My stomach does that tops- turvy thing once in awhile with I Loved You First coming to an end. I have
just a few scenes left to polished I Loved You first and before it’ll be it’s ready for an editor. Today, I thought I’d offer my readership a little teaser–the first chapter. Though I’ve had a sample edit, I haven’t corrected any of the errors since I’ll be sending this same sample to other editors to see if our style matches. So, if you find errors, please be forgiving and overlook them. In fact, please don’t even mention them. 🙂 That’ll be for the editors who do a sample edit. The anticipated release date for I Loved You First is August 2011. Until then, you can add it to your to-read list on Goodreads. And if you haven’t checked out the rewards for my upcoming Kickstarter Compaign, please do. 🙂
My best friend was more than just a best friend to me. Three words summed it up: I heart him. I’d never tell him though. I wasn’t stupid. Besides, what he’d told no one, but me, was a little something I wished I could forget… or ignore. He was gay. I guess gay wouldn’t be bad if I wasn’t so in love with him. Now it was just cruel.
Stereotypes run amok in this college love story: Parties, alcohol, hookups, and breakups. Alexandria Carmichael may find it a bit much as she deals with the unreturned love from the boy who completes her. When all is revealed, not only does she risk losing her best friend forever, but also herself. Without her childhood companion for support, Alexandria takes a journey of self-discovery but fears what she’ll find at the end.
The music blared throughout the house at full blast–Pretty People by Dexter Freebish. Yep, that pretty much summed it up. They surrounded me. Only thing, I didn’t want to be like them. Sometimes I was just so tired of the games the so-called “pretty people” played. Yet here I was, the girl hiding in a corner, decorating a wall.
The party was in full swing. Already people had consumed enough alcohol to loosen inhibitions but not enough to send them puking over the balcony. It’d get there though. I’d been to enough of these parties to know it was only a matter of time.
Through the mass of bodies, I could just make out the guys in the kitchen guzzling beer bongs. A few of the more slutty chicks hung off to the side laughing and cheering them on. Once in a while, one of the braver girls joined in and make a mess of her outfit. The whole thing was stupid, and they’d certainly regret it in the morning.
So why was I here?
The answer pushed through the crowd–my best friend, Seth. BFF since I’d saved him from a beat down in the first grade. Well, actually, I’d bitten the girl’s arm who’d bullied him. Nothing like a nip to send a kid crying. I’d gotten in trouble but earned a forever friend in the process. Totally worth it.
Seth chatted to random frat boys as he made his way to me. He was one of the “pretty people.” Sandy blond hair, blue eyes, six foot, and a rising star on the baseball team–he was what girls wanted, and he knew it.
I, on the other hand, was just his sidekick. Nearly invisible. I didn’t mind so much. It was the same role I’d played in high school. Why should college be any different? He got me into all the good parties I’d preferred to avoid, and I stood by his side as his gossip buddy.
“Here, Alex.” Seth pressed a plastic cup of frothy something into my hand. “This is great, huh?”
I shrugged. “Yeah, I guess.”
He grinned a toothpaste smile and punched me lightly on the shoulder. “You’re such a party crasher.”
No. I would just rather be anywhere but here. I took a sip of my urine colored drink, wishing it were a soda instead.
“Oh great. Here comes Cheyenne.” Seth down his drink like he needed fortification. No doubt he did. His Adam’s apple bobbed with each gulp, like a buoy on the waves. He took one look at his empty cup then at my full one. I handed it to him, not sure why I took the first taste anyway. After all, I was the DD.
“Thanks.” He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and leaned close, whispering in my ear. “I wish she’d just leave me the hell alone.”
I dittoed his sentiments exactly–but for different reasons. My best friend was more than just a best friend to me. Three words summed it up: I heart him. I’d never tell him though. I wasn’t stupid. Besides, what he’d told no one but me was a little something I wished I could forget… or ignore. He was gay. Gay wouldn’t be bad if I wasn’t so in love with him. Now it was just cruel.
Of course that didn’t stop him from playing the dating game. Oh no. He was all into burning through the girls. After all, we couldn’t have our All American Jock batting for the other team.
I felt for him; I really did. But at the same time, I was bitter. Yeah, I admit it. It hurt watching him with other girls, wishing it was me instead. I wanted him for myself but knew I’d never have him. So, I settled for the next best thing–being by his side… being the one he shared his hopes and dreams with. What more could a girl in love ask for?
Cheyenne Gordon–cheerleader extraordinaire stepped up to the plate with her personal entourage creating a semi-circle around us. It didn’t matter she was a third-year student and we were only freshmen. Young. Old. Every girl wanted a little “sumpin sumpin” with Seth.
She gave me a cursory glance before turning her attentions to my buddy.
Like I said, sidekick. Worthy of notice, but not that much. I blended into the background, the official fly on the wall. Times like this I felt like nothing more than Seth’s mascot.
“Hey, Cheyenne.” Seth gave her the full smile. I’d told him a million times he should major in drama. He really did have talent. I hadn’t even known about his little secret until he’d told me in ninth grade. By then, the girls had started to take notice of his beach boy looks. I guess my best friend just couldn’t take the pressure of impersonating straight folks and had to get it off his back.
We’d talked about him coming out of the closet, but in reality we both knew pigs would fly first. He couldn’t even bring himself to tell his father. I understood in a way. His dad, Brandon Richards, was everything Seth wanted to be. Mr. Richards really was a great dad–never missed a school event. Even I’d hate to disappoint him. Then again, considering how supportive the guy was, I doubt Seth had much to worry about. But then it was Seth’s secret to share and mine to keep for him.
Talking to Cheyenne, Seth made all the right moves. A nod at the appropriate moment, a quick peek at her near non-existent breasts, then the hand on her hip.
I knew the routine, but those touches belonged to me. Hadn’t I waited long enough? My only consolation was the fact it’d all lead to nothing. He’d probably date her–for appearance sake. It’d last for a few weeks–longer if things stayed platonic. When it turned serious, he’d brush her off like dirt on his jersey after a home run. Yesterday’s old news. It was the way things always played out.
Cheyenne twirled her dull brown hair around her fingers. I knew the girl thought she was cute. But really, my wavy black hair was better. Genetics–a combination of a black mom and white dad gave me kickass hair. Of course no one would ever know since I kept it in a single braid going down my back. I’d learned at an early age people couldn’t keep their hands to themselves. If I let my hair loose, they were all over it. If I could ever find my voice, I’d scream respect the bubble.
My mom was convinced one day everyone would be like me–dark hair, olive skin.
“So you wanna get something to eat?” Cheyenne stepped closer, bringing her body flush with Seth’s. I envisioned myself snatching her away by her scraggy hair.
Seth looked at me. “Alex?”
All eyes drifted to me.
“I guess.” Bummer. My voice squeaked. Heat spread through my body, concentrating on my face and chest.
“Alright. Let’s go,” Seth said and set the empty cups in a nearby planter.
“Well…” Cheyenne looked at me, hesitation written all over her face. “We kinda don’t have room for everyone.”
Quick tally–Seth, Cheyenne, her three groupies, and me. Unless she had a mini-van–
“That’s okay. I brought my bike.” Seth nodded to the helmets I guarded–another one of my invisible girl lackey chores. “We’ll meet you there.”
Cheyenne bit her lip, and I could see the wheels turning in her mini-brain. She pouted. “Fine.”
I tried to hold back a grin. I think I succeeded. Cheyenne frowned at me. Okay, maybe my lips curled a little. But really, I could be happy over little things, right?
Cheyenne turned to Seth and found her smile again. “Gretel’s, okay?”
A shrug from me and Seth said, “Sure.”
“Great.” Cheyenne left, taking team cheerleader with her.
Seth took a deep breath and released it. “Let’s do this thing.”
As glad as I was to escape the crowd of funky bodies, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. “I don’t know why you always go along. You could say no, you know.”
The are-we-really-going-to-get-into-it-now look Seth gave was all I need to drop the matter, at least for now.
On our way out, Bruce Derrick stopped Seth on the porch with a slide of the hand and knuckle bump. “‘Sup, dude.”
“Heading to Gretel’s. Wanna join?” My friend knew how to play it cool. Seth had never told me, but I wasn’t fooled. He had a secret crush on Bruce. I saw it in the stray glances, the look of longing for something just out of reach; the same kind I probably gave my good buddy when he wasn’t watching. Yeah. I got that. Totally.
Bruce would probably kick Seth’s ass, if he got a whiff. He could do it too.
The guy was at least six-three and ripped. I’d seen him enough times without his shirt to know.
Seth was big into dragging me to Bruce’s football practices. His excuse–he liked football, and freshmen couldn’t try out for sports at Van Buren University, so might as well enjoy his time in the bleachers while he had the chance.
Yeah, whatever. We’d never gone to the football practices in high school. So what changed? Simple–Bruce wasn’t a showcase in our school. Not being into football and all, my best guess was the guy was a receiver or something.
Bruce planted a hand on Seth’s shoulder and leaned close as if bestowing a great secret. Bruce’s dark hair mixed with Seth’s light. God how I wished Seth would get in close with me like that. “Look, I can put in a good word for you to coach. I’ve seen you toss a pretty good ball, you can run, catch. He might let you try out for the team if you can get in some practice, bulk up a little.”
“I don’t know. Baseball’s my thing.” Seth actually flushed as he gave a shy grin.
After all these years, I should have been immune. But really, he was just too yummy. I yearned to rest my head against his chest and run my fingers through the soft hair at the nape of his neck.
“Think about it, man.” Bruce slapped Seth on the shoulder. “See ya.”
Seth stood entranced as Bruce walked off. The boy had it hard. Though the football stud was too bulky for me, I could see the appeal he might have for Seth.
At 5’1″, I was still clawing my way to 100 pounds. Seth was more than enough for me. I knew from the hugs I’d snuck here and there, that I fit comfortably in my buddies arms. No doubt, he’d want a guy who could do the same for him–a guy like Bruce. I couldn’t blame him really, not when it felt so good.
“Come on. Let’s go.” I didn’t wait for him to follow as I headed to Seth’s Kawasaki.
It was obvious Mr. Googly-Eyes needed a little time to get over his crush. That was fine. I could wait. The longer we wasted here, the less time I had to spend with Cheerleader Cheyenne. I pulled my helmet on, loving the snug fit, and swung my leg over the seat.
Alright. Enough was enough. My boy might be able to pass the love-struck look for deep thought. But if he kept it up, eventually someone would catch on to his little secret.
I snapped my fingers and held out a hand. “Keys.”
Seth moped over, dropped them in my palm, and got on behind.
I loved when he road bitch. The warmth of his body pressed tight against my back, his hands around my middle. Yeah–this was the life. I should have felt bad about taking pleasure in something meant to be innocent, but I was too busy loving it to care. Seth laid his chin on my shoulder. We’d probably beat the cheer squad to the diner–the benefits of being able to weave through the cars on a motorcycle.
I took off with a jerk. Seth hated when I did that, but it forced him to grip me even tighter. He scooted forward with his thighs encasing mine, and his groin pressed against my butt. I smiled as we left the college scene behind and headed toward the city.
If you enjoyed this sample, please take a look at the project I have going on Kickstarter. Consider pledging. 🙂 If nothing else, please spread the word. Thank you.
Did you like the sample? Look for it August 2011. Until then, you can add it to your to-read list on Goodreads.