Login   Sign Up 


WIP formerly known as Just The Way You Are

by Deborah 

Posted: 26 April 2009
Word Count: 1636
Summary: Couple more chapters - be great to hear what you think. Thanks x
Related Works: JUST THE WAY YOU ARE • 

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

Chapter Three

Tulip, it turned out, was studying an Art History degree as a mature student at the town’s local college which had only recently been blessed with University status. Quite how this could happen was beyond June and Trevor Farnham’s comprehension. In their day the only places you found a University was in a city and the only way a city could have such status was if it housed a University. All very chicken and egg – but that was the way they liked it, thank you very much. It didn’t need explaining – it just was. All this mucking about and altering perfectly sensible rules was a little too much like going back to the carefree attitude and Peace and Love of the 1960’s – totally without any kind of sense whatsoever and it could only lead to ruination of the middle class structure. And here was a reminder of the Hippy Generation, standing centre stage in their dining room, sipping a Cranberry and Champagne cocktail (“It’s all she’ll drink, mum, even for breakfast!” Daniel had glowed with pride as he had produced both beverages to her amazement – from within a Morrison’s carrier) and positively beaming with the obvious adulation she was receiving from her audience.
June wondered how long this one would last before Daniel decided she just wasn’t “right” and Trevor wondered how the hell a boy of his loins had managed to woo this beautiful creature from the arms of Angels and into his own. For a millisecond he almost wanted to sell his soul to the nearest available devil – for an equal millisecond in his young son’s muscular body.
Tulip, their story continued, had called into Daniels’ bookshop in Main Street to use her student discount card on a Pre-Raphaelite almanac she’d coveted for months and finally managed to save up for. And Daniel, with his ‘Say What You Feel and Say It Now!’ American-style methods of introduction (the British insist on calling these Chat-Up Lines) which he’d learnt from having four holidays in the United States over four consecutive years hadn’t even thought twice before his opening gambit to Tulip of:
“If you’re not doing anything this evening, I’d like to tear bread with you.”
Which, Tulip now giggled, was “The most romantic thing I’ve ever heard in my life”
Matthew’s immediate reaction to this was that his brother was a lucky SoB to have gotten away with – much less thought of - a line like that and he wished he had his brother’s textbook smarm.
Christine decided she’d have slapped Daniel straight across the face if he’d said it to her – and then she’d have agreed to the date a day or so later. It was all in the strategy, after all and it didn’t do to be too obviously available.

Trevor doubted any kind of line like that would have worked in his youth and decided he wouldn’t have had even half the brains to have thought of it, much less the courage to have used it.

June wondered what she would have done if she’d been Tulip and Daniel had been her Trevor and decided that yes; she would probably also have swooned slightly. At the same time, though, in the recess of her mind, she also wondered how it was that such an alluring creature could arrive in Daniel’s life and at Daniel’s book store in such an unattached way – how come she hadn’t been snapped up already? June decided to give this new addition to her family the benefit of the doubt, after all she hadn’t seen her son – in fact both her sons – in fact her own husband included come to think of it – quite so taken with someone in a long while. She swallowed her little reservations of suspicion then filled a glass with cranberry juice and champagne and swilled them about in her mouth until the tiny niggles and miniature fizzes were almost indistinguishable from each other.

Chapter four

Christine felt like one of the Three Bears. And she was the Middle-Sized, entirely average one. June was the Mummy-Fussy-Matriarch Bear, Tulip was Beautiful-Bountiful Bear and she was just Plain Old Medium Bear. Sandwiched somewhere in between June and Tulip’s credit-worthy attributes, Christine was beginning to feel a tad claustrophobic.
She shifted slightly on her dining chair and poured gravy over her roasties and meat, spilling a little on the tablecloth as she replaced it back at the middle of the table. Ordinarily it would have upset her that she’d spoilt June’s prize Sunday linen and she would have apologised profusely, making a mental note to buy her a little token something to say sorry next time she came round. But today, sitting here at the table, she knew that absolutely nobody had noticed, much less cared about a little drop of gravy. All eyes remained steadfastly secured on the beautiful Tulip who sat centre-stage.
‘And of course I couldn’t very well refuse, could I?’ she finished explaining how Daniel had asked her out the week before. ‘I mean – he’s just so … persuasive, isn’t he?’ her incredibly long lashes fluttered to brush her pink cheeks as Daniel stroked the back of one of her pale, beautifully manicured hands and then took it to his lips to kiss. Christine found that taking in a deep breath – a slow, deep breath: one completely undetectable to the others assembled, was the only way she could actually cope with this public display of adoration and realised she was jealous. She watched her husband as his eyes remained stoically clamped to his brother and his partner and tried to recall the last time he’d clasped her hand to his lips in undeniable adulation. Actually, she didn’t think he ever had. Not even when they’d been dating. He’d always been one of those ‘tell it like it is’ types who rarely wore sleeves, let alone placed his heart on them. In fact that was one of the reasons she’d fallen for him in the first place – there were no airs and graces as far as Matthew was concerned, he was just so blatantly…visible – he disguised nothing and expected nothing short in return. He disliked formality, acts of false declaration and anything that was designed to make it appear more attractive. He hated design, conformity, and co-ordination and if it were at all possible would have begun a movement to have all Next catalogues prohibited from public consumption. She held onto another deep breath and wondered what the hell, then, he was now doing quite clearly wishing he were his younger brother and fawning over this creature who looked like she’d been specifically created with every man’s wildest dream in mind. Where was the carefree natural abandon he was so determined should reign supreme?
‘She’s amazing, isn’t she?’ Daniel glowed to the assemblage and every head nodded in unison – Christine included. It wouldn’t do to upset a perfectly lovely looking apple cart right now. Let’s wait and see how things pan out.

‘Did you see the way she polished off mum’s roast?!’ Matthew took his eyes off the road for an instant to make sure his wife was listening. ‘Where the hell must she put it? I mean she’s the sodding Flake Girl for Christ’s sake! She must have a huge metabolism, or else she works out. That might be it - do you think she must work out, Chrissy? She must do. I mean how on earth else could a woman maintain a figure like that, eh? Do you think she works out, Christine?’
Three seconds must have elapsed before he reminded her again of his query.
‘Well – do you think she works out?’
‘I don’t know - maybe she’s Bulimic!’ Christine offered, maintaining a steady stare at the road ahead and feeling the wine working on her cheeks and her temper.
Silence. Then:
‘You what?’
‘You heard.’
‘What do you mean? What are you trying to say? I mean do you know? Can you tell these things? Is it some kind of, I don’t know, instinct or radar or something that only another woman can detect? Can you tell? Do you think Daniel knows?’
Christine took one of her deep breaths again and held it in. Her husband was asking too many questions, part of his job, she supposed but he was beginning to sound like he could easily apply to Mastermind with his Specialist Subject in all things Tulip. Tulip – what a bloody stupid name anyway – either she’d changed it, adopted it or her parents were Hippies. Of course she must be bloody Bulimic – unless she had hollow legs.
‘I don’t know, Matthew – perhaps she works out, yes – in fact, y’know maybe they’re both working off your mum’s Sunday roast right now – if their obvious attraction for each other over the table was anything to go by. I bet they haven’t even got inside the hallway before they’re right in there and at it having a bloody good workout!’
She snorted silently. There. Let that simmer nicely away inside his rampant head for a bit – maybe it would give him something to chew on and mull over and who knows, maybe he’d want suggest a workout of their own when they got back home. Lord only knew it had been a while.
‘Hmmmm.’ Was his response to that suggestion and Christine knew… knew! That somewhere in his smutty liberal mind there was a Tulip with her legs clamped firmly about her husbands’ waist, producing all the right pornographic noises and making him wish for the world that he was married to her and not to this sad excuse for a wife sitting beside him.

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

Forbes at 11:01 on 07 May 2009  Report this post
Oooh! Car crash pileup! I feel sorry for everyone! I even feel sorry for vacuous Tulip!! You are in danger of diluting our sympathies though. I think you have to pick one (at most two) and go with them.

Some very nice phrases in this.

...types who rarely wore sleeves, let alone placed his heart on them.

being one of them.



Deborah at 12:21 on 07 May 2009  Report this post
Thanks for that. This is the first omniscent piece I've ever written and I love slipping between the characters rather than having all sympathies lying with one (of course only the one or two deserve them - the others are out-and-out nasties of the highest order - but having insight into their minds is also a treat!)
Oh, and nobody's is 'vacuous' for nothing!!! (s'all I'm saying - but great that I've managed to paint her right!)

Lola Dane at 18:39 on 23 May 2009  Report this post
Oh poor Christine - I LOVE this line

Christine felt like one of the Three Bears. And she was the Middle-Sized, entirely average one.
because, believe me, I AM Christine (At least from this glimpse).

I love how you do families Deborah and get the dynamic just right.
This is zingy and intriguing.

If I were to nitpick I would say it could do with a little more of a hook at the end of Chapter 4 - a bit like the EastEnders drumroll - something which makes you want to keep reading.

How many POVs are you writing? It might be worth considering giving each a longer turn so the reader doesn't get confused?
I only say this as my new book has 4 (again written in third person..) and apart from an initial four short introductory chapters I was advised to stretch out the chapters as readers, apparantly, don't like a lot of chop of change.
(I'm back to doing one POV, first person, for book four).

Deborah at 18:51 on 23 May 2009  Report this post
Thanks Claire - points duly noted. think I'll be combining chapters to make them longer and more 'hookier' in future... also I shall look into the chopping bit - don't want to annoy my way out of any interest there might be!
Thanks so much for such a lovely comment!
D x

To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .