Friday, November 7, 2014

Excerpt 1 - The Body Caches

The ride out of town was weighed down with awkward silence. I fidgeted with the door handle, my fingernails, anything within reach. Keaton kept clearing his throat like he was going to say something but then he would get quiet.
“You going to talk to me or not?”
“I’m not sure what to say.”
“What do you mean? You said you wanted to talk to me, so talk.”
“I still love you.”
“Does your girlfriend know that?”
“How did you know I had a girlfriend?”
“I’m not stupid. The pissed off girl at the bar? She looks like your type.”
“Whatever. It doesn’t matter. Brodie, I love you.”
“Keaton, --“
“Brodie, just stop. I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to make a whole shitload of excuses why we can’t be together and why I don’t really love you. And you’re more full of shit now than you were on that fucking plane. You’re going to find every excuse in the world to run away.”
I sat there in silence, staring at him. I was so mad I could have screamed. But the only person I was really mad at was myself. He was right. As soon as he said he loved me I started making excuses. I was running. If I kept running I couldn’t get hurt. I was just lonely. While I was trying to think of something to say I looked out the window in time to see the horse pasture on the corner of the street I lived on. After the neighbor’s house there was nothing but woods on both sides of the gravel road for five miles. My house was on the left, set back from the road, and surrounded by huge oak and pine trees.
Keaton pulled into my driveway and parked in front of the garage. He turned off the ignition and threw his keys on the dash. I still hadn’t come up with something to say to him. Everything I could think of seemed wrong.
“Brodie, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I asked you to marry me. I’m sorry that I wanted to stay in St. Louis one more night. I’m sorry that I moved out. I’m sorry that the only reason I got a chance to be with you was because some sick fuck killed Grayson. I’m sorry for everything. I’m sorry. I can’t change anything. If I could, I would. I would change a lot of things but I wouldn’t change the fact that I love you.”
“Okay, Keaton, you love me. What’s the purpose of telling me that?”
“Kailee wants to get married.”
“Kailee. Are you going to marry her?”
“She’s pregnant.”
“Oh. Wow.”
“Yeah. So, yeah, I’m probably going to marry her.”
“Excited? About the kid, I mean?”
“No. I don’t love her. I’m not even sure the kid is mine. We haven’t been dating that long. “
“Don’t marry her. If you aren’t sure the kid is yours and you don’t love her, then don’t marry her.”
“Why not?”
“Why not? Are you kidding me? You want to marry a girl you don’t love and take care of a child that you’re not even sure is yours?”
“I like her a lot. And so what if the kid isn’t mine? I’m just going to leave her? Pregnant?”
“Well, I hope you’re at least going to make her sign a pre-nup.”
“A pre-nup? Are you crazy?”
“No. I’m not an idiot like you. She’s a pregnant cocktail waitress who saw you with money falling out of your pockets and seized the opportunity. She’ll get you for everything you’ve got when you divorce.”
“What makes you so sure we will get a divorce? How do you know I won’t fall in love with her and have a happy life with her?”
“I don’t.”
I turned away and stared out the passenger window, watching a fox stalking a bird in my front yard. I didn’t want him to see the tears welling up in my eyes. I did love him but I had spent so much time convincing myself I would eventually lose him that I pushed him away. I watched him out of the corner of my eye as he reached a tan hand up to grab his keys off the dash. He fidgeted with the keys, trying to watch me without me noticing.
“You gonna get out? We’re here. Home sweet home.”
“Keaton, I—“
“Just don’t, Brodie. Everything out of your mouth is horse shit and excuses. I don’t even know why I told you or why I acted like your opinion matters. It doesn’t. Tell Braelynn I miss her and I love her.”
“I’m trying to talk to you. You wanted to talk so that’s what I’m trying to do.”
He put the keys in the ignition and cranked the truck. He placed one hand on the steering wheel, leaned across me, and opened my door. I caught a whiff of his Cool Water cologne and tried not to cry. I missed that smell in my sheets.
“Just save it, Brodie. Belittle someone else. I have to go back to work.”
I turned to get out of the truck and suddenly changed my mind. I had some things I needed to get off my chest. I was beginning to wish I had walked my ass home. Keaton was typing away on his phone when I turned the motor off, snatched the keys, and threw them into the front yard.
“Have you lost your damn mind?”
“I lose it anytime I’m around you! You make me nuts! You make me so crazy, Keaton. That’s why I avoid seeing you. I feel like I’m losing my mind anytime I’m around you. See, I just repeated myself! Why in the hell would you marry that girl if you don’t love her?”
“This really bothers you doesn’t it?”
“You’re supposed to marry someone you love.”
“I tried to. You said no.”
“And then you just walked out, so you’re no better. You’ve made me feel like shit about this for two years and have never once thought about the fact that I didn’t give up on our relationship. You did. You walked out on me because I said no. You looked me in my eyes, told me you couldn’t live without me and loved me so much but as soon as I said no you walked out! And what do you know?! You’re still breathing! And doing better than ever! And if you want Braelynn to know that you miss her and love her why don’t you try telling her your damn self! Do you know how hard it was to explain to that little girl why you left after she just lost her father? You didn’t just walk out on me, you asshole. You walked out on her too and you never even looked back. You just kept on trucking, you selfish bastard. WE LOVED YOU! We still love you, you bastard. Yeah, okay, I fucked up because I said no to your proposal but did you ever once stop to think about why I said no? Did you ever stop and put yourself in my place and maybe see where the thought of marrying someone else might scare the hell out of me? I was scared to lose you. It might sound stupid but I was scared. And instead of even having any kind of discussion about it when we got home and had calmed down, you just packed your shit and left. Adios. Goodbye, Brodie! Hello, Kailee with the stripper name and the fake tits. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to pick up the pieces and answer questions Braelynn has every single damn day about when we’re going to stop being mad at each other and get back together. The person you really ought to be talking to is her. ”

Keaton just sat there staring at me. I felt tears rolling down my cheek and I knew I couldn’t sit there anymore. I got out of the truck, shut the door, and walked up the driveway. I opened the screen door of the back porch and Roscoe met me with a dead squirrel hanging out of his mouth. 

There's the first excerpt from my NaNoWriMo work-in-progress. Let me know if you love it, hate it, want to burn it, etc. And as always, Happy NaNoing! 
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