i’m going back and forth between working on a year of days and my other story, which is a young adult coming-of-age type of thing. it’s the one i was working on for nanowrimo, and it’s tentatively called liarface. i’m switching it up to keep things interesting. leaving one for another every now and then helps me keep it fresh, especially when i get frustrated or stuck on something. anyway, here’s a quick teaser for liarface:
We sat around the dining room table twenty minutes later, passing around dishes of gooey, cheesy pasta, sizzling meatloaf, and spicy turnip greens. I pushed the greens around on my plate to try and make it look like I had taken at least a few bites.
“Just suck it up and eat the greens, Addy,” said Dad. “They’ll put hair on your chest. Take it like a man.”
“In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a girl. I don’t want hair on my chest.”
“Either way, they’re full of vitamins and goodness,” Mom said as she passed on the dish of mac and cheese. As much as she loved southern comfort food, Luanne only did carb overload on very special occasions.
“Just put some vinegar on them,” she said.
I wrinkled my nose. “I hate the texture of cooked greens. They’re so slimy. What’s with the comfort food, anyway? Are we celebrating something?”
Mom dropped her fork and sat up straighter, looking over at Dad, who had paused midway of taking a big bite of meatloaf. He shoveled it in and chewed thoughtfully for a minute. The silence was killing me. Something was going on with my parents.
“Oh, God,” I said, staring agape at Mom. “You’re not pregnant, are you?”
Mom started to giggle, which turned into full blown laughter. “No, Lady,” she said between guffaws, wiping her eyes. “That ship has sailed.”
“T.M.I.!” I shouted, dropping my silverware and covering my ears with my hands.
Dad laughed too. “Well, that’s as good a lead-in as any, I suppose.” He wiped his mouth with a napkin, took a drink of water, and sat back. “The news I have is pretty life-changing.”
I was suddenly nervous. I didn’t want my life to change.
“The firm has decided to open up a new office.” He paused for effect, eyes darting around the table, and a smile growing on his face. “And they want me to be the Vice President.”
“Wow, that’s great! Congrats,” I said, secretly sighing in relief.
“Thanks. There is one catch, though.”
And the nervousness was back as I looked at him and waited for the other shoe to drop.
“The new office is in San Diego.”
My heart dropped to my feet immediately as I awaited the next piece of information. I looked at Mom, who was wearing her best neutral face. I knew she felt anything but neutral. Luanne Jackson leave the south? Never in a million years. She gave me a small smile, and I looked back at Dad.
“Sooo…” I said slowly. “Does that mean you’re going to be traveling a lot, or…”
Dad shook his head, looking apologetic. “It means we’re going to be moving to the west coast.”
The tension in the air was thick and devoid of oxygen. Burning. Smoggy. Much like I’d imagine the air would be in California.
“We can’t move to California,” I said with a derisive laugh, as if it were the final decision. I absentmindedly put a forkful of greens into my mouth and chewed before I knew what I was doing, trying not to gag on the texture of the slimy greens and the tightness in my throat.
“We can, and we are.” Mom spoke up for the first time. “I know this is going to be a huge adjustment for all of us, but I think it’s going to be a good thing. It’ll be nice for you to be able to explore a new culture while you’re young.”
Dad jumped in. “San Diego is a great place. There’s so much to do there. And Disneyland is only a couple of hours away! So is Hollywood. Hey, maybe you can get a glimpse of that actor you love so much. And there’s a beach that’s a haven for seals. You can just walk right up next to them and say hey.”
He looked at me with a hopeful grin. I tried to lift a corner of my mouth in a half smile, but I couldn’t manage it. All I could think of was leaving my friends behind during the most important time of our lives so far. Suddenly, I wasn’t so hungry anymore.