I pulled this three-page snippet from my novel, Eva. (Much better title to come.) Things you need to know for this to make sense:
- Sofie is Eva's aunt.
- Kyoko is a baby elephant.
- Eva and Sofie both see paranormal apparitional personality divinations, or, in layman's terms, random objects around people that reflect their emotional state.
“He’s a handsome man, your Hudson,” Sofie said.
|Source: lalootka's attic|
“He’s not my Hudson,” I said.
I eyed the finger puppets on her hands and considered picking my book back up, but I was too curious about what she’d seen on Hudson, so I was going to have to put up with the meddling, too.
“Just tell me what you saw. I know you want to.”
“Oh, I saw lots. He’s a good man. Very intriguing. He handled the cars breaking down very well, don’t you think?”
“About how most people would.”
“And Kyoko and Jenny, he handled that about how most people would?”
“What are you trying to say, Sofie?”
“You know exactly what I’m saying. He’s attractive. He’s patient. He’s adaptable. He’s—”
“A career electricity man.”
Sofie shrugged. The finger puppets were replaced with the fairy godmother wand. “He’s very attracted to you. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t let the little things get in the way of your happiness.”
I twisted to look straight at my aunt. “You’re pushing. Why?”
“I like Hudson. He’s complex. He’s nice. I like what I see when he looks at you.”
“What did you see?” I demanded.
“I saw the way he couldn’t tear his eyes off you when you were bathing Kyoko and when you were sitting on the couch. I saw you blush when you looked at him. I saw the way you snuck glances at him when you thought he and I weren’t looking.”
“You’re avoiding the answer. What did you see? Did you see us together?”
“You know it doesn’t work like that.”
“Bull. You saw Nana Nevie with Theo the first time they met.” Grandma Nevie and Theo’s marriage had lasted two years and three months. For Nana Nevie, that was a normal-length marriage, and while they’d been together, you couldn’t be in a room with them without knowing in your bones that they loved each other. When they’d divorced, it had been an amicable parting, and they were still friends, as Nana was with all her ex-husbands.
“Mom’s a lot more open to love than you are,” Sofie said softly.
I opened my mouth to protest, then closed it. I was open to love, but I didn’t believe in the One True Love and it didn’t believe in me. Men were wonderful in short doses, which was about all my curse allowed. Lasting love was a myth. Marriage was out of the question. On some level, Sofie agreed with me. She had never married. She had long-term relationships, but they were always an afterthought, something tucked in around everything else she enjoyed. No man had ever shared a home with her.
The women in my family didn’t experience traditional love. Maybe we weren’t capable of it. Even Nana Nevie, who had been married five times in my lifetime and three times before my birth, didn’t have traditional love. My mother, Bella, had married once. It had lasted three months before the annulment. The man hadn’t been my father. She hadn’t married since, and as far as I knew, she’d never come close again.
“Hudson is nice, okay?” I said.
“I want you to be happy, Eva.”
“I am happy.”
“You’re content. Happy is different.”
“Content feels like happy.”
“Content is a bland cousin to happy.”
“You think a man is going to make me happy?”
“No. A man isn’t. But finding the right person to share your love with? Yes, that will make you happy.” The wand disappeared. A plate of coffeecake sat on her lap. Now I was in trouble.
“Where’s this going, Sofie?”
“The same place all your missed opportunities go, if you let the damn curse rule your life,” Sofie said, her voice sharp.
“It doesn’t rule my life. I have relationships.”
“You’re a serial dater. You play with men. You don’t have relationships.”
“Tell that to Antonio or Jordan or Locke.”
“You just proved my point.”
“I don’t know what your point is. Did you or did you not see something on Hudson?”
“Yes.” She was quiet for a long moment, staring at the cover of the book on my lap, or possibly at something else she saw there. “I saw danger—”
“—and adventure and a puzzle that unlocked with a key you held.”
I swallowed. “That could mean a lot of things.”
“How dangerous?” I asked.
She shrugged. “More than a little but not too much.” The coffeecake was still on her lap. I saw coffeecake near Sofie only when she was in high meddling mode. The only problem was, she knew exactly which of my buttons to push. If she’d told me Hudson was safe or reliable—chemistry be damned—I would have kept my distance. A dangerous puzzle, though…
She stood, kissed my forehead, and then headed for the door. “I’m so glad you brought Kyoko to me. This is going to be fun,” she said.
“Sleep tight, Eva.”
The door clicked shut behind her. I flopped back against my pillow and glared at the empty room. “Great. Now I want some coffeecake.”