No sooner than my cash register slides shut with a ching, my phone vibrates next to my computer’s keyboard with a text. It’s Marsha, the oldest of my two kids, but only by less than a minute. I smile to myself, a little excited and a little nervous. They’re dramatic little turds, the both of them. You’d think being twenty years old they’d grow out of their shenanigans… but they haven’t. Not only is today Halloween, but it’s a full moon, AND it’s also my fortieth birthday. I’d like to say that I can only imagine what they have up their sleeves, but sadly my imagination doesn’t extend that far. I have no clue what they’ll do, but I’ve geared myself up to roll with whatever it is all week.
I punch in the unlock code and a look at the screen on my phone:
- Marsha — HAPPY BIRTHDAY, YA OL’ BAG!
- Me — Thanks, Darlin!
- Marsha — Stop at the dry cleaners on your way home. I borrowed a dress from a friend for you, but had to have it cleaned. You’re in for a treat, you birthday babe you!
- Me — I don’t wear dresses
She sends no response, knowing full well I’ll stop. They didn’t get their flare from thin air afterall. I just wish I was as spry and clever sometimes. It’d be nice to keep up once in a while. I sigh and chuckle to myself before I get back to cleaning up my station.
I always know when they’ve got something elaborate planned because she sends me running errands, or on some wild goose chase of sorts to kill time before I can get home. I’m surprised her brother Dean hasn’t texted me too wanting a Pepsi… from the farthest gas station from home, because it has the best ice.
I pack up the last of my things, leaving my paperwork organized in a nice and tidy stack by my nameplate. It merely reads Carla. Mine is the only nameplate without a last name. Seven years ago when I divorced, I kept my husbands name so that I’d forever be the same as my children, That doesn’t mean I need to advertise it. Asking Mark, my boss, to order me a new plate was among the first changes I made. I pick up my phone and send Marsha one more message before leaving my steady job at a local First National bank.
- Me — Why didn’t you pick it up yourself? You didn’t work today.
- Marsha –I’ve been busy dealing with our witch.
- Me — Witch?
- Marsha — Well kinda, yeah. I found someone to help us conjure up a spell.
- Me — WHAT?
- Marsha — That’s all I’m telling… Just think Cougar, Mom, and get your game face on!
- Me — Oh my hell.
I do as I’m told and make the trek across town to the drycleaners. The teacup sandwich of a man behind the desk hands me the dress with a grin the size of Texas. He also gives me a wink and a card, telling me that I’m supposed to read it before I leave. I roll my eyes and carefully rip the envelope open.
We know that a 40th birthday party is supposed to have one foot in the grave. We see things differently. You’re a lively lady, so we’re on a mission to keep you that way. Today we’re bringing back your youth with fun and LOVE. We’ll celebrate your being old at 50. Now, stop and pick up Ruth on your way. Put the dress on at her house. She should be ready when you get there.
Love — Marsha & Dean
Ruth is a co-worker of mine. We’ve sat at neighboring stations for nearly a decade. She did seem a little more chipper than usual today. Greeting our clients with only smiles and shuffling around me singing birthday snippets. She never said a word about an afterparty… the hag. No wonder she ran out the door at exactly five oclock before the rest of us could even pack up shop.
Ruth is waiting for me at the door of her apartment. She’s sporting a full length scarlet dress, it’s covered in sequins and hugging her oversized curves. She pushes me inside, giggling along the way.
“Do I dare ask?” I say.
“Nope,” she chuckles, “and I have strict instructions not to speak at all on the drive. They don’t want me to give anything away.”
“What the crap am I going to do with those two?” I demand sarcastically while I stomp past her to the bathroom to change.
The dress is a little snug on my size four frame. I’ve never been much bigger than a midget, but at least I’m a shapeful small. It really has worked out in my favor, as Marsha has never had any trouble finding just the outfits I should wear. Plucked very selectively from all of her teenage friend’s closets.
I think so far, this dress takes the cake of all the ridiculous things my twins have talked me into wearing over the years. Who mixes velvet and lace on a black mini-dress anyway? I snap a picture of myself from the reflection of Ruth’s body mirror that’s hanging on the back of her bathroom door. Then I send it to both my kids with a caption underneath that reads, ‘This is dumb’…. Just so they know I’ll give them some grief along the way. Inside my curiosity is more than sparked, this night could get very interesting.
Ruth holds true to her promise on the drive. She doesn’t say a word, but her grin never falters. When we pull up to my house Dean is waiting on the porch in a tux. He doesn’t even look in our direction, only holds his face forward with one arm bent and the elbow behind his back and one over his belly. He must be in character, bless his heart. I can’t help but think of his Jr. Prom, and the nearly identical Tux he wore then. My kids have grown so much, and for the first time today I actually feel like I just reached that over the hill mark. A pinch of loneliness nips at my stomach lining.
Ruth reaches past the console and grabs my hand to give it a squeeze.
“Remember their intentions, Carla. They might be in their twenties already, but they love you like they did when they were toddlers. Keep that in mind tonight, okay?”
I look over and her face has melted from a satisfied excitement into a look of compassion. The wrinkled skin around her eyes are pulled up at the middle and one side of her lips are curled up into an awkwardly caring smirk.
“They’re up to something fishier than usual. I can feel it.”
“You’ve been divorced for seven years, they only want you to be happy.” She replies.
“If they’re setting me up on a blind date in my own house on my fortieth birthday I’m going to lose my shit.”
At this remark all compassion is out the window. Ruth lets out a full on belly roll laugh.
“We best not keep them waiting.” She says.
Dean greets us with a friendly bow, “Ladies,” he says and opens the door like a true gentleman.
Marsha is wearing a matching dress to Ruth’s, as well as one of the tallest women I’ve ever seen. She has firetruck red hair and flows over her shoulders all the way down to her waist. Her skin looks like porcelain and her eyes are the brightest shade of sapphire in existence. She’s stunning. Marsha bounces on her heels, clearly unable to contain the excitement bubbling up in her body.
“Mom!” she squeals, “Meet Charlotte, she’s an expert at love conjuring, and she’s amazing!”
“Oh My Go—–”
I’m cut off before I have a chance to protest.
“Eeeet!” Charlotte shouts. “Absolutely NO negative energy. Not even an ounce, or the whole night will be kapoot!”
I sigh and shut my mouth. Ruth and Marsha grin, staring at Charlotte with wide eyes, eager to see what this vixen has up her sleeve.
“First we prep.” she continues without missing a beat. “Dean!” she becons him from the doorway with a snap of her fingers and a flick of her wrist He follows direction like a zombie under her spell. I’m a little nervous at the act, it almost seems like he’s actually under her spell. He IS a good actor though, and I remind myself of Ruth’s little pep talk before coming in.
Dean rushes into the kitchen to fetch her bag, and delivers it at her heels before taking a submissive stance at her side. He’s ready to be her beck and call, and to be honest it’s a little unnerving. I bite my tongue and let her continue.
“This will take some time. We must keep the spirit alive from the time you walk through the door until midnight. I’ve mixed us up a drink, mostly herbs and tea.”
I raise a brow at her in warning, and dart a look at each of my kids.
“Oh, no worries mama. There’s nothing harmful I assure you. Its a nerve calming elixir that will help us focus.” She stands an inch from my face, and stares intently into my eyes. “You’re fated to man. Sabastian is his name, and I can feel him in your blood. Now, everyone but the boy repeat after me.”
“Okay,” I reluctantly submit to her charm, and the excitement fills my guts.
“Life’s a breeze, let’s bring him to his knees.” She says with her eyes shut tight and her palms facing upward.
I smile at Marsha and Ruth, and we all close our eyes and follow suit.
Some city in another state
GASP … “Carla!”
I wake from a deep sleep shouting the name of a woman I’ve never met. The dream I was having is a haze, but her blonde pixie hair, and that black dress is stamped on my brain like delicious poison. She stood in river a calling for me. I went to her, like a lost puppy in search of a loving companion. In a trance, I was unable to catch my breath. I searched for her through thick fog, following the sound of her voice in the mist. Then it hit me like a truck to the chest. I felt the weight of a powerful swinging fist slamming into my chest, and the taste of her name on my tongue was as bitter sweet at rotten honey.
I gasp for air and glance at the clock by my bed. It’s midnight, and I have a feeling the woman in the river that I’ve never met named Carla will one day change my life forever.
Hope everyone is having a spooktacular day! Be safe trick-or-treating with the littles and write something spookie!! This scene is from a book that’s yet to be written, I’m one whole chapter in to be exact, and I’m hoping to finish it up during NANOWRIMO!!! This is the first year that I’ve signed up for this, AND this is my first time writing a romance novel, AND I’m so excited! Is any one else participating in NaNo this November?? If so, please look me up, my handle is DidiOviatt, no space.
Also, THANK YOU FROM THE DEPTHS OF MY HEART to everyone who participated in my WIP challenge this month, it was such a fun topic!! Check out all of the scenes linked in, they’re all absolutly wonderful!! I love each and every one, you guys are AMAZING!
HOW IT 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.