So, time contineus to roll along. This is the last week of February. Daylight Savings Time looms in a month. Ugh. But on the bright side, it IS Wednesday and that means words. The #1lineWed THEME is **WAS** but the hints were a little deeper than the past tense of “is.” Looking into the past, what once was… You get the idea. Today, no “new” words because I’d already written the scene. Still, I kind of like the scene. I think it’s sort of self-explanatory because truthfully? It’s one of my puzzle pieces that will find its place in the jigsaw eventually.
Sunlight glinted off the pond in the Boston Gardens and she blinked away the sparkles. Swan boats glided across the water, leaving glitter in their rippling wakes. An old man sat on a park bench, a bag of nuts in one hand. He dozed beneath the warm sun while two squirrels wrestled up the nerve to steal from the bag. She’d been walking for what felt like hours, lost in a daze of memories and emotions she couldn’t quite sort out. Up ahead, a sharply-dressed man approached and Shannon regretted she hadn’t grabbed her sunglasses when she’d run out of the bar. Of course, it had been dark then and now she had to squint. She would not shade her eyes to get a good look. Tall, broad-shouldered, close-cropped light hair. It’d couldn’t be…
She held her breath as the man neared and then he passed by her without a glance. The breath she exhaled could have been a sigh of regret or one of relief. A rustling sound caught her attention. The old man was awake and he shook his bag of nuts at her.
“Come sit beside me and feed these miscreants,” he invited, waving the bag at the chattering squirrels now perching on one arm of the bench.
She eyes him narrowly and he laughed. “I promise I’m harmless but you look like you’ve lost your last friend, girl. Come and sit. If these mischief makers can’t tease a smile back onto your face, then you can tell me why you’re in such a tizzy.”
“I’m not in a tizzy,” she groused but sat beside him.
“Man troubles?” he asked, looking at the squirrels instead of her.
“Not any more.”
“Ah.” That’s all he said before offering a peanut on the palm of his hand. One squirrel, bolder than the other, grabbed it and skittered off.
They sat in silence for several minutes. “It’s stupid,” she huffed out, as angry with herself as she was with Mick. “It’s not like we were together or anything.”
The man still didn’t speak or look at her, offering a second peanut to the shyer squirrel. He eventually set it down on the bench and withdrew his hand. After a moment of stare-down, the squirrel snatched it up and ran off.
“He made me no promises. I’m just mad that I was such an idiot. What would a man like him want someone like me anyway. I’m a waitress in his bar.” Shannon leaned her head back against the top of the bench, eyes closed, soaking up the sunlight. “But did he have to flaunt that bi—” She snapped her mouth shut. “Sorry,” she muttered. She sighed again. “Me and my girls, we got out of the neighborhood. Went someplace new. It was fun. Good music. New men to dance with. And then he walks in like he owns this place too. And that…that…” She sputtered, trying to come up with an appropriate word.
“Floozy?” the old man supplied.
She burst out laughing. “Yes. Floozy. She was all over him. I’ll bet he had to throw his shirt away because there’s no way to get that lipstick off.” She banged her head against the wooden slat a few times. “The nerve of him. He looked right at me and…and…”
Those two words in that deep, sexy voice sent liquid fire through her veins while at the same time she felt like someone doused her with a bucket of icer water. She opened her eyes and glared at the man who haunted both her dreams and her every waking moment. “And you didn’t didn’t do a damn thing.”
“Are you jealous?”
“No,” she lied. “And I suppose that now you’re going to dazzle me with your razzle.” She lowered her voice to mimic his. “Oh, sweetheart, she’s a nobody. Just a bit of fluff on me arm for the night. I was just out for a night with the boys and she latched onto me.”
Mick crouched in front of her, ignoring the old man. “She was business, Shannon.”
“You freaking paid her?” Her hand darted out and she slapped him before she could stop herself. She stared in horror at the bright red hand print staining Mick’s left cheek. Horrified, she shoved his shoulders.
Stunned, Mick fell on his ass as she darted away. He scrambled to his feet but a strong hand on his arm, stopped him.
He eyed the man he’d initially ignored. He looked vaguely familiar. Curious, and knowing he would catch Shannon sooner than later, he sat.
“She’s in love with you,” the old man said.
“And she’ll get over it.” Those words left a bitter taste in his mouth. “She’s too good for the likes of me.” And why was he admitting that to a total stranger? Except this man seemed far too familier. “Do I know you?”
“Not really.” The man shrugged, then added, “Well, maybe once, a lifetime or two ago.” He leaned past Mick and stared at Shannon’s rapidly disappearing back. “You need to claim her, boyo.”
“You said it yourself, old man. She’s in love with me. She doesn’t love me.”
“Then you’re a bigger fool than I ever was, Michael O’Connor.”
The use of his name rocked Mick back and he glared down at the man. “Who the fuck are you?”
A wistful smile lifted the man’s lips for a brief instant before it disappeared. He pushed off the bench and stood. “A ghost from the past, boyo. Nuthin’ more.” He turned and walked away but called back over his shoulder. “Brian did good by you and yer brother. I’m proud of ya and Ronan both.”
Stunned, Mick couldn’t move, and when he finally did, the old man had disappeared. So had Shannon. In opposite directions. Yeah, he was a fool. And while he might not be good enough for Shannon, at least she knew what he was. Maybe she would come to love him, faults and all.
“We’ll meet again, old man,” he promised into the wind then he turned down the path in the direction Shannon had fled. He had a mate to claim.
This is a first draft. In fact, I only skimmed over it before copying and pasting so ignore the typos and anythng that doesn’t make sense. In the meantime, writers, any “what was” in your WIP you want to share? And readers, what was the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?