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YAFF Muse is Back: School Daze

12 Jan

YAFF Muse is back!!! Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Raygun by wintersixfour

School Daze

By Rachel Marie Pratt

Some schools have rules. Others have a code of ethics. This school—my school— has zero tolerance.

The gymnasium fills with teachers and students for today’s Call to Discipline. Despite the thousand plus in attendance to the afternoons event, the room is completely silent. Not that anyone would dare to make a noise during such an assembly. To do so would bring about great consequences.

Already there are several of us waiting in line to be punished when Principal Shuster crosses the gymnasium. Everyone joins together in showing support. Like a synchronized beat we clap. Clap.Clap.Clap.Clap.Clap.

He takes his place behind the podium. His hands part in the air and the room falls silent again.

“Welcome students. Faculty.” Shuster begins. “Here at Redwood we pride ourselves on the conduct of our students. Many of you were left in the guardianship of the school, because your parents saw the need for structure and accountability in a world drowning in its own sin and disregard. Redwood was built on discipline, with a defined set of ideals. It is through the constant application of these principles we maintain a safe environment and quality of living your parents dreamed for you.” He holds the schools commandments in his hand. All 3041 ways a student can earn a place in the Offenders Line. “Without further delay, let the Call to Discipline commence.” Shuster steps down. And in his place is Eli Manager, who we call “the executioner.”

“Francie Dressler,” he says.

The sound of my name being called reverberates off the high ceiling. Every muscle in my body tightens. I plant my feet firmly on the floor, but I’m no match for the two guards selected to bring me forward. At the center of the gymnasium, a third guard takes hold of my legs and I’m lifted onto a cool, metal slab. As if this hardened table has a memory, images of the tortures preformed here flood my mind.

“Please, don’t let them do this!” I plead with my classmates, to help me. Even though I know nobody will stop the events happening here today. I can’t blame them I’ve been where they are now. And I’ve done nothing the same as they will do nothing. Still, my yells persist until a rubber muzzle is placed over my mouth and secured to the back of my head, deadening my cries.

I thrust my head from side to side. The muzzle is like a vise squeezing my mouth closed until it feels as though my teeth are going to shatter like glass.

“I invoke the first commandment of Redwood: Tardiness will not be tolerated.”

Blinded by a glaring white light overhead, I shift my gaze to the side. A cart draws forward in my direct line of sight.

The Executioner takes his place at my side. He chooses his device of discipline. It’s one I’ve never seen before. It looks like a toy gun. But I know better, this is not a toy.

“Hold her still,” he instructs as the device whirs to life. A six inch needle shoots out. “You like my newest invention?”

© 2011, January 11, rmp. (rmg)

This muse came to me after I decided to steer from the b-rate sci-fi movie idea. In the end, I’m happy with the results. And VERY glad I didn’t attend Redwood.

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment. This will be our last Muse until after the holidays! But make sure you check back after the first of the year for more YAFF MUSE!

Miranda Buchanan

Rebekah L. Purdy

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

YAFF Muse: Every Opportunity

15 Dec

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Foggy sunlight by walyir

 

Every Opportunity

by: Rachel Marie Pratt

“Mackenzie, get up.” Trae nudged me in the leg with the tip of his steel toed boot.  A solid reminder, last night hadn’t gone at all how I’d planned.  On my way down to Peterson’s barn, I played over and over in my mind how perfect we would be together. But reality was nothing like I imagined. Laying on a haystack opposite him for five-long-hours, listening to the torrential rains pummel the sides of the barn, the trees splintering as the wind wrestled the branches to the ground. I didn’t get a bit of sleep.

Through squinty eyelids I peeked up at him and stretched as if I was just waking. Lord, he was beautiful in the morning. Even in torn jeans and a filthy shirt, he looked good. Of course, it helped that under his dirty clothes were the lean muscles of a bull rider. I pushed from the scratchy straw to stand. Pieces of last night’s bedding poked my hands as I combed my hair with my fingers.

“I’m sorry about coming here. It’s just I thought—”

“I know what you were thinking, Mac.” His head shook and he walked toward the barn door.

Of course he knew, I didn’t exactly leave much to his imagination coming there wearing nothing but high heels and a trench coat.

Slowly, I crossed the barn to stand beside him. The minutes past while I mustered up the nerve to whisper, “The truth is I like you. A lot.”

“I like you too.” He continued to stare straight ahead.

“Yeah.” I lowered my voice, pulling the trench closer. “Just not enough to be with me.”

“Christ. You’re oblivious, you know that?”

My chest tightened at the frustration in his voice. He really must hate me. The thought turned my stomach sour. What was I thinking coming here? We’d been friends for as long as my dad stabled our horses at Peterson Farms. From day one, I talked to Trae without feeling self conscience. At least until the day I realized I wanted him more than anything else in the world.

Tears burned my eyes.

“I’d better go.” I went to move around him.

The shock of his hand sieving my arm, halting my retreat, was nothing compared to his mouth suddenly capturing mine. Like an electric current coursed through me, my body tingled. His lips crushed mine with feverish demand. I ran my hands up the front of his shirt, bringing them to rest at the nape of his neck. When I tugged him closer, deepening our kiss. He groaned and pulled back.

“What?” I asked, breathless.

His hesitation stirred my fear. “Mac, last night…I wanted you. I still want you. But not like this. Not here. Don’t you see?”

He waved his hands through the air at our surroundings, at him and me.

“See what?”

“I’m nineteen.” He began to pace. “I muck out stables for a living. Dammit. You’re not even seventeen.”

“I will be in a week.”

“You’re dad talks about you and Harvard.” His pacing stopped and he turned to face me. “Harvard, Mac. Not community college or working in a factory.”

“So you can’t like me because of some college?”

“That’s not it at all. I love you enough not to get in the way.”

“Love?” The word hung there, a web of admissions spun between us. He loves me. I love him. “What if I don’t go—”

“No.” Trae bowed his head. When his chin lifted the pain in his eyes is unbearable. “Can’t you see I don’t want you to give up your dreams?”

“Then don’t push me away.”

His mouth parted, but no words came. For the longest time we watched one another. Neither of us moved. My mind was made up a long time ago. And by the way he looked at me I could see his was too. It looked as though it might come down to whoever was more determined, when the barn door burst open.

“Daddy?” I gasped. My gaze shifted to Trae then back to my father, who grabbed me by the forearm and yanked me outside.

In wake of the storm the sky hazed over with a thick fog, but it didn’t hide the anger that drew hard lines across Dad’s face. “You’ve got some explaining to do young lady.”

“But—”

He twisted around to Trae. “I’ll be talking to your boss.”

“Dad, please.” I begged as he rushed me to the car.

“You think I’ve given you every opportunity so you could blow it all on some cowboy and a romp in the hay?”

“We didn’t do anything.”

“You expect me to believe that boy didn’t take advantage of you?”

I stopped walking. Dad halted too.

“His name is Trae. And he didn’t take advantage of me.” Tears flowed warm on my checks. “I came here because I thought he might like me. But he didn’t want anything to do with me, except to say, we could be friends.”

Relief softened Dad’s features. “We’ve got a lot to talk about, Mac. You can’t go around offering yourself to every guy you think you like.”

I stayed quiet. It was better to let him believe that than to admit that I’d fallen for Trae years ago, and that he loved me too, especially if I wanted to save Trae’s job.

“Lucky for you that boy’s got morals.” He pointed at me.

Dad was right. Trae never once crossed the line. He wanted what was best for me and now, more than ever, I knew he was it.

I settled into the passenger seat then glanced at Trae in the side mirror. As the car pulled away, Trae disappeared into the fog. A smile tugged the corners of my mouth. We’d be together again. Just not today.

© 2010, December 15, rmg.

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment. This will be our last Muse until after the holidays! But make sure you check back after the first of the year for more YAFF MUSE!

Miranda Buchanan

Rebekah L. Purdy

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

YAFF Muse: Such a Thing as Perfect

29 Sep

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Photo Credit:keithcr at MorgueFile.com

Such a Thing as Perfect

By: R.M.Gilbert

“Welcome to Dairy Cone, what can I get you?” I asked Darcy Flick, knowing full well what she wanted.

“Don’t screw with me, you know I’m here to see Ryan,” she said. The redhead chomped her gum like a cow and leaned over the counter. “Ryan Bradley!”

“He’s in the cooler.” I scowled.

“Don’t tell me you’re keeping tabs on my boyfriend?”

“No,” I said, but if I was honest I would have said yes and been done with it. Of course, I secretly adored Ryan. What girl wouldn’t? Heck, I’d bet my life that some of the guys at school crushed on him too.

Ryan was that guy. The one who’s nice to everyone: geeks, stoners, jocks, rich, poor, it didn’t matter. And never—not even once—had I heard a single person say a bad word about him. Considering I have lived in Vanilla Beach since birth, that was saying something. Yep, Ryan Bradley was the greatest guy I knew.

“Hey, Brainfart.” Darcy waved her hand in front of my face. “I asked for an orange float.”

Darcy, on the other hand was a high class bitch. And the daughter of a Senator who bought a summer home on the beach this past year. It seemed to me, she thought it was her God given right to trample on those she deemed ‘beneath her’. Which was pretty much everyone.

Moving to make her float, I spotted Ryan knelt down in the back, helping Mrs. Dairy Cone herself pick up a stack of napkins off the floor. The old woman must have knocked them from the shelf again. That made three times this week.

I grabbed a foam cup and scooped ice cream into it, thinking maybe her eyes were getting worse. Her current glasses magnified her pupils to the size of Ping-Pong balls, and I wondered if there was prescription strong enough to help. I shook my head, sad that I couldn’t do anything more for her, and finished filling the cup with ice cream, then moved toward the soda fountain.

“Justice,” Ryan said, coming from the back.

“Yeah?” I tried to focus on the pop machine and ignore the fact that he smelled like ocean salt. But he stood so close it was impossible to do anything but look at him.

“Mrs. Moore wants to meet with us after our shift today.” He smiled, and as it always did it reflected in his eyes.

My breath caught in my throat for a second before I nodded and handed him Darcy’s order. “Your girlfriend’s here.”

His and my hands roped around the orange float, sending a sensation of tingles surging over me like the waters wake and I trembled. His gaze locked on mine, the corners of his mouth faltered to uphold his smile.

“So-sorry.” I released the cup and stepped back.

“You’re fine.”

Something changed in his eyes as he moved past. Leaving me to wonder if in this one instant I gave myself away? For the longest time I had managed to hide how I felt. Since the second grade, it had been my greatest secret and now…

A customer stepped to the counter and rang the service bell. I cleared the knot from my throat, apologized for being distracted, and asked for his order. The entire time my attention divided between the man’s indecision and Ryan and Darcy’s conversation.

“But you said you’d go,” Darcy whined. “We’re leaving for Washington tomorrow. It’s my last night at the beach.”

“I can’t, Mrs. Moore asked to meet with me after we close,” Ryan explained.

“Can’t Justine fill in for you, for just a little while?”

As sure as I was standing there, Ryan’s eyes burned into me, but I stared straight ahead. He didn’t need to know I was eavesdropping.

“Her name is Justice,” he muttered. “And I’m not going to ask her to cover for me on the busiest night of the season. Everyone’s getting in ‘one last night’ before they leave, Darcy.”

“Fine.” She pouted some more, but then her voice turned sweet. “Meet me later? At Daddy’s. A bunch of us are throwing together a bonfire on the beach after the sun sets. You’ll be done by then, won’t you?”

“Sure.”

After encouraging Ryan to bring his friends as well, Darcy flounced off.

Heavy on my chest were the feelings I fought to ignore, and I held back my foolish tears. What else had I expected? This was Ryan Bradley.

By the time our shift ended and clean up finished, Mrs. Moore had called twice to remind us of our meeting.

“You want to ride over together?” Ryan asked, nearing his car.

“If you don’t mind,” I said. “Otherwise I’ll have to walk and I don’t want you to have to wait for me.”

Ryan didn’t say anything, he rounded the side of the car to open the passenger door.

“Thanks.” I slid into the seat. For a second, it sounded as though he’d said, “my pleasure”, but I was confident my ears played tricks on me.

Riding in silence, I watched Vanilla Beach stretch out beside us. The water glistened under the last moments of sun as though it wanted to suck up as much of its beauty as possible before nightfall. And the fragrant scent of ocean spilled through the car windows. I closed my eyes to enjoy every second of its aroma.

“We’re here.” Ryan slowed the car to a stop in front of a modest beach house. Smaller than those surrounding it, but still well kept.

Not giving him a second chance to prove his chivalry, I pushed out of the vehicle.

“Come in, come in, come in,” Mrs. Moore prompted us inside. Then, with the door closed behind her, she turned to Ryan. “Have you asked her yet?”

“Not yet.” He smiled, taking the older woman by the hands and leading her to sit down.

“Asked me what?”

“She wants you and me to take over the Dairy Cone.” Ryan said.

“Us? Why?”

“Because you belong there, together,” said a straight faced Mrs. Moore.

One glance at Ryan and I knew I couldn’t survive another summer with him. Thoughts of him consumed me and if I wanted to maintain my sanity I’d have to keep my distance as much as possible.

I folded my hands and kept my voice soft. “I can’t Mrs. Moore. I’m sorry.”

“And why not, my dear?” She reached for me with one hand and Ryan with another. “This is a union I’ve been planning since you both came to work with me years ago.”

If only there was such a union to be made.

“I appreciate that, truly I do, but—” Tears pressed against the rim of my eyes and I squeezed her hand, wishing with all my heart she could read my mind and know what she asked for was impossible.

“Oh, you poor girl,” Mrs. Moore tugged my hand closer and placed it in Ryan’s. “You two are more alike than you know.”

The warmth of him spread throughout my body. No matter how much I told myself to pull away, I drew closer.

“I’ll say what should have been said years ago,” Mrs. Moore spoke quietly, “You’re perfect.”

“He is.”  “She is.” We whispered simultaneously.

“What?” I asked, looking at him confused.

All the color floods from his face as we stepped nearer to each other. “I’ve always thought you were perfect Justice, ever since I met you in the second grade.”

He leaned in and at moment his mouth lingered over mine, I knew Ryan Bradley was the greatest guy, and he was mine.

© 2010, September 28, rmg.

This weeks muse was inspired by a number of things: first loves, mean girls, boys who don’t disappoint. But really it’s about love and how sometimes we don’t realize when someone right under our noses loves us so deeply, it hurts. This was probably my favorite YAFF Muse to write, I hope you enjoyed it.

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Jennifer Fischetto-Nice Girls, Bad Guys, Grave Drama

Rebekah L. Purdy

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

YAFF Muse: High Temps

22 Sep

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

The Room By:trublueboy

High Temps

A hundred and two degrees and sunny, yesterday. A hundred and five degrees and sunny, today. The heat never dissipates. I shift among the sheets on my bed looking for the spot. You know the one, where it’s still cool, and for a split second you find relief.

Relief is a luxury these days, air conditioning that no one can afford, water that’s untainted, ice. Oh Lord, I remember the days of ice. Summer months spent with the wonderful treasure at my disposal. How many times a day would I sneak to the freezer and grab a cool, slick piece of frozen water from its tray? Each crunch of the cube a tasty treat, wetting my throat and freezing my tongue.

I turn, becoming tangled in the bedding. Someone takes a cloth to my forehead and wipes away the perspiration. I want to thank them but my tongue is like a sand-trap and the words are caught inside. My inhales become raspy and exhales catch in my throat.

And for the first time since the high temperatures began, I give in to the thought that they’ll be death of me.

*****

“The fever has taken hold, Sonny.  Her temperatures a hundred and five degrees today,” says Dr. Roth. “I think your sister’s ready to let go. It should be anytime now.”

She nods, allowing the tears to flow. Months of going without heat, so we could eat. Burning our furniture with the exception of this bed, all of it was for nothing. The wind blows its freezing breath through the gapes in the side of the house, she shivers. “Dear God, I pray she doesn’t feel this cold.”

©2010, September 21, rmg.

Pretty sure this weeks muse was inspired by the fact that I was sick most of last week and the weekend with a flu bug. Feeling better now, so it was time to make my characters suffer, I guess.

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Jennifer Fischetto

Mindy Buchanan

Rebekah L. Purdy

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

YAFF Muse: Long Ride Home

15 Sep

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Photo by: phypet

Long Ride Home

By: R.M.Gilbert

Leaning, with my elbows against side the viaduct, I peered out at the old neighborhood. The rundown apartment I shared with Mom. The train tracks below, where I played chicken with the subway. But nothing felt like home more than the maple tree at the far end of the road. My haven whenever Mom had a fight with one of her guys.

I inhaled the stale air, thick with the scent of rust and moldy wood. Who knew one breath would bring back the past?

The clatter of alcohol bottles echoed in my mind. I put my hands over my ears, but the cli-clank of glass got louder. And the neighborhood before me turned fuzzy like an out of focus lens.

Music blared from a boombox on the floor next to the coffee table, competing with the screams of my baby brother. Mom’s by the door. A guy stands next to her. Long greasy hair stringing past his shoulders, a scar on his right cheek and a bum eye.

“I’ll give you a half ounce, for five minutes alone with your daughter,” the man said. He dangled a small bag full of white powder under Mom’s nose. She probably thought I was too busy making the baby a bottle to hear, but I heard everything. And this guy was not going to lay a finger on me. Not one.

I watched the door closely for any signs he might push his way in. Mom’s feet shifted as she twists to glance at me in the kitchen. With the rear of her hand, she wiped her nose. Her nostrils flared and beamed bright red against the pale of her skin. The consideration in her drugged gaze was all the indication I needed to go to my special spot.

Slipping from the kitchen, I edged the wall of the living room. And while they negotiated I sneaked to mine and my brother’s room.  His tiny hands reached. Not for me, but for the bottle. I wondered if Mom fed him while I was at school. I pushed the bottle into his mouth, kissed his tear covered cheek then laid him back in the crib.

“Someday I’ll take you from all of this,” I said and turned to the window, knowing that was an awfully big promise for a twelve year old to make.

I sighed, taking one last peek at the crib before I shimmied down a vent pipe. The rusted metal scraped like gravel on the way down. But scratched hands were nothing compared to a mutilated spirit. The tips of my toes touched down and with the earth beneath me, sirens wailing around me, I raced to the end of our road, climbed to the highest spot I dared to climb in my tree and waited.

Waited for the sun to come up.

Waited for Mom to pass out.

Waited for the men to leave.

Waited for the five o’clock train to tell me it was safe to go back to my brother.

I listened for the train now, but instead…

“Are you okay?”

My eyes refocused and I glanced at the hand grasping mine; the fingers aren’t as tiny as they were then. “Yeah,” I whispered.

“Is that the train you took me out on?”

I searched the commuter cars, long deserted on the tracks, their graphitized walls.

“That’s not the one.” I shook my head. “Ours went the other direction. Downtown. To the police station.”

“Hey kids,” Aunt Pauline called from the end of the viaduct. “It’s getting late and you still need to eat and shower.”

Off in the distance I heard a screech on the rails. I squeezed my brother’s hand thankful for the five o’clock train.

©2010, September 15, rmg.

This weeks muse was written last second. My baby girl turned 12 yesterday so I wanted to portray a story of a girl the same age. But a close look at the picture this week and everything in the neighborhood looked broken down, so I put a 12 year old there and asked myself: What would her life be like? How would she survive? Who would be there with her? Where would she find an escape if not in something bad?

In the end, the answers would heartbreaking and yet a relief at the same time. She’s  courageous, a survivor, and a savior.

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Cambria Dillon

Mindy Buchanan

Rebekah L. Purdy

Vanessa Barger

YAFF Muse: What They Don't Know

8 Sep

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Mexican Souveniers By: haak78

What They Don’t Know

By: R.M.Gilbert

Midnight, I rub sleep from my eyes and twist my neck side to side until I hear the crack of adjustment. The Lucky Mart twenty four hour gas station sign buzzes outside the car window and paints the wet pavement and the hood of the Taurus in its golden yellow glow.

“What the hell is taking him so long?” I mutter and reach between my legs for my purse. Opening the clasp, I push aside the cigs and lighter, grab the pack of spearmint gum and sit upright. A single stick of gum isn’t going to do it tonight. So I chew on two. Anything to get the taste of him out of my mouth. Whatever the deal is with guys and oral—

The door creaks open. He settles into the driver’s seat, sets a paper sack in my lap, and laughs. “The guy didn’t even card me.”

“That’s great,” I say, then blow a bubble as I peek in the bag. “Whiskey?”

He smiles.

“You know this shit makes me sick.”

“More for me.” He dips his fingers in the bag and pulls out the pint. His hands come off the wheel and the car swerves as he opens the bottle. I reach for the wheel to correct the car, but he slaps my hand away. “I’ve got it.”

“Yeah, try to keep it between the lines.”

He grins, tips his head back and takes a long swig. Air bubbles float through the amber liquid with each gulp.

My stomach tightens and I cringe, reminded of my last affair with whiskey at Susie Wheelers party. How it burned the back of my throat, and gave me the worst hangover in after prom party history. I should have stayed at the dance like I told my parents I would, but I couldn’t resist an invitation from Susie’s brother then, just like I can’t resist him now.

I glance over at him. Bottle stuffed between his legs. Black tufts of stringy hair falling over one eye. A goatee, strong cheekbones, and a hard jaw. The local badass. And he is all mine.

“Look what else is in there,” he says.

Reaching in the bag, I fumble around its bottom until my fingers wrap around a small figurine. I pull it out. A little man, carved out of wood, wearing a wooden sombrero. “What is it?” I ask.

He guzzles down more of the whiskey, then says, “I thought we should make your trip to Mexico more believable.”

“God, you think of everything.” I hug the figurine to my chest. Mom and Dad think I’ve taken a road trip with Susie. What they don’t know won’t hurt them, I think and glance out the window as we near the road for home.

The car whizzes through a stop sign. Bright lights blind me and I slam sideways. My screams are deadened by the scrape of twisting metal and the shatter of glass. Mom and Dad’s bloody, expressionless faces in the other vehicle.

What they don’t know can kill them.

©2010, September 8, rmg.

There are times we make decisions and don’t fully understand the consequences. In this weeks YAFF Muse I wanted to show this to the extreme. Sad thing is, this happens. If I had written a lengthier piece the reader would have found out that the girl in this story survives only to find out her parents discovered she wasn’t in Mexico and she’s the reason they were out searching for her that night. I guess you could say the moral of this story is that every action has a consequence.

Thanks for stopping by. Please drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Rebekah L. Purdy

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

YAFF Muse: Your Biggest Fan

1 Sep

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Photo by: trublueboy

Your Biggest Fan

By: R.M.Gilbert

“If you can’t get him to meet me, you can forget our little deal,” Carrie yells over the noise of the crowd.

“What if—”

“Nope.” A smile curls her cherry chapsticked lips. “We agreed. You land me some time with Phin or I go to the Dean—”

“Okay, I get it,” I say.

She disappears among the thousands and waits on Phin to take the stage. A hush falls over the crowd. Blinding flashes of strobe lights explode overhead. With each blaze of light a member of the band begins to play until finally beams flicker around Phin, drenching him in literal lime light and a mix of shadows and stage fog.

The crowd erupts. Bouncing up and down, arms pounding the air above their heads while they sing along, as if they know his songs better than he does. At the end of his first set he struts offstage. The place reeks of sweat and alcohol. Girls tug their shirts off, happily exposed. The guys enjoy the flesh show as much as the concert.

I circle the outer edge of the crowd, flash my all access pass at the stage manager then head to Phin’s dressing room. The faces behind the scenes are as familiar as my own. Cameron, his stylist, empties half a can hairspray on Phin’s hair as I slip into the room. He spots me in the mirror.

“Lara, darling,” Cameron coos.

“Hey Cam.” I force a smile. “Can I get a minute with Phin.”

Cameron looks disappointed, but after another couple squirts of hairspray, he leaves.

“What’s up?” Phin swivels in his chair and puts his baseball cap on. If Cameron were here he’d have a beautician conniption.

I ignore the waste of Cam’s effort, and say, “I need a favor.”

“Yeah?” His brows joggle.

“Not that kind of favor, perv.”

“One of these days you’re going to change your mind.”

I shake my head. He forgets I know how many girls he’s seduced, or rather, how many girls he hasn’t needed to seduce, since so many of them try to reach him through me. So I start how I always start, “There’s this girl—”

“Sure Lara, I’ll meet her.” He usually makes me beg for it, but this time he lets me off easy. “Just tell me what this one’s holding over your head.”

“The thing is…” I fidget. “I’ve been seeing someone.”

His brows furrow. “Since when?”

“About a month now.”

“But—”

“Carrie saw me sneaking out of the dorms and threatened to tell the dean and my parents.” The rules are clear with both the school and my parents: No boys and no going out after curfew.

“So you met someone?” He leans back in his seat.

“Try to keep up, Phin. If Carrie tells them, I’m screwed. Mom and Dad will hit the roof and Dean Sanders…” I lift my hands in exasperation.

“Do you like this guy?”

“What?” I cock my head. Phin’s never cared who I’ve dated. Of course, maybe that’s because I’ve never really dated before.

“Have you done him?”

“Are you kidding me?” My arms link over my chest. “This isn’t one of those, I’m gonna be your macho best friend and protect your honor things, is it?”

He removes his hat, giving me full view of his eyes, they remind me of the lime stage lights, only they’re a calmer shade of green. “What if it is?”

“Trust me, I’m fully intact. I can’t seem to get any, even if I want to.”

“Do you?” He pushes from his chair.

I stare up at him. He’s a whole foot taller than me and on all accounts looks like a sex god. I swallow hard. “I’m going to be eighteen soon.”

“That doesn’t really answer my question, does it?”

“Phin, come on.” My face heats. It’s almost painful to admit what I think he already knows. “I’ve never gotten to second base with a guy.”

“Really?”

“Just forget it,” I say and turn to go.

“Wait up.” He follows me. “Bring this Clara—”

“Carrie.”

“Whatever. Bring her by after the show.”

“Thanks.” I smile.

“But you come too?”

“Okay.”

Tonight, when he finishes his set.  His people inform me that he only wants to see Carrie and me. Everyone else is turned away as I knock twice on the dressing room door. It swings open and he stands there with his button-down shirt open, bare chest exposed, pants riding low on his hips. Suddenly his dressing room feels hotter than the mass of fans I pushed through to get in here. It’s not like I’ve never seen his chest before, but it catches me off guard when I do, I can’t help it. It’s like an animal that jumps in front of your car and all you can do is react. But he’s way hotter than any squirrel I’ve ever seen.

Carrie nudges me.

“Sorry.” I clear my throat, hating introductions the most. “Phin, this is Carrie Solet.”

“Nice to meet you,” he says giving her one of his performance smiles.

“You too.” She giggles. “I’m one of your biggest fans.”

It’s at this point I usually leave, but Phin shuts the door and gestures for us to sit down. I stand in case I need to make a quick getaway when Carrie throws herself at him.

I listen as they talk a while, then he hands her a signed photo, in which, she asks for him to write that he had a great night with her, and he signs it with his signature, P. Afterwards he shows her out and when he comes back, I watch his every step. Until I finally get the nerve up to ask, “So that’s it?”

“Yep.”

“No kissing, or fondling, or sex,” I whisper.

He laughs and takes a snapshot of the two of us off his dressing room mirror. He scribbles something on the back then hands it to me.

I flip the photo over in my hand.

To the only girl I want to cover all the bases with!

Your biggest fan,

Phin

©2010, August 30, rmg.

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Mindy Buchanan

Rebekah L.Purdy

Vanessa Barger

YAFF Muse: Sunkiss

25 Aug

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Photo title: Wooden Gate

Sunkiss

By: R.M.Gilbert

Seven hundred twenty-five days, I’ve been confined to the upper level of the white chalet. Suffocating, in my bedroom—my five-by-seven foot personal prison. I toss my book aside on the desk and watch as groups of kids pass by. School let out for the weekend, so I won’t see them until they walk by again on Monday.

I pick my book up for the second time and glance at the vampire donning the cover of my newest purchase. “At least you turn to dust in the sun,” I say. Not me, I break out in a rash and my throat closes in, choking off my air supply. Turning to dust and blowing away in the wind would be welcome, compared to this hell.

“Allergic to the sun,” I mutter and turn to the chapter where Tristan McGregor swears he’ll always love Juliet Rodea. When something tinks against my window sill and collides with the curtain.

A tiny pebble lands on the floor, near my feet. I stand, leaning forward to peek out the window. Below, a boy, about fifteen, stands there. From here he looks cute. Not pretty boy cute either, but scruffy. Like he’d stopped on his way home from work, instead of school like the rest of the kids. And for a second I think he’ll toss another stone, but he just stares up at my window until eventually he fists his hands in his jacket pockets and leaves. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before. Not in all the days I’ve spent at this window, peering out beyond our gate. If only he could take me away from this place. If only he didn’t go away…

What am I saying? Mom would have a fit if she saw him here, which makes me glad she’s gone to the market.

With a sigh, I lift my book:

Tristan watched as sweet Juliet took her final breaths. He had promised he’d never take her as his own without her consent.

He whispered softly, “As your blood courses through the generations, I will find you. I promise my beautiful Juliet, as your children grow and their children after that, I’ll always remember it is your blood that courses through their veins.” He paused to kiss her cheek, tempted to take her blood and keep her forever. But instead he made his oath, unmarred by time or circumstance. “One day you will need me so that you may live. For this reason, I will stay with you until the end of time. I will follow your bloodline until you give me a sign that you are prepared to live a life at my side.”

Juliet drew her last breath.

Tristan leaned and spoke into her ear. “Place un caillou sur votre seuil.”

~~

I stare at the final words in the book. Of course they’re in French, which is Tristan’s native tongue. I flip to the very last pages, where thankfully the publisher has thought to add a French glossary, defining the forty or so phrases Tristan spoke in the book.

“Let’s see.” I flip through the pages, repeating “Place un caillou sur votre seuil,” over and over as I slide my finger down the page. When I spot the phrase, I trace my finger over to the translation. “Place a pebble on your sill,” I read.

Wait. What?

I glance at the pebble on the floor. Then turn to the final page of the story once again.

“One day you will need me so that you may live. For this reason, I will stay with you until the end of time. I will follow your bloodline until you give me sign that you are prepared to live a life at my side.”

Juliet drew her last breath.

Tristan leaned and spoke into her ear. “Place un caillou sur votre seuil.”

I close the book and pick the pebble up off the floor, grasping it tight in my palm.

©2010, August 25, rmg.

This weeks YAFF story was, in part, inspired by my daughter. I was going to write looking from the outside-vs-the inside, but she suggested going inside the gate…so I took it a step farther. The other bit of inspiration came from a program I saw a few years ago about people who have sun allergies. I remember being surprised that there was such a thing as being allergic to sunlight. And for one reason or another this program came to mind. (to learn more about sun allergies visit: MayoClinic.com)

Thanks for coming by. Please drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

R.L.Purdy

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

YAFF Muse: Untarnished

18 Aug

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

iturnedaround by: inessaemilia

Untarnished

By: R.M.Gilbert

Skin slick with sweat, I take the man’s shirt from the floor and slip it on before heading outdoors. Cool mountain air licks my body dry. I shiver. He didn’t take my innocence; it was stolen a long time ago. Little by little. By a man who should have loved me. It’s this thought that drives me forward.

I hike the path down the side of the mountain, through the trees, to the dock. The stillness of the water greets me and I wait for the familiar feel of the dock tipping under Dean Boucamp’s weight.

“You did alright today,” Dean says coming up behind me. “He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

I shake my head no, like I always do.

He stands next to me. “We appreciate your help.”

“I know,” I whisper and glance at him from the corner of my eye. Badge clipped to his waist, gun strapped in a shoulder holster, dress shirt, tie, and the most trusting face I’ve ever seen in my life. It almost hurts to look at him. The department assigned “young detective Boucamp” to my case years ago. After they realized I was going to catch these men one way or another—with or without their help.

There’s just one thing I never came to expect, how I’d feel about Dean. I stare down at my feet. What right do I have to feel anything for him, when he’s seen how tarnished I am?

“You’ve got a big birthday coming up at the end of the week, don’t you?” he asks, always polite.

“Yeah, my eighteenth.”

“Do you remember what you told me?”

“I remember,” I say, thinking back to my high school graduation a few months ago when I shared with him my plans to join the police force.

“Well, I brought you a present.” He reaches in his shirt pocket, pulls out a business card, and hands it to me. “When you decide you’re ready, he’s expecting your call.”

I take the card and study it. “Thank you for this…and everything. I don’t know what I would have done without you helping me—”

He pivots closer. “You would have done just fine without me.”

“No.”

“Yes.” His fingers rake his hair. “Everything you do is perfection. And after all you’ve been through.”

“Perfection?”

He clears his throat. “I mean, you’re strong and bright and you’ve taken control of your life instead of letting the hurt control you.”

I spot movement on the path; it’s his new partner. “Hey Boucamp, we’re about finished here. Fredrick’s on his way to county lock-up with the perp.”

“We’ll be right up,” says Dean without taking his eyes off me. “Give us a minute?”

“You got it,” his partner says, then disappears up the path.

“How’s it going with him?” I ask.

“Pretty good.” Dean inhales loudly and gazes out at the water. “You know your Uncle’s being released this weekend?”

“Uh-hm, on my birthday.” My stomach knots. “Seems like a cruel present, doesn’t it?”

“I was thinking maybe I ought to come over that day.”

“Dean. Detective. You don’t have to—”

“I won’t be on duty,” he says.

And at that moment I feel hope. “So you don’t think I’m tarnished?”

“What?” Surprise catches in his voice. “No. I think you deserve all that’s good in the world.”

©2010, August 17, rmg.

If you or someone you know is/has been affected by child abuse please follow the link below:

CHILD HELP

Or Call: National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD

Child abuse and neglect are nothing new to our society, but as long as it continues to exist we owe it to the children to address it. In this instance, I wanted to show a victim who’s come full circle. I wanted to express how she’s taken something painful and let it empower her. And in the end allow her to see that she’s not seen as ruined. That a future awaits her.

Thanks for coming by. Please drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Cambria Dillon

Mindy Buchanan

R.L.Purdy

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

YAFF Muse: Toothfairy

4 Aug

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

kozarevets story 2 by: pstoev

Toothfairy

By: R.M.Gilbert

“I can’t believe you rode that bike to school. It’s sort of lame,” Taylor says, sticking me in the ribs with her elbow.

“Mom needed the car and I missed the bus,” I mumble while my lockers slammed shut by a couple of guys screwing off in the hallway.

“Yeah, but that bike is so…old.” Her nose wrinkles.

Taylor’s idea of ‘going without’ is taking her dad’s Hummer to school instead of the vintage Mustang. So there’s no point in explaining to her that Mom is on the verge of losing her job at the bar and grill, since her cars left her stranded three times in the last two weeks. Taylor would shrug and say, your mom can get a new job. And move on like it’s that simple. And for some people life is, but for others…

“Are you coming to my party Saturday?” she asks and gives a wave to a few of her other friends.

“I don’t think I’m gonna make it.”

She pouts. “Why not?”

“Mom’s gotta work behind the bar until two, so I’m babysitting Johnny.”

“Can’t she find someone else?”

There is no one else, I want to tell her, but instead I shrug and we head for our first period class. “I’ll see if I can find somebody.”

“You always say that.”

She’s right, I do always say that, but it’s the best I can do since Mom can’t afford a sitter.

***

SATURDAY NIGHT

“So what’ll it be tonight Johnny, Spongebob or Scooby?” I ask holding up two DVD’s. We’ve practically worn them out; they’ve been watched so many times.

He smiles, a big toothless grin and points at Scooby. And when I settle in next to him on the couch, he whispers, “Do you think the toothfairy will come tonight?”

“Sure she will.”

“But she didn’t come last night. Or the night before that.”

“She’s busy, kiddo.” I try to smile, but it is difficult knowing that after paying rent and the electric, mom needed to barrow twenty-five dollars from a friend at work for gas money. And next week’s check is needed to cover more of Johnny’s hospital bills. I sigh. Whoever thought a bit of change from the toothfairy would be so hard to come by?

I stand and go to the kitchen. “You hungry?”

“Yep.” He hops like a bunny across the floor.

“How about peanut butter sandwiches?”

“Can we have jelly?”

“We’re out of jelly,” I say.

“Still?”

I nod.

He frowns and curls his tiny hands over the countertop and stretches to his tippy-toes, when a knock sounds on the front door. “I’ll get it.” He pushes away from the cupboard and races through the house.

“Hey, is your sister home?”

“Taylor’s here,” he shouts when I’m a foot from him.

“I see that.” I glance up at her. “Weren’t you having a party tonight?”

“It canceled.” She hands Johnny a pizza box.

“Why?” I ask.

“Because I have this friend that needs me and whether she knows it or not, I need her too.” Taylor kicks her shoes off and bends at the knee in front of Johnny. “It looks to me like someone’s had a few visits from the toothfairy.”

He shakes his head. “Nope, she’s been busy.”

“Johnny,” I say, clearing my throat. “How about you go put the pizza on the table?”

“K.” He toddles off and Taylor comes to her full height again.

“I’m sorry,” she says, “I didn’t know things were this bad.”

I choke back the tears.

She leans in and whispers, “I’m going to be a better friend.”

“You’re my bestfriend.” I hug her.

“No,” she says, “tonight I’m the toothfairy.”

© 2010, August 3, rmg.

Had a bit of a rough week, trying to explain to our kids how ‘good’ they have it. And how there are others out there that are not as fortunate as they are. You could say this was inspired by these discussions. Thanks for coming by. Please drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Cambria Dillon

Mindy Buchanan

R.L. Purdy

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

Jennifer Fischetto

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