Like Another World Today, Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga is a story you help me write. Read all about it, here.
And check out excerpts from Volume One, here.
Enjoy an exclusive preview of Volume Two, below:
Victoria offered, "You look like hell."
It was a solicited opinion.
Robin had come into an Elizabeth Fund Board meeting unshaven, and wearing a dark blue sport-coat with black slacks – a Fashion Don't even Victoria recognized, and one that, a few weeks ago, he would have never tolerated on a stranger, much less himself.
He'd plopped himself in a chair across the conference-table from Victoria, three other board members buffering them on either side, and propped his forehead up with his hand, wincing when the light hit his eyes, and aimlessly scratching the notepad in front of him with a chewed fingernail.
She couldn't stop looking at him. The sight of Robin dressed badly, much less poorly groomed, broke her heart.
And it annoyed the hell out of her.
Heck, she wasn't feeling too chipper these days, either. But, at least, she still made the effort to come into work looking like a professional. She still made the effort to keep up appearances.
But, then again, Victoria did have the advantage of knowing that, whatever misery she was going through, she'd brought it upon herself. And, at least, she'd gotten something positive – she'd saved Gabriel – in return.
Robin had the roof dropped on him with no warning, no reason, no explanation. And, unlike Victoria and her tormentor, the lovely Miss Simonge, the blow had come from someone Robin trusted.
She didn't blame him for reeling.
And every time she looked at him, she died a little.
Robin, however, did not like her looking at him, at all.
He waited until the other board members had filed out of the room and Victoria was the only one left, before deigning to glance up at her.
"What?" he snapped, flopping back in his chair, crossing one leg over the other and sneeringly studying Victoria over the eraser of an upraised pencil. "What's the matter, Miss Morgan? Something wrong with the way I look?"
That's when she offered the solicited, "You look like Hell."
"And you give a damn, because...."
"Because," Victoria said. "You taught me there was no valid excuse for fashion faux pas."
A second earlier, he'd looked half-poised to fling the pencil at her. Robin was wagging it back and forth, one eye squinted, as if measuring the perfect distance for burrowing the sharpened point somewhere in the vicinity of her throat. But, then, rather than following through, he opened his errant eye, straightened an inch in his chair, and slowly lowered the pencil to, once again, lie neatly parallel to the notepad with Cooper Shipping emblazoned along its top. His voice was almost human when he asked, curious and suspicious and cautiously hopeful, "You listened to me?"
"Sure. When you know what you're talking about, why not?"
"Thanks for the qualifier."
"I didn't want you getting a swelled head."
Robin propped his forehead against the heels of both palms, dug his nails into his scalp, and squeezed hard, closing his eyes and mumbling, "Too late."
"No, thanks, already – "
"Got one," Victoria finished for him. "Oh, Robin, now I am disappointed in you. That line was old when Adam first got drunk on apple wine." She sighed, "Considering how familiar this state is for you, I presumed you'd always carry a handy-dandy cure."
"That would require planning ahead."
"Forgive me, I forgot whom I was talking to for a moment."
He grunted. Under the circumstances, Victoria guessed it was the pinnacle of his creative banter.
"Here." She crossed the room to stand behind Robin's chair. "Let me try."
The words were out of her mouth before Victoria's brain fully realized what she was offering. She'd already raised her arms to his shoulders. They froze in midair. Victoria's fingers curled into fists. Instinctively, she forced them open, stretching all ten until she feared popping a muscle or tearing her skin. Because she wasn't a coward.
No matter what, Victoria had never been a coward.
And she did want to touch him, again.Just for a moment.
Stay tuned for more!