Relationship Expert and Marriage Counselor
Romance can – and should – span the ages! In my counseling practice that’s exactly what I support. This is the theme of my
my recently-written first romance novel, available in eBook form in Spring 2013.
I hope you enjoy the sample below. Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear what you think!
My dear friend and award winning author, Barbara J Peters, offered to share her first chapter of her latest work with me and I’m excited to be able to bring it to you! This is a beautiful romance in the making and I think you’ll enjoy the story. Visit Barbara and tell her what you think!
It was twilight and the irascible Florida sky, wide and threatening promised almost anything from a cloudburst to a breeze. When Melanie got out of her white BMW convertible in the parking lot of the Boca Raton Hilton a slight breeze wrapped her knee length dress around her revealing a still curvy figure. Although nearing 66, she was still very much a young looking attractive woman; not many wrinkles but still contemplating eye surgery. As a nurse she was scared of operative procedures and pain. When she was out with her 38-year old daughter, people often mistook them as friends, which always made her feel good. So she thought, the heck with the surgery. They’ll have to love me sags and bags. Men still did a double take from time to time. A brunette with long stylish hair she wore it with a few blonde streaks, much like she did in high school. A pretty face with a turned up nose and a smile that warmed the heart. Melanie Schulman still had the “it” factor. She, however, was the only one who didn’t realize this.
Today, she and her best friend Lois Drazin, who she grew up with, had a drink date. They were soul mates in every way, borrowing each other’s clothes and often double dating before both married. Even though they had been in different cliques in high school, they remained friends. Most importantly, Lois was a sweetheart, always ready to help a friend.
Just as Melanie walked up to the curb, she spotted her friend getting out of her two door sports Mercedes. Lois was a leggy blonde with an even Florida tan. The copper tone of her skin magnificently set off her green eyes. Although she loved haute couture she shopped at Marshalls with a keen eye for knowing exactly what she wanted. She wore a 4.5 karat diamond ring and a wedding band but somehow managed for her ensemble to look understated. She was unpretentious in her own way.
They entered the white marble lobby of the hotel after a quick hug. Melanie’s warm smile brightened her pretty face but Lois, a discerning friend, could tell something was on her mind.
They were still waiting for their drinks on the lanai by the pool when the setting sun sent a rainbow shimmering across the fountain spray arising from the center of the pool. It got their attention.
“Look at that,” remarked Lois. “Means something big is about to happen.”
Grinning, Melanie said, “That’s either hopeful or foreboding.”
Lois shared her grin.
Both were analytical and Lois was into astrology and had been begging Melanie to do her astrological chart. While Melanie had no interest in this, she knew that Lois saw the merit in it.
The drinks came and the middle-aged waiter gave the two attractive ladies a big smile.
Lois, thoughtfully sipping her drink, said, “So what’s bothering you. This e-mail message from some guy we knew back in high school coming out of the blue?”
“Well yeah. You know how it is,” Melanie said. “My personal life right now is far from ideal. I’ve been living a rather uninteresting life.” Then suddenly out of context she added, “It’s funny I don’t remember him at all.”
Lois remarked, “From my recollection he was a nice guy, kind of smart. In fact, he even wrote in my yearbook! My guess is that you’re hoping that this goes somewhere beyond just friendly chat?”
Blushing almost imperceptibly, Melanie leveled her gaze at her friend and said, “I’d be lying if I told you that it didn’t get me thinking. About everything. Like I could fool you anyway.”
Lois sipped her drink, her eyes full of interest. “You looked him up in the yearbook, of course.”
Melanie grinned again. “Of course. He’s quite handsome if that’s something to hang your hat on. I don’t remember even talking to him. But who can remember, it’s been so long ago. As you know, I was a cheerleader and our groups of friends were as far apart as Alaska is from Australia. That much I remember.”
Soon, the hor’s d’oeuvres arrived. Nibbling a mozzarella stick Lois said, “You seem like you are flattered with his attention for you. The way you blush when you talk about him gives you away. Come on Mel, let me in.”
“OK, it’s true,” Melanie said. “I am getting a bit ahead of myself. But it all makes me wonder if it’s too late. Why am I thinking like this? The die is cast. Do people our age make mid life changes and come away happy? Or do they just get new troubles in a different pair of pants?”
“Who knows,” said Lois, “life is complicated and uncertain. We don’t get to know the outcomes often. If you let me do your chart, I might be able to see some trends. One thing for sure, I can see it in your eyes. You’re excited about the possibilities.”
Instead of the expected mirth, Melanie lapsed serious, a twinge of apprehension tempering her expression. “Is that a bad thing?” she asked seriously. “Perhaps I should just forget all of this childish daydreaming and walk away from it.”
Lois shook her head. “How many years do we know each other? I’m betting that you can’t. I know you too well. Your curiosity has a hold of you and now it’s too late.”
Melanie wouldn’t admit it to her friend of course. Her life was so bland and she was so starved for affection and love that any glimmer of excitement and male attention was bound to move her. She knew that Lois was right.
Melanie parked in the driveway of the sprawling ranch with the Spanish tile roof and transplanted coconut palms out front. Flowers of bright yellows and white leading the way to the front door. She sat in the car, marveling for a few minutes before going in. The lawn and shrubbery had just been cut and the sweet smell of freshly cut grass was in the air. She looked at the house and grounds. What I always wanted, a beautiful home, a useful job and……. The missing element. A life rich with passion, romance and fulfillment. Well, maybe the romance was a pipe dream but at the very least contentment should be in the picture.
She loved her house and had decorated it according to her personal taste. The colors were close to nature, often ochre, green and beige and earth tones, which enhanced the overall serenity and gave the feel of the outdoors.
The house was quiet as usual when she walked in. Her only welcome was her pet, Schneider, an eight-year old King Charles Cavalier whose name she had lifted from one of her favorite soap operas of the sixties. Small, with his soulful eyes, sweet “melting” expression, tri-colored markings and elegant silky coat and wearing the perpetual frown characteristic of the breed, Schneider made up for what he lacked in size with enthusiasm as he rocketed into Melanie’s arms. She spent some time greeting him and easing his loneliness, smiling and laughing at his zealous antics. He was the apple of her eye, since the children had flown away from the nest long ago and created their own families. “Are you that glad to see me, you old charmer, or are you just hungry,” she said as she slipped off her shoes and looked around to see what needed to be cleaned. Quite frequently when she came home from work she had to clean up a mess in the kitchen, which her husband had left before dashing off to a golf date. This day was no different.
She understood his passion for golf. After all, she herself played tennis. It kept her heart healthy and her legs toned. But she did resent his forgoing a more intense personal relationship in favor of the sport.
With a sigh Melanie went to the refrigerator to check out what there was for dinner. “Guess it’s going to be leftovers again tonight,” she told the dog who was busy with his own evening meal. She popped the meal of spaghetti and veal cutlet into the microwave, poured herself a small glass of wine and as soon as it was ready she took it to her computer in the den.
She was new to the technological age, having been led to it by her adult children, Edward, who was forty-one and Megan who was thirty-eight. Edward had kidded her about being a “Luddite” because of her resistance. She had to look up the word before understanding that it referred to those who resisted technological advances. But, now considering how lonely she had been feeling these days, she looked
forward to it. Even though her job as a cardiac nurse was fulfilling, it still left her with a lot of time on her hands.
Her fascination and interest in the Internet had a lot to do with pleasant anticipation. It was now the source that piqued her imagination. It was fun to check the e-mail and find messages from friends. Right now she was focusing on a 50th high school reunion on the horizon. Somehow the Internet had its own special kind of expectation, allowing her to wander into another world. It provided a quiet hope that something interesting would be waiting. In short it was something to look forward to, of the kind that promised almost anything you were looking for. Friendship, hope, interesting banter, almost anything you were looking for. In any case it stirred her as she sat down to the computer with its promise of what was lacking in one’s life.
This day her heart leaped at the notice of “You have mail.” She quickly punched the appropriate keys and there it was. A note from Mark.
I’ve been enjoying chatting with you, and in case you don’t remember what I look like, I thought you might to take a look. I believe that there are two photos on my somewhat vestigial social media site. If you can’t access them, let me know…Never really got into all the social media technology, but thought it would be fun to see if any of our classmates were still around. It is interesting to reconnect with people from the past.
I did follow your link by the way. Looks like life is treating you well. Happy to see it. By the way, are those grandkids in your photo? So cute! How old are they?
Melanie’s jaw dropped in awe of Mark’s pictures. Just like the yearbook version, he was quite handsome, with blond hair and a mystery in his piercing blue eyes that promised something beyond good looks. She replied to the email answering the mundane questions first and then suggesting that they use personal emails for future correspondence, hoping for a more intimate conversation to develop. She wrote:
Please E-mail me directly. I usually don’t check these social media sites very often as I too am not a big fan. (she then provided a link to her e-mail)
Would love to hear more about you and your life.
Two days later, she got an e-mail, direct from Mark, which made her heart leap into her throat.
So glad to have your personal email. I might just be coming to your neck of the woods in a few weeks for a business trip. My career often causes me to travel. We can get into that later. It sure would be nice to meet you again after all these years. What do you think?
In the meantime, I would love to hear more about your life, and would be happy to acquaint you with mine. We do have a history in common and probably know a lot of the same people still.
Melanie took a deep breath. Her heart was pounding. Coming to Florida? If he only knew! This was so exciting. Her imagination took off on flights of its own that she had little control over. She quickly responded and agreed to correspond. She was so bold as to give him her phone number, just in case he had the urge to talk. Melanie felt like a schoolgirl again and was enjoying the fantasies of the unknown. For some strange reason she felt she was being pulled to him like a magnet. Still unsure of his marital situation she decided to opt on the cautious side.
The next few days she had a twinkle in her eye as she went through her usual daily activities. She allowed herself to fantasize and take trips down memory lane.
As the days went by they became more than pen pals asking each other questions about themselves. They shared many intimate details of their lives getting to know each other better, laughing together
and enjoying their talks. They got personal and intimate and seemed to be connected on many levels. The topics they talked about had no censorship.
It was as though almost 50 years was a mere illusion.
E mailing each other became the highlight of her days. She went to sleep thinking of him and woke up thinking of him. She was falling in love and told him so.
Then one day the phone call came, unexpected. And that changed the dynamics of the relationship bringing them even closer. Hearing his voice added another dimension to their growing connection.
During one of the phone calls he told her that he’d had a “crush” on her for a year and a half during high school but wouldn’t ask her out because he didn’t have a car and didn’t think she would be interested in him. He said he remembered sitting behind her in a class and called her a “goddess”. He said he remembered her being funny and genuine unlike the other girls in her crowd. She couldn’t stop herself from wondering what would have happened if he had asked her out. But that was more than 45 years ago, back in Brookline, Massachusetts, where they grew up. A lot of time had passed since they’d walked the same halls. Was it now too late for a second chance?
Returning her thoughts to the present, she wondered, what will I do if he asks me out? She was unhappily married—but still married. Was the answer in the stars? Should she let Lois do her chart? Lois certainly believed it would be beneficial and Melanie knew her friend would never be anything but genuinely honest with her. My gosh! What if it revealed that Mark was supposed to be a big part of her life? What if her life still held promise of world travel and adventure as well as romance? So many ifs. Ultimately the question for Melanie was, should I wait and let it happen or should I find my own direction?
She knew there was a lot of cynicism about astrology and downright phoniness too. But there was also something quite alluring about the concept of the stars plotting your future. Yes, maybe she should do the chart after all.