Thursday, March 13, 2014

Another sample from "Descent" (two new scenes)

Hey all,

I know I said I was going to do a posting on the Night Terrors phenomenon and how they tie into the Birthrite series. Well, with releasing my short story, The Cemetery by the Lake, getting the Horror Realm Interviews posted, as well as getting things that due soon together (including having the final drafts of "Descent" and "Sacred Atonement" ready to go for late spring/early summer), I'm going to have to push that to next week. Things just piled up this week, and before I knew it was Thursday (Blog Post Day).

BUT to make it up to you guys, I'm giving you one of the more recent drafts of Chapters 18 and 19 of "Descent." They are actually two of the new scenes that are not present in the first draft.

One of the greatest flaws I saw with the first draft was the lack of showing any real relationship between Dorothy and her mother (which is pretty essential). Part of this was due to the fact that I hadn't intended for Dorothy (or really anyone from Book 1) to be such an integral part of the story. In fact, as I stated in one of my vlogs, what ended up being the entirety of Book 1 was only supposed to be a Prologue and the first couple chapters of the book. What was supposed to be the rest of Book 1 ended up being Book 2 (and the story of Dorothy and Carl ended much differently and it just was not right...characters can be really stubborn if you're not telling their story the way it should be).

So in later drafts, I established relationships a little more prior to all the events taking place. I establish Carl a little more (we get inside his mind a little more).

Here are Chapters 18 and 19. These are from a more recent draft, meaning I'm still editing. :)

Read after the jump. :)






CHAPTER 18

The hands on the nightstand clock pointed at ten minutes after five as Dorothy emerged from the washroom. It was the first Friday in October, and nearly a month since she and Carl went steady. Throughout that first month, a typical date for the two involved doubling with another couple or group outings with friends but Carl had surprised her that Monday, asking her to go on a real date.
“Sure!” she had said, unable to hide her excitement.
Carl exhaled and smiled. “Great.”
“Of course…I’ll have to check with my parents,” she added, “but I’m sure they’ll be fine with it.”
Dorothy had been caught off-guard, not only by the date suggestion, but also how nervous Carl appeared when asking. For as long as most of the student body had known one another since childhood, she had never figured him to be one lacking in confidence, and as of their first date at the Hollywood Cinema with Jimmy and Linda, their relationship had been solidified.
Carl and Dorothy had also both managed through dinner with the other’s family. Dorothy had got on very well with Paul and Gladys Turner, along with their two other children, fourteen-year-old Mark and twelve-year-old Emily. As for Carl, he did manage to win her parents over, though Matthew still behaved in a reserved fashion toward him.
“Don’t worry, dear,” Liz had assured her daughter. “Your father is just keeping Carl on his toes.”
Mr. Blake’s approach did seem to be proving affective, as Carl constantly went out of his way trying to land in Matthew’s good graces.
And perhaps that is why he seemed so nervous when asking me for a real date, she thought, hoping that her mother was right. Matthew had always been protective of Dorothy as his only child, and what had occurred on that night ten years ago only escalated that…
She shuddered, pushing the memory from her mind and set her mind to focus on anticipating an enjoyable evening; the first date on which she and Carl would be out together alone.
Maybe he’ll actually kiss me, too…
Her heart fluttered at the possibility of receiving her first real kiss. She entered her bedroom, freshly showered and set to finish making herself ready.
The dress she planned to wear was spread out on her bed. Butterflies filled her stomach as she picked it up and held it in front of her. It was pale blue (setting off the blue in her eyes), and brand new off the rack. Dorothy and her mother had bought the dress when shopping for the Homecoming/Autumn Dance that Tuesday after school with Gail, Janina Carr, Eva Parker, and Linda, who was nominated for Homecoming Princess with Caroline Tate and Cassandra Scaife. With the receding economy, brand new clothing was a rare luxury for those in the middle class who managed to remain afloat. Dorothy had insisted to her mother that she was perfectly fine with making her own dress as she had been sewing most of her clothing since middle school. But Liz had insisted on taking her daughter shopping.

“Honey, it’s your first dance,” Liz said. “You deserve nothing more than for the occasion to be special. I’ve already discussed it with your father, and he has also given his blessing on buying you something new.”

Dorothy swallowed back the lump in her throat as she recalled her mother’s eyes when they had had that conversation. Liz really seemed intent on ensuring that her daughter had the best time she possibly could on her first time going to a dance.
At One Enchanted Evening, the town’s formal wear shop, Eva Parker had fussed over her daughter to a point that annoyed Linda terribly as the mother and daughter struggled to make a decision between a very pretty pink gown and a white chiffon formal dress with pink trim. In the end, the more sophisticated white chiffon was chosen, and Linda was visibly relieved when her mother left them to make the purchase.
While Eva was out of hearing range, Linda sauntered over to Gail and Dorothy. “It won’t be long before we go to pick out a wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses!” She dropped her voice to a whisper. “And negligee shopping for our wedding night. I need you both to help me choose something really special. Something he hasn’t seen me in yet.”
“Fine,” Gail said. “But if our bridesmaid dresses have to be pink, can they at least not be frilly?”
Of course, Gail had chosen a very sleek dress in a deep red hue for the dance, and Dorothy had found one she liked in a butternut color. During the conversation with Linda and Gail, she had spied the simple, pale blue dress over on another rack. Dorothy excused herself and walked over to have a look. She had been worrying over what to wear for her first real date with Carl. Nothing she already owned seemed right for the occasion; at the time of the shopping trip, she had selected a skirt pattern and material from the sewing room with the intention of making a new skirt to go with one of her tapered light sweaters. But that first glance at the dress changed everything. It was perfect, the only one of its kind within the store and somehow seeming out of place, seeming more suited for a date night than a formal event. She checked the tag and found the price was within her family’s budget.
Liz had agreed to purchase the dress, saying, “We’ll just tell your father it’s an early birthday present.”

Dorothy looked over her reflection in the full length mirror next to her closet, amazed at how perfectly the dress fit her.
The only one in the store and it just happened to be my size…as though it was there waiting for me… It was a silly notion that she shook off, though still marveled at her luck. Luck of the Irish, I suppose.
With her dress on and her hair styled, makeup was the final step. She glanced back at the clock, seeing that she had twenty minutes left before Carl was to arrive.
Even after a month of going steady, the mere thought of him was enough for her body to weaken in stance. While a certain thrill did come with being the girlfriend of a guy with the reputation of a rebel, the softness she always thought she saw in him was becoming evident as the two spent more time together. Carl made her feel cared for, always behaving as nothing less than a gentleman. Anytime they were out together, whether in town or at school, he held her hand and often sat with his arm around her shoulders. Every so often, he would place the occasional sweet kiss on her cheek, an act that stirred a longing heat within her core. Since freshman year, she had fantasized of the day he would take her into his arms and kiss her as those in the movies or her books always have. She had the feeling he wanted to do more than pecks on the cheek, but was—for some reason—holding back.
Dorothy sighed as she applied light rouge. All the years I spent being a wallflower…
She never regretted her passion for literature, it being part of who she was. But there has to be balance…at least that’s what I want.
As she thought on it, the question of what exactly had been holding her back all these years was a mystery to her. A person can enjoy a quiet hobby, like reading, and still be sociable. Gail is a perfect example of that. She has found a boy who loves and respects her for who she is…
“…and she is not about to change herself unless she wants to,” Dorothy finished aloud.
She and Gail had been reading a lot about the Women’s Suffrage at the turn of the century. While Dorothy never thought she could be as headstrong as Susan B. Anthony or Carrie Cat Chapman, she had much admiration and respect for those women, and hoped that, like them, she could carry with her the courage to stand true in what she believed, regardless of what doing so entailed. She hoped Carl would be one to respect and stand by her, just as Reginald supported Gail.
The doorbell’s ring jolted her. She turned to glance back at the clock. Carl was to arrive at six, and it was exactly that time. Her heart raced as she heard her mother open the door and greet Carl, followed by his voice entering into the foyer.
Dorothy took in a calming breath and applied final light dab of lipcolor as the conversation between her date and her parents flowed up to the closed bedroom door.
“Just have a good time tonight,” she told her reflection. “Nothing less.”
She grabbed her handbag and placed her lipcolor inside before heading downstairs.
From the bottom of the stairwell, Carl, Matthew, and Liz all turned their eyes up at Dorothy as she descended. Her mother’s eyes smiled as they beheld her in the new dress. Her father nodded approvingly, though his expression was far away.
Dorothy’s eyes locked with Carl’s as she reached the bottom of the stairwell, his handsome face reflecting nervous tension.
“Hello, Dorothy,” he said.
“Hi, Carl…”
He helped her on with her light jacket before the two headed out the front door. Matthew followed after them, reiterating the ten ‘o’ clock curfew which Carl always promised (and never failed) to return her by.
As the door shut behind them, Dorothy was hit with a sudden thought. I wonder if I’m the first girl he’s ever gone with who happens to have a curfew…I heard Bernice doesn’t have one…and I hardly doubt that other girl, Veronica, had one, especially if she was twenty and hung around speakeasies…he still hasn’t kissed me either, yet goes out of his way trying to get along with my dad…he wouldn’t be doing that if he didn’t have an intention of staying, would he?
She peered at him through the corner of her eye as he walked beside her, close enough but still maintaining a safe distance between them.
“You look gorgeous tonight,” he said. A slight tremor was in his voice.
“Thank you,” Dorothy stammered. “The dress is new…”
“It brings out your eyes,” he said, lowering his own.
“Thanks…”
Both were silent for a moment before Carl spoke up again. “I, um…have a surprise for you. Well, sort of…”
Dorothy turned to look at him. “Really? What is it?”
He drew in a breath. “Well…I didn’t want to say anything too soon, but I think I’ll have enough cash saved up to get my car when I turn eighteen this month.”
“Carl! That’s wonderful!” she cried.
He smiled and relaxed his stance. “I don’t know what kind it will be yet. My dad and Mr. Kratz are helping me decide. But I figured this way, I could take you around much easier when it gets colder. And…you’ll also have a boyfriend with a car.”
Dorothy felt her stomach jump. Everything about the idea excited her, especially hearing Carl refer to himself as being her boyfriend. Her nerves danced at the realization that he had been thinking ahead to a longer term with their relationship.
“That sounds lovely. I can’t wait,” she said, and slowly reached over to take the inside of his elbow as they walked. Carl’s reaction to the physical contact seemed to be a mélange of surprise, relief, and something else Dorothy was unable to place.
He drew in another breath while placing his hands in his pant pockets. “I also thought that…maybe tonight, we can go someplace different from the usual haunts…”
Dorothy frowned. “Really? What did you have in mind?”
“I thought we would try that little café down the road from Chuck’s…” He looked tentatively at her.
Dorothy could feel her core rush. “Carl…”
The café had a smaller, more intimate (romantic) atmosphere with the décor made to imitate a bistro in Italy and offered a nice variety of food. It was slightly more expensive than Chuck’s Diner or the other hangouts typical of high school students. Dorothy also knew her parents often went to *insert name of café* together on their own date nights.
Carl shrugged. “Well, you know…I thought it would be a nice change of scenery for our first real night out together. And…someplace we’d be less likely to run into kids from school and have our time with each other interrupted…” His voice trailed off. “Of course, if you’d prefer going to Chuck’s or the Pizza Palace…”
“No,” she said. “No…it’s perfect.”
When they arrived at *name of café*, Carl opened the door for her, but not before pulling a single red rose from inside his jacket.
Dorothy accepted the flower from him. “Thank you…it’s beautiful…”
“It compliments you well,” he said.
She fought the heat threatening to cover her face, and her knees nearly buckled when his hand touched the small of her back as he stepped aside for her to enter in ahead of him.
Throughout dinner, Dorothy’s stomach was in knots, though she managed to eat most of what was on her plate. The two maintained steady conversation despite a pronounced awkwardness not present during previous times together.
As they finished dessert, Carl said, “There’s something else I have for you.”
“What?” Dorothy asked, setting down the spoon in her small ice cream dish.
“Well, Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney is playing at the Hollywood. I know you said one time that it’s one of your favorite books…so I thought…we could maybe go see it together.”
Dorothy stared at him. “Carl…thank you!”
It was all she could say.

Dorothy could feel Carl’s gaze as they sat in the darkened cinema. He held her hand, giving it the occasional gentle squeeze. Halfway through the film, he placed an arm around her shoulders, bringing her as close to him as the theater seats would allow. She responded by laying her head in the crook of his neck and felt his chin resting on her temple while she held onto the rose he had given her.
At the end of the film, they walked side by side out of the cinema, stepping onto the paved sidewalk and underneath the night sky. The waning gibbous moon lit the path on which Carl walked Dorothy home in the remaining half hour before the curfew her parents had set for her was to end. Their steps were slow, both with a wanting of prolonging their evening together for as much as the clockface hands would allow. With their fingers laced together, the magnetic pulse from a month prior began circulating between them.
The two were about to cross under a lamppost about a block away from the Blake residence when Carl paused.
“What is it? Is something wrong?” Dorothy asked, still clutching the rose’s stem. Did I do something wrong?
He turned to her, his eyes intense and blazing. “Dorothy…I…”
The night’s cool breeze circled around them, contrasting with the warmth of the light that pulsed from the lamppost. She could feel her heart pounding against the wall of her chest as he stepped in to her, never taking away his gaze. His hands took hold of her waist, and drew her in until his mouth was only inches from hers. Her breath hitched as she saw the slight tilt of his head and his face draw closer. Before her mind could comprehend anything in that moment, she felt his lips landing softly onto hers.
Dorothy tensed and let out a surprised moan. She was dizzy with realization as he wrapped his arms around her trembling body, holding on to her as though afraid she would slip away.
Elation replaced her initial shock, and she returned his kiss, bringing her hands to his shoulders. She thought she could feel their hearts beating rapidly in time with one another as the warmth of the lamp’s light mingled with the crisp autumn night and penetrated their beings.
Neither wanted the kiss to end, and were still lost in each other after parting.
Carl’s chest heaved from his deep breaths. “I’ve been wanting to do that for a while,” he said, barely above a whisper.
Dorothy looked into his hazel-green eyes. “What took you so long?” was what she wanted to reply with, but all she could do was stand breathless in the aftermath.
The two embraced again, both wishing for just a moment that the breeze would carry them somewhere far away, where time was not of an essence and curfews did not exist.
“I have to get you home,” Carl finally said.
“I know,” she managed.
They reluctantly parted from one another and walked the rest of the way in a serene and knowing silence.
As they approached the walkway leading up to the Blake house, Carl paused, causing Dorothy to do the same. She looked up into his eyes to see him regarding her with the same intensity he had beneath the lamppost. He turned to her, taking both her hands in his.
“Carl…” she said, glancing nervously toward her house.
She turned back to him before he gave her lips a quick but gentle kiss. He then turned to face the front door as someone afraid that his girl’s father would, at any second, come barging onto the porch with a loaded shotgun.
The fact of the matter was that Matthew and Liz had both been at a window in the foyer and had witnessed the goodnight kiss. Matthew regarded the young couple, appearing as someone having swallowed a shard of glass while Liz placed an assuring hand on her husband’s shoulder. There was nothing either could do to prevent Dorothy from growing up. She had come a long way from being the frightened, timid young girl she had been since the age of seven. Their daughter was almost a woman. No longer a little girl. No longer Matthew Blake’s little girl. She was a young woman falling in love, and from what Matthew and Liz were able to see, Carl’s feelings seemed mutual.
Carl and Dorothy walked hand in hand to the front door, their eyes still fixed on one another.
“I’ll give you a ring tomorrow,” he said as they stood facing one another in the dim porch light. “Is around two all right?”
“That’s fine,” she said. They stood in another moment of silence before Dorothy finally wished Carl goodnight.
He opened his mouth as if to tell her something, but stopped himself. Instead, he nodded and simply responded with, “Goodnight, Baby.”
Her heart swelled at that first term of endearment. She so much wanted to throw her arms around him and fiercely kiss his gorgeous mouth, but being conscious of her parents’ presence on the other side, she turned and placed her hand on the doorknob.
Carl’s footsteps retreated down the porch steps. Dorothy turned around to see him standing in the walkway looking back at her. She smiled, giving him a small wave before retreating through the front door. After shutting it behind her, she peered out the front window and saw him take a final glance at the house before disappearing down the block toward his own, watching him until he was gone from view.
The sounds of her mother making preparations for the following morning’s breakfast echoed out from inside the kitchen. She found both of her parents there; her father sat at the table reading over the evening paper while her mother stood at the open refrigerator, setting a plate of bacon she had brought up from the ice chest in the cellar onto the middle shelf.
Dorothy approached the entryway. “I’m home,” she said.
Matthew and Liz looked over to their daughter and only child.
“Hello, sweetheart,” her mother said. “How did the evening go?”
“It was so wonderful!” Dorothy wanted to swoon, but maintained her composure. “It was very nice,” she said.
Liz smiled. “Good. I’m actually going to go visit with Gladys tomorrow afternoon for lunch.” Her gaze fell to the flower her daughter held. “Oh! Carl gave you a rose!”
Dorothy returned her mother’s smile before looking down sheepishly. “Yes…he did…”
Liz wiped her hands on a dish towel. “I actually have a small vase for you to put that in,” she said, and exited the kitchen for the sitting room.
Dorothy’s eyes turned toward her father, who was gazing at the rose wistfully before his eyes met his daughter’s.
“Here you are,” Liz said, re-entering the kitchen with a small, crystal vase.
Dorothy frowned at the beautiful—but expensive—vase. “That was Aunt Roxanne’s.”
Liz’s face fell, but she regained her composure, smiling slightly. “You know…my sister told me specifically to give this to you the first time a boy gave you a flower.”
Before Dorothy could say another word, her mother was at the sink, filling the vase with water and returning it to place the rose in, which fit perfectly (almost as though it’s supposed to be there).
“Thank you,” Dorothy said.
Liz nodded and turned back toward the breakfast food on the counter.
After a brief silence, Dorothy said, “Well, I’m going up to bed. Linda and Gail want me to call them tomorrow morning after breakfast. I also have to return a couple books to the library, and Calvin and I need to work on something for Chemistry there too.”
“Alright,” Liz replied. “Goodnight, honey.”
“Goodnight, mom.” She set the vase and rose onto the table, and went to her mother and father, giving both a goodnight hug.
“Goodnight, sweetheart,” Matthew said, embracing his daughter.
“Goodnight, dad. Love you both.”
“We love you too,” Matthew replied.
Dorothy reclaimed the rose and hurried up the stairs to her bedroom. She closed the door and set the vase down beside the small radio on her nightstand before flopping onto her bed, beaming as she replayed the evening in her mind right up until the moment under the lamppost. Her lips tingled at the memory of her first kiss. And it was with Carl!
She gazed up at the dream catcher hanging from the ceiling above the headboard, an artifact of her Ojibwe and Sioux heritage.
It’s only the beginning…she thought. Next weekend is the Autumn Dance! Then Carl’s eighteenth birthday on the 25th, and then George Kolinski’s Halloween party, then the Winter Formal…
Her mind wandered as she stared up at the feathers dangling from the beaded web and the word ‘marriage’ suddenly began forming. It caught her off guard, and she wasn’t sure if such thoughts were simply a result from hearing Linda chatter on about her own pending wedding to Jimmy.
Dorothy Turner…Dorothy Blake-Turner…Mrs. Carl Turner…
She was losing herself in the memory of his eyes…was it love she saw in them that evening?
Dorothy brought such ideas to a halt. We’ve not even been together for a month. No one falls in love that quickly. Not even in literature…and if they do, it almost always ends very badly…Romeo and Juliet is a classic example of what not to do.
But what of your great-grandparents?
Dorothy sat up and looked around her bedroom. “Where did that come from?” she wondered aloud.
The voice was pronounced, comforting, and somewhat familiar. She hadn’t heard anything like it since the age of twelve and had always assumed it had been the result of her childhood imagination.
But now I’m hearing it again…
Whatever it was spoke the truth. The stories of Jonathan and Kimimela Blake told of the two falling in love upon their first meeting, becoming engaged after two months of courtship, and then going on to be happily married for over sixty years.
Her heart palpitated as the memory of the kiss she shared with Carl filled her once again, and the sensations felt during that moment returned. She recalled his hands on her waist and against the small of her back. She thought of the way her hand felt inside his, and how gentle he always was when touching her…everything led to more wonder of that passionate, physical pleasure Linda spoke of so often.
A few couples from school made use of parties, dances, and other events that allowed them time away from parental watch to their advantage. Gail had also been talking about plans she and Reginald had of using a forthcoming event to finally be together in the married way. The slightest thought of lying on a bed beside Carl as his hands and mouth explored her body stirred a sensation within her that resembled the temptation of partaking in the forbidden fruit. Such an experience seemed almost unfathomable. Her lower body squirmed as she lay back against the pillows on her bed. The feelings she had were ones she wanted to stop, yet couldn’t.
‘I wonder how long it took for him to kiss Bernice…or that girl, Veronica, from the speakeasy…or Juliette Sims…’ The voice was a soft whisper, distant and ominous though clear as a bell.
Her fantasy of Carl stilted as she bolted up. Chills prickled her skin, and a feeling of being watched seeped into the air of her bedroom. She knew the feeling, as it almost mirrored the oppressiveness present during that horrible nightmare years ago…the one she was unable to recall details of…
Dorothy sat planted to her bed, waiting for it to pass. She willed her breathing back to normal and decided to pretend the incident did not happen. I’m not a little girl anymore…I shouldn’t be indulging in such nonsense…
She slowly got ready for bed and picked out Wuthering Heights to read. It was a book she had made a tradition of reading every autumn since age thirteen.
After only the third chapter, her eyelids grew heavy. She marked her place and set the book on her nightstand between her wolf figurine and her Aunt Roxanne’s crystal vase holding Carl’s rose. With another glance, she pulled the small chain on the lamp, enveloping her room in darkness.
The moon remained bright outside, casting its beam into the room through the light blue and cream bedroom curtains. Above her, the dream catcher seemed to glisten as a spider’s web would on a dewy spring morning. She stared up at it with the love story of her great-grandparents playing through her mind.
As much as they had loved each other, the relationship of Jonathan and Kimimela had not been without challenges, some of which threatened to tear them apart.
Dorothy’s last thoughts before drifting into sleep were questions on what the future held. She wondered where life’s road would take her, and if Carl would have a part in it.


CHAPTER 19

Gail plopped down onto the bed beside Linda. “Alright, girl, we want details.”
Dorothy was seated facing her friends with her back cushioned by the pillows against her headboard. Linda and Gail had arrived at the Blake home on that late Saturday morning for the scoop on the date with Carl.
There was no use in hiding the thrill Dorothy still felt from the night before, and her body trembled as she recounted the first kiss.
Shrill screams erupted from Gail and Linda at the revelation as they leapt across the bed, throwing their arms around Dorothy.
“So…tell! How was it?” Linda asked.
“Well, to be honest…amazing!” Dorothy replied.
“And the dance is on Friday!” Linda said. “I’m sure he’ll kiss you again!” She lowered her voice. “Actually, some rooms at the Kolinski’s bed and breakfast will be available. George’s older brother, Doug, will be watching the place while their parents are gone visiting relatives for the weekend. He keeps track of all the rooms that are being used and never snitches. If you and Carl really wanted some alone time…”
Dorothy rose to standing. “Linda, I don’t think I’m ready for that. Besides, even though my parents have extended my curfew for the dance, they still want me home by midnight. I don’t want to ruin things by doing something that could really get me in trouble. But let me guess. You and Jimmy already have a room set up?”
Linda grinned. “You know it.” She turned to Gail. “What about you and Reg?”
Gail smiled and appeared uncharacteristically sheepish. “Well…we actually might be taking advantage of that…”
Linda’s eyes widened. “Gail! You and Reg are planning to go all the way? Well, I do know his eyes will definitely be falling out of his head the second he sees you in that vampy red dress.”
“Well…I’m not entirely sure,” Gail said. “I mean, we’re not going to rush or force anything…but we do want to see where things can go if we’re really alone…and in case that happens, Reg will be coming prepared. Jimmy’s actually going to get him what he needs and of course, George has connections as well.”
“And I’m sure George will be taking Caroline to his parents’ place too,” Linda added.
The mention of the Kolinski bed and breakfast ignited the flame of desire inside Dorothy all over again. Images of being with Carl in a softly lit bedroom materialized. She could almost feel him standing behind her as his fingers unbuttoned the back of her dress…
“Dorothy!” Once again, Linda’s voice interrupted her fantasies of Carl.
“Huh…”
Linda grinned. “I know that look. You’re thinking of Carl again, aren’t you? Admit you’re a tiny bit curious of going all the way…”
Dorothy swallowed and shrugged. “Alright, I can admit it, I suppose. But that doesn’t mean I’m ready for it to happen. We’ve only been together for a month. Even you and Jimmy were together for a year before it happened with you two. And if Gail and Reg decide to, it would be longer for them.”
But remember, the rumors of Carl and Bernice started after only a week of them going together…
The thought was like a blow to Dorothy’s gut, but she managed to ignore it and maintain her composure. “So what time do your parents want you home?” she asked Gail.
“One,” Gail replied. “Reg’s parents are pretty much allowing him out as late as he wants.”
“Jimmy’s parents do the same with him,” Linda said. “Though they don’t with Amanda.”
“My parents were the same way with my brothers before they both moved out,” Gail said shaking her head. “Always more protective of daughters than sons. Ever notice that?”
Linda shrugged. “I don’t know about that. Sometimes I think my parents are only too happy to hand me over to Jimmy. But I suppose I don’t mind. As long as I have my Jimmy, everything in my life is complete.”
The three girls stayed Dorothy’s bedroom until eleven. “Carl’s supposed to call me at around two,” she said.
“Well, then of course you’ll have to tell us how that goes later,” Gail said.
“How is Carl with you meeting Calvin at the library?” Linda asked.
“We’re lab partners,” Dorothy said. “Why should it be an issue?”
“For the love of all that is holy, Linda,” Gail groaned.
“Hey, it’s a legitimate question,” Linda protested. “You know how jealous guys can be. I’m sure Reginald gets that way sometimes.”
“Reg and I have something in our relationship called trust.”
“So do Jimmy and me, but I know he would be upset if I were meeting up with another guy.”
“Linda, I’ll put your mind at ease by saying that Calvin and I will be under the watchful eyes of Mrs. Stratton and James Livingston,” Dorothy said.
Gail snickered as Linda huffed.
The girls ended their meeting by making plans to go to the Pizza Palace that evening and then to sleep over at Linda’s.
“A night without our boyfriends so we can talk about them,” Gail mused.
Dorothy smiled. “Sounds great. I do have to be up in the morning for Mass, though.”
The girls parted ways in the walkway at the front of the Blake residence and Dorothy headed to the library.
Calvin sat underneath the statue likeness of James Livingston and waved when he saw Dorothy approaching. They entered the building, passing by the life-sized portrait of the town’s founder that hung near the entryway. The painting was unique in a sense that it was almost as close to life as a photograph. She stole a quick glance at it before heading to the desk of Carol Stratton, the librarian, to return the books she had borrowed.
As she and Calvin worked on the Chemistry assignment, her eyes would occasionally wander to the case in which James Livingston’s journals were displayed. In order to read through them, the librarian had to open the display case with a key, and taking the books out of the building was not permitted. Dorothy had read through some of them, even catching mention of her family in a few entries. It was fascinating to see and she had a sudden urge to read through them again.

Dorothy returned home in time for lunch and reminded her parents of the plans she had made earlier with Linda and Gail. Both Matthew and Liz voiced their approval.
As promised, Carl phoned at around two. Liz answered the phone and seemed only too glad to hand the phone to Dorothy. She was even able to make her husband leave the room with her.
Dorothy took the receiver. “Hi, Carl,” she said beaming.
“Hi, baby,” he said with a seeming newfound confidence. Her stomach flipped at the sound of his voice.
As they talked, she told him of her plans for the evening with Linda and Gail.
“I guess that means I’m having a night with the guys,” he said. “I’ll be thinking about you, though.”
“I’ll be thinking about you, too,” she said, dropping her voice slightly.
There was a long pause before Carl said, “I’ll also be thinking about the next time I’ll get to kiss you.”
Dorothy’s heart pounded. “Me too…” was all she could manage.
“What are you doing tomorrow?”
“Well…um…I have to go to Mass in the morning with my parents, but after that…I don’t have plans yet.”
“Well, how about phoning me when you get back from church? My family and I should also be back by about noon. Maybe we can get a soda or something.”
Dorothy smiled. “Sure,” she said.
“And maybe I can take you somewhere private where we can neck a little…if you’re comfortable with that.”
“Okay…” she replied, sitting down in a chair to keep her legs from trembling.
Her skin felt hot and flushed by the time she hung up the phone, and she was only too grateful that her parents were not present.

As Matthew and Liz were headed to the Kratz’s home for dinner, Dorothy met up with her friends at Linda’s. Of course, before they left, Jimmy had phoned Linda to tell her how much he was going to be missing her that night. Linda had taken the call in the sitting room and was speaking to her boyfriend in a quiet tone.
As the two girls waited, Gail’s eyes met Dorothy’s, both filled with mischief. Dorothy grinned and the two girls tiptoed over to the sitting room just in time to hear Linda say, “I love you more, Love Pumpkin.”
Gail and Dorothy looked at each other, their eyes wide as hysterical laughter threatened to burst from their mouths. They ran back to the foyer as quietly as they could, their faces red from holding back what was about to erupt. Linda emerged soon after, and the two other girls lost all self control.
“LOVE PUMPKIN?!!” Gail roared, which only made Dorothy laugh even harder.
Horror crossed Linda’s face, followed by defensiveness. “Oh, and I suppose you don’t have a pet name for Reginald?”
“Well, I certainly don’t call him Love Pumpkin,” Gail said.
Linda’s fair complexion began turning scarlet. Dorothy went over to her. “We’re sorry, Linda,” she said.
“Just please don’t tell Carl and Reg,” Linda murmured. “I don’t want them telling the other boys and then everyone laughing at Jimmy.”
Dorothy sighed out the remaining laughter. “Don’t worry.”
“Yeah.” Gail grinned. “Love Pumpkin will be our secret.”

The three girls left for The Pizza Palace, passing by Chuck’s Diner on the way. Through the large picture window, Dorothy saw into the half-full diner and caught a glimpse of Bernice in her waitress uniform. She then saw Evan seated at the bar sipping a malt and gazing at his girlfriend as she took orders from a table of customers.
Probably waiting until she’s done.
For an instant, Dorothy felt sorry for Bernice and all the girl had gone through. But that was soon forgotten after the three girls passed the hill on which the old Fleming Orphanage stood.

******


My short story, "The Cemetery by the Lake" is now available at Smashwords as a FREE download. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
The Cemetery by the Lake on Smashwords

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