About a month ago, I got this notion that I would work out my writing muscle a little by posting 30 stories over 30 days on my Facebook page. The idea was that they would be short pieces, no more than 400 words or so, and all original stuff. Today officially marks the end of the 30 Day Experiment.
Two intrepid writers joined me, Angelia Vernon Menchan who writes real-world, grown-and-sexy fiction, all of which you can check out here. And Kim Golden who writes women’s fiction that often features American expats, navigating foreign territory both geographically and emotionally. You can check out all of Kim’s work here. Thanks to them both, I hung in there, writing stories day after day, sometimes not because I felt like it, but just to keep up with them!
Angelia even got a whole story out of it, and it looks like another in the works. ‘Embry Gets Her Man?’ is available now on Amazon for 99 cents!
I think on most days, we far exceeded the word count, and on other days, the material wasn’t brand new, but had been polished for public viewing. It was a marathon during which I was grateful to have company. If you want to check out what came of it, go to my page and scroll down to read them all.
So a funny thing happened during those 30 days, my thirst to write came back. Here’s a secret, writing is always a compulsion, but it isn’t always an enjoyable one. Sometimes it’s like that uncomfortable itch that you want to scratch but can’t quite reach. Other times it’s like salve to the soul. And during these 30 days, it became that for me again.
So thanks again Kim and Angelia! And thanks to all of you who stopped by to read our random offerings.
So what now? I’d planned to release ‘The Come Up‘ this week, but now I think I will let it marinate a couple weeks more while I get some of my #30Days characters out of my head.
But I owe you one last story don’t I? So here it is, the 30th story for #30Days30Stories, a sample from my upcoming release, ‘The Come Up’.
In this excerpt, Jamal Turner is with Madison, a woman he’s supposed to want to be with, but he hesitates. And maybe–though he doesn’t know it yet–that hesitation has something to do with his newest team member, the much-too-young for him, Makayla:
Madison was standing naked at the window, overlooking Old San Antonio. From behind, she looked like something that should be captured in a painting, recorded so that her figure could be admired for the ages, long after they had both turned to dust.
Good sex had a way of making him poetic.
“I’d better hit the shower if I want to make that flight,” she said without moving. “It was irresponsible of me to come.”
“You sorry you did?”
“No. I’m never sorry after I see you.” At that she did turn, and the sight of her from the front was no less arousing than she had been from the rear. Madison smiled and then made her way back to the immense bed, leaning over it to kiss him. “But each time we do this, I get … scared.”
“You know,” she said.
Yeah. He knew. They talked about it. Over and over, they’d talked about the fear Madison had, of being strung along. Of falling for a man who had no will, and maybe no ability to fall for her. And each time they had that talk, Jamal knew he should probably put a stop to this. Because while Madison was beautiful and good company, after over a month and a half since they’d first slept together, she had become precisely what she told him she didn’t want to be—a woman he was fond of, who he was just kickin’ it with.
The irony was, Madison may have become more, but for her insistence on forcing those heavy conversations prematurely and repeatedly. It was all the damn talking that was making him hold back when he wasn’t sure he would have otherwise. But for all the talking, Jamal would never know; he might have been in love with her by now.
This trip to meet him in San Antonio for the weekend had been his idea. And maybe it was a bad one, because Madison had flown out to meet him in three other cities, each times when she said she had “a little time to kill” or “nothing much planned for the weekend.” The first time she’d met him at one of their venues it was just for a night and that seemed harmless enough, but the second time she’d spent two nights, and Jamal had not only taken her to the club where Devin was performing but to dinner with the team afterwards.
And he told himself it was okay, because he wasn’t seeing anyone else at the moment and had no time to chase tail while on the road, but after all that “boyfriend behavior” Madison had now become increasingly moody, even after sex. Particularly after sex, like now.
“How many more weeks until you come back to New York?” she asked.
“Just three and a half.”
“That’s not so bad.” She kissed him and let him caress her breast and pull her back down to blanket his body with hers.
“Nah. That’s not so bad.”
“But I’ve been thinking …”
Uh oh. Here came one of those talks again.
“… maybe we shouldn’t communicate until then. Maybe …” Madison let the word stretch out for a while. “Maybe those three weeks should be time we take to think about where we want things to go with us.”
“I know, I know,” she said, placing two fingers across his lips. “You like to ‘let it flow’. But I know myself, Jamal. I’m going to go crazy wondering where this is headed. And I’m going to drive you crazy as well. So I think it might be better if you just take this time and think about it.”
He said nothing. He was already sick of thinking about it.
“And when you get back in three weeks, if I don’t hear from you, I’ll know that that’s your answer. And I’ll leave you alone.”
“You’re making a job out of this. Getting to know someone, figuring out whether you fit … it shouldn’t be a project, Madison.”
Pulling back from him a little, she sat up, folding her legs beneath her. Jamal raised himself on his elbows, watching her.
“Look,” she said. “I’m not stupid. I know how this looks. How it must feel. Like I’m pushing an agenda that you haven’t even had enough time to decide whether you want. I get that. But I know myself, Jamal. And I know you …”
He gave a brief laugh. “We’ve known each other barely two and a half months.”
“Yeah. But I know you. We talk a lot too, right? You’re a good guy. You want to have a good life. And you try to do the right thing by the women you get involved with. You treat me like …”
Madison paused and looked down. For a moment Jamal thought with horror that she might start crying, but she pulled it together.
“You treat me like a queen. I could easily fall in love with you. And if I did, I would probably love you for the rest of my life. But love is a choice. Don’t you see? Just like you make choices for you career, I want you to think about whether you want to choose me.”
“I told you, I don’t know if …”
“No. That whole ‘letting it flow’ thing is a cop-out. If you want to apply yourself to making this work, it’ll work. It’s that simple. So that’s what I want you to think about. Whether you want to give it a shot and make it work. With me.”
“And if I said I did, we’d what? Get engaged, announce a date?” Jamal shook his head. “That’s crazy, Madison.”
“No, I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that if you decide you choose me, then we’re deciding that we’re both on the same page, working toward that. And that one day, yes, we could—when the time is right—get … we’d plan to get … married.”
Jamal let himself fall onto his back and looked up at the ceiling.
“Is it really that crazy?” Madison asked, reaching out to stroke his chest. “To ask that you look at me, look at what we have now in the same way you would when you’re signing a new artist? Consider what you want for your life, and think about whether I’m a good bet. That’s all I’m saying.”
Her soft fingers traversed his pecs, down over his abs and Jamal reached down, putting his hand over hers. Madison turned her hand palm upward and interlaced her fingers with his.
“I know you’re not in love with me now,” she said quietly. “But think about whether I’m the kind of woman you could love. Who could be standing next to you when you head up Scaife Enterprises? And when you buy that country house you say you want … when you … have babies. The kind who would be a support and a helpmate. And if for some reason you can see me in that picture, choose me, Jamal. And then let’s start building something together.”
It was crazy, Jamal thought after he walked Madison downstairs to get her a car to the airport. He couldn’t choose his life-partner like he did an artist for one of SE’s labels. He couldn’t apply pragmatism to the process of finding his wife.
But as he walked back into the hotel lobby, Jamal couldn’t help but wonder: why the hell not?
There was no denying that on paper, Madison was pretty close to everything he would have chosen for himself. And not just on paper, in actuality she was pretty damn close to what he would choose. Beautiful, accomplished, poised, intelligent, ambitious and funny. Not to mention just enough of a freak in bed to make him keep suggesting these visits, even when his better judgment told him it might be his mouth writing a check his ass couldn’t cash in the long run.
But he had to hand it to her; she’d been forthright about her needs and her wants from the very beginning. And her reasoning was in reality not that crazy at all. How else did one pick a mate? On the basis of some unnamed, hard-to-define intuition, some warm and fuzzy feeling that they were The One? That was what was irrational, not what she was suggesting. Madison was simply asking him to look over her attributes, decide whether they fit in the life he wanted, and then if so, choose to build that life with her.
Choosing didn’t even mean he had to give her a ring right away. But unless he was mistaken, it meant that she would expect him to apply the same seriousness and focus to making that life with her as he did to making dozens of young performers into stars. In that arena, his focus had no doubt paid off. Why couldn’t it pay off here as well?