Archive for category I’ll Be True

WRITING CHRONICLES #10: Tellin’ It Like A Texan

Via: Daily Prompt – Vivid

 

 

While researching the Texan way of saying things for the characters of my novel I’ll Be Truethere was one thing I realized: If there’s a roundabout phrase for a statement, you wouldn’t hear a Texan telling it to you straight.

The Texan talks in more shades than the spectrum. I love it!

Of course, I uploaded only the first draft of the novel on this blog, which, in my rush to get the story written, didn’t carry nearly as many Texan sayings as I would’ve liked. I’m doing additional research at the moment on this idiomatic turn of twang to present the dialogues of my cowboys and cowgirls in a manner more befitting their race. It isn’t easy-research when you are sitting oceans away on the other side of the world but the following websites are helping [some]:

Texas SayingMore Colorful Texas Sayings… | Texas Monthly

10 Texas Sayings That Are Quintessentially Texan | Coldwell Banker

Texan Sayings

25 Words That Have A Totally Different Meaning In Texas | BuzzFeed

Texasisms: A Glossary of Texan | Wander Wisdom

If y’all have any more suggestions, feel free t’holler!

 

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I’ll Be True (Chapter 26)

Read Chapter 25 before you continue…

It was a beautiful wedding ceremony and the happiness shining on the faces of the bride and groom proved that they were a match made in heaven. But then again, no other couple had ever been cheered for by all of Lainie’s Creek as much as this one – not even the iconic love affair between tragic Lainie Corey, after whose demise the town had been named, and her infamous beau William Brant. But that was a tale of long ago and, thankfully, without any repeat performances. In fact, the only couple other than the just-married Tyler and Ahyoka to draw the eyes of the guests was Elaina and Matthew, who were currently laughing through a lively jig, making a fool of themselves with their disarrayed dance moves.

Brooke felt no envy by their glowing mirth, only relief. She watched Matthew pull Elaina back into his arms and whisper something in her ear. It must have been funny too because Elaina threw back her head in an unladylike guffaw. Brooke had never seen her former best friend so full of cheerful abandon, not even when they were children. Amazing the changes true love could bring in a person. She hoped she too would find someone one day to share such connection with but for now felt content just to watch Elaina finally bask in the affection she deserved.

“Why are you sitting by yourself here, moping?”

Brooke turned to see Hayden drop down onto the folding chair beside hers. “I’m not moping. I’m watching people dance.”

Hayden raised an eyebrow. “Any couple in particular,” he inquired, knowing full well the answer.

Brooke turned away from him, her eyes trained on Elaina and Matthew once more though seeing little of their dance this time. Hayden had always been critical of her, even when she was little more than a child. He always lorded over Elaina and her, impressing the fact that he was older than them and therefore more experienced – as though being older equated to being wiser. Brooke was sure she would have liked to see a lot less of Hayden growing up. If only it hadn’t been for the fact that he was her former best friend’s older brother and whom said former best friend idolized. Of course, it was always Hayden who protested first whenever Elaina wished to accompany her twin brothers on their outings, bringing up their age difference as the main reason, but Brooke had also felt that his unwelcome attitude was especially directed to her.

But they were all now much older, each an adult who came into his or her own. She no longer needed Hayden’s approval. “Tyler and Ahyoka look very happy to be finally married,” she answered, purposely being elusive because she did not feel the need to dignify his question.

“Not the couple I meant and you know it.”

She remained silent. She would not rise to his bait.

“Elaina could never dance to save her life. Matthew seems to be cut with two left feet as well.”

“But they are charming together so it doesn’t matter if they can dance or not,” she automatically defended. Damn it.

“If they are so charming together, why do you look like the baby that got her lollypop stolen?”

He always made it so difficult to ignore him. “What the hell are you talking about, Hayden?”  Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ll Be True (Chapter 25)

Read Chapter 24 before you continue…

Matthew tugged her into a dark room, locking the door behind them. The moment he had reached for her on the stage, hell broke loose. Despite the fact that he had the presence of mind to contain his emotions to a polite peck on the cheek, the media was not fooled and made sure to record plenty of visual proofs. Their chemistry belied their attempt at a nonchalant greeting and the nature of their relationship became one of the primary lineups of inquiry. She dreaded to imagine the kind of reaction a stronger display of affection from Matthew would have generated. His eloquent speech before her arrival had not helped the situation either. Fortunately, Matthew was able to volley the questions like the expert he was and even had tackled a few aimed at her.

There were, however, two questions he could not have answered on her behalf. And although Brooke had helped her anticipate them, allowing her time to prepare responses, when actually posed by the first query, having finally seen the magnitude of the exhibition, she shook to her core by newfound revelations.

“Matthew is a duly renowned artist in his genre. How did it feel to be under the investigation of his lens?”

Matthew’s eyes had sought hers in that moment. It was looking into the blue-green lagoon of his gaze, she had replied, straining her brain to find justifiable words. She remembered stringing together words such as flattering, gratifying, life altering and special into a tangle of sentences. Later, she had returned her attention to the journalist, in a final bid to disguise her more private emotions with banter. “I wasn’t his sole subject at the time but, seeing how it’s turned out, it’s a bit disconcerting really.”

The next question should have been easy. A reporter had asked, given that she had been exposed to the experience if she would consider future modeling offers, which she vehemently negated. However, the reporter had been persistent and went on to ask if she would remain strict on that decision if the request came from Matthew. She had blushed profusely, stumbling for the appropriate answer, and, in the end, mumbled a vague “time would tell”. Yet, she knew even then she would not refuse Matthew. She couldn’t.

She was grateful for the moment when their time on stage came to an end. Matthew wasted no time in whisking her away to more private quarters of the gallery’s back office. Now she blushed again as she stood in the dark with him, close enough for their breaths to mingle, and remembered the power he had to draw her in. In more ways than to just sweet talk her into sitting still for his camera.  Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ll Be True (Chapter 24)

Read Chapter 23 before you continue…

 

Elaina’s mind tumbled through the tide of enlightenment that washed over her. She had never tried to work through the range of emotions surrounding the event before, though five years was plenty time for private musings. Her thoughts had been consumed by two phases of that watershed moment in her life. There was the horrific replay of Brooke’s confession and the harrowing sense of betrayal that took over later, accompanied by a myriad of emotions. Feelings of pain, confusion, mortification, anger and, worst of all, being second-rate had drowned out any reason for recovery. They had kept her from considering there might be a third component, gluing Brooke’s action to her reactions. Withheld contemplations of the loss she had also experienced though she was aware the loss was lurking in there too. Now, while standing before Brooke, the missing piece clicked into place. Talking to Brooke was what it took.

“What do you mean?” Brooke asked again, even as some new realization shone through her eyes.  Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ll Be True (Chapter 23)

Read Chapter 22 before you continue…

 

“I’m so glad y’all came!” There was a giant grin on Brooke’s face, as though she was genuinely happy to see them. Even Elaina. “C’mon in.” She led them through the small foyer of her Garment District factory-turned-flat to the living room.

“Oh, Brooke,” moaned Ahyoka very appropriately. “I do declare, this here is charming!”

A cavernous sitting room opened up into a dining area, behind which sprawled a shiny stone-and-steel kitchen. Picture windows lined the broadest stretch of wall in the expansive space, through which they had a panoramic view of New York City’s high-rises, from the concentration of industrial buildings across the street to the tip of the hotel they were staying in. It was the brightest, cleanest room Elaina had ever set foot in and she immediately became conscious of how dusty her boots were.

Everywhere she looked, gleaming white furniture occupied the prospect. Here and there, accents of gold and silver peeked out from metal and fabric articles ornamenting the alabaster scheme. She even spotted a pair of sequined throw pillows on the snowy leather couch that looked as though it was hardly ever sat on. On principle, Elaina knew she should feel revolted by its almost sterilized appearance. Yet she could not help admiring how tasteful it truly was – much like the image adapted by its resident. This was Brooke’s domain. The refined Brooke. Not the unruly, spirited best friend of her childhood.

She glanced at Brooke’s matching attire, which was a short white peasant frock cinched at the waist with a fat gold chain. Gold hoop earrings, bangles, and sandals completed the look. Elaina was ready to bet her horse that even the underwear was color coordinated with the living room. As usual, Brooke was showing off and Elaina once again wondered if this was not the worst plan that Brooke had ever had and she agreed to. She could never compete with the gorgeous Brooke of then, much less the glamorous Brooke of now.

Beside her, Elaina felt downright dowdy in her trademark plaid shirt and faded wrangler jeans. The newest item on her was the Suede jacket she had thrown on out of respect for the city’s cooler weather, the oldest were her spur-less boots and Stetson. The latter, she could not leave behind in her hotel room despite much deliberation because stepping outside without it made her head tingle too much to see whether she was coming or going. The overall effect drew too many curious glances down the four blocks they walked from the hotel to Brooke’s apartment building. Even Ahyoka had managed to citify her appearance, as indicated by the admiring smiles from the suits they had passed on the way. The knitted wool turtleneck in rich terracotta with grey-green safari pants and some kind of laced up heels perfectly suited the honeyed colorings of her exuberant companion.

“Thanks, the agency set this up for us,” Brooke was saying in response to Ahyoka’s profuse appreciation.

Ahyoka cocked her head inquisitively. “Us?”

“I have four roommates. We model through the same agency. The girls are all out now but they will be back in time for dinner. I told them y’all were coming and they canceled their plans to join us. Also, they usually try to stay in on nights I cook,” added Brooke with pride.

Elaina couldn’t help raising an eyebrow. “You cook now?”

Brooke smiled sheepishly, seeming to lose a bit of her nerve at the blunt question. “Yeah, had to teach myself when I moved out here. There was a lot of spare time in the first year while I was getting acquainted with the industry. I can make only a few dishes but I practiced them enough to make them edible.”

Elaina noticed again how Brooke’s drawl kept slipping in and out when she spoke. Must be a side effect of life on the East Coast, she concluded.

“I’m sure dinner will be delightful,” Ahyoka encouraged.

Brooke visibly relaxed. “Well, don’t just stand there. C’mon. I’ll show you my room. Then y’all can sit at the kitchen while I ready dinner and we can have ourselves a chat.”

Ahyoka made to follow but Elaina hesitated. “I better not walk in here with my boots on. They’re dusty,” she explained.  Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ll Be True (Chapter 22)

Read Chapter 21 before you continue…

“Absolutely not!” Elaina stared down her three opponents. She was on to them. Their speech on trying out new things, with a side order of an attempt to make her feel obligated towards the bride’s wishes as maid-of-honor, was as transparent as the glass wall birds flew into. Well, she was no bird brain and she had never before heard of Ahyoka’s dream to have her bachelorette party in New York City. Convenient, this dream should reveal itself so soon after they had all received invitations to a certain photo exhibition. “Y’all are just trying to get me to Matthew’s show. I ain’t falling for it.”

“She saw right through that one, didn’t she?” muttered Ethel from where she was attending the stew simmering on the stove in the Coreys’ kitchen.

“It was Brooke’s genius plan, I was just enacting it,” Ahyoka defended herself, sitting down across from Elaina in dejection.

“It got us all down to the business of talking about the subject all the same,” June tried to pacify the situation, looking kindly at her future daught-in-law. “Better out than boiling in our heads.”

Not a chance in hell. “What’s this about Brooke?” Elaina demanded, trying to curb her surprise at this new piece of information.

“The cat’s outta the bag now and here comes the hissy fit,” Ethel alerted, turning her back to the rest of the tableau as though seeking cover from a battle field.

“No one’s going to have a hissy fit,” June talked over Ahyoka who was beginning to stammer another protest at being chided for the plan and its source.

“I will if no one explains to me what’s this about it being Brooke’s plan,” warned Elaina.

“June, meet your only daughter,” threw in Ethel like an aside. “She’s blonde, blue-eyed, beautiful and likes to stomp around the ranch with an angry cloud of steam over her head, picking fights with anybody and everybody willing.” No one paid her much mind. Sarcasm was part of their housekeeper’s charm – her snarky comments, an embrace.

“You have been a tad bit hard to live with recently,” her mother added tentatively, trying to iron out the harshness in the appraisal.

“Try more like in recent few months,” Ethel put in.

“Just shy of three months actually,” Ahyoka tidied up, ever the banker with her penchant for numbers. “Since about the time that photographer we’ve all come to admire vamoosed.”

“I have not,” Elaina challenged across the kitchen table.  Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ll Be True (Chapter 21)

Read Chapter 20 before you continue…

Matthew stared at the massive blank wall. He had it, along with all the other walls prepped for the exhibition, painted jet black with a finely grooved texture to make them appear as though it was suctioning the light out of the surrounding space. What little light he had left on, that is. Straying from the usual still exhibition format that displayed colorful arts on white surfaces in a brightly lit atmosphere, he had decided to showcase his series in a dimmed hall with strategically located accent lights. Soon photos developed in sepia hues would hang on black walls as though blossoming out of a void. Because that’s how the subject affected him these days.

Elaina had not relented to his plea. As promised, he had called her as soon as he returned to New York and numerous times in the week that followed, always with the same desperate reasoning to make her have faith in their relationship. While she received his calls, she had pointblank let him know that his return to Lainie’s Creek will not be welcome. She did not own a cell phone and it had costed him a bruised ego to so often call the ranch and ask for her only to have her tell him it was over between them – but he had done it nevertheless. He would have gone back to see her anyway if it were not for Hayden finally informing him during his call the night before his scheduled return flight that Elaina no longer wished to speak to him before hanging up sharply. After which, he had torn his air ticket and threw himself into his work.

Yet, try as he may to keep his mind and time occupied with teaching photography to college students or supervising the existing exhibition at the gallery or even shooting hoops with his friends, memories of Elaina was never far from his mind. He particularly missed her when developing the images for the Fall exhibition when even the photos without her in them brought on a wave of nostalgia of their shared experiences those summer days. Moreover, as he had sifted further and further through the photos, he soon realized that she occupied over sixty percent of the shots he had taken in Lainie’s Creek and most of the rest forty percent shots were also in some way linked to the story of this striking woman he had now pieced together. He had eventually embraced the inevitable and built the story of his series around her. Now with only two more weeks before “The Cowgirl” showcased, his mind was swimming with thoughts of the protagonist of his pictorial narrative more than ever, as though he had not last seen her two months, ten days and twenty-two hours ago.

“You should really turn on some more lights in here.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ll Be True (Chapter 20)

Read Chapter 19 before you continue…

Elaina lay awake in bed. Her head felt battered. There was a dull ache just behind her eyes that felt as though her brain had swollen to twice its size and refused to fit in its enclosure anymore. Side effects of too much thinking.

Hayden had cornered her again that morning and hadn’t that been a barrel of laugh. It was to impart yet another sermon about the potential danger of mixing with Matthew. When she refused to listen to his lectures, he told her about a discussion he had had with Brooke at the fair the previous day where Brooke had let drop that Matthew had come to Lainie’s Creek as her date but was now dating Elaina instead. The news had stumped Elaina for a few minutes and Hayden had taken her silence as sanction to carry on with his raving against dating outsiders, which he did verily.

But the rest of it had fallen on deaf ears. Elaina was preoccupied with putting together all that she had learnt about Matthew through their interactions. Sure he would not be in Lainie’s Creek if not for Brooke, but Matthew had already explained to her his role in visiting with Brooke. And all that he told her about himself only reflected on his candid nature. Matthew was not a liar and Brooke had a history of it. So she had thanked Hayden once again for looking out for her and sharing the information. She told him she would discuss this with Matthew and sent a grumbling older brother on his way.

Then she waited for Matthew to drop by. He had told her the previous night that he might be on an outing with Brooke and would come over once he became free, which he expected could be around late afternoon. Yet afternoon had rolled into evening and that into night, until the family had supper and turned in for the night – without him ever in sight. She cajoled herself that he was after all Brooke’s guest and it was not fair that she had monopolized most of his time since they met. She told herself this but it did not stop her from wondering if Brooke was taking advantage of their time together to put up a bit of competition. That was a thought which kept popping into her head and she had to keep stamping down.

Elaina growled into the shadows of her room. She was being unfair to Matthew again. Over the past few days, he certainly had proven himself as anything but fickle and deserved better than her suspicious musings. Those were the results of cultivating a five-year old stock of insecurities. Entirely her own problem. But he had not visited her today and tomorrow was originally the date of his departure so she wondered. He could have changed his mind about staying without Brooke’s help. Photography, three to four exhibitions per year, a teaching position at a renowned university, owning a gallery – the man liked to keep busy and he kept busy in New York. She wouldn’t be able to blame him if he had to bail on their fledgling relationship. Even if staying was his own idea in the first place.

She needed to turn off her brain and go to sleep. It had been a scalding summer day and the night had only melted the heat so it stuck damply to the skin. An air conditioner had been installed in her room some years ago. She had soon discovered that working in the sun all day after sleeping in the frigid air at night played havoc with her sinuses so she refrained from using the contraption. She usually kept the window wide open with the curtains drawn aside to allow whatever air that stirred outside to flow in. Sleeping in semi-darkness never bothered her. Tonight, however, the light wasn’t helping. If her nerves had not been frayed from overthinking she would have been asleep by now. She tossed to her side, facing away from the moonlight filtering in through the window.

There was a muffled thud behind her, as though something large had dropped to the carpet. Elaina sat up to discover the crouching shadow of a man beneath the window and it was all she could do to stop herself from screaming in alarm. Then the shadow rose to stand in the moonlight and Matthew loomed closer. She felt a thrill shoot up her spine as he swiftly sat on her bed and clamped a hand over her mouth.

“Don’t shout,” he instructed belatedly. “It’s me.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ll Be True (Chapter 19)

Read Chapter 18 before you continue…

Matthew spent most of next day with Brooke as he had promised. And though he missed Elaina terribly, it turned out that he also had a stimulating time sightseeing with Brooke. She had driven them to a bike trail through a forest in a nearby county that ended up in a cave hidden behind a short waterfall. She had known both the trail and cave familiarly, being able to point out the entrance to the fissure in the cliff that was otherwise hidden by dark foliage and rushing white water. It had made for a very picturesque outing and since Brooke had already warned him to come prepared so as to take his equipment into the water, his growing portfolio of imagery had thoroughly benefited from the trip.

It was curious because, in the years that he had known her, Brooke had never given him the impression that she was outdoorsy. Even when they had been romantically involved, they had rarely held their dates alfresco. A walk in Central Park now and then was the extent of their nature excursions, preferring night clubs and chic restaurants for their rendezvous instead. In fact, this was the first time he had actually seen Brooke perform any vigorous exercise, though he heard her complaining often enough about the regime modelling kept her in. Matthew suspected that this particular display of nemophilism was really in response to the fact that Matthew had spent so much time with Elaina in the outdoors. Feeling threatened, Brooke may have just hoped he would see that she was just as country. Since he did not want to fuel another argument, he had wisely refrained from commenting on this new adventurous side of Brooke.

And it had worked. While Brooke had met him that morning with considerable reticence, by the time they had reached the cave, her silence had given way to exaltation for the beauty of their natural surroundings. It was clear that she missed the country, which only made him wonder more why she stayed away from home for so long. He had gathered a while ago that it had something to do with the falling out between Elaina and her – one couldn’t have not deduced as much after watching how each woman reacted to any mention of the other – but that only made him more curious about what the discord had been about. He was not stupid enough to ask, mind. He liked his head where it was, thank you, and did not fancy it being chewed off. So as the day wore on, he had kept mum on any topic that could lead to offsetting the dearly retrieved good mood of his companion.

Which made the predicament of informing Brooke about his decision to stay in Lainie’s Creek all the more difficult. Yet as they drew closer to the end of their daytrip, he knew he must gather his resolve and notify Brooke of his plans. The sooner he got it out in the open, the better. He decided to spill the news the moment they got back to McKenna ranch. It will just be like pulling off a Band-Aid.  Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ll Be True (Chapter 18)

Read Chapter 17 before you continue…

“This is getting ridiculous,” Elaina repeated for what now seemed like the umpteenth time.

Matthew had got four out of seven shots into the cups with his previous bag of softballs and was now purchasing a second bag to continue his mission to win her a prize. “That was my practice set,” Matthew repeated, as he had claimed previously every time he missed a shot.

He was tenacious, she had to give him that. Every time he missed, he would shrug it off and try again. When he got in a ball in the cup, his elated whoops drew attentions of nearby fair visitors. His spirited attempt to win his date a prize had acquired him a set of groupie too – the teens who had earlier praised his pony had stuck by his side through thick and thin. Nothing achieved the adulation of adolescent girls than a man wanting to be a knight in shining armor, however misplaced that ambition may be. Elaina sighed.

Matthew heard her and raised an eyebrow. “You don’t think I can do this?”

Elaina had her fists on her hips much like her mother usually had when one of her brothers demonstrated their overtly macho and competitive traits. “Whether you can do this or not is not the point. The fact you don’t have to do this, however, is.”

“I can do this.”

“I’m sure you can but, again, not the point,” she ground out.

She was talking to a wall. Grinning, Matthew turned away from her, stepping once again up to the counter, determined to defeat the wobbling cups.

Elaina noticed the change in him immediately from how the sinews of his raised forearms peeked out from under his rolled up sleeves, more defined than before, the fine white cotton of his shirt stretching over his biceps and broad back, as though he was holding something much heavier than a softball. He crouched slightly, balancing himself on his calves and she appreciated as even the denim over his buttocks flexed. Whether he won her a toy today or not, she was going to reward him tonight for trying because his attempt was a fine thing to look at.  Read the rest of this entry »

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