Today, I’m sharing an unedited teaser from my current WIP, 9 Willow Street. It’s a longer version of my naughty bunny shifter story (I told you about it here) and this is the first chapter, pretty much the beginning, except for a page or so before this that sets the scene.
Hannes (the narrator in this teaser) has inherited a house from his beloved great grandmother, Nana Ellen, who died unexpectedly at age 109. Because of family drama he didn’t get access to it until now, ten months later.
Ten months ago, when my father called me and told me Nana was dead, I thought he lied to me at first. I spoke to her on her birthday, sad and heartbroken that I couldn’t come and see her, bake her a cake and give her a present. All the flights were canceled because of a terrible storm and I had no way of getting to her, but she wasn’t upset.
“Pish-posh my dearest Hannes. You’ll be here when you can, I know it. Just text me a picture of your lovely face and I’ll be happy,” she said.
So I did. I took a selfie with my hands shaped as a heart, and before I texted it to her, I wrote Nana and Hannes forever, on it. That’s what she always used to say every time I was upset over being misunderstood by my family.
She sent me back a picture of herself with her head tilted back and the back of her hand against her forehead in a dramatic fake swoon and the ever-present twinkle in her eyes clearly visible. I promptly set the picture as a background on my phone.
So is it really so weird I didn’t believe Father when he called me and told me she had passed?
“Are you sure?” I asked, thinking that it couldn’t be true, considering the last time she’d even had a common cold was fifteen years ago when she was ninety-four.
“I am a real doctor…unlike some people,” Father replied. “Obviously I know what I’m talking about.”
Great. Even when he called me with terrible news, he still found the time to mock my career choice and remind me of my status as the family outsider. The herbalist quack in a family of real doctors. My father is a surgeon and my mother an oncologist, and my three older sisters and brothers are all doctors, too. Then there’s me. The black sheep of the family. The heathen in a family of scientists.
When we hung up, I called Nana’s phone, only to be met by Father’s disdain.
“I knew you wouldn’t take my word for it, Hannes.” He sighed, that put-upon sound everyone in my family excel at. “I wish you would grow up sometime. Are you happy now?”
I hung up without saying goodbye.
Are you happy now?
What kind of thing is that to say to someone who’s just gotten the most dreadful news of his life?
Nana and Hannes forever.