Sometimes the life you planned isn’t the one you get to live. Sometimes the pain of the past overshadows the future. And sometimes to start over you have to go back to where it all began. That’s how it was for Joe Masters. That’s how he ended up back in New Hope. And that’s why he was in his thirties and had nothing to show for his life. He needed a complete overhaul, just like his father’s old house. Instead of a fast track, he had slowed down and was on a ten year plan. These days that was more his speed. And as much as he tried to fight the inevitable, he was learning to accept and surrender.
Martha had weathered her fair share of storms in Vermont, was accustomed to the cold, both the chill in the air and the cold shoulder in her marriage, but after the miscarriage she felt like she would never get warm again. So she did the research from the laptop while sitting in front of the fireplace. She knew what she needed when she Googled hope, she just never imagined that it would bring her to New Hope, South Carolina. She never imagined that her husband would trick her into leaving and never follow. She never imagined that a southern storm with all its force and fury could be so destructive. But after the storm, the land is washed clean. It’s perfect for a fresh start, a clean slate, and a new love.
Excerpt:Marti glanced at the hammer, then the tile, shrugged, and started swinging. The tile made a lovely high pitched sound as it shattered. The shards flew about the room, ricocheting off the walls and door before landing on the floor. And because that first swing felt so good, she just kept swinging. Each time the sledge hammer connected with the tiles, she would think of what her marriage had been like. She would recall an incident, or a conversation, or any one of a thousand reasons that she should have dumped him, should have ended the marriage years ago. It felt good. Maybe even great. And then she looked down and saw red. Literally. There were blood droplets all over. Before she could even ponder why the room was looking like a crime scene, the wooden handle was ripped from her hands.
“What are you doing?” He sounded incredulous. And annoyed.
“You’re a contractor? What does it look like I’m doing?” She was upset that he had interrupted her impromptu therapy session.
Shaking his head, Joe grabbed her hand and pulled her out of the room. “I know demo and that wasn’t it.”
She growled. “I wasn’t done yet!”
“You, babe? You are finished.” She opened her mouth to argue, but he covered it. With his mouth.
Shocked, she stood there with her eyes wide open. His mouth was pressed against hers. And it didn’t feel wrong at all. Without thinking, she melted into him, wrapped an arm around his neck, and allowed her eyes to slowly flutter shut. Joe bent slightly and scooped her up and held her against his muscular chest. His lips pulled back, but his forehead was pressed against hers. She opened her eyes to find him staring at her.
“Crazy woman,” he muttered to himself as he carried her out the back door of the house. She couldn’t be certain, but it seems like she would have been carried farther if he hadn’t heard the sound of others talking in the front yard.
Slowly he lowered her to the ground and made sure she had her footing before releasing her. She wanted to smile up at him, but she hadn’t decided what to make of that moment. All she could do was look at him and murmur…”Why?”
“I needed to distract you,” he responded with a shrug. And with that he turned and walked away.
Interview with Blaine:
NAM: So, nice of you to stop by for an interview, Blaine.
Blaine: Well, I really wanted the chance to tell my side of the story. Will this take long? I have a liposuction to perform in a few hours.
NAM: I’ll try to keep it brief. Let’s see…how long have you been having an affair with Suzette?
Blaine: My lawyer has advised me not to discuss the nature of my relationship with my office manager.
NAM: Okay. Now if we can’t talk about Suzette, are we allowed to discuss Martha? I found it to be really interesting that she was pregnant for your child while you were clearly involved in a relationship with Suzette.
Blaine: I’m pretty sure that would fall under the list of items that I can’t discuss. Next topic.
NAM: What if we talk about something I know you love talking about? Tell me a little about yourself.
Blaine: *smiling widely* I am the plastic surgeon behind the highly regarded Burlington Surgical Solutions. The practice is nearly five years old and consistently growing. We offer both surgical and non-surgical procedures to help the patient achieve the desired results. Our laser services are gaining popularity because there is no down time. Procedures can be done over a lunch break and the pricing is very affordable.
NAM: It seems like this is the kind of practice that would flourish pretty much anywhere. Is there a reason that you wouldn’t want to move it to a city like Charlotte where there is a much larger population with that kind of disposable income?
Blaine: * sigh* It wasn’t Charlotte that was the problem. It was Marti. I didn’t want the marriage anymore.
NAM: Did the marriage become more of a problem before or after you started seeing Suzette?
Blaine: After. Shit. That was off the record, right?
NAM: Doctor, there is no off the record. This is an interview. By nature it is on the record.
Blaine: Then this interview is finished.
NAM: What do you say to those readers who want to see you get what’s coming to you?
Blaine: I already have everything I deserve. I’m rich. I’m successful. And I am fortunate to have found love a second time.
NAM: I wasn’t aware you had found love a first time.
Blaine: Martha was…never mind.
NAM: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Blaine: I haven’t given that much thought. *stiffly turns and walks out the door*
About The Author:
Nicki has lived in Charlotte, North Carolina with her children for the past eleven years and her husband for the past three years. Her journey has barely begun and she loves every minute of it. Every day of her life seems to bring new adventures, some bigger, better, shinier and prettier than others. She's still getting used to that new life smell she's experiencing, a combination of hope, love, and happiness. (The perfect scents to build a new life on...)
For fun, she spends time with those she cares about, cooks, reads, writes, and especially lives to travel. The current travel goal: visit every Margaritaville. Two down! (Eleven to go?)
In addition to writing on Suddenly Single Journey, Nicki is a contributor for Project Underblog. Her writing can also be found on Shine, where she is a Shine Parenting Guru and an award winning Yahoo! Contributor on YourWisdom as the relationship and dating expert. And she has been published by McClatchy News in their syndicated papers.
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