I won! The winning half of today’s write happened between midnight and 1 am, naturally. I always seem to write best at that time. Tech week rehearsals have started for my musical theatre diploma’s end of year showcase, so just in time. I might write a little more during the month or I might not. I’m not gonna beat myself up if it doesn’t happen in any case.
While I was on the way to hitting 50k, I found myself finding that old rhythm I had during my very first NaNoWriMo in 2011 (during which I wrote 91k in a month–never again since), where I had my music playing and was typing along happily. And then took breaks to badly chair dance before I remembered my family was still awake. Anyway, I don’t think I embarrassed myself too much. It was a fun writing session, I guess largely because I was only 1k off winning in the first place so I was excited but didn’t feel a whole lot of pressure.
This excerpt is from the same scene as the previous one, so it’s Selene and Natalie (her former enemy) hanging out at the abandoned train station and finding out they actually get along pretty well.
Natalie hopped off the platform, down to the tracks. “Trains don’t come this way anymore. It’s safe.”
I slid to the ground next to her. “Assuming no one steals our stuff.”
“It’s never happened before.”
“Let’s just hope I’m not a bad luck charm or anything.”
“You were pretty good luck for us in the dance.”
“Treasure that compliment. I don’t give them out often.”
“Gee, I hadn’t noticed.”
She shoved me a little. I gave a few paces so it looked like she’d actually had an effect on me.
“I forgot how strong you are,” she said anyway. You can never quite fool a dancer, I guess. No suspicion about me being supernaturally strong or anything, at least, so I’d done enough to stave off that particular problem, at least.
We followed the tracks for a while. Natalie liked balancing on them. Her balance was impeccable.
“I used to do ballet several times a week,” she said, balancing on one leg as she pulled out her phone. “Take a pic for me?”
I took the phone and backed up enough to get the scenery in the shot. She grabbed her foot and pulled it up behind her to head level, arching her back. I took the picture. Her stomach was grumbling as I passed the phone back to her.
“Nice,” she said, tapping her screen. “Posting that. Want me to take one of you?”
“No, thanks. Don’t really do social media.” It was too risky with all the moving around we had to do to keep the hunters off us. I didn’t know if they knew what any of us looked like, but it was better to be safe than sorry. I didn’t even stick pictures of myself on my blog. No identifying features of my location, either. I mostly reblogged other people’s posts when I remembered the thing even existed. I was a disgrace to the teenage girl demographic.
“That’s pretty cool, actually.” Natalie put her phone away and we headed back to the station. “I’m glued to my phone. And my computer. Anything with an internet connection. The amount of willpower it takes to stay off all that stuff…”
I shrugged. “Mum and Dad mainly kept us off it so we never really got into it. I think Phoebe has one of those picture sharing account things so she can take pictures of cool stuff. And her paintings when she doesn’t hate them.”
“I might’ve peeked in the windows during her art class once,” Natalie said, hefting herself up the platform to her bag. “Didn’t get a really good look, but what I saw looked awesome.”
I climbed up and grabbed my bag. “She’s amazing. Worst case of bad self-esteem I’ve seen in my life, though.”
“Well, tell her I said she’s awesome.” Natalie took a sip from her water bottle before shoving it into her bag and shouldering it. “Wanna get something to eat? There’s… pizza.”
“Sure. Connor should be starting his shift soon. His customer service voice is terrifying and I need someone to support me through the experience.”
And, for funsies, I’ll include a bit from the scene that made me hit 50k. Natalie has a little friendship trio with two girls called Savannah and Abigail.
So that was how I sometimes got absorbed into Natalie’s little group of friends. It was just her, Savannah and Abigail. And now me, apparently.
“You normally hang with your brother and his friends, yeah?” Abigail asked right outside the lockers one lunchtime.
“Usually. Sometimes I hang with Phoebe’s friends but they’re… young.”
“You’re not subtle, Abbie,” said Savannah.
“I have no idea what’s going on here,” I admitted.
Natalie was shaking her head at the other two. “Abigail’s been meaning to ask if we could come with you for ages.”
“I don’t see the harm in it,” I replied. “You guys know Mathias and Connor already anyway.”
“She’s not interested in them,” Savannah said. Abigail smacked her shoulder.
“Not one more word.”
Natalie smirked. “Word.”
“Lead on,” said Savannah. “You’ll figure out what’s happening eventually.”
So we headed to the oval. Most of the boys, plus Janice, were already kicking a football around. Lauren, Zoe and Kayla openly stared at us as we headed over to them.
“You actually made friends of your own,” said Kayla.
“Hell has officially frozen over,” said Zoe.
“We’re her friends, too,” Lauren pointed out.
“Yeah, but Connor introduced us,” Kayla told her. “Aside from the fact those three are hell to befriend in the first place, Selene finally did it herself.”
“Our little girl is growing up,” added Zoe.
“You’re ridiculous,” I told them.
“Well, stop staring at us and get over here,” said Kayla. “Plenty of grass to sit on.”
So we joined them watching the game. Abigail wasn’t watching the ball, her eyes fixed on one end of the oval. Where Ethan was standing. Ah.
“He’s a nice guy,” I said to her. “You should ask him yourself.”
“We’ve been trying to tell her this,” Savannah replied.
“I can’t just walk up to him.”
“You can,” said Kayla.
“It’s 2016,” Lauren added.
“You don’t need to wait for a guy to find his balls and ask you himself,” said Zoe. “Find them yourself and do it.”
“Do you and Zoe share a brain?” I whispered to Natalie, remembering the way she’d spoken about Mathias. Mat and I still weren’t really talking yet. I was trying not to let it worry me too much.
“Great minds think alike,” Natalie whispered back. “Abbie, come on. You know he’s shy.”
Connor was with Ethan, whispering in his ear. I caught the occasional word.
“Go… ask… likes you,” he was saying. Ethan was shaking his head violently, gazing in our direction. I could almost smell the fear rolling off him from here.
“He obviously likes you back,” I told Abigail.
“So get over there.” Zoe poked Abigail’s butt with her sneaker. “Up.”
“I hate all of you,” Abigail muttered as she let us bully her to her feet. “If he says no, I’m never speaking to any of you ever again.”
“Good thing he’s not gonna say no, then,” Savannah called after her as she started walking. “Thanks for jumping in,” she said to the rest of us. “We’ve been trying to convince her forever.”
“Happy to be of service,” I replied. “Does this mean you’re gonna hang out here more often?”
“That’ll depend,” Natalie said, jerking her head in Abigail’s direction as she finally met up with Ethan. Connor had moved a little away, watching them out of the corner of his eye with a grin. He was just as sure as we were.
“It looks good,” I said.
And then the two of them were hugging.
“Very good,” added Savannah.
And then the boys broke off their game to cheer for the couple. We joined in. Savannah bumped shoulders with Natalie. A spike in pheromone wafted my way from the two of them, which went a long way to explaining why Savannah had known with total certainty that the rumours about Natalie weren’t true.