Friday, January 28, 2011

In Case You're Interested ...

Because my mom is picking Addie up from rehearsal tonight (she drove herself to school and home, but her Friday night practices get out at ten and she's nervous driving that late when she's tired, an accommodation I'm more than happy to make), I am having a rare quiet evening at home.

I wasn't going to post here tonight because I'm very much behind on Zelda Lily and need to get a couple of pieces up there, but I was really touched by the reception that my WiP excerpt received (both the accolades and the critiques were wonderful feedback ... thank you!) and a few people asked for more, so I'm going to put up the second chapter.

Copying and pasting seems like kind of a cop-out, but it's kind of where I'm at tonight ;)

Oh, and if you didn't read the last excerpt (namely, Chapter One), you should probably read it first.

Oh, one more thing ... this character seems kind of Mary Sue-ish from the first two chapters, but he's really not. I am going to be reworking them a bit, though, since I just noticed when I was rereading it while fixing the paragraphs.

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From Annual by Katie Loud

2.

Christian checked the time as he walked to his red Saab convertible. He wouldn’t be able to go home and shower before soccer practice, and that bothered him a bit. Most of his teammates found it absolutely hysterical that Christian and to a slightly lesser degree his best friend Roy Pentinicci labored in the hot sun for forty hours a week all summer. Although their teasing on the rare days he showed up with green ankles didn’t really bother Christian, the sense of bewilderment in their eyes did.

His father was one of the wealthiest men in the country. There wasn’t a reason in the world for him to slave away mowing lawns, weeding gardens, erecting stone walls, accompanying balding, sweaty men with bad grammar.

But then, Christian had always been something of an enigma to his peers, a fact that bothered him not in the least. They wondered where his drive to excel came from, of course, why he worked his ass off to earn straight As at the prestigious Stephens Academy, what made him attend intensive extra baseball practices when he was already one of the best high school pitchers in the northeast. It seemed unfair, of course, that Brian McKenzie’s son should be brilliant, talented in numerous areas, and model-handsome, but Christian was just too likable a guy to hold it against him.

So people asked Roy, who was not quite as likable and not technically a McKenzie, why on earth the two of them worked for a landscaper instead of just pushing paper at one of Mr. McKenzie’s many offices. Roy had been taken in by Brian and Belinda McKenzie when his famously dysfunctional family imploded in the fall of his freshman year. They were his legal guardians, but they were not his parents. He explained that his Porsche was a strings-attached present for his sixteenth birthday, the strings being that he pay his car insurance with money he worked for. As a three-season athlete and an honors student, this was impossible to accomplish during the school year. Hence, a summer job was necessary. That Brian McKenzie had made the same arrangement with his own son (and bought him a far less ostentatious car) when Christian turned sixteen a year later was what confused, almost frustrated people. What could possibly be the point?

Christian toiled without complaint, Roy with characteristic token grumbling. They both knew full well this was a life lesson that Brian McKenzie wanted them to learn young and completely, something akin to the two of them leading Christian’s younger sisters and brother out with shovels whenever it snowed rather than hiring a plow truck to clear their more-of-a-private-road-than-a-driveway. They worshiped Brian McKenzie equally.

Christian was early for practice, so he took a quick locker room shower, watching the greens and browns disappear down the drain with something akin to relief. He got dressed, put on his shin guards, and walked to the field. Although practice didn’t start until four, there were already a number of boys in gym shorts and Stephens Academy Soccer t-shirts running around on the field. One of them, a good looking dark-haired boy with brown eyes that dominated his face, saw Christian walking down the hill to the field and ran over.

“You just leave work?”

“Yeah, took a shower here.”

“Clearly a better man than I am, McKenzie. I got the hell out as soon as I possibly could.”

“Pete told me he offered you next summer in advance.”

Roy nodded. “It was strangely nice to hear.”

“You seen Bobby?”

“Nope.”

“Yup!" Both turned and looked up the hill as their longtime friend Bobby Smith started down, his gait unsteady. “Yup, you’ve sure as fuck seen me now.”

The other team members had started moving toward them, drawn by the decibel of Bobby’s voice. A tall African-American boy, Jamie Costello, took in the situation and sprinted suddenly to Bobby’s side. Jamie had been tight with Bobby, Roy, and Christian for years, and he knew that Bobby needed to make it into the goal; as long as he was in his element, nobody would notice that he was extremely drunk. Roy followed Jamie, getting on Bobby’s other side, and the two lifted him up and past their teammates to where Christian was busily moving the net into position in anticipation of Bobby’s arrival.

It was an old drill.