Introducing ‘Quirky’

Hello Dear Readers!

So I’ve been hinting around that I’ve been writing my first novel and I’m coming kind of close to finishing my rough draft of the story.

I’m praying that if I can pick up the pace some I will be able to release it by Christmas time.  Yay me!!!

So my story is about a woman named Andrea Sylvan. She’s a lot like me. She is in here early 30’s, active in her church, and an army brat.  Andrea however has the misfortune of having some interesting character traits like walking into doorways, talking to herself out loud, and my favorite using interesting catch phrases when she injures herself.

(To all my friends who know me, don’t let anyone know that I actually do those things too. I’m trying to look sophisticated right now.)

Anyway, this book is about Andrea and her love life and some of the interesting situations she gets herself into.  She has been in a two year on again off again relationship with a guy named Andrew. When the book opens she has just had another fight with him.

Andrea also has a wonderful family and a best friend named Mya. Mya is a character that I created only because every girl needs a best friend in these books but she has quickly become one of my favorite characters.  In fact, I think she will get a book as soon as I’m finished with Andrea’s story.

Oh my! I’ve told you all of this but I haven’t told you the working title yet!

Right now the title of my story is Highlights of a Quirky Courtship.

So now I’m going to give you a taste of my creation.

Here is the rough draft of the first chapter.

I hope you enjoy and if you have any comments please feel free to leave them here or send me an email shinekar79@gmail.com.

Smooches,

Shineka

Highlights of a Quirky Courtship

Chapter 1

Andrea

“I can’t stand you!”  I slammed the door and walked away.  What is it about that man that really gets to me anyway? I mean I’m 33 years old, nice body (at least I’ve been told that by a few admirers), beautiful brown eyes and shoulder length black hair.  I have a brain, a decent job, and I love God with all of my being.  So why do I let Andrew get away with his crap!?!

Who am I you ask?  I’m the nut who keeps letting that, that man back into my life like a sucker!  My name is Andrea Sylvan.

I’ve been dating Andrew Byers off and on for the past two years with nothing to show for it but headaches and occasional bouts of indigestion. I tend to eat a little too much when I’m upset. He was supposed to be my knight in shining armor when I met him at church a few years back.  He’s a tall, deep chocolate brother with an engineering degree.  You don’t find too many of them in my neck of the woods.

Anyway, getting back to my present drama with Andrew we were supposed to be going to a family gathering at my folk’s house. As always he had found a way to weasel out of it with another “work emergency”.

Maybe it really was an emergency, but I doubted it.  Andrew has been working at the local power plant for about six years now and if any of the stories he tells me  are true, then, I guess it is likely that an emergency may be possible.  I just hated the thought of going to my sister’s graduation celebration alone.

I love my family but they were starting to put pressure on me to get married or move on from Andrew.  My mom has been looking for grandchildren for a while now and according to her, I wasn’t “a spring chicken” anymore.

My mother, Melissa Sylvan, has always been an interesting character.  She’s about five feet nine and slightly on the plus side weight wise.  She is also full of wisdom and has the most interesting way of looking at life.  I think that comes from being a military wife for about half her life.  When the Army said move you packed up and went, no questions asked. Since dad had to usually move there first, she was the one in charge of getting everything together and packed up to go to our next duty station.

My mother is also very old school when it comes to raising children.  Once I had a teacher that called my mom the “Drill Sergeant”.  Melissa didn’t play when it came to school work and making sure we behaved at school or in public in general.

Now my dad on the other hand, Sergeant Major Chris Sylvan, could have cared less if I got married anytime soon.  I was his little girl and as far as he was concerned, there wasn’t a man alive good enough for me.  Dads are just funny that way I guess.  I think he liked Andrew to some extent, but I knew he wasn’t a big fan of his either.

So with that in mind, I got in my car and started driving to my sister’s party alone.

~~~~~

“Hey Sis!” my sister Cynthia called out to me as I walked into the back yard.  I looked at her with pride.  My little sister was all grown up and getting ready to go out into the world.  Well, college anyway.  Five feet five, skinny as a rail, but she did have some curves about her, and her long black hair and brown eyes would definitely catch some guy’s eye at UGA.  Cynthia is out going but has the driest sense of humor of anyone I know, but I loved her all the same.

“Hi there, Valedictorian! Girl, I’m so proud of you” Yep that’s right, my sis is a genius as well.

“Andrea, where’s Andy?”  Andrew hated to be called Andy and Cynthia knew it. She always did like pushing his buttons.

“Andrew is at the plant.  He said something about it being an Emergency,” Cynthia and I both rolled our eyes.  She knew as well as I did that that was probably not true.

From behind me a voice called, “Nena, where have you been?”  I turned to find my best friend Mya Parker coming up behind me with two cups in her hands.

Mya was Mya.  That was the best way to describe her.  She was half black, half Puerto Rican… and all crazy!  We worked together at one of the local high schools in Augusta, GA.  She taught Spanish and I taught American history.  Now Mya was a stunner.  I never understood how that girl was still single.  Long wavy black hair; pretty brown eyes that were always ready to laugh, and a body that showed both sides of her ethnic roots: big butt, big breasts, and long legs.  The girl was a straight ten.  I’m surprised I hadn’t developed a complex just being her friend for the last eight years.

“Hey, My!  Andrew and I got into another fight,” I said as I took one of the cups from her and gave her a hug.

“Another one! Girl, when are you two gonna get your acts together?”  I laugh.

“Honey, only God himself knows the answer to that one.”  Mya laughs in return.

“I take it since I don’t see him here that’s what the fight was about?”  Mya quips

“You’ve got it.  Work emergency supposedly,” I shrug and roll my eyes again.

We laugh again and all three of us walk towards the food tables.

Now my family doesn’t play when it comes to food.  By the pool was a long table stacked high with ribs, chicken, burgers, hotdogs, my mother’s award winning potato salad, corn, a huge garden salad, macaroni and cheese, and every other barbecue and picnic food known to man.  Of course on a separate table was a large sheet cake with my sister’s face on it.  The cake was definitely my dad’s idea.  I laugh to myself when I see it.

My dad loved his family and did some funny things to show it.  Cynthia would never have thought about putting her face on a cake, but Sergeant Major Chris Sylvan would.

“There’s my girl!” I turned to find my dad manning the grill and enjoying the company of some of our friends and neighbors.

“Hey Dad! How have you been?” I say as I give my dad a big squeeze.

“Where’s Mr. Wonderful?”

“Andrew says he’s sorry but he has to go into work all of sudden.”  I tried to keep my face straight as I say it but I could never hide my true feeling from my dad. He can always read me like a book. He saw hurt and disappointment in my eyes

Dad gives me a squeeze, a peck on the cheek, and says softly, “I’m sure he truly wanted to be here.”  Then he pats my arm and gives me one of those “everything is gonna be okay” smiles he is known for.

I smile at him.  As far as I’m concerned my dad was magical when it comes to making me feel better.

~~~~

 Later that afternoon I was helping to restock some of the food on the table.  As I was coming out of the kitchen with a big dish of baked beans I glanced back over my shoulder to make sure I hadn’t left the stove on.  All of a sudden, I walked smack into a tall Adonis of a man … spilling the beans all over him!

“Oh no! I’m so sorry,” I said as I tried to grab some towels to clean up the mess.

“No problem,” the Adonis said, “I was looking for some more beans anyway,” he says with a slight chuckle.  I look into his beautiful hazel eyes and my heart stops for a half second.

“Now this is a fine specimen of a man,” I think to myself.

“Are you okay?” he asked. I had been staring for a while I guess and I had to shake my head to try and get my thoughts in order.

“Yes Adonis, I’m just fine.” I say dreamily.

“Adonis?” He gives me a funny look. I gasp when I realize what I said. “I mean I’m good thanks.”

With some definite embarrassment, I try to shake his hand and introduce myself.  “I’m Andrea. Again I’m  so sorry about your shirt.”

He takes my hand and says, “Hi Andrea, I’m Lt. Byron Johnson. Please don’t worry about the shirt.”

Lt. Byron Johnson. Tall, skin the color of caramel, hazel eyes and a beautiful smile. Girl, I think I just fell in love.

“Andrea! Hurry up with the beans everyone is waiting for them,” I hear Mya say as she comes through the door.

“What are you doing in here? Gloria Dios! What a mess … and aren’t you cute,” she tells Byron as she looks him up and down.

Byron laughs and I quickly make introductions.

“Mya, this is Lt. Johnson.  We sort of had a collision on the way to the backyard.  Could you tell everyone that it’s gonna be a few minutes while I clean this up?”

Mya gives me a wink and says, “Sure thing,” and saunters out the door with a decided swing in her hips.

I turned back to Byron and offer to help him clean up.  I show him where the bathroom is and tell him if he hands me his shirt I’ll at least give it a good rinsing to try and keep the stain from setting.

When he hands me his shirt I know there was no way of cleaning it enough for him to continue wearing it through the rest of the party.

“I’m going to go to my parents’ room and see if I can find one of my dad’s shirts for you to borrow.”

“Are you Sgt. Major Sylvan’s daughter?” Byron asks through the door.

“I’m one of them.” I answer as I start walking towards my parents’ bedroom. “Give me just a moment while I go look in their closet.”

Now my dad has his own unique style all his own so finding a shirt that would fit Byron was going to be an interesting challenge.  My dad’s closet is a curious mix of classic 70’s attire, loud urban wear, and Hawaiian luau shirts.  I did say his tastes were unique right?

As I looked through my dad’s clothes I landed on a shirt I had given him a few years back for Father’s Day, a classic Ralph Lauren Polo shirt in navy blue.  It still looked new.  It had been a feeble attempt on my part to try and inject a bit of normalcy into his closet.  Good thing he has to wear a uniform for a living.

I took the shirt off the hanger and walked back to the bathroom.  “Byron I have a shirt for you to borrow.” I say as I knock on the door.

He opens the door and takes the shirt from me.

“Thanks Andrea.” I have to avert my eyes before he notices me staring at him again.  The man had a chest that only came from extensive time in the gym, and I have always liked muscles on a man.

“No problem.” I say as I clear my throat and turn to walk away. “I’ll see you outside.”

I turn, and hoping I am making a graceful exit when; all of a sudden … I slip on some of the beans that are still on the floor.

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