What am I up to? Manuscript work and Writing with Partners

In Barbara James’ writing land, all is well.  About a week ago, I found a proofreader for the first manuscript.  The previous weekend, my editor and I had worked through some line-by-line edits, and we both felt it was time to get another pair of eyes.  So in came the proofreader after I spent the weekend re-reading and formatting.

That is a challenge, wanting things to be so perfect, because I want the manuscript to be on point when it comes to publishing it.  So yesterday, the proofreader got back to me, there was not much by way of edits.  After going through the tedious process of doing a line by line review, and accepting the changes one a time, I did a blanket, “accept all changes” and then did a second review for specific questions she had–there weren’t many of them.

In the meantime, in Writing with Partners land, my co-author posted her chapter 6.  Here is what I said to her:” I just read your chapter. I’m confused, though. I sensed in your earlier chapter that he apologized profusely and offered to pay for the ticket, but here he hasn’t apologized?

I sense that Delia is telling Joan a story that is a bit of an embellishment…. (puzzled look).

Hmm a personality type that Jake is familiar with as per his ex…?  Especially since he senses Delia is like that….

This can get interesting. (wink).

Chapter 7:

Jake was sitting in his office. He ran his hands through his hair and stroked his jaws where the stubble was coming up. The last few weeks really put him through the ringer. Not only were there lots of fires and so his men were working overtime, but the budgetary matters were stressing him out, causing him to work overtime as well. The town council was going to vote soon on the budget, and he had to be sure his numbers were on point.
At the same time, the anxiety level at the station was high. Gathering up his papers, he had needed a quiet place to think and work.

Somehow, he wound up over at the diner. Delia was gracious, he had to admit, and let him sit in the back to work. The food was good, as usual, and she gave him some extras, which he appreciated. After he was done, he left not only money for the food, but an extra trip in thanks.

Delia was busy the entire afternoon once Jake left. She was on autopilot, doing what she had to do, but she was thinking about him.

She thought about the way she talked about him to Joan, and she felt bad. It seems she spent weeks talking about what a moocher he was, how bad and horrible, how rude and controlling he was. Then he walked in and gave Joan the money. He must have put the money in his briefcase ages ago, because he didn’t come to the diner at all in the weeks since the concert. He must have been meaning to stop by.

Beyond that, she remembered that he apologized and even offered to give her the money in reimbursement, but she didn’t take it. What if that kind of thing got out and it made trouble for him in the town?

Delia’s moments of reflection left her feeling anxious. “Why am I like that?” She felt sad. “Tommy always criticized me, that I liked to gossip too much, and the stories I told didn’t always tell the full story.” She remembered one of his cringe-worthy assessments: “You hoard your resentments like they are gold.”

But she also remembered giving it back just as he gave. “If I hold onto stuff, it’s because you are constantly doing things to make me feel that I have to be ready for the next time.”

A marital therapist once asked her where her sense of resentment came from. When she thought about it, she recalled the resentments she felt upon seeing her mother constantly act as a doormat for men, and how she vowed never to live like that. So she was cagey in her relationships, always on the lookout for the moment things might go bad and a man became manipulative. It made her suspicious and combative.

Perhaps it was time to loosen up. Delia put the flash drive into her purse. At the close of what had been a busy afternoon, she was happy once she put her apron into the laundry bin, notwithstanding her earlier feelings. Jake gave her a big tip, the large party celebrating the birthday gave large tips as well, plus there was an extra bonus for the size of their group. Gathering all the day’s receipts into a money bag, she drove over to the bank and saw the branch manager she usually dealt with.

“Hi, Reece! How is it going?”

“Doing fine, thanks. You have some business, as usual.”

“Yes, as usual. Making my deposits.”

“Good, good, you do well to deposit your receipts daily.”

“Yes, you never know.”

After Delia said good-bye, she stopped by the fire station. It was around 5:00. Perhaps Jake was still there?

The receptionist told her that although the administrative offices were usually closed by 5:00, the upper level administration had been fairly busy and working overtime, so she would see if Jake could meet her.

A few minutes later, Jake came down.

“Hi, Delia, how is it going?”

She made eye contact as he tugged at her purse. “Doing fine, thanks, I just wanted to thank you for stopping by.”

He looked at her in speculation. “It was nothing, I always liked eating at the diner.”

She opened her purse. “Here, I think you forgot something when you were there. It must have fallen.”

Jake grinned at her. “I knew I dropped it somewhere, with the craziness around here. I was going to stop by the diner to see whether you had found it. So I’m glad you brought it by.”

Delia nodded. “I thought it was important, you seemed so busy.”

Jake replied. “Yes, I was. So are we squared away now?”

Delia smirked. “We could be.”

Jake just shook his head as he watched her walk away.

The next morning, the station got an emergency call, the fire alarm at the diner went off. A crew went over, and Jake drove over in one of the station’s vehicles. He usually didn’t do that, but there was a special call, since the original report was for a break-in. So both the police and the fire department were called in, and Jake’s job was investigative.

Arriving at the diner, Jake saw Gabe Nagin, one of the officers from the police department, who apprised him of what occurred.

Copyright Barbara James.  All rights reserved.