Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sincerely Sarah: Two Steps Back

Welcome to chapter three of Sincerely Sarah, our fourth Progressive Story Project. We have 8 bloggers writing this piece of fiction, each contributing to but none controlling the story.

Sincerely Sarah, a Progressive Story Project: One cohesive piece of fiction written by multiple bloggers, each contributing their voice to the story | brought to you by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #fiction #blogging

This time we're doing it a little differently. In the past we had more writers, each taking just one turn. This time we have fewer writers, so each has sent the story on, then later got it back. It's added a second challenge, not just to keep the story cohesive, but to change focus when it turns out the story didn't necessarily go in the direction we would have thought when we saw it last.

Before you read on, be sure you're caught up:
Chapter One:  Set the Course
Chapter Two: One Step Forward

Be sure to visit the blogs of all of these talented writers. I've listed each segment's author along with a link to their blog.

Chapter Three: Two Steps Back

 On the walk to the bar Sarah listened as the girls chatted about difficult attorneys, frustrating clients and the adorable intern who just started in the mail room. She took a deep breath and decided this was the first night of her new life.

As they entered the bar, Sarah knew he was there before she ever saw him. She could feel his piercing eyes, the hair on the back of her neck stood on end. She took a deep breath, looked around and their eyes locked. Damn. Parker was entirely too good looking. Sitting there with his top button undone, sleeves rolled up, one foot propped up and sitting on the bar stool looking more commanding and confident than should be allowed. She exhaled the breath she was holding, nodded in his direction and followed the ladies to a table. YES she thought, I CAN do this.

The next morning in court she had a difficult time focusing. Her thoughts wandered to the dance, the kiss and far too many drinks. Thankfully she had not succumbed to his seduction. Oh yes, she had wanted to, but she stood her ground. He needed to know she was her own woman and not some toy.

Later in the office, the head partner, Mr. Carmichael called Sarah into his office. "This is it," she thought. The offer for partnership or at least a hint that she might be eligible for partner if she played her cards right. Instead she heard news that rocked her to her core. Devastated she walked back into her office. Sniffles could be heard all through the office. No one looked at her or in her direction. She gathered her things and headed for the elevator.

She stood at the elevator doors, holding back tears and turned to glance in the direction of Parker's office. They had already placed a white wreath on the door and shut it. Forget the elevator, she turned and sprinted for the stairs and ran all the way down to her car. Blinded by tears as she fumbled for her keys, finally getting into the car she crumbled in a fit of tears.

Waking the next day, Sarah felt hollow. Why? She didn't understand it. Her heart was shattered into a million pieces, just like before. Only last time she had Parker to lean on. Now he's gone and she has no one.

Rolling over, she opened the top drawer of her nightstand and withdrew the picture she kept there. The one time glimmer of hope she had that things were different, that she and Parker were meant to be.

Closing her eyes, she thought back to that day, her own excitement matching his, along with fear.

"Sarah, Parker, I have some good news. It took! Here, let me show you," Dr. Gregory said, telling Sarah to lean back so he could run the ultrasound wand over her flat stomach.

Watching the screen with growing fascination, Sarah saw the peanut-shaped figure on the TV in front of her. She looked up at Parker, whose eyes were fixed on the same screen, glistening wit unfallen tears.

"So . . . what you're saying is that she . . . that we . . . " Parker said, his voice rough with emotion.

"Yes. Congratulations! You guys are pregnant!"

Crying, Sarah and Parker embraced, both feeling a joy like they'd never felt before. They immediately dubbed the baby "Peanut". Dr. Gregory's nurse snapped a picture of the two fo them in front of the screen, their first "family" shot.

They rode cloud 9 for two weeks, living in a state of bliss and dreaming of what their baby would look like. Then it happened. Sarah was in a car accident and their dream was lost as a result. Sarah went into a deep depression, locking herself in the room they shared and crying for days. When she finally pulled herself together and returned to work, she found Parker and Danica in that precarious situation.

Holding the picture of her, Parker and the screen of their baby to her chest, Sarah cried fresh tears. This loss was so profound; she didn't think she would come back from it.

Glancing toward the ceiling, she whispered "Parker, I love you. Tell Peanut I love him or her too."

Gripping the picture, Sarah lay back down and cried herself to sleep.

She woke up determined that she would get through this latest heartbreak the same way she had gone through all of the other tragedies in her young life. With sheer determination and faith. Faith that there was a plan for her and one day all of her dreams would finally come true.

Until then, she would just get through each day putting one foot in front of the other until she could see her way clear again. She was a strong woman. She had had to be. Sarah had lost so much in her life. First both of her parents had been killed in an airplane crash and then finding out she was unable to have children of her own. The breakup of her marriage and now losing Parker for good.

He would always hold a special place in her heart, but she knew that in the end he wasn't the right guy for her. No matter how much she had wanted him to be. She only had herself and she had been there before. She knew that if she could get through the loss of both of her parents she could get through anything.

Thank God today was Saturday and she didn't have to go to work. She got up and straightened the tiny apartment she had moved into after the divorce. She had never taken the time to really make it feel like a home. She decided that it was time to make this into a place that she was happy to come home to every day.

She jumped into the shower and fixed herself up. no, she wasn't going to sit around crying. She was still alive and was going to create the very best life she could so that when she finally did have a baby to bring home that her apartment would be ready.

Getting out was the best idea she had and she hit the stores ordering new curtains, new furniture, and anything else she could think of that would make her apartment into a home. She was on her own again and it was an old familiar feeling. She wasn't afraid like she had been the first time she had been all alone in the world. She had done it once and would do it again.

After a day of shopping she came home, put her pjs on and got to work putting to use all of the things she had bought that afternoon. She worked until evening and then she fixed herself some dinner, had a glass of wine, and climbed into bed with the new book she had also purchased.

Her IVF appointment was rescheduled for Monday and she just had a good feeling about it this time. It was going to work. She would have a family of her own making. She didn't need a man to make her feel complete, she only needed herself and her baby to love. She went to sleep picturing the life that she would have one day.

The little girl in her dreams with the curly brown hair and big blue eyes laughed and smiled as they explored new places and had wonderful adventures together. Sarah woke up Sunday morning with a peace that she hadn't felt in a very long time. She knew in her heart that Monday would be a success and she was ready for it to begin.

Progressive Story Project: One cohesive piece of fiction written by multiple bloggers, each contributing their voice to the story | brought to you by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #fiction #blogging

~ ~ ~ Come back on Tuesday for the conclusion of Sincerely Sarah ~ ~ ~

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Funny Friday: Mess? What Mess?

Today’s post is June’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

Funny Friday: One picture, Five Captions | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Karen of Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

Funny Friday, one picture, five captions | Picture by Karen of Dinosaur Superhero Mommy | www.BakingInATornado.com

1. AJ to his mom: Mess? What mess? You said "go find something to do", I found something to do.

2. AJ to his mom: I didn't do it, it was like this when I got here. I think it may have been a tornado. Lucky we're all OK.

3. AJ to his mom: Come to dinner? Now? I just finally got comfortable.

4. Mom to herself: I swear, I just turned my back for one second . . .

5. Mom to AJ: Your brother did it? What do you mean your brother did it? News flash, honey, I happen to know that don't have a brother. And before you ask, no, I'm not going to believe Dad did it either.

And now for something yummy for your Independence Day celebration:
Red Fluff and Blue Cookies, for 4thof July or any time, soft sugar cookies with a marshmallow filling. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies #snack

Red Fluff and Blue Cookies

Red Fluff and Blue Cookies, for 4thof July or any time, soft sugar cookies with a marshmallow filling. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies #snack

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

Not That Sarah Michelle 
Southern Belle Charm 
My Brain on Kids 
Molly Ritterbeck 
 Spatulas on Parade 
The Bergham Chronicles  
Measurements of Merriment 
 Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Red Fluff and Blue Cookies
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
red food coloring
blue food coloring
red colored sugar
blue colored sugar

12 oz marshmallow fluff

*Cream the butter, margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla until creamy. Mix in the flour, cream of tartar and baking soda.
*Divide dough in half, place each in its own bowl. Add red food coloring to half the dough and blue food coloring to the other half.
*Wrap, separately, in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour.
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
*Remove doughs from the fridge, roll into approximately 48 balls, half of each color. Roll each in colored sugar and place onto cookie sheets (about 16 per sheet).
*Bake for 10 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then remove and cool completely.
*Line the cookies up in pairs, one blue and one red, flat side up.
*Spray spatula with nonstick spray and use it to place the fluff in either a piping bag or a gallon sized bag (snip the corner so you can pipe).
*Pipe about 1 TBSP of the fluff onto the flat side of half of the cookies. Gently top with the flat sides of the other half of the cookies to form sandwiches.
*Store in air tight container in the fridge.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sincerely Sarah: One Step Forward

I'm honored again today to publish an ongoing piece of fiction. This is the fourth Progressive Story Project, each a very different story but all written by multiple authors. All participating bloggers add their voice to the story, collaboratively building a unique but cohesive story. It's a challenge, but it's also a lot of fun, both to write and to read.

Sincerely Sarah, a Progressive Story Project: One cohesive piece of fiction written by multiple bloggers, each contributing their voice to the story | brought to you by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #fiction #blogging

To the top right of all segments of each chapter you'll find the name of the author of that section and a link to their blog. Please take some time to stop by and check out their blogs, my friends are talented, thoughtful and amusing writers.

The story featured today was started last week. Be sure you read that chapter before moving on to today's post: Sincerely Sarah: Set the Course

And don't forget to come back next week for chapter three of Sincerely Sarah. 

Chapter Two: One Step Forward

She wanted to become a full partner and she had forgotten that for a while . She had been too busy trying to advance HIS career. Well, enough of that. She was going to go straight to the top and she was going to do it by herself.

She knew that Declan was interested in her too, but she wasn't interested in anything and the more she thought about it the happier she became. Who needed Parker or Declan? 

This is what she had repeated to herself over and over on the ride up in the elevator and by the time the doors had opened she was back in control. It had been a few weeks since their breakup and she was getting stronger every single day.

She had the trial of the year to keep her company at night for the next few years and if that didn't make her a partner she might consider switching firms. Getting a fresh start. Either way, when this trial was over she had promised herself that she would take 3 weeks off and go somewhere. Anywhere she wanted, all by herself.

Doing exactly what she wanted when she wanted with nobody to answer to. That is what had gotten her through these last few weeks and it was enough.

She walked into her office and slammed the door. Time to get down to work. She had to be in court at 9 and wanted to go over her notes. Today she would interview the Doctor himself. it was charged that he had left a scalpel inside the abdomen of his patient during surgery. The patient, Sarah's client, was suing him and the hospital for over a million dollars for gross negligence.

She would make a small fortune for the settlement. It wasn't a case of if but of how much and when. It had taken two surgeries and 18 months for her client to get healthy again. She could almost feel sorry for the doc if it had been an isolated incident. Accidents happen, but this guy had a record of complaints dating back years. No more, part of the demands would be for his license to practice to be revoked. 

Karen of Baking In A Tornado

Segments. That's how she'd thought of her life. There was work, kept separated in her thoughts from relationships, kept separated from personal hopes and desires.

No more.

She had done some soul searching since her marriage ended and she'd walked away from the relationship with Parker. The key to the life she wanted was to integrate it all together, to become one person not many. And she was working hard towards that end.

Sarah was on track with work. She would fight for partner and this case could well be that path. And she would have a relationship eventually too, but organically. One that grew, not one searched out. It would be a connection that allowed her to be exactly who she is, not one based on who she feels her significant other wants her to be. It would have to be with someone who could respect her career, her desire for a family, and could support the time constraints inherent in the life she's chosen.

For today, she was off to court.

And later today she was trying again, IVF.

She was actually happy her marriage had ended when they found out she was infertile, before options were explored. Because her eyes were open to who her husband really was. Yes, he was a partner in a law firm and therefore understood the long hours of a lawyer. But she saw his true character when they hit their first real emotional snag. He moved on. Now she was too.

She was trying again. Maybe one way or another this would be the last time. But then again, maybe not. It would be her choice. Her life, her career, her family . . . or not . . . but it was all in her hands. 

 The questioning with the defendant, Dr. Taylor, went better than she expected. Previously he had tried to blame the OR nurse who was supposed to count all the instruments before he irrigated and closed the field. Not today, though. He admitted that he couldn't be 100% sure to have double-checked himself, and he apologized to the patient.

Wow, this was a first!

Throughout her career, Sarah had been dealing with medical people many times and it always came down to the doctors protecting each other and blaming either faulty equipment or the nurses. 

She felt a newfound respect for this occupation group in general, and for her "opponent" in particular.

Maybe this is why, upon walking into the sushi bar for lunch, she asked permission to sit next to Dr. Taylor. Or maybe it was either this seat or no seat ;-)

Rule #1 for every lawyer is not to socialize with anybody who is involved in an ongoing trial.

"That was a gutsy thing you did today" she said to him, appreciatively.

"Yeah well, there comes a point in life when you have to look in the mirror, face reality and stop covering up mistakes", he said. "I have been thinking about this for a long time, and I'm ready to move on. Losing my license isn't the end of the world. Although I am glad that my Dad won't have to be part of it. He was so proud of my becoming a doctor. He passed away last year. I couldn't be there for him because I was called in for an emergency surgery that lasted all through the night. Your client's surgery was the next day. I didn't get any sleep. I wasn't quite myself. Not that this is an excuse."

She couldn't get the words out of her head all afternoon.

Look in the mirror, face reality.

What has she been doing with her life?

Lydia of Cluttered Genius

As the end of the day approached and the others in the firm were planning to head to the bar to drink away the day's stress, Sarah listened to the buzz of their conversation. Her appointment was at 4:30, and she was hurrying to gather a few files so she could prepare for the next day in court while the procedure was going on.

She didn't hear Parker walk in when he started to talk.

"Hey there," he said, quietly tapping on the door. "I hear your day in court went better than you expected."

Sarah's throat went dry. She didn't want to deal with him today. "Um, yes. Great," she said quickly and without looking up.

"That's wonderful. I know how much it can change the course of a case if the defendant actually tells the truth!" Parker's face broke out into a huge - yet extremely forced - grin. When Sarah didn't respond and just kept shuffling papers on her desk, Parker continued. "So, we're all headed out ot McKendrick's for Happy Hour. Maybe you'd like to go for a celebration cocktail? I mean, I know how much you . . . "

Before he could finish, Sarah had her bag on her shoulder and was walking past him.

"No thanks," she said, "I have plans this afternoon." She brushed past him and hurried out of the law office. There was a spring to her step as he watched her go.

The elevator doors closed and Sarah let out the breath she'd been holding. She couldn't believe she'd made it through the first day back AND a kind-of conversation with Parker. She could do this. She could be strong.

Her cell rang. It was her doctor's office. "Sarah, we're going to have to cancel for today. We've had an unforeseen emergency and Dr. Gregory is going to have to be out of the office for the remainder of the day."

Disappointed, Sarah stood and waited when the elevator doors opened. Several from her office were congregated at the door of the building laughing and chatting as they waited for others to make the walk down the block to McKendrick's.

With a deep breath Sarah walked up to Ginger and Irene, law assistants with the firm. "Hey ladies - would you mind if I tagged along to the bar?"

Progressive Story Projects: One cohesive piece of fiction written by multiple bloggers, each contributing their voice to the story | brought to you by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #fiction #blogging

~ ~ ~ Be sure to stop by next week for the Chapter Three of Sincerely Sarah  ~ ~ ~

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