cut the tension with a butter knife or an ice pick or something

Cozy up and let the sexual tension in: it's no kiss blogfest. (Note: scene written exclusively for no-kissy blogfest, but may just find its way into my WIP.)

This scene takes place when my main character, Laurel, returns home from college for her fall break. She arrives in town too late to attend the play at her former high school -- but she and her best friend Paul stop by to inquire about the plans for the cast party. Paul is still in high school and has the "in" with the artsy crowd, but didn't perform in the school play because of commitments to Community Theatre.  Laurel's ex-boyfriend directed the play, and he and Laurel haven't seen each other since she left for college a few months before.

     She and Paul walked toward the auditorium well after the lights had come up, just as the stars of the show were leaving, their stage make-up unnatural looking now under the harsh flourscent lights of the school parking lot. Their voices rang as they traipsed across the blacktop, a high pitched unison of adrenaline laced squeals celebrating the theatric triumph of closing night. Boquets clenched tightly in their arms lost petals that danced in the air like crismson snowflakes.
     The familiar smell of her high school -- an aroma that Laurel found nameless, but that intoxicated her to the core -- lingered and wafted as she and Paul stepped through the double doors.
     On the stage, a few crew members remained, procuring now useless set pieces and props. 
     A boy with a broom did one of those little jumps where his toes touched in mid-air.
     He turned and caught sight of Laurel. The broom clanked onto the stage with immediate abandon.
     The boy was Adam.
     He leaped from the apron of the stage, and had she been farther away when he spotted her, might have broken into a sprint to be at her side, to smother her in a hug that broke her heart and stitched it into a whole organ all at once. His arms wound around her as if hanging on for dear life, as though he were doubtful that she was really in front of him and not some sort of October apparition.
     "Laurelbelle," he said, holding her still, his hands clutched together behind her with an uncharacteristic lack of wanting to let go.
     "Hey, you," said Laurel, in a vain attempt at a casual greeting. Her voice trembled and gave her away.
     Adam finally pulled back and Laurel grabbed his neck with both her hands.
     "Laurel," he said, and sounded breathless.
     "Let me get a look at you," she said, holding his wrists and pulling him back into her by the distance of a centimeter.
     His flannel shirt was halfway unbuttoned and a soft grey tee-shirt peeked out from beneath it. Something turquoise hung from his neck on a leather strap. He looked perfect (of course, perfect to Laurel) and his aqua eyes shined. There was tenderness in his smile. His face, however, clear and unmucked when she left him, was now in the midst of teenaged revolution, pocked with imperfections that didn't bother Laurel in the least. She thought for one instant that she might have found the acne unappealing if she hadn't loved him so much.
     Then she admitted to herself that she wanted to shower kisses all over his lovely face.
     "God, it's so great to see you," he said. "Are you and Paul coming to the cast party?"
     "Do you think it would be okay if I did?" She dropped his wrists and immediately wanted to hold them again.
     He ran a hand along his scalp, and for a moment she considered he might not want her there, interferring with his ready made plans to be anywhere else but near her, as if their momentary reunion was one that was staged and only heartfelt for the onlookers, who were probably whispering about them behind the heavy velvet curtains.
     "I would like that," he said, his arm hitting the small of her back as he edged them toward the stage to join Paul and the others, who were presumably hiding out just behind the curtains.
     She stopped short, hoping that he might embrace her again, wanting to feel one more instant of his arms around her, just in case he was swept away at the cast party, and the night did not end with them clutching each other in the dark, the way it had just a year ago when their lips said hello for the first time.
     He turned and enveloped her, his mouth grazing the spot where an earring could have been.
     "I'll see you there," he said, and he was gone in a second, only off to the crow's nest to grab his backpack, but leaving behind a dizzy peal of expectation in Laurel's head.
     She turned to face the empty autotorium and stifled the hunch to take a bow.


Wow, I love your scene. I can see why you might want to fit this into your draft. Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you don't mind that I'm following your blog now. I'm always looking for ways to connect with other writers. :)
Ash. Elizabeth said…
i liked it. my freshman year i was ellen deerwood in robin hood so i remember the cast parties all too well :)
Travener said…
I liked everything except "grazing the spot where an earring could have been."

Maybe it's the verb grazing. Maybe it's that earrings aren't just for ears anymore.

Great scene. And I so understand how your own high school always has this indefinable smell--I'm scared to think of what makes up that smell, but it is always familiar. :)
Yvonne said…

Good scene....and, yes, that old high school smell is so distinctive. A crazy stew of locker room, books, and hormones. Sorta like the smell of a used book store. And I love your last line.

Nice job.
laurel said…
How could I resist this? Or not love your protagonist's name? LOL.
My fave line was "when their lips first said hello." Terrific.
pinkflipflops said…
a very delicious scene and great set-up..
Amalia T. said…
You have some great description in this. Especially in the first paragraph. Thanks for sharing this!
VR Barkowski said…
Great detail. Love the tension, not only between Adam and Laurel but the whole past/present thing. College is Laurel's present, but she clearly feels the pull of the past: high school and Adam.
Melissa said…
Wonderful scene, Amber! Very vivid description and tension. I really want to know what happens at that party:)
I got goosebumps. Which means you did a great job. Fabulous descriptions. :)
My blog
Great last line. It reveals her character and desire. Nicely done.
You should definitely fit this into a draft if you can! Very cool scene and thank you for participating in the blog fest!! I'm totally following you now:-)
Wonderful imagery! This was a fun scene! Thanks for sharing!

I think I'll be following you, now! :)
Thanks to everyone for the compliments... and to my new followers, I'm so happy to have you here and can't wait to check out your blogs if I haven't already.

I agree with Sharon that it is wonderful to connect with other writers, and that is one of my favorite things about blogging. Even if we don't all write the same genre, we can definitely learn from each other and spur each other on.

Travener: yeah, maybe grazing isn't the most effective choice. It sort of brings to mind one chewing and cows and cud. However, I think I may keep "where an earring might have been" because he clearly wasn't whispering into her navel or her nipple, though I guess that wouldn't be out of the question. :)
Hayley said…
Great scene! Nice job!

Popular Posts