Today we’re switching gears a little bit. For the past few days I’ve focused on my WIP Gillie’s Little Secret, but as I said in the beginning, it’s very difficult for me to stick to one thing at the time. I’m often juggling several. Today we’re visiting yet another WIP. This one is tentatively titled Believing in Fate. It features Jonah and Lena from the short story in my One of Those Nights anthology, Angry Nights. Believing in Fate is the story of how they got together after a chance meeting on a public bus. This bit comes from that first meeting where Jonah finds himself with a bit of a dilemma.
He shuffled his paper, folding it in preparation of settling down to read, but before he could, he noticed out of the corner of his eye that the woman had given up all pretense of reading. Her head was still bent but her book had slipped into her lap, where it lay open, completely unnoticed by his seatmate who was apparently lost in her own thoughts. Curious, he glanced over and skimmed the title header on the page closest to him, stifling an internal wince even as he did so. It was incredibly rude, and he knew it. He was without question an old-fashioned man who held himself to rules of decorum and morality that were nearly unheard of for most men his age. He’d accepted years ago that he was in many ways a throwback to long bygone era. He opened doors for women, in buildings and cars. He stood when a lady entered the room. He rarely used either alcohol or profanity and would never, except in very extreme circumstances, use such language in front of a lady. The rudeness of reading a stranger’s book over her shoulder was far below his normal standards of behavior, but he was so inexplicably curious about this woman he couldn’t help himself.
Much to Jonah’s shock, he recognized the title. That in itself would not have been that unusual. He wasn’t a voracious reader by any means, but he read a good bit of popular mainstream fiction, action and suspense stories mostly. This particular book though was no grocery store suspense novel. For one, he knew the author, only by occasional posts from an Internet discussion group he frequented, but he knew her or more to the point, he knew her views and the type of stories she wrote. She and her husband, like Jonah himself, believed in very traditional male/female roles. In private, he was the head of their household, and she submitted to him. They practiced what was commonly known as domestic discipline, which was, to Jonah’s mind, just to name somebody thought up to put a label on the way his grandparents and generations before them had always done things. He was the leader, provider, protector, and disciplinarian. She was the nurturer, caregiver, and heart of the home. As such, they followed a very traditional agreed-upon structure within their marriage. They had rules and expectations, and if she broke them, she paid for that discretion with a trip across his knee and a blistered backside. It was what they, and Jonah too, believed to be the proper way of things, however unpopular it might be in this ultra-politically correct modern era. She made no secret of the fact that the stories she wrote reflected her own beliefs and the way that she and her husband lived their lives. She sold them quietly, under a pseudonym, via a small Internet publisher. Only someone who understood the lifestyle themselves or was at least curious about it, would have even been able to find the book, much less be reading it hidden in a false book jacket on a public bus.
Jonah suddenly found himself caught in an interesting quandary. Should he mention that he knew the book? Should he take a chance and broach the subject? He knew if it was going to happen it would have to be up to him. She had no idea he’d even noticed the book let alone recognized the title. There was no way he could let this chance go by, but what was he supposed to do about it? How did he bring it up without embarrassing her or scaring her away before they ever got a chance to talk? It wasn’t exactly socially acceptable conversation after all. Despite what he believed and what he believed he knew about this woman, he was very reluctant himself to even bring up the topic, for fear the conversation might be overheard by any of the numerous passengers on the bus. Just what was he supposed to do?
What do you think he should do? Leave a comment to let me know, and be sure to visit the other participating authors.