Del's River
an excerpt from near the beginning of my #RiverNovel

Stacey barely looks up from her book. "Hey, girl! How was The River?"

"Good." Del puts her things in her room, comes back out to the kitchen, puts a pot of water on the stove to boil.

I look from Stacey to her, watching for more of an answer. "Good?"

"Yeah." I leave it at that until Del pulls down a box of macaroni noodles, pours in enough for a party, and puts the box back.

I'm wanting more of an answer. "So, you had a good time?"

"Yeah." Del gets the cheese from the fridge, takes the grater out of the drawer, and starts rubbing the cheese against the metal like she's going to grind up the whole block.

I can't stand her silence. "Are you OK?"

"Yeah." The lid on the pot taps as the water comes back to a boil.

I can't stand the suspense. "Did you break up?"

"No!" She looks up at me, and blinks as if the lights just came on. "Why did you think that?"

I'm relieved. I'd hate to think that he'd dumped her, or that she discovered something awful about him. "You came in looking unhappy. Did you guys get in a fight?"

"No! I'm telling you: everything's OK!"

"Then why do you look so miserable?"

"Because I don't understand him!" Now the pot lid is making a racket as the water threatens to boil over.

As she stirs the pot, I ask, "What do you mean?"

"How can I keep him?"


"Why does he like me? What does he want from me? I'm so used to having him, I don't ever want to be without him. I can't stand the idea of losing him. How can I keep him interested in me?" She turns away from the stove and looks straight at me, and says again, "How can I keep him interested in me?"

Del must be the most beautiful woman on the planet. Her peachy skin shows no scars from childhood diseases or injuries. Her hair has a silky sheen, and sweeps back perfectly into decorative combs. When she lets me brush it, any snarls fall apart like magic, and the strands in the brush glitter like sunbeams. When I think of Italians, I think of dark curly hair, but she says that her ancestors lived near Switzerland. She is just a few inches shorter than Larry, so they look beautiful together. His dark coloring makes him look even more stunning beside her. I wonder out loud, "Why would you lose him?"

"He takes me everywhere, does everything for me. He takes me to the greatest restaurants and concerts and shows. He keeps taking me shopping for special clothes to wear to these places, and paying for everything."

I shake my head. "Honey, you got a Sugar Daddy, and he's got the best Barbie doll."

"When is he gonna get tired of me?" Foam rolls over the top of the pot. I turn down the fire so it's just bubbling slowly. Del's eyes are red, her cheeks are flushed. What can I say to comfort her? I can tell her that everything's OK, and he'll never leave her, but I don't know that, and she has to find out for herself. I can tell her that she's being a silly baby, but she's not likely to take well to that strategy. Instead, I give her a hug, and say, "If he ever leaves you, I'll hand you the sharpest knife that I can find so you can kill him nice and slowly, slicing through one layer of his slithery snake skin at a time, revealing his serpent-like slimy sap that splatters all over the place." We break out in heaving laughs, mixed with her sobs.

The alarm rings, indicating that the noodles are done. I mix together the cheese, milk, and noodles while she blows her nose. We take our servings, and I ask her, "What happened this weekend?"

"Nothing and everything. It was perfect."


Everyone who "Likes" and makes suggestions motivates me to continue exploring this story. Some of the most effective comments ask for more detail about a moment, event or character.

This is a #SaturdayScenes from near the end of my #RiverNovel .

#SaturdayScenes is a Google+ community giving authors constructive feedback every week on work in development. You can ask to join us. Click on the link below and then click the red Ask to Join button.

See links to all of the excerpts that I've posted by going to

Photo credits:
Ukraine dnepr at krementchug, by Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht Licensed by Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported. 
Kissing Crane Leg Knife, by James Case Licensed by Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.
Modified by Grace Buchanan.
#RiverCuts for #RiverNovel by Grace Buchanan.
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