Low Road is the only novel I’ve written. For the longest time, it was the only work of fiction I completed. And…since I’ve started editing it, it’s not really a ‘novel’ anymore. I guess it’s more of a ‘short story’.
Recap: Rod is now living with his mom and her boyfriend. Because of his health scare (a heart attack), Rod is also having to attend AA meetings. It’s here where he meets Daniella.
Daniella called as I was clocking out. Spring was near. It was a clear day. She pulled into the parking lot, windows rolled down, and her sunglasses on. I got in. She turned the music up. It was another shitty pop song that I didn’t know. But I didn’t care. I grooved to it with her.
We went to some hole-in-the-wall burger joint in town. I got a burger and water. She just ordered a coke.
“I can’t tell you enough how thankful I am that you called me.” Daniella said.
“Well, thank you for answering.”
We shared a few laughs. Daniella wanted to know more about me.
“I got kicked out of the University of Texas”, I told her. “I was writing other student’s papers. I was one semester away from graduating.”
“Were you a lit major?”
“No. Engineering. I was even applying to Stanford for a Ph.D.”
“How the hell did you end up out here?”
“I was on my way to California. I had a lot of money. But I was with my girlfriend and she stole everything. Here I am.”
“Why did you have lots of money?”
“Have you heard of Jack Schilling?”
“He’s a writer from Kansas.”
“I wrote his next book. I ghost wrote it. I got ripped off on it though. Doesn’t matter, he gave me more money than I ever had.”
Daniella glared at me from across the table. “You’re full of fucking shit”, she said.
“Doesn’t matter what you believe”, I replied. “It happened. He used me to write his shitty book.”
Daniella chuckled and took another sip of her coke. Then she looked back over at me. “You’re a fucking lunatic”, she said.
We kept talking until sunset. All the other customers left. Management had to kicked us out. She dropped me off at my house. I was getting out of the car when she lightly touched my arm. I turned around and made eye contact. I leaned in and kissed her. We lightly made out in her car for several minutes. When it ended, I told her that I would see her soon.
As I walked towards the house, I would have jumped up and clicked my heels if I knew how.
I found Lance and Mom sipping on their beers inside. Cigarette smoke filled the air. Lance tried to convince me to join them. I declined and retreated to my bedroom.
I thought that I had a connection with Taryn. I’ve felt that way with many women. But was it different with Daniella?
Was I in love this time?