Letting Life Lead
So I was digging into some old computer archives in the age Before Facebook when I was a sophomore in college. Email was new and not free, Netscape was an infant, and 99% of web pages didn’t have pictures. There were no emojis only <G> and <g>. I found this story I wrote for a creative writing class. In the notes I can see that I had planned to make this into a novel.
It was a week before my 24th birthday in 1997 and I remember distinctly getting my paper back and being told … well… read it first and then at the end I’ll tell you 🙂
Just so you all know, I can share this with you when I woulnd’t have dared two years ago (or ever) because, Readers and Fellow Scribes, you have helped me through your support and encouragment to grow and learn how to manage my anxiety better.
The storm was just beginning to roar when my bus rolled into the station. The snow, heavy with moisture, fell from a stark white sky and clung to the sides of the bus. The heat from within melted the opaque flakes to clear crystals that slid down the windows. I pressed my forehead to the window and traced the path of melting snow with my fingers, my breath fogging the glass. I tried to ignore how my hands trembled inside the knitted gray gloves as I traced my name into the moisture. The bus heaved and moaned to a stop. The breaks squeaked, tires slid, and carry-on luggage fell into the aisle. The sudden burst of sound was a welcome break after the long hours of hearing nothing but the humming engine. The other passengers filed out like mindless drones toting briefcases, satchels, backpacks, duffel bags, laptops and suitcases. I stayed in my seat. I didn’t want to be prodded by sharp elbows, stepped on, or whacked with heavy handbags.
Watching the people milling outside in the heavy snow, I wondered about some of them. Everyone seemed too have someplace to go. Where was the woman in the cherry red coat going impatiently dragging a pouting six year old girl behind her? A man in a coal gray suit kept looking at his watch, his face turning varying shades of red with every passing minute. Was he waiting for a client? His wife? Lover? Where would he go to get out of the cold?
I sighed and pulled my backpack from the overhead compartment.
Where are YOU going?
“I don’t know,” I spoke to the empty air. I really had to stop talking to myself. I shuffled out into the slush that was already brown and gray from dirt and fumes. It was just after four in the morning, but the solid white sky and blanket of snow made it appear as bright as midday. My breath formed ice crystals, and my nose began to run. I pulled my scarf tighter, adjusted my hat, and picked up my suitcase that had been tossed carelessly in a mound of slush. Before I knew what was coming, some buffoon bumped me. I slid and did the two step right onto my behind. Wet snow crept into my hiking boots and clung in clumps to my jeans and coat. Trying to get up, I nearly choked myself with my own scarf.
Jackass. I hope he gets his tongue stuck to a telephone pole.
“How about a hand?” A smiling, young woman in a screaming, orange coat asked me while I lay sprawled helplessly on the ground.
I took her hand.
“You okay?” she asked wiping the snow from my clothes.
“I guess,” I scooped a wad of snow from the top of my boots. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome,” The woman plucked my knit hat from a slush puddle and beat it against a column. She was especially tall, not many woman could look over my head.
“I saw that idiot knock you over. Serve him right if his cell phone froze to his ear.” She made a disgusted sound and handed me the soggy hat.
“I’m Jolie.” She offered her hand again, her tangerine lipstick gleaming against her white teeth. Jolie was all vibrant color with a personality to match. I imagined her likeness to an enormous tube of Cheez-Whiz.
“Andie,” I said shaking her hand realizing that the silence was stretching.
“Let’s get out of this weather. My brother Joel is inside watching our stuff.”
Before I could say a word she lifted my suitcase and went inside the station. Jolie moved fast, gracefully navigating the icy sidewalk in high-heeled black boots. I, on the other hand, was taking baby steps and was still slip-sliding all over the place. Anyway, I couldn’t lose her if I tried. Her matching orange beret bobbed up above the crowd like a giant Skittle. Then again, she wasn’t hard to spot even without the hat, her strawberry-red hair stood out just fine all on its own.
Jolie dropped my suitcase and slapped the baseball cap off her brother’s head. I heard him curse, but he didn’t look up from the sketchpad he was hunched over, feverishly drawing with charcoal. Without the cap, his shoulder length hair hung and hid his face.
Jolie bent low to his ear waving her hand in front of his face, “Come back to the land of the living for a second and meet Andie.”
Rude little snit. What is it with people around here?
“JOEL,” Jolie barked and pinched his neck.
He yelped and dropped his book on the floor, “Jolie, I swear I’m going to kick your ass!”
“Yah, whatever.” Jolie kept a discreet running distance, “Now be nice and say hello to Andie.”
He glared at her for a moment before turning his attention to me and muttering “Hi.” His eyes were as blue as his sister’s, but not as carefree and inviting. He picked up his book and resumed his sketching.
“Don’t mind him. Joel was born without a brain.” Jolie grabbed my arm and steered me to a chair next to her. “So where you going?”
“I, uh,” I stammered.
Jolie cut in, “Well, I’ve decided on a road trip. Well, me and Joel and some friends. No maps no tour books. Gavin wants to go north. I said no way. It’s cold enough where we are now!” Her whole face lit up as she spoke, her eyes crinkled at the corners. I smiled where appropriate, nodded at the correct times, and spoke a word or two when needed. A few times her voice faded to a dull buzz.
The terminal was getting deserted. The wet, scuffed floor was the only evidence that there had been a crowd there at all. Everyone was in a rush to get home before the storm got worse. There were a few people left murmuring in corners. One girl wearing a short plaid skirt, sneakers, and a light blue high school jacket was shivering. She was crying and hiccuping into the pay phone.
I fingered a cold quarter inside my coat pocket. The girl (I guess she looked about fifteen) tucked her chin length black hair behind her ear. Her face was red, and her cheeks and nose glistened with tears. The sight of her was making my throat tighten and I looked away. I couldn’t get her out of my mind though. The crying girl reminded me of Jennifer. I don’t know why. Jennifer was never one for tears. She was more apt to yell and scream than drown herself in a box of Kleenex. She had one more year left of high school. Knowing Jen, she would either pick a college as far away as she possibly could, or more likely just pack up and leave. Was she angry with me? Maybe I should call.
Call? Are you crazy? What will that do? Just get you a load of guilt to carry on your back. You KNOW Jen won’t be answering the phone and you know who will. Even before the receiver gets warm you’ll turn right around and go crawling back on your belly.
FINE. I won’t call. I dropped the quarter.
Jolie fumbled in a black bag and pulled out a camera with more buttons, levers, and gadgets than a NASA control panel. “I want to take pictures. I don’t know what yet. My professor thinks my work lacks ‘theme and continuity’.” She shrugged and handed me the expensive gizmo. I pushed a button accidentally and the flash went off.
“I like what I like. I snap whatever looks right. What point is there in taking two dozen pictures of an orange on a table? ‘Manipulating textures with light and angles’ or some such shit. More excitement in watching water boil.”
I let her prattle on because it seemed to make her happy to have an ear, and I suppose I didn’t mind her chatter so much. I wasn’t much of a talker anyhow. I looked around the terminal again. An old man wearing a squashed fedora lay across a row of plastic chairs. Behind him a man swore into a cell phone, his wife putting a hand on his arm to calm him. I looked for the crying girl, but she was gone.
Jolie knows where she is going. What about you, Andie? You can’t just wander around aimlessly daydreaming all day. I wonder what Jennifer, Kevin and everyone is doing right now. Back to their routines I suppose. Tell me, Andie. Does anyone miss YOU?
Shut up! I can’t believe I’m arguing with myself.
“So anyway, I’m going to take rolls of whatever. Anything. No structure or–”
“Jolie will you shut up or I’ll stick this hat down your throat.” Joel threw his cap and clocked Jolie in the head. She threw it back and missed by a mile.
“Just because you’ve lost the power of speech doesn’t mean the rest of us have to be mimes. Go back to your doodling.”
Jolie whispered for my ears only, “He hates it when I call his art doodling. Makes the little vein in his forehead pop out and throb.”
“My sister thinks she’s going to be the photographer of the new millennium. Last week, she was shunning technology because it was causing the downfall of society and giving our totalitarian government abusive power. And this week she bought fancy camera equipment with her scholarship money.”
“Ignore him, he doesn’t know his ass from his elbow anyway.” Jolie shot her brother a cold stare to which he grinned and blew her a kiss.
“Okay, Andie your turn. Where are you headed?”
I found myself liking them, even the brooding, sarcastic Joel. Their company made me forget about the bitter storms and that annoying little voice in my head that was even more talkative than Jolie.
“I haven’t decided yet,” I said. I didn’t even know what my options were. I’d left without a plan in mind, with a one way ticket. I’d intended to figure things out once I reached the end of the bus line, but I still hadn’t a clue where I was going or where I wanted to go.
“Adventure! Love it!” Jolie squealed in delight. “Why don’t you come with us?”
I blinked surprised, “Come with you? You don’t even know me.”
“My brother came out of his little world and spoke to you. He doesn’t do that often. It’s freaky if you ask me. He goes off into this creative binge and sometimes he doesn’t speak for hours. Once we couldn’t get a word out of him for three days.” She put the camera away. “It’s hard to tell, but he likes you.” Jolie jumped up and pulled Joel to his feet. She poked, prodded, and pushed him towards me.
“Go on tell her its all right. She’s got to say yes. I couldn’t stand to be stuck in a van with you and Gavin for days on end. You two are so maudlin I’d be clinically insane in two hours.”
Joel rolled his eyes as if to say, ‘Ignore my sister, she’s already been diagnosed as clinically insane’.
“We’ve got plenty of room,”
Jolie yanked me from my seat and gave me a hug that nearly crushed my ribs. My head was reeling.
“See, I told you! Please, please say yes. Don’t let them torture me. You have no idea how insidious one of their road trips are. Joel only grunts once every third hour and Gavin does nothing but bitch and moan.”
“Okay.” I don’t know what made me agree. The word came out of my mouth before I had a chance to tame my tongue. I was never one for going off with complete strangers. How did I know this wasn’t some elaborate set up and I wouldn’t be found dead in three days with my head in Virginia, my arms in Connecticut, and my legs in Maine?
Paranoia. Isn’t that the first sign of mental illness?
I seemed to be taking a lot of risks lately. Was this the same Andie who wouldn’t cross outside of the crosswalks? The very same who sat in the back row in class and never spoke unless spoken too? It’s that little brazen voice inside, I think, that has overstepped her boundaries into the physical world and found it necessary to take over my life.
There was no protesting to be done. Jolie wouldn’t let me get a word in edgewise and Joel refused to relinquish my suitcase. I wondered was this kidnapping?
The snow was falling heavier and was deeper than the top of my boots. I let Joel cut the trail and literally followed in his footsteps, Jolie was close behind me. A blue van crusted with salt and snow waited at the curb, the exhaust fumes swallowed by the swirling snow. A vandal had sprayed a wavering line of neon yellow along the side from bumper to bumper, and a hubcap was missing from the front tire. The front bumper and grill were crushed on the driver’s side. A figure in a long, black overcoat, heavy steel-toed boots, and a wide brimmed hat stepped out.
“Gavin!” Jolie squealed, ran ahead, and threw herself at him nearly knocking them both back inside the van.
“Nice to see you too,” Gavin laughed and threw his cigarette in the snow. Well, it might have been a laugh. It was more like a ‘ha’ or it could have been a cough.
Jolie detached herself and ran to me, pulled my arm and dragged me back with her. I thought for sure we were both going to fall headfirst into a snowdrift. How did she do it? How could she run through all this crud and not slip? The more careful I was the more unbalanced I became.
“This is Andie. She is going to save me from certain death.”
My lips were frozen and I could only manage, “Hi.”
“Fine,” Gavin lit up another cigarette, “Let’s go. I still have to pick up Todd and his girlfriend.”
Now wasn’t that a warm welcome.
“Not those two,” Joel slammed the van door closed. “All they ever do is paw each other.”
Joel sat shotgun and Jolie and I sat in the seats behind them.
Jolie laughed, “The last time we went on a trip with them we had to pry their lips apart with a crowbar. For hours it was ‘I love you’, ‘I love you more’.” She made exaggerated kissing noises in the air.
They laughed and continued to make fun of their absent friends. I smiled, grinned, and tried to look interested, but my mind was elsewhere. What was I doing here with these people? Had I lost hold of my senses? I was in a van in the middle of a blizzard going nowhere, anywhere or somewhere. My new companions knew which “where” they were going. I suppose they were driving cross-country to discover themselves.
Discover themselves? What a bunch of bull. They are running away from something, too. Take, Jolie, NOBODY is that happy. Perpetual perkiness is a disease in itself. What is she hiding? Hmmm? And, Joel, what’s with that tortured artist facade of his? And, then there is Gavin he’s chain-smoked half a pack already (what is that crap anyway? Clove? Who the hell smokes Cloves? Fermented cow dung smells better) and hasn’t stopped whining about getting a speeding ticket last month. And YOUÖwell, you—
Oh, shut up, will you.
“Andie, Earth to Andie,” Jolie waved her hand in front of my face and sang the theme to the Twilight Zone. “Hey, welcome back. Thought we lost you.”
“Sorry, I was just thinking.”
“Must’ve been some deep ones.”
“It’s a survival feature, Jolie. You talk so much that the brain automatically shuts down to preserve–” Joel, never finished his sentence. Jolie threw a handful of M&Ms at him so hard, they boinked off his head.
We turned onto the main highway. The road was fairly clear and the blackened asphalt was the only thing that distinguished the white sky from the land. Not even the naked trees or the evergreens offered any color. When the sun came up it would hurt to look outside and even in the freezing temperatures you could get sunburned.
I studied the back of the van. It was suprisingly clean. Our bags and luggage were piled together on one side next to several crates with tools, oil, antifreeze, drygas, jumper cables, ice scrapers, sand and several other things. More crates were stacked together and covered with a blue tarp and on top of those was a folded tent with poles tied to it. The van floor was covered with several large sections of heavy-duty maroon carpets, the kind stores used for high traffic areas. Under the strong odor of pine from one of those little tree shaped car air fresheners was an underlying odor of rubber, grease, and oil. Judging from the hooks and other hanging doodads lining the sides, the van must have been used for toting maybe a plumber’s or an electrician’s equipment.
Jolie fiddled with her camera and hadn’t said a word for more than twenty minutes. Joel stared at his scetchbook deep in thought (occasionally nodding off and bumping his head on the window), and Gavin puffed on an inch of cigarette. The sound of the heaving engine and the wet swish of wheels on the road were beginning to grate on my nerves. I’d spent too many hours on that bus and I couldn’t stand it anymore.
“What do you do Gavin?” I asked.
“Aha! Our little mouse speaks.”
Mouse? MOUSE? Go on, give him what for! Mouse! Puh!
“Gavin is a part-time multimedia artist, and full-time jerk,” Jolie spat.
Gavin rolled down his window and threw out a butt. The blast of air stung and whipped my hair around my face,
“Ooh, you wound me.”
Jolie stood up for me and I felt like a heel for calling her Cheez-Whiz and making fun of her. It didn’t matter that she didn’t know any of this, it was the principle of the thing and I still felt wretched.
Why didn’t you just stick up for yourself? I take it back, you ARE a mouse.
There was nothing but white to look at outside so Jolie and I played a game of rummy on a piece of long cardboard we used as a table between us. A daunting task in the van. I think Gavin purposely swerved and went over every bump he could find. Whenever we turned onto an exit, he deliberately kept a faster pace so that our cards would go flying. We had to keep chasing the cards and sticking our hands between the seats to find stray ones.
I didn’t mind Jolie’s prattle and she didn’t seem to mind holding up the conversation single-handed. Joel wasn’t due to speak for another hour, and Gavin kept calling me “Mouse”. I imagined shoving each and every card down his throat. I’d start with the clubs first. Better, yet, I’d take his stash of cigarettes (which smelled about as aromatic as a dead skunk) and douse them with water. I’d love to see him struggle through a nicotine fit and try and light a bent, soggy cigarette with shaking hands. His lips would tremble, the cigarette would smoke and fizzle, and he’d whimper like a puppy.
I must’ve been grinning like a Cheshire Cat.
“Good thoughts?” Jolie asked.
My smile broadened, “Very.”
She looked at me, at Gavin, grinned and winked. “Somebody’s in trouble,” She said in singsong voice. Joel grunted and Gavin lit up another.
Jolie and I had switched to a game of double solitaire and I was winning. That is, until Gavin stopped short and the cardboard and our game flipped. The cards scattered on the floor and spilled into the front seat.
“Gavin, you asswipe! You did that on purpose,” Jolie snarled and threw the rest of her cards at him.
He took a long drag of his cigarette and lazily blew the smoke at her. I saw her face turn a fiery red that crept up from her neck, hit her ears then mottled her face from chin to hairline. She pursed her lips, opened her mouth to say something, looked at me, then said nothing. I felt somehow betrayed, like there was a secret that I wasn’t supposed to know or wasn’t trusted enough to be told because I wasn’t really part of the group. Just a mascot. A tag-along.
Wah, Wah. Stop sniveling. Mouse shouldn’t be your name it should be Snively. You really should be used to it by now. Look at yourself. Always, daydreaming in your own little world. What do you expect? Maybe, (and I could be wrong about this, but I’m seldom wrong), maybe if you talked a little more people would be more inclined to talk back?
Oh, shut up.
Jolie opened the side door. It slid and grated where the frame was bent. I followed her and jumped into snow that was calf high. From within I heard low, hushed tones. It sounded like Joel and Gavin were having a disagreement, but I couldn’t be sure. The snow had stopped falling and the sun was coming up. The cold made my face hurt and my fingers tingle, but it felt good to be away from Gavin’s stinking cigarettes. I smelled a lock of my auburn hair.
We were in front of an apartment complex. I glanced at the signpost that was bent and a forty-five degree angle from a third of the way up the pole. I crooked my neck to the side to read the green signs. We were either on Delano Street or Milton Avenue. The walkway to the brownstone had been freshly dug and blue salt sprinkled from the sidewalk, up the stairs and to the door.
Just as we reached the top stair the door opened. A petite woman in jeans and brown tweed coat opened the door. Her pin straight, coal black hair that shone almost blue hung just below her ears with bangs framing her oval face. Her eyes, even darker than her hair, turned up slightly at the corners. She was easily the one of the most exotically striking women I’d ever seen. She dropped the bags she was carrying and hugged Jolie. She was so tiny that she was swallowed up bye Jolie’s embrace. Having been on the receiving end of one of Jolie’s hugs, I was afraid that the poor thing would get crushed like an aluminum can.
The two women squeaked and squealed between mutterings of ‘omigod’ and ‘omigoshes’. My ears were hurting. Any higher and the neighborhood dogs would start barking.
“Holy shit, holy shit. Holy shit!” Jolie could hardly contain herself, “Amy, what are you doing here?”
Amy beamed. As if she weren’t beautiful before she was gorgeous now with her full smile of perfectly white teeth. “Coming with, of course.”
“What about your exams?”
“Took them early. My professors love me.” Amy blew warm air on her fingernails and shined them on her coat.
“Amy, this is the newest member of the crew, Andie.”
Before I could stick out my hand or say hello, Amy hugged me. I wasn’t used to all this affection and didn’t quite know what to do with my self.
Amy let me go and waved to the van. “What do you think of our Gavin? He must’ve whined the whole way over.”
He’s an asshole.
“Well, he’s–he’s,” I stopped. I wanted to be nice, but I couldn’t think of the right word.
“Got a big, fat pole up his ass?” Amy finished, smiling and waving at the van again.
“Yes,” I slapped a hand over my betraying mouth. “I mean, I didn’t mean that.”
“Sure you did. It’s true. But we love him anyway.” Amy grabbed Jolie’s hand pulling her inside and Jolie grabbed mine.
“Brrrr. I don’t care what the guys say. We are going south!” Amy kicked a box out of the way. “Come upstairs. Wait till you see what Todd’s done to himself.”
We followed Amy down a narrow olive green hallway. The stairs were painted crud brown and the peeling banister showed layers of red, gray, purple and mustard yellow paint. Sun streamed from a high skylight. On the third flight of stairs the olive green abruptly stopped and mustard yellow took over. I winced. The doors were powder blue. By the fourth flight my eyes were hurting and my thighs were on fire.
What is this? Romper room gone awry? Any second that giant Doo-Bee is going to jump out from one of these funhouse doors.
Amy opened a fire engine red door and we followed her down a short hall. Loud music with the bass level turned sky high rattled the doors and shook the floors.
“Todd broke up with Lori two weeks ago,” Amy screamed over the music.
“Thank gawd. Couldn’t stand her anyway.” Jolie turned to me, “I don’t think I could’ve stood another round of suck-face with those two.”
Amy picked up a baseball bat lying against the wall, walked over to the offending apartment, and banged on the door. When she didn’t get a response she used the bat. I stared, my mouth hanging open.
The door opened. “You crazy?” A guy with no shirt, cut and sculpted like a Greek statue filled the doorway with his bulk.
Amy stood there with the bat raised and her feet splayed. “Turn down that fucking music, Adam or I’ll crack your kneecaps. I’m sick and tired of that boom-boom crap at the butt crack of dawn.”
He smirked. “Who’s gonna–”
He never finished his sentence. Amy swung and the bat whizzed by his face so close that he could have kissed it. She swung again. He ducked and slammed the door yelling, “Crazy bitch!”
A moment later the music was gone.
Amy tossed the bat back where she’d picked it up then looked at me, “What?”
I couldn’t get the words out and Jolie acted as if this was normal behavior. That guy could probably bench press an army jeep with two fingers and not break out a sweat, and little Amy was swinging a bat at his head!
“What? That’s the only kind of language that big troll understands. I’ve known Adam for four years and nothing else works. Trust me, he loves it.” Amy smiled, “So anyway, Todd and Lori are history. Here I am, the dutiful cousin. The shoulder he cries on. I’m much better company anyway.”
“Why didn’t Todd say anything?”
Amy huffed, “You know men. Besides it worked out. You should have seen the look on your face!”
Jolie grabbed my arm and steered me inside the apartment. I was still shaking from the bat-swinging fiasco. The main room was sparse, but a nice normal cream colored walls and a threadbare blue carpet. The battered couch was covered with a blue sheet and faced a ten inch color TV sitting on (what else?) a TV tray. A floor lamp was next to the couch draped with a stray sock. The sock’s mate lay in the middle of the floor next to a pair of sneakers with broken, stubby laces. The mini blinds in the lonely window were pulled up to the top so that bright, early morning sun streamed into the room. Two suitcases and a duffel bag were propped in a corner.
A figure stepped out from the little kitchen holding a jumbo bag of Cheez-curls, “Jolie!”
Jolie sucked in her breath, “Todd? What did you do to your head?”
“Shaved it.” Todd ran his hands over his shiny dome and grinned. His eyes were identical to Amy’s and his toothy smile matched hers.
“You look like a child molester.”
“Thanks, its nice to see you too.”
“Sorry,” Jolie kissed his cheek and hugged him then ran a hand over his head. “All that gorgeous hair. What were you thinking? Isn’t it a little cold for this?”
He pulled a rainbow colored hat with a soft brim out of his pocket and put it on. “I’ve got this.”
“Great, now you look like a giant hackey-sack.”
“You really know how to crush an ego. Would you rather I wear a one of those knit hat things?”
“I told you those make you look like a burglar.” Amy laughed, “He put on a Gilligan hat this morning and I almost died.”
Jolie and Amy started giggling so hard that tears streamed down their faces. Poor Todd stood in the middle of the floor with his arms crossed and waited for them to finish. I was trying very hard to keep a straight face. I tried to keep my mind occupied by reading what was written on his white T-shirt. Something about extreme sports. Both legs of his jeans were frayed at the bottom and he was barefoot. Jolie and Amy were still laughing.
“You look normal. What do you think?” Todd asked, taking me by surprise.
Q-tip. He looks like a Q-tip.
“You look–um–well its–uh,” I bit my tongue and tried to focus. My throat was starting to hurt.
Q-tip. Q-tip. Q-tip.
Will you please, please be quiet!
“I mean, it’s your head if you want to–um–shave it. It’s alright. You look fine to me.”
“Thank you.” Todd stepped up to me and shook my hand, nearly dislocating my shoulder. “I’m Todd.”
“Andie,” I squeaked.
I felt the heat rise in my face and I knew I had turned a deep, dark crimson.
“Todd stop that. You’re always embarrassing people. Leave her alone. Go shine your head or something.” The last of Amy’s words were lost in a fit of giggles.
He left the room, sneering at Jolie and Amy and grinning at me. I felt two pairs of eyes on my back and I turned. I suddenly felt very hot.
Jolie smirked, “How did you do it? I thought your ears were going to blow off.”
I shrugged, “I didn’t want to laugh. I wanted to be nice.”
Amy picked up a battered suitcase and stood next to me, “What was it? What were you thinking? I could see the steam coming out of your nose. Come on. Tell.”
Go on tell her. They know you weren’t as sincere as you sounded. It was damned funny if you ask me.
I cleared my throat, “Q-tip.”
They started with fresh peals of glee. I couldn’t help myself this time.
“Classic.” Jolie sniggered.
Amy jumped up and down, “Ooh, love it.”
I managed to get a hold of myself by the time we got outside and loaded the bags into the van, but I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Jolie and Amy, on the other hand, were still a couple of basket cases. Joel and Gavin looked at us as if we were all insane.
If this is how one of their excursions started, it was going to be one hell of a journey. The little voice in my head had nothing to say about that, and that scared me.
What did the Professor have to say?
The characters were unrealistic and no one would ever do what my MC did.
I’m afraid I took it baddly since I had based the characters off of real people.
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