The Stone Boy is done. Well, as done as I can make it with so many edits that I’ve developed eye strain. And because I didn’t meet my self imposed deadline, I’ve added several thousand more words to the book.
I’m checking to make sure the formatting hasn’t magically shifted from my last inspection. After that, I’m gonna push the button and hopefully, it will be up before midnight tonight.
Another excerpt from the book:
School was closed the next day for some kind of administrators meeting, so Nicole figured she’d stay in bed until about noon and then face the world. But someone had other ideas. The whirl and sputter of a lawnmower revving up right under her bedroom window made her want to throw it open and scream at Derek to stop. But that was probably what he wanted, since he was making all that noise on purpose. Squeezing a pillow over her head did nothing to drown out the sounds, especially with him banging into the garbage bin or ringing the doorbell to ask her grandmother which plants were weeds and which ones were flowers. She got up, practically sleepwalking to the window and peered into the backyard. There was Derek, working in another tee shirt molded to his chest, arms bronzed by the sun, his hair looking almost golden in the morning light. As he pushed the mower against an unyielding foot high tuft of straw like grass, he’d stop with a loud curse when the blade hit something that hindered its rotation and killed the engine. She watched him tip the machine to the side, checking under it, only to curse up a storm once gasoline trickled onto his sneakers. Nicole had to duck behind the curtains when he’d look up, as if he knew she was spying on him. Since she was being tempted by the smell of bacon and biscuits hot out the oven, she decided to wash up and then head downstairs to pig out.
“Here’s our sleeping beauty.” Jamesetta beamed a smile in Nicole’s direction. Derek had taken over the kitchen table, wolfing down grits and eggs, and his arms were enclosed around the biscuits and butter like he was guarding them. Nicole closed the top of her housecoat, self-conscious about how she looked with curlers on her head.
“Nicole doesn’t like coffee,” her grandmother said to him. “She drinks that foamy hot chocolate passing for real coffee. But I don’t have one of those machines to make it.”
“Cappuccino,” Nicole corrected her, taking a mug out of the cabinet to plop in a tea bag. Derek got up and took the kettle off the stove, offering to pour water for her.
“This enough?” he asked, looking her over with a silly grin on his face.
“Yes, thank you.” She took a sip of tea, then almost gagged when she heard his parting shot.
“Anything for my Bougie Petite”
Jamesetta started clapping and laughing behind them as if she knew what the phrase meant. Nicole snatched her cup and crossed the kitchen to get away from the amusement in their eyes. She did a slow burn after turning around to see her grandmother with a hand on Derek’s shoulder. “I told you she’d be jealous.”
With a raised brow and a voice dripping with sarcasm, Nicole asked, “Jealous of who?”
“Of me and Derek, we’re buddies now.”
Tea spurted from Nicole’s nose and mouth. Somehow all she could picture was that scene from Bridesmaids, when the guy pulls up and says “Hi fuck buddy!”
Jamesetta rushed over with a paper towel while Derek dropped his head. His shoulders shook even though he tried to contain his laughter.
“I’m going outside to work in my lovely, newly mowed backyard. And I owe it all to Derek,” Jamesetta said, slipping on the same pair of ugly work gloves she usually let Nicole borrow. “When you’re finished eating, come on outside and help me.”
“I’ll take care of the weeds, grandma,” Nicole blurted, remembering her father’s command not to let his mother pull up weeds.
With her grandmother gone, Derek kept fidgeting in his chair as Nicole leaned against the counter directly across from him. The way he looked her over, it was as if she rocked stilettoes and a short skirt instead of a robe and slippers. He patted his thigh, asking her to come to him. Taking a glance out the window to make certain her grandmother was really in the backyard, Nicole walked over, depositing herself on his lap. His arms circled her waist, and she lowered her head. Their lips met, and suddenly his hand was against the nape of her neck, his mouth insistent upon hers. They kissed and held tight to each other until the shock of his fingers invading her robe and pulling on the nightgown underneath had her breaking contact. Forehead to forehead, they both fought to maintain control.
“I’m sorry about what I said yesterday,” she whispered.
“I’m sorry too. I just want to be with you Nicole.” He leaned into her, kissing her neck and removing one of those damn curlers from his eyeball. The sound of Jamesetta singing a gospel tune assured him she was still in the yard. He dropped his head lower, latching onto one of Nicole’s nipples through the gown. The sweet smell of her body and its warmth was a powerful aphrodisiac. He nestled in closer, taking her entire bosom in his mouth, saturating the thin fabric of her gown as he sucked on it.
End of Excerpt