Julie Frances Ch. 00-01byelphaba69©
It was a cold and snowy night, Julie Frances sat staring out the window and pondering her future or current lack of. She was stuck in a dead end job and her personal life was a mess. It was on that night, she made the decision that something had to change.
First off she had to start living her life for herself. She had to stop worrying about the way everyone else felt . Secondly she needed to start taking risks . If she wanted something she had to go for it.
She had always wanted to be a writer but never seemed to have the ambition to finish anything she had started . She had at least twenty beginnings but absolutely no endings. She opened up the drawer in which she kept all her unfinished stories and sighed. The pile seemed insurmountable but now Julie was determined to finish at least some of them. If she wanted to get published she would need a completed manuscript and she was determined to get published.
Julie picked up one of the stories and began to read. There was not much there. Only thing that she had was the description of a club that could have come straight out of a 1920's mob movie . The room was done all in black and white and you could hear the sound of swing music playing in the background. I guess this is as a good a story to start with as any other other in the pile she thought to herself . She started thinking about how she could expand on this simple description of a room into and entire story. Maybe she should tell a tale about the mafia and make this club their base of operation. What if the story was about an ex-mafia member turned police informant? That idea sounded even better than the first . Somewhere int the story the mobsters would confront him and they would bring him to this club to do so.
Suddenly Julie was excited, she grabbed a pencil and some paper and started to brainstorm. The mob had been a popular topic for books maybe this book would be her ticket into the world of publishing. That was if she could finish this one this time . It was going to be a lot of hard work but Julie was determined to.
It was a few weeks after that faithful night, everything seemed to be looking up for Julie. The mob story she had started that night was almost completely finished and she had even met a man.
Julie and James met at the book store one evening. The store had been having a poetry reading and James had been one of the poets. His poem about the death of his father and how it had affected him had moved her almost to tears. At that moment, Julie did something she had never done in the entire twenty six years of her life. She approached James. Two weeks ago approaching him would not have even been an option but that was the old Julie. The new Julie took chances. She wanted something and she went out and got it. This is why at that very moment she was standing in front of a complete stranger about to tell him that she absolutely loved his poetry.
Before she had the chance to speak, he said, " Hi, do you come here often?"
All of a sudden Julie realized that he was talking to her. " No I saw a poster and thought it might make a pleasant evening."
"So was this as pleasant an experience as you thought it would be?" he asked with a huge grin on his face.
"The evening has just begun so it is still too early to tell but so far so good."
" I know that I am being extremely forward but I have to ask would you like to get a drink with me? I know this quaint little bar a few blocks from here that is perfect for talking and getting to know someone."
"That sounds like something I would enjoy."
They walked the few blocks to the bar . James was right. It was a quaint , little place. It was less a bar and more of a lounge. There were over- stuffed couches against the walls and a mahogany bar in the center of the room. After getting beers at the bar they flopped down on one of the couches. "Have you been writing long?"
"Only about a year. It's a kind of therapy for me since my dad passed away. Instead of sitting on a shrink's couch and paying them to listen to me spill my guts .I write my poems .It is a lot cheaper way of dealing with my emotions."
" Your poetry is so well written I thought you were going to say it was your profession and you had been doing it for years. " Julie was amazed how in just one year his poetry was not only extremely well written but also extremely insightful. James' ability to understand and also convey his feelings after hid father's death was extraordinary.
" No I am definitely not a professional writer. I am glad that you like my poetry. It is good to know that it touched someone." James smiled. "It is therapy for me but it is great to know that it might help someone else deal with whatever it is that they are dealing with in their own life."
" James, you are an extraordinary man. That you are able to deal with your father's death and everything that has happened to you in the past year in such a calm and rational matter is amazing to me . Me, I would have been a complete wreck."
" You learn how to cope pretty quickly when you are practically forced to. Someone in my family had to be the strong one. There were arrangements to be made but enough about me. Tell me about yourself."
"Well there is not much to tell. My name is Julie. I'm a twenty six year old aspiring writer. Currently I'm working in a retail store and feel like I'm just going through the motions. About two weeks ago, I decided I needed to make some changes in my life so I opened the drawer with all of my unfinished manuscripts and decided it was about time I finished a few of them."
"How is that plan of yours going?"
" The one I started that night is almost done. It is a story about an ex-mobster turned police informant." Julie looked straight into his eyes hoping for some sort of a reaction.
"It sounds like an interesting story. Definitely something I would be interested in reading," James said with a grin on his face.
" I'm hoping that some day anyone who wants to read it can. I would love to have it published some time in the near future. Problem is that I have no idea where to begin when it comes to getting anything published."
"If you are determined to get published I am sure you'll find a way to do so. You seem like someone who always gets what she wants." James shifted a bit closer to Julie on the couch. " I wish that I had the ambition and guts to put myself out there like you do."
With a slight grin on her face, Julie said, "You think I am the one with guts. I write fiction . I am not the brave one. You write poetry about real life and your real feelings. You are most definitely the brave one."
" I am glad someone thinks that I'm brave. There are times that when I feel like one of the biggest cowards on this planet or any other one for that matter. It's like I'm hiding behind my poetry and never anyone see the real me. It's kind of like my poetry is a mask that I use to conceal my true identity." That got a giggle out of Julie. "What's so funny?"
"Oh it's nothing. I was just picturing you traipsing around with a mask and a cape. It kind of reminded me of Zorro." James promptly got to his feet and proceeded to wave an imaginary sword above his head wildly. This caused Julie to laugh even harder than before. She was laughing so hard that she almost forgot about the bottle of beer in her hand and it began dribbling onto the couch cushion. James grabbed it and placed it on a small round, three legged mahogany end table that was next one end of the couch.
"Let me take that before we're stuck sitting in a puddle of beer." James smiled . "We don't want either one of us to have a wet behind." He sat back down this time it seemed as if he was a tiny bit closer to Julie than he had been before his little Zorro act. "I'm sorry. Am I getting too close for comfort?"
"Oh,no!I'm the one that needs to apologize. I'm the one ruining a perfectly wonderful evening with all of my squirming around. It is just that I'm not used to this. Two weeks ago,I would have run in the other direction quicker than you could say boo. I was so scared to take a chance that I would just let the opportunities pass me by."
At that moment, James grabbed Julie's shoulders and looked her straight into her eyes. " Stop! Stop apologizing when you have absolutely nothing to apologize for."
"I feel like an absolute fool. My stupid nerves are getting the better of me and I am making a complete butt of myself."
"You may be nervous but you are most definitely not a fool. We all get nervous when we meet someone new."
"You didn't seem nervous at all. It seemed like a piece of cake for you."
"You have got to be kidding with me. I'm so nervous talking to you right now that the butterflies in my stomach have butterflies." That put a huge smile on Julie's face. "Did anyone ever tell you that you have a beautiful smile?" Julie's face suddenly turned red as a beet.
"Would you stop it? You are embarrassing me."
"No I will not stop. You are a very pretty woman and you deserve any compliments that I can give you and much, much more. It was that smile of yours that made my decision to ask you here tonight so easy."
"All along I thought it was just hat I was the one standing right in front of you." Julie began to fidget again but this time instead of shifting away from James she moved closer to him. "I am very glad that I did not run in the other direction tonight."
"So am I. If you had I would had to have chased after you and you probably would have gotten away. I don't run extremely well because of an old high school sports injury." He put his arm around Julie's shoulder . "I would have missed out on probably the most enjoyable evening I have had in a long, long time." He pulled her so close to him that she was practically sitting on his lap.
Julie had a sheepish grin on her face."If spending time with me is the best time you've had in a while than you must be leading a rather dull life of late."
"Why would you say that?" James asked with a puzzled look on his face.
"All I've done all night is complain about how many things in my life need changing. I would have thought you'd either be running for the door or ready to slap me up the backside of the head by now."
" First of all, everyone has things in their lives that they feel need changing. You openly being able to talk about them is a wonderful thing. I've met girls who have absolutely no idea what they want out of life. Ask them what they want and they get this glazed over look in their eyes like their minds are currently on another planet. I like a girl who head is firmly planted on her shoulders. Second of all, I would never hit a lady in the backside of the head. " James winked. " The backside on the other hand is a completely different story." Julie punched him in the arm.
"What was that for?"
"That was a reminder to get your mind out of the gutter." Julie's grin widened as she spoke.
"You can't say that yours has not made one or two stops there tonight. You're not as innocent as you would like everyone to believe you are. I saw the way you looked at my ass when I got up to get another beer from the bar a little while ago."
"What are you talking about?" Julie asked with a look on her face that reminded James of a little kid that had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about . You looked like you wanted to reach out, grab my butt and give it a squeeze."
Julie's face turned bright red and she tried to hide in his shoulder. "How embarrassing! Was I really that obvious?"
" Yeah but you have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about . All of our minds wander there once in a while as long as they don't take up permanent residence there we are okay." James pulled her onto his lap. "You know that I've wanted to do something since the moment I first saw you in the bookstore."
"What was that?"
"This," he said as he pulled her into his arms and kissed her. Time seemed to stand completely still as they kissed. There was no one in the except her and James at least that's the way it seemed to Julie. She never wanted it end . If they could stay frozen in this moment forever it would have suited Julie quite well.
When James broke it off the only word she could muster out was ," Wow!"
"Am I to assume that wow is a good thing? At least I hope that wow means a good thing." James smiled.
"Wow is a very good thing ." At that moment, Julie's smile was stretching from ear to ear. She could not believe what had Julie happened. She had just kissed a guy that she had only known for a few hours. Man, she was glad that the old Julie had left building weeks ago because that Julie would never have let it go this far. That Julie would have run as soon as James put his arm around her. She would have made some kind of excuse that she had to leave. On the other hand, the new Julie was about to seize the moment. She wrapped her arms around James' neck and leaned in for another kiss. Once again they seemed to be suspended in time and space as they kissed.
" I guess it is my turn to say wow," James said as he tried to catch his breath.
The bartender then said, " Last call. The bar will be closing in twenty minutes . You don't have to go home but you can't stay here." This caused James to look at his watch.
"Yikes, I didn't realize that it was so late. Time flies when you're having fun. I'll walk you back to the bookstore so that you can get your car and then I'll head on home myself."
"Actually I don't live too far so I walked to the bookstore. I don't have a car to go back and get." Julie started to get up and leave but James stopped her.
" Then I insist that I walk you all the way home . You should not be walking in the streets all by yourself at two in the morning."
"Don't be silly. I only live a few blocks away from here and I've walked these streets more times than I can count."
"You walk these streets a lot but probably you don't walk the streets at this hour of the night so don't even think about giving me an argument because this is most definitely one that you won't win."
"Since you are such a gentleman I guess I should take you up on your offer." She finished off her beer and then they headed for the door. It was a beautiful night. There was not a cloud in the sky . The moon was full. It was mild and there was not even the slightest breeze. The stars sparkled in the sky as if someone had thrown glitter into it. James and Julie walked down the street hand in hand. "I am so glad that I decided to go to that open mic night. I had not I would never have gotten to meet you and I would never had this wonderful evening."
"I'm glad I decided to read my poetry tonight or I would never have been there and I would never have met you." James turned Julie to face him and held both of her hands in his. "I know I've said this before but I just wanted to tell you once again how much I enjoyed the time I've spent with you tonight." They continued to walk along and star gaze. "The sky look absolutely beautiful tonight."
"Yeah it is extraordinary. I don't think I have ever seen the moon so full." They turned the corner and she said, "My house is about midway down this block on the left." They walked the rest of the way to her house. "This is me. I guess this is good night." Julie fumbled around in her pocketbook looking for her keys. After a lot of fumbling, Julie finally found them.
"Julie wait one second. Would you like to go out with me again sometime?" James asked with a hopeful look on his face.
"I would love to go out with you again . Here's my phone number." She placed a piece of paper into the palm of his hand. "Give a call sometime. once again thank for an absolutely delightful night. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. " On that final note, Julie opened the door and slipped inside.