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A year after surviving a car accident that claimed the lives of her husband and two children, Annaliese is still praying for relief from the horrific memories that haunt her day and night. If brash, bossy Sven is the answer to her prayers, then God certainly does work in mysterious ways. But as their friendship deepens into something more, it becomes less and less clear just who was sent to save whom.
“So, what do you think?” He waved his arm about him as though he had orchestrated the entire scene. They were now sitting on top of the dam to the main lake, eating sandwiches that they had picked up at a quaint deli Sven knew.
Several seagulls hovered in the distance, dipping and dancing in the air, diving repeatedly and very ungracefully into the water. On their right, a silver crane, with a dark orange beak stood still as a statue in the shallows, one leg tucked up under its body, one wary eye surveying the two picnickers on their perch. Some ways away, a red sailboat glided over the water in slow motion, its sail now tipping towards them as if to bow a greeting, and in the foreground, one jet-ski soared by, its rider apparently impervious to the autumn chill. The water was clear and green, bearing the distorted reflections of a few passing clouds. Annaliese sighed aloud. It was a fantastic vantage point. Over the flatness of the water, if she looked very, very closely, she felt she might see to the very ends of the earth.
“I’m glad you like it. You are a very cheap date. First you order a kid’s sandwich and no drink, and now I can see you’re vastly satisfied with free entertainment. I’m going to have to marry you at this rate.” He saw her mouth tense with that sentiment, and he changed the subject. “Why do you eat so little, by the way? You could order a half-pound cheeseburger and shake and not offend me.”
“Well,” she spoke very slowly and deliberately, “I suppose you will have to find out sooner or later, if you want to hang out with me. Lucky for you, I will always be a cheap date. I actually can’t eat more than a small amount of food at a time. I used to be very overweight and I had Lap-Band surgery to correct the problem. That was two years ago, and I’ve lost over a hundred pounds.”
“Yes, I’m afraid it’s true. Self-control was never one of my more prominent virtues.”
His mind flashed back to the club and her wild abandon while dancing with him. “Does it hurt? The band, I mean.”
“No, and it’s nothing gross like other surgeries. It’s just a device right here,” she pointed, her long fingers tracing a circle over her diaphragm, “that cinches in my stomach so that I can’t eat large meals, kind of like a girdle for my insides. But I still have to be really careful about what I do eat, and I exercise a lot. That’s actually what I was doing when I met you the other night. Dancing is particularly good exercise. You can use that with your patients when you begin your practice. That advice is on the house.” She cocked her head. “What’s your medical specialty going to be, anyway?”
“Probably neurosurgery, but I haven’t decided yet. There is a lot of competition for surgical specialties.”
“I’m pretty sure you could use that signature glare of yours and get into any program you want to,” she offered coyly. “That advice is on the house, too.”
“Oh, I’m ugly, but as you will most certainly find out as you know me, all the meanness is just an act. I’m soft like a teddy bear inside.” The fierce burn in his eyes contradicted that statement. They had finished their sandwiches and stood up to gather their trash. They walked to the nearest trash can and tossed it inside.
“Are you soft outside as well? Let’s see how fast you can run after that humongous sandwich!” she challenged.
Charity Hegglund currently lives in Wichita Falls, TX with her darling husband and three year old son, where she manages a real estate investment firm for a living. A prolific writer of poetry from a very young age, this is her first full-length novel, written as part of her healing from the tragic loss of her own child several years ago.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 242
Paper Weight (lb): 10.2
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