Seeking Christmas is now released! Yippee!!
I’m really excited about this short story. My heart went out to Courtney and Denny as they risked meeting their dad years after he deserted them. While writing, I was actually holding my breath to see what Courtney would do! (Weird, but true.)
I hope you’ll want to grab a copy! It’s only 99 cents right now at major online retailers.
Here’s an excerpt to give you a taste:
My phone buzzed against my leg. I pulled it from my pocket and checked the screen.
Such a stupid name.
For such a stupid man.
My gaze darted to where my mom lay slumped on the couch, her mouth hanging open and a gentle snore escaping her saggy lips. My brother Denny sat hunched over his math workbook at the kitchen table, a death grip on his pencil. His short, scrawny legs swung to and fro.
I pressed the phone to my chest and took the stairs two at a time to my room.
“What do you want?” My voice was tense, short. With a steel hold on the phone, I strode to the window and stared out. Across the street, strings of Christmas lights drooped over a fir tree, winking at me in all their sparkling glory.
I turned away.
“You know what I want. Please, Courtney.” The pleading in his voice rankled like a cat scratching at the back door.
“But it’s been over seven years. It’s time.”
“And whose fault is that?” My words cut.
“You don’t need to remind me.” A heaving sigh came across the line.
I stood ramrod straight beside my single bed and gazed around the empty expanse of the master bedroom. I attempted to shove down the lump of anger in my throat.
“Dad, the answer is no.”
“I would meet you way more than halfway. I’ve got it all arranged. There’s a motel room for you. Your own. No sharing.”
“Mom would come unglued.” I sank onto the mussed flannel sheets and impatiently kicked aside a stray slipper. It struck my dresser and lay over like a dead animal.
“Your mother won’t talk to me.”
I went quiet and listened to his raspy breath. Despite my objections, despite my bitterness, curiosity pulled. I attempted to stifle it, knowing that giving in would mean wading into quicksand.
“Court? Come on, for old time’s sake?”
Resentment ripped through me. “Old time’s sake? Are you freakin’ kidding me?”
“How’s Tiffany?” he asked, changing the subject to my sister.
“Horrid, as usual. Seeing you last year didn’t help her any.”
“I tried. I wanted her to stay.”
“Yeah, well, you had a weird way of showing it.” I grew tired of the conversation. Such a pathetic waste of time.
I threw my cell onto the covers and moved to the walk-in closet. My gray hoodie sagged on a row of pegs running above an unused shoe rack. My four pairs of shoes lay scattered across the floor, resembling lonely children in a deserted playground. Like the massive room, the closet was wasted on me. My meager collection of clothes barely took one third of the space.
I pulled on my hoodie, adjusted my glasses, and went back downstairs. Bending over, I plugged in the lights on the waist-high Christmas tree perching on the coffee table.
Denny looked up, and his face relaxed into a grin. “Thanks, Court. I forgot to plug ‘em in.”
“Finished with your math yet?”
“One more problem.”
“There are some chips in the cupboard if you’re hungry.”
Denny jumped off his chair and scrambled into the kitchen. The cupboard door slammed shut, and he returned with his arm elbow-deep in the foil bag.
I chuckled. “I’m going for a walk. And no more banging around. Let Mom sleep.”
I grabbed my heavy wool jacket and carefully opened the condo door, clicking it shut behind me. The cold December air lent a crisp clarity to the stars. They seemed near enough to gather in my pocket. I headed west toward the ocean. A biting breeze brought the sour smell of seaweed and blew my dark, feathered hair against my cheeks. I checked the time on my phone. Keegan should intercept me any minute.
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I’m wondering if any of you have special traditions to begin the holiday season. (I know that if my kids do something once, it becomes an instant tradition! Ha! Are your kids like that?) I’d love to hear from you. Please take a moment to comment below.
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