As you know, I’m re-releasing Highland Stones around May 1, 2016. I’m shooting to have this re-released as well as Alabama Magnolias soon to follow. My goal is to have paperbacks available for ‘A Royal Affair’ signing in Winchester, VA toward the end of May. Since you are all subscribers to my blog, YOU get a sneak peek at the rewritten first chapter. It is not set in stone, so if you have any feedback, I’m totally open. However, until I hit ‘publish’ again on this story, all of the following is copyrighted material and may not be used or reproduced without my WRITTEN consent (signed in front of a notary).
©S.C Hutchinson 2014
“Here goes nothing,” she said aloud to herself as she finished packing her pink suitcase. Aside from overnight camp during her summers, Adeline Bruce never before spent the night away from home and most certainly never for such a long time. All children eventually leave home, but for Adeline, the reality began to settle in the pit of her stomach like a lead weight. Unsure of the source of her apprehension, she still found the prospect of making her way to another country exciting. “It’s a chance of a lifetime,” she reminded herself. “Besides, I’m not a kid anymore.”
Her mother knocked on her bedroom door.
“Are you excited?” Mrs. Bruce asked her daughter.
“Sort of,” she said. “I know this is a great opportunity, but I’m just so—apprehensive about what is out there. I don’t know. I feel strange, to be honest. Aren’t all girls my age excited to leave home for the first time? Why am I so—cautious about it?”
“My dear sweet Adeline, it is just a new season in your life. There’s nothing to fear, but…”
“But fear itself. Yeah, I know.”
“It’s not like the other seasons of life I was able to prepare you for. It is much easier to explain to your toddler that she is going to be a big girl soon and much easier for a mother to explain to her young woman that she will begin puberty. It is so much easier to explain to your young woman that after high school, there is college—a completely new world. However, what I can never try to explain is what to expect in the world you’re about to enter.”
“But mom, I know I’m an adult. I can vote and all that. I can even die for my country, if I were so inclined, but this is just too different. Honestly, I knew about puberty long before you sat me down. They taught us some things at school, but the possibilities–”
“My dear heart, they are limitless.” Her mother always had encouraging things to say to her. She awaited the grand speech with partial irritation, but also a bit of bittersweet happiness. Her mom continued, “Each choice will lead you down a path. Once you reach the end of that path, you will have more choices. You just have to find your place on your own terms and make them based on what you can and can’t live with.”
Then, her father came in, knocking on the door frame. “I know a little girl who is going to miss her flight if she doesn’t hurry.” Mr. Bruce smiled.
“Well, let’s go, slowpoke,” she quipped at her dad as she grabbed her suitcase, headed downstairs, and loaded it in the car.
“Isn’t mom coming?” she asked as she climbed into the passenger seat.
“She isn’t, sweetie. She’s having a hard time letting you go,” her dad said as he turned the key and began to drive.
Adeline took one more wistful look out of the window at the only home she has ever known over the last twenty-two years. The rest of the drive was fairly silent as her dad drove her to the airport, passing all of the landmarks that held precious memories.
Paxton Falls, Alabama was a quiet farming community approximately forty-five miles north of Mobile, Alabama. As she passed every building, she recalled the memories it held. Paxton Falls Middle School was where she met her best friend, Sherri Thompson. In addition, it was where one of the boys who grew up near her home had received his punishment from Sherri for bullying Adeline the previous day. Sherri was always the one who came to her rescue. Adeline was too involved with books to be the bold one.
Paxton Falls High School, home of the Spartans, was where she would subsequently attend her first big dance. However, her date was only the brother of her other friend. Jessica’s brother Ryan James wasn’t bad looking, but Adeline had very little interest in him beyond friends. It was the same with the other boys she had crushes on. It wasn’t because Adeline wasn’t pretty. In fact, most of the guys considered her features quite attractive. Her black hair flowed down her back reaching her waist. She had one of those cute, up-turned noses planted squarely in the center of her perfectly oval face. Her emerald green eyes shone brightly, enchanting many of the males in her class. However, her interests were more of academic pursuits. While all of her friends were discussing what new guy they were dating, Adeline never seemed to be able to find the one who made her soul sing, though many would try to place themselves in her path.
Her academic pursuits allowed her to graduate Summa Cum Laude at Alabama University in Tuscaloosa, twenty miles away from Paxton Falls, where she majored in Archeological Studies and gave her the opportunity to serve under the tutelage of Dr. Matthew MacStone. Dr. MacStone was the most experienced in Archeological Celtic Studies, something Adeline had been interested in since she learned to read.
As she arrived at the airport, she made a final phone call to her parents letting them know she made it there unharmed and then boarded her flight. She had never flown before, but knew what to expect after she was seated. Then, the announcement blasted over the PA system:
Attention Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is your captain speaking. We
Are about to begin our trans-Atlantic
Flight from Mobile, Alabama to
Glasgow, Scotland. This flight
Will be a sixteen-hour flight, so I
Invite you to sit back and relax.
Please fasten your seatbelts, and
Prepare for takeoff.
Adeline did as requested and fastened her seat belt in preparation for the initial take off. As the plane ascended, Adeline crossed her fingers, anticipating her new life ahead.
I hope you have enjoyed it and will stay tuned/share this blog post with your fellow bibliophiles. Love you bunches!!!