As a writer of novels, not comic books, I have hijacked the term in order to describe a short story. A very short story. For example, a chapter at most.
This particular one-shot is my absolute most favorite I have ever written. Yes, I am very proud of it. It knocked around in my brain for quite a while before I felt the courage to try and write it correctly. I did it as a study on inner monolog, as well as exploring just how much of what is in our minds ends up on the surface.
I would rather not give any more background information, but if asked I will likely answer any questions posed.
Goodnight & Goodbye
That’s how long my eyes had been on her. Seeking her, following her, resting on her. What the hell is wrong with me? She’s my friend. We’re friends.
“Ahh!” I closed my eyes and turned away. Was it the Jager making my eyes burn, or her? Oh the impossibilities. How could I even hope to have her look at me the way I looked at her? Why did I do this to myself? Why did I throw her a birthday party?
Because I want her. God, I want her so bad.
I threw back the remaining contents of my red plastic cup. I couldn’t decide if I hated that cup and all it stood for, or if I still reveled in it. Fuck it, why not both? Shit. I need to stop cussing so much. Don’t ask me why…it seems like something she would say. And that’s all that really matters anyway, right?
Why couldn’t I get my mind off of her? How could she be special anyway? I could have any girl in this room. Except for her. Well, and the lesbian in the corner.
Inevitably, I turned and my gaze settled on her again. I had begun to think I had some sort of special radar. It was designed for one purpose, seek this one girl out. It didn’t matter that her eyes weren’t following me in return. Oh, who am I kidding? It mattered. Each time I found her and she wasn’t looking at me it was as if a knife was slipped between my ribs and then twisted.
So why look at her? Aside from the fact that it was almost physically impossible for me to resist the impulse, there were the times where she was looking back.
This? This was one of those.
For a moment I couldn’t hear anything, see anything. All I felt was the too loud thud in the center left portion of my chest. That thump seemed to be making its way up into my throat.
Suddenly, she grinned, straight at me, right into my eyes.
The roar of the room swept over me and nearly pulled me under. I felt the goofy grin twist my lips and I knew one moment of acute embarrassment. Wits? I had none when she looked at me.
Someone else commanded her attention and again I was left staring as she went on with life.
How can a person manage to whine and purr at the same time? I tried to ignore the petite blonde to my right. That plan seemed moot when she stood on her tiptoes to twine her arms around my neck. Fortunately, her 5’2” frame was still too short in comparison to my seventy-five inches. I looked down into her doe-like brown eyes and shook my head.
“Hey, Jaaaack. Hey, which room is yours?” She caught my hand and tugged it toward the hall.
Unthinking, I stumbled along with her. Anything to get away from that room, before I turned and looked at-dammit. I did it again.
Again though, twice in a row…must be a record. Her eyes were on me too. What was that strange look? It’s not the first time her dark brows have drawn together at the precise instant her lips pucker. And then her eyes, damn it all, her eyes get that sad look! I don’t know what she’s thinking, but I know I wouldn’t like it if I heard it.
I resisted Renee’s pull at the last moment, still looking at the girl the party had been thrown for.
The blonde suddenly growled and despite the disparities in our heights, she seemed to be speaking directly into my ear, “Dammit, Jack. She’s never going to look at you like that. Don’t waste your time. Look at her, look at what she’s wearing and how she stands. Look at who she’s talking to here. Is she in jeans and a ripped t-shirt? Is she talking to any of your friends?”
I tried to swallow the sour sting of her words without wincing….Unsuccessful in yet another endeavor. I looked away and back at Renee. She wasn’t seething as her terse words had made me think. Instead she looked sad, and almost as if she actually cared. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought she didn’t just want to fuck…
“Her kind doesn’t mess with us, Jack.”
Suddenly I had to shove away from her. I needed a drink. I needed a lot of drinks. I needed to go outside and get some fresh air. I really needed some weed. Shit.
Her husky voice drew me out of the stupor I had been slipping into. I started and turned around too fast. Her makeup had worn off a bit and her hair seemed a bit limp in comparison to earlier that evening. She looked tired. She looked perfect.
Again, the daft grin spread over my face.
She smiled back warmly and tilted her head. She looked at me as if I were a silly, but beloved puppy. In the back of my mind, I was annoyed by this. I wanted her to look at me as an equal. Never mind that I would have to act as one to receive such treatment. I didn’t have the brain cells available to work on that concept at the moment.
“Jack,” she said again. Was it just me, or did her lips seem to caress my name in the most heavenly and private way? “It’s late. I need to head for home.”
No. No she couldn’t go. I couldn’t let her leave.
She bit her bottom lip as I stared at her stupidly and then my attention was distracted again.
“Nah,” I said slowly, trying to piece together something that made sense, “It’s not that late…”
She smiled, condescending as if she spoke to a very small child. Her voice became patient and slightly amused, “Jack, it’s two in the morning.”
Her shoulders shook with silent laughter. Hmm, her shoulders…She had lovely arms. Odd, why hadn’t I noticed before? Why had I noticed now? Did it matter? No.
Wait, she was going. Shit. Mind on topic. Mind on topic!
“Thank you for the birthday party, Jack.” She hesitated.
Finally my brain caught up. She hesitated! That meant something, she wanted something, she had to say something, she wasn’t leaving yet! No more thoughts, I reached for her.
She grinned at me and stepped into my bear hug. I loved how tall she was. Only a few inches shorter than me, she fit perfectly in my arms. I rested my nose against her hair. Under the smell of liquor and weed, I could smell her simple, clean shampoo. I felt like I was drowning in heaven and closed my eyes to better savor the experience. In my rapture I barely noticed when she rested her cheek against my neck…until her breath hit my skin. I tensed and tried very hard to suppress the shudder. Oh God, I wanted her.
Don’t waste your time.
I pulled back suddenly, but not all the way out of her embrace. I could feel her hands resting against my back and couldn’t quite give up the sensation.
“Sky,” I managed to breathe out, “thank you for coming. Thank you. I’m sorry about the cops.”
She laughed, “Are you kidding? That was the best part!”
I couldn’t believe she thought so. She was probably just being nice, making me feel better. I wanted to kiss her. Never let go. Drown. Pulling me under.
My thoughts were confusing me and I wasn’t focusing on the fact that she still hadn’t pulled away. Were just standing in my kitchen, her arms around my waist and mine resting on her sides…staring at each other. If ever there was a moment to make a move, it was now. But I was too caught up in my own head, too far gone.
She shook her head. Did she seem disappointed? Was it just my imagination?
“Thanks again Jack.”
My throat constricted at the thought of her leaving and I had to hug her again, “Thank you.”
Thank you for talking to me, being my friend. Thank you for letting me throw you a party. Thank you for being beautiful and nice. Thank you for spending the whole entire day with me. Thank you-
No. No! “I’ll walk you to the door.” Anything for one more second. The door was ten feet away. I followed her like a lost puppy, staring at the back of her head. She opened the door. No. No!
I stepped out right behind her. Oh please, don’t leave…not yet…
She turned back. I nearly passed out from relief.
She smiled. I was definitely feeling light headed. Was I falling over? Why did her face seem so much closer suddenly?
I realized uneasily that I was leaning down to her, demolishing the last few inches of reserve. I pulled her toward me, amazed at my own boldness, for one last hug. She put one arm about my neck and hugged me very tightly.
After a few seconds I pulled back just my head and looked straight into her eyes. She met my stare with her sparkling, laughing eyes. But suddenly, they were serious. Her lashes lowered just a fraction, as if they had suddenly grown heavy. I ached in my stomach and my heart, my throat and my groin. I had to kiss her. I couldn’t resist it any longer.
I leaned forward again and she stared straight at my lips. She didn’t move away or protest. I could feel her uneven breaths.
My moment of clarity was so ill founded that I still cringe to think of it. This girl, this woman, was willing to reach down to my level. She wanted me. I knew it perfectly in that second. And I wanted her. She was willing to let me have a taste of that heaven…Even when she knew about the half hour in my room with Renee. And I knew she hated the drugs, was annoyed with the alcohol. I knew she was going to be great someday, well known and loved…while I would always just be Jack: the nobody from wannabe land. Why the hell did she want me? And why did I have to care?
Don’t waste your time.
Jack, it’s late.
My lips grazed her soft cheek and I pressed my nose against it as a consolation prize. I was doing the right thing.
As I pulled away I saw her eyes, dark and confused.
“Goodnight.” I whispered.
Her eyes met mine, searching, lost, “Goodbye.” She turned and walked toward her car.
I stayed just inside the door and heard her friend ask, “So, what’s up with you and Jack?”
Her voice was low, “Nothing.”
I closed my eyes, leaning my forehead against the door.
I forgot to warn about the expletives. I hope no one is offended, it was entirely in character for Jack, and I really couldn't edit them without losing an essential part of him.
What do you think?