February 10, 2015 2 Comments
Most love stories are about two people who are completely different from one another. How different can you get than one being alive and the other being…well, not?…
Selected pieces from Chapter 2 continued…
I couldn’t stop myself. I swiped at the phone he was still holding up and knocked it onto the wet grass, now lost in the falling current. I began to storm off a second time but stopped when he threw another punch my way. “So first you ruin my car, then you try to break my phone. What are you, determined to completely destroy me?”
“ I’m not the one who tried to run you over with my car!” I yelled, my temper getting the better of me now. “In fact, speaking of phones…”—I dug into my wet jeans pocket for my own—“I’m calling the cops. You should never be allowed to drive again.”
I began swiping at the screen on my phone so I could dial 9-1-1, but it wasn’t coming on. It was drenched, so obviously broken. When I looked up in frustration, the guy was already digging around the flooded grass for his phone. It only took him a moment to find it and pull it out of the water.
“Here. Use mine,” he said, handing the sopping devise to me. “It’s waterproofed. Password is Elle Fanning, one word, no spaces.”
I glared hard at him before snatching it out of his hand, which I think almost made him laugh. “Elle Fanning, huh?”
“Oh, yeah. Big crush. It’s hopeless. But if you’re going to call the cops, you might want to step out of the water. I doubt they’ll be able to hear you if you’re standing right in it.” He grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the torrential downpour.
At that moment I was struck by two simultaneous thoughts pulling me in two different directions. One was, What a hopeless jerk. And the other was, This guy is kind of cute. I was appalled at my own shallowness, but I gave in anyway. I stretched my arm out, offering his phone back.
“Why don’t you hold on to that for me for a while,” he insisted. “Your phone’s dead, so I’ll let you borrow mine.”
“I’ll get mine fixed, eventually,” I said, hating that the edge was dulling in my voice. “Besides, you need to call your parents so they can pick you up.”
“You think I’m in a hurry to tell them about this?” he waved his hand in the air as if shooing a fly. “I’ll be taking my time walking home so I can put together a well-rehearsed confession.”
“You’d rather tell them in person?” I asked, surprised.
“Why not? If I tell them over the phone, it’ll take away from the Affect.”
“The affect?” I asked, a little intrigued.
“Yeah. The Affect. That’s what I call the moments that you can capitalize on for future use to affect certain emotions. Sure, it’s gonna suck when I tell my parents that I crashed my car, but years from now, when I tell my kids about today, which I inevitably will because, let’s face it, this day will be pretty hard to forget. So when I tell about today, I want to be able to describe the looks on my parent’s faces. That’s the effect you can’t get over the phone; that’s the Affect that will make the story worth telling.”
“Wow.” I literally did not know how to follow up with that. “That’s gutsy.”
“Gotta do it for the kids,” he said with a smile that kind of affected my breathing.
“I do think your kids’ll be pretty impressed about the totaled car and the flooded street.”
“That’s certainly a good aside, but I was thinking the big Affect could be meeting their mother and talking to her in the falling sewer water.” I think by that point the mascara had leaked down far enough to reach my mouth because I think I choked on some. Thankfully the guy saved me from having to respond. “Anyway, I better get home so I can keep my story going to tell our kids. You’ve got my number. Gimme a call sometime.”
“Wait,” I managed, as he began to walk away, my voice more hoarse than it had ever been. “I have your phone, how would I call you?”
He held out my phone. He must have somehow gotten it from me while he was wooing me and I was being too taken to notice. “I’m gonna get this fixed for you. I expect to get a text or something from you. You know your number.”
He walked away toward his house and I didn’t bother to stop him this time except to say, “Mock bird 60. No spaces.” He raised my phone as though in salute and smiled, then continued on his way.
And that’s how I met my first love who would not live long enough to tell our story to anyone.
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