask, the concierge volunteered directions to the apartment—which apparently was on the street-side of the complex.

Rather than take the elevator, Stone went around the corner and found the stairs. After ten hours of driving—made into an almost thirteen-hour trip since he couldn’t drive past Lexington, Virginia, without stopping to see his parents—he needed the physical exertion of four flights of stairs.

He was winded and every muscle in his body felt fatigued by the third-floor landing, but he pushed on, stopping at the fire door to the fourth floor to catch his breath.

The carpeted hallway muffled almost all sound as he stepped out from the stairwell. The lighting was sufficient, but dim, and, over by the elevator, a brass plate showed him the direction to apartment 459.

The door opened into a hallway, but he could see all the way through to the back wall of the place—a back wall made completely of windows that gave him a spectacular view of the Nashville skyline.

His go-bag fell to the wood floor with a soft thump, and he pushed the door closed without turning from the view. He’d seen downtown during the day, when the head of the College of Social and Natural Sciences took him for a driving tour of the city. That was the day he’d agreed to come and take the lead on the Forensic Linguistic degree program at James Robertson University.

But seeing it like this—the lights of the various, uniquely shaped skyscrapers twinkling in the twilight—pretty much freaked him out.

How had he gotten here? How had he ended up in Nashville, Tennessee, of all places?

A knock broke him out of his anxiety, and, frowning, he turned to open the door, pushing his bag out of the way with his foot.

Surprise replaced the anxiety—well, displaced it, really—at the sight of a voluptuous blonde standing in the hallway, a pizza box labeled Michaelangelo’s balanced on her non-knocking hand.

“Preston?” At his nod, she beamed a mega-watt smile at him. “Welcome to Nashville, and to The Enclave. Bobby and Zarah were delayed coming back from . . . somewhere and missed a flight, so they won’t be back until really late tonight. That’s why they couldn’t meet you.”

As if familiar with this place, the woman let herself in past him and went straight into the kitchen, where she turned the oven on, then opened a couple of cabinets until she found a cookie sheet.

“I imagine you haven’t had supper yet, and I know that leftover pizza probably isn’t exactly your idea of what you want after a full day on the road—believe me, I know it’s never my first choice—but it’s better than nothing, right?” She put the pizza in the oven, rinsed her hands at the sink, and dried them on a paper towel before re-joining him at the entrance to the kitchen.

She extended her right hand. “I guess I should have introduced myself. I’m Alex. I live in the condo directly below you.”

He shook her hand, but couldn’t erase the frown he knew he was giving her. “I’m Stone. It’s nice to meet you. You know Bobby Patterson?”

“Through a mutual friend. I mean, I guess we’re all friends now. I’ve been friends with Caylor for years, and I got to know and become friends with Zarah through Caylor, and then Bobby and Zarah started dating . . .” Her voice trailed off and her head cocked to the right. “I’ve completely taken you by surprise, haven’t I? I have a way of coming in and just taking over. Sorry for that.”

“Do I make you nervous?” He looked down and realized he was still holding her hand.

“Nervous?”

“Do you usually talk that fast and that much without breathing? And, also, you’ve barely looked me in the eye since you walked in.”

Rather than look embarrassed, Alex No-last-name-given seemed pleased by his socially awkward and instantly regretted remarks. “You’re better than I expected.” Now she blushed. “I mean . . . I knew you worked on a BAU team with the FBI, but I figured that instant analysis was just something they took creative license with on Criminal Minds.”

Oh no, not another one of those kinds of women. Someone who expected him to be just like her favorite character on the long-running TV series based on what the Behavioral Analysis Units did. And if she said she was a writer—

“I don’t want to be a nuisance, but I’d love to pick your brain sometime for the book I’m writing.”

He must have flinched because she had the grace to look abashed. “Sorry. I guess I should have waited to pull that one out. Never mind. Pretend I didn’t say anything about it. And please don’t tell Caylor I mentioned it within the first ten minutes.”

“Caylor?”

“Dr. Caylor Evans-Bradley. She’s the friend I know Bobby through. Anyway . . .” She glanced around the kitchen—anywhere but directly into his eyes. Then she did the oddest thing. She pulled a Post-it Note pad out of her pocket and a pen out from her hair (he guessed it had been stuck behind her ear) and started writing. “So . . . um, the pizza should be ready to eat in a couple of minutes. And here’s my cell phone number, in case you have any questions or need to borrow a cup of sugar or something.”

She looked up at him again when he hesitated before taking the sticky note from her. She had amazing blue eyes.

“Thanks.” He slid the slip of paper into the chest pocket of his T-shirt. When she tried to ease past him through the opening between kitchen and hallway, he blocked her path for a moment, just to get her to meet his gaze one last time. “I’ll call if I need anything.”

“Oh. Okay. I’ll be right downstairs, then.” She backed toward the door. “If you need anything. Downstairs. One floor.”

He leaned casually against the archway frame. “It was good to meet you Alex. Thanks for the pizza.”

“You’re welcome.” The door closed before it could get even more awkward.

Alex No-last-name-given had to be one of the strangest women he’d ever met. Beautiful, despite being on the heavy side—plus-sized he believed it was called—but the rolled-up jeans and T-shirt she’d worn showed that all of her curves, exaggerated though they were, were in the right places. If he’d had to give a general description: heavy set, chin-length blond hair, blue eyes, mid-thirties, about five-foot-eight. And, he just realized, she’d been barefoot. Obviously very comfortable with just making herself at home.

He hoped she’d try it again.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Judy D permalink
    Friday, May 29, 2015 10:31 pm

    Oooh I like!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Saturday, May 30, 2015 8:14 pm

    Ooh, I love it! I feel a great urge to read the Matchmakers series again … 🙂 Also really like your Pinterest board! I thought one of your FB photos looked like Brandon Routh. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Monday, June 1, 2015 1:43 pm

    LOL. The infamous post-it notes….can’t wait to read the book!

    Like

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