Monday, March 8, 2010
Teaser Tuesday - SLOW
Sorry we didn't post last week--caught in the IB Program acceptance and stuff. Anyways, here's a scene where Drew and the girl bond a little. And finally, we find out her name. Sort of.
"She has the most honest eyes I ever read."
I'm standing by my window, enjoying my nightly cigarette (I found a pack under my books inside my bag) when the girl interrupts my thoughts. I don't know why I'm not complaining about her being on my bed, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with her stubbornness.
I flick some ash off the cigarette, its flakes falling into the snow below, and take a long drag before asking her what she means.
She examines a picture of me and Jo on the wall, the day we went to some shitty carnival a few blocks north from here in some huge empty lot. I remember feeling so far up, scoring someone like Jo, while Liam, sadly, had to accompany someone like Jess.
Jess and Jo. The J Hotties. One classy, one trashy.
"Let's ride the Ferris Wheel," I'd said, pointing at the rusty circle carrying zero passengers on its crates. Jess and Liam had jumped right on it, while I stayed with Jo as she hesitated.
"I always hated those," she'd confessed, looking up at it with scared eyes. "There's a lot of ways you can kill yourself on that."
"Jo," I'd hugged her. "It's always a good thing to face your fears." And then I promised her that I'd hold her hand and stare at her while we rode it. In the end, Jo faced her fears. It always did work out in the end with her.
"I can see a lot in them," the girl finally answers. She points at the picture. "Her eyes. They're black, and the pupils even darker. That shows mystery, but it can also show integrity. The shape of them. Narrow. That shows confidence. Was she a swimmer?"
I almost dropped my cigarette out the window. "How'd you know that?"
The girl smiles a secret smile. "Her eyes. The size of her whites are water blown."
I'm taken aback and decide to see for myself. So I flick my cigarette out the window and stride up to the picture. All I see are normal looking eyes. Beautiful normal looking eyes, but still ordinary. Something I wouldn't have been able to guess if I never met Jo. "Hm," I answer. "That's freaky."
The girl fishes her hand inside one of the many chip bags inside my room. WIth the noise she's making, I'm still not one hundred percent sure about her being here.
School's tomorrow. How do I keep her from wandering around the house?
"Hey," I say. "We gotta talk about what happens tomorrow."
She puts the Doritos in her mouth and chews. "What's tomorrow?"
Like every single kid on the planet should, I roll my eyes. "I go to school."
"School?" she asks. There's a hint of curiosity in her eyes that just gives her away.
She either doesn't know what the hell a school is or she's never attended one before.
"You know, the shitty place they teach you stuff at?"
I know she doesn’t understand, but she's making progress by nodding.
"Anyways, we have to arrange somethin' so you don't wonder out of the house and get yourself killed."
"I can take care of myself," she says. "I'm not stupid."
There's a pinch of attitude in her voice that I don't like. "It's not about stupidity--" I'm about to call her by Jo's name when I realize the girl still hasn't told me hers. "Listen. I know you're shy and stuff, but it's gonna be pretty hard living with someone for four months without knowing their name."
The girl sits up and shrugs. "I don't have one. I told you."
See what I have to deal with?
"Fuck it," I say, and start walking around my room.
"What're you doing?"
"You won't tell me your name," I answer her curtly, and start by looking through a stack of video games. "So I'll just give you one."
"I think that's what I just said." My hands sift through the piles. Bloody murder games, war games, Liam's perverted games, (Italian) gangster games--you name it. There's a lot of names to use. No need to research. No need to stress.
I pull out every name in every single fuckin' video game. "Alice?"
Even I can tell it doesn’t fit the girl. She doesn’t seem interested, either. "Okay, too white. How about Jane?"
The girl shakes her head. "I don't think I need a--"
"Briana?" I look her up and down fast, so I don't get caught up. "Kind of sounds black, but still too white. "Bridget? Too sexy."
I go through this about a million times until I stumble upon Liam's ultimate video vixen crush. I laugh out loud as I pull it out. "There's no freakin' way, absolutely not."
I flash her the case for Lara Croft. "Lara Croft. Tombraider. Old, sick video game. Ever heard of it?"
Just like I expect, the girl shakes her head. "I like that name, though."
"What'd you say?"
"Lara. It's pretty."
I almost say something stupid. "Lara…" I say, trying to feel the connection with the girl's face. I feel like some expert, looking at every corner of her face, matching it with the letters, the curve of her lips, trying to make sense of how it would sound coming out of them during an introduction.
"Lara," she repeats. "My name's Lara."
"Don't be so sure."
"You gave me a name," her eyes are wide. "Now I have one."
"You mean now I have a name to call you by," I correct her. "Lara obviously sounds better than your real name."
She doesn't say anything.
"So, tomorrow, Lara, you'll stay in this room by all means. That means no going downstairs, Ashley's room, or anybody else's room. Just here."
She nods, then frowns. "But I'll be alone. I told you; things are out to get me."
"Hey," I hold my hands out. "It's this or nothin'. I can't bring you to school. They'll annihilate you."
I can imagine how Principal Digby would handle it. Rednecks and sticks.
"You know what that means, right?"
"They'll kill me," she says defensively.
"Don't get defensive. It's the truth."
She ignores me and angrily bundles herself inside the new white sheets. I can't see the hole behind her head, so I don't panic. But then again, it can leak through that thick hair of hers anytime in the middle of the night.
"What're you doin'?" I ask rhetorically. "This is my bed. We made a bargain. I let you stay here, you let me have my bed."
"You promised me you wouldn't leave me alone," she murmurs under the pillows.
I snort. "Well, guess what? Life's a bitch, especially in Freedom. Now get off my bed."
I wait three seconds and nothing moves.
"Lara," I say, trying out her new name. "Don't make me--"
"If you want the bed so bad, why don't you just get in here with me?"
For a second, I almost do exactly that. If the invitation had come out of Jo, I'd jump right in. From Jess? Fifty-fifty, depends on my mood. But this girl? I actually had to think of the words. I had to know if she said it, really. Weird thing is, I don't feel disgusted. I just act like I do.
I clap my hands quietly. "Smart, Lara, smart," I say bitterly. Sarcastic. "I know what you're tryin' to do here. Mess me up before tomorrow. Well, you know what, screw you. It's not gonna work."
I stand there, waiting for a response or an apology, but there's nothing. Just breathing. I'm frustrated, but I don't make her know. It's because it's what she wants. Or at least what I think she wants.
I flip her my birdie finger while I get ready for bed. I pull my shirt off and throw it onto her bed, hoping it makes the covers heavy so it could suffocate her. And then I plop down on the floor, thinking to myself why I agreed to this in the first place.
She's black, a bitch, and completely worth killing. I have blood on my hands. I betrayed my own shitty town. For what? A girl who can't take anything thrown to her?
All because I'm crazy and I hear Jo's voice inside my head?
I want this shit out of me. Just like I want Lara out of my town.