By Arloa Jane Walter
An Excerpt from "Abby... Falling", the first short story
As they all sat together in Abby’s hospital room, they were filled with questions and regret. How did it happen? How could they have been so stupid? Well, Abby would tell them as soon as she could talk. She was bandaged all over her head and her mouth was partly covered too. The pain wasn’t so bad now but for a while she thought her head would split open. She looked very frail in the bed. She hadn’t been at all frail a few hours ago. Thinking back, Abby never thought in a million years that she would have been the one to do it. Who else could have done it? Forget about the way it looks or who will know. Forget all except the women involved—her friends. They were all there now in her room and even now, none of them knew—or would ever believe what had happened. It seemed like a dream now.It all started exactly six months ago at the financial seminar at the Asian Garden restaurant. The featured speaker introduced himself to Abby as she walked in the door. He shook her hand and held it for a long moment. Wow! He was good looking, she thought. She looked in his eyes and found that they were looking back at her—really looking at her with caring or desire or something. She hadn’t seen that look for so long. Take a breath, she thought. How did she even get here? Well, she and the “girls” had wanted to know a little more about financial planning. Abby heard about the seminar from a friend in church and the four of them decided it would be a good subject for them to learn something about. Their husbands had always been in charge of the finances—the women hadn’t paid much attention to how they were handled. But now they all agreed it was time to pay attention and learn something, besides they were serving a free dinner and offering a chance to win a free financial consultation. The four adventurers—Martha, Marion, Bonnie and Abby—went to this event as they had been going to different events for the past year. They had decided to try new things and explore life with each of them searching for something fun or new to do each week. These “new things” had kept them busy. They had gone to garage sales, bookstores, poetry readings, movies, to the museum and to many new restaurants. “This event is a little more practical,” Abby had said. So Abby arranged for them all to attend. She didn’t arrange to meet David though. David had these deep brown eyes that looked straight through to her soul. Meeting him was purely fate. She hoped that maybe it was meant to be. Later during the seminar when he was speaking, it seemed as if he was looking right at her and speaking right to her. She couldn’t help but blush! “Are you kidding?” she thought. Abby, now in her older, wiser years, had not had this much attention paid to her since her high school days when she was dating several boys at once! And that was back when she was young and sexy and good looking, she mused. Even later when she was married, men looked at her and she looked back–but she never thought of doing anything more than look. And she never did. Maybe she day dreamed a bit or fantasized a bit. But now, after she had raised her family, outlived her spouse and was completely on her own in her older-woman body—how could anyone be interested in her? Well, David sure seemed to be interested. He even came over to talk to her after the presentation. She guessed that he was nearly her age—but certainly not retired! He was clearly working at something important, and he was clearly good looking—Irish, she’d guess with the last name of O’Rourke. Beautiful smile, beautiful dark brown eyes, salt and pepper hair, warm hands and interested in Abby? She tried to push it out of her mind. She found it hard to concentrate on the seminar and the dinner. She got through it all, enjoyed the meal, learned about the company and signed up to be called at a later date, like all the other ladies, to discuss some investing ideas. In fact, they were assured, David and representatives of his company, Best Investment Financial Company, would be happy to come to any small group or club to make a presentation. When the four adventurers left the restaurant they were excited about the fun evening they had just finished—another great event for the four of them! These four friends had enjoyed many things together and had gotten to know one another well and got along famously even though they each had quite different backgrounds. Martha, the gadabout who had traveled everywhere, thought the seminar would have been best presented on a cruise ship. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and with quite a figure, Martha always managed to catch the eye of any man around. If she didn’t catch his eye, she would always find a way to talk to him. She was widowed, with two daughters and four grandchildren who lived nearby. She never seemed to be home and Abby couldn’t keep up with her. Well, Martha thought staying home meant death. She couldn’t stand to be by herself and was always on the move—dating many different men and enjoying being out with them. Marion, the fashion queen, was always on the lookout for something new—a new outfit, new shoes, or even a new chair. Tall, redheaded, always dressed to the nines—even to go to the grocery store. She always had that look of someone who didn’t need to worry about such things, but in reality she could find a bargain anywhere. And does she know how to negotiate! She had a daughter and a son who both live in another state. They have been trying to get her to move closer but with no luck. She would never give up her independence. Bonnie, the artist, is the cultured, sophisticated one. She loves opera, design and old estates. Her white hair is very distinguished looking and impressive as her gold jewelry—she has earrings and bracelets for each day of the week. She has no family who will speak to her—she’s been estranged from them for many years. Completing the foursome is Abby. Rational, intelligent, fun loving but cautious, Abby is a writer and retired social worker who always looks for ways to help people. With no family living nearby, Abby really appreciates her friends. Her deep hazel eyes notice everything. She has kept her hair a warm brown, always dresses well, and knows she is not and never will be a slim person. She likes to think she’s “well rounded.” The things these ladies had in common—the love of socializing, companionship, adventure, and support, outshone any differences between them. They enjoyed each other’s company. The four of them planned to get together again in a week to talk about the event and plan the next one. But what they hadn’t counted on was that events beyond their control would bring them together even sooner...
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