Wednesday, March 15, 2023

WIP-It Wednesday

Posted by: PG Forte

 PG Forte: Here's an excerpt from The White Elephant Gift Exchange, a new small town, second chance story I'm writing for inclusion in the upcoming Love is in the Air anthology (currently available for preorder). 

Seven years ago…


This is not a pretty sweater. I tried my best, but perhaps a sweater was not the best, or smartest, first project for a beginning knitter to attempt. I always feel like I can do anything I set my mind to, and that confidence usually serves me well. But this time, not so much. Even I have to admit that’s the case. “This sucks.”

Guido groans. “It doesn’t. It’s fine,” my best friend suggests loyally. “It’s got two sleeves, four holes and it’s big enough to cover everything you meant for it to cover, I call that good You also spent four monthsmaking it—which is about three and a half months more effort than he deserves if you ask me. Now can we please stop talking about it? I’m bored already.”

“No, I won’t stop.” I turn and glare at him. He’s flopped on my bed with a stack of fashion magazines. “This is important, G. I don’t think the sleeves are the same length. I just want…” I let my voice away. I want so much, too much to explain. I want things that I don’t necessarily want to share with Guido who doesn’t much like Jackson in the first place; doesn’t think he’s  good enough for me, in the second; and who’ll probably blurt it all out the first time he  comes face to face with my boyfriend in an effort to convince Jack to up his game and start doing better by me. 

But if I could have finished the thought, it would have sounded something like, “I want Jackson to look at this sweater and know how much I thought about him while he was gone. I want him to take this sweater with him when he goes back to college and wear it every day…or at least until the weather breaks. I want him to be reminded of me each time he puts it on. And I want that connection—that sense of his being literally, physically, virtually, and in every-other-which-way wrapped in my love—to help us both feel closer to each other. And maybe a little less lonely.” 

No, I really can’t say any of that, can I? Guido would laugh, and then he’d look hurt, and then he’d say something like, whaddaya mean lonely? I’m right here, aren’t I? But he isn’t. Not really. He has his own boyfriend trouble—or whatever the hell Ben is to him—to deal with.

“Okay, okay,” Guido says, so suddenly that I feel my eyes narrow suspiciously. “I got it. I know what we’ll do.”

“What?” Swear to God, if he starts cracking jokes, I’m gonna find a new and painful alternative use for my knitting needles. 

“We’ll Christmas it up.”

“We’ll what?”

“We’ll make a Christmas sweater out of it—you’ve heard of them, right?”

“Of course, I’ve heard of them!” Enough to know that the term was usually prefaced with another word. “Are you calling my sweater ugly?”

“No, you did that. What I’m saying is that if we cover it with enough bling and glittery stuff it will be fabulous.  And if you add some trim to the cuff of the shorter sleeve…”

“I can at least make them look even. You’re a genius!”

“I know. Don’t sound so surprised.”


Three hours and one trip to the fabric store later, I stand back to admire my handiwork. “Well? What do you think?”

Guido glances up from his phone. “Omigod,” he says, eyes widening, mouth dropping open. “That’s… Wow. That looks fantastic. Even better than I imagined it.”

“Really?” I ask hopefully, glancing at the color block patches arranged to cover up the worst of my dropped stitches, and that looked like an abstract rendering—colorful packages surrounding a Christmas tree; at the alternating rows of rope, and ribbon, and rickrack that circled each sleeve and, thanks to a little creativity, and a few well-placed stitches, left them hanging evenly; at the holly leaf and berry appliques that bordered the neck, and gave the garment some needed structure, so that it didn’t gape open quite so much. 

“Yes, really. There’s just one problem.”

“What problem?” 

“It’s too professional looking. Jackson’s never going to believe you made this yourself.”

“So, not ugly?”

“Not ugly at all. You could sell these. You should sell these.”

“Are you kidding? It took me months just to make this one! What kind of business model is that?”

“Ah, the prototype always takes longer,” Guido insists, although why he thinks he knows something like that is a mystery. “I’m serious. Forget following Jackson to Cornell next August. Transfer to someplace local and stay in Atlas Beach. We’ll go into business together.”

Sometimes we don't get it right the first time around. That's why life gives us second chances.

This limited edition romance collection features 20+ stories of hope, happy ever afters, and the second chances it took to get there.

In this collection you will find stories of second chances at love and life as our heroes and heroines embark on life changing journeys, whether changing careers or moving half way across the globe.

About the collection:

All NET Author proceeds are being pledged to Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the highest rated breast cancer organization in the United States and largest private funder of breast cancer research worldwide.

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