At lunch today, I tackled the next scene in my book. Susan suggested I answer the prompt with my book in mind. So this scene was written for my current manuscriptâ€”but with these guidelines:
- your post must include a spider of some sort
- your post must include the phrase: So Brian, what do you think?
- tell us something true about yourself whether you identify it that way or not
- tag with gwwe
- publish by March 8th
Brian presses the keypad by the garage door, and I look away. Then the door opens and reveals a row of shiny carsâ€”black, silver, redâ€”showcased on a speckled floor. The walls, painted a soft grey, boast pictures of more carsâ€”more symbols of wealth.
Before we enter the house, he turns. â€œDonâ€™t judge me by all of this, okay? Itâ€™s where I liveâ€”but itâ€™s not who I am.â€
â€œOkay,â€ I say, thinking of the tiny apartment that I now call home.
Then the door opens into the houseâ€” to the sound of soft music and a hint of what was for dinner. Brian removes his shoes and places them in a cubby, and I do the same. The small room opens into the kitchen, which opens to a family room, and both rooms boast breathtakingly high ceilings. I look up and canâ€™t help but feel small.
â€œCallie.â€ Brian nudges me. â€œThis is my mom.â€
â€œOh, hi,â€ I say.
His mother turns and crosses the kitchen with a smile. She is gorgeous, flawlessly beautiful. But when her eyes rest on her son, her smile fades, revealing concern. â€œWhat happened, Brian?â€
â€œI got in a fight.â€
â€œIt was my fault,â€ I interject. â€œThis guy wouldnâ€™t leave me alone, and he was pretty drunk, and well, it was a good thing Brian showed up when he did.â€
â€œYep,â€ a gruff voice comes from behind us. â€œIf thereâ€™s trouble, Brian will find it.â€
I turn, and Brian offers, â€œCallie, this is my step-dad.â€
His step-dad thrusts a hand in my direction.Â â€œTom Jacobs.â€ His handshake, firm and confident.
â€œNice to meet you.â€
â€œLikewise,â€ he says. â€œNow donâ€™t listen to a word he says about me.â€
â€œOkay.â€ I smile, uneasy.
He turns and pulls a cookie out of the jar. â€œHave a cookie, Callie. Debra makes the best cookiesâ€”almost as sweet as she is.â€ He winks at her.
â€œHeâ€™s so charming,â€ she begins, â€œyou can see why I married him, canâ€™t you?â€
I laugh softly, and Brian and I take a seat at the kitchen bar. Soon two plates, topped with cookies, sit next to tall glasses of milk.
Tom leans on the counter. â€œWhat did you do today?â€
â€œI, uh, trimmed the hedges and swept the back patio.â€
â€œAnd while you were on the patio, did you happen to look up?
â€œWell, I did. When I came home for work tonight, I headed out to the back porch and glanced up and found a canopy of spider webs looming overhead. Didnâ€™t I tell you to do that?â€
â€œYeah, I forgot.â€
â€œYeahâ€¦Iâ€™ll do it tomorrow.â€
â€œTomorrow? So Brian, what do you think?Â What do you think would happen if I show up to work in the morning, and I tell all my patients that I will do it tomorrow. You know what would happen? They would die. I take my job seriously, and so should you.â€ I just sit there, eating my cookie, and I donâ€™t even glance at Brian, who says nothing. â€œListen, Son, your job is to do what I tell you to do. And your payment for doing a good job is the opportunity to live here. Maybe I should withhold payment today. Maybe you should sleep outside with theâ€”â€
â€œTom, we have company,â€ Brianâ€™s mom interjects.
He ignores her. â€œâ€¦with those damn spiders that are taking over my damn porch.â€
â€œFine.â€ Brian pushes his plate forward. â€œIâ€™ll do it now.â€
Tomâ€™s voice rises. â€œShow me gratitude not attitude, young man. You understand me?â€
â€œCallie.â€ He nods to me, and then looks at Brian. â€œWhy donâ€™t you walk this young lady out to her car now?â€
I push the plate forward. â€œThanks for, um, the cookies.â€
His mother leans in with that striking smile. â€œOh, youâ€™re welcome, and come back anytime, sweetie.â€
â€œOkay,â€ I say and make a beeline for my shoes and the door.
We walk in silence to my car. I press the unlock button and the lights flash, illuminating the dark driveway. â€œOkay, goodnight,â€ I say. â€œSee you tomorrow.â€
â€œYeahâ€¦tomorrow.â€ He shoves his hands in his pockets. â€œThanks for dropping me off.â€
â€œIâ€™m sorry, Brian.â€
â€œI donâ€™t know.â€ I eye the huge house and consider his step-dad. â€œBut Iâ€™m really sorry.â€
Kimberly Blackadar, former teacher and now author of Nothing but Trouble after Midnight, writes teen fiction and speaks to schools across the nation about reading and the writing process. Connect with Kimberly on her Facebook fan page and her blog.