The Third Wheel

Often I receive comments from readers requesting excerpts from the books. Many people have asked for excerpts from the sequels in particular. I hesitate to release any information about the sequels because with each story new drama is born. And, as a result of that drama and conflict, comes change. And change brings spoilers. Something I don’t want my readers to experience.

However, I recently did a very in-depth edit of the second book, Emily Calls It. There is one scene that is especially dear to me that I thought I’d share. It’s at a time when Emily feels vulnerable, and I think we’ve all been there.

In the scene that follows she goes to a beach party with another couple; hence the third wheel issue. Walking toward the party, she makes a few observations.


The Third Wheel

I slipped off my sandals and trudged along, sinking into the still mildly warm sand with every step.  I heard a low rumble of voices blend with rolling waves before I could actually see the bonfire.  When it came into view, I sighed again. But this time, at the scene. There was a car pulled onto the sand with all the windows down giving a gift of music. I say “gift” generously. The music was loud, and with every boom the tiny car vibrated. The bonfire blazed in a concrete pit, and groups of guys in tee-shirts and shorts and girls in ‘way too revealing’ sundresses surrounded it. It crackled and shot tiny sparks into the darkening sky above. I looked at each of the faces glowing orange from the light of the fire. I didn’t recognize anyone and felt my shoulders slump with disappointment. I rubbed my eyes, irritated from the smoke as it drifted my way. It passed by me as quickly as it came and I could see again. A girl let out a high pitched squeak when a random guy dropped an ice cube down her back. She hopped and reached to fish it out, laughing and cursing at him the whole time. Back to her group of girls she went. Then I noticed something notable. In each person’s hand was a signature red cup, indicating there must be a keg somewhere, and that little observation perked me right up.

Just as I was resigned to be a third wheel, I saw him. He looked over his shoulder and in mid-conversation lifted his head in my direction with a broad smile. I smiled back, a confident smile. He looked back toward the guy he was talking to, ended his conversation and walked over.

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Emily’s Ski Trip…Mammoth

With the turn in weather and impending ski trips ahead of me this season, I find myself reflecting on a lovely little chapter in Call Me Emily. My weekends will most likely entail snowball fights with my seven year old with an added bonus of harder, stinging snowballs to my back and shoulders from my husband. Then there is the cheering I know I won’t be able to contain as I watch my son ski down the hill toward me.

Emily’s trip to the snow is a little different. In chapter 16, titled- A Weekend Away, Graham takes Emily to his parent’s cottage for a ski weekend. She’s never snow-skied before, but braves the trip anyway with high hopes of romance with Graham. But after they finish eating dinner in the cozy cottage kitchen, the conversation takes a hard left turn.

Chapter 16

A Weekend Away

It was fun cooking together. Since it wasn’t his or my apartment it felt like an “our” situation. We stood side by side, stirring pots and preparing the bread. We sipped wine, ate and talked casually about nothing in particular. It was simple but one of those times you know you’ll remember.

We ate, and as I popped the last bite of bread into my mouth, I had to admit I was full. “Should we go enjoy that fire of yours now?”

“Yes.” He looked down at the dishes.

“There’s not much … here.” I took our plates and washed them quickly, along with the empty pasta pots. Graham brought our glasses to the living room. I joined him in front of the fireplace. It was cozy and well, let’s face it, romantic. I walked to the fireplace to take a look at the family photographs.

“So these are your parents?” I picked up one of the frames. “This must be your sister.” I pointed to a beautiful blond girl in the photograph. The color drained out of Graham’s face. He looked down at his feet, almost shrinking. A posture I had never seen from him before.

“That’s …” He took the frame from my hands, looked at it briefly and turned it face down on the mantel. “That’s Nicole.” He said her name quietly.  I didn’t know what to think.

“Nicole?” To say I was confused would have been an understatement.

“Remember I told you about the girl I dated last year?”

Who Nicole might be became clearer. “Yes, so that’s her? With your parents?” Suddenly I wore the same look on my face. I was sad and, well, more than slighted. His parents didn’t even know I existed, and here I was in another one of their houses with a photo of his previous girlfriend staring at me.

“But you said.” I was crushed. I couldn’t meet his eyes.

“Look, I don’t tell them about my personal life anymore for a reason.”

“ ’Anymore?’ ”

“Nicole was in my life for a long time and… she’s friends with my family. Believe me.” He reached for my shoulders. I still couldn’t look at him. “She’s not in my life anymore. I learned the hard way.” I couldn’t look up and didn’t know what to think.

“Emily?” He touched my chin with his index finger, tipping my face to his. “I’m with you now, only you.” He paused for a few seconds, not waiting for me to speak but trying to find his next words. The skin between his eyebrows crinkled. The look on his face was pain. Now I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He brushed my jaw with his thumb gently. I barely felt it.  Time hung in the air between us.

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