Having just spoken about my stories that revolve around Purim and Passover, I thought I'd share an excerpt from Miriam's Surrender, my Passover book. You know how men get the admirable, but super-annoying, desire to "fix" everything when something big goes wrong and they feel helpless? And you know how that never works? Well, at one point in the book, Miriam gets mugged. She doesn't get hurt, just shaken up. And when Josh finds out, he's terrified for her. And because he's always been an "I have to take care of everyone" kind of guy, he feels guilty that he couldn't prevent Miriam from being mugged. So he decides to take care of her and one of the ways he does this is to call her boss and tell him what happened and that Miriam won't be in to work the next day. Which would have been nice and considerate if he'd asked Miriam first. But he didn't. Here's what happens:
“Oh my God, Miriam, are you okay? Josh told me what happened. You must be a wreck!”
“Relax, Sam, I’m fine. I was pretty shaken last night, but a good night’s sleep and a warm shower have done wonders. Go help yourself to breakfast. Josh brought bagels. I have to get ready for work.”
“Uh, yeah, about work,” Josh called.
Miriam stopped halfway down the hall and turned around, one eyebrow raised. He loved the look, less though when it was directed at him.
“I called in for you and told them you wouldn’t be in today.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Josh noticed Samara cover her mouth. Her eyes sparkled. He didn’t have time to wonder why.
“I called and left a message for Tom explaining what happened and you wouldn’t be in today.”
He watched her. Despite how still she was, he couldn’t take his gaze from her. She reminded him of a volcano, ready to explode, minus the steam or the trembling. No, she was still. A marble statue was more mobile than she was. Not a single muscle or hair moved. Her silk robe, which usually swayed in the breeze from floating air currents, was motionless. Her eyes, under normal circumstances, a warm, amber color, darkened to brown. And not a warm, eager, puppy-dog brown. No, her eyes were dead-plant-in-winter brown. Her mouth, once supple and moist, was pressed into such a firm line, her lips were white. She’d folded her arms across her chest, and her face was pale. Too pale.
“You should sit,” he said.
She took a step toward him.
Perhaps that wasn’t the best thing for him to say to her.She took another step toward him and he resisted the urge to take a corresponding step backward. And the inkling he’d made a mistake? Yeah, it was more than an inkling now. It was a full-blown absolute certainty. He risked taking his focus off her for a moment and met Samara’s gaze across the room.
She was smiling. In fact, she was shaking with suppressed laughter. Her curls bounced, her eyes watered and the only thing keeping her silent was her hand covering her mouth.
Miriam took another step forward. This close to him, she needed to tip her head back to meet his gaze. Oftentimes, Josh’s height gave him an advantage. It didn’t now.
“Samara?” Miriam whispered.
“Yes?” Samara’s response was strangled.
“Take a bagel and leave. I’ll call you later.”
Samara left without uttering a word. Josh had the feeling he’d witnessed the wisest move ever.
“Maybe you shouldn’t have made Samara leave. It might be nice to have some company today. She could hang out with you, keep an eye on things while you rest...”
You'll have to buy the book to find out what happens.