I have decided to grace you with a snippet of my newest WIP. There is a reason for this. You see, I’m simply in LOVE with my main character and I would like to share her with you. I’m also in love with the story line and everything else it entails.
Anyhoo… that pretty much sums it up. Here’s the goodness:
Reality flickered at the edges of my vision, bright and painfully demanding. I rolled over and pushed my head under my pillow where the sheets were still blissfully cool and not humid from my seven hours of glorious sleep.
I’d been dreaming.
It was a nice dream, all things considered. Nothing spectacular, it didn’t feature any hot guys that I made out with until we were both gasping and unbelievably turned on or a murdering psychopath that chased me until he either caught up and slashed me to death, or I did really something really stupid like accidently tripped and fell off a cliff to my doom.
No, it hadn’t been anything like that.
My alarm screeched in my ear, that annoying beep that rattles in your brain long after you’ve slapped the thing to within an inch of its miserable life. It never failed. I always woke up a couple minutes before my alarm. I didn’t know why I bothered with one when my body was so set on leeching those last couple of seconds of peaceful oblivion from me.
I flailed at my nightstand, hitting the snooze button after several attempts, and managing to knock everything else off in the process. My dream journal, the collection of sparkly gel pens, my retainer I hadn’t worn in three months, and a water bottle all clattered to the carpet. The clock went down too, hitting the floor with a resolute thunk.
Under my pillow, my lips curved into a smile.
Me: One. Alarm clock: Zero.
Oh yeah, back to my totally unspectacular dream. I’d been swimming. My arms flowed gracefully through the water like a ballerina—or a jellyfish. My legs kicked, sending up millions of tiny bubbles and breaking the surface of the ocean. I knew it was the ocean because of the salty residue on my lips. In fact, I could still taste it.
My arms, cutting through the water.
Okay, so maybe the dream had been a tiny bit spectacular.
I sat up, pushing the ungodly thick and unruly tangle of red hair out of my face. No matter how tightly I bound it before I went to sleep, it always came loose, forcing me to brush it into submission every morning. It was utterly ridiculous. I had to be a redhead—a total Ginger, with freckles and everything—and I couldn’t even have fabulous hair out of the deal. Mine never did anything cool, other than frizz and basically look like a poodle decided to take up residence on my head.
The dream fizzled through my head again and I took a second to relish it before I pushed it away. Even my dreams were mocking me and my lameness.
I looked down at the stump of what would have been my left arm, if it had ever grown, that is. It stopped about four inches below my shoulder, ending in a shiny, smooth scar.
Amniotic Band Syndrome, that’s what they’d told my mother. Nothing she did wrong, nothing that could have changed it.
Basically, I was a morphological freak.
Ginger. Freckles. Short. One-armed.
“GAVYN!” my mother screamed from downstairs. I cringed. God. Did she seriously have to be that shrill?
Oh yeah, I was also named after a boy. You’d think that after I’d come out all Ginger-like and one-armed she would’ve had mercy on me.
But no, she’d decided instead to add insult to injury. I could’ve been a Gabrielle or maybe Katie or jeesh, I don’t know, I would’ve settled for Mary. Anything that resembled a girl’s name.
“What?” I hollered back at an acceptable decibel. I yanked on my shade and sent it flying upwards, revealing a snowy paradise outside my second story window. It looked like I was standing inside a frigging snow globe the way the neighbor’s house was all lit up with Christmas lights. I rolled my eyes and pulled the shade back down. Christmas was two weeks ago. In another week they would be crossing a line with their festiveness.
“School’s cancelled,” she trilled.
Who cares if she named me after a boy? She was the bearer of good news and I could’ve just kissed her right on the mouth.
So I did.
I bopped down the stairs, suddenly very cheerful. I didn’t even mind that I was a Ginger. Snow days were everything good about winter.
I caught her by surprise in the entranceway, planting a noisy kiss right on her mouth. “You are seriously the best mother ever.” She grinned at me and underneath all the concealer that hid how little she slept, I saw her how she should be. Or how she would be, if my father hadn’t run out on us when I was only two days old.
What an asshole.
He must have been mad about the Ginger thing. My mother told me he’d been a red head, too, though he didn’t have freckles. A Daywalker, then. I certainly hadn’t gotten my awesome genes from my mother. She had long, silky dark hair and brown eyes. She was also fairly tall with long legs. Mine were nothing more than spindly stumps. Okay, well not stumps, I had both of my legs. They were just short.
Next to her, I looked like a midget-red-headed-stepchild.
She shoved my massive hair away from my face. “Do you want me to put this up for you before I leave?”
I shrugged and the uncontrollable curls flopped back in my face. “I’m going back to bed.” No way was I going to waste a perfectly good snow day actually doing something. Maybe later I’d rent a bad movie on Netflix and order pizza. I’d probably not even change out of my pajamas.
It was going to be epic.
Mom brushed my cheek and got that sad look in her eyes. Usually she would say something about how beautiful I was or how grown up I’d become or how she was so proud of me, but today she just pulled her coat on over her purple scrubs. They had little grinning snowmen on them. How appropriate.
“I’m working a double and with this weather—” A double meant at least sixteen hours.
“I know,” I cut her off. “I’ll be fine.”
She was a nurse, which meant long hours and grueling shifts, especially in the winter. Plus we lived four blocks from the hospital and Mom always showed up for work, no matter how bad the weather got.
She pressed her lips together, “I know you’ll be fine. Just—”
“Call you if I need anything and Mrs. Johnson is just next door.” I pulled the fur-lined hood of her coat up. “Mom, I know.” Her eyes shimmered like she might cry. Lately she was having a hard time accepting that I was very nearly an adult. I think she was afraid for me, being one-armed and a Ginger and all, and going out into the real world. “I’m seventeen. I think I’ve got the staying home alone thing down by now.” I grinned at her, trying to cheer her up. “I promise not to play with matches and absolutely no chemicals…”
She laughed and her brown eyes sparkled. “How did I raise such a smartass?”
“I got all my looks from Dad and my propensity for awesome from you.”
She got all serious like she wanted to say something about Dad, but then the look passed and she pulled on her gloves. “Love you, Gavy,” she called over her shoulder as she disappeared out the front door into the winter wonderland.
I wasted no time. Snow days were as precious as designer shoes, or really hot guys, and were not to be carelessly tossed away.
Two minutes after Mom left, I was curled up in my bed under my still-warm blankets.
Snow days really were the best.
You see, you love her too, don’t you? She’s epic.
All the best,