Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm not as prolific as Bill

Hello, 'quillers, it's me, maurinsky, back from an extended and involuntary break from blogging. It's a long and surprisingly boring story about work-related travel and office renovations and bad, evil, computer viruses (viri?). But here is a second excerpt from my novel that a couple of you seemed to find intriguing.


Peter. James' memory of the first time he saw Peter was so vivid, it played in his mind like it was a regular show on Turner Classic Movies.

He had just transferred from Columbia University in New York to the University of New Brighton in Connecticut, known as Unew, or the NewB to those who loved it. His father had succumbed to the tumors in his brain shortly after his second semester ended, and James didn't want to go back to school at all. He compromised with his mother, who convinced him to enroll at Unew, which was only about 15 minutes from their comfortable suburban home.

It was past the deadline for transfers, but the helpful admissions staff was willing to make special arrangements for a student who had so recently suffered such a devastating loss. So shortly before the semester started he found himself in line to register for classes. He had been standing in the same spot for 20 minutes, contemplating the back of the head of the young girl in front of him, who was so engaged in her conversaTion with the girl in front of her that she didn't seem to notice the line wasn't moving. James, however, was painfully aware of each moment as it passed, wondering if enrolling here was merely a bad idea or the worst idea his mother ever had.

Eventually, the line started moving again, and James handed his registraTion form to the registrar staff member. She quickly compared the sheet to a list she had and circled one class, a biology lab, saying it was full, but that there was another session available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings - at 7:00 a.m.

"7 a.m.?" James said with dismay.

A voice close to his ear said "trust me, you want to take this class."

James turned and felt an electrical jolt run through his whole body as he faced the voice.

His dark brown hair was carelessly tousled, the gentle waves crowning a face that James could only describe as beautiful - there was a bright spark in the man's dark brown eyes. His face was tanned, but with a golden hue, and his full lips were broken into a broad smile, revealing the bright white of his teeth. A dimple dotted the man's right cheek. His nose was perfectly proporTioned, and he had a strong jawline.

James realized he was staring, so he shook his head, and said "Is there some compelling reason why I should wake up at the crack of dawn for this particular class?"

"Well, first of all," the man said, "I'm in the class, and that means it will be fun."

James smiled. "I'm not convinced yet."

"Second of all," the man continued, "this professor kicks ass. He knows his shit and he knows how to teach it. And I'm a bio major, so I know what I'm talking about."

James hesitated. "Okay, but...7 a.m.?"

The young man tilted his head back and laughed. "I'll bring the coffee and you bring the doughnuts, how about that?"

James was ordinarily a deliberate sort of person, who made spent hours considering the pros and cons before he made a decision, but he felt under the sway of this magnetic young man. He smiled and said "all right, you sold me," and turned to register for the 7 a.m. class.

Before he stepped out of line with his schedule, he faced the young man again and put his hand out. "I'm James, by the way," he said.

The young man took his hand and gave a gentle squeeze. "Good to meet you, James. I'm Peter."

James set aside his thoughts of the past and looked down at the picture. He rubbed his hands with his face, feeling a quiet desperaTion from within his heart, and placed the picture back on the desk, a little token that reminded people that James was just a regular guy, with a lovely fiancee and a successful career, and a bright future. But James knew. He was in love with a dead man, and not just any dead man, either. James was in love with his fiancee's deceased older brother.

"Oh, yeah, this is completely normal," he said aloud, sarcastically, to no one.

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