The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

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 Post subject: Formal Apology
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:53 pm 
Oy! You there - *pokes with stick* Ahem... I do hereby formal apologize for my impatience. I need to learn to respect other people's creative cycles and not push forward with my own greedy reading apetite.



But, in my defense, this story is kick ass bam-pow, leaving you begging on you knees for just another taste. In all honesty I will gladly camp out on my stinky fungus rock and eat mushy bananas if I can get an update sometime this year.



I hereby proclaim myself fungus fan number one. Call me number one.



Loved the update, and I worship you... just don't tell Gid, you know, God's brother. :bigwave

Jessica



Adia I'm empty since you left me...



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 Post subject: Update
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:06 pm 
Title: Play It From the Heart

Author: Big Dummy (aka Stevie)

Rating: PG13

Disclaimer: This is an original story. All characters belong to me. It depicts a romantic relationship betwen two high school girls. Nothing sexual, pure soppy romance. Think Diane Salvatore and Nancy Garden. But not as good. Any similarities between Krista and Taryn

and any other characters/rl people is purely coincidental.

Copyright Stuff: I think it goes without saying, but please do not reproduce this piece of original fiction anywhere without my permission. It's my baby. Questions and requests can be directed to the email address in my profile.

Extra: My first time writing an original story, hopefully not my last. Also my first time posting any creative attempt here, or anywhere.



**************************

Bodies moved and swayed together, the darkness of the room barely pierced by the low lighting; the track lights that lined the ceiling had been dimmed, and the glow of the lamps placed around the edges of the room never reached beyond the periphery of what had become the dance floor. The room had grown hot and damp as it filled with moving bodies. Probably some sort of fire code hazard, Krista thought, trying in vain to search out a figure that was familiar to her. She had long ago lost contact with the other band members and had reacquainted herself with her corner to keep vigil, only leaving her position to refill her punch cup- which would need a touch-up fairly soon she noted. She had been disappointed but not surprised when the others had disappeared soon after packing up the equipment. Krista had watched in bitter disappointment as Taryn had gone off somewhere with David, her only words to Krista being, “Have a good time.” She was baffled as to how the girl could be so caring and attentive one minute, the perfect friend, and completely oblivious to her the next.



Krista kept herself mildly entertained for a bit; people approached her for a while to talk about the performance and lavish her with compliments; an unusual occurrence but one she had begun to enjoy. Even Candace and Meg stopped by to chat her up before disappearing into the mass of people. It seemed that as soon as the lights had come down and the DJ had really gotten into it everyone had swarmed onto the dance floor. She guessed that Taryn and the others were all out there somewhere too; the DJ was good, and she had even caught herself bopping to the music. She wanted to dance, but she was not about to venture into that dark den of writhing bodies. She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that no sooner would she slip into that void than some sweaty boy would start grinding her. Where’s that one in ten anyway, she wondered, her eyes never ceasing to roam the crowd, though she could see nothing.



Out in the shadows of the dance floor, beyond Krista’s circle of vision, Taryn was dancing and having a wonderful time. She moved against David seductively, confident and powerful in her element. The music was hot, she had had a few drinks and was feeling good…except she could not shake the voice that had been nagging her for the last hour. She had not seen Krista for some time now, and a small but growing part of her was feeling guilty. She could guess where she was- doubtless standing alone somewhere, just as she always seemed to be. She decided to hunt her down and make sure she was okay as soon as the song she was dancing to came to an end. As if Taryn had summoned it, the last strains of the pop tune faded away and became mixed in with the next song. She stopped and leaned over to yell in David’s ear, “I’m gonna go check on Krista.” She ignored his exasperated look- it was bad form to completely ditch a friend after all, and girlfriends had to look out for each other- and nudged her way across the floor, standing on tiptoe to see over everyone’s head. She was still dancing even as she moved from place to place, looking for Krista.



She finally spotted her leaning against a wall as she had guessed, almost hidden in the darkness of a corner. The white of her costume glinted in the light of a nearby lamp; she looked like some mysterious, sexy stranger- very much like a queen. Unaware that she was being watched, Krista appeared at ease for the first time that evening; the relaxed lean against the wall, the confident, almost bored stare as she observed everyone; the way her hand moved a few strands of hair off of her forehead. Taryn swallowed hard and touched her stomach. Might be a good idea to lay off the drink for a while, she thought, attributing the sudden lurching in her stomach to the recent switch from punch to beer. Shaking her head, Taryn made her way over to her. The other girl did not see her until Taryn was almost on top of her. She jumped a little, a relieved smile appearing when she recognized her.



“How did I know I would find you off somewhere by yourself?” Taryn asked teasingly.



Krista’s lips curled into a smirk. “I guess you just know me pretty well.”



Taryn’s stomach lurched again, and she wondered with one part of her brain if she was about to get sick, while with the other she contemplated the fact that she could not look away from that face. She did so enjoy sassy Krista. “Why aren’t you dancing?” she asked with some difficulty.



Krista cocked her head to one side and regarded her with an ‘Are you kidding?’ look. Not giving herself time to think, Taryn grabbed Krista’s hand and dragged her off the wall and onto the floor. Krista protested, trying to yank her hand back, but Taryn was having none of it. “Come on,” she pleaded. “I love this song. It’ll be fun.” She didn’t release her grip and led a reluctant Krista though the gyrating bodies towards the center of the floor. Krista had no choice but to follow, being dragged as she was behind Taryn, until Taryn stopped, having positioned them in the middle of the crowd. She had a feeling that if she wanted Krista to dance- and she did want that, very much- she would have a better chance of getting her to do so if she wasn’t in plain view of the rest of the room. She turned to face her friend, smiling encouragingly as she began to dance. Krista grimaced and did a half-hearted shuffle from one foot to the other, pushing strands of hair behind her ears as she looked around self-consciously.



“Come on,” Taryn cajoled, and took Krista’s hands in her own, swinging their arms between them as she lead her in movement, encouraging her to get into the dancing.



Krista’s heart surged as she realized the enormity of what was happening: she was dancing with Taryn. So it wasn’t dancing in the true sense, as in “Hey, would you like to dance?” but it was something.



Everyone is just the same

They touch me

But I can’t say




Taryn sang along, smiling, clearly enjoying herself. Krista couldn’t help but smile in return; she was so beautiful. She found herself loosening up as she watched the other girl in her enjoyment; the contact with Taryn, both physical and visual, was once again putting her at ease. How can she relax me and drive me nuts at the same time, she wondered. The space they had created between them with their loosely linked hands grew a little smaller as more people joined them on the dance floor. They were pushed closer and closer together until space demanded that they break the contact. Taryn tried to hide her surprise as she watched Krista fly solo; she was actually turning out to be quite a good partner.



Heavenly, that's what you are

You're burnin' me like a shining star

How am I supposed to be that king without you




The crowd around them increased, driving them closer, until the space between them was almost nonexistent. They looked everywhere but at each other; the lack of distance was too intimate for the smiling eye contact of before. The change was subtle, but it did not escape either girl’s attention, and they pondered it separately even as they continued to move. It had occurred as naturally as breathing; the music moving through them and carrying their bodies like leaves on a tide. With each ebb and flow they were moving closer together, dancing to each other. Everything else in the room disappeared, and in that moment they existed in a private space that they had created in the middle of the packed dance floor. The air between them seemed to vibrate with electricity that formed an almost physical bridge. They became connected beyond simple touch as they danced together, their bodies mirror images of each other’s movements as they bent and turned, twisting around each other like a pair of charged wires, but never touching.



There has been no one brighter than you

I can’t deny these things that I do

Feel’s like the world’s at stake ‘cause

I have been waiting

I have been waiting for you




Time seemed endless as the girls continued to exist in their own private sphere, oblivious to everyone else, until the spell was abruptly broken when Taryn felt a body press into her from behind. She jumped and turned to find herself face to face with a grinning David. Blinking as if she had just been awakened, Taryn attempted a welcoming smile and wrapped her arms around his neck as he pulled her close, working their hips together in a wide, gyrating motion.



“That was hot,” he breathed in her ear. She drew him into a kiss that felt as empty to her as she felt inside at that moment. The action was meant not only to quell any further comments from him, but also to buy some time before turning back to Krista. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to quiet the alarms that had started clamoring in her head. She felt out of sorts and fuzzyheaded, and she danced with David on autopilot, buying herself time to get a grip on her muddled thoughts. She was hot inside, her breathing heavy, and she knew that it wasn’t from exertion. What the hell was that? I invite her to dance and then I practically molest her---Oh shit! It occurred to her that she had left Krista standing behind her, alone, without a word, and she whirled around to apologize, her face the picture of guilt.



“Shit,” she muttered. The couple grinding against each other in the spot where Krista had once stood looked at her strangely. “Sorry.”



“What’s wrong?” David asked, touching her arm and attempting to regain her attention.



“Nothing,” she responded, searching the crowd for any sign of the missing girl. She shrugged his arm off, annoyed with his groping. “I gotta go.” She did not spare him a glance as she took off from the dance floor in search of Krista. **********************************************

Krista walked through the house in a fog. She paid no attention to the other partygoers, not registering when she was spoken to and not seeing anyone. She had one goal: she was searching for some place, any place, to be alone with her thoughts. She needed time to think, time to put things into perspective before she had to see Taryn again.



Her roaming took her into a quieter part of the house, a hall with two doors on either side. She glanced around and noted that she was quite alone. She tried the first door she came upon, and finding it unlocked, she slipped inside.



“Thank God,” she said aloud to the empty room. She hurried over to the bed in the middle of the room and plopped herself down on her back. She closed her eyes and concentrated on the jumble of thoughts and emotions pummeling her brain and heart. She didn’t even know where to begin; the last few minutes- the entire evening now that she had a chance to think about it- had been like a roller coaster whose tracks ended without warning, leaving her suspended in mid-air. Up and down all night long. She had shared intimate moments with Taryn before- they were friends now after all, and it was what friends did- but never so many all at once. Taryn touching her, Taryn whispering her ear to be heard over the noise of the party- she shivered even now in remembrance at how it had felt to have her lips so close to her skin-, Taryn looking into her eyes on stage and guiding her, and finally, Taryn dancing with her.



She had danced with Taryn. Not just danced; something intimate had seemed to pass between them, lost as they were in the music. And lost in each other- or so it had seemed at the time. And then Taryn had turned away and slipped easily back into David’s arms, as if Krista didn’t exist.



Krista groaned, covering her face with her hands as she remembered how she had been on the dance floor; the way she had moved with Taryn, so out of character for her. For a moment it had seemed as if they were on the same page, as if Krista’s greatest desire was coming true. The aftermath had dashed that little fantasy with harsh finality. It had meant nothing to her. Something that had been so titillating, so enchanting to Krista, had affected Taryn no more than a square dance. As soon as David had shown up, Krista was yesterday’s news. She had turned from her without a word, leaving her standing in the middle of the dance floor alone and embarrassed. And did Taryn know? Had she sensed how big of a deal it all was to Krista? She closed her eyes and shook her head at the possibility. There was no way she could face her again that night.



She looked around the room and spotted a phone on the bedside table. She dialed Marshall’s number and waited anxiously as the phone rang. When at last it was answered and she recognized his voice, she blurted, “Can you come and get me? Like now?”



“Uh---wha---okay,” he spluttered. “Did something happen? What’s wrong?”



“I’ll tell you all about it later. I’m just…ready to go, and I don’t want to ride with the others.”



“Alright. I know where you are. Give me 15 minutes.”



“I’ll be out front.” She hung up and took a deep breath. There was one problem out of the way: she would not have to ride home with Q, not have to sit in a confined space with Taryn, if Taryn was going back with them at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if she got a ride with ol’ Davy-boy…and probably not just in his car either. She grimaced at the thought. Great. Way to torture yourself Krista. Good images.



She did not want to see anyone else until Marshall came, and contemplated simply making a run for the front door and hoping no one saw her. Her conscience vetoed that plan, as she imagined what would happen when the others realized she was nowhere to be found. They would possibly even get it into their heads to call her parents, which would not be good. She decided the best plan of action would be to find either Jay or Sergio and let them know that she was leaving and that she would be okay. The problem would be doing this without running into Taryn…but then again, she was probably already off in some dark corner with David, doing God knows what…



Her thoughts were interrupted by the bedroom door opening. She jumped, startled and guilty, as a boy entered.



“Oh, hey,” he said, holding his hands up. One of them held a plastic cup that appeared to be full. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you.”



“Sorry. Is this your room or-?”she asked, standing hastily. She was embarrassed at being caught in an area of the house that she had no business being in.



“No. I just wanted to escape the party for a second,” he explained. “It’s a little loud out there. You don’t have to leave.”



She sat again hesitantly; he seemed harmless enough and she didn’t want to go back out there. He made his way across the room, his steps a little unsteady, and sat next to her on the bed. Harmless, Krista thought, instinctively backing away. She was already cursing her decision. She had only been on a few dates in her life, but she caught on pretty fast. It was clear that he was drunk, and his nearness made her nervous. She sat stiffly, wondering how to extricate herself from the situation without looking afraid. Boys smell fear, right? Or was that dogs? Either way, she did not want to be alone in a bedroom with a strange boy.



“I saw you play. You guys were really good,” he commented.



“Thanks.”



“I saw Q play a few times last year, when Brad was their bassist. Personally,” he continued, leaning over conspiratorially, “I think you’re way better.” She smiled politely, concealing a gag at the strong smell of alcohol. “Definitely cuter.”



Her nervousness heightened and she shifted on the bed to put more distance between them, unsure of how to respond to the comment. She tensed more at his next words. “I saw you dancing with Taryn. That was definitely hot.” He smiled at her, though it seemed to be more of a leer, and without further thought she made the decision to get the hell out of there.



Standing, she said, “I’ve gotta go. My friends are probably looking for me.” Her heart sunk in dismay as he too stood, blocking her route to the door.



“Hold on, you don’t have to leave. I didn’t mean to offend you. Look, we just happen to be in the same place at the same time. It’s like Fate. Maybe we could get to know each other. I even brought you this.” He held his cup out to her.



“No thanks. I had enough already.” She tried to edge around him and found herself blocked once more. A feeling of panic and fear ran through her, and she glanced anxiously at the door.



“Whoa, what’s wrong? We’re just talking, right? I’m a nice guy.”



“Yeah, that’s great, but I’m trying to leave,” she said with forced calm. She was very afraid, but determined; it was not her intention to become another statistic. I should’ve just gone right outside to wait for Marshall, she thought in dismay, her mind feverishly working to find a way out of the situation. She attempted to move again, and this time the boy grabbed her arm with his free hand. She realized that things were about to get ugly very fast, and her heart thumped loudly in her ears.



“Let go of me,” she demanded, her voice shaking, and tried to pull away.



“I’m just trying to be friendly,” he said, not loosening his grip a bit. “Maybe I can get you to dance with me like you did with that girl. Come on, Cleo. Be nice.” His leer, for that was unquestionably what it was at that moment, grew as his eyes roamed over her body and stopped at the slit of her skirt. “Let me see what’s going on under that sexy little outfit. I’ve already got half the show. You might as well---”



The bedroom door suddenly swung open with a loud thump, and Jay stumbled in, accompanied by a giggling girl. The scene froze as the four occupants looked at each other, Jay’s eyes wide with disbelief as they flicked from Krista to the boy and back again.



“Jay,” Krista breathed with relief.



“You alright?” he asked Krista, but his eyes were focused on the boy. Krista almost smiled as he straightened up and squared his shoulders, looking every bit the champion that he was at that moment.



“Yeah, I was just trying to leave.” She wrenched her arm out of the boy’s grasp; this time she met no resistance, and as she rushed to the door she cradled the spot on her arm where he had held her, as if to ensure that it would not leave her control again. She brushed by Jay without a word, not even turning when he called to her. She was mortified, not to mention shaken by the situation. She did not want to see or talk to anyone.



She rushed blindly through the house, winding her way through the darkness, trying to find the front door. Once exciting, the low lighting of the party now seemed threatening. She imagined the boy was following her, waiting for another opportunity to get her alone. She had come so close to…she didn’t even want to think about it. Blessedly the door appeared in front of her, and she practically threw herself at it in her haste to get outside. She breathed in a deep lungful of air and made her way down the walk to the van, fighting back the tears that had sprung to her eyes. How had everything gone so wrong so quickly? She would remember this night as one of extreme emotional duress, from the moment that she had stepped on stage to now.



She walked around the van till she reached the side not facing the house and leaned against it. Her breath came in great heaving gasps and hot tears streamed down her cheeks. She wiped at her cheeks and glanced at her fingers; light smudges of mascara were visible. She leaned her head back and stared at the sky. She didn’t know how long she stood that way before she heard footsteps approaching. She stilled and waited for the person to pass; instead they got closer and stopped at the van before resuming. She hastily wiped her eyes as she realized that whomever it was was coming around the side of the van. She fixed her face into an expression of nonchalance and looked up as Taryn rounded the front bumper.



Taryn took one look at the girl and her heart lurched. It was clear that she had been crying; whatever happened before Jay arrived in that bedroom had clearly upset her. She moved closer, her steps tentative, aware that Krista might want to be alone at that moment, but she was unable to stop herself. She wanted to do something for her, be there for her.



“Hey,” she said, her voice gentle.



“Jay told you.” It wasn’t a question.



Taryn nodded. “He was worried about you. So am I.” Her eyes roamed Krista’s face. She had grown so close to this girl, whom she now considered one of her best friends –a remarkable fact considering that two months ago the idea of being friends with anyone, let alone a girl, was as foreign a concept as growing another appendage- and her heart was aching for the pain she saw in her eyes.



Krista managed a weak smile and shrugged. “It was my fault. I went in there to be alone, and…I mean, look at me,” she said, indicating her costume. “I’m dressed like some kind of sex kitten. No wonder he thought---“



“Stop right there,” Taryn interrupted, moving closer. They were standing mere inches apart, and her thoughts flashed back to the dancing. Somewhere inside a voice was warning, Stop now, before it’s too late. “No way you’re to blame for that asshole acting that way.” Krista did not reply. She hung her head and looked dismally at the ground. Taryn hesitated; she wanted to ask her next question, but was unsure whether or not it was too soon. “Did-did he hurt you?”



Krista sighed. “No. I mean, he didn’t…he just wouldn’t let me go.” Her voice hitched and she shook her head in frustration. Her next words were barely a whisper. “I just wanted…everyone said to be something different, something I’m not. I just wanted to be…sexy. Beautiful. Hot.” She seemed to shrink in on herself as the words left her; in her sadness it didn’t occur to her to filter her words.



The raw pain and despair in her voice made Taryn’s heart thump, and everything inside stretched and pulled in Krista’s direction, needing to comfort and reassure. Before she had time to think, to consider her actions, her hand was reaching out. Her fingers found Krista’s chin (God, her skin’s so soft), and she tilted her head up so that they were eye to eye. “You are sexy, and beautiful, and hot,” she said forcefully. Somewhere in the back of her mind the alarms of earlier set up their clatter once again, much louder this time, and that voice in her head became more insistent. She blocked them out; she was intent on Krista, and only Krista.



The distance between them disappeared. They had only to lean forward the smallest of degrees for their lips to grace each other. The contact was quick and light, lips barely touching, two pairs of eyes flickering shut briefly, and it was enough. As if given the same cue, they parted slowly, eyes wide. Taryn’s hand dropped to her side, and they remained still, staring. The seconds that passed seemed like years as they searched each other’s faces for an answer to a question that had not been asked. Taryn’s lips parted as if to speak, but nothing came out.



They were jarred from their daze by the sudden sound of the party as it grew unaccountably loud, and they heard Jay’s voice calling out good-byes. They moved apart guiltily, avoiding each other’s eyes, and in an unspoken accord moved around to the driver’s side of the van. Jay approached with his back turned, talking to Sergio, who was weaving a little as he walked.



“Come on man,” he was saying, laughing. He stopped and waited, allowing the drunken boy to catch up. Sergio threw an arm over Jay’s shoulder, and they made their way to the van where Taryn and Krista were waiting in silence. “You okay, Krista?” he asked when he was within speaking distance.



She nodded, her eyes focused on the ground in front of her. “Yeah. Thanks.”



He turned to Taryn. “I think Serg is gonna stay with us tonight.”



She laughed; it sounded hollow to her ears. “I think that’s best.”



Headlights washed over the group, and they turned to see who was arriving so late to the party. The car stopped behind the van, and a figure emerged from the passenger side and made his way towards the group. They watched in silence until the figure was close enough to identify, and Taryn’s kiss-induced haze was broken when she recognized Marshall.



“What’s up, guys? How’s the party?”



“Hey,” Taryn greeted. “I thought you said you didn’t do teeny-bopper parties.”



“I don’t. I’m just here to pick up Krista.” He looked at Krista and asked, “You ready?”



“Yeah.” She turned to the others. “I um, called Marshall for a ride. I didn’t want to break up the festivities or anything.”



Taryn looked between the two of them, wondering when that call had been made –and why it had been Marshall. Had she been wrong about them? An unfamiliar feeling was rising in her as she watched Krista move to stand by his side, and it took her a second to realize that she was feeling…jealous? Was that it? She glanced at Jay and knew that his expression –surprise, hurt, annoyance– was an exact replica of her own, and the revelation threw her. She made her expression neutral and smiled.



“Well, drive safely.”



“You too.” Marshall turned and headed for the car. Krista waved at them and said, “See you guys,” her voice meek and small, before following him. She never looked directly at Taryn.



Taryn faced the remaining group, noticing that Sergio appeared to be degenerating before their eyes, swaying on his feet as Jay held on to him. “We’d better get him home.” She started towards the van and stopped. Jay had not moved; he was looking at her, his expression unreadable. “What?”



He stared for a few seconds more before muttering, “Nothing.” Hoisting Sergio up a little more, he moved towards the van, and they worked together to get him settled and strapped into his seat before driving off in silence.

********************************************





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 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:12 pm 
Just wanted to also say thanks to everyone for understanding the writer's block thing. I get that it's pretty frustrating to start liking a story and then have it disappear and leave you hanging, which is one of the reasons I tried to get as much written before I actually started to post anything (despiye being very eager to share with you guys). Unfortunately, 177 pages disappeared a lot faster than I could write, and the story's also nearing it's climax/end, which is proving to be difficult to get out.



But again, thanks for your patience and understanding. Hopefully this last update is long enough to tide you over some.



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 Post subject: Excellent
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:58 pm 
Hi, excellent update. As much as I’m wanting to read the next update I can be patient . But you have to promise that you will finish this story :pray .



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 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:59 pm 
Wow..wonderful update..Awwww Taryn and Krista :love . Love sam xx

"Sometimes things happen between people that you don't really expect. And sometimes the things that are important are the ones that seem the weirdest or the most wrong. And those are the ones that change your life." - Jessie Sammler (Evan Rachel Wood)



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 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 3:10 pm 
Good heavens, child, what ARE you apologising for?! :shock You gave us a KISS! :eatme Short though it was, it'll do me. If you have to apologise for writer's block, then I need to buy everyone a lapdance for putting up with my lengthy absence (well, only two people noticed but still :lol ). I got goosepimples of fear when that dude cornered Krista (bad bad evil flashback time for me...thought I had that all behind me but...guess not). I love the way you describe the heat between them. Now...I need a cold shower. Take care, babe!


We kissed for hours, wrapped around each other in the dirt, immersed in the heady, religious world of deep sex.
Love is just a different form of ego. It's nothing but a flatteringly worded form of possessiveness.--Kannaduki no Miko



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 Post subject: yay
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:26 pm 
Yay! An update! I LOVE this story!

"Death cannot stop true love. It can only delay it." The Princess Bride



*****



BeastBoy: She thinks I'm funny.



Raven:Statistically, I suppose, somebody has to.



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 Post subject: Re: yay
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:02 am 
It's a great fic and i love it so i don't really mind how long it takes you to update, it's worth the wait, although the sooner the better i understand that's not always possible. So i'm going to wait like the rest of the people as long as you promise to finish the fic and not leave us hanging i'm happy.



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 Post subject: I'm Back...For Now
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 7:39 pm 
Did some serious work and got some stuff down. I warn anyone still reading this: this hasn't gotten to sit around and be edited and re-edited the way all the previous parts had been, so not only will there prolly be typos or grammatical errors and what not, it probably just won't be written at the same level as the previous stuff. I apologize beforehand.



Also, some past events changed while I was writing this, so there may be a reference or two to something that you don't remember happening. I've changed it in my personal copy, but I haven't gone back and edited any past parts on the board yet. So, just take it all at face value.



Thanks for reading still. Here we go...



*********************************

Title: Play It From the Heart

Author: Big Dummy (aka Stevie)

Rating: PG13

Disclaimer: This is an original story. All characters belong to me. It depicts a romantic relationship betwen two high school girls. Nothing sexual, pure soppy romance. Think Diane Salvatore and Nancy Garden. But not as good. Any similarities between Krista and Taryn and any other characters/rl people is purely coincidental.

Copyright Stuff: I think it goes without saying, but please do not reproduce this piece of original fiction anywhere without my permission. It's my baby. Questions and requests can be directed to the email address in my profile.

Extra: My first time writing an original story, hopefully not my last. Also my first time posting any creative attempt here, or anywhere.

*********************************



Conversation in the car had started and stopped with Krista being introduced to the driver, Marshall’s date. After that Krista had lapsed into silence, and the two men had talked in hushed tones as they drove towards Krista’s house. She concentrated on the passing scenery and struggled to keep the cap on the emotions bubbling inside of her as they sped towards their destination. She felt like crying and laughing at the same time, and she did not relish having a breakdown in front of Marshall and his date. Relief washed over her as she began to recognize the houses they passed, only to be replaced with confusion when she noticed the car slowing. They were still a block from her house. She looked towards the front seat, wondering what was going on, and only then realized that Marshall had been addressing her.



“What? I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening.”



“I said, don’t you need to change?” He nodded towards her costume, and she collapsed against the back seat as she realized that she was indeed still wearing her costume –the costume her parents didn’t know about. She could not very well enter her house dressed like that.



“Oh crap. I left my clothes at Taryn’s.”



“Okay. We can go by there and wait for them to show. They were on their way out, right?”



“Yeah, but…” Her mind raced as she tried to find a way out of seeing Taryn again. “Their mom might be home. I could just go in and change.”



“Alright. Let’s see.” He directed his friend towards Taryn and Jay’s house. They pulled up in the drive, and Krista was relieved to see that the van wasn’t there yet. She jumped out, assuring Marshall that she would only be a minute, and hurried to the front door. She rang the bell and waited with baited breath. She hoped that Cheryl was home, and that she wasn’t waking her at such a late hour.



The door swung open and Cheryl was there, looking surprised to see Krista. “Hi, Krista,” she greeted, her brow furrowing in puzzlement as she looked around the porch. “Where’re Jay and Taryn?”



“They should be right behind us. I got a ride with a friend. I just needed to get my clothes. I left them here.”



“Of course. Come on in.” Cheryl stood aside and let the young girl enter. Krista stepped into the light of the foyer. “Krista? Are you okay?”



“Yes ma’am.” She would not meet Cheryl’s eyes. She spotted her backpack on the floor where she had left it, and hurried towards it. “Do you mind if I use your bathroom?”



Cheryl shook her head, and Krista disappeared behind the safety of the bathroom door. She changed her clothes quickly, mindful that she did not have much time before the others returned. She splashed her face with water to remove the last traces of makeup, and when she had inspected her face in the mirror and found her appearance acceptable, she hurried out of the bathroom and back down the hall. Cheryl was still standing in the foyer.



“Thanks. I hope I didn’t bother you,” Krista said, edging towards the door. She wanted to escape before Cheryl had the chance to ask more questions. The woman’s curiosity was obvious.



“No bother.”



“ Well, g’night.” She shuffled around Cheryl and was out the front door before she could say anything else. She hurried to the car, her eyes watchful for any sign of the van.



“All set?” Marshall asked.



“Yeah.”



They continued around the corner, and upon pulling up in front of her house Krista said, “Thanks for the ride. I owe you” and jumped out.



“Kris!” Marshall called in a stage whisper, scrambling out of the car behind her. She stopped and faced him. “Are you gonna tell me what’s going on? You sounded upset on the phone, and you just don’t seem…yourself.”



“Can I just…can I tell you about it tomorrow?” She looked at him with pleading eyes, and he sighed.



“Fine. I’ll be over here tomorrow. Are you all right for now?”



Krista gave a short, humorless laugh. “Yeah.” She glanced towards her house. “I have to get going. Thanks again.”



He nodded, repeating, “Tomorrow”, and climbed back into the car. She waited until the car’s brake lights had disappeared around the corner before heading inside. The house was dark when she entered, and she crept up the stairs to her room. As she passed her parent’s room she could see a sliver of light under the doorjamb, and no sooner did she step one foot in from of their door did she hear her father’s voice call out her name. Sighing, she made her way over to the room and eased the door open, peeking her head inside.



“Hi,” she whispered. Her parents were snuggled in bed, her mother fast asleep. A book lay open upon her father’s chest.



“How were the movies?” he asked.



“Good. Lots of fun. It was hard sitting through them all. I’m tired.” She yawned to illustrate.



He nodded. “Get some sleep then. See you in the morning.”



“See ya’.”



She eased out of the room, closing the door gently behind her, and made her way to her own room. She went through her bedtime ritual mechanically: changing into pjs, brushing her hair and teeth, washing her face. She peered at herself in the mirror above the sink for a while as she brushed her teeth, searching for signs of change. There were none. She was the same old Krista -on the outside. On the inside…



She climbed into bed, grateful to be alone and in the safety of her home at last, feeling as if every inch of sheet was caressing her and welcoming her. She let out a tremendous sigh, and it was only then that she opened the gates. Thoughts and feelings tumbled through her in an avalanche, and she gripped her blankets in their wake.



I don’t even know where to start. She had played music -good music too. That had been the part of the evening that she had been dreading the most, the part that she had focused on. There had been no reason for her to suspect that it would be the only thing to go well, and that everything else would be a mess –starting with Taryn. Her friend Taryn. Her crush Taryn. The object of her affections who had, albeit unwittingly, played every emotion Krista was capable of feeling like a well-tuned instrument. One minute she was comforting her, the next exciting her, then comforting her again, then disappointing her, then exciting her again…



She decided that the best way to get a handle on things was to approach it logically, and commenced to wade through the events of the evening. She stopped at every interaction she had had with Taryn, lingering longer on the sweet ones- specifically dancing with Taryn. How strange that that one moment, which had been so monumental, had been quickly overshadowed not long after. She spent only a fleeting moment revisiting the encounter in the bedroom, and found herself face to face with the most consuming moment of the evening. She replayed every move, every word, sound, and touch in her mind until it became a blur.



We kissed. She remembered the sensation of Taryn’s lips touching her own, and elation rushed through her. Her first kiss. It was nothing like she had imagined, full of passion and melodrama like the books she read. This had been soft, sweet, tentative; if she had blinked, she would have missed it. And it was steeped in uncertainty. What did it mean that she had been kissed? Or…had she been kissed? The more she replayed that moment in her mind, the more she realized that she didn’t know for certain who had initiated it. She remembered the look in Taryn’s eyes: warm and caring, concerned. The feeling of Taryn’s fingers- such a light touch, but it had pierced her. Krista had wanted to kiss her so badly. Did she start it? Did she make that imperceptible move that had brought their lips together, the move that had crossed a boundary that she had never thought would be broken?



Krista turned onto her side, staring at the wall, her previous elation giving way to worry. Maybe it had been her doing .She pulled the blanket over her face in a quick burst of humiliation. Nothing that she knew about Taryn indicated that she could be into girls. She was dancing with me all sexy-like, but that’s so like her, not to think twice about something like that. She wouldn’t have made a big deal out of it because it was only a big deal to me. She grimaced as the image of Taryn turning around and draping herself all over David assaulted her again. Clearly.



Those thoughts in mind, she realized that it was becoming less likely that Taryn had kissed her, her body flushed hot with embarrassment at the implications of what she was discovering. If she had kissed Taryn, if she had turned a moment when her friend was trying to offer comfort into something else… No wonder Taryn could not look at her afterwards. She was no doubt grossed out and horrified. “Oh, I think I fucked up,” she whispered to the dark room, and covered her face with the blanket. Sleep would not come easily to her that night, and her mind would not be quieted as she imagined the possibilities of their next meeting.



*******************************************

In the neighboring house, Taryn was preparing for bed with painstaking slowness, her mind also too troubled to imagine sleep. She was unknowingly echoing the same position that Krista had taken earlier in the evening: frozen in front of the bathroom mirror, staring into her own eyes. Her fingers were resting on her lips as the events of the last hour played on repeat in her head. She imagined she could still feel the lingering touch of Krista’s lips, and grimaced at the conflicting emotions that the thought elicited. She was uncomfortable; her very core seemed to itch and squirm as if needing to be free of her body. Her heart thumped madly in her chest at the remembrance of that fleeting moment. What was that anyway? Was this bizarro night?



Her ruminations were interrupted by a sudden presence in the open doorway. She turned, dropping her hand, and faced her sleepy-eyed mother. “Sorry. You need the bathroom?”



“No, just checking in on you.” Her mother’s eyes scanned her face, and Taryn smiled as she realized what she was looking for.



“I’m not drunk. A little tipsy, but most of it’s worn off.” Like getting hit with a bucketful of cold water.



Her mother nodded. “Good to know at least one of you had some sense tonight.”



“He’ll pay for it tomorrow,” Taryn commented, knowing that she was referring to Sergio.



“Yes he will.” Cheryl stepped a little further into the bathroom, her eyes still on her daughter. “Are you okay?”



So much for hoping she hadn’t noticed. “More or less,” she admitted. Then, “Not really.” She had always found it difficult to lie to her mother.



“Wanna talk about it?”



Taryn smiled in regret and answered, “No. Not yet.” Maybe not ever. “Just a lot going on.”



Cheryl nodded in understanding. She started to leave but hesitated and turned back to her daughter. “Krista seemed pretty upset tonight too.”



“What? When did you---?”



“She stopped by after the party. She had to pick up her clothes.”



Understanding dawned on her. “Oh, right. I’m glad you were home to let her in.” She looked away, unable to meet her mother’s eyes. “I’m gonna go to bed now.” Taryn scooted around her mother, gave her a quick peck on the cheek, and disappeared down the hall.



She entered her room, closed the door behind her, and stopped, facing the window. Krista’s room was dark, as was the rest of the house as far as she could tell. I guess she didn’t get caught. She shook her head and rummaged in her dresser for pajamas. Putting two and two together hadn’t been hard –changing her clothes at their house, keeping the bass overnight- and she had long reached the conclusion that Krista was at the party without her parent’s permission. Her mother would probably have had a heart attack had she seen what Krista had been wearing.



The thought of Krista in her costume hit her like an anvil, ending her temporary distraction, and she sat in her chair with a heavy thud, pajamas in her hand and forgotten. She was alone with herself, and there was no escaping her thoughts. They clamored at her brain, each demanding attention.



One moment she had been looking at Krista –sad, hurt Krista- and the next they were kissing. It was as simple as that. What wasn’t simple was how it had happened, and what it had meant. She had kissed plenty of boys in her time - she had done much more than that with quite a few of them- but none of those experiences had prepared her for this kiss. As small and brief as it was, it had resonated throughout her body; every feeling whose absence she had lamented in the past had come slamming home to settle into the crevices of her heart as if they belonged there. She had put them neatly away, ignoring them during the ride home, but now they were free to roam through her all over again, as strong in the remembering as they were when it had happened.



She could not ignore the implications. What did it mean that she had spent so much time chasing the feeling with boys, only to have it practically jump right into her hands with…a girl?



She would have loved to dismiss the act as a whim, curiosity, getting caught up in the moment; instead it turned into a door through which truths marched one by one. She began to recall all of the moments she had spent with Krista. More importantly, she recalled all of the little flutters, the rollercoaster stomachs and shortness of breath; every moment that she had felt awkward or ill-at-ease. Why she had felt the sharp stab of jealousy when Marshall had shown up– Krista’s White Knight to the rescue. She had not recognized it when it had happened because she had never felt that way before, but now she knew. All of that time she had been reacting to Krista, not just having a weird moment, because…



“Because I’m attracted to her. I’m attracted to a girl.” She inhaled sharply; the words hung in the air around her. They terrified her, but she had to say it. She had no other choice but to be honest with herself, what with all that had happened that evening. She was attracted to Krista, and that was why she had danced with her the way she did, and why she had kissed her.



She dug the heels of her hands into her eyes. “Oh my God,” she groaned out loud. Krista. Krista, who had almost been mauled by an overactive boy, only to be mauled by her when she was at her most vulnerable. And she was so shocked she couldn’t even say anything. What would have happened had Jay not shown up at that moment? Would they have talked about it, laughed it off? She certainly wasn’t laughing now.



She stood and began to change into her bedclothes, her movements slow as her mind pondered her situation. She had kissed another girl, and had liked it more than she dared to admit to herself, even in the safety of her room. She didn’t know how she would ever begin to unravel the mess she was in. Sighing, she climbed into bed and pulled the covers over her. She would have to figure something out before Monday.





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 Post subject: Re: I'm Back...For Now
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 8:21 pm 
Ohboyohboyohboy! :D I'm all with the Wooo and the Hoo! :clap *sigh* As usual, you leave me wanting more than you give me but, you know, that's the sign of a good storyteller, grammar mistakes aside ;) I've missed this. God knows, I need a distraction in my life right now. Glad to have you back!


We kissed for hours, wrapped around each other in the dirt, immersed in the heady, religious world of deep sex.
Love is just a different form of ego. It's nothing but a flatteringly worded form of possessiveness.--Kannaduki no Miko



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 Post subject: Re: I'm Back...For Now
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 8:50 am 
Hey..I agree with Kieli, glad to have you back. Wonderful update, as usual. I loved it. Love sam xx

"Sometimes things happen between people that you don't really expect. And sometimes the things that are important are the ones that seem the weirdest or the most wrong. And those are the ones that change your life." - Jessie Sammler (Evan Rachel Wood)



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 Post subject: Re: I'm Back...For Now
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 4:17 pm 
Excellent update! I've missed this fic! Glad to see it back.



Galahad: What a strange person. French Dude: I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries. Galahad: Is there someone else up their we could talk to? French Dude: No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time. - Monty Python



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 Post subject: Re: I'm Back...For Now
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 7:42 am 
What a wonderful update! :banana



Please keep up the great work! Gosh, I *so* adore this story, it's so well written and really interesting!



And good that Taryn has finally realized who she's attracted to. I loved how Taryn looked at Krista's room in the dark, so very sweet :luv



Can't wait to read more, the fic's always worth the wait! (Though, I wouldn't say no to faster updates either :p )



:peace -Viv-

"Love is an irresistable desire to be irresistably desired."
Robert Frost



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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 7:18 am 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 7:42 pm
Posts: 3
Location: California
I am completely and utterly in love with this story. I was bored because I basically read everything on the Different Colored Pens and I found this to past the time. To much time apparently...I stayed up till 7 in the morning finishing this and now I'm all sleepy yet I can't sleep(that didn't make much sense). Your story is great and hope you update soon.

:dance This dude is so cool.

_________________
~Wo0t Wo0t~


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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 1:49 pm 
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1. Blessed Wannabe
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Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 1:44 pm
Posts: 10
Location: Toronto
Hey BD,

Please, please, please (x1,000,000) update!! I've been waiting absolutely forever (i'm not angry, i just really love this story and i want to read what happens next, now that Taryn has realized she likes Krista).

I loved the last couple of updates, and i'm sorry it took me until now to leave feedback. I thought the kiss was excellent, but would have liked it to be a bit longer.

Cheers,
~Kat


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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 6:06 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 4:45 am
Posts: 351
Location: Atlanta, GA
Well, here I am, doing the thing under a new Board name and everything. It's been a while, I know (understatement, anyone?). Sorry. I'm trying to give myself a nice swift quick in the pants to get this done (I'm soooo close), especially if I wind up moving to Thailand this Fall. Yep, Thailand. You think the updates are slow in coming now...
*********************************************************
Title: Play It From the Heart
Author: Nixel (formerly Big Dummy)
Rating: PG-13 for some depictions of teenage girls in love and kissing and feeling stuff... :eyebrow
Feedback: It's addictive, and I like it. So yeah, go ahead.
Disclaimer: The rest of this story from the most recent update on are more recently written. Thus I have had far less time to go through and agonize and rewrite with these than I did with the first half of this story. I have to admit- it doesn't read as well to me. Eventually, I hope that it will, but for now, just bare with me.
************************************************************

“Wow.” Marshall leaned back on the lawn chair and stared at the sky. “Wow.”

Krista grimaced, thinking that ‘Wow’ was the understatement of the century, and cast another glance at the quiet house next door. She pulled her hands into the cuffs of her sweatshirt against the cool Sunday afternoon breeze and curled herself into a tighter ball, adjusting in her chair for more comfort. True to his word, Marshall had come over as early as socially acceptable. She had not been certain of whether or not she was ready to talk about it, but it was clear that there was no dissuading him and, giving in, she had ushered him outside for complete privacy so that she could divulge the events of the previous night.

“Y’know,” he continued, “of all the possible scenarios that I had dreamed up for you…well, you just blew them all out of the water.”

“I didn’t actually expect the night to go like that either.”

“So…what are you going to do?”

She threw her head back and groaned. “That’s the question I’ve been asking myself all morning. I don’t know.”

“You’re gonna talk to her, right?”

“And say what?” she asked, gaping at him. “‘Hey, sorry I kissed you and grossed you out’?”

“Are you sure you grossed her out?”

“Oh, let’s see. She didn’t say a word to me afterwards. It’s Sunday, and we usually do something together but she hasn’t been over or called or anything. Hmm…yep, pretty sure.” Her tone turned serious. “You didn’t see her face, Marshall.”

“So what, are you just gonna avoid her until she graduates?”

“No, but…I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I only know that I’m not going over there today.”

Marshall sighed and reached over to pat her leg. “You’d better figure something out before school tomorrow.”

She groaned and covered her eyes.
**********************************
“Hey, you guys rocked Saturday!”

Krista peered warily at the stocky boy, searching for some sign of artifice, before returning his smile with a “Thanks.” She slid into her seat, relieved. She had been sure that the high school information highway would be abuzz with tales of her humiliation, but to her surprise the only comments she had received so far that day had been in relation to Q’s performance, and all congratulatory. She shook her head in bemusement as she opened her Health textbook. It had been an easy morning so far. The worst is still to come, she reminded herself, looking at the clock. She had all of 45 minutes before lunch began, and she knew they would pass by quickly; time always did when you were dreading what was on the other side. For the first time in over a month, she was unsure of her plans for her lunch period.

The voice of Mr. Howell droned on in the background as she played out the possible scenarios in her head. How was she to handle it? What was the best course of action? If she avoided Taryn today, refused to seek her out, what message would that send? She could save face, simply pretend as if Taryn didn’t exist and go to her tree and eat her lunch alone. Would Taryn be relieved? When did something as simple as lunch become so complicated? When you kissed your best friend.

Possibility after possibility ran through her mind, until she was jarred out of her imaginings by the harsh ringing of the end of period bell. Her heart picked up the pace; it felt as if it were beating in her throat, and she reflexively put a hand to her neck as if expecting to feel it there. For once she was among the last out of the classroom, and she took the long way to the cafeteria, training her gaze on the tiles beneath her. It felt like her first week of school all over again. She didn’t look up until she had successfully maneuvered the crowded lunchroom and found her way up the hill to her tree. She had experienced a brief moment of panic; what if Taryn were already there? What would she do then? The site of her vacant spot, which had once brought her great comfort, now filled her with a deep disappointment. Part of her had hoped…She swallowed hard and sat with her back to the building, facing the brick wall that separated the courtyard from the street. With the rest of the student body out of her line of vision, her isolation was complete.
*********************************
Taryn nodded her head absently in response to her friends’ excited chattering as they stepped into the afternoon sunlight. She was not hearing a word they were saying; her mind was elsewhere. She ignored their confused protestations when she changed the usual course of their walk, guiding them away from the direction of the lone tree and back towards the bench that they had once occupied every lunch period B.K.: Before Krista. It was a struggle for her, keeping her feet from moving in that direction, keeping her gaze from straying to where Krista would most likely be. She knew she was not ready for that confrontation. She had avoided her yesterday, choosing to spend the entire day locked up in her room- with the shades drawn after she had spotted Krista and Marshall talking in the backyard. The sight had caused her chest to constrict, and had closed off any lingering doubt she had.

“What’s up with you and Krista?” Shelley asked as they sat at the table. “Why aren’t we eating with her today?”

“Nothing. I just thought we could use some alone friend time,” Taryn replied smoothly. She had known that Krista’s omission from their gathering would not go without notice.

“Oh bull! I wanna hear what she thought about the party,” Candace protested. Before Taryn could stop her, she had turned around and yelled, “Krista!”

Taryn cringed as the name resounded across the courtyard. Candace was waving her arms in a ‘Come here’ gesture, and Taryn looked towards the tree from beneath her lashes. Krista turned to acknowledge the summons with a wave.

“Get over here!” Candace insisted.

“What, did you guys have a fight or something?” Megan asked.

Taryn laughed weakly. “No.” She breathed deeply, trying to calm the rapid beating of her heart as she watched Krista gather her lunch and head towards them. It was hard to watch. To Taryn, she looked as if the last thing she wanted to do was join them. How am I ever going to fix this?

Conversation continued as the group waited for Krista to make her way over to them. Taryn struggled to keep from watching her approach. For the first time there was no barrier between her conscious and subconscious; she was very aware of her reactions to her, and wondered that she had ever been blind to them before. She put a mental lid on the nervous tingles and unmistakable excitement at seeing her friend, and put on her brightest “nothing’s-going-on” face before diving back into the verbal fray with her friends. It wasn’t until Krista had reached the table and the others had greeted her that she took a mental deep breath and acknowledged her.

“Hey,” she greeted her, her voice bright. Nope, nothing unusual here.

“Hi.”

Taryn cringed inside as she registered the way Krista refused to meet her eyes. She turned back to her friends, at once grateful and worried about their incessant chatter as they steered the conversation back to the party. They did not know that the subject was a minefield.

“Everyone’s talking about you guys,” Candace enthused.

Both Krista and Taryn looked at her in alarm.

‘What? What about us?” Krista asked.

Candace gave them strange look. “About your show. How awesome it was. You guys were really good.”

“Yeah, when are you guys gonna play out again?” Shelley questioned.

“Umm, we don’t know. Jay’s working on it,” Taryn answered. If the situation were not so sensitive she would have laughed out loud at her and Krista’s reactions to the innocent comment. She had to find some way to diffuse the situation. They couldn’t go on like this.

“I barely remember what we sounded like,” she said suddenly. “I don’t know what was in that punch Carly made, but it was lethal.”

“Oh God, I know it!”

“It was so good though.”

“I had to stop after one. I have no tolerance at all.”

“Yeah, I should have stopped after one too.” Taryn laughed. “I do the stupidest things when I get drunk.”

“Oh God, remember that time you did a striptease at my sleepover?” Megan asked excitedly, laughing.

“What?” Krista asked, and finally looked at Taryn.

Bingo, Taryn thought as the group burst into giggles. Taryn braced herself and met Krista’s gaze, her smile wide and open as she played long. “You should’ve seen it. We got into Megan’s parents’ liquor cabinet---“

“We didn’t even drink that much ‘cause the stuff tasted like ass,” Shelly interjected.

“And Taryn starts dancing and taking her clothes off,” Candace continued. “I thought Mrs. Boyle was going to have a fit when she came downstairs and saw Taryn standing on the pool table in just her training bra and Wednesday panties!”

“Not to mention it was Saturday,” Megan teased, poking Taryn in the ribs. “You can’t wear days-of-the-week panties out of order.”

Taryn laughed good-naturedly as her friends took off reminiscing about the more risqué things she had been involved in, both under the influence and stone sober. The lunch period dissolved into a contest of who could tell the wildest Taryn story. By the time the bell rang she was pretty sure she had no dignity left, and said as much as the group gathered the remnants of their lunches and started towards their classes.

“Whatever. You were born without dignity,” Candace joked.

“But think about,” Shelley said, depositing her tray. “It’s what makes you you. You’ve always been the daring one, the crazy one. It’s part of what makes you so much fun.”

“Great. Well, my fun self will see you guys later. Education calls.” She waved, casting a last glance at Krista before she took off for class. She only caught a glimpse of her face before Krista turned away to go to her own class. Her expression was unreadable.

Taryn walked away, her own smile still firmly in place despite her mixed emotions. She didn’t feel good about the catalog of antics unearthed at lunch, especially those involving the opposite sex - the recounting of the party at which she had taken a challenge to see who could kiss the most boys sprung to mind- and normally she would have shut the topic down as soon as it had started. This time, however, she had wanted them to talk about those things, and in detail. She had hoped that the tales would convince Krista that Saturday night’s event was simply another in a long string of wild behavior. Hopefully it would be enough to put her back at ease and strip the incident of any significance. I wish I could do the same for myself, she thought, allowing the fake smile to slip from her lips at last. Even if it worked, even if Krista were now able to brush the kiss aside, Taryn knew that she would get no such reprieve. She knew that it had been so much more than that for her. She may have solved things for Krista in putting her infamous past out there, but she was a long way from solving anything for herself. The bottom line was she had feelings for her best friend…a girl. What was she going to do about that?
*******************************************
She participated in her classes without having to be called on. She hung onto every word her teachers said. She even paid attention to the comments of her classmates, no matter how inane. She was the model student that afternoon.

She went to jazz rehearsal and played as well as she could. She answered Jay’s questions about her well-being and joked with him about the party and Sergio’s inebriated state. She appeared perfectly normal and together on the outside, and aside from her unusual class participation, she seemed to be the same old Krista.

It was not until she was biking home that it came apart. She was staring ahead at nothing, barely registering the road ahead. She was lulled by the smooth whirring of her wheels against the pavement, and did not notice that the sound had begun to imperceptibly break through the blank haze in which she had enshrouded herself that afternoon. She knew that it would not be long before she broke down. She turned at the corner of North and Turner and navigated to the small park there. She jumped off her bike with ease and wheeled it to a solitary corner, removed from the children screaming and running in the playground area. She reached the bench there, unoccupied thankfully, let her bike fall to the grass beside it, and sat. She stared out at the playground for a moment, her eyes unseeing, before she let herself think.

She breathed out heavily, and a chill ran through her body as she allowed her mind to go where it had wanted to all afternoon. She shook her head, bitterness and disappointment rising in her stomach and causing an acid taste in her mouth. She had gotten the point, loud and clear. Taryn was a rebel, Taryn was a wild child, Taryn did crazy stuff all the time, and Saturday night was no exception. One thing was clear, no matter who had initiated that kiss. It didn’t mean anything to her. She closed her eyes at the thought, squeezing them tight to trap the tears that were forming. Stupid Krista, she thought, angry with herself. Her inner voice taunted her. What did you think? She was gonna show up today and declare her love for you? You knew what would happen. You know her. It doesn’t matter whether or not you kissed her because it meant nothing to her. It was all shits and giggles for her.

She reached for her backpack and extracted her notebook from inside. She removed the pen from the spiral binding and opened the book to the first blank page. Her pen was poised to write, but she stopped. She was angry, but not at Taryn. Taryn, after all, had never given her the slightest indication that she was interested in her in that way. No, she was angry with herself. Deep down inside, in spite of all she knew and against her better judgment, she had harbored a hope that that kiss had meant something.

She shook her head in silent admonishment of herself, and started to write.


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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 10:11 pm 
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15. Apple Sauce & Tuna
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Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 5:03 am
Posts: 2188
Location: Nottingham, England
Wow..wonderful update as usual :x . You're moving to Thailand ?? congrats..if it's a good thing, I mean :-D . Love sam xx

_________________
"Sometimes things happen between people that you don't really expect. And sometimes the things that are important are the ones that seem the weirdest or the most wrong and those are the ones that change your life." - Jessie Sammler. [Evan Rachel Wood]

Credit for icon: lj user crazedxinsanity


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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 1:24 pm 
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23. Volumey Text
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Location: Chesterfield
That was a great update, though rather angsty

They both seem to be worried (to put it mildly) about the others reaction to the kiss. Unfortunately the natural reaction to that sort of worry is to try to avoid the other person, which is exactly the wrong thing to do.

It looks like Marshall is going to have to act as Cupid if they're going to get over this. I recommend getting them both together and hitting them both round the head with a large clue stick

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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 12:59 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey

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Excellent update. I thought this might happen. Justin said it well: Marshall is going to have to act as Cupid.


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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 4:03 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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I was one of the lucky kittens that only discovered this fic this week. I think I wouldn't have coped reading it earlier and having to wait for updates. So... now that I'm spoilt and used to reading updates immediately, could you please update this fic?

I absolutely love it. I loved Taryn's realization (took her long enough) about her feelings, and I feel so bad for Krista. Sigh. I just want to see them together.

I adore your story and hope that you continue, because I know all your readers love these characters!

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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 12:26 am 
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9. Gay Now
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Hey Big Dummy!!

I am inclined to agree with everyone here. This story is so wonderful! I just started reading this a few days ago and I will sorely miss the constant access to updates. Please please update soon!

I must say that you have a wonderful writing style and you've built some really great characters! The word 'cuuuuuuuuute' comes to mind.

Thanks so much for this! I think you should try to publish it when it is finished. The gay teens of the world need more books like this!

You're fantastic!!!

Rach

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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2005 4:34 pm 
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Oy vey! Are you TRYING to kill me?! If the updates get any shorter, I may just faint from withdrawal. Wonderful as always, toots, if not too short. Glad to see you again!


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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 1:38 pm 
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Well, yay. Feedback, and a good bit of it. And new people too. And the return of old people. Not like old people, but...you know...

Anyway, :applause Thanks!

keili, that was a short update? :shock You're gonna hate me for this one then. Maybe I should wait till it's all done and then post one big, long, final one... ;-) j/k I have to admit that I do try and keep the posts from getting too long. The longer they are, the more quickly they eat up through what I've got written, the longer it takes to update, especially in the Land of Inspirationlessness. That's not a word, btw.

sam: Yep. Maybe Thailand. Maybe good. Maybe D.C. Maybe also good. Maybe...

It is a little angsty right now, but hopefully not overboard angsty. I'm shooting for good drama angsty. Let me know if I miss my mark. Since I do hope to get this published one day (thanks muchly for being able to imagine it, tara22, and you're fantastic for saying that I'm fantastic), I'm pepared for long, arduous hours of revising and editing, and any suggestions you guys give me to make this a better read are more than welcome.

I think the feedback response may be longer than the update. Sorry.
*****************************************************************************
Title: Play It From the Heart
Author: Nixel (formerly Big Dummy)
Rating: PG-13 for some depictions of teenage girls in love and kissing and feeling stuff...
Feedback: It's addictive, and I like it. So yeah, go ahead.
Disclaimer: The rest of this story from the most recent update on are more recently written. Thus I have had far less time to go through and agonize and rewrite with these than I did with the first half of this story. I have to admit- it doesn't read as well to me. Eventually, I hope that it will, but for now, just bare with me.
Oh, and, please do not repost without my permission. That is all.
****************************************************************************

She arrived home an hour later. To her surprise she found her mother in the dining room hunched over her laptop.

“Hi honey,” her mother greeted. “I got a headache and decided to leave early. Do a little work from home,” she explained in answer to her daughter’s questioning look.

Krista nodded in understanding, attempting to hide her disappointment as she made her way to the kitchen. She had wanted to lose herself in some mindless television for a bit before her parents made it home. She closed her eyes for a moment in frustration. Her mother was working; maybe that would mean she would get a reprieve from conversing with her. She poured herself a glass of orange juice and headed resolutely towards the living room, ignoring her mother.

She settled onto the couch and picked up the remote, turning to the cartoon channel. Silly, mindless entertainment was just the ticket. She watched for a bit and had just relaxed when her mother’s voice came, unexpectedly close to her.

“We got a letter about the Thanksgiving concert.”

Krista refused to take her eyes off the TV as she felt her mother’s weight sink into the couch next to her. Why, oh why?

“You must be pretty excited. First concert at the new school.” Krista shrugged.

“We should go shopping this week and get you something nice to wear to it.”

“We got fitted for our tuxes weeks ago.”

“You’re wearing tuxedos? Wow.” Krista said nothing, her eyes resolutely fixed on the TV. She hoped that if she said nothing, her mother would get the hint and go away. She knew she was being rude, but she was annoyed. Her mother’s presence was unwelcome. She had really wanted to be alone, and she was regretting not staying at the park longer.

“Are you excited about recording this weekend? Your first band demo.” Again Krista shrugged. Her mother sighed, and Krista felt her gaze on her face. She still refused to engage, and they sat that way in silence for a few minutes more before her mother got up from the couch and went back to her computer. Soon the sound of tapping keys came from the dining room. Krista sunk lower into the couch and watched as an animated skeleton played with two children.
***************************************
“Krista,” Mrs. Taylor called to her as she passed by her desk. Krista stopped in her tracks, causing a couple of exiting students to collide with her. She muttered quick apologies before inching closer to her teacher’s desk and removing herself from the flow of traffic. “Is everything okay with you?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” The sympathetic expression in Mrs. Taylor’s eyes made her immediately regret her brusque tone. She had been a complete space case during class.

“Okay. If you need to talk about anything…” She waited, and when no response was forthcoming she sighed. “I actually wanted to ask you why didn’t you submit some work. I was surprised.”

The confusion on Krista’s face quickly faded to consternation as she comprehended to what Mrs. Taylor was referring. The student magazine. The deadline had been yesterday, and she had missed it, caught up as she was in the drama of her life.

“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Taylor. There’s so much going on…” She stopped. She was contradicting her earlier statement, giving away information that she’d had no intention of sharing.

Mrs. Taylor simply said, “I understand.” She paused, considering. “We’re going through submissions at this afternoon’s meeting. If you have something that you can give to me before then, I can make an exception to the deadline—this time.”

“Um, yeah…I have what I was working on right here. I finished it and everything, I just…forgot.” She placed her bag on the desk, unzipped it, and hurriedly rummaged through its contents to her notebook. She flipped through pages till she found the poem she had done with the express purpose of having it published, and ripped the page out with a grand flourish.

Mrs. Taylor received the work and asked, “Are you sure it’s ready?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Alright. Thank you. We’ll review it this afternoon.”

“Thank you. And I’m sorry, again.” With a sheepish smile she ducked out of the classroom, mentally berating herself for being such a flake. She knew she was lucky that Mrs. Taylor had been so nice to her, considering the fact that she had reminded Krista about the magazine at least once a week since the initial announcement. Mrs. Taylor had seemed genuinely interested in Krista contributing to the creative effort, and what had she done? Gone and forgotten all about it. This is ridiculous, she thought, angry at herself for her lapse. She had to snap out of her funk. It wasn’t the first time she had faced romantic disappointment (though certainly the closest she had ever come to even the mere possibility of fulfillment), and unfortunately she was sure that it would not be the last.

She reached her locker and leaned her head against it, the cool metal soothing against her skin. She had band practice that night; she had not seen Taryn since lunch yesterday. They seemed to have reached some sort of unspoken agreement under which they had scrapped their friendship. She did not attempt to seek the other girl out, just as she was no longer sought out. The thought of facing her that evening at practice caused a large lump to form in her throat, and her breathing quickened with nervousness. Everything had gone back to square one, with one giant, looming exception: she had blown any chance she had of being close to Taryn.
***************************
They ran through their entire set of songs twice, stopping after some to work out the remaining kinks. They were overall very tight, well-tuned and comfortable with their parts. Corrections were minimal, and it took no time at all to run through their repertoire. It was an amazing transition from the band that began two months ago to what they were now.

The final strains of their last song still echoing in the room, they began the task of narrowing down their selection for the demo. The engineering student had agreed to a three-song demo, which was standard, and it was time to choose those three songs from the 12 or so that they had. There were some numbers that they all agreed to disqualify right off the bat for one reason or another. The rest of the elimination process proved to be not so simple, and it was only after an hour of debate that they finally made their choices. They would do one that Sergio and Jay had masterminded, one of Taryn’s, and one of Krista’s.

That mountain tackled and defeated, they clarified their plans for the weekend. It was agreed that they would leave early Saturday morning and make the ½ an hour drive to Phoenix in the Hoffa’s car. It was unnecessary to bring more than Krista’s bass and Sergio’s guitar, as the music school’s studio had its own drumset and sound equipment.

With all matters of business taken care of, the band called it a night and went their separate ways. Taryn regarded Krista out of the corner of her eye as the other girl packed up her gear and prepared to leave. She wanted so much to say something to her, but it seemed that the other girl remained uncomfortable in her presence to some extent. They had spoken during the rehearsal—strictly on the topic of music and nothing more, nothing personal—and it had lacked the vibrancy and familiarity of their previous interactions. It was clear to her that their encounter had irrevocably changed things between them. Krista’s discomfort in her presence was obvious, to her if to no one else, and she was loath to push the issue. She did not want to scare her away any more than she already had. With a soft sigh of defeat she turned and headed up the basement stairs, regretting—for what felt like the hundredth time—her actions on the night of the party.

Taryn slipped past her mother and up to her room, where she sank into her bed and buried her head in a pillow. She was not accustomed to feeling so…lost. Part of her longed for that time when her love life was simple, if unfulfilling. Had that only been a few days ago? If she were honest, she would have to admit that her life had ceased its simplicity the moment she had met Krista. She had not recognized the pull that she felt towards the other girl for what it was, but it had been there all along.

The shrill ringing of the phone interrupted her thoughts. She ignored it. Let someone else answer it. The ringing stopped, and she went back to contemplating her situation. How long would it take for them to get back any semblance of the friendship they’d once had? Would they ever regain it? She realized in that moment that she was not only sad about the unrequited feelings she had for Krista, which were confusing enough, but that she also lamented the lost friendship. They had been growing so close…

“Taryn! Phone!” her mother yelled up the stairs.

She considered telling her to take a message, but changed her mind and rose from the bed with a weary sigh and reached for the phone on her dresser. “Got it!” She waited for the tell-tale click that let her know her mother had hung up, and said, “Hello?”

“Hi, Gorgeous.”

She stifled a groan as she recognized the voice. Of all the bad timing… “Hi David.”

“How ya’ doing?”

“Fine. What’s up?”

“Well, I was gonna ask you the same thing. I called you a couple of times, left messages.”

“Oh, yeah. Sorry. I’ve been busy.”

“Well, are you too busy to hang out with me tomorrow?”

She was silent as she contemplated how best to give her answer. Given the revelations of the weekend, there was no way she could go on pretending to be interested in him—and that was what she had been doing. With all of them, she admitted to herself.

“You still there?”

“Yeah. Um, listen. I’m really sorry I haven’t returned your calls. There’s been a lot going on with me and…I don’t even know how to say this the right way…I don’t think I can see you anymore.” It was his turn to be silent, and she grimaced, her words sounding lame even to her. “It wasn’t anything you did, it’s just…some stuff has come up, some stuff I have to figure out, and…I’m kinda pulling myself off the market.”

“Oh.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Yeah. Alright. I…Well, I guess I should go.”

“Okay.”

He hung up the phone without saying good-bye, and she replaced the phone on its hook. She stared at her reflection in the mirror above her dresser, chewing on her lip thoughtfully. She wondered if she should call TJ and tell him everything; as her longest–running relationship to date, she supposed she owed him an explanation now that she had one herself. Do I? Do I know what this means? She replayed the kiss in her mind, allowing the warm glow that came with it to suffuse her, giving in to the feelings the memory evoked. I guess I kinda do.
**********************************

“Our tuxes arrived today,” Jay said as he caught up to Krista en route to the music room.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. You’re lucky we got new ones. They were really starting to show their age last year. Oh good, they’re tuning the piano. I thought it sounded a little off last time,” Jay noted as they stepped into the music room. A young man was packing up his tools while he spoke with Mr. Brannigan by the upright piano. Jay settled himself behind his drum kit and began to unwrap his sticks while Krista went about the business of getting her bass ready. She listened with half an ear to the conversation between the two adults.

“That was nice and quick, Gerald,” Mr. Brannigan was saying.

“It wasn’t too badly out of tune.”

“How’s the middle register? I know that once you get done tuning the highs and lows sometimes the middle one gets out of whack again. Not that I’m questioning your work…”

The repairman laughed. “That’s alright. John told me you would be making sure I did it right. I tuned the middle register a little sharp to accommodate for that. Give it a try.”

Mr. Brannigan walked around to the piano bench and played first an arpeggio and then a chord in the middle of the keyboard, his head cocked to the side to listen. He nodded in approval. “Good job. That sounds much better.”

“Glad you approve. I’ll just head down to the office to deliver my bill.”

“Thank you.”

“No problem.” The two men shook hands, and the repairman took his leave with a quick wave at Jay and Krista. Mr. Brannigan sat at the bench and began to play softly. It only took Krista a moment to recognize “How High the Moon” by Ella Fitzgerald, and she smiled. She was not conscious of her fingers moving on her bass, now slung over her neck, until Mr. Brannigan looked at her surprised eyes and returned her smile. He indicated that she should turn up her bass with an upwards jerk of his head, and she complied. She played tentatively at first as her fingers struggled to remember the bass line. Behind her she heard Jay began to hit his cymbals with the brush. The impromptu trio played through the whole song.

They played the last notes with a flourish, and applause drew them out of their haze as they turned to acknowledge the other jazz band members that had gathered around to watch the show. Jay stood and bowed, while Krista ducked her head with a sheepish grin and turned away from their audience. Mr. Brannigan laughingly instructed everyone to take their places and that the free concert was over. “We’ve got a concert in less than two weeks, so let’s get to work,” he said as he made his way to the front of the room.

They worked through the material for the concert, and Krista was struck with a sense of déjà vu. This rehearsal’s a little easier on my nerves, she noted grimly. No Taryn. It was too bad for her that the thought brought a sense of sadness rather than the relief that would have been so much easier to handle.


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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:38 pm 
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13. Big Knowledge Woman

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Location: Space, the final frontier
Gah.....GAH!! :thud T'aint funny, dooley :impatient Very good, a little more observations about how each character (meaning Taryn and Krista) might be needed, and of course, anything that Jay has noticed going on. I highly doubt that the funk the both of them have been in has gone unnoticed by Jay. His crush on Krista would ensure his observations. A couple of grammar things here and there (and the overuse of compound sentences....maybe a little rewording might not make them so lengthy perhaps?) but, as always, you leave me wanting more. I am ever the greedy fic ho.


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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:50 pm 
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Wow, I just finished reading through the entire thread. This is an amazing story. I can't even begin to mention every moment that was wonderful. The tension is so hmm, intense. You write the characters so well. I love how shy Krista is. You've given us just enough to really know her. I'm waiting patiently for Taryn to catch up. I like that you've given Krista a confidant. The exchanges are funny and touching. Friendship like that is hard to find. I was very sad to hit the final update. I'm an impatient ho when it comes to stories. I hate reading unfinished works, but this one came highly recommended. Keep up the great work. I look forward to the next updates.

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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 10:09 pm 
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That was sooo great and so wonderful. The pain they are both going through is really evident. Bless them!! I can't wait to read more. Love sam xx

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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 8:47 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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Woohoo, an update!

I love this story. I liked the scene where Krista just wanted to be left alone to watch TV and shuddered as her mom sat with her. Ah, I remember those days.


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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 12:01 pm 
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Wow, I guess the nice swift quick in the pants worked. Can you do that again?
Still loving this.


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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 3:09 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

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Oh, how I adore this story! :bounce

It's one of my favourite here on the kitten (if not my favourite) and I can't wait for a *cough* new *cough* update... :flirt

You did a great job as always!

-Viv-


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 Post subject: Re: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2005 8:34 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 4:45 am
Posts: 351
Location: Atlanta, GA
Title: Play It From the Heart
Author: Nixel (formerly Big Dummy)
Rating: PG-13 for some depictions of teenage girls in love and kissing and feeling stuff...
Feedback: It's addictive, and I like it. So yeah, go ahead.
Disclaimer: The rest of this story from the most recent update on are more recently written. Thus I have had far less time to go through and agonize and rewrite with these than I did with the first half of this story. I have to admit- it doesn't read as well to me. Eventually, I hope that it will, but for now, just bare with me.
**************************************************************
“How do you guys know that song?” Mr. Brannigan asked. He had made his way back to Jay and Krista at the end of practice to speak with them while they were packing up.

“Mr. Brannigan, we not only play jazz…we live jazz,” Jay announced.

Krista shook her head in amusement. “I don’t know about ‘Mr. I Live Jazz’ here, but my dad’s a big jazz fan, so I heard a lot of it growing up.”

Mr. Brannigan nodded in understanding. “Well, that was a lot of fun. I was thinking, it would be nice to do something like that for the concert, break up the pace a little. A jazz trio number mid-performance or something. Maybe as an opener?”

“That would be cool. It’s an easy enough song to do,” Jay agreed.

“Yes, we played it pretty well for a first run.” The teacher sighed. “Of course, there’s no time to find a singer to do it with us.”

Krista closed her eyes as panic and frustration welled up inside of her. She was not surprised by the words that Jay spoke next.

“Actually, I know a singer. My sister, Taryn? You had her last year in theory.”

Mr. Brannigan looked up at the ceiling in a classic gesture of remembering. “Oh, right. Can she sing jazz?”

“My sister can sing anything,” Jay said, and the pride in his voice was evident.

Krista interjected. “Um, we don’t know that she’d want to do this.” And she hoped that Taryn did not. It was bad enough that she had to go through Q rehearsals feeling uncomfortable. Did it really have to follow her to this? But you were missing her an hour ago, her inner voice mocked.

The look that Jay gave her told her that her voice had sounded a bit too panicky. “Well, yeah, we’d have to ask her. But,” he continued, addressing Mr. Brannigan, “I don’t see why she wouldn’t. She loves music as much as we do. Let me talk to her tonight and let you know.”

“Alright, but let me know no later than Friday. We don’t have a lot of time to put this together if we’re going to do it.” He left the teens to finish gathering their things.

Krista wrapped her cables in silence, oblivious to Jay’s excited chattering about this new development. If they were to do this, it would mean even more time spent with Taryn. After all, they had to practice at least a little, no matter how well they’d done today. You could’ve said no, that same voice pointed out. She knew that she could have, but it would have made her look bad to Mr. Brannigan and Jay. It seemed that no matter how much Taryn wanted to avoid her, nor how much she, as a result, wanted to avoid Taryn; their lives were too intertwined.
********************************
“Absolutely not.”

“Why? What’s the big deal?”

“There is no big deal. I just...won’t.”

“Oh, that’s a good reason.”

“I don’t need to give you a reason. ‘No’ should do nicely.”

“I would think you’d be excited at a chance to do something different.”

“What, Jay, do I look like I’m made out of time? I’ve got a lot of stuff on my plate. School, work, Q---“

“Speed dating.”

Taryn glared at him. “I suppose I could try your tactic: No Dating.”

He threw his hands up in exasperation. “Well, how about you think about someone else besides yourself? Huh? What about me and Krista? What about Mr. Brannigan? You should’ve seen him. He was so excited.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not responsible for helping some old dude try to relive his glory days.”

“You can be such a bitch when you want to, you know that?”

“Hey, hey,” Cheryl scolded as she entered the room. She frowned at her offspring. “Knock it off. Jay…”

“Sorry,” he mumbled in the general direction of his sister before turning away and marching out of the room.

Cheryl drew a deep breath and approached her remaining child who sat slumped on the couch staring at the television. “What was that all about?”

“Jay and the jazz teacher got some goofy idea to do a jazz trio bit during the Thanksgiving concert,” she answered.

“I thought that’s the kind of thing you’d be into.”

“Well, it’s not.” She flipped the channels until she found a music video station. It was the kind of thing she would be into, but with Krista involved it was out of the question. She was miserable enough about the girl without having to spend even more time with her than she already did. Even Q, which had always been a source of excitement for her, was becoming unbearable. The tension between the two of them during practice that evening had been so thick; she was still surprised that neither Jay nor Sergio had seemed to notice. Not that she and Krista were ever anything other than cordial and polite to each other. Compared to the closeness they had shared a mere few days ago -a closeness that she missed almost constantly- the rift was gaping and wide.

Her thoughts depressing her, Taryn slumped lower in the couch, and mother and daughter sat in silence for a while. Taryn could practically feel her mother gearing herself up for a conversation. She just wasn’t sure that she was ready to have the one she needed to have.

“Honey…what’s wrong? You haven’t been yourself lately.”

Long seconds passed while Taryn contemplated her answer. She chewed her lower lip reflectively and asked, without turning from the television, “What would you say if I told you that I had found someone that I like? A lot. A lot more than any of the guys I’ve been with.”

“Are we talking butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, heart beating fast kind’ve like?” Taryn nodded. “I’d say ‘Wow,’ and ‘I’m happy for you,’ and ‘Who is it?’”

Taryn grunted. “Alright. What if…I told you that the person that made me feel that way…was a girl?”

It was Cheryl’s turn to pause. Taryn looked at her out of the corner of her eye to gauge her reaction, and found her staring into space pensively. When at last her response came, it was slow and measured. “I’d say ‘Wow,’ and…’I kind’ve thought that might happen’”

I didn’t expect that. Taryn turned her body towards her mother, the TV quite forgotten. “What?”

Cheryl regarded her calmly. “It’s crossed my mind. Your reticence to be close with other women, your lack of emotional intimacy with the boys you’ve dated…I couldn’t help but wonder.”

Taryn gaped at her in disbelief. All the time she had been floundering, worrying, and her mother had suspected all along.

“Is it Krista?”

She supposed she shouldn’t have been surprised that her mother would be so intuitive, but it still unnerved her. “Yeah.” She stopped, wondering how much of this she wanted to get into, but then deciding that she had already gone this far. She had nothing left to lose. “Krista got hassled by some guy at the party Saturday,” she started, choosing to skip the dancing. There was something too intimate about it to discuss with her mother. “Luckily Jay was around, so things didn’t go as far as they could have.” Here she shuddered a little as she thought of what could have happened if Jay had not shown up when he did. “Krista was pretty upset, and I was talking to her, comforting her, y’know? And then…I messed up. I kissed her.”

“Why do you say you messed up?”

“Cause she freaked. Not like, yelling and calling me names freaked, but like avoiding me, not talking to me freaked.”

“Oh.”

“Everything’s all messed up now, like it’s weird to be around her. And now Jay wants me to do this jazz trio with her, which just means more awkward time together.”

“Right.”

Silence descended on the pair as they sat wrapped in thought. Taryn wondered what was going through her mother’s head. She didn’t have to wait long.

“So, do you think you’re gay?”

Taryn ignored the infinitesimal hesitation in her mother’s voice at the word ‘gay’. “I don’t know. I mean, I went to the bookstore to get some reference but 'You Know You’re a Lesbian When…' was all sold out.” She smiled to show that she was joking before gently asking, “Would it upset you if I were?”

Cheryl blew out a breath, fluttering her lips. “Part of me is glad that you’ve finally figured out what you need, what will make you happy…“

“At the expense of my best friend.”

“Another part of me, and I wouldn’t be a parent if I didn’t consider this, is concerned about what this means for you. What this means for your life and the way you live it. How people will treat you, the obstacles you’ll face…”

“Mom, this isn’t the Middle Ages or something. Gay people aren’t stoned or sent off to a separate island.”

“No, there’s definitely a lot more tolerance in the world, but the hatred, the fear, the ignorance; it’s all still there. More hidden, but…”

“Thanks. Thanks a lot. I feel great.” She started to get up, but her mother’s hand on her arm stopped her.

“I’m sorry. That didn’t come out the way I wanted it to. Ultimately, your happiness is what matters the most to me, however that comes to you. I just worry a little. It’s my job.” Taryn allowed herself to sink into the couch again, this time closer to her mother. “Your turn.”

“How do I feel about it?” She thought hard, knowing it was important to answer honestly; not for her mother, but for herself. “Confused. Scared. This is a lot harder than with a guy. If it’d been a guy, I would have kissed him, he would have either liked it and told me so, or told me to back off. Either way, the end result wouldn’t be him feeling grossed out about it.”

“I think you need to talk to Krista. She seems to me to be a nice, fair-minded girl. I bet if anything she’s just…shocked. Surprised. I bet if you go talk to her about it, explain that her friendship is important to you and show her that you can be her friend, that what happened doesn’t change anything in that respect…I think it would be okay.”

She closed her eyes and leaned against her mother’s shoulder. She wished she could believe her, but the truth was that her feelings for Krista did change things. Even if Krista were able to forgive her for kissing her, it didn’t change the fact that Taryn still had strong feelings for her. It wouldn’t make it any easier for Taryn to be around her. Still, she was grateful to her mother for trying. She knew that there were people out there that had lost their entire families as a result of something they could no more control than the weather.

“Have I told you today how lucky I am to have you as a mother?”

Cheryl threw an arm around her daughter’s shoulder and pretended to think about it. “Mmm, nope. I think my ego could use a little fluffing.”

Taryn relaxed into the embrace. “Seriously, you’re okay with this? It’s okay if you’re not right off the bat.”

“Honey, I’ve had a lot of time to get used to the idea. I’m just glad it’s out. Speaking of…are you gonna tell your brother?” At Taryn’s loud groan, she chuckled.

“One step at a time, mom. One step at a time.”
***********************************************
“I will, I’ll call as soon as we get there,” Krista promised for what felt like the hundredth time as she backed down the porch stars. From the level of worry exhibited by her parents, one would have thought that she was traveling to another country, not 20 minutes away. “Bye,” she said, making a pushing gesture with her hands as if to telekinetically move their robed figures out of the doorway. She shook her head in frustration when they refused to budge and turned towards the minivan waiting for her at the end of the walk. The side door was open and she could make out Sergio reclining in the third row of seats. As she approached, Jay jumped out of the passenger side and started towards the back where he raised the door to the trunk area.

“Mornin’,” he greeted, taking her bass from her and fitting it in snugly with the other equipment. ‘Good day for making music, huh? You excited?”

“Yeah.” She couldn’t stop the smile that grew. She was excited. It would be her first recording session, something that promised to be completely different from her solo ventures in her bedroom. She couldn’t wait to get a look at the set-up of the studio, to see what professionals (semi-professionals, she corrected herself) used.

Her gear stowed, she started back towards the open side door, throwing one last wave at her still waiting parents before she climbed into the second row of seats. Her eyes alighted onto Taryn, seated behind the steering wheel, and her previous exuberance gave way to cold reality. Everything about this day is great except that I’m going to be spending it with someone who…

“Hey, Krista,” Taryn said, finding Krista’s eyes in the rearview mirror. Her voice was warm and welcoming, and she was smiling openly at her.

Krista struggled to hide her surprise. “Hey,” she returned, and hoped that her voice didn’t convey her confusion. It was the first time since that night that there was no undercurrent of tension or discomfort in their interaction.

The sharp thud of the side door closing caused her to jump in surprise, but she was relieved instead of irritated as it gave her a good excuse to break eye contact. She concentrated on buckling her seatbelt, but her mind was fixed on solving the sudden change. She wondered what could have changed between their last meeting and now.

“You guys mind if I stop and get some coffee before we hit the road?” Taryn asked as she started the car. Her passengers shook their head. “Cool,” she said, and eased the minivan into the street.

Thirty minutes later Taryn was slowly steering through the University’s campus, following the directions Jay was reading from the printout in his lap. She had had occasion to visit the campus in the past; TJ had many friends that went to U of P. He had taken her to a few art shows at the University’s museum, but she had never had the chance to check out the music building. She sipped the now cool contents of her cup, watching the somewhat familiar surrounding pass by. She glanced in the rearview mirror at Krista, smiling at the curiosity on the other girl’s face as she took in the buildings and students. She allowed herself a mental pat on the back; the ride had gone much better than she had dared to hope. Granted it was a short trip, but given their recent history it was no small feat that they had managed to have friendly conversation without too much awkwardness. It was by no means a perfect interaction, and the awkwardness was still there to a degree, but she had been determined to follow her mother’s advice and try to re-establish some semblance of the friendship they had once had. It had been a difficult line to walk, though. She had tried to engage Krista in just enough conversation to convey a desire for a return to normalcy, but not so much that Krista would get the wrong idea and think that she was coming on to her. The wrong idea. The words caused her to frown. She supposed that since she did have an attraction to Krista, it wouldn’t be the wrong idea of Krista suspected that at all. It would just be the wrong idea if she had any hope whatsoever of getting Krista’s friendship back. As far as the other thing went…she would just have to get over it. Over her.

“There it is,” Jay said, pointing to their right. Taryn slowed the car more as they approached a grey, four-story building. She steered the van into the driveway next to it, and followed its winding path into a parking lot that mostly empty. She chose a spot nearest to the door, and stopped.

“I guess we’re here.” They sat for a moment in silence, staring out the windows at the building.

“What now?” Sergio queried.

Everyone turned and looked expectantly at Jay, who shrugged. “He said he’d meet us here.”

“Well…let’s go in,” Krista suggested.

No sooner had they all gotten out of the van, the door of the building opened and a young man stepped out. He waved as he strode purposefully towards them.

“You ‘Q’?”

“Yeah,” Jay responded, stepping towards him. “Brian?”

“You bet. Nice to meet you.”

“Same here.” The two shook hands before turning to address the rest of the group. Taryn lowered her head briefly to hide her amusement at the male ritual she had just witnessed. She did not begrudge her little brother leadership of the group; he was a natural at it, and enjoyed the responsibility. However, watching him in action, especially opposite someone older than he, never failed to tap the big sister button inside of her that made her want to say ‘Awww’.

“This is Krista, our bassist and vocalist; Sergio’s the guitarist; Taryn’s our lead vocals.” It took no more than the slight raise in his voice at the end of Brian’s “Hello” for Taryn to see that he was interested. The slight squeeze he gave during their handshake and the prolonged eye contact solidified it. She wasted no time in nipping any notions he may have had in the bud.

“So, shall we unload and get started,” she said, detaching her hand from his and moving back towards the van. She gave him no more attention as she opened the rear door and started removing equipment. The others were right beside her, and in no time they were headed inside.

Sergio sidled up alongside her and, his load precariously balanced, leaned towards her to whisper, “Whadda ya’ say, T? Another one bites the dust?” He nodded towards the front where Brian was leading the way.

“Be advised that the only thing stopping me from hurting you is this snare…and I have to put it down at some point.” He moved away from her with a snicker, and she shook her head, heaving a sigh. Jackass.

They followed Brian through a lobby; one side, which faced the parking lot, was concrete, while the other, which faced the street, was all glass. They proceeded down a hall, their footsteps muffled on the carpeted floor. Glass doors adorned both sides of the hall- classrooms, empty for the weekend. Up ahead Taryn could see a heavy metal door; here their guide stopped and pushed it open, letting the band members pass by as he held it. He made no move to retake the front once they were all through, instead instructing them to continue down the concrete stairs, his voice echoing off the walls. It was like an underground shelter in the way that it was constructed. They twisted their way down two flights before reaching what Taryn could only assume was the basement. Here Brian brushed by and made his way to the front again to open yet another metal door. They stepped out of the dimly lit hall and into another carpeted one, like the one upstairs. They passed more glass doors; these were obviously practice rooms. They were empty save for the occasional piano or music stand.

“Here we are. Home sweet home,” he announced as they reached the end of the corridor. He pulled out a set of keys and unlocked the single glass door that faced them. The door opened with a whoosh as the soundproofing strips that lined it rubbed against the carpet. They stepped into an engineering booth; straight ahead was a glass wall that looked out into the studio proper. Murmurs of appreciation were all around, and Taryn noted the satisfied smile on their host’s face. “You guys can start setting up in there, and I’ll get things ready in here.” He pointed towards a door off to their right that led into the studio, and the band made their way through it, talking excitedly amongst themselves. The energy was palpable. No matter that they had done this before; it was still exciting.

Taryn could not help but observe Krista’s reaction in particular. She was the only one in their little gathering who had never been inside a studio or participated in a recording- other than the ones she’d done in the privacy of her bedroom. She could see that the girl was trying to reign in her awe, but the giant grin on her face gave her away. Taryn felt her heart thud; if she wasn’t smitten before, she was definitely a goner now. She averted her eyes lest she be caught staring. This is not the way to do the friendship thing, she admonished herself, and set about distracting herself by helping Jay arrange the studio’s drum kit to his liking.

In less than half an hour the set up was done and Jay was left alone in the recording booth while the others retreated to the engineering room to watch. Taryn perched on a stool nearest the window overlooking the sound room. From the corner of her eye she noticed Krista make her way to Brian’s side and slide a chair close to where he sat, her movements slow and shy, as if she were afraid of angering him. He shot her a quick smile before turning back to his console and flicking on the intercom.

“You set in there?” Jay nodded and adjusted his headphones. Brian pushed a few buttons on the console and asked, “Can you hear that? Good volume, good beat?”

“Yeah,” Jay replied, his voice thin and reedy through the intercom.

Taryn could not hear the question that Krista leaned forward to ask Brian at that moment, but she heard his response. “It’s an electronic metronome to help him stay on beat.” It seemed innocent enough; Krista was clearly interesting in knowing what was going on behind the scenes of their session. Still, she couldn’t help the feeling of resentment that was creeping through her at the physical proximity they were sharing. The idea of being friends with Krista, dealing with her feelings on her own and not burdening their friendship with it, had seemed doable after her talk with her mother. She hadn’t realized that her emotions would be so volatile and difficult to control; it had never been like this for her before, and she felt a flash of anger at Krista, for she was the reason for her lack of emotional control.

The thought had no sooner presented itself than it was gone. She turned her attention back to her brother as the anger washed away and was replaced with a sadness she sensed would be a part of her life for a while.

“Start whenever you’re ready.”

Jay nodded and tapped his sticks to count off the beat, and launched into the first take.
*****************************************************


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