Tuesday, October 14, 2014

An excerpt from Underwater!

“Hey, look!” She tugged on my sleeve and pointed across the lot to the football field. There walking along the tree line at the edge of the school property was The Pretty. His dark clothes stood out against the bright green of the brush as he strode along with his hands fisted tightly at his sides.
“No books.” My sister’s voice sounded very far away.
“Huh?” I didn’t glance at her. I didn’t want to look away. His head was down, and even though he was so far away, I could tell he was frowning. There was a shadow on his face that hadn’t been there that morning. Where had it come from? Had he been assigned Mrs. Josephson for chemistry? She was a complete lunatic. Did the jocks give him a hard time? They considered screwing with the new kids a sport.
“He’s not carrying a bag. No books.” She wrapped and rewrapped her blonde hair around her finger.
“I’m not entirely convinced he even went to class today.”
The Pretty took a sharp left and darted into the woods. He was quickly swallowed by the brush.
“Good grief, we have roads. Where is he going?”
The sound of a car rumbled across the parking lot, its tires popping and crackling. Evey stood up, tugging her backpack onto her shoulders and pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “Maybe his Harley’s parked out there. He looks like the Harley type.”
“Wouldn’t that be something?” I laughed, as the red minivan skidded to a stop in front of us.
My mom was in a typical hurry. She never went anywhere at a normal pace. The Sandpoint traffic cops knew her by name.
“Hey, guys, hurry up,” she called out the window, adjusting her apron underneath the seatbelt.
For the last five years, my parents owned and operated the Deep Lake Coffee Company and proudly served the best coffee and specialty drinks in the Inland Northwest. They didn’t turn much of a profit and spent most of their time bickering because of the fact that they were living paycheck to paycheck, but they had a recipe for a chilled chai tea with nutmeg that could make your eyes fill up with grateful tears.
Evey opened the passenger side door and waited for me to roll over to it. After tossing my bag in at Mom, I placed one hand on the inside of the door and the other on the seat, then hoisted myself up. I felt my mom’s hand grip my elbow, but shook it off.
“I’ve got it,” I grunted, feeling sweat pique at my hairline. Pulling all of my strength from my shoulders and core, I managed to get my hip onto the seat and then shimmied myself the rest of the way by wiggling my hips and what little of my upper legs I controlled.
Evey climbed into the seat behind me and slid the door shut with a slam. “Luna’s got a boyfriend.” I could practically feel her smiling at the back of my head.
“Can it.” Folding my arms across my chest, I hunkered down in my seat and glowered at a couple of kids walking past the van. They’d stopped to watch me get into my seat.
My mom pressed on the gas pedal, and we lurched forward. “A boyfriend?”
The back of my head hit the headrest. “Don’t listen to her. She’s high.”
“She’s what?” My mom looked in the rearview mirror. “Evey?”
“I’m kidding, Mom.” I scanned the edge of the woods as we drove away, searching for a glimpse of black T-shirt, but saw nothing.

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