Can This Manuscript Be Saved?

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)We are going to find out. I dug out an oldie but a goodie entitled WHITE ROSES IN WINTER aka as KERRIE’S BABY circa 1996. It’s a soap opera-ish tale with lots of angst, drama, and, not surprisingly, an unplanned pregnancy. Overly protective parents and a secretly psycho “best friend.”  I expect it will fit nicely into the current “new adult” market once I stop cringing at my early writing style (or rather lack thereof). There’s going to be a whole lot of revising and updating going on!

Here’s the revised first chapter:

Kerrie became aware that sand had embedded itself in various parts of her person and she was sticky and uncomfortable. She kept her gaze on Jason’s chin, stubbornly refusing to look into his eyes in the murky light. She didn’t know what he must think of her after she’d slept with him the way she had. She’d known him for two days yet she’d been so willing. So ready. So, so stupid!

     He lay quietly, his hand at her waist, waiting until her gaze caught his. She couldn’t help the quick intake of breath. She saw something in his eyes, even in the near darkness. Her heart soared. This hadn’t just been a casual hook up for him either. She’d swear to it. Was it possible, that he felt what she felt? As quickly as whatever it was she thought she saw appeared, it was gone. He tilted her chin up and kissed her. Not hard and passionate and demanding like before, but not a peck either. A kiss that said he cared. On some level at least, he cared.

     She wrapped her arms around his neck and he held her tight against him for a long time before he finally whispered. “We should go back.”

     Kerrie nodded, reluctant to release him. She needed more time, more of him.

     Once they were dressed he took her hand for the return trek down the beach. The tide was coming in and they were forced to walk in the deeper sand.

     The house was settling down for the night. Just a few straggling party goers were gathered on the beach. The caterers and the band had packed up and departed. No one paid Kerrie and Jason any mind as they headed for the shadowed shrubbery at the side of the house. 

     “I’m a mess,” Kerrie said.

     Jason fluffed her tangled, wind-blown hair. She looked like she had been lovingly manhandled. Her eyes were huge and soft, her mouth swollen, ready to be kissed again. Her dress with the tiny white flowers on a navy blue background had not faired too badly; though it was wrinkled and damp, and sandy, it had survived. “You look okay to me,” he said, suddenly saddened that their time together was over.

     She studied her bare feet. When her head came back up, her eyes shone with tears. “I don’t know why, but I feel like crying,” she admitted.

“Oh, don’t do that,” Jason pulled her close, holding her.

“Please don’t cry.”

     She buried her face in his neck, in his shoulder. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” she whispered when she was able.

     “Kerrie, please don’t–“

     “I keep thinking what if I never see you again?” The words came out wet and squeaky.

     He rubbed her back, resting his head on top of hers, absolutely, totally miserable, wishing somehow that he could take back what had happened between them on the beach. Already he missed the connection to her, the warmth. He felt set adrift somehow and even more alone than he had been before. Still he tried to comfort her. “Kerrie, you don’t know that–” he began.

     “Are you leaving?” Her head came up and her gaze caught his.

“I should.”

“Tonight?” The question came out like a plea.

“I have a job, Kerrie. I’m not like other guys you’re used to–“

“I’m not ‘used to’ any other guys.” She backed away from him slightly.

     He chewed the inside of his bottom lip for a moment trying to decide what to do. “All I meant was I don’t have a lot of free time like they do. I have to work and I have to go to class.” His entire focus for the past four years had been on obtaining his degree. Without it he was sunk. He couldn’t afford to mess it up now. He was too close.

     “I know. I understand that.” Kerrie stepped back into the circle of his arms.

     “Kerrie, you need a guy who can be around, take you places, spend money on you—”

     “No, I don’t.”

     “I can’t do any of that. Not right now anyway. You don’t need somebody like me.”

     “Yes I do,” she whispered.

     Jason smiled. This girl was definitely getting to him. “Okay, how ’bout this: I’ll go back to school and after I graduate in June we’ll get together next summer. Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll have a decent job. I might have enough money to take you someplace for dinner where they don’t have a drive-up window.”

     “I love drive-up windows,” Kerrie assured his shoulder, and he could tell she was smiling.

     “Well, good, because if you start hanging around me, you’ll be seeing a lot of them.”

     She laughed, and Jason’s mood lightened. Even though June was almost a whole year away and she might forget him by then. There was no way he was going to forget her. No way at all.

     “We can text,” Kerrie said.

     “Not on my go-phone plan we can’t.”

     “Oh.”

     “Kerrie, I’ve got to get going.”

     “You need your shoes.”

     “Wait here, I’ll go get them.” He was back in seconds with hers and his. They walked slowly to his car, dragging out the actual moment of separation, until he stopped at an old black Mustang.

     “I’ll think about you,” Kerrie offered, trying to keep her bottom lip from trembling.

     Jason smiled. “Me too.” He bent and kissed her, hard and fast. “You be a good girl, okay?”

 

     Tiffany Preston stepped away from the window. First she had noticed Jason Pendell’s absence. Then, much later, she realized that she had not seen Kerrie since early evening. But it took witnessing their good-bye kiss to put two and two together.

     At the barbeque yesterday Tiffany noticed Jason and Kerrie with their heads together. They’d been on the same side in volleyball, high fiving each other after every point. Tonight she couldn’t help but notice the two of them dancing together. Kerrie could be forgiven for dancing with Jason, even for taking a walk on the beach with him. But she’d apparently slept with him and that was something Tiffany couldn’t forgive.

     Throwing herself back into bed Tiffany punched her pillow, clenching it hard beneath her head. Talk about backstabbers. Kerrie Huddleston had strolled in and stolen Jason right from under Tiffany’s nose after Tiffany had made it clear that he was off limits. Long before the weekend began Tiffany had been formulating a plan to make Jason sit up and take notice. If she had been able to locate him tonight, she would have put her plan into motion. She had flirted outrageously with Eric Stranghorn, all the while keeping one eye out for his friend. Eric had lapped up every ounce of attention she gave him, oblivious to her insincerity.

     It was too much, really. Tiffany had been after Jason from the moment Eric had introduced them over a year ago. Tonight was supposed to have been her night with him. She’d planned to show him what he had been missing by ignoring her for so long.

Instead, her supposedly best friend Kerrie Huddleston had apparently spent the night screwing him on the beach. How could she?

     Kerrie was barely more than a child. Not that long ago, she and Tiffany had been playmates, hosting tea parties in an old treehouse for their dolls and bears. Tiffany knew for a fact that Kerrie had not yet parted with her childhood toys. Her bedroom was still decidedly girlish, her dolls and stuffed animals still adorned various shelves. The special ones took their place of honor on the bed.

     How could Jason go after someone like Kerrie when he could have her, Tiffany, instead? Jason belonged to her. She had warned Kerrie, hadn’t she? Told her to keep her hands off of Jason.

     Tiffany choked back the rage and fumbled in the dim light with a child-proof medicine cap. Greedily she tossed two Valium into her mouth and swallowed, feeling calm wash over her almost immediately. Her mind began to work once again. She would find a way to pay Kerrie back. And Jason, too. One day, she would find a way.

Should I post the original unedited first chapter????

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