Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fun and Games Act 4, Scene 2

Here we are, friends.  My next installment of FUN AND GAMES WITH K & K. 

Enjoy!!

Harper sucked in a sharp breath, forced a bright smile to her lips, and shrugged. “With a name like that, you kinda have to be. Right?” She reached into her purse and tossed a wad of bills out onto the tabletop. “I’m going to run to the music store while you’re finishing up. I need some strings and more rosin.” Before Grace could argue or at least ask her friend to wait while she waved to the waitress for the check, Harper launched to her feet and hurried away.


Recognizing that maybe it was better to get a little space between them, Grace heaved out a sigh and watched her friend march determinedly toward the music store. She really needed to get to the bottom of things, but how? She cast a quick glance over to where Mr. Haas was laughing merrily with Bambi, but right then, nerves outweighed anger. Until she knew exactly what happened with Harper, she really couldn’t go spouting off on the teacher…at least not without help.

Thinking of Owen, she started to slip her phone out of her purse but stopped herself. What would she say to him? In all honestly, she’d barreled right over him last night, announcing that she was going to get to the bottom of things, that if there was anything worth finding out, she would be the one to do so. She gave herself a mental shake. This was not the time to be thinking of herself. Harper was the important one right now. She’d do well to remember that. Now, if only her friend would cooperate.

Grace poked at her food, the chicken no longer so appetizing. Harper wanted space; she’d give it to her. For now. But, in the next moment, she spied Owen strolling into the music store, and her mind was made up. Flagging down the waitress, she asked for the check, now in a rush to get to the store, and iron this out once and for all.

Inside the small shop, surrounded by all things musical, Harper was in her element. Lost in the only world that made sense to her anymore, she didn’t hear the footsteps shuffling up behind her until hot breath sailed across her skin. Panic spearing through her, she whirled around, the beginnings of a shrill scream bounding up to the tip of her tongue.

“Whoa,” he chuckled softly, hands in the air in an I-come-in-peace gesture as he took a step back. “Didn’t mean to scare you.”

She shook her head, scooting a little further away from him, putting another reassuring foot between them. “No problem,” she replied, carefully, eyes wide and frightened even though she kept repeating to herself that everything was alright. Not every guy was the bogey man. “It was my fault, really. I was daydreaming.”

Something about him kept her from being completely rude and running from him. It’s his eyes, she thought. They’re the exact same shade and shape as Owen’s. She shook herself. How she could even think about a boy now was beyond her. Men were the enemy…right? But, Owen’s my friend, the little voice at the back of her head argued. He’d never hurt me. And, really, seeing Owen everywhere she went was far better than running into Him. Right?

He grinned, reaching beyond her for the instrument she’d been ogling. If he caught her cringe as his arm brushed hers, he didn’t mention it. “You don’t look like a bass kind of girl,” he said conversationally, shaking his shaggy chestnut hair off his brow. “Electric…amplified…yeah, maybe, but bass? No.”

A reluctant smile popped up to her lips, the first genuine one she’d displayed all day. “Oh? And what makes you say that? I could be a badass rocker chick. You don’t know that.” Did she actually just flirt with this guy? Even as she admitted to herself that yes, she had, she took another small step away from him.

“Hmm,” he pondered her for all of a moment, rubbing his baby smooth chin thoughtfully. Slowly, he shook his head. “No, I don’t think so, but—“ He lifted his shoulders in a lazy shrug. “—I’m not the musical genius in the family. Hey, O! I need you.”

In the next instant, Owen strolled around the corner, his lip curled into a frown as he groaned, “What is it now, Lucky? For the last damned time, we are not going to sneak into the strip—“ He stopped abruptly as his eyes met Harper’s, color washing over his face, splashing dark scarlet across his cheeks. “Uh…hey, Harper.”

“Hey,” she mumbled. Another step. Soon, she’d be able to turn tail and run.

“Wait.” Lucky eyed them both wearily, waving his hand back and forth between them. “You two know each other?” He inhaled a sharp breath, his ice blue eyes twinkling with knowledge. “You’re the Harper Simonson I’ve heard so much about? My brother can’t seem to shut up about you—“

“Dude,” Owen growled, his fist shooting out, fast as a striking snake to catch Lucky in the shoulder.

“Hey, ow,” Lucky yelped, rubbing at his arm. “That hurt, bro.”

“There you are, Harper,” Grace said, rounding the corner behind her. “This place is like a maze. I’ve been looking—“ she ground to halt upon seeing Harper’s company. “Hey, Owen and uh…Owen’s little brother—“

“Lucky,” he supplied with a snort. “But, I’m not little,” he smirked at his brother. “In fact, he’s the younger one.” He took advantage of Owen’s preoccupation with the girls to get in a jab of his own, right to the kidney. “As you can see, I got all the looks in the family…and the brains.”

“By four lousy minutes,” Owen grunted, glowering at his brother.

“Twins?” Grace asked. “That must suck.”

“You have no idea,” Lucky grinned. “I’m always having to deal with him tagging along, bounding after my every step like a little lost puppy. Really cramps my style.”

“You poor thing,” Grace giggled and stepped toward him.

Harper would’ve had to have been deaf, dumb, and blind to miss the signals her friend was throwing off. Truman was definitely going to have some competition. Good, she thought. Not that she didn’t love her brother. She did, but Tru was a man-whore if she ever saw one. Grace deserved better than that, even if she has been in love with him since they were kids, and even though she knew nothing about this Lucky besides the fact that he was Owen’s brother, she still found herself rooting for him to sweep Grace off her feet. Maybe, just maybe, he was just what her friend needed.

“So, Lucky, huh?” Grace said, snapping Harper back to the present.

“Yeah, he’s lucky I haven’t auctioned him off on eBay yet,” Owen muttered under his breath.

“Don’t mind him,” Lucky said. “He’s just jealous. Maybe we should leave him behind, go find something better to browse?” He held out his arm.

Grace shot a quick questioning look in Harper’s direction, but her friend was too busy pretending to look at the instruments. “Uh…I think Harper’s about ready to leave,” she began uncertainly, frantically searching out some sign of what the other girl was thinking.

“Nah, she’s too busy drooling over that bass, there.” He grabbed her arm and started dragging her away. “Anyway, I’m sure she and my brother want some alone time, if you know what I mean.” And, before she could form any kind of argument, she was already two aisles over, following Mr. Hottie himself as he chattered about all things math and science, Grace’s favorite subjects.

“Bass, huh?” Owen asked, sliding a little closer to her. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, you’re like a savant when it comes to anything that makes music.”

“Uh, thanks,” she mumbled, instantly self-conscious. “But, I’m not a genius or anything. I just like music.”

“Hmm, I think you sell yourself short, Harp,” he murmured, closing the gap between them a little more. He wanted more than anything to slide right up next to her, hook his arms around her, and pull her close, chase all her demons away, but he had to tread carefully. Even now, she looked about ready to bolt. “We should jam together sometime…you know, not at school. I’ve got an old bass you could borrow. I’m sure you’d pick it up in a snap.”

She started to shake her head no, but something stopped her. No, she had to get back to normal. She couldn’t just push everyone away, because that really wasn’t like the Harper she was supposed to be. So, she dragged in a deep breath and pasted the most brilliant smile in her arsenal across her face.

“Sure, Owen. I’d like that,” she said sweetly, syrupy sugar dripping off her lips.

Relief plastered across his face, he grinned broadly. “How about tonight? I’ll pick you up at seven?”

She nodded, her body now functioning on autopilot. You can do this, she told herself. Just be normal. Too bad for her, she’d already forgotten how to do that.

 
What do we think of the story so far?  I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what Kelly has in store for us next :)