Friday, February 17, 2017

Sunny & Gray, Chapter Three

Back in 2014, I started posting the chapters to what I hoped would be my first novel. Chapter one posted in July, and chapter two posted in September. But then I dropped off the map, fell off the edge of the earth, and I never took it any further.

Until now! That's right, I've written a new chapter for Sunny & Gray, and I think I'm to keep posting the chapters, in case anyone who knew me in 2014 is still waiting to find out what happens next in the story. And if 2014 was way too long ago for you to have had any idea who I even was, it's okay, because you can still go back and read those chapters and then come read chapter three. Just follow the links above.

So, without any further delay, here's chapter three, in which nothing really happens.
Oh, and some of the formatting is goofed up, but I'm going to leave it, because I don't really know how to fix it. Hopefully you can figure out how it's supposed to look.

Chapter 3

Despite the fact that he no longer worried about losing his fairy sight, he still slept poorly that night. He was too excited about his burgeoning friendship with the fairy. It felt like Christmas Eve. The anticipation of what awaited him the next morning was too much to bear. Again he found himself waking every half hour only to look at the clock and realize he still had hours to go.
When sunlight finally did slant its way through his window, Brynlee stormed her way into his room like a tornado, an unpleasantly loud tornado.
"Wake up, midget," she shouted.
"Don't call me midget," Robbie groaned.
"Oh, right. You like to be called little people now."
"I'm not a little person. Leave me alone. I'm still tired. I want to sleep longer."
"I'm sorry," Brynlee said. "You have a dentist appointment this morning. Get up and take a shower."
Robbie groaned again. He'd forgotten about the dentist appointment. If he had to get out of bed, he wanted it to be to go and see the fairies, not to have his teeth scraped and his gums jabbed by his dentist who, despite all the time he spent with toothpaste and mouthwash, always smelled like pastrami.
"Let's go," Brynlee said, and strode out of his room. "Oh, and you are so a little person. Anyone shorter than me is by definition a midget.
Robbie blew her a raspberry. "Well, at least I'm not done growing," he shouted after her as he dragged himself from his bed and headed to the bathroom.
The dentist was as unpleasant as expected. Doubly so, because he had somewhere that he really wanted to be. As usual, they were running behind, so he spent a full thirty minutes in the waiting room. After the interminable scraping and polishing process done by the RDA, he had to wait another fifteen minutes before the dentist could finally step away from whatever procedure--filling, root canal, crown replacement--he was elbows deep in to take a look at him. All that time wasted for the dentist to spend one moment glancing at his X-rays, and one moment jabbing at his teeth with a probe, and then cut him loose.
“Good job, Robbie. No cavities again. Keep brushing and flossing, and one day all the girls are going to go crazy for that smile.”
Out the door they went, Robbie leading the way by a good ten paces. Brynlee was walking and swiping at her phone at the same time. She didn’t even look up when she stepped onto the blacktop of the parking lot. For all she knew, an inattentive driver could have been bearing down on her at unsafe speeds. It apparently didn’t concern her enough to get her to look up and check. At least she put it away while she drove them home. She knew Robbie’s parents would fire her on the spot if they found out she was texting and driving while Robbie was in the car.
When they got to 19th street, where they should turn right to go back to his house, Brynlee kept right on going.
“What are you doing? You missed the turn!” Robbie said.
“No, I didn’t.”
“Yes, yo--”
“I didn’t miss the turn, because we’re not going home,” said Brynlee, grinning at him.
“But, why not? Where are we going?”
“I feel like going shopping.”
“I don’t want to go shopping, that sounds horrible,” said Robbie, “I want to go home. I want to go play in the glade again.”
Brynlee scrunched up her face, displeased with his answer. “Yeah, well, you do that too much. We need to get you some culture or something. You’re always out playing in the woods, falling in ponds, you probably eat bugs when you’re out there don’t you?”
“What? No! I don’t eat bugs. I like bugs.”
“You like bugs? Or do you like like them?”
“What does that mean? Are you trying to say that I’m in love with bugs?”
“Why don’t you marry one?” Brynlee said with a high-pitched, whiny voice.
“I’m the one that’s twelve. You’re supposed to act like an adult.”
“I am acting like an adult. I’m making you be a part of society instead of letting you run around in a loin cloth in the woods like a wild man. Don’t worry, it’s the only time I’m going to do this. I just need to get a present for my boyfriend for our anniversary.”
“I thought you’ve only been going out for five months. Isn’t an anniversary only after a year?”
“It’ll be six months on Saturday, and that’s my day off. So, I’ll be going to see him, and giving him a present for our six-month anniversary.”
“Ugh, I don’t want to go shopping. I don’t want to pick a present for your boyfriend. I don’t want to--”
“I don’t want to. I don’t want to,” Brynlee said in her high-pitched voice again. “I’m going to hold my breath!”
Holding his breath might not be a bad idea. He really had no other options. He couldn’t tell Brynlee about the fairies, because she’d been there when he started seeing them, and she’d seen nothing. She’d only make things worse. She’d assume he was going crazy. She made fun of him now for being a wild boy in a loin cloth, imagine if he told her he was seeing fairies and--what was that other thing? A goblin?--out there, and he wanted to rush home to spend more time with them. He was going to have to grin and bear it for a day at the mall it appeared.
“Good idea. Hopefully I’ll pass out holding my breath. It’ll be better than being at the stupid mall.”
“Better than being at the stupid mall,” she repeated in her whiny voice.
Robbie sighed, and turned to look out the window instead.
He had no idea how long a quick trip to the mall could possibly have taken. They must have stopped in every single store the place offered. Each time, she would ask Robbie if he thought her boyfriend would like something like if he knew the guy. Robbie had never met her boyfriend, and truthfully never wanted to. He’d seen some of the texts that they wrote back and forth to each other, and the guy seemed like a tool.
“Would he like this shirt do you think?” she asked, holding up a Deadpool T-shirt. “Would you like it?”
“I’ve never seen Deadpool. It’s rated R. I don’t really like super heroes anyway. So, I guess, no I wouldn’t like it.”
“Okay,” she said, and put the shirt down, and led him out of the store, and into the one next door, which was a women’s clothing store. Obviously, she wasn’t just looking for something for her boyfriend. She found an armload of clothes to try on, and Robbie had to sit outside on a bench and wait for her. At one point, she came out of the fitting room, and asked what Robbie thought of the shirt she was wearing. It looked like a shirt. That was the best he could offer. Exasperated, she stormed back through the door to make up her mind on her own.
As they walked to the next store, Brynlee noticed a girl about Robbie’s age walking with her mother. “What do you think of that girl?” she asked. “Do you think she’s cute?”
He was getting irritated with Brynlee, but he pushed it down, and tried to look at the girl with an honest eye. She was cute. She looked a lot like Tambrie Phillips, the girl he’d had a crush on at school the year before. Shortish golden hair and pretty eyes. She had braces, which he didn’t like a whole lot because they made girls’ teeth look like they were all black and damaged. He couldn’t really hold it against her though. They weren’t permanent after all. It’s not like she had tattoos on her teeth or something.
“She’s cute, I guess,” he said.
“I guess?” Apparently that wasn’t enough enthusiasm for Brynlee, because as soon as they left the next store--another women’s clothing store, not one for men--she pointed out another girl.
“What about her? Is she cute? Do you want her to be your girlfriend?”
He didn’t bother to give Brynlee an honest answer this time. He wanted to end her prodding.
“No, she’s horrible. A hag. A monster. A freaking gorgon.”
“A...a what?”
“A gorgon. It’s what Medusa was,” he answered.
“Okay, that doesn’t help me any, but I get the gist. I can’t believe you’d say that. I think she’s a cutie.”
“Right, well, why don’t you marry her?”
“Nice one,” she said, “using my own joke against me.”
“I don’t think you can call that a joke, Brynlee. Not if first-graders and kindergartners say that to each other,” Robbie said.
“Yeah, well, whatever.” She looked around the mall, then pointed again. “What about that girl, what do you think of her.” Robbie followed the direction of her finger and discovered that she was pointing at the supermodel in the window of the Victioria’s Secret window, nearly naked except for panties and a push-up bra.
He chuckled a little, but was also embarrassed. He knew little about sex, but he knew what was supposed to be sexy. He’d come along the road to puberty enough that he liked long legs, bare skin, and boobs. His cheeks reddened a little bit, he looked down, and then said, “Yeah, I guess she’s all right. She can be my girlfriend. Why, are you going to introduce us?”
Brynlee laughed, and said, “I sure am.” She grabbed him by the hand and dragged him into the store, a place he did not want to be. He stood there mortified, trying not to look at anything lacy and skimpy, but there was nowhere to turn to avoid it. Brynlee bought something for herself there. Robbie didn’t even know what to call it. It wasn’t a bra or panties, he knew what those were. It was something else, although he thought that stockings at least were involved. He could recognize those.
Then Brynlee surprised him by saying it was time to go. She said she’d gotten the present that she needed for her boyfriend. Robbie didn’t understand, because they’d only bought clothes for her, unless her boyfriend liked to wear tight dresses and...whatever it was they’d gotten at Victoria’s Secret.
They’d spent the morning at the dentist, and the afternoon at the mall, and Robbie couldn’t help but feel extremely resentful of Brynlee as he walked out to the car with her. The sun was already on its way down. By the time they got home, it would be too late for him to go out to the glade to find the fairy. He wanted to see his fairy. He missed her. Brynlee had wasted his entire day, and he despised her for it.
No, that was too much. He didn’t despise Brynlee. She was lazy and inattentive most of the time, but then there were days like today, where she tried really hard to establish a connection, to get through to Robbie and help him feel like there was love in the world and he was entitled to at least a little of it. She thrashed about blindly in every one of her attempts, unable to understand just what it was that mattered to him. She treated her surrogate parenting duties like a one-size-fits-all shirt, except that it of course doesn’t fit all. It didn’t work at all for him. But she was miles better than his own parents, because at least she tried...sometimes. So, he couldn’t despise her.
When they pulled into the driveway, he sighed. Not only did he miss the chance to go see his fairy, but now his mom was home from her trip to New York, and he would have to deal with the awkwardness that pervaded every interaction with her. He felt like walking in the door and saying, “guess what, Mom? Brynlee took me to Victoria’s Secret!” Then he would be able to go to his room and do his own thing while Brynlee enjoyed a stern talking to. But he couldn’t do that. It wasn’t fair to throw Brynlee to the wolves to escape their bite himself, and besides, Victoria’s Secret was probably the one store in the whole mall that he actually enjoyed visiting. They had great pictures on the wall. He didn’t understand yet what all the stuff for sale there was for, but something deep inside him told him that he wanted to.
“Hello, Robert,” said his mother as he and Brynlee walked in the door.
“Robbie, Mom. I like to be called Robbie.”
“I named you, and I will continue to call you by the name you were given. You were named after your great-grandfather, who was a prominent judge. One day, you’ll grow up enough that you will insist that everyone else call you Robert too. Then you’ll understand.”
“God, Mom, you’ve given me that same speech a dozen times. Is that all you brought me back from New York, a recycled lecture?”
“Well, I guess so. You have enough New York souvenirs to fill a whole closet, so I didn’t bother to bring you a new one this time,” she said.
“All right. Well, welcome home, Mom.” He kissed her cheek, and then squeezed past her and headed down the hallway to his room.
He closed the door behind him and went to his window. From here, he could see the path that led down to the glade. He blew a raspberry at the setting sun and the darkening sky, the things that were keeping him from venturing out to see his fairy today. He had a brief fantasy of putting on all black clothing, sneaking out his window, and making his way to the glade in the dark to spend some time teaching her English until they could have a real conversation, and he could learn a little something about her world. He shook his head. It would surely backfire. He’d be caught, and punished which would keep him away from the fairies even longer.
No, instead he settled in with a book about national parks that he’d bought with his birthday money off Amazon. It would be best to get himself in a good state of mind, because any time now his father would be home, and the fireworks would start again.
Tomorrow would be soon enough for the fairies.

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