These short vignettes focus on characters other than Polly. While I write them during the same time I’m writing a book, they won’t spoil any of the story and rarely will they give you any hints as to what is happening.
Vignettes are published in the newsletters which arrive on the 25th of every month, but sometimes the characters insist that I tell a quick story about them.
Book 17 – Marks in a Lifetime will be published on March 25th. It’s almost here!
Don’t forget, you’re invited to the Wine & Trivia event on Friday, March 17th from 6-11 pm (CDT). Prizes galore and just plain fun as I ask and you answer crazy trivia questions about Bellingwood.
Let’s Go Out
“Mom?” Sylvie heard the back door crash open and her oldest son’s yell. She wasn’t going to move.
“Mom!” he yelled again. “Mom. Where are you?”
Sylvie walked into the doorway between the living room and kitchen and planted her hands firmly on her hips. “What?” she snapped.
“Can I go with Mel to Ames? She wants to go to a movie.”
“For that you needed to yell? You couldn’t come find me?”
He dropped his backpack on the kitchen table. “Sorry. I didn’t know where you were.”
“The house isn’t that big. Good heavens, what is it with you two boys. It’s like your legs quit working.”
“Can I go?”
She nodded. “Who else is going?”
He glanced sideways. “Just us.”
Sylvie raised her eyebrows. “Just you two? Really?”
“No big deal.”
“Have you finished your work for Eliseo?” She looked at the clock on the stove. “You’re home early.”
“It’s Friday night. We’ll do the rest of it tomorrow. He said I could go. So can I? I have to text Mel to tell her whether or not it’s okay to pick me up.”
“Sure. Have fun. What time will you be home?”
“I don’t know. Maybe ten thirty? Eleven? Is that okay?”
“If you’re going to be home after ten thirty, I want you to call me. Don’t text me. Call me.”
He nodded furiously while entering the text to Mel. “She’s going to be here in twenty minutes. I need to take a shower. Thanks.” Jason grabbed his backpack and dashed past her to head upstairs.
Sylvie gave herself a quiet smile. Both boys were going to be busy tonight. She took her phone out and quickly sent a text. “You let Jason off early so he could go out with Mel. Andrew’s at Polly’s house. What should we do tonight?”
“Dinner?” Eliseo texted back. “A movie? Horseback riding?”
That made her laugh. For as much as her son and her boyfriend loved horses, she hadn’t ridden those Percherons yet and was in no hurry to start. Boyfriend. It still sounded weird. She was much too old to have a boyfriend.
“Horseback riding sounds fun,” she sent.
“No, you nut. Not really. But maybe someday I’ll let you get me up on one of those horses.”
“How about I take you out to dinner. What time is Jason leaving?”
“Mel will be here in twenty minutes. Then I’m free.”
“I need to run home and take a shower and change clothes. But I’m leaving now.”
“Perfect. See you then.”
Sylvie smiled. That would give her enough time to wash the filth of the day off and find something nice to wear, too. She went upstairs and stopped for a minute outside Jason’s bedroom door. He was actually singing to himself as he got ready. She liked Mel, even though Jason insisted they were just friends. They were pretty good friends if spending an evening with her caused him to sing. One of these evenings when she had time with him, she was going to have to press for more information. He wouldn’t be happy about telling her what was going on in his personal life, but he’d do it anyway. At least after she pushed and embarrassed him. She knew better than anyone that her sons wanted desperately to tell her their stories, but sometimes didn’t know how to start. Jason especially was trying so hard to be independent.
She tapped at his door. “Jason?”
“Just a second, Mom.”
“It’s okay. I just wanted to tell you to have a good time tonight. I’m going to take a shower and get ready myself, so I won’t be downstairs when you leave.”
His door flew open. “Cool. Thanks.”
It nearly killed Sylvie to see him growing up like this. She wasn’t ready for it. His mop of thick dark hair had been out of control for as long as she could remember. When he was just a little boy, she loved stroking his head and feeling that thick hair run through her fingers. He stood in front of her with no shirt on and water from the shower dripping from that head of hair. He’d gotten so strong since he started working with Eliseo. His shoulders and upper arms rippled with muscles and his hands were strong and powerful. Those same hands that had once been so tiny when she reached to hold them as they crossed the street.
Sylvie nodded. “Have fun tonight.” She bolted for her bedroom, shut the door and leaned on it as tears threatened. She couldn’t do this every time something new and wonderful happened for him. She knew he had to grow up and away from her, but no matter how true that was, she wasn’t ready. Andrew was going into high school next year. She wasn’t ready for that, either.
She went into her bathroom, stripped down and turned on the shower. Sylvie didn’t know what to think about the next few years. Jason was taking his ACTs this spring and in another year or so, he’d head off to college. Maybe. Eliseo had talked to her about Jason working at the stables full-time once he and Mark Ogden had them in place. As long as Jason was happy, she didn’t care too much what he did. College hadn’t been that important to Sylvie. She’d gone to nursing school until Jason was born and then her life grew so out of control, she’d never considered a degree. Going to culinary school as an adult had worked out beautifully. She’d found something that she was passionate about and could be successful. If Jason wanted more education when he got older, he could certainly do that.
Checking the water temperature, Sylvie climbed into the shower and let it wash away the day. Her mornings started early and some days she felt as if she didn’t stop moving until she dropped into bed, usually by eight or nine o’clock. With Rachel taking over more and more of Sycamore House’s catering, the pressure on Sylvie was beginning to ease. They needed to hire one more full-time person over there to help Rachel. That way, Sylvie would only have to help with the largest events. Since she’d hired Marta at the bakery, much of the pressure had been taken off there, too. The woman was a treasure. Eager to learn and willing to work hard, Marta made the running the bakery much more fun.
They’d had several new contracts come in and Sylvie was considering another part time employee. But that was the problem with a growing business. It was hard to balance that moment when you desperately needed another employee against the fact that you could barely afford them. They weren’t there yet.
“I’m leaving, Mom,” Jason yelled into her bedroom. “See ya later.”
Sylvie realized she’d spent too much time musing and rinsed the rest of the shampoo out of her hair. She needed to hurry. She did a quick towel-dry of her hair and walked over to stare at the clothes in her closet. It was too cold to wear a skirt and besides, Eliseo rarely took her anywhere that nice pants wouldn’t be appropriate. She took down a pair of blue woolen slacks and a loose powder blue sweater. Her mother’s pearls would be pretty with that. She put the pants on, zipped them up and went back into the bathroom to finish drying her hair. Not too much makeup. She’d never been one of those women who couldn’t leave the house without her face on. Her mother had been.
Eliseo didn’t help. He complimented her whether she was wearing makeup or not. When she’d asked him one evening after spending extra time in front of the mirror, he told her that she was always beautiful. Sylvie went back to what she was comfortable with.
Padme pushed Sylvie’s bedroom door open and jumped up on the bed, landing on the sweater.
“Get off, you mutt,” Sylvie said, pushing the dog back. “I never had hairy clothes until I met you and now every time I look down, I’m brushing bits of you off me all the time.” She shook out the sweater and pulled it over her head. “What are you doing up here anyway? Lonely?”
A yip and once around Sylvie’s bed didn’t give her much of an answer.
Sylvie picked up her phone to make sure that Eliseo hadn’t sent her a text that he was here. No, but there was a text that had come in from Jason.
“Took Padme out before I left. Thanks for everything. I hope you and Eliseo have a nice evening.”
She was so lucky. Her boys were turning into nice, responsible young men. Sylvie bent over and picked up her black flats and headed downstairs. Just as she hit the living room, she saw headlights as Eliseo turned into her driveway. She slipped her feet into her shoes, picked her coat up from the chair where she’d dropped it and headed for the back door.
He stood there with his arm upraised to knock when she waved at him through the window. Eliseo came in, his eyes twinkling. “You look beautiful, Sylvie Donovan.”
She looked him up and down. He was dressed in a black western style shirt and new blue jeans. “You look pretty nice yourself, sir. Where are we going?”
Eliseo walked across the kitchen floor, wrapped one arm around her and pulled her close, then tipped her back and kissed her lips. When he broke the kiss, she sighed.
“I missed you today,” he said.
“I guess so. I missed you too.”
He helped her put her coat on and walked to the back door with her. “Do you want to stay in town or go for a drive?”
“I don’t really care. A drive would be wonderful, though.”
At her back door, he stopped once more and kissed her. “It’s good to see you.”