Monthly Archives: December 2015

Days Of Auld Lang Syne, Episode 3

By Chanta Rand

 

Joanne stared at the hunk who’d brought back a flood of memories. Though she’d last seen him five years ago, she’d never forgotten her high school crush. He was a young man then, hovering on the precipice of adulthood. Now, he stood before her even more handsome, if that was possible. Dark, brown eyes. Sable hair. Dimples she could swim in. Hell, he could be a model if he really wanted. An errant breeze swept flurries of snow through the air. A lone snowflake landed on his feathery eyelashes, instantly melting into a diamond-like bead, glistening on the tips. The tiny drop melted into a pool of warm liquid—just liked she’d wanted to when she first saw him.

Get it together, girl!

“Okay,” she said, regaining her composure. “See you tomorrow.”

“Looking forward to it.” His frosted breath was in direct contrast to his heated gaze.

Shivers salsa-danced down her spine. The sensation had nothing to do with the cold temperatures. She was bundled up tighter than Ralphie’s brother on A Christmas Story.

As Shawn walked away, her eyes feasted on his impressive physique, following the heels of his tobacco-colored boots all the way to the dusting of shearling that ringed the back of his coat collar. The leather jacket stopped at his waist, showcasing his muscular backside through the corduroy pants he wore. His Burberry scarf flapped in the wind as he disappeared into the crowd.

The nervous churning of her stomach competed with the rapid-fire staccato of her heart. On her vlog she was fearless, outgoing, independent, and full of spirited advice. She talked about the latest fashion styles and the best ways to dress and impress a guy. Shawn was the very embodiment of the man she had in mind when she wrote each article. Every must-have dress she mentioned, every pair of designer shoes she drooled over, every hairstyle she recommended were all to catch the eye of a man like Shawn Davis.

He was high class personified. On top of that, the guy was super smart. She remembered throughout school that he was a brainiac. Math club. Chess club. Debate team. Back then she’d been quiet and shy, years away from breaking out of her shell. She’d stayed in the background watching the events of high school unfold as though everyone else were on stage and she was a spectator in the audience.

Now, Shawn Davis wanted to take her to dinner. She’d talked him into coffee instead. The thought of sitting through an entire meal, drowning in those dark pools he called eyes, was intimidating. What if she wasn’t smart enough? Good enough? Pretty enough?

Ay, papi. Who was that?”

Joanne turned to find her fourteen-year-old cousin, Yana, at her elbow, gawking in the direction Shawn was retreating. The girl’s eyes shone with appreciation.

“An old friend of mine.”

“Humph. With friends like that who needs lovers?”

Joanne gasped as Yana’s bubbly laughter floated up over the crowd of skaters. Joanne tweaked her on the nose. “Girl, he is too old for you.”

Even as she playfully scolded her cousin, Joanne recalled her first day of ninth grade—the day Shawn had walked into science class and sat in front of her. Her life had never been the same.

Yana adjusted her Betty Boop earmuffs over her thick mane of dark curls. “I heard the lyrics to a song once—age ain’t nothing but a number.”

“Yeah? Well the state of New York does not agree with you. There are laws against that sort of thing. And even if there weren’t, Tío Bernard would dispense his own justice. I can’t have your daddy mad at me.”

Yana grinned. “I’m just pulling your leg, cuz. I’m a sweet teenage girl attending a catholic, girls-only school. I steer far away from trouble.”

“Good.”

“For now, I will live vicariously through you.”

Joanne laughed. “Trust me, I am not living vicariously. I barely have time to do anything but write, eat, and sleep. That’s why I’m glad to be hanging out with you and Novia today—my two favorite cousins.”

“We’re glad to be hanging out with you, too, Jojo. This is going to be the best Christmas ever.”

At that moment, Novia glided by, arms wide open, face joyfully lifted up to the winter sky. “I’m the Queen of the World!” she announced.

Yana raced after her sister. Joanne cracked up at the girls’ antics. For the first time in months, she felt light-hearted. Maybe it was this place with its happy skaters. Maybe it was the holiday spirit. Or maybe it was the fact that she had a date with a hot guy.

Panic stabbed the center of her heart.

Dear God. It is a date. What am I doing?

She dug her cell phone from her coat pocket, and then used her teeth to pull off one of her gloves. She punched in a number she knew by heart. She needed reinforcements.

 

Days Of Auld Lang Syne, Episode 2

By Valerie Twombly

Shawn pulled his old schoolmate into an embrace. Though her body was stiff at first, it only took a second for her to relax and melt into him. He buried his nose in her piled-up locks and took in the scent of coconut shampoo. He remembered it had always been her favorite. When he finally released her, he took a step back and held her at arm’s length.

“You look stunning, Jojo.” She gave a bashful smile, just like he remembered.

“Thanks. It’s been a long time.” She wiggled free. “I heard you got married and moved away. Do you have any children yet?”

He cast his gaze to the skaters on the rink and watched a couple of children tumble to the ice. “We divorced after six months.”

“Oh…” She touched his arm. “I’m so sorry.”

He looked back in time to watch her push a stray curl out of her eyes and tuck it behind her ear. God, he’d always loved her hair and had spent many nights imagining running his fingers through the silky mass. “It’s okay. We were young and the entire thing was a mistake. We both agreed it was time to end it before we ended up hating each other.” It had been a brief fling and in the heat of passion, he and Brittany had flown to Vegas and eloped. He’d never regretted anything more. Well…except for never telling Jojo how he really felt about her.

“What about you? Married? Kids?” Please say no. He’d come back home several months ago and had meant to look her up. Had even gone so far as to stalk her vlog, but nowhere could he find out if there was a mister in her life.

“Me? Nope. I’m still single. No man in my life, I’m sorry to say.”

“I can’t believe no one has scooped you up and taken you away.”

She let out a familiar soft laugh. Nothing had changed with his Jojo except maybe she’d grown more beautiful. “Well, I’m back in the city on business. Plan to be here awhile and I’d love to get together. Can I take you to dinner?”

“Oh… umm, I’m not sure. You know it’s the holidays, and I have family visiting from back home.” She took a step back and he could sense she wanted to put some distance between them. Why? He wasn’t sure. They’d always been good friends in high school. He’d wanted more, but she seemed untouchable to him. Now though… Now they were adults and he wasn’t backing down.

“I refuse to take no for an answer. If not dinner then how about coffee?” He put on the biggest grin he could muster. “Certainly you can find even thirty minutes for an old friend.”

She touched her hair and pushed it around then shoved her hands into her coat pockets. “Well… Okay. How about tomorrow, say ten? I can meet you at the Starbucks here at the Plaza.”

“Perfect.” He may not be able to wine and dine her but this was a start, and he intended to do everything in his power to make it perfect for her.

 

 

Days Of Auld Lang Syne, Episode 1

By Lena Hart

Ay dios mio. Novia, be careful!” Joanne Vega watched as her twelve-year old cousin attempted to do a twirl on the crowded ice rink, the blade of her rented skates coming too close to the back of her own sister’s legs. “Yana, will you watch her?”

Both of her young cousins continued around the ice rink, giggling, laughing, and ignoring her shouted warning. Joanne frowned and kept a vigilant eye on them through the crowd of skaters. Though she was born and raised in New York City, she had never spent her holiday in a tourist trap like the Rink at Rockefeller Center. But it was Christmas, and her mom’s side of the family was visiting from Puerto Rico. Joanne didn’t want to steal her cousins’ fun, but this was their first time skating on ice, and as the oldest, it was her responsibility to make sure they returned home in one piece. Since she couldn’t ice skate, she was reduced to worrying and scolding from the sidelines.

Their parents had decided to stay up in Harlem, not willing to make the trip downtown or take their chances with the weather. So far, despite reports for heavy snow, they had only gotten a few flurries. Because of that, the Rink was packed with people. Joanne looked past the throng of skaters and trained her camera phone on her cousins’ bright purple and pink coats. Her aunt and uncle would love to see their daughters’ first ice skating experience. With the large Rockefeller tree glowing in the background, it was a pretty magnificent sight.

Joanne tilted her camera lower and followed her cousins around the large rink. Though she had a pile of clips to edit for her fashion and beauty video blog, Joanne was happy for the distraction and to be showing her cousins a good time around her city. Lately, her life was consumed by either her day job or her vlog, which left little room for anything else. Her social life had seen better days, and though she had managed to spend some time with her bestie, they were both too busy for much else besides church and brunch. With her family in town, Joanne could use an excuse to go out and “play”—even if it meant chaperoning her tween cousins who were trying to give her premature grays at twenty-three.

Joanne was so focused on getting clear video of her cousins, she completely missed the tall male figure that came up beside her.

“Jojo?”

Joanne froze then turned to the familiar deep voice and her mouth almost gaped open. OMG. It couldn’t be…

“Shawn?”

She didn’t have to ask. Only one man had ever called her by that very old nickname, and she would have recognized those sexy, maple brown eyes anywhere.

Shawn Davis.

Her old classmate—her old high school crush. He was the one guy no others had ever lived up to. The one she had tried but failed to forget these past five years. The one she had yearned for more than just friendship with…

Longing fluttered in her stomach as she stared at him—wishing she had done more with her long, curly hair then pile it on top of her head in a messy bun. She suddenly felt like the shy, awkward girl back in high school again.

When Joanne didn’t move or say anything quick enough, Shawn held out his arms. His dark, handsome face broke into a crooked smile. “We can continue this staring match, Jojo… Or you can give me a hug.”