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Monday, May 23, 2011

TUESDAY TALES

We have a new feature here today: TUESDAY TALES. It consists of short stories written by a variety of authors around one them or prompt word. Today the prompt is ICE CREAM and we have six authors, including me, participating.




Because it was my idea, I get to go first. There are links to the stories written by the other authors participating at the end of my story. Here is my story based on ice cream:



MINT CHIP

 Nina was driving around the corner on Ashton Street when the big orange sign for The Creamery made her hit the brakes and pull into the parking lot. Every summer when she brought her son Darcy up to Willow Falls from New York City, he begged to go to The Creamery for chicken fingers and a hot fudge sundae. When Nina took him, she’d indulge in her favorite sinful dessert, a hot fudge sundae with mint chip ice cream.

            Mint chip was Nina’s favorite flavor, something she hadn’t eaten in years. Since she turned forty eight, before her husband, Henry, died, she began watching her weight. Henry never even noticed she put on twenty pounds since their marriage, 25 years earlier. Frankly, for the past five years they had grown apart. Darcy was now 24, married and living in Seattle. Henry worked on Wall Street and when in his late sixties, he should have been enoying life, he kept working and didn’t slow down. Ultimately his high stress schedule killed him at 70, leaving Nina fifty years old and alone.

Nina was trained as an actress. For the past two years she worked at reducing her weight, toning up to go back to the theater, now Henry was gone. At five feet four and a size eight, she looked good. Her short dark hair fell to her chin and her enormous light blue eyes gave her face a youthful appearance.

She got out of the car. This might be her last chance for a mint chip sundae at The Creamery. After two years of dealing with their summer house without Henry’s advice and help, she decided to sell. She loved the house, more than her large, luxurious apartment in the city but she wasn’t good at gardening and felt lost and alone wandering through empty, silent rooms day after day.

     Dammit, I’m entitled to this! I’m going to enjoy every spoonful.

****

Clint Hayworth stopped at The Creamery. Women aren’t the only ones who eat ice cream when they're depressed. A double mint chip cone would help soothe his separation pain. He came from the bus station in Willow Falls where he loaded his 12-year-old son on a bus returning him to the care of his mom, Clint’s ex-wife, Angela. He hated parting from Cory, but it was a year now and he should be used to it, or that’s what he thought. Hah! I’ll never get used to it.

 He and Cory discovered The Creamery last week. Clint, a high school English teacher, was renting a house for the summer while he tried to write a play. He felt old at forty, writing a play for the first time. Angela laughed at him when he told her. She preferred her investment banker friends…so much so she dumped him and married one. Cory was traveling by bus to spend the month of August in The Hamptons with his mother and her new husband.

****

Wouldn’t you know someone with a complicated order…a sundae, would be in front of me!  He tapped his foot impatiently as the young woman at the window carefully applied the whipped cream and then the cherry on top.

“Diet version, Deedee, no nuts,” Nina joked.

The young woman didn’t get it but she smiled anyway.

Nina stopped to slip a small spoonful of the deliciously cold confection into her mouth before moving away from the window and making room for the tall man behind her.

“Double mint chip cone,” Clint ordered, pulling out his wallet.

Nina moved slowly toward her car, gazing up at the sky to see if she could find the Big Dipper. The sultry August air felt heavy around her, melting the ice cream quicker than it did in June. Not paying complete attention to what she was eating, Nina missed her mouth and dribbled on her white tee shirt. Reaching for a napkin, she realized she forgot to take one and doubled back to get it before the stain set.

She rushed over to the tiny counter with the napkin holder just as Clint turned with his double cone and they collided. His ice cream fell onto her chest, causing her to gasp at the cold on her skin. She looked up into his light brown eyes as she reached for the melting ball of ice cream. He grunted and slipped one arm around her as he almost knocked her off her feet.

She stood staring up into his eyes and holding the ice cream, not knowing what to do with it.

“I don’t think you can put that back on the cone. Maybe the garbage?” He suggested, breaking her reverie.

Nina jumped, stepping toward the garbage and tossing the melted ice cream ball in.

            “I’m so sorry. I’ll buy you another one,” she said, reaching for napkins to wipe her shirt and hands.

            “It was my fault…completely. You don’t have to buy me another. I still have one scoop here and I’ll just…” he said,  approaching her with napkins in his hand, then realizing he couldn’t wipe ice cream off her chest. He stopped, his hand in midair, color suffusing his face.

“It’s okay. I’ve got this. Get your other scoop,” she said.

Deedee offered him another scoop free so he took it. Nina sat down at the picnic table set up for people to eat outside. After a good look at her shirt she knew it was finished. Clint joined her.

“At least let me pay for a new shirt,” he offered.
“It’s okay. I had a spill on it already. That’s why I was coming back and got in your way,” she said, finishing the last of her sundae.
“What flavor?” He asked.
“Mint chip…is there any other?” She laughed.
“Not for me.”
“I’m Nina Wells,” she said, offering her hand.
He shook it and introduced himself.
“You look familiar,” she said, admiring his physique.
“I’ve seen you…in the garden? Next door?”
“You’re renting the Willis place?” She asked.
“Thinking about buying it, too,” he said.
“It’s a lovely house. The neighborhood is terrific, too. Lots of space and nice people.”
“Then why are you selling, too?”
“Oh,” she said, coloring, “I’m alone now…and it’s kind of…I’m not…”
“Not used to taking care of it by yourself?”
She nodded.
“Have you owned it long?”
“Since my son was eight…sixteen years.”
“You have a 24 year old son?”
She nodded.
“You don’t look old enough.”
“Looks can be deceiving.”
“Not in my book,” he said, giving her curvy figure the once-over.
“Where is your son?” Nina asked, changing the subject.
“He went back to his mother’s place,” Clint said.
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
“I’m used to it by now…I lied. Not used to it at all. Hate it, in fact.”
“My son lives in Seattle. Has for three years. I’m not used to and probably never will be.”
“Can I at least buy you a cup of coffee to make up for the shirt I wrecked?”
“Why don’t you come over and I’ll make us both some  coffee.Make some noise in that too quiet house would make me feel better.”
“Great. Meet you there,” he said, finishing the last of his cone.
(to be continued next Tuesday)

 ****
NEXT AUTHOR, CLICK ON THE NAME TO VIEW
SHORT STORY: J. Gunnar Grey  
J.F. Jenkins            Lisa Kumar
         Felicia Rogers     Kay Springsteen






A little bit about Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights 
Do you have someone in your past you would like to reconnect with?  Caroline Davis White wasn't looking for Mickey, now Mike Foster, her childhood crush, she was fleeing her philandering husband, seeking peace and quiet, time to reflect on changing her life. But there was Mike, saving her from a mishap...again, bigger than life and even more handsome. 

A well-known artist, Sunny thought she could escape, disappear back to the cabin where she spent her summers as a child. But she was wrong. Her husband refused to let her go. There hadn't been a divorce in Brad White's family...ever! And he wasn't about to start breaking the tradition now.  Could Caroline shake him loose and what about Mike? Where did he fit into her life?

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4 comments:

Lisa Kumar said...

I can identify with Nina. Sometimes ice cream makes it all better;)

the1940mysterywriter said...

Is there ever a time when ice cream doesn't make it better? Love their taste, too. Nicely done, Jean!
Gunnar

An Open Book said...

While I don't eat ice cream- I have had great visions of using it as a nice enhancement to sexual release
Dawne P

Cassandre Dayne said...

Just wonderful as always. As you can imagine - you're inspiring me for a tasty blog of my own!!