Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Love and the Placebo Effect, Teaser #2

Okay, some of you asked for more... So here's some more. Freshly written, barely revised, no children in this scene. This is where I'm currently at in the story, so once you read this, you'll be all caught up. Okay, not really, but I hope you enjoy. And remember the genre I'm attempting here, so don't judge too harshly!

When she arrived back at her house, Jane stowed her uneaten lunch in the fridge, then, kicking off her shoes, she sank into bed. She was so tired, even her lingering anxiety over the fight with Cassie and her anger at Adrian didn’t keep her from drifting off to a deep sleep. She was plagued with dreams of her paintings coming to life, of a shimmering Adam walking naked through her house, flanked by slithering, black snakes and stalking dragons, steam rising from their dripping jowls; of virgin sacrifice by the stormy sea, sanctioned by a ragged crowd of frightened onlookers. She could hear the spectators chanting, growing louder until their voices pounded through her head like a persistent hammering.

Eyes popping open, Jane realized that the hammering continued, despite her sudden wakefulness. The door knocker. Someone was at the door. Pulling herself together, Jane rushed to the front door, yanking it open to stop the relentless banging. Greeting her eyes was an agitated Adrian, hand still hovering where the door knocker had been jerked from his grasp. Blinking, Jane struggled to process this in her sleep-addled brain. Why was he here? Hadn’t he made his feelings clear earlier when he had acted like last night had meant nothing? What was there left to say?

Adrian apparently didn’t intend to say anything. Instead, he gathered her up in his arms, like a white knight swooping in to save the princess, and kissed her soundly, his lips crushing against hers, the taste of desperation in his mouth. Releasing her from the embrace, he looked deeply into her green eyes, trying to read her. Still reeling, Jane merely stared up at him, blinked again, then turned around, disappearing into the living room. Adrian took the still-open door as an invitation, following closely on her heels. He found her leaning forward in the wingback chair, elbows propped on her knees, frowning in thought.

“Jane, I’ll do the right thing, I swear,” he blurted out, trying to reassure her.

“The right thing?” she asked, confused. What did he mean, he’d do the ‘right thing’?

“I’ll support you, whatever you need. I’ll be there. You don’t have to do this alone.” Adrian kneeled at her feet, taking her hands in his he continued, “Please, don’t shut me out.”

“What are you talking about, Adrian? What are you trying to say? Last night, you left me,” Jane replied, struggling to make sense of his words.

“I shouldn’t have. It was cowardly. I wasn’t sure how you would react, and I needed time to think. Please, Jane, let me help you through this,” he pleaded. Jane could tell he was sincere, but she had no idea what he was talking about. Surely people lost their virginity every day, and weren’t so traumatized that they needed help through it. And why was he being so demonstrative now? He had totally avoided the subject earlier, in the relative privacy of the pizza parlor and the absolute privacy of her office.

“Exactly what kind of help do you think I’ll need?” she asked, attempting to get a grasp on the situation.

“Well, if you need any money, or you want someone to go with you to the doctor. I want to be involved. You shouldn’t have to raise this baby on your own,” he answered, trying to be supportive.

“What baby? Why do you think there’s a baby?” Jane demanded, starting to get upset. She did not want to be with a guy who was only there out of a sense of duty, even if he was delusional enough to think that he loved her. Not that he’d said anything about love, the words had never crossed his lips. But besides that, there was no baby.

“Well, we didn’t use protection, then you almost fainted today, and you kept running to the bathroom to puke, you didn’t touch any of your lunch. When you left work, I thought for sure you had taken a test or something… I looked up the symptoms online,” he finished, fizzling out as he saw her eyes narrow and her brows lower. Why was she getting angry?

“While you were doing your research, did you happen to study the topic of modern contraception? True, we didn’t use a condom. That was careless, I know better than that. And I am not on the pill, I am not what you call “sexually active,” or at least I wasn’t until last night. But if you had spent 5 more minutes doing your research, you would have come across something else: the ‘morning after’ pill, whose side effects include, I might add, nausea, lightheadedness, and fatigue. So before you get yourself in a panic and start making declarations you don’t mean, relax. I took care of it. There is no baby, and there isn’t going to be one, period!” Jane finished, seeing red the same as she had with Cassie the day before, only this time, she didn’t feel the immediate urge to take back the words.

Adrian laughed. This wasn’t a nervous giggle, but a deep belly laugh of genuine amusement. Jane just stared at him. “You sure put me in my place. I guess that’s why they say you shouldn’t assume, I made an ass of myself. I’m sorry, Jane,” he said, looking sheepishly up at her. “Forgive me?”

He gazed up at her so pitifully like a puppy afraid of getting kicked again, the only thing that could have enhanced his pathetic look was a chin quiver. Staring down into those baby blues, Jane’s anger evaporated instantly. She struggled to maintain a stern expression, wanting to make him sweat a little, but the corners of her mouth turned up of their own volition. Soon it was Jane laughing, her head thrown back as the hilarity of it all washed over her, the laughter a much needed catharsis.

“If you still wanna offer me money, you can reimburse me for the pharmacy charges. That damn pill was a heck of a lot more expensive than a package of condoms,” Jane teased.

“What, have you been pricing condoms lately?” Adrian shot back at her, matching her light tone, as he got up from the floor, offering her his hand. Jane turned bright red, her face flaming to match her hair, and Adrian knew he had hit the nail on the head. “Were you hoping for an encore?” he said, as he pulled her to her feet and into his arms, feeling her soften in his embrace.

“Maybe,” she muttered into his shoulder, her blush deepening. The man was hot, and he knew just how to get a rise out of her. Well, she would elicit a “rise” out of him, too, Jane thought, reaching down to gauge his interest. He was definitely interested. Jane smiled and pulled away, fishing her keys out of her pocket and tossing them to him, before sashaying down the hall. “Condoms are in the pharmacy bag in the passenger seat. Go get them, if you’d like a chance to use them.” 

Adrian shook his head, a slow smile spreading across his face. How lucky could a man get? He adjusted himself, preparing for the walk out to her car, and then proceeded to comply with her demands. All of them.

1 comment:

  1. Revision: (After Jane's rant)

    Expecting him to get defensive and shout back, she was completely taken aback by his response: Adrian laughed. This wasn’t a nervous giggle brought about by an awkward moment, but a deep belly laugh of genuine amusement. Jane just stared at him.

    That sounds much better, huh?