Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Consolation Prize

Hi everyone! 


I've been a reader here for a while, am a copywriter by day, and have been writing fiction on the side for as long as I can remember. I finally worked up the nerve to share with ya'll. Excited to hear if ya'll like it, and please don't hesitate to offer feedback (both positive and constructive). I don't want to give too much away, so here goes nothing. Thanks for reading! 




Prologue 

She’d missed her original flight to New York for Nora and Cory’s wedding because she’d come home to her boyfriend dick deep in another woman—a woman who she knew quite well, in fact. His ass was on full display, popped up and chalk white when she swung the bedroom door open. She was embarrassed to admit that she’d thought the sounds emanating from the bedroom were from him doing push ups. Not quite. 



Her hasty breakfast of yogurt and granola from hours earlier roiled in her stomach, threatening to display itself across the bedroom wall and all over the linens that she and J.J. had argued about at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. 

Did she expect it? No.

Was she surprised? Admittedly, not really.

J.J. had always been a bit jagged, unpredictable, and cold. He’d been what she’d needed once, a handsome stranger—confident and arrogant in equal measure, but established and grounded. He'd showed up when she'd been low, fleeing from her screwed up life to her sister's side at a hospital in downtown L.A. J.J. had been the son of an addict down the hall and Scottie had fallen hard and desperately, coming off a relationship unraveled in New York. J.J. had no idea just how ripe she’d been for saving.

But as Scottie stood framed in the doorway, with the morning light streaming into the room so bright and ignorant of the consequences unfolding, she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that her life in Los Angeles was over. She had come here for the right reasons three years ago, but those reasons no longer held their shape. They were disintegrating into dust, right before her wide green eyes. Her sister didn’t need her anymore, and now it was clear as crystal, that J.J. didn’t want her anymore. 

She was down one boyfriend and one place to live in a matter of five minutes. 

Packing the remainder of her things didn’t take very long, and it was accompanied by a string of expletives a mile long as the two got dressed slowly and shamefully in the background. She didn’t bring much with her when she’d moved out there, and anything she forgot she decided quickly that she didn’t care much about. J.J. barely bothered with pleading. The words came forth from his cheating lips but they were forced, unconvincing, and flat—like he was speaking a language he didn’t know well and he was fumbling, trying to remember what to say, and in turn, forgetting how they should be said.

Getting the hell back to New York was all that Scottie cared about, and as she pulled up to the curb at LAX she made herself promise to let go—of everything. She knew that if returning home was going to work, she had to. The past was the past, and the future was a gleaming unknown that she had to lean into. Settling into her flight, she felt her stomach roiling again, aching and empty despite her distinct lack of appetite. The plane took off and she watched the city dwindle into nothing through the window, wondering, despite herself, what Cory would say when he saw her again. It had been too long since she’d been back, and she’d stalled intentionally—for whose sake though, she wasn’t quite sure.

<> 

And the question finally came.

Cory asked Will over beers, dragging him into Manhattan for the honor—despite the fact that Will lived and worked in Brooklyn—veritably summoning him to the west side to Cory’s own favorite bar, Skinny Dennis. Two Corona’s were lined up like soldiers when Will got there, and he resented that Cory had ordered for him. But Cory was who he was, and Will supposed he had terribly unrealistic expectations if he ever thought that would change.

He had never been someone’s best man before. He knew he was second choice, and it wasn’t surprising. He wasn’t mad about it. They’d always been paired off growing up—there was Pete and Cory, and then Will and Nick. But with Pete skipping town unexpectedly for work two days before the wedding, Cory found himself in a bit of a bind. In the old days Will could have stood in for Pete, and no one would have been the wiser. That’s one of the perks of being identical twins. Another is being the brother who slacked off and never went to class, but claimed he had been the one there when the teacher asked. Unfortunately Will was the brother who actually valued his education, so he went to class, but only got the credit half the time because of Pete's convincing performance. But they weren’t identical anymore—the old days were gone.

Will, of course, despite his misgivings, and despite the seductive tickling of “no” on his tongue, had said yes to Cory—because what other option was there?

He’d had a bad day already, and he bid Cory goodbye under the guise of going home—against protest and insistence at another drink. But Will didn’t go home. He called Emily immediately, unwinding slightly at the soft sound of her voice over the line. He met her surreptitiously at a bar in Williamsburg—one that they frequented under the cover of night. It had outdoor seating and frozen margaritas, situated, charmingly, under the BQE. He found her staring intently at a thick lock of her blonde hair and sitting cross-legged on a picnic bench, with two margaritas in front of her in frosted glasses. Now, Emily ordering for him? This he didn’t mind.

Two hours later he was throwing a punch. It was a good one, in retrospect. He relished the dull ache in his knuckles as he followed through. Emily had her hand on his shoulder—more friendly than seductive—when the man came sauntering cockily up to their table. She hadn’t been ending it, but she had been changing the rules on him unexpectedly, and Will was suddenly poised to lose his footing—so to speak.

Will barely remembered how things escalated, but perhaps Emily’s sudden emotional shift had been the spark he’d needed. Perhaps it had been the Corona and two margaritas on an empty stomach. Perhaps it had been the ten-year mark of his injury looming overhead menacingly. Perhaps it had been the gutting assumption that he couldn’t possibly have been her partner when the man leaned down and offered to buy her a drink. Or perhaps, it had been all of these things in some kind of dizzying acid cocktail. He wasn’t used to losing his temper, he’d always been cool, calm collected Will. But that night, he’d let it go with gusto—details fuzzy, the moments bumping into each other as he tried to pull them out of his mind.

Once he’d made contact, and the sound of skin on skin made his stomach roll forward, threatening to empty its contents on his lap. But time bowled on, and he found himself at the receiving end of a well-practiced retaliation, knocked sideways and tossed out of his chair onto the concrete. Emily shouted and knelt down beside him. The man shook his arm out and muttered “fucker” under his beer breath. Will closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He’d punched a man in a bar. He’d never done that before and, though he didn’t know it at the time, he’d never do it again. But he found himself smiling as he pushed up into a sitting position on the ground, asking Emily, much to her dismay, if she wouldn’t mind passing him the rest of his margarita before he got back up in his chair.

The man had punched him back, and he had a nice ripe shiner to prove it.

20 comments:

  1. Yay - I'm excited for a new story! Interesting start and looking forward to seeing what happens. Thanks for posting.

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    1. Glad to hear you like it. Excited to post more!

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  2. Enjoyable writing, thanks!
    The best line: "she’d thought the sounds emanating from the bedroom were from him doing push ups. Not quite." :)
    Really looking forward to the next chapter!

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    1. So glad to hear that. And happy you found that line funny :)

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  3. Could you please adjust your font to make your story easier to read?

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  4. Hmmm... Interesting start! Update soon!
    Tc

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  5. I love this! Great scene setting and wonderful use of language to provide vivid images. I am looking forward to more of this story, soon.

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  6. Great start, looking forward to more

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  7. Love it. Love your writing style too.
    And it is great to have a new story.
    I hope you will not forsake us as others have though ;)
    Thanks.

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    1. Thanks so much. Plan at this point is not to forsake ;)

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  8. Yay, a new story! Love the parallel events in Scottie's and Will's stories; can't wait until they inevitably cross paths :D

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  9. Great introduction, looking forward to what happens next.

    Please could you post the next part in a larger font that is easier to read? Thanks

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  10. Welcome as an author on this site! I'm so happy there is another new story. Great start, can't wait to see where you'll take us.

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  11. This was a great little intro. Definitely excited for a new story! And am I the only one familiar with the “reader view” function, that makes the font bigger?

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  12. Nice start! I like your writing style.

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  13. I had to come back and read this again after reading chapter one. Loving this story, just one sentence that jars "though he didn’t know it at the time, he’d never do it again." How do we know? He's not going to die before the end of the story is he? I certainly hope not.

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  14. Thank you for the new story! I can't wait to go read part two now.

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