I'm in a sharing mood today. I'm still editing this full length novel, and continue to tweak the original story I drafted almost five years ago. I'm excited to move forward with it, so why not share a peek?
Prologue – Matt and Jackie
They had their mothers to thank. Or blame.
Matt Foster and Jackie Hamilton were introduced in a hand-me-down wooden playpen. Matt’s mother, Ann and Jackie’s mother, Patty sat nearby at Ann’s kitchen table drinking instant coffee and awkwardly attempting a conversation. Upon being deposited in the toddler prison, Matt screamed at the intruder forced upon him. He soon realized he could make Jackie giggle when he poked her, and the tactic quieted him down. Jackie learned that if she took Matt’s truck or bear he would initially become mad, but turn nice in order to retrieve his possessions. From their mothers’ vantage point all seemed well.
“They are playing so nicely together!” Ann said to Patty while she wondered how she ever talked to this dull woman. Patty still looked the same as she had in her office days, with her ramrod back and sensible mid-length hairstyle, or lack thereof thought Ann. Unconsciously though she sat up straighter and touched her own unruly dark curls.
“Yes, isn’t that great?” Patty turned and wagged her fingers at the toddlers. “Be a good girl Jacqueline, and share with Matthew.” Patty turned her attention back to Ann, trying to recall if she’d always been such a nutcase. Patty looked around at the clutter filled house - dishes on the counter, toys spilled over the floor. She tried to ignore the fact that her coffee mug stuck to the surface of the table with each return. Ann didn’t seem to notice the sound it made as Patty lifted it tentatively to her lips. Life will never get this out of control, Patty silently promised herself.
“This is so fun, catching up,” Ann said through a forced smile. “We’ll have to do this again.” She hoped Patty would quickly come up with something juicy to share or offer to leave. She had better things to do than try to rekindle a friendship that they had clearly both outgrown.
“Yes, I agree. I’m sorry we’ll have to cut it short today though, Jacqueline really has to go down for a nap.” Patty looked at her watch for effect and then over to the kids. It was obvious Jackie was having fun and not tired. In truth, she had given up her morning nap months ago and would not be ready for any sort of rest until at least two in the afternoon.
“Oh, that’s okay, the twins will be home from nursery school soon and then all hell will break loose anyway.” Ann was relieved. She got up from her chair and tugged down her sweater which now seemed too tight upon being with Patty whose slender build and height had always made her feel frumpy.
They claimed they would keep in touch and said their goodbyes easily. The babies dutifully waved “bye-bye” from their mothers’ arms upon request. After the door closed, Matt began to throw a fit, kicking at his toys until he found his thumb and blanket. Jackie’s screams began as her mom backed out of the Foster’s driveway. Her wails continued for the duration of the drive home. These would not be the last tears shed over each other.