Wonder Boi Writes

4 Week til LoveLife: And the winner is…

I’ll lead with the big item on the agenda, the winner of the advance copy of LoveLife is Aideen Smith!

The answers to the quiz are as follows:

1)  What movie led to my cyber-stalking a life coach?   Loving Anabelle
2) On whose birthday did I first meet with Diane?  Georgia Beers
3) Who said “A lot of people fall in love with their therapist, but not many are in love with them before they even start.” ? Susie  (My Wife)
4) What was my theme song while writing LoveLife? All the Way by the Indigo Girls
5) Where is LoveLife set? Buffalo
6) Where did I do my debut reading of LoveLife?  Buffalo LGBT Center 
7) Who are Elaine’s looks based on?  a model in an Eddie Bauer catalog who also looks like Diane Gaidry
8) What statue (reproduction) does Joey walk by on the way to Elaine’s? The David
9) Joey’s place of employment is based on my happy place. What type of establishment is it?  A coffee-house
10) What musical helped spark Elaine’s central conflict?  Rent

Thanks to everyone who sent in answers, there were a good number of you and you’ve all clearly been following the blog so I didn’t want to leave everyone else empty handed. I’m going to give everyone a little sneak peak at LoveLife.  Here’s the entire first chapter to hold you over until the official release date in less than 4 weeks.

Chapter One

November 4

Joey glanced up from the table she was wiping down. Every time the little bell on the front door jingled between ten and eleven a.m., she held her breath, but the short, bald man rushing toward the counter wasn’t who she’d hoped to see. She sighed and continued to scrub a small patch of dried coffee off the Formica.

“You’re pathetic,” Lisa said, her voice filled with amusement.

“I’m not pathetic. I’m a hopeless romantic, maybe a little obsessive.”

“A little?”

“I have a compulsive personality.”

“Is that why you’ve been washing that same table for five minutes, or did you just hope if you stood near the door long enough, super-hot new girl would breeze past you?”

Joey chuckled and flopped into a chair next to her. “It’s not fair how well you can read me.”

“Yeah, well, twenty years of friendship will do that,” Lisa said, her eyes on Joey even though she never stopped tapping the keyboard of her MacBook. Aside from her height and her Rachel Maddow glasses, Lisa looked exactly like the lanky kid she’d met on their first day in Mrs. McEntire’s second-grade classroom.

“Am I really pathetic?”

Lisa stopped typing and shook her head. “No. Mostly you’re romantic.”

“Mostly?”

“It’s like eighty/twenty romantic over pathetic.”

“Thanks.” Joey laughed and threw her dishrag into Lisa’s lap. She started to load a mismatched stack of coffee cups into the heavy plastic bussing bin but stopped when Lisa made a giddy little squeak behind her. Before she could turn to see her expression the door’s bell chimed again. Joey froze in mid-reach for a cup.

Even in her stupor she knew the striking woman was walking toward her in real time, not slow motion. Still, her blond hair did blow back slightly from the breeze of her stride, like in the movies. Joey didn’t feel any breeze. When had all the air had left the room, or maybe only left her lungs? Either way, she didn’t care. Such beauty made breathing a petty concern.

Three or four inches taller than Joey, the woman had legs that went on forever under flat-front khakis that hung perfectly on her hips’ subtle curve. Her starched white oxford, impeccably pressed and tucked in, gave a clear line of sight up her torso. The top two buttons of the shirt, undone, allowed Joey a torturous peek at her delicate collarbones and the sinfully sweet tendrils of blond hair that snuggled against her neck. The woman’s natural-pink lips were full and flawlessly formed under impossibly high cheekbones and the most devastatingly blue eyes imaginable. Joey almost swooned.

The woman didn’t even notice her gawking as she strode casually toward the counter. She continued to stare at the woman as she decisively ordered chai tea without any of the silly requests that drove Joey crazy. Relaxed, comfortable, and secure, the woman vanished as quickly as she appeared, leaving Joey shaky and bereft yet thrilled and momentarily sated—a post-coital sensation.

“Sit down before you hurt yourself,” Lisa said dryly.

Joey attempted to play it cool. “I’m fine.”

“You’ve got some drool on your chin.”

“Shut up.” Joey rubbed the back of her hand across her mouth. She hadn’t actually drooled.

“Why didn’t you speak to her?”

Joey rolled her eyes.

“What?

“She’s out of my league.”

“Don’t do that, Joey. You’re a doll. Plenty of girls would get as goofy over you as you got over Ms. Hottie Hot-Stuff.”

“I do all right with girls, but she wasn’t a girl. She was a full-grown woman. You saw her. She’s sexy and stylish and cool and smart and—”

“You don’t know if she’s smart. She could be a complete airhead.”

“She’s not.”

“You don’t know that. You’ve never talked to her.”

“Talk to her? She doesn’t even know I’m alive.”

“Whose fault is that?” Lisa shot back. “She’s showed up for what, two, maybe three weeks? You’ve never even been behind the counter when she comes in.”

“What would I say? Can I have your order, and your phone number?”

“Hey, that’s pretty good.”

“Yeah, well, I could never pull it off.”

“Only because you’d never have the guts. You’re such a chickenshit when it comes to stuff like that. You’ll pine over her from afar forever.”

Joey folded her arms across her chest. Lisa was right, of course, but she could be more sympathetic. “Stop bullying me. I’m allowed to have a crush.”

“Don’t sell yourself short. She could be more than a crush.”

Joey shook her head. What was the point of arguing? She’d never have a woman like that except in her dreams.

#

Elaine Raitt cradled the phone between her chin and shoulder as she sipped her chai tea.  She sat cross-legged on the couch, comfortable as the drink’s physical warmth mingled with the emotional warmth of the voice on the phone and spread through her chest and limbs.

“I’ve been hoping for this job, Elaine—meaningful, creative, and ready for me to dive in to.”

“That’s amazing, John. I’m happy for you. How are you feeling about the fast pace?” Elaine had been John’s life coach for the last nine weeks. He’d started their sessions stuck in a rut, but afraid to jeopardize his career by chancing something more challenging. She had spent the bulk of their early time together questioning him about his values, goals, and purpose to show him the incongruities between his dream life and his actual life. He had done a lot of soul-searching and seen a major payoff. Such sessions didn’t always come together so neatly or concretely, but Elaine hoped her clients would gain the confidence and hope John expressed now.

“It’s a whirlwind, but it’s been better that way. I haven’t had time to worry whether I’m capable. I focused so much on getting my portfolio together before our sessions ended, I didn’t let myself listen to my inner critic.”

“Good. You can usually silence it by refusing to give it the time of day.”

“When I got the interview I started to wonder if I was good enough, but I told myself, ‘Hey, I made it into the final four. I must have something going for me.’”

“Excellent. I’m proud of you. I knew you could do this.” Her belief that her clients could successfully navigate any challenge formed the bedrock of her professional value system.

“I couldn’t have done it without you, Elaine.” He practically gushed.

“You did all the work,” she said calmly. “You had everything necessary to succeed already inside you.”

“But you helped me see that. I’ve grown more in the last ten weeks than in the last twenty years. You should bill yourself as a miracle worker instead of a life coach.”

She laughed, pleasure, happiness, and relief melding into one lovely emotion and pouring from her. “Thank you, but I merely acted as a mirror for you.”

“I know, I know. You won’t take any credit, but without you I might never have found the confidence to search for more. Thank you for helping me find my path.”

Her chest swelled with pride. “That’s all the thanks I need.”

“I’m headed in the right direction now and promise to keep moving.”

“You’ve reached your goal. You don’t need me as regularly, but I’ll check in on you, and if you ever need anything, you can always call.”

John thanked her several more times before finally wrapping the phone call with a promise to meet next week.

She lay back on her couch, breathing deep cleansing breaths and focusing on the sensation of being aligned with her purpose. She’d been coaching for only a year, and she still doubted her new role occasionally. She wanted to do well because she found fulfillment in her work, but she also wanted to do right by her clients. Helping them connect to their own purpose was both a privilege and a responsibility. Maybe she was idealistic, but she took her work seriously, so she felt reaffirmed when she successfully connected with a client. Her own journey as a coach was far from complete, but she felt more like her true self than ever, at least in her professional life.

Her personal life was much more complicated. Her belongings remained mostly in boxes while she tried to decide where everything fit in her new apartment and where she fit in hernew city. Though Buffalo was actually her old city, she’d been in New York long enough that this rust-belt jewel on the shore of Lake Erie hardly felt like home.

She was searching, content to enjoy a journey of personal exploration. She’d taken the first step on her path by trading her too-comfortable, too-isolated life for a new place filled with new challenges and more significant relationships. But for right now, she’d allow herself to bask in the warm feelings that came from coaching.

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March 23, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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