A Selfish Moment
by Tanya Miranda
Jubilee is a blackout drunk. Everett is drunk with love.
Can Jubilee remember their perfect evening together?
Will Everett wait and see?
Jubilee Ray wakes up Saturday morning in a strange bed with a handsome guy asleep at her side and no memory of how she got there. Everett Salerno wakes up ecstatic about the incredible night he spent with Jubilee. She can’t wait to get out of his apartment and he can’t wait to start their romance. Jubilee is a blackout drunk. Everett is drunk with love.
Their one-night-stand ends almost as quickly as it began, however fate has other plans in mind. In the next three days filled with impossible coincidences, humiliating moments, and mouthwatering recollections, Everett can’t find the right moment to express his intentions and Jubilee can’t let go of her past long enough to really give Everett a chance.
Neither Jubilee nor Everett can let go of that first night together. Was that one perfect evening a fluke, or was it a preview of something greater than they ever imagined?
* * * * *
Excerpt from A Selfish Moment
Chapter 1 – Jubilee – 9:00 A.M. on Saturday
The bass drum pounding in my temples seems trivial when my stomach gurgles up a drop of bile into my mouth. I gasp quietly the instant I realize I’m completely naked and lying on someone else’s bed. It’s not until I try recalling last night’s events that I’m paralyzed by a single, dreadful fact: I can’t remember how I got here.
When I slide out from under the warm comforter onto the cold hardwood floor, the bedframe creaks and I freeze in place, my body completely exposed. I quickly scan the room, my eyes out of focus, and spot a man asleep on the other side of the bed, on top of the same blankets, wearing checkered pajama pants and a white tee shirt. My eyes finally cooperate and I study his face.
How do I know him? Who is he? Concentrate.
This pillow is hardly big enough to cover my breasts, but I use it anyway and begin the hunt for my clothes. I tiptoe out of the bedroom and pray to the heavens to quickly find my things and make an unnoticed exit from the premises.
Think. Think. What’s his name? What happened last night?
My headache spirals left and right with every step, the walls from the bedroom guiding me forward with each nudge against my shoulder. I take long, deep breaths and try to remember his name, our conversations, anything concrete from the last twelve hours. The haze clears slowly. I remember meeting Sophie at The China Blue Lounge. She had a blind date with some guy, and this was his friend. Her date was running late, so Sophie and I had a drink.
That was it.
I avoid alcohol like the plague for fear that I may blackout like I did ten years ago. All it took was a shot of vodka and I woke up in a dorm room I didn’t recognize, wearing someone else’s clothes. I haven’t had any alcohol since. I thought I was safe last night with just one drink, convinced my body had built up some sort of resistance by now. I can’t recall how much more I had after that one drink.
In the thick fog, I see the moment Sophie introduced me to her date’s friend. He repeated my name with his lips stretching at the vowels, “Juuu-bi-leeee". It was slow and deliberate, or maybe that’s just the way my drunken mind recorded the moment. He was boyishly handsome with sunken blue eyes, and a curvy smile that made me so weak I had to look away. Too handsome, I remember thinking as I pulled my hand out of his grip. As much as I tried to avoid them, I was drawn to those deadly blue eyes gazing straight at me. He had me laughing after five minutes, and I remember placing my hand on his arm confidently, repeatedly, as if he was my date, as if he was interested in me, as if we were alone.
I trudge down what feels like the longest corridor in New York City and finally reach a spacious living room with enormous windows stretching from the floor to the ceiling. Although no one from the distant skyline could possibly see me across the river, I still cover myself with the tiny pillow and crouch unsteadily behind his furniture. My raincoat is splayed on the floor next to a black leather sofa across the room. With two graceless hops I cross his area rug and pick up my jacket. It covers me enough to stand straight up and get a better view of the apartment and my escape route. I tug the edge of the raincoat just under my butt as I inch my way around his coffee table, still unable to find my clothes.
After a few minutes, random facts and visions appear in my head: we had several shots; we took a cab to Ninety-Something Street; we kissed in the staircase leading up to his apartment; I’m walking around in my bra; he is holding scissors….why scissors?
The corner of the console table jabs me in my thigh when I turn around to face the voice greeting me. My bump was hard enough to knock a tray of loose change over the edge of the table, sending ten thousand coins crashing to our feet. After the last tiny penny spins to a complete stop, I whisper an apology.
“Leave it. I’ll pick it up later,” he says.
He smiles at me from the doorway to his kitchen, and I turn my body completely away from him. The sharp motion causes me to pinch my eyelids shut, pressing them against my eyeballs that feel as if they want to pop out of their sockets. He asks if I would like some coffee in a tone so casual that anyone listening would believe he has been asking me the same questions for years.
I’ve lost total control of my verbal abilities, shocked by his coolness and how ridiculously attractive he is, even with his messy bed head, so I simply nod. I gawk like a high school girl as he brushes the wavy strands of short hair back from his forehead with one stroke of his right hand.
I don’t like the effect he has on me. The best approach to this situation is to find my clothes and leave. It was a one night stand, and God knows I needed one, but that’s it. Maybe it’s best that I don’t remember anything else from last night - who knows what embarrassing things I may have done. If I were anywhere near as uncollected as I am now, I don’t want to know about it.
Isaac…that’s it…Isaac Something.
My jeans, bra, underwear, and socks are folded neatly in a pile on an antique leather chair placed between two windows. Where’s my black turtleneck?
“How do you like your coffee?” His confident voice carries from the kitchen across the living room. “Milk and sugar?”
Where is that damned turtleneck? I lower my head to the cream area rug to look underneath the leather arm chair. I wince at the throbbing in my forehead. The world moves in slow motion as I raise my head up and push to my feet.
“I make a banging cheese omelet, if you’re interested.” He walks out of the kitchen with two black mugs and sets them down on the glass coffee table in front of the sofa. “What are you looking for?” he asks.
He chuckles and leans back on the couch. There’s that delicious smile again.
“It’s in the trash. We cut it with the scissors.”
“What? Why would I want to cut up my own shirt?”
“It was symbolic, your idea, don’t you remember? We -”
“No!” I interrupt. “I’m a forgetful drunk. I black out. I don’t remember much of anything that happened last night.”
His radiant smile disappears and he apologizes. I feel guilty for lashing out at him, for all I know he was probably a perfect gentleman and I was a drunken mess.
He moves to the edge of the couch. “You wanted to free yourself of sexually oppressive clothing. You took my scissors and cut your turtleneck from the bottom up.” He narrows his eyes. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
I sit down on the armchair opposite the sofa and take a deep breath, my eyes glancing between him and the area rug. “We danced slowly…we kissed…” I shrug my shoulders and gulp so loud that I’m sure he heard it.
“Wow,” he says, sinking back in his seat. “That’s sucks. You don’t remember anything?”
I begin putting on my socks and shoes with intense concentration. “I’m sorry. I never drink. Last night was…a mistake. I’m just going to leave and save us a lot of embarrassment, okay?” I stand and put on my scarf with slow, deliberate motions, my eyes focus on the ground in an attempt to control the dizziness. I inhale deeply and blow out a large breath of air to ease the nausea.
He sits upright on the sofa again. “It’s not okay. Last night was not a mistake. So you were a bit drunk, so what? We…we talked about our careers, movies, relationships, and our families…do you remember any of that?”
“Isaac, please, I’m a blackout drunk. I remember only a few details, not much really, but my head hurts and I just want to put this night behind me.”
He closes his eyes, exhales, and glares up at me. He speaks in an octave lower than before. “My name is not Isaac.”
He sobers me with the menacing look on his face. I bite back tears of humiliation, and with swift movements I grab my bag and head for the door.
About the Author
After a successful career in the I.T. industry, Tanya quit her job to spend more time with her family and soon rediscovered her love of writing. Whenever she’s not attending a piano lesson, baseball game, softball game, soccer match, or jiu-jitsu event, she writes science fiction, romance, adventure, and ironic short stories of cats reincarnated into birds. You can find her other work at http://www.tanyamiranda.com.
Author Q & A
- What’s your book about?
A Selfish Moment is a love story. Jubilee and Everett are both wingmen to their best friends’ first date. Just a few minutes after they meet they are inseparable, and spend an amazing night together. The next morning, Jubilee wakes up remembering very little about the guy lying next to her and Everett is totally in love. They spend the next three days trying to avoid and forget about that one night and fail miserably. Coincidences keep pushing them together and they soon realize they have to really let themselves trust one another, give each other a fighting chance, in order to start their relationship. But Jubilee has a troubled past and a five-year-old daughter to think about, so she finds it hard to trust anyone including herself. Everett has to decide if he wants to be with someone so complex and if Jubilee is worth the trouble she’s already given him.
- Where did you get the idea for this book?
I was having dinner with my lifelong girlfriends and we started reminiscing on horrible dates that had gone wrong. We spent hours chatting, drinking, laughing out loud, and causing other people at the restaurant within earshot to spit out their food. Even the busboy kept clearing the empty table behind us to listen in on our conversations. I decided that we had so many wonderful stories that I had to squeeze out a romance novel, and so A Selfish Moment was born.
- Did any of your inspiration for this book originate in your real life experiences?
Almost all of this is inspired by a real experience from my life or the life of one of my girlfriends. There is just so much richness in our pasts that I had to get some of it on paper. Jubilee’s circumstance and character is a blend of all of us, and so is Sophie. They are both mash-ups of our personalities.
- What traits and other tidbits do you share with your main character?
Jubilee and her best friend Sophie grew up playing handball in Queens. This is a staple of my youth - I too spent countless hours at handball courts all around Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn up until my senior year at New York University. You could go to any handball court and call “Next” and play the locals from that park. Almost everyone who grew up in New York City, especially in the outer boroughs, knows what handball is. It was rare seeing a girl play handball with the guys back then, but I was one of them, and so were Jubilee and Sophie.
- Why should someone want to read your book in particular?
It’s a beautiful love story based in the heart of Queens, New York. It’s filled with the rush of a New York minute blended with a need to slow down and smell the roses. It’s a dual-perspective piece, so you get to experience Everett’s point of view as well as Jubilee’s and all the misinterpretations of the scenarios come to life.
- Who will like your book?
People who like Jennifer Wiener and Maria Murnane novels will love this story. My characters are full of pain, suffering and hope.
- Do you have another project in the works? If so, what is it?
I have another romance novel in the works about a woman who meets the guy of her dreams at a funeral she wasn’t meant to attend. It also plays with tough pasts, unusual circumstances, and conflicting emotions. I also have other science fiction romance stories in the works which are still untitled.
- Where can a reader find more information about you, the author?
Visit my website at http://www.tanyamiranda.com