Before I share Chapter One, I just want to remind my readers that Clayton (my husband) and I joke that we’re still on our honeymoon. We are having a fantastic time on our seventy-hour journey across the country and have mostly concluded the research gathering portion of our trip. Although a lot of things about our characters are similar to us, this story (Silver Threads Series Book One: Road Trip) is NOT autobiographical. We also do not argue the way the characters seem to. They have to argue at the beginning of the story or they wouldn’t have any growth and maturity. Because this is a romance novel, there will be a happy ending. I promise. This is meant to be a romantic comedy. When I read this first chapter out loud to Clayton, he laughed at all the right parts. That’s a good sign. I hope you laugh too. -Julie
Chapter One: One week before leaving…
“I won’t have time to think about that until after school gets out,” Chandler said, frustrated that Janette had interrupted him again. Couldn’t she see the stack of tests he still needed to grade and get into the computer? “You are perfectly capable of setting up hotel rooms for our trip.”
“Broyce is your brother, not mine,” Janette snapped at him. “This should be your responsibility.” She glared at him from where she stood in front of his desk with her arms folded across her chest. In the amount of time she’d argued with him about this over the past two weeks she could have had the project done by now.
“He needs both of our help. One person to drive the U-Haul, one person to drive his Solstice, and then you can drive our car back.” Chandler tossed his red pen onto the pile of tests and sat back in his chair, using her intrusion as an excuse to stretch.
“Why can’t we just fly to Arizona and drive back?” Janette should already know the answer to that question and her whining was grating on his last nerves. “There is no way we can spend seventy hours together in a car.”
“We won’t be in the car together on the way back because I’ll be driving the U-Haul,” Chandler said. “Besides this way we can go see Asher and Blayke.”
They hadn’t seen their son, Asher since he’d left for college at Oklahoma State University, and hadn’t seen their daughter, Blayke since she moved out to Las Vegas for an apprenticeship with a make-up artist who caters to high-end clients and celebrities. Their kids were all grown up, and this was Chandler and Janette’s only chance to drive out west. They’d never had an excuse before now.
“Plus, didn’t you have some internet friend you wanted to meet in person? We can stop by so you can fangirl and meet your idol.”
“I do not idolize Angelina,” Janette said. “And she is way more than just an internet friend. She is my mentor.”
“Your mentor for your nonexistent career as an author?” Chandler was tempted to hold up air quotes but already sounded insensitive to his own ears. She’d probably spent more money than she’d made selling her little romance novels. Money she refers to as investing in her business. “Is she also, what did you call it? A midlist author?”
“No, she is a bestselling author and makes a lot of money.” Janette’s voice cracked. Now he’d offended her. Again. Oops. Maybe he needed to soften his tone, but he was still aggravated.
“Good, maybe spending time with her, some of her success will rub off onto you.” Chandler picked up his red pen and sat forward again, hoping to convey the message that he was done with this discussion and ready to get back to work.
“Let’s hope so,” Janette said. “I need all the help I can get.” She turned on her heel and walked out of his home office.
“Let me know how much these hotels are going to cost us so I can transfer enough money from the savings account,” Chandler called after her.
She spun back around, vitriol in her eyes. “Maybe you should have your brother pay for our hotel rooms. Since this is his family we’re helping move across the country.”
“That’s pretty insensitive,” Chandler said, feeling like she’d slapped him across the face. “His wife died less than a year ago. This is really hard for him to uproot his kids just so he can be closer to his parents and siblings. He needs our help.”
“Who’s the one being insensitive?” Janette didn’t move from her position of leaning against the doorframe of his office. “You’re the one forcing me from my work and making me come with you on this trip.”
“Don’t you want to see our kids? They’re spread out across the country now. When else are we going to see them?”
“If they wanted to see me they’d come home to visit,” Janette said. “They don’t even like me anymore or they wouldn’t have hightailed it out of town the minute they were old enough. I’m the witch who made them eat broccoli and get up for school.”
“They love your broccoli, school was their only chance to socialize with their friends, and the only thing they didn’t like about you was that you enforced their curfew. They left because they didn’t like our rules, not because they didn’t like us.”
“Whatever.” She chuckle-snorted and Chandler would have laughed if he wasn’t still annoyed that she’d interrupted his work.
“Just think of this as a grand adventure,” he said. “You could write a romance novel about our trip.” He leaned over his stack of tests and purposely rustled the top paper, trying once again to give her the hint to leave him alone.
“Who would want to read a romance novel about an elderly couple who can’t stand to be in the same room together much less stuck in a car together for seventy hours?”
“Forty-nine is not elderly,” he grumbled. “And who would want to read any of your stupid romance novels?”
“What was that?”
“Nothing.” He looked up at her sheepishly. “Could you close the door to my office on your way out?”
“Gladly.” Instead of closing the door like a sane person, Janette slammed the door, shaking the glass panes in the window. One of these days he would have to replace the windows. That or stop offending his wife.