Countdown to Timeless: Two Weeks Left!
Hey friends. We’re down to two weeks until the release of Timeless. Can you tell I am so super excited? As many of you know from last week’s blog, I just can’t wait to share this story. I actually gave you the first scene to read here. If you haven’t read that first scene yet, you should do so before going on. For those of you who have read the first scene and still want more, here is second scene for your reading enjoyment and general interest piquing.
Timeless Scene Two
“Hey, Stevie,” someone called.
I scanned the crowd at St. Louis’s Lambert Airport until I saw a sign that read Geller. Cringing at the blatant display of attention, I forced myself not to grab the sign out of Rory’s hands and toss it into the nearest trashcan. Instead I jammed my hands into the pockets of my olive-green cargo pants and said, “Hey, I don’t know if you remember me, but—”
“Of course I remember you.” Rory laughed easily. She was even more magnetic than she’d been in high school, and that was saying a lot. “Beth made the sign. She loves cutesy little things like that and I…well, I love her.”
I couldn’t help but smile at the silly grin on Rory’s face. Who would’ve thought the mere mention of a plain Midwestern farmer’s daughter could turn such a formidable warrior into mush. A hint of longing tapped at my own heart, but I shrugged it off and grabbed my bag. “Thanks for picking me up.”
“No worries. Beth and I enjoyed the chance to spend a morning in the Central West End. She’s in the car. We couldn’t find a place to park.” Rory nodded toward the luggage carousel. “Do you have any more bags?”
“No, just the one. I’m only here overnight.”
Rory nodded sympathetically as we headed toward the parking lot. “Are you silently thanking God for that now?”
“What? No,” I lied. I’d been counting the hours until my return flight would touch down at JFK tomorrow night. I’d actually started counting before I left as I lay awake trying to calculate how many hours of sleep I could get if I fell asleep right that instant. Of course I didn’t fall asleep right then. With all the thoughts of my return to Darlington, the pressure to drum up good publicity, and the fear of a public appearance I didn’t sleep at all, so as the sun began to peek above the crowded New York skyline, I shifted my countdown to reflect the number of hours until I’d be back in my own bed once more. Only thirty-four to go.
“It’s okay. I was in your shoes not long ago, which is why I appreciate your coming back. It’s important for the kids around here to see success stories like yours. It shows them there’s life out there, you know?”
I didn’t know, really. I’d never considered myself a success story, and certainly not a role model. Sure, I’d published a few books, but I wasn’t what most people would call famous. I still had so much more to accomplish, which of course was the only reason I’d agreed to this trip in the first place.
As we stepped outside, a blue Prius pulled to a stop and Beth Deveroux got out. I might not have recognized her if I hadn’t been expecting her. She’d grown out of her teenage awkwardness and into an hourglass frame. Her form-fitting blue jeans and a light-blue V-neck sweater made it a little clearer why Rory went all romantic at just the mention of her. I’d last seen her at her parents’ funeral eleven years ago, and she looked like a new woman now. Not just older and happier, but also beautiful. “Hi, Stevie.”
“Hi, Beth.” I tried to stick out my hand, but Beth drew me into a hug. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been hugged. Not a real hug anyway. People in New York often did that shoulder-grab-and-lean-in sort of greeting, but Beth chose a full-on arm wrap and body press.
“Are you hungry?” Beth asked, stepping back.
“No, I’m good.”
“Okay, let’s get on the road then.” Beth handed the keys to Rory with a sweet kiss, then said, “Stevie, why don’t you ride up front? You’ve got longer legs than I do.”
“Thanks.” Normally I’d refuse so I could try to avoid making conversation, but after being on a plane for two hours, I did feel a little cramped. Or maybe the stress of my responsibilities and my past had started to weigh me down as we headed away from the city and toward the great expanse of farmland along Interstate 55.
“When was the last time you came home?” Beth asked.
“About five years ago, for my parents’ retirement party. I haven’t had a reason to visit since they moved to Boca Raton. I don’t have any other family in the area.”
“Is there anyone you want to see while you’re in Darlington?” Rory asked. “You’re welcome to use one of our cars while you’re here.”
“I haven’t kept in touch with anyone since graduation. You know how busy life gets.”
“Sure.” Rory only glanced from the road to search my expression with those trademark emerald eyes for a second. “Well, Edmond and Miles will get in around five o’clock tonight, and then we’re all going out to dinner with Jody.”
“Jody Hadland, my co-chair for the arts committee. She teaches at the high school.”
“Miss Hadland? The student teacher?” Memories flooded my mind and caused my heart to beat faster. We all have that first crush, the one that confirms those nagging suspicions about our own sexuality. For me, that crush was Miss Hadland.
“You had her when she was a student teacher? She never told me that,” Rory said.
“She probably doesn’t remember me.”
“Oh no, she does. She said you were one of her most talented students. I just didn’t know it was before she got hired full-time.”
“She really called me one of her best students?” The compliment sent a flush of warmth to my cheeks. I’d had her for two classes my senior year, and while they’d been my favorites, I’d spent both of them huddled quietly in the back corner trying not to get called on or caught staring at her legs.
“Yeah. She’s the one who suggested we have you back.”
Under other circumstances I would’ve been disappointed Rory wasn’t the driving force behind the award, but the fact that Miss Hadland remembered me enough to follow my career gave me a thrill I didn’t care to examine too closely.
“She’s made all the arrangements, which reminds me. I need to call my dean at the college tonight and make sure she remembers the assembly tomorrow.”
Rory continued to ramble, but I allowed my mind to wander. The city faded into suburbs, then to farmland, but the insecurities I’d expected to suffocate me were sublimated by the pleasant memories of my first and only schoolgirl crush. Miss Hadland had shown me a peek of the type of woman I’d later come to recognize as my type, the perfect mix of smart and beautiful I still found irresistible.
There you have it folks, a little hint of things to come. If you want to find out more about what happens to Stevie, you can pre-order Timeless here. Ordering from the Bold Strokes Website assures that your book will ship two weeks before it becomes available from anywhere else. You can also subscribe to this blog for further updates and maybe even a live reading from yours truly in the coming weeks!