Along with my own celebration scene for the month of January, make sure and check out the other participants, they’re awesome!!! Written by Laura Beth, and Kristian, these celebration challenge scenes are phenominal!
Lucy is young, blonde with gigantic blue saucer eyes, and an amazing baker. I give her a playful wink while they embrace, and she instinctively rolls her eyes. Lucy is practically my only friend, and I think she’s had the hots for my brother Tim since they first met. He won’t listen to my urging him to ask Lucy out though, despite the fact that she’s a perfect catch. Whenever I bring it up, he only blushes and tells me to mind my own business.
I look away from my step mom Dorothy, and her perfect posture with sprayed-stiff curls that barely touch her shoulders. I refuse to play into her show. Instead, I step behind the shield of my brother and Lucy and give a few friendly head nods to a couple employees in the room, while I scan the crowd for Madge.
I smile to myself when I spot her. She’s sitting in the far corner by herself, scowling at Dorothy from across our side of the event center. Then she slips a young woman from the catering service a wad of cash and accepts a full bottle of vodka from behind the woman’s back.
“I found Madge,” I whisper to Tim, after he loosens the embrace from another hug.
“Good luck,” he whispers back. “I’ll come and sit with you after I’ve made my rounds.”
“Don’t bother, just keep the wolves at bay. I’ll be fine.”
Tim only chuckles and reaches for my hand to give it a quick squeeze of reassurance. Our eyes meet and he squints, trying to read my thoughts no doubt.
“You sure?” He asks, low enough that no one else can hear, “You seem a little off.”
“What do you mean, off?” I demand under my breath.
“I don’t know. You usually don’t seem to give a shit. But today you’ve been acting nervous.”
I roll my eyes and let out a long, exaggerated sigh. Leave it to caring Tim to overthink every single aspect of the night, including my nerves. It’s a shock that he’s the younger one. Always taking care of his messed up big sister. Saving me from harsh critics, diverting Dorothy’s judgement, and more… much more.
“I’ll be fine, really.” I assure Tim. “Maybe you should sit by Dad. One of us needs to do it, and I won’t be able to share the vodka I just watched Madge bribe a caterer for if I’m that close to the warden.”
Tim’s laugh is infectious, but it only lasts for a moment before his face morphs into a deep scowl. Willing me not to overdo it, with a warning stare. I giggle, wave a shooing hand in his direction and do my best to ignore his comment as I walk away.
“Stay out of trouble, Sis.”
Tim only sort of teases, oblivious to the memories my mind has wandered to.
Madge slides out the chair for me that’s next to hers, but her leathered face doesn’t falter. Gladly, I take the seat and join her for a moment of silence. The sarcasm that I love so dearly about Madge is boiling under the surface. I can tell already that her kettle is about to blow.
The same woman who’d slipped her the bottle of booze makes her way back to our table, balancing a tray complete with pitchers of iced water and soda. The glasses in front of Madge and myself are filled quickly with something clear and bubbly, but only halfway and without asking first what we’d like. I don’t oppose, I assume Madge has already given the girl strict instructions. I completely trust her judgement. It’s probably Sprite or tonic water. Either will do just fine.
Casually, and without being asked, I grab both glasses and hold them under the table for Madge to top off with her hidden contraband. Our actions go unnoticed and we’re ready to move forward into the night of pending doom. I smile and take a sip.
“I’m glad you’ve prepared,” I finally break the silence.
“You know me,” her gruff voice cracks before she, too, takes a swallow. “This is some good soda.”
“Did you call beforehand, or threaten the poor girl with her life once you got here?”
“Does a bear shit in the woods?”
Her analogy makes little sense in this circumstance, but I appreciate the comeback either way. I smile and we clink our glasses together. The pre-twitch of a grin plays at the corner of Madge’s wrinkly lips.
“Just look at him,” I say, motioning my glass toward Tim. “He’s so at ease at these things. Sometimes I wonder if we’re even family.”
Together, Madge and I watch as at least one person from each table rises to their feet to congratulate him and either shake hands or hug him on his way past. He knows them all by name, and holds short but genuine conversations with each and every person he encounters. Madge lets out a huff of scratchy air, and pulls her shoulders up to her ears.
“I’m washed up – he’s going to medical school. How many of these bottles did you sneak before I got here?”
“Nah, he just applies himself. You’re still smarter.”
Madge ignores my question, as usual. She really only talks about what she wants, when she wants. If the topic, or even the tease doesn’t fit into her momentary thought process then it’s brushed aside. It never fails, and it doesn’t matter who she’s talking to. All conversations go the way Madge wants them to, period. I wish I had her tenacity.
Tim takes a seat next to Dad. Both of their faces immediately point my way. Large smiles fill their cheeks. I return the gesture and wave at them. Dorothy, who’s tentatively on the other side of Dad, lowers her eyes as she watches the display of family bonding, a bond that’s completely excluded her. The two of them, both giving me their utter attention from across the room, while she’s a mere two feet away, will never do.
She pulls herself to a stand, straightens her expensive navy blue pant suit with the palm of her hands, and then begins to tap a spoon against her Shirley Temple glass. She’s holding it in the air like they do in the movies, but only the movies. Sometimes I wonder what kind of fantasy world she actually lives in.
The room silences, and all eyes are now on Dorothy. She unnecessarily clears her throat before speaking.
“Thank you all for coming tonight. What a crowd!”
Everyone claps, some more enthusiastically than others. Dorothy nods and grins, absorbing the applause like a moist sponge on spilled water. She has a full and satisfied look, as if the clapping is actually intended for her personally. It wouldn’t surprise me if she started sprouting overflow water from her ears.
“First item of business, Damian and I would like to thank you all for another wonderful year of success at Airington’s Treats, and to wish everyone here a Happy New Year!”
Dorothy raises her hands, and starts the second round of applause herself. I watch my dad closely. Pride seeps through his face as he scans the room. It shows thick in the watering of his eyes and the purse of his lips. His forehead is lifted into a few wrinkles at his thinning hairline. He looks every bit his age.
I watch as he slowly wrings his hands atop the table. He doesn’t join the applause, but humbly absorbs it. Every year at the company party, I sit as far from Dorothy as I can, and allow myself to feel homesick for Mom.
Two people died that night, and both were my fault. I wish I didn’t sleep walk, and I wish I could remember exactly what happened under the blanket of that night’s darkness. Most of all, I wish Mom were here now to see her business flourish. Airington’s Treats was her baby, second only to myself and Tim. She loved to bake and she loved the eatery. I can only imagine it to be her giving the speech of gratitude in a room full of content employees, rather than Dorothy.
I tune out the rest of Dorothy’s babbling as two familiar faces catch my attention. My chest drops to the pit of my stomach in one swift motion and stays there. Over on the MacConall side of the event center a whole different chain of events is playing out. There is also a round of applause, but it’s in the far corner of their space. Luckily, it doesn’t take away from Dad’s party in any way. I’m still distracted by it because of them. I can’t quite make out what they are saying, but I don’t need to.
It takes a couple of tries to swallow the lump in my throat as familiar face number one drops to one knee. He holds a velvet box in the air, containing a shiny rock on a silver ring. It’s pointed in the direction of familiar face number two. Only number two isn’t familiar because I know her. She’s familiar because she looks exactly like me.
We have identical neon green eyes that stand out from a distance. Her lips peek in the exact fashion as my own. Her hair is long, thick and black, spilling over one shoulder untamed. The likeness of this woman and myself makes me a little dizzy.
I watch them closely, completely oblivious to Dorothy and the party I should be mentally attending, but I can’t. My mind is racing, until it stops and the only comprehensive thought in my brain is, no fucking way! My doppelganger cries, nods her head, and lets the man slip the shiny ring on her finger. Then he pulls himself up, engulfing her into a hug and a spin.
As soon as her feet touch back to the floor he lifts his glass into the air, looks right over to our side of the conference center, and allows his handsome gaze to land on mine. Our eyes lock instantly. Time stands still long enough that if it were a pond it’d likely grow stagnant. I freeze in place, molding into my chair, the air is stuck in my lungs. He smiles as big as Superman… mission accomplished. Then he winks at me before handing his attention, and life, back to his new fiancé.
An old man at their table stands to give them each a hug. His deep, aged voice carries into the quiet of their crowd just loud enough for me to hear the words from our side of the event center.
“Welcome to our family, Mac.”
THANKS FOR READING MY JANUARY SCENE!!! This go around I used the characters from my WIP (work in progress) JUSTICE FOR BELLE!!!
I may or may not have cheated and stole an actual scene out of the book, I guess you’ll just have to read it later this year when it’s released to find out… wink wink
SO HERE’S HOW THIS MONTHLY WIP CHALLENGE WORKS:
As the initiator: Every month I’ll give a real time circumstance, hang out spot, or every day situation. I’ll post the exact scene/challenge the first week of every month.
As an Author/challenge joiner: All you need to do is use the characters from your WIP (work in progress), or even a published works, and plug them into the given scene for a short story style post. It can be funny, serious, deadly, really just whatever you want as long as it’s true to your characters (as in, what they would actually do in this situation)!! It’s a fun way to be creative with those personalities that you as their creator love so much. It’s also a fun way to introduce them to the world and your blogs, without giving away your plots and twists… Just pure ‘meet my characters, and get to know their personalities’ separate from their book.
How we work together as Authors and the Initiator: I’ll do my own scene/challenge post on the very last day of the month (that way I can be sure to link in every joiner, and you can do your posts at your own leisure). Write your scene’s anytime you wish, at any point of the month. All that I need is your final challenge post link. You can give it to me in any comment, or even link me into your post so that it’ll pop in my newsfeeds! So simple!
(If you do just link me in to your own posts, then make sure you use a regular blog post to link me in with, rather than my blog’s home page, that won’t actually give me a notification. I don’t want to skip anyone over! This particular post is ideal, but do your own thing.)
CHECK OUT THE SCENES WRITTEN FOR PREVIOUS MONTHS (outside participants are linked in):
FEB. CHALLENGE WILL BE POSTED TOMORROW, so please stay tuned and join in!!