Thursday, February 24, 2011

There's More Than One Side to Every Story...

This week's FUN AND GAMES WITH K & K snip is a bit on the long side...not that I'm apologizing, mind you.  I'm just warning you that Karla/Karlie/LastWord0524 went a wee bit over the pre-determined 1,000 word post limit by a few--okay a whole lot more than a few--words.  **shrugs** It happens.  You'll just have to suffer through it. 

Sorry about your luck there, buddies :)

As the post title says, there are always several sides to the same story, and if you've been following along with F&G, you already know which story I speak of...yep, the infamous party at Mr. Haas' house.  If you're new to these here games, you might want to click here to see Harper's version of events.

Here's another side to this tale...Enjoy!!

“It was at the party…”

Then, she’d dropped off into stone, cold silence, the darkness swallowing her up to the point that if his fingers hadn’t been clutched in hers, he might have thought she’d disappeared. But, he didn’t press her. He’d wait her out on this, no matter how long it took. There would be no pushing this story.

Willing himself to relax, he shifted, stretching his legs out in front of him and slumping down in the seat. His free hand had curled into a tightly balled fist at his side, and now, he painstakingly unfurled each finger, slowly snapping them out straight in a half-assed attempt at forcing the tension from every inch of his body.

Through all this, he was still hyper-aware of her hand gripping his with bruising force. When had her fingers become so cold, like icicles hanging from the eves of a house? What would it take to get her to a place where she was that warm, happy girl he remembered? Would he have to wait for the renewal of spring before she came back alive? If so, how would such a thaw affect her particular brand of ice? Would the coldness simply melt away, taking the sadness, the fear, and the pain along with it? Or, would she break off and fall to the ground, shattering into a million tiny, still very frigid pieces?

Hot, blinding pain seared through his chest at that thought. No. He couldn’t let that happen. He wouldn’t. Biting down hard on his lower lip, he shook his head, tightened his grip on her hand, and remembered…

Tonight was the night. He’d been working his way up to this moment for the better part of a month, but now, the wait was over. Before he left Mr. Haas’ party, he was going to tell Harper how he felt. No more edging around the big pink elephant in the band room every time they stayed after practice, jamming and talking. No more watching from afar as she arrived and left school in that god-awful pink slug bug her friend drove around like it was a sleek red Porsche. No more fantasizing about kissing her under the stars…and well, all the other things that followed a kiss as perfect as it would no doubt be with Harper.

Nope. After tonight, he would no longer be a single man.

At least, that’s what he hoped. Shit. What if she said no? Or, what if she just wanted to be friends? Christ, that’d be worse than if she outright laughed in his face…which Harper would never do, but still.

He’d been staring at her for the better part of an hour, contemplating just the right way to approach her when she set her Coke down and took a step in his direction. Mind whirling, frantically groping around for the exact right words—an opening line that would have her falling at his feet in abject admiration—he didn’t notice Ben until he’d already grabbed hold of Owen’s arm and yanked him around.

“Lancaster,” he yelled in an effort to push his words up and over the din that made the foot and a half between them stretch out for several miles.

“Mickelson,” he shot back, sneaking a peek over Ben’s shoulder at Harper.

Even after all the gaping he’d done tonight, his eyes still goggled at how good she looked. Normally, Harper was a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, opting for comfort over fashion. Her tennis shoes always claimed more scuff marks than pristine white, her hoodies were well-worn, and her makeup was non-existent. In short, she was the perfect girl…an angel if he’d ever seen one.

But, tonight…well, tonight, she was still an angel…just one that might’ve stepped out of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. Her outfit wasn’t hooker-ish in the least, but it definitely showed off all of her curves. Short black skirt, thin pink sweater that hugged her body and probably did nothing to repel the cold, and shiny black boots that wobbled on super skinny ice-pick heels. They were like weapons in themselves. Plus, her hair—which he’d never seen in anything but those hair clips she liked—fell in loose, flowing waves around her shoulders.

It was all he could do to stand there and listen to Ben yammer on about starting some garage band with a few other guys. Owen nodded along, not really paying attention to what he was agreeing with. He opened his mouth to extricate himself from the other boy when Mr. Haas stepped up to Harper.

Haas grinned down at her, leaning in close as if to whisper a secret in her ear. Owen saw green, jealousy surging through him even as he fought to push it back. Right. Like there was anything going on between Harper and the teacher.

“So, what do you think, man?” Ben asked, excitedly. “You in?”

Owen spared a brief smile and an even quicker glance for him while bobbing his head in agreement. “Sure, man. Sounds great. Call me sometime, and we’ll work out the details.” Before Ben could launch into another rambling monologue about…whatever, he ducked away, making a beeline straight for Harper.

At that moment, Mr. Haas stepped away from her, cutting in front of Owen to break up some disagreement happening between Mike Andretti and Luke Garner. And, in that one second when Haas blocked Owen’s line of sight, Harper vanished into thin air.

Where’d she go?

He spent what felt like the next hour—but was really only fifteen minutes or so—going from room to room, looking for her. Nowhere. How could she possibly have just disappeared like that? Without anyone seeing her? Finally, not finding her anywhere inside, he ducked out onto the back porch. As cold as it was out, he wasn’t surprised to see no one else in the backyard. Even so, he walked along the raised deck, just to be on the safe side. He wouldn’t put it past Harper to slip outside for a few moments of solitude. Still, no luck.

As he made up his mind to go back in the house, the billowing white of a gauzy curtain caught his eye. Why would anyone leave a window open in this weather? Unthinking, he hopped off the porch and crept over to the window. It was up high enough that he couldn’t actually see in, but in the stillness of the night, voices carried pretty well.

“Shit,” Mr. Haas swore, followed by a loud thump. Had he kicked something…or someone? “Look. It was just a misunderstanding. I guess I thought…” he trailed off, another, louder thump echoing through the air.

None. Of. His. Business. Owen started to push himself away from the window, but the teacher’s next words stopped him cold.

“Come on, now,” he continued in a soft, playful voice. “You really can’t blame me for wanting you so much. I mean, you look hot tonight, Harper. And all the signals you’ve been throwing off lately, staying after practice all the time, offering to help that new kid—“

“Son of a bitch!” Owen didn’t catch what the teacher said next. He was already in motion, charging across the porch, into and through the house, back toward the bedrooms that were supposedly off limits.

“Hey, Owen! Over here, buddy. I need—“ Ben called out.

“Not now,” he snarled, his step not once faltering. He pushed his way through the crowd, well past caring who saw him, and rounded the last corner that would put him in the short but empty corridor that led to Haas’ bedroom.

The door opened just as he stepped into the hallway, stopping him dead in his tracks. She looks so small…and scared, was the first thought that stumbled through his head. I’ll kill him, just so happened to be the next.

“Owen!” she gasped. A flash of panic skittered across her features before being locked away behind a brilliant smile. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you.” She stepped up to him, slid her arm into the crook of his and tugged him back in the direction he’d come.

“Really?” He didn’t even try to hide his disbelief.

“Yeah, but you know…had to make a run to the girls’ room first…” she continued on brightly, pushing him on ahead of her, putting as much space between them and the bedroom as possible.

“That’s a good idea. I gotta go, too.” He started to pull away from her, but her nails dug painfully into his flesh.

“No! I mean…um…can it wait? I have to go home, and I was hoping that you’d walk me out.” When he didn’t budge, she yanked again. “It’s late, and my mom will flip out if I break curfew again.”

This did get his attention. “Harper, it’s only ten.” He leaned in close, placing his mouth next to her ear. “Are you okay? Did anything…er…unwelcome happen?”

She backed away from him, her smile turning strained and a nervous laugh floating up out of her. “I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be?” Again, she tugged on his arm, and this time, he reluctantly let himself be dragged away.

As they rounded the corner that would take them back into the crowd, the bedroom door opened once more, and Owen caught a glimpse of Mr. Haas, his face flushed, as he finished tucking his shirt in.

“It was at the party,” she said again, yanking him back to the present. “And, the line to the bathroom was really long—“

Before she could finish that thought, her phone rang, Lady Gaga’s voice cutting through the air, singing something about a bad romance. Harper sighed. She didn’t have to look at the display to know who was calling her. She flipped the phone open and pressed it to her ear.

“Hey, Grace. Owen and I will be back in five to get Lucky—“

“Good,” a voice that was decidedly deeper than Grace’s replied, only a slight slur still dripping off the edges. “Cuz your girl’s crying, and well…it’s not like I meant to throw up in her car but—Hey, hey, Gracie, don’t cry, babe. I really am sorry. It’ll clean up…I’m sure it will.” He heaved out a loud, frustrated groan. “Can you get here any faster than five minutes?”


So, what's the verdict, minions?  Do Kelly and I still have your attention?  Will there be more poison pen comments this week with the epitaphs, 'you're evil...with a capital YOU SUCK'??? I have to admit that those are my favorites :)