Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Little FUN & GAMES...

Sorry about that brief hiatus from F&G last week, folks.  Things just got a tid bit hectic in Karla-land, but not to worry.  After the public flogging I endured from Miss Kelly, where she brutally threw me under the bus as the reason for F&G's mini-break, I have rallied the troops to bring you back to your regularly scheduled FUN AND GAMES WITH K & K programing.  You're welcome ;)

RECAP: When we last saw Harper and Grace and the gang, the girls had a bit of a blow-up and each went her own separate way.  Not only did Grace have a fairly steamy late night tryst with good ole Truman (Boo Truman! BOO! Team Lucky FTW!!!), but long-lost cousin Abby made a surprise midnight spaghetti dinner appearance. (Yay! Cousin Abby!!!)  On the Harper and Owen side of things, there was a small amount of steam factor there as well.  Who can forget the almost-kiss in his car?  But, then reality intruded and Harper started to come clean about what happened that infamous night of the Haas party...only to have her story interrupted by a certain Lucky young man.

Okay! Now, that you're all caught up, let's see if I can get a few more poisoned pen comments from all you fantabulous followers.  Enjoy :)

Harper dragged herself from bed the next morning, bleary-eyed and exhausted. A loud yawn popped out of her as she stretched her aching muscles and glared at the bed like it was the mattress’ fault that she hadn’t slept well last night even though she’d been bone tired after everything that had happened.


The day that seemed to last an eternity had ended in a blaze of Lancaster explosions, which Harper had been front and center for. Shortly after his arrival, Lucky—obviously nervous but still grinning that blindingly bright and yet really annoying smile that made her want to slap the pretty right off his face—plopped himself right beside her and launched into a retelling of the day’s events, ending in a confession that he was the Lancaster that should’ve been arrested, not Owen. Harper blinked and next thing she knew, the soft-spoken, gentle Lucinda of only moments before morphed into a fire-breathing dragon, blowing scorching flames down over anyone who stood in her path.

Fortunately for Harper, Owen yanked her out of harm’s way before she could get caught in the crossfire. They’d slipped out the front door without a word—really, how could either of them have gotten a word in edgewise with Lucinda practically on the verge of murdering her first-born?—and jumped into Owen’s truck. Like the good guy he was, Owen not only drove her right home, but walked her up to her door, patiently waiting while she fumbled with her keys and was safely inside before even thinking about getting back into his truck.

He deserved a whole lot better than what she’d been putting him through these past few days. Oh, she knew what a flaky nutcase she’d been acting like lately. Worse, she wasn’t quite sure how to remedy any of this mess she’d mired herself in.

“Morning, sweetheart,” her mother sang out cheerily as Harper trudged into the kitchen. “Rough night?”

“You have no idea,” she grumbled before throwing back a huge burning gulp of coffee.

“What was that?”

“Nothing, Mom.”

Jill Simonson cocked her head to the left while she regarded her daughter. Then, having decided there was more than just a sleepless night to blame for the pinched expression and the dark circles hanging below Harper’s eyes, she sat down at the table with her own steaming mug. “Okay, out with it,” she commanded in a gentle tone.

Bringing the cup up to her lips for another searing sip, Harper widened her eyes in feigned innocence. “Out with what?”

Jill said nothing, just waited. Harper’s mother had the patience of a saint and could out-wait anyone. So, instead of drawing out the inevitable, Harper blew out a sigh and shrugged.

“Just…you know…drama.” At her mother’s light laughter, Harper relaxed and added, “Grace and I had a fight.”

“About Julliard?”

Another shrug, the teenage equivalent of evasive maneuvers. “For the most part.”

“Is that why you haven’t been practicing lately? Oh, don’t look at me like that. Your father and I see a whole lot more than you or your brothers give us credit for. Besides, it’s so eerily quiet in this house without you sawing away on that fiddle.” Jill unwrapped her hands from the mug in front of her and reached out to clasp Harper’s ice cold fingers. “Are you having second thoughts, honey? It’s okay if you are. You can do anything you want with your life. You don’t have to devote it to music just because it happens to be something you’re good at.”

“Mom, I don’t think Julliard would invite me to audition if I was only ‘good’,” Harper smirked, but inside, she was a jumble of nerves. Should she really just quit? She hadn’t been able to stomach the sight of her violin since the party. Just carting the empty case to and from school had been enough to set her on edge, but was this really what she wanted…to never play again? Grace was going to England next year, and if she gave up playing, where would she go? What would she do? Music had been such a big part of her existence for so long, she couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t wanted to be a concert violinist, playing sold-out shows at Carnegie Hall, but was that still the dream now?

“You know what I mean, Harper.” A small smile tilted up the corners of Jill’s mouth. “I’m just saying that it doesn’t matter to us what you do with your life, honey, as long as you’re happy doing it. That’s all.”

Before Harper could respond, the doorbell rang, and her mother bounded out of the kitchen to answer it. She returned less than a minute later with Owen trailing closely behind her.

“Owen,” Harper yelped. “What are you doing here?”

“Well,” he grinned sheepishly. “I was on my way out to the mall to finish up my Christmas shopping, and I was wondering if you wanted to come with.”

“Umm.” She frowned down at her faded Snoopy pajamas. “Sure. Just let me get changed. I’ll just be a couple minutes.”

“Take your time,” he replied easily as he pulled out a chair to take a seat across from Jill.

Harper shot a quick warning look at Jill and then dashed out of the room, mentally calculating just how embarrassing her mother could be in five minutes. Intending to throw on the first clean, matching outfit she owned, Harper hurried into her room, whipping off clothes as she went. A little more than five minutes later, dressed and with a light coat of makeup—hey, she wasn’t going to let herself look like a complete slob when she was going anywhere with Owen, actual date or not—she reentered the kitchen to find her mother and Owen conversing as easily as a pair of old friends.

“You play drums? Harper’s father played the drums in school, too.” Jill said, excitedly. What did she have to be excited about? Harper wanted to know.

“Oh, yeah?” he asked, sounding genuinely interested. “And, what did you play?”

A flirty giggle floated out of her mother. Flirty? “Oh, I’m not musically inclined. That’s all Harper and her father. The closest I ever came to being in the band was as Dill’s groupie.”

“Mom!” Harper cried from the kitchen door, cheeks burning scarlet with mortification.

Chuckling, low and deep, Owen stood and nodded toward Jill. “Thanks for the coffee, Mrs. Simonson.” He turned to Harper, his eyes twinkling. “Ready to go?” he asked as he looped his arm around her waist, a careless easy gesture that had her simultaneously wanting to melt into him but also to cringe away from the contact.

She chose to ignore the latter inclination and leaned into him. “Yep, sure am.”

After saying goodbye to her mother, they walked out the front door, Harper tucked neatly under Owen’s arm. He’d just opened the passenger door of the truck for her when a bright pink bug rolled up the driveway. Feeling her tense against him, he put a finger under her chin to bring her gaze up to meet his. “If you don’t want to see her, I’ll go talk to her for you,” he offered.

A slow grateful smile spread across her lips. “Thanks,” she said. “But, no. I can fight my own battles.”

“It’s okay to ask for help every now and then, Harper. It doesn’t make you any less brave…or strong.”

She swallowed, knowing he wasn’t just talking about this situation with Grace. “Yeah, I know.” She shook her head, cleared her throat, and then reluctantly pulled out of the safety of his arms. “But, this is something I’ve got to do.”

Grace was already climbing out of Frenchy when Harper stepped away from Owen to go confront her best friend, but any and all confrontations between the two were put on hold as another car stopped at the foot of the driveway, blocking them all in.

Harper froze, a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming semi, and she wasn’t quite sure she’d survive this hit and run. Seeing Harper’s frightened expression, Grace turned.

“You fucking bitch!” Ben yelled as he slammed out of his car and barreled toward Harper.