In early April, I was fortunate enough to participate in the YA Scavenger Hunt. It was loads of fun; I found a bunch of new authors and books, and was able to promote Sugar. Good times. I also shared a bonus scene from Sugar, which you'll find below.
Now, I suddenly want ice cream (or in my case, thanks to multiple allergies, banana soft-serve—a non-dairy, sugar-free alternative. Wink, wink.) What's your favorite frosty treat? And bonus points, would you have chocolate or rainbow sprinkles aka jimmies on top?
I wipe my brow with a damp rag. Sweat pools in the crevice between my chest, and I'm sure the white shirt I wear as part of my uniform at The Scoop and Sprinkle sports pit stains, along with a smear of chocolate from the fudge ripple that refused to stay put on the cone. It's on my belly, like a punctuation mark: look at me, I'm Sugar's belly, in case you didn't notice! I notice. Every. Single. Day. Like a good co-worker, Gina laughed while I had to squat down and clean the gooey mess off the floor. The stain probably won't come out of the shirt.
Then, before her fifteen-minute break even started, she and some guy she's been flirting all week disappeared to the woods past the outhouses just out of view of the lake. Good riddance. But I can't help wonder what it would be like to inhabit her body: tall, thin, not a blemish, anywhere. Though, I suppose it would be exhausting to try to keep up with that kind of perfection. I'm about ten miles south of flawless and it's exhausting enough being me.
I tug my hair off my neck, wind it into a bun, and pin it on top my head. I fan myself, not in any hurry to wait on any more demanding customers, teasing kids, and families on vacation.
A shadow crosses over the register. I feel a pair of eyes on me, glance to the order window, and the person suddenly looks away. I push up the rickety wooden frame. "Can I help you?" I ask. The glare of the sun blinds me from a clear view of who's out there. I'm used to people staring at me. I should charge them by the minute, at least then I'd get something out of the deal.
The customer clears his throat. All I can see is how he scuffs his boots in the dusty parking lot. "Uh, yeah, I'd like, a uh, a scoop of strawberry and a scoop of chocolate."
"Size?" I ask, so ready for my shift to be over.
"Uh, um, medium."
"Sugar cone, waffle, cake cone, or in a bowl?" It irritates me that can't people be prepared with this information. The sign hung outside clearly says, 1. Pick your size, 2. Pick a container or cone, 3. Choose from 25 delicious flavors, Sprinkles are on us! All with the detailed options and prices below. Duh.
"A cone. Um, sugar, please," he says.
Even though Sugar isn't my given name, it's the one I answer to. When he says it, I squint through the undersized window, but still can't see him clearly. He stands near the napkin dispenser. The way he pronounced my name, like it's something sweet, but not to eat choruses in my ears. Before I can lose myself in the honey of his voice, Gina comes in laughing and rosy-cheeked. She pushes me out of the way, extends her arm out the window, and waves to the guy who she was just fooling around with in the woods. I doubt she even knows his name.
"I get off at eight. Don't be late," she calls, loudly, in my ear.
He mumbles something about getting off and just as loudly, I call out the window to my waiting customer. "Did you want complimentary sprinkles?" I ask, dunking the metal scoop in the water bath so the ice cream is easier to dig out of the vat in the cooler.
"Rainbow, please," he answers.
I'm not quick enough to figure out a way to get him to say sugar again and don't have a chance to get a good look at him as Gina barges through, poking her head out the window, ready to flirt with anyone with a Y-chromosome. She rattles on about her fifteen-minute break and the wonders of the woods. I pass the cone out the window, self-conscious of my flabby arm, and feeling hopeless about the big fat nothing that I'll be doing at eight tonight.
Over to you... What are some of your favorite bonuses or surprise followups to a YA book? I'm totally stoked for Heather Demetrios' the Lexie Project, a Something Real spin-off!
Also, if you haven't already, please add Sugar to your Goodreads TBR! Thanksies!