Finding Henry: Jingle Bell Rock

This is a little excerpt from my NaNoWriMo project.  It’s rough.  I think the scene is pretty self-explanatory.   The characters are Susan, my protagonist, who abandoned her baby twenty years ago, and Max, her ex-husband and father of the baby.

“Max,” Susan said sniffling into her phone.  “I need a huge favor.  I’m sorry to call and ask, but I don’t have anywhere else.”

“Susan, what’s wrong?  You sound like you’re crying.”

“Someone broke into my apartment.”

“Are you okay?  Did you call the police?”

“I’m fine, the cops just left, but I need a place to go tonight.  Do you think I could stay with you?  I know it’s a lot to ask, but I just don’t feel safe here right now and my window’s broken and it’s cold out”

“Susan, stop, of course you can come.  I’ll swing by to get you.”


She hung up the phone and grabbed an overnight bag.  She quickly threw in some pajamas, her toothbrush, hairbrush, a change of clothes for the next day, and some clean underwear.  She found Baby hidden beneath the bed and wrestled him out, dumping him into his carrier.  Baby yowled like he was in heat.

“I know, Baby, I know.  But we have to go tonight.  We’ll come home soon.”

She gathered up some food for him, and grabbed his bowls.  She looked around her apartment.  The place was a mess.  The sofa cushions were upended, the lamps were knocked over.  There was food all over the kitchen from the refrigerator that had been knocked over and now leaned against the counter on the opposite side of her tiny kitchen.  She stepped over the puddle of milk on the floor and pushed the fridge back in place, closing the door.   She would straighten up the rest tomorrow.  Right now, she just wanted to get out of there.

She picked up her bag and yowling Baby.  She locked the apartment door and laughed.

“I guess that’s not really necessary, huh, Baby?”

She headed down to the building’s lobby and waited until Max pulled up in front.  His taxi with the Christmas wreath lashed to the front pulled up and she got in, placing the still yowling Baby on her lap.

“Thanks for picking me up.”

“You have a cat,” said Max.

“Oh, yeah.  This is Baby.”

She held the carrier up to him.

“Baby, this is Max.”

“I didn’t know you had a cat,” he said.

“Oh, I hope it’s not a problem.  I couldn’t just leave him, he’d get out the window.”

“No, no problem.  I just wasn’t expecting it.”

Max peered into the carrier.  Baby hissed at him.

“He’s just scared,” Susan said, turning the carrier around.

“That must be a big hole in your window,” Max said.

Susan pushed his arm.

“Stop it,” she said.  “He can’t help it.  He has big bones.”

Jingle Bell Rock was playing on the radio.  Max started to hum along as he changed lanes.  Susan strained to hear him over Baby’s incessant protests.  She had forgotten the humming.  He had hummed since they were kids, whenever a song came on, he hummed.  Actually, he had started out singing, but when they were eight his mother had told him not everyone was a born singer, but anyone could hum.  He hummed from then on.  His mother was right, Max couldn’t sing, but Susan had always found his melodic humming soothing.  She closed her eyes and bounced her foot along to the song.

This post is in response to this prompt from the Red Dress Club.  I was in a Christmas-y mood.

Jingle Bell Rock

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18 Responses to “Finding Henry: Jingle Bell Rock”

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  1. Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli
    Twitter: kristinglas

    Awesome! My sister has a new kitten named Henry. As soon as I read the title I assumed there’d be a cat involved.

  2. Casey
    Twitter: MaritimeMom

    Definitely love the cat angle. I am interested to see why she turned to her ex, versus a friend. keep it coming!

  3. Kim says:

    I laughed out loud because people are always saying about our cat – GEE, He likes to eat. And I always say defensively, He is big boned!

    Visiting from REd Dress

  4. Ratz says:

    LOL. Big Bones. I never liked cats. I am sorry but i just find them too cunning. Anyways i enjoyed the read. i remember the story you told us last time and i felt a part of it. just thinking of how things will end.

  5. Carrie
    Twitter: Miss_Scarlett99

    is Baby a Siamese? Everyone always seems to name Siamese cats “baby” :)

    Looking forward to reading more :)

  6. Aging Mommy says:

    You have very easily and effectively established that there is a strong rapport between these two, affection, shared memories etc so it begs the question what went wrong – more please!

  7. The Drama Mama
    Twitter: poopscoopinmama

    Your story is unedited right? Haha, you are doing a much better writing than I am. I have forgotten so much grammar. ;)

    I’m really into this story!!

    • Jessica Anne says:

      Ha! It’s super unedited. I’m really taking that just write it thing to heart. I considered not posting this because it’s so rough, but I have no shame. :)

  8. erin
    Twitter: erinlynn76

    I’m hooked! Dying to know why she called her ex. How she was even brave enough to stay in the apartment to grab a few things. I’d have been scared out of my mind!

    p.s. following you now & came by from THe Red Dress Club!

  9. Mommylebron
    Twitter: mommylebron

    I can tell from this short peek that you’ve got a good thing going! Great job, you wove the song in very subtly but without actually hiding it.

  10. Cheryl @ Mommypants
    Twitter: mommy_pants

    I liked this. A very fun excerpt and of course it leads to more questions b/c of what we already know. Thanks for sharing!!