By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015. 2016
When I was going through some notes about a short story I’d written “Flipping Over Grigori,” I thought that exploring his personality disorder would make this a more moving story. From 12,000 words to nearly 23,000, the expanded version reveals more about both main characters and how they get to know each other. I also changed his name from Grigori to Andrei. His last name is still Antonescu, but A.A. are now his initials; it’s symbolic of him being a source of addiction to Charlotte White, the woman who falls in love with the gymnastics coach.
Briefly, here’s what I Almost Married a Narcissist is about:
Charlotte White falls in love with a younger Romanian gymnastics coach.
Andrei Antonescu is a sexy and handsome foreigner who loves to have fun and flirt with the ladies.
The more she gets to know him, the more red flags are unfurled. Once she’s able to see past his good looks and muscular body, Charlotte is unprepared for some shocking revelations.
Excerpt from Chapter Two
Three of the coaches introduced themselves to me. I liked them right away. But there was this one, a real serious looking guy, who completely ignored me. Maybe it was his dark blond curly hair and the fact that he was so tanned and muscular. His T-shirt’s sleeves were rolled up, showing off his strong arms. He was so self absorbed that he didn’t even notice me.
Later, I got to go out into the gym, and didn’t have to remove my shoes because I was a staff member. I had to give a message to Andrei, that serious coach. That was how I finally met the younger man – right next to the parallel bars. He had just dismounted from them after showing an element to his private student, a wiry adolescent boy. After handing him the message, he grabbed it with chalky hands and thanked me quickly, not even looking at me. But I was used to being treated like that.
A few days later, I was in the coach’s lounge for my afternoon break. It was a dark, depressing day and it seemed like nothing was ever going to go right. Svetlana had yelled at me that morning for taking too long to do the reports and I wondered if I’d even last the week at the job. Andrei rushed upstairs, and I thought of how young and energetic he was. He didn’t smile at me, but he lowered his sunglasses as he asked about his schedule. All I saw were his Mediterranean blue eyes.
I wanted to take the Tuesday or Thursday night adult gymnastics class he taught. I wondered how to go about asking Svetlana about it. I knew that Eastern European coaches were able to get excellent results from their students, and by taking the class, I’d get back into shape. That afternoon, I stood near the filing cabinet when Andrei walked in, went past me, and pinched my hip! There was no one else nearby. The gesture was something most American men wouldn’t do because they’d probably end up being sued for sexual harassment.
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