ChickLitLove #4: gal pals
For #ChickLitLove Valentine week, Thursday’s topic is about Galentine’s Day!
“It’s what?” was about my first reaction. I thought it was a typo, lol!
But maybe some of you guys don’t live under rocks like I do. In short, it’s the day before Valentine’s Day, when girls celebrate their girlfriend loves. And it just so happens that the current predicament Leila is in is the result of an innocent “girls’ night out” with her bestie Charlotte. See, Charlotte is friends with Amelia, and Amelia’s mom owns a day spa, where Corbin works.
So for Galentine’s Day, I want to share a little excerpt from two of my favorite fictional gal pals, Leila and Charlotte. Now, this excerpt totally doesn’t even pass the Bechdel test, since they’re talking about Corbin, but even so, I think it showcases the special bond Leila and Charlotte have. Leila and Charlotte were best friends in high school, Charlotte was one of only a few people to attend Leila’s wedding. Now the two own houses across the street from each other, they’ve just had babies within about five months of each other, and Leila actually works for Charlotte at her bakery, taking on a big load of the work since Charlotte has just had twins. Leila would be lost without her BFF. Charlotte is her backbone and her conscience and her guardian angel, even when (or especially when) Leila is hell-bent on doing it all stubbornly, passionately, wrong.
Also, all this trouble is a little bit Charlotte’s fault.
I am still not 100% sure which book this scene belongs to. At the moment, it’s living in Nine Nights with the Studly Buddha, which is a bit of a prequel to The Fish and the Bird. Since F&B begins quite some time after Leila and Corbin have met. This is just about a week after they’ve met. Leila’s POV here.
After a week or two, the dreams had become fuzzy and vague. Maybe this was what Charlotte had meant—was the crush fading? Was it going away? Leila was starting to forget exactly what he’d looked like, the exact color of his eyes, which she’d only seen clearly for one short flash in the light of a passing car. But she hadn’t forgotten everything they’d said to each other. A flash of memory, the flush of nerves in his smile, “Don’t stop bothering me,” he said. “I mean, you aren’t.”
She hardly knew him at all, and yet, she knew things about him that she didn’t know of even the closest people in her life.
She and Charlotte were sitting in Charlotte’s living room in the middle of a rainy afternoon. Charlotte was nursing the babies and Hunter napped on on his activity mat where he’d exhausted himself. “Char, when you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?”
Charlotte thought about this with an infant attached to one boob, another infant dozing in her lap. “An olympic gymnast. But then I realized they all start at like five, and I was already twelve, and that I would have to practice. And sweat.”
Leila watched Charlotte consider her own life more deeply than she probably had in a long time.
“Come to yoga with me again.”
“Really? Did you like it that much? I don’t know if I liked it that much.”
“You know I love yoga. I do it all the time.”
“If by all the time you mean once a month.”
“I should do it more. It would be good for me.”
“I’m not sure I liked it that much,” Charlotte said. “Can we go walking instead? Or maybe scrapbooking, something that doesn’t involve movement. Or sweating.”
“Come on, Char, I don’t want to go alone. Please?” Leila turned on her big, brown eyes.
“Stop it,” Charlotte said. “You’re worse than the babies. Where would we go? There’s nothing very nearby here.”
“Do you think we could go back to that one…?”
“It’s kind of far,” Charlotte said. “What about Dearborn, or Southfield, that would be a twenty min— waaaaiiiit…” Charlotte sat up straight, shaking her head firmly. The nursing baby opened his sleepy eyes at her with curiosity. “No, absolutely not. No way. Just no. That can’t be a good idea. That just does not seem like a good idea. That has to be the worst idea you ever had.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. No. Do your yoga in your living room like you usually do once a month. I will not be part of this.” Charlotte was waving a hand in the air now, five fingers threatening, no, stop. The babies watched her fingers with great alarm. “I cannot be responsible for this, and you know it’ll be my fault. You said it yourself—I brought you there. I am not going to have this be my fault, I am not gonna be a homewrecker.”
“I think you’re jumping the gun just a little.”
“No, I don’t think I am. It was bad enough the first time.”
“What was bad enough?”
“You were daydreamy for three days. You were talking about him for a week.”
Leila didn’t tell her that she hadn’t actually stopped thinking about him, even if she had managed to stop talking about him.
“You’re not right in the head. You’re married,” Charlotte whispered the word “married” even though neither of their husbands were in the house and none of the children present knew how to talk.
“I know I’m married. Married women can’t do yoga?”
“Sure they can, but not with Corbin.”
“Plenty of married women were at that class.”
“Then you can’t do yoga with Corbin.”
“He doesn’t even remember me.”
“But what if he does?”
“Why would he remember me?”
“I saw the way you two were talking. He’ll remember you. Isn’t that what you’re counting on?”
“You’re being silly. So what if he does? So what? It’s a yoga class. There are lots of people who go to that yoga class. There are lots of other men. So what?”
Charlotte had no answer, she just watched Leila carefully, trying to figure out the scheme. “What good can come of this?”
“Don’t I deserve some time to myself? Don’t I deserve to get out of this house?”
“Sure you do. But pick another place, pick another activity. Why that one?”
Leila couldn’t answer that question. It was true, she had no other reason to go there but to see him again. And she needed to see him again. She needed to see if it was what she thought it was. She needed to know if he still remembered her. It was driving her mad. “Fine, don’t come with me then,” Leila said. “I’ll go on my own.”
Charlotte huffed. “Lei-laaaa,” she whined. She must have known Leila would do it anyway, one way or another. She must have felt, too, how unstoppable this all was. “Dammit, no. Don’t go on your own. Definitely don’t go on your own.” Her lips pressed, her brow crinkled, a heavy defeated exhale. “I’ll go with you.”
The Fish and the Bird is expected to launch in the fall of 2014, and Nine Nights with the Studly Buddha is expected in the winter of 2014/15. Sign up for my mailing list to get an email when these books are published!
Today you can read about more favorite gal pals from other fun chick lit books at #ChickLitLove.