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Friday, July 1, 2011


Here's an excerpt of my work-in-progress called "The List", showing how the story got it's title:

The next night he went out to dinner with his sister, Jenna. She was two years younger than Grey and engaged to be married. She was a teacher and came to New York City to shop for a wedding dress. He took her to a nice French restaurant, Grey had a good day in the stock market and wanted to treat his baby sister to a great dinner.
            Jenna sipped her wine.
            “How are you feeling about…uh…getting married?” He asked her.
            “Great! Bill is everything I’ve always wanted in a man,” Jenna cooed.
            “Is he a good listener?”
            She nodded.
            “A good provider?”
            “He makes a good salary as corporate counsel for the bank.”
            “And…in the sack…?” Grey asked, embarrassing himself.
            “Grey! That’s none of your business…what we do in private. Honestly!”
            “I know, but are you…ah, compatible?”
            “What do you mean?”
            “You know what I mean, Jenna. Stop playing with me,” Grey insisted.
            “If you would stop asking such a personal question…”
            “Compatible…like you both want it the same all the time, uh, most of the time.”
            “Grey! I can’t believe you asked me that.”
            “Are you?”
            “I’m not going to answer. Why are you asking me these, personal questions? It’s not like you,” Jenna said.
            “We had a ‘Four Horsemen’ meeting two nights ago.”
            “You mean with Will, Spence and Bobby?”
            He nodded.
            “They were talking about their wives…complaining actually, each about different things and I’ve been thinking. I wouldn’t want to trade places with any of them. I used to think they had it all…great jobs, great women, now I’m not so sure.”
            “You don’t want to fall into the same trap?”
            “Each one had a separate complaint, a completely different thing bugging him about his wife. Three big things.”
            “One of them was s-e-x?”
            “Spence. Not getting enough. I wouldn’t want to have to beg my wife to sleep with me,” Grey said, picking up his wine glass.
            “That’s why you’re asking me all these personal questions?”
            “I need to know if it’s standard…after you’re together for a while…begging?”
            “Did Bobby and Will complain about that?”
            Grey shook his head.
            “So then it’s not like that with everyone.”
            “Translation, you and Bill are sexually compatible. You don’t make him beg?”
            “Only if he’s been a bad boy,” she laughed.
            “Jenna! Get serious.”
            “How can I? This is ridiculous. Do you even have someone you’re considering marrying?”
            “Not yet, but I will. I plan to. Things are going well for me now and soon I’ll be in a position to have a new life, one with room for a regular woman.”
            “A regular woman? I’d hate to think of you with an irregular woman,” she snickered.
            “Jenna! You know what I mean.”
            “Andrews family bachelor is thinking about settling down. That is news.”
            “It’s not a joke,” he complained.
            “I’m sorry, Grey. I know it isn’t. Lord knows you’re not getting any younger…seriously, I’m glad to hear it.”
            “I need help here, some guidance.”
             “Let’s begin with the way I solve almost every problem in my life…with a list,” she said, digging in her purse for a pen. 
“I’m not into lists…it’s a girl thing.”
“Do you want my help or not?” She asked him, pulling a small pad of paper out of her purse.
He nodded, then waved his hand for her to continue.
“Okay. Three guys. Three frustrated husbands. Three wifely flaws. First one?” She asked looking at him.
“Bobby complained that his gorgeous, sexy-as-hell wife wouldn’t listen to him. She thought his legal work was boring. I want to be able to talk to my wife about whatever business I’m in, whether she had big boobs or not,” he said, breaking into a grin.
Jenna gave him a dirty look.
“Number one, she should be smart. Able to talk and listen,” Jenna said, writing, “next?’
“Will said his wife is spending all his money on decorators and cooks yet he doesn’t have a house he is comfortable in. The guy holes up in a den, smallest room in his giant house, because Vicky’s decorated the whole house in white and it gets dirty…or something like that.”
“Translating Will’s problem into a wish…for your wish list.”
“Not a wish list. This is a ‘must-have’ list.”
“All right, so how do you translate Will’s dilemma into a quality you want?”
“Hmmm. Not so easy.”
“A homemaker?”
“Sort of. I’m not looking for Betty Crocker here…someone who can manage a household, I guess…and create a nice but comfortable home for me, since I’m pretty stupid at that. Does that work?” He asked.
“A woman who can decorate a house without bankrupting you and can cook a decent meal,” Jenna said, scribbling on the pad.
Grey nodded his head in agreement.
“The third thing…Spence?” Jenna asked.
“This one is important. No begging for sex.”
“Sexually compatible, right?”
“More than that.”
“How so?”
“She’s gotta want it as much as I do. I don’t want a woman who turns her head and says, ‘okay go ahead’, I want one who is eager for it…for me…who wants…I can’t discuss this with you, Jenna,” Grey said, blushing.

“Write this last one yourself. I’m putting down sexually compatible, whatever that means to you. Please don’t explain it to me. Okay?” Jenna asked, tearing a sheet of paper from the pad.
He smiled a wicked grin and agreed with her.
“Here is your list. Memorize it. Every time you go out with a woman, you look for these three things,” Jenna advised, stuffing the paper in his breast pocket.
“What about honesty? Sense of humor? Looks?”
“Those are important traits, especially the first two. I assume everyone has to have those to get to the second date with you anyway.  The list is for more than two or three dates. Use it when you consider spending a lot of time with a woman. That’s when the list kicks in. I gotta go,” she said, looking at her watch.
“Thank you, Jenna,” he said, kissing his sister on the cheek.
“You may think it’s silly but women make lists…all women have a list they use on men, too, a list just like yours. Use it, Grey. I hope it helps you find the woman you’re looking for.”
“Me, too,” he said, getting up and walking out of the restaurant with his sister.

So tell me, what did you think?


K.T. Bishop said...

very good! Hope you enjoyed the RWA!

Anonymous said...

I like it. It's a natural conversational flow between a brother & sister who are close.

We all have, or have had, lists of traits that we want in a relationship/marraige. We may never find that perfect man/woman but if even half of what we truly want are on that's a huge accomplishment.

Jean said...

Thank you for your comment. I'm glad you like the natural flow of the conversation. Yes, a list of preferred traits exist in the backs of the minds of everyone seeking a partner. At least I believe that.