On Monday I got some serious press! EMS1 was gracious enough to post a promotional piece from Twenty-Five at the Lip on their website. If you’re not familiar with EMS1, they are one of the top sites on the web for EMS providers. They post evidence based articles, product reviews, and EMS news from around the world. They’ve recently been posting book excerpts from the emerging EMS writers and Twenty-Five at the Lip made the cut for the end of September!
After my post from last week I’ve been considering what my next literary moves might be. Just Say Maybe and Don’t Look Back in Anger are set to be released next year, but I’m constantly coming up with short story ideas and concepts that don’t necessarily fit a novel length material. The solution to this might just be to write a series of short stories and release them over the course of a year. So starting in January I’ll be posting semi-monthly short stories involving the characters you love from Twenty-Five at the Lip and Tuesday’s Gone.
In the meantime, here is a short section from what I am currently calling The Ballad of Jeremy and Carley. It’s a side story from Twenty-Five at the Lip and addresses some of the elements that went into Jeremy and Carley. It was written during the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 as part of the Just Say Maybe project.
From The Ballad of Jeremy and Carley
The sound of a banging at his door woke Jeremy from a sound sleep. Checking his bedside clock he could see that it was after midnight and he might have only dreamed the sound. There was a calm stillness in the air of his dark bedroom, but a growing anxiety began growing in his chest.
The sound of banging rattled through the wall again and he knew for sure that it was the real thing. He got up out of bed and went into the living room, switching on the light, almost immediately hearing, “Jeremy?!” followed by another round of nervous knocking. He went to the door and looked through the peephole, already knowing who it was going to be. Swatting the chain off the door and releasing the deadbolt he jerked the door open. Carley stood in the hall, leaning against the door frame again, but this time looking visibly distressed.
“I need help,” she shuddered. Looking up at him, she looked pale and sweaty, her bottom lip quivering. He reached out for her, pulling her into his apartment, checking the hallway outside before he shut the door. It wasn’t till the gust of wind blew past him from shutting the door that he realized he was wearing nothing but his Borden City Weaver’s gym shorts.
“What’s wrong?” he asked forgetting the deliberate distance he’d been putting between himself and his partner’s little sister. “Are you OK?” he asked putting his arms around her. She hesitated before returning the embrace, finally reaching up behind him and holding onto his shoulders.
“I was out with these guys I know from The Venue. We’d seen some shows there and I think they might have drugged me or something. I took a drink from them and then I started feeling funny so I dropped it in the middle of the floor and ran out in the middle of the show…”
“Did they hurt you?” Jeremy asked. “Did they touch you?”
“I think they wanted to,” she said beginning to cry. “Oh my fucking God, that’s so scary, Jeremy.”
“What do you remember?” Jeremy asked.
“Basically everything,” she said. “We were doing shots and then one of them handed me a beer. I had a couple of sips of it, but it tasted funny. Then this one guy, Chad, started feeling me up. I wasn’t really into it, but then he got really aggressive. That’s when I figured it out. At least I think I did. Do you think I over reacted?”
“Jesus, no,” Jeremy gasped. He brought her over to the couch to sit down. At this point he saw what she was wearing, the same mini skirt and fishnets from the night at Dave and Buster’s and a tight teeshirt. Her cropped hair was a mess and her eyes were bloodshot, contrasting her fair skin.
“I don’t feel good, Jeremy,” she said putting her head down onto his lap. “Promise you won’t tell my brother. He doesn’t like Chad. He’s obnoxious and flirty when he isn’t plain handsey. Valerie slapped him one night when he touched her… Jer’my I’m so sleepy…” she said quietly.
“I should take you to the hospital,” he said.
“No! No hospital,” she pleaded. “Just stay with me. Promise, OK?” She wrapped her arms around him and began to breathe as if she was falling into a deep sleep. Jeremy looked down at her, brushed her hair away from her face and then replied to himself.
“Alright. But I’m going to sit here and watch you. If you get worse I’m taking you in…”
She woke up with the feeling of sleep over her body. Her face was on a pillow with a familiar scent and she was confused as to where she was. The room was familiar and she knew she’d been in the room recently, but it wasn’t until she sat up that she realized she was laying on Jeremy’s couch. She was wrapped in a light blanket and still in her clothes from the night before. Her boots were on the floor beside her.
She began trying to piece the night together, wondering how she had at last come into the home of her crush. Wanting to hear some music to drive out the thought of Jeremy from her mind she put on her best rocker chick garb and went out to The Venue. Chad and his band friends were there and as typical she wasn’t going to pay for any drinks, Chad telling the bartender that he was taking care of her that night. The next thing she knew he was touching her, standing behind her and feeling the curves of her thighs and trying to get up under her skirt. Then she dropped the bottle on the floor and started running, crashing through the crowd as her head spun. That was the last thing she could remember.
On the coffee table in front of her was a banana, a bottle of ibuprofen, and a bottle of Gatorade. A note was under the items and she picked it up, looking at the handwriting on it and the signature at the end.
Don’t freak out, you’re safe. You showed up here in the middle of the night looking sick and scared. You said that someone tried to drug your drink, but that you got away before they could hurt you. You were too far gone to drive home, which is good you didn’t because your car is a little banged up already. You can look at it later, but for now eat this banana and drink the Gatorade. Both will help replenish your electrolytes, and the ibuprofen will help your headache which I’m sure is pretty bad. I’m at work till six tonight. Feel better…
P.S. Please don’t rob me…
She gushed. He was so sweet to take care of her when she was sick. Sitting up she could see that he was right about the headache, and she still felt dizzy. She wasn’t sure about eating anything, but the Gatorade was the kind she usually drank when she was hung over and she opened it, taking a few gulps before tossing a pair of ibuprofen down her throat. Laying back down on the couch she felt her equilibrium return and she shut her eyes, snuggling up against the pillow that he’d given her from his own bed. It smelled like him and she wrapped her arm around it as if it were him after all.
The damage to her car was obvious. Her bumper was hanging off on the passenger side and the tire there must have picked up something sharp as the tire was flat. The headlight was busted, but there was no paint or blood scraped onto her hood, so she guessed that it was something concrete that she’d hit and not another car. She was irritated that she couldn’t drive it with the flat, but it was an excuse to stay the day at Jeremy’s.
Back up in the apartment she started fussing around, first by making coffee. Trying to sit at his table she found it sticky and loaded with opened mail, books, and half a dozen other things that surely had a proper place elsewhere. She assembled his mail, stacking it in a row and then placed it in the center of the table. All he seemed to have for cleaning products was windex, but she made it work, taking the sticky film off his table and then finally sitting down to finish her coffee where she looked down at the floor, also grimy and dirty. Sighing, she smiled and knew exactly how she was going to spend her day. If he wasn’t sold on her body, he was going to see what kind of woman she was playing Susie Homemaker.
After the Gatorade was gone she continued drinking water from the tap. The apartment coming into a semblance of order, the DVDs on his shelf put back together and the floors washed, she showered before doing his laundry for him down in the dark creepy basement. Rushing back up the stairs she folded his laundry on his bed deciding to let him figure out where his clothes belonged. She thought it might have been too much to do his laundry for him, but it was the gesture that counted. He’d thought enough of her to make she sure was taken care of and safe so it was logical that she would return the favor. Even if that favor wasn’t going to be returned in a way that was typical for her. Still, she took a few moments to lay on his newly made bed and wondered what it would be like if they were together. Just Carley and Jeremy. Jeremy and Carley. She grinned and looked up at the ceiling, daydreaming about him.
She showered and picked a shirt out of the pile of clean ones she’d washed for him. It was a Bristol County EMS shirt, blue with white lettering. She pulled it on along with a pair of surgical scrub pants he must have brought home from when he’d done his clinical time at Union. Calvin had a few pairs of them as well. She was finishing dinner when she heard the door open around 6:30 the night. He walked in, for a moment wondering if he was in the right apartment…
The Ballad of Jeremy and Carley Copyright © 2015 by James Windale
Cover Photo credit and license Info:
License: <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/8674534@N08/2533217237″>3012</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
James Windale is the author of Twenty-Five at the Lip and Tuesday’s Gone. Both titles are available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle and all Kindle-enabled devices. Click the cover images below to be redirected to Amazon.