Books are a uniquely portable magic. ~ Stephen King

Friday, May 21, 2010

Marnie's Rung

Fiction Fridays

This is the next chapter of the novel (or project, as I continue to insist on calling it) that I wrote for NaNoWriMo. It's sat dormant long enough - time for me to take another look at it - and to give you a peek at it as well.

In case you missed something:

Chapter 1: Josh's Table
Chapter 2: The Vista
Chapter 3: Transition

Chapter 4: Brunch
Chapter 5: Ted's Farm
Chapter 6: Helmet Reflections

Chapter 7.
The Real World

Marnie felt as though she was floating, as she hung up her jacket and scarf and made herself a cup of herbal tea. She checked her messages for the first time all day. It was funny how it hadn’t even occurred to her before now. Twenty-one messages appeared on her cell, almost all of them from her mother and her sisters. Nosy bitches would have to wait. She wanted to have tonight to just drink it all in.

In the moments between lying down and falling asleep, Marnie’s thoughts alternated between “this is crazy stupid” and “this is crazy awesome”. The only thing she was sure of when she finally drifted into an uneasy sleep was that this was crazy.

The next day, Marnie had a predictably hard time concentrating. She sat at her desk, she answered her calls, she looked out her window and she thought. She thought things like: “looks like a nice day for a ride…” and, “I wonder what Cal’s doing right now….” and, “that was one helluva kiss…” and, of course, that thought led to others and not a lot of work was getting done. She decided to go ahead and return her mother and her sisters’ calls. She knew what they wanted to talk about and – hell – it was all she wanted to talk about, too.

As she picked up her phone, an IM came through on her computer from Corri. Corrine’s screen name was Enirroc1997. Someone had told her that using your real name online was dangerous, so she had simply spelled hers backwards and added the year she and Alan had gotten married. Marnie wasn’t sure what amused her more – the paranoia that had led to Corrine using an alias or the fact that Corrine actually thought that spelling her name backwards was clever. Ah, why did one have to amuse her more than the other? Both reasons were funny as hell.

Enirroc1997: Hey Marnie – you there?

MarnieH: Morning!

Enirroc1997: Morning? Where the hell have you been? You didn’t answer any of our calls. And you ran out on brunch mighty fast.

MarnieH: you were WORRIED?

Enirroc1997: Well, yes! As a matter of fact we were! I am!

Another chat window opened.

Britwit: MARNIE!!! WTH???

MarnieH: Hey Brit – I’m chatting with Enirroc , too – let me invite you in.

Britwit: enirroc. snort…

MarnieH. You here Brit?

Britwit: yep. u here, enirroc?

Enirroc1997: I will never know why you two find it so funny that I want to keep my family and myself safe from online predators…

Enirroc1997: Anyway, we’re not here to talk about me.

Britwit: tru dat! u have a lot of splainin to do, miss marnie!

MarnieH: since when do I answer to you guys?

Enirroc1997: Since you ran out of brunch and left us with Mom and all of her questions – questions for which we had no answers, I feel compelled to add.

Who IM’s words like “compelled” and phrases like, “questions for which we had no answers”? Oh yeah. Corrine.

MarnieH: No big. A friend asked me to take a ride on his bike out to his brother’s farm.

Britwit: a friend?????

MarnieH: yep

Enirroc1997: A GENTLEMAN friend?

Britwit: a bike?

MarnieH: My friend is a guy, yes.

MarnieH: we rode out, yes.

Britwit: the guy ur bringing to thnx dinner?

MarnieH: I don’t know about that. It’s just – it’s not…shit, you guys – I don’t know what it is.

Enirroc1997: Watch your language, Marnie, the FCC might come after you.

MarnieH: I assure you that the FCC is not monitoring our conversation and neither is anyone else.

Enirroc1997: It must be nice to be so sure of everything.

Britwit: where is that eye-rolling emoticon when I need it?

MarnieH: 

MarnieH: Anyway, he’s very nice and we’re just hanging out.

Britwit: cute?

MarnieH: Devastatingly.

Enirroc1997: Money?

MarnieH: God, Corri – why do you have to be so superficial?

Enirroc1997: Oh, I apologize. Discussing his devastating good looks is deep but inquiring about his means of supporting himself financially is superficial. I’ll make a note of that.

Britwit: corri, u r 2 much.

MarnieH: I better call Mom, if she was actually worried.

Enirroc1997: Telling her you rode to the middle of nowhere on the back of a veritable stranger’s motorcycle should be very reassuring.

Britwit: srsly, corri, how do u even TYPE all that?

Enirroc1997: “Srsly”, Brittany, it doesn’t take that much extra effort to use actual words.

Britwit: wutev

MarnieH: yeah! And sit up straight! And I don’t know why you wear that hair over your eyes like that – you have such a pretty face!

Britwit: lol

Enirroc1997: You really would look prettier with your hair off your face, Brit.

Britwit: roflmao

Enirroc1997: “Wutev”.

Enirroc1997: So, seriously, Marnie – what does he do?

MarnieH: I need to call Mom – you guys free for lunch?

Britwit: i m

Enirroc1997: I suppose I could tear myself free.

Marnie: Hooligan’s at noon?

Enirroc1997: That seems appropriate.

Britwit: ur a hoot enirroc!

Enirroc1997: “Wutev”

MarnieH: Ok, see you both then. Should I invite Mom?

Enirroc1997: I suppose that would save time. She’d just be pumping Brit and I for information anyway – may as well let her hear it from the horse’s mouth.

Britwit: lol ur a horse!

Enirroc1995: lol ur an idiot!

MarnieH: Alright! Noon then! Should be fun!

She exited the chat and dialed their parent’s home.

“Hammond residence”

“Lupe? It’s Marnie.”

“Miss Marnie! Thank God you’re ok – Mrs. Hammond has been so worried!”

“Can I talk to my mom?”

“Yes, yes, I’ll get her!”


“Hey Mom.”

“Don’t you ‘hey Mom’ me, young lady! Your sisters and I tried to call you all day yesterday. Where have you been?”

“Mom? You do know I’m almost 30, right?”

“Darling, you’re still my child”

“I’m sorry I worried you – hey – I’m meeting Corri and Brit for lunch – want to join us?”

“That sounds like fun, actually. I suppose Lupe can hold down the fort. Where and when? I assume you’ll be explaining what was so important that you had to run out on brunch so abruptly.”

“Hooligan’s. Noon.”

Marnie heard her mother sigh.

“I’ll be there.”

“See you then.”

Marnie tried to return to work, but returned to looking out the window instead. She remembered the smell of the hay in the barn and the feel of the sheep’s wooly coat. She thought about Cal’s hands as he pulled her up – how strong and confident he was. She thought about that kiss – how he had kissed her lips, but she had somehow felt it in her whole body. She thought about what it would be like to touch his skin – to feel him…whoa there! Slow down! This was no way to get any work done. What the hell was this? It’s not like she’d never kissed a boy before…

She returned to her computer and stared at the screen. It didn’t make sense. Now kissing Cal – that made sense. That was the sort of idea she could get behind. Not much money in it, though. And heaven knows he wasn’t bringing any in. Was Corrine right? Did that matter? It had mattered to her mother. She left her farm life in a heartbeat when her father came along with promises of a better life. Marnie loved her father, but as far as a better life? She wasn’t so sure her mother had traded up. She’d never seen her parents act as naturally loving as Ted and Susie had acted yesterday on the farm. She imagined her dad casually patting her mom on the bottom as he helped with kitchen chores and shuddered. She couldn’t even work up the visual. Her parents lived in a different world.

It had mattered to her sister. Corrine had chosen her mate carefully, based on potential. Alan came from money. There was a position waiting for him when he got out of school. Money and the right names open a lot of doors. Corrine knew this was the lifestyle she wanted and she wasn’t about to settle for less. Alan had been her first real boyfriend and her only lover. If you could call it love. Alan was always more of a provider than a lover, although there were girls all over town who might disagree with that assessment.

Marnie sighed. She’d known money all her life. She was privileged and she knew it. She had no business feeling superior to Corrine, because she had allowed money to open doors, too. She took that for granted – and why not? It had just always been so. Would her grades alone have gotten her into the school she chose? Maybe. Would she have been able to afford school at all if Daddy hadn’t footed the bill? Probably not. She would have been waiting tables or pursuing a trade. Would she have gotten this job in this office if her last name hadn’t been Hammond? Possible, but unlikely.

Yes, money helped. Money paid for that beautiful condo on the hill and the never ending maintenance on the Shelby in the garage. Money provided the always up to date and stylish wardrobe she was accustomed to sporting. Was this going to offend someone like Cal? When he first picked her up, she saw a glimmer of – what? – something – when he saw her living conditions. She didn’t imagine they were easily comparable to his own. Was she ready or even willing to compromise on that? And what the hell was she doing here, anyway? They’d had one date – sort of – and one kiss. She reminded herself to keep it in perspective. She had never even seen where he lived. He might live in a mansion, for God’s sake, and just be slumming at Josh’s for kicks! On the other, more likely hand, he might not. Besides – this was a lot of conjecture based on one stupid kiss (there was nothing stupid about that kiss).

Ok. Work, Marnie. Get something accomplished, here. You’re acting like a school girl. A cute boy kissed you. How nice. Get over it! It’s Monday! Work!

Marnie didn’t listen to herself. She looked out the window and tapped a pen against her desk. Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap. Her cell rang. Cal.

“I was just thinking about you!” Marnie said, her smile splitting her face and her fingers absentmindedly twirling her hair.

A brief note about this chapter: Anyone who has ever attempted to text with me, knows that my texting style most closely resembles that of Corrine. I am not proud of this. Needless to say, I don't text much. I enlisted the help of my thirteen year old daughter to try to make Marnie and Brittany's styles more organic to their characters. Some of the changes she made made me cringe, but I think they were ultimately good. It was so much fun working with my kiddo! Thanks, Lea!

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