Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: This One's For Kelly

Yes, it's that day again, peeps.  Teaser Tuesday on this fair blog and F&G Tuesday over on Kelly's site.  So, I figured that I might as well tease something she's been begging for for like...well...ever.

So, here's a little snip from my Texas Twin Love Triangle piece LOVE IN A TIME OF POPULARITY.

Enjoy!

I swung the car into the Lawrences’ driveway as Becca launched into a full-scale rant about her dad and his many dating rules. Both Dallas and Austin were standing around Austin’s car, bent over the engine. I honked, and both their heads jerked up simultaneously.


Grinning, Austin jogged around the front of my car and opened the door for me. “Hey, Jenny!” he greeted enthusiastically. “What’s up?”

I just about melted right then and there, especially when his smudged fingers brushed over the back of my hand. “Movies,” I stammered out. “Becca and me. You want to come?” Could I be any more of a train wreck?

“We sure do. Don’t we, Dal?” He didn’t wait for his brother to reply before continuing on. “Give us five minutes to go wash up and change.”

While Becca and I waited, she fiddled with the AC vents in the car, the radio, and the seat position, all while keeping up a steady stream of conversation. I didn’t have to participate, couldn’t have even if I wanted to. By the time the boys climbed into the backseat, I’d probably said three words. Maybe four.

The movie theater was teeming with people when we arrived. All of them, no doubt, had the same idea as us. Get out of the heat and into the cool confines of a darkened theater to see the latest post-apocalyptic zombie flick. Austin braved the crowd at the ticket window while we headed in to the concession stand. When he found us a few minutes later, tickets in hand, there was only one person ahead of us.

“So,” he said, slinging his arm around his brother’s shoulders. “What are we getting? Popcorn? Candy? Nachos? All three?”

“Get off me, you big goon.” Dallas grumbled, pushing Austin away from him. In turn, Austin caught him up in a headlock and gave him a noogie that had both Becca and me cringing.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the two of them, bickering and playfully swatting at each other.

As soon as the guy in front of us stepped away from the counter with his goodies in hand, they stopped horsing around and instantly became all business. Becca and I each ordered and pop—Coke for her, Dr. Pepper for me. Then, the boys stepped up the order with two jumbo tubs of popcorn, Twizzlers, Milk Duds, M&M’s, and Goobers. The only thing on the menu that they didn’t order was nachos. Go figure.

Loaded down with half the contents of the concession stand, we shuffled into the theater and settled into our seats only moments before the previews started. In the darkness, I was hyper-aware of the fact that Austin was sitting to my right, his arm pressed up against mine on our shared armrest and his warm breath fanning mint-flavored waves across my face whenever he leaned in close to whisper some comment about the upcoming movies being previewed. Of course, I was in complete meltdown mode and could do nothing but nod each time he lobbed a question my way.

Twenty minutes into the movie, the zombie apocalypse was in full-swing. Blood splattered across the screen in arches of corn syrup crimson, coating everyone in the fictional world. The living dead ruled the night as the handful of still human survivors cut and run for their lives.

And, I was enthralled. So much so that when the blonde Playboy-model-type character went off on her own, looking for something stupid, I was completely engrossed in her search. When the zombie predictably jumped out from a shadowed corner, not only did I let loose a loud shriek, but I jumped about a foot in the air.

Unfortunately, I happened to have not only the tub of popcorn in my lap but also the bag of M&M’s. And, it all went flying. Sticky, buttered popcorn rained down around me. M&M’s showered to the right, pelting Austin in the face.

My mouth dropped open for all of second before I erupted into a fit of giggles almost as loud as my earlier shriek had been. Austin shook his head, once, twice, and then gave me a look that rivaled Dad’s You’re grounded for life glare. That just made me laugh harder. I reached out to help dust some of the buttered corn and brightly colored chocolate pieces from him, but he waved me away. Unfortunately, as he was trying to shoo me back to my own side of the armrest, he knocked over his still mostly full Coke. Shooting up out of his seat as the cola flooded his lap, he cursed under his breath and bounded out of the theater.

Now, it wasn’t all that funny anymore.

While I was staring at the empty space Austin had left behind groping for the best way to apologize, the tub of popcorn that surprisingly still had some kernels left clinging to the bottom was extracted from my grasp. I turned to Dallas, with a questioning look. Really, why take it from me now? The damage had already been done.

“I’d like some popcorn to end up in my stomach tonight,” he smirked.

A startled giggle tumbled out, louder than was probably acceptable in a movie theater. My hand flew up to cover my mouth, a belated attempt to keep the sound locked up tight. I stared at him for another long minute, his gaze not wavering from mine. Then, I shook my head, plucked a stray puff of corn from his shirt, and lobbed it at him.

Not missing a beat, he sprang forward, catching it easily with his mouth. “Now, that’s more like it.” He murmured as he settled back in his seat.

I did the same, but I couldn’t concentrate on the movie now, not with Austin’s empty seat staring accusingly at me. He’d been gone a while, and I couldn’t help but wonder how mad he was at me for the popcorn, M&M’s, and ultimately the Coke.

As if reading my mine, Dallas’ hand covered mine and squeezed gently, the heat of his touch radiating through me. “Don’t worry,” he leaned in close to whisper. “He’s not going to be mad at you. It was an accident.”

“Are you sure?” I squeaked out, my eyes not leaving the empty seat beside me. “He didn’t look particularly happy with me when he left.”

His fingers tightened around mine again, instantly soothing. “Yeah, I’m sure,” he replied. “It’ll be fine. Trust me.”

His softly whispered words of reassurance really did help, and a few minutes later when Austin came back, I felt even better. He brushed off my profuse apologies with a short laugh and quickly uttered, “No worries, Jenny.”

And, I knew it was alright. If I could throw three pounds of popcorn at him, pelt him with chocolate, and douse him with a gallon of pop and have him be totally okay with it, I knew it was meant to be. Oh yes, Austin Lawrence would be mine.

 
So...what do we think? Is this the one...or should I focus on one of the many dozens of other half-finished works I have going? Only time will tell, I suppose :)