The Town Dance - Nikki Skies (Showcase!)
Lorna Simon, has plans to diminish her resume of safe journalism and be known for reporting trendsetting stories. Certain she can persevere her impressive family lineage within her carefree lifestyle as a social butterfly, this notion is put under fire after a night of partying thrusts Lorna into being a newsmaker instead of a news writer. Lorna alleges she has become the victim of a sexual assault crime committed against her by a woman, Trista, who is a promising event planner and an associate of Lorna's mother.
Paralyzed with the humiliation of having to publicly defend her sexuality as a heterosexual, Lorna must decide to believe in her bouts of memory loss and forego the incident or rekindle her passion for journalism to protect her livelihood and uphold the integrity of her family.
Nikki Skies is an accomplished poet, author, and playwright living in Atlanta, GA. Skies is the author of the short story book, “Mississippi Window Cracks” and the published collection of poetry and prose, “Pocket Honey, Wind & Hips”. A firm believer in the power of education, Skies studied for her BA and MFA in Theatre and Screenplay Writing and uses her art as a teaching tool to encourage an interest in literacy. “The Town Dance” is the dramatic debut novel from Skies.
Visit her website at - www.nikkiskies.wordpress.com.
Lorna pulled in the driveway of her parents’ home. She was bare faced and had her hair pulled back in a ponytail. Her father was walking down the driveway with his workout clothes on going to take his daily three mile power walk. He waved at her as she blew her car horn. She pulled in front of the middle garage door because this was closer to the pathway leading to the greenhouse. Before she could get out of the car, her mother came from the side of the house pushing a wheel barrow of compost.
“Well, there you are. Kind of...,” Annette was shocked yet very happy to see Lorna had actually arrived on time! Annette stopped in front of Lorna’s car and stared at her bare faced daughter sitting in the car who looked sullen and tired. Now equipped with something to complain about, Annette shook her head to disapprove of her appearance.
“There is more to life than partying.”
Lorna opened her car door and held her hand out to stop her mother from any further comments.
“Mother, not now, please. I’m here, I made it.”
While Annette pushed the barrow to the side of the garage, Trista came from the backyard with another barrel of compost. She smiled at the sight of Lorna getting out of her car.
“I thought I heard your voice. Good morning,” Trista said.
Lorna’s stomach twisted in knots at the sight of her. Her attempts to disregard the recollection of last night now came rushing back and sat at the base of her throat and burned the ridges of her ears.
“Hi,” Lorna responded softly and turned her head towards her mother so the words fell to the ground. She closed the door to her car and waited for her mother to give her instructions.
“We’re finishing up around here. Grab a broom and help sweep out the greenhouse. I need everything clean so I can move on to my next project. So, what did you think about yesterday?” Annette rattled off to Lorna.
“Mother, everything was beautiful. You were beautiful and I heard nothing but great things from everyone.”
Annette smiled. She knew her daughter would say that but it always good to hear.
“Now, that is something you should write about! Leave your mark in this town like your grandparents.”
Trista studied the conversation between Annette and Lorna while dumping her compost into a recycle container. She noticed Lorna had resorted to lowering her head as her mother spoke to her. This was her demeanor when Raymond came to their table last night at the club. She decided to interject.
“She’s going to leave her mark on this town alright. I heard from a mutual friend that Lorna landed a big writing assignment for her magazine,” Trista confidently said, certain that she had diffused the situation.
Annette stopped in her tracks and put one hand on her hip while looking at Lorna. Trista had just turned a bad situation worse! No one was to know the business of Dennis or Lorna before Annette did!
Lorna tried to save whatever she could of the situation, “That’s right. I was going to tell you about it today after the parade and all. This story could be the break I’ve been looking for and something that will set me apart from everyone else.”
“That’s fine and dandy but there is nothing wrong with writing about your family and preserving our name and some state history too,” Annette fused back.
Lorna knew this conversation would continue to go left if she didn’t get her mother’s mind back to the business at hand, “Where is the push broom?”
Annette could read on Lorna’s face she did not want to have this conversation right now so she reluctantly dropped it.
“In the greenhouse.”
Trista realized she did more harm than good and figured her best move would be to stay busy and away from Annette. She didn’t want her to become more inquisitive and begin to ask questions about the article.
“I’ll go clear out some more compost and bring it out,” Trista followed Lorna back in the greenhouse.
Lorna was busy pushing shrubbery into the center of the greenhouse with the broom when Trista walked in. Her presence made Lorna nervous.
“Does she always give you a hard time?”
Lorna kept sweeping and didn’t look up, “Yes, but that’s a mother right?”
“I suppose so. Their job is to always push you harder and further. Well, the only reason I brought that up is because Kaylynn only had great things to say about you being an amazing journalist.”
Lorna had not stopped sweeping to acknowledge Trista was even talking. Trista continued to try and persuade a conversation with Lorna but her reserved disposition made Trista uncomfortable.
Lorna and Annette’s relationship reminded Trista of her and her mother. Trista didn’t come from a family that had a legacy to uphold but her mother was a powerful and respected woman who was the superintendent for the 3rd largest school district in the state of Kentucky. Her mother was known for leading with a charismatic approach to engage her administrators to academic distinction. With Trista being the oldest of three girls, and considered the trailblazer, her mother expected nothing short of excellence from her. While Trista never purposely defied her mother, their conflict was characterized through their personalities. Trista was an introvert and her mother was impatient with trying to understand this.
Her mother dictated what activities Trista would participate in and she became the best at whatever it was to make her mother proud and gratify her reputation. But whenever Trista was asked to initiate interest in a new club and was allowed to enter with the quiet ease that was natural to her, “those” feelings always came. The feelings of being physically attracted to the women around her. No one had ever shown this type of affection to her so she knew it was not common. Trista always felt different. When this happened, Trista would retreat in her shell until her mother rescued her from her individualized failed attempt at a social life, and wait until her mother organized her next club or competition to dominate.
This was how Lorna looked now. Like she had gone inside of a shell and was waiting for her mother to hand her a lifeline. Or maybe Lorna was sensitive because Trista left this morning without saying goodbye. Trista would do anything to get Lorna to smile again and stop acting so distant.
“I’ve known Kaylynn for years and she is very particular with her compliments so you must really have what it takes,” Trista vouched.
Lorna remained apathetic and continued sweeping.
Trista walked towards Lorna and stood in front of the broom so she would have to stop.
“Are you okay? You’re barely saying a word to me.”
“I’m fine. I’m just still a little tired and the outline for my story is due in a couple of days and I’m not good with deadlines. So, I just have a lot on my mind, that’s all.”
“If this is because I left without waking you up this morning, I figured you needed the extra sleep. I had a friend come by and pick me up.”
“Trista, that’s fine. If I can just finish up here with helping my mom, I can spend the rest of the day working on my article. So, I need to finish sweeping,” Lorna moved the broom to try and scoot Trista from in front of her.
“You’re going to be fine. Like Kaylynn said at your company party the other day, experience is the best teacher so you’ll be able to write this one with ease.”
Trista flirtatiously winked her eye at Lorna and rubbed her on the shoulder before she moved out the way.
Lorna became numb. She could hear her heartbeat pounding in her ears. Her thoughts were running through her body like hot lava. She twisted the wood handle on the push broom as if it would turn itself on and start to sweep. When Trista’s words began to replay in her head, she would stop them by twisting at the wood handle more intensely.
I am very excited to be reading and reviewing this book at the end of Sept.! So please come back to see my review. This sounds like a fantastic book and I can't wait to read it! I thank Nikki Skies in advance for this wonderful opportunity and for the excerpt in this post today.
Get your copy from Amazon - HERE