I'm over halfway done with this new book I'm writing and I plan to publish it in November. I love it! My betas love it! I hope all my readers will love it too! I'm posting the first two chapters, so they're not completely edited yet. I don't see too much changing though when it does go to my editor, minus the grammar issues. So here ya go....
“Perfect!” Randa says, as I finish one of my paintings, one I've been working on for about thirty minutes now.
“No, I think it needed just a little more depth, maybe more vibrant colors too.” She shakes her head, “No, it’s perfect as is, really Sky. I love it. You’re gonna be a great artist one day.” She pauses, “Well, you already are. But you've got big things in store for you.” My hand is tired and my eyes are seeing red. It was time for a break.
“It looks stunning. It’s one of your best pieces yet, I think.” I smile at her kind support and encouragement. I've been painting since I could hold a paint brush. It was always my passion, my obsession really. I hope to one day open a store and sell my paintings or maybe even teach an art class. But first I plan on traveling the world. I want to go to Paris, Rome, even Portugal and who knows where else. Anywhere I can where I can capture the images from the actual location themselves. My art teacher has a painting of mine on his wall.
I know what you’re thinking, I’m not a teacher’s pet by any means, however, it makes me feel good to know I’m good enough or artistic for a teacher to hound me about making a replica of the original piece I’d done for a project. A smile lights my eyes and I place my brush down on the easel, sighing while admiring my work. Yeah, it’s good enough.
Randa stands up and grabs my paintbrush, bringing it to the sink to wash. I’m not sure why she goes through the trouble but I’m grateful to have her. Otherwise I’d be alone most of the time. We've been friends for years. She’s the only one who understands me, gets me and still loves me as I am. I’m not popular nor am I that social. I’m just an artist who is misunderstood. I spend most of my time painting things that fascinate me or I find beautiful. I wasn't always the loner type. Randa is definitely one of the more popular, pretty girls, with long blonde hair and gorgeous green eyes….nice figure that I’d kill for. I've always envied her, guys flock to her like a moth to a flame, effortlessly. And yet she doesn't brag about it or shove it in my face. Her boyfriend Ian is not my type but he’s totally sweet and perfect…for her. He’s cute, but I’d never date him. She definitely deserves someone that treats her like a princess. Still, she spent more of her time watching me paint than anything else. I felt bad for her, actually, she must feel bad for me, never having a boyfriend or having that first kiss, or that first spark with someone of the opposite sex. I've never experienced what it feels like to have my heart stutter in my chest or the butterfly swarmy things that I hear about. But I guess it never bothered me before. Maybe in a sense I like being by myself with paint brush in hand, getting lost in what I’m creating. Okay so that’s not totally true. The only boy I ever had eyes for never looked my way. At least not like that, well not since he became popular once we started high school. He’s a football player, six-two, amazing-dark-almost black hair, icy blue eyes. He’s got a sexy body, not that I've ever noticed. Well that’s not entirely true either. We've known each other our whole lives and were actually as close as best friends could be. Our parents were friends since high school. My mom and his dad dated once upon a time, maybe twice. But during college, they broke up and my mom married my dad. But he died about two years ago from a horrific car accident on the bridge. My mom hasn't dated anyone since. I hate that she’s alone but she tells me she’s too busy to date. The truth is I think she’s still mourning my father’s death. Maybe it’s too soon. It was unexpected and so quick; we didn't have time to prepare. But how do you prepare for death really?
My father was so amazing. He always told me how proud he was of me. He loved my artwork. I got my artistic skills from him. My mom can’t draw a straight line to save her life. But when I was three, my dad gave me a paintbrush and I wasn't sure what to do with it, so I ate the bristles. My dad thought it was a sign that I wanted to be an artist. Yeah, it didn't taste good. But hey, I was a kid; what the Hell did I know? Then on my seventh birthday, he gave me a paint set and an easel. The first painting I ever made was a house on the ocean and a sunrise. I loved the sun and always drew or painted anything sky related. He looked at it and almost died of..shock? I couldn't tell. From then on, everything was artsy. I never had any barbies or dolls to play with as a child. No dress up time or even cars to play with. In my house, it was all paints, drawing supplies and..well that’s about it. Yeah, I was girly deprived. But I’m not that bothered by it.
“My God Sky, this is. It’s exquisite. You’re a natural artist.” I thought my dad was joking when he made that comment, looking at one of my first pieces and almost croaked just to appease his daughter.
“Really? I was just messing around, but this landscape caught my eye.” I’d just painted a picture of Paris at night, capturing the Eiffel tower just right. It shocked me to see how well it was portrayed. I had no idea how much it would look like the real thing. Maybe my father was right about me being a natural. “Well, you are going to take some art classes. Your talent needs to be shared. You can make a living out of this.” I’d never thought of actually painting as a career or long term goal. But I could tell my dad was determined to do anything to convince me of it and the fact that I needed to continue painting even long after high school. Maybe he thought I could make him a lot of money. I’d been painting ever since. I guess my dad was right about one thing, I am a natural and everyone wanted me to paint them a picture, including my art teacher which I thought was appropriate considering its art class. I feel since he’s gone, it’s better to take this talent and go as far as I can. If not for myself, then for my dad. He’d be proud, though I would do it for myself because I actually enjoy it. It fills the lonely void most of the time.
“Sky!” Randa flicks my arm, bringing me back to the here and now.
“Oh sorry. I must have zoned out or something. What did you say?” She puts her hands on her hips and raises an eyebrow. “Don’t do that! You know it makes me jealous because I can’t do it. When one brow goes up, the other one follows.” She laughs and I shrug.
“I asked if you wanted to go watch a movie.” But then she thinks about it for a minute before adding, “Besides, you can whistle and I, for the life of me can’t. No matter how hard I try, I can’t do it. I just look stupid. So it’s only fair to have something I can do that you can’t.” She smiles then walks to the door of my art room. I follow behind her, turning off the light and closing the door.
“Oh Randa, there’s a lot you can do that I can’t. You just don’t get it.”
“Hello? You can draw the freakin’ Empire State building just by looking at a picture, I’m so jealous of your talent.” We walk downstairs where my mother is making dinner.
We sit at the table, “Yeah, well I’m not good at dressing up. I make dresses look stupid, which is why I always wear shorts or pants. So, we’re even.” She rolls her eyes.
“Everyone has at least one thing they’re good at Sky. Hey,” My mother slaps my hand, “I’m making dinner, don’t spoil it by eating dessert.” She turns to Randa, “Are you staying for dinner, Randa?”
“Um, I guess so. We can watch a movie afterwards.” I put the cookies back in the jar and help prepare our meal. My phone goes off, Jared and I glance at Randa for a second. “What?” She asks.
“Do you want to invite Jared over and watch a movie with us?” I ask to be polite. He’s Jackson’s older brother, my other best friend. He’s like my other friend I hang out with, besides Randa. He’s twenty, really sweet and intelligent. I used to wonder what he’d be like as an adult, and so far, he’s far better than I imagined. But I’m not sure if I’d ever see him more than a best friend. He’s gorgeous, don’t get me wrong. Actually all the men in that family are. But if I was to be honest, Jackson is more my type. It’s not like I’d ever have a shot with him, though. We drifted apart, and it sucks because all I can think about is the five year olds we used to be, playing, fishing and having the best childhoods. Now he’s too good for me, even as a friend.
“Why not? I know he’d be over here with just one word.” She grins.
“Why don’t you invite Jackson, too?” My mother chimes in. I think she secretly favors him, but she won’t admit it.
“In case you forgot, mom, he has a life. And it doesn't involve me anymore.” I decide to text Jared, asking to hang out with him another time. I’m not in the mood tonight.
“Great practice today Cruz! Make sure you bring it to the game on Friday. Go ahead, class dismissed.” Coach Bennett tells me in the locker room. “You okay man? You look like Hell!” Nick asks me as we’re changing. I’m sweating profusely, possibly overexerted myself. More-so than I normally do. I've got a football scholarship coming my way for college. I have to keep in shape. I nod my head and put my clothes away.
“Yea, I think I overdid it this time. My chest hurts and my lungs feel like they’re closing.” He laughs and hits me with his shirt, shaking his head.
“It doesn't help that you’re a smoker. Hence the lung problem.” Yea well, if that’s the worst thing I could do, then I’ll take it. Smoking calms me, shitty excuse I know. But still.
“Alright, well I’ll catch ya later chump.” Nick stalks off and I sit on the bench. I grab my water bottle sitting next to me and take a swig. I lean my head back against the lockers and close my eyes.
“Hey sexy.” I hear Amber’s voice in my ear and open my eyes. Jesus. Her breasts are level with my face and if I wanted to I could just move less than an inch and bite her nipple. She’s wearing a lacy pink tank top that barely covers her belly button and low rise jeans that I could totally sink my fingers into at this moment. I look around at the empty locker room and consider taking her in the shower but think better of it. With my luck, someone would walk in on us. Plus, I’m not one for having sex in public.
“Dammit Amber, you know how tempting you are looking like that. This is not a place to stalk me.” She sits on my lap and wraps her arms around my neck. She smells like watermelon and it sets my blood on fire.
“Oh come on, you’ve got self-control. I have faith in you.” I smile and kiss her briefly, tucking a stray piece of her blonde hair behind her ear. “Besides, I had to come here and tell you how hot you looked on that field today.” I hug her tightly to my body.
“You look hot every day.” I say in response and kiss her forehead.
“Let’s get out of here.” I don’t argue, just nod, grabbing my stinky clothes to wash.
We get up and walk to the door. I open it and we step out into the hall, holding hands. As we step out, I don’t pay attention running smack into…ah Hell, Skylar McKenzie.
My lifelong nightmare. Okay, she’s just my high school nightmare. We used to be pretty close friends, the best, most would say.
I send her crashing to the ground, knocking all of her stuff out of her hands.
“Shit!” She mutters, quickly grabbing her belongings off the floor. I reluctantly bend over and help her, looking at her I say “Watch where you’re going next time, will ya?” She apologizes profusely, while cursing under her breath. A small part of me feels a ping of guilt, knowing damn good and well it was my fault, but I force that small piece of shit way down and glare at her.
“Um, you’re the one not paying attention Jackson.” I hear Randa Lamar defending Skylar’s honor to my left. Suddenly I feel like a bigger ass but I don’t right my wrong. Instead I scowl at them and grab Amber’s hand steering her away from the mess I created. We walk to the parking lot, stopping at my car. I lean against it, pulling Amber against me.
“Ugh, I can’t believe Skylar ran into you like that. Could she have been more obvious about it? Clearly she wants you Jackson. I swear I think she’s blind sometimes.” She knows it was me that ran into her, and Skylar, I’m sure doesn't want me. Not after the way I treat her.
Amber has always been jealous of Sky. In some weird way I can see why. Even though she has me, I think she’s afraid I’ll drop her for Skylar. Really? Amber is everything a guy could want in a girl, besides being a cheerleader. She’s hot and good at everything she does. And I mean everything. Skylar is…well not. That I know of anyway. I mean she’s got good qualities I guess. But none that ever interested me enough to notice. The only thing we have in common is our parents grew up together. Her mom dated my dad in high school and once in college. Then he married my mom, but she left him, us, my brother and me for one of her young college professors. My brother Jared and I never forgave her for abandoning us. Skylar’s dad passed away and my dad and her mom Rose became closer. We were both left parent-less. I guess that’s why Amber freaks out when Skylar’s around. We used to hang out when we were younger, practically inseparable. But that was before I grew up and found her annoying and dull. She spends most of her time in her damn art room painting. I never understood her love for such a thing. It’s just so nerdy. She used to paint buildings or bridges or some shit, and then run to my house to show me, thinking I actually gave a shit. I used to squeal in mock delight and tell her how awesome it was but really, I just wanted to hurl the painting at her and tell her to get a fucking life. Yeah, I’m a dick.
After I kiss her neck, I open the door for her and then get into my side. I slide into my seat and close my door. I start the engine and say, “Amber seriously, I think she’s blind too. I’m not sure how she paints with those eyes. And trust me, she doesn't want me.” She laughs and touches my arm which sends shock waves through my body. It’s the effect she has on me when she touches me, or is near. I light up a cigarette, taking a long drag and slowly letting it out my window. Already I feel relaxed as I drive Amber home.
“Seriously Jacks, that shit will kill you. And it’s definitely not attractive.”
“Please babe, it’s so attractive. You know you want some of this.” I point to myself, being arrogant, “Smoker or not.” She turns away in disgust and lets out a chuckle. Yeah, she’s not very supportive of my smoking habit. It’s always been an issue, but I’m stubborn and refuse to give it up.
After I drop Amber off, I pull up to my house and see Jared outside with some brunette, who from the back looks hot. Then she turns around and sees me, what the…shit, I've got the worst of luck. I get out of my car and walk towards the porch.
“Hey bro how was school today?” Jared says to me as I pass by him. I glance at Skylar briefly and shake my head. Should have known she’d be at my house playing with my brother. Jared has always been her go-to boy since I was always too busy with a life of my own to notice her. He’s 20 and has more experience, at least more experience than her. I walk into my room and shut the door. I lay on my bed and not even five minutes have passed and there’s a knock. Sensing who it is, I get up and start walking to the door, but it slowly opens and a head pops in.
“Hey Jackson. I’m sorry for running into you today. I’m such a klutz and didn't see you there.” Yea, well it’s over. Why is she bringing this up again now? She steps into my room, uninvited. “Okay” Is all I say. She stands there dumbfounded. “Anything else?” I ask. She shakes her head and leaves my room, slamming the door behind her. I consider stalking out after her and asking what the hell her problem is. But I leave it alone and play XBOX instead. I figure blowing shit up will take the edge off, and calm me down. Although I’m really craving a cigarette, sine it always helps me. I can just taste the nicotine on my tongue. But it’s better to wait until she leaves, I don’t feel like having another run-in and having to get pissed again.