Saturday, December 15, 2018

Update to He's Not Mr. Perfect

Thank you all for the feedback last chapter, I'm really excited to be posting here, along some of my very favorite, talented writers, and I hope I'm doing the blog justice. I hope everything is working, as I've scheduled this again.

Here's Chapter II of He's Not Mr. Perfect.

Enjoy!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Update to Christmas Banquet

Hi everyone,

this is Chapter 2 of Christmas Banquet. Thank you so, so much for the awesome comments and the well wishes. I'm happy to be back here on the blog. Look forward to hearing from you!

Have a great weekend,
Lovis

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Final Update to the Consolation Prize

Hi everyone—

By now, ya'll who have stuck with this story from the beginning know what a journey it's been! I just wanted to say thank you to anyone who has been a reader these past seven months—all, or part, it doesn't matter. Thanks for taking the time. 

And for everyone who has commented, or consistently commented, thank you so much for the support. It has truly made posting an incredibly rewarding experience, and something I looked forward to every single week. You guys are the best. 

I'm going to take a little break, but I will definitely be back soon. This was too much fun and I've definitely got more stories to share. 

So, without ado, here is the Epilogue

And for those who want to re-read, or just getting started, here is the Table of Contents

xoxo Annie 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

New Chapter The One



Hi everyone,




Here is the 4th Chapter of The One. I have finally worked out how to Lovis. Thank you and fingers crossed they work.


Chapter 4


I have also done a link to last weeks chapter in case people couldn't get it to work.


Chapter 3




Thanks

Monday, December 10, 2018

New Chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi friends,
first off thank you so much for last week's responses and comments on here and also per email. It meant so much to me and it also let me know that people do care about reading the story. I am sure all authors agree that your feedback and comments are important to us and let us know that what we do here is a good thing.
Thanks again for everyone responding.
Here is this week's Chapter 7 of Will Love Prevail. I hope you enjoy as you follow along with Mark and Chiara and their story.
Have a great week,
Hugs, Dani
Here is the TOC

Sunday, December 9, 2018

How the Grinch Stole My Heart: The Book!

For those of you who are impatient to read the entire story of Jeremy and Noelle, at midnight tonight, How the Grinch Stole My Heart will be available for purchase:


Single mom Noelle can’t stand her crotchety next-door neighbor.

She’s never met the man in person, but Mr. Grieder, a.k.a. Mr. Grinch, leaves her nasty notes whenever her son plays in the hallway. He complained until their doorman got rid of the beautiful Christmas tree in the lobby. He even slammed his door on the Girl Scout Carolers. This is Noelle’s first Christmas since a painful divorce, and this grouchy old hermit seems determined to make her favorite holiday as unpleasant as he possibly can.

Except there are two things Noelle doesn’t know about Mr. Grinch:

One, he’s not an old man.

And two, he’s going to be her date for Saturday night.

This book has the backstory behind Jeremy's stroke and lots of cut scenes, and of course, the conclusion to the story (there's quite a bit left).  Get it now for only $2.99 on the Kindle or absolutely FREE if you have Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited!

Update to the Grinch

Will Jeremy finally get up the nerve to ask Noelle on a date?  Find out....

Chapter 8

Table of Contents

Saturday, December 8, 2018

He's Not Mr. Perfect - New Story

Hey!

I've been writing this for a while and I hope you people will like it. I''ve proofread it several times, but I know I might be missing something. Plus, English isn't my first language, so if there's any way I can improve my writing, let me know in the comments! I'd love some feedback.
I've scheduled this, so I hope everything works out just fine.

Here's the first chapter of He's Not Mr. Perfect.

Enjoy!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Are Thursdays Free?

Hey, all. Chie here. I'm not trying to steal Lovis's thunder by posting this right now, but taking a preliminary glance at the posts it looks like most days are taken. Is Thursday available? I would ideally like to start posting In/Exhale weekly again starting this coming Thursday, December 13, but I don't want to step on anyone's toes if someone else is already posting on that day. If so, are any days available? And if not, is it OK to double-post on one day? I could start the week after this coming one if necessary.

Thanks in advance,

-CA

A Little Christmas Story

Hi everyone,

I know this is Free Friday and I hope it’s okay if I squeeze in this week and the next two with a little Christmas story. I had planned to post on Saturdays again but since there’s a new story scheduled by a new author tomorrow I will do it this way (btw, I had a sneak peek at the story that will be posted tomorrow, and it sounds awesome!). Anyway, I’m going to post on Fridays only if there’s no short or irregularly updated story scheduled, so I hope this won’t be a problem.

Here’s Christmas banquet – Chapter 1. Let me know what you think!

Also, I’d really like to be able to announce that this is a comeback for me as a regularly contributing author on this site… but it’s not. I recently became a mom and my daughter has thoroughly managed to turn my life upside down. Honestly, I could not be more happy (not all times, though, hell no, it’s no fun waking up after barely having slept during the night, to find a slobbery pacifier stuck to your cheek and the room smelling of milk and vomit, with the prospect of having to change diapers before breakfast… but when the baby opens its eyes and glances at you trying to sneak out of bed… and smiles!… then it’s all just worth it), but all in all, I barely have the time or the mind to write anything. I might jump in with a short story once in a while, and I’ll stick around as a reader definitely, but don’t expect more for a while.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Update to the Consolation Prize

Hi everyone! 

Thank you thank you so so much for all of the comments last week. It seems like this story has really meant something to all the readers here, and it makes me so happy. 

Here is the final chapter for The Consolation Prize. I'm planning to post an Epilogue next week, so don't worry—we'll get to see into Scottie and Will's future, but unfortunately their story is coming to a close...for now. 

Again, thanks so much for sticking with me since May. This has become an epic tale—something I never anticipated. Ya'll are the best. 

Chapter 26 

And for those catching up or re-reading: 
Table of Contents 

New Devo Diary

Time for some more Devo Diary! Holy crap, I'm up to fifty chapters! I can't believe how long this is. Thank you so much for sticking with me for so many posts and over so many years. There's still a lot more to tell.

In this chapter, I'm back in hetero land with yet another dude from a dating site. Will it go well or will it be a hilarious disaster? If you've been reading along you probably know the answer already. Plus we hear a bit more from Mickey Cross too.

Devo Diary Chapter 50: The Manic Pixie Dream Guy

Table of Contents

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

New post The One

Sorry for the late post. Here is a link to chapter 3. Well at least I hope it works.
Also thank you for the comments.

http://stories.paradevo.net/2018/11/TheOne-Chapter3.html


Monday, December 3, 2018

New Chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi friends,
here is another Monday and it's time for some more of Chiara and Mark.
I have to admit though that I am feeling unsure about posting anymore for this story.
I was really hoping to get a bit more support/feedback last week after I had felt so anxious about the story and basically had decided to rewrite it. The story was up to almost 200 pages and to start basically at zero again was a big deal for me. But I wanted you guys to see Mark and Chiara meet up now already instead of 100 more pages down the road.
Unfortunately I didn't get but two people give me any feedback and I have to say it's a bit discouraging. Maybe you're not really feeling the story. I know it has language and the theme may not be everyone's cup of tea.
But before I decided to rewrite so Mark and Chiara could be together I lay awake for hours thinking about this and felt very anxious. So I guess I was hoping for a bit more feedback if you like the way the story was developing.
I'm willing to open up another channel of communication with me for people who don't have Google and can't comment. My email is: torninbetweenseit71@gmail.com
Now here is the chapter for this week Chapter 6
I really hope you are enjoying the story and I would really like to hear if you do.
Thanks for reading,
Hugs, Dani
Here is also the TOC




Sunday, December 2, 2018

Update to the Grinch

In this chapter, Jeremy finally goes on his date with Hayley.... but ends up in Noelle's restaurant....

Chapter 7

Table of Contents

As always, I am so grateful for feedback.  This is the last time I'll be able to fix anything, so let me know!!!!  Or just say hi :)

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Update to the Consolation Prize

Hi everyone! 

Happy Thursday. I know last week was a pretty big week for Scottie and Will, but here's hoping this week can top that. I promise this isn't quite the last chapter, but we're getting there :( 

Excited to hear what ya'll think about their reunion. Please comment with thoughts, feelings, frustrations, and feedback. I love it all, and you guys. Feels like we've been on a hell of a journey together! 

With love—Chapter 25 

And for those catching up or re-reading: 
Table of Contents 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Monday, November 26, 2018

Chapter 5 The One


The One

Chapter 5

New chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi my friends,
thanks to everyone still reading "Will Love Prevail".
I have been thinking a lot about this story for a long time and on Thanksgiving morning last week I woke up very early in the morning, insecurity jumped on me and I panicked thinking about the story and the upcoming chapter for today.
My mind was racing at the receipt of the story and not knowing what people think. Because of the theme of the story, the language, and the way it was going to continue I thought long and hard and sat down and over the last couple of days I started rewriting everything for the new chapter this week.
Everything I had initially written is now going to change. When I started writing a brand-new chapter for today I started feeling panicky but at the same time I think I can pull it off and make this a story you all want to read still.
Basically with the new chapter I completely changed the way the story will go and I am kind of starting at zero again. It's kind of a big deal when you have a story pretty much finished for many chapters to come and then start anew again. My previous stories were all finished before I started posting them here. Maybe I should have done that this time.
I felt people wouldn't want to wait too long for Mark and Chiara to finally get together. Of course it's difficult to know what people think. And I can tell you that Mark and Chiara wouldn't have gotten together yet for a long time but instead the story was turning tragic.
Anyways, I give you the next chapter Chapter 5  of "Will Love Prevail" and hope you like it. Let me know if you feel inclined to it.
Thanks for reading, you mean a lot to me.
Hugs, Dani
Here is the TOC

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Update to the Grinch

In this chapter, will Noelle finally discover that Jeremy is the neighbor she despises?  Find out....

Chapter 6

Table of Contents

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Update to the Consolation Prize

Hi everyone! 

It seemed like the general consensus last week was to have a Thanksgiving post—so here we are with Chapter 24. Thank you so much for all the wonderful comments. They make my week each and every week. 

I think this might be the chapter that you've all been waiting for—but don't worry—it's not the end. Here's hoping you like it. Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

Happy reading to everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving to those in the States! 

Chapter 24 

And for those catching-up: 
Table of Contents 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

New Devo Diary

It's time again for the biweekly update to Devo Diary. In this chapter, a former hookup unexpectedly reappears, and also I try again to have a relationship with a girl, with the encouragement of my lesbian friend who is going through some drama of her own.

Devo Diary Chapter 49: Betty

Table of Contents

As always thanks very much for reading and please do leave a comment!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The One

Hi, This is a first for me and I'm unsure if it's worth continuing with or not so I would be grateful for some feedback. It's a little story that I have had in my head for a while. 

Thanks in advance. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

New Chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi friends,
happy Monday!
Thanks for reading and commenting last week, you guys are awesome.
Here is the next chapter for "Will Love Prevail"

Chapter 4

Mark is finally going to see Chiara again. Enjoy and let me know how you like the chapter. Thanks so much to all of you.

Hugs, Dani

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Update to the Grinch!

In this chapter, Jeremy and Noelle meet once again.  Will she realize he's the neighbor she hates?

Chapter 5

Table of Contents

Would love feedback, as this is a work in progress!  Also, in the last chapter, there was a scene where Jeremy was talking to his elderly neighbor and I was worried about the scene going on too long and maybe getting boring.  Thoughts? 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Update to The Consolation Prize

Hi everyone! 

Hope it's good week. I'm excited to post Chapter 23 because we finally get to see a moment between Will and Scottie—the first since their heart wrenching breakup. And we also get to see a bit more about Pete and his feelings on everything. 

Thank ya'll for your comments and feedback last week. I love reading them all—truly makes this whole thing worthwhile. Seriously cannot wait to see what you think of this week's installment—shit gets real. 

As for next week—what do you think? Do you want a Thanksgiving post? Maybe building a little more anticipation—waiting until the week after—before Chapter 24 is a good thing?? 

Chapter 23 

And for those catching up or rereading: 
Table of Contents 

Monday, November 12, 2018

New Chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hello my readers, 😊
first off, Happy Veterans Day to all service women and men past and present and the families who have been  alongside of them through the generations. My husband served in the US Army for 22 years and I'm very proud of him. My son is presently serving in the US Coast Guard and I'm very proud of him as well. My younger son is thinking about joining the US Air Force but I still have him with me for at least three years ❤

And to my readers, thanks so much for last week's comments and for everyone who is reading without commenting. I appreciate all of you very much. You mean a lot to me.
Here is another chapter of my story "Will Love Prevail".
I hope you enjoy and I look forward to your comments.

Chapter 3

Hugs, Dani 💖

TOC

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Update to the Grinch

So you know how they say if there's a gun at the beginning of a book, it will definitely go off by the end?  Well, in a dev story, if there's a long extension cord, it will definitely get tripped over....

Chapter 4

And also: Table of Contents

Also, this is the last day where you can get the entire Santa's Girl (Dean & Callie) box set for 99 cents with the conclusion to their story.  It will be $3.99 after that.  Buy it now on Amazon while it's still cheap!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Update to The Consolation Prize

Hi everyone, 

Hope ya'll are having a good week. Excited to post this week's chapter. We'll get to see a little bit about the aftermath of the breakup. 

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, reactions, favorite parts, and feedback. I really love reading your comments each week. Can't believe I've been posting since May!  

Chapter 22 

And in case you want to catch-up or re-read: 
Table of Contents 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

New Devo Diary

Thanks every one for all the comments last chapter! This time around I start messaging with a blind guy online.

Devo Diary Chapter 48: Mickey Cross, part 1

Thanks again for reading and please do leave comments.

Table of Contents

Monday, November 5, 2018

New Chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi friends,
thanks for the comments last week. They are very much appreciated. It's really the only way for me to know if people like the story or not. I enjoyed particularly reading the long comment about action and descriptive writing. Thanks so much for that feedback.
I am not sure I will have a whole lot of action in this week's chapter. We are going to learn more about Mark though.
Here is Chapter 2 of "Will Love Prevail".
I hope you will enjoy and I thank you all for reading and commenting.

Here is also the TOC - Will Love Prevail
I will attach this updated every week.

Hugs, Dani



Sunday, November 4, 2018

Update to the Grinch!

So for those of you who were wondering what would happen when Jeremy and Noelle finally meet, that happens in this chapter.  But.... it doesn't happen the way you think....

Chapter 3

And if you missed it, here is Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Free Friday: Santa's Girl

Last holiday season, I started posting a story called Santa Crush, about an elf who gets a crush on the guy playing Santa, but has no idea about his secret.  I got such great feedback, I wrote a sequel, then another sequel.

Now for this holiday season, I decided to finish off Dean and Callie's story with a final novella that can only be read as part of the Santa's Girl Box Set:


So I don't want anyone who is a fan of the series to have to pay full price for the entire box set just to read the final novella, so I am keeping it at 99 cents (the minimum Amazon will allow) if you get it on preorder now. This is just for you guys. When it releases on Nov 12, the price will go up to $3.99.

Buy it now on Amazon.  Or else read an excerpt....

Santa's Girl

This suit fits like shit.

Suits are not meant to be worn by people sitting down. That is not to say that when you are wearing a suit, you’re not allowed to sit down. But obviously, the ideal position for someone wearing a suit (or really, any clothing) is standing up. That’s why they usually show models standing up, not sitting in a chair.

The jacket I’m wearing, for example, is too long in the back. I don’t want to sit on the hem of it, because it will cause pressure on my butt, but if I’m not sitting on it, it bunches up. The pants are wrong too. When I sit, they slide down in the back, and the fly zipper pouches out a little too much. But my mom thankfully removed all the back pockets from my pants soon after my injury, so at least I don’t have to worry about pressure injuries caused by pockets.

Like I said, it’s exhausting sometimes.

I wish I could stand. Just for this interview. I wish I could stride into VP Howard Thornton’s office, look him straight in the eyes without having to tilt my head up, and shake his hand. I wish just for today, I could leave the wheelchair behind at home.

But I can’t, of course. I can never leave the wheelchair behind. I will never be able to leave the wheelchair behind. Not short of a medical miracle.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The One, Chapter 2

Chapter 2


Ben

I hit it off with Sophie straight away, there were no awkward silences and we seemed to be into a lot of similar things. Well at least the things I used to love. Sophie told me all about her passion for travelling and her beloved football club. There was nothing more I loved doing than jetting off to a different country every time I had a break or playing football on a weekly basis. Even if it was just 5 a side. I’d not taken a step out of my country since the accident or should I say roll. And as for football, I struggle to watch the game on telly now never mind play or visit a stadium.

At that moment I realised my glass was empty, my heart started to race as I thought about Sophie realising I had to use a wheelchair so soon. I gave John a look and he instantly seemed to understand what I was going to say. “Drink anyone?” I asked.
“Pass me your card mate and I’ll go. Saves these beautiful ladies from moving,” replied John.
I silently mouthed “cheers” to John who in turn winked at me. Immediately, my heart started to slow down and I turned back to Sophie to continue our chat.

Sophie

I couldn’t believe my luck. After the initial shyness Ben did some serious flirting with me and we seemed to like all the same things. Could this be it? Could he be my Prince Charming?

Suddenly, Clare shouted, “drink up ladies, the taxi is here.” My heard sank, I didn’t want this to be the end of my night. I don’t think I’d ever had this connection with anyone. The girls stood up to put their coats on and John got up to say goodbye. I knew it was now or never. I’d never done anything like what I was about to do before. “Pass me your phone Ben,” I demanded sounding so confident. Without saying a word Ben passed it to me. I opened it up and typed in my number. I handed it back to him now shaking and said, “Hope to hear from you soon”. I leaned in and slowly placed my lips of his rosy red ones and cupped his jaw with my hand. “Goodnight sexy,” I said as I turned around and left the pub.

Ben

I couldn’t stop smiling, this had been the best night out since... God since I can’t remember when. Just then John came back from the door after saying goodbye to the girls. Sam has stayed with me otherwise I would have looked like the ignorant one. John looked at me with a serious face and I knew what was coming next. “Why man? Why didn’t you tell her?” he asked.
“You know why!” I snapped loosing all excitement about the situation.
“Ben you do know this can’t go anywhere if she doesn’t know the truth,” said John in a sympathetic tone.
“I know it does but I just wanted one night. One night where I was normal again. One night where I wasn’t pitied.” I cried.
“Ok you have had your one night now. when you message her you can tell her the truth,” demanded John.
“No, I’m not messaging her. My fun is over so let’s just leave it at that.” I replied in such a serious tone I knew the boys wouldn’t question it anymore tonight.

The One Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Sophie
Four days later and there was still no message from Ben. Why? I thought to myself. We had got on so well. Maybe he didn’t see me as girlfriend material and just as a bit of fun on a night out. Well I’d show him, we were off to a Halloween party at the local and I planned to dress to impress. I didn’t know if Ben would be there but I sure wanted him to regret not messaging me if he was.

Slowly, I walked down the stairs and smiled at Clare. “Wow you look stunning!” she stated never taking her eyes off me. “If I was that way inclined I’d make a hit on you right now sexy lady.” Immediately, we both started to laugh. I knew I looked pretty decent because I’d never seen Clare react like that. I was wearing a red wrap around lace dress, a pair of thick black tights and a load of eye make up. I had spent ages curling my hair and to finish off my outfit I placed my devil ears headband on my head and got Clare to safety pin my tail. Just then the taxi beeped out side so I put on my knee length boots and carefully walked to the taxi.

Ben

“No I’m not coming,” I screamed back at John.
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get a move on. Sam and Dan will be waiting for us. Dan said how it will be like old times the four of us together.” Said John.
“No go without me. You’ll have more fun without little ole cripple me,” I replied sounding like a petulant teenager. John laughed at me and stamped his feet saying,”It’s so unfair”. Whilst flicking his bottom lip. “You sound just like Kevin from Kevin and Perry. If you don’t get your wallet and coat I’m going to push you out of the house and drag you to the pub with my bare hands.
“Ok I’ll come but I’m only stopping for an hour and I’m driving,” I stated.
“Ok deal!” John replied looking smug with himself.

We arrived at the pub within 10 minutes. John quickly came round to my side of the car and placed my wheelchair on the floor. I carefully lifted each leg up and placed them on the floor. Slowly I moved to the edge of the drivers seat and leaned forward to grab hold of my chair. In one swift motion I lifted myself off the drivers seat and into my chair. I quickly picked up each of my useless legs and placed them in the centre of my leg rest. John looked up at me and said, “shit it looks like it’s going to be busy. It’s Halloween, I totally forgot.”
“Well when we get in. Get me into a corner  and out of my chair because there’s nothing worse than getting constantly banged into,” I explained. I knew John knew the real reason was Sophie but he wasn’t going to say anything because it had been difficult enough to persuade me to come at all.

Sophie

I quickly scanned the room and immediately I saw him. Sat with a lad I didn’t know and two other girls. John spotted us and followed us to the bar. He gave Clare a peck on the cheek, whispered something in her ear to make her smile which is something I’d have to ask her about later. He then came and said hello to the rest of us.

 The bar man approached us and then John made a beeline for me. “Soph I know you must be mad at Ben but please give him some slack. He’s been through a lot recently and he’s nervous around women. Especially beautiful ones like yourself.”
“What I load of rubbish,” I snapped back.”How can anyone as attractive as Ben be nervous around women? I’m not stupid, I know he only wanted a bit of fun that night. I can take the hint. I’ll be civil tonight but that’s it with us two.”
“Sophie you have this totally wrong. There’s been a lot of changes in Ben’s life over the last 10 months. I’m not going to explain what they are but they knocked his confidence. Yes before he knew he was a good looking lad who could have his pick but he no longer sees himself as that person. Please just give him a second chance,” pleased John.
“Like I said I’ll be civil but I don’t believe half of what you’ve said. He’s not even got off his arse to come and apologise. He could have at least done that, “ I replied angrily.

I slowly stepped out of the bathroom. I had said I needed to go visit the ladies but it was more so I could compose myself before seeing Ben. As expected John had asked us to sit with them and the others had said yes. Donna had looked at me with eyes that said sorry. I’d given her a secret nod so she knew I was ok about things. As I reached the table I realised I did know one of the girls, it was Nicola who worked at the local dentist and her colleague Lisa.

Nicola turned to face me and said, “Hi Sophie, it’s nice to see you. I haven’t seen you in ages. Let me move over so you can get in.” I looked up from where she was moving from and saw Ben. “No it’s ok I’ll sit on the end,” I replied.
“No nonsense we’ll move down,” she said. She then put she hand up to shield her face and said, “plus Lisa is hoping to get lucky with Dan over there.” I quickly scooted along the bench, not once making eye contact until I was sat to the left of Ben.

Ben

Wow! I don’t think I’d ever seen anything as beautiful in my life. Her hair glistened in the light and her cleavage showed enough  to make me want to rip her clothes off there and then. I shook my head, what was I thinking? If she knew the real me, she’d never want half a man. God she doesn’t probably want me after last time anyway. I looked at her sad eyes and knew I was responsible for them. “Sorry,” I said. God how pathetic am I? Sorry is the best I could do?
“Sorry? What for? You don’t have to be sorry for not wanting me but you could have at least told me,” she said with a disappointing tone. “I get I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.”
“No Sophie, stop there! You are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I’m just not in a good place right now to drag someone into my life. I’m sorry I was a coward and never told you,” he pleaded with puppy dog eyes. “Truce?”.
“Ok truce but never lie to me again. The truth is always better!” Sophie replied.

Update to The Consolation Prize

Hi guys—

I'm back! So sorry about leaving you on a cliffhanger last week—promise it wasn't my intention to take two weeks to get back here, but I'm sure it's built up some anticipation :) In this week's chapter we finally find out the truth about Will's accident. Hope it doesn't disappoint. 

Really excited to hear your thoughts and reactions—please comment to let me know! It's so encouraging to read them each week. Enjoy!

Chapter 21 

Table of Contents 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The One Chapter 4

Chapter 4

 Ben

 God I’m such a coward. I’ve got the best woman in the world here and I can’t even be honest. She might have wanted me even after all my floors. God who am I kidding? She definitely would have ran a mile.

Suddenly, Sam jumped up in a drunken mess and I quickly realised I had been using him to keep myself up right. I instantly felt myself slid sideward and the next thing I knew I’d side planked the back rest.   God I wanted to die. Why wouldn’t the floor open up and swallow me whole? Sophie laughed, turned to me and said, “how much have you had to drink? Come here, let me help you up you drunken sailor.” I stuck my hand out and used Sophie and the table to regain my balance. “Thank you. I’m obviously more drunk than I thought. Think I need to slow down. Water next for me,” I replied smiling but secretly knowing I’d only had one alcoholic drink.
“Ok, I’m off to the bar. Water is it,” stated Sophie.  Just then Sam came back and plonked himself next to me. “You bloody idiot, you got up and I was using you as support and I face planked,” I snapped.
“Sorry mate! I didn’t think,” slurred Sam.
I looked at Sam with sudden fear in my eyes. “What’s up mate?,” Sam questioned.
“My leg bag. I forgot to empty it before we came out. Will you have a quick feel and see if it’s full?” I pleaded suddenly feeling very worried. Sam bend down and gave my bag a squeeze. I would have done it myself if I wasn’t worried about loosing my balance again. “I’d say about three quarters full. You want to go empty it?” asked Sam.
“No I’m fine. I’ll just not drink anymore,” stated Ben.



 Sophie

The night quickly flew by and I couldn’t believe how at ease I was with Ben. I laughed so much my belly hurt and quickly forgot about his rejection. I confidently said to him, “pass me your phone again.” Ben looked at me confused. “Don’t worry I’m not trying it on with you but I’m going to ring myself so I have your number because I’d like to stay friends.”
Ben smiles and replied, “I’d like that as well.”
“Right taxis here so we need to go,” explained Clare. I turned to look at Ben and said, “Bye” as I walked off.

The taxi had been gone 10 minutes when we arrived at Donna’s. She quickly got out of the taxi and waved goodbye to us. That’s when I realised that I’d left my coat with our house keys on the back of the chair in the pub. I apologised to Clare and we made a detour back to the pub.



 Ben
Soon after the girls had gone Lisa and Nicola also decided to call it a night. Once they had gone I mentioned to the lads that I was tired and ready for home. All 3 decided they were ready so we started to pack up for the night. I quickly slid along the back rest and transferred into my chair which John had brought back to the table. Once I was seated I heard the unmistakable voice of Sophie say hi. I quickly looked up to see a very nervous Sophie. “I forgot my coat which has our house keys inside,”she stuttered. “Ben I’m confused, where’s the wheelchair come from?” Immediately, I saw the puzzle fit together in her head and her face change to disgust. I tried to control my emotions and did the only thing I could think of. I pushed as quickly as I could to the toilet and locked the door behind me.



Sophie

“I’m confused, does Ben always use a wheelchair? Why’s he hid it? I don’t understand!” I babbled.
“Sophie to cut a long story short yes he does. He’s not got his head around it and feels he’s treated different when people don’t know’” explained John. “I need to go see him but I promise to come round tomorrow and explain it all. I’ll ring Clare to sort a time. Sorry you had to find out like this”. I stood there in shock and confusion as everyone disappeared around me.




Ben

“Open the door Ben. Open it now I’m worried. If you don’t open it In 10 seconds I’m kicking the door in and you are paying the bill for a new one,” shouted John. I knew he wasn’t joking so I answered him. “Are you on your own?” I asked feeling my voice begin to shake again.
“Yes she’s gone home and I told the lads to get a taxi. Now open up!” John demanded.
I undid the latch and slowly rolled back. John peered around the door and I took one look of him and lost it. He knelt down and put his arms around me. “God man you know I don’t do hugs or crying. You are privileged here!”
“I saw it. I saw the look in her eyes. Once she saw me In my chair she looked at me in disgust,” I sobbed.
“Don’t be silly! There was no disgust there. Confusion yes but no disgust,” stated John. “Let’s get you home and you can think it through and then you can message Sophie in the morning.”
“I’ll agree on the first part but no way can I deal with anymore disgust or pity so there will be no message from me,” I replied.
“Whatever you say,” sighed John.

Monday, October 29, 2018

New story "Will Love Prevail"

Hi friends,
thanks for responding last week to my return intro.
I have actually debated long and hard these past few days if I really could pull it off again and I also debated with which story of the couple I'm working on I would come back.

I am coming back with a story that I had posted a first chapter of about two years ago. Back then it was just an idea that had jumped in my head and I jotted it down very quickly but at that time I had nothing else written on the story. It was only an idea. I had named it "Happy Birthday", maybe some of you remember. I deleted that single chapter from here and rewrote it over the last couple of months and of course added on to the story.  It is written in third person.

I also renamed it. "Will Love Prevail" is what I came up with just these last few days. This is kind of a tragic story and also somewhat dramatic. There is violence, sexual content, and bad language, just a heads up. It's still a boy meets girl story and I'm sure you will find similarities to my other stories but I can't help that. I don't know anything about other disabilities besides paraplegia and personally it is my preferred disability so we are meeting another paraplegic main character, Mark.

Mark is an ex Infantry soldier who got injured in Afghanistan. He is living his life as a paraplegic to his best abilities, still dealing with his demons but managing okay. For his 30th birthday his friends get him a special present, a hooker named Chiara. Meeting Chiara turns his world upside down but also gives him a purpose again and awakens feelings in him. With Chiara coming into his life though he is literally rolling into dangerous territory.

I'm nervous giving you this story because I am not sure how it will be received. My hope is that some of you are going to like it and for you I will post. Thanks for your support! Happy reading!

Here is Chapter 1   (unfortunately I had problems linking tonight, couldn't really get it and don't remember how I used to do it, so you may actually get nothing with this link....would you please let me know if that is the case)

Thanks, Hugs, Dani

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Update to The Grinch

Thank you so much for your comments last week!!!!  I'm hoping this story will be one of those ultra-cute holiday romances.  In this chapter, we learn more about Jeremy's disability:

Chapter 2

And if you missed it, this is Chapter 1!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

New Devo Diary

Hi everyone, it's time for a new chapter of Devo Diary! The last chapter ended with me vowing to only date disabled guys from now on, and now in this chapter I'm making good on that promise by going on a date with a deaf guy.

This chapter is kind of a stand-alone, so even if you haven't read the previous chapters, it will still make sense by itself. It was really hard to write this one, and it ended up being much longer than usual, but I think it was important to keep it all in one entry. It brings up a lot of major issues in dev/dis relationships.

Devo Diary Chapter 47: Seymour the Cyborg

As always thank you for reading and commenting!

Monday, October 22, 2018

How the Grinch Stole My Heart: TOC

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Hi there


Hey everyone, 

it's me, Dani. How is everyone? I missed being here. 

I can't believe it's been 2 years since I last posted. 

There are a few reasons for this - 2017 my oldest left the nest and it was super stressful and emotionally draining with lots of planning, some travelling and heart strings getting pulled into all directions.

On top of it I actually dealt with some health issues and had to start on getting all that sorted out. 2018 continued in the same fashion with a breast biopsy (everything was good), a brain MRI (everything was good), panic attacks (got that taken care of with the help of a counselor and am now a gym rat..lol), training for a new department in my job, and recently my mom who is possibly in the early stages of dementia visiting me for a few weeks. 

Honestly I also felt somewhat insecure about coming back because I'm only an amateur writer, Englisch is not my native language, I don't have any formal education in writing, and it seemed the Blog had enough submissions that were a lot more professional including published work, than what I have to offer. I still enjoy writing and I hope some of you who read some of my previous stuff on here are still around. I have been working on and off on several stories and I think I'm ready to share something again.

It looks like Monday is a day up for the taking and I'm thinking about posting again. I write on the side because work, kids, house, pets, husband, friends and life in general is a lot sometimes.  

I'm actually nervous posting this here because it will establish a commitment to fulfill on my end, regularly posting for the people who care to read it, taking the time to keep writing and working on all my stories to finish them. I am determined to come back and being here with you will push me in my writing efforts again.
Hugs, Dani   


Sunday, October 21, 2018

NEW STORY: How the Grinch Stole My Heart

Hi all!  This is my latest Christmas story.  I was going to wait until November to post, but it's SO QUIET here, I decided to go ahead and start posting now.  It's a cute Christmas story with an enemies to lovers theme.  It's a work in progress and you guys have been soooo helpful with your suggestions, so would love to hear them or just if you like/dislike!  In the meantime, please enjoy.....

How the Grinch Stole My Heart


Jeremy

Thump.

I close my eyes, trying to shut out the sound of a ball hitting the wall just outside my apartment.  It’s the second time in two days.  The second goddamn time.

Thump.  Thump.

I feel a seedling of a headache starting in my left temple.  I open my eyes and stare at the computer screen in front of me, filled with code.  If I get a migraine, there’s no way I’ll be able to get any work done.  I’ll be lucky if I can get out of bed.

Thump.  Thump.  Thump.

I grit my teeth.  I know it’s a lot to expect absolute silence at three o’clock in the afternoon on a Sunday, but there’s something about that sound that gets me.  The fact that it’s not quite rhythmic.  The way sometimes there’s a gap in the thumps and I think it’s finally stopped, but nope, there it is again.

I know who’s doing it.  It’s that kid. That goddamn kid. I don’t know his name, but his family moved here a couple of months ago, and ever since winter hit for real, he’s been playing out in the hall with his rubber ball.  He throws it against the wall as hard as he can, then he catches it.  You’d think he’d get bored of it eventually, but he never does.  He never.  Fucking. Does.

Thump. Thump.

I don’t want to be the asshole who yells at a little kid for tossing a ball around in the hallway.  I don’t want to be that guy.  Nobody likes that guy.  Remember Dennis the Menace and his grouchy old neighbor, Mr. Wilson?  Dennis the Menace was always messing up Mr. Wilson’s lawn or knocking down half his house or pulling down his pants to reveal polka dot boxers, but somehow Dennis was still the hero.  Did anyone root for Mr. Wilson?  No, nobody did.

I don’t want to be Mr. Wilson. I don’t. I’m just really sick of the sound of that goddamn ball.  I’m not going to be able to pay my rent if the kid keeps it up.

Thump!  Thump!

To hell with it.  I’m going to say something.  Maybe the kid can go throw a ball on the floor above or below.  Or anywhere else besides right outside my fucking door.

I take a breath, steeling myself for the effort it will take to stand up.  I reach with my left hand for the forearm crutch I always keep leaning against my desk when I work.  I lace my left arm through the metal loops, then slowly haul myself to my feet like I have hundreds of times before.  I have a false start, where it seems like I’ll fall right back into my chair, but I don’t. 

I’ve gotten good at this over the last several years.  I barely remember a time when standing up from a chair didn’t involve any effort at all.  It feels like that was a whole other life. 

I guess it sort of was.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Update to The Consolation Prize

Hi everyone! 

Please enjoy this week's update. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, unfortunately, and there's a good chance I won't be able to post next week because of work travel with limited access to internet. I will try my best, but if not, I'll see you guys two weeks from today. I'm sorry! 

Can't wait to hear what you think though on this week's installment—please comment and let me know! 

Have a great weekend! 

Chapter 20 

Table of Contents 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Update to The Consolation Prize

Hi everyone—

Happy Thursday! This week's chapter uncovers a bit more about what happened last week, and gives us some Scottie and Will 1:1 time. 

Hope ya'll enjoy—please comment and let me know what you think! 

Chapter 19 

Table of Contents 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Update to The Consolation Prize

Hi guys! 

Here's this week's update of The Consolation Prize where things start to unravel a bit. Hope you enjoy and can't wait to hear your thoughts. 

Chapter 18 

Table of Contents 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

More Devo Diary

As promised, I'm back with another bi-weekly chapter of Devo Diary. In this chapter, I tell another friend about being a devotee, and try to date another AB guy. Plus lots more Mantis!

Devo Diary Chapter 46: The Mantis, Coda

Thank you all for reading and commenting! It's good to be back.

Monday, October 1, 2018

How the Grinch Stole My Heart, Chapter 2


Jeremy

I never would have opened the door if I had any clue what would be behind it. 

But I’ve been expecting a delivery.  Band-Aids, courtesy of Amazon.  I don’t even recall using any Band-Aids in the last several months, but yesterday I needed one when I slipped with the knife while trying to pry a bagel open, and they were all gone.  Whenever I think I’ve finally got the hang of cutting things one-handed, I end up with a nice gash on my hand to prove me wrong.  So I ordered Band-Aids.  And also, a bagel guillotine.

Most people’s deliveries are left with the doorman, who keeps them stashed in a closet behind his desk.  Lucky for me, Luis the super is nice enough to bring packages directly to my door.  He does that favor for me and four other people in the building.  All of the other tenants who get their packages hand-delivered are over the age of seventy.  Certainly none of them are in their early thirties like yours truly.

I’d tell him I’d get the damn packages myself, but who am I kidding?  I can’t carry a box while I’m walking.  After six years of this, I’ve learned not to let my stupid pride get in the way.

Most of the time.

So when I hear the doorbell ring, I assume it’s Luis. I throw open the door without even checking the peephole.  Big mistake.  One I will soon pay big time for.

Standing before me are three grade-school-aged girls.  Three girls, somewhere between kindergarten and puberty, who look as surprised to see me as I am to see them.  I assume these girls are my neighbors from somewhere within the building, but damned if I’ve ever seen them before.  That’s the problem with essentially being a shut-in—I don’t know my neighbors.  Actually, it’s less of a problem and more of a fringe benefit.

The girls are dressed identically.  Identically and impractically.  It’s below freezing out today, yet they’re each wearing green velvet dresses with short sleeves and red trim. The girls each have their hair tied into identical pigtail braids with the same red satin bows that trim their dresses.  The middle girl is the tallest and blondest of the three.  She’s the prettiest too.  I can almost see this girl ten years from now, striking down any poor schmuck who dares to approach her. When she sees me, she shoots a look at a tall woman in her early forties standing to the side.  The meaning of the look is obvious:

Do we have to do this?

The woman plasters a smile on her face and thrusts a hand in my direction. “Hello!” she says in a fake cheerful voice that grates on my nerves.  “My name is Luann Williamson and I live in 8F!”

Shaking hands.  So easy for most people.  You stick out your right hand, clasp the other hand in front of you, and then it’s over.  Bada bing, bada bang.  Most people don’t even think about it.

My right arm doesn’t move.  At all.  Not my hand, not my elbow, not my shoulder.  When my right hip started moving again, the doctors were hopeful for my arm, but nothing ever happened.  Six months after an aneurysm burst in my brain on Christmas Day, I was told the chances of ever regaining any movement at all in my right arm were “slim to none.” 

My right arm is useless.  Completely and utterly useless.

I’ve gotten good at doing most things one-handed, albeit with occasional injury.  For the first year, I was seething with resentment, but I’ve mellowed since then.  So I can’t cut a bagel without nicking a vein.  So I can’t tie my shoelaces anymore.  Eventually, you get over it and move on.

The truth is, I could deal just fine with my right arm not being around to help me if the goddamn thing weren’t such a liability.  That’s what kills me.

For example, at the moment, instead of lying quietly at my side, my right hand is clenched into a tight fist pressed firmly against my chest, my elbow bent as far as it can go, at the mercy of muscles I can’t control.  It’s hard to even put a shirt on when my arm is this tight.  It looks painful, and trust me—it is. 

It’s the cold weather that does it to me.  Not that the summer is any picnic, but the winter is always especially awful for my muscles.  Yet another reason to dread Christmas.

Since I opened the door, Luann Williamson has been trying desperately to avoid staring at my arm.  I could see it all over her face. Yet she still stuck out her right hand for me to shake.  And now I have to deal with this situation.

I sigh and let go of the handle of my crutch with my left hand to clasp her hand briefly, just so this awkward moment can be over.  Her cheeks color as our hands make contact, and she’s quick to pull away.  If I needed a reminder why I haven’t dated in years, there it is.

Christ, why the hell are these people at my door?  Are they girl scouts?  Are they selling cookies?  I don’t want cookies, but I’ll give them a wad of cash to leave immediately.

“My daughter Katie and her friends Liz and Brianna are singing carols for the holiday,” Luann Williamson explains to me.  She’s not meeting my eyes anymore.

“Oh,” I say.  “That’s nice.”

And then we stand there in uncomfortable silence.  It takes fifteen minutes of silence before I get it.

These girls want to sing for me.  Christmas songs. 

Is she kidding me?

“Luis suggested you might enjoy it,” Luann Williamson adds.

Oh.  Okay, I get it now.  Luis gave her the names of me and the other building shut-ins who were likely to be home at four in the afternoon on a Monday.  He didn’t do it to be a jerk.  He probably thought we all needed a bright spot in our day.  A little Christmas cheer.

Except I’m in the middle of working, and I really really don’t have time to listen to Christmas carols.  I’m about to explain that when the chubby little brunette on the end says to me, “What’s your favorite Christmas song, Mister?”

I stare at her.  “I don’t like Christmas songs.”

The dark-haired girl’s eyes widen.  “You don’t?”

She couldn’t have looked more horrified if I admitted to her that I’m ninety-five percent sure the Santa at the department store down the block is the homeless man I’ve seen sleeping on our corner.

No,” I say in a voice that I hope does not invite further exploration of the topic.  I glance at Luann Williamson.  “I’m sure there are other people in the building who would really enjoy this, but I’m working now.  I’m very busy.”

“Yeah, let’s go,” the blond girl, Future Destroyer of Men, mutters under her breath.

 Go, please go.  I can’t stand here while these three kids sing songs for me because they feel sorry for me. And about my least favorite holiday. 

Christmas.  Taylor used to love Christmas. 

That tree we had six years ago was the last one that’s ever been in my home.

I wonder if Taylor’s got a new tree.  I wonder if she’s got presents stacked under the tree for her new husband.  I wonder if they’re going to have sex on Christmas morning.

“My favorite is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” the dark-haired girl tells me. 

“Ugh!” the blond girl huffs.  “I hate that stupid song, Katie!”

“It’s funny,” the brunette, Katie, insists.  “You have to do it with the funny lyrics.”  She looks at me, her brown eyes wide and earnest.  Somehow she reminds me of Taylor—what Taylor might have been like when she was a little girl.  “So after the lyrics, ‘Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose,’ someone else would say—”

“Like a lightbulb,” I finish, without meaning to. I spent a good year of my childhood singing that song.  Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, you’ll go down in history—like George Washington! When I was nine, that was the height of comedy.  I wish anything could make me as happy now as that song made me when I was a kid.

Katie beams at me.  “Yeah!  You know it?”

I didn’t mean to encourage her.  But now it’s too late.  This little girl is singing—singing her heart out.  She’s off-key but what she lacks in pitch, she makes up in enthusiasm.  She’s belting out the most boisterous version of Rudolph I’ve ever heard while her friends reluctantly sing along.  It’s cute—I’m not going to say it’s not cute.  But I’m not in the mood for this shit.  I’ve got a lot of work to do.

And even if I didn’t have anything to do, I’m still not in the mood.

When they finish the song, Katie does jazz hands.  She looks really proud of herself.  The corners of my lips twitch, almost smiling but not quite.  It’s possible I’ve forgotten how.

“Thanks,” I mutter.  “Okay, well, goodbye—”

“What song would you like next?” Katie asks me.

I look over at the blond girl, who is twirling one of her braids around her finger, her blue eyes lifted skyward.  God, Katie,” the girl says, “he doesn’t want any more songs.  Let’s just go.”

“But…” Katie juts out her little chin.  “We’re supposed to do three.”

I shake my head.  “I’ve got work to do, so…”

“We’re supposed to do three,” Katie insists.

“Look, I don’t—”

Her eyes brighten. “What about The Twelve Days of Christmas?”

No.  No.  “I really don’t—”

“Katie, honey,” Luann says through her teeth, “this man says he doesn’t want any more songs.”

“You said we’re bringing Christmas cheer to people who don’t have friends and family,” Katie says pointedly.  Well, she’s got my number.  No friends, no family.  Just me, my computer, a plant I keep forgetting to water, and soon a bagel guillotine. “You said three songs, Mommy.”

Luann lets out a strangled laugh.  “Katie…”

“On the first day of Christmas,” Katie begins, her clear voice ringing out through the hallway, “my true love gave to me…”

Why is everything this week straining the very limits of my patience?  I could have listened to one more quick song, but doesn’t this song have like a million verses?  Or at least… you know, twelve verses?  Which is a lot. 

I don’t have time for this.  And what’s more, my right leg is tightening up to the point where I’m worried I won’t be able to stand much longer.  I don’t want to face-plant in front of these girls. 

“I’m sorry,” I say, even as Katie is still belting out the lyrics, “I really don’t have time to—”

“…a partridge in a pair tree…”

She’s not stopping.  For Christ’s sake…

“I’m sorry,” I say again. 

And then?  I shut the door in her face.

Yes, I slam the door in the face of a little girl.  Who is trying to sing me Christmas carols because I apparently have no friends or family.  Two weeks before Christmas.

I’m worse than Mr. Wilson.  I’m Scrooge.

But in my defense, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is a really fucking long song.


Noelle

“Henry!  Stop fiddling with your jacket!”

Walking home with my child from his school five blocks away is an exercise in learning to control my temper.  When I picked him up, he insisted he didn’t want to wear his winter coat because it was “so hot.”  After spending five minutes trying to persuade him he couldn’t go out in a T-shirt in sub-freezing temperatures, I decided to just go with it.  I assumed within one minute, Henry would crack and put the damn thing on. 

After two blocks, Henry was still happily walking along next to me in his T-shirt.  My iPhone was reporting the temperature to be twenty-nine degrees, but my child was somehow perfectly comfortable with no coat or even sweater.  Does he have some problem with his temperature regulation?  Is his internal thermometer broken?  Is that a thing?

People were starting to give me some serious dirty looks.  One woman barked at me that she was going to report me to Child Protective Services.  Finally, I was the one who cracked.  I shook Henry’s blue Cars-themed jacket in his face and barked, “You need to put this on!  It’s too cold!”

“I’m not cold!”

“I don’t care!”

Not my best parenting moment, that’s for sure.  And then once Henry put the damn coat on, he couldn’t figure out the zipper.  The cold wind slapped me in the face as I got down on my knees to inspect the little zipper on Henry’s coat.  I don’t understand why all the zippers on children’s coats are dysfunctional.  Is that too much to ask for?  A working zipper? 

Of course, two minutes after I got it zipped, Henry had unzipped it because it was “so hot!”

By the time I get to our building, I’m ready to climb into bed and hide under the covers for the next week.  My job as the manager of a busy restaurant is stressful enough, especially since one of the waitresses no-showed and I had to sub in for her shift.  I’m just lucky they let me adjust my hours so I’d be able to leave early enough to pick up Henry when his afterschool program ended. 

At least the lobby is warm.  The heat fills my cheeks and my fingers tingle as the circulation starts back up.  Also, they’ve put up a Christmas tree in the lobby, which fills my chest with a warm, good feeling.  I love Christmas.  I mean, you pretty much have to if you have a name like “Noelle.” We only have space in our tiny apartment for a half-sized tree, but this one is full-sized or even plus-sized, lit with multicolored bulbs and ornaments hanging off every branch.  Unfortunately, they’ve pushed it all the way to the side of the lobby so you can barely see it.

“Katie, honey, I’m sure he was just really busy…”

I look over at the plush red couches at the far end of the lobby, where there’s a little dark-haired girl in a pretty green velvet dress, who is sobbing loudly while a woman attempts to comfort her.  Henry nudges me when he sees them, “Mom, that’s Katie from school!”  He raises his hand at her.  “Hi, Katie!”

Before I can tell my son to leave the poor girl alone, I’ve made eye contact with the woman comforting her.  She shoots me a pained look, and I feel obligated to go over there.  After all, I don’t know many people in the building yet.  I should probably try to make some friends.  It seems like Greg got all our old friends in the divorce. 

“Is everything okay?” I ask.  “Anything I can do to help?”

The woman rubs the little girl’s back.  “We had a caroling mishap.”

“I was just trying to do three songs!” Katie bursts out.

The woman sighs and tucks her blond hair behind her ear.  “The girls were trying to sing for this man on the fifth floor who… well, he was busy, I guess.  He shut the door in our face in the middle of Katie singing.”

I gasp.  “How awful!”

“We live on the fifth floor!” Henry volunteers.  He looks up at me, his eyes widening.  “Mom, I bet it was the mean guy in 5B!”

“It was!” Katie exclaims, wiping tears from her eyes.  “It was 5B!  He didn’t like our songs at all.”

“I hate that guy!” Henry exclaims.

“Henry,” I say sternly.  “We don’t say ‘hate.’  That’s not a nice word.”

“Yeah, but he’s really mean!” My son juts out his lower lip.  “He slammed the door on Katie while she was singing.  That’s rude, right, Mom?  And he was mean to me too!”

“Still,” I say.

The woman’s eyebrows are scrunched together, so I tell her, “This guy heard Henry playing with his ball in the hallway and threatened to take it away.”

“Oh wow!” She shakes her head.  “That’s terrible.  I’ve seen that guy around, and if I knew it was his apartment… well, I certainly wouldn’t have knocked.  He’s not very friendly.  I’ve shared an elevator with him, and he doesn’t even say hello.  He just grunts if you talk to him.”

“Probably better to stay out of his way.”  I offer a smile.  “By the way, I’m Noelle.  My son and I just moved in to 5H.”

I reach out my hand and the woman clasps it in her own as she smiles at me.  She seems nice.  I want to make some new friends. I don’t want to admit how desperately lonely I’ve been in the last year.

“I’m Luann,” she says.  “Katie is my youngest—I’ve got an older son too.  We live in 8F.  Welcome to the building.”  Her smile widens.  “A few grouches aside, it’s a nice place to live.”

“I love the Christmas tree.” My eyes go back to the large tree at the far end of the lobby.  It’s really beautiful.  It reminds me of the trees we used to have when I was growing up, before I was relegated to tiny apartments in the city.  “Why does it have to be all tucked away back there though?”

“I know!” Luann cries.  “I was thinking the same thing!”

The doorman, Joe, is flipping through a magazine at his desk.  Joe is always reading or fiddling with his phone or dozing off.  I feel like at the price we’re paying to live here, he should be constantly at attention like those guards in front of Buckingham Palace. I stride over to the desk and clear my throat until he looks up.

“Oh, hi, Ms. Moore,” he says.  “What’s up?”

“That tree.” I point to it with my embarrassingly bitten fingernails.  My bad habit is really getting out of control.  I hope Luann doesn’t see.  “Is there any way we could have it moved so that it’s where people can actually see it?”

I can see it,” Joe says.

Helpful.  Very helpful.

Katie has stopped crying and joined my son to admire the tree up close.  Just looking at that tree makes me tear up.  Honestly, this holiday has been rough for me—it’s the first Christmas since my divorce.  But it’s funny how something simple like a beautiful Christmas tree could make me remember there are still things I enjoy in life, even if my ex is a total wanker.

I’m going to enjoy this holiday.  In spite of Greg. 

“You could move it right there,” Luann suggests, pointing to a spot more central in the lobby.  “That would be a much better spot.”

“There’s no outlet there.” Joe shrugs.  “Gotta plug the tree in, right?”

Luann raises her eyebrows.  “You don’t have an extension cord?”

I have to hand it to Luann.  She doesn’t let up until Joe digs out a huge extension cord that traverses the length of the lobby and repositions the tree in a more central location.  Luann steps back to admire it.

“That’s so much better!” she exclaims.

Joe looks doubtfully at the tree, then down at the extension cord.  “Someone could trip on this cord.”

Luann snorts.  “Don’t be ridiculous.  It’s just a tiny little extension cord.”

I’m not so sure.  It does seem possible someone could trip on that cord, but Joe finally shrugs and leaves it as it is.  I suppose if he thinks it’s okay and so does Luann, it’s probably fine.

To be continued next time, when Jeremy and Noelle finally meet.....