Sunday, October 28, 2007
My car sputtered with undeniable exhaustion as I pulled up into Kaylee’s slightly stooped driveway. Her driveway was nothing compared to ours, but the exertion was too much for my mildly old car. It rolled to a stop and I put the emergency brake on, a safety caution I exercise in every motor circumstance I find myself in. I turned off the car, and made my way up the familiar path to Kaylee’s front door. My hand was just about to hit the door when it opened to reveal a smaller, tanner, and younger version of Kaylee.
“Hey Tori!” Ruth, Kaylee’s younger and only sister, embraced me, and I stiffened. I never knew what was going on in Ruth’s mind, but I knew it was nothing good. I glared down at her, and she stared up at me, putting on a fake innocent smile.
“What do you want from me, Ruth?” I ask, exasperated. I already knew what she wanted. Fortunately, Kaylee came down the hall and was answering Ruth’s pleading looks with a harsh tone.
“No, Ruth. Watch a movie here.” Without even looking at her sister, Kaylee walked past her and smiled at me. I chuckled. Kaylee and Ruth’s relationship was always an entertaining one.
“But its not the same watching a movie at home,” Ruth complained, slumping on one of the sofas in the entertainment room that lay before my eyes. Their big screen TV was quite large and the personal setting was much more comfortable than the upright and mildly uncomfortable chairs at the theatre. If anything, it was probably not the same in a numerous amount of good reasons than bad. I went over to Ruth and patted her head.
“Deal with it, Gelfling.” Ruth shoved my hand away. She hated it when I called her that. I laughed silently with Kaylee, and we made for the door. “Bye, Ruth!” I shout behind me.
“Tell mom that I’m out, ‘kay?” Kaylee asks of Ruth, who merely nods, and pouts as we leave. Once the door was closed, we walked fast for the car, hoping that Ruth wouldn’t try to sneak along with us. I pulled out of Kaylee’s driveway and we enjoyed our freedom.
Half an hour later, we were outside a sub shop, eating sandwiches and debating what movie to go and see.
“I heard that ___ was a really good one. Got great reviews,” I said between swallows. I wiped my mouth and waited for Kaylee’s response.
“Yeah, me too. But I’m not in the mood for an action. I want to see that romantic comedy ___,” I nodded. I was also interested in that. I sighed. Usually when I went to the movies, it was more than one person. At the moment, it was just me and Kaylee. Our friend, Jessica, backed out because of other commitments. And it was impossible to get her out of her house, the hermit. Kaylee already called Joseph, and he wasn’t sure. He was supposed to get back to her. Currently, we weren’t counting on him. So it was just me and Kaylee.
“I don’t care what we see. Just as long as I’m not cooped up in my house for the rest of the summer,” I muttered. This was my day off from work and I didn’t want to be the typical bum I was. Plus, there were a lot of good movies to see.
But I spoke too quickly.
At that moment, Kaylee jumped and put her hand against her chest. My brow furrowed in confusion. I wasn’t completely lost for very long. Comprehension dawned on my face as Kaylee pulled out her cell phone from her pocket. She took once glance, and she crinkled her nose. I didn’t need her to tell me who it was. I could tell already. She flipped the phone open and put on a falsely cheerful voice.
“Hey Joseph!” I stuffed my face full of my sandwich to keep my laugh from coming out. It wasn’t very successful. I projectile-sputtered a ton of lettuce from my mouthful of sub. Kaylee chuckled a bit, but I assumed it was from the joke that Joseph was undoubtedly telling. I swallowed the bite of sandwich and waited for the purpose of his call. I hoped, in vain, that it wasn’t to confirm he was going to the movies. I didn’t want to seem like a third wheel.
“Yeah, we’re still going to the movies,” Kaylee said. I groaned. Great. Third-wheel time. I sat back moodily and ate drank my soda.
“Its just me and Tori going right now,” I hear Kaylee say. I could tell she felt slightly embarrassed. Kaylee’s popularity in comparison to Joseph’s was a little bit of a touchy subject with her. Kaylee was fine with her tight-nit group of friends, but Joseph was keen on introducing her to every single person on the planet and insisting she hang out with them. This was one of Kaylee’s biggest pet peeves.
Joseph continued to talk for a long time, and Kaylee’s expression was blank. Obviously she didn’t really care for what he was talking about. A few minutes passed and they had a normal conversation. But as Joseph was speaking, either something stung Kaylee in the arm or something Joseph said startled her. Her eyes grew slightly panicked and she stared at me.
“What?!” I mouthed. My sandwich lay abandoned. Joseph must’ve really hit a nerve. Kaylee was freaking out.
She didn’t respond though. She sat there, frozen. The drone coming from the phone stopped, and Kaylee still hadn’t said anything in response to Joseph’s comment. Her voice cracked as she tried to speak, and she cleared her throat.
“Y-yeah. Sure. That’s fine…you could’ve at least gave me a warning.” She said, trying to sound off-hand. I knew better. She was in panic-mode.
“Alright, see you at the theatre. Yeah…love you too. Bye.” She hung up. I sat there, literally not breathing, and staring straight at Kaylee. She looked down at her phone.
“Joseph took it upon himself to make out outing a date. A double date.” She bit her lip. My eyes grew a little wide.
“So…who’s my date?” I asked, not sure if I really wanted to know.
She sighed. “Nathaniel.”
My mind went blank. Nathaniel? Why Nathaniel? Of all the people Joseph could’ve chosen, he chose Nathaniel! Of course, I wasn’t expecting him to know that Kaylee still carried a torch for Nathaniel, even after dating him for months, but he couldn’t be that oblivious! I guess I should count my blessings, and be glad that Joseph didn’t choose someone more questionable. Me and Nathaniel were friends, and I had nothing to object about him. It was the fact that Kaylee still liked Nathaniel that bothered me the most. I looked at her face and noted her pursed lips and annoyed eyes. Annoyed. That’s what she was feeling. Not angry with me, or sad that Nathaniel was paired up with another girl. It was just annoyed at the situation. Well, that was better than the former options. But there was still the fact that I was going to feel like a third wheel, and now Benedict Arnold on top of that. All I managed to do was sigh.
“Well, this should be fun,” I heard Kaylee mutter, her voice thick with sarcasm. She stuffed her phone into her purse and crossed her legs. I tried to hide my wince within a smile, though I wasn’t entirely sure I was successful. We were silent for a few minutes while we finished our food. I finished first, and waited for Kaylee to hurry and eat. Her progress was slow, as if she were trying to slow down time. The silence was stifling. I wanted to tell Kaylee that this wasn’t my fault, but I had a feeling that she already knew that, though it didn’t make the situation any easier. I thought of something to break the awkward silence.
“What movie are we seeing, then?” I asked, trying to be offhand. I hoped, internally, that we weren’t going to see the romantic comedy. That would make everything worse. It was awkward enough. Kaylee finally threw away her trash and finished her drink before responding.
“We’re seeing (the latest horror movie____),” she rolled her eyes and stood up. I followed suit and rummaged around my purse for my keys. At least it was better than the romantic comedy. I just wasn’t a big fan of scary movies. I always got way too scared and wussy. I retrieved my cell phone and looked at the time.
“What time is the movie at?” I asked Kaylee, not looking up from the phone. The awkwardness that I was only beginning to feel suddenly grew twice its size. I was beginning to comprehend the major intrusion I was going to be making on both Kaylee and Joseph and Kaylee and Nathaniel. Her infatuation was deep, and it was going to be hard to avoid. At that moment, I wanted to disappear.
“Its in twenty minutes, and he’s meeting us there in about ten minutes, so we’d better leave,” We headed to my car and got inside, not saying a word to each other after that. I didn’t know if Kaylee wanted me to speak, so I just kept my mouth shut the entire ride there. After the tedious ride to the theatre, we existed the car and made our way down to the theatre. It didn’t take long for me to spot the pair of them: Joseph’s red hair was brilliant against Nathaniel’s pale blond. Kaylee sped up, walking a full two feet in front of me, and ran into Joseph’s arms. My eyes squinted in a confused frown. This kind of behavior was very uncharacteristic of Kaylee. I shrugged it off, though, hoping that maybe she was beginning to get over Nathaniel. That hope was crushed the moment I approached Nathaniel and we grinned at each other, knowing what the other was thinking: Kaylee must be on drugs. But, unfortunately, I saw Kaylee’s eyes flash on our direction, and then saw them narrow slightly. She obviously misunderstood the exchange of smiles.
“So, you all ready?” Joseph said in his soothing voice. I didn’t understand why Kaylee didn’t like Joseph as much as one should. I even found myself unconsciously attracted to him. Not in any romantic way. His personality was a bit much for my taste. We all nodded, and me and Kaylee took the tickets that our dates bought for us. A twinge of guilt panged in my stomach, but I saw that Nathaniel was trying hard not to laugh. He obviously found this whole situation hilarious.
Joseph took Kaylee’s hand and started walking inside. Nathaniel, who felt that mocking this whole thing was the only way to get through it, held out his arm, and I took it, feeling that his approach was how I was going to survive tonight. We were going to be overly dramatic about it. We all sat down in the theatre, with the guys on the outside of me and Kaylee, and waited patiently for the movie to start.
I leaned in to speak to Nathaniel. “So, how did you get roped into this little shindig?” A smile spread across my face as I watched Nathaniel roll his eyes.
“I’m not entirely sure. All I can say is that Joseph is a very persuasive guy…” He nodded slowly, and laughed slightly. if I ever was a bad judge of character, I could feel secure knowing that no matter what, I was right in thinking that Nathaniel was always dependable to have a light heart and comical approach to life. I wasn’t sure what he was feeling on the inside, but on the outside, he was quite smooth and calm. I was envious.
We continued to chat, ignoring Joseph and Kaylee’s small affectionate touches and whispered words. Though I turned a deaf ear to them, I was positive that Kaylee was feeling more and more awkward by the minute. At least Nathaniel didn’t seem too bothered by it.
The movie started, and immediately, Kaylee’s eyes turned to watch Nathaniel. She was probably concerned that he wasn’t enjoying himself, or worse, that he had found an interest in me. I couldn’t reassure her about Nathaniel, because Joseph was alarmingly close to Kaylee. So I had to sit there, drowning in my own awkwardness, for an hour and a half, wishing each second everything was over.
The moment the credits began to roll, I stood up and made to leave. But Nathaniel stood up at the same time I was trying to move, and I ended up sitting in his lap. We were both laughing and began blushing at each other’s clumsiness. I stood up and saw two completely different faces: There was Joseph’s, who was laughing along with us, and then Kaylee’s, who was trying hard not to look like that severely bothered her. I just blushed more furiously and walked out of the theatre, behind Nathaniel.
“So, that movie was a dud,” Joseph stated bluntly once we were outside of the theatre. The summer evening breeze felt nice against my hot face. I still felt embarrassed and stupid that I had let myself get into this situation. Thank goodness it was nearly over. I heard everyone mutter in agreement. Personally, I hadn’t even paid attention to the movie. I was making sure that Nathaniel didn’t look like he was paying more attention to me than the movie. He was speaking to me a lot, but we usually were on speaking terms. He didn’t know that I absolutely didn’t want him to speak to me. He didn’t know that this date was going to be the make of break of mine and Kaylee’s friendship.
“Well, its getting late, and I should probably be heading home,” I said, pushing my purse higher up on my shoulder. “Kaylee…” I began saying, but my eyes couldn’t distinguish Kaylee’s form, as it was tightly embraced and glued by the lips to Joseph’s body. This was the second time that I had seen Kaylee act like this. The first time was when she agreed to be in a relationship with Joseph, and funny enough, Nathaniel was there as well. I definitely knew that Kaylee wouldn’t do this on a regular basis, but was doing it to see Nathaniel’s reaction. His face mimicked what I was feeling. I laughed, and pulled him aside.
“You’d better not look so shocked. It might encourage them,” I rolled my eyes and poked his shoulder. He shook his head and chuckled.
“Kaylee sure is acting weird tonight,” He remarked giving me quizzical look, inquiring of me if she tended to act like this around Joseph. Truth was, she usually was apathetic to his existence most of the time, unless Joseph was being particularly pushy for her attention. I knew that the major factor of her behavior was the person standing in front of me, urging me to tell him something I wasn’t allowed to.
“Yeah, she is. This is the second time I seen her make out with him like that,” I scrunched up my nose. Seeing Kaylee like this wasn’t something I wanted to see on a daily basis. It was very uncharacteristic of her.
Nathaniel nodded in agreement, and we just stood there, waiting for them to say their goodbyes. As the minutes dragged by, Nathaniel and I spoke about the anticipated school year and about what we had done during the summer. Apparently him and Kaylee had done a lot during the summer, which perplexed me. She had nothing to complain about! Why was she acting so jealous tonight when she had plenty of time to see him already? I tisked quietly and watched Kaylee half-heartedly hug Joseph and wave to him.
“Looks like they’ve finally finished,” Nathaniel said, following my lead as we made our way to a relieved-looking Kaylee.
“Need a ride home?” I asked, smiling at her. She probably had a ton she wanted to tell me, so I was relieving her of using all those minutes on her phone plan and just talking to me face to face. But she shook her head.
“Joseph is getting the car and taking me home,” She mumbled, trying hard not to show her displeasure, because Nathaniel was still there and oblivious to her lack of enthusiasm in her current marital status. I shrugged, and hugged Kaylee.
“Well, I’ll see you around,” I said, and patted her on the shoulder.
“Yeah, see ya,” Nathaniel said, and he followed me as I walked away. I laughed slightly, wondering what Kaylee was thinking about Nathaniel’s following me. He eventually caught up with me and walked as far as he could without being completely out of the way of his car. We hugged briefly, and parted ways.
As I drove home, I remarked on the experience I just had. And I promised myself I would never ever let myself get into that situation again.
[well, now I can start chapter 3, which proves to be a little more exciting! We finally get to meet Emerson, but the meeting is going to be slightly different than what I originally planned. Thanks for being patient and for reading. I really appreciate it.]
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I was very conscious of my body at that precise moment. This was it. My eyes were focused, intent, unwavering while my body was intense, tight, ready to spring. Sweat rolled off my neck and arms, creating tiny sensations all across my body, but this didn’t distract me. It was me and my target that lay across from me. I was poised and positioned.
She tossed the ball in the air. My eyes followed. Her racket swung up and over, my eyes slowing the movement down, so that it all looked like a graceful dance move. I knew the ball was going to be in even before it crossed the net. My body straightened slightly, turned and my arm curved back as I got ready to return cross-court. Once the ball ricocheted out of the service box, my mind brought everything back into normal time. My racket swung and brushed the ball back over the next, deep and cross court. That hit alone was too much for the other team. They swing and miss, and immediately my body relaxes. I grin at my doubles partner, who is giving me a thumbs up and is walking toward me. We congratulate each other and head to coach to tell him our score. If I’m not mistaken, me and my doubles partner, Lisa, have just won our spot into Varsity.
We see that the other team is a little distraught, as they are seniors and want to spend their last year of high school tennis on the varsity squad. Naturally, I would feel a little bit of sympathy, but I had just earned my spot on the varsity team, so I wasn’t very inclined to feel sorry for them. Me and Lisa walked to coach with a spring in our step, our tennis bags slung over our worn backs and our water bottles in our hands, and huge grins on our faces. He looks at us and gives us a satisfied look.
“What was the score, ladies?”
“8-2,” I respond. I look at Lisa and she smiles. After a week of being paired with her in doubles, we had already begun to be an unstoppable power force. Coach’s voice lowered as he noticed Tracey and Samantha, our opponents, walk toward us.
“Well, to be honest, I was expecting a score like that. Good job, girls! You’ve really shown all you got. Go ahead and call it a day and sleep well. You’re in varsity now.” He smiled, and patted our backs. Lisa and I only nodded and headed toward the bleachers where the rest of our gear rested. Lauren, a fellow tennis player and member of the Country Club team, was sitting next to my keys and towel. I gathered them, and noticed her looking at her schedule for the new school year. Ugh, school. I didn’t want to think about that. I had gotten my schedule earlier today, just like she did, and it was a reminder that the summer was almost over. It seemed like summer had just begun, and now it was ending. She looked up, and smiled at me.
“Hey, Tori. How’d you do?”
“Won, 8-2. They’re still upset.” I look over at Tracey, who looked like she had just had a good cry about it. Tracey tended to get upset easily in tennis. Samantha looked like she’d eaten something sour. I sighed. I hated being the one to cause contention, but if they were going to be bitter about it, that was their problem. Lauren was looking too, and she merely shrugged.
“Its not your fault you’re better. At least you made it quick.” I nodded and sat next to her, glancing at her schedule.
“So, what classes do you have?” She asked. I furrowed my brow in concentration and managed to see my schedule in my mind. I named the classes off as they appeared on the image ingrained in my memory.
“Orchestra, AP US History and English Block, Integrated Math 4 Honors, French 2 Advanced, Sociology, and Musical Productions 2,” I recited, grinning at my amazing memory. “What about you?” Lauren handed me her schedule, and I looked it over. We had no classes together, though we were both enrolled in the challenging AP block class. Hers was the 4/5 hour block and mine was the 2/3 block. I sighed, and shook my head.
“No classes together?” She asked. I nodded and gave her schedule back. I gathered my things, and turned to leave.
“Hey, don’t get too big headed now that you’re in varsity!” Lauren shouted at my retreating back. I laughed and waved at her.
As I drove home, cranking my window down since my AC was non-existent, I reminisced about the day. I had done all the things necessary to start the school year this morning, such as getting my schedule, signing up for clubs, taking pictures, and all that stuff. A depression had settled in my mind as I did it, knowing that in a matter of weeks school would be back in session and I’d be bogged down by the usual homework load the teachers liked to send us students home with. From the ultimate low, I went to the ultimate high, playing some of the best tennis I’ve played for the whole summer. Me and Lisa were queens of the court and finally succeeded in achieving our goal of making varsity. It had been a very moody day.
And to top it off, tonight I was going to Nauvoo, Illinois with my friend Celeste and her family. I looked at the time, and saw that I only had an hour and a half to get ready. I began speeding down the road, knowing that it would take me at least an hour to look decent.
Once I got home, my mom had left a note on the counter, and it said:
Off running errands. Make sure you pop in the casserole before you leave.
Love ya, Mom.
I smiled at her little message and checked the fridge for the casserole. I took out the pan and looked inside. It was tuna-noodle casserole. My nose wrinkled slightly. I was definitely not in the mood for that. Thank goodness I would be out of town for it. I set it next to her note, and went to my room to get ready to take a shower.
An hour and a half later, I was in front of Celeste’s house, making sure I had everything. My bag, a book to keep me entertained, my wallet, keys, jacket…yep. Everything was there. No, everything was not there. My cell phone. I checked my things again, and thankfully it was only dropped onto the floor of my car. I looked at it and noticed that someone had called. I opened the phone and checked to see who it was. It was Kaylee. Of course. I closed the phone again, and stuffed it into my bag. I would call her back later. She’d understand.
As I walked up to the house, I began to feel at peace again, knowing that although it was the last days of summer, I wouldn’t be wasting them. I rang the doorbell and, a few seconds later, was greeted by an enthusiastic Celeste.
“Hey Tori!” She grinned widely and we hugged.
“Hey Celeste! Sorry I’m a little late. Time was never on my side,” I grinned back and walked on in, petting their small dog, Mia, who was just as enthusiastic as Celeste at my being there.
“Its alright. We’re just about ready to go. Norah is taking a while to get her things together,” She rolled her eyes slightly. Norah was the youngest of her sisters, and definitely the one most excited about this little trip. I shrugged, and we walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table. “So, did you get your schedule?” Celeste asked, smiling slightly. I don’t think I have ever seen Celeste without a smile on her face. Smiling seemed to be the expression she always fell back on, or she was always happy. I assumed it was the former.
I nodded, and took the slip of paper out of my bag. “It looks to be an intense year, but I’m sure I can handle anything after my AP class last year,” I laughed slightly as the memories of my sophomore year began to flood my mind.
I remembered feeling older, taller, and more confident during my sophomore year. I wasn’t in Junior high anymore. I was in the same league as the upper-classmen and was more accepted. The only remotely hard class was my AP World History and English class that were combined into one giant hell-hole, for lack of a better word. Sure, the teachers were nice and genuinely loved teaching, but the work load was intense. I remembered the many all-nighters I pulled and the ever-dreaded AP National Exam that I took at the end of the year. Ah, memories.
I looked at Celeste’s face, and saw an expression I knew too well. It was fear.
“I enrolled in the AP World History class,” She said half-heartedly. Her eyes fell and she looked as if she’d received a death sentence. I stifled a small laugh, knowing that if I managed to get an A in that class, she’d get an A+ immediately.
“Celeste, you’ll do fine! Don’t anticipate failure when you’re more than competent to do it,” I chuckled and shook my head. At that moment, Celeste’s mom walked into the room.
“Hey Tori,” She smiled warmly.
“Hey, Mrs. Hales,” I smiled back.
“You kiddos ready to go? I just rounded up the gang and they’re all headed out to the van.” We stood up and gathered our things. Excitement fluttered in my stomach as we marched out to the van and buckled in. It was a three hour trip to and from Nauvoo, but knowing the Hales family, it was going to be fun no matter what.
I paced my room, and waited for Kaylee to pick up the phone. I looked at the clock: one in the morning. Sure it was late, but not too late for Kaylee. She was bound to be up. Just as the phone rang for the third time and I was getting anxious, Kaylee answered the phone.
“Hello?” She asked, not really asking for identification. She knew it was me.
“Hey. Saw that you called.” I was tired, but my voice betrayed my exhaustion. It was strangely up beat and energetic.
“Yeah. I just needed to talk to someone. Its about me and Joseph…”
Just as I expected. I rolled my eyes and kept the irritation in my voice down to a bare minimum.
“What about you guys? I thought you were doing fine with him!” Joseph was the perfect guy for Kaylee. She needed an intelligent, funny, social, and talented guy, and that was everything that Joseph was. I didn’t understand where the conflict between them would come from, except maybe they were too perfect for each other, if that’s even possible.
“Its not mine and Joseph’s relationship. Its my relationship with-”
“Don’t even finish that sentence, Kay.” My eyes clamped shut at the thought of whose relationship. Surely not Nathaniel’s. I thought she was over that guy the minute her and Joseph hit if off at the end of Sophomore year! I knew that Kaylee was feeling ashamed. This topic was the source of all her self-pity and the source of all my disparagement and aggravation.
She sighed over the phone, and I sighed after her, mine more out of anger than mild grief. I tried talking sense into her.
“Kaylee. Joseph is everything you could ever want in a guy. Nathaniel isn’t. He may be you longest crush, but the fact that he completely ignored you after you told him you liked him tells me that he obviously is clueless and will never get a clue! Just accept him as a friend and move on.”
I refrained from saying the last part. I wasn’t that harsh. I knew too well how hard it was to get over a guy you’ve liked for so long. I experienced that my Freshman year over a guy I prefer to forget.
“I know he won’t, but I just can’t seem to stop liking him…” I bit my tongue, and tried my hardest to keep myself composed. I had heard enough. So I changed the subject.
“So I went to this awesome concert tonight. I got to see nine a capella singers that sang their renditions of modern songs. And get this…they were all single men!” I grinned and relived the past few hours in my mind.
“How old were they?” This was a common question Kaylee asked when I expressed an interest in a guy. I grinned sheepishly, knowing perfectly well that she couldn’t see me, but knew that she was seeing it in her mind.
“Early twenties…” I laughed slightly. For some reason, ever since my sophomore year, I’ve been interested in older guys. Not just one year older. I’m talking at least three years older. Eighteen, nineteen, twenty years and I even had a crush on a twenty-three year old. I could almost hear Kaylee shake her head.
“You’re just asking for trouble, Tor.” We both laughed, and continued talking early into the morning. It was three thirty before we decided to stop and call it a night.
As much as some aspects of Kaylee really bugged me, I realized that her friendship was something I could rely on. Something I could depend upon and know that I can turn to her at any time.I hoped that that aspect of our relationship would never go away.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
- Chapter 2, of course
- Developing supporting characters: Celeste, Joseph, Emerson
- Filler in between key moments
- The epilogue(I'm getting ahead of myself)
- main conflicts
Anyways, just a reminder, you don't have to have an account to post comments. And please don't shy from doing so. I love hearing from EVERYONE!
Here's a little preview of Chapter 2, completely unedited and fresh out of my head:
I was very conscious of my body at that precise moment. This was it. My eyes were focused, intent, unwavering while my body was intense, tight, ready to spring. Sweat rolled off my neck and arms, creating tiny sensations all across my body, but this didn’t distract me. It was me and my target that lay across from me. I was poised and positioned.Enjoy. :]
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