It happened one night

It happened one night

A Chapter by brezybaby3

Sherrie and Max meet


                                Chapter One

She’d met him during the darkest night of her life five years ago.  She was sitting on a park bench, her three-month-old bundled against the cold. She had nowhere to go, and no one to see.

He sat beside her, quietly taking in her bedraggled appearance.

“Hi, I’m Max.” He said. Keeping his tone low so he didn’t wake the sleeping infant.

“I’m Sherrie. This is Celine.”

“Nice to meet you both. What are you doing out here on such an awful night?”

A single tear slipped from her eye. “We have nowhere else to go.”

“Will you let me get you a motel room for a couple nights? Just until you figure it out?”

She looked up, her blue-black eyes shimmering in the moonlight. “Why?”

He shrugged. “I don’t want to see anything happen to you. This isn’t the best place to be after dark.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.” He grabbed her hand to help her up. “Have you eaten?”

“I had a sandwich for lunch.” She answered him.

“Come along then.  We’ll get you something to eat and then check you into the hotel.”

“Nothing too expensive. McDonalds if fine.”

He looked at her, aghast. “No, it’s not. I’m assuming you are nursing, so you need a proper dinner.”

She shrugged and followed him to his car. Moonlight danced on the hood of the silver Camry as he led her to the car. Fear creeped in, making her wonder if he would harm her or Celine.  Why would someone who had it easy financially help someone like her?

Max opened the door for her, his dark curly hair starting to curl in the misty rain falling. She had only two choices. Run or get in. She said a prayer and got in.

He fed her dinner that night and checked her into a nice motel for three months. He checked on her daily and soon they were the best of friends. He helped her when no one else could and she thanked God for him daily.



Three months passed quickly, Sherrie getting into a routine with little Celine and working for the first time. Finding a job while having no experience and only a GED had been difficult. She’d finally managed to snag a job at the motel as a maid. She hoped to be promoted to office at some point.

She was at the end of her stay and needed to decide what she was going to do.  She had no idea what to do.  Her phone rang, and she answered to hear Max’s pleasant voice on the other end of the line.

“Hello, beautiful! What are my two favorite girls doing tonight?”

She smiled. It made her feel good when Max called her beautiful. “Nothing but TV and food. Wanna come over and hang out with us?”

“Actually, that’s why I’m calling. I wanted to see if you two wanted to go out tonight.”

“I guess that would be ok.”

“Great!  I’ll pick you up at six then.” He told her, the smile on his face reflected in his voice.

“See you then!” she said with a smile and hung up. Two more hours to go until she was off and then she could spend a relaxing evening with max.


Promptly at six Max knocked on her door.

“Come on in” she hollered from where she was putting Celine in her car sea Using his key, max stepped inside the dimly lit room.

“You know, electricity is paid for in your rent, right?”

Sherrie laughed. “Yeah, but if I don’t need it on why use it?”

“Point taken.” He nodded. “You look cute tonight.”

She looked down at her jeans and Seahawks jersey. Nothing outstanding there. She had her hair pulled into braids down her back and just a light coating of make-up. “Really? I don’t see it.”

He looked at her, “Don’t you know how beautiful you are Sher?”

She shrugged. “Not really. I haven’t been told that by anyone but you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok. Can’t miss something you’ve never had.”

He grabbed her hand and changed the subject. “Let’s eat, I’m starved. I guess you want to hit Tuffy’s?”

“Well, I do think with my choice of clothes that Sweet Gardens is out of the question.”

“Yeah,” he shook his head. “I don’t think Tessa would approve.”

“She never does anyway.”

She grabbed her coat and he grabbed the baby as they headed off to Tuffy’s


Tuffy’s was quiet for a Wednesday night. Only three of the bright aqua booths were occupied. They chose their seats and sat waiting for their waitress.

“I don’t normally see you two on a Wednesday night.” Alera said as she sat a coffee in front of Max and a sprite in front of Sherrie.

“I felt the girls needed a night out.” Max told her.

“Do you want the usual, or something different?”

“I want a steak tonight, Al. “Max said, all smiles.

“I want the usual.” Sherrie replied.

“I’ll get them out to you in a jif.”

Max watched her walk away then turned to look at Sherrie. She really was a beautiful woman. Her blonde hair fell in soft curls to the middle of her back and her eyes were dark as midnight. She was only 22 but had been through so much in her life that she seemed older.  He had something to ask her, but was unsure of how to proceed.

“Have you made any decisions about your living arrangements?”

She took a sip of her drink and looked at him. “Not really. The motel said I could continue to stay there, with a discount, as long as I want. But Celine will be mobile soon and I want a bigger place for us.”

“I have a question for you.” He said as he took her hand. He touched her rarely since she didn’t seem to like being touched but he felt the moment lent itself to at least holding her hand. “I just bought a new house and I would like you and Celine to move in with me.”

“Live with you?” she squeaked out.  “Like live, live with you?”

“No. Just as friends. There are five bedrooms. You’d have your own space.”

She nodded. “Okay, I’ll think about it.”

Max smiled at her. “That’s all I’m asking. Do you want to see the place?”

Her smile lit up the room. “I would love to. I love looking at houses.”

“Ok, as soon as we’re done, we’ll run over there.”

“Food’s hot and good.” Alera said as she set their meals in front of them.

“Thanks, Al.” They said in unison causing all three of them to giggle

Sherrie chatted about her day while they ate.  Little things like finding a $20 in one room and turning it in. And how much she hated mopping the bathroom floors. “I wish they would put carpet in there. Mopping sucks.”

Max smiled at her through it all. He knew he was in deep and probably would never be more than just her friend. But he could live with that if she was always a part of his life.




© 2018 brezybaby3

My Review

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You're focused on the visual, in this, describing what you see happening on the film-screen of your mind. And because you are, you see everyone's expression change as events motivate them to act. And, unlike the reader, you can hear the emotion in their voices that says as much as the words do. You can see gesture and body language. Will the mere fact of Max saying hello and giving his name make the reader know if she eyes him with distrust, or friendship before speaking? Which of those she feels makes a HUGE difference in the ambiance of the story. Without that, will we know her first-impression of him, her feelings toward him as a result of that, and why she decided to give her name. Can we know her, by reading only what amounts to "this happened...then that happened...he said...and she...?"

See the problem? You, as the one who visualized the scene, know all the things the reader can't. So for you it flows smoothly and makes perfect sense. For me, were I in her place, and knowing her situation, no way in hell would I simply respond with my name when a stranger introduces himself. I'd evaluate his possible motives, and the danger he might present before deciding to speak. And that would effect the tone in my voice, and my body-language as I gave my name. Yes, later, you have her show concern, but how real can it be that she only does it when she's about to get in the car? And how real can it be that neither of them ask the question that they should, before doing what they do?

You're thinking in terms of Story, with a capital S, as being what the reader comes to you for. But it's not. Story, the overall plot, can only be appreciated in retrospect. Your reader is looking for an emotional, not an informational experience. They don't want overview and summation. They want to live the story in real time, in the moment your protagonist calls now. They want to be in the viewpoint of one of the characters, evaluating and reacting. They want you to make them CARE, not just know.

But which of them is your protagonist? Neither, because in the end we don't know them as people, only as plot devices, who say what you choose to make them say, no matter if real people in that situation wouldn't, and blindly obey your script. Were you thinking AS HER as you wrote the story, with her resources, needs, and worries, her behavior would have been different. She would have analyzed the situation, and the options, to decide how to respond. We would know her as a person, and him through her perception and analysis of his behavior, appearance, voice, and more. It would, then, be her story. The same is true had you chosen him as the protagonist.

In short, you're writing exactly as you were taught to write, and using the book-report and essay writing skills our teachers give us. That's great if you're on the job, writing reports, papers, and letters, with the intent of informing the reader. But fiction's goal is to entertain. And because it is, our profession, like any other, has its own set of craft, and tricks of the trade that must be mastered.

The thing we come to writing unaware of is that we all leave school exactly as well prepared to write fiction as to pilot a 747 airliner. And though we do know we're not ready to fly as a commercial pilot, we all assume that we have the writing techniques needed for fiction.

Want some good news? You write really well for someone in that situation. And I say that damn seldom in these forums. More good news? Nothing I said relates to you, personally, your talent, or your potential as a writer. Everything I said relates to the learned part of the profession. So the solution to your problem is simple: add the specialized tricks of fiction-writing to those your already own.

Unfortunately, while it is that simple, it's not all that easy, for several reasons. First, there is a lot to learn. There are as many tricks to fiction as to nonfiction, and you've been working on that since first grade—though I suspect that you're going to enjoy the learning, because it's like going backstage at the theater, and filled with "Oh...really? Why didn't I see that for myself?"

The second reason is the really hard one. After all the study and practice with your current writing skills they feel intuitive. And the new tricks you'll be learning are going to "feel wrong," to them. So without your noticing, they will grab the controls and "fix" the writing as it's flowing onto the page. And because it "feels right," you'll not notice—often till someone as mean as me points it out, which can be immensely frustrating, and discouraging.

But when it does come, you'll wonder why it was so hard to learn, because it's so simple and obvious. And of more importance, having traded the sturdy little cart-horse of writing skills our teachers give us for Pegasus, mounted on a flying beast, you'll have a way to give your words wings, too. And who knows where they'll fly to?

So since you are skilled in the basics, I'm recommending a bit of a tough approach:

First dig through the articles in my writing blog for an overview of the issues involved. They won't teach you how to write, but may help you see the map more clearly, so to speak. Then, dig up a copy of Dwight Swain's, Techniques of the Selling Writer. It's an older book, and he talks about your typewriter, not your keyboard. And, like the men of his time, he assumed that a serious writer was male. Forgive him for that, because his words are gold.

In fact, you can sort of preview the book by picking up the pair of hour-long audio lectures he gave at his workshops. It's only $6 for an Amazon download of, Dwight Swain, Master Writing Teacher.

But don't stop there, because while they will help immensely, you want to read that book, slowly, with a stop as each point is introduced to think of how it relates to you, and to practice the point for a few days to make it yours. Without that, a week after reading it, you will have forgotten the point.

And as if that isn't enough, when you finish it, use what you've learned for about six months, then read it again. You'll get as much the second time, in addition, because now, you'll have a better idea of where he's going.

But overall, keep in mind that writing isn't a destination. It's a journey, one you'll spend a lifetime traveling. So if you learn a a little more every day, and live long enough...

More good news? While it never gets easier, if you work hard at it, you'll change the crap to gold ratio for the better, and, end up confused on a much higher level. So hang in there, and keep-on-writing.

Jay Greenstein

Posted 1 Year Ago

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1 Review
Added on December 22, 2018
Last Updated on December 22, 2018



napavine, WA

I started writing in 8th grade when the teacher put up a writing prompt for our journal and the story just flowed from my pen. I have had several poems published. I am currently going through my poe.. more..

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