I have no more of it right now to share, but think for you who have read it, if you contact me via facebook.....so here it is....the opening chapter......
Handmade Xmas Card – A red car – A jack in the box – New Adult Romance
Waking early one Saturday morning, Bethany opened her eyes; annoyed the sky was still dark. She did not want to be up this early on a weekend. It was a day she should have a lie in. With a sigh, she swung her naked legs over the side of the bed, pulled her nightie down to her knees, a nightie she had for years, which she loved and cherished. She pushed her feet into a pair of slippers and padded out of her room, into the bathroom, and then made her way down the stairs to the kitchen. Bethany yawned loudly, placing a hand over her mouth, she then filled the kettle and flicked it on.
Tea made she carried it through to her living room and settled on her sofa, wrapped a blanket around herself, and switched the telly on, found a movie that she had not seen in years, and curled up with a cup of tea. She must have fallen asleep, when she heard her letterbox rattle. The tea cold, the movie over. She shivered, made her way to collect the letters which now lay on the mat, she gathered them up. Amongst the bills was a handwritten envelope. She tore it open with trembling fingers. She had no idea what she would find inside.
She frowned; it was a Christmas card, a handmade Christmas card. She tore it open, and read the inside, twice. All that was written inside was a simple, ‘have a lovely Christmas,’ and it was signed, L. She had no idea who L was, it was beautiful. She had no idea if the person who had sent it had made it, or had it made, either way, it was stunning. And if the person was a he, and had made it for her, it was even more special. Truthfully she had always preferred handmade cards to shop brought ones. In all the years she had cards sent to her, many times she had the same ones on display. From the box sets people brought, which contained some of the same cards.
She had broken one of her rules for opening Christmas cards, she had not of course known it was one, it was a card, and late November. The other reason she told herself was due to the fact it was handwritten. A rare thing these days, they were usually typed.
The letter L, who did she know whose name started with that letter, it was strange, she realised it could be anyone. Or a case of a secret admirer, that thought made her shiver. Could it be that, it had not been signed any other way. She needed to talk to someone, ask advice about what she had received. Karen her best friend would know. She walked to her bedroom, unplugged her phone and took a picture of the card, sending it to Karen on a chat screen.
Karen: Hey what’s that, my card, a bit soppy isn’t it?
Bethany: No, it was sent to me, silly.
Karen: Oh, who sent it? Thought we had a rule of no cards until December.
Bethany: We do.
Karen: So who sent it?
Bethany: I don’t know, it was just signed L.
Karen: Who do you know who starts with an L.
Bethany: No one, that I can think of.
Karen: Let me think, you know what this means though don’t you.
Karen: You have a secret admirer.
Bethany: or a stalker.
Karen: Oh come on, this is not like that, you need to get laid you know that right.
Bethany: Oh for goodness sake, why is everything about sex with you.
Karen: When was the last time you got some.
Bethany: I am not answering that.
Karen: Bethany, you don’t need to answer, I think I already know, it was when Peter left you, sorry to be blunt, but that was two years ago now, you will dry up girl.
Bethany: I will not, that won’t happen. It can’t can it?
Karen: It could, besides you need a little loving dear, you need to find who this is, come on, you’re only twenty one.
Bethany: I know I am.
Karen: You need a little love in your life.
Bethany: You are gross you know that.
Karen: That is why you love me. By the way I am coming over tonight, I will bring wine, and a present.
Bethany: I don’t need one of your toys thank you.
Karen: Don’t knock them until you try one.
Bethany: And we all know you have tried them all.
Karen: How can I sell them if I don’t know how to use them or tell them how good they are! Besides Mark does not mind at all.
Bethany: I am sure he doesn’t. Now I can’t get that image out of my head, thank you.
Karen: You’re welcome.
Bethany: Not what I meant.
Bethany signed off, put her phone on standby. She was not sure she could wipe that image out of her head. She sighed, staring at the card, she would find out who this was from. If it was the last thing she did, but right now, she had to get ready for work, she had an hour before she was due to go in. It was to some not the best job, well paid, or what she should do with her life, but she had tried so many jobs in the past, this one was one she loved, most days.
It was better than her first job, at the tender age of sixteen she had spent more time cleaning than she had in her entire life. She shuddered as she shook the thought away. She then dressed in her uniform, and made the short walk to the café across the road from where she lived. It was a sweet little place. She had worked there for three years, she could find another job, but there was nothing out there right now. No other job that suited her.
She was not stupid, just was a chatty girl who spoke to everyone and anyone. She was known to over talk sometimes, when she was nervous.
The bell her above her head tinkled into life as she entered the cafe.
“Morning,” she said as she entered.
Customers sat at the tables all looked her way, they were the usual crowds.
Bethany made her way to the kitchen and picked up her apron and waited on tables. She looked at her boss, his name she realised was Luke, eww she thought, hoping it was not him. He smiled at her, the thought made her skin crawl, he was her boss, but he did not own the place.
The owner came in once a month, she was old, a little batty, and had blue hair. She had not wanted to give the place up, wanting to keep it in the family. Luke was family, her brothers son, but she did not like him. At least Bethany assumed she did not, from the way she spoke to him.
“Ladies, what can I get you today?” she asked.
“How about some of what you have had today?”
“Oh yes, you look a little flushed, doesn’t she, Beryl.”
“Oh she does, a new man in your life, Bethany.”
“No, not at all, ladies you have dirty minds.”
“Yes. Now, what food would you like? The usual, teacakes, buttered, both pieces, with a large pot of tea and a pot of water?”
“Oh you do know us so well.’
“I do, it’s not like you don’t come in here very week and order the same thing, for what, how many years now?”
“More years than you have worked here.”
“Yes.” She agreed. “Maybe I could tempt you with one of my breakfast muffins.”
“Is that the reason you look so perky today?”
“Behave. So is that a yes or no?”
She knew the answer, the ladies always had the same thing. They shook their heads, it was worth a try, she knew that. Smiling she made her way to the kitchen. The cook, a man who was the same age of her own father, but unlike her father, this man had grey hair and a beard and the darkest brown eyes she had ever seen. Working there was like being part of another family. The cook, Jason, treat her like the daughter he had never had. Even though he had one, his own was in jail for drugs, and he wanted nothing to do with her.
Luke watched from his chair in the corner, for a boss, he never really did any work at all, just sat there, with a book, watching the staff all day.
“Morning sweetheart, are they wanting their usual?”
‘Yeah, of course they do, they never have anything else. How are you today?”
“I’m good, did I tell you, my son is coming to see me this weekend.”
“Oh yes, he should be coming in today, his mother told me a month ago about him. Did I not tell you, I was sure I did.”
Bethany shook her head, shocked.
“And I am only finding out now.”
“Oh you know me I don’t like to gossip.”
“Of course not, so how old is he?”
“Ten, I met his mother once, in a bar, don’t look at me like that.”
“I am not looking at you like anything.”
‘Oh you are, but it was not like that, she was sweet and I was down on my luck, needed a shoulder to cry on, my wife
had just left me, for that dance instructor, you know the one.”
“Oh I do, the one with that tash.”
“Yeah, she loves to come here to taunt me, I’ve told her I don’t care.”
“But she thinks you do?”
“Yeah, I know, but anyway, this lady I knew her for years, and well we had a one night thing, she moved away after that night, she was leaving to move to America to live with her girlfriend.”
Her mouth fell open.
“I know, I think she wanted one more fling, it meant nothing on both sides, but when she found out she was pregnant her girlfriend was fine with it, she wanted to tell me, but of course it was a mess the whole thing, anyway, she found me a month ago and now I get to meet him.”
“Wow, that is one hell of a Christmas present.”
“It is, I always wanted a son.”
“I think that is awesome, now the ladies are waiting, I better get these to them.”
She carried the food out to them, today was a new day, and she was going to be naughty and give them of one her muffins and she would pay for it.
“Ladies, the muffin is on me. Now enjoy, try a little something new in your life.”
“Well in that case, we will, half for you and half for me.” Beryl said as she picked up a small piece and popped it into her mouth.
“Thank you for trying it.”
She left them to eat the muffin and went to take the orders of the other ladies and gents in the place.
“Hey Beth, you going to do some singing this year.”
“Me, I don’t think so.”
“Oh come on, you have the voice of an angel.”
“I don’t think someone wants me to do a little singing here, I could get into trouble.”
“Stuff him, he is a boring old fart.”
“I cannot agree or disagree.”
“Hey you, we want to hear Beth sing.”
Her boss stood, snarled a no and walked over to the table where they stood.
“She is here to work, not sing, you hear me, she has a job to do, and if she is lucky she will still have one at the end of the week.”
“What, you better not sack her, she is one of the main reasons we come here, and the food is good.”
“Oh is that right?”
“Yes, you are a party pooper and you know what else no one here would be here if was not for her.”
“Is that right?”
“I just said it was so.”
Beth stood red faced, what was going on, her boss was looking at her, with such hate.
“Beth, get back to work, this is not a place to play and you’re getting on my nerves.”
“I am sorry Beth, we did not mean to get you into trouble.”
“It’s okay, he has always hated me, maybe next time I will sing for you.”
“The only time you will be singing is on a street corner with a bucket to earn your money. Not that you can sing anyway.”
“Leave the girl alone, all you do is pick on her.”
“I do not.”
The door to the cafe opened, the bell above it tinkled, silencing all those were defending her. She felt overwhelmed that they were sticking up for her.
“What the hell is going on here?” the lady said, it was the owner. She did not come in very often, but today it seemed she was here, and with her she had a man, a man with ruggered good looks.
Beth realised she had seen him before, she recalled he had come in several times.
“I can explain,” Beth began.
“Oh no you won’t.” her boss began.
“No she has no need to, it’s you that need to do the explaining, you are mean, nasty and do nothing all day,” Jason said walking out of the kitchen, wiping his hand on his apron.
“Jason, don’t….you don’t have to…” Beth began.
“Oh but I do, we work here, and all you do is sit in that damn stool all day, eating the profits and picking on the girls
that work here. I have kept my mouth shut for far too long.”
“I do not.”
“Luke, as I said to you at the beginning of the week, this place is going to be sold, at least that was my plan, and with that means you are out of a job, but it seems you need to be dismissed now, pack your stuff, and go. “
“You’re sacking me?”
“Yes, you can go now.”
“I..” he began, stuttering.
The customers cheered as he made his way to the back.
“You hated this place anyway.” She nodded.
“What happens now?” Jason asked, ready to remove his apron.
“Oh Jason, you go back to the kitchen, people want feeding, but before you do, meet my son.”
“Yes, well it’s a long story, I kind of adopted him, anyway, I am passing this place down to him. He will be here for a
little while to see how it all runs, he will also be the boss, as well as the owner, he wants to be hands on, but before I hand it over to him, he needs to see how this place works, so he will be doing exactly what Luke was doing.”
“In a sense, but this is not because he does not want to help…”
“Maybe I should explain, Kaylen. I am not new to this, I have worked in a few places just like this, actually I already own two others, which is why I am going to sit back and watch how you guys work.”
“And then what? You decide who stays who goes, if you sell up?”
“Oh you can’t do that, and you better not sack Beth, she is the best thing about this place, and your food Jason, we love it here, it’s like a little family.”
“Good, that is what I want to hear. So I will sit over at this table, I want to taste all the food you have on offer here. Just a sample of each.’
“All of it?”
“I will get right on that.”
The food was piled high, the table an array of dishes.
The customers remained none wanted to go, the guys were still insisting that she sang to them, now that Luke had gone.
“I don’t think now is the time.”
“Oh come on, work at the same time, like you do the days he was not here.”
“Fine, but I am telling you now, if I get into trouble, I am coming to live with you,” she joked.
“Oh!” he winked.
Beth rolled her eyes, she did love to sing, she walked over to the tape player, and clicked it on to the tape she had in there, the other girls often joined in. They stopped and just sang to the customers, but only on days when Luke was not in. She had her back to the guy in the corner. She sang, she turned, the girls were at her side and together they sang. Bethany found he was watching her, his eyes never left hers. The men and ladies all clapped, and he stood, clapping too.
“That was awesome, wow, you have a wonderful voice.”
“Thanks, the guys like to hear me, they are cheeky, they really are.”
“Well, you should do that more often, maybe we could have a charity box set up, and when someone places money in you have to sing.”
“Yes, why not.”
“I like that idea, I do, they get what they want and I get to sing, and a charity gets something out of it too.”
“Yes, tomorrow, I will get the posters, the box, everything done. I think this is going to be a good thing, I am Lucas by the way, you know I think I am going to like it here.”
‘Oh yes, I am.”
“So you are staying, we are staying?”
“From the food I have just tasted to this, oh yes, Xmas, is going to be a busy month, you are going to be very busy. I think we may need to hire a few singing waitresses too.”
“I can see it now, the only place in town that you can be sung to.”
“Omg, so now you are going to exploit us.”
“Hey, that was your idea, not mine, but it will be all for a good cause.”