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I'm thrilled so many people are looking forward to Silver Bullet coming out in a little more than two months now! I thought I'd share a fun piece from near the beginning, Certainly Not a Double Date. I'd love to hear what you think!



"I still don't understand why the ballerina just went to the train station like that," Lewis said. This had been supposed to be a treat, a holiday after the excitement of the crash and getting Rayburn and his men down out of the mountains, but somehow it wasn’t working out the way he’d planned. His breath was a cloud in the frosty air, and he twisted his scarf around his neck with his free hand. It was cold but not snowing yet, and the sidewalk glittered with black ice in the lights from the movie theater marquee.

"She didn't know he was dead, darling," Stasi said from behind him. "Nobody told her because they didn't want a horrible scene. Of course they'll get one anyway. It's not as though she won't find out when he's not waiting at the train station, but we won't have to watch it."

"Maybe they won't tell her," Mitch said. It was cold enough that he actually had his overcoat fastened, his hat pulled low over his eyes. "They'll just let her think he didn't show up because he was insincere. He never meant to come with her. Jewel thieves are like that."

"Are they?" Stasi asked lightly. "I suppose they are."

"I think it's terribly sad," Alma said, and Lewis was startled to hear a catch in her voice. Her eyes looked suspiciously red, like she'd been crying in the movies. Which wasn't like Alma at all.

"I guess?" Lewis said. These women's movies full of love affairs and big emotions didn't really appeal to him. He'd been thinking about the crash through most of Grand Hotel, even if everyone did say it was going to win an Oscar. He felt bad for Rayburn, whose plane was still stuck on the mountainside because he didn’t have the men to spare from his regular routes, and everyone was confused about why it had happened. Clear skies, calm air, and all of a sudden there was a zap and all the instruments went out: it didn’t make sense, and Rayburn was being pretty close-mouthed about the job he’d been on. And of course some of the old boys at the Legion were talking about ghosts and haunts, but presumably that could be discounted — surely. Alma was scowling, and he dragged his attention back to the conversation.

"It is terribly sad," Alma said. "Here she thinks the man she loves is insincere, and instead he's lying dead among a bunch of strangers who don't care what happens to him, and meanwhile everyone she trusts is lying to her. I think it's horrible!"

Lewis tucked her arm into his. "Are you ok?"

"I just think it's sad," Alma said. She blinked furiously. "And I can, so I will. There's no need to be heartless about other people's pain."

"She's not a real person," Lewis said confusedly.

"It was sad," Mitch said. They stopped beside Alma's pickup truck. "I think he should have gone with her and married her and fired that creepy nurse. But no. He had to steal one more thing first. He couldn't get out of the game."

"Well, he was going to go with her!" Stasi said hotly. "It just didn't work out."

"Because he got caught in the middle of a burglary and bludgeoned to death," Mitch said. "Which he might have seen coming."

"Nonsense, darling. Why would he have seen it coming? He'd done it hundreds of times before."

"If you play too long, sooner or later you lose," Mitch said.

Lewis looked at Alma, who was sniffling conspicuously. "It's just a movie," he said.

"Can you imagine anything worse than not to be with the man you love when he's dying?" Alma demanded.

"Um," Lewis said. He felt like he was out in the middle of a frozen pond suddenly with no idea how he got there.

"He meant to go with her," Stasi said, stalking off along the street toward the Torpedo parked four cars ahead.

"Well, meant to isn’t the same as did," Mitch said, following after with the keys. "If he'd just left well enough alone, she had enough money."

"There's no such thing as enough money, darling." Stasi's back was straight as she waited for him to open the door, one foot tapping impatiently. "Rockefeller doesn't have enough money."

"Nor any other feller," Mitch snapped.

"I can't believe you're so callous about it," Alma said as she went around to get in the truck.

"I'm sorry this guy in a movie died," Lewis said.

"You weren't even paying attention," Alma said. She got in and slammed the door.

Ahead, Mitch slammed the door of the Torpedo just a little too hard for politely helping a lady in.

Lewis climbed in the truck. "It was just a movie," he said. "I don't see why everybody is bent out of shape about it."

Alma's jawline was hard. "I expect you don't."

The Torpedo peeled out from the curb, leaving the smell of burnt rubber behind it, eight cylinders of power revving up to a distinctive roar. It was a damn nice machine, Lewis had to say. Someday he'd like a car like that, though of course there was nothing wrong with Alma's Ford pickup, and the truck was a lot more practical than the two-seater convertible. You couldn't fit three people in the Torpedo, much less any of the stuff they usually had to haul around.

"Look, Al," Lewis said. "I said I'm sorry. I don't know why you're so upset. Is something wrong?" There were times when a husband just had to eat crow. It came with the job description. Apparently failing to take women's movies seriously was one of those offenses that put a guy in the doghouse. Two years, and he was still kind of new at this husband gig.

"I'm fine." Alma drove sedately and conservatively, her eyes on the road. "Just a little out of sorts."

Oh. That kind of out of sorts. The kind that involved mysterious female problems. Come to think of it, it seemed like it had been a while since those sorts of problems, the ones involving belts and drug store bags and long baths and him staying out of the way while she had a little medicinal brandy in the bathtub. Right. That time. Definitely time to make nice.

"I could get you a drink when we get home," Lewis said.

She glanced over, giving him a quick smile. "Maybe some tea," she said. "And a snack."

"A snack sounds good," Lewis said, watching the red tail lights of the Torpedo accelerating in front of them.

Of course Mitch beat them to the house. He was already out of the car and opening Stasi's door when they pulled in, one foot in strappy pumps and backseam stockings emerging. Mitch glanced in the direction of his apartment over the garage. "Feel like coming up for a little nightcap?" he said, holding the gleaming chrome of the door handle.

"No, thank you," Stasi said frostily. "I think I'll just go to bed." She headed straight for the front door of the house.

"So will I," Mitch snapped to the nearest person, who happened to be Lewis.

"Great," Lewis said blankly. Alma headed across the lawn behind Stasi, the keys in her hand. "Women are nuts," Lewis said. "She takes my head off and now I'm going to go make her a Dagwood sandwich in the middle of the night."

"Al's usually ok," Mitch said, pocketing his keys with a dark look toward the house. "Not like Blondie Boopadoop." He stalked off toward the garage.

"Ok," Lewis said to no one in particular. "The lesson of the day, my son, is that women's movies put everyone in a bad mood. Next time it's westerns only."

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
sockich
Sep. 4th, 2013 08:41 am (UTC)
Lol, yeah, it's definitely those women's movies putting everyone in a bad mood. Poor Lewis. :D

I can't wait for this!
melita66
Sep. 4th, 2013 11:10 am (UTC)
Oh. Well, depending on the undercurrents, I have so many questions! Bleargh! (frustration)
jo_graham
Sep. 4th, 2013 12:07 pm (UTC)
So what are your questions? I'm very curious!
melita66
Sep. 5th, 2013 08:53 am (UTC)
I thought they might be considered spoilers! Let's see if I can set this correctly...Highlight to view questions

[1. How old is Alma again? 2. Could she be pregnant? 3. Could she be going through menopause? and not really a question, but 4. Gil's or someone's death must have been very bad.]
jo_graham
Sep. 5th, 2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
Alma and Lewis are both 42. So yes, it's possible!

I think that was her tremendous fear about Gil, that she would be sent away and he would die alone. Which Iskinder and Mitch made certain wouldn't happen by arranging the quickie marriage in the hospital! Mitch hunted up a chaplain who would do it on the fly, and Iskinder found the ring. But that was her terrible fear. And even though they had seven years after that, Gil's death was very hard on her.
jo_graham
Sep. 4th, 2013 12:06 pm (UTC)
Poor Lewis indeed! Just about everything here is going over his head! It's all about women's movies....
tielan
Sep. 4th, 2013 12:57 pm (UTC)
This scene always makes me laugh. :D
jo_graham
Sep. 4th, 2013 01:17 pm (UTC)
*g* I'm glad!
Teresa Spencer
Sep. 7th, 2013 04:17 pm (UTC)
I hope you get approved for more Stargate books
I hope that you do get the green light for more Stargate Atlantis books. I'd like to read more of them. That being said, can you give us a little of the outline? Does Rodney play a huge part?

jo_graham
Sep. 8th, 2013 11:33 am (UTC)
Re: I hope you get approved for more Stargate books
I hope we do too! I can't really give you the outline -- too many spoilers! :) Yes, there is certainly Rodney. Rodney's having to prove that he's back to normal and that he's not Wraithy. He's also determined that Elizabeth must be out there somewhere. He knows she saved him. He's certain. And he's going to move heaven and earth to find her!
angelsallfire
Sep. 10th, 2013 03:04 pm (UTC)
Poor, poor Lewis :D
Thank you for the sneak peek! I am really looking forward to SB.
jo_graham
Sep. 10th, 2013 06:28 pm (UTC)
Dear Lewis! He's kind of at sea here. And he's pretty oblivious to what's going on with Mitch and Stasi!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )