“Every day above ground is a good day.” –Harris Yulin
We are not all fortunate to do what we love, that’s for damn sure. So how do we change that? Sometimes it’s all about timing. I seriously never thought I would write a book. Ever.
One random day, while my kids were busy growing up and I was no longer changing diapers or my shirt 18 times a day from all the spit up, I thought, why not? My husband said to me, “You can write. I’ve seen it. Do it. Write a book.” Right at that time I had found Sylvia Day, and it was like the planets aligned. (Or something like that.)
In all seriousness, it started as a joke. Hey, lets write something about something and have sex in it! Like a Seinfeld episode, lets write about nothing! Sure. Sex is fun after all (Well, unless you’re not doing it right, let’s have that conversation another day), and who doesn’t want to read about fun things? If you don’t like sex, I apologize, I hope you have a nice hobby, like lawn darts or ladder ball tournaments.
Doing the thing you love the most for a living is everyone’s dream. As they say in the opening of Pretty Woman, “Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream?” Mine just happens to be writing smutty books. But if you wake up tomorrow and want to be a Ghostbuster. Do it. Life is too short for second thoughts.
I’m the one on the left, and yes, that’s a full on proton pack.
As promised in this blog, there will be snippets, and I start of course, at the beginning.
Please understand, snippets are subject to change, as they have not gone through professional edit. Please consider these factors before commenting. I’m also not looking for suggestions, no offense 🙂 Thank you!
Let me sum up before we begin:
Maggie is a photographer who owns and operates her own studio in Washington, DC. She is a divorced mom of two young sons. Her ex-husband moved her here, since he is a free-lance photographer and ended up leaving for a job with National Geographic. He travels the world and comes home to spend a couple of weeks with his kids every few months. Maggie’s parents live here as well, having relocated from New Jersey to help her out after their retirement. She has a best friend, Nora, who is married with kids and thankfully, is a stay at home mom who can also help her juggle her hectic life. She is quite happy, having made a nice life for herself until one day….
Disclaimer: All material is subject to copyright. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the authors imagination or are used fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, alive or dead, is entirely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorizes, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
CHAPTER ONE SNIPPET
I looked closely in the rear view mirror. I look like someone who resembles the real me. Ugh. I look 80. Being 31 with two kids and a full-time job will do that to your complexion. It’s also amazing what adding divorce into that situation does. People always hope for a seamless separation, but in my case, it’s been nothing but dastardly. It’s put my emotions through the ringer, not to mention my sleep habits. No matter, I use my left hand for steering and my right for finding some much-needed concealer in my purse. I pop it open with my index finger and my thumb, to find it clumping in not so natural ways. Note to self, Buy more makeup, better makeup. I spatter it on under my eyes and over my old pimple scars (thank you pregnancy), and at the risk of getting into a multiple car accident, I put my compact away. Or, rather, I throw it on my side seat. I fish again in my purse; that, for the record needs to be replaced. Complete with juice box stains and goldfish crumbs; there is not much about it that says sexy single adult. I add it to my list of things to do for myself, complete with the makeup, sunglasses I don’t need to tape to my face, and light bulbs.
I arrive to work, two minutes early, and I am pleased with myself at my, albeit, dangerous multitasking, that included not only make up application while driving, but calling the pediatrician, making a vet appointment for my elderly, dying cat, and changing several CD’s to get me in the right mood so I can successfully complete my day without an emotional scar popping through my seems. All that, and I still drank twenty ounces of coffee brewed this morning by yours truly. Thank god for Keurig and the modern coffee generation.
As I walk into my studio, I am blinded by two truths. One, I’m glad I’m at a point in my life where I am doing what I love to do. And two, that I am financially stable enough to support myself, and my kids. Life hasn’t been easy since, well, since my marriage ended, and I don’t have tons of cash lying around, but I am able to pay my bills and keep my kids in a stable, clean, and happy environment and that’s all that matters. I have a feeling my day will be busy. It’s almost the end of April, and I usually get twenty or so desperate brides looking for a good photographer for their wedding for this season (Wedding season is usually capped between March and September). DC is a busy city anyway, and I always have my fair share of good business, but these next couple of months, I will usually have to turn away half, due to my full dates for people who planned ahead of time. It’s better to turn business away than to have to go out and find it, I tell myself, when I am up to my neck in bridezilla hell. I turn on all the lights, my computer and printer systems, and unlock my office. I notice how clean everything is. Rita was here last night. I love the nights the cleaning woman comes. My whole office space smells like citrus and clean linen. I take a deep breath. I open the windows to air out the very wonderful yet potent scent, and I am looking forward to a lovely spring day. Highs in the high eighties the weather app on my iPhone says; Warmer than our usual low seventy degree weather here in this area for the end of April.
I’m wearing my favorite maxi dress. It’s simple and a grey slate blue with some pretty flower embroidery on the waist line. I pair it with a deep violet cardigan and a pair of peep toe heels in the very same shade of purple. My hair is half up and half down, kind of shaggy and a little messy on purpose. I try to keep it casual so my clients feel at ease talking to me, and I don’t seem like a tight ass dressed in your typical white shirt and black pants with a tight bun pulling my eyebrows into my hair-line. I recently painted my toes a pale pink, and I feel sumptuous today. By ten A.M, an hour after opening, a woman comes in inquiring about her thirtieth anniversary party. She needs a professional to take photos of the vow renewal and reception. She’s not doing this until November, and I am happy I do not have to squeeze her in mid-June, right at my busiest. I show her my work on a recent, similar event, pencil her in and take her deposit. Time seems to creep by slow after she leaves. I try to do some busy work balancing books, getting ready for my audit. I don’t have the kids tonight, thank to my folks who take them once a week, so I was planning to hit the gym right after work, and my mind is drifting to my hot Zumba instructor when I hear the door open again and the stereo starts singing Monty Python’s, “Always look at the bright side of life…”. I hate bells on a door or those lout DING DONG effects. You may as well have a cattle call or a dinner bell. No, mine plays music, and I have about thirty preloaded songs, most regarding some happy life event, like, “ She’s having my baby…” or, “Always and forever…”. I change them every few weeks or so with selections from my iPod, so I don’t die a slow death of Frank Sinatra and cheesy 80’s Richard Marx tunes.
I’m humming to myself, finishing the verse after the music ends, when I hear, “Excuse me? I’m looking for Margaret Morris.” “That’s me…I’m Maggie Morris..” I mumble through the lyrics and half eaten granny smith apple at my lips. I look up, and in the same moment, my eyes widen, and my legs feel like tapioca pudding. A tall, maybe early 40-ish something man with black mussed hair, a sharp, perfectly fitted black business suit and a glowing white smile is leaning on his left elbow on the counter to the right of me. “Excuse me…” I say, half heartedly, as I gather my wits, toss my apple in the trash and grasp for some air.
I stand up straight and flatten my blue dress with my palms and start to apologize for my apparent lack of etiquette and professionalism in front of this pretty professional, absolutely beautiful creature. He interrupts almost immediately. “Hello Mrs. Morris.” I object, probably too quickly. “Ms. Morris. Ms.” He nods in resignment. “Oh. Pardon me, Ms. Morris. I am Declan Knight.” Oh, he has a slight accent. “Hello Mr. Knight. What can I, uh, do for you today?” I realize I am staring and I shift uncomfortably on my plum-colored pumps. He continues to smile. I’m cursing inwardly. “I was told by some locals here, that you take lovely photographs. I am looking for a photographer to come into my place of business and do some candid shots for our website. Do you do such work?” He’s so proper, that’s kinda hot, in a.. I want to play teacher way. Jesus H. Shut UP.
He talks clearly and I watch his mouth as he forms the words so eloquently. I take a deep breath. “I do all kinds of Photography, from weddings, to children, to corporate functions Mr. Knight. I’m certain we could work something out.” As I recite my automated response, he starts casually glancing at the work on the walls in the studio. He smiles at the pregnant bellied mom with her two kids kissing her basketball size belly. He glances further to the right, past the ocean and mountain landscapes, scanning each one carefully when I see him stop at one above my desk. “Where was this taken, if you don’t mind me asking?” I look at him to respond, shuffling papers to find a point of contact form. Wow, his eyes are really quite green. “Ireland. West coast, a small coastal town in Connemara.” He smiles. “I’m from Belfast. My family still lives there, well, in part.” Ahhh. Accent. I can’t stop looking at him. He has nice skin I notice. No five o clock shadow. Smooth. His eyes are a super bright shade of green, almost the color of the ocean, deep out in sea, when the blues are so blue they look sheer and green on top. I sigh, I think out loud. Oops.
He continues as I am distracted by his hard, squared off jaw. “Is this for sale?” I’m dumfounded. I squirm a little under his curious gaze that wafts from me to the photograph and back to me again. “Yes. All of these photos, with the exception of the ones with children in them, are for sale Mr. Knight.” I pause. My mouth is dry. “I’ll take this one, please.” He says, casually, mind made up-matter- of- factly. Okay. “Don’t you want to know how much it is?” I ask bluntly, intrigued. He smirks. He has a nice smile. “Okay, Miss Morris, then, how much is it?” He asks, almost sarcastically, leaning a little forward, just enough so I can smell him.. Lucky for him I’m fluent in that language. “It’s $750.00, mounted with the frame and all.” I say, a little nervous coming out too fast and a tone too high. “I’ll take it.” He says one more time. This time he smiles and with one swoop into his pocket, he takes out a long leather wallet and places a credit card on the glass counter, with purpose, so the sound of the plastic slapping the glass makes me take notice.
It’s Platinum, the Master Card, and I pick it up and ring him out carefully, almost in slow motion. I hand him with card with the receipt folded over it purposefully, smiling the whole way, giddy that someone bought something of mine. Must be my lucky day, I think to myself. I turn around and gently take the frame down from the wall, and I can feel his eyes on me. You would think you would smell smoke coming from the back of my head. When I turn around, he is grinning politely, and says, “If you don’t mind Ms. Morris, I have to get back to take a meeting. Could we set up a time for you to deliver the photograph and for us to discuss our arrangement?” He wants me to come to his office. “Sure. I can do that for you Mr. Knight. What time is best for you?”
He thinks for a moment, and his eyes wander as if he’s trying to remember something specific. His hands are lovely, I notice as his thumb grabs his bottom lip slightly. He seems very well manicured and put together. After a moment, he speaks, almost making me jump. “I will be finished with my meeting by three. I will be available any time after that. I work about four miles away, off 23rd and M Streets.” He says. I pause briefly. “Oh, okay.” I stutter over my words like a teenage twit. “Which one is your office?” He continues, “Well Ms. Morris, the building is my own, however, my offices are located on the top floor. You will have to give your name to the security down stairs and they will escort you up.” Security? Did I miss something? Is he the fucking President? “I see. Okay, well, I close my shop here generally around four, so I should not be any later than four thirty.” His eyes look into mine. “Splendid. I will see you then, in my office, at four thirty.” He’s still looking at me. Is there something on my face? “Yes sir, four thirty.” I say briskly. “Thank you for coming in and for….um.. buying a piece of my work.” His eyebrows jump a little. “You do lovely work Ms. Morris, I’m honored to have it.” I feel my ears get hot and my hair on my neck seems to, I don’t know, move. He’s honored. “Have a good afternoon.” He smiles at me as he opens the door. Monte Python starts singing again. He holds the door open with his right hand, his left in his pocket of what looks like an expensive suit, and smiles at the sound of the music. He looks at me with his right hand still holding the door open and says. “That’s brilliant.” Then, just as quickly as he came in, he’s gone. My whole body relaxes. I didn’t even realize I was tense. I mean, I knew I was tense, but, my muscles are actually a little sore from all of the terseness.
I fall back onto the stool behind me, thankful for its presence. Shit. I now have to worry about the next two hours and what I am going to do when I get to four. Did that just happen? I decide I need to make a phone call.