You may or may not recall when, a few months back, I shared the first chapter of a first draft. It was from my NaNo book–the tentatively titled Purely Platonic…which I’ve lately been calling It’s In His Kiss (which is ALSO a stupid name).
Anyway, I stumbled on the unfinished first draft last night, and I was, quite frankly, surprised. As far as my first drafts usually go, this one wasn’t that bad.
So, after mulling it over, I though it might be fun to make sharing excerpts a regular thing–but not just for me! For YOU too! We can call it…Writing on Wednesday…or something, and we can each check out what the other has to say. I won’t do it every Wednesday, but from time to time, it could be fun for people to partake in. Or, at the very least, for me to partake. 😉
And now, without further ado, I give you a second excerpt from my YA contemporary following the confusing friendship of Simon and Freddie…
Oh, and if you want to know what it’s about, head here for a summary. And remember…first draft? So…rough.
I am not happy for Freddie. Not even the tiniest bit. I hate Todd Friedman. He’s shallow and goofy with his stupid blond bangs and even stupider polo shirts.
I really hate him, and no doubt you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned this fact to Fred. Well, the thing is, Fred has never had a chance with Todd…I mean, he’s always had a girlfriend, and for the last two years, that girl was Lara Dogliani. Even when I found out they’d broken up, I still didn’t think Fred would have a chance. Sure, Freddie’s outgoing and crazy with her friends, but she’s always so tongue-tied around Todd. I never thought she’d actually talk to him…you know?
Of course, I knew if they ever did talk—if Fred ever flashed him one of those heartbreaking smiles of hers—Todd would fall head over heels for her. Everyone does. I just never saw it coming.
I drive to the theater. Steve and Mrs. Geller sit in the backseat, and Fred in the front. Everyone oohs and has over my new ride, but I know they’re just being nice. It’s no brand-spankin’-new Audi like Étienne’s.
The Lumberjack Pageant happens at our local community theater that’s actually just tacked onto the edge of city hall. I think it used to be a courthouse, but…we don’t have enough law problems anymore to warrant our own courthouse. Now, if you’ve got legal issues, you head to next city over. Yeah, Haver’s that small.
The auditorium, however, is pretty big. Because the tourists inflate Haver’s size so much during the summer (when the community theater’s most active), it can seat five hundred people and even has an orchestral pit (although, it’s a very small pit. More like a sliver).
The two front rows are filled with a bunch of people over forty. Most are volunteer firemen/women too, but then some are just super Haver-loving citizens. Fred and I are by far the youngest people here. By like fifteen years at least.
We sit on the end while the director, a hulking dude with a handlebar mustache—Mr. Binder—drones on about how glad he is we’re all here. I’m not really listening…I’m too lost in my fuming.
Seriously, though. Todd Freacking Friedman is doing the Lumberjack Pageant. Sure, so this means that now I don’t have to (I’m just here as Todd Freaking Friedman’s stand-in for tonight), but I’d honestly rather suffer through hours of rehearsal just so I don’t have to suffer through hours of Freddie whispering about how “amazing and hot and super fantastic and blahblahblah” Todd is.
As soon as Mr. Binder starts rehearsal by placing people on stage, I slide out Fred’s iPod and start skipping through songs.
Her gushing breaks off for half a second. Then she snaps, “Did I say you could take that?”
“It’s mine,” I mumble, not looking away from the screen.
“No, it’s mine.” She snatches for it. I whip it out of reach. I’m tall now; she can’t get to it. This pleases me enormously. “You gave it to me,” she snaps. “That makes it mine now.”
I stand up and slide into the next seat, thoroughly enjoying how much her eyes are blazing. I casually flick my gaze back to the iPod. “Think Lara will enjoy Peter Fox?”
“What. The. Crap.” She scrabbles over the seat between us, and I have to yank the ipod out of her reach again. “Why the hell would I know if Lara would like Peter Fox? And why the hell are you asking what Lara would like? Is she your new best friend? In your car after school—oh yeah, I saw that.”
“Is that why you circumvented the entire parking lot to avoid me?”
Her nostrils flare, and she drops back into the seat.
“Oh yeah, I saw that.” My voice is layered in smug, and I almost laugh at how furious she’s getting. Yeah, I’m being a total jackass. On purpose.
And it feels great.
“You two.” Mr. Binder’s voice rumbles over everything. “Get on stage.”
I hop up and scoot past Fred, dropping her iPod in my pocket with great emphasis. She leaps up and chases after me. “Why are you being such a jerk?”
“I’m not.” I saunter toward the stairs on the right that lead up to the stage.
“You most definitely are.”
“Am not.” I practically skip up the stairs. Mr. Binder’s waiting at the top, two scripts in his hands. I beam at him as I take one, and my smile only widens as Freddie yanks her own script with far too much force.
Why is pissing her off so much fun right now?
“I want you two to walk from stage right,” Mr. Binder says. He points to a spot right behind the curtain. “You’ll walk to the center, saying your lines. Let’s try that.” He shuffles to the front edge of the stage, and Freddie and I head for our starting spots.
“I thought we worked through all this at school,” Freddie whispers.
“Worked through all what?”
“You and your asshattery. You and your broken heart.”
My anger brews back to life. “You don’t just work through a broken heart, Fred. I’ve been in love with Samantha for years. Years.”
“Oh, drop the drama.” Her voice rises. “Your heart isn’t broken.”
I skitter to a stop behind the curtain and round on her. “Oh yeah, it damned well is, and you of all people—” I break off. She’s already waltzing onto stage, reading from her script.
“Who knew the woods could be so cold in the fall?” She shoots a glance back at me, and with a scowl, I lurch onto stage after her.
“It’s all right,” I read. “I’m here to…” I almost choke on the words. “I’m here to keep you warm.” My gaze snaps up to hers. “You’re gonna say this crap with Todd Friedman?”
“Yes.” She pushes her shoulders back. “Got a problem with that?”
Mr. Binder coughs. “Can you please just read the lines?”
I grit my teeth. “Sorry. Uh…I’m here to keep you warm. Look, there’s a light through yonder…yonder trees. Maybe it’s the lumberjack camp.”
“You’ll make such a fine lumberjack,” she says, though her voice is anything but convinced.
“Thank you, my…my love.”
We both turn to Mr. Binder, waiting for him to tell us what to do next. He’s just staring at us, his arms crossed as if he’s waiting for something.
I scratch my ear. “Uh, now what?”
Mr. Binder frowns, glancing at his script. “Now you kiss, no? Yes, yes, you’re supposed to kiss.” He looks back up. “Well?”
“Well what?” Fred asks.
She sputters. “You want us to kiss?”
“I think he made that pretty clear,” I mutter.
“I can’t kiss him.” She jabs a finger in my direction. “He’s my best friend.”
Mr. Binder’s eyebrows rise. “And?”
“And that should be enough!”
“He’s playing your lover, so it’s expected that you’ll kiss—”
“No,” she cries, her eyes widening in horror. “He’s just a stand-in.”
“Thanks,” I spit. “I love hearing I’m ‘just a stand-in’ for Todd Friedman.”
She whirls toward me. “And I’m just a shoulder to cry on! You only want me around when you’re not too busy brooding over Sam or…or flirting with Lara.”
I advance on her. “That’s not even true!”
“Oh, because not calling me for a week is—”
“You’re still mad about that?”
“GUYS,” Mr. Binder roars. “SETTLE THIS OFFSTAGE.”
Fred blinks quickly, and scarlet flames up her face. “Sorry, Mr. Binder.”
I just clench my teeth and stare at the floor.
“Now say your lines,” Mr. Binder commands. “Then kiss and get offstage.”
“I’ll say my lines,” she says, “but I am not kissing him.”
And that. Is. It.
“Seriously, Fred? Seriously?” My voice bellows out. “What’s so awful about kissing me, huh? Why can’t you just say the line and freaking kiss me?”
She gapes at me. “B-because…”
“Because what? It doesn’t work with the little label you have stuck on my forehead.” I throw my hands up. “Fine. Whatever. I don’t even care. Just say your stupid line.”
“Fine. I will.” She wets her lips. “Who knew the woods could be so cold in the fall?”
“I’m here to keep you warm,” I snarl, taking a step toward her. “Look, there’s a light through yonder trees. Maybe it’s the lumberjack camp.”
She sets her jaw, and steps closer to me. “Oh, you’ll make such a fine lumberjack.”
I give a humorless laugh and stare down into her eyes. “Thank you, my love.” Then I grab the sides of her face and kiss her.
And I kiss her hard.
Simon is kissing me.
Like, actually kissing me.
For half a breath, my heart falls into my stomach, and then it flies straight up into my brain. I can’t even think.
He’s kissing me, and it’s not just a little pop kiss or an innocent stage kiss. He’s kissing me. His lips are pressing to mine, and their forcing mine open and then his teeth latch onto my bottom lip and he tugs—just a bit—and my knees literally turn to pudding. I wobble into him.
And just as I grab for his chest, his sleeve, anything to keep me upright, he wrenches back. His face is flushed, and his breath huffs out.
Then he spins on his heel and storms offstage, and I’m left standing there, my mouth open and my heart hammering at max speed.
What the heck just happened?