The following is a snippet for a novel I’d begun titled Year Of Decision, one of my many novels set during a period I’ve been a bit obsessed with (the 70s). It was meant to introduce my three main characters. I loved it, I just never finished the novel.

It is the fourth and final official option in my BringItBYKE2021 ‘project’ that I announced in my previous post.

Please enjoy, leave your thoughts, and Happy Reading!

____________________________

Clad in only a towel, Sylene Hightower looked herself over in the mirror. Fresh faced, glowing skin, and a smile to brighten the whole room. She’d awakened on cloud nine. Her late-night tryst with her lover had gone well, and the day was shaping out to be one of her best so far.

Sauntering into the bathroom coolly, Bryce Olivier greeted Sylene, snaking his arm around her waist as he pressed his body against hers. Leaning down to whisper in her ear, his words escaped in a bit of a growl. “We mustn’t dawdle, Love. You can’t afford another strike at work.”

“Can’t I, Boss?”

He kissed her cheek, reminding her of the time before making his exit.

Heading into her bedroom a few moments later, Sylene grabbed a bottle of lotion from her dresser and took a seat at the foot of her bed. Beginning with her legs, she took her time moisturizing her body while humming a little ditty to herself.

Halfway dressed, Bryce stood at the door listening as she began to mumble words, eventually breaking out into song. It wasn’t one he was familiar with, but it sounded great, nonetheless. “It boggles me, still, how you choose to be a secretary when you could go on to do great things with yourself and life. I believe you should be far past wasting your time in an office and at those late-night lounges.”

Just finishing with her arms, Sylene smiled. “It’s not wasting my time, Honey. Everyone must start somewhere, and I’ve learned early that things we want don’t come as fast as we feel they should. Besides,” Sylene stood, letting her hair down from the clip that held it. “singing is something that I do for fun. Let my mother tell it, and working a steady job is just for fun too, to pass the time before I’m tied down. Well, before anyone tries to tie me down, I’d like to do a little bit of everything I feel I’m capable of. I sure hope that’s alright with you.”

Bryce nodded, watching as she stood and headed to her dresser. Pulling out a matching bra and panty set, Sylene dropped her towel and began to get dressed. “I think that, before I try to tie you down, you should give me a list of all the things you’d like to do and accomplish.”

“No list, Honey. I just live my life as it comes, in whims. Outside of the office that is. Any requests today? I’m in the mood to present a distraction as you watch me from your corner of the office.”

Entranced as he watched her put on her stockings, Bryce spoke with bated breath. “I won’t be in for long today. I’ve got to go out and meet with a few clients, hope that I can convince them hold tight as we revamp and clean out the deadweight within our agency. I’m afraid I won’t be able to join you for lunch either. But, wherever you chose to go, tell them to place it on my tab.”

“Will I at least see you at tonight at Wheeltappers, even if only for a few moments?”

Bryce nodded, taking slow strides in her direction. “You’ll have my undivided attention.”

Without realizing he’d stepped closer, Sylene turned and found herself in Bryce’s arms. His hands trailed freely down her body, lifting her in one swift motion. “I think we can be a few minutes late, don’t you?”

Sylene nodded, pressing her lips to his without any hesitation.

**

With a headache that wouldn’t subside, Camilla Winstead unlocked her front door with one thing in mind. Sleep. She’d had her fill of flights for the week and all she wanted was a few hours of rest before she found herself parading through lounges for the weekend.

Locking her door, she set her bags down and kicked off her heels. Removing her jacket and tossing it on the back of her sofa, she headed straight for her bedroom. “The day couldn’t possibly get any worse.”

But, it could. And it did within a matter of seconds.

Trudging into her bedroom, Camilla came up on a scene that seemed to stop time. Something she’d only seen in the relationships of women she’d grown up around, something she thought she’d never experience firsthand. Caught red-handed, her boyfriend fumbled, stuttering out excuses as his mistress jumped up and took off.

In the back of her mind, something was telling Camilla to go after the woman. But she knew better. The woman owed her nothing. He, however, owed her so much more than the tired apology he was offering up as he searched the room for his clothing.

“Camilla, it’s not what you think.”

“What I think, Fletcher, is that I hopped off a red-eye early this morning, drove three hours to get home, walked into the apartment where I pay bills, stepped foot into my bedroom, and found my man screwing some random woman in my bed. That’s what I think, that’s what it looked like, and that’s what it was. So, amidst the lack of confusion with no other explanation needed, I’m going to give you about five seconds to get out.”

Her calmness scared him, at the same time it gave him a sense that he could talk things out. “Camilla, please…” She chuckled, heading straight for her closet. Though she was tall, she stood on her tip-toes to reach the back of the shelf that held her boxes of shoes. “Let me just explain. I-i-it just happened. Okay, I got here expecting you to be home. I admit, I was little too drunk for my own good. I-I stepped outside of the apartment building for some fresh air, and,” Fletcher paused, having the audacity to ask if she believed him so far.

Retrieving the gun her father had given her, she checked to make sure it was loaded before exiting the closet. “No, I don’t believe you Fletcher, and your five seconds are up.” When she took aim, he dashed out of the room, wearing only his boxers with half of his belongings in hand.

Lowering the gun, knowing she had no real intention of firing, Camilla shook her head. In the back of her mind, she could only hear her mother’s voice. I told you so, I told you so. Those words would be in her head for much of the morning as she burned her sheets and packed up the many items he’d left over their time together.

**

Jeanette Thomas sat within the company of her family, trying her hardest to be social and maintain a genuine smile as they talked around and about her. For one thing, it was much too early in the morning to be dealing with so many varying attitudes, while not being paid to do so. For another thing, it was much too early in the morning for others to be speaking on her life as if they were presenting any real solution worth trying.

This day should have been one for celebration, one filled with joy and excitement.

Instead, Jeanette found herself annoyed and willing the time for her departure to come a little faster. If it weren’t her baby sister’s wedding day, she’d have skipped the gettogether and remained tucked away in her bed.

“Three daughters married off. I’d say one more to go, but at this rate Sarah, I think you should be happy the other three have been taken off the market.”

Her mother exhaled sharply, waving her manicured hand as if she couldn’t be bothered. “She has a good job working in that pediatrics office, and I guess that’s something to be happy about. Of course, if she’d stop turning away perfectly good men, she’d be married by now and living the perfect life of a wealthy housewife. Twenty-seven, still single, and no desire to change that. She even let her baby sister beat her to the altar. It’s absurd.”

“Appalling. Jeanette will be a spinster for the rest of her life if she doesn’t get it together, and quickly.”

Biting her tongue, only one word away from saying something she’d later regret, Jeanette excused herself from the space occupied by her mother and aunt. They gossiped eagerly, plotting away at who they could attempt to give her away to next.

Joining the men of her family, those who provided an environment where she felt freer to be herself and relax, Jeanette spoke to her uncles before pulling her father away for a private discussion. “You look wonderful, My Dear. I was concerned about Marjorie choosing lavender as the color for her bridesmaids, but it looks splendid on you.” Far from the fairest of she and her sisters, and often reminded of it, Jeanette appreciated the compliment.

“Dad, I was wondering if I could trouble you for a little support tonight.”

“When and where?”

“Wheeltappers, around ten, I’m performing with the girls. The way I’ve been feeling lately, I’m in need of a familiar face and some genuine support. I’d have asked Mom, but we both know how she feels about me singing. And working. And living. And with Marj marrying this morning, all Mom will talk about is pawning me off on the first man she deems suitable, or the first one she catches staring in my direction.”

Winston pulled his daughter into a comforting embrace, assuring her that she and her life, however she chose to live, were both valued and appreciated. “I’ll be there, sitting or standing close by if I’m able. You know, it just so happens that an old friend of ours is in town and I promised to provide a little entertainment. We’ll both drop by.”

“Do I get to know who?”

Winston smiled, shaking his head. “It’ll be a pleasant surprise, one I’m sure you’ll enjoy.”

She chuckled nervously, excusing herself when she caught sight of her mother walking over. “Can’t wait.” Before she could get caught up in a battle of words, wits, and will, Jeanette excused herself to say goodbye to the happy couple.

She’d just decided, she’d be in no mood to deal with family for the remainder of the day.

One thought on “Year Of Decision (Novel Intro) by Cortney Joseph #BringItBYKE2021

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