Here's an excerpt from Brenda's latest work, A New Beginning:
A New Beginning
Do I really want to be here? No, not so much. I came to be social and to catch up with my friends. I have to be at the E.R. in a couple of hours for what I’m sure will be another crazy night. I can do this. Smile and be polite, I keep telling myself. Vincent called earlier, wanting us to get together. He said he had something to share with Donovan and me.
Donovan Martin is an attorney at a major law firm in Sarasota and Vincent Salvatore owns his own construction company in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. We have been friends for as long as I can remember. Living in the same neighborhood as children and going to the same schools until college, we have gotten and stayed very close.
I remember Vincent’s birthday one summer. His parents threw him a costume birthday party. Everyone had to dress up as pirates, even the adults. He had a pirate ship birthday cake, too. It was the coolest cake I have ever seen. The party was held in his backyard. Earlier that summer, his Dad had built him a huge pirate ship out of wood. Most kids in the neighborhood had wooden jungle gyms or wooden swing sets in their backyard, but not Vincent; he had a life-sized wooden pirate ship. Vincent’s Dad owned a construction company and built the ship by hand for his son. It had a Jolly Pirate flag, flying high on the flagpole, three different level decks, one deck had a cannon, and it even had a plank to walk on. Underneath the plank was a thick pile of mulch so you could jump off the plank and land in the mulch without getting hurt. Vincent and his Dad named the ship Vin-Ma-Don, the 3 Buccaneers, after us three boys — Vincent, me, and Donovan. I don’t think any other childhood memory I have tops that one. We were close then and we are still close to this day. They are like my brothers.
Ever since Julia and I broke up, my clubbing days are long behind me. I really don’t want to run into her and her beau any time soon. I guess I still hold some resentment towards her for the way things ended. Yeah, walking in on her and another man will do that to a person. That she is still dating the same man she cheated on me with still stings. What a bitch! Ok, so I still hold a lot of resentment towards her. I know she will do the same thing to him as she did to me, and damn if I don’t want to be there to see that go down. Yeah, I hope she gets what she deserves.
I walk inside the already too hot club and make my way to the bar. I can see Donovan and Vincent tossing back a shot. Weaving through the dance floor, I finally reach my destination. God, how I hate the club scene. Donovan sees me first as he nods his head in my direction and then Vincent turns to look at me and smiles.
“Been here long?” I ask.
“No, man, just got here maybe 15 minutes ago. Glad you could make it,” Vincent says, cupping his hand on my shoulder.
“The club’s hopping — sure you don’t want to call in sick?” Donovan asks
“As appealing as that sounds, I really can’t. One of us three has to work.”
Laughing, Donovan tells me he went ahead and ordered me a club soda with lime.
“Thanks, man,” I say, reaching for my drink and taking a generous gulp of it.
“We still on for ?” Vincent asks.
“What’s going on ?”
“You know damn good and well what’s going . We’re taking the boat out, and Sara and Brea are fixing you up with the new girl in the office. Ring a bell now, smart ass?”
“Oh, yeah, about that, I’ve been meaning to cancel on that. I’m not really in the mood to be fixed up. I have a lot going on at work with getting my own practice started and the renovations being done at the beach house.”
“Still bitter after all that shit Julia pulled, I see. You need to start dating again. It’s been five months,” Donovan says.
“Easier said than done. I’m trying to move on, but it’s still pretty fresh in my mind. I don’t really want to spend the day on the water with someone that I may or may not connect with. It’s gonna be a long day if we don’t click.”
“There’s no way Sara and Brea are going to let you out of this, so you better suck it up now. You still have until to get your mind ready for it. It’s gonna be fun. I searched using Google for a new reef for us to check out. Scuba diving always calms your nerves,” Vincent says.
Yeah, he’s right. We haven’t gone diving in months. Spending the day on the water has never been a bad time. Food, drinks, and friends — that’s what life’s about. “Ok, you’re right. It’s just a few hours with a woman I know absolutely nothing about. I’m gonna warn you now, if this is anything less than a great time for me, I will make you fucking miserable right along with me.”
“Fair enough,” Vincent says, before finishing off the last of his beer and ordering another round.
Trying desperately to change the subject, I ask Vincent what’s the news he has to share, before taking another drink of my club soda.
With a shit-eating grin, he says, “I’m gonna ask Brea to marry me.”
I spew my drink everywhere and look at Donovan who’s looking at me and looks just as shocked as I am. We both look back to Vincent like he just grew horns.
“Wh-wh-what did you just say?”
“You heard me. I am crazy about her and don’t want to live without her.”
“It seems a little fast to me. You’ve known her what … two minutes?” Donovan says seriously.
“Funny, it’s been just over a year … I have never felt this way about anyone and I know she is the one. Dude, I can’t get enough of her.”
“Wow, I had no idea it was that serious. I knew you guys were crazy about each other, but marriage! Well then, if that’s what you want, you have my blessings. She is a great girl and you are one lucky son of a bitch,” I say with a smile that matches Vincent’s.
Donovan nods in agreement and tips his beer to his mouth and then waves at a guy on the other end of the bar.
Vincent turns back to the bar with a huge stupid-as-fuck grin on his face, grabs our drinks off the bar, and passes them out to us.
The club is jam-packed. Standing room only at the bar, people are dancing, groups of people are huddled together chatting. Lights are flashing and the music is blaring. Looking around the club, I nod to a group of people I know and then turn my attention back to the guys.
We are standing at the bar when someone bumps into me, spilling my club soda everywhere. I look behind me to see a tall, thin, beautiful brunette straightening her dress. She looks at me sheepishly. She is stunning. Long legs, big beautiful brown eyes, full red lips.
“I am so sorry,” she says, jarring me from my thoughts.
Grabbing a few napkins from the bar to wipe the club soda from my hands, I tell her, smiling, “No problem.”
She smiles a perfect bright white smile and turns to the bar and orders a glass of white wine. I take this opportunity to check her out. Long straight brown hair, gold hoop earrings, red form-fitting dress cut low enough to show off her beautiful full cleavage, red painted nails, gold bracelet, curvy hips, long tan legs, a sexy gold anklet and black fuck-me heels with red bows on the backs of them. My eyes travel back up her gorgeous body, admiring her curves when our eyes meet.
She smiles again, looking over her shoulder, and says with a raised eyebrow, “See something you like?”
Laughing from being caught ogling her, I say, “Nice shoes.”
She laughs back and says, “Nice tat.”
With my brows furrowed, I look down at the sleeves of my shirt covering my arms, look back up at her and say, “I don’t have any tats.”
She laughs with a wink and says, “Mmmm, just checking.”
With her wine glass in hand, she saunters off towards the dance floor. Looking back over her shoulder, she winks, and says, “See ya around, Handsome.”
Now that you can count on.
When I turn back around to where Donovan and Vincent are, they are both laughing at me.
“What is so funny?”
“Just you and your public display of appreciation.”
“You can’t fault me for that.”
Drinking the rest of my drink, I lean forward to place the empty glass on the bar, and finish wiping the rest of the spilled club soda off my hands, I toss the used, wet bar napkins beside the empty glass.
I ask Vincent, “So when are you proposing?”
“Soon, not sure yet.”
Donovan says, “You know it’s all about the ring, right? You don’t get the ring right, you can kiss the whole wedding goodbye.”
Donovan, having three sisters and having been raised by a single mother, would know. In fact, Donovan knows more about girl shit than any other guy I know. It must have sucked for him growing up with all women in the house.
Vincent nods nervously and says, “That’s what I hear. That’s why I’m meeting Sara at Tiffany’s to help me pick out the ring.”
Donovan damn nears chokes on his beer and says, “Sara — you mean my Sara?”
“Yes, your Sara. She is Brea’s best friend, so it only makes sense to ask for her help picking out the ring, since she knows exactly what Brea would like.”
“Let me get this right? You want to take my Sara out with you to look at engagement rings? You couldn’t have asked one of Brea’s sisters from Ohio to go with you?”
“What’s the big deal about Sara going to Tiffany’s to look at engagement rings with me?”
With that statement made, it finally clicks with Vincent what Donovan is worried about. Donovan is worried that Sara’s going to get the wedding/baby fever, or whatever it is girls get whenever there’s a wedding, an engagement, or a new baby.
“Oh, shit, I get it. I didn’t think about that. Too late now, I already asked her to help me. Sorry, man.”
“I like the way things are going between the two of us. I don’t need Sara coming home and dropping hints about rings, weddings, and preschools.”
Donovan runs his hands through his hair, looking completely defeated, and says, “I think I need something stronger to drink.”
Looking at Vincent, he says, “You better pray this goes better than I am imagining or this friendship —” waving his hands between the two of them “— is over.”
Laughing, Vincent lifts his hands up in surrender and says, “Ok, bro, it’ll be all right. Let me get you another shot.”
“Or six,” I butt in. “By the look on Donovan’s face, you better pray Sara doesn’t get wedding/baby fever after spending the day with you in a jewelry store.”
Seconds later, someone wraps their arms around my waist. I turn around and see Sara smiling brightly at me.
“Mason, I didn’t know you were meeting us here tonight,” she says.
She leans up on her tiptoes to kiss me on the cheek as Brea pats my arm as she walks past me to be beside Vincent, who is smiling like a lunatic at her. He leans down to kiss her sweetly on her lips as she snakes her arms around his waist. They really do make a great couple.
“Can’t stay. I have to work tonight,” I say. “I just came out for a minute to see everyone. How have you been?”
Moving to be next to Donovan, who is already reaching his hands out for her, Sara says, “I’m good. Work is really busy, so that’s a plus.”
Donovan leans down and kisses her on the top of her head when she nestles in front of him. Her back is to his chest.
It’s times like these when I realize how much I miss being in a relationship. Damn Julia! That’s two years of my life I’ll never get back.
While Donovan, Vincent, and I were born and raised in Florida. Sara and Brea are transplants. They moved down from Zanesville, a town in Ohio, a couple years ago to start up an insurance company together. R.K. Insurance over on Stickney Point is a thriving business, and the girls seem to be doing very well for themselves. R.K. Insurance is named after the girls’ last names, Sara Roberts and Brea Kinsley.
Vincent orders shots for everyone, with beer chasers for Donovan and him, and a pitcher of margaritas for the girls. I decline another drink. I really need to get going before they start talking about the blind date they have arranged for me .
“Don’t forget about the boating trip we have planned for . We have a hot date set up for you.” Brea says.
Shit, too late.
“The weather is supposed to be beautiful,” Sara says and talks about how much fun we are going to have and about the mystery woman being excited.
Vincent owns a 26-foot Catamaran boat that he leaves docked at Marina Jacks.
“Looking forward to it,” I say through gritted teeth. They all laugh, but I don’t see what’s so funny.
“I hate to cut the party short, but I need to get to the hospital,” I say. “My shift starts in an hour.”
I say my goodbyes with hugs for the girls and handshakes for the guys.
“I’ll see you guys .”
Sara shouts out, “Twelve at the marina. We’ll meet you there.”
I wave in acknowledgement and head towards the dance floor.
Weaving through the drunks, and the dancers, I spot Miss Red Dress, from the bar earlier. She is on the dance floor, swaying her hips to the music and holding her wine glass up so no one will bump into it. We make eye contact and I can’t look away. She is staring at me and she is smoking hot. I raise my chin and wink at her as my goodbye and she raises her glass towards me with a smile and winks in acknowledgement. Now that is definitely someone I want to get to know.
I head out into the crisp night air, inhaling deeply. Collecting my car from the valet, I make my way to Sarasota Memorial Hospital to start my shift.
Amazon Buy Links:
A New Beginning
First and foremost I am a wife, mother and grandmother.
I am also a nurse and a new author.
I moved to sunny Florida in 2006 and never looked back. I love fresh squeezed lemonade, crushed ice, teacups, wineglasses, non-franchise restaurants, ice cream cones, boating, picnics, cookouts, throwing parties, lace, white wine, mojitos, strawberry margaritas, white linen tablecloths, fresh flowers and Pinterest. I also love to read and write and to spend time with my family.
My books thus far, have been inspired by the things I love and the people who influence me, every single day to be a better person.