Monday quickly came around, Jenny refusing to talk to Laura, and Laura was soon trudging slowly up the library steps for the critique group. In her mind, she replayed how her sorry speech would go. She would apologise, offer to destroy her novel, Jenny would forgive her, and they would both make up.
Laura entered the library, smiling briefly at the librarian. She hurried to her table, where Jenny both sat at alone at the small square table. Laura hurried up to her.
“Jenny can I talk to you?”
“Talk aall you want, I doubt I’ll listen.”
“Look, Jenny, I’m sorry. I really am.”
“I mean it. I guess I just didn’t realise how similar our stories are.”
“Apparently,” Jenny replied sarcastically.
“Can we be friends?”
“I’ll… I’ll get rid of my manuscript! Start fresh on something completely different!”
“You’d have to do a lot more than that.”
Without warning, Tim arrived, sitting down between Jenny and Laura. “Afternoon ladies.” Jenny grunted in reply, and Laura smiled sadly at him.
“I’ve, uh, got something to tell you,” Tim continued quietly. “Now that I’m published, I’ve been thinking, and I’ve decided that my publisher wouldn’t like me meeting with you here. Because I’d be giving away my skills.”
Jenny snorted in reply. Tim ignored her, and went on, “therefore, and I’m sorry, but I wont, uh, be coming to these critique sessions and more.”
Laura looked up at him, eyes wide. “You mean you’re quitting?”
Tim swallowed. “Uh, yes, I’m afraid. Don’t worry, we can still meet during the week.”
Jenny stood up. “That’s fine with me. I don’t think I should come either. Little sneaks might take my ideas!” With that, she collected her belongings and stormed off.
“Uh, well, glad I got that over with,” Tim said. “See you round then.” Tim left also.
Laura was left sitting at the desk, alone. Her bottom lip trembled, her eyes watered. She tried to hold back tears, but no luck. They burst out, and with a loud sob, started crying.