Anyways, hey! I'm still waiting on Kindle Self Publishing to add Sincerely Addison to my bookshelf, so I thought I'd give you an appetiser of what's to come! If you like it (which I seriously hope you do) then BUY IT! Below is Chapter 1.
“June 10, 2011
66 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5K 1B1
66 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5K 1B1
Dear Hiring Manager,
I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the Public Relations Coordinator position currently available with Hepburn Communications. As a recent graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Honours Communication Studies program, I am looking for full time employment within the fashion communications industry. As a result of my work experience at Gen Power Canada, I have excellent computer skills, a passion for public speaking, extensive event planning experience and am a strong writer who can create communication materials for a wide variety of audiences that follow Canadian Press standards. I have a passion for fashion and…”
I stop typing and re-read the paragraph currently mocking me from my brightly lit MacBook screen. Did I seriously just type the words “a passion for fashion” in my cover letter? I look up at the ceiling and sigh. What is wrong with me? It’s almost although I don’t have any control over what I bang out on the keyboard anymore. The extensive, never-ending cover letter and resume writing I’ve done over the past three months has turned my university-educated brain into absolute mush.
I backspace in frustration and replace the last two paragraphs I’ve written with what I’d honestly want a prospective employer to know:
“Dear Hiring Manager,
I just graduated university with a degree in Communication Studies. Yes, I studied how people communicate. It was interesting, albeit slightly useless, but it did help land me an entry-level summer gig as a Public Affairs Officer for a huge company where no one knew my name but the people in cubicles directly attached to mine. My writing kicks ass, I can demand the attention of others like no one’s business, and I have absolutely no problem whatsoever convincing other people that what I have to say is true. My student loans are huge, so if you hire me, I promise I will do everything I can to avoid screwing up since I can’t afford to go another minute without a job. Oh, and I absolutely adore clothes, so working with them and simultaneously putting my writing skills to use would be a dream come true.”
Unfortunately though, honesty is not the best quality when job hunting; writing eye-catching bull to stand out from thousands of other qualified applicants is.
I close my eyes and sink away from the computer and into the pillows behind me. My days have begun to just blend together. I can barely remember a time anymore when I wasn’t surrounded by bright red walls and black and silver decorative accents, my legs cramped underneath my body weight, computer in my lap. I open my eyes again and look around my bedroom. Maybe I’m being slightly melodramatic, but the daily routine of job hunting truly does suck.
I stretch my legs out from under me and swing them over the side of my bed. I need a break before I throw my computer at the wall. It may be an entirely useful object for my personal pleasure and entertainment, but lately, I feel as though it’s been letting me down. There’s no way it’s been properly sending out my online applications. That would totally explain why out of the 200 plus e-mails to prospective employers I’ve sent out basically pleading for work, I’ve yet to hear a thing.
I slip my feet into the cozy chestnut Ugg slippers resting at the edge of my bed and glance at the mirror hanging on my wall. I look like hell. My normally bright brown eyes are bloodshot red, my skin looks dull, and my hair is an absolute mess, and not in an “I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-look-this-hot” mess, but a flat on the crown, frizzy on the ends, absolute catastrophe. I grab the elastic off my wrist and tie it around my light brown hair, gently tugging at the wavy ponytail so that strands fall casually around my heart-shaped face. Of course this is how I have to look today, all stressed and ugly, for Blake to remember me as. I bite my lip and turn away from the mirror before dredging into the kitchen.
Just 48 hours from now, Blake will be gone. I’ve been trying to avoid looking at the clock all morning, but I can’t help but count the minutes until he’ll arrive at my door, and then think about how quickly he’ll be taking off after he gets here. I assume that too can be partially blamed for my cover letter writer’s block. My mind is somewhere else. How could it not be when my boyfriend of four years and eight months is moving across the country?
I open the stainless steel door of my fridge and idly paw through the blueberry yogurt and nine-grain bread resting on its uppermost shelf. Stress eating is one of those frustrating enigmas that have never made sense to me. Thanks to the boredom that is job hunting and the lack of sleep that accompanies thoughts of a boyfriend disappearing, my stomach and cheeks are looking slightly less defined than they’ve been appreciated to in the past. Knowing this, instead of, say, going for a run to release happy endorphins, here I am, rummaging about the fridge, further spiralling myself into depression as the inch of exposed skin above my polka dot boy shorts grows softer with each peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich.
I slam the fridge door shut and spin my body around, resting my back against its cool, silver surface. No one ever tells you how hard it’s going to be after university. All of the college brochures and pamphlets full of strategically-multicultural smiling faces and fulfilling career promises; none of them ever warn you about the reality of what follows graduation. They don’t tell you about the freshman fifteen and how hard it is to lose, what with the Thursday-to-Sunday binge drinking and late night pizza routine. They don’t tell you that even if you work your butt off during the four years you attend school a job may not be waiting for you with a reasonable salary when you walk off that elaborately decorated university stadium stage. And no one- I mean absolutely no one- warns you about the complications of falling in love at a time when you’re supposed to be planning your future.
My throat clenches and I instantly feel guilty for thinking of my relationship in terms of a complication. It’s such a dirty word, one that makes me think of Grey’s Anatomy and death. I don’t mean to complain about my luck, and I wouldn’t take back a second of the time I’ve been Blake Abernathy’s girlfriend. He’s my best friend, and not everyone’s fortunate enough to fall in love with their best friend. But as long as I can remember I’ve been driven, smart, and an idealist. I used to be able to think about my future and a very particular vision would come to mind. Blake though, he makes that vision cloudy. And lately it’s become increasingly difficult to imagine what I’ll be doing five years from now when I think about my life.
Before when I thought about my future it was full of late nights in an IKEA furnished high-rise office, designer clothes, and constant finger cramps due to the amount of writing required of my position as an entry-level PR woman. Every day in this imaginary future I would rush into work, Grande Americano with just a smidgen of milk and a packet of Splenda in hand, eager to sit down and tackle whatever pressing issue needed my attention in the fast-paced world of celebrities and fashion.
But now…now my thoughts seem to revolve more around Sunday morning cuddling and matching fur-trimmed hats and parkas.
I kick my heel against the fridge in frustration. Pain shoots up the back of my left leg, and I cringe. That’s what I get for taking out my anger on an innocent appliance I guess, especially one that’s been feeding me so well in the middle of the night and all. But really, what else is a girl to do in my situation?
Blake wants to be a pilot. To be a pilot, he has to move up north. For him to move up north, I have to be supportive, or else he may not go. If he doesn’t go, I will be the needy, clingy girlfriend that keeps him from his dreams. And if I keep him from his dreams, we will surely end up resenting one another which will cause a long and ugly separation battle where we’ll fight over DVDs and leather couches and I’ll eat myself to sleep every night to end up a 200-pound, bitter, selfish divorcee.
Blake will fare far better, I assume. His hair will be short and silvery and he’ll have a hot young flight attendant on his arm to kiss his sorrows away. I reach my right hand up to my face and gnaw absent-mindedly on the skin beside my coral-painted thumbnail. If only his dreams didn’t insist on taking him a four-hour flight across the country, being happy for him would be a hell of a lot easier.
I sigh and kick the fridge again. The repetition of the tedious act soothes me. Just a little bit, anyway. For me to be supportive, I have to stay positive. I need to smile and tell him I love him and see him off on good terms. I force a smile to my lips for practice. It feels phoney.
This is going to take some work.
I walk back down the hall to my bedroom and study my mirrored reflection again. In just over three hours, Blake will be here, and my attempt at appearing happy will be useless if I can’t at least tackle the heinous bags under my eyes. I stretch the hollowing purplish skin outwards to either side of my face. The fate of my relationship rests now in the capable hands of the miracles that are Clinique and Lancôme.
Unusually tired of looking at myself, I shift my gaze from the vintage bronze mirror hanging on my deep red wall to the computer still taunting me from my bed. First things first; I need to finish up my Hepburn application.
I crawl underneath my dark grey, floral-stitched duvet and pick up where I last left off, typing robotically the memorized finishing paragraph I’ve already written numerous times before.
“I would appreciate the opportunity to meet and discuss the relationship between your requirements and my skills. I am confident I would be an asset to Hepburn Communications and would provide a positive contribution to their Public Relations team. I would like to thank you in advance for your consideration, and hope to hear from you soon.
I hit send before removing the computer from my lap and placing it on the floor. Now that the easy part of my day is over with, I can move on to an extremely challenging, intimidating, impossible for me task; preparing a meal for tonight’s quickly approaching date night.
I glance down at my oversized Michael Kors watch for the eleventh time in annoyance. Its’ golden face reads approximately 7:03, which is approximately two hours and three minutes after Blake was supposed to arrive at my house. He couldn’t be on time, just this one, single day, so that we could spend as much time together as possible before he treks up to the Great White North of Canada?
I whip my Blackberry off the marble kitchen counter and check if he’s sent another message. Nada. It’s been an hour now since I’ve last heard from him, and when he messaged me then, he’d said he’d be here thirty minutes ago. For eff’s sakes, I’ve managed to apply for a job, prepare his favourite meal, shower, and make myself pretty in a matter of hours. What exactly could he be doing to justify being so not on time?
I pour a glass of red wine and take a large sip as I admire the edible work of art covering the kitchen’s antique oak dining table. I put a lot of effort into cooking this afternoon, and the fact that I made a meal, on my own, without burning my parents’ house down in the process is something I’m quite proud of. Sure, I almost had to rush to the hospital half blind after rubbing my eyes while cutting up a jalapeño, but besides that, everything went off without a hitch. I take another sip of aged Merlot and smile to myself. Addison McKenna, capable chef. Who’d have known?
I jump as the bark of Dexter, the wrinkly, slightly overweight family fawn pug, echoes loud throughout my open concept home.
I glance down at my watch again.
“Dexter! Sh! Downstairs, buddy.” I tug at his lime green harness and usher him behind the basement door. “It’s Addy and Blake time tonight, and if you’re around, we both know he’ll pay less attention to me and more to you.”
I pat his head and slam the French door shut in his flat face. He snorts angrily and struts away.
The kitchen’s large bay window reflects a pretty image back of my face as I peer into its glass, and I quickly fluff up the top of my strategically waved hair. Blake is still gathering his things from the passenger door of his black, two door Mazda pickup truck. I swiftly turn around to study the row of bows running vertically across the middle of my back. It had taken me a long time to choose an outfit for tonight, but I’m confident in my selection as I take in my mirrored appearance.
From the front my blue and pink floral-patterned dress appears innocent and girly, but from the back, where it’s cut out down the middle except for three teeny bows holding the frock’s front material together, it practically screams, “too bad you’re leaving me, I’m a goddess in bed”.
“Addy?” Blake calls as he steps inside the front door. There’s a smidgen of apprehension to his voice and he moves slowly, as though he’s scared I may any minute rush out of the darkness and attack him for his tardiness.
I silently debate the idea as I light a row of three sparkly Crabtree and Evelyn copper candles. I could lash out at him for being late- my time is much too precious to waste on waiting- or I could accept his tentative greeting and let it go. Decisions, decisions.
Blake edges into the room and then there he is, standing in front of me, and I instantly feel the animosity whoosh out of me.
I smile as his light blue eyes meet mine. His hands are full of luggage and another bottle of red wine, and there’s a large bouquet of white orchids tucked under his left leather jacket-clad bicep. I walk towards him with my arms outstretched. It’s as though I can’t reach him soon enough. He smiles and nuzzles his face in my neck when we meet, his arms still full as I wrap mine around him.
“I’m so sorry I’m late, babe. I stopped to get you flowers and wine. Traffic was fuc-”
His words trail off when I put my lips over his. He tastes of cigarettes and mint gum. I pull away and touch the side of his face. “You taste like smoking.”
“Hi to you too,” Blake laughs.
“I made dinner.” I nod towards the elaborately decorated kitchen table, suddenly embarrassed by the cheesy dimmed lights and candles. Even after close to four years, Blake still makes me feel giddy; insecure; exposed. I nervously take in his expression as he eyes the sausage pepper penne, ceaser salad, and freshly baked bruschetta. He looks impressed.
I saunter over to the kitchen table and pick up the pasta to put in the microwave. Blake’s eyes continue to watch my exposed back. It gives me shivers. On any other given day I would have made a huge deal of him being late enough for reheating to be necessary. But tonight is different. Tonight needs to be memorable.
A combined delicious smell of garlic, onion, and sausage fills the air when I take our warmed food from the microwave. I quickly arrange the orchids in a vase and place them in the center of the table before sitting down, a glowing candle illuminating either side of the bouquet. Blake pulls out my chair and I sit in a way that I think looks sexy; elbows on the table, body leaning forward. I glance down at my chest. Any other girl’s cleavage would be on display sitting this way, but not me; my collarbone simply protrudes. It’s at times like these I get mad at God for forgetting to bless me with breasts.
“You try it first,” I say with a joking look of fear in my eyes. “Me cooking, it’s quite scary you know.”
Blake smirks and digs his fork into the pasta, blowing slightly to cool off the steaming fettuccini noodles. “I’m not scared. I don’t think you’ve ever been less than perfect at anything you do.”
I watch him intently as he readies to put the food in his mouth. He pops in a forkful and cringes just slightly. Shit. Shit! I thought it tasted good.
Blake chuckles and swallows, coughing when food lodges itself in his throat. “I’m kidding. It’s delicious.” He looks at me endearingly, his grin turned up just slightly higher on the left side of his face. “I love you.”
I smile a big, genuine smile. It doesn’t feel forced at all. Maybe tonight will be easier than I thought.
“I love you too, but I think you’re just saying that because of the carbs. The whole way to a man’s heart is through his stomach thing?” I get out of my seat and walk around the table, placing myself in his lap. My dress rides up slightly and I attempt to tug at its’ bottom hem, but Blake stops me and puts his hand on top of mine.
“Leave it.” He whispers and slides his fingers slowly up the inside of my right thigh.
“You look amazing tonight, by the way.” He kisses the back of my neck and then blows lightly on the dampened spot. “All of this- the cooking, the dress- I think you’re trying to get me to stay, Ms. McKenna.”
Thank God my face is turned away from him when he says this, because just that innocent mention of him leaving brings stinging hot tears to my eyes. I quickly raise my hand and dab at the evidence of emotion streaming down my face. He’s only joking, but he’s right. My actions are transparent. I wanted to show him what he would be missing in a way. How idiotic, to think a pretty dress and a good meal could make him stay.
I get up off of his lap and walk back towards my waiting meal, pulling out my own chair this time and sitting down as though nothing at all is wrong. I take another sip of wine and swirl it around my mouth. It tastes dry and strong, and I feel it in my stomach as I swallow. When had I finished half the bottle? My stomach gurgles loudly. The alcohol must be getting to me, what with the absence of food in my system and all.
“Eat babe,” I smile at him again. It doesn’t come as easily this time. “I put a lot of effort into this meal. I don’t want it to go to waste.”
“Addison. Do you wanna talk?” His eyes examine me sceptically. That’s the problem with someone knowing you so well; they’re in touch with your emotions. It makes lying a hell of a lot more difficult.
“About what? No. I just want to eat.” It’s true; my head is spinning. I quickly pop a piece of bruschetta into my mouth. A bit of olive oil drips down my chin. I lick it away subtly. I’ve never been good at keeping my thoughts to myself. I’m such a talker. But tonight I’m not going to let myself ruin anything with feelings or outburst or-
“I don’t want you to go Blake.” I look down at the floor, mentally kicking myself for not keeping my mouth shut.
He sighs. “I don’t want to go. You know that.” His voice is so quiet, almost a whisper, that I can barely hear him. “I got you something.”
I look up when I hear this, excited but still sad. A gift? I love gifts.
“You got me something? You’re the one that’s leaving.” My interest is piqued, but I’m also confused. I’ve never heard of anyone giving an I’m-leaving-you-gift before.
“Yes, I got you something. A graduation gift of sorts, I guess.”
I still don’t understand. He’s already given me a graduation gift. A month ago. When I graduated. I look down at my wrist and see the watch I’d picked out at shopbop.com. I had really wanted it, so much so that I sent him a link as an innocent-see pushy- hint. I thought that it had been my graduation gift.
“Let me see it!” I’ve never been good with surprises, not for as long as I can remember. When I was little I used to sneak into my parent’s closet and paw through their clothes to find the hidden gifts they bought me for Christmas. I stopped believing in Santa at a young age thanks to my curiosity, but surprises drive me insane. I hate not knowing things.
Blake laughs at my instant change of mood. “It’s why I was late. There was a line at the tra…well here. Open it first.” He pulls a large envelope from the inside pocket of his leather jacket and slides it across the kitchen table.
I tear into the envelope as quickly as I can without giving myself a paper cut. A gift certificate? Money? Not many personal gifts can come in envelopes. Maybe it’s a magazine subscription. That would be nice. God knows I’m going to have nothing but free time once Blake’s gone…
Once there’s enough of a rip in the paper surrounding my present I peer at what’s inside. A plane ticket? I slide the envelope’s contents out carefully and study the printed text. It’s a one-way plane ticket to the Edmonton International Airport. “Blake…” I look at him in confusion.
“Addison, listen to me. I haven’t asked you to come with me yet because I wanted to give you time to apply to jobs and to, well…” he pauses for a moment before continuing on, “to figure out on your own how much you’d miss me if I left. With the time so close I thought you’d maybe start to panic and realize how much you love me and that you’d maybe choose to come with me.”
My nose wrinkles up a little bit, and I have to force myself calm to erase the newfound lines in my forehead. What a terrible choice of word; choose. Tears reach my eyes again, annoyingly clouding my vision. I can’t see him anymore as I try to study his face. I blink and warm drops of water spill down both of my cheeks. Does he think that I’m choosing to not go with him? That I’m choosing my non-existent career over him?
My words are bitter as they leave my lips. “Blake. I’m not choosing to stay here without you. I don’t have a choice. What the hell am I going to do in Alberta, work the oil sands? There’s nothing for me there. You know that.”
“Addison I know. But you’ve applied to so many jobs already and haven’t heard anything. It isn’t like you have anything lined up. I thought you could maybe just come with me, for a little while at least, until you get a job here. Who knows, maybe you’d love it up there anyway, you know? You could write. You always said before that’s what you wanted to do.” He talks as though he’s explaining a simple concept to a child. For a second neither of us says anything. After a long stretching moment of silence, his face softens in regret. I can tell that he wishes he approached the conversation differently.
I wipe at my eyes, black mascara smearing across the pale, freckled skin of my palm. I look down again at the ticket in front of me. Jobless and alone, that’s what I’ll be in less than two days.
I bite the inside of my cheek before taking another sip of wine. “I can’t,” I manage to choke out, my voice soft. “It’s not what I want Blake.”
I feel selfish as I say this, but it’s true. I can’t bring myself to agree with him. I know what I want, and moving away with him- away from my friends, and my family, to an area that FedEx can’t deliver clothes bought online to- it isn’t what my life is supposed to be like.
“Come here. Small babe. Come over here.” Blake gets up and walks around the table. He kisses the top of my head and lifts me up by the shoulders. “I understand, I guess. I do. I’m just going to miss you.”
The familiar scents of leather and Ralph Lauren Polo suddenly take over my senses as he cuddles me. Just his presence raises the hair on my arms. How long am I going to have to go without him touching me again?
I stand up and press my body against his, kissing him hard as I do. My lips are urgent, and I press my tongue against his teeth with need. Blake slides his hand down my spine and traces each of the three bows down the middle of my back. I reach my hands under his worn in t-shirt and tug the jacket off his strong shoulders.
Blake laughs huskily, deeply, his lips still closed over mine. “Dessert first?” He lifts me up, and I wrap my legs around his waist.
His passion makes me forget about everything. I forget I spent hours in the kitchen making a meal that will probably go uneaten. I forget I don’t have a job. I forget I’ve gained five pounds that I don’t want Blake to notice by lifting me. I even come close to forgetting he’s leaving. Right now, all I can think about is my extremely sexy boyfriend, and the fact I want him.
“Blakey?” I whisper in his ear as he lays me down on top of the kitchen table.
“It’s going to be fine- right?” My voice is tiny, and breathless, and I close my eyes as he edges down slowly. He kisses the inside of each of my thighs.
“It is. We are. I promise.”
And for now, as my best friend and boyfriend shifts his body weight on top of me, forcing my spine uncomfortably into the hardness of the kitchen table, I actually believe it.