Sunday, June 11, 2017
1st 5 Pages June Workshop- Mainero Rev 1
YA Contemporary Supernatural
The Life You Stole
The first weekend of the summer before senior year, and my boyfriend of two weeks might break up with me. No biggie. In eight solid years of experience with Dave, as a friend, he’s never let me down.
As a boyfriend?
Maybe I let him down.
“He’ll be here,” Darcie promised as I scanned the parking lot for Dave’s truck. In front of us, the long concrete breakwall stretched out into Caseville Harbor, where Lake Huron rippled with tiny waves, blue and glassy, under the dusky pink of the setting sun.
At the end of the walk, a pile of large boulders in the water, and voices. “It’s just Kelsey and Darcie.” I ducked through the railing and stepped over lapping water to the first rock. Just Kelsey. Not someone they wanted to see. Like Dave.
On the large center rock Queen Bree and her clone Cate are pink and blonde flamingoes in a flock of jocks and other seagulls. “Hi all!” I forced confidence into my voice, and squeezed in on a rock with Darcie. One of the guys tilted a beer can in our direction. “Thanks,” I said, as Darcie held up her hand to decline. This was a mistake. What if Dave did let me down? The icy aluminum in my palm made me shiver.
“Too early for shorts in Michigan,” Darcie commented, cozy in her buttoned-up flannel and black jeans.
“They’re not shorts, they’re capris,” I argued, scrunching my self-pedicured toenails in Parlez-Bleu Francais, feeling overexposed.
“Are you giving Darcie another fashion class, Kelsey?” remarked Bree, to laughs from her loyal subjects.
“I already flunked—I wore black for my senior pictures,” Darcie replied.
“We wouldn’t recognize you if you wore pink,” said Cate, echoing Bree’s bored derision.
“The day I wear pink, kill me,” Darcie declared. “Slit my throat, drench me in my own blood and bury me in a garbage bag. A black one.”
Bree, in pink jeans, and Cate, in a pink pullover exchanged a smirk, as everyone laughed. I sipped my beer slowly, the way Dave taught me at my first high school party. “Just drink a sip or two,” he told me. “Hold it for a while, then put it down somewhere. You can do that all night long, and never get wasted.”
No matter how many beers I abandoned, he always claimed I was buzzed when I tried to flirt with him. Always said he’d never take advantage of me. I always pretended to be grateful for that. Welcome to the friend zone. Our friendship was too important to screw up with a relationship. Yeah, he really said that. But for one wonderful week, I thought I proved him wrong. And then I proved him right.
“Just talk to him,” Darcie kept telling me on the drive up to Caseville. That’s what I dreaded. I knew what he’d say. This was a mistake, let’s just stay friends. I knew what would happen, the awkward conversations, the gradual distancing.
I knew what I’d feel. I was feeling it already, waking up from unsettling dreams where Dave refused to listen to me or take my side. But Darcie was right about one thing. I couldn’t avoid him any longer.
“Look who’s coming,” muttered Jarrod from the lookout rock, where he sat watching for the police or harbormaster. I knew from his voice it couldn’t have been Dave, but my heart still thumped in anticipation as I stood up.
The thumping rang in my ears and my breath stopped. Not Dave. Calvin. Calvin Baker. Slouching as he came towards us, in his denim jacket, with his scruffy dark hair obscuring his eyes. Just the way he’d looked in my dreams.
He wasn’t supposed to be here. He belonged with the stoners and the losers. Not with us. Not in my dreams.
Darnell hopped past me across the rocks, meeting Calvin before he was in earshot. The two of them walked towards the parking lot, talking. I took a breath, fighting off the panicky, adrenaline-charged feeling I’d been waking up to every day.
“What’s wrong?” Darcie’s voice came through all echo-y. I turned. Everyone was watching me stand and stare like a slack-jawed loser. I sat down abruptly.
“Nothing,” I said. I wanted to tell Darcie about it, but not in front of everyone. I could hear it now. Kelsey thinks stoner Cal is dreamy. Thankfully, Darnell came back alone, and settled in with the other football players. A lighter flickered and a smoky sweet smell drifted towards us. Darcie coughed.
“Walk with me?” I suggested.
We scrambled back to the breakwall away from the others, and leaned on the blue metal railing. The last sliver of sun sank into the water as I watched.
“I had a dream about him,” I said.
“Dave?” she asked. “He’ll be here soon, I promise. Don’t worry.”
Don’t worry. How could she be so sure? “He was in it too. But I mean Calvin.”
“Calvin? What’s up? You look freaked out.”
“I am freaked out. I dreamed he died in a car accident.”
“Ooh, that is freaky.”
“But then he showed up at school, and everyone was all excited he was still alive. Hugging him and everything.”
“Let me guess.” She raised pinched fingers to her lips and inhaled.
“It’s not that funny,” Darcie said, snickering.
“Oh my God.” I giggled and wiped my eyes. “I’ve been obsessing, thinking it’s some kind of premonition or warning, and now you tell me I psychically predicted a toke.”
“Kelsey Jones—Weed Psychic,” she proclaimed. “It’s a gift.”
“A stupid gift,” I said. “I was obsessing, because in the dream, when he came back, it wasn’t him. I knew it, but no one would believe me.”
Why do you have to make everything a confrontation, Kelsey? Dave’s dream-voice accused me.
“Who was it?”
“That was weird too. . . . “
“Sa-weeeet!“ Jarrod called out, standing up. “Check out Dave’s ride.”
Under the lone parking lot light, Dave’s height and short blond curls were unmistakable as he got out of a gleaming red convertible. He set the car alarm with a beep-beep and blink of headlights, and headed out to us.
People swarmed past us and surrounded him, asking if he’d traded in his truck for the Camaro. “Just trying it out,” he said. His dad owned the car dealership, and I could tell everyone wanted to check out the car, or get a ride, but Dave didn’t offer.
He walked past me and Darcie with a friendly “Hey,” and headed out to the rocks. Somehow, Darcie made sure we ended up sitting across from him, where I tried to analyze his brief glances in my direction as he cracked open a beer.
“I can’t wait to ride in that,” Bree cooed at Dave. “Is that one of the cars for the parade?” She couldn’t let anyone forget for a second that she’d won the Miss Atwater crown. I didn’t know how I was going to stand being on the dance team with her all summer, listening to her fake laugh and her fake friendliness. Darcie kicked me gently, like that was going to inspire me to speak up. I gulped another big swig from the beer.
“Look who’s back,” Jarrod muttered.
It was Calvin again. My spine tingled and Darcie and I exchanged glances. “Hey,” he said, making his way through the railing. “My ride ditched. Need a ride back with one of you.”