Delete, Rewrite

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Lucy opened the paperback a little wider and tilted it towards the light, but she read only one paragraph before dropping the book into her lap. Sighing, she rubbed her eyes.”I shouldn’t be reading,” she muttered. “I have to work.”Placing the book on her desk, she looked at the laptop in front of her; lid open, screensaver patterns zig-zagging across its face. She jiggled her finger on the tracker pad, watching the screen wake up, revealing neat rows of words. Positioning her hands over the keyboard, she willed herself to type.Nothing happened. Her hands simply hovered, never touching the keys. Lucy, slumping, blew air through her teeth. She’d picked up the book because she was restless – but if she couldn’t muster enough concentration to read, what chance did she have with writing?None, dammit. She folded her arms, her gaze flitting to the phone sitting atop her Oxford Dictionary. She hesitated, hands twitching, then lunged, snatching up the phone like a cat seizing a mouse. She peered anxiously at the screen. No missed calls, no messages.”Damn you,” she said through clenched teeth.Turning her wrist, she checked her watch. Fifty-two minutes since Pete had walked out, fifty-one minutes since she’d sent the first text, forty-one since the second and nineteen since the third. All three texts were listed as ‘read’ and enough time had passed for Pete to collect his thoughts.”Come on, Pete, reply.”Lucy closed her hand around the phone, debating her next move. Send another text? Call him? She puffed out her cheeks and absently flicked the pages of the abandoned paperback making a soft fluttering sound. Leave it. He’ll contact me when he’s ready.Replacing the phone on its dictionary perch, she scooped up the paperback, pushed back her chair and padded towards the sagging bookcase dominating the study’s far wall. She slid her hand into a narrow gap on the third shelf and, widening it, slotted in the book.There. Pushing wild curls away from her eyes, Lucy admired the bookcase. Books were her friends, her comfort. She’d read over and over every book she owned, absorbing every word. Thrillers, mysteries, şişli escort romances…Stretching out her arms, she stroked the spines of the neatly ordered paperbacks, smiling as she felt the creases. She lingered over a particularly well-worn tome. Ah yes… her favourite romance, with seductively sexy characters, titillating encounters, and a heart-warming happy ending. She traced the curled red lettering title and contemplated plucking the book from the shelf until thoughts of Pete intruded. She glared at her phone instead.”Come on, please. I’ve said I’m sorry.”The laptop flickered, catching her eye. She watched it revert to screensaver mode, the brightly coloured patterns dancing with mesmerising brilliance. Lucy turned away. Returning her attention to the bookcase, she gazed lovingly at two books at the far end of the second shelf. They were different from the others. In pristine condition, wrapped in protective jackets, these were her books – two juicy erotic romances written by Lucy Thomas.Lucy smiled. Always a bookworm, making the transition from paperback reader to paperback writer had long been her ambition and achieving it filled her with glowing pride. The reality of writing for a living, however, was not what she’d envisaged. She hated the pressure of deadlines and, already behind with novel number three, writing seemed to occupy every waking moment. She sometimes wished she’d kept writing as a hobby and not left her office job. She missed relaxed nights curled on the sofa with Pete, reading books, making love…”But I did quit my job,” she said aloud, “and books don’t write themselves.”Sloping back to her desk, she plopped into her chair and pulled the laptop closer. Maybe if I write something, anything. She touched the tracker pad and, saving the file on screen, opened a new one.”Okay… forget Pete, forget what happened – just write.”Lucy straightened her back and positioned her hands. She sighed with relief when her fingers tapped the keys and words appeared on the screen. But, reading them back, she frowned. The sentences were jumbled, the images in her head escort şişli lost in translation between thoughts and words. Frustrated, she placed a finger on ‘delete’ and held it there.Delete, rewrite. Reaching sideways, she lifted the mug of coffee sitting on the windowsill. She took a slurp. Ugh! Cold. Grimacing, she set the mug down and returned to the task at hand. This time…She typed again. An abundance of words poured forth and the ghost of a smile chased the glumness from her expression. Better. Words became sentences; sentences paragraphs. After pausing briefly to correct a typo, she ploughed on, the staccato tapping becoming intricate rhythms that were music to her ears. When she finished the third paragraph, she sat back.”There. See?” she said, addressing the uncooperative phone skulking on her dictionary. “I don’t need you.” She stared unblinking, as if waiting for the phone to respond, then, lower lip quivering, she burst into tears. “Come on,” she sobbed, burying her face in her hands, “enough.”Shaking, she rummaged in her pocket for a tissue. I’m so stupid, dumb. She wiped her eyes. The trouble had started when Pete had brought her a mug of coffee – the one she’d just tried drinking. It was a lovely gesture but, on that occasion, a most unwelcome interruption. Lucy had been engrossed in writing and the intrusion had thrown her completely off track.It was an innocent faux pas on Pete’s part, one she would have overlooked had he not loitered behind her, slurping his drink and reading over her shoulder. Pointing out a typo was the last straw.A fat tear ran down Lucy’s cheek as she remembered how she’d yelled at him. It was a massive overreaction, one spawned by the stress of a publishing deadline she had no chance of meeting. It wasn’t Pete’s fault and now she hid her face in her hands, recalling the look on his face as she’d shouted obscenities. Poor Pete. He’d blanched and, mouth gaping, left without uttering a word.”Sorry” had formed on Lucy’s lips too late, the apology drowned out by the click of the front door. With the deepest regret, she acknowledged mecidiyeköy that she’d lashed out needlessly at the person who loved her most. After all, Pete had been totally supportive when she’d quit her well-paid job to write full-time, and he encouraged her to carry on when her first novel failed. The success of her second novel was as much down to him as her. If that wasn’t love, what was?”Oh darling, I’m sorry. I’m an ungrate—”Lucy froze as a noise startled her. Sitting bolt upright, she listened. There. A smile crinkled the corners of her mouth as she recognised the click of a Yale lock followed by footsteps on wood.”Pete?” Heart racing, she sprang to her feet and sprinted to the stairs. “Pete, is that you?”Grabbing the bannister, she leaned over. A man stood at the foot of the stairs, coat on, anxious expression on his face. Seeing Lucy, he held out a bouquet of flowers, beautifully wrapped in clear cellophane and a shiny red bow binding the stems.”For you,” he said. “And this.” He raised his other hand, holding up a bulging plastic bag. “Not chocolates, sorry. Food. Proper food. I thought I’d cook so you can work. I know you’re behind.”Lucy gaped in disbelief. Words failing her, she placed a hand on her heart.”I wanted to surprise you.” Pete dropped the plastic bag neatly at his feet. “And help, if I can.””You do, you always do.” Lucy’s heart skipped. “Are they roses?” she asked, nodding to the flowers.”Of course. A dozen. Red. Your favourite.””Oh, Pete…” Fresh energy surged through Lucy’s body and bounding down the stairs two steps two at a time, she flung herself at Pete. “I’m sorry, so sorry,” she murmured, covering his face with feverish kisses.”My fault. I shouldn’t have disturbed you.””No, it was me. I didn’t even thank you for the coffee.” Lucy felt a tickle on her cheek and batted away a tear. “Can you forgive me?””Sweetheart,” Pete’s steady gaze met hers, “always.””Thank you, oh, thank you. I don’t deserve you.” Thoroughly ashamed, Lucy took the roses from Pete’s hand and held them to her nose to hide her blushes. “They’re beautiful. I’ll just…”She quickly wiped her tears and placed the roses on the hallway table, taking care not to crumple the wrapping or the delicate blooms. She smiled at Pete.”I’m an idiot, aren’t I?””No, just passionate about writing,” he cupped Lucy’s face in his palms, “and I wouldn’t have you any other way.”

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