I entered the following in Nathan's contest (nathanbransford.blogspot.com) and am posting it here for critique. I have a thick skin, so have at it! I greatly appreciate your feedback so that I can be the best writer possible. I'll have to take this down eventually when I start shopping it, but I'll leave it up for a while, at least!
Flying Leaps (Chick Lit, 63k words)
Kathryn sat on the bed and cried. She cried for the end of an era and the beginning of the unknown. She cried for the daughter who was on her way to her new life, a life where she didn’t need her mother to take care of her anymore. She cried for her own life, which would now be empty without a daughter to take care of. She cried because she was out of both Kleenex and donuts.
On the floor, a beagle lay sleeping, seemingly unconcerned as to the noise going on above her. She had been an active participant in the proceedings at first, howling along and sharing in the donuts, but soon became bored (about the time that the donuts ran out) and fell asleep. “Thanks for the support, Maggie,” Kathryn sobbed. Another reason to cry: unsympathetic beagles.
It was only that morning that Jessica had skipped down the aisle in her cap and gown and collected her high school diploma. Already eighteen, she had been anxious to move out of the house and out from under her mother’s thumb for months. She had been making arrangements and packing for weeks, having saved money from her part-time job to get an apartment with her friends. Kathryn had forbidden her to move out until she graduated from high school, and Jessica complied for not one minute longer than she had to. As soon as the graduation ceremony was over and the obligatory family hugs and kisses and graduation presents were exchanged, she got in her ancient Toyota and hit the road.
Kathryn knew, intellectually, that Jessica was just across town and she could visit her any time. Any time, that is, that Jessica would actually be home, rather than out working, taking college classes, or doing God-knows-what with her friends. Still, the house felt so empty without her. Grant was out playing golf, having little sympathy for Kathryn’s distress. What good was he, anyway?
The phone rang and she ignored it. How could anyone expect her to talk on the phone when she was in this state? It was a crisis, and you just can’t talk on the phone when you’re in the middle of a crisis. Ring, ring, ring. All the ringing was starting to get distracting and she was having a hard time concentrating on her grief. Ring, ring, ring. Why wasn’t the answering machine picking up? Ring, ring, ring. “Oh for Christ’s sake!” She picked up the phone. “Hello?” she answered in her best trying-not-to-sound-like-she’s-crying voice.
“Are you done yet?”
She sniffed. “Done with what?”
“Crying. Are you done crying? I want to go out for coffee, but I’m not going to do it if you’re just going to drip snot all over your latte. It’s embarrassing.” It was Fran, Kathryn’s life-long best friend.