I had a post typed up about publication fears and doubts, but then I deleted it, decided to fake being strong, and post a teaser instead. (Be glad. That other post was all emotional and crap.) So here's a snippet of chapter four of Falling From The Sky! :)
I wedge a bottle of Gatorade into Terrence’s extra cup holder. I’m glad Coach Bennett is a church man. Practices are always cut short on Wednesdays. Terrence and I are headed to his cousin’s to play a real game of street ball. My phone buzzes as Terrence cranks his car and pulls out of the camp’s parking lot.
The text is from Micah.
Are we on for this weekend? Our zombies are getting sorta hungry, you know.
Weekend plans would be nice if I hadn’t seen that hidden picture of him and that blonde guy. I don’t reply. Terrence turns down his radio and looks over at me.
“Is that your girlfriend?” he asks. “I just assume by that look on your face.”
I jerk the visor down so I can see myself in the mirror.
“What look?” I ask.
“Dread,” Terrence says. “Like you just got the worst message ever and don’t want to reply but you know you have to.”
The phone buzzes again. I open Micah’s message and ignore Terrence’s assumption.
I push the visor back up toward the ceiling of the car so I can’t see my stupid smile in the mirror. I don’t have to see it. I know I look stupid.
“Uh oh,” Terrence says, glancing between me and the street. “She’s sexting you, right? Let me see. I won’t tell her.”
I open the glove compartment and stick my phone in there for safe keeping. And to prevent myself from replying to Micah with Xbox excitement. If I text back too soon, I’ll look like a desperate, needy chick. No way in hell.
“It’s not Samantha,” I say. “It’s Micah, that guy from the mall.”
“Oh, so he’s sexting you?” Terrence asks.
“Not quite,” I say. “He was talking about Xbox games, which is sexier than anything Samantha ever texts to me.”
Terrence laughs. “Well, I know not to ever text you about Xbox then.”
The downtown buildings near his cousin Demetrice’s apartment line the streets outside my window. They all look the same, just like the houses on Micah’s reservation. None of these buildings have those damn paper lanterns hanging from the roofs, though. It’s almost like Micah wants everyone to know he’s a little bit different. I don’t think I can go back.
“I think Micah likes guys,” I say, more to the car door than to Terrence.
“Not down with the rainbow?” he asks from the driver’s seat.
My eyes remain focused on the buildings outside. I sort of wish I could just disappear into one of them, preferably an abandoned one, and sleep until school starts back this fall.
“It’s okay,” I say. “If that’s his thing, I mean. I just…I don’t know.”
I force myself to turn around and explain the too-friendly-to-be-just-friends photo. Then I spill my fears to Terrence’s dashboard about how I think Micah may try to get with me or may get the wrong impression if I hang out with him too much.
“And when we got to his house, it was just like the others,” I say. “Except he had paper lanterns hanging from the porch. If that isn’t gay, then what is? He wants to hang out again this weekend.”
Terrence slams his palms against his steering wheel, laughing like he’s high and this is the funniest thing in the world.
“McCoy,” he says. “Lanterns don’t make someone gay. Maybe his mom put them up? Or his sister? His nieces might have. It doesn’t mean the dude is gay.”
He has a point. I could see Abby or Jade wanting to hang them up, to add some color or to be different or because they’re pretty or some girly shit like that.
We pull up next to a small basketball court between two apartment complexes. A group of guys are already out there, shooting a ball around. Terrence parks on some loose gravel but doesn’t get out of the car.
“What are you going to do?” he asks. He nods to his glove compartment. “About Micah.”
I shrug. “I don’t know.”
“You can’t just ignore him,” he says.
His car dings a few times after he opens his door. He drops the keys in the cup holder and motions for me to come on. I might not be able to ignore Micah forever, but I can for now.