Excerpt: Gym Class

Today I wrote a scene in my new book about my main character, Lindsay, finally crossing paths and connecting (in a way) with the main supporting character, Jax. Like my other excerpt, this is rough and will most likely change–this one is particularly rough because I haven’t had a lot of time this weekend to work on this or anything else. I think it can stand alone fairly well, and I feel like sharing, so here you go.

**Excerpt from my (unnamed) new book**

We were walking outside to the field when I saw him. The guy who’d caught the ball that had been flying for my face on Monday was walking a few steps ahead of me, head down, shoulders slumped. The posture was what gave him away because the slightly too tight gym clothes were nothing like what he’d been wearing before.

That was the same guy I’d crashed into running out of school yesterday, and, I just realized, was also the same guy I’d bumped into again on my way out of Spriggy and Rocco’s apartment. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t put it together sooner, but I guess I’d been pretty distracted those other two times.

We ended up on different teams, and my team batted first.  I think if I hadn’t been feeling so paranoid to begin with I wouldn’t have noticed, but when I came up to bat, I saw that his eyes were riveted on me. For every other player, though, he’d been looking at the ground or the sky. I wanted to yell at him to stop staring, but instead I quickly struck out.

Back on the bench, I leaned toward the chubby girl, Sharon, I always seemed to be paired up with. “What’s the deal with that guy?”

The girl looked like she’d just swallowed one of those super-sour gummy worms. “That’s Jaxon Conley. He’s really creepy.”

“What do you mean?” I looked out at him, but he wasn’t staring anymore. He also wasn’t paying attention to the game. A ball one of my teammates hit fell on the ground right beside him.

“He’s just creepy–like serial killer creepy.”

“He doesn’t look like a killer,” I said. All I saw was a scrawny kid who looked rather mopey. If I wasn’t starting to think he was stalking me I would have felt a little sorry for him.

“They never do, but everyone thinks that someday he’ll come in the school with a gun and start blasting people away.”

I wasn’t able to ask her any more about him–even though I had tons of questions now–because we got our third out, and I had to take my position at the back of the field.

The rest of the time I spent on the bench Sharon told me all about how Jaxon never talked to anyone and never participated in school activities. He always kept to himself and never looked anyone in the eye.

When I asked her about where he lived and what his family was like, she didn’t have any answers. She, and apparently the rest of the school, had made a lot of assumptions about him without knowing any real facts. I knew what that was like, thanks to Kim, and I didn’t want to label him “future serial killer” immediately, but when my turn to bat came up, he started staring at me again. Instead of looking at the pitcher or the ball, I turned and looked directly back at him. The ball flew by, and Coach snapped, “Pay attention, Rosembaum,” but I’d accomplished what I’d wanted. Jaxon quickly looked down.

He seemed shy enough that I figured that would end the trouble. Sure enough, the rest of the class period he never looked up once. On our way inside, I purposely hurried to walk right behind him, and just sensing me there resulted in him taking a sharp right turn to get away. But he crashed into the jock that was about to pass us.

“Watch it, freak.” The jock shoved him away–into me.

I met Jaxon’s eyes and saw a flash of wide-eyed panic. Then he ran inside.

“Good hustle, Conley,” Coach called after him.

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