Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fiction Preview

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 9:04 AM
Chapter 1
Dana stepped out of her car, closed her eyes, and inhaled. She inhaled the smells of hay, manure, hot dogs, popcorn, flowery perfumes and brut colognes. She heard intermingling sounds of country music blaring on the loud speakers, old rodeo veterans swapping the same old stories, kids running around playing, and animal brays and snorts. Each smell and sound was distinct, but they also melded together to make up the essence of the rodeo. Her heart sped up.
She looped her fingers through the belt straps on her Wranglers. A year ago, she didn’t know what Wranglers were. And she never would have been caught dead in a pair of boots. Well, not these kind of boots. Not Justin. Not ones bought at the same store that sold bright, multi-colored cowboy shirts and horse riding accessories. Not ones that shouted, “I’m country and proud of it!” No. The thought had not crossed her mind at that time.
She bit her lower lip. So much had changed in the last year. She hadn’t lived in Texas then. And she hadn’t been dating a bull rider.
A door closed. Her eyes popped open and she glanced over the car’s roof. Her best friend Brooke’s dark eyes met her gaze.
“You gonna stand there all day, or what?”
Dana returned Brooke’s smile, flinging her long, blond hair back over her shoulder. Her friend’s accent was pure Texas twang. “No, no. I’m going.”
Dana walked to the front of the car, matching Brooke’s gait as they headed towards the arena entrance. They ignored the usual whistles and “hey, baby”s as they traipsed across the field .
Once inside the gate, Dana set about finding her boyfriend Bo’s parents. She scanned the crowd on the bleachers. His mother’s heavy set frame topped with puffy bleached-blond hair and lively cackle stood out like a polar bear in the Amazon.
Dana spotted her on the right side about halfway up the bleachers. I should have known. Does she ever sit anywhere else?
She didn’t. She’d once told Dana she wanted to make sure her boys knew exactly where to find her when they looked up from the pens.
Mrs. Singer turned, her bleached-blond hair bobbing as she talked, arms flailing, to the lady behind her. Probably another wild on-the-road story.
Bo’s mom worked as a short distance truck driver, which amazed Dana, and always came home with some story about some truck driver who was having an affair in Oklahoma, or got caught with something illegal, or fell in love with and married a waitress at a truck stop. The tales were endless and only partially believable. Mrs. Singer didn’t lie, but she elaborated a lot for effect.
Dana waved to Mr. Singer, who sat quietly beside his boisterous wife. He worked in a factory where noise prevented much talking and was used to being quiet at work and at home. He waved back and motioned to the seats they’d saved. Dana tipped her hand to let him know that they were going to get drinks first. He smiled and she turned to look down the arena.
Before she took a step, she spotted the stalls where they lined up the bulls drawn for the next run. The tingling started in her stomach and radiated down to her toes and up and out to her fingertips. He’d be there. Somewhere among all the other bull-riders. There he talked, laughed, and prepared. Her eyes scanned the area around the stalls, but she didn’t see him. Her face fell.
After they’d gone to concession, Dana’s held a cold soda as she and Brooke climbed the bleachers and joined Bo’s parents. Mrs. Singer lifted a hand to Dana, but never stopped talking. Mr. Singer had become engrossed in a conversation with a man seated below him.
Brooke tugged on Dana’s arm and whispered, “Did you see Stacy Athens?”
“No.” Dana’s eyes darted around. “Is she really here?”
“She is. She walked by earlier, when you were looking for Bo’s parents.” “And?” Dana lifted her right eyebrow.
“And nothing. She was with Stu Wells. And she looks the same as ever. Well, except that she hung onto Stu’s arm and every word he said instead of Jeremy’s.”
Dana shook her head. What was up with that girl? She had dated Bo’s older brother Jeremy for two years. They had been inseparable. Everyone thought they’d get married right after graduation. But then something happened. Dana knew more than most people, having been around the Singer’s house, and that meant Brooke did, too.
Three months ago an obscure aunt at a family dinner had let it slip that the Singer’s were going to be grandparents. It was the first time Dana had ever seen Mrs. Singer speechless. Bo’s mom pursed her lips, narrowed her eyes and glared at the big-mouthed aunt. Nothing else had been said about it. Since Dana knew it wasn’t her, she assumed that Stacy had gotten pregnant.
Two weeks after the dinner slipup, Jeremy and Stacy broke up. Rumors flew around school. Dana never said anything and Stacy never gained any weight. She had her suspicions about what happened, but couldn’t let herself think about it. Now Stacy had shown up at the rodeo where Jeremy would be riding on the arm of another guy. Knowing Jeremy, that would burn him up. She sure hoped he didn’t see her before he rode.
The announcer’s voice boomed over the loudspeakers, announcing the transition from horse-riding to bull-riding. Dana clapped her hands together and scanned the area where the bull-riders were once again, this time having the vantage point of being up higher. She knew she’d find him because he’d be waiting for her. Searching for her. He always did. This was their time. Their moment.
She found him and they locked eyes. His tall frame stood at just over six feet. His dark, sandy blond hair had mad highlights that most girls would kill for. That beautiful hair now sat mostly hidden under his black cowboy hat. He wore a green and blue shirt and, she knew, a pair of dark Wranglers and black boots with spurs and steel toes. She knew, even of what she couldn’t see, he was all muscle and beautiful everywhere.
She stood there looking into his green eyes and the rest of the world disappeared. She didn’t move. He didn’t move. For that moment, nothing else mattered and nothing needed to be said. They were completely each others. And that’s all she needed to know. Then his eyes shifted off to the right and his jaw tightened.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fiction Preview

Chapter 1
Dana stepped out of her car, closed her eyes, and inhaled. She inhaled the smells of hay, manure, hot dogs, popcorn, flowery perfumes and brut colognes. She heard intermingling sounds of country music blaring on the loud speakers, old rodeo veterans swapping the same old stories, kids running around playing, and animal brays and snorts. Each smell and sound was distinct, but they also melded together to make up the essence of the rodeo. Her heart sped up.
She looped her fingers through the belt straps on her Wranglers. A year ago, she didn’t know what Wranglers were. And she never would have been caught dead in a pair of boots. Well, not these kind of boots. Not Justin. Not ones bought at the same store that sold bright, multi-colored cowboy shirts and horse riding accessories. Not ones that shouted, “I’m country and proud of it!” No. The thought had not crossed her mind at that time.
She bit her lower lip. So much had changed in the last year. She hadn’t lived in Texas then. And she hadn’t been dating a bull rider.
A door closed. Her eyes popped open and she glanced over the car’s roof. Her best friend Brooke’s dark eyes met her gaze.
“You gonna stand there all day, or what?”
Dana returned Brooke’s smile, flinging her long, blond hair back over her shoulder. Her friend’s accent was pure Texas twang. “No, no. I’m going.”
Dana walked to the front of the car, matching Brooke’s gait as they headed towards the arena entrance. They ignored the usual whistles and “hey, baby”s as they traipsed across the field .
Once inside the gate, Dana set about finding her boyfriend Bo’s parents. She scanned the crowd on the bleachers. His mother’s heavy set frame topped with puffy bleached-blond hair and lively cackle stood out like a polar bear in the Amazon.
Dana spotted her on the right side about halfway up the bleachers. I should have known. Does she ever sit anywhere else?
She didn’t. She’d once told Dana she wanted to make sure her boys knew exactly where to find her when they looked up from the pens.
Mrs. Singer turned, her bleached-blond hair bobbing as she talked, arms flailing, to the lady behind her. Probably another wild on-the-road story.
Bo’s mom worked as a short distance truck driver, which amazed Dana, and always came home with some story about some truck driver who was having an affair in Oklahoma, or got caught with something illegal, or fell in love with and married a waitress at a truck stop. The tales were endless and only partially believable. Mrs. Singer didn’t lie, but she elaborated a lot for effect.
Dana waved to Mr. Singer, who sat quietly beside his boisterous wife. He worked in a factory where noise prevented much talking and was used to being quiet at work and at home. He waved back and motioned to the seats they’d saved. Dana tipped her hand to let him know that they were going to get drinks first. He smiled and she turned to look down the arena.
Before she took a step, she spotted the stalls where they lined up the bulls drawn for the next run. The tingling started in her stomach and radiated down to her toes and up and out to her fingertips. He’d be there. Somewhere among all the other bull-riders. There he talked, laughed, and prepared. Her eyes scanned the area around the stalls, but she didn’t see him. Her face fell.
After they’d gone to concession, Dana’s held a cold soda as she and Brooke climbed the bleachers and joined Bo’s parents. Mrs. Singer lifted a hand to Dana, but never stopped talking. Mr. Singer had become engrossed in a conversation with a man seated below him.
Brooke tugged on Dana’s arm and whispered, “Did you see Stacy Athens?”
“No.” Dana’s eyes darted around. “Is she really here?”
“She is. She walked by earlier, when you were looking for Bo’s parents.” “And?” Dana lifted her right eyebrow.
“And nothing. She was with Stu Wells. And she looks the same as ever. Well, except that she hung onto Stu’s arm and every word he said instead of Jeremy’s.”
Dana shook her head. What was up with that girl? She had dated Bo’s older brother Jeremy for two years. They had been inseparable. Everyone thought they’d get married right after graduation. But then something happened. Dana knew more than most people, having been around the Singer’s house, and that meant Brooke did, too.
Three months ago an obscure aunt at a family dinner had let it slip that the Singer’s were going to be grandparents. It was the first time Dana had ever seen Mrs. Singer speechless. Bo’s mom pursed her lips, narrowed her eyes and glared at the big-mouthed aunt. Nothing else had been said about it. Since Dana knew it wasn’t her, she assumed that Stacy had gotten pregnant.
Two weeks after the dinner slipup, Jeremy and Stacy broke up. Rumors flew around school. Dana never said anything and Stacy never gained any weight. She had her suspicions about what happened, but couldn’t let herself think about it. Now Stacy had shown up at the rodeo where Jeremy would be riding on the arm of another guy. Knowing Jeremy, that would burn him up. She sure hoped he didn’t see her before he rode.
The announcer’s voice boomed over the loudspeakers, announcing the transition from horse-riding to bull-riding. Dana clapped her hands together and scanned the area where the bull-riders were once again, this time having the vantage point of being up higher. She knew she’d find him because he’d be waiting for her. Searching for her. He always did. This was their time. Their moment.
She found him and they locked eyes. His tall frame stood at just over six feet. His dark, sandy blond hair had mad highlights that most girls would kill for. That beautiful hair now sat mostly hidden under his black cowboy hat. He wore a green and blue shirt and, she knew, a pair of dark Wranglers and black boots with spurs and steel toes. She knew, even of what she couldn’t see, he was all muscle and beautiful everywhere.
She stood there looking into his green eyes and the rest of the world disappeared. She didn’t move. He didn’t move. For that moment, nothing else mattered and nothing needed to be said. They were completely each others. And that’s all she needed to know. Then his eyes shifted off to the right and his jaw tightened.

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