Saturday, January 29, 2011

Excerpt from 'Second Chances'

Edit made Friday, December 9, 2011: Click here to read my second excerpt from this book.

(This is a short excerpt from my literary project titled Second Chances. It has been more than a year in the making, and I figure it'll take me a few more before this will materialize into a full-length novel I can publish. In addition, this piece may not reflect the final content of the forthcoming edition. End disclaimer. Meanwhile, the following is a dialogue between two characters – an unnamed beau and a girl named Taylor – talking about the husband of a friend of Taylor's when he and Taylor went to high school together. I wrote this piece last night – Friday, January 28, 2011 – as I was listening to Thriller by Michael Jackson. Enjoy.)

"Thanks for meeting me on such short notice."

"No problem, Taylor. What's up?"

"I gotta come clean. There's a lot of stuff that has been weighing on my mind, and I just don't think it's fair for either you or me to keep things under wraps. Especially considering how long we've known each other."

"It's been several years, I think."

"At least. Anyway, I need to get several things out in the open. For my sake, for your sake, for our sake."

"Fire away. Where would you like to start?"

"With Paige's husband."



"What do you have against him?"

"He forced himself upon me when we were in high school."

"I'm so sorry."

"It was brutal. I first met him when we were freshmen. He was so innocent back then. We had a class together, and we were academically superior to the rest of our peers. One day near the end of the school year, I guess he had the courage to come up to me and ask if I wanted to go out with him. I initially declined. Then he asked me for my phone number. Again, I told him no. I wasn't interested. Figuring he was on his final strike, he took out a notecard, or something of similar size, and wrote down his number and handed it to me. He said that we weren't going anywhere because our intelligence would keep pairing us up. 'The sooner you figure that out, the less of a struggle it'll be.' I went home, thought about it for a while, and eventually dropped the matter like a lead balloon. But he was right.

"That first day back sophomore year, we were in four classes together, two of which we sat next to each other. If you were there, you would've sworn it was meant to be. 'Cause in retrospect, that's what I thought. At the end of the day, after our seventh period European history class, he tapped me on the shoulder, and said 'What'd I tell you', as if he saw this coming. More or less, I told him to go find someone else to bother. Again, he was relentless. He gently grabbed me by the arm, and told me a sob story about how he and his parents moved down from New York a few years ago and how much he wanted some female companions because his mother was frequently beaten into submission by his father, a Catholic priest of all things. I found out later that he was telling the truth, but I didn't believe him at the time. I said that if he didn't leave me alone, I would talk to the Dean of Student Services and have him transfer me out of all my classes with Vince. I never did so."

"How come?"

"Because it was an impossibility to switch around those classes without causing a number of scheduling conflicts, primarily. But as that second year wore on, a friendly rivalry also began to bud. We frequently got the highest grades in our classes together, and we started competing amongst ourselves in every venture. Homework, tests, projects, research paper. You name it. I actually looked forward to classes with him when we came back from Christmas break. And when summer vacation was just around the corner, I pulled a one-eighty and gave him my phone number. Needless to say, he felt accomplished that day."

"Did Vince ever make any more female friends aside from you?"

"He did, actually. As it turned out, he was quite popular with the girls at our school, which I found ironic considering his demeanor toward me."

"Had he ever mentioned at any point in time that you reminded him of his mother?"

"I never caught that, no. But when we started going out later that summer, it kinda felt like he was trying to impress his mother."

"How so?"

"On every date I can recall, he was well-dressed, well-groomed, and he always gave me a single gladiola as a token of appreciation."

"Sounds chivalrous."

"Indeed, but whatever he did must've worked. On our third date, we went to an outdoor BBQ and concert at a park the day before the Fourth of July. The food was great, but I couldn't say the same for the band playing that night. I think they were a local indie group gigging around, trying to catch a break. The point to this story was that after they stopped sounding like a jam session on LSD, the lights went out and a fireworks show got started on the other side of the lake where we were standing. He held my hand for a minute then, out of nowhere, he kissed me on the lips. If that had happened any other time, I would've pushed him away. But when we stood liplocked underneath the twinkling stars and colorful bursts of light, I felt like I stepped into a movie or some romance novel that was written especially for me. The scene couldn't have been scripted any better, and while I sound like I've shown no interest beyond a friendship, I gradually became mesmerized by him in the months and weeks leading up to that moment. When it happened, I began to fall in love with him."

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