Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.
For my New Year’s snippet, I’m sharing from Chapter 11, “New Year’s Eve Delight,” of my long-hiatused WIP Justine Grown Up, the third book in my contemporary historical family saga about the Troys and the Ryans, and a modern retelling of sorts of Margaret Sidney’s Phronsie Pepper. It’s now New Year’s Eve 1979, and instead of spending the entire holiday sharing private romantic moments, Justine and David are forced to endure the negative running commentary of older siblings who still see them as children.
David’s term of endearment for Justine, cuisle mo chroí (COOSH-la ma cree), means “pulse of my heart” in Irish.
Justine’s jealous feelings at the birth of Julie’s first child are quickly turned around when she reconnects with David, now twenty-five and a Ph.D. student. Unfortunately, her older siblings and their friends have a hard time seeing her, after years of being the precious family baby, as a grownup woman who’s old enough for marriage, motherhood, and moving out with her new family. But then, when her young nieces become Duranies, an unexpected opportunity opens up for Justine to finally prove once and for all to her family that she’s a responsible, capable, mature adult.
When the tray of food is passed around to her, she takes a handful of nuts and a few crackers.
“Would you like something to drink with that?” David asks.
“Watch it,” Adicia says. “Justine won’t be twenty-one till March. Have you ever given her alcohol before?”
“Of course not! I rarely drink myself, but it’s nice to have a little on holidays and special occasions.”
“You’ve let me have champagne and wine before on New Year’s Eve,” Justine says.
“Yeah, but I’m your sister, not an older boyfriend who’s slept his way across Europe!”
“I slept with a handful of women, not the entire female population!” David says.
The ten lines end here. A few more follow to complete the scene.
Justine grudgingly accepts the orange egg cream David brings her in place of champagne. During the remaining few minutes of the decade, she sits snuggled up against him, trying to tune out the rest of their families. If they were in Times Square, she’d probably be kissing her new boyfriend, but for now she’ll have to settle for a hug to greet 1980.
“Don’t worry,” David whispers. “We’ll be back in Albany soon enough and can have all the privacy we want. In the meantime, the anticipation will make it better.”
“I hope so.”
He hugs her again. “Welcome to 1980, cuisle mo chroí.”