Chapter 8 - Danica
Paris is so beautiful. I was able to visit the Eiffel Tower before my book signing. The view was simply breathtaking. I have been scribbling into my little notebook a lot over these couple of days. I know what I have secretly felt for Danny has been hidden away for a long time. I was definitely too scared to admit it, disregarding it like dirtied rag. I cried in that hotel room, back in London. And again on the plane, when I thought no one was looking. A woman across the aisle asked to sit next to me. She told me to tell her why I was crying, and I spilled everything. She listened to me and then simply smiled.
“He’s not the one you want at your side,” she had said, handing me a napkin to wipe my eyes. “Trust me; if neither of you has ever let it become more than playful banter, it wasn’t meant to be. You will meet someone, one day, who will stop at nothing to make sure you know what he feels. And you will be doing the same. Just remember, not all men become Mr. Confidence when they meet the woman of their dreams. It takes time.”
Her advice had made me feel better. And she was totally right about Danny. If it had been meant to be, one of us would have made a move.
My phone rings in my purse, but stops mid-ring. I furrow my eyebrows as I rummage around to find the blasted thing. When I do find my phone, there is a new text message from Gramps, and a new email alert. I smile, thinking of my last email to Aldrich. It’s funny; I’ve only been receiving emails from Aldrich lately. Sure, I get my usual emails concerning my website, emails from my editor and publisher, etcetera. But no emails from readers. They come and go. It’s normal. But since I’ve been receiving an email every couple of days from Aldrich, I have something to look forward to. I tap my inbox and a wide grin forms on my face. The subject line of the email is . . . not what I was expecting.
April 14, 2016
Subject: Off Topic
You’re only twenty-two? Wow.
Very well, because you are so graciously humoring my ridiculous questions and notions, I will clue you in on something . . .
I will be celebrating my day of birth . . . in the coming weeks. And I am around your age.
P.S. Thank you for the hug . . . I did feel it, and it lifted my spirits. I have been having a tough day.
He felt my hug. My cheeks grow warm. I read over the message again. Nothing new pops out, other than two things: Aldrich is choosing to stray off the topic of his questions, and he is being totally vague about his age and birthday. No biggie. The icing on the cake is the fact that my hug lifted his spirits. I look around the park, where I have been walking for the last half hour, for a bench to sit. A little walk away from where I stand is an empty, so I make a quick sprint for it. I don’t know why, but I prefer to be sitting down when I reply to any email.
I will be taking quite a step with this reply. Perhaps I might be overstepping Aldrich’s personal bubble, but I really want to see if I can meet him face to face. Maybe give him a signed copy of ‘Aching Heart’, completely personalized. I am going to be in so many places, I am bound to land up in Aldrich’s town somewhere along the way. I have never wanted to meet a reader so bad. Once I have replied to Aldrich, put my phone away and start my walk back to my motel. I have a train to catch tonight.
My train ride is going to take at least a day, since I am now headed to the coast. I have plenty to keep me busy though. I am revising my second draft of my current work in progress. I have to confirm with the manager of the next bookstore that I can still come at the set time. I also have to contact my agent and make sure she will be meeting me in Cannes. Yes, Cannes. The beach Mr. Bean was aiming to get to on that hectic, stressful movie. I won’t get to enjoy the sand and sun though. I will only be there for the day. I leave right after my signing. I am also going to be reading from ‘Aching Heart’.
I have still not had much feedback from that book. It is being purchased by the bucket-load, but I think people are not reading it right away. A book blogger tagged me in her review and was very enthusiastic about her experience reading it. But nothing like Aldrich’s feedback. He has been the only one to truly relate to Adam’s character.
Adam. A mixture of Danny and Charlie. Two of the most important men in my life. And there are only three of them, counting Gramps. Adam is everything Charlie and Danny are to me. If not more. I know that I cried so much while writing Adam’s sufferings. Gram and Gramps caught me in the zone all the time. Usually, Gram would not bother about it, but Adam’s story had major impact on my mental health all through the writing progress. It was so hard to write that novel. But it pays off.
I’m completely zoned in on revising, but the gentle ding of my phone. I pick it up and glance at the screen. Danny is texting me. I hesitate, but open it. I’m not bothered by the subject anymore. I have just been trying not to say anything out of line. I’ve even made it a point to send my regards to Amethyst.
Danny: Hey pumpkin!
Me: Again with the pumpkin . . . do I look like a giant orange squash?
Danny: No, you look like the fairy godmother that turned it into a golden carriage.
Me: *scoffs* Then that would make you the nasty green lizard. We are thinking the same ‘Cinderella’ movie, right?
Danny: I think so . . . Anyways, I just wanted to check in and see how you were. What’re you up to?
Me: I’m revising, sitting on a train. Going to Mr. Bean’s dream vacation . . . without the vacation and havoc. How are things with Amethyst?
Danny: Okay, I guess . . . She wants me to meet her mom.
Me: Oh, things are really good then. If she wants you to meet her mom, she is looking into long-term with you.
Danny: That’s what I’m worried about, Danica. What if her mom doesn’t like me?
Me: Oh ye of little faith. If she doesn’t like you, there will be something wrong with her. Everyone likes you, Montoya.
Danny: You’re supposed to say that, Kensington.
Me: I’m not being biased . . . Okay, maybe I am. But you know it’s true. What time is it? Shouldn’t you be asleep, or something?
Danny: Couldn’t sleep . . . I’m meeting Ame’s mom tomorrow . . . today, I mean.
Me: Oh, yous got da jitters.
Danny: Yeah . . .
Me: It’ll be fine. You’re serious about this girl, right?
Danny: Yes, like nothing before.
Me: Than that’s all you need to remember.
Me: Be honest with her mom and the rest will follow.
Danny: Thanks pumpkin.
Me: No problem, Mr. Lizard.
Me: I gotta go. The words won’t revise themselves.
Danny: Yeah. Hop to it, girl! Bye!
I sigh as I put my phone aside and turn back to my laptop. I am hoping to have this next novel completely finished and sent to my editor before the end of my tour. If I can do that, I will have a new release for New Year’s.
Cannes is wonderful. I love the fact that the bookstore has full view of the beach. I can see it from my table. And there is the scent of the ocean that comes through the door whenever someone enters. It’s awesome. I could totally see myself living here, running this very store, if it means seeing this spectacular view every day.
“Thank you, Danica!” says a young man after I sign a copy of ‘Aching Heart’ for him. “I think my girlfriend will be very happy when she sees this for her birthday.”
“I hope you earn points for that,” I tell him, laughing. “Have a great day!”
He grins and leaves, letting the next person in line move forward. The young girl is holding a copy of my book ‘Love Without Conditions’, with a bright smile on her freckled face. As best as I can, in my broken French, I converse with her and ask for her name. Fleur is her name. When I ask why, she tells me it is because her mother likes to paint Fleur de Lis. Her auburn hair falls into her eyes and she tries to blow it away. I laugh softly and pull out one of my barretts. I lean forward and pin her bangs back.
“You have lovely eyes,” I tell her with a smile.
Fleur beams, her cheeks flushed. I come around the table and hug her. Fleur’s older brother snaps a couple pictures of us before tugging her towards the door. Fleur shouts her thanks as they walk out the door. I laugh and return to my place behind the table.