Saturday, September 21, 2013

A little more Amy, a little more Darla, from Random Acts of Trust

Now that I finished my surprise novella about Laura, Mike, Dylan, Josie and Alex (coming to you soon!), it's back to Random Acts of Trust, as I wrap up the main climax and get on with finishing.

Here's a moment from the book when Darla and Amy meet:

They’re great, aren’t they?” This voluptuous, blonde woman about my age sat down next to me and she took up two thirds of the table with her personality. With eyes the color of the ocean and curly, frizzy hair that looked like it had last been styled in 1987, she didn’t exactly fit in with the college crowd on the Fenway. Then again, I looked around at the way everyone else was dressed and styled in this dive bar, and realized that I didn’t exactly fit it, either.
Yeah, they’re really good,” I said, not sure what was going on. She kind of looked like a lot of the women out in Northampton. Was I being hit on? She slammed a beer bottle down on the table from a microbrewery nearby. Good taste in beer, I thought. I took a sip of my Amaretto Sour. It was getting close to the bottom and this was the point where I cut myself off. Two drinks, no more. I wasn’t going to let alcohol or drugs take over my life. My mom needed at least one kid who didn’t have that demon.
You seem like you know them. Hi, I’m Darla,” she said, holding out her hand.
"Amy." I shook it, wishing instantly that I’d extended a firmer grip to her, a reminder of my debate days when I practically squeezed the life out of my male opponents before the debate even began, as if it were a contest to show manliness through brute strength. Over the years I’d had that drummed out of me, so many wet, limp fish handshakes from professors and bosses that I had just gone with the flow.

She wiped her hand on her hip, or was it her ass? It was kind of hard to tell, as her skin blended together like mine, her body bigger but shaped in a different way.

How long have you been following them?” she asked, leaning with her elbows on the table, shooting the stage an adoring look aimed at no one in particular. She was wearing some sort of a cotton shirt underneath a flannel, and it was like 1991 called and asked her to audition for a part as an extra in a Pearl Jam music video.

Not that my outfit was much better. I was wearing a cami with one of those ragged edged jackets that you could get at J. Jill, except I got mine at the Salvation Army for $3.99. In my mind I guessed that if I looked under the table and caught a glimpse of her shoes I’d see Chuck Taylors, and I leaned back as I thought about how to answer her, and - yep, I was right, Chuck Taylors. What an odd combination.

I have watched them grow,” I said, slowly, choosing my words carefully.

She peered at me with narrowed eyes, an intelligence washing over her face, making me realize that I’d underestimated her. She took a swig of her beer and then looked back as the band reassembled, getting ready for the next set. “I’ve only been watchin’ ‘em for about a year,” she said, quietly, “so you’ve got me beat.”

Oh, if only you knew, I thought. “Are you a fan?” I asked.

I’m...” She paused, and got a funny look on her face, like there was a correct way to answer that question, and it was on the tip of her tongue, but she wasn’t sure whether to choose a lesser option. “Yeah.” Darla nodded. “I’m a fan.”

What was she going to say? I wondered. Whatever it was, I wanted to hear it. That was probably more interesting than the banal, politely expected response. Darla didn’t strike me as the banal, polite type, so maybe there was something about me that made her say that.

What’s your favorite song?” she asked me.

I Wasted My Only Answered Prayer,” we said in unison, and then laughed.

She kind of did that backhanded, playful smack thing that a good friend does. It reminded me of Erin, my best friend. You can still call someone your best friend even if they live 3,000 miles away, right? Because Erin had just left for orientation for a PhD program at Berkeley. Not Berklee College of Music here in Boston. No, the other Berkeley. UC Berkeley. She was going into History, Women’s History, no less, and had gotten in with full funding.

I was getting my master’s in Library Science here in Boston at a college you know all too well for that. Library Science was safe, contained, simple, orderly - everything that Sam wasn’t. Everything that Darla clearly wasn’t, as she stood, shoved two fingers into her mouth and whistled the kind of wolf whistle that had eluded me my entire life. She did it with such grace, and it was so simple that I wanted to ask her to teach me how. Two drinks in me and I was loose enough to give it a try.
How do you do that?” I asked.
Do what?”
I motioned at my mouth. “That did. You know.” I moved my hand around, trying to come up with the idea.
She mimicked me, joking. “You mean give a guy a blowjob?”
No! I don’t mean that,” I said, my cheeks burning.
Then what the heck is this?” She waved her hands around wildly.
This,” I said, waving mine around, “is two Amaretto Sours in me in an hour.”
An arched eyebrow answered me. “Maybe you need three.”
I laughed, my eyes staring at Sam as he walked across the stage, the way his legs ate the floor. I was talking to her, but my attention was elsewhere.
She picked up on it damn fast. “Which one’s your favorite?” she said.
There was a look in her eyes that told me there was a right answer, and at least one very wrong one. I went for safe because I always go for safe, right? That’s what I do. That’s why I was sitting here in the back of a dark bar, staring at Sam, talking to a complete stranger about someone I didn’t have the guts to walk up to and say ‘hi.’
“They all are.” I grinned back as ferociously as I could.
But I’m a good one, aren’t I?”
That got her laughing. “I've known too many good liars in my life,” she said, “I could use a few people who tell the truth.” The first chords of a song reverberated through the building and Darla sprinted away. “Come backstage when it’s over,” she shouted. “I’ll make sure you can get in.”
A new song, one I’d never heard before started to trickle out from the instruments onstage. The melody and harmony intertwined like tendrils from a vine growing with little buds, eager to reach the sun and bloom. I could feel my heart slamming against my chest and then a flood of warmth, then heat, then fire as Trevor opened his mouth and everyone came together in perfect harmony.


  1. sounds like some new best friends after getting past the akwardness

  2. Well...the next scene...uh, I can't post a spoiler. Let's just say that Amy has a love/hate relationship with Darla because of a...misunderstanding. You'll see!

  3. Sounds like Amy thinks Darla and Sam might have a "thing"... But Darla has 2 favorites, and neither are Sam ;) Can't wait to read it all!


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