Today, we have our next installment in our First Look Friday feature. Over My Live Body is Susan Israel’s debut novel and it will be published on March 18, 2014. We hope you enjoy the first 500 words!
Ivan is using the New York Times as a tablecloth again. I never get to read it anymore without seeing jelly stains, big blobs of coffee, and buttery fingerprints blotting out connecting words, smearing print.
“I wish you wouldn’t do that,” I tell him. “I have place mats.”
“It’s my paper.” He turns the page and I see crumbs fall on the floor. I hear my mother’s voice echo in the kitchen: You’re making more work for me. You never pick up after yourself. It’s my father she’s yelling at. I feel like I’ve flipped back the pages in some history book. My father never responded. I bite my tongue. Ivan is too argumentative lately, too quick to respond and not just with words any more. Silence is better. At least when we’re not at each other’s throats I can still appreciate what attracted me to him: the looks, the so-gorgeous-they-ought-to-charge-admission-for-this looks, looks that could kill. I can’t get off on this superficiality any longer; he scares me. The radio commentator droning in the background about some unidentified female homicide victim reminds me why I should be scared. I reach for the Metro section to see if there’s any mention of it there. Ivan pushes my hand away. “Look at this,” he points to something in Section D about bond trading. I scowl and open the refrigerator to get half-and-half for my coffee. The smell of it makes me wince and I pour it down the drain.
“I forgot to tell you,” Ivan says. “Someone called you last night before you got home.”
“Who?” I remember that I didn’t bring my cell phone when I ran out to the store to buy marinara sauce, but Ivan wasn’t home then and when I came back he was. A lot can happen in ten minutes.
“He didn’t say.” The ‘he’ hums around the room like a menacing insect.
“What did he say?”
Ivan smiles. “Expecting a call, Delilah?”
“What makes you think I am?”
“It’s not the first time he’s called.”
“How am I supposed to know who it is? He didn’t leave his name, you said so yourself. It could be anyone. Anyway, why didn’t you tell me about this before? And why are you answering my cell phone? I don’t answer yours.”
“I figured it would all come out in a matter of time.”
“What would all come out?”
“The identity of your secret admirer.”
“Secret admirer? What are you talking about?” I sip at the black coffee and scowl at him. “You’re crazy.”
A siren screeches outside. Then another. Somebody downstairs screams. Wandering into whatever mayhem lurks outside would be preferable to dealing with the brutality of Ivan’s polite innuendo. I haven’t done anything to deserve this. I feel like screaming myself, but the last thing I need is the EMS people, not to mention the police, knocking down the door. “Hey, lady, lady,” they would holler, “are you all right? What’s wrong? Why’d you scream?”
Learn more about Over My Live Body at our website.