Tomorrow is my birthday, and I was going to post then because, well I don't know. Seemed like a good time to post. Yes, my birthday; the day the world was given the gift of me. Personally, I think it should be a national holiday but the powers that be disagree. No matter, it's a holiday in my mind.
The first Open Book Toronto challenge ran in January and it produced slightly less entries than expected. That's our fault in part because we didn't get the link out as well as we could. Before I go on, let me congratulate Wendy Swore on her awesome story Stroke, which won the challenge for January. I had a really hard time choosing between Stroke and another entry from another great writer. In the end it was appeal that won out. Wendy used an old technique that is really hard to pull off, the old leading the reader to believe one thing so that at the end they feel like a giant perv for misreading the words so totally. Good job Wendy.
It's really early and my brain is not quite into the awake zone that I try to function in, so if I seem a bit mixedup, forgive me. The caffeine is not circulating through my veins as it should today. I decided that in honor of my birthday, I'd entertain you all with a story similar to the writing challenge in Open Book last month. Well, it's funny in my book anyway. I was reminded of it when my daughter came home from her first 'semi formal' dance with a boyfriend. Yeah, polishing the pruning shears right now. Like I need my perfect child becoming a hormone crazed teen. She wasn't supposed to be interested in dating yet. That wasn't the plan.
Damn it, why can't they just do things the way that makes me happy? Okay, on with the story. *sigh*
Some of you have seen this one before so, if you don't want to read, well Clive has cookies and margaritas over there. Go join him.
Patience lay in the grass staring up at the sun as it slowly faded. Soon she’d have to go home.
“You’ve got an ant on your leg.” Tobias placed a dirty finger on her thigh and flicked the offending insect away.
“When do you have to go?”
He grunted in reply. Tobias always grunted when he didn’t like something. He leaned over her legs and running a hand along her ankle he let out a low whistle. “That’s gonna hurt tomorrow something fierce. You should be more careful, Pat.”
“It hurts already.”
Tobias’s hand roamed until he came up to her seat. She frowned as he smacked it before bringing his arm down.
“It’s not a toy. Stop that.”
“Bet your chain needs grease.” He turned his green eyes on her and grinned.
“Grease it then.”
“Sure, why not?” she smiled back.
Tobias had a beautiful smile. Filthy from wrestling by the creek, his chin had a streak of mud running across it. Patience longed to wipe it off.
His fingers moved along her seat again and she shifted to her side to watch him.
“Your mom’s gonna know what you were doing. She’s gonna tell you we can’t see each other anymore. Didn’t she tell you to stay away from the creek?”
“How’s she going to know?”
“Well, your ankle for one.” He looked pointedly to the offending appendage, now purple and twice the size it had been.
“I can make something up.”
“What about your hands? She’ll take one look and know you were touching my rod.”
Patience felt her cheeks warm. How would her mother know that? Well, she didn’t care. She was nearly a woman. “She isn’t going to know I did that.”
“I can tell. It always makes your hands pink. Look.”
Patience looked at her palms and sat up. Definitely pink. “Well, I’ll tell her something. You worry too much.”
“It’s gonna be you that’s mad when we can’t see each other anymore. I don’t care one way or the other really.” He withdrew his hand and toyed with a blade of grass near his knee.
“Thought you were going to grease my chain.” Patience murmured.
“I want to, but I don’t think there’s enough grease in the world for it. It’s pretty rusty.”
“It’s not that bad. No rustier than your rod, silly.”
“Underuse, that’s what makes things rusty. You gotta use them or they get stiff and then you gotta work them in real hard to get them back to what they used to be.”
“Really? I thought if you didn’t use something it stayed just like new. I think if you didn’t use your rod so much, it wouldn’t make my hands pink.”
“I only use it at one hole, Pat. It’s not like I take it out every day and fish all the holes in town.”
“I know, but you use it a lot. Every time we’re together you have to use it. Why do we always have to meet at the creek? You afraid of your friends?”
“No.” his cheeks reddened. “Hey, Pat?”
“Maybe some day we should get married.”
Pat’s heart fluttered in her chest. Married? “We’re too young.”
“Sure, now we are but hell, we’ve known each other forever. I don’t let just anyone touch my stuff, you know?”
“You’re silly. People get married because they love each other, not because they play with each other.”
Tobias shifted to that their faces nearly touched. Patience bit her lip. He smelled like fish. “You mean you don’t love me?”
“Well, I like you, sure. But I don’t know about love. That’s pretty serious.”
His gaze dropped to her mouth and she fought the urge to shove him away. Tobias liked to make her nervous and he knew she didn’t like it when he put his face close like this.
“You’ll marry me. I know it.” He grinned at her.
“Cocky isn’t filthy.”
“Shouldn’t be coming out of your mouth.”
“What should then?”
“Tell me you love me.” Tobias sat back.
“No. I have to go home.”
“You do. I can tell you do.”
“Love me. Why else would you always be asking to play with my rod?”
“I don’t ask.” Patience stood, careful not to put weight on her ankle.
“Right.” Tobias stood as well, gathering his lures and his rod.
“Why do you always have to bug me?” Patience hated being teased.
“Dunno. Why are you so easy to bug?”
“Sure. Hey, let me take your bike, you hold my rod. You can’t push the bike with your ankle like that. Tell your dad to grease the chain and you won’t fall again.”
“Don’t forget your fish.” She reminded him.
Tobias turned back and picked up the bass they’d wrestled in from his favourite hole. The creek had tons of bass, but he hadn’t told anyone but Patience about it. He didn’t know why, just that he didn’t want to.
“What are you gonna tell your mom?”
“That I fell off my bike and you helped me home.”
Tobias nodded and they walked toward the road. Patience thought her ankle didn’t hurt so bad now.
“School starts next week.” He said.
“I know. We can still come here on Sundays though. Hey, Tobias?”
She felt his eyes on her, but Patience kept her gaze on the road, a little embarrassed. “Maybe some day if we haven’t met anyone else …we could get married.”
“Pat?” his voice sounded strange, tight, and Patience raised her head to look at him. Tobias lunged, planting a big wet kiss on her mouth. She gasped.
He jumped away. “I knew you loved me. Hey, Mr. Thompson’s teaching sixth grade this year. I hope we get him.”