Finally finished flogging the story for that contest I mentioned in the post just below. Had to add a little more story in Scene 2. After that, I had to format the text into what they wanted for submission; anyone who’s ever programmed a visual novel with instantly recognize the style. For whomever they pick as a winner, Voltage’s staff will just have to slap some “scene” and “show” commands in and they’re finished.
Anyway, I sent off my entry a bit ago. If you’d like to read it, the story’s below the fold. I definitely do ‘cute’ better than ‘political terror.’
Location: Campus Coffee Shop (late morning)
Jamie looked out the large window of Apollo’s Coffee Shop at the mist of cold rain under a leaden sky. In summer, Seattle was one of the most beautiful cities on Earth; they paid for that the other nine months of the year.
[Joshua] “Is this sketch of the ATP Cycle better?”
He pushed his paper across the little table between them and took a drink from his coffee cup.
She turned from the monotony of the weather to the handsome young man before her. She smiled at him before leaning over to examine his paper. A strand of her strawberry-blonde hair was loose from her ponytail and hung forwards. She absently brushed it back behind her ear.
[Jamie] “Yep! All correct!”
[Jamie] “Biology isn’t as hard as you make it out to be!”
[Joshua] “That’s because I have you to help me.”
[Joshua] “Once we get to the anatomy module, I’m hoping to return the favor!”
He grinned at her as she took a drink of coffee to hide her blush. Joshua was sweet, and it was pretty clear what he thought about Jamie. She was just….
The bell over the door jangled lightly as another customer came in. Her face broke into a smile.
[Jamie] “Look! It’s Derek, from the soccer team! Hey, Derek!”
At her call and wave he turned his head slightly in their direction and gave a brief nod as he kept on to the counter.
[Joshua] “He’s obviously busy…”
Joshua spoke with the slightest edge of irritation in his voice.
[Joshua] “And, we’ve a few more pages to cover, so…”
[Jamie] “Oh, pooh! There’s plenty of room at our table…”
Her voice trailed off as she saw Derek taking his coffee to a table some distance from theirs.
[Joshua] “See? Mister ‘lone-wolf’ doesn’t want our company.”
Jamie’s emerald eyes flashed dangerously.
She stood and briskly walked to Derek’s chair. He was just looking up when she slid her right hand under his right arm and hauled him to his feet with surprising ease. She looked up the seven inches that separated their eyes.
[Jamie] “You’re coming with me!”
Jamie grabbed another chair on their way back, then planted Derek into it. She returned to her own seat.
[Derek] “Team captain.”
Frowning. But he turned to Jamie and smiled.
[Joshua] “That was quite the trick, pulling him up like that! How’s someone so cute get so strong?”
(Oops. Subtlety is not strong in my family.)
[Jamie] “You’d be surprised some of the things I’ve learned in the Sports Med program!”
[Joshua] “I bet I would!”
He was more animated now that Jamie’s attention was back onto him.
[Joshua] “I’ll be sure to get injured in our next practice for some one-on-one therapy from you!”
She took another sip of coffee.
[Jamie] “So, Derek…
She didn’t notice Joshua’s crestfallen look.
[Jamie] “Things are all settled after your sudden transfer to our university?”
[Derek] “Things… are fine.”
He raised his eyes to look outside.
[Derek] “Wetter, certainly, than out east in Richland.”
Jamie nodded, smiling all the more.
[Jamie] “I was thinking about that, too! You’ll get used to it, I promise! This doesn’t even count as rain to me, anymore!”
She moved her hands halfway across the table towards Derek.
[Jamie] “There are so many fun things to do together—”
[Joshua] “Ah-hem! Between our practices and his classes, I’m sure he won’t have all that much time for ‘fun.’ Speaking of which, shouldn’t we be going back?”
Jamie glanced at her phone but was surprised to see Derek look at his wristwatch. People still wore watches? Derek noticed her stare and for the first time she’d seen, he essayed a small smile.
[Derek] “I’m a little old fashioned… about some things.”
Joshua stood up, finishing his coffee.
[Joshua] “Shall we?”
Derek shrugged and made to stand. Jamie’s right hand closed the distance to Derek’s left arm.
[Jamie] “We’ve ten more minutes, right?”
Muttering, Joshua put his cap on and headed out. After the tinkle of the bell, Derek looked towards Jamie.
[Derek] “Thanks… for staying with me.”
[Jamie] “It’s nothing, Derek…!”
She knew she was blushing again.
[Jamie] “I think, maybe, we’re both…
- …a little different than everyone else here.
[Jamie] “…outsiders. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends, too?”
[Derek] “Yeah… thank you for that, Jamie!”
[Jamie] “…a little different than everyone else here.”
(What in the world did I just admit to him?!)
[Jamie] “That is…! I mean…!”
Derek put his right hand over hers.
[Derek] “Maybe we are!”
The morning didn’t seem as cold as it did earlier.
Location: Campus Athletic Field (late afternoon)
[Jamie] “THAT certainly didn’t go well!”
Jamie muttered to herself as she walked about the field, picking up a few flags and whatever bits of trash she found. Her headphones were perched atop her strawberry-blonde hair restrained in its customary ponytail.
(Even though everyone on the team played well, they’d lost. For some reason, they all just didn’t ‘click’ together. Derek and Mitch did great work as forwards, each scoring a goal. The stoppers and fullbacks played good defense… and Joshua was his usual awesome self. Well, mostly.)
She shook her head a little as she wandered over to the small tier of bleachers.
[Jamie] “Ugh. More trash.”
[Jamie] “For a bunch of save-the-planet Seattleites, they don’t seem to know what a trash can is for.”
(Joshua did good, making several great saves. But he also let three goals past him. Had he been distracted by something?)
In the pause between songs, she faintly heard voices. She tapped her phone and stood still. Oh. It was Joshua and Derek on the other side of the bleachers.
[Joshua] “…really think you’re a member of this team? ‘Cause you sure didn’t act like it out there!”
[Derek] “Since fifty percent of the goals scored…”
He looked out at the field.
[Derek] “Were by me, I think I did something for the team.”
[Joshua] “And when you weren’t rushing their goal, exactly how much did you help the midfielders?”
Joshua’s voice was rich in sarcasm and anger. Derek shrugged and turned his head towards Joshua.
[Derek] “We all have our roles to play.”
Joshua yelled as he threw the ball he was carrying out onto the field.
(Hey! I’ll have to go get that later!)
But she stayed immobile.
[Joshua] “One of those roles is supporting everyone else! Do you even consider this a team, or are we all just your backups?!”
[Derek] “Of course not, but games are won on offense, by scoring. Not…”
He narrowed his eyes a bit.
[Derek] “…by cowering around our own goal.”
[Joshua] “This is soccer, not a damned war! I don’t care if you were the MVP at your old college, we play as a team, defensively and offensively!”
Joshua was shouting now.
[Joshua] “Your ‘lone-wolf’ attitude affected everyone else! That’s why we lost!”
Derek scowled at that.
[Derek] “Don’t you think that those three shots you let past you into the goal might have been a factor, too?”
There was an edge to his voice. Joshua’s hands came up, as fists.
(Uh, oh…! Should I…!)
But, she saw with an effort of will, he lowered them.
[Joshua] “I’ll get the ball.”
He huffed, and started out onto the field.
[Derek] “Playing defense again. That’s why you won’t win with her, either.”
Jamie saw Joshua freeze. Who was Derek talking about?
[Joshua] “This and that are two separate things. I’ve liked Jamie since she came to this university. I don’t need you ruining that, too!”
Jamie was shocked. She certainly liked Joshua as a friend, but she never thought that he….
[Derek] “What’s to ruin?”
Derek laughed at him.
[Derek] “Almost two years and all you do is drink coffee together? Hah! Before this term is out, I’ll have her—”
Jamie felt herself blushing, but Joshua was striding back towards Derek, his fists up again. Derek shifted his posture slightly. Joshua stopped right in front of him.
He said something too quiet for Jamie to hear. She saw Derek stare at him for a moment and say clearly, “No.”
[Joshua] “Then get the hell off my team!”
Joshua exploded as he shoved Derek to the ground.
She ran forwards, around the bleachers.
[Jamie] “What the heck are you doing, Joshua?!”
[Joshua] “Jamie! What are you…? When…?”
[Jamie] “Yes, this team has some problems, but we can work them out—”
In an instant she pivoted to Derek, on the ground; not writhing in pain, but holding his right ankle with both of his hands. She dropped and gently moved his hands away, feeling for damage… as only she could.
[Jamie] “It’s a sprain… a bad one. You’ll be out for ten days, minimum…. I’ve got to get you to the infirmary!”
[Derek] “It’s fine… I can—”
Derek stopped when he saw Jamie’s eyes flash.
[Jamie] “You will do no such thing, hu… er, Derek!”
[Jamie] “I will help you!”
Both Jamie and Derek looked up. Joshua had his hand behind his head. He was looking away, but turned towards them.
[Joshua] “I… I’m sorry.”
Jamie could tell he meant it.
[Joshua] “That was stupid of me; if the team fails, well, that all on me, the captain. Hey…!”
He extended his hand to Derek.
[Joshua] “Let me help?”
- You’ve done enough already!
- I look towards Derek.
[Jamie] “You’ve done enough already! Come on, Derek!”
She easily hauled him up, Derek’s right arm around her shoulder
(I’d better see what Derek wants…)
Jamie looked first to Derek. He gave a little nod that she returned.
[Derek] “Nothing to apologize for.”
He extended his right hand.
[Derek] “Thanks for the help!”
(They’re still friends! I’m so happy!)
They set off slowly for the infirmary.
Location: Edge of Campus, Residential Area (afternoon)
(Me. Why do I have to carry all these copies? Why can’t Joshua take them over himself?)
She paused at the street corner to ponder that. Does Joshua hate Derek so much he cannot face him? No: otherwise, why did he put together these copies of everyone’s notes?
(Is there another reason he cannot see Derek?)
She stood before Derek’s dorm room door.
(I wonder if he has a roommate?)
She rapped smartly on the door. She heard a slow sound from inside: a ‘tuk-thunk, tuk-thunk.’ The door opened.
Location: Derek’s Dorm (afternoon)
She was fascinated by the play of emotions across his face. She smiled.
[Jamie] “Derek! Getting better?”
She glanced at his crutch and still-wrapped ankle.
[Derek] “Thanks to you and your quick action back at the field, I should be back at practice next week…”
[Derek] “I didn’t know that you knew where I lived.”
[Jamie] “I didn’t! Joshua wanted you to have these!”
She held up the copies. Her face fell just a little.
[Jamie] “I’m sorry! I’m sorry I didn’t stop my friends from fighting!”
She bowed low.
[Jamie] “I’m sorry.”
She heard a laugh. She didn’t know that he could. Then, she felt something on her head. Derek rubbed her hair gently.
[Derek] “Geez, Jamie! For a Celt, you’re acting awfully Japanese!”
Her head lifted slightly, even though her back was still low. She looked up into his light blue eyes… so far away. She replied very softly.
[Jamie] “It’s a ghost… in my…”
[Derek] “What’s that?”
[Jamie] “It’s… nothing.”
Jamie raised herself. He smiled. This time, it reached his eyes.
[Derek] “Thanks for the notes.”
He took them from her, turned, and took a few assisted steps into his place. He glanced over his shoulder.
[Derek] “You came all this way; come in and stay a bit!”
Derek moved slowly into his dorm, dropping the notes onto a low table in front of a small couch. Holding onto his crutch, he slowly lowered himself. He closed his eyes.
(Do I? Don’t I?)
Jamie was startled by the clunk as the door shut behind her.
(When did I walk in?!)
[Jamie] “Well, then… thank you for inviting me in!”
She walked past the small kitchenette into one of the emptiest rooms she’d ever seen.
(Was his stuff not all here yet, or did he live like this?)
He opened his eyes. The light blue was surrounded by an almost purple ring. She froze. So handsome!
[Derek] “Hey, come and sit, you who saved me!”
She gave a little smile and sat down. Not as far from him as she could be, but what she thought was a proper distance for… friends. Back straight, knees together.
(I want no misunderstandings!)
[Derek] “I feel… no.”
[Derek] “I think, yes, that’s better, that you like me.”
[Jamie] “Of course I like you! You’re an important friend to me!”
He turned his head to regard the almost completely empty wall before them. Then he tilted his head back and left to Jamie. He spoke carefully.
[Derek] “I think, that I like you, too. But, perhaps as a bit more than just a friend. How about we go on a date and find out, for sure?”
[Jamie] “A d-d-date?!”
(This was so sudden!)
[Jamie] “Um, that is… sure!”
He shifted his body towards her on what Jamie thought was an increasingly smaller couch and nodded.
[Derek] “Good. We’ll work out the details in a bit. Right now, I’d like to thank you.”
[Jamie] “For what? The notes?”
[Derek] “Silly girl. My injury and your help.”
She glanced down for just a second to where his right ankle was tightly wrapped, only to be surprised by his left hand gently lifting her chin.
He kissed her.
[Derek] “Thank you.”
He spoke softly, his face inches from hers.
Her mind and body were awash in thoughts and feelings she’d never considered, but all culminating in a simple, “you’re welcome,” as she closed her eyes and parted her lips. Derek leaned close to her, fulfilling her unspoken desire.
Her mind molten with pleasure, Jamie was unsure how time both slowed down and sped up. Slowed down as he kissed her here, there. Sped up as he moved his strong hands, touching her over her clothes, here, there.
His right hand gently on her left breast sent fire into her heart and ice down her spine—
His left hand moved from kneading the muscles of her lower back, upwards, under her shirt—
(He can’t find out!)
Too fast for Derek to see, Jamie’s head was back from his and both of her hands pushing him lightly, but firmly, away.
[Derek] “Too much?”
She shook her head just a little.
[Jamie] “That was… you are…”
She trailed off, her reason still in tatters between the pleasure and her frisson of fear. Derek leaned back and made a moue.
[Derek] “Is it because you like Joshua?”
[Jamie] “Of course I like Joshua! Oh! That’s not what you meant… er… dammit!”
She batted her fists against her head several times, then fell still.
[Jamie] “I… should go.”
Derek sighed slightly; he said nothing.
Jamie paused in the doorway; she took a deep breath.
[Jamie] “I’m looking forwards to our date!”
She saw Derek make a little nod. His slight smile returned.
[Derek] “Me, too. See ya’, Jamie.”
She smiled so hard, her eyes scrunched shut.
The door closed.