“You’re late.” Tim said curtly.
“I’m sorry.” Jenny apologised to the other two members of their small critique group. She looked at Tim, then Laura, both who were glaring at her. “I just popped in to see my book.”
“You always look at your books!” Laura complained. “It’s become a routine excuse. Look at the time! Only twenty minutes left.”
“You mean fifty.”
“You forgot, havent you?” Tim said. “Today we’re only going for half an hour.”
“I’m sorry,” Jenny repeated. “We can go overtime, if you’d like.”
“We can’t.” Tim said. “I’ve got a meeting with my publisher at six, and Laura has a date.”
“Oh. Well, let’s get started,” Jenny said, sitting down. “This week, I’ve been working on your suggestions, Tim, for He Stole My Heart. If you like, you can take a look at it.” She passed the six-page manuscript to him. He looked through it, pushing his long, light brown hair out of his eyes, and stroking his small beard slightly.
“Jenny,” Laura said. “I wrote a new story, and I was wondering if you could look at it.”
“Sure,” Jenny replied, glad her lateness was off the subject. Laura passed her the short story, and Jenny leafed through it casually. “It’s a horror,” Laura explained.
Jenny looked up at Laura. “Laura, this main character, Lara, sounds a bit like you. Big brown eyes, blonde hair done up in a ponytail. Don’t you think?” Laura blushed. “I was having some trouble coming up with inspiration for the main character.”
“Ah.” Jenny nodded. “Why exactly did you choose horror this time? You usually write romance.”
Laura blushed again, going red with embarrassment. “Well, you told me to try experimenting with different genres.”
“Yes, but why horror? You’re so timid, you can’t even watch parodies of horror movies.”
“I thought, maybe Tim could read it. He’s a master of horror. That’s why he’s going to be published,” Laura explained.
“Anyway,” Tim said, looking up, “I thought we might get on with the time. From last Monday, we all read Laura’s romance, He Kissed Me, so, we’ll talk about it now. Better hurry though. We have fifteen minutes left.”
“It’ll be all the time we need. fifteen minutes is plenty.” Jenny said.