Okay, so last week Karla caught us up, but if you thought the drama was all about what happened at the party...well you were so wrong. Hold on to your seats!
Grace woke up feeling all shiny and bright. So what if she only had three hours of sleep? That was why God invented Starbucks. And sleep was over-rated anyway. She could do that when she was dead, right? She had no regrets. After they both came to the agreement that they weren’t supposed to get involved right now (emphasis on the right now)Grace and Truman decided that didn’t preclude them from spending every minute together until he went back to school.
Smiling, she rose and went through her morning ritual. After her shower, she spent a quick ten minutes dressing and putting on her make-up as she anticipated the day ahead. Okay, they weren’t technically dating, but maybe they could be friends with benefits. Her smile broadened on that thought, and she wondered what Truman would say if she suggested it. When the shiver of excitement danced down her back, she decided to hurry so she could swing into Starbucks before heading to his house.
He promised her a good morning kiss if she showed up with coffee, and she wasn’t going to look that gift horse in the mouth.
Detouring by the guest room, Grace laughed at the Do Not Disturb sign hanging from the door handle before she sailed into the kitchen to let Mrs. Maguire know she was leaving. After a twenty minute conversation regarding some odd noises on the roof the night before, Grace was on her way.
Pulling up in front of the Simonson’s, Grace’s smile didn’t waiver when she spotted Owen and Harper in the drive standing by his truck. She was just in too good of a mood. As she parked, she made sure to leave plenty of room for him to back out but didn’t acknowledge them in any other way. It looked as if they were heading out together. Good for Harper. Maybe she would finally tell Owen what happened at the party.
Pulling her emergency brake, she grabbed the coffees and stepped from the car.
She was still pissed at Harper but decided she wasn’t going to let that ruin the day. Her gaze was immediately drawn to the second story window she knew to be Truman’s. Sure enough, his face was pressed to the glass, and he was grinning down at her. A matching smile, more blindingly bright than the one she’d been sporting all morning lit her face.
A movement in the corner of her eye alerted Grace that Harper was moving toward her. She waved her off, her visit wasn’t about Harper, and she didn’t want to chance any of her bright and shiny wearing off. Winking at Truman, she lifted the cardboard carrier to show him she remembered the coffees and giggled when he held up the bottle of mouthwash in his hand.
That was the last happy thought she had before fear and anguish wrapped around her throat and squeezed.
The screeching of the tires behind her had Grace’s head turning to the street. The dark sedan slamming to a stop at the end of the drive stopped her in her tracks. She recognized Ben Mickelson from school. He was a band geek same as Harper. Sadness settled like a cloak around her shoulders. Things were already starting to change. Harper and Ben didn’t hang out. At least, they didn’t used to.
Grace glanced over, and the frozen expression on Harper’s face perplexed her for a moment. The light switch clicked, even as the angry young man charged. “You fucking bitch!”
Tracking his movements around the front of the car, Grace eyeballed the gun in his hand. Her confusion lasted less than a second before adrenaline kicked in. She watched in fascination as he raised the weapon and took aim. Later, she would look back and wonder what compelled her to do what she did next, but at that moment, no thought was greater than her fear of what he would do to her friend. She dropped the coffees and rushed in front of Harper as she screamed at the top of her lungs, “No!”
The gun shot rang out loud on the quiet suburban street as it made contact and pierced flesh. Grace’s body jerked from the impact as it forced her backward. Almost as if someone invisible slammed into her. Harper and Owen started to yell and there was a great commotion around her as her body dropped to the cold concrete.
Looking toward the upstairs window she caught one last sight of Truman, the blood draining from his face before he turned and disappeared.
The sound of her heart beat was deafening. Ba-bump. Ba-bump. With movement rushing all around her, all she could hear was the sound of it echoing in her head. Ba-bump. Ba-bump. Almost as if the force of the beat was lifting her up and setting her back down. Gently. Ba-bump. Ba-bump. In a surreal daze, she noticed that she was blinking more than normal and wondered what could be causing that? She would need to look that up when she got home.
People were spilling out of the house to her left, and the light was fading overhead before she realized Harper was kneeling beside her, sobbing. Sirens screeched in the distance, and she hoped the sound didn’t bother the neighbors. She wanted to tell Harper something, but she couldn’t remember what it was.
Locking eyes with Harper, her friend’s head bobbing up and down and her mouth moving, Grace had no idea what she was saying. Harper didn’t look too good. Like maybe she was going to throw up.
Feeling the darkness pushing in, she turned her head and looked up. Or maybe she just readjusted her eyes. She wasn’t sure. She caught a puffy cloud chugging past. Soft and billowy. Grace yearned to close her eyes and sink into something just like that. Her last thought before unconsciousness settled over her was she really hoped she hadn’t spilled too much of Truman’s coffee or he wouldn’t be giving her that morning kiss after all.
Okay, tell us what you think. This story just went in a whole new direction huh? Check in tomorrow to see where Karla takes it.