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Date Posted: 12:29:09 11/29/09 Sun
Author: Page
Subject: I know I'm late, but I'm here!

Despite my best efforts, I let the Thanksgiving holiday put me behind in my writing. Kind of.

Hang on. *stomps a cricket to death* Sorry, they're getting thick in here. Where was I? Oh, yeah.

I've been going through Carey On, and putting all those bits and pieces into order, in preparation for having it completed and ready for beta readers. So far, I have the first 24 chapters finished, and that's freaking me out a bit, since I don't write in any order whatsoever. It's also brought to life I still have more to write than I'd thought, and I'm trying not to let that discourage me. I will not be discouraged!

I'm an author, hear me roar,
With word count too big to ignore...


My late weekly check-in this week is a bit from Chapter Twenty. I did a little tweaking on it last night to bring it up to speed with the changed I'd made. I hope you like it!

*stomps another cricket*

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[> Yeah, that should be changes I've made. It's in here >>>> -- Page, 12:42:48 11/29/09 Sun

Excerpt from Carey On
©2009 by Juli Morgan
Posted for purposes of critique only, and does not constitute publication

“Why,” Maureen muttered under her breath, “do they get so involved in that?” She waved a hand towards the billiards table, under siege by Nicky, Stuart and Jay, involved in what appeared to be an exciting match. George, who had just arrived, had already grabbed a cue and was headed for the action, like iron being pulled to true north.

Katie shook her head. “I dunno, but they do seem to like it.” She watched as Jay collapsed over the table in fits of laughter at some comment Stu had made. “It must be a guy thing. Testosterone induced or something.”

Carol Richards, her red curls quivering in indignation, stalked to the corner where Katie and Maureen stood like wallflowers at a school dance. “Isn’t this bloody wonderful?” She paused to light a cigarette before continuing her tirade. “They finally finish that bleedin’ record, and then invite us to help them celebrate, only to leave us to stand round like fifth wheels watching them play with their balls!” Her irritated sigh was interrupted as she got a good look at Maureen. “Did you change your hair?”

With a look of delight, Maureen raised a hand to her head. “I lightened it a shade. Do you like it?”

“Love it. It looks super on you.” Carol took a deep drag off her cigarette, and, social niceties attended to, returned to her original subject. “I don’t know about you birds, but I’m busting up the billiards tournament. We can stand round and watch them do this anytime – in fact, we do! – but I was invited to a party. I’m ready to drink loads of alcohol, smoke some weed, maybe drop a little acid, and dance, how ‘bout you?”

“Cool. Let’s do this. You’re in charge of the guest list, and I’ll handle the entertainment.” Katie started toward the stereo next to the bar. “I’ll put on some music while you two break up boy’s town over there.”

“Music?” Maureen sounded disappointed. “When you said ‘entertainment’ I thought you meant you were going to do a strip-tease or something.”

Katie looked over her shoulder at her friend, and grinned. “That’s Plan B, in case you can’t get them away from the billiards table.”

There was a large pile of records next to the stereo, and Katie began flipping through them, putting aside the ones she wanted to play. The sounds of battle behind her made her laugh under her breath. George and Stuart were protesting the curtailment of the billiards game, but Katie knew Carol would prevail. The peppery little redhead was as stubborn an individual as Katie had ever met, and would not take ‘no’ for an answer. Nicky’s voice was not part of the chorus of dismay, but Katie wasn’t surprised. No doubt all Maureen had done was bat her baby blues at him, and Nicky had melted without protest. She didn’t hear Jay, either, but she knew he was standing to one side, observing the goings-on with an amused look on his face. So in tune with him, she could feel where he was in the room without turning around to look.

She was less in tune with the music he’d left in the room. There were a lot of records, but the majority of them were Jay’s more esoteric acquisitions. Katie left them off her playlist since she didn’t think LPs full of nothing but African tribal drumbeats, or classical 12-string guitar pieces were the best way to get a party started. She ended up with a small selection of more mainstream music, and put several albums onto the turntable spindle. Even though she was preoccupied with the records, her eyes kept darting to the door. Where was Adam?

The last time she and Adam had been together in this room was the day she’d…well, the day she’d chosen Jay over him. On top of that, Adam hadn’t been around Katie and Jay since they’d gotten together, and Katie wondered how he’d react to seeing them now. She and Jay had never tried to hide their relationship, but they seemed to have an unspoken agreement to spare Adam’s feelings. As a consequence, they’d steered clear of the members of Shadowed Knight, with the exception of Nicky. They all knew Katie was with Jay, of course, but knowing it and seeing it were two different things. So far, everyone had acted cool with it, but Adam was another matter.

Jay hadn’t said anything, and that alone told Katie things had been a little tense between him and Adam. In fact, Adam’s name hadn’t passed his lips in Katie’s presence since he’d comforted her that afternoon in Maureen’s flat. His enthusiasm for playing billiards was another tell-tale sign; he wasn’t that keen on the game, and seemed to be using it to keep a distance between himself and Katie, obviously dreading what could be an awkward meeting when, and if, Adam showed up. Katie was dreading it, too, but at the same time was looking forward to having it over and done.

She pushed the switch on the turntable with her thumb and watched as the first record dropped into position. As the needle touched the vinyl, she turned back to the room and saw that Maureen and Carol had, indeed, gotten the boys to stop playing what Katie continued to call pool. Everyone had gathered on the round sectional couch, and Stuart, true to form, was rolling a joint.

Movement at the door to the room caught her eye, and she turned, expecting to see the tall form of Adam Greene. Her eyes widened in surprise when she saw Stephanie Glass hesitating in the doorway. “Steph?”

Frank relief filled Steph’s eyes, and she hurried toward Katie. “Katie! Thank God I’m in the right place. Stuart told me how to get here, but I wasn’t sure this Jay’s house. Can you imagine me walking into some rich bloke’s house, and then getting thrown in jail?”

“No, you’re in the right place,” Katie laughed. “Stuart, huh?”

“Yeah.” A soft blush stained Stephanie’s cheeks. “We really hit it off at Maureen’s fondue bash, and when Robbie and I split up, I called him.”

“Good for you.” Katie put an arm around Steph’s shoulders, and led her toward the rest of the group. “Come on over, and join the party.”

A chorus of hellos greeted Stephanie as the two girls reached the couch, and Stuart’s face lit up with delight. George and Carol were the only two present that Stephanie hadn’t met, and introductions were quickly made. Katie sat down next to Jay who had sprawled out on the corner section, his feet resting on the coffee table. He glanced toward the stereo and then turned back to Katie with a grimace on his face. “Bang a Gong? Really?”

“I assume all those are your records, right?” Her eyebrows arched in question. “Why do you have it if you don’t like it?”

Surprising her, Jay put his arm around her, pulling her closer. “I think someone gave it to me.” He lowered his lips to her ear. “I didn’t mean to invite everyone over, you know.”

“No?” she murmured.

“No. What I’d really wanted was to celebrate with you. Alone.” Katie felt his shoulders shrug. “And then I heard myself telling everyone to come round and bring their wives and girlfriends. I don’t know what came over me.”

Katie pulled back an inch and smiled at him. “You’d better watch yourself. Next thing you know you’ll be planning dinner parties, and afternoons of deerstalking.” She laughed at his nonplussed expression. “It’s cool, though. I don’t mind.”

“Will you stay tonight?” Jay rested his forehead against hers.

“Mm-hm.”

The hum of chatter among the occupants of the room was interrupted when Stuart’s voice rose above the rest. “Who’s got a lighter?” Katie glanced over to see him holding the tightly rolled joint above his head. He put up his other hand and caught the silver lighter that had been tossed to him.

“Here you go, mate.” Everyone in the circle turned at the sound of Adam’s voice. He was standing just behind the couch, holding the hand of a tall, willowy girl with long, dark-blonde hair. “Hi, everyone. This is Janie,” he said, urging the girl forward. “Janie this is George and Carol. And Nicky and…hey, Maureen! That’s Maureen. And Stuart and Steph. And that’s Jay and, um, Katie.”

Janie gave them all a timid smile as they greeted her. Nicky and George pushed over and made room for her to sit next to Adam as Stuart lit the joint. It seemed the party had officially started.

Several hours later, Katie was enjoying her slight buzz and watching her friends dance. George and Carol were swaying together to the music in the middle of the large room. They’d both dropped acid, and stood pressed close together, barely moving. As Katie watched, Maureen led Nicky out into the middle of the room. Katie smiled as Nicky gathered Maureen into his arms for a dance. Things seemed to be working out quite well between them. Her gaze left the two couples and settled on the group on the other side of the coffee table. Janie was bent over Stuart’s hand, giving him a palm reading. Stuart, too, had partaken of the acid, and his eyes were fixed on his palm with fascination. Katie wondered if he had any idea what Janie was saying to him. Adam was sitting close to Janie and looking on with absorption, and Stephanie was asking tons of questions that Janie answered with quick precision. Going with her first impressions, Katie thought Janie was a great girl, and her presence had diffused any uncomfortable situations that might have arisen. Adam still wouldn’t look directly at Katie or Jay, but Katie thought it could have been a whole lot worse.

Just on the other side of the palm reading group, Jay sat with his hands folded in his lap. He seemed to be giving them his attention, but Katie could tell by the expression in his eyes that he had no idea what they were up to. He seemed to be a million miles away. Like Katie, he’d declined anything stronger than weed, and his unfocused gaze seemed to be nothing more than that of a man thinking deep thoughts. It was one of the few times Katie had seen his hazel eyes without their usual intensity, and a soft smile curved her lips as she watched him. His eyelids drooped a bit, and the dark lashes that framed his eyes were more prominent. With the muscles of his face relaxed, his cheeks appeared softer and rounder. His lips were parted slightly, and Katie had the overwhelming urge to touch them with hers, to feel them firm against her mouth as he responded to her.

As if he’d heard her thoughts, his focus sharpened, and his eyes lost their far-away look. Her breath caught as his gaze shifted, its full intensity aimed directly at her. The familiar opening “Ahhh” of Crimson and Clover sighed from the stereo, and Katie got to her feet, stood in front of Jay, and held out her hands in invitation. Jay didn’t like to dance, claiming he had no rhythm, and Katie was surprised when his hands closed around hers. She took advantage of the situation before he could change his mind, and pulled him to his feet. Stepping back, she moved them into the area that had turned into a dance floor. They swayed in time to the music, their hands shifting over each other’s bodies until they found the perfect fit. Katie sang softly with the song, almost whispering into Jay’s ear that she wasn’t such a sweet thing. She felt the vibration of his soundless laughter before he pulled back and looked at her. “Oh, yes, you are.”

The mesmerizing pull of his eyes held her captive, and she forgot anyone else was in the room as he lowered his lips to hers, and kissed her. Over and over; what a beautiful feeling.

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[> [> Awesome! -- Debi, 14:44:05 11/29/09 Sun

Love the mood, love the characters. And Staurt staring fixedly at his hand... I'm like Jay here, never done anything stronger than weed but I even that is enough to induce a previously unwarrented fascination with anything six inches from your nose. If I had only know about Fibonacci then, I'd have spent hours in contemplation of a pinecone or a seashell. But I digress...;-)

What you've done is presented most of the cast in a social situation, but really the only two who matter are Katie and Jay. The little bit of residual tension between them and Adam is good, his avoidance of eye contact. I love your descriptions of Jay being lost in thought, then his gaze refocusing. Almost nothing of their expression changes, yet somehow you know the different looking at them.

Excellent!

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[> [> [> Thanks! >>>> -- Page, 19:20:10 11/29/09 Sun

I've never dropped acid, either, but I've been around folks who have. It was always interesting to me how they became so immersed in looking at something, or touching it, for hours. Most of the time, all they said was, "Wow." *G*

Glad you liked it!

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