Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Message from C.C. Crescent

Dear Readers,

It has been a year since the first episode of Pine Lake Stories was posted. After fifty-two episodes, it is time for a little hiatus. The plan is that the story line will pick up again in January of 2013. During the break, if any of you would like to post "guest" episodes, please contact me by clicking on the comments  button at the bottom of the post.

In the meantime, here are some story lines to ponder:

  • Has Blake sealed his fate with Jeni?
  • Will Jack and Whitney be happy in their new house?
  • What will it cost Selena and Biff to return to Pine Lake?
  • Will Donati find happiness with Genevra. . . or Priscilla. . . or April?
Who knows what the future holds for Pine Lake Stories?

Until January, best wishes to you all and thank you for reading PLS.

C.C. Crescent

P.S.   Coming soon--my e-book, Turning Points

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Episode 52 Fireworks

John Donati had been on a roll. Work was quiet, which meant if there were any criminal activities in Pine Lake, he didn't know about them. His son, Jack, and daughter-in-law, Whitney, were settled in their new home with a child on the way, and John was feeling way too young to be a grandfather. In the past few weeks, he'd been enjoying the kind of no-strings-attached love affair with Genevra Adams that he'd thought he'd never see again at this stage of his life. Genevra had proved to be an excellent companion mentally and physically. Life was good. It worried him when everything was going so well; something was bound to happen to upset the status quo.

For old times' sake, he would occasionally cruise past the house of his ex-wife, April. She'd moved to San Francisco in the spring, but so far hadn't made any attempt to put the house up for sale. The cop in John reminded him that an empty house was a trouble magnet; therefore, he felt it was his duty to keep tabs on the place. Donati wondered why she hadn't sold; secretly, he hoped she would eventually return. For the grandchild.

This afternoon, drifting by her house, he saw a car in the driveway and a woman standing at the front door. For a moment, his heart leapt. But soon enough, he realized the woman wasn't April. He rolled up to the curb, put the police cruiser in park, and got out of the car.

"Something I can help you with, ma'am?" he asked. The woman turned around. She smiled as he approached, and right away he figured that she wasn't casing the joint or up to no good; criminals didn't offer smiles like that to uniforms.

"Officer, do you know if April Donati still lives here? Well, at least I think her name is still Donati. The last time I heard from her, she was considering a, um, change. I actually haven't seen her for years, but she's an old friend of mine from college. We were in Florence together, studying art. "

"May I ask who you are?" Donati knew April kept up with some of her friends from college, and she had gone to Florence her senior year.

"I'm Priscilla Rossini."

Donati recognized the name. April had told him several stories about this woman. In the midst of his recollection, he realized that Ms. Rossini had the most beautiful brown eyes he'd ever seen. Her skin was smooth and luminous, and the touch of gray in her thick dark hair only accentuated the elegance of her appearance.

She held out her hand, which he took. That was the precise moment John Donati fell irretrievably in love.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Episode 51 An Awakening

Blake could feel his blood pressure rising. It was bad enough that Jeni was being as loud and obnoxious as a fishwife; she was also wearing the most outrageous outfit he'd ever seen--what kind of woman wore fishnet stockings and a skin-tight leopard print mini-dress that left none of her ample, obviously pregnant figure to the imagination? Her navel, protruding from the distortion of her belly, was  definitely not a turn on. How could she be so crass? He knew she reveled in attention, but although everyone in the restaurant was staring at her, it was not in a good way. At least he'd been able to talk her into going to the city for dinner. Had they been at Taverna, the humiliation would have been unbearable.

When the waitress came to their table, Jeni didn't hesitate with her order. "I'll take the surf and turf special. And a gin martini with an olive."

"A martini, ma'am?" the waitress asked, glancing briefly at Jeni's bulging midriff.

"Yeah, a martini. You gotta problem with that?"

The waitress looked at Blake, who merely shrugged. He'd had this argument with Jeni before.
"I'm not letting this kid run my life," she'd said. "If I want a drink, I'll damn well have one. Or two. Or four."

After the waitress departed, he sat staring at his well-manicured hands, wondering what demons had possessed him that he was now stuck with this horrible woman. In his darker moments, when he thought about how he had ruined his life, those demons came back and taunted him. "The only way you'll ever be free is if you kill her," they would chant. He was beginning to agree with them.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Episode 50 L.A. Goodbye?

Selena stood before the mirror and took a moment to savor contentment, perhaps even her first sense of joy that her recovery was complete. From this distance and angle, she looked good. The red silk dress was a perfect fit and a stunning contrast with her black hair. The make-up gal had done a great job of accenting her dark eyes, and the scar was barely visible. Amazing what a good Hollywood plastic surgeon could do.

"Hey, babe, you about ready to wrap here?" Biff sauntered up beside her.

"Yeah, we're done. Right, Micky?" she asked the fashion photographer with whom had spent the last three hours.

"It's all good, hon," he replied, packing up his gear. "This was the easiest shoot I've had in a year. I hope we'll work together again soon."

Selena turned to Biff. "It went really well. Mick's a genius. We might even make the cover this time. Not bad for an old scar-face, eh?"

A flicker of something--annoyance, jealousy, pity, maybe even frustration--passed over Biff's face before he answered. "You're beautiful. Now go get changed so we can get out of here."

Biff didn't like hanging around other photographers' shoots. He said it made him antsy, like he should be working harder. Selena didn't understand why he would feel that way. If anyone was going to be uncomfortable, it would be the other guy. How intimidating would it be to have the country's hottest celeb photographer dropping by to pick up his girlfriend?

In the months that they'd been in L.A., Biff Monroe had struck it lucky and established himself as the portrait photographer of choice for Hollywood's elite. He'd made a pile of dough, spoiled Selena rotten, and could pretty much write his own ticket. She knew for a fact that he had enough work lined up to keep them in an upper tax bracket for years to come.

An hour later, Selena and Biff were sitting at a table on the patio at Yabu in West Hollywood. She could tell something was bothering him. He had been too quiet and now he was studying his water glass like he'd never seen the stuff before.

"What's going on?" she asked in a tone that she hoped let him know whatever the trouble was, she would help him work through it.

He met her gaze. "We need to go back."

"To Pine Lake? Are you serious?"

"I'm totally serious."

"But why? We've got it great here. There's nothing for us in Pine Lake." So much for helping work through this one, she thought. The last place on earth she wanted to go was anywhere near her father. She was done with him. And with Pine Lake.

"There's family."

"Yeah. Exactly. How can you forget what happened?"

"Your father can't hurt us. Not now. And that's not the family I was talking about. I need to find out what's going on with my mother that she would run off to Vegas and marry Matt Wilson. What the hell was she thinking?"

"I agree that's kind of a shocker, but he always seemed okay." Selena paused for a minute before adding, "And what about our work? I'm just getting started again."

 Biff shrugged. "That's what airplanes are for. We can travel when we want to work, but I want us to live in Pine Lake."


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Episode 49 Homecoming

On the drive back to Pine Lake from the airport, Claire was very quiet.

"You okay?" Matt asked.

She smiled at him, but the smile didn't quite reach her eyes. "Yes, but it's been an intense couple of days."

"Vegas tends to be that way. And we sure made the most of it."

"You know people are going to talk."

"Really?" His voice rang with sarcasm. He glanced briefly at her, then returned his eyes to the highway. "Sweetheart, the good folks of Pine Lake always talk. They've had plenty to say about me since I moved to town, and Lord knows they've always had plenty to say about you. We should both be used to it. The only thing that's going to change now is that they will talk about us together. And I'm okay with that."

"It might get ugly."

"Not for us." Taking one hand off the steering wheel, he caressed her cheek lightly and said, "Not as long as we're together."

Claire held up the sparkling new wedding rings on her left hand. "I do believe we just made promises to stay together forever."

"You know that's going to be enough to keep tongues wagging for six months. Hey, maybe Genevra Adams will do a feature story on us for 'Pine Heart'. After all, we are probably Pine Lake's one and only couple to be married by an Elvis impersonator."

The idea of Genevra even considering such a story made Claire laugh aloud. She glanced at her new husband and felt a rush of love and contentment that she'd never known before. Matt Wilson had come into her life like the proverbial knight in shining armor. He was right--the gossip was nothing new, and this time she had nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Episode 48 Another Long Night

Genevra Adams and John Donati? There was hardly a less likely pair, thought Helen Kallias as she watched the two of them leave Taverna together. They'd been at the bar for an hour, then moved to a cozy two-top at the back of the dining room where they'd sat drinking, sharing a plate of fried calamari, and chattering away like old chums until midnight.

Helen had approached their table a couple of times, discreetly, hoping to hear something of their conversation, but there was nothing they discussed that she hadn't known already: John was upset that his ex-wife had moved to San Francisco; Genevra was disgusted with her husband and children.

Genevra's kids weren't so bad--except maybe for Billy, who was just pitiable--but Helen could sure understand why Blake Adams was on Genevra's shit list. The guy was an idiot. Everyone in town knew he was screwing around with that trashy Jeni DuMont.

What was it about these men--Helen's husband, Nick, as well as Blake--that made them behave so badly? They strutted around, treated their wives like hired help, did a lousy job of parenting, then when the shit hit the fan, they acted like the messes in their lives were everyone else's fault.

Again tonight, Nick had left the restaurant before ten. Mr. Big Shot didn't have the stamina to make it though an entire day any more. It would have made Helen sad if she weren't so profoundly angry with him. The image of Selena's face, the crimson scar running from her left eye to her chin, dispelled any feelings of pity Helen might have had for her husband. He'd brought on misery when he'd tried to outsmart Fate.

The last of the diners headed to the door. The busboys swarmed in to clear up and re-set tables for the next day. Gus closed out the bar, and Helen went to her office.

Long after everyone else had left, she locked up and headed home in the calming blue light before dawn.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Episode 47 At the Bar

"Well, well. If the Chief of Police is at the bar, who's keeping the streets of Pine Lake safe?"

Genevra Adams slid onto the barstool next to John Donati. He glared at her. "Slumming tonight, Genevra?"

"Don't be snide." She turned to the bartender, a dark-eyed young man standing in for Taverna's regular barman. "Jameson. On the rocks. The good stuff, not the crap."

Lost in his own thoughts, Donati ignored the woman next to him. They each nursed their respective libations until she broke the silence. "So why isn't Jack behind the bar tonight?"

"He's busy." Donati answered without taking his eyes off his drink. He could feel her staring at him, but he refused to meet her gaze.

"What's the matter, Ossifer? You're looking a little sorry for yourself. People might start to talk."

"Huh?" He turned his head, squinting at her.

"You look like someone just drowned your cat. And slightly blotto to boot."

"Don't have a cat." Donati went back to contemplating the melted ice in the bottom of his glass.

"Right. Sorry."

The police chief knew he was being a jerk. He couldn't quite bring himself to apologize for his rude behavior, but he could at least be civil. "What brings the lovely Mrs. Adams here tonight, all on her own?"

"It's a long, ugly story." She drained the amber liquid in her glass.

Donati was pretty sure he knew most of the story, but mostly to ease his own misery, he said, "How 'bout I buy you another drink and you can tell me all about it?"