Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Will 2

The explanation for this section is here. There's some clunkiness ahead that need to be addressed…unless you can't tell where it is.

As much as I wanted to pretend like things are all cool, the next day school was just weird. I felt like everyone just knew, somehow, that Will had kissed me yesterday. He could have texted me sorry, but he didn't, and so even though I knew I shouldn't think this way a small part of me doubted that he was sorry at all. Maybe he was gay and just felt like he couldn't tell anyone. Or maybe it had been so long since hed gotten some that everything just kind of spilled out when I stepped forward to close the door after him. There was a spiky cloud over my head. What if Cassie told in spite of her promise? It would get around so fast. I'd never been bullied, but I could imagine that it would suck. Or maybe the gay kids here didn't have to deal with that since no one really cared. Maybe I should corner one of them and ask, just in case.

Will didn't look at me the whole day. He laughed when I made a joke and he talked to Josh plenty, but not even once did his black cartoon eyes lift to meet mine. It made me feel super guilty for some reason, like me freaking out at home had somehow passed through the ether to reach Will, and he knew and felt even worse than I did and was punishing himself for kissing me. It's not like we had been in a fight. I knew how to come back from those, but how could we possibly get past the goodbye peck at my door yesterday? So, I fell back on old habits and invited Will over after school.

"Hey, we're cool, right?" I said, because he was clearly beating himself up about it. "It was an accident."

The relief on Will's face was so obvious that for a second there I wondered if he pissed himself. That would be a funny response. Embarrassing for him, but hilarious.

"Sorry," he said.

I shouldered my backpack. "Nah, man, it's whatever." And then, not because I wanted him to come, but because I wanted to make sure he knew I meant what I said, I added, "You want to come over after practice and watch a movie?"

Will screwed up his mouth in thought. "What movie?"

"I'm thinking Avengers." It's the first movie I could think of that was practically asexual. Not that playing Smash Bros. could have gotten anyone off, or the front door of my house. Had it been the wrestling? Wait, wait. The kiss goodbye was a surprise to Will, too. He just apologized. He hadn't even responded yet. Will screwed up his mouth in thought and I looked around the commons. The Bench People had those giant Dungeons and Dragons books out and were arguing about something. Mr. Hale and Ms. Grimes spoke to each other outside their neighboring offices, nodding and gesturing vaguely at the classrooms. Josh was coming this way; he’d probably walk down to the locker rooms with Jessica. The space was quiet with most everybody on their way to sports or going home. I was going to be late to track.

"Okay," Will finally said.

I let out a breath. “Cool.”

Just like that, we were back to normal. He came over, I left all the lights on, and we watched superheroes plus Hawkeye save the world. Will and I stayed on opposite ends of the couch. I didn’t walk him to the door. And I shut the door on Callie when she tried to come ask me about what she called our “playdate” once Will had left.

Every once in a while, not more than once or twice a day, I’d think about it. Will’s lips had been dry and a little chapped. If I just ranked it as pure mouth-on-mouth contact, it wasn’t even my top twenty. This was yet another reason why it wasn’t worth repeating. I’d just eaten half a bag of chips, so my breath would have been terrible. Also, Will’s family was just a lot more physical than mine; maybe he was the type who kissed his grandma on the mouth.

I started inviting Josh over again, since he and Jessica broke up. Maybe Will was as happy to have a buffer as I was, not that we needed it. Then, because Josh was around more, Callie would come hang out with us, and we’d end up standing around the kitchen for an hour, eating junk and talking about school. It was fine, and it was safe. Will didn’t pay me any more attention than usual, and I returned the favor. It worked for exactly ten days.

“Where’s Josh?” Will asked when he entered the kitchen.

Callie answered for me. “You know Heather, with the Bench People? She lost her driving privileges because Ms. Grimes saw her going through the parking lot with Teagan Gonders on the hood of her car.”

Will looked at me.

I explained, “Their parents went to college together, and now they live like, three doors from each other.”

“Like a commune,” Callie commented.

Nodding, Will said, “So he’s out for…”

“Forever,” my sister confirmed. She almost sounded happy about it, which was weird considering how much she liked Josh. “So I’m declaring today the day when I kick your asses at Smash Bros.”

I didn’t even bat an eyelash. “Only if I give myself a massive handicap.”

“We could always pick a random character,” Will suggested, and that was too good a challenge to pass up.

Callie did kick my ass, though Will put up more of a fight. I kept getting nonsense characters. After a while it seemed like the system was trying to make me lose.

“How come you get fucking Marth while I’m over here with the psychic weirdo?” I complained.

Will’s shoulder shrug was perfectly timed with the ding of Callie’s phone. She pulled it from her back pocket and paused the game.

“Hey!” I said.

She looked at me. “Luciana wants to go find prom dresses.”

“Good for Lu.”

Callie stood and tossed me her controller. “Bye y’all” she drawled comically.

Will said goodbye like a gentleman, but I was busy unpausing the game so I could get a head start on murdering pointy-haired Marth. Callie had only been gone for fifteen minutes before Will and I were both on our feet, eyes fixed on the screen. Now I was in control of Meta Knight and Will was stuck with one of the most useless characters in the entire system. Despite holding me off with a few repetitive moves, Will was about to get his ass handed to him. Just as I was getting ready to deliver my most satisfying K.O., what should come bouncing across the arena but a Super Smash Ball?

I shouldn’t have shouted, “Finally!” Will immediately got it.

“And…suck it,” he said all smugly.

Meta Knight flew towards the front of the screen and bounced off. I was dead. After all that hard work, after finally getting my favorite character, after losing more than ten times in a row and being so close…The controller left my hand before I realized I'd thrown it.

"No!" I raged at the heavens. "That fucking Super Smash Ball!"

Will was laughing so hard he had to sit down.

"Fuck you, Smash Ball!" I fell to my knees in front of the screen with both middle fingers thrust at the traitorous game. "Fuck you to the gates of hell!"

Will wasn't even making a sound anymore, just kicking his legs and clutching his stomach as he tried to breath around his laughter.

"And fuck your King Dedede!" I added as I grabbed a pillow off the couch. I smacked Will in the head with it. "Fuck his weird body," I hit him again as he tried to fend me off, "fuck that dumbshit down-B move," I whapped his shins when Will brought his knees up, "fuck this game!"

He was crying, he was laughing so hard—honest-to-god tears streaming from his black eyes.

"Put your knees down so I can hit you," I ordered, holding up the pillow.

Will shook his head.

"Just let me get a good hit in, just one." I helped out by shoving his knees to the ground. Will tried to push me away, but he was just…guffawing, so I was able to hold his knees down with one arm and swing at him with the other. I guess I accidentally dug my elbow into his leg, because Will jerked and pushed me off.
"Ow, ow, ow," he said quickly, so I stood and watched his body try to wind down. It was hard to even pretend to be mad when someone couldn't stop fucking giggling, even if it was at my expense. For some reason this made me think of when Will kissed me, and how much easier it would have been if we had both just laughed about it instead of freaking out, and when did I climb onto his lap?

Will hadn't quite caught up to me yet. Maybe he thought I was going to try and smother him with a couch pillow. He wiped his eyes with one hand, still laughing a little bit, and looked up at me.

I kissed him.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Excerpt from "Couldn't"

After "Shouldn't" (Friday) and "Wouldn't" (Saturday) comes the Sunday wrap-up. My goal is to keep Richard's voice consistent even as he gets more comfortable with having Cody around.

“Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure.”

“Do you love me?” Cody asks.

Ah, yes. He’s a teenager. I prop myself up on my elbow. “In what sense?”

He glances off to the side. “Like…you know.”

Making my voice as gentle as possible, I reply, “Cody, just because our bodies fit each other doesn’t mean our minds or our hearts do. Of course I care about you, and I want you to be happy, but…”

“You don’t love me,” Cody finishes sourly.

How do I put this so that this man-boy can understand? “You’re looking in the wrong place,” I say. “If your parents are hurting your feelings, you can’t use sex to fix that. When this happens again, which is likely given your history of bullheadedness, are you going to start fixating on another authority figure? Sex doesn’t ‘fix’ anything. It’s our bodies’ expression of a chemical reaction that tells our reproductive systems—”

“That’s not what I meant,” Cody interrupts. “Just…I know you could tell I liked you.”

I bonk him on the head. “Yeah, you drew pictures of us fucking on your homework. That’s not subtle.”

He smiles reluctantly. “Before that. I thought you could tell.”

I have to choose my words very carefully. “It’s always easier not to wonder.”

That must have been the right answer—who knows how Cody interprets it—because his gaze lifts to meet mine. “I didn’t know if you’d let me in,” he confesses.

Rolling my eyes, I retort, “I couldn’t leave you out in that weather, no matter how much you harrassed me.”

Cody grins and rolls to match my posture. “You knew what would happen, though,” he says slyly.

Some might argue that I did. How, though, would I have ever reckoned that I would be watching the clock with a heavy heart? “Don’t assume that human kindness is an invitation for anal sex, moron,” I snap, and make as though to leave the warm confines of my sheets. Cody reaches for my waist; I’m not surprised when he draws me to fit inside the curve of his body.

I remind him, “No more. As it is I’ll be sore for days.”

He pulls my chin toward him for a kiss. “You can teach me instead,” he offers as though it’s a stellar bargain. “Expand my horizons, Mr. Hale.”

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Windshield Incident Pt. 4 Sneak Peek

One of my favorite elements of The Windshield Incident has been Grant's everyman-ness. He doesn't automatically get jokes, or pick up on body language, or figure out the motivations of others. He's not terribly introspective or intelligent, as opposed to characters like Tucker Jones (who spends most of his day inside his own head) or even Aaron of Watching Him Back. My challenge for this latest installment was to let Grant grow up a little without losing the basic elements of who he is: friendly yet socially awkward, a long-term planner, easily caught off guard, and the type of guy to blend into the background.


Sarah and I were at a coffee shop in Springfield when I saw him. “Oh my god,” I said before I could stop myself.

Sarah turned to follow my line of sight. “What? What?”

Clearing my head with a shake, I tried to shrug it off. “No, I’m just surprised. The junkyard dog of my high school is in line.”

She laughed, showing off her pretty white teeth. “Which one is he?”

“Guess.”

His hair was shorter now, more clean cut, but he had the kind of scruff that was either a bitch to maintain or he literally hadn’t shaved in two days. A pair of aviator sunglasses hung from the neck of his shirt, pulling it down just enough to show a smattering of fur on his chest. The leather jacket wasn’t the exact one he had worn in high school, but it probably smelled the same.

“The big guy with the Tigers shirt,” Sarah suggested. I glanced at the linebacker-gone-to-seed type she indicated.

“Nope. Don’t think bully, think anathema.”

She nodded her head at the front of the line. “Ordering now, neck tattoos, looks like he'd surprise you with a golden shower.”

That earned a chuckle. “Okay, the kind of anathema who still gets laid a whole, whole lot. Like an unreal amount. Boatloads.”

“Oh! Then him.” Sarah subtly pointed to Ryder Vance.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Very First Part of the Short Story Currently Known as Prom Night

It has been over a decade since I spent any time around high school girls, so I have no idea if this is an accurate representation of how they think or act. Whatever.

“Oh my god, seriously?” Kenzie squeals, piercing the refectory buzz. When you attend a fancy schmancy private school, you don’t call it a cafeteria. Flipping her smooth brown hair over her shoulder Kenzie leans in close. “He asked you?”

I give her a look. “Please. You know it doesn’t mean anything. We’re practically siblings.”

“But it’s senior effing prom,” she counters emphatically. “Josh could go with anyone, and he picked you.”

I know there’s more coming, but so is Josh and the rest of the upper echelon. “Shut up,” I say as a preventative measure.

“His childhood friend.” She clasps her hands over her heart.

“Shut up.”

“The love that has been right beside him all along.”

“Shut.” I kick at Kenzie under the table. “Up.”

“Hi!” she says brightly as Josh reaches our table.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Will

The first story I started in this universe currently holds the title of "Prom Night," which is about a girl who tries to help her neighbor come out of the closet. The small city, private school setting provided the teacher for "Shouldn't." A tertiary character mentioned in "Prom Night" became one of the main characters in a short extra called "Olive Juice." Then I thought, Wouldn't it be nice to tell the story from the other guy's perspective? So "Shouldn't" is getting a sequel called, "Wouldn't" (I'm very creative) and "Olive Juice" has a prequel from Declan's point of view. Here's the part where the action kicks off.

We both realize what he just did at the same time. I think I frown, I don't know, but Will's eyes get huge. I never realized how black his eyes were until his face turned into a cartoon. Just two black circles on his face surrounded by shaggy black hair. It would have been funny at any other time. He looked like he was about to apologize, and then he ran, literally ran, to his car. He almost backed into our mailbox, he was in such a hurry to leave.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

On My Mind Grapes

Some of the most common comments* on my stories include the phrase "please continue!" I'm not intending to brag or complain; most of what I post on this blog or Literotica are parts of a whole. There's nothing wrong with people picking up on that. It's kind of a "I always thought of Dumbledore as gay," situation; there's always more backstory and epilogue than actually appears on the page. Or there isn't. The cranky writer and his hot neighbor were never supposed to be more than a one-off, which is maybe why I've been rewriting the last chapter for the past year. It never sounds right, because they were never supposed to fall in love. But usually my imagination provides far more information than anyone would actually care to read. The hardest part of writing for me is editing down everything that I wrote to make for a good story.

In fact, that's why I started this blog. My writing process benefits from being able to get the snippets out of my brain and onto a page. It's a rare tale that I write in chronological order. Most of them don't even have outlines. Some start with a what-if.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Worst Days 3.3

To read part 3.2 click here, or start from the beginning. Again, thanks to Luz for sending me a copy of this lost tome.
My heart immediately sped up. Sure, Lomagnia was landlocked on Nitkistan's north side, and Calterra was a dinky set of islands on the east, but I'd have greater chances of making it back to Lomagnia that way than trying to wait out the war.

"But how would I get out of this place?" I asked. "Mr. White is really good at those security systems."

"The best," Samarra nodded over her fabric swatches. "But it will be relaxed when guests leave the party this weekend. You could get away then."

I had to sit down. "I can't believe it," I said. I could barely comprehend such an opportunity was being laid in my lap, and so soon after arriving. Why was I not more excited? I should have been turning handsprings, but instead I had a knot anxiety in my stomach.

"The girls will be back any minute, so I'll make this quick," the seamstress said urgently. "You'll have to get Mr. White out of the picture, then you can sneak down to the garage and hole up in Alfevi's trunk; I'll make sure he doesn't check it—"

"Wait, wait," I interrupted. "What do you mean by 'get Mr. White out of the picture?'"