Artistic License

November 21, 2009

Novel Excerpt- November 20’th

Filed under: Novel excerpts — Joana @ 12:08 am

“You okay, Mike?” I asked. ‘GAME OVER’ came onto the screen before long, and Michael put the gun back in the holder. He smiled at me, but it wasn’t a very convincing one.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” he asked. I blinked at him a couple times, which he seemed to understand was my way of saying he was really not passing it off at all. “I guess I’m just kind of wishing Natalie wouldn’t say all those things like I’m not around to hear them. Despite my robot-like moods, I’m not completely heartless.”

“And you still hate your dad,” I said. Michael leaned against the video game machine. There was a younger-looking kid kind of lurking around, looking like he was waiting for us to move away so he could play, but Michael didn’t really care.

“It’s kind of… died over the years, but yeah,” he said. “I hated my father a lot when Miranda and my parents were divorcing because he tried to screw her over so much. Mom and Dad fought a lot even before they divorced, and he was always the one that started it. When we were younger it was because she didn’t have a job, and when she finally went to school and started in real estate, it would be because no one would be home to take care of the cleaning and cooking. When Miranda and I started doing all that so Dad wouldn’t have an excuse to yell at Mom, Stacey came along and Mom was out of her job on maternity leave. It just… never ended. Mom could never do anything right.”

Michael was looking to the side by this time, and a quick look around showed that the kid who had been wanting to play on the arcade machine had left. Misty, Miranda and Natalie were talking amongst themselves while we all waited for Natalie’s parents to come and bring us out to supper. We had been there long enough for the next round of movies to open up, so the only people in the lobby besides us and a few stragglers in the snack bar line were the staff, who weren’t really paying attention.

Before I got the chance to do anything involving hugging him or just holding his hand, though, Michael leaned away from the game machine and smiled.

“But it’s not like it’s a big deal anymore considering that I haven’t talked to Dad in a few years,” he said. “And Mom seems a lot happier. Well, now, anyway. She kind of still drinks a lot, but what can you do?” He just kind of shrugged at this like he really didn’t know what he could do about the fact that his mother apparently went out several times a week and drank herself into oblivion. And that was… actually kind of scary, now that I thought about it.


November 18, 2009

Novel Excerpt- November 18’th

Filed under: Novel excerpts — Joana @ 6:49 pm

“I’m in the math and science department, Miranda,” he said. “I am not in any way, shape or form a performer.”

“I dunno, you played straight pretty well for several years,” Miranda said. “You even had that girlfriend Natalie, remember? Whatever happened to her? I don’t think you two actually officially broke up.”

“Yes we did, Miranda, you just didn’t see it,” Michael said, looking over to me instead. “I told her I had gotten into Clearbell and she told me to take a hike.” Miranda stopped dancing at that and looked utterly confused.

“She doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would do that so harshly,” she said. Michael shrugged.

“Well, maybe not in so many words, but she broke up with me, that’s all that really matters,” he said. “And I haven’t even talked to her in so long it just seems… worse than it was, I guess.”

“Yeah, but if you hadn’t broken up with her, you may never have gotten me,” I said with a grin. Michael rolled his eyes.

“If Natalie hadn’t broken up with me then, one of us would’ve done it sooner or later,” he said. “I doubt she could last through a relationship where she could only see me on holidays and vacations.”

I stared at the canvas before me in the silence that ensued. Miranda had walked over so that she was closer to Michael, but she didn’t seem ready to say anything.

“You know what I should do?” Miranda asked, pulling up a stool so she could sit beside her brother. I had started drawing again as an attempt to show that I wanted nothing to do with guessing what Miranda should do. When Michael saw I wasn’t taking this one, he sighed and turned around on his stool so he was facing his sister.

“I don’t know, Miranda. What should you do?” he asked. Miranda grinned at that, knowing her brother had taken the bait.

“I’m going to call up Natalie and ask her to visit this weekend,” she said. When Michael gaped at her, Miranda held her hands up defensively. “Hey, she was my friend too, and we dropped out of each other’s lives when I came here to Clearbell. I didn’t even want to, but since you two had broken up it seemed kind of like rubbing salt in the wound to keep having her around.”

Michael sighed and slumped a little. I had never seen him react like this to any idea ever, even Miranda’s bad ones.

“Fine,” he said. “If Natalie would be willing to actually come and visit I’m not complaining. But don’t expect her to say yes.” Miranda stuck her tongue out at Michael as she stood up.

“You haven’t even tried to contact her since we came to Clearbell,” she said. “For all you know she wants to make up and get back together with you.” She glanced over at me at that. “Not that it would work, of course, but you can’t blame the girl for trying. We’re both pretty good-looking people.”

“Then see if she wants to go out with you,” Michael said. Miranda ignored him and started dialing on her phone as she headed into the hall so we could hear her.

November 17, 2009

Novel Excerpt- November 17’th

Filed under: Novel excerpts — Joana @ 10:22 pm

“I swear Sarah is trying to stalk me,” he said. “She just… won’t leave me alone. She isn’t even asking about you or Miranda, she’s just like ‘Oh hey, Michael, how are you doing?’.” I kind of blinked at him, still holding him around the shoulders.

“Isn’t that what’s known as basic human interaction?” I asked. Michael kind of gave me a look before making me let go of him. “I’m just saying! You aren’t exactly the most social person in the world. Shawn’s all but said that you scare the bejeesus out of him.” Michael had been going over to his stool, but he just kind of stopped and looked back to me.

“Bejeesus? Seriously?” he asked. When I didn’t respond, he shook his head. “Never mind. I know I scare Shawn. I’m not stupid.” He went the rest of the way to the stool, and I decided to sit back at my easel. “It’s not like I do it on purpose. Shawn hasn’t done anything to make me hate him. Well, other than taking my picture.” Miranda stopped dancing at that and looked over at Michael like she thought he was insane.

“You seriously would hate someone because they tried to take your picture?” she asked. Michael seemed to think about this, but he didn’t look over to my easel, where I had the picture of us at the beach set up to draw from.

“Well no, I just don’t like my picture taken,” he said. “I’m sure you can understand that kind of thing, Miranda.” Miranda shrugged and continued dancing around, jumping up onto the table and swinging around.

“I’m a performer, Michael; I thrive on the kind of attention that’s paid to you by people who want to take your picture,” she said. Michael shrugged his shoulders and turned to watch as I started drawing. “I honestly can’t understand how I got a brother who hates the attention.” She took a couple steps across the table. “Actually, you used to love that kind of attention. Why don’t you anymore, Michael?”

“I loved that kind of attention because I thought I needed it,” Michael said. “Now I realize I don’t.” He met my eye for a couple seconds and smiled, all of which Miranda completely ignored in favor of her own dancing.

November 16, 2009

Novel Excerpt- November 16’th

Filed under: Novel excerpts — Joana @ 11:01 pm

Misty stared at Michael like she wasn’t sure if he was serious or not.

“You have no idea what’s going on, do you?” she asked. Michael glanced over to Devin, who was saying something to one of Sarah’s drone friends.

“Yes, and I can honestly say that I don’t care,” he said. “High school drama is high school drama even at an art school. I’ve had enough drama in my life without getting involved in all of this.” I frowned at him at that, but he didn’t seem to notice as he went back to his food. I glanced over to Devin again to see that he was looking positively happy as Sarah continued talking to him. As I said before, Sarah’s the kind of person that needs the validation of a group. I guess that’s part of the reason why she decided to go into the acting department. You can be as dramatic as you want and crowds of people will eat it up.

Geeze, I guess I really haven’t thought about Sarah in a while. Why is it that I’m just now seeing all these annoying things about her?

“Oh really? You know what’s been going on between Devin and Jamie?” Misty asked, raising an eyebrow at Michael. Michael nodded, glancing over to them before going back to his food.

“Devin’s straight, Jamie’s gay, Jamie likes Devin, Devin doesn’t realize it. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out.” Michael continued eating after that as if that was that.

November 15, 2009

Novel Excerpt- November 15’th

Filed under: Novel excerpts — Joana @ 9:49 pm

"It’s so boring," Michael muttered, shifting around so that he was laying on his back. "I have no idea what to do with the power out and them not letting us go anywhere." I shrugged.

"Well honestly, I could suggest a few things, but I doubt you’d like them," I said. Michael opened his eyes again and looked at me like I was crazy.

"I’m not going up to your room for that, Cameron," he said. I rose my eyebrows. I knew what he meant, but I still felt like playing.

"What, you want to stay down here? Because I’m sure you know I have no problem with exhibitionism," I said. Michael took the pillow that he had been laying his head on and threw it at me. "Ow! Always with the violence!"

“Well maybe you deserve a smack every now and then to keep you in line,” Michael muttered, laying his head back down so he could stare at the ceiling.

“Ooh, dom/sub relationship?” I asked. Michael’s eyes went wide as he looked up at me.

“What the…” he said, and I just shrugged.

“I heard Misty saying something about it,” I said. “Not in reference to us, just in general. That girl is weird.” Michael shook his head and laid it back down on the arm of the couch.

“No, Cameron, I’m not going to assert my dominance over you like that,” he said. “I can honestly tell you I had no idea you were even into that kind of thing.”

“I’m not,” I said, sticking my tongue out. “Although it doesn’t seem like that bad of an idea. What do you say to trying it sometime?”

“We’d have to start actually having sex for us to try that, Cameron,” Michael said, putting an arm over his eyes after closing them. He looked utterly tired, though whether it was in general or because of our conversation, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. “And I know how you feel about having sex.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I muttered, pushing his feet away from me. Being around him suddenly didn’t seem like such a good idea if he was going to bring this up again. Michael didn’t even protest me leaving him, although considering he seemed to be trying to go to sleep, he may not have even noticed.

“Is something wrong?” Shawn asked when I sat back down beside him. I glanced over to Michael, who was dead to the world as far as I could tell. I knew that he was a heavy sleeper and he could fall asleep pretty fast, but I didn’t know he could get there that fast.

“Ah, just… the same old sore spots,” I said, bring my eyes away from Michael and over to Shawn. Shawn rose his eyebrows, looking surprised.

“I thought you two never fought,” he said. I nodded, leaning back into the couch.

“We don’t… usually,” I said. “But there are some things that we don’t agree on and it’s kind of hard not to bring them up.”

“Like what?” Shawn asked, actually sounding interested. Well, considering he seemed to think that Michael and I were the perfect couple, I couldn’t blame him for being surprised.

“Sex, among other things,” I said. I was close enough to Shawn to see that his face had gone a shade of bright red, and I regretted bringing it up.

November 14, 2009

Novel Excerpt- November 14’th

Filed under: Novel excerpts — Joana @ 9:58 pm

“Nothing that you two weren’t around to hear,” I said. “He wasn’t even acting like this until he got here. He seemed really… enthusiastic about coming along.” Miranda shook her head and stood up, taking the opportunity to adjust her bikini top. Michael was probably used to it and managed to ignore her, but I couldn’t help but wince.

“Geeze, Miranda, could you have gotten a skimpier bathing suit?” Michael asked. He still hadn’t looked at her but apparently knew what she was doing. Now that is talent. Miranda stuck her tongue out, then seemed to realize I was gaping at her. “I think you put him into shock, Miranda. Thanks a lot.”

“Oh please. Just kiss the guy and he’ll be fine,” Miranda said. She walked out of my line of vision, and I didn’t care to turn my head enough so that I could see where she was going. Michael waved his hand in front of my face, and I blinked a few times.

“Uh, I’m okay,” I said, rapidly shaking my head. Michael rolled his eyes and pushed me on the shoulder.

“Could you not gape at my sister, please?” he asked. “I might start to question your sexuality.”

“Pft. You don’t need to do that. She just put me into shock with her blatant disregard for social etiquette when it comes to skimpy bathing suits,” I said. Michael rose an eyebrow at me, and I pulled him against my side. “Michael, has there ever been a time when you were seriously able to think I was straight?”


“I mean while we’ve been going out,” I interrupted before he could say anything. Of course there were times when he thought I was straight, but that was a couple years ago when I was still going out with Sarah.

“No, Cameron, there hasn’t been a time when we were going out that I’ve thought you were straight,” Michael said, rolling his eyes and pulling away from me. “You give me more than enough evidence against that.”

November 13, 2009

Novel Excerpt- November 13’th

Filed under: Novel excerpts — Joana @ 3:35 pm

“What in the world?” I asked as Michael and I got into the studio building. We had gone in the back instead of the front in hopes that it wouldn’t be so busy. It wasn’t, but we managed to stumble upon something very… interesting as we were going through the freshman displays.

“Is he wearing skinny jeans?” Michael asked as we both stared over at Jamie.

“Yes.” I didn’t even try to hide the fact that I was gaping at him now.

“Geeze, Cam, just break up with me already,” Michael said. I tore my eyes away from Jamie.

“Please. I’d much rather see you in form-fitting jeans,” I said, wrapping my arms around him.

“Yeah, because that’s bound to happen,” Michael said, pulling away from me. “Are you capable of keeping your hands off me for two seconds?”

“I am not.”

November 12, 2009

Novel Excerpt- November 12’th

Filed under: Novel excerpts — Joana @ 10:25 pm

“Is she serious?” Devin asked when Miranda had left.

“What, about you being a liar? Probably,” I said. “But if you weren’t, why would it bother you?” Devin shook his head, standing up from his stool.

“I’m not,” he said. “Even if I did have feelings for Jamie, why I be worried about what Miranda has to say about it? I don’t even know her that well.”

“You don’t know me that well either, and yet you came to me first when you were worried about Jamie,” I said. Michael turned to Devin and rose his eyebrows, and Devin shrugged.

“We’re not that far into the school year, so it’s not like Jamie or me have really made anymore friends,” he said, averting his eyes. “Besides, I know Jamie’s been spending a lot of time with you lately, so I thought you might know what was up.” I shook my head and went back to painting. Apparently I wasn’t going to get through to him right now, and I was fine with that. Getting Jamie away from Jean before something bad could happen mattered more right now, anyway.

“Well, you may not know us that well, but I do know something about you,” Michael said. He was obviously talking to Devin, but he wouldn’t take his eyes off me, like he thought that was safer or something. Admittedly, maybe it was. Devin might have exploded at any point if we kept pushing him.

Of course that didn’t mean we were going to stop.

“And what do you know about me?” Devin asked, raising his eyebrows. Michael shrugged.

“I know you’re so far in the closet you’re exploring Narnia.”

November 11, 2009

Novel Excerpt- November 11’th

Filed under: Novel excerpts — Joana @ 9:40 pm

The door to my practice studio suddenly opened, and I turned. That was quick.

“Hello, Cameron.”

I stopped dead. It was Jean, not Michael. How in the world did he know I was here in the first place? Of course I’ve been in here a lot over the few weeks we’d been at school this year, so he’d probably seen me going in and out. Or he could be some kind of creepy stalker that was watching my every move and just waiting for an opportunity when I was alone. Yeah that’s not disconcerting at all.

“Michael’s going to be over here in a few minutes so I doubt you want to stay,” I said, turning back to start working on my drawing. Jean walked over and put a hand on my shoulder, and I jerked away from him. “I’d prefer that you didn’t touch me, thanks.”

“That’s not what you said last time,” Jean said, grinning at me as he leaned forward so that his face was right next to mine.

“That was two years ago,” I said, averting my eyes. “Besides, I asked you out and you said you didn’t want me. What makes you think I’d jump at the chance of being with you now that I have a boyfriend that actually cares about me?” Jean smiled at that, leaning more into me until his body was pressed against my back.

“Who says I didn’t care about you, Cameron?” he asked. I turned back to him, and he tilted my chin up so he could kiss me. My body went rigid as he slipped his tongue into my mouth and ran a hand through my hair. When he saw that I wasn’t protesting, he moved around so he could sit on my lap.

And that was about my limit.

I pushed Jean away from me, making him crash into the easel in front of me and yelp in pain when he hit his head on it, falling to the floor.

“Don’t ever touch me again,” I hissed, standing up from my stool. Jean stared up at me, surprised. “I’m not that gullible kid you knew two years ago, Jean. I have something good going for me and I’m not going to ruin that just because you think it would be more fun now that you have to work to get me to want you.” Jean just kept staring up at me from where he lay sprawled over my easel and canvas. “And get the hell off my drawing.” He listened to me for once, rolling himself away from it. I leaned down and picked up the canvas, then sent a glare his way. “I don’t even know why I was so upset over you.” I stood up with my canvas only to look back at Jean and see that he was smirking. “What’s so funny?”

“You were upset over me because if I didn’t want you, who would?” he said, sitting up and dusting himself off. “I am the first to admit I have surprisingly low standards. I’m guessing you probably realized that.” I glared at him, but he just kept smiling.

“Yeah, and I don’t,” I said. “And that’s why I don’t care about you anymore. I’m sure there are plenty of other gay kids here at the school for you to bother, so why don’t you go do that?” Jean rose his eyebrows at that and he stood up.

“Hmm, you raise a good point,” he said. “On the other hand, I never expected to be on the receiving end of a rejection.”

“Yeah, well, get used to it,” I muttered before turning and heading out the door. Jean stayed in there the entire time I was leaving the studio. Michael was just getting over, and he seemed a bit confused as to why I was leaving.

“Something wrong?” I asked. I glared back at the building.

“I don’t feel like drawing anymore,” I said, turning my attention down to the canvas. “You wanna head back to the musical practice?” Michael shrugged.

“Assuming you’ll protect me from the wrath of Sarah because of my escape,” he said. I smiled and wrapped my free arm around Michael’s shoulders.

“I’ll tell her you came over and convinced me that I needed to be there to work on sets,” I said. “You’ll still come out as the good guy and any yelling Sarah wants to do will be directed at me.”

“You’d be willing to sacrifice yourself to the dragon?” he asked, eyebrows raised and voice only half-joking. I shrugged, lowering my arm to wrap around his waist and pulling him closer.

“Well, if Sarah’s the dragon, that would make me the knight and you the damsel in distress,” I said with a smirk. Michael glared at me, but that glare didn’t have the same effect that it usually did. I let my canvas fall to the ground so I could tilt him back dramatically, pressing my lips against his.

When I finally pulled away, Michael wasn’t glaring anymore. I smiled down at him. “Better?”

“I’d be better if you let me stand up, Cameron,” he said. I complied, still smiling the entire time. Michael had to take a step back to steady himself before we were ready to continue on.

November 10, 2009

Novel Excerpt- November 10’th

Filed under: Novel excerpts — Joana @ 11:34 pm

Sarah didn’t really seem too happy about the fact that we wanted to bring Shawn along. It wasn’t like he was annoying or got in the way or anything, it was just that he loved taking pictures of everything, and I’m pretty sure she was afraid that he’d take pictures of her when she was still in her pajamas and had bed head from just waking up.

Of course, she may have also suspected the same thing of me, mostly because I had done it in the past. Although that was when we were ten and I was staying over for the night while my parents had a night out. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t go with them at the time, of course. I saw them going out together no worse than me having to stay at a girl’s house for the night. Given, Sarah was my best friend and I didn’t exactly see her as a girl, but still. Ten year old logic. Gotta love it.

“Ah, I love hotels,” Miranda said as she floated along in the pool. Apparently we weren’t really expected to do anything for the night, but we’d be dragged along shopping at eight am sharp and were expected to get to bed so that Sarah wouldn’t have to dump cold water on us.

I was pretty sure that she wouldn’t actually do that since Miranda was still not on easy terms with her and all, but still. The prospect terrified me slightly more than the thought of going shopping with a bunch of girls.

“You are aware that Sarah only invited all of us along because you wouldn’t come without us, right?” I asked. Miranda shrugged as she easily floated along. Apparently there either weren’t a lot of guests there right then or not a lot of them wanted to use the pool, because we were the only ones there besides a couple over in the corner that seemed more concerned with flirting with each other than actually using the pool. Oh well. More pool for us.

“Yeah, I realize that,” Miranda said, moving around so that she was treading water. “I realize that Sarah’s just trying to get on my good side because she likes me but I’m extremely skeptical of her motives in getting close to me. I also realize that just a few weeks ago she still thought she had feelings for my brother’s boyfriend and was trying to manipulate his roommate so that Cameron would get jealous and want to go back to her.” Miranda kept treading water there in the middle of the pool even as Michael and I stared at her.

“Okay, so what’s the good side that’s allowing you to see past all this?” I asked.

“Sarah has her birthday money and said she’d get me clothes.”

“Ah of course.”

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