Fun and Games with K&K

Fun and Games with K&K is a writing experiment I am doing with my good friend and twitter buddy Karla Nellenbach.  We are working in together to create a literary master piece.  We agreed to tell you a story about two heroines with each of us telling a portion of the story.

My posts go up on Tuesdays and Karla's will go up on Thursday's unless pre-empted by the Book Hungry Book Club reviews.  Don't worry, if that happens she will post the very next day.  Not sure who Karla is, no worries you can find her blog, The Lastword here.  Check her and it out.

To make it easier I have created this handy second page in order to help you find the postings just that much quicker.  Enjoy.

Grace Monroe flew out the door on a run, almost losing her book bag in the process.  She was late and she hated being late.  It was all Harper’s fault.  Smiling to herself, she decided she liked that excuse and was going to keep it.
Harper was halfway across the lot when she heard her name being called out, by two distinctly different voices. Behind her, Grace fairly flew at her, footsteps skipping along the cracked asphalt with little more sound than a quiet murmur. Ahead of her and to the right, Owen barreled forth, his mission clearly etched in the lines of his angular face.
Grace’s fingers drummed furiously on Frenchy’s steering wheel to the beat of the Foo Fighters pouring out of the speakers, eyes glued to the door of Maestro’s Music.  No way was he getting past her again.  She tried unsuccessfully to catch Owen twice at school and both times she had the distinct impression he was dodging her.
A quiet Friday night. Harper’s parents had gone out, dropping Chase off at a friend’s house for the night, and who knew where Truman was? Even though he’d been home from college on winter break for the last two weeks, it was like he was still gone for as much as anyone ever saw him. 
“Me either.” Owen said.  “Now what do we do?”
Pretend like nothing happened. She could do that. She had to do that. It’s been a week, Harper told herself. You need to stop this shit. As Grace would say, ‘Suck it up, and keep on keeping on.’
Once in the car and on their way, Grace tried keeping up a steady stream of conversation that she and Harper both seemed to need.   She talked about the outfit she’d already had picked out for Harper in her head.  She mused on stopping at the bookstore for the latest Karla Nellenbach novel.  With forced enthusiasm, she tossed out the idea of lunch and maybe hitting the spa after for mani/pedi's all around.
Harper sucked in a sharp breath, forced a bright smile to her lips, and shrugged. “With a name like that, you kinda have to be. Right?” She reached into her purse and tossed a wad of bills out onto the tabletop. “I’m going to run to the music store while you’re finishing up. I need some strings and more rosin.” Before Grace could argue or at least ask her friend to wait while she waved to the waitress for the check, Harper launched to her feet and hurried away.
Grace let herself be dragged halfway across the store before she came back to her senses.  Digging in her heels, she said, “Hold up.” 
“So, that’s why you’re always so early to school and then the last one to leave,” Harper said as they inched their way through the checkout line. 
“Owens Mom called?”  Grace could tell by Harper’s tone she was trying to make conversation as they made their way to the car.
The house was teeming with people, the air thick with the thumping bass, sweat-slicked skin of too many bodies all packed into one place, and the expectation of good times. This was how all of Mr. H’s parties went down. A bunch of band geeks all letting loose. There were really only two notable differences this year: Mrs. Haas was MIA as the teacher and his wife had just wrapped up a particularly messy divorce, and Owen was standing across the room, openly staring at Harper.
“Hey, isn’t that Grace’s car?”  Lucky asked from the passenger seat of Owen’s truck.
She said yes. After filtering it through the giddy haze of his brain, rolling it over and over, moving it from side to side, and turning it inside out all day long, the words still added up to the same thing. Harper said yes. Not once, but twice. Now that all was said and done and he was getting ready to pick her up, he could admit to himself that earlier he’d been absolutely certain that Harper would back out of their plans. 
As Truman watched his sister and her date drive away in the over sized pick-up truck, he couldn’t remember Harp’s ever mentioning an Owen before.  He was going to have to ask Grace about him.  And speaking of Grace, he needed to get a move on it, or he really would be late.
“Ow-en! Kevin stole Princess Fiona. Again.” Harper couldn’t help but laugh at the stricken look on Owen’s face as his sister stomped into the room, indignation splashed across her round face. “Well?” the little girl demanded, tapping her foot impatiently. “Aren’t you going to do something?”
By the time they reached the restaurant, Truman and Grace were both back to their normal banter.  Only now, their relationship had expanded to include hand holding and kissing both of which Grace was enjoying immensely.
Owen slid the phone back into his pocket and blew out a resigned sigh. Lucky was probably right. Maybe, he shouldn’t be pursuing this thing with Harper. It was painfully obvious—at least, to him—that she just wasn’t ready to be around anyone right now, especially guys. She needed time to heal, to sort through this whole mess and figure out where she stood.
Grace directed Truman to Owens’s house, all the while singing a silent mantra, ‘Please let her be alright.’
No one spoke as Truman ushered his sister out of the house and into his car. Once the door closed behind them, Lucky shook his head, belted out a chuckle that was so incongruous with the happenings of the evening that both Grace and Owen turned twin looks of disbelief his way. “Dude, you just stood there and let him wail on you. When did you become such a pussy?”
Owen held the door open so Grace could climb in, which was no easy feat since the truck seemed to loom two stories above her head.  Once settled, he hurried around and hopped into the cab, starting the truck with a quick twist.  Forcing the gears, he squealed out of the driveway backwards at breakneck speeds even Grace wouldn’t have attempted.
Truman angled his car into place across the street and down four houses from Haas’ ranch house. A sporty little convertible rested in the teacher’s driveway, its engine idling, soft gray smoke puffing out the exhaust to float lazily off into the night sky. He jerked a thumb toward the car. “That his?”
Grace ground the gears for what seemed like miles before she pulled into the safety of her driveway and turned off the engine.  While she was fired up, she had the ability to drive the truck just fine.  Once the adrenaline rush wore off, she was suddenly crazy, klutz girl with a clutch.
Ass crack of dawn and Lucky was up, bleary-eyed and just itching for a damned fight. It was all Owen’s fault. For more than a month, his brother had been mooning over that girl. All goofy grins, and puppy dog eyes, O couldn’t seem to just shut up about her. Harper this. Harper that.
Truman had stayed at Grace’s into the early morning but still found himself awake by eight.  In anticipation of the first cup of brew, he showered and decided to hit the mall.  He knew it would be a mad house, but he needed to get through his Christmas shopping.  Grabbing his coat, he headed toward the stairs with a detour to Harper’s room.
Cold panic rolled over Harper in hard, fast, frigid waves as Truman drove them to the police station. How could he do this? After everything that’d happened last night? How could he outright lie to her? Shaking her head, she drew in a shallow breath, the air just barely whistling past the tight fist her chest had become in the few minutes since her phone had rung.
Grace looked at Owen incredulously. “You don’t want to tell her?  Don’t you think she’s going to figure it out?  And where is he anyway,” she demanded, looking around the kitchen as if Lucky would miraculously appear.
Gritting his teeth, Owen put the phone up to his ear. “Uh, hey, Harper,” he said, cringing inwardly at the explosion that was no doubt brewing on the other end of the phone.
Grace watched Owen and Harper disappear in a red stream of tail lights and sighed.  Looking down at Lucky, serenely sleeping it off in the middle of the path, she wondered how she was going to get him to her car.  Crouching down, she studied him.  There was absolutely no way she could leverage him up by herself.  She needed help.
“It was at the party…”
“Why did you go and lie to her like that?” Grace demanded as Lucky lobbed the phone across the center console to her after hanging up with Harper.  “I am not crying, and you did not throw up in my car.”
Harper swiveled around, eyes narrowing, as she looked at Grace again. No, everything was not alright. Damn Truman. “Owen,” she said, not taking her eyes off her best friend.
Truman stormed down the path and past the guys he had been making conversation with earlier.  Coming to an abrupt stop at the parking lot, he swore when he realized Harper had his car.  Goddamnit!
“I thought we were having pie.” Wrapping her cold fingers around the steaming mug of hot chocolate, Harper eyed the mountain of ice cream sitting in front of Grace.
“I thought we were having pie.” Wrapping her cold fingers around the steaming mug of hot chocolate, Harper eyed the mountain of ice cream sitting in front of Grace.
“It was you,”  Truman said, surprised it hadn’t clicked before while the puzzle pieces fitted themselves together in his mind.  “You were the one who whaled on Haas.”
“Tell her I said hi, too,” he responded automatically as all the different ways he could broach the subject of what may or may not have happened with Mr. Haas stumbled through his head. “How’s she doing?”
Pie?  Did he just say pie?  Of course he did.  He was male after all, and if they weren’t thinking with one part of their anatomy, they were thinking with their stomachs.
“Turn left up here.”
“Where the fuck are they?” Truman demanded while pacing, even as he tossed his phone on the couch next to Grace in fit of anger. 
“Enough of this shit,” Truman growled as he snatched up his keys and cell phone from where he’d dropped them on the couch next to Grace.
Grace wasn’t letting her friend off that easy.  With an oath, she pushed Lucky’s feet off Mrs. Simonson’s coffee table and veered around it to follow Harper into the kitchen, stroking up a full head of steam and ready to blow by the time she pushed through the swinging door.
“What letter?” Now, it was Truman’s turn to be shushed by Lucky, who rolled his eyes dramatically as if to ask, “And, what rock have you been living under to not know about the letter?”
Once Grace and Lucky hit the sidewalk in front of the Simonson house, she slowly withdrew her arm from his and sank to the bottom step.  Cradling her head in her hands, the coldness from the concrete leeching through her pants, she sat taking deep cleansing breaths.
Harper heaved out a sigh of relief as the door closed behind Owen. She hated to admit it, but she owed Lucky big time for calling on his brother for a ride. A quick glance at the clock told her that Lucky and Grace hadn’t been together all that long, and Harper briefly wondered what had caused the pie-eating fest to end so abruptly. Any other time, she would’ve called her friend immediately to dish.
May 3, 2011
The house finally settled for the night.  It took Abby one bowl of pasta and two glasses of wine before she decided she needed some rest.  By all rights, Grace should’ve been just as tired as her cousin: her day had sucked.  Instead, she found herself in bed, Seether pumping through her ear buds.
May 11, 2011
Harper dragged herself from bed the next morning, bleary-eyed and exhausted. A loud yawn popped out of her as she stretched her aching muscles and glared at the bed like it was the mattress’ fault that she hadn’t slept well last night even though she’d been bone tired after everything that had happened.
May 18, 2011
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.
May 19, 2011
The small surgical waiting room had not been constructed with comfort in mind. Owen shifted in the hard plastic chair yet again and shot a quick glance at the wall clock. Only three minutes had passed since the last time he’d looked. Beside him, Lucky sat cracking his knuckles, his knees, his neck and anything else he could think of, a steady pop, pop, pop that drove Owen crazy on a good day. Right now, he was about an inch away from wringing his brother’s neck.
May 24, 2011
he first person Jack Monroe saw when he arrived on the surgical floor was Harper Simonson.  Rushing forward, he stopped abruptly and demanded, “Harper!  What happened?  Where’s Gracie?”
May 26, 2011
This was so not how things should have happened, and Harper couldn’t help but feel the blame for it pressing down on her shoulders. Owen’s tour of the police department, thanks to Lucky’s so-called help. Grace and Harper’s fight. The weird little love triangle being played out between her brother, Owen’s twin, and her best friend. And, now Grace was teetering on the edge of life.
June 7, 2011
The sound of her name pierced the soft comfort of the cloud she was lounging on. “Grace.  I need you to open your eyes.”  
The voice wasn’t familiar.
“Grace, come on.  You can do this.  Open your eyes.” 
Okay, fine.