Sunday, July 30, 2017

Chapter 1 - Purple Rain

Chapter 1 – Purple Rain by Prince

Standing in the chilling rain under the leaden grey sky, Rin Sanders shivered in her father's old Army jacket. This memorial was something that Rin hated doing every year but she also knew if she didn’t attend, she would regret it. Like, heavily regret and forgiving herself for missing it would take a long, long time.
It was the 10th anniversary of the death, of the murder, of one of her best friends, Sheila Reynolds. Sheila had been brutally slain on her way home from a school event the weekend of homecoming their senior year of high school. Raped by an object…knife, possibly but the coroner had said it could have even been a stick. Her friend was left to bleed out for two days hidden in some bushes almost in plain sight near the small shopping area known as “downtown” in Chelsea, Oklahoma. Rin had been one of the last people to see her that night and had offered her a ride home but Sheila wanted to walk. Rin had replayed that conversation over and over in her head so many times trying to think if there was something else she could have said to get Sheila in the car, but Sheila had insisted on walking saying she would be fine. Rin had walked that way many times herself as it was a well-known shortcut and she knew logically that there really was nothing else she could have done. Still, there was a tiny niggling guilt that she could not shake.

Rin looked over at Crystal, Sarah, and Amy and gave them trembling smile being careful to try and keep her lit candle from going out in the steady drizzle. It was cold tonight but she reminded herself that when the memorial service was over, she would get to go home to warmth and family. Sheila would not have that luxury.

She turned to put her attention back to the pastor speaking to the group and looked at Sheila’s mother next to him. Sheila had been her only child and Lucille Reynolds had aged faster than she should have after her daughter’s loss. Some days she wondered after all this time how Shelia's mom could even get through a day remembering to breathe. Somehow, Rin had concluded that losing a child had to be the worst pain imaginable. That no other grief could come close. Not hers since she lost her mother unexpectedly two weeks ago and not her father’s becoming a widower, either. Yes, they hurt. They hurt bad. But she was settled that it was nothing compared to the pain of Sheila’s mother.
As the pastor continued to speak, Rin looked over the rest of the group. A little ahead and to the right was the new Mayor, Stuart Woods. She hoped to leave the memorial before he saw her. For the past year, he had been trying to catch her attention and asking her for coffee or out to lunch but she wasn’t interested. She knew it would sound dramatic if she said it out loud to anyone, but Stuart felt wrong to her. The fact that he had been elected mayor told her that she was apparently in the minority about her issues with him but she still tried to steer clear of him.

She heard Pastor Williams ask everyone to bow their heads for a closing prayer and felt bad for allowing her attention to drift to something as trivial as Stuart when she was supposed to be here remembering her friend and praying that this cold case would be solved.

“Amen,” said Pastor Williams and with that, the crowd began to disperse. To go back to their normalcy for another year unless a new lead came up in this case. Rin couldn’t leave without talking to Sheila’s mom but she hung back a bit hoping that Stuart would leave first. She watched as Stuart spoke to Lucille and headed off to his giant truck and then made her way to the front her beat up pink cowboy boots squelching in the muddy ground.

“Rin!” Mrs. Reynolds exclaimed quietly, “I’m so thankful to see you. How have you been since your mom? I’m not trying to sound pushy or rude…just concerned.”

“Ah, I know you’re not being nosy or rude and that you’re coming from a place of love, Mrs. R,” Rin replied. “I’m doing as good as can be expected. Dad, too. He has been trying to get me to take a vacation and I’m fighting him on it. He says I need it after everything that’s happened and I keep telling him I can’t leave him. We go in circles.”

“You are doing the right thing by staying, Clarinda,” said a male voice behind her.

Rin glanced at Mrs. Reynold’s face and saw surprise flash in her eyes and then if Rin wasn’t seeing things some irritation as well. Rin wondered what that was all about but knew that now wasn’t the time to ask.

“I was just getting ready to leave when I saw you over here, Clarinda. I’ve been trying to reach you but you haven’t returned my calls,” Stuart said accusingly.

Rin looked apologetically at Mrs. Reynolds and said, “I’ll call you this week and we will catch up, OK? Thanks for asking after me and Dad. It means a lot.” Rin turned to face the mayor. “Stuart, let’s talk over here.”

Rin was fuming inside because she was a bit exhausted from Stuart pursuing her and frustrated that he refused to take her polite refusals seriously. If she was honest with herself, it felt very close to stalking. It seemed like every time she turned around in Chelsea, he was there. At Harp’s Grocery Store, the Dollar General, just everywhere. He had also begun appearing in Tulsa when she went with her friends and it didn’t matter if it was the zoo or the mall. They ran into each other constantly and he had been insistent wanting a date. She had been about to pull a quote from the Pirates movies and tell him she was ‘disinclined to acquiesce to his request’ and be done with it because her avoidance tactics weren’t stopping him and the next thing she knew, he had commissioned her father to create a hand carved mantelpiece for his new home. Her father was a lawyer in their small town but he did wood projects on the side kind of like how Gibbs built boats in his basement on NCIS. Not wanting to make things awkward for her father, she decided to keep going on the same as she had been and when the commission was finished, then she would put an end to this situation.

“What can I do for you, Stuart? I’m sorry I haven’t returned your calls but I’ve been very busy handling the details for my mother’s funeral, burial, and all that kind of stuff,” she said in a slightly more exasperated tone than she normally used with him. She wasn’t interested in coddling his ego tonight.

“I want to take you out on a date, Clarinda. You know that,” he said sounding a little frustrated.

She sighed and didn’t bother to hide it. “Really? You think now is a good time for me to be dating?”

He frowned at her and replied, “I think it might be good for you to take your mind off your troubles. You are obviously under a lot of stress right now.”

She decided to take her chances and go for broke and if it caused backlash for her father, she knew he would understand. He would be aggravated she was “protecting” him by putting up with Stuart if he knew the truth. “Honestly, you are part of my stress, Stu. I have tried letting you know gently that I am not interested but it has not deterred you. So, I’m saying it straight out: I do not want to go on a date with you.”

“I see this was the wrong time to ask you,” he said completely ignoring her words. “We’ll talk again under better circumstances. Maybe then you’ll see what I see.”

“What do you see, Stuart?” she asked hoping to find insight into what was propelling him along this path.

“Why, that we are completely compatible!” he stated.

Her jaw dropped open and in her mind, she heard her mother say, “Close your mouth, Rin, or you’ll catch flies.” She snapped her mouth closed and said to Stuart, “I think you are misreading things. The girls are waiting on me and I need to go, Stu.” She pulled the hood of her jacket forward to try to keep some of the rain out of her eyes, shoved her hands in the pockets, and stomped off towards where her friends were waiting for her.

When she reached their car in the lot, her friends were all climbing out of Sarah’s bright red Ford Fusion, and Amy said, “What took you so long? We were about to come looking for you!”

Rin rolled her eyes and said, “Stuart.”

They all sighed at the same time.

Sarah said, “Dude really needs to take a hint.”

“I told him straight out that I wasn’t interested. I know I’ve been holding back because I didn’t want to cause a problem with my dad making that custom piece for him right now but he wasn’t getting my hints and I can’t stand it anymore. He feels wrong to me, you guys. I know that sounds stupid but my gut says stay away from him. But even after straight out telling him, he ignored my words and said he realized this was a bad time and he would talk to me later,” Rin shared. “Let’s go get something to eat, y’all. It’s starting to rain harder.”

The girls climbed back in and buckled up. As Sarah pulled out of the lot, Rin looked over to where Stuart’s truck was parked and saw that he was still there watching them leave. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I Have OPD #DisneyWorld

Obsessive Planning Disorder

Except I use notebooks, Touring Plans, Kenny the Pirate, The DIS, and All Ears, too.

So It Has Been Like Forever

But I'm back...

Listening to my dragon playlist helped....

I wonder why I don't always default to that....

I need to get back to my book...

I talked to someone the other day and was kind of down on myself about it thinking it was a good story but maybe someone else needed to write it and they told me I need to tell my own story...