Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Picking Off Right Where We Left Off

The excerpt two posts down is the first chapter of my NaNoWriMo project. Here's the beginning of chapter 2. Because I like how the bits fit together.


A few months ago, Micah started fucking my boyfriend. I'm secretary of the student government, and that plus lacrosse team meant I only had time for a date with Jackson once or twice a month. Meanwhile, we're turning eighteen in three weeks and Micah was still a virgin, so I figured pairing him and Jackson up was such a charitable act that I could practically put it on my resume.

It's worked out well. Micah's had a crush on Jackson for years, so he's as close as he ever gets to happy. And Jackson puts up with him, which is as close as anyone's ever come to liking him. He's known Micah and I since we were kids, so he knows enough about CIPA that nothing surprises him anymore, but it's still not his reality, so he can still laugh when Micah's watch timer tells him to use the bathroom and think of my brother, at least some of the time, as a superhero. To Micah and me, it's all just bullshit routine. So it's good that he has Jackson to be amazed.

And I'm not threatened. I know Jackson likes me more, and Micah would never, ever let himself love anyone.

It's the first Friday of the month, which is one of Micah's days with Jackson, but he comes up to me after school and says he's foisting Jack off on me tonight.

I haul my backpack out of my locker. “I thought you finished Hudson's paper.” It's a very easy paper, but most everything is now. We're in the same class as the fourteen-year-olds. Younger than that, there are hordes of them, but there just aren't that many kids our age left, and we all have this skinny desperate look of survived prisoners. The little kids only know the plague as the newest pages in their history books.

He says, “It took me five minutes.”

“Took me nine. I must be off my game.”

“I fell.”

I look at him.

He shrugs his backpack strap up his arm.“Before Science.”

“How'd you fall?”


“Someone tripped you?” I'll fucking kill them.

“Tripped on my shoelace, Gwen, Jesus Christ. Ask Jackson, he was there.”

“He saw you fall?”

Micah says, “He said the fall was uncanny. That was the word he used. Uncanny.”

“That's not a good word.”

“Not for a fall, yeah.”

I reach out and touch his arm, and he lets me for maybe a second before he rolls his shoulders back to squirm away. He always does that—waits just long enough to flinch away that he can deny it was a flinch. It was just a shift in weight. A trick of the light. Something. It's never made sense to me. Touch is the only thing he can feel, and he does, as acutely as anyone else. And he squirms away from it. I guess that's Micah in a nutshell.

He clears his throat and says, “So I'm going to go to the hospital after school, I guess, just to make sure.”

I should probably offer to go with him. But I don't go back to the hospital, ever. When I need shots or antibiotics, I go to the adult hospital, even though it's two buses and half an hour. I don't think Micah's ever gone, even though he hardly needs this fall as an excuse to visit the children's hospital; he's there ever week, convinced he's dislocated a joint or contracted meningitis. Our uncle's mansion is next door. There's no reason for Micah not to know, every second, that he's safe. It's an addiction he never tries to fight. And I'm not going to be the one to encourage him to fight.

“Be safe,” I tell him.

“Yeah. Look, I got to go.” He backs away for a few steps, then turns around walks out of the school. I guess I should be happy. That's the longest conversation we've had in weeks. Really, fucking the same guy is the closest we come to communicating.


Lydia Sharp said...

I love when you share stuff. :)

Anonymous said...

That last sentence was pure AWESOME. I'd buy the book just because of the title, by the way.

hannah said...

:D thanks guys!

Karla Nellenbach said...

I'm just loving this WiP. MORE!! er...please? *makes puppy dog eyes*

Jamie - I'm a guy, btw! said...

I fall in love with your writing every time I see it...so good!

The Name Is Ashelynn said...

LOVE it. i'm going to have to agree with Karla: MORE! por favor? :) s'il vous plait? PLEEEEEASE.

divy said...

thanks so much for sharing more. I'm loving this. the first and last sentences were perfect.

I like how you convey so much about CIPA without really getting clinical about it. You seem to have a knack for that (I'm thinking the allergies in BREAK too). how much research do you do before writing about a condition?

hannah said...

divy--quite a bit, actually. I make sure I have a good grounding on the sciencey stuff, but since that's not ever the real focus, I make sure i read a TON of new stories/interviews/blog posts/whatever I can find from patients and relatives of patients. I rob some of the anecdotes and extrapolate from there...

CIPA is crazy-rare, and the likelihood of both Roo and Micah having it, even if they are identical, compounding with the likelihood of the characters being triplets at all, is so freaking minuscule. And I won't lie and say that doesn't bug me a little...but, fuck, it's fiction, right?

Thanks so much, guys.

Ariana said...

This is fantastic. I hope that you share more with us over the remainder of the month (and beyond...?). :)

hannah said...

Ariana--<3 and I'm sure there will be more excerpts in the future!

Danya said...

I'm in love with this story. It's brilliant and the first and last lines just hit me so hard. It's really lovely.

Happy Thanksgiving!