I've been a horrible blog-owner this past week. Real life has...not been good. But we're adapting, rolling with the punches, all that sort of thing. Remember that rant about writers writing during stress? Well, that's me, and I'm failing miserably.
In an effort to maintain a sense of normalcy, I'm going to go ahead and post a Teaser. This is probably the worst kind of teaser, because it's the ONLY thing I have written for this particular piece of work. No build up, no lead in. I only have the vaguest idea of what came before to bring these two characters to this place. It was just something that was stuck in my head and needed to come out.
If I ever finished this, it would be a YA urban fantasy revolving around the reincarnation of King Arthur and his knights, with my own personal twist, which you'll catch in the excerpt. Yes, the Lance in the snippet is THAT Lance. And Quen is...more than he ever dreamed.
He rested his hand on my shoulder, and I felt it all the way to the soles of my feet. “Dude, did I do something to piss you off?”
“No.” He just needed to go away. I couldn’t deal with the end of the world and him too. I kept my eyes firmly on my sneakers and my hands clenched at my sides.
“You sure? ‘Cause you’re acting like you wanna take my head off.” Dammit, why didn’t he take his hand away? He was standing close enough that I could smell his cologne, the same one that half the team wore, but on him it was different.
I didn’t want it to be different. I didn’t want him to be different. Why couldn’t he just be like all the other guys? Why couldn’t I? The unfairness of it all made me snap, when I really hadn’t meant to. “I’m fine! I just need to be left the fuck alone right now!” Need to breathe, without you staring at me with those gorgeous freaking eyes.
“Oh. Ok.” His hand left my shoulder, and I could hear the puzzled hurt in his voice. “Um…you’ve got my cell if you need anything, I guess.”
Gravel crunched under his feet as he walked away, and I felt like the world’s biggest asshole. It wasn’t his fault I was fucked up in the head, or that I was some big reincarnated legend. We were still supposed to be friends if nothing else. Teammates. “Lance!”
He stopped and turned to meet my gaze, one brow raised curiously.
“Look, I’m sorry, I’m a dick. I just…there’s shit going on and…”
“You know you can talk to me, right?” He came back, tilting his head to look down into my face. “I mean, you can tell me anything.”
I shook my head. “There’s just…some heavy stuff, and I can’t go into it, really... I just gotta get my head wrapped around it, y’know? Get it sorted.”
A faint frown crossed his face. I wondered if he knew his green eyes got two shades darker when he did that. “And you can’t do that when I’m around? I thought we were friends, Quen.”
“You’re not acting like it. You don’t push your friends away like this. When the heavy shit comes down, that’s when you need them the most.”
“I know that, I really do, I swear, and as soon as I get this all figured out…”
“Then I’ll help you figure it out.”
He tried to reach for me again, to put a comforting hand on my shoulder, and I just couldn’t take it again. I took a step back, trying to pretend like I wasn’t half running away. “You can’t!”
His jaw clenched. “Why the hell not? I’m a dumb jock? Can’t grasp this deep intellectual bullshit you got happening in your life?”
“I didn’t say that!”
“Then what the hell is your problem? Why are you trying to get rid of me?”
“Because I can’t think when you’re around!” His eyes got wide, and only then did I realize that I’d spoken out loud. My face went hot, and I turned and walked away as fast as I could. I tried to pretend I didn’t hear his footsteps on the gravel, catching up at a fast trot.
“Go away, Lance.” Please, just go away so I can find a hole to sink into.
“No way.” He caught my arm, jerked me to a stop. I yanked my arm out of his grip, but I held my ground. “What did you mean?”
I prayed for a black sorcerer to show up and incinerate me, but no one was obliging. “Nothing. I didn’t say anything, you didn’t hear anything.” I stared him down, daring him to dispute my version of events. Maybe, if he’d just let it go, I could salvage this.
I didn’t expect him to laugh. Sure, it took him a few moments of searching my face, and it was only a small chuckle, but I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. Nausea rolled in my throat, watching him shake his head in amusement. That was me, the laughingstock of Avalon High.
“I’m a freakin’ idiot.” It took me a bit to really process what he’d said. It wasn’t what I’d expected.
“Excuse me?” This was the part where he was supposed to look disgusted, call me names, let everyone in the school know I was a fag. He wasn’t supposed to stand there, just smiling and showing off his dimples.
“I didn’t know, man.” He ran a hand through his sandy hair, his cheeks turning faintly pink. “Seriously, I thought… I thought it was just me.”
Lance shook his head, stepping back to lean against the brick wall. “Man, I’ve been watching you since the day you got here. I just…y’know, I don’t assume. I figured you were into Gwen.”
My brain was having a problem catching up to events. “You…you’re into guys.”
He shrugged. “I like both.” He grinned a little. “I’da asked you out weeks ago if I’da known.”
I couldn’t think of a single coherent thing to say, so I just stared at him. Apparently, long enough to make him squirm. “You gonna say anything?”
“I…don’t have a freakin’ clue what to say.” The absurdity of the situation hit me, and suddenly I was laughing. A moment later, Lance was laughing with me. We howled until our sides hurt and we just plain ran out of air.
Lance leaned against the wall, looking at me, still shaking with sporadic chuckles. All I could do was grin back at him. “We’re both freakin’ idiots.”
“Yup, we are,” I agreed.
He pushed off the wall, stepping closer, and reached out to me again, this time to take my hand. His thumb brushed across the back of my knuckles. “Listen…”
There was a humming in my ears, and I had the absurd fear it was going to make me miss whatever he was going to say next. I could feel my heart beating somewhere around the neighborhood of my throat, and all I could do was watch his tan hand, holding mine.
Too late, I realized the humming wasn’t inside my head. With a crash, the lightning bolt exploded the trashcan at the end of the alley.
For terrifying moments, I was deaf and blind. Then the pain seeped into the back of my skull where it had collided with the brick wall. Everything smelled like burned hair.