Exclusive online preview: Full Circle – Chapter 10 Scene 1

Hi There,

Here is this week’s scene from Full Circle and we have Aunt Bess trying to remember where her sweets are… I hope that you enjoy!

Big Smiles,

Jody

My thoughts: Aunt Bess… I love her character so much and I really enjoyed showing her story during Full Circle and how incredible she is. In a sense, she is a representation of those ladies who paved (and still pave) the way in areas where ladies (and all those who are a little bit different) often face silly and unnecessary barriers. As Bess shows, a lady never ages, she just deepens her wisdom, refines her character and increases in vibrance while she grows more beautiful. As Nan would say, “they ain’t wrinkles, they’re a person’s laughter, perseverance, and strength showin’ through.’

Full Circle exclusive.

Copyright © 2018 Jody Klaire.

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No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any means, electronic or mechanical without permission in writing from the author and publisher.

Please note: all scenes are the intellectual property of the author and that online exclusive scenes may differ from the published version.

Chapter 10

Scene 1

Bess Lorelei’s memory gave her toothache. Well, not so much the memory and she’d lost a fair few teeth in fights over the years——good times——but when she couldn’t remember something it made her brain ache and that always gave her toothache.

“Bess, are you in there?” Grimes hollered from the sitting room. Sometimes the guy was as dense as a redwood trunk. Unless she’d climbed out her bedroom window, where else was she gonna be?

“Yup.” She studied the floorboards, pressing her toes to each board in turn.

“Bess… you okay…?” Grimes scratched at his stubbled up chin. She liked the stubble. Made him look rough and ready even if he was softer than a marshmallow. “You lose something?”

“Yup.” She eyed the boards. Toothache needed to take a chopper ride. Now who used to tease her when she lost things? Old Jones? Nope… Now was it Charlie? Charlie used to tease a lot. Then again she’d teased him all the time. Good ol’ Charlie.

“Can I help?” Grimes scratched at his stubble again.

“Nope.” She missed Charlie. That felt a whole lot like toothache too. Especially on the account of her not knowing if she’d shot him. Sure, Renee and Frei told her that they had complete faith she wouldn’t have, and she was almost certain that even if the order had been issued she would’ve ignored it, but unless she remembered, she couldn’t be completely sure and not being sure was giving her toothache too.

“Now, I know you don’t like it when I interrupt your thinking…” Grimes trailed off as she fixed him with a glare. “You’re worrying me, woman. Why are you standing staring at the floor?”

“Memories.” Bess grinned at him. “And quit your whining, man, you sound like the kittens.”

Grimes folded his arms. “Why are memories making you stare at the floor?”

“’Cause, I put them in a safe place and having nuts for brains, I’ve gone and forgot where.” She tapped the floorboard with her toe. “My brain says they’re in here somewhere and if I stare at the floor I’ll remember but I need a sweet to help and I can’t remember where they are either.”

Grimes leaned down and pulled the pack out of her sock. “You’re still confusing me.”

“I confuse myself, why should you be any different?” She took her pack of sweets and popped one in her mouth.

“Bess, you’re confusing me.” Charlie fixed her with his gray eyes and screwed up his mouth.

“I confuse myself, why should you be any different?” She punched him in the arm and strode into Dusty’s bar.

“What does that mean? Is that a yes?” Charlie hurried in after her.

“I ain’t sure.” She shrugged and held up her fingers to the barman. “Make ‘em chasers.”

“Bess!” Charlie tugged her around and put his hands on his hips. “You can’t just say something like that and walk off.”

Bess smiled as Grimes’ confused face came back into view. “Good ol’ Charlie.”

Grimes pursed his lips. “Yeah, great. You don’t pull that grin when you talk about me.”

“You think I smiled at Charlie to his face?” She rolled her eyes and sucked on her sweet. Memories… Charlie… safe place… Toothache.

“I don’t know. You never really said what Charlie was to you but he sure sounds like a husband.” Grimes was pouting if the jutting chin was anything to go by.

“I only married three.” She stooped down to eye the board. “What you trying to tell me?”

“Three?” Grimes slumped onto the bed.

Bess nodded. “Yep. At least I married three. Sometimes you gotta be honorable.”

Grimes wheezed out a breath.

“Honey, I’m a Lorelei woman. I been stringing men ‘round my finger since before you were born.” She sighed as a breeze buffeted her. Mamma wasn’t all that happy about it neither.

“I guess they couldn’t keep up?” Grimes was a nice guy, a modern guy. Was a lot like Charlie with his mannerisms but he was the opposite of Charlie in the way he treated a woman. Charlie was old school, opening doors and thinking a woman should be at home with the kids while he got to play at soldier. Grimes would rather stay at home with the kids and let her go off and play soldier.

She smiled and kissed him clean on the lips.

“Is that a yes?” Grimes studied her.

“Is that a yes?”

“They died.” She sucked her sweet but the toothache got a whole lot worse. Maybe it really was toothache?

“All of them?” Grimes swallowed.

“You thinkin’ I get bored and bury them or somethin’?” She narrowed her eyes. “’Cause when I say ‘I do,’ I mean it. It ain’t my fault folks kept attacking them.”

“Bess, you need to think about this. I mean it.” Charlie was escorting her down the street. Why, she weren’t real sure but the guy liked to feel useful. “Is it really the condition to be accepting an assignment?”

She stopped and eyed him. “You want a black eye?”

Charlie scowled a shook his head. “No——”

“Then quit askin’ for one.” She prodded him in the shoulder. “You made your own bed. Try concentrating on them sheets instead of everyone else’s.”

Bess rubbed at her cheek. Grimes was eyeing her like she’d pass out.

“Memory,” she mumbled. “I was mad at Charlie.”

“And why are you thinking about Charlie, again?” Grimes wagged his finger. “Because thinking about an old husband when you’re talking to me kinda throws me off.”

She chuckled. “I didn’t ever marry Charlie… although he asked me enough times.” She shook her head at the memory. “Charlie Black… Renee’s poppa.”

Grimes cocked his head. “You were wrapping him around your finger?”

“Yes.” She held up a finger. Ooh, that was memory. “You’re good at this, keep whittling on.”

“I feel completely uplifted and inspired by your statement,” he said with a deadpan expression.

Made her chuckle from her belly and she kissed him again.

“So why didn’t you marry good old Charlie boy?” Grimes muttered, his dark brow dipping.

“I ain’t sure ‘cause I loved the guy something awful.” She rubbed at her cheek again. Toothache was worse. “If I could find my memories, then I’d tell you.”

Grimes looked down at the floor. “You put memories under the floorboards?”

The picture of a box with a lock on it popped into her mind. “Yes. Keep going, you’re on a roll.”

“Dunno about Charlie but I love you something awful.” He got up and tested the floor with his hairy toes. “Even if you confuse me.”

She stopped and stared at him. Now, she’d had three husbands and she knew not one had ever made her smile so much hearing those words. “What you want with a washed up old lady like me?”

“Same thing you want with a shabby young guy like me…” Grimes pressed a board that creaked and grinned. “Someone who’ll suffer your craziness.”

She picked him up and hugged him.

“This really doesn’t help me feel like a guy, you know.” He sighed and hugged her back.

“Nope.” She dropped him and pulled up the loose floorboard. There was the box. “Neither does wearing an apron but if you don’t think I see you singing with the brush, you need your nut stash rechecked.”

Grimes knelt on the floor. “You go sit on the bed. Your knee will lock up and then it’ll be worse than that toothache you think I can’t tell you got.” He picked up the box and brought it over. “Don’t suppose you remember where the key is?”

Bess sighed. “I ain’t got one iota.”

Grimes placed the box on the bed and took her hand. “So, husband number one. Was a he hunk?”

Bess smiled and kissed him on the cheek. Who knew how useful whittling on could be?

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