a beautiful excerpt from author Joanne Bischof ~*
From This Quiet Sky:
Somewhere in the distance, I hear Mr. Davis call on one of the older
girls across the aisle who has her hand raised. Tucker and I ought to
stay on task or we’ll be in trouble. Tucker must have had a similar
thought for he plucks up the slate pencil and finishes the equation. He
helps me solve it, then another, and another. I don’t ask about him
anymore and he doesn’t ask about me and its best this way. We just focus
on numbers and variables and when the lunch hour comes, I thank him for
his help and carry my pail out into the sunshine.
Within minutes, it’s clear that my sister is much more interested in
playing tag than eating, so I settle in the shade of a tree by myself
and pull out a piece of bread and one of the hardboiled eggs. Slow
progress with peeling the shell gives me plenty of time to glance
around. It’s then that I spot Tucker sitting near the woodpile where the
glow of noon brightens the grass. Leaning back against the cut logs, he
pokes at his food and glances my way. I look down, pick at my
hardboiled egg, and have to work to keep from looking up again. Everyone
plays around him as if he’s not there. Granted, he is seventeen and
seems more like a man than a boy, but you’d think someone would at least
The thought of sitting by him comes and I try to push it away. It
doesn’t go so well. By the time I’ve finished my egg, I’ve decided that
life is short. If I don’t go now, I may never and I’ll look back on this
moment with regret. I stand, pick up my pail, straighten my skirt and
start that way.
Don’t do this, Sarah.
Another few steps.
You’re gonna regret this, Sarah.
But my heart’s not listening and my feet are carrying me over to him. He looks up at me and stops chewing.
I set my pail beside his and settle down in the grass. “May I sit with you?”
Slowly, he starts chewing again, then swallows, still staring at me. “If you’d like.”
I do. And also, “I want to thank you for your help this morning.
I already feel that I’ve learned so much. L-Likely,” I stumble on the
word when he seems amused by what I’m saying. “Likely we’ve only
scratched the surface, but…whatever you teach me is an unexpected
blessing.” I smile and it’s surprisingly easy. “How can I thank you?”
He looks a bit confused as he folds a napkin. That was a rather open ended question.
I search for some way to fix that. “Do you like cookies?”
Still peering down, his expression is soft. “I do.”
“Any particular kind?”
This draws his eyes to my face. “Nope. I like everything.”
Then I will make him some for next week. It hits me that there’s one in my pail today
for Betsy and me to share. I can’t remember what kind, so I pluck out
the handkerchief and free a thick oatmeal cookie. I hold it out to him.
“For putting up with me.”
He smirks. “You’re no trouble. You’re actually very teachable.”
“Teachable and marryable. Two compliments in one day?”
He laughs. It’s a deep, sweet sound that makes me wish I had a brother
just so I could hear that kind of laugh all the time. With me still
holding out the cookie, he seems reluctant to accept it so I place the
round in his palm and the brief brush of my skin against his shows he’s a
little warmer. I’m glad he’s out here in the sun.
a $2.99 pre-order ~ Joanne Bischof's new novella!
Sixteen-year-old Sarah Miller
doesn’t expect anything out of the ordinary when she begins her first
day at the one-room-school house in her new hometown of Rocky Knob. But
when she meets seventeen-year-old Tucker O’Shay—the boy with the fatal
illness who volunteers to tutor her in algebra—she finds herself swept
up in a friendship that changes the way she sees the world and a love
that changes her life.
Publication date: December 18, 2014.
Nook and paperback coming soon!