Sunday, November 8, 2015
1st 5 Pages November Workshop - Proctor Rev 1
Name: KD Proctor (please call me Kelley)
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Title: Until the End
There’s a TV commercial for carpet cleaner that always makes me laugh. A woman is driving a car, she hits the brakes and her travel mug tumbles out of the cup holder. The lid isn’t secure—naturally—and the commercial suddenly shifts into slow motion. A tidal wave of liquid rolls out of her cup while she sits in shock. I laugh every time because nothing spills like that in real life.
Guess what? It does.
Only a tidal wave isn’t accurate. Because I just had a freakin’ coffee tsunami when I slammed on the breaks to avoid hitting the car in front of me on the interstate.
And now everything is soaked.
The floor mats.
My Milton University School of Medicine tote bag.
Even the passenger door.
“Son of a bitch!”
Red lights flash around me like bulbs on a Christmas tree as morning rush-hour traffic has now come to a complete stop on the interstate. My head falls to the steering wheel.
It’s not even seven-o’clock and I already want a do-over for the day.
My fingers tap nervously against my knees hoping the traffic will ease up in a second or two. This is my punishment for oversleeping on the one morning I need to be on campus at the butt crack of dawn. My med school mentor Dr. Phillips—for the record, I was assigned to him, I didn’t pick him—has a motto: If you’re on time, you’re late. And as his mentee, he holds me to a higher standard than everyone else.
And I hate it.
“Stop gawking, let’s go!”
Good one, Elizabeth. Yelling always gets traffic to move.
I bite my thumbnail. The list I need accomplish this morning is already a mile long. Unless this traffic jam clears, I’m screwed. One hand on the wheel and the other in my now completely soaked canvas bag, I feel around for my phone. Coming up empty handed, I dump the contents on the front seat. I find it wedged in a notebook full of my lab research notes.
Thankfully my notes and my phone survived the tsunami unscathed.
“Happy first day of the semester! You’re calling me to see if I wanted coffee from the Beanery aren’t you?” Cody Jefferson asks in his usual cheery tone.
“I wish. Are you on campus?”
“Of course I am. I’m at the receptionist’s desk spying on the newbies. Half of them look like they’re about to puke.”
“I seem to remember you actually did puke last year,” I tease.
“Bite me. Seriously, hurry up and get over here so we can spy on them together before you have to be all official and shit with your mentor coordinator duties.”
“Can’t. I’m stuck on the expressway.” Traffic starts to move, but not fast enough.
He lets out a heavy sigh. “You’re juggling with fire, girl.”
“Isn’t it playing with fire?”
“Tomato, to-mah-toe. You keep this up and that fire’s gonna scorch your behind. You’re making the rest of us look bad, Miss Future Neurologist. What time did you finally leave the lab last night? Eleven?”
“Three? ?” My neurology internship starts in a few weeks and I want to be ready for anything they throw my way. The late nights are worth it, even if I overslept a few times during summer classes and Dr. Phillips threatened to take away my late night lab access.
“If you’re going to be up until three, at least be up doing something fun.”
“That is fun. To me anyway,” I say with a giggle. My stomach rumbles and I tear off a bite from the bagel I made this morning. A blob of melted strawberry cream cheese drips on my white lab coat.
“Damn it,” I mumble with my mouth full. I hold the bagel in my teeth as I wipe the bright pink blob away. Fran-freakin’-tastic. I am a walking, talking hot mess this morning. Let’s hope that when I give the welcome speech to the first year students, they’re focused on my face, not on the stain.
“Is he there?” I ask, licking my finger clean.
“I haven’t seen him yet, but you know he’s always here early.”
Of course he is. I swear Dr. Phillips must sleep in his office.
“I need you to cover for me.”
“Elizabeth…” he warns.
“I just need you to make copies for the mentors so they know who they’re mentoring. It’s in my network file drive all ready to go. Please?” Desperation makes me beg. Pathetic, I know.
His silence twists my stomach into giant knots.
“Fine, but if I’m stuck testing fecal samples because of this…”
“Thanks, Cody!” I say before I toss my phone on the passenger seat. Stretching my neck I can see an exit up ahead. It isn’t the one I need, but having grown up in Camden, I know all the short cuts. Taking matters into my own hands, I illegally drive on the shoulder. My eyes dart to the rearview mirror, praying a cop doesn’t pull me over.
I check the clock again. Damn it. I’ll never make it if I park in the student lot. I turn the corner and my shoulders relax a little. There’s an empty meter right outside the doors of the medical school building. Finally, my day is starting to turn around.
The light turns red, forcing me to wait. My eyes burn into that parking space.
“You are mine…” I whisper.
If my calculations are correct, I can get from the meter into lecture hall with a few minutes to spare. A few minutes is good. And technically on-time.
I crack my neck from side to side and when the light turns green I punch the gas pedal. Blinker on, I turn to check my blind spot when a silver, all-sport SUV slides into the space, nearly taking out my passenger side headlight.
“Oh fuck no. No. No. NO!!” I growl, punching the horn.
I lower the passenger window. A tall guy in a bright purple polo and dark rimmed glasses slides out of the drivers seat.
“Hey!” I shout through the open window. Who in the hell steals a parking spot when a car has its blinker on? The guy doesn’t look, instead fumbling with something in the back seat. When he slings his messenger bag over his shoulders, his shirt tugs in all the right places temporarily turning my anger into delight with those sculpted back muscles.
Holy Beautiful Deltoids, Batman.
Cars pass by me, honking as I’m still blocking traffic. I snap back from my Human Anatomy refresher to the asshole who stole my spot. My eyes narrow at the Greek letter sticker in his back window.
Frat boy. Figures.
I bark out the window again, “Hey! Frat Boy! Did you not see my blinker? You damn near hit me.”
He turns around and gives me a grin toothpaste commercials would plaster on a billboard. That smile, the right amount of jaw stubble, and happiness oozing out of his eyes? Oh Jesus H. Christ. He is trouble.
With a capital T.
He rests his hands on the passenger side door, not seeming to care that it’s still wet from my coffee. He leans forward slightly. I had no idea forearm muscles could be so beautiful.
“I honestly didn’t see you. Are you okay?”
“Okay? How about ‘I’m sorry’?” I look at the clock. I no longer have minutes to spare, but seconds. “Now I’m officially late.”