Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fun & Games, Take 8

Here we are, folks.  Yet another installment of our spend-tacular writing experiment, where Kelly and I take turns writing a 1,000 word snip of a project that neither of us really knows the outcome of.  Yep, friends, we're just flying by the seat our pants and seeing wherever the wind (and the characters) may take us.  If you missed Kelly's post from Tuesday, click here.

Now, without further adieu, here is my lovely little snip.  Enjoy!

“Ow-en! Kevin stole Princess Fiona. Again.” Harper couldn’t help but laugh at the stricken look on Owen’s face as his sister stomped into the room, indignation splashed across her round face. “Well?” the little girl demanded, tapping her foot impatiently. “Aren’t you going to do something?”


Owen groaned, exasperation coloring his face, as he shoved up to his feet. “Kevin,” he yelled. “Did you steal—“

“No,” the boy in question popped his head around the corner, a wicked grin plastered across his face. “I didn’t steal Princess Fiona.” He waved the doll in the air, his grin growing wider. “I kidnapped her and am holding her for ransom.”

“And, how much is this ransom?” Harper chimed in around a particularly loud giggle.

Owen swiveled around, intending to spear her with a you’re really not helping glare, but all intentions jumped right out the window when his eyes met her laughing ones. Face slightly flushed, adding an alluring shade of pink to her otherwise pale skin, lips curved upward into a big, bright Harper grin, and the twinkling merriment in her eyes all stopped him short, robbing him of every coherent thought he’d ever hoped to have.

She was still in there, the happy hopeful girl he’d met in music class. The one with whom he’d spent countless hours jamming, laughing, and just hanging out. She hadn’t disappeared completely. His Harper was still in there.

Somewhere.

And, in the next moment, she was gone. Grin fading, laughter dying, eyes shuttering, she returned his gaze steadily, unflinchingly, but that was all. His bright and shining girl was gone. In her place was a ghost, an apparition with little more substance than air. She was nothing more than a hollowed-out shell of the Harper he knew, a shadow of her former self. And, that was almost too much to bear.

“Ow-en!”

Reluctantly, he turned back toward his sister. “Kevin,” he said, voice low and slightly menacing. “Give Princess Fiona back to Rachel.”

“But,“ Grin falling from his lips, Kevin trudged into the room, shoulders slumping as he began a half-hearted argument. “I was just playing—“

“Now,” Owen said, crossing his arms over his chest and tapping his foot as he waited for his brother to do as he was told.

“Okay.” Kevin held the doll out to Rachel, jerking it up a little as she made a grab for it, but before she could cry out to Owen for help again, Kevin dropped it into her grasping hands. “I was just playing,” he muttered again.

“Well, next time,” Owen said slowly, his voice softening from that mean-edged, I’m in charge so you’ll listen to me or else tone. “Maybe you should ask Rach if she wants to play before you go swiping the princess.” His lips twitched slightly as he fought to hold back a smirk. “Although it was a bold move. Kidnapping the princess without getting caught by the guards. Very dangerous. High risk.”

“Yeah, it was.” He nodded in agreement, his eyes lighting up. “I almost got caught.”

“But you didn’t.”

“Nope.”

“Good man. But, no more dastardly deeds tonight.” Owen gestured toward the clock. “Mom’s gonna be home soon, and I promised her you both would already be settled down for the night. And, you still need to take a bath, Kevin.”

“Men don’t take baths,” the ten-year-old told him, drawing himself up to stand straight and tall.

“Okay. Shower, then.” At that, both kids scampered out of the room and pounded up the stairs, bickering with each other all the way. Owen blew out a relieved sigh and turned back to Harper. “Sorry about that.”

She shook her head quickly. “No problem. It was actually quite entertaining.”

He plopped down on the couch beside her and swiped up the remote. “You don’t have to lie, Harp. I mean, what girl in her right mind would want to spend a Saturday night helping to baby-sit a guy’s kid brother and sister?”

“Who said I was in my right mind?”

A loud laugh jumped out of him, and he turned slightly, hooking his arm along the back of the couch and bringing one leg up onto the cushion between them. “I’m pretty sure you’re just about the sanest person I’ve ever met.”

She studied him for an unending moment. “I’m not sure if I should take that as a compliment or what,” she finally said.

His mouth curved up even more. Yeah, the real Harper was most definitely in there somewhere, lurking just below the surface, itching to break free. “It’s a compliment, Harp. Definitely a compliment.”

He shifted, leaned forward to reach for the bottle of pop he’d set on the coffee table, and in the process his leg rubbed up against hers. It was an innocent touch, really. A brief contact that lasted no more than a second, but irrevocably altered the easiness with which they’d been interacting.

A gasp tumbled from her lips at the touch, her whole body clamoring to get away from him, from the threat that he’d imposed without conscious thought. Cold slivers of fear slammed into her, piercing her skin with razor-sharp spikes of remembrance. Her eyes growing round, she pushed way, skittering back on the couch until she was as far away from him as she could possibly get. Her chest constricted, her lungs seizing to the point that even drawing in a short, shallow breath was pure torture.

What are you doing, the voice in the back of her head shouted at her. This is Owen, for Christ sakes. He won’t hurt you. Stop this shit right now.

The moment his leg had brushed hers, Owen froze, unsure as to what to do. On the one hand, he wanted nothing more than to reach out, slide his arms around her and kiss away all memories of what that bastard had done to her. But, on the other…well, her gasp said it all. It didn’t matter that he’d sooner cut off his own hand than harm a hair on her head. It didn’t matter that the one responsible for her fear wasn’t there, and if Owen had anything to do with it, well anything, he’d never come near Harper again. None of that mattered now.

Because in Harper’s eyes, men were the enemy. And, that included Owen.

“I’m sorry, Harper,” he whispered, miserably. “I am so sorry.” He didn’t say anything further, didn’t even look at her as he pushed up to his feet, walked out of the room, and then the front door. Once outside, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed a number he already had memorized—although he really wished he didn’t need to call it so often. “Grace, I’m sorry to interrupt your date,” he apologized as soon as she answered the phone. “But, I could really use your help. Harper needs you.”

 
That's it for me this week, peeps.  Any ideas as to where Harper and Grace and Owen and Truman and Lucky will react?  Me, neither.  It's up to Kelly to decide that :)