A Good Day, After All

by disperser

A Good Day, After all

By E. J. D’Alise (Disperser)
Copyright March 2013

She should have worn a dress.  Guys like girls in dresses; preferably something short and with a v-neck.  Did she even own a dress that still fit?

Julie watched the three boys as they entered the room.  The new boy . . . she felt an immediate attraction.  She could not put it into words . . . She stopped, and went into that analytical mode everyone found so annoying.  It was not his clothes, or his hair, or his build.  Sure, all were fine, perhaps even above average.  

It was a combination of the look in his face, his attentive eyes, and the way he moved.   She contemplated the notion this was nothing more than a physical reaction prompted by drives which, since the beginning of the species, had literally shaped human history.

But no . . . this was not infatuation, not sexual.  This was not competing for the alpha male.  She genuinely felt as if she knew him, as if she had always known him, as if their lives were meant to be as one.

Then she looked around . . . the gaze of nearly every other girl in the room was tracking the boy as he walked between the tables.  Disgusted, both by their reactions and her own, she gathered her things, and headed to the exit.

Just before leaving the room, she glanced back to see the boys stop at the cheerleader’s table.  Perfect!  What chance did she have?  She opened the door with a little more force than necessary, and headed toward the library.

As she walked, she again slipped into her analytical mode.  Why was she so upset?  She did not even try to meet him.  By leaving the room she had removed herself from the competition.  Competition; ha!  As if she could compete.  No way he would even notice her, especially not after the cheerleaders.

She sighed.  As usual, she was retreating to be with her only friends.  Her books.  And yet, she remembered that feeling of intimacy, that feeling of belonging.  “That’s stupid!”  she thought, “I don’t even know the guy!

Two football players were walking toward her.  She kept her head down, looking just past her shoes.  She knew of the boys; they thought they owned the school.

“Hey! Where are you going so fast?”  They blocked her way, and moved to do so again when she tried to go around them.  

“Please, let me pass.”  She kept her eyes low, and tried to sound meek.

“You know, we’ve been watching you, and wondering if there’s anything underneath all them layers that might interest us.”  The bigger boy was leaning over, trying to get her to look up at him.

“I just want to get to the libr . . . “  She did not finish the sentence because the other boy grabbed her elbow.

“Leave her alone!”  

Julie and the football players turned toward the voice.  It was the new boy.  He looked flushed, and was obviously angry.

“We were just having some fun,” said one of the players, letting go of her elbow, “we were not going to do anything.”  Both players walked toward the boy as the other one continued.  “But now it looks like we got us some entertainment.”

They flanked the boy, and one of them smacked him on the back of the head.

“Don’t you know who we  . . . . UMPHT!”  He did not finish the sentence, his breath knocked out of him by Julie’s foot making contact with his abdomen.

The other player turned just in time to have Julie’s hand hit the side of his head just below the ear.  She continued her motion to end up in front of the player still trying to recover his breath.  Her knee came up to catch his nose unprotected.  He went down yelling.

The other player recovered, and made to move toward Julie.  The boy whose name she still did not know grabbed the player’s hand, and did something to the thumb.  The player went down on one knee, and the boy drove his elbow to the side of the player’s neck.  

Julie and the boy looked at each other as the two players stayed down.  

“What are you doing here?”  Julie asked.

“I  . . . I noticed you in the cafeteria.  Uh . . . it felt . . . I mean, it seemed . . . “

Julie helped him out.  “. . . as if we already knew each other?  Me too.”

Stepping over the one player, she continued.  “My name is Julie.” She extended her hand, which he took.

“I’m Dave.” He said, giving her a slight bow. “Let me help you with your books.”  

Dave helped her pick up her books, and then they both returned to the players, now precariously standing.

“You bitch!  You broke my nos . . . “ Dave’s slap nearly knocked him down.  As it was, he staggered backward.

“That’s no way to talk to a lady.  Now, here is the deal.  We took it easy on you guys.  Come after either of us again, and your knees are history.”  Dave  finished speaking when Julie leaned close to the other player, who was holding his neck.  Her voice dropped, but was loud enough for the player to hear “Hurt either of us, and you will be history.”

She turned, and smiled at Dave.  This was a good day, after all.

The End

After I wrote this, I kept thinking I could have done better.  Well, not done better in terms of writing a better story (I have the talent I have; no more, no less), but rather to give it a different flavor.

And guess what?  I did come up with something!  So, against my better judgment, here is a different ending.

<><><><><o><><><><>

Dave  finished speaking when Julie leaned close to the other player, who was holding his neck.  Her voice dropped, but was loud enough for the player to hear “Hurt either of us, and you will be history.” Her eyes flashed blood-red, and her lips parted to show her lengthened canines.  She held the pose for a few seconds, then flashed back to normal.

She turned, and smiled at Dave.  This was a good day, after all.

<><><><><o><><><><>

So, what do you, my astute readers think.  Original or alternate?

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21 Responses to “A Good Day, After All”

  1. *pedantic* Is that an alternate (both will stand) or alternative (one will remain)?
    I like the second as tying in a bit more with the mutual attraction felt. However, how about sealing it with something like:

    ‘As Dave finished speaking, something about him made the other recoil in fear. Then Julie leaned close …’

    • The perils of rushing . . . it started as “slightly different”, then wanted “an alternate”, as are found in DVD extras. Poor editing skills missed it. BUT . . . since I can fix it, no one will know what we are talking about.

      However, to answer your question . . . the original will stand. The modified ending is just an afterthought.

      Initially I was looking for a way for their “link” together to act as a vehicle to something more, but opted against it because I had not come up with anything I like. The vampire/demon thing would work, but that’s been overdone. I did have an idea with a larger scope than feasible for a short piece, and I am saving that idea for a later time.

      Really, the modified ending is just a cheap way to try and engage readers . . . and for having a poll.

      • The modified ending did tie things up a bit better, though.

        • No argument there. But, it’s already up and posted. it would not be fair to them who already skimmed it, and I am all about fairness; everyone gets the same mediocre offering.

          • I certainly wouldn’t call it mediocre – but I see your point. Maybe store the tuned version for future publication?

            • All these short pieces are small exercises I do to see if there is the potential for a longer tale. This might be one.

              For reference, the Fall of Angels piece came out of expanding a very short writing prompt effort.

              I am nothing if not rife with ideas . . . the problem is finding the time to flesh them out.

              • There still seems to be a market for stories in nibble-sized chunks. I had three accepted for a published collection recently.

                • Congratulations!

                  I’ve not tried submitting anything anywhere.

                  If I understand correctly how it works, publishing on-line (blogs or other places) can hurt your chances of anyone accepting the submissions for publication. Like I said, I’ve not traveled down that road.

                  Perhaps it’ll go in my list of things to do toward becoming a force of nature in the literary world. Things that I will continue to ignore as I find other things that interest me.

                  • I have used frothy romance on the short stories, but even if I had used fantasy I don’t think they would have interfered with the prospects of my fantasy novels. I have found that having books available on Lulu, Amazon and Kindle can lead to publishing offers.
                    The Indie route also makes a good start.

            • Oh, and thanks for what sounds like a compliment.

    • Oh, and yes, your edit would work to link the two. I’ll keep that in mind as well.

  2. I really like this – I’m all about the romance. 🙂 Even though I like both endings, I voted for the alternate ending over the original. I felt like it explained her mad fighting skills. 🙂

    Lmao, and as I was skimming the comments I came across: “. . . so, no Medusa-like nose hair snaking out, hissing at the player . . .” and I laughed so hard my husband became concerned. Lol, I would read whatever you chose to write about that subject. Love your sense of humor my friend, you truly brighten my day. 🙂

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