Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Winter Romance - Chapter One




Jennifer Mahoney meets Jeffrey, the love of her life, the winter of her senior year in high school. Jeffrey, her best friend's cousin, is visiting Mandy's family for the holidays. He is in town for the winter break staying with his aunt and uncle. Jennifer spends every waking moment with him and falls in love fast. She thought it was a lasting love and that they would be together forever. However, timing is way off for Jennifer and Jeffrey. Life is getting in the way. He suddenly leaves and she never hears from him again. 

Ten years passes and Jennifer has to bury her best friend and become the mother to her child all at once. She runs into Jeffrey during this time and finds herself very angry with him. Her head and heart are flooded with emotions she thought she buried years ago. 

How will she handle everything happening in her life? Is there any hope left for her and Jeffrey? 



Excerpt
Chapter One
                It was the winter of 1990-something and that one was a particular bad one. Snow covered the lawns in a wonderland like you would see in the movies. Ice dangled off the trees and shimmered in the sunlight like shards of glass. It was a record snowfall for the little town of Applewood that year and the kids were happy school was cancelled for days. There was two feet of snow on the ground on top of ice from the storm the night before. With no cell phones to text friends and Facebook not invented yet for them to chat each other they went outside to hang out and have fun. Jennifer Mahoney absolutely hated the cold weather; but what she didn’t realize was that this winter was going to change her life.
                Jennifer stood in front of the mirror starring at the reflection of a thin, short, longhaired girl looking back at her. She looked a little silly the way she was dressed. She hated the cold and would not be going outside if it hadn’t been for her best friend, Mandy, who lived two houses up, begging her to go sledding with the gang. She pulled her hair back in a ponytail so she could get her ear muffs over her head better. On top of that was her sock cap, then the scarf and gloves. She had so push her feet in her shoes pretty hard due to the three pairs of socks she was wearing. Jennifer let out a sigh and then brushed her bangs out of her way. “It’s a good thing nobody important will see me like this. I look ridiculous.” She said aloud as she tossed her scarf around her neck. She heard a knock on the door and knew it was Mandy.
                Jennifer opened the door to her somewhat hefty friend. Mandy wasn’t fat but she wasn’t thin either. She fell somewhere in between. She had short blond hair and needed to wear glasses but rarely ever actually wore them. “Mandy. How did I let you talk me into going out like this? You know I hate the cold.”
                “I know. I know. But it will be fun. How often do we get to have fun? It’s our senior year and pretty soon we have to go out in the real world and work and be grown-ups. Let’s go have our one last play day,” she said with a laugh.
                Jennifer closed the door behind her as she gave in to her friend and went to play in the snow. “You know I hate the cold and we are going to walk a mile down this icy road and up that huge hill to go sledding.”
                “Oh! Stop complaining. You are going to love this.”
                “Who all is going to be there?” Jennifer asked.
                Mandy sheepishly grinned.
                “What are you not telling me?” Jennifer gave her one of those ‘I’m going to kill you’ looks.
                “It’s going to be the usual gang and my cousin, Jeffrey. I don’t think you have met him. You are going to love him.”
                Jennifer stopped dead in her tracks. “You know I don’t like meeting new people.”
                Mandy grabbed her arm and started pulling her. “Come on. You are going to love him. This is going be great. I promise. He’s a great guy.”
                “Wait. What? This sounds like a set up. I look like a clown with all these clothes on. If you wanted me to meet somebody, you could have at least warned me so I could put some make up and oh I don’t know I could have taken off two of the three layers off that I’m wearing.”
                Mandy laughed at her overly dramatic friend. “Come on. We’re almost there. I see everyone waving at us.”
                Jennifer nervously wiped at her jeans as if she was trying to get a big wrinkle out of them. She knew it wasn’t going to make her look any less ridiculous but she had trouble meeting new people and the distraction was helpful.
                As they walked up it was the same old thing. Jennifer and Mandy were the only girls in the group of four boys. They all got along really well and were the best of friends so it really was no big deal to hang out with the boys club, as they liked to call them. Jennifer walked up to the group. “Hi guys. How many crashes have you had so far?”
                The group let out a roaring laugh. “Funny, Jen. You are the only one that crashes.” Mandy said. “Hey Jeffrey come over here. I want you to meet Jennifer.”
                Jennifer could feel her cheeks redden as she stood there. She moved her bangs from her eyes as she looked up at the boy walking towards her.
                “Hi. I’m Jeff. Nice to meet you.”
                “Hi. Nice to meet you too.” She looked down at the hill. “Wow. I think this hill gets bigger every year.”
                Jeffery stepped closer. “I’ve already been down it a couple of times. It’s not as bad as it looks. I’ll go down with you the first time if you want.”
                Jennifer hated the first trip down. It was always the most frightening to her and she always made somebody go down with her. “Okay. Sure. I want to be in the back though. You do the steering and I’ll just hold on.”
                Jeffery laughed. “Sounds like a plan. Let’s go.”
                They sat down on the sled and Jennifer held on tight. The sled started to move. She could hear the snow crackling under it. The cold wind was hitting her in the face as she flew down the hill. Bump after bump making her hold onto Jeffrey a little tighter each time. Finally, they had made it to the bottom. The sled stopped and she got up and started dusting off the snow that had got all over her on the way down.
                Jennifer looked up at the top of the hill where Mandy was waving and jumping up and down. Jennifer started walking back up the hill but with every step, her shoes slipped a little more. She couldn’t get any traction on the snow and ice. She felt a hand touch her gloved covered hand.
                “Here. Take my hand. I’ll help you get up.” Jeffery said.
                Jennifer smiled as she took his hand. “Thanks. This hill gets worse every year.” Minutes later, they had reached the top.
                After a couple of hours Jennifer couldn’t feel her feet and her face felt like it was going to freeze off. “I have to get home. I’m freezing. I need hot chocolate.”
                Mandy hurried over to her friend. “That sounds awesome. Come to my house. There isn’t anyone home at yours anyway. Let’s go to my house and fix hot chocolate and eat all the cookies my mom baked last night.” She whispered in Jennifer’s ear. “Jeff will be there.”
                Jennifer could feel her face redden and she knew it wasn’t because she was cold. “Okay I’ll come over, but let me run into my house real quick and change out of these wet clothes. I’m going to jump through a hot shower to warm up. Then I’ll be over and we can watch a movie or something.”
                “Okay, okay, but make it a fast shower. None of your two hour ones,” she said with a giggle as they all started walking down the road.
                “It’s freezing out here.” Jennifer said. “Why does it always seem like it takes no time to get there but it takes forever to get back home. My teeth are chattering.”
                Jeffery laughed as he put his arm around her and pulled her in. “Here. Snuggle in. It will help you stay warm.”
                Jennifer couldn’t believe she was doing it but she moved in closer. It was not like her to be that comfortable around somebody she had only met a few short hours ago; but there was something about Jeffrey that made her feel comfortable around him.
                Jennifer made it to her door and turned to Mandy. “I’ll be over in a little bit.” She watched Mandy and Jeffrey walk away and then she hurried into her house and up the stairs to get some clean dry clothes. She picked out a nice pair of jeans and a sweatshirt and then hurried to the shower. As she stood there letting the hot water pour down over her she could finally start to feel her fingers and toes starting to thaw out a little. When she got out, she braided her hair. It would have taken her an hour to blow dry all of it and she really wanted to get back to Jeffrey. She got dressed as quickly as she could and then ran next door to Mandy’s house.
                Jennifer walked in and saw Jeffrey fixing popcorn and Mandy pouring sodas. “Hi, guys.”
                Jeffrey glanced up at her. “Hey. You look warmer.”
                “I am.” Jennifer said as she played with her fingers a little.
                Mandy’s phone rang and she went into the other room to answer it. When she came back, she said. “I can’t stay and watch the movie with you two. I just got a date, but you two should watch it. My parents won’t be back for a while so you will have some alone time.” She smiled at Jennifer.
                Jennifer didn’t know what to say. She looked over at Jeffrey.
                “Sounds good to me,” he said as he walked the bowl of popcorn into the living room and went to the VHS player to put a tape in to watch.
                Jennifer was a little nervous after Mandy left at first, but she liked Jeffrey a lot.
                She sat on the couch beside him as he put his arm around her and pulled her closer to him. She snuggled in and got comfortable. She didn’t really know what to say at first.
                “So Jen. Tell me a little bit about yourself since we seem to be on our first date.” He chuckled.
                “Oh, um.” Jennifer was a taken aback. She hadn’t really thought about it that way. “Well. There isn’t much to tell. I’m pretty boring. I’m a senior. Looking forward to graduating this spring.”
                “Me too.” Jeffrey said. “I’m going into pre-law when I get out. What are you planning?”
                Jennifer took a drink of her soda mainly to give her a minute to think. She wasn’t all that thirsty. She set her glass back down. “I really don’t know. I’m thinking maybe I’ll be a business major. I haven’t really given it a lot of thought. I know whatever I do I’ll need to get some loans because my parents don’t have the money to help out with college.”
                The movie started to play and they got quiet. Two hours flew by faster than she liked. Jennifer wasn’t ready to leave but she knew she had to get home before her parents got home from work. “I have to get going. I had a lot of fun today. Thanks.”
                Jeffrey leaned over and kissed her gently on the lips.
                Jennifer leaned in close and returned the kiss then slowly pulled away. “I have to go,” she said as she stood up and looked around for her coat. She found it hanging on the hook by the door and walked over to put it on.
                Jeffrey walked over to help her with it. “Can I see you tomorrow?”
                Jennifer could feel the butterflies turning in her stomach. “Sure. My parents will be at work first thing so we have the whole day to do whatever you want.”
                “Great. I can’t wait.” Jeffrey said as he leaned in and gave her another kiss.
                Jennifer walked home in a daze. It was like a fairytale. She couldn’t believe how much she liked him. A smile was glued on her face all the way home. She went inside and started some dinner for her parents since they would be home soon.
                That night she could barely sleep. She tossed and turned all night long. She couldn’t wait to see Jeffrey again. They had really hit it off and she thought he was a great guy.
                                                ***
                Jennifer got dressed as quickly as she could. She was going to go out on a real date with Jeffrey. Then the nerves took over. She ran back to the closet and changed her outfit three times. Next she put on a light shade of lipstick and then rechecked her hair for the hundredth time. They wouldn’t be sledding or hanging out at Mandy’s but they were going on an actual date. For eighteen-year-old kids that only meant going to town in your car and hanging out with all your other friends, but the fact that you got into the car and drove somewhere made it a date. Jennifer decided to leave her hair down instead of pulling it up. She used the curling iron to give her hair a few large curls and a touch of body so it didn’t hang limp and straggly looking. She reached in her purse for her light pink lipstick and shaded her lips with a slight frosted look then rushed out the door with a quick. “I’ll be back later. Going to town.”
                Jennifer walked to Mandy’s house where she met Jeffrey at the door.
                “Ready to go?” He asked.
                “Yep. Let’s go.” She said with a smile as they walked to Jeffrey’s blue cavalier.
                “It’s my mom’s car,” He said in an embarrassed, hushed voice.
                “It’s fine. Let’s go.” Jennifer was excited to go. She didn’t care what kind of car it was.
                They drove around for an hour or so then Jeffrey went down a dark back road. “Let’s go somewhere private so we can be alone.”
                Jennifer was falling hard for Jeffrey and agreed immediately. “Okay.” As they drove down the dark dead end road that was covered in snow and ice, she silently prayed that they would not get stuck and have to walk for help.
                Jeffrey parked the car and leaned over to kiss Jennifer. It wasn’t long before they were fogging up the windows.
                She had never gone all the way with a boy before and was a little nervous about it. She had thought they would plan out a special night and do the whole nine yards, but in that very moment all she could think about was Jeffrey.
                They ended up moving to the backseat and made love or what they thought was love. It was in young love but to them it was going to last forever.
                The next day she hurried up, got dressed, and ran to Mandy’s.
                Mandy opened the door with a somewhat odd look on her face.
                “What’s wrong?” Jennifer asked. “You look like something is wrong.”
                “I’m sorry Jen, but Jeffrey had to leave late last night.”
                “Leave? What are you talking about?” she asked a little louder than she had intended to.
                “He had a family emergency back home and he had to go.” Mandy explained.
                Jennifer stood there in a state of shock. “He didn’t even say goodbye. How could he just leave and not even say goodbye?”


Chapter Two
Ten Years Later…


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