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Nereids and Neptune (standard:romance, 3146 words)
Author: CyranoAdded: Aug 04 2006Views/Reads: 2118/1312Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
The first draft of this story (1st chapter) has already been posted. This is the second draft of the same opening. I'm happy to hear thoughts on editing stories and how different writers go about it.

Nereids and Neptune 

Copyright: Kelly Shaw2005 

Chapter 1. Mendocino 

Tom Champion places both hands on the bar, rests his right foot on the
brass rail and signals the attention of the barman; a bald, rotund, 
heavily bearded man wearing a white apron and drying glasses. 

“Your coldest beer.” 

The barman slaps the damp towel over his shoulder and pours a beer into
a tall frozen glass, which Tom thirstily chugs down, its coldness 
burning his throat, and immediately requests the check. Placing a 
ten-dollar on the bar, he nods an acknowledgement, and steps back into 
the streets of San Francisco. 

Two hours after landing at San Francisco International he is crossing
over Golden Gate Bridge, settling deeply into the leather seat for the 
four-hour trip to Mendocino; time enough for old recriminations to 
sully the memories. If he hadn't chosen to sail the yacht back from 
Hong Kong, after promising he would fly home, he would have been with 
her that fateful day. Now, two years after her death, he's heading 
back, knowing her clothes still hang in the bedroom closet, her 
perfumes and make-up still clutter the bathroom, and it is this 
intimate knowledge that sets aside any certainty he will enter the 

Snaking up Pacific Coast Highway, the drive is slow and deliberate. The
sun's slide into the ocean's depths looks like the sinking a great 
golden ship, lazily at first and then gone, pulling behind it 
many-coloured pennants. The beauty of it's leaving has him recalling 
the excited anticipation of their first trip to California. 


“ Honey, we need to hurry.” He says, leaning against the bathroom door,
watching how she curls her eyelashes. 

“Just two minutes, almost done,” she replies, giving the strange metal
curling tool another blast of heat from the blow dryer. He flinches and 
steps back into the bedroom. 

The phone rings; it's Joseph Chapman, long time friend and business
agent, calling to confirm the American businessman has accepted the 
offer and signed the contract on the house. 

“We'll be in London this evening, Josey...well, if Suzie leaves the
bathroom anytime soon...” he jokes. 

“ I heard that!” Comes a lyrical voice from the bathroom. 

“...and we fly out early the next morning.” Tom finishes, looking over
and winking at the reflection of his wife in the mirror. 

“Okay, Tom. I've booked a town car to take you to the Sonoma Lodge, it's
just over an hours drive. The following morning you'll be driven to 

“Yeh... I've been thinking about that, I'd rather drive myself. Can you
fix that?” 

“Sure, if that's what you want.” 

Suzie appears from the bathroom looking stunning in her striped
lightweight cashmere henley, jeans, and Jimmy Chu shoes. 

“That's great, Josey, we thought we'd take the coastal route, do a bit
of sightseeing while we're out there.” 

“You bet. Tell Suzie, hi from me.” 

Tom puts the phone down and places both arms about her waist. 

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