Church is the last place Theo Wescott ever expected to find the girl of his dreams. But he will need more than courage to meet the elusive Art Girl, whose unusual drawings intrigue him.
A flash fiction prequel to my full-length novel, Never Gone.
by Laurel Garver
Fletcher never told me there’d be girls at his church thing. I’d only gone along to escape another of Mom’s epic custody flip-outs after Dad announced he was moving to Switzerland with skank number 26. I thought chilling with hippie-dude Jesus sounded soothing. Mellow. Almost as good as hiding in a closet with my blanket. Not that I do that wussy baby stuff anymore, mind you.
Anyhow, I followed Fletch to this Hogwarts kind of room where it seemed like half of Gryffindor was hanging out. Well, minus the robes.
Then I saw her.
One long line of lean in jeans and a snug sweater.
I knew she had a pretty French name but went by something boyish. Dom for Dominique. Mitch for Michelle.
With just a plain pencil, this girl could make magic. She’d rocked the school art show with a drawing of a Central Park tree that wasn’t wood, but water. It was weird. Wonderful. I couldn’t stop staring at it. The longer I looked, the more I felt sucked in. Like the real me was in there somehow, swimming in the shadows just below the surface.
At school, she was always hunched over a sketchbook, her red-brown blonde hair streaming like a waterfall across her face. Hiding away. Like Rapunzel in her tower. I’d climb a thousand thorn bushes to touch the sweep of her cheek and taste her small, soft mouth.
Art Girl looked stunned at her joking friend. Then she laughed. I could feel it tug my gut with the cadence of an eight-man scull team rowing a power ten.
I had to know. What was so funny? What made her happy? Would she ever smile like that for me?
I drifted across the room to the snack-laden table she was leaning against. I reached for the chips and tried to swallow back the dryness in my throat.
Then something impossibly awful happened.
Art Girl’s redhead friend whispered in her ear and she doubled over, laughing harder than ever. The table creaked and shuddered beneath her. Then it tipped backwards. Food poured onto the floor.
I managed to grab the nearest corner and right the table before everything dumped, but the damage was done. After stunned silence would come the usual humiliation: wolf whistles, clapping, and mocking laughter.
I couldn’t watch it happen. Not to her. So I knelt down and started picking up.
Weirdly enough, so did everyone else in the room. Not one person clapped. The only laughter was in the group’s easy banter as they worked together. Apparently these were not your usual high school jerks.
I was scraping guacamole off the thousand-year-old church carpet when Art Girl scooted near me to gather scattered pistachios. She leaned so close I could smell her. Sweet and summery. Like those vines twined through our deck at the lake house. Honeysuckle.
“That must’ve been some joke,” I said.
She shook her head. “I’m such a bloody idiot.”
“You jolly well are not,” I joked, mimicking her.
Oh crap. She wasn’t faking. That’s her normal voice.
“Sorry. I just didn’t, um, expect you to sound—” as sexy as those babes in my sister’s Regency romances. I don’t care what my stupid crew buddies say, those books are hot. “It’s not like your accent is…you know, strong or anything,” I babbled. “I mean, I barely noticed. It’s just…aren’t you the new girl who moved here from Brooklyn?”
She squinted at me, suspicious.
“I’m Theo. Theo Wescott. From school? I came with a guy I row with, Fletcher Reid.” I pointed my chin in his direction, and darned if he wasn’t totally flirting with the redhead.
Art Girl stared at my outstretched hand like it might bite.
“I come in peace.”
She bit her lip, trying to hide a smile. Then she grasped my hand and shook it, her strong, slim fingers a perfect fit in mine.
“Danielle. Deane. But everyone calls me—”
“Dani,” I said, my voice husky. Just how I’d say it if she were in my arms.
“Yeah,” she whispered, her eyes wide. They were a soft gray, like a pigeon feather. She leaned back. Wobbled. Caught herself. Like she wanted to get up and run, but was too scared.
Dani and Theo's story continues in Never Gone. Read the first chapter here: http://www.wattpad.com/story/2380313-never-gone-sample-chapters
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Sketchbook RapunzelTeen Fiction
Church is the last place Theo Wescott ever expected to find the girl of his dreams. But he will need more than courage to meet the elusive Art Girl, whose unusual drawings intrigue him. A flash fiction prequel to my full-length novel, Never Gone.