Laura Carroll Butler is the winner of Round 46 and Vol 2-18. She lives in Luray, Virginia with her husband, Chuck. She says, “With both our sons out of the house, my husband Chuck and I are back to being honeymooners (I hate the term empty-nesters; it’s so negative).”
While raising her two sons, she wrote lifestyle articles for newspapers in South Boston, Danville and Luray. She focuses on fiction now and is currently shopping her first novel, The Price of a Pearl, while writing its sequel. The historical romance set in England and Tidewater, Virginia, was a first round selection in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest in 2013.
Lila had always been the one to wait. Ben was five minutes late for their first date, misjudging the amount of time it would take to walk across campus. By their third date, Lila knew she had at least ten minutes more to primp before Ben arrived.
On his way to their wedding, Ben’s cab broke down and he was late to the chapel. He was flustered and apologetic when he showed up, but Lila smiled serenely. “I knew you would be here,” she whispered.
Dinner was always warming in the oven when Ben came home late from the office. She woke when he came to bed, long enough to kiss him good night.
Now it was Ben’s turn to wait for Lila. Everyday, he waited with the other husbands, peering into the mist, waiting for his wife. Finally he understood the longing she must have felt all those years she waited for him.
Sadie picked up the card on the flowers. “Welcome to your new home.” She tossed it back on the table, bare but for the silver roses. The room was as austere as the table, all steel and sharp edges. She checked the thermostat. It was set at 80 and she could feel the air moving through the vents, but the room was as cold as the frigid outside. She couldn’t remember the last time she was warm.
Outside in the glow of the orange light, she saw an image of her daughter, Caroline, her biggest disappointment. She insisted on following her own path straight into a low paying job, working with juvenile delinquents. The twit, Sadie thought, believing she could save the world one child at a time. Well, she hoped those losers could help keep Caroline’s heat on. From the corner of her eye, Sadie noted Caroline’s husband, whatshisname, as he gently brushed a strand of hair from Caroline and put his arm around her.
Further off, where the light was swallowed by the icy darkness, she saw Jared, the man she left her husband for, the man who had once been married to her best friend. She’d suspected there was a mistress. He didn’t even have the good sense to wait until Sadie was buried before he took her out in public. The mistress was wrapped in a blue fox fur. Her blue fox fur.
Sadie checked the thermostat again and rubbed her chapped hands briskly. Nobody had ever suggested that Hell could be so cold.