Sunday, June 22, 2014

Diva Depressed

Even divas have their off days. In fact, being a diva ensures that you'll have some especially bad days. After all, the higher you soar, the further you fall.

When we met diva Vanessa Sumers--connoisseur of fine shoes, handbags, and obedient minions--all was running smoothly in her universe. However, like everyone, she has more than a few skeletons in her closet, including the family she left behind in the pursuit of greatness.

We rejoin her after she has learned of her stepmother's death. Returning to her hometown for the memorial services, she must face demons from her past and reunite with those who will always hold a special place in Vanessa's heart.

Excerpt from Vanessa Stmers:

The pastor gripped her hand in welcome, his face full of condolences as he drew her into the chapel.  Relief washed over Vanessa as she realized he didn’t know her.  She spotted a free section on the back row, and attempting to blend into the crowd, she scanned the room for familiar faces.
                “Nessa!” A voice called out as strong arms pulled her into a tight embrace.  “I can’t believe you’re here!  It’s so good to see you!”  Her stepbrother buried her in a bear hug. 
                Vanessa, surprised, returned his hug somewhat stiffly.
                “Peter,” she attempted a smile, her face tight with the effort.
                Unaffected by her uneasiness, Peter grinned.  Shadows of the little boy were evident in the man’s face; the same bright blue eyes that had charmed and incited mischief in his youth, and the ever-boyish grin. He’d become quite handsome.
                “It’s good to see you too,” Vanessa managed at last.
                “You look amazing, sis,” he said, squeezing her arm in a friendly way.  “You always were a stunner.  And we always knew you’d make it big.  Definitely got all the brains in the family,” he declared.  
                “Thanks, Peter,” she said, feeling awkward. She opened her mouth to force a more congenial reply but Peter’s gaze was drawn to the front of the chapel. 
                “Sorry, Nessa. Gotta run.  Looks like they’re about to begin.  You want to come sit with Dad?”
                She shook her head in response; she certainly wasn’t ready for that. 
                He patted her arm, treating her to a sad smile before turning away.
Still taken aback from the run-in with her estranged younger brother, Vanessa made her way down the row and took a seat by the wall.  The services began as someone settled into the seat beside her.         
Vanessa’s gaze was fixed on her father, somberly following his wife’s casket as it entered.  He took a seat by Peter on the stand, his eyes downcast. Roland Sumers had never been a handsome man, but the steel gray hair and the lines creasing his face gave him a distinguished look.  Like her hometown, she hadn’t realized how much she’d missed him, how she’d felt cheated out of the only parent who cared about her, until that moment.  As if an inner barrier had burst, her heartstrings pulled taut in her chest and tears rushed down her cheeks.
A handkerchief appeared before her.  Wordlessly, she accepted it, dabbing at her face so as to cause the least amount of damage to her make-up.  When she’d recovered her composure, she turned to offer a quiet thank you.  The words died on her lips as she met familiar dark brown eyes set in a deeply tanned face. 
His lips curved into a smile.  “Good to see you again, Vanessa.”
The service was underway, so there was no time for else and Vanessa was so thoroughly tongue-tied she wouldn't have been able to formulate complete sentences.  Sitting perfectly still—to all appearances attending to the pastor—her mind dwelt on the man beside her. 
Vanessa had considered the possibility of running into a former flame.  But in her wildest imaginings she had never considered seeing her brother’s best friend, Matthew. When she’d left home Matty Johannsen had been a gangly teen.  All ears and long limbs, he’d been in that awkward ape-like state between boy and man.  His only attractive feature had been the big brown eyes fringed by long lashes.  Those beautiful eyes provided a glimpse into a singularly unique soul: equal parts amiability, wisdom, and humor. 
Matty had been Vanessa’s favorite among Peter’s friends—a group of boys who had typically made her feel stodgy and straight-laced.  Matty hadn’t been like that.  Instead, he’d smile that too-wide, too-many-teeth grin and bombard her with tales of his latest hare-brained schemes and pepper her with questions about her dreams and ambitions.  She would feign disinterest, but something about the odd-looking youngster fed her attention-starved soul.  Matthew had been more like a brother than Peter and some part of her mind persisted in seeing him as nothing more than the skinny too-tall teenager of days gone by.  She couldn’t have imagined he’d turn out like this.
Vanessa covertly looked him over as the pastor droned on. He was extremely tall, she noted, but where he’d been scarecrow-thin as a teenager, he’d developed a broad-shouldered muscular physique as a man which was only accentuated by the suit he wore.
Under the carefully applied make-up, Vanessa felt her face flush all the way up to the roots of her carefully coiffed hair. How could she think this way about Matthew? 
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Matthew's lips twitch, as if he found something amusing.  With a feeling of irritation blossoming in her chest, her lips drew into a severe line and she fixed her gaze back on the pastor.  Matty Johannsen, attractive as he might have become, would not be permitted to laugh at her. Ignoring him for the remainder of the service, Vanessa folded her arms and sat ramrod straight in her seat.

 * * * * *

I'm quite fond of Vanessa. She's the type who stomps her little Prada heel and demands a story of her own. And she did. Read more about Vanessa's adventures in Dealing With Divas, Hostile Makeover, and Finding Myself in Literature. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Might just have to check her our some more, I love a girl with real personality, and a bit of an attitude ;)

    1. Thanks! She's fun to write and really was brassy enough to demand being the star of her own story & not just a colorful secondary character like I planned. Divas!