Sunset Inn – First Three Pages

1.

Center Lovell, Maine  1957

Halfway between Elizabeth’s uncle’s marina and her grandmother’s farmhouse, the dense line of trees on either side of the road began to close in on the dirt road.  Elizabeth slowed down the old Chevy, then pulled off at a wide spot and sat, sweating and trembling, gripping the wheel. It had been five years . . .                   

“You’re nothin’ but a lazy good-for-nothin kid!”

“Why do you hate me so much?”

She slams the brakes, slaps, punches me.  I jump out, run – down the dirt road.   The trees are so thick I can’t get into the woods.

She stomps on the gas, chases me. Closer, closer. I run faster, make it to the lodge.  Burst through the back door and collapse on the kitchen floor.

My uncle is there. “What in god’s name happened to you?”

I sob. “Grandma… punched me…tried …to… run over me.”

“Damn it to hell, you’re done there.”  He brought me back to the farmhouse, threw my clothes in the trunk of his car, not bothering to pack, and took me home with him.

I had not seen my grandmother since then.

Elizabeth wiped her face, and shook the images out of her head.  She drove the rest of the way at a creep, and parked in front of the garage.

It was sad to see paint peeling off the Colonial house, and the adjacent two-story henhouse. Grandmother must have fallen on hard times after she sold the beachfront resort, Sunset Inn. Elizabeth rubbed a hand across her forehead. If grandmother’s mood had deteriorated that much, she was in for it all over again.

            She wasn’t ready for this. Especially not for facing it alone.

Earlier, her grandmother had called Elizabeth, and she’d sounded like her old, polite but to the point, self. “Heard you’re here for the summer before nursing school. Stop by, I’m home.”

“Um, well, yeah, Grandma. Sure.” Why did she want to see her?

Elizabeth stepped out of the car, at least the scent of pine trees hadn’t changed. She smoothed her long brown hair away from her face, set Cat-Eye sunglasses on top of her head, and walked to the front door.

Grandmother—a little grayer, a little plumper—greeted her as if nothing had ever happened between them. “Well now, just look at you all grown up. It’s been a long time.”

She turned and walked through the living room—no hug, no handshake.  Elizabeth followed. The dark, musty room filled with overstuffed Victorian furniture and embroidered pillows was a stark contrast to the sunny day outside. An antique Estey pump organ, all dowels and beveled mirrors, took up the far wall.

Good she didn’t have to sell it.  Elizabeth loved that old thing.

Grandmother’s voice trailed behind her. “I want you to know, sometimes when

people get old they do things they’re sorry for.”

Elizabeth paused mid-step. Was this an apology?  Or a justification?

Elizabeth cleared her throat. “Nice to see you, too.”

Grandmother pulled up her flowered housedress to the knees. “Now, take a look at my legs. Tell me what you think.”

Elizabeth bent down and slid a hand over her swollen legs. The edema was obvious. “How long have they been like this?”

“A few months.” She pointed to The 1951 Family Physician book on the table.  “Says it’s the way my heart pumps.”

“Dad takes a water pill for blood pressure. Maybe you have the same thing. You really need to see a doctor.”

“I don’t want anyone to know. You find out for me. You’re going to be the nurse.”

Elizabeth scowled. So, this was what the meeting was about—a secretive medical consultation.  But it was a way to connect, and her grandmother certainly needed the help. She put her hand on grandmother’s shoulder. “Okay, I’ll see what I can find out.”

“Well, good! Now, I’ve got more to say. I’ll make tea, and I baked those brownies you liked so much. Don’t know if you eat em’ since you’re a model. Karl sent me the picture of you posing on a billboard.”

Elizabeth followed grandmother into the kitchen. “Hang on. Dad keeps you up on the news?”

“Sit down. I’ll be right back.” She turned on the stove burner under the teakettle, and disappeared into a small office off the dining room.

Elizabeth fiddled with a strand of hair. Grandmother came back with a folded white lace handkerchief in her hand.

 

 

Sunset Inn is a book based on real and fictional characters 

There are twists and turns, crises, romance (sighs) and travel in the story. This is the final version. Next phase — publishing.

I asked this question last year. It took me that long to finish the research and put it together.

I’m pushing my luck, but I’ve got to ask,

“Would you ever read more than three pages?” (crosses fingers)

Update…update…

It’s a lucky, 6/21/18 Summer Solstice day! An encouraging text message from son Ted that he read the “First Three Pages” (the old version, not this one), and it is a job well done. (big smile) When will page four and five show up?

Let’s see what he says about this one, the final version, sent to him January 27, 2020. (Hmmm).

 

Not to get over the top happy, (jumping with joy) but he also read the “About Me,” a job well done too.  (Yay, yippee!)

Your Friend, Elizabeth 

 

About C.E.Robinson

I retired as a nurse practitioner in 2013, and became a full time novel writer. I added blogger in 2014 and created the blog site Before Sundown remember what made you smile. From the beginning, Before Sundown was honored with awards, and blog tours. I continue to be ever grateful, and appreciative of dedicated worldwide followers who like, comment, share and tweet posts. I started the blog to connect and support fellow bloggers, friends and family by writing blog posts about them--their books, interests, professions and travels. Overtime, I've added excerpts from WIPs as a co-author, and a final version (1/2020) of the first three pages of my book, Sunset Inn - wish you were here. Next, on to the publishing. The collections of sunsets/sunrises on the Welcome page came from bloggers all over the world. I wanted visitors to remember what made them smile Before Sundown. What better way than to offer them breathtaking sunsets or sunrises? http://cerobinsonauthor.com
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33 Responses to Sunset Inn – First Three Pages

  1. Dan Antion says:

    I told you I would turn the page – I did, and I’m glad I did. Good luck with the middle.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. These are strong characters, Christine, and I definitely want to know more about them. The dialogue is almost poetic.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Now I need to know who the picture in the watch is. Very clear clean writing style in my opinion. Don’t know how many know what a “woodie” is!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jodi says:

    Yes! Thanks for sharing more! Now I do want even more 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • C.E.Robinson says:

      Jodi, Thank you! I hoped that would happen! After many beginnings, I think the three pages stays as the “hook.” Maybe I’ll post a few excerpts posted along the way to keep the interest! ☺️Christine

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, of course I’d keep reading. I need to find out what grandma has to say! And why it has to be kept a secret. Great hook, Christine. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What you’ve done with this is marvelous, Christine. Hugs!

    Like

  7. nimslake says:

    Okay, I’m hooked!! Do put more out…got to know!!
    P.S. thanks for the like on (nimslake)

    Liked by 1 person

    • C.E.Robinson says:

      Thank you for commenting “you’re hooked” on the blog post. Yep, it might be good to post more, maybe excerpts from other chapters. There’s a romance in the last third of the book. First kiss and the such! Not too racy, it’s PG sweet! Christine

      Like

  8. Tina Frisco says:

    Very descriptive and with strong characters, Christine. I love a well-written dynamic mystery. When will you be publishing? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. C.E.Robinson says:

    Tina, Thanks so much for your read and encouraging comment on First Three Pages. I hoped it had a mystery theme, even though not the thriller type. When I started writing the story, I thought it a dark hidden mystery when on his death bed, famous grandfather said, “No one is to look into my life. That history dies with me.” My imagination took over and I went for it. The plan is to have a first draft by summer (60,000 words), then professionally edited. Structure and story flow important. Happy Writing! Christine

    Like

  10. I love the idea of this setting–a quiet world with its own secrets. Already, I see engaging characters, Christine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • C.E.Robinson says:

      Jacqui, thank you so much for your visit and comment. Excited to know the characters stand out for you. The relationship with grandmother was rocky for many of Elizabeth’s younger years. The change when she gets older is a surprising, happy arc. Christine

      Like

  11. dweezer19 says:

    I love it Christine! I would efinitely read more. I adore grandmother stories. Nicely done!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. franklparker says:

    So this is a new (2020) version? Most of the comments are from 2018.
    Do you mind a small critique? First person seems out of place for this sentence: “I had not seen my grandmother since then.” I get that the preceding passage is a memory in first person but aren’t we back in the present when we come to that sentence? I suggest “Elizabeth had not seen her grandmother since then.”
    Just a personal opinion – you have said elsewhere you have worked with an editor so if (s)he did not pick jup on this it’s my bad!
    I certainly would like to read more and hope you get it published. Self-publishing is not so hard. The problem is what comes after – getting folks to buy it. You have to become an expert at marketing. I wish you luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • C.E.Robinson says:

      Frank, thank you for reading the first three pages, and making a comment. The 2018 version was very close to the 2020 one. Instead of deleting it, I changed the content. Yes, I had the manuscript line-edited and the editor kept the tense as is. Perhaps it follows—
      It had been five years…
      The memory content next…
      I had not seen my grandmother since then. Keeping it personal to the memory. It could be written both ways, however the editor didn’t question it. And believe me, he questioned a lot. It was the best learning experience for a newbie writer like me. Worth every dollar spent. You’ll know when the book is launched. I’m following you back. It may end up self-published in the end. Stay safe in these challenging times. 📚 Christine

      Like

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