Friday, April 29, 2011

Near Mrs. - excerpt from Chapter 7

For those of you who have been waiting patiently for a glimpse of the final manuscript, I have a short excerpt here. The final draft is out with readers now in hopes that they are able to hunt down and point out all of the typos that the gremlins have let back into my file. I no longer trust myself to distinguish between words like "form" and "from." Enjoy! 

Cover Art courtesy of Becky Schmelzer

“You? A bridezilla? I find that hard to believe. Aren’t those the girls that get into fistfights with the caterers and stuff like that?”
“I’m not that bad,” I said, defending myself, “but apparently I’m a little focused on the task at hand.”
“What bride-to-be isn’t?” he asked incredulously. “From the minute you girls get that ring you live and die by your wedding magazines.”
I laughed, “I didn’t even wait for the next day. I stopped at the convenience store that night and bought every wedding magazine on the display. Marc expected me to be fawning all over him and all I wanted to do was look at the dresses.” I smiled to myself at the memory. I looked up at Garrett and explained more seriously, “I don’t have a fancy wardrobe and I wear a uniform to work. I’ve been looking forward to picking out my wedding dress since I was in high school. I’m a pretty simple girl. I think I deserve this one day.”
“And he doesn’t think so?”
“He’s a little put off by the amount of time I spend working on the wedding plans. Recently he started in on me saying that at the rate I’m going, there isn’t going to be anything left of our relationship come time for the vows.”
Garrett raised his eyebrows. I shrugged and ate some more of my salad.
“You’re serious?”
“Yup,” I said popping a chickpea in my mouth. “But we had a nice night out last night, just the two of us, and I think he realized I’m no different than I was a few months ago when we got engaged. Maybe he’ll even start helping me with the wedding.”
“Well, what is he in charge of?”
I laughed and nearly spit the chickpea across the table. Luckily, I slapped my hand over my mouth in time. I carefully chewed the little bean and swallowed, careful not to choke. 
“He’s in charge of getting himself to the church on time.”
“Hannah, you have to give him some things to do. You can’t keep control over all of it and expect he’s going to feel involved.” 
 “I wish that was the problem. At least then I could do something about it. I’ve asked for his help and looked for things that would be easy for him to do. I’ve even tried asking him to do things with me. He’s not interested. For all he cares we could be married by the justice of the peace at town hall in our jeans and sneakers,” I spat.
“Is he serious?”
I paused, basking in Garrett’s incredulity. Maybe he would know what I should do. He was a guy. Maybe all I needed was a guy’s perspective. 
 “According to Marc, the wedding should be about me and him, and what we wear and eat means nothing.”
I felt stupid saying it. When Marc explained his points, they all made sense. But now that I was explaining it to Garrett, it sounded ridiculous. A dull pain resonated in my gut followed by an urge to call off the wedding. Was this what people meant by cold feet? Before I really freaked myself out, Garrett interjected his opinion.
“But it’s your day to celebrate. If he’s not putting anything into the day, how is it his wedding, too?”
“So I’m not crazy? That’s what I was trying to tell him, but he wants nothing to do with it. If it weren’t for my sister, Olivia, there wouldn’t even be a wedding. She’s helped me with everything I expected Marc would help me with, and she doesn’t even like him.”
“So, your sister doesn’t want you to marry Marc?”
“You could say that.”
Garrett didn’t say anything. He sat there, eyes unfocused, lost in thought. Several minutes passed before he spoke again.
“Are you ready?” he asked. 
I nodded and before I was standing he had taken both trays.
“Why do you do that? I can clear my own tray,” I insisted, but I was talking to his back as he walked toward the tray carousel.
“I’m sure you can, but I wasn’t raised that way,” he said when he walked back toward me.
“And neither was I,” I huffed, “I’m not helpless, you know,”
As he walked past, he bent his head and whispered into my ear, “I know you’re not.”
I stood there for a moment, dumbstruck, considering what he said, and slightly distracted by how close his face had come to mine. 
“Are you coming?” he asked, stopping a few steps past me. My face must have registered my confusion because he smiled and said, “Chivalry isn’t dead, you know. Some of us still know how to treat a woman.”
He stared at me with his warm brown eyes, which were surprisingly not mocking me. Instead they were soft and sincere. He actually meant what he was saying. It wasn’t some line, it was simply a statement.
I shook my head and sighed. Men like Garrett only existed in movies, fiction novels, and my imagination. Yet here he was very much real and alive. 

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