January 10th, 2011 by Will Entrekin

Meets Girl, Chapter Ten

In which certain things, which may or may not already have been obvious, are, if not revealed, at least made explicit

(the story so far)

where I found waiting for me a letter. The envelope addressed to me in my own writing.

Crash course: back when the events of this story took place time, aspiring writers would query their aspiring manuscripts (whose dreams are to be bound into real, honest-to-goodness books that will be shipped to real, honest-to-goodness bookstores, where they will be placed on real, honest-to-goodness shelves from which they will one lucky day by plucked by real, honest-to-goodness readers) to prospective agents by mail. As I record this at this very moment, many agents have switched to using e-mail, and who knows what tomorrow will bring (hopefully this very story will have something to do with whatever happens next)? The first time I wrote all this, nobody’d ever heard of Kindle or digital distribution.

Nowadays, I can read books on my Android-powered smartphone.

Back then, however, was different. Back then, writers had to use the good ole’ United States Postal Service to send literary agents query letters, and given that many agencies received hundreds, if not thousands, of queries every week, they simply couldn’t possibly keep up with the price of return postage, so writers had to include self-addressed stamped envelopes with their paper queries.

(Quicker crash: a literary agent acts on behalf of authors to negotiate publishing contracts with publishing houses.)
I mention all this so you understand why I was so excited to receive a letter addressed to me in my own handwriting; I’d included that very same envelope in the query I’d sent to Merrilee Heiftetz only a week or so before.

It may not be possible to open one of those letters calmly. Too many of us writers associate too much of our identity with our words and the possibility of the publication, and each new letter brings with it the blackjack rush of a gambling high: not the euphoria of winning but rather the uncertain glee of going all-in on a straight flush. That gut-clenching, icy feeling of knowing how much rides on the current hand.

Me, my hands have always shaken. Every time I have one of those moments—which don’t come often—I try to remain calm but never succeed. I know they shook, then, as I withdrew from the envelope a single, twice-folded sheet of high quality paper, thick and off-white. Fountain pen letter head, business address, and, below—

A sidenote: I’ve gotten many rejections. All writers do. Rejection is part of the process, and ultimately, it often becomes a game of numbers and chance—what editors are looking for what type of story when, and how does yours fit?

I was lucky that my first ever rejection came as a personal letter from one of the most reputable agents in the entire industry, a note I received because my creative writing professor was a personal friend. I got it when I was a sophomore in college, and over the years have received hundreds more.

Besides that first letter, I’ve gotten mainly form letters addressed to someone named “Author,” as if that is my name, and often not signed at all. When from a literary magazine, they are often so generic as to be attributed not to any single person in particular but rather “the Editors,” as if their staff is some nameless, faceless—on my worst days I’d like to believe soulless—entity that exists for no other reason than to dash the dreams of the hopeful. I imagine every office of every editor and every agent in the world has a stack of prepared letters ready to send out to authors who submit work to them, and to be candid, that proposition can’t be far off from the truth. Like I said, they get hundreds of queries per week, often thousands per month.

I like to think they don’t like sending rejections. I like to believe there’s still a part of every agent and editor that yearns only for that next great read by an as-yet-undiscovered writer.

I’ve gotten forms from lots of places. I’ve even gotten personal notes from some of the best: Mike Curtis told me he liked my story and was sorry to say it wasn’t for the Atlantic Monthly. Same I heard from one of the editors at the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Whereas on that day, I opened that envelope to discover that Ms. Heifetz, for her part, complimented the sample chapter I had sent her and requested the first fifty pages of my manuscript. This is known in the industry vernacular as a ‘partial.’ This is a very good thing. Awesome, in fact. If the moment of opening the letter was the equivalent of that precariously uncertain moment of yanking the arm and watching the cherries spin, that letter was hitting for a hundred bucks. Though I probably should have said the jackpot, if the whole point here to redeem my actions through honesty, the truth is I wouldn’t have called anything less than the promise of a publishing contract a jackpot. Yes, sometimes I’m fucked up like that.

As for that decision and my actions—

We’ll get there. Are you dying to know what I told Angus? Because standing there, with the beer Brigid had given me in one hand and that letter in the other, I certainly wondered.

As I put the beer in the fridge, I pulled out my cell to call Veronica with the news, but hesitated. Talking to Angus, hearing his offer . . . I’d become self-conscious about a relationship I’d had all my life. I was still thinking about what he had told me, and I may have been trying to ignore his proposition, because I didn’t know how to take it seriously, or what it would mean if I did. Then again, in ways, I had attempted to ignore my feelings for Veronica under the assumption that shelving them and continuing to talk to her as though nothing had changed might keep everything from changing.

Still, a large part of me didn’t consider my novel solely my own because it felt such great debt to the inspiration and encouragement that had carried me through to completion, and so I stopped hesitating and dialed the number of the girl with whom I had fallen in love, the girl to whom I had written that perfect letter—

(the girl who did not love me in return, a fact I bring up because it’s about to become extraordinarily relevant)—

Veronica Sawyer, who answered, slightly out of breath, after the third ring. “Hey, what’s going on?”

I couldn’t keep the excitement out of my voice; it pitched high as I told her the news.

“So does that mean you’re a client now?”

“Not yet. Just that she wants to read some more, which I get to send her now,” I said, and that was the moment I realized I didn’t want to just send it off. Getting a request for a partial manuscript is not an enormous deal, not a deal as big as selling a manuscript to a publisher, but it’s not a small thing, either, given that it’s not the usual way of things. Its not being the usual way of things, I decided then and there I wanted to do something to make it special, and I wanted Veronica’s help. “How busy are you tomorrow?”

“Not very. School’s a few weeks off, so I’m kind of climbing up the walls.”

“I want to send it off, and I want to take you to dinner. Tomorrow. Can you do that? Make a day of it with me?”

“Sounds like fun.”

“Awesome. Mind picking me up at the train station?”

“Call me when you’re here and I’ll swing by.”

And then I hung up and started revising.

***

Neither revising nor polishing is simple. The common aphorism—

Great art is never finished, only abandoned.

makes many novels lonely as broken-down cars left by the side of the road, defeated orange flags fixed to their antennae. Most are hiccups in your afternoon commute, barely worth attention on the way home.

Even the most accomplished novel has a busted headlight or a loose belt—

A novel is merely a long work of fiction with flaws.

and while writing is about cobbling together some strange form of transportation using every spare part at your disposal, revision is more nebulous; it’s about seeing what you just built and figuring out how to make it run better. You know it’s never going to run perfectly—what you begin with is less a Lamborghini than a go-cart made from a cardboard box and a couple of wheels cast off a shopping cart—so you pick up an entirely different set of tools, rev the engine, and grease up the parts you want to run more smoothly, tighten the belts that squeal, add air to a tire lacking pressure.

You do the best you can with what you’ve got. You know the first five pages are most crucial, while the importance of the first paragraph can’t be overstated and the first twenty pages are critical; an opening reveals a lot about how a book handles. To extend the metaphor, if the first five pages determine whether the car even starts, the first twenty are getting used to the clutch, setting the radio to the proper station, and adjusting the seat.

One reason for short stories’ appeal is they’re like a test drive. I think agents ask for the first fifty because that’s when you know whether you want to go anywhere. By then, your seat’s adjusted. The radio’s tuned, the mirrors set. Only two simple decisions are left: are you going to fill up the tank, and where is that tank going to take you?

A brilliant novel presents the same simple question Microsoft posed: where do you want to go today?

The most difficult part is that revising isn’t nearly so straightforward as any diagnostic a mechanic might run on a car. It’s not like you can kick the tire or hook the computer up to the muffler to check the emissions. It’s instinctual.

So I sat down with those first 50 pages, which was roughly the first act of my 100,000-word novel, and I polished them up as best I could. I tried to forget that I had built the car I was looking at and tried to decide how best it might provide a better ride for whoever chose to drive it. Some changes were minor—a comma here, semi-colon there—but others were more significant—puzzling over the chapter order, or whether to combine certain scenes, whether to keep certain characters or . . .

I printed it out, then composed a simple note to Ms. Heifetz, thanking her for the opportunity to send it to her, and then I set those pages carefully atop my printer, where they waited until the following morning, at which point I tucked them into a manila folder and hopped a bus hometown-bound for Veronica and queries.

***

Jersey January is cold and colorless, spindle treetrunks bare and shivery in the freezing wind, which comes often and sharp as a morning shave and leaves behind a windraw world like shorn skin. That was all I saw beyond the bus windows, and all the while I saw it I thought of that magical office in the Village and the offer I’d found there. I was still, in ways, trying to decide if I believed the proposition Angus had presented me; listening was one thing, and didn’t require commitment, but actually acknowledging it might in fact be true—if you’ve seen the third installment of the Indiana Jones trilogy and recall the moment when, during the final act, Indy stood upon the precipice of a yawning cavern, closed his eyes, held his father’s journal over his heart, and stepped forward to make literal the oft-mentioned metaphorical leap of faith, you will have some idea of how I felt.

I didn’t know if I wanted to well and truly believe my Grail awaited me on the other side of a stone bridge I couldn’t actually see but could easily traverse. Not least of all because the very idea of its existence terrified me.

Because, in all honesty: part of me thought believing might be a minor miracle, but there was another part of me, too, and it cowered in weakness. That weaker part of me perhaps understood that, were it true, I wouldn’t have the strength to resist the urge to drink from the cup.

I thought of Veronica the whole way, too. I knew I was putting her on a pedestal; I’d never been on a date with her, but somehow I had worked up in my head the idea that she was not just my ideal mate but a woman for whom I would have dropped everything to be with. If Veronica had asked me then and there to marry her, I would have answered in the affirmative under the confidence that I could spend the rest of my life working out the little details. Nothing to me mattered so much as the idea of the commitment, the fantasy of the romance: I could even imagine the ceremony, out of doors and among the trees, full of green and lace and Vivaldi, with a kindly old preacher who would smile at each of us before pronouncing us husband and wife and permitting me to kiss my radiant new bride.

I know how that sounds, but remember I had known Veronica all my life. Tom would probably be the best man at my wedding regardless of whom I married, and the fact that I could so clearly imagine her in a white wedding dress with a veil like revelation might well have been simply because it was remarkably similar to the dress I’d seen her wear to her first holy Communion. Given that we had grown up together, and the fact that our families had remained, if not exactly close, certainly friendly . . . well, the idea didn’t seem so incredible. We were close enough, in fact, that had we eloped as a frivolous adventure during a sudden and drunken trip to Atlantic City, our families would have probably accepted the news easily enough and still thrown us a terrific reception.

I realized, too, I wasn’t sure if I was going to tell Veronica about my visit with Angus and what he had offered me. I think I felt I should know whether I believed him or not, first. That wasn’t going to be an easy thing to decide.

***

I wish for you a moment as exceptional and sublime as the moment I stepped off the train to find Veronica Sawyer—her thunderstorm coat, her cloud-fluffy grey scarf, her obsidian turtleneck and blue jeans and thick, black, Inuit boots—waiting for me. Her smile made the trip worthwhile; even if my novel was ultimately rejected, even if nothing else came of the trip, that smile would have been enough.

Nevermind her hug: I can’t describe what she smelled like except to compare her scent to those old cartoons in which some magical fragrance tendril-hooks some unsuspecting character’s nose to literally lift said character off his feet and pull him through the air. I took a deep breath of Veronica Sawyer and would have followed her anywhere. Anywhere then was to her old Toyota Camry, where I waited while she got in and unlocked the passenger side door. I settled into the seat, buckling up with my manila folder of manuscript pages on my lap.

“Is that the precious cargo?”

“It’s the first part of my novel.”

“Are you excited?”

I was, but I was also distracted by thoughts of Angus inspired by the sight of the beautiful girl beside me. I swallowed. “Yeah. Totally.”

***

One of the few great things about small towns is that everything’s relatively nearby; the post office was basically down the block and around the corner, clerked by a sweet blonde woman with a quick nose and a hint of a drawl even as far north as we were. Veronica knew her better than I did—they attended mass together sometimes—and so they chatted while I addressed the envelope to a Manhattan office I probably could have gotten to, leaving from my apartment, inside of an hour.

Veronica’s voice over my shoulder: “You’re shaking,” and then her light touch on my forearm. Veronica’s fingers: long and slender, pianist’s hands in want of ivory, and still, too—a subtle but nonetheless distinct contrast to my own trembling grasp. The fingers in which I held my pen: shivering, while my palm sweated like a prom. My own jitters worse than any first-date nerves I’ve ever had, but then again I’d never been on a first date with Veronica.

“You shouldn’t be so nervous. You know it’s good.”

I shrugged. “Easy to say. Less to believe. What if she doesn’t want it?”

“You give up. If this woman doesn’t want it, nobody’s going to.”

“Um. What?”

“Exactly. Even just the idea is so foreign you don’t really know how to process it. If this woman—whoever she is—rejects what you send her, you send it to the next person on whatever list you’ve made. And if you don’t have a list yet, you make one. Because not a single agent is the only one out there, so you keep sending them letters until you find one who wants to read it all and then falls in love with it and then wants to represent it, because one of them is going to. And in the meantime, you go up to the counter and you pay to send this particular one what she wanted.”

Which is what I did, and then we returned to Veronica’s car. I waited while she unlocked my door, and then, as she started the car, I took a deep breath while buckling my safety belt. My breath stayed for a moment, filling my lungs and my head and my heart, before it came out, hanging in the air great and hopeful.

Veronica smiled. “You needed that.”

I stared straight ahead at the brick-wall exterior of the Post Office. “You realize I might never have to do that again? She might ask for the whole manuscript, and then represent it, and then even sell it.” I’m pretty sure I meant it to come out happy, but I wouldn’t have called it that had I heard it, which surprised me a little.

Veronica let that statement stick around for a moment like a surreptitious cat, then: “Do you really want that?”

I looked at her. “To sell it? Well, yeah. Of c—.”

“No, wait. Stop. Before you answer like I know you want to, would you just take a look at yourself for a second? I don’t know if I’d ever have used the word ‘giddy’ to describe someone, but you earn it. You’re shaking with something electric coming off you in waves, and think about that. You get published, you get famous, you get what you always wanted, and I hope that will be everything you ever wanted, but just for a minute appreciate this delicious, if uncertain, excitement, would you? If you never have to do it again, if she calls you tomorrow and sells it the next day, will you ever feel this excitement again?”

She put her hand on mine. I watched her delicate fingers touch my wrist, and as soon as I felt their feather-light caress my hand wanted to grasp, to hold hers—

Man’s reach should exceed his grasp, else what’s a Heaven for?

and I don’t know how I kept from doing so. I don’t know how I controlled my hands and my body, every cell of which suddenly ached for the girl sitting beside me.

“I know how hard it is, because I know how seriously you take it. I know you just want it to happen. But you know . . . regardless of what happens with this woman, or any agent or editor or whatever for that matter, you know you’re going to be okay, right?”

If you had asked me, before that moment, if I ever planned to tell Veronica how I felt, the idea of doing so in the parking lot of our local Post Office wouldn’t have crossed my mind. I’m not sure I would have known how it might occur: a fancy dinner, perhaps, or a day at the park or the beach or the boardwalk. Given how special I thought Veronica was, I’m sure I would have imagined equally special circumstances, but as is so very often the case, life is what happens when you’re making other plans. Perhaps the romantic in me might have made a dinner reservation in some candlelit restaurant, or planned out a picnic before which I might practice several times in front of the mirror the monologue by which I would reveal to her my innermost feelings.

Hell, given that we had already made plans to have dinner, the romantic in me might have waited another hour or so, drinking his courage and eloquence.

Instead:

My fingers closed on her hand without my meaning them to, and I looked at her. Sunlight through the window shone her eyes bright, and I said: “Do you know I love you?” like I legitimately believed she might not, my voice pitched slightly strained, almost as if sad. Maybe it was: even just uttering those words made something immutable concrete.

I wish I could describe how her expression changed. The smile never left her lips, the support her face. Not a single one of her fine features moved, but still, something about it became different from one second to the next, even if it was only her straining to keep it from changing.

“I mean, you must, right? All these years? That time I gave you those poems I don’t even know you still have? Because I’ve gotta be honest; for a while there, even I didn’t know. It was like, I was just so busy being young and going out and dancing with you in dim bars that I didn’t pay attention to the fact that I was falling in love with you all over again. Which is what it was, if only because for a while there—,” I stopped, though, because—well.

Honesty: her expression might not have changed in any measurable way, but there are other ways more important. When I spoke, my voice was level and precise, using no more sound than absolutely necessary and certainly not allowing emotion. “I shouldn’t have—.”

“No, don’t—,” Veronica said. Her fingers squeezed my hand. “I’m just—I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

“Sorry? For what?”

“You asked if I knew like I might not, but did you really think—how could I have possibly not known? It’s not like you hide it well. I was so happy when you got engaged. I thought maybe you were over me, that maybe you had found what you deserved. Truth is, I don’t know if I ever led you on, but I should have told you a long time ago that—,”she paused, then, and when she did so, she seemed to realize her hand was still grasping mine. She withdrew it to her lap, stared ahead at the wall in front of us as if searching its bricks for words.

I put my hands in my own lap. I didn’t know what else to do with them.

“It’s not that I don’t love you,” she said, turning to look at me again. “You know I love you. You’re one of the most amazing people I know, and one of my best friends.”

“But that’s all.”

“But that’s exactly my point; it’s not enough. You deserve more than that.”

“Not more than you. Don’t say more than you.”

“More than how I feel about you. I’ll always love you. I’ll about Ionesco and Beckett and drama and teaching and writing, and all like I can’t talk to anyone else. But you know that feeling you get when someone you like texts you? That swimmy feeling that makes you want to grin so hard you feel your own dimple? Don’t you deserve someone you make grin like that? Don’t you deserve someone who’s just as in love with you as you are with them? Because you know I love you, but I’m—.”

“Please don’t say you’re not in love with me. Could this conversation be any more of a cliché?”

“Could it be any more true? Maybe we needed some cliché in our relationship, finally, because we’ve been keeping things from each other for a while, haven’t we?”

“I haven’t kept anything from you.”

“Except the fact that you were in love with me.”

“Which you’ve apparently always known.”

“But not because you told me. Isn’t that the whole point?”

“I don’t know what the point is anymore. I just know—I wrote it for you. When I wasn’t sure I could go on, the thought of you helped me through it.”

“You don’t seriously think you wouldn’t have finished it if not for me?”

I hesitated. Shrugged. “I never had to find out.”

“Don’t put that on me,” Veronica said. Somewhat shortly, like she didn’t want to leave room for argument. “I don’t deserve that. You wrote a book. Big, thick stack of paper with words—.”

“All for you.”

“Even without me, you would have written it.”

“Maybe not the same way.”

“The way it needed to be written. You wrote something that should make you happy, regardless of me or anybody else. Because what if that agent rejects it? And then the next one, and the next—.”

“But you just said, I keep sending it.”

“Because you believe in it. Not because you wrote it for me, or you think that’s what I want. Because you believe in the words you put down. You can’t do it for any other reason than that, and certainly not for me.”

“But it was your support—.”

“Then maybe you need to do it without my support.”

“What? What’re you—are you breaking up with me? We’re not even dating.”

“But there are feelings. And if we’re going to have an honest relationship, we’re going to need to sort those out, right? Especially if we mean to get past them.”

“Who says I want to move past them?”

“Then how can we possibly have a good friendship? With you pining away after me—.”

“I’m not exactly pining.”

“You know what I mean. It’s not fair to either of us. It’s not fair for me to lead you on, and it’s not fair for you to put me in that position.”

“And what position is that?”

“I don’t know, but I don’t want to be in it.”

“So what, then?”

“Just . . . we give each other some space. We can get through this. We get through everything. We’ll figure it out.”

“And if we don’t? Because I’ll be honest here: I don’t really know what we mean. Am I supposed to avoid Tom’s shows now? Are you going to not go? What’re we—?”

“No, I just mean—look, I’m going back to school soon anyway, and Lord knows I’ve got enough on my plate I should probably just stick around there on weekends as it is. And like I said, it’s not like I don’t love you. I do. You really are one of my best friends. And I’ve always thought the best thing about friendship is the fact that it’s always there to come back to. Real friendships never change. They’re always right where you left them, to pick up where you left off.”

“So we should not be friends for a while,” I said. I hated myself for saying it, the tone of my words, the way I half-spat the question at her. Because on another level, on a very reasonable level, I knew that what she was saying made sense, that what she was suggesting might well be not only the most reasonable option for both of us, but also the best. She was right, too, that maybe I needed to get past this idea that I had written for her, or because of her. Especially given my experience in Angus’ office . . . just the fact that I had considered his offer worried me.

“Don’t do that to me,” she told me.

“Do what?” Mock-defensive. I knew what I’d done. I knew what I was doing, too, and I couldn’t help it. I’m not proud of that moment. But: warts and all, right?

“Don’t turn this on me. It’s not—I don’t—I didn’t mean for this to happen, and if you’ve had feelings for me all this time, have I ever encouraged them? Have I ever led you on to believe I wanted anything more from you than friendship? Because I never have. Not once. I’ve never held your hand. I’ve never drunkenly kissed you while we’ve danced in a dark bar. You can’t blame me for feelings I don’t have unless I’ve misled you, and I don’t think I have.”

I said nothing. I had nothing left. Just breath, and even then only barely.

“I should take you back.”

I hesitated, then nodded. “Dinner’s probably not the best idea.”

“I think we can work through this, given some time.”

“But how much?”

“I don’t want this to end our friendship. Maybe we can be even better friends now that we got this out in the open.”

“I hope so,” I told her.

“I’m sure of it. I’m sure we’ll hug each other again. I’m sure we’ll laugh together again. I’m even sure we’ll dance together again. One day.”

“But not today.”

“No, today I’ll take you back to the bus station, and you can go back up to your apartment, and you can work on some story that will have nothing whatsoever to do with me. You can put one word in front of the other, because more than anything else in the world, including me, that’s what you love. We’ll take a rain check on dinner.”

I hesitated, then nodded, because what else was I going to do? We drove off under the promise of a rain check, but I noticed through the windshield there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky.

***

I just passed the novel mark there, in that scene. Sometime through there, we hit 50,000 words. I think it was sometime between the moment I told Veronica I loved her and the moment she told me she didn’t love me in return, which is probably appropriate, at least in a dramatic sense. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written and rewritten this story, how many false starts I have on this and various other hard drives. I think I’m happiest right now that I might finally be getting it right.

Maybe there’s something to be said for telling the truth.

For example, I’m really not sure about the last line of that previous scene, mentioning the lack of a single cloud in the sky, but then again, I remember that moment. I remember thinking rain check was such an odd term, and that the January day was bright enough I could believe spring was on its way; it was one of those days so bright it’s surreal, the kind of bright that makes you think everything should have a halo, and that everyone should be happy.

It stayed that way the whole way back to the bus station, where Veronica dropped me off to catch the next Greyhound back—I almost wrote “home,” there. Back to Manhattan, back to the trains that would take me to my crummy Hoboken apartment. I told her she didn’t need to wait with me while I waited for the next bus, as I wasn’t too worried about getting stolen, and she gave me an obligatory chuckle, and then a hug that felt that way, too, and she told me to take care, that everything was going to be fine, and she knew it in her bones.

I wished I had as much confidence as she did. I didn’t tell her that.

I didn’t tell her any more at all, in fact. I couldn’t think of anything else I might; I’d already told her the biggest thing I possibly could, after all. We’ve seen how that went down.

Except—

The fact that I was in love with her, that I had been for as long as I could remember, that wasn’t the biggest thing I could have told her, I realized, riding that bus back north to the City and my apartment. I could, after all, have told her about Angus, and Futures Trading.

So much for that, I thought, staring out the window as the sun set down to blaze the sky orange through charblack tree branches and clouds like antique shawls. So much for Angus and his offer, but then, I had to admit I didn’t mind that so much. I had to admit it was just about a relief I no longer had to decide, that I could visit his office for only the amount of time necessary to thank him for finally motivating me to talk to Veronica, who had conclusively rendered his offer completely moot.

I guessed I was no longer a candidate for whatever futures Angus might trade, but that was okay, considering the other option. The not-Veronica option. The stories.

I didn’t mind that idea, truthfully. Because I felt, in some way, like . . . remember Schrodinger and his cat in its safe? I felt like I’d opened that safe and made the observation. I felt like there was no longer a quantum state, no longer a possibility. All that was left was certainty and decision. All that was left was a dead cat and a puddle of poison and a half-bit of radioactive decay.

I dozed through most of the ride, then walked to the connecting station to catch the train back to my own stop. Down the hill to the corner church, another couple blocks left, and then I turned the key in the lock and let myself into an apartment that might as well have been empty. Light like a welcome mat from under one of my roommate’s doors, a muffled television through the wall. I opened my own bedroom door to throw my coat on my bed, then went to the kitchen, headed for anything in the fridge, trying to remember if I’d ordered anything recently.

Nothing, really, save the beer Angus had given me on my way out of his office. I remembered its heady aroma and its deep, dense taste, so expansive it had felt like it shouldn’t have fit in my mouth. I popped the cap and reached for a tumbler before I decided against it, brought the bottle to my lips and took a long, slow pull of it. Heavy enough to be a meal on its own, and I remembered how it had affected me nearly right away, and I thought maybe that wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe that would take my mind off of . . .

Well. Everything, really.

Well, I think we all knew where that was going, and what might happen when our young writer-narrator told the girl with whom he fell in love–who didn’t love him in return–when he told her his feelings. I think even our narrator knew.

Still, good on him for finally saying something.

But what will the consequences be? What will Angus say when he finds out what Veronica said?

Find out next week in another exciting installment of Meets Girl!

Of course, if you can’t wait that long–and to be honest, I don’t see how you might. You must be really patient–you can pick up a copy on Kindle right now. And you can read Kindle on anything–your Kindle, or your iDevice, or your Android, or your Blackberry.

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