Monday January 16 FALLING will be available on Amazon.
I worked through my trip to Australia so it would be ready on time and I’m really excited for it to be released this month, so I thought I would let you all read a sneak peak of chapter two! Hope you enjoy it.
I hear it. The blare of my alarm clock, I know I have to move my arm and get my hand to whack at it to stop it making that sound, but I can’t remember where I left my arm or how to grow another one so I can make it stop.
Sara finally climbs out of bed and slaps the top. She takes a step away, turns back to me, her eyes still shut. Then she yanks the cord right out of the wall.
“Saturday. I don’t have to get up.” She mumbles without opening her eyes she slumps back to her bed, pulls the covers back up and promptly goes limp.
I roll over, digging my legs further down into the deep warmness to find sleep for another couple of hours.
I bury my face into my soft pillow smiling, I so love the weekend. Nothing to do. No school to go to. No six thirty breakfast. No anything.
Thirty seconds later I switch sides kicking with my feet to find the warm again. I roll back to the other side.
Then back again.
I move my pillow so it angles away from the slight crack in the curtains that’s letting in the faintest sliver of light. But it’s so bright, like someone’s coloured in the sunrise with fluorescent paint.
I pull my pillow over my head to block out the light.
Now it’s too hot and I’m breathing in the air that I have just breathed out. It’s gross. I need to brush my teeth.
I throw the pillow off and the blanket back, pull two bull dog clips out of my desk and hold the curtains shut right to the top of the window. I stand back assessing to make sure all light has been excluded.
I stomp back to bed, pull the blanket over my shoulder and wiggle down to find the body-shaped warm spot where I was just lying.
I sigh disgusted. It’s gone.
Turning flat onto my back I force my eyes to stay shut, but it’s not going to work. I am awake. Stupid alarm clock, I only went to sleep a couple of hours ago.
I breathe in deeply, flinging my covers off. Might as well go use up all the hot water while everyone else is sleeping.
“You’re up early, Reid.” Megan passes me in the hallway after my shower. “Have an early night?” Her voice is filled with fake concern.
“Not really.” I answer, walking right past her and into my room, closing the door behind me.
“You shouldn’t be sad that you have no one to hang out with on a Friday night. Not everyone has friends, and that’s okay.” She says loud enough for everyone on our floor to hear.
“Reid, you’re here?” Sara says sitting up in bed, laptop resting on her knees.
“Where else would I be? Don’t you remember breaking my alarm clock this morning?”
“No, I don’t remember that. Did I really?” She looks past me to my bedside table.
“I just saw her, she just told me to keep my showers shorter. If she had something to yell at me about, she would have.”
“True.” She says unconvinced.
I throw my towel over the back of my chair. “So what are our plans for today?”
“My parents are coming to get me.” She says, her face growing red. “Sorry.”
“You don’t have to apologise that you have a real life.” I try to hide my disappointment.
“But I said that I would hang out with you this weekend.” The end of her nose is fire engine red.
“Sara stop, you are going to catch on fire. You don’t have to feel bad, you should be with your family, it’s an out weekend.”
“You’re really okay? My Mum wants to take me shopping, she says the shops I can get to don’t stock the kind of things she feels are appropriate.”
“That sounds like it’s going to be all kinds of exciting.”
“Mmm.” She says with her face screwed up, but not so red.
“I can deal with it all, until she starts on the floral prints. It’s like my Nana’s curtains and matching table cloth and air freshener cover and tissue cover.” She sighs loudly.
“You really shouldn’t miss that.” I rip a brush through my wet hair, yank it up into a rough pony tail. “Ready for breakfast?” I ask, and the red starts creeping up her neck again. “What?” I ask.
“They’re down stairs now, signing me out.”
I look down. Her weekend bag is sitting next to her bed, and I never noticed before, but it does have a faint floral pattern. It’s really ugly, kind of peachy coloured. She follows my gaze.
“See, stupid flowers. I washed it about fifty times to try and make it less floral, but that stuff doesn’t fade easily, probably why my Nana liked it so much.”
I laugh even though I want to cry. I can’t believe she is going away and I am going to be stuck here all by myself, again. At least Megan will be gone too.
She throws back her covers, revealing that she is fully dressed. Red flares across her face again, and she slides the laptop into the side of her bag.
I walk her downstairs to show that I don’t resent her life.
“You guys enjoy your shopping.” I stop at the door when they start down the stairs. Mrs. Haddin looks back.
“Are you not leaving today, Reid?”
“No, my aunt couldn’t come and get me. So I am going to have a relaxing weekend all to myself. All the hot water I want.” I smile holding back the sinking feeling. This is the second out weekend in a row I’ve had to stay by myself.
She gives me that poor orphan smile, then moves down the stairs, Sara grimly waving behind her.
At least I have breakfast to look forward to, I think as I let myself morbidly watch them get into their car and drive away.
Once the doors open to the dining hall, I know they must love me. They have done it again. I take my tray off the stack, sliding it along the rails. No, they have topped it. I pull a bowl filled with berries out of the cabinet, thick yoghurt on top. And there they are. Pancakes with maple praline butter and a side of crispy bacon.
I slide into my normal chair, even though no one else is here, pulling out my book, flip open to the page I was reading yesterday and take my first bite.
“It’s just so sad.” Megan says, her followers smirking at me from behind her. “Don’t you feel unloved and unwanted being left at school on a compulsory out weekend. Can’t you find anyone to take you?”
I stuff my mouth again and make a noise like I am answering her then turn back to my book. She pulls out a chair and sits down. “Don’t you feel like a pig eating like that? I don’t remember the last time I ate carbs.” She comments flipping her hair over her shoulder.
I smile and shove a big forkful into my mouth, raise my eyebrows at Keegan who has her mouth hanging open over Megan’s shoulder. I pick up my book, hold it in front of her face and pick a strip of bacon and crunch through it.
Megan storms out like I told them they were fat. They must be afraid that the calories are going to chase them down and make them gross.
I push my plate away. Nine o’clock. My book drops to the table, finished, echoing in the empty room. No book, no food. I really need to do something other than sit in here.
I trawl slowly through the library stacks, looking at people. Walking through the main floor, there is a square right in the middle filled with couches for people to sit and read. I slowly move around it looking at the people, but trying not to make it obvious that I am looking at them.
That guy doesn’t even have a book, he’s just watching a group of people who are in the corner room, roughly half guys and half girls. About my age, I guess. The guys are all sitting on the edge of a study table while the girls look at books on the shelf behind them, randomly pulling them out, then pushing them back almost immediately.
The guys lean forward, talking and laughing with them. The girls are all coy and smiling at them.
I keep walking, not sure of where to look. I come back to the centre of the room. I think I’m going to look on the next floor up, as I walk past the edge of a row of couches I brush past a girl who is looking at an old copy of a music magazine. I walk slowly to the side of her. She looks kinda interesting. I grab a magazine off the shelf and sit down near her, but she stands up and starts moving toward the stairs. I impulsively follow her.
She moves up the stairs slowly and walks into the first aisle she comes to. I come around the side just behind her and before she can look at me I dive forward, my arms at my sides so if I miss it doesn’t look like I’m trying to grab her.
I right myself up watching out her eyes as she wanders around in the library for ten minutes without looking at one book. There’s no pattern to what she looks at, I don’t think she comes here very often, she doesn’t seem to know where any of the books are supposed to be. Judging by her snorts at the cover of the display book in the architecture section, she’s not really up on modern-historical European design.
Three sections later we are in geo-political theories. “What’s a geo politician?” She asks herself out loud.
You can’t tell if someone is going to be dumb by just looking at them, unfortunate in this situation. I look around, we are deep in the library, I think we went up to the third floor.
“You want lunch.” I say loudly. I’m really bored. And I can’t get out until there are less people around. Who knew so many people wanted to read about geo-political theories on a Saturday afternoon?
Her head pops up, swaying slightly from side to side. Stopping, she reaches into her giant bag and pulls out a tiny phone, brushes her fingers over the screen. The time pops up and she slides it back into her bag.
She walks slowly back towards the stairs. She must be waiting for someone or something to start. She has to take each step down the three flights of stairs with careful thought, because her ten inch heels have a pencil thin spike. It takes ten minutes to reach the first floor.
At the bottom of the last flight of stairs, she swings back her hair, letting the thick blonde length bounce away from her as we strut across the ground floor and out the wide double doors. Even though she isn’t the most interesting person, I really love this part of being in people, going to see what the world looks like through their eyes.
It’s the only good part about this, I don’t know why I can jump into people, or why I can stay in them until I jump out. I can’t even figure out why I can do it to some people and with others it’s like I have to, like I am being pulled into their bodies.
We walk for a minute, but I don’t think she knows where she is going again. Maybe. Nope, she’s a little stalker, too. But he is amazing-looking. I lean forward in her to get a better look of him. He is walking toward us, a small smile building on his lips. He is seriously hot. Follow him. Please, if we’re going to follow someone, choose him.
He keeps coming, then leans down and kisses us on the mouth. I couldn’t feel it and I’m still breathless. I might bring snacks and just live in here if she’s going to hang out with him.
“How was your morning?” He asks.
“I just went to the library.” She answers like she does it all the time.
“That sounds nice, you get anything.”
“Nah, I’ve most everything I want from there.” The one magazine.
“We can go to a bookstore if you want something else.” We stop walking while he moves onto the road. He even has a car, no bus. This is just getting better.
“Maybe another time. Today I have more important things to shop for.” She gets into the car flaring her nostrils slightly, not touching anything she doesn’t absolutely have to. I have to remember which way we are going so I can get back. The bus stop to get back to school is in front of the library.
We drive for a couple of minutes of her talking non-stop about how excited she is about going away to college on Tuesday before we pull into the mall carpark.
We move painfully slowly toward the food court. She can’t go any faster in her stupid shoes, then the girl starts squealing, seriously squealing; clapping her hands together, jumping up and down. In tiny clicking leaps, her heels making it sound like a horse shoes being tapped together.
“Keller, look at the little tiny puppy.” She is holding his hand trying to get him to come closer, but she can’t, if she stands any closer to the glass pane she is going to be absorbed by it.
“Yeah, Hayden. It’s cute.” Keller says, and even his voice is hot.
“Cute.” Hayden says indignant. “It is so totally, absolutely, the most precious thing in the world.”
Keller coughs, covering his laughter. “I thought you said the kitten in the other window is the most precious thing in the world, ever.”
“Don’t mock me. I am allowed to be excited. You should so buy me one.” This girl is like a see-through bubble. Everything is on the outside. You can see how much is going on in the inside just by looking at her face.
Keller walks further into the shop. “Look at these. Freaky.” He says in an odd tone.
“Ew, what are they?” We peer into the glass tank. “Gross Keller! They are moving shells.”
“They’re Hermit crabs.” He walks behind us and puts his arms around our shoulders. Either this guy is stupid or he feels sorry for her, because she is just not that smart.
Example. “Ew, crabs. That is so disgusting.”
I look away, trying to roll my eyes at her. Then I spot chickens. I have always wanted a chicken. Weird I know, but they just look so cool.
“Go look at the chickens.” I shout. She whips her head up.
“Did you say you wanted to look at the chickens?” She asks Keller.
“No, but they are kinda cool looking. Look at that one.” He says walking to the bird cages. “Look at the silver looking one. Those feathers are freaky.” He laughs at how they stick out in every direction.
“Yeah.” She sounds really confused. She is certain that it wasn’t her idea to look at these.
“Hey, they would match those shoes you want. The sparkly ones.” He adds when she stares at him blankly.
“What ones, I’ve never worn a pair of sparkly shoes in my life.” I do not understand how this girl was reading either a magazine, or something on Swedish architecture. I honestly doubt her ability to actually read.
“You know the ones,” he says, moving his hands as if trying to get the air around him to lend him to right word. “The really expensive, um, silvery ones. You know, you dragged me into the shop the other day.”
“You are comparing a pair of silver patent-leather heeled sandals to a freaky looking silver chicken?” She slides her hands to her hips like she has never heard anything more stupid in her whole life. “Do you realise that those shoes are worth two thousand dollars.”
He is so stunned his mouth falls open a little. “You actually thought I would buy you shoes that will cost a month’s wages?”
“It is an investment, Keller. They will never lose their value.” She sighs at him.
“You buy them then,” he says.
She sucks in her breath and manages to make a little popping, squeally sound at the same time. This is fun.
“Hayden, I would have to starve for a month,” he says, like he’s explaining physics to a four year old.
“You can eat at my house.” I wish I could see the look on her face, because her voice has gone all misty, like she might cry. “It would be like the most romantic gesture ever. A whole month of begging for food, to buy me the one thing in the whole world that I want.”
“What’s romantic about dating a dead person?” He says sarcastically.
“Why would I be dating a dead person?” I can’t help it. I laugh so hard, I almost fall out of her. She turns her head to poor, poor Keller. “Did you just laugh at me?”
“No.” The look on his face says that he wants to. “Sweets,” he says gently, as he lays his arm across our shoulder and pulls us into his big chest. “I am not going to spend two thousand dollars on one pair of shoes. Ask your Dad.”
“I am independent now, Keller. I can’t just run home and ask my Dad for anything I want anymore. I am an adult.” She is woman; hear her whine.
“If you want to be independent, then you should buy them yourself.” He is steering her out of the shop.
“But, there’s nothing dependent about you buying me gifts. In fact, that’s just being a good boyfriend.”
“So, I’m not a good boyfriend if I don’t buy you two thousand dollar shoes?” He leans back and stops walking so he can look at her face. I think she has offended him.
“Well, a good boyfriend gets his girlfriend presents.” She isn’t even looking at him. We are walking past a bag shop.
“Hayden, I am a good boyfriend even if I don’t buy you two thousand dollar shoes.”
“Of course you are.” And she walks away. I turn around in her body to look back at him, but I can’t see him. She has no eyes at the back of her head, that’s just inconsiderate of her, doesn’t she know that I want to look at Keller?
“I’m going to eat.” He sounds mad. Ohhh, maybe I’ll change my rules about following people home. I’d like to see this fight.
“Mmkay. Just give me a minute.” I can hear footsteps and they aren’t coming toward us. Oh oh oh oh, she’s in trouble. I am so following them home.
She stays looking at the bag shop. I want to shout at her to turn around, so that she notices he is gone. But I really want to see how long she will look at the bags before she figures out he’s walked.
Five full minutes. I cannot believe it. If it wasn’t for me having to pay the extra bus fare from here, I would be hoping that he has ditched her and gone home.
Ten minutes, okay, I’m bored now.
“Where’s Keller?” I say as softly as I can so that she still hears it, I try to make it sound like she is thinking. She turns around.
She sighs, walking back to the food court. I rake my eyes over all the tables trying to find him. Actually I take it back, I’ll pay the extra fare just to hear her when she figures out he’s left her here, but we spot him at a table eating Chinese food.
She stomps over to his table, it can’t be easy in those shoes, and crosses her arms over her chest, looking down at him. “I was just going to be a minute.”
“Whatever. You eating?” He says in a dead voice, completely uninterested.
She slinks down into the chair opposite him. “What’s wrong with you?” She asks sulky and takes the fork out of his hand and starts picking at the broccoli out of his container. He picks up the other fork and keeps eating silently.
“Why aren’t you talking to me?” She asks whining.
“It doesn’t make me a bad boyfriend because I’m not like all your rich friends. If that’s the kind of boyfriend you want, then you should go find one. I’m sure your Dad can point you in the right direction.”
“Don’t be like that, Keller. I leave on Tuesday, let’s have a good last few days okay? I don’t care if you buy me things. You’re right, I’ll ask my Dad.”
Oh come on. That’s your big sacrifice? I’ll go ask Daddy like a giant baby?
He still doesn’t look impressed. “Let’s go.” He gets up abruptly holding his tray walking out. This is more like it.
“Come on, baby. We only just got here. Don’t be mad with me.” She presses herself as close to him as she can, and speaks real slow, pausing after each word. “I. Think. You’re. A. Great. Boyfriend.”
“What? Not the most precious in the whole world?” Keller says with his eyebrows raised, but you can tell he has forgiven her.
“Of course you are. There’s no one better than you.”
“Come on, let’s go. I’ve been at work all morning. I want to go home and watch some football.” Keller says putting his arm around her again.
“Well I’m not watching football.”
“That’s cool. Don’t you have packing to do anyway? I can just drop you at home on my way.”
“I thought you were going to help me pack.”
“Whatever, let’s go.” His arm drops off her.
I think I take it back. I don’t want to see this fight, and I think it will be cheaper catching a bus from here than anywhere near where she probably lives. I quickly look around for somewhere good to jump out. There.
I push forward and, “whoa. Sorry… are you all right?” I dive out as she skims past a concrete pillar. She trips over my leg as I try to stand back up.
“No, I am not all right. I think I have a cut on my face.”
I look at her with fake concern. “Nope, not cut. Just clumsy.”
“I am so not clumsy. You walked into me.” She spits.
“I was leaning next to the pillar the whole time.” And just to be really horrible, I smile at Keller. “Hi, I’m Reid.”
He gives me the sweetest smile back. “Keller.”
“Who cares who she is? What a loser. Let’s go.”
I laugh quietly as she begins to walk past me. Her eyes graze over me starting with my feet. She lifts her head and marches away, leaving Keller trailing behind her.