Excerpt: Excerpt 1 (968 words)
“So, Katherine, another round before our big performance?” Ben asked, referring to the toasts and bringing my attention back to the present again. Somehow, I had managed to glide through dinner plus wine.
“Sounds like a plan.” I felt a little shaky as we made our way to the bar. Nerves, I was sure. Just one more drink couldn’t hurt.
Halfway through my second drink the DJ gave Ben the signal: one more song before the toasts. I took a deep breath. My toast was taken from one of those terribly cliché books. I added in a couple of details about Amy to make it more personal; and, of course, steered clear of the whole having dated the groom issue. I felt pretty good about what I had ultimately come up with. I made note cards and even practiced in front of the mirror a couple of times, determined not to let Amy down. The music stopped.
“All right folks, I’ve got a couple of people here to share some thoughts with the bride and groom,” announced the DJ.
It was time. Ben was up first, so I kept my seat at the bar.
“So, I’ve known Jack for a few years, and I’ve witnessed some of his biggest accomplishments. Three years ago, we finished our MBAs together. Jack went on to get a brilliant management position. After only two and a half years of hard work, he was recently promoted to vice president of his division. However, of all these accomplishments, I know that the one Jack is most proud of is his marriage to Amy today. Now, admittedly, I don’t know Amy that well, but I know she must be amazing because somehow she has inspired from my friend, not only a proposal, but also a wedding within months. Those of you who know Jack understand; he doesn’t do anything fast. This is a man who thinks through tying his shoes every morning.” Some laughter from the crowd. “In fact, I was a little worried there was something suspicious going on; maybe Amy had whipped up some gypsy love potion and baked it in the brownies.” More laughter from the crowd. “Admittedly, I looked for signs to make sure this wasn’t the case. But I didn’t have to look far. As many of you know, Jack’s father had a heart attack a few weeks ago and had to have surgery. He’s much better and here with us today, thankfully, but it was a tough time for the family. I went to visit at the hospital several times, and each time Amy was there. This is, I remind you, less then three weeks before her wedding, that she has had barely three months to plan ...”
Shit. I hadn’t even known. The one thing that always stuck out in my mind about Jack was his close relationship with his father. It was admirable, almost inspiring. Amy hadn’t even mentioned the heart attack. Then again, why would she have? I would just have found a way to turn it into another reason the wedding shouldn’t happen. What was I doing? Why did this all matter so much to me? They were happy, they were right for each other. Amy said so, and no one’s family seemed upset—hell, they’re just happy to all be alive today.
“Kate, you’re up.” Ben nudged me. I had been too lost in my thoughts to even realize that he had finished, much less had time to return to his spot next to me at the bar.
I stood up and walked to the table where the DJ was waiting with a microphone. From the look on his face, I gathered it was taking me a while to get there. I dug in my purse for my notes as I walked across the dance floor. Car keys, wallet, lipstick, car keys, wallet, lipstick, car keys … no note cards. Shit. Where were they? The bar, I left them on the bar after looking over them. All the way in the back of the room. Shuffles and whispers began to spread through the tables. Shit. I had to get on with it. I took the microphone and turned to look out into the mirage of white linen and lilacs. The faces in front of me blurred.
“Um, hi. I’m Kate, one of the bridesmaids. Um, you see I have this toast all planned, but it seems that I left my note cards at the bar …”
Laughter from the crowd; OK, I could do this.
“So, I’ve known Amy for almost five years and Jack for, let’s see, I guess about six or seven ... or, wow – maybe almost eight ... maybe. Anyway, Amy and I met after college— and Jack and I actually dated in college …”
Silence. There was a tunneled din in my ears, the one where you can hear yourself talk, but your voice sounds like you are talking into a cardboard paper towel roll like you did when you were a kid.
“So, um, let me just say that until just now I didn’t even know that Jack’s dad had a heart attack. I’m so sorry, Mr. Cannon ... and Jack. And Amy, I hate that you felt you couldn’t tell me. I’m sorry I’ve been such a bitch … I mean, I’m sorry I haven’t been so nice about …”
A tap on my shoulder. Ben with my note cards and a very concerned look on his face. The whole room was swaying as I reached out for them. The whirring had become so loud I couldn’t even hear what Ben was saying to me. My eyelids were heavy and the room had started to spin so fast that I searched for something to hold on to. I saw Ben reach out for me. Everything went black.
Review rating: 4 LIGHTNING BOLTS
Review: Neverending Beginnings was a fun read. If you've ever had a bad week that seems to be on repeat, Kate has you beat- because she literally has had a repeat bad week. But she also gets a chance to learn about herself, get a do over, and figure her life out. It's the perfect summer breach read, and I found myself engaged in the story pretty quickly. I enjoyed Kate's perspective and how she tried to handle the same situation differently each time it happens. She not only gets a shot to give things her all, but she finds her path in life and jumps on it. I haven't read anything from this author previously, but I'm interested to do so after this one.
Neverending Beginnings is a great mix- I love this type of trope, where the character keeps reliving the same day over and over. Definitely glad I got a chance to read and review this book.