Monday, February 2, 2015

Penelope isn't buying the flowers and candy routine that Sam's selling...much

Here's a Valentine Vignette from The Stubborn Schoolhouse Spirit (Book 2 of the Penelope Pembroke Cozy Mystery Series):


“You’re a real sight, Nellie,” Jake said as he held her black velvet evening wrap. “You look more and more like your mother.”
“Thank you, Daddy. That’s high praise, coming from you.”
“She was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. I met her at a dance, you know. At the serviceman’s club in London right at the end of the war.”
“When you finally got up enough courage to ask her dance, she waltzed right into your heart.”
“That’s what she did.” He kissed her cheek. “Have a good time, darlin’. Wish Sam was here to escort you.”
“I don’t need an escort. I’m one of the hostesses.” She hesitated. “You’re sure you won’t change your mind and go with me?”
“You wouldn’t get me into one of those monkey suits for love nor money.”
“Tuxedos, Daddy.”
“Whatever it’s called, I won’t wear one.” He patted her shoulder. “Have a good time.”
The grandfather clock chimed midnight as Penelope came through the kitchen door. She paused by the table to take off her shoes. Carrying them in her hand, with her wrap over her arm, she pushed through the swinging door to the dining room and into the foyer. In the dim light from the lamp she always left burning on a table near the grandfather clock, she saw Sam sitting halfway up the stairs.
“Hello, Nell.”
She felt her heart catapult into her mouth. At the same time, a wave of resentment washed over her. He hadn’t been in touch for almost two weeks. “When did you get here?”
“Just before you walked in.” He rose and came down the stairs with a grace uncharacteristic to his muscular bulk. “Happy Valentine Day.” He held out a crystal vase of red and white carnations and a heart-shaped box of candy. “Candy and flowers. The proper gift from a man to his girl.”
“Am I your girl?”
He turned up the lamp and stepped back to look at her. “You’re beautiful, Nell. I’ll bet you were the belle of the ball.”
“I danced with every member of the Town Council and Harry Hargrove, Chief Malone, Parnell Garrett, my son, and a few others I don’t even remember. All obligatory.”
“For whom?”
“It was mutual.”
“Have one more dance in you?”
“A dance, Sam, not a two-step around the furniture.”
He took her arm and led her into the parlor where the crystal carafe and two wine glasses from the china cabinet sat on a silver tray in the middle of the marble coffee table. When he switched on the record player, the strains of Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade filled the air.
“I thought you said you just got here.”
“I got here with enough time to fix things up.” He held out his arms. “May I have this dance?”
He held her close to him, her hand folded under his chin which rested on her hair. Oh, Sam, why do you do this to me? We’re going nowhere, at least not in the foreseeable future.  You said so yourself, and I’m not sure how long I can wait.
When the music ended, he took her face in his hands and kissed her. “Thanks, Nell.”
He led her to the sofa and filled the two glasses. “You know I don’t drink, Sam,” she said, sniffing the contents of the glass he handed her.
“White grape juice,” he said. “That’s all.”
“Oh, well, that’s all right.”
He lifted his glass which somehow, despite its delicate design, looked at home in his large hands. “To the night and music. To us.”
“To the night and music,” she said.
They clinked the glasses gently and drank.
“Sorry I’ve been out of touch,” he said. “Couldn’t be helped.”
“Is everything going along all right?”
“It’s going along.” He tucked her hair behind her ears. “Someday I’m going to take you to a dance in the finest ballroom in New York City.”
“Someday.” She sighed and set down her glass. “When is someday, Sam?”
“I wish I could tell you.”
“I know you can’t. I try to understand.”
“I know you try.”

Sam's been in and out of Penelope's life since he hit on her at the Sit 'n Swill in Book 1, The Bogus Biker. Mainly he was trying to keep her out of bullet-range when the shooting started. She didn't like him on first sight, but he's had a book and a half to grow on her, and he's giving a good account of himself. 

All six books of the Penelope Pembroke Cozy Mystery Series are available at Amazon.

Meet Penelope, her father Jake Kelley, her best friend Mary Lynn Hargrove, her son Det. Sgt. Bradley Pembroke, and Abijah the Cat at their very own website!

I really don't like anyone but my person Penelope!

Abijah says, "Keep me in cat treats. Get Book 1, The Bogus Biker, for just 99 cents!"

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