This is *definitely* something new! This is my first Snippet Saturday (Thanks to the Snippet Saturday group for letting me come play in the “big-kid sandbox!”) Today’s topic is “public” scenes. Since this is a special occasion, I thought I’d use something from a work-in-progress (scheduled for Spring 2012) “Seascapes.” I hope you all enjoy it and *please* check out the links at the bottom for some of the most amazing authors and their own Snippet Saturday posts!
By the time her mother arrived, Belle was engrossed in a conversation with a group of old classmates. She would have missed the entrance if not for the hush that blanketed the room. Turning to see what had quieted her guests, she felt a sudden pain shoot through her as though she’d been kicked in the chest.
There, next to her mother, laughing and smiling, was Joe.
All eyes were on Belle as she quickly composed herself and glided over to her mother and the uninvited guest. She’d never been so grateful for all of the years of mandatory dance lessons and forced etiquette classes. She gave her hand to Joe first and plastered on a perfect hostess smile as he brought her fingers to his lips.
“Isabelle, it’s so good to see you. I am so glad your mother invited me. I know how important family is to you and I couldn’t miss a party for your grandmother.” Joe’s eyes held Belles with the same withering stare he had always used when he had admonished her. His gaze almost dared her to break all her years of social training and scream at him.
To hell with that! She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.
“Joe, it was good of you to come.” Her voice stayed even while her eyes shot daggers at him. “I am sure Grams will be surprised to see you here. And Mother,” She withdrew her hand and turned her cool voice and withering stare to the woman who was still grinning like the Cheshire cat. “I’m glad you made it. Daddy was starting to worry.” Belle kept her tone light and said it just loud enough so that everyone around could hear her.
As she reached over to hug her mother, Belle hissed through her clenched jaw, “After today, that’s it. You’re done. We’re through. I promise you, if you blow this party, it won’t even take until tomorrow before I wash my hands of you.”
Alexis held her daughter’s embrace just long enough to relay her own private message, “I know you, my darling daughter. You will not do anything to disrupt this party. You will be the epitome of the perfect hostess. That being the case, my job here is done. You can hate me tomorrow but in time you’ll understand why I’m doing this for you.”
Alexis laughed lightly as she released her daughter, the public comment still hanging in the air. “Yes, well you would never believe the traffic today.” She kissed Belle’s cheek as she scanned the room. “I see your father.” She strolled towards the circle of people who held her husband’s attention. There was a audible exhale in the room as the guests resumed their respective conversations.
Belle turned; Joe grabbed her arm. “Belle, wait. I know this must be awkward for you. I didn’t know. Your mother made it sound like you had invited me.”
She met his eyes and counted to five before answering. Ten probably would have been better. She searched for some indication of his sincerity. She found nothing. After all of their time together, she still couldn’t trust her instincts to know if he was telling the truth. She decided it was because the truth was something that he used so infrequently.
“Joe, I honestly just don’t care. You’re a guest here, whether that was by my invitation or not really doesn’t matter at this point. I, however, am not a guest and have things to attend to. So, you’ll excuse me.” Belle pulled her arm out of his grip. With her back ramrod and her head held high, she strode into the kitchen and left him standing at the door staring at her.
It was the first time Belle had ever been the one to walk away and damn if it didn’t feel good!
I hope you enjoyed my first Saturday Snippet. I look forward to reading your comments and hope you’ll stop by again next week for a new snippet.
In the meantime, please visit the rest of the Saturday Snippet author’s at their websites. I promise lots of great reading perfect for a Saturday.