The Fifteen Minute Novel 2023: Day 21

Welcome to the Fifteen Minute Novel. Each morning I spend fifteen minutes writing on a singular story line. Each morning starts with the last line of the previous day. The goal is to get a (very) rough draft out of the simple story idea and to avoid letting the story idea languish in limbo forever, actually writing it out. This is the third year I have done this writing experiment and each year I learn just a little bit about myself and the way I write as well as creating a framework for the story. But without further ado…

Day 21: If no one she knew was around, Gwen knew her step mother would tone it down.

If no one she knew was around, Gwen knew her step mother would tone it down. Gwen took a deep breath and left the solitude of her car.  She made sure it was locked and then walked to the main doors.  They were heavy wood, polished and gleaming almost as much as the long vertical silver bars that served as door handles.  The door handles were almost as tall as she was.  Gwen pulled the door open and marveled at how heavy it was.  The last time she was here, Toby opened the door for her like a gentleman. 

Gwen shook the thought away and stepped inside.  The thick doors and no doubt other insulation blocked all sounds of the street outside turning the restaurant into its own private world.  There was  the polite toned conversations at the table, muted so they were intimate things that barely drifted out of the tables zone.  Waiters glided between the tables only pausing to intrude when it was absolutely necessary. 

Renaldo’s was its own world, but each table seemed its own world within it.  Gwen saw her father sitting at one of the table, the waiter just dropping off the menus.   He was alone so Gwen thought Sharron must have slipped off to the bathroom to refresh her makeup or something.  Gwen took a quick look around as she walked to the table to join her father. 

None of the tables were occupied by faces she knew.  She hoped it would mean that Sharron wouldn’t feel the need to put on show.   She hoped for a quiet pleasant evening without Sharron making a grand display of emotion.

“There she is,” her father said, rising from his chair as she approached.  “Congratulations and happy graduation,” he said.  He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and gestured to her chair.  Gwen sat as her father resumed her seat.  She noticed that the table was only set for two.

“Sharron won’t be joining us,” her father told her.

“Oh?” Gwen asked.  The statement caught her off guard. She was braced for a public meal with Sharron and she felt as though she stepped down expecting another step but found the floor instead.  It was slightly jarring.

“I asked that she let it just be the two of us tonight,” he said.  The waiter came and placed glasses of water on the table. 

“We’ll need a moment,” he said.  The waiter nodded and left.  Her father opened his menu and made his selections.  Gwen did the same.  Once she closed the menu, the waiter reappeared as if by magic.  When their orders were in and the waiter and menus disappeared, her father looked at her. 

“I know about the dress,” Henry said.  “And I am sorry.  I understand what you were planning and I am proud of you for planning it.  Sharron tends to hae a very set view of the world and while I see the merits of what you were planning…”

“It doesn’t fit with Sharron’s world view?” Gwen finished.

“Something like that.  She is very sensitive to the opinions of others.”

Gwen nodded.  This was not news and not something she wanted to discuss again.  They had been over it multiple times in the past.

“It is however done,” her father continued.


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