In keeping with the subject matter of the week (love, duh) and because people keep asking me to share more of my writing, I’ve decided to release another excerpt from my new novel, The Art of Letting Go. This scene takes place about two-thirds of the way through the book, right when Daniella is learning how to let go, and it’s in the middle of a few vignettes showing what Daniella and David’s relationship looked like before he died. It’s a pretty cute scene that I’m Rather Proud Of, and basically spoiler-free, so here it is! Enjoy! (And, as always, let me know what you think in the comments!)
Another memory resurfaces. This time, it’s of David and I, alone at his house, making dinner together. As I splash a few drops of wine over some chicken, I realize something. It reminds me of a scene from one of Mal’s favorite romantic comedies where an unlikely couple is making dinner together. Cliché, yes, but it was an adorable scene. I glance across the countertop, where David is chopping celery, onions, and carrots, then turn back to the chicken and smile.
We’re a pretty unlikely couple, but also kind of a stereotypical couple: the football player with the cheerleader. It’s the couple in every teen angsty drama. But… David and I have something different. He asked me if we could hang out before he knew I was a cheerleader, and I didn’t know he was on the football team until a week or so later. Also, he’s in regular classes and looking at a full-ride football scholarship for college next year. I’m in mostly honors classes, but I don’t have any colleges picked out – yet – so my college-related future is a little fuzzier. I know the first place I’m going to apply, though, and it’s going to be wherever David’s going.
“Almost ready for this mess?” he asks, looking up at me.
“I’ve been ready, kid,” I tell him, grinding some pepper over the chicken. “Isn’t that supposed to go in here first? After, like, sauteing it?”
“Ehh, it’s okay.” He glances up at me, grinning, then sticks his tongue out and bites it between his teeth as he starts chopping again.
I swear, the guy could be one of those professional chefs on a cooking show. He’s got the look, too, which I think matters more than the skills. He’s amazing when it comes to cooking. I’ve only had two meals that he’s made, but I already know it for a fact – the guy can cook like nobody’s business. I fold my arms and lean on the counter, watching him with a smile on my face. My mind wanders to ten years from now, where I can totally see us doing this in our kitchen, with one or two little kids running around at our feet. The thought makes me grin like the idiot I am.
“Ready!” He dumps the celery, onions, and carrots into the pan with the chicken. Then, he feigns a scared face. “Boy, I hope we’re doing this right.”
“I don’t think there’s a wrong way to cook,” I say, opening the oven door and sticking the pan in.
“Of course there’s a wrong way to cook. Are you mental?”
I roll my eyes. “It’s food, so, I mean, as long as it’s still edible when we’re done with it, I think we’ll be good.”
David laughs. I frown slightly as I close the oven door. “What?”
I turn to him and peer at him slightly. “What about me?”
“You’re so funny.”
“No, I’m not.”
“Yeah, you are.”
I try to keep myself from grinning and roll my eyes again. “Whatever.”
“Whatever,” he says, copying my tone exactly as he rolls his eyes. Almost immediately after, he presses his fingers to his eyes. “Gah, my eyes are burning. Stupid onions.”
I giggle, watching him fan his eyes with a towel. “I hate cutting onions because of that right there. You start crying and then it ruins your makeup.”
Instantly, he smothers his face in the towel and starts fake-sobbing. Then, he looks up at me with puppy-dog eyes, sniffing a little. “Is my mascara running?”
I laugh and slap the towel out of his hand. He grins and picks it up off the floor in one fluid motion. I watch him fold it in thirds and put it on the counter, right beside the oven. Pride swells up inside of me for no reason whatsoever. I love this man.
Embarrassed at myself, I shake my head to clear my mind. “So what’s for dessert?”
“I was thinking of something with peaches,” he says, filling our glasses with water. “We’ve got, like, a million in the pantry. My mom’s got this thing for peaches and it’s kinda rubbed off on me and my dad, so we always go pick some at least twice when they’re in season. You like peaches, right?”
“I love peaches.”
David laughs a little, clearly surprised. “Really? No kidding?”
“No kidding!” I grin and shake my head slightly. “Peaches are so common around here, it feels like everybody I meet is tired of them.”
“Same here!” he says, still incredulous.
“It’s my favorite fruit.”
“Mine, too!” He furrows his brow, but the smile is still on his lips. “That’s kinda crazy.”
“Only kinda,” I reply, smiling a little and fingering the chain of my necklace. “What’s your least favorite fruit?”
He pulls a disgusted face. “Plums.” He shivers and sticks his tongue out, as if he can taste it. “They’re purple and slimy and yucky and I do not like them.”
“You sound like a three-year-old,” I tell him, laughing. “’Yucky.’ HA.”
“What’s your least-favorite fruit?” he counters, as if it’s an argument.
“Bananas,” I say, my face making nearly the exact same expression. “Because they’re mushy and just nasty.”
“Now you sound like a three-year-old,” David tells me, a twinkle in his eye. Then, it’s as if an idea hits him. “I’m gonna call you Peach.”
I laugh. “Why?”
“Because it’s awesome. And because, a while ago, you asked me to come up with a better nickname for you, because Danny-ella isn’t good enough.”
I smile. “Okay.”
“Peach it is.”
“Then I’ll call you Plum.”
David’s face contorts again. “Why?”
“Because it’s awesome.”
David grins that billion-dollar grin again and the twinkle returns to his eye. “Okay.”