July 9, 2018 at 12:32 pm #656526
Hello, everyone! I’m sorry for just tacking this up here the way I did. I have been meaning to come back to this site for a long time but kept botching the password and resetting it…and repeating the cycle. Thankfully, I am in and will be much more active from now on. I finished my first manuscript (and edited to death) my first novel and prepping it for submissions. This is my second project and I’m just trying to get a sense of it rings true with present day teens. I spent years on the first one, which is set in the summer of 1964, I felt super rusty and wanted to get feedback. Did it capture your interest/intrigue?
Daylight: Chapter 1
“Hey.” Tina whispers across the library table.
I do not want to take the bait.
I really don’t.
That said, I know the curiosity will eventually eat me alive. From there, I descend into the rabbit hole of whatever scheme she cooks up and any attempts to study meets the same fate.
My only option?
“What?” I ask, not bothering to look up.
“He’s staring at you again.”
“Who? Ben Corelli? “
“Don’t think he’s dumped that ego of his yet.”
“I’m stumped. Who?”
“The new guy, of course. Have you been hiding under a rock?”
“No, I’ve been…busy.”
“Your mom grinding your wheels again about Arizona University?”
“That, work, scholarship deadlines, teachers who live to give tons of writing assignments for homework… my dad’s anniversary?”
“Oh, my word. Please forgive me, Elle.”
“How did it go? Are you guys ok?”
“Umm, it went all right. Dad’s colleagues met up with Mom and me at Red Rock last Monday…”
“Which happened to fall on the first day of this semester.” Tina finished, nodding in awareness when I glanced over at her. “I’m so sorry, Elle. I must be the most insensitive person on the planet to you right now.”
“I won’t hold it against you. At least, this time.” I say, cocking my eyebrow up at her in jest. The subject matter sobers me. I glance down at my homework in an extreme effort to subdue my emotions. For once, I am so grateful to have a mountain of school work and obligations. To further preoccupy my mind and cheer up my bestie, I take the bait.
“Okay, Tina. Who’s the fresh bait?”
Immediately, she switches gears.
“Here’s what I got. His name’s Pete Brighton. He’s a senior and a serious brainiac, according to my sources. You know…now that I think about it, he got here first day of the semester, too. That bites for him, I bet. Graduating at a completely different school? I would totally disown my folks. Did I mention el chico es muy caliente?”
“Thanks for the update, Tina.”
She smiles triumphantly. I just shake my head and laugh.
“Speaking of the devil, he’s still staring over this way.”
“Where?” I start to turn my head but Tina’a eyes mirrors the size of flying saucers.
“What?” I ask in exasperation and turn back towards her.
“You can’t just do that! He’s like two rows to your left, behind you.” She says in all seriousness. I almost laugh but think better of it. Instead, I decide to return to scribbling away in my notebook.
“Wow. Didn’t figure you had coordinates on his location, too.”
“I’m nothing if not thorough.”
“Ha. Ha- Ah, crap. Miss Tulley’s giving us the evil librarian eye.” I whisper, wishing we are anywhere but in study hall at the school library.
“She’ll get over it.”
“She needs to get out more, go on a date or something. We should hook her up, you know like in the movie ‘Clueless’?”
“You do know that was just a movie, right?”
“Doesn’t mean it didn’t bring up some great ideas, like a makeover which really couldn’t hurt. I mean, no one’s hair should ever be that shade of red. Ever.”
I bury my face into the crook of my arm to keep from laughing out loud.
“I’m just sayin’.” Tina says, checking her phone instead of nose-deep in her Trig homework.
Normally, I am up for anything, but I need to get my head back in the game.
I didn’t do as well as I wanted on my final exam in Calc last semester but my teacher, Mrs. Antonio said it didn’t sink my overall grade. I am ever so grateful that she hooked me up (at my request on day two of the school year) with one of her best students, a girl named Kaci Rogers, my very own Calculus Whisperer. I can’t say enough great things about the girl. Still, I want to put forth effort of my own to finish whatever I manage to retain in class before it goes away.
Math is my immortal enemy, but it’s a required part of the astronomy degree criteria for college next fall.
Calc and I must obtain some level of civility.
If I have anything approaching less than a B, I have to deal with Mom.
And I make it a point never to have to deal with Mom.
When it comes to academics.
“What in the world am I gonna do with you, Mills?” I say.
“Elle, we’re so outta here in a few months. I’ve gotta get you in some type of shenanigans with me, lighten your load a bit.” Tina says, leafing listlessly through her Trig textbook in sheer boredom.
I look up at her and frown.
She keeps on leafing. I expect as much and dive back into my own mathematical nightmare. For a few blissful minutes, silence rules our little corner of the library.
Suddenly, I hear her snap her book shut and giggle.
Well, this didn’t last long.
“I was checking out this fabulous little word problem and happened to glance up and there he is at it again. He just needs to quit the nonsense and just come over here and just talk to you.”
“The new dude?”
“This is sliding towards creepsville.” I mutter, rolling my eyes.
Yet, I feel my fingers drum the pen to some imaginary beat on my notebook. A massive itch of curiosity worms its way up my arm and into my shoulder. It feels like an invisible hand takes me by the chin, as I cast a nonchalant glance over in the area Tina mentioned. Or what I hope to be, anyway.
My eyes run dead smack into his in a crazy sort of visual collision course. His eyes radiate an intense ice-blue, somewhat terrifying and strangely beautiful to watch for too long. Yet, it seems almost as if those eyes can lay your soul bare. I freak out, enough for me to jerk my elbow. Before I can even dream of catching them, my stuff flies off the table with the library lamp along for the ride.
And now, I have the unwanted attention of the whole library.
Tina scoots out of her chair, her clear intention to help. She freezes in place a moment before sinking back into her chair with her saucer eyes again.
“I think you dropped these, Ellenor.” A boy’s calm tenor voice says seemingly to the top of my head from my left, my stuff already back onto the table- runaway lamp included.
With an odd sense of dread, I take my time to look up at him. Again, his eyes radiate an intensity I fail to adequately describe. He stands before me, his backpack hanging on his shoulders. A hint of a smile tucks dimples into the side of his mouth. I hear an audible intake of air hitch in his throat, as if somebody strolling by karate-chops him in his Adam’s apple.
Suddenly, “Lost in My Mind” by The Head and the Heart blares into my head in surround sound. The world screeches to a halt, then picks back up again in slo-mo with everything and everyone coming into crystal clear focus. Like some of the freshman kids across the hall planning to crash (and effectively get kicked out of) an upper classman’s birthday bash this weekend. Or the Homecoming King and Queen making googly eyes at one another while maintaining death grips on their hands. Or the head librarian Miss Tulley, of flaming red hair and eternal sour disposition, glaring daggers our way.
Thankfully, the slo-mo goes the quick fadeaway route and returns the library to its mundane existence.
“Uh, Elle? Your mom’s like Miss Manner’s intern. Aren’t you forgetting to say-?”
“Really, Tina? Sorry about that. Thanks-”
“It’s Pete, Pete Brighton.” He says, an oddly endearing smile stretches across his face. It calms me until I glance down at my arms to find goosebumps.
“I’m Ellenor. This is my friend Tina.”
“Hello to you both. Hopefully, I’ll see you around.” He says the last, looks directly at me. I blink a long moment and open my eyes to find him already close to the library exit without a backwards glance. I stare after him, puzzling over why I’m spazzing over this dude.
“Uh, oh.” I hear Tina say.
Not a moment sooner, a shadow looms over us.
“Miss Mills and Miss Skye, I have to say I’m a bit disappointed. You’ve been quite disruptive and Miss Skye—I would assume with you being head of the student body that you would conduct yourself more accordingly.“
“Sorry, Miss Tulley.” I blurt out, feeling my face flush a little, unsure if it has anything to do with the librarian or with the new boy.
“We’re gonna be late for our last class, Miss Tulley. We’ll make sure to write notes next time.” Tina deadpans with a straight face, scoops up our books in one hand and my arm in the other as she drags me out with her towards the library exit.
“Why I never-!” I hear the ticked librarian exclaim.
A moment later, free of her and the dull buzz of the library, we scurry down the hall towards the last classes of the day.
A massive urge to skip my last class assaults me and I am not at all surprised as to why.
I am starving, plain and simple.
Still, Tina’s “gentle” prods for us to just bail and hightail it to Bling O’ Burger fail to get me to do it. My last class is the lone, cheery spot of my entire schedule for the semester. The rest of my schedule appeases everyone else, especially Mom. My Astronomy class is a Godsend. Wonder if Dad would be psyched to know I seem to be taking after him.
Which in a completely unrelated way reminded me…
“Tina, you just landed me in hot water with that woman.” I say, crossing my arms under my chest.
She brandishes her trademark pout. “Well, not as much as you and Brighton did.”
“O-kayy, sure.” I mutter, shoving my books into my knapsack.
“Wasn’t he Mr. Knight-in-Shining-Armor today? Only been here a hot second and he’s already serving most of these goons up on a platter.”
“I didn’t realize he knew who you were, let alone your name. You sure you guys haven’t met before?”
“No. Believe me, I think I’d remember.” I shrugged, letting my thoughts swirl about in my head for now.
“Okay, okay. I’m a big enough person to admit it. I deserve some of that ‘tude you’re serving up.” Tina says, a sheepish grin spreading across her face.
I smile back. “Yeah. You do.”
“Cut me some slack, would ya? You know my family. Obnoxiousness runs deep in my gene pool.”
“I’ve dealt with your brothers, especially jerky Kevin.”
“Can’t argue with you on that.”
“Isn’t he away at college somewhere out East?”
“Yeah, he’s acting like some reality show extra in training. Dad’s already had ‘the talk’ with him. He’d better start flying right or he’ll start flying solo with tuition.”
We park just outside my Astronomy class.
“Meet you after class. Bling O’ Burger trip on me!” I grin, clapping her on the shoulder and duck into class just as the bell rings. I glance over my shoulder and catch her pump her fist in the air before hightailing it to her Trig class
July 11, 2018 at 9:05 am #656595
I meant to provide some feedback, but life keeps getting in the way. I’m still intending a response.
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