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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Chapter twenty-five

Evan was getting pretty tired of making daily deliveries to the diner.  Abbey could tell by the exasperated look in his young eyes.  The fact he delivered all the packages addressed to her on his bicycle told her he couldn’t live too far away.  The fear is his eyes every time he brought another package told her he lived far enough away.

By about the ninth delivery Abbey was able to get some information from Evan.  He was seventeen and saving for his first car.  With a car his deliveries in the winter would be so much easier.  It was difficult to ride a bike in the snow.

Knowing the man sending Evan, the boy would get to that car in no time.

Abbey sighed as she gazed at Evan’s newest delivery.  She had received a package every day for two and a half weeks, each one wrapped in brown paper and twine.  It became quickly evident that Sloan did not know the diner was closed on Sundays.  The following Monday Evan arrived with two packages balanced in his arms.

She took the scissors, cutting the twine and slitting the paper open.  She shook the lid gently to loosen it.  Her mind raced to guess the gift.  Was it more flowers?  More chocolate?  Mitzi enjoyed the gourmet chocolates.  Was it another pair of Betsy Johnson pumps?

It the gifts were a way to get her attention, Sloan got it.

The bottom of the box landed on the counter with a thump.  Abbey rustled the tissue paper to find what was inside.  Her fingers brushed against a soft crème colored cashmere sweater.

”Another gift?  More chocolate?”  Mitzi scuttled behind the counter to see what was in the box.

“Yes, another gift.  No, not chocolate,” Abbey answered as she pulled the sweater from the box and held it up for Mitzi to see.

“Who keeps sending these to you?”  Mitzi excitedly ran her fingers along the soft material.

Abbey paused.  How could she describe Sloan?  Her husband?  Her ex-husband?  Only one reasonable answer came to mind.

“Just a friend.”

Barker snorted from behind them.  “Your friend needs to be more careful.  The cost of those gifts could pay your rent for two months.  And we aren’t the only ones in this neighborhood who know that.”  He gestured outside to the street.

Abbey smiled.  She had no worries.  She hadn’t been able to shake the black Hummer since before the gifts began arriving.

“You are right, Barker.  I need to put a stop to this,” Abbey agreed.

Abbey gently folded the sweater and placed it back in the box.  She tucked the box under the counter for safe keeping then picked up her ski jacket.  She slipped it on, sighing at the incredible warmth in provided.  She waved goodbye to Mitzi and Barker, shutting the diner door behind her as she left.

She turned in the opposite direction from her apartment.  As she made her way down the sidewalk she ran through transit schedules in her head.  The bus would pick her up at the corner shortly, taking her towards downtown.  A couple of subway rides later…Abbey sighed.  It’d be at least 7:30 before she reached the penthouse.  She’d have to make her surprise meeting with Sloan fast if she wanted to get home before it was too late.

Abbey felt the sudden sensation she was not alone.  Her head shot up in alarm.  Beside her at the curb waited the Hummer.  Gordon smiled to her from the open window.

“Hello, Abbey,” he greeted, his brogue smooth and thick.

“Hello, Gordon,” Abbey returned.

“Where are you going?”

“I am going downtown.  I have to talk to…a friend.”

The salt and pepper stubble on Gordon’s chin shadowed his wide grin.  “A friend?”

“Yes.”

Gordon laughed and shook his head.  “Well, you can take your buses and subways and I will follow you until you reach your friend.  Or…”  He opened his door, stepping out into the snowy street.  He walked around the rear of the Hummer until he reached the back passenger door.  He opened it.

“You can get in and I will drive you to the penthouse.  Since we are both arriving at the same place in the end.”

Abbey stared at Gordon dumbfounded.  After several moments, she sheepishly climbed inside, settling into the soft leather seat as Gordon closed the door.

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Chapter Twenty-four

Abbey wiped the diner counter with the ragged, soapy cloth.  The breakfast rush had just wrapped up.  The lunch crowd would arrive soon.  It was the calm before the storm.

The sound of the door chime caught Abbey’s attention.  A young delivery boy stood at the door, a large package wrapped in brown paper and twine cradled in his arms.  Abbey glanced around him to the bicycle that waited for him.  How did he travel with such a large package on his bike?

“How can I help you?” Abbey greeted.

“I have a delivery for Abigail O’ Riley,” the boy answered.  He balanced the box in one arm as he brushed the stray snowflakes from his close cropped brown hair.

The name caught Abbey quick.  Not many knew her by that name.  “I’m Abigail.”

The boy sat the package on the counter silently.  Bewildered, Abbey dug a couple of dollars from the tips in her pocket an handed them to the delivery boy.  With a quick thanks, the boy dashed out the door, hopped on his bike and rode away.

“Who’s it from?” a deep voice boomed from the kitchen.

Abbey turned to find Barker standing in the doorway between the kitchen and dining room.  She shrugged.  “I don’t know.”

“Well, open it,” Barker encouraged.

Abbey searched beneath the counter until she came across a pair of scissors.  She snipped the twine and peeled it from the box.  She cut the paper free then opened the lid of the box.

Nestled between the folds of tissue paper was a black and white Spyder ski jacket.  On top of the jacket sat a folded piece of paper.

Only one person who knew where she was could give her such an expensive jacket.  And would call her Abbey O’ Riley.  Her fingers trembled as she picked up the note and opened it.

“Dearest Abigail, I hope you’ll reconsider my offer.  Regardless if you do or not, the jacket you were wearing yesterday afternoon is too thin for these brutal winters.  Please accept my humble gift.  Yours forever, Sloan.”

Abbey let go a shaking breath.  She jumped as Barker’s voice appeared over her shoulder.

“So who’s it from?” Barker repeated.

“Nobody,” Abbey muttered.

“Abbey, wearing that coat in this neighborhood isn’t a good idea.  It’s worth some cash.  You could get hurt.”

Abbey looked out the diner window where the delivery boy just rode off on his bike.  Across the street sat the Hummer lying in wait.  Abbey thought for moment.  The past few days she caught glimpses of the vehicle whenever she left her apartment day or night.  She sighed.

“I don’t think I’m going to have a problem, Barker.”

Chapter Twenty-Three

Now that the chaos of graduation is over and a wonderful night together with the hubby has passed…back to the story!

Abbey spent New Year’s Day curled in a ball beneath the sheets of her bed.  She couldn’t shake those piercing blue eyes.  She stared at the door waiting for Sloan to pound on it.  As the street lamps outside her apartment illuminated her room she realized he wasn’t going to show.  He never looked for her.  Abbey was relieved and devastated all at the same time.

The next morning Abbey drug herself out of bed, dressed and trudged through the new fallen snow to the diner.  Her head snapped around each time the chime on the door rang, distracting her from her customers.  The anticipation of seeing the tall, sexy Irishman walk into the diner again burrowed a pit in her stomach.

Sloan never arrived.

It was three days later.  Sloan never set foot in the diner or near Abbey’s apartment.  Abbey resigned herself to the fact the eyes she saw were not Sloan’s.  It was a figment of her imagination.  And her hopeless heart caused her to lose much needed tips.

Abbey slipped the pad and pen from the skirt of her waitress uniform and set them on the counter next to the cash register.  She picked up the thread bare jacket she left on the shelf under the register.  She tugged the sleeves onto her arms then struggled with the zipper until the jacket closed.  Abbey bid Barker and Mitzi goodbye with a cheery wave and set off into the freezing winter twilight.

Abbey dodged cars and construction vehicles that sped down the street.  She smiled.  At night the streets were menacing.  But during the day the neighborhood was predictable.  The same people stood on the street corners talking.  The same people huddled beneath the bus stop waiting for their ride home.

As Abbey turned the final corner on her was home she found something seriously out of place – the six and a half foot tall Irishman standing in the middle of the street.  A calf length black wool trench coat covered Sloan’s expensive black Armani suit and white linen dress shirt.  His dominating stature cleared the street of both cars and people.  A smile cracked across his face at the sight of her.

“Abigail.”

A scowl twisted across Abbey’s face despite her thundering heart.  She quickened her pace to pass by him.  She stopped quick as she felt Sloan’s hand snake around her upper arm.

“Abigail, we need to talk.”

Abbey spun at him.  “I have nothing to say to you.  You lied to me.”

“I know.  I apologize.  I can make it up to you,” Sloan assured.

“I’m not interested.”

“I got our contracts reinstated with Panda for the second book.  I know publishing the first book was your dream come true.  Let’s do it again.”

Abbey wrenched her arm free from Sloan’s grasp.  “As I said, I’m-Not-Interested.”  She stormed off to her apartment building, slamming the door closed behind her.

Chapter Twenty-Two

Sloan sat in the burgundy upholstered wood chair watching the office buzz around him.  He brushed at the snow and salt reside that caked his Italian leather boot propped on his knee.  As he heard his name called, he uncrossed his leg and stood slowly stretching to his full six and a half feet like a panther on the prowl.

This was unusual for him – waiting.  His appointments were set for him.  People waited for him.  He worked too hard, too long to be anyone’s lackey.  He was infamous.

But this mission he adopted couldn’t wait for secretaries to communicate.  Sloan wanted action now.  And if it meant sitting in the reception area of Panda Publications for two hours…well, so be it.

He nodded his thanks to the young woman who escorted him through the halls to Aubrey’s office then knocked on the door.  After hearing Aubrey’s voice summoning him inside he turned the knob.

Aubrey smiled at him from her chair behind her desk.  The cold winter sun bathed her office in pure white.  Sloan could tell by the glimmer in her eye she was exceptionally curious why the great Sloan O’ Riley spent half the afternoon sitting in the lobby waiting for her.

“Hello, Sloan.  I didn’t realize you were back in the States.  Have a seat,” Aubrey greeted as she swept her hand towards the chairs on the opposite side of the desk.

“Hello, Aubrey.  You are as lovely as usual,” he replied as he descended into one.  It was the same chair he sat in the last time he met with Aubrey in her office.  He glanced at the empty one beside him for a moment then turned his attention back to Aubrey.

“What can I do for you, Sloan?”

“I need a favor, Aubrey.”

Aubrey stared at him quizzically.  “I have no work for you, Sloan, if that is what you’re looking for.  I can’t imagine you need the money.”

“It’s not that.”

“What is it then?”

Sloan paused then smiled.  “I want you to agree to reinstate Panda’s contract with me.  And Abbey Wright.”

Aubrey’s face turned to ice.  “No.”

“Why not?”

“That girl walked out on one of the biggest book premiers I’ve ever orchestrated.  She wasted Panda’s time and money.  We had to shelve the first book.”

“It wasn’t her fault, Aubrey.”

“Then whose was it?”

Sloan fell silent for a moment.  “Mine.”

Aubrey laughed.  “How could her immaturity be your fault, Sloan?”

“I lied to her.  I told her I was gay.  She felt betrayed.”

“What possessed you to tell her that you’re gay?” Aubrey asked incredulously.

“She was about to abandon the whole deal.  You said it yourself that book was a best seller.  You should be thanking me for telling her that.”

Aubrey stared at him then shook her head.  “Even if I did reconsider, it wouldn’t matter.  She disappeared.  I left a message that I wanted her advance returned.  When she didn’t call me back I tried to reach her again.  Her number was disconnected.  Then I called her home number in Iowa.  Her mother told me that Abbey never came home.  That woman was beside herself worrying about Abbey.”

“I know where she is,” Sloan assured.

“Where is she?”

“She is waitress in Brownsville.  Gordon, Robert, Bartholomew and I found her waiting tables on New Year’s Eve.”

“Brownsville?” Aubrey screeched.

“Yes.”  Sloan stood then leaned against Aubrey’s desk, his fists pressed against the wood.  “Help me fix my mistake, Aubrey.  I don’t want any money upfront.  If I can get Abbey to agree to come back to the project I want your support.”

“And if I agree?”

Sloan cocked his head and flashed his perfect sexy smile to her.  “I promise you not one but five best sellers.”

Aubrey examined him silently for several long moments.  She stood, leaning across her desk until she nearly met him nose to nose.  Her green eyes locked with his ice blue ones for several  long moments.  Although she stood statue still Sloan could sense the debate going on inside Aubrey’s mind.  Finally with a deep breath Aubrey broke the silence.

“Deal.”

Chapter Twenty-one

Abbey stepped out between Barker and Mitzi as Barker turned and locked the door of the diner.  Mitzi bid them a tired yet cheerful good-bye before venturing down the street towards her home.  Barker grasped Abbey’s shoulder as she descended the steps to the sidewalk.

“Abbey,” Barker warned, “Are you sure you don’t want me to walk you home?”  Sure as hell if you walk home alone you’ll get mugged.”

Abbey smiled reassuringly.  “It’s OK, Barker.  I have my pepper spray.  I will be fine.”

“If you’re only attacked by one.  If there’s a gang…”

Abbey patted his hand on her shoulder.  “I’ll be fine.  I will see you tomorrow morning.”

Abbey walked through the dark four blocks of her neighborhood, clenching her pepper spray in one hand and her thin jacket closed against the bitter winter wind with the other.  She ignored the cold wet feeling slipping through the cracks of her loafers as her eyes darted from one side of the street to the other.

Her heart raced as she heard the sound of voices behind her.  Abbey glanced over her shoulder.  In the alley between the buildings shadows shifted against the brick walls stalking her.  Instinct demanded she run.  But she knew that would only egg them on.  She quickened her pace towards home.

Just as the voices grew louder in attack they disappeared, scattering into the night.  Their retreat didn’t slow Abbey any.  She jogged the last three blocks home.  As she turned the knob to the door to her apartment building she gazed through the halos of lamplight down the street.

The grill of a black Hummer sat at the corner, watching and waiting for her to slip inside the apartment.  Abbey heaved a sigh as she watched the vehicle for a moment.  She opened the door and stepped inside, letting the door latch behind her.

Chapter Twenty

The diner had never been that busy before.  For most of the night diners waited for the exi booths to become available or a seat to free up at the counter.  The tips were flowing freely.  It was a very good night.

Finally by 1:30 in the morning the crowds started to slow down.  The booths and stools were still full but no one was waiting anymore.

“Abbey, have you taken a break yet?” a voice boomed from the kitchen.

Abbey poked her head into the kitchen.  Barker stood over the grill, the sweat from the head glistening off his dark skin.  The white cotton apron stretched across his rotund belly was stained with the night’s success.

“Not yet, Barker,” she replied.

“Abbey, you’ve been on your feet all night non-stop.  You need to take a load of.”

Abbey glanced out at the dining room.  More customers were coming in.  There were still more tips to be had.  With a night like this, Abbey could renew her hopes of going home.

“I will in a bit, Barker.”

Barker stared at her then smiled and shook his head.  He worried about her but he understood her need for money.  He tried as much as he could to get her closer to going home.  Abbey smiled to herself.  Barker was probably the closest thing she had to a father.

“Abbey, you have another table,” Mitzi’s singsong voice announced as she came around the corner.  Mitzi was in her early thirties and was very attractive in a tired, four-packs-of-cigarette-a-day way.  Abbey offered a quick “thanks” and scampered off on tired feet to fill glasses with water.

Abbey very carefully pinched together the four small clouded glasses together and balanced them out to the dining room.  She set them on the table of the booth closest to the window.  She reached into the pocket of her uniform to get her pad and pen.

“Good evening.  What can I get you to drink?” she greeted.

She lifted her eyes to take the first order.  Her heart seized in her throat.  She couldn’t breathe.  She also couldn’t pull free from the eyes that locked with hers – eyes equally wide in surprise.

Ice blue eyes.  Unmistakable ice blue eyes.

Abbey forced a smile on her face as she took a step away from the booth.  Without another word she fled to the kitchen, pressing herself against the cold tile wall and praying it would swallow her whole.

“Barker, you’re right.  I think I need that break,” she squeaked.  Barker nodded in agreement.  Abbey turned as Mitzi rounded the corner again.

“Mitzi, could you take my table?” Abbey pleaded.

Mitzi glanced out into the dining room with a smile blooming across her face.  “Those four guys that just came in?  Hmmm…they are hot and they look rich.”

“Uh-huh,” Abbey agreed, wishing Mitzi would go away.

“Especially the one on the end with the black hair and the crazy beautiful blue eyes.  When I walked by I heard an accent.  Mmmm…very sexy.”  Mitzi giggled.  “I’m gonna get his number.”  She skipped off to take their order.

Abbey glared at Mitzi as jealously began to bubble in the depths of her belly.  She knew she had no right.  But still – at one point the man had been Abbey’s husband.  Mitzi needed to back off.

Abbey shuffled across the kitchen to sit on an upside down five gallon pail.  She sank down on it then took the cheese fries Barker offered to her.  She nibbled on them, the electric terror vibrating through her nerves robbing her appetite.  Abbey lifted her head as Mitzi breezed back into the kitchen and tacked her new order over the grill.

“So, did you get the hottie’s number?” Abbey asked weakly, forcing a smile on her face.

“Nope,” Mitzi answered.  “Sadly, he’s a married man.  He’s wearing a gold band on his left finger.  A lot like the one you wear.”

Abbey didn’t notice as the cheese fries slid off her lap onto the floor.

Chapter Nineteen

SIX MONTHS LATER

New Year’s Eve.  Abbey finished tying her cracked black loafer.  She sat back against the wall to look out the ice covered window.  It was a time to reflect, she thought to herself.  How could the highest and lowest points of her life be encompassed in one year?

She glanced around at her tiny efficiency apartment.  The paint peeled from the walls.  The refrigerator buzzed relentlessly.  The door was missing from the bathroom which was alright since there wasn’t room to stand in there anyway.  The sounds of screaming children, shouting adults and the occasional gunshot echoed from outside.

This was her life now – home sweet home in Brownsville, New York.

Abbey reached across the window sill and clasped her fingers around her gold shamrock pin.  She reached to her neck and dutifully pinned it to the lapel of her thin turquoise polyester waitress uniform.  She wore the pin everyday to work despite the objections of Barker, the gentle man who owned the diner where she worked.  He didn’t care about dress code.  Flashing even that much gold could get Abbey beaten.  Or killed.

Yet, in the six months Abbey lived in this dark, dangerous neighborhood nothing had happened to her.  She credited her lucky pin for her safety.

Abbey chuckled to herself as she caressed the pin with her fingers.  Sloan O’ Riley.  The patron saint of screwed up children’s writers.  Her smile faded.

She thought about him all the time.  She wished she could stop.  He even filled her dreams.  Abbey gazed down at the gold band that sill resided on her left ring finger.  The pawn shop guy eyed it jealously when Abbey took all the things she had into the shop for him to make an offer.  The ring Michael had proposed with was worthless – the metal was painted gold and the stone was plastic.  He gave her an adequate amount for her laptop and cell phone.  But her wedding ring – with the price of gold he could give her top dollar.  Despite the lies and deceit, Abbey couldn’t part with the band. 

At least the pawn shop owner had enough mercy to let Abbey make one last call on her cell phone to her mother.  Knowing her mother was at work, Abbey called home.  She left a message that everything was alright but it would be awhile before Abbey could call again.  She finished with “I love you, Mom” before flipping it shut and handing it over.  She was sure Mary would be worried sick about her but Abbey’s stubborn Iowa pride wouldn’t ask her mother for help.  She took the couple hundred dollars she was offered and set off to start new.

Abbey watched the sunlight glint off her ring.  She was positive her husband was no longer wearing his.  Her escape from Miami destroyed his case with the INS.  A few weeks ago at the end of fall, just before the snow set in, Abbey took the series of subways to Manhattan just to see the building.  Bartholomew was gone.  A tall, thin redhead in his early twenties stood sentry at the door.

After twenty minutes working up the courage, Abbey made her way to the door.  She asked if Sloan O’Riley was home.

No, she was informed.  He was no longer in the United States.  He now lived in Spain.  He however still owned the building (of course he didn’t just own the penthouse!).  Abbey murmured her thanks before returning to the depths of the subway.

Abbey scooted off the bed as the hands on the old, dirty clock on the wall flipped to five.  Barker didn’t want her to work at night.  He was terrified of her safety.  But tonight was New Year’s Eve.  And Barker’s hamburgers were infamously good.  The free flowing alcohol coursing through the bars of New York City would drop the inhibitions and better judgment of many of the partiers.  They would venture through the East Bronx for a burger to sober up.  And, by the activity of the vultures that were already on the prowl in Abbey’s neighborhood, they would pay the price.

 Abbey slipped on the thread bare jacket she bought to combat the frigid New York winter then picked up her purse.  Taking a breath to steel her nerves, she opened the door and stepped out into the hall, closing and locking the door behind her.

Chapter Eighteen

Abbey laid in her bra and panties beneath the stiff cold bed sheets.  She stared out the window of the dismal hotel room, listening as another plane’s engines roared overhead.

There were many things she forgot in her hurry to get out of Miami and away from Sloan.  For starters, she left her suitcase with all her clothes in her hotel room.  She also left the key to Sloan’s penthouse in the inside zipper pocket of that suitcase.  She was unable to get any clothes she had already moved to the penthouse.  Not that she would venture to the penthouse.  Abbey wanted nothing to do with that lying son-of-a-bitch ever again.

Abbey tried to buy something to wear besides her power suit, only able to find a matching “I Love New York” t-shirt and shorts set in a little gift boutique in the airport.  It would work for the night.  However when the clerk ran Abbey’s card it once again was declined.  Abbey left the outfit on the counter of the boutique without a word, plodded into the waiting area of the airport, flopped into a cold plastic seat and began to cry.  A flight attendant, feeling sorry for her, gave her a voucher for this hotel room.

It was a memory that reminded Abbey that she needed to call the bank.  She slowly sat up and, tucking the sheet around her, picked up her cell phone and turned it on.  It had finally stopped beeping and shuddering.  32 texts, 14 messages.  Abbey quickly thumbed through the texts then selected them all for delete.  They were all from Sloan.  She had hoped there had been at least one from Michael.  She really needed to hear his voice right now even if it was across a digital screen.

She dialed her voice mail and pressed the button for the speaker phone.  She viciously pressed the delete button whenever that sensual Irish brogue appeared.  She froze at the final message.

“Abbey, this is Aubrey.  Your failure to show a the event sponsored for you by Panda Publications also indicates to me your desire to terminate your contract with us,  That termination forfeits your rights to your royalties and any other bonuses.  Also, we would like the advance you’ve been given back.  Call me at your earliest convenience to make arrangements.”

Abbey deleted the message with a heavy sigh.  She not only left her luggage in Miami, she left her new career as well.  She scrolled through the address book on her phone for the bank’s profile and hit the send button on her phone.  When the line was answered she asked for Tom.  Abbey had been good friends with Tom since kindergarten.  He could fix her bank card problem.

“This is Tom,” a voice greeted through the phone.

“Hi, Tom.  This is Abbey.  I need your help,” Abbey pleaded.

“Sure, Abs.  How is New York?”

Abbey glanced around the dingy hotel room.  “Not good.  I’m coming home soon.  It seems my bank card isn’t working.  It keeps coming up insufficient funds.”

“Let me take a look.”  Abbey could hear Tom through the phone typing away on his keyboard.  There was a cold, hard pause.  “It’s not working, Abbey, because there is no money in your account.  It’s bone dry.”

“That’s impossible, Tom.  I deposited a half million dollars in there.”

“Let me look further.”  There was another pause.  “Abbey, it looks like Michael Simons withdrew the entire balance of your account three days ago.”

Abbey felt her blood grow cold.  “How…”

“Can I ask you a question, Abbey?  Why did you put Michael on your account in the first place?  Normally women don’t put their ex-boyfriends on their bank accounts.”

“He’s not my ex-boyfriend.  He’s my fiancé.  He flew to New York a few weeks ago and asked me to marry him,” she defended.

“Really?  Since you left he’s been all over Jenny.  He’s been sleeping over at her place every night and bringing her here to work every morning.  As a matter of fact Jenny quit showing up for work a couple of days ago just out of the blue.  One of the girls at the teller window said she was planning a trip to Mexico.”

Abbey couldn’t say a word.  She had no money, no way to get home.  Now she knew shy Michael didn’t return her calls and texts.  He and Jenny probably laughed themselves sick every time her name popped up on his phone knowing she had no clue they stole her money.  Her boyfriend and her best friend.  Her stomach lurched as she felt her world crumble beneath her.

“Abbey?”

Abbey snapped back to reality.  “Thanks, Tom.”  She flipped her phone shut.  She stiffly stood from the bed and stumbled to the bathroom.

 

Chapter Seventeen

The airport was strangely busy for eight o’clock at night.  Abbey waited in the ticket line, her shoulders hunched in defeat.  She was done.  She was leaving. 

Abbey turned off her cell phone.  It began ringing seconds after the cab pulled from the hotel.  She didn’t want to talk to Sloan.  Ever.  The betrayal was too much.  She trusted him with her heart and soul and he used her.  Now she was done with him.

She didn’t notice when the woman at the ticket counter called for her.  The man behind her nudged her to attention.  Abbey shuffled to the counter and pulled her wallet from her carry-on bag.  “A ticket to New York City.  One way.  As soon as possible.”

“Certainly.”  The woman tossed her graying blond hair over her shoulder and typed furiously.  She studied the screen.  “I have a flight leaving in 45 minutes for La Guardia.  The price of that ticket will be…”

Abbey interrupted her silently by holding out her bank card and drivers license pinched between her index finger and thumb.  The woman behind the counter hesitantly took it.  “Certainly.”

Abbey watched as the woman typed a little more then swiped the card through the card machine with a vigorous motion.  She paused as she watched the screen.

“Ms. Wright, I am afraid your card has been declined,” she announced quietly.

“It can’t be.  Please try it again.”

The woman nodded and swiped the card again.  After a moment she shook her head.

“Do you have another card, Ms. Wright?”

Abbey exhaled frustrated.  “Why is it being declined?  Does it say?”

“Insufficient funds.”

“That’s impossible.  I just put money in there.”

“I’m sorry, Ms. Wright.  Do you have another card?”

Abbey sighed again and opened her wallet.  She stopped as her eyes rested on the only other card in her wallet – a MasterCard her mother gave her for emergencies.  Abbey slipped it out and handed the card to the woman behind the counter.  This whole night certainly constituted as an emergency.  She would pay her mother back once she cleared up the mess with the bank in the morning.

The woman swiped the new card.  After a moment of staring at her screen she smiled then continued to type.  She handed Abbey a slip to sign then gathered the cards, receipts and ticket.

“Thank you for flying with us!” she finished.

Abbey silently gathered her things.  She forced a smile for the woman behind the counter before she shuffled away.

This post is SOOOO true! And it goes for married lady writers too…

H.N. Sieverding

Things to know or keep in mind when dating a writer.

1.  Never look over her shoulder when she’s writing.

This is a giant pet peeve of mine.  For example you and your partner are both sitting in bed with your laptops working on various things or surfing the net.  Your partner looks over to see why the heck you’re typing a million words a minute.  Then enters the annoyance.  They will take a line (usually totally out of context) and read it aloud or they will ask you a million questions about what you’re doing.  Ah!  Leave her alone when she’s in her zone.

2.  Expect silent moments from her.

There may be times when she totally ignores the exciting conversation you are having with her about how you wrote this awesome code for your webpage and is instead thinking about writing that next chapter in her book.  There also may be times where she looks distant or angry but really she is…

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