Wednesday, November 17, 2010

These Fun & Games Are Just So Much FUN!

This writing experiment has turned into so much fun.  For those of you who haven't been following along, you can see Kelly's first snip here, mine here, and Kelly's second snip here.  Mine is below.

Enjoy!  (oh, and it's a little longer than the 1K word limit.  I just got so excited about this scene that well...you know how long winded I can be)  :)

A quiet Friday night. Harper’s parents had gone out, dropping Chase off at a friend’s house for the night, and who knew where Truman was? Even though he’d been home from college on winter break for the last two weeks, it was like he was still gone for as much as anyone ever saw him.


Taking advantage of the unusual peace that blanketed her normally chaotic home, Harper removed a bag of popcorn from the microwave and wandered into the living room to pop in a movie. On the coffee table, her phone lit up and buzzed loudly. She ignored it, feeling only a smidgen of guilt at brushing Grace off for like the fiftieth time today.

She’d have to get out of her funk soon, or else Grace would find some way to pry everything out of her. Sometimes, Harper swore that her friend was destined to work for the CIA or FBI or some covert black ops division of Homeland security as the resident torturer. Grace knew all sorts of creative ways to get information if she wanted it. And, once she caught the scent of some juicy tidbit, there was no losing her. She sunk in with the tenacity of a pit bull and didn’t let go until she’d gotten what she was after.

And, she always got her prize.

Harper shivered, despite the warmth of the room, and glared at her phone as it buzzed again. Still, she did not answer. Tomorrow. She’d get up early and show up on Grace’s doorstep, bagels and coffee in hand. They’d make a mall run and spend all sorts of money, racking up the credit card Grace’s dad had given her for emergencies only. Like he even checked the bill. And, everything would be back to normal.

It had to be because Harper just couldn’t take this wretched feeling anymore, like her skin was coated in the thickest, grimiest dirt imaginable. The kind of stain that ran deep inside, that even the hardest scrubbing couldn’t come close to scraping off.

She just needed to forget it all…like none of it had ever happened in the first place.

“Harper? I know you’re in here.”

Speak of the devil. Harper closed her eyes for all of a second, mustering up the necessary courage to face her friend much sooner than she was ready. Like pulling off a band-aid, Harper, she told herself. Quick and painless. Smile and pretend like everything is perfect. She never has to know.

“Back here,” she called out. Was that broken voice really hers? Shattered glass and cracked pavement coated her every word, gravel sliding along the back of her throat leaving behind welted pockets of pain. She swallowed against it all, forcing a brilliant smile up to her lips, one that did not quite reach her eyes. “I was just about to call you back,” she told Grace when her friend appeared in the doorway.

“No, you weren’t.”

Nervous laughter fell from Harper’s lips. “I was—“ The words died a quick violent death as Grace moved into the room and Owen materialized behind her. Eyes rounded, Harper’s mouth fell open. She darted a disbelieving look at Grace before turning back to him. “What are you doing here?” It was said—more like snapped out—in much harsher, icier tones than what was called for, but Harper didn’t care right then.

“Look, Harper, I—“ he began, desperately pleading apology stamped across his face. Torn between wanting to be here to console the girl he liked—hell, more than liked—and seeking solace in pretending he hadn’t witnessed what he had at the party, he stood there, hands jammed in his pockets, head hung, unsure as how to continue.

“We know all about what happened with Mr. Haas,” Grace jumped in. “Harper, why didn’t you say something? We need to go to the police…file a report. That asshole needs to be arrested!”

“What?” Swiveling her attention back and forth between the two of them, Harper rounded her eyes, hoping to convey just the right amount of confusion while inside, she was screaming, No! This just wasn’t happening. It couldn’t be. She wouldn’t let it. “I don’t…” she shook her head. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about, Grace.” She turned to Owen. “What does she mean? And, why are we calling the police?”

She waited for one breathless moment while Owen and Grace shared a significant look. Swallowing, visibly, Owen pinned her with a probing stare that had Harper wanting to throw her arms up and shield herself against the assault, afraid that yes, he could see straight through her and wasn’t quite sure if he liked what he saw.

That particular thought sent an arrow of pain straight through her chest.

“I saw you at the party, Harper,” he admitted quietly.

“I saw you, too,” she volleyed back, pushing out a light—she hoped—flirty giggle. “It wasn’t like it was a huge gathering…just a bunch of band geeks drinking pop and watching movies at Mr. H’s house. Same as all the other years.”

“No, I saw you,” he said, putting a wealth of meaning into the word saw. He pursed his lips, swallowed again, as if this whole conversation was physically painful for him. “And, Mr. Haas…coming out of his bedroom.”

“Oh, well, that was nothing.” She waved a dismissive hand through the air. “I had to use the bathroom, and there was such a line at the main one that he let me use the one in his bedroom.” She turned to Grace with a smirk. “Is that what has you two all fired up? You think I’d do something with a teacher?”

“No,” Grace said, soberly. “I don’t.”

“Well, there you go,” Harper jumped to her feet and gestured toward the door. “I’m sorry Grace dragged you over here on a Friday night, Owen. I’m sure you have other, more interesting things to do than have some kind of weird intervention thing—“

“He didn’t need to take his clothes off to show you where the bathroom was, Harper,” he cut in quietly. At her shocked look, he barreled forward. No going back now. In for a penny…well, whatever. He was determined to help her through this, even if that meant losing her forever. It was a risk he was willing to take if it meant keeping her safe. “I saw you two leaving his bedroom. He was still in the process of putting his shirt back on.”

“I see,” she said stiffly. Her mind raced ahead, grasping for something, anything, to say that sounded even remotely plausible.

“Harper, honey,” Grace murmured, reaching out for her. “Whatever happened…it’s not your fault.”

“Yeah, it was,” she muttered, bitterness dripping off her every word.

“No, really, it—“

Harper pushed her away, stumbling a couple of feet toward Owen who automatically stepped forward. His face was molted with rage, like he was two inches away from running out the door and hunting Mr. Haas down, and not with the intention of getting his version of the story. She shook those thoughts away and straightened her spine.

For most of her life, Grace had protected her, basically shoved Harper aside to fix anything and everything that went wrong in Harper’s life. Danny Jacobson was a prime example. And, Harper was sick of it. Just once…just one measly time, she wanted to be her own hero. She wanted to heal her own aches, right her own wrongs.

This was her time.

“Grace, listen to yourself,” Harper snapped, all patience at an end. “Do you really think I’d let some guy, especially a teacher, rape me and not scream bloody murder? Do you really think so little of me?”

“Harper—“

“Nothing. Happened,” she spit out.

“But—“

“Mr. Haas showed me to the bathroom,” she gritted out each word slowly, carefully. “But, it was dark in the bedroom and when I walked past him, I stumbled. I spilled my pop on him. So, while I was in the bathroom, he had to change his shirt. End of story.”

The room dropped into complete and utter silence. Grace and Owen just stared at her, looking like they wanted to believe her but unsure as to whether they should. Harper just wanted the floor to open up and swallow her.

“Nothing happened?” Grace asked, her blue eyes shimmering with tears. “Truly?”

Harper jerked out a sharp nod and gestured toward the door again. “Is that all you came here for?” She slid a sideways glance at Owen. “I’m sorry Grace dragged you over here,” she muttered.

He shrugged, a seemingly careless gesture that was anything but. “’S’Okay,” he murmured. “I’ll just…uh…be going, then.”

After he’d disappeared through the door, Harper whirled on her friend. “How could you…?” she sputtered, face flushing deep scarlet. “And, in front of Owen, too!”

“I-I’m sorry,” Grace mumbled, dejectedly. “I just thought—“

“Well, next time you decide to think, come to me first. Don’t drag him into it. Jeesh, Grace! He must think…I don’t even want to know what he thinks right now.”

Grace grabbed hold of Harper, hugging her tightly. “I’m sorry, Harp. Really, I am,” she sobbed into her friend’s ear. “I’ll fix this. I promise.”

Before Harper could stop her, Grace bounded out of the room. She collapsed on the sofa, tears welling up and spilling over. Great. Just great. What was she going to do now?

Outside, Grace shivered against the cold night air, her breath pluming out in front of her. She slid in behind the wheel and promptly shrieked when she realized there was someone sitting in the seat next to her. Hand to her chest to slow her galloping heart, she jammed the key in the ignition and fired Frenchy up. As warm air swirled about her, she leaned back in her seat.

“Do you believe her?” He asked quietly.

Slowly, sadly, she shook her head. “No. No, I don’t.”

 
So....what do you guys think so far?  I don't know about you, but I'm super excited to see where Kelly takes it from here :)