I thought I’d share the first chapter of my current book , which will be available mid-June, 2018.
Sometimes love needs a little push. Sarah needed to put some distance between her grief and the unbearable memories of the past. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, our past catches up with us.
Sarah and Ted dated their junior and senior years in high school and planned on marriage. One dreadful rainy night, Sarah picks up her nephew from a friend’s house. On the way home she has an accident. Her nephew almost dies, is hospitalized for two months and in physical therapy for a year.
Devastated, Sarah withdraws from everyone, including Ted, because she feels a heavy guilt that she hurt her nephew and is unworthy of love.
Heartbroken, Sarah moved on with her life and so did Ted.
Now, almost five years later, Ted is back and bringing with him all the memories Sarah thought she’d shoved aside. Sarah isn’t about to let him go again, but she wants more than passion.
FORGET ME NOT
Had Sarah Hall experienced the tiniest inkling a simple mid-morning trip to the post office would spin her life into utter confusion, she’d have jumped back in bed and pulled the covers over her head.
The line inside the post office zigzagged from the first postal worker’s counter, all the way back to the entrance. A fleeting glimpse at various customers revealed not many were in a much better mood than she was. Their arms were laden with letters and packages, and as had she, they’d probably anticipated a lengthy wait, though from the look on their faces some had begun to lose their patience. Not a happy group this morning, and she was close to getting there herself.
Sarah studied the woman in front of her who showed signs of an elevated blood pressure as she wrestled an armload of mail, but that wasn’t her only dilemma. Her young son, who appeared to be about five, pitched whatever advertisements or other papers he could put his hands on, in the air and over the floor. She reached out and caught a handful of the woman’s letters, before they tumbled onto the young boy’s pile of paper, which he had promptly turned into a sliding racetrack.
After a ten-minute wait and with a groan, Sarah counted to fifteen. She was still sixteenth in line from attaining a get-a-way and on to the shop.
She’d promised her sister, Lisa, a Shrimp Po Boy from the Crab’s Head today. Now lunch was going to be late, and Nate had promised to open Crab’s Head early to prepare their lunch. A call to Nate was in order that she’d be late. It was hard enough working closely with Lisa without creating more issues, especially with a late lunch, since Lisa was a stickler and ate on schedule daily, which was related directly to her diabetes.
Working with Lisa shouldn’t, and wouldn’t have been an issue if her mother hadn’t passed on Creative Gifts to the both of them. Oh, they got along well enough most days, but the past had a way of rearing its head.
Five years ago on a rainy night, Sarah had picked up her nephew, Lisa’s son, fifteen-year-old Gavin, from ball practice. On the way home, she’d had an accident that had almost taken his life. That incident would forever remain the worst anguish Sarah had ever experienced and shaped a powerful wedge between herself and Lisa.
Thank God, Gavin had survived and had now fully recovered from his injuries, though it had taken a year and half for him to mend. Too, Gavin had forgiven Sarah and never let his mother forget that, or that the accident had been unavoidable.
If not for Gavin’s forgiveness and explaining over and over to his mother, that Sarah wasn’t to blame, Sarah would have without doubt lost her sister and Gavin. Family was all that mattered, they had to stick together and work out their differences.
Still, once in a while, she’d caught Lisa’s expression of suspicion and intentional glare before she’d lowered those hazel eyes of hers. Lisa and Gavin were all she had left of family, and she shuddered at the thought of losing touch with them. Sarah had always disregarded Lisa’s skepticisms, since every time she brought it up, Lisa restrained any uncertainty she may harbor, yet her expressions gave her inner thoughts away.
She understood Lisa’s moods, since she’d experienced some of the same reservations before she was finally able to forgive herself. Gavin had turned twenty this year, in college and doing great. Yet the nightmares of that night troubled her still. Complete forgiveness was a daily struggle.
Sarah glanced at the slow moving line and rolled her eyes. She and Lisa had orders to box and wrap for Mayor Conley’s daughter’s baby shower this afternoon. Every minute was crucial today.
She slipped off one of her shoes and pressed the ball of her foot against her opposite leg to ease the ache from standing too long in the heels she should have changed before walking to the post office, then to work…when she finally got out of there.
Sarah glanced at her watch, then reached inside her purse for her phone to call Nate. “Why does everyone choose to mail their letters at the same time?” she mumbled.
“The same reason we’re here,” a voice from behind confirmed.
Sarah’s breath caught while the color drained from her face. I know that voice. Oh, do I know that voice.
When she wrapped her hand around the phone, the purse strap slid down her shoulder, along with her purse, which tumbled with a thump against the man’s hands. The next thing she knew the box he’d held flipped over, tossed the letters and scattered them across the floor.
Wide-eyed, she peered up into his big brown eyes…and melted. As she always had, when Sarah laid eyes on the man, she’d of course, become an out of the blue klutz. She did her best not to stare, but this time instinct had her checking out his hand, more specifically his ring finger, which was now tangled in her purse straps. The man wasn’t wearing a wedding ring, and with another brief peek, the tan line she half expected to see wasn’t there.
Will I ever lose the ache in my heart at my rejection of this man, years ago? Okay. That is a no-brainer. I already know the answer to that one. The biggest mistake I ever made was when I’d cut off all contact with him, because I’d felt unworthy of his love. He’d tried to discourage my decision, but I was determined to ruin both our lives. And…I did. Huge mistake.
Her own gaze traveled down the length of the man and for the first time in her life, Sarah stuttered. “Ted. Ted W-West. W-what brings y-you b-back to Savannah?”
As her fingers tightened around the purse straps, she caught a quick, deep breath. Why someone hadn’t snagged him already was beyond her. Ted had matured over the past five years and was more handsome than ever.
When she’d last seen him, he’d jogged alongside her for a few minutes on the running track in E-Way Square Park. He’d made an effort at conversation, but Sarah wasn’t in the mood for chit-chat. So much for making amends.
Now, Ted made no secret of sizing her up either. His eyes found hers and held for a moment. “Visiting a friend.”
A friend. Okay, then. That was that. He wasn’t going to explain.
Sarah flipped her shoulder length dark auburn hair behind one ear and bent down. She hoped to refrain from stuttering again. “I-I’m so s-sorry. H-here. L-let me h-help you.” So much for not stuttering.
Ted chuckled and flashed a warm smile. “No problem,” he said, then set the empty box on the counter, while he sidestepped around the young boy and his makeshift racetrack to gather his mail. “I have it under control, Sarah.”
Aren’t I the klutz? And where did that stutter come from? Again.
“Okay, thanks.” She moved aside to give him room to gather his mail, then repressed a grimace and blurted out, “So you do remember me?”
He gaped at her as though she had two heads.
Of course he’d remember her. They’d been as fused as chocolate and warm milk.
“Remember you? Of course…my goodness, Sarah. How do you think I could ever forget you? It’s good to see you again. We have a history. The most exciting time I ever had was with you on the Ferris Wheel. Remember?” he asked. His eyes smoldered, yet appeared to question her sanity.
She couldn’t blame him. She waited while he stuffed the box with his letters, and assumed her brain had taken flight, then gained her composure. “Yes, I remember. It’s good to see you, too,” she commented, her eyes fixed firmly on his handsome face, butterflies airborne in her stomach.
Ted was as charming as ever, and even now, his appeal had the ability to captivate her. Not to mention his very presence launched her into teenage mode…stuttering, and temporarily asking awkward questions.
Ted pointed ahead of her. “You can move up. There are only nine more in front of you now.” His smile widened. “There’s no escaping now…unless you’d like to take a chance at waiting again later.”
“No way. I’m here now.” She shifted the packages in her arms, slow to move forward behind the little boy who was at this point lying on the floor, on his back, spinning in circles. As she moved forward, her foot slipped on scattered papers that were part of the little boy’s makeshift racetrack, and she all but fell on her face. Ted grabbed her by the arms before she hit the floor, then he picked up a package that had fallen from her grip.
Even if was for protection…he would have to touch me. Every muscle in her body tightened while her rattled brain flooded with many of the times they’d shared. Good and bad.
Sarah resisted the urge to run out the front door and never look back. “Thanks.” Great. Just great. I’ve made a fool of myself again.
“It seems I’m forever coming to your rescue.” He grinned. “Not that I minded. Ever. Remember when you almost fell backwards off the diving board?”
“Yes. I do. I also remember almost losing my bathing suit when you pulled me back.” I wonder how many shades of red my face is? “You were always there for me.”
Ted gave the impression of too many thoughts running through his head. Sarah didn’t need to wonder what some of his thoughts could be. Then his expression changed to normal and a warm smile spread while a twinkle lit up his eyes.
“Being there for you was all I ever wanted.”
He raised a palm-out hand. “Put your mind at ease. I’m not going to dredge up the past. It’s enough to see you and that you’re doing well.”
“Yes. We-we had some beautiful memories. Let’s not spoil them.” A sad smile crossed her lips. If only…if only fate hadn’t dropped down that night…that night long ago. Too many years, almost five to be exact, have passed for you to know how I’m doing though.
“I agree.” Ted stared off into the distance, then fastened a concentrated gaze on her. “The past is the past. Let’s leave it there.”
Beginning to feel ill at ease with discussing their past-history, Sarah moved closer to the long counter, set her armload of mail down, then changed the subject. “So, Ted. You didn’t tell me how long you’ll be in town, after your visit.”
He responded, with a challenge. “Interested in getting together?”
Sarah peered at him through squinted eyes, and swallowed back a sour taste, still wondering if he was married. “I don’t believe I insinuated any such thing, Ted.”
“Sorry.” He paused while his face softened. “At six tomorrow I have a birthday party dinner to attend. The rest of the week is filled with real estate agent meetings.”
“Really?” Sarah gulped. “Here? Here in town?”
His gaze flicked over her face. “Where else?”
Sarah all but choked. Why must he choose Savannah, of all places? “That means you’re relocating to…to Savannah?”
“The notion has been in the back of my mind for a long time. Now that college is over and done with, I chose to move back to my roots and open my own engineering firm. The offer I received from a reputable firm in Atlanta made my decision difficult, but my heart remains in Savannah. It’s home.”
“I’m sure you’ve made the right decision. Good luck locating a suitable building. If I can help, let me know.”
“The real estate agent has got this. She’s aware of the area I’m interested in and the office space the firm will require.” He reached over and pushed Sarah’s packages closer to making her second in line to the actual postal worker. “Actually you could point me in the direction of a shop that offers unusual gifts for a four-year-old little girl’s birthday.”
Her mind whispered one thing, yet her heart expressed another. She should have left well enough alone, but she couldn’t resist the urge to see him again.
“Why don’t you visit Creative Gifts when you finish up here? Here’s my card. If I don’t have what you want, I’ll find it for you.” She grinned. “You haven’t forgotten how to get to River Street, have you?”
“Certainly not. I can smell candies, nuts and desserts now that the fantastic shops offer.” Ted slid the card in his shirt pocket. “Thanks. I’ll see you as soon as I finish up here.”
I wish you Love, Butterflies and Music.