This short story is in response to the Five Minute Friday prompt: Invite. The rules are: write for 5 minutes and no editing (although I can’t stop myself a little. I am an editor after all.). I’ll see you on the other side. Hope you enjoy it.
Charlotte Anne knew the exact right thing to do…she always did. But just because a body knew what to do didn’t mean she could make herself do it.
And right now, Lottie’s fingers grasped the door handle hard enough it should have crumpled under the force. After all it wouldn’t do to slap Daddy’s whore no matter how much Lottie wanted to.
“Why, if it isn’t Madeleine Louise. It’s been a veritable coon’s age since I’ve seen you. Why don’t you come right in? I’m sure Meemaw has some tea that might suit you.”
If I spit in it.
Lottie spun, her school uniform skirts swishing around her ankles. At least the university skirts were sufficiently tailored that Lottie didn’t feel like a complete frump in comparison to Maddie’s outlandish purple suit topped with a veritable zoo of peacock feathers.
Lottie filled the teapot and settled it on Meemaw’s stove just as dainty as a princess—even her Mama might have been proud. But she might also have preferred Lottie throw the boiling water on the woman who drove her into the grave…maybe.
That woman settled herself into one of Meemaw’s kitchen chairs and smoothed out her skirts, the sound rasping like sandpaper on wood.
“So what brings you down to Sanford Hardware?” Lottie gestured to the floor, where, Papaw’s hardware store faced Central Avenue.
Maddie raised a perfect eyebrow. “Why, honey. I came to see you not some dirty…I mean…what I mean to say is—”
Her hand fluttered to her face, and that’s when Lottie caught sight of the ring. Lottie sank into a chair, not at all certain her legs could hold her anymore, not sure anything could hold her anymore.
“What I mean to say is,” Mattie started again. “I’d like for you to come to our engagement party. Your father and mine, I mean.”
Somehow Lottie took the envelope from Mattie and saw her out the door. It was hours later that Meemaw came up from the hardware to check on lunch that she found Lottie still curled in a corner with the crumpled invitation in her fist.
So Charlotte Anne is a character I’ve been working on for a while now. When she gets older, she’ll marry Sam. Remember the farmer working in the fields from back here?
One of the many techniques I use in crafting a new full-length novel, is to write vignettes like this to get a feel for where characters come from. This scene may never make it into the book (and asks a whole lot of questions that I may or may not have answers for yet), but I know now, for instance, that Mattie really wants Lottie’s approval. I didn’t know that before. I saw her as cold and uncaring, but really, that’s only how Lottie sees her.
Anyway, I hope you like it and are enjoying peeking into my imagination as I build characters and scenes. I’ll update you on life over here sometime soon. I just need to get my head around it all!
Until next week…
And if you got a weird post email yesterday and you’re dying to know what in the world is going on, the short answer is that I goofed up whilst experimenting with setting up a newsletter. But I’m happy to let you in on it, if you don’t mind an ugly framework. Just click over here 🙂