Sarah C. (Midwesterntool) - 4/4/2009 1:47 PM ET
I was intrigued; however, the descriptive nature of the story overshadowed the plot.
|Please give me feedback on this! This is the first few paragraphs of my new book.
The sun was obscurely buried behind many heavy laden clouds which were waiting to burst open with another snow storm on the small town in northern Maine. Hidden within a virgin forest was a two story, old frame house. The roof was already weighted down with the recent snows of the past week. Icicles draped the roof like tinsel on a Christmas tree.
Sitting there in the dimly lit kitchen, the beautiful Emma was holding back unshed tears. The emptiness within, was almost more than she could bear any more. It seemed as if she was always waiting for her husband to come home. Dinner had been prepared with love and waited for him to enjoy. Yet, he hadn’t come home. The dinner had long been cold.
She was very homesick. She loved Ken with all her heart. She loved him enough to married him and move across the ocean to be with him. She left the comfort of her home, her family, her friends, her pets, and all she had known. She missed her horses and the fox hunts. She missed the family gathering around the piano and singing in the evenings. She missed her mother’s soft humming and beautiful garden and the smell of her father’s pipe tobacco. She loved her dear Ken with all her heart. Where was he tonight?
She knew where he was. He frequently stopped to check on his mother. Emma had no problem with that because his mother was lonely now all her children had grown and moved away. The problem was she often invited him to stay and eat with her knowing he had a meal and a wife waiting for him at home. He loved his mother and found it hard to refuse her requests. His wife would understand. She always did. If only she could have had a child, things would have been better.
They had been married for three years and still no child. She knew Ken would be a wonderful father and she longed to be a mother. They both had wanted a large family. But, it was not to be. She had never been accepted by his mother or his sisters because she was a ‘foreigner’. Emma mistakenly thought they would accept her just as her family had accepted Ken. They didn’t and did not hesitate to let everyone know, which made the transition even harder for her.
Although her parents wanted her to stay in England and marry Derek, they knew she had found her true love in Ken. Everything here was so different…the culture, the food, the people…everything. Yet, she was in love and would give it all up again to be with Ken. It is just that on cold nights like this one, she yearned for his company and his arms around her. Yes, a child would be so very welcome here. She wouldn’t feel so lonely.
The sound of the clock broke the silence of this night. Emma heard the tick…tock…tick…tock match the beating of her heart as the tears filled her eyes. Looking out the window, she saw the snow beginning to fall again. It was coming down so quickly now. The wind was so strong now she could hear it whistling around the trees. A branch on a nearby tree began to crack with the pressure of the snow. Making a loud clashing sound, it broke and fell to the ground just as Emma had settled on the old couch.
The knock on the door surprised Emma because she hadn’t heard anyone drive up. A plain looking woman in a long, warm coat stood just outside the door. Snow flurries whipped in as Emma opened the door and invited her in. Although the snow was swirling all around as the woman entered, Emma didn’t notice she had no trace of snow on her at all. She did notice the kind face of this older woman.
“Thank you for your kindness,” the woman began. “My name is Eliza.”
Closing the door against the harsh wind, she responded, “Hi Eliza, my name is Emma.” She led Eliza to the couch, took her coat and hung it on the coat rack. “Let me make you some hot chocolate to warm you. What brings you out on such a cold night?” Emma noticed Eliza seemed prim and proper yet a sense of urgency about her.
Eliza searched Emma’s face, and looked around the house. The home was warm and cozy and the food smelled very appetizing. It was apparent Emma was a good housekeeper and it looked as if she was a good cook also. “Nice home you have here Emma. Were you about to eat dinner?”
“I was waiting on my husband to come home. He went to check on his mother.”
As Emma brought the two mugs of hot chocolate into the living room and handed Eliza a mug, she repeated her question, “What brings you out on such a cold night?”
Eliza, not one to beat around the bush, looked straight into her eyes, “You do.”
“What? Me?” Emma was confused. “Am I supposed to know you?”
“No, I come with an offer for you.”
“An offer? What kind of an offer?”
“We know you desire a child, and of all the families we have considered, you and your husband seem to have been chosen to raise this child.”
“What child? Who are you? Who is giving the child up? Who chose us? Is the child yours? Why would you want to give up your child?” The questions just came pouring out.
Eliza just allowed Emma to go on and on with the questions while she was summing up the atmosphere in this house. The slender, French looking Eliza felt the loneliness and emptiness here. Maybe all it needed was a child here. At least she hoped that was all it needed.
“I am employed by a very successful and prosperous man who wants to remain anonymous. He recently lost his wife. He is a very busy man, traveling all over the world and has no time to raise the child. He also does not want to become attached to anyone ever again including this child. The loss of his wife was almost more than he could bear and he refuses to live through that loss again. That is why we have been searching for the right family to raise his daughter. The baby is only two months old. My employer will have the birth records taken care of so it will state you and your husband are the parents.”
“You can’t just go around changing birth records!”
“As I stated, my employer is a very influential man and he is able to do many things.”
“He wants us to raise her then take her back when she is grown?”
“No. Once you agree to this, he will never attempt to get in touch with her at all. He will also see to it a monthly check is deposited into a bank account for you. It will appear as if it is from a real estate sale in England, so no one will question it.”
Emma was speechless. A child?
Eliza continued, “There will also be an account set up for the child. She won’t be able to touch it until she is eighteen, at which time she should go to college. That way you won’t have to worry about that expense.”
“You and your employer have put much thought into this.”
“All you need to do is talk to your husband about this and agree to it.”
“He will want to know who the father is.”
“That is impossible.” Eliza could see the look of hope in Emma’s eyes along with the realization her husband would probably refuse. “I will come back in two days to get your answer. If you agree, we will explain what will need to be done. If you don’t agree, we will just continue looking for someone to raise the child.” With that Eliza thanked Emma for the hot chocolate, put the mug down, slipped on her coat and let herself out the door.
Emma just sat there bewildered, not believing what just happened. By the time she realized Eliza had left, she went to the door. When she opened it, Eliza was gone. There was no car in sight. She wondered how long she had sat there dazed because there was no trace of car tracks or footprints. It was true the snow was coming down fast and heavy, yet there should have been SOMETHING there. Did she dream it all?
Emma began putting dinner in the refrigerator and doing the dishes thinking she must have been dreaming. Just then she noticed the two mugs of hot chocolate. So Eliza really had been there.
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