A to Z Challenge: U is for UP

posted in: Various Musings | 1

For the A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge, I’m writing a story, aiming for 1000 words a day (every day except Sundays). Continuing today with the next part of the story about the character Codie Snow.

If you’re new to this series of posts, you might want to start here:

Wow!  This is the last week of the challenge.  I see the finish line!!!  🙂  This has been lots of fun.  Thank you to those of you who have been following my progress and playing cheerleader.

So…notes about today’s story chunk.  I like the progress, but there’s not nearly enough action.  Too much internal processing, I think. I’m too close to the story right now to evaluate, but those are my initial thoughts.  Still…I really like the exchange between Codie and Slade near the end.  You’ll have to let me know what you think!

Dinner was agonizing…and Codie wound up drinking way too much of Slade’s expensive wine. She was pissed at herself for once more falling for his charms when she was supposed to be emotionally detached. It didn’t help that the waitress drooled over him the entire night.

Or that Slade coaxed said waitress.

It also didn’t help that his competition—the defendants in the bar—came to their table and congratulated him. And, much as she hated to admit it, Codie knew that cockiness looked good on Slade.

Really good. Like a well-tailored suit, it emphasized the sexy stuff in all the right places and made the bad stuff fade away. And, by the end of the night, as Slade drove her and Matthew back to their apartment, she was in lust with the guy once more.

And pissed at herself.

But as long as it was the two of them with Matthew, she was safe. After all, Slade’s charms could only go so far when there was another party around, especially since he wasn’t big on public displays of affection. Codie had learned over the years that no matter how much he might care about her, it didn’t mean that he wanted the world to see them in an embrace—or something even more…emotional. Slade preferred to play it cool.

Like now, walking up the stairs to her apartment. In spite of how mad she was at herself, the wine had her feeling floaty and happy at the same time, and Matthew had just made a dumb but funny joke. She was laughing hysterically and she caught that look in Slade’s eye—yeah, that look, the one where he wanted to roll his eyes but also shove her into the wall and lay a thick and heavy kiss on her—but he instead followed behind them several steps.

Good. Made her want to laugh even louder.

Instead, she ignored him. When they got to their apartment, Matthew tried shoving the key in the lock twice. “Yes, girlfriend, when I hook up tonight, I’m definitely going to have to be the receiver.”

Codie knew exactly what he meant and laughed too, but she knew Matthew was in no shape to go out for the evening.

Slade knew it too but he wasn’t loud about it. He merely said, as Matthew finally twisted the gold key in the lock, “Don’t forget we have a big day tomorrow.”

“We d—?” Matthew’s face turned sober and his eyes grew wide. “Oh…” Then his lips pursed until he loosened them in a laugh, spewing spittle into the doorway. “We do!” Codie started giggling again too. Matthew was a fun drunk, but she suspected his head was going to be pounding by five AM.

Slade pulled the door closed behind him. His body was stiff but his voice was kind. “How about we get you tucked in, buddy?”

“Tucked in? Slade…I didn’t think you were that type.”

“I need you tomorrow, my man. Big day. You need your rest.”

Matthew frowned. “Yeah, I guess I do.”

Slade draped an arm around Matthew’s shoulders, leading Codie’s roommate out of the kitchen. She frowned and sat at the table. This was not good. Not good at all. It meant that she’d have to see Slade out—and she was in a weakened state. This wasn’t good.

She closed her eyes, trying to think, but her head felt like it was spinning. She peeked her eyes open, looking at the white wall across from the table, and the room stilled once more. So she closed her eyes and let the world move invisibly. Unlike her friends who used to complain of feeling dizzy during her partying days, Codie didn’t mind the sensation they’d all called bed spins. It didn’t make her feel sick or woozy. It just felt like she was moving around and around. No, it felt like she could sense the earth’s motions and she was aware of moving with it—almost as though the drunken state had heightened her senses.

She knew better, though. She was numb and goofy. Loving life but definitely not the sharpest tack in the drawer at the moment.

It seemed like an hour had passed by the time Slade got back to the kitchen, long enough that she’d rested her head in her arms on the table and was starting to think she was ready for bed too. And she’d need to be, because she had to work in the morning. She could still taste the wine in her mouth and it emanated from her chest, so she knew she’d likely not be top notch tomorrow either.

But when she felt Slade’s hand on her shoulders, she thought maybe she knew a way to combat the potential hangover. She immediately regretted even thinking it, knowing it was merely his magnetism drawing her in. As soon as he left, she’d be thinking about…maybe Pete. Maybe not, but she knew Slade’s draw was always less powerful when she was out of his orbit.

“Codie? Do I need to tuck you in too?”

She lifted her head, noticing that it felt heavier now. “What the hell did you put in the wine? You’re driving like a pro, and Matthew and I are acting like teens who found the key to dad’s liquor cabinet.”

Slade slid a hand under her elbow to help her stand. He smiled at her and said, “Responsible drinking.”

“Oh, so we are kids.”

“I didn’t say that. I knew I had to be the designated driver. Besides, I drink wine enough that it doesn’t affect me the same way.”

Hmm. Sounded pretty fishy to her, but she wasn’t going to argue. He was gently leading her toward her bedroom too, and it almost felt like old times. He was being really sweet.

And that made him irresistible once more. Just inside her bedroom, she said, “Slade?”

“Yeah, honey?”

Oh. And that too. “Why can’t we ever make it work?”

He smirked. “I have my theories about that.”

“And they are?”

“Perhaps a discussion topic for another day. You’re far too light-headed and vulnerable.”

Before she fell onto the bed, she grabbed his lapel. “Kiss me, Slade.”

His lips were still curled in a smirk. “Maybe tomorrow.”

Codie was too drunk to feel as angry as she wanted to. “You’re just afraid I’ll keep you up.”

Slade’s grin grew cockier but it didn’t fade. “Yeah, that’s it. I don’t want you to keep me up. Now…night-night, sweet Codie.”


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