littlealbatross: (Laine- Nature)
[personal profile] littlealbatross
Handy aforementioned wordcount tool puts me at 1749. A different word count tool says I'm at 1685. Word says 1644. I'm taking the middle one so I don't feel like I'm cheating.



3547 / 50000 words. 7% done!


The sun streamed through her window the next morning and a breeze ruffled the curtains and carried the smell of the ocean into the room. The sunlight fell across her face and teased her eyelids, causing her to rub them and roll away. It was a typical morning, as far as Laine could tell. Somewhere inside her sleepy mind, she realized that despite the sun being up, she still had a few more minutes to lay prone and warm before she had to get up and face the day.
The remnants of a dream crept into her consciousness as she lie there, half-awake. She couldn’t quite remember all of the details, but images flashed into her mind. Her dad, yelling. Typing the letter to Duncan. The rat, then…
She sat upright. “The cat!”, she said, kicking the covers back vigorously and slipping her feet into the slippers that waited at the bedside. She hurried to the window and realized the heavy drapes were attached to the wall with ribbons despite her shutting them last night. She leaned in cautiously, nervous that if she got too close she’d get a paw to the nose. The window was cracked open slightly, though the latch appeared intact. Nothing had been broken. Breathing heavily, she lifted a trembling hand to the ceramic, flowered knob and pulled it shut. It closed with a click and didn’t swing outward when she pressed a suspicious fingertip against it. She furrowed her brow and shook her head. “It had to have been a dream…” she thought, not quite convincing herself. What happened last night was real, but she couldn’t figure out how her window would have opened by itself, how her curtains would have been pulled back, or… she just realized, how she got back into bed after standing like a statue in the middle of the room and staring at the cat for what had felt like hours.
“Good to see you awake, kiddo. Isn’t it easier to get up when you get a full nights’ sleep?” She felt her fathers’ strong hand cup the back of her head and he pulled her towards him for a hug. “Looks like a beautiful day outside, doesn’t it?” Laine nodded slightly, still unable to tear her eyes away from the window. Her heart pounded as she relived last night in her mind over and over again, but with her father nearby she felt a bit safer. “Well, don’t dawdle too long. I’ll have breakfast ready in a few minutes.”
“Okay, I’ll be right there…” she said softly, not wanting to turn and look at him. She was afraid that as soon as their eyes met, everything would come tumbling out. She had always been terrible at keeping secrets, especially from her father, and she already had one hidden away from him. Laine wasn’t positive what had happened between Duncan and her father, but she was sure that the shouting and slammed doors the night he left meant that it wasn’t on the best of terms.
Duncan and their father had been at odds for as long as Laine could remember, though she was sure it must have gotten worse for both of them when her mother died. Abigail Ainsworth was the binding force that held the family together, and her death destroyed the only thing the two men could agree on. Without her around, Laine had tried to fill her mothers’ role as peacekeeper with less than satisfactory results. Her father regularly told her to go to her room as she begged for him to stop yelling at Duncan, and when her brother would find her there, often buried in her closet beneath blankets and holding a book, he would reassure her that he didn’t need her help and to let him handle it.
“But why do you need to fight, Duncan? Why can’t we all just act like we did when Mom was still alive? We never fought then!”
Duncan gave a slight chuckle and a half smile. “We just didn’t fight in the house, Lainey. Mom hated it too, but I think Dad cared more about her feelings than either of ours.” He shook his head and glanced at the picture on her desk- a framed snapshot from a vacation to Disneyland three years earlier. Duncan was giving her rabbit ears between the two rounded Mickey ears perched on her head. They all looked so normal then.
The picture still sat on her desk, though it pained Laine to look at it too closely. Today, she picked it up and studied it, realizing how young she looked and how little she could relate to the people incased in the chrome and glass. She didn’t know who they were anymore, so she didn’t feel so bad when she slapped it down on the desk and heard the faint crunch of something breaking inside.
It was a Wednesday, so after Laine showered and dressed quickly, pulling on the uniform required for students at the base school, and grabbed her flag for practice. After years of auditioning and watching practice from the risers in the gym, Laine had finally become a member of the Junior Varsity Color Guard. Sometimes she practiced until she didn’t think she could lift the aluminum pole from the ground, let alone lift it above her head and twist it around her body like she was supposed to. The practice flag was a deep navy blue, one of her school colors, but today they were going to start rehearsals for the state competition and were breaking into groups with different colors. She pictured the array of rainbow colors that would be swirling around during practice and it added an extra bounce and hurry to her step as she came down the stairs. The smell of bacon and muffins greeted her when she hit the main floor.
“Who are you, and what did you do with my dad?”, Laine teased as took a sip of the orange juice that waited at her place on the countertop.
Adrian pulled a tray from the oven and placed it on the burners atop the stove, then turned to her. “Can’t a guy just want to do something nice for his daughter?”, he asked, tugging on the beak-end of a chicken shaped oven mitt until his hand was free. Laine recognized them as a Christmas gift she had given her mom when she was eight and gave a small smile. “A guy, sure. You? Maybe there’s a reason.”
He sat down next to her and put his arm around her shoulders. “That transparent, huh?” He sighed. “There is something. I have to go out of town for a little while. Maybe more than a little while.” He pulled away from her slightly and rubbed the back of his neck, looking tense. “I’m not positive how long it will be. I’m hoping I can get everything done within a week or two, but it might be closer to a month.”
She set down her glass. “A month? My competition is in a month! Are you going to miss it?” The muffin she had been so excited to eat a second ago seemed suddenly unappetizing. She stuck an index finger into the top, knocking the strudel crust onto her plate.
“Don’t play with your food!”, her father said, lightly tapping her wrist. She sighed and pulled her hand free, giving a small sigh. Adrian rubbed his temples. “I really hope I won’t, honey. But maybe.” He turned to look at her, then grabbed her by the shoulders and lightly turned her to face him. “We knew we had to do things like this so we could have a nice life. Isn’t going to a good school and having a nice house and getting to be on the Color Guard worth it? Besides, I know you like to have some time where you won’t have to see your old dad every day. It’s going to be a regular party around here while I’m gone.”
Laine’s eyes lit up. “Is Uncle Walker coming to stay with me while you’re gone?!”
Adrian nodded. “Indeed he is. I told him that you could even have pizza once a week just to sweeten the deal a bit.” He pulled her in for a hug. “You know I hate leaving you Lainey, but sometimes I have to.”
They stood there for a moment until Laine pulled away. “I know. I’ll miss you. Please try to come home soon. I really want you to see our routine. I get a solo!” She paused, then continued. “Well, I guess it’s not really a solo, because three of us do it at the same time, but everyone stops while we’re doing it! Mrs. Reynolds says that I’m doing really well, and that’s why I get to do it. Do you remember Regina Serra? Private Serra’s daughter? She was so mad. She said that at least a third year should get it, not a stupid first year, but I said I had practiced every night…”
Adrian held up a hand. “Woah there, slow down. I’m sure Regina’s just jealous and that you’re amazing. I will do everything I can to make sure I’m there to see you, okay? But now, you better finish eating and get to school. It’s already quarter to eight.”
She stopped, disappointed. “Okay. Will you be here when I get back?”, she asked. He looked down at the ground, and she let out a sigh. “Guess not. Well, I love you, and I hope you come back soon.” She grabbed her lunchbox and slid off the barstool, heading for the door. “Bye.”
As the door closed behind her, she heard him calling out to her. “Goodbye, Laine. I love you.” The door snapped shut, and she couldn’t help but feel deserted yet again.

Date: 2009-05-03 04:50 am (UTC)
piggy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] piggy
Yay! A counter! The site I was previously using has apparently shut down, and I didn't no where to turn.

I'm sorry that this comment isn't more specific to the rest of your story. I did enjoy the first line, but if I keep reading, I'll lose my flow on the story I'm writing.

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littlealbatross: (Default)
Amanda

May 2009

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