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Fiction Fundamentals - Short Story #4

This assignment called for us to write in a point of view we hadn't used yet for class. I tend to be a third person point of view writer and my three previous short stories were written as such.  So for this assignment I went with first person.  I wanted to edit a story I had written during my under grad creative writing classes and wasn't completely satisfied with the outcome.  I took the story to our Monday night Writers' Group and was given a suggestion that I went with and really ended up loving.

I was asked to consider chopping the first two pages of the story. Below is the original story and I've marked where I started the story I ended up submitting for class. After I made the cut, I changed some aspects of the story, including adding in a small bit of dialogue inspired by another comment made at Writers' Group. (That Eddie's actions sound a little Dateline-ish).

I love winter; it’s my favorite season.  I love waking up to crisp morning air.  I love taking that first deep breath of cold air and the way it burns your lungs for a second.  I especially love winter mornings on a beach, watching the sunrise.  That’s where I’m at now, sitting on the beach waiting for my friends to join me for our annual ten days to Christmas day together. 
            I got here early, the sun isn’t scheduled to rise for another hour, but I wanted to be prepared for when the other girls get here.  I’ve been running through my announcement at least ten times in my head already but I’m still nervous.  I keep playing through it and I know what’s going to happen. I already know in what order the girls will show up. I know how conversations will flow and I know that they will be dying to know what happened when I was Las Vegas two weeks ago.  I want to put off telling them until after the sun rises.
            After the sun has risen we’ll make our way over to the diner and that’s when I’ll make my announcement.  We’ll be unwrapping ourselves from our hats, coats, scarves and gloves.  They will see the rings on my left ring finger and then I’ll tell them what happened in Vegas. Cara will be thrilled, Liz will say she’s happy but really she isn’t and Rachel will be happy, just plain and simple because I’m happy.
            So until the sun rises, here I sit freezing, in the dark on a blanket on the beach waiting for my friends and the sun.  I sit sipping my coffee and playing with the rings on my finger hidden by the glove on my hand.  I pull my jacket sleeve down over it hoping it’s not noticeable; I need to make my announcement at the diner and not out here on the beach.  It has to be just like I planned.
“Been here long?”  My thoughts interrupted; I look up to see Liz sitting down next to me.
“Not really only a few minutes.”
“Cara is right behind me, she is just running into the store to get her coffee.”
“Ladies.”  Cara flopped down onto the blanket.  “Rachel just called me she’s going to be a few minutes late.”
“Typical.” Liz blew into her coffee cup and looked out over the water.
“Be nice.” Cara snapped blowing into her own coffee.
            I said nothing just kept my eyes focused on the water.
“Gina you okay?”
“Yea,” I looked up at Cara.  “Why do you ask?”
“Well you’ve been acting kind of weird since you got back from Vegas.”
 “I can’t believe you went with Eddie.  You should have told him to find some chick in Vegas to take to the wedding.”  That would be why Liz won’t be happy with my announcement she doesn’t like Eddie.
“I knew the couple that was getting married, I wanted to be there.”
“Sorry I’m late.”  Rachel sat down taking up the last spot on the blanket so now all four of us are sitting in a row huddled close together.  “I hit the snooze button one too many times and had to rush to get here.”  She skims her menu and puts in down.  “So how was Vegas?”
“We were wondering the same thing.  She was gone a week with slime ball Eddie.  I’m sure there is a lot of stuff to talk about.”
Shit! They were supposed to wait until after the sun came up and we were nice and warm at the diner. Okay Gina just take a deep breath and tell them.
I smile and put my coffee cup down and pull off my glove.  I put my hand out so they can all see. “Eddie and I got married in Vegas.”
(This is the break.)
“Oh my god.” Cara whipped her head to the side and looked at me; her eyes could have drilled holes into my head.
“This is a joke right?” Rachel grabbed a hold of my hand to get a better look at the rings.
“No joke.  We got married.”
“Why?” I turn to look at Liz and she is looking at me intently.
“I love him.  I know you guys may not understand any of it, but know that I love him and I’ve always loved him.  I don’t think I ever stopped loving him.”
“How?”  Rachel drops my hand and I pull my glove back on.
“He had it all planned before we left.  He proposed the first night at dinner, and had the small chapel in our hotel all ready for the day after the wedding we were there for and he even had a few dresses lined up for me to pick from.”
“What about the rings?” Rachel leaned forward to see me better, no one was paying attention to the sun rising anymore all attention was on me.
“He’s been holding on to this engagement ring for three years and he bought the wedding bands about a month ago.”
“Gina, he’s only been home for a month.  He’s been planning this all for a month.  He just assumed you would take him back and marry him.  Did he not know you had been dating Kevin for a year now?”  Liz snapped.
“He knew about Kevin.  He admitted that when he moved back home he came back with the intent to break us up and marry me with in the year.”
“You said he’s had the ring for three years.”  Cara took a sip of coffee. “That was before you two broke up; you only broke up two years ago.” Her words slowed as the math she was doing made sense to her.  “Gina did he propose to you before he took that job in Boston?”
“No, I had just seen the ring one day when we were in New York shopping.”
“What about a big wedding like you always planned?”  Cara looked upset.
I shrugged. “It’s not about the wedding it’s about the guy and what you mean to each other and the life you’ll have together.”
“What makes Eddie the guy and not Kevin?”
“Eddie and I have more in common, we have a history and he knows me, I mean really knows me. Kevin really didn’t know me know me.  I mean he never cared to find out that I love lilies, he would just get me a random bouquet of flowers and he never asked me what my favorite restaurant was we just always went to that Italian restaurant because that’s where we had our first date.  Eddie knows I love lilies and he knows my favorite restaurant is that little French one up in Princeton.”
“Okay great, he knows what kind of flower to get you and where to take you to dinner but that’s not something to build a relationship off of.” Liz ever the voice of reason said something I had been thinking myself for the past two weeks.
“It’s not just that it’s the little things.  I didn’t realize this until last month when Eddie took me to dinner that night I had the big fight with Kevin.  We sat in the living room having one of those conversations that doesn’t make sense but says a lot about the person.”
“You mean like those what flavor of ice cream do you like more Cherry Garcia or Half Baked?”  Cara leaned back and looked out over the water.
“Yea, and I ended up falling asleep.  Well I woke up to find Eddie pulling the covers over me and kissing my forehead before leaving.  He put me to bed.”
“So?” Liz rolled her eyes.
“Kevin wouldn’t do something like that because he doesn’t know, Eddie knows.”
“Knows what?” Liz still wasn’t satisfied.
“Gina can’t sleep on a couch.”  Cara looked over at Liz.  “She hurt her back when we were younger and ever since if she falls asleep on a couch or something with out decent support her back goes out on her.”
“So Eddie knows stuff, does that negate what he did to you?”
“No, it doesn’t negate it, it doesn’t make up for it, but being in love with someone means you take the good with the bad.  It’s something we both have to live with because I’ll be honest it wasn’t all him.  I didn’t make it easy on him, I mean come on he was going off to law school and I was being childish.  We’ve changed and I think the changes in us make us stronger. I like who I am when I’m with Eddie, I’m myself and I don’t think I was that same person with Kevin.  I felt like I had to try to be someone when I was with him.”
“Try to be someone?” Liz looked confused.
“I was not being true to myself.  Maybe the reason Kevin never got to know the real me was because I was never the real me while I was around him.  I mean I could have spoken up and said hey I want to go to this place for dinner, but would he have taken me there? No, that wasn’t a place Kevin would have been comfortable in so he wouldn’t take me because of how he felt.  Just like I don’t think he ever would have taken me to a ballet or have those stupid conversations with me.  It wasn’t him and they are me.  Eddie may not get everything I like or say or do, but he goes along with it and accepts it. He would do it just because I asked.”
“Look I’m happy for you; as long as you’re happy I’m happy.”  Rachel looked at the water.  “We missed the sun rise.”
“I’m thrilled for you Gina, really I am, and I’m just in shock. You always wanted a big wedding. It’s something you’ve always planned and I just can’t believe you would run off to Vegas to get married.”  Cara put her head on my shoulder.
“I know, I wanted the big wedding but it just seemed perfect the way he had it all planned, I just wish you girls could have been there.”
“I happy for you Gina, but don’t think I’m going to make it easy on Eddie when I see him next.”
“I wouldn’t expect you too.”  I put my arm around Liz.
“This changes everything.”  Rachel snuggled in closer to Cara.
“Not everything, just some things.” I smiled and relaxed.
            We all sat silently looking at the sun that had risen.  We were in no hurry to get up and go to eat.  We were in no hurry to move from that spot.  We were content with sitting there together and watching the waves and the birds in the wind.  We were content to leave this moment exactly as it was, perfect.


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