Welcome back to Writing Wednesdays!
I’m so excited to kick off sharing my latest NaNoWriMo novel – “Discussion of Differences.”
Last November, in those 30 days, I wrote 16,237 words, the most I’ve ever written in my entire life in one period. I look forward to destroying that number with glee six months from now, but until then, I’m more than happy to share it with you, with the world.
It all started with a discussion of differences.
How life was different in the U.S., compared to Europe.
It gave Bethany and Hunter a grand idea.
Before this discussion started, Bethany and Hunter were close friends. They first met in college, taking mass media courses together at the Lancer Institute.
They weren’t close in college. Bethany had originally been intimidated by Hunter. Hunter thought Bethany was a great girl, but that they’d lose touch after Bethany graduated. Bethany graduated and went back home in 2011.
As the years passed, they kept in touch through the FlixelFlaxen. Bethany was dating Will. Hunter met a girl at LT named Lisanna. And then there was another couple – Anabelle and Bill – that Bethany and Hunter both knew well.
At the time the discussion started, Anabelle and Bill had been dating the longest – A little over seven years, since they were wide-eyed freshmen at LT. Bethany and Will were next – Just past four years. And Hunter and Lisanna brought up the rear; they had recently celebrated two years together. All their anniversaries fell between the beginning of September and the first of October. Whenever they could, the three pairs enjoyed meeting up to hang out and enjoy each other’s company.
The discussion of differences came out over the FlixelFlaxen. Since Bethany and Hunter were long-distance friends, they messaged each other daily. They’d become closer because of it. They shared everything from the mundane work experiences to deep, dark secrets of relationships, both past and present.
One day, while they were both at work, something was said about the Europeans capitalizing on the 4-day work week. Bethany was always jealous that Hunter only had to work Monday through Thursday.
Plus, there were other perks that a lot of Europeans have enjoyed for years. Better healthcare. More affordable college/university studies. Cheaper travel. The sense of adventure. Actual paid maternity and paternity leave. And there was more than that.
As the discussion continued, a plan started to form. It started as just a pipe dream, but just the thought was tantalizing.
Hunter began thinking of castles and the sense of adventure.
Bethany got a thrill because Will had just started working for a German-based company six months prior, and he had already been approached about traveling there in the future.
The six of them had diverse degrees and experience. While Bethany and Hunter had mass media degrees, they were working in completely different fields – Bethany was an analyst for a health system, and Hunter was a video editor for a husband-wife team that rode horseback trails all over the world.
Lisanna was finally wrapping up her degree at LT, and was scheduled to graduate that winter. She currently had no clue about continuing education or work.
Anabelle was in graduate school, but in an online program. Bethany was in the same boat. They knew they could continue school if the need arose to move.
Bill and Will were both recent hires. Both were finally working in their respective fields after years in the same dead-end positions.
All of them were young. Will was the oldest, the closest to 30. And they were all serious about their relationships – Anabelle and Bill recently became engaged. Bethany and Will were heading down the path toward engagement. Lisanna and Hunter were serious, but not sure about their future; not until Lisanna became a LT graduate, anyway.
They all immensely enjoyed each other’s company. Most of their adventures happened at Bill’s mom’s house in the center of the state. It was a lot of Saturdays, about a month and a half in between each one. Those Saturdays slipped through their fingers, and left everyone excited for the next meeting. They couldn’t get enough.
Bethany and Hunter kept the conversation to themselves, but not for long. It was just too exciting not to share.
They waited long enough, but just barely made it to the next adventure. It was at Bill’s mom’s, about a week before Bill and Anabelle’s anniversary. The day was filled with shopping, laughter, and everything associated with autumn.
As they carried in the pizza and settled to watch some movies, both Bethany and Hunter cleared their throats simultaneously. They glanced at each other, and took a deep breath. Neither was eager to speak up first.
Finally, after a final glance at Hunter, Bethany swallowed and opened her mouth.
Everyone’s heads swiveled around. They were all in a rough circle, a mix of perching on Bill’s bed and on the floor.
Bethany normally didn’t get nervous. She had spoken in front of 500 people in her church sanctuary multiple times. But all of a sudden, having just ten pairs of eyes on her made her clammy and shaky.
She cleared her throat again. Will sensed something was wrong. He started to stroke her back – That calmed her, ever so slightly.
“Guys, Hunter and I have an idea that we wanted to share with you.”
Bethany motioned her head in Hunter’s direction. Fortunately, Hunter didn’t miss a beat.
“So, yeah, we’ve been thinking about an adventure.”
All eyebrows went up.
Unfazed, Hunter continued.
“Well, it’s not the normal adventure, like these meetings have been. We’re thinking bigger.”
Hunter smiled and nudged Bethany with his bony shoulder.
Bethany took another deep breath and leaned into Will before speaking.
“We’re thinking an European adventure.”
As the word “European” escaped her lips, everyone gasped. Not of utter shock, surprisingly, but more excitement. At least, from what Bethany could tell. The six of them were very simple people. Adventurous, yes, but not necessarily on a global scale.
No one spoke for a few moments. There was some palpable tension in the air, and neither Bethany nor Hunter knew quite what to do. Do they explain or begin to elaborate, or just let everyone process it?
Finally, Will was the first audience member to speak.
“So, Europe, huh?”
With that, everyone started talking at once, except for Hunter and Bethany. This was not the reaction they had prepared for, it was actually better than they had expected. They both exhaled a small sigh of relief.
Of course, the whole story hadn’t been revealed, either.
The initial conversation went on for at least 15 minutes before it died down. It seemed like every country had been discussed in that time, and with each new country and city that was named, the excitement continued to build.
Without warning, it got deathly quiet. Eight pairs of eyes slowly focused back on Hunter and Bethany.
“Oh boy, here we go again,” Bethany thought as the speaking ceased to exist.
Fortunately, Hunter did the talking this time.
“Nothing is set in stone. It’s just an idea. But we were thinking that the six of us could, well, relocate.”
Now the gasps clearly contained shock and surprise. Everyone’s eyes were as wide as saucers. No one spoke. It appeared that all jaws had simultaneously hit the floor.
There was no flurry of conversation. Just silence.
Bethany was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. She absolutely loathed confrontation, especially among friends. She also greatly disliked tension. She knew it was definitely there in that room, and she felt like there was nothing she could do about it. The only comfort she had, at that moment, was that Will’s arm around her shoulders hadn’t budged an inch. But she could feel his eyes on her, trying to search her for understanding, almost desperate to find the meaning of what Hunter has just uttered.
Come back next week for more!
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂