Goody One Shoe

Goody One Shoe by Julie Frayn Read Free Book Online

Book: Goody One Shoe by Julie Frayn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Julie Frayn
I.”
    “Yeah. Us. Coffee.”
    “No, I mean… Never mind.”
    He squished his lips together and raised his eyebrows. “Is
that a no?”
    “Yeah. It’s a no.”
    “Can I ask why? You already have a boyfriend?”
    She huffed. “Are you trying to be funny?”
    His brows descended and furrowed. “I don’t understand.”
    “Haven’t you heard? I’m a freak.” She yanked up her pant leg
and flicked her prosthesis with her middle finger.
    “I know about your leg. How does that make you a freak?” He
tugged her pant leg down.
    “See? You can’t even look at it. You think I’m a freak too.
Just like everyone else.”
    “Billie, it doesn’t bother me. It’s just that you’re being
kind of loud and people are staring.”
    “So let them stare.”
    “Fine, you want to make an ass of yourself, be my guest.” He
gathered his books and stood. “You need to chill out. Maybe let somebody past
that iron wall you’ve built around yourself.”
    “Screw you.”
    He shook his head. “It’s a shame too. You’re so smart.
Pretty behind that angry scowl you wear. Cute but crazy. And I don’t need the
crazy.” He walked away and didn’t look back.
    And he never bothered her again.
     

Tuesday evening
    BILLIE SAT IN FRONT of her
laptop, interlaced her fingers, flipped her hands until her palms faced out,
and straightened her arms. The crack of knuckles in the quiet apartment left a
satisfied grin on her face. She twisted her neck until it snapped to attention,
straightened her teacup so the handle was at just the right angle for easy
access when the desperate need for a shot of sweet warmth jumped up and bit
her, then opened Annabelle Wright’s — her first client’s — manuscript. All four
authors she’d approached for references had sent glowing reviews, and Annabelle
happily accepted the offered rate. Perhaps Billie should have come in higher?
No matter, it was a start. And a start meant everything.
    Step one, format the document. She adjusted the margins,
modified normal style to be double-spaced with Times New Roman twelve-point
font. She went on a search and destroy mission for the dreaded double space
after periods and replaced them with singles.
    With that finished, she set Word to track changes and
launched into the work. It was a historical romance with dystopian elements.
Not exactly Billie’s cup of Earl Grey, but it was a paycheque. Three pages in
and the author’s crutch words were jumping off the page. Just . Smile .
The objectionable overuse of that . And ellipses. What makes a writer
think dot dot dot more than once on a page is a good idea? Heck, twice
in a chapter, maybe. Five times in the whole manuscript, tops.
    Seven pages in and Peg Leg decided it was time for a break.
He mewled at her until she bundled him onto her lap. He crawled onto the
countertop and made a move for her keyboard. “Peg Leg, no!” He got one paw on
it before she snatched him up and dropped him back to the floor. “Darn, look
what you did.” She hit undo until his less-than-professional edits disappeared
and she was back where she left off. She saved the document, something she
hadn’t done since she opened it, and closed the lid.
    He mewed at her from the floor, his tail swishing side to
side.
    She sighed and scratched his head. “You’re right. Time to
stop.” Her mental red pen drew a fourth leg on his sleek body. If only it were
that easy. She’d draw herself a new leg too. And a new life.

    Billie awoke to the clink of coins. She scanned the sidewalk
to either side of her, panic rising in her throat. She ran her hands over her
nightgown and found loonies, toonies, and quarters in her lap. Her eyes darted
about and landed on her sneaker-clad foot and her bare at-home prosthesis.
    Her gut hollowed and she swallowed the urge to vomit. What
time was it? And where the hell was she?
    She gathered the coins and inched her way up, her back
against a brick wall. She took a mental inventory of her body parts and ran

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