Excerpt for Broken, and Other Stories by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Broken, and Other Stories

By Laura C. Meola


Copyright 2017 Laura C. Meola

Published by Laura C. Meola at Smashwords




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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Table of Contents

Broken

Mystery Box

Art Theft

About the Author

Other books by Laura C. Meola

Broken


Brian walked up the block to his girlfriend Jenny’s apartment building. The pep in his step caused onlookers to keep their distance. The box in his jean pocket itched to be revealed at the opportune moment.

Flowers in hand, he arrived at the front of the building. He went inside and climbed the stairs to the third floor. His palms were sweaty with anticipation. Brian reached Jenny’s door. He took a deep breath and slowly knocked.

“I’ll be right there,” Jenny said behind the closed door.

Brian heard her fumble. It seemed like an eternity before the door swung open.

There she was, her hair disheveled. She stood in her bath robe, lips pursed downward. She brushed her hair out of her face.

“Brian, what are you doing here?” she asked.

Her eyes looked him up and down like she barely knew him.

“I wanted to surprise you,” he said.

“Oh well, you should have called.”

Jenny closed her bath robe tighter. Brian ignored the gesture.

“Can I come in?” he asked.

He tried to nudge himself passed her. She put her hand on his chest.

“No. I’m not dressed and this place is a mess,” she said.

“Jenny, you act like I haven’t seen you like this, and your apartment is usually a mess when I come over anyway.”

“I’d rather you just wait a second.”

Brian heard a rustling deeper into the apartment.

“Do you have company or something?” he asked.

He pushed passed her, through her disproval, and stopped dead in his tracks. A man, just as disheveled as Jenny, stood half naked in her living room. Brian froze at the sight. His breath caught in his throat like he had been punched in the gut. His heart beat dropped down to his feet.

“We have to talk,” Jenny said.

The man in the living room grabbed the rest of his clothes and retreated straight out the door. Jenny looked down at her bare feet, wriggling her toes.

“How long has this been going on?” Brian asked.

Silence filled the room for a short minute. Brian still stood in the middle of her apartment. His breathing was heavy.

“Two years,” Jenny said.

Another punch to the gut.

“You’ve been lying to me for two years?”

“Brian, you have to understand something…”

(http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52) “I gave everything to you. You know how hard it is for me to trust people. I trusted you with everything. You said you were different. I thought you were different.”

“Brian, I’m sorry but things changed. You are a great guy but I don’t feel the same way I used to. I didn’t want to hurt you.”

“So, don’t you think you should have broken up with me then, instead of lying to me for fifty percent of our relationship? I was under the impression that everything was great. You never said a word to me about anything.”

The walls closed in around him.

“I was scared,” she said.

His blood boiled.

“Scared of what? Doing the right thing?” he asked.

“I was afraid of being alone. I had it so good with you. You took me places, bought me nice things. It was a nice change from the deadbeats I’ve dated,” she said.

“So, you used me? That’s great.”

She was right next to him now. She touched his arm. He flinched.

“Not at first. At first, I adored you. Then it just got to a point where I got used to you and let you do things for me. I didn’t want to let that all go.”

“You let me believe that you were the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

“Oh, come on, Brian. You had to have known. I gave you all the signs.”

His eyes widened.

“What signs?” he asked.

“Really? You didn’t see it?”

He reached in his pocket and pulled out the ring box. He held it in front of her face. Jenny mouth gaped open.

“Oh…I’m sorry…” she said.

“I don’t want to hear it, Jenny. Thank you, for giving me more of a reason not to trust anyone. Thank you, for being a terrible, lying, manipulative, person.”

Brian stormed out. He went back to his apartment and sat on his couch in the dark. His phone rang. When he saw Jenny’s name flash on the screen, he ignored the call. He didn’t want to talk to her because the battle was already done. She was no longer his problem.




Mystery Box


As I sat alone quietly in my living room reading, the doorbell rang and startled me. I looked towards the front door as if it was a mile away and was going to open on its own. Being that was not going to happen, I got up from my comfy, pillow strewn couch to answer the door.

Hesitantly, I turned the metal knob as if something eerie was behind the wooden door. When it creaked open I found a black box on my porch. It was square and medium size. It looked like a gift box but bland and not so festive. There was no name on it and no one in sight to inform me of the deliverer.

“Hello?” I asked as I stepped one foot out the door. No one answered. Who would drop a random box on my doorstep at this time of night?

I looked at the box as if trying to see through it to find out what it was. I picked it up slowly. The weight of the spooky black box was light and airy. I brought it inside with me back to my comfy couch in the living room. I put it on the glass coffee table in front of me and sat down.

“Hmm,” I said, “I wonder.”

I stared at the box for a few minutes pondering if I should open it at that moment or wait until someone was with me to witness the mystery. What could it be? What if there was something terrible inside like road kill or someone’s teeth? I was thinking about the worst possibilities, because the book I was reading earlier was a murder mystery. This box couldn’t have come at a more convenient time.

My curiosity only heightened the longer I waited. It was either now or never. I took hold of the top of the box, fingers shaking nervously. I lifted it up and looked inside to see what awaited my gaze. Whatever was in there was wrapped in black tissue paper. I started pulling back the paper ever so slowly.

As I almost unraveled the mystery, I jumped in shock to hear my phone go off like an alarm. I received a text message. Before continuing opening this dastardly box, I checked my phone. It was from my work friend, Liz.

The message read: Hey, Laura. Hope you got my gift. Sorry I couldn’t say hello. I had a meeting to get to. This is just a thank you for covering for my shift this past week. Hope you enjoy!

I breathed a sigh of relief as if I was holding my breath forever. I quickly went back to the task of opening the box. This time, without hesitation, I peeled back the tissue paper to find a beautiful scarf. It was something I had been eyeing for a while at the mall. It was dark blue, fluffy and had silver stars adorning it. I guess she remembered me pointing it out before. I reminded myself to thank Liz for the wonderful gift as well as for scaring the crap out of me.


Art Theft


Anne let her feet guide her out of the dark office into the halls that were occupied with law enforcement. Her one inch black heals could be heard with every step she took. Although it was not a typical work day for Anne Holly, she still dressed the part. Her navy knee length skirt was neatly pressed along with her matching buttoned down blazer. Her dirty blond hair was on top of her head in a bun. Being a museum director was a full-time job. She always had to look the part, even in the worst circumstances. Today was no exception.

The walls once adorned with masterful works of art were now barren. It looked as though puzzle pieces were missing. Thirteen to be exact. Gone from site in an instant. The canvases ripped from their frames. Anne’s stomach turned. Before she completely lost her insides, someone tapped her on the shoulder. 

“Excuse me, Ms. Holly?” the police officer asked.

She didn’t want to speak to anyone at the moment, but it was probably best for her to cooperate. “Yes?”

“Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”

“No, go right ahead,” Anne answered.

“What time did you leave the museum last night?”

“I left probably around 8pm. I worked a little late to get some paperwork done.”

“Did you come across anything suspicious from the time you were here?”

“No.”

“Can you tell me who was working when you left for the night.”

“Just the security guard, Rick.” Anne’s arms were crossed over her chest 

“Thank you, Ms. Holly. I appreciate you talking with me. If you have any questions or any other information that may be relevant, please feel free to contact me.” The officer gave her his card. Then he went back to his investigation.

Anne continued her journey as her heart broke piece by piece, seeing the emptiness that surrounded the museum. Now pieces were missing. Shattered pieces everywhere. Priceless works of art, gone. Art that brought life to the dull walls. Her hand grazed each part of the bare walls. Tears started to form in her eyes. She wanted an explanation. She wanted to know who these thieves were and why they were compelled to steal from her museum. She hoped for justice. There was nothing she could do but wait. Wait for the authorities to inform her of the art being retrieved and for justice to be brought down.

The police surrounding the halls kept hard at work. Anne was no longer needed at the museum.

“Excuse me, officer?” Anne asked.

“Yes, ma’am?” the officer said.

“I am going to be heading out, since there is not really much more I can do at this point. You have my contact information, so please contact me with any updates.”

“Of course, ma’am. We will keep you updated on everything.”

“Thank you.”

She put on her pea coat and walked slowly out of the museum. She left everything in the capable hands of the investigators. She had no choice but to let them do what they do best. Her ride home seemed like an eternity. When she finally got there, she sat on her couch contemplating. How could this have happened and why? The only thing she could do was hope. Hope for an answer. Hope for a miracle. Until then, she could only wait. Wait for the phone call that would make her heart joyful again. No matter how long it took, Holly planned to wait. 



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About the Author


Laura C. Meola is an author of poetry and young adult romance fiction novels. She has two self-published poetry books available on Amazon.com titled, Unspoken Words and Lyrics Without Music. In her spare time, Laura enjoys writing songs and performing at charitable events. She is a singer/songwriter at heart. She is currently earning her Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment.




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