This is the prologue to my contemporary romance novel. Please note the novel (including this piece) is still in the “beginning stages” (meaning it still needs pretty heavy editing!).
The story is about Jeremy Bryant, a man who seems to have everything together, and his sister’s best friend, Emily Pond, the girl who just can’t seem to catch a break. They have known each other since childhood and though they once were close an incident more than ten years ago has made things awkward between them. Still, after determinedly avoiding each other for a decade, the death of Emily’s fiancé brings them back into each other’s company.
The first chapter will take place a year after the prologue.
Who had ever heard of needing a date to a funeral? Jeremy Bryant thought as he stood awkwardly beside his younger sister, Amy. He was uncomfortable on the hot day, sweat trickling down his back in the too hot church. His suit, while stylishly somber, was certainly not breathable. It was agony and the situation was made all the more uncomfortable by the fact that he didn’t even know the man.
Michael Adams, aged thirty two, taken far too soon by cancer.
It was sad. Of course it was sad. But Jeremy and Michael had never met and he had no idea what to say to any of the people in their grief. His default was to tell a joke but judging by the number of times Amy’s elbow had hit his ribs he guessed that wasn’t the most appropriate response in this situation.
His first funeral and it was already more awkward than he ever could have imagined.
Still, Amy had practically begged him to attend and he didn’t have a good reason not to. Amy had always found it difficult to be around grief and the prospect of a room full of sad people terrified her. She claimed she needed him there for moral support so moral support he would be.
After all, it wasn’t as if she could skip it.
Jeremy might not have known Michael but his sister certainly had. Michael had been engaged to Amy’s best friend, Emily Pond. Widowed before she’d even got to walk down the aisle. (Was it still widowed if you’d only been engaged?)
Jeremy shook his head slightly, trying to curb his train of thought and focus on the priest. It had been years since he had been inside a church.
He let his eyes stray to Emily, standing at the front of the church holding the hand of a sobbing woman, likely Michael’s mother. Even from where he stood he could see the slight tremor in Emily’s shoulders as she cried.
Jeremy had gotten to know Emily well over the years. As Amy’s best friend they’d played together as children and got into mischief as they grew. But when high school came they’d spent less time together. Jeremy was three years older and suddenly it became less cool to hang out with his younger sister. It didn’t help matters that Amy and Emily had been very academic, involved in all the clubs and even going on to attend the same university together.
Jeremy was still close to his sister and he couldn’t imagine a better friend but he had lost touch with Emily over the years. This made being here at her dead fiancé’s funeral all the more uncomfortable.
Their first meeting in close to eight years and he had no idea how to even greet her.
Emily had always been such a kind person, quiet and lovely, and Jeremy truly felt sorry for her loss. Here was a girl who deserved the good things in life and at twenty eight she’d already lost both her mother and her fiancé.
The procession started down the church, the priest leading followed by the family with the pews emptying behind. Jeremy watched Emily as she walked down the aisle, now practically holding up her almost mother in law as sobs wracked the older woman’s body. She walked with perfect posture, holding herself as rigidly as possible as if to take control of the emotions.
Emily’s face shone with tears and her green eyes which stared straight ahead at the ground in front of her were bright with them, their mossy colour so vivid in her sadness. She was thinner than he remembered and Jeremy thought back to the updates Amy had given him as Michael went through treatment. He knew things had been hard on her, every moment filled with Michael and his needs as they struggled together.
Jeremy let Amy take his arm as they followed slowly behind the crowd towards the hall for the funeral reception. His sister sighed behind him, tears in her eyes and her discomfort visible only to those who knew her well. Jeremy reached up with his other hand to slightly loosen his tie, his discomfort far more noticeable than his sister’s.
Beyond her discomfort, Amy too was sad, having been quite close with Michael over the last few years. But she was keeping things together, ready to be strong for Emily.
Once in the hall Jeremy took a seat at a table off in the corner as his sister went to comfort Emily.