Monday, February 1, 2016

Lost and Found Valentine's Edition 2016 Blogfest, Short Story by J.Q. Rose, This Week

Lost and Found Valentine's Edition 2016

Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog!

I'm thrilled to be kicking off this month of romance by participating in a Valentine blogfest, Lost and Found Valentine's Edition. The bloggers are writing fictional or non-fictional short pieces about love, lost or found. You're invited to visit and celebrate February, the month of love, and luxuriate in the wealth of romance stories at these writers' blogs. Go ahead. Play hooky for the day and escape for awhile into the world of romance with a variety of short stories and poems. 

You can find the list of participating bloggers in the sidebar of Denise Covey's blog. Have fun! 

Big thank you to the following writers who are hosting this awesome blogfest. 
* * *
My contribution is below.

Hello Again by J.Q. Rose
Valerie removed the enclosure card from the vase filled with exotic greens and stunning white roses.  Her eyes narrowed as she studied the signature, “With love, T.B.”  Replacing the card in the holder, she turned to her daughter, Rebecca. “Do you know who T.B. is? I can’t think of anyone who would sign a card with those initials.”
Her beautiful Rebecca, dressed in a stylish black suit and white silk blouse, slipped her arm around her mother’s waist.
“I don’t recognize the initials either.” Rebecca’s brown shoulder-length hair flowed around her face when she shook her head.  “Come on, Mom, they’re waiting for us in the family room.  The service will begin soon.”         
Valerie turned from the display of floral tributes and smoothed her simple black dress that snugged her trim figure. She was thankful her daughter and son were by her side.  The colorful flowers from friends and family gave her comfort, but the heady fragrance of the blossoms overwhelmed her senses..
She gazed one last time at her husband lying in the casket.   Guy was as handsome in death as he was in life. The huge casket spray of rubrum lilies and red roses couldn't soften the reality of him lying lifeless in the bronze casket.
Tears surfaced in her eyes.  How could she have any more tears left?  Valerie had cried for days.  She dabbed her nose and wiped her eyes with a tissue. Taking a deep breath to strengthen her for the difficult day ahead, she squared her shoulders vowing to make it through this service, the cemetery, and luncheon after.
Valerie had to be strong for her kids even if they were adults, but her insides were whirling and her legs didn’t want to keep her upright. How was she going to say good-bye forever to her husband of thirty-five years?  Her best friend. Her lover.  Her life.
Sitting at her kitchen table a few days later, Valerie stared at the card enclosed with the white roses.  She couldn’t find a clue to the identity of T.B.  This was the only acknowledgement card left to be written, but she had no idea where to send it.  No one in her family could help her. The local floral shops had no record of the floral delivery.  Mr. McGrady, the funeral director, told her he had found the vase sitting on the table in the entryway. He'd seen a man leaving the building, but Mr. McGrady never saw him clearly enough to recognize him.
Valerie couldn’t explain why, but she felt close to the sender. She couldn’t stop thinking of the beautiful roses and the card simply signed T.B.  There was something very special about the sentiment, she knew.  But what was it?
* * * *
Spring eventually emerged after the dark days of winter and death.  Valerie had endured.  Seeing the snow melt, the daffodils bloom, and the earth green up helped to lighten her heart.
That spring afternoon Valerie felt the warm sun’s rays on her back as she dug into the soil to plant pansies in the flower bed by the front door of her house.  A large white limousine pulled up to her neighbor’s home and out jumped a teen-aged boy in his fashionable tuxedo.  Behind him two young couples piled out. 
The boys seemed so young with their fresh haircuts and fine looking tuxes and the girls dressed in elegant evening gowns of red, black, and deep purple. Their long, thick tresses were creatively styled in up-do’s for that traditional evening event in high school, the prom. 
The teens’ nervous laughter and banter echoed through the neighborhood.  Residents gathered to watch as the young people posed for photos with the neighbor’s daughter under the flowering crab apple tree in the front yard.  Soon the three couples entered the limo again and were off to make memories.
Valerie returned to planting her flowers remembering her high school proms, dresses, and friends. She smiled as she tamped the soil down around the colorful plants. Suddenly she threw down her trowel, ripped off her gardening gloves, and raced up the front steps to her house.  When she entered the family room, she didn’t stop to wash her hands or remove the floppy straw hat on her head.  Instead, she grabbed the phone book and turned the pages to a number she deftly punched into her phone.
“Hello, Valerie.”  A man’s voice greeted her.  Her eyes sparkled as a smile spread from cheek to cheek. It was the same voice she remembered from forty years ago when they had attended her senior prom together.
“Hello, Teddy Bear.” 
# # #
Did your school have a junior/senior prom? Did you attend? Do you remember your date? Are you still friends with that person? Please share with us in the comments below.

This Week:

Wednesday, February 3--First Wednesday of the month is ALWAYS Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG). Yes, we throw our insecurities out in broad daylight for everyone to see. And that's okay because the writers who participate are also filled with wisdom and support. Stop in on Wed and discover what makes me insecure.

Thursday, February 4

Romance Readers Want to Know is a brand new series beginning this week on the J.Q. Rose blog. Talented romance author Nancy Bell kicks off the series and is offering a giveaway to a lucky winner. Come back and discover what readers want to know about Nancy and her writing.

Romance Readers Want to Know on the J.Q. Rose Blog

February 1-7

Romantic suspense, Whispers in the DARK 
by Kris Bock
Back of the Book: Whispers in the Dark
Kylie Hafford craves adventure when she heads to the remote Puebloan ruins of Lost Valley, Colorado, to excavate. Romance isn’t in her plans, but she soon meets two sexy men: Danesh looks like a warrior from the Pueblo’s ancient past, and Sean is a charming, playful tourist. The summer heats up as Kylie uncovers mysteries, secrets, and terrors in the night. She’ll need all her strength and wits to survive—and to save the man she’s come to love. 

Whispers in the Dark is romantic suspense set in the Four Corners region of the Southwest. Reviewers give it a 4.3 star average: “A great read with a strong plot line & likeable characters!”


Pat Garcia said...

Hi J.Q.

I really love your story. It correlates with spring and starting anew. The observation of the young teenagers going to the high school prom bring back a memory of her own and she remembers.


J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Pat. I thought a spring story might be welcome in February!!

Crystal Collier said...

Ah! Love it. You got both ends of the spectrum.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Crystal.

Guilie Castillo said...

Love this entry! It made me think of Gabriel García Márquez's Love In The Time of Cholera... That scene after Fermina's husband's funeral when Florentino makes himself known and tells her he's been waiting however many years... Of course, Fermina's reaction — at least initially — is hardly positive, while Valerie's here is perfect. Then again, she had several months to heal her loss, to take a step or two forward. Good for her. I hope she and T.B. get another chance at romance :)

We don't really have proms in Mexico... The graduation dance is pretty much the equivalent, but that one happens usually at the close of the school year. I went to the one for my then-boyfriend's graduation, except we weren't really "together" at that specific moment... And I got horribly drunk and made an ass of myself. Yep. Not the most romantic memories :D (It's taken me a good quarter-century to be able to laugh about this.)

So glad you joined the Lost & Found hop, J.Q.! I'll be back to your blog for more :)
Guilie @ Life In Dogs

Yolanda Renée said...

Lovely story.
I never attended my prom.
But so many stories do come out of them don't they.
Very well told!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

She finally figured it out!
I went to my senior prom but I hardly even remember who I went with.

Marsha said...

Sweet story, JQ. I couldn't figure out where it was going. Nicely done. :) I'm sharing.

J.Q. Rose said...

Oh dear, Guiiie, at least your graduation dance was a memorable one. I'm not familiar with the story you mention, but the scene does remind me of Val and T.B. too. I live in a senior community in the winter. A story like this happens to many of the folks here. But not me, I've been married to my junior prom date for over 40 years!! Happy to be a part of the blogfest. Thank you.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Rolanda.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi, Alwx. That must've been some prom! Thanks for stopping in!

J.Q. Rose said...

Thank you, Marsha. I like you described it as a sweet story. Thank you for sharing.

Michele at Angels Bark said...

What a fabulous story! I loved it! I was captivated from the very beginning. I felt as if I were Valerie, experiencing what she was seeing and feeling. Really nice!

I didn't go to my prom. I actually graduated a year early so I didn't attend school my senior year. I goofed off and had a blast for half a year before starting college early. Those were the days! How I miss them!

Beautiful story. Great submission for the Lost & Found.

Michele at Angels Bark

Helena Fairfax said...

I loved the ending to your atory, JQ. It really brought a smile to my face.
We didn't have proms when I was at school, but they've become a lot more common now, and my children all had a prom night. We had a "leavers' party" in my day, and I remember it well as I was walked home afterwards by half a dozen young men - much to my parents' surprise :)
Thanks for the sweet story, and for bringing back good memories :)

Denise Covey said...

JQ, a lovely story with many facets. I love the motif of the flowers and how they add to the emotion of the first scene. Beautifully done. And the teen angst...anyone with a teenager recognises this!

dolorah said...

That was brilliant.

My high school did have proms, and dances, and such. I never went to any though. Wish I had.

J.Q. Rose said...

Michelle, thank you. Thrilled to know you were captivated by the story.

J.Q. Rose said...

Helena, glad the story made you smile. Half a dozen boys accompanied you? I've never heard a leaver's party. Leaving/graduating from school? I love learning new lingo.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thank you, Denise. You may not know that I am a retired florist, so flowers appear in a lot of my stories. Glad they added to the emotion of the story. Thanks for co-hosting the blogfest--so many delightful posts and a variety of entries on the lost and found love topic.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Dolorah. Brilliant? Aw, thank you so much.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

How perfect! I loved it.

A guy showed up at my grandma's funeral. No one knew him, and he was sitting all alone. I went to talk with him and he said he had met my grandmother at a community dance. He brought her violets (he said they were her favorite, I never knew, but she did love purple) and filled her dance card and kept her to himself the whole night. He thought he had a chance, but then my grandfather stole her away.

It was sweet. I knew my grandma and grandpa's story (they eloped), but never considered there was any more to the story.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

What a wonderful story! And perfect for this blog hop.

I went to my senior prom with a fella who was a very good friend of mine. I worried no one would ask me, so he said we could either go to his or to mine. (We went to different schools.) After that, a bunch of other guys who "could" have been love interests asked me, but it was too late. All to the best. My friend and I had a blast.

Arlee Bird said...

Outstanding story. Great one for the Lost and Found theme. Thank you!

I never went to any of the school dances, not even senior prom. I wasn't very involved in high school.

Arlee Bird
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