NaNoWriMo 2014: It’s The End … For Now

Happy 1st of December!

For this post, I wanted to share the end of my 2014 novel attempt.

I still have a long way to go … This isn’t finished.

I plan to let “Discussion of Differences” rest for a little while, and then I’ll come back with a red pen.

Photo Credit: betterwritinghabits.com

Photo Credit: betterwritinghabits.com

I’m not the biggest fan of the editing process, but I certainly realize that it’s necessary.

For now, I give you the final excerpt … for now.

“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft


Final word count for the month of November 2014: 16,237 words

By Friday, pure excitement took over. Everyone could hardly wait to drive up to LT. On the surface, it looked like a good change of pace. There were a lot of advantages – More places to hang out, the library was nearby if further research was needed, more options than pizza for food choices.

But, there were also disadvantages – Distraction was the main obstacle. Since classes were still in session, students were on campus, and the five alumni all had friends still attending the school. However, they hadn’t publicized their travels or meeting on social media for that exact reason.

Since the first meeting, they solely communicated via a group FlixelFlaxen message, rather than individual statuses and tagging all six people every single time. This way was also much more efficient than a group text. In terms of traveling, though, it was decided that Bethany and Hunter would be in charge of the main communications, and then Hunter would communicate with Bill accordingly. It seemed a lot easier that way, since they were three couples and all the communicating parties had to do was speak with their other halves to get the message across.

The excitement, along with a little bit of pressure, steadily rose as everyone converged on Farmerstown, Virginia, the home of the Lancer Institute. It was like a homecoming of sorts for Bill and Anabelle, and Will and Bethany. The campus was rapidly expanding, almost by the day, and Hunter and Lisanna assured everyone that they likely would not recognize most of Farmerstown and LT. They were right.

The other couples were in awe. So much had changed since Anabelle, Bill, and Bethany had graduated in 2011. A lot of the familiar stores had closed long ago, and new things were either in place or under construction. The biggest residence hall at LT was being prepared for demolition. They took a tour of the renovated art building and sorority dorm – It was astounding.

After the initial shock wore off, and stopping several times for brief chats with sorority sisters and old friends, they finally settled in the library. Since it was early on a Saturday, it was basically deserted, very quiet and peaceful – Perfect. They quickly laid claim to one of the biggest study rooms on the second floor, with a door, and made sure there were six chairs. It certainly was a tight fit, but they made it work.

Lisanna then announced that she had a surprise for everyone – On Friday, she had taken the initiative and reserved a bunch of books on Europe and traveling. Everyone was visibly thrilled. Up until this point, no one was really sure how truly on board Lizzy was with the whole idea. But this effort on her made everyone realize that she was just as excited about the adventure and motivated to plan it with the group.

Bethany was probably the most excited of them all – She definitely saw a positive shift in Lizzy because of this efforts. In addition, the daily texts had also become increasingly encouraging. With each passing day, it had appeared to Bethany that Lizzy was feeling better overall, far more diligent in her studies, and almost had a sense of peace and content come over her. The furthest proof, and icing on the cake, was Bethany finally seeing her in person – Lizzy had an ear-to-ear grin from the moment that everyone had arrived on campus.

Bethany sighed contentedly as everyone picked a book and started thumbing through them.

“Hey, everyone. I loved your surprise, Lizzy! Thank you. This is a huge help. But I actually have a surprise, too.”

Everyone’s eyes followed Bethany’s hands from the moment she finished speaking. You could cut the tension with a knife as she methodically unzipped her backpack. The suspense was killing everyone, but no one hardly breathed.

Finally, Bethany put the mystery item in the center of the desk. She sat back and watched everyone take it in.

Eyes as wide as saucers, again. But no one moved, nor spoke. The silence made Bethany wither inside, like a plan trying to survive without water.

Finally, someone had the courage to speak up – Bethany couldn’t put her finger on who it was. It may have been multiple voices for all she knew. But the words went like this:

“This. Is. So. Awesome!!!!”

Bethany heaved a huge sigh of relief. Her creative efforts paid off! As she snapped back to reality, she had to interject her hands to prevent the ensuing fight over the journal. The six descended into chaos, play-acting like little children.

“It’s mine!”

“No way, dude. I saw it first!”

“Let me see! Let. Me. See!”

But Bethany’s hands were quicker. She snatched the journal like a ninja and hugged it to her chest. She glared an icy stare and attempted to restrain her voice – They were in the library, of all places – as she mutedly yelled,

“QUIET!”

Everyone immediately ceased all movement, whether it was in mid-grab or mid-word. It was like Bethany had yelled “FREEZE” in a hot game of freeze tag. She had to stifle a laugh at everyone’s ridiculous expressions, as she attempted to lower her voice into a stern whisper, complete with a wagging finger.

“What are we, in elementary school? Nope. I wanted everyone to see it, but I guess we’re going to have to, you know, share, like we’re all in kindergarten again. Oh, and take turns – Nicely. Everyone will get their chance to see it, I promise. I’m not going to take it away – Unless you decide to fight over it again. And, for the love of everything holy, keep your voices down! We are in the library, after all, and we need to stay quiet! Do you really want to get kicked out?

Everyone sheepishly lowered their eyes and shook their heads. Bethany rolled her eyes – Reigning in these class clowns may be harder than she had originally imagined.

“Are we calmer now? Alright, then. Let’s all play nicely in this tiny sandbox we’re in. Now, I’m going to pass it over here to Anabelle first …”

Anabelle didn’t snatch it away from Bethany. She held the journal as if it were a china doll. Bethany had filled nearly all of the 150 pages, but she’d elected to save five pages for each section, to all each of the five to have their own place to create their notes, canvas, or Pinterest ideas. It was only fair. In addition, she’d given each person their own color – To help differentiate, and keep some order to the chaos. She’d used the same color Post-It notes as bookmarks at the top of the sections as well.

After the journal made its first loop around the group, Bethany reached into her backpack again, and produced six pens.

“These are the same colors that go with the journal. I want you to use them as much as you want – Don’t worry, I bought plenty of extras whenever those first ones run dry. Plus, you’ll see that I put them on lanyards with each of our names and ‘The Great European Adventure.’ I thought this would be a great reminder of what we’re striving for when times get tough or when we’re wading through our everyday lives.”

As the pens got passed around and the feverish chatter started again, the kind that was becoming commonplace during their meetings, Bethany and Will’s eyes met. Will grinned at Bethany as she leaned into him. She sighed with relief as Will kissed her forehead.

As they watched the group, Will murmured into Bethany’s forehead, “I think we’re going to be just fine. Why were we all worried?”

Aside from a bit of squabbling about whose turn it was to have the journal, the weekend, like all the other meetings so far, passed by far too quickly.

After the unveiling of the travel books and the journal/pens combination, the study room grew very hot and uncomfortable. Plus, everyone was getting hungry. Since Lisanna had already checked the large stack of books out of the library for the month-long reserve period, everyone took a stack and they gingerly made their way out of the library and into the bright sunshine and brisk breeze. The group carefully made their way over to the Student Union, where they had their pick of food options. The rest of the afternoon slipped away like the sun did behind the buildings, as everyone thumbed through the books and passed the journal back and forth. Before everyone knew it, the dinner rush was flowing through the café and the six decided it was far beyond time to haul their treasure trove all the way back to Lisanna’s apartment for the evening festivities.

All three of Lizzy’s apartment-mates were away for the weekend – Definitely a rare sight and treat – so the six proceeded to party like it was 1999. The books and journal went promptly into a corner of the living room, and out came the baking supplies, pizza, frozen appetizers, and a few adult beverages. Since no one was going anywhere until the next morning, it was safe to let loose a little, as long as they stayed relatively quiet.

Toward the end of the night, everyone was fat and happy, along with being drunk on a little bit of alcohol and a whole lot of love and excitement. The three couples quickly chose their corners and proceeded to make out and get frisky like no one was going to live past the dawning of the morning sun. It got dangerously close to being naughtier than that, but someone wisely noticed everyone teetering on the edge of all six of them being naked in the same space, and called a time-out. Everyone laughed, immediately straightened up, and headed to their respective private places for the night. Not saying that anyone went to sleep immediately, or anything, but no one wanted to see anyone else doing their private business if they could help it.

Sunday morning came far too quickly. It was exciting, because all of the meetings up until this point had been forced to end by Saturday night. No one had gotten a lot of sleep, for obvious reasons, but that was okay. The excitement was still buzzing.

She sighed. She wasn’t sure what to say.

“Lizzy, first of all – Thank you so much for hosting us this weekend. I think, judging by last night, anyway, that we all had a great time.”

Everyone gave slight nods and murmurs of agreement – It was clear some of the group were a little hung over as well.

“I’m so impressed with what all of y’all have put in this journal since yesterday. I mean, I gave this to y’all almost 24 hours ago – and it’s practically filled up now. Thanks, guys. I don’t quite know what to say.”

Bethany paused. She was getting emotional. She was part of the slightly hung over group, but why else did she feel hot tears threatening to burst at any moment?

Will noticed her chin quivering, and he gently kissed her temple while murmuring, “It’s okay, baby. It’s okay.”

Bethany let one tear go. Everyone immediately looked massively concerned.

She wiped the tear away and flashed her signature grin as a sign of good faith.

“I’m good, guys. Honest. I’m certainly not sad – I’m more like super happy and super proud. And thankful to have such great friends. I know y’all are fully committed to this adventure; this crazy adventure that started as just a mere venting session between Hunter and I. I just can’t wait to see what happens next.”

With that, Anabelle remarked that the food was probably getting cold, so everyone dug in – Hungry for food and hungry for the adventure that lay in wait.

Bethany nodded, so Will continued, “Sometimes, we just need to cast aside the trusting part and just go with the flow. I know it’s hard – I struggle with it too, believe it or not. We all worry too much, it has its place in life in general. We’re all stressed out about multiple things, even if we don’t show it outright. Guys have an easier time masking their feelings, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have them or show them.”

Will sighed and took a breath. There were a few moments of silence, but it wasn’t awkward or uncomfortable. Both of them were processing what had been said, and they were internally strategizing about what to say or do next.

As Will came to a red light, they turned their heads to meet each other. They had this tradition of kissing at every red light that they could, and it usually helped transition into the next topic or point.

When the light turned green, they both opened their mouths to say something, but just as quickly closed them. Almost communicating via ESP, they just sat in silence for a long while, letting everything wash over them like the ocean waves. It was calming.

However, it was anything but calm with the other two pairs. The weekend had been better than expected, but once everyone had parted ways earlier in the afternoon, the positivity broke down quickly.

Anabelle and Bill were trying desperately to stay calm. This whole adventure thing, along with planning their wedding was immensely stressful. They took comfort in that the wedding was happening first and then the European adventure would follow later on down the road, but it didn’t help much. They were trying to be objective and realistic.

On top of everything else, they were super-tired of the long-distance relationship. They wanted nothing more than to move in together as soon as possible, but it just wasn’t practical at that moment. Bill knew he needed to save as much money as he could while still under his mom’s roof. And Anabelle knew she needed to find some sort of employment now, in order to earn a living. She hadn’t had any luck thus far in her search. She was a little jealous that Bill had gotten a cushy position in his field. She was happy for him, no doubt, but it wasn’t any less frustrating.

Luckily, Hunter and Lisanna were calmer than Bill and Anabelle at the present moment. Things had settled down to minor anxiety attacks and slight waves of stress for Lizzy – For now, anyway. She was focusing on Hunter’s visits right now. She knew finals were bearing down on her, but she couldn’t think about that, or wanted to. She wanted to spend as much with Hunter as she could, which was a complete 180 from that Friday that she desperately wanted to be alone. Now, she couldn’t get enough of him, and they suited the both of them just fine.

As Thanksgiving approached like a barreling freight train, the stress only increased. The tension between the couples was taught, threatening to snap into chaos at any given moment. Holidays were, by nature, stressful. So everyone tried their best to relax and be with their families. Unfortunately, no holiday gathering ever goes as smoothly as everyone hopes it will.

The first snap happened with Bill and Anabelle. For the first time in the history of their relationship, they were able to celebrate Thanksgiving together. It sounded great on paper, but both of them were secretly dreading it. The three workdays leading up to Thanksgiving were immensely slow at Bill’s work, so he was sent home early Monday through Wednesday. He wasn’t salaried yet, and wouldn’t be until after the New Year, so he lost a good chunk of wages. He was grumpy and not excited about being stuck with family, when he could be working to make up for the lost pay. He was thrilled to see Anabelle and actually spend a holiday with her for once, but she did not share the same sentiment.

Like Lisanna, Anabelle had basically hit a brick wall with her classes. She enjoyed the fact that the program was exclusively online, and all the materials she needed were the textbooks and her laptop. It was portable for her, which had allowed her to travel quite extensively to see her dad’s family and other relatives. However, she was losing faith that she would graduate on time, and the last thing she wanted was for school to hinder her job search, finding employment, and planning the wedding.

Anabelle and Drew rarely fought, but when an argument did simmer to the surface, it got ugly, and quickly. The Thanksgiving gathering at Bill’s house felt like a pressure cooker. Finally, just before the meal began, it all exploded.

“Look, I’m just super stressed out right now! And that’s all!”

Anabelle was struggling to keep her voice and emotions in check, and she was losing the battle.

Anabelle nodded, lifting her head and finally looking him in the eyes. “You’re right, sweetie. I think I’ve been closing myself inward, ever since you proposed. I just thought I could do all of this by myself. But, now I know that I can’t do it all alone. I don’t want to do this alone. I want you by my side, every step of the way …”

Anabelle didn’t say anymore because Bill’s lips were on hers. She sank to the couch and they feverishly made out for a few minutes.

Once the last kiss ended, they couldn’t stop looking at each other. Bill secretly hoped that she would stay the night before heading back to Dolphin Resort – He just wanted to hold her all night long and tell her that everything would be okay.

By the beginning of December, though, everyone was restless. Thanksgiving had not gone very smoothly across the board, mainly due to stress. Everyone was stressed about money, primarily, but there were other factors as well. Anabelle and Bill had their wedding, Bethany was worried about her future engagement ring and wedding, Will was agonizing over how to propose to Bethany, and Lizzy and Hunter were figuring out how to deal with Lizzy’s impending final exams.

But, just days earlier, a relief mission had begun to take shape.

Over the Thanksgiving meal, Will and Bethany had been passing a scrawled note on a napkin back and forth. They felt like kids, but no one else at the table knew anything about Europe, and it needed to stay that way.

Will started it off. “I think we need to consider a joint bank account.”

Bethany was confused, but excited. “Are you proposing to me?”

Will shook his head and feverishly wrote, “Not yet! Haha. What I meant was to set one up for the six of us, to save for Europe. It doesn’t do us any good to have six separate buckets for the same adventure, right?”

Bethany nodded. “Of course. Sorry that I jumped to conclusions! I think it’s a great idea. But, what will the group think?”

Will considered that before writing his response. “Not sure, honestly. I think the best way is to ask them. Let’s call another face-to-face meeting, after Lizzy’s exams. Deal?”

Bethany nodded, but this time with a smile. “I think that’s the perfect way to handle it. We’re all mondo stressed out right now, and I think that will help. You got it, dude!”

Happy Thanksgiving! Bill and I had a slight disagreement earlier today, but we’re okay now. We definitely want to meet up again. As of right know, we’re good to meet on Saturday the 13th. Hoping everyone else can make it! Can’t wait to see y’all again soon.

Bethany and Will pulled out their phones and scrolled through the calendar. They both sighed with relief – Will’s company Christmas party was the first weekend in December.

Good news! Bethany and I can make it on the 13th. Woohoo! We’re excited to meet up again, and so soon. Enjoy the rest of the weekend – I’m sure we’ll talk again shortly.

Even though everyone was separated at that moment, the six of them all had smiles on their faces. Nothing could bring them down.

The next day, the FlixenFlaxen was buzzing again.

Uh, sorry guys. Bad news. This is Bill, by the way. Since I’ve requested off work so many Saturdays in the last few months, I’m required to work the 13th and 20th of December. I’m so bummed about this! Is there anything we can do?

Bethany frowned, tapping the corner of her phone against her teeth. Will looked at her quizzically, until Bethany showed him the message.

Will extended his hand, and Bethany gave him her iPhone. After a few moments of contemplation, he started to tap on the screen.

B&W here! Bummer, Bill. Sorry about that! No worries though. We can do a Sunday if need be. In fact, why don’t we turn it into another sleepover? Only this time it’s pushed back a little bit – Start it on Saturday night after you get off work and then go into most of Sunday. We have some vacation built up as well, so we can go into Monday if we want. Just let us know – We’re flexible.

Bill smiled. But Hunter frowned.

Hey, it’s Hunter. Saturday into Sunday works, but I have to work on Mondays. Sorry!

Will and Bethany sighed. This clearly wasn’t working. They could feel the anxiety rising. Could a compromise be reached?

Suddenly, Lizzy finally felt like she had the answer.

Lizzy here. I know everyone must be really frustrated by now. So – What if we do, like, a Skype session? I know it’s definitely not the same as everyone being together in one room, but at least we’re all communicating and seeing each other’s faces while doing so …

The planned Skype session also allowed a bit of flexibility for the group – It didn’t have to happen on a Saturday exclusively. This made it slightly easier to schedule.

As they started discussing potential dates and times, Bethany’s mind continued to wander.

“I didn’t want to do this, since we’re meeting over Skype this time. But, I can’t wait much longer, either. If I wait until our next face-to-face meeting, it may be too late.”

“I guess I should talk to Will about this – Get his thoughts on it. This is a predicament. It won’t be easy. I don’t like telling people what to do.”

Unbeknownst to Will and Bethany, the other two couples started practicing with Skype. Over time, it grew on them. Within a few days, Anabelle and Bill were using it almost daily. Hunter and Lisanna were Skyping a couple of days per week, and it instantaneously improved Lizzy’s mood and helped bridge the two-hour distance.

Within a week of the Skype suggestion, everyone had blocked out Sunday, December 14th. That was the test day, to see if this idea would work with six people.

Skype was also improving more than the distance. Hunter and Lisanna started getting creative with it, and quickly. It wasn’t nearly the same as Hunter being in the room with her, but she was in the privacy of her apartment bedroom. The first couple of days, she kept her shirt on. She did like to pull surprises on him, so one night, she sat at her desk in just a bra. Hunter salivated at the sight when he first saw her on the screen.

“I could definitely get used to this,” Hunter thought as his eyes focused on her chest.

“Maybe this long-distance thing won’t be so bad for a little while longer.”

Anabelle and Bill weren’t getting that creative, but it didn’t stop Bill from having similar thoughts and desires. However, he knew he shouldn’t push anything. Their argument that happened on Thanksgiving Day still smarted a bit. He didn’t want to push her away any further. Besides, he wanted her to take control of that ship, at first. They were trying to wait to have sex until their marriage, but since they had gotten engaged, it was becoming increasingly difficult. Bill desperately wanted to take it to the next level.

Bill whispered to himself, “Oh, Anabelle, if only you knew. I’ve held you and caressed you, but I want you. I want to make love to you. So badly!”

The Sunday Skype session finally arrived. The multiple two-way tests of the system had been wildly successful, and that was putting it mildly. Even Bethany and Will had tested it a couple of times, even though they were only six miles apart from each other.

There wasn’t a set start time, just whenever all six of them could join in. Everyone was on edge; it was going to be interesting to see how a six-way conversation would turn out.

Bethany and Will realized that they could join the session together, so really it would be a five-way conversation rather than six.

Maybe that would help, they thought.

The green phone started ringing and vibrating. Will clicked a couple of times, and Hunter’s face appeared in one corner of his monitor. Hellos were exchanged and then the phone rang again – It was Bill. The ladies brought up the rear – Anabelle joined in and then Lisanna was last, with an apology about unpacking and the mess behind her. Everyone laughed.

Everyone swallowed simultaneously.

“This was really hard for me. I don’t like assigning things to my closest friends. So I wanted to make it as fun as possible, so I thought I would give everyone a topic or topics that suited their interests.

Hunter – Since you mentioned castles, I want you to research and plan our living arrangements.”

Hunter gave a fist pump. “Alright! I’ve already started looking. This is going to be awesome!”

Bethany smiled and felt a little bit of relief.

“Bill – You’re our resident expert on food. You worked at the grocery store for many years, and I think you’d be great for this task. I want you to find out as much as you can about restaurants, markets, grocery stores, and so on.

Anabelle – Since you’ve traveled so much here in the U.S., I want to you to be the main planner of the itinerary, including transportation.”

Bethany paused to catch her breath. She glanced at the monitors – The smiles were all she needed.

She turned to Will next. “Baby, I want you to help design this trip. I think it’d be awesome if you’d be willing to photograph and take video of our adventure.”

Everyone nodded. Bethany took a deep breath – Only one person remained.

“Lizzy. I saved you for last for a reason. I wanted to get to know you first. I think you’d be great in helping us with languages. You’re one of the smartest people in this group. I want you to help us with our Spanish, English, French, German, and any other languages we may need to learn along the way. Are you okay with that?”

Bethany focused on the screen that showed Lizzy’s face. It was hard to read her at first; her eyes were downcast.

Suddenly, her head popped up. Bethany caught a glimpse of a smile at the corners of Lizzy’s mouth.

“Well, B., I thought you’d never ask. I guess I should probably share this with everyone – Did you know that I’m tri-lingual?”

The conversation died down a little, and Hunter noticed Bethany wasn’t speaking.

“Bethany? Hello? Anybody home over there?”

Hunter knocked on the computer screen to get her attention.

Everyone fell into silence, except for the faint clearing of throats.

Bethany flushed a rosy pink.

“Um, hey.”

She waved her hand.

Hunter looked puzzled and a tad worried. “Everything okay over there? You’ve barely said three words in the last hour.”

Everyone’s eyes focused on hers.

Bethany swallowed, struggling to get the right words. She felt tears coming to her eyes.

Will released her hand and put his arm around her shoulders.

“Everything okay, baby?”

Bethany nodded. She sniffled a couple of times, and then looked directly into the camera and smiled.

“I’m good. I’m just – I’m just …”

No one spoke.

Bethany swiped at her eyes.

“I’m just proud. And excited. And overwhelmed.”

She sniffled again and asked Will for a tissue.

“I’ve been so worried over the last several weeks. I wanted to make this fun. I don’t have a lot of experience with management, but I didn’t want to make this feel like a job, either …”

She sighed, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath before continuing.

“Basically what I’m trying to say is that I’m so happy that y’all are happy. I tried so hard to make each of your tasks fun, something that you would enjoy, and make sure everyone was contributing equally.”

She took another deep breath. She couldn’t contain the grin on her face.

“So, now let’s plan the biggest adventure of our lives – Together!”

Everyone let out another cheer.

If that weren’t any indication of the excitement, the Skype session went on for four more hours …

In between wedding planning, Anabelle’s graduate school work, and looking for a house, Bill and Anabelle set to work on their adventure assignments – Food and groceries, and the general itinerary. Unknowingly, Bethany had essentially married their loves together – Food and travel. Almost every night after that first Skype session, Bill and Anabelle themselves were on Skype, pointing to a huge map of Europe and using all of the Internet resources to put pins and stars on the map – Multi-colored pushpins for traveling, and stars indicating the best food regions, wineries, and more.

Lizzy made it through her finals by the skin of her teeth. She aced all but one of her exams, and her final grades were decent.

Hunter saw the relief in Lizzy as he helped her move out of her LT apartment for the last time. She was finally finished with school – Possibly for forever. She hadn’t breathed a word of graduate school or any further kind of study. Her field was tricky – Double major in microbiology and chemistry – but she was determined to find some sort of job. She knew that it was likely going to be minimum wage and retail, in the beginning anyway. Lizzy did know one thing – She wanted to get that job and save up enough money so that she was out of her mom’s house in the least amount of time.

She was seriously considering moving closer to Hunter – There were more opportunities there, both for entry-level jobs and possible work in her field. There were three major universities within 100 miles of Hunter’s town. She started to entertain the possibility of starting graduate school at one of them and being either a grad assistant or a research assistant while studying – It looked like a win-win. But, for this moment, she wanted to be making money. She wanted to save every penny she could and be back on her own as soon as humanly possible.

In the midst of everything going on with Bill and Anabelle and Lizzy and Hunter, Will was planning his proposal to Bethany. He’d had this tradition of giving her jewelry every Christmas since they’d started dating, and he wanted to give her the ring around that time as well.

He’d already sat down with Bethany’s parents and asked for permission – They said yes.

Mission number one, accomplished.

Now he needed to plan what he considered to be the perfect proposal. They had started talking about engagement and marriage several years prior – Will had basically promised Bethany that his proposal to her would be as romantic and sweet as possible – and he wanted to deliver on that. The problem was, how romantic and sweet could it be around Christmastime? Christmas was such a common time for marriage proposals – Will wanted to do it right, for Bethany.

It got to the point one night where Will was truly stuck. He had tried to think of everything creative, witty, funny, heart-melting, and all of that had basically gotten him nowhere.

He essentially put his head on his computer desk and sighed. (Don’t worry – Bethany was actually with Anabelle, working on her wedding).

The little voice in Will’s head started cheerleading, “Come on, think! You can do this. You love Bethany so much. What would she be blown away by?”

Will started pacing the wood floor of his bedroom, but his own steps were driving him crazy.

Finally, he flopped on his bed on his stomach. Groaning, he rubbed his temples and closed his eyes. He lay there for a few minutes.

He then remembered that his phone had buzzed with a text from someone an hour ago.

Hey, buddy. How’s life treating you in Virginia?

Will smiled. It was his best buddy, C.J. They’d been friends since second grade. C.J. had gone into the military several years earlier and had been shipped off to a base in Arizona. Will had seen C.J. twice in the last four years, so hearing from him was always a treat.

Will typed slowly, Hey, bud. Life’s good. I’m stuck though. I’m trying to figure out how to propose to Bethany.

C.J. laughed. He had married his wife, Carrie, almost two years earlier.

Excited for you, man! That’s great. Bethany’s a great girl, and I’ve seen how happy she makes you. All I can say is – Make this moment something you’ll both remember forever.

Will smiled. All the worry started to clear away. He began to think about their very first date, nearly four and a half years earlier, how Bethany brought that up in conversation a lot, and how so many people thought it was literally perfect.

Thanks, buddy. I feel better already. Miss you. Hope to see you soon!

C.J. chuckled and shook his head.

No problem. Hey, I’m getting out of the force soon. Moving to Wyoming in January or February – You know how stupid the force can be about letting people leave. Once we’re settled, you two should come out and visit! Can’t wait to hear when the engagement’s official.

Will smiled and cleared his messages screen. He saw Bethany’s face smiling back at him. He knew now what to do.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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NaNoWriMo 2014: Resolution/Revelation/Catastrophe

See that photo up there? That’s me, right now, at this very moment.

The following quote is also very fitting:

“Struggling and suffering are the essence of a life worth living. If you’re not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you’re not demanding more from yourself – expanding and learning as you go – you’re choosing a numb existence. You’re denying yourself an extraordinary trip.”
Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

I have definitely struggled and suffering through many things in my short existence on this Earth, and this one will definitely not be the last.

Truth be told, I almost gave up on this novel entirely. I told myself last week that “I just needed a break.”

Well, here we are, another week gone by. I have nothing to say for myself. I have no excuses. Nothing to say, or write.

Except that today, I finally picked my head up and put my fingers to the keyboard again. I may have only written for 15 minutes today, but in my book, I totally call that a win.


And tomorrow – The very last day of November 2014 – I will write again.

Last year, the last day I saved the Word document that contains my 2013 novel attempt was on November 25, 2013.

This year, that “Date Last Modified” section will read November 30, 2014.

And I won’t stop there.

Enjoy excerpt #4!


Working Title: “Discussion of Differences”

Current word count, as of this writing: 15,341 words

“Lizzy – I’m sorry. I didn’t want to be mean, but it’s so true. You’re so close to the end! I’m just looking out for you, that’s all.”

Bethany heard sniffles and then a deep breath.

“You’re – You’re right, B. I’m just so overwhelmed. Stressed. Exasperated. Done. Finished!”

Bethany sighed. “I know, Lizzy. I know all of it. Believe me, I’ve been there. We all have – Even Will. We all had some kind of senioritis, especially toward the end of the last semester. But hear this – You can do this. You’re so close. Just buckle down and endure these last few weeks – I promise that the end result will be so worth it.”

Lizzy sniffled and considered her words carefully.

“Thanks, B. Really. It’s so great to have a friend like you. I feel more of a connection to you than anyone else, which is probably why I’ve been texting you non-stop for the last six days. I’m sorry about that, by the way. I just get into a groove of feeling the need to write out everything that I’m currently thinking. I simply forgot that you have these things called work, and your own school, and your life with Will and your family. Will you accept my apology?”

Bethany then realized she’d been holding her breath. As she let it out slowly, she also considered her next move.

“Lizzy, of course I accept your apology. But – You need to make a commitment to me.”

“B – Anything. Anything for a friend like you.”

“Please, for the love of everything holy, text me only once a day from now on. I don’t care if it’s a novel, but consider it a reward, of sorts. You can text me at the end of every day, but only when you get through all of your classes, all of your homework, and any other obligations that you have. Do we have a deal?”

Bethany could almost see Lizzy, see her making that face when she’s seriously considering something.

“You got it, B. Anything to save our friendship!”

Bethany chuckled. “Lizzy – I wasn’t going to end our friendship. I’m just a worried mother hen right now. Do you understand? Anyway, I look forward to your end-of-day texts!”

“B – You rock. I feel so much better now. When’s the best time to text you?”

“Um, any time before 9:30 p.m. After that, I’m asleep. Got it?”

“Okie dokie. I’ll text you tonight then! Thanks, B. You’re an awesome friend.”

“Alright. Let me eat my food and I’ll get back to work. I’ll text you back tonight to let you know that I got it and read it. Now go pass those classes!”

Bethany could almost see the smile returning to Lizzy’s face.

 … Bethany almost felt bad that she had such a close relationship with Hunter – They were pen pals, too – but they both knew it was completely platonic. Both of them cared about their significant others too much, along with their friendship, to jeopardize anything.

Bethany just stared at Hunter’s last message for at least five minutes before tapping the screen to write a reply. Whatever she wrote, she had to do it quickly – Her lunch break was almost over. At least she’d been able to scarf down her sandwich while talking with Lizzy.

Finally, in the last two minutes of her lunch hour, Bethany felt confident in her thoughts.

Hey there. I hope you had a good lunch break. I just spent three-quarters of mine talking with Lizzy. Yes, actually talking with her over the phone. I don’t want to get in the middle of anything between you two, but I wanted to be transparent with you. That’s what friends are for – I don’t want to keep any secrets from you. I completely understand if you don’t want to share or talk about it.

Bethany let out a frustrated sigh, peppered with relief. She always felt better when she actually communicated her thoughts and feelings – Whether it be through spoken word, or written. She just didn’t want to hurt anybody.

Hunter had far more freedom at his job – He was able to stay on the FlixelFlaxen throughout the day, unlike Bethany.

He always got excited when the new message icon popped up. He really did enjoy Bethany’s conversations. After all, he had never expected to be friends with her after her graduation more than three years ago. He was immensely grateful for her friendship – She’d gotten him through some dark times, ones that she didn’t know about. And that included issues with Lisanna.

He read B’s latest message once, and then paused before reading it again. He always like to read things more than once.

He took off his glasses, closed his eyes, and pressed his hands to his face. His worst fears were becoming reality. Lizzy was a super senior. Over the last several weeks, he had noticed her withdrawals increasing at an alarming rate. He knew she was struggling, but he had no idea how to help her.

“Oh, fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck fuck! Now B knows. Now what?”

He had to distract himself for a few minutes before replying to her. Luckily, he knew Bethany was working on a big project this afternoon, so he had more than enough time to consider his response to her.

After a lopsided combination of a little bit of video editing and quite a bit of anime, Hunter’s head was clear enough. He didn’t like replying to Bethany on impulse, if he could help it.

He took a deep breath as he poised his hands over the keyboard.

Interesting. First of all, it’s not your fault – I know that Lizzy’s gotten super close with you since last we met at Bill’s. And that’s great! I appreciate you letting me know. And being honest with me. Keeping secrets is never a good thing – Even between friends. Not to worry though – You’re not getting between us. In fact, you saying something has actually been helpful. It’s made me realize that there’s more of a problem than I had originally thought. Let’s work together, if that’s okay with you. I think you want to help Lizzy as much as I do. What do you think?

Hunter finally breathed out as he clicked Send.

“Now, the waiting begins. Until then – More distraction!”

 … Bethany couldn’t respond right away. She needed to mull this over, maybe even talk to Will about it. But there was another pressing thing on her mind: The next meeting. It was just eight days away!

As she drove toward Will’s house after work, she spoke potential responses to Hunter aloud. She knew something would eventually bubble up to the surface.

Bethany parked in Will’s driveway and hustled inside – It was really starting to be autumn, with the crisp chill in the air. She kissed Will as soon as she crossed the threshold, and then excused herself to the bathroom. She had logged into the FlixelFlaxen before she’d left work, and was ready to reply.

Look – I completely understand how you feel. You know full well that Will and I were in a LDR before I graduated. I desperately wanted Will to come visit me every single weekend, but I knew – We both knew – that wasn’t practical. I personally don’t think it’s practical in your case, either. I think you should be as supportive as possible, though. Visit her every other weekend. It’s only six weeks until the end! You both can handle this, I know it. I want to help, but I want you to make the decision. Let me know what happens.

Hunter was gaming – as usual – when the notification beep interrupted his music. He paused the game and clicked over to the FlixelFlaxen. He’d gotten really good at skimming Bethany’s messages, so it took less than a minute for him to get the gist.

His response was lightning fast:

Thanks for your thoughts. I really appreciate it. You’re right, in a way. We both want to see each other every weekend, but I don’t think it will help anything. It is only six more weeks. I’ll see if she wants me to call her more often – Maybe that will help during the weeks that I can’t visit her. She definitely needs all the support that she can get. Thanks again – You’re a great friend.

Bethany smiled and went to sit by Will’s side, as happy as a clam.

As Bethany and Will settled into watching the newest episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” Bethany drifted off into dreamland again, visions of all things Europe dancing in her head.

The next day marked a week away from the next get-together. Since it was a Saturday, Bethany devoted most of the morning to writing everything done. She switched back and forth between the computer and her special Europe journal. After the first meeting, Bethany and Will had gone to Target the following week, and Bethany wandered into the stationery aisle. She scanned the journals and notebooks until Will heard her gasp. Bethany had found the ultimate 7-subject notebook. Yes, there are notebooks that go beyond the 5-subject kind now!

… Bethany thought it was just perfect – There were actually enough sections to cover all the bases. There were six equal sections, one for each person, since Bethany was delegating roles for everyone. Then the seventh section was reserved for general planning, wish lists, doodles, photos – Sort of like a European Pinterest board, but on paper.

She couldn’t wait to start writing in it, but she was whisked away by Will to the bedroom for some overdue sexy time. It could wait, but not much longer. They would all meet up the following Saturday, and there was still so much to do and prepare.

However, she couldn’t wait for everyone to see it. She even tried to hide it from Will, but that didn’t work so well. He could tell that she was really excited, and that buoyed his spirits. For some reason, he was having an inkling that Saturday’s meeting was not going to be as stellar as Bethany and the others were anticipating.

He tried to mask it, but it wasn’t easy. Because he and Bethany had been together for over four years at that point, she’d gotten really good at being able to tell when something was wrong with him or if something was bothering him. After all, Will was one of the most easy-going people she’d ever met, so it wasn’t really hard to perceive when something was different.

Will finally came to the conclusion that he had to let Bethany know of his suspicions. He spent the first part of the week trying to rehearse what she was going to say, because he knew that Bethany would likely react really strongly. She didn’t take kindly to uncomfortable situations, and more so if they blew up in her face all of a sudden. He decided he would take her to dinner and attempt to tell her his thoughts that Thursday. He figured it would give her enough time to react to it and process it before the meeting took place. That was his hope, anyway.

Thursday night, they met at Will’s after work like usual. Normally, they went out to dinner as a couple on Fridays, but Will liked to pull a surprise every so often, to keep Bethany guessing. That night, they decided on Outback. Will drove, and even though he was holding Bethany’s hand and chattering like everything was normal, in his head he was desperately trying to formulate the right words. He knew this wasn’t going to go well.

After they ordered their salads and steaks, they were making small talk about work. They had mutually decided that their conversation about Europe would be minimal to none between the two of them. They agreed that they could talk about their own wants and wishes, but nothing that involved the group. It was all about fairness. Then, the conversation suddenly fell off a cliff, and Bethany heard Will swallow and breathe deeply.

“Will? What’s wrong? You look worried.”

He cleared his throat – It was now or never.

“Bethie, I am worried. I’ve tried to find or come up with the right words all week long, to try to tell you this carefully or gently. But, I’ll just be straight with you – I know that’s how you like it.”

It was Bethany’s turn to swallow. She instantly got nervous and edgy whenever Will was nervous – It generally wasn’t a good sign.

“Will, honey, I appreciate that. I really do. You know me so well. What is it? You know that you can tell me anything, right?”

Will nodded and bowed his head a little. He didn’t want to meet her eyes, but he forced himself to do so.

“Okay, here it is. I’ve had this inkling that this meeting on Saturday is going to be a disaster. I don’t know why or how or what, but that’s just my gut feeling. I don’t know what to do.”

Bethany’s eyes softened. She stroked his right hand with her left, and with her right hand, cupped his chin and kissed him.

“Sweetheart, I can tell you’re worried. I am too, a little bit. I think it’s because we’re going to start talking about the real details now. You know, the money aspect is a big one …”

Will nodded. He felt his gut untwist a little.

“The fun party planning period is ending. But, we’re all friends. We’ve been through some tough times already – Remember how worried we all were when Bill’s mom had that stroke?”

Will nodded again. He started to breathe normally again.

“Everything will be fine. If we do disagree, so be it. We don’t have to plan everything in one Saturday. Actually, we can’t do that. There will be many more Saturday meetings before the official adventure begins.”

Bethany smiled. Seeing her grin restored Will’s confidence and faith. He cupped her chin and kissed her longingly.

“Whew. I feel better. Don’t you?”

Bethany nodded vigorously.

“I keep saying it because it’s so true – Talking it out is the way to go.”

“Well, that was perfect timing. I think I see our waitress coming with our food. Let’s enjoy our meal and think about something else for a change – Like maybe having sexy time when we get back to your house?”

No one could wipe the grins off their faces.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

NaNoWriMo 2014: Climax

“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” ~Hilary Mantel

Photo Credit: sevenvalleyswritingproject.com

Photo Credit: sevenvalleyswritingproject.com

I thought this photo was appropriate for this week – I started hitting the proverbial “wall” in my daily writing. So much so, that I didn’t write anything new on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.

I figured I needed a brain break. To prevent myself from crumpling up the paper in the photo, so to speak.

Here’s hoping to play catch-up starting tonight. Then the idea is this new wave of writing, with my brain being refreshed, will carry me through to next week and the end of the month!

Enjoy excerpt #3!


Working Title: “Discussion of Differences”

Current word count, as of this writing: 14,880 words

 … Much like the night that the idea was proposed, no one could speak up immediately. It was almost taboo, forbidden, and immensely awkward. Everyone read worry and fear that was written on each other’s faces. All six of them were basically thinking the same exact thought – What the hell are we doing?

Luckily, the elephant started to get smaller. Bethany had started a binder full of research, and started to pass it around. She’d also thought to bring along the photo albums from her two previous Europe excursions. That broke the tension, albeit slightly.

Everyone thumbed through the books for a few minutes, and they all got back around to Bethany eventually. She stacked them in a neat pile as she sat Indian-style on Bill’s bedroom floor, stroking the corner of the purple photo album aimlessly. Finally, she took a deep breath and said, “Well, what do y’all think?”

Everyone glanced around, unsure of what to do or say. Then, Anabelle spoke up.

“I think it’s a great start.”

Like the first night, Anabelle’s affirmation kicked off instant chatter. It was a great flurry of conversation. All three books left Bethany’s lap again and didn’t return for a good while. It was difficult keeping up and keeping track – Everyone was going in different directions. It had a wave of excitement to it, but it crashed just as quickly as a wave would on the beach.

The conversation died down again, and it became this awkward staring contest. No one wanted to kill the enthusiasm, but the challenges needed to be addressed eventually.

Anabelle went first.

“So, of course y’all know that Bill and I are getting married. We’re thinking about sometime next year. And it wouldn’t be a happy wedding without all four of you being a part of it. So, the question is, how will this affect our European adventure?”

Everyone sighed, with Bill the loudest.

Bethany spoke up next.

“No worries. Actually, your wedding is a good sign, I think. Because of the wedding, it will give all of us more time to plan this grand adventure of ours, and definitely more working time to save as much money as possible.”

Hunter nodded in agreement. So did Will. Only Lisanna looked worried.

Hunter squeezed Lisanna’s shoulder.

“What’s wrong, birdy?”

Everyone immediately said “Aww” at the nickname, which helped.

Lisanna swallowed. This was the first time she had braved to address the whole group.

“I’m just freaked out because I’m the youngest. I don’t have anything lined up yet for when I leave LT in December. That is, if I actually leave LT …”

Her voice quivered and trailed off. Hunter kissed her temple and rubbed her shoulder.

“Birdy, it’s alright – I promise. No one here expects you to have a job as soon as you leave LT. And, you will be leaving in December – We’re all sure of it. Right, guys?”

“Oh yeah!”

“Of course!”

“Definitely!”

Lisanna smiled through her tear-filled eyes. She wiped at them, clearly embarrassed.

“I just want to be able to contribute. I’m so excited about this. I think this whole Europe thing, plus Bill and Anabelle getting married, are signs of hope.”

Hunter looked puzzled. “Hope?”

Lisanna nodded. “I’ve been so depressed recently. Lost, almost. That’s why I didn’t want you come down and stay with me last night. I wanted to sort out my thoughts and feelings before coming here today. It helped, but I’m worried about our relationship. What girl wants to be alone when your boyfriend is practically begging to come see you?”

Bethany and Anabelle had to quickly contain their laughter.

“Lizzy, you’re not alone! It’s completely normal. Trust us.”

Bill and Will immediately exchanged glances of pure bewilderment. At that, everyone busted out laughing. 

Bethany and Anabelle tried to figure out who was going to speak first.

“It’s true though. You can look as bewildered as you want. We love you, Will and Bill, but there are days and nights where we just need some peace and quiet. Everyone needs some time alone. Everyone.”

At that, Will and Bill just shrugged their shoulders; that was the universal signal to move on.

The three girls then, at that moment, felt more united than ever. Before now, Lisanna felt somewhat left out. She was the youngest out of everyone, and not nearly as close to the rest of the group. But because of all these emotions and honesty, it seemed that everyone was going to get along just fine.

Amidst all the discussion, Hunter got an idea. It was something he had mentioned, albeit briefly, to Bethany on the FlixelFlaxen. He had gotten the feeling that Bethany had glossed over it though, so he figured it was worth mentioning to the entire group.

“Hey, guys.”

All chatter ceased and each head swiveled in his direction.

Hunter cleared his throat. “I was thinking about living arrangements – What if we stumble upon a castle?”

The only response Hunter got was the ear-to-ear grins on everyone’s faces.

Since Hunter had mentioned castles, she marked him down as being charge of living arrangements – Both temporary and potentially permanent.

Since Bill had worked in a supermarket for many years prior, Bethany knew he was the expert on food and groceries.

For Will, she immediately put down everything design-wise. What Will did with that task was completely up to him; she had the ultimate confidence that he would help design the near-perfect European adventure, as well as be excellent at marketing it to the group.

Lisanna and Anabelle were the only ones left. Bethany purposely wanted to assign tasks to the boys first – They were far less complicated. She wanted to give more thought and care to the girls – Emotions and all.

Bethany started to consider their foreign language experiences at LT. She herself had suffered through Spanish, as did Hunter. Anabelle was the resident expert on all things German, so that made it a little easier. Lisanna was Hispanic, but Bethany didn’t know how fluent she truly was. She also wanted to consult Will and Bill. Everyone had to have taken at least one foreign language throughout high school and college, no matter where they attended. Fortunately, English was a shoo-in.

Anabelle had an extensive travel history, so Bethany decided to put her in charge of the overall itinerary.

The main question was Lisanna. Bethany knew better than to call her out in front of the whole group, so she wanted to take a more subtle route.

Meanwhile, the anxiety was gradually building. There were still a lot of practical questions that hadn’t yet been answered, like money, passports, and jobs – All those details that were, you know, only slightly important. But no one seemed bothered by it. Nothing was set in stone as of yet. There was lots of scheming and dreaming, and that’s the way it should be. At least, for now.

Over the next two weeks, Lisanna and Bethany talked almost as much as Hunter and Bethany did via the FlixelFlaxen. It seemed like that initial conversation in Bill’s living room had sparked something. Bethany certainly wanted to get to know Lisanna better – But it started to get uncomfortable more quickly than Bethany had expected.

It was apparent, almost right off the bat, that Lisanna was texting all the time. It was like her phone never left her hands, although Bethany knew full well that she had a full load of classes, and homework, and her other friends at LT. Plus, there was Hunter, too. Bethany didn’t want Lisanna to get distracted – Especially not now, with the month of November fast approaching.

 … It finally came to a head the day before Halloween, less than a week since last they’d met. Bethany’s phone was vibrating at least 30 times per hour – So much so that she had to silence it well before lunchtime. She knew Lisanna’s class schedule by heart, and becoming concerned that Lisanna was just ignoring it all.

… The dial tone hummed as Bethany muttered, “Come on, come on, just pick up the damn phone, Lizzy.”

Finally, at the last ring before voicemail kicked in, Lizzy’s voice crackled.

“B? I’m eating right now, and I’m in a big rush. Can I call you back?”

“Wait! Do not hang up this phone. Listen to me. I’m worried about you – You’re texting me constantly. Are you even paying attention in your classes anymore?”

Lizzy’s silence spoke volumes.

Bethany raised her free palm to her forehead and let out an exasperated sigh.

“Lizzy – I don’t want to be your mother. But – You have to focus now, more than ever. You do want to pass your classes, don’t you?

The only thing Bethany heard from the other end was soft sobbing.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

NaNoWriMo 2014: Rising Action

“The art of storytelling is reaching its end because the epic side of truth, wisdom, is dying out.” ~Walter Benjamin

Not here, I’m trying to keep storytelling alive!

Photo Credit: www.virgin.com

Photo Credit: http://www.virgin.com

Enjoy excerpt #2!


Working Title: “Discussion of Differences”

Current word count, as of this writing: 12,641 words

… 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. …

Finally, after what seemed like hours, it was Anabelle who broke the silence.

“Relocate? As in, move?”

Bethany and Hunter merely nodded.

Everyone’s eyes looked at each other around the circle. No one moved, no one spoke. There was barely any breathing.

Bill took a deep breath and finally said what everyone was thinking.

“This is crazy. Absolutely crazy! But, I like it.”

Their Saturday adventure stretched into Sunday. No one slept that night. It was like a teenage slumber party – Everyone was whispering and basically giggling. The idea was simply crazy and nutty, but it sounded like loads of fun.

Everyone eventually fell asleep, the three couples intertwined in different places in Bill’s bedroom. All six of them had different dreams of Europe dancing in their heads.

The next morning, it was like everyone had left their old lives behind. All they could talk about was the future. Everyone had a different version, but it all led down the same path.

As everyone prepared to leave Bill’s house, the excitement was electrifying. A whole new adventure was in its infancy. …

Bethany almost slipped up, but luckily she caught herself. She turned the story into reminiscing about her previous trips to Europe – The first was 17 days in high school, and the second was a spring break trip courtesy of an art class at LT. In fact, she was the only one of the six to have previously traveled to any country in Europe. So she was automatically considered to be the expert.

Hunter and Bethany had also decided to keep their conversation on the FlixelFlaxen to a minimum. They still messaged daily, but swore to not talk about Europe unless the six of them were together. It didn’t seem fair, or right. They wanted to keep it as even and equal as possible. …

However, the final semester for Lisanna was quickly eroding her spirit, and it was becoming increasingly difficult for her to keep allowing Hunter to visit her on the weekends. She wanted to get the best grades possible, but ultimately make sure she passed all of her classes. They planned to walk at commencement in May, together. They both were part of the five-year plan at LT, but neither were ashamed of that. Lisanna just wanted to pass her classes and graduate – LT itself was quickly becoming part of the problem. She was also terrified of the real world, and what that meant for her relationship with Hunter. She felt torn, and was becoming frantic with each passing day.

Fortunately, being alone in the car for the 45-minute drive to Bill’s was therapeutic. She lost herself in the mix CD that Hunter had given her a month earlier for their anniversary. Her thoughts about the future took her to another place too.

“Maybe Europe is the sign that I’ve been looking for,” she thought as she cruised down the highway.

She did miss Hunter’s company in the car – They always had their best discussions there. But at the same time, she had just come off of midterms and needed Friday to clear her head. She had desperately wanted Hunter to come stay the night with her – For him to just hold her close and tell her everything was going to be alright, that it was going to be just fine – but at the same time, she just wanted to be alone. And that wanting to be alone terrified her even more. What kind of person, in a loving long-term relationship, wanted to be alone?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

 

 

NaNoWriMo 2014: Introduction

“Let me introduce you to my little friend!” ~Al Pacino, as Tony Montana, Scarface (1983)

I’m not going to shoot bullets or anything. I come in peace.

What I want to introduce to you, my amazing readers, is something I’ve never, ever done before. I am sharing my writing with you, as in my novels. And this isn’t even finished.

Photo Credit: kielarowski.net

Photo Credit: kielarowski.net

Tonight, and for the next three Saturdays, I will be posting an excerpt of the novel that I am writing as a part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, for short), 2014 edition. I have participated since 2012, and it is one of the highlights of my year.

Without further ado, here’s excerpt#1. Enjoy!


Working Title: “Discussion of Differences”

Current word count, as of this writing: 8,660 words

… 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 …

Bethany and Hunter kept the conversation to themselves, but not for long. It was just too exciting not to share …

“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 a European adventure.”


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂