Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Welcome Back, Teaser!

How long has it been, peeps? Did you miss me and my teases? Well, I know I missed sharing them!

We last left off with my wip, LOVE IN A TIME OF POPULARITY, but alas, there were some major issues with that tale...like extreme lack of plot :( Anywho, that one is still simmering away, but I've had to go back to the drawing board with Jenna, Dallas, and Austin. Such is the way of these things **shrugs**

But, while I was planning their face lift, a brilliant, sparkly, Shiny New Idea snuck up behind me and knocked me out cold. And, when I came to, these new characters were jabbering nonstop.

Thus ALWAYS AND FOREVER was born. So, here you are, my lovelies. Your peek into the lives of Mia and Kal, my new favorite characters...uh...that is until Jenna and her gang get off their asses and do something spectacular :)


Just outside of town, past the picture perfect neighborhoods of well-maintained, middle-American homes, past the stretch of downtown and its quaint little shops and brightly colored storefronts, past all that, sitting in the middle of that desolate space between our humming little society and the sprawling, never-sleeping, ever-alert metropolis of the city with its many highways, byways, and concrete parades sat The Pit. Long abandoned by its owners, The Pit used to be alive with heavy machines and thick-necked muscular laborers, all working to rid The Pit of its rich top soil and ship it off to various construction sites in and around the area.

Pilfered of all its wealth, The Pit was now nothing more than a wonderland of deep craters and towering cliffs that tempted young daredevils to new and explosive heights. It was supposedly off-limits, but if you knew your way around the locked gates, you were free to roam the hills and valleys, slipping and sliding your way to exhilaration.

Kal maneuvered the car around to the back where we usually parked. We threw the doors opened and hit the ground running even before the vehicle had rolled to complete stop. We met at the back of the car, Kal popping the trunk open and rummaging through its contents.

“Where’s my board?” I demanded, shoving through the junk when it wasn’t easily visible. “Kal? Where is it?”

He straightened up, his brows furrowed in concentration. “I think it might be in your car, but don’t worry, Mia.” He snagged hold of the aged red saucer that lived at the bottom of his trunk and dangled it in front of me. “You can use Danna’s saucer. She won’t mind.”

“I’m not riding down on a little girl’s sled,” I made a grab for his board. “But, you can. I’ll take your board.”

A deep velvety chuckle drifted out of him and hung in the air between us. He raised the board up higher. “Men don’t ride little girls’ sleds either,” he told me. “But, I’ll share.”

I halted my efforts to commandeer his board and glowered at him. “Fine, but I get to go down first.”

Shaking his head, he leaned the board against the car and reached out to adjust my coat, fastening the buttons on the front so that I was all bundled up. Then, he snatched a scarf and hat out of the trunk. My scarf and hat.

“Ever the boy scout,” I muttered as he fitted the knitted hat over my ears and knotted the scarf around my neck.

“Hush you,” he ordered. “I still need my merit badge in winterizing teenage girls.”

“Ha! I’ll tell them you did it all wrong.” I swiped up the board and turned on my heel, heading up the hill. I didn’t take more than two steps before his hands dropped onto my shoulders, halting any further progress on my part.

“I said,” he swiped the board from my surprised hands. “That I’d share. Not that you could just steal my board out from under me.” He caught hold of my hand before I could ask him what the hell he meant by that and bounded up the hill. I had to almost run to keep pace with his long, sure strides.

At the top, I watched resentfully as he slid his feet in and clamped them down. “That’s just great,” I ranted. “This is what you call sharing, Kal? What a terrific friend. I’ll just stand here like a dork with no board and watch as you get to have all the fun. You’re a real pal, you know that?”

Grinning wide, he held his hand out to me. I briefly entertained the notion of biting him. When I still made no move to put my palm in his, he snagged hold of me and yanked me up against him.

“I’m not going down without you, Mia,” he murmured in my ear.

His hot breath sailed across my cold skin, slipping between the folds of my scarf to caress my neck. I was instantly dizzy, my head unbelievably light. I shivered slightly, but not from the cold…from something else…something I’d never felt before. Something unbelievably nice.

“Mia? You okay?” He clutched me to him, frowning, his eyes dark with worry. “Mia?”

“Hmm?” I shook my head. Once. Twice. That was weird. “No. I mean, yeah, I’m fine. Just got a little dizzy there for a moment.”

Wrong thing to say. His eyes darkened even more, his fingers digging painfully into my arms.

“I’ll take you home. You shouldn’t be out here. It’s too cold. I don’t care if the sun is shining. I should know better than to—“

“Kal, I’m fine,” I cut in, hating to see him flog himself for nothing. “Really. I am.”

He stared at me for a long minute, not at all convinced. “Are you sure? Because we can leave—“

“I’m fine. Really.”

He bit his lip, considering. “Okay,” he said. “If you’re sure…”

I nodded quickly. Anything to get his mind off my health issues.

“Okay,” he repeated, more to himself than to me. His fingers loosened their grip on my arms and slid around my back, pulling me in closer. “Hold on,” he ordered before I could ask what this was all about.

I’d just curled my fingers into the front of his coat when he rocked us forward. In the next second, we were flying, slicing through the snow as the board rocketed down the side of the hill.

Laughter peeled out of Kal—mingling with my gleeful shrieks—as the wind whipped around us. It was over all too soon, Kal turning the board sideways to bring us to an effortless stop at the bottom.

I was still clutching the front of his jacket when I stepped off the board to put some space between us, but I just couldn’t let him go. Not yet. Maybe not ever. “Again,” I demanded, a bit breathlessly.

“Yes, ma’am,” he responded, snapping a quick salute, making me laugh all over again.

We repeated the tandem rides a few more times, each one wringing more and more laughter out of me, pushing the conversation in Dr. Lambert’s office further and further away. I wanted to bury it way down deep, so I could forget, so none of us would remember the terrible truth lurking just beneath the surface waiting to spring up and drag me under.

As the sun was sinking in the sky, Kal consulted his watch, pronouncing playtime over. We still had those papers to finish, and I had to be home early, he reminded me. Like either of us could forget for very long.

The short drive to the library was made in complete silence. Neither of us spoke for fear of bringing up the pain and despair that was simmering just below the surface. How many more trips to the library would we have? How many afternoons spent trolling the mall, walking in the park, or just playing video games in his living room? I didn’t want to think about any of that. I wanted to continue on with my life, blissfully ignorant of the time slipping away.

Too bad I was all too aware of how little I had left.