Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Writings #5 - Commutication Between Friends

I always hate to start out anything with an apology, but for some reason I feel like I should this time. Today's "Wednesday Writing" is a continuation of something I started last week. I'm not apologizing for continuing the story...far from it...I'm glad to have continued on. What I'm apologizing for is that today's post is more of an "exploration" to help me solidify the story in my own mind than it is anything to help adequately progress the story. I felt like I needed to get to know Gabbie (who may change to 'Gabby') and Julie and to get a better feel for what happened at the party. There are still elements that are unclear even to me, but this segment helped me get a better idea of what's going to happen next.

That said, I still like some of the dynamics created in this piece and, even though it doesn't answer any big questions or provide big plot progression, I hope it's still enjoyable.

Moreover, I hope I was able to 'hook' you enough with the first part of this story to make this bit intriguing and give you a desire to come back next week to see what happens next.

As one additional warning/disclaimer...the final ~paragraph of today's writing feels a little contrived to me. For some reason, it begged to be written. But I'm not yet sure if it's going to work out like I expect it to and as such, that paragraph might actually disappear as things progress. In which case, I'm sorry for creating a thread that might not be finished (hopefully it will work out).

Enjoy. (and yes, I did spell it "commutication" as in a mash up between 'commute' and 'communication'...that's just me not thinking of a good title)

Commutication Between Friends


Gabbie jumped and shook her head before focusing and realizing that Julie's forest green Mazda was hugging the curb in front of her, a frantic looking Julie waving her hands and, apparently, shouting something at Gabbie. Gabbie flashed an apologetic grin as she stepped off the curb and slid into the car.

Some blend of country-rock blared from the speakers but Julie considerately turned down the volume slightly to question her friend.

"Didn't you see me there? I pulled up forever ago."

Gabbie started to respond but was cut off.

"Man! The light changed. We're trapped."

Gabbie followed Julie's gaze over her shoulder and watched as a steady stream of cars flowed along the road. Gabbie loved her apartment, but the street she lived on was a nightmare for driving. Not only was it the easiest path to get on the highway and commute into the city, but there were three schools tucked away in the nearby neighborhoods so, depending when you left, you could easily get stuck behind car-poolers for kids ranging from kindergarten to high school.

Julie tried to inch her way into a small gap between a little red pickup truck and a blue compact car. The compact leaned hard on the horn and a couple of kids yelled something out their window. Definitely high school hour. Julie finally revved the engine and zipped with a slight screech into a hole that felt too small even for her sporty little car. Riding with Julie always made Gabbie nervous.

"Sorry Jules. I'm a bit distracted this morning."

"Oh. Oh. Yeah, I'm sure you are!" Julie's voice gave a hint of knowing as she spoke. "I'd be distracted too after last night. He was looking' good.."

"Right. Yeah. No. What? No. No."

"Come on Gabbie. From the second the two of you spotted each other, it was like nothing else existed. It was all I could do to get you guys to the diner."

Gabbie's mind raced, her brain trying to remember any specifics about the night. They'd gotten to the party around 9. She remembered mingling a little bit. These were Mike's friends and Julie had convinced Gabbie to go as a favor. It didn't seem like very long before she spotted Him. He had been sitting on the arm of a chair in the living room, reading something from a book to a couple of guys standing around him. As he finished reading and looked up, his eyes met hers. He closed the book and walked toward her, never taking his eyes off of her. Those wonderful deep brown eyes. Those eyes that seemed to know her soul.

The rest of the night was a blur. She could see his face. His hair. His body. His eyes. So clearly. Like she was looking at a photograph. But she couldn't remember what they talked about. She couldn't even remember if they talked. She couldn't imagine his voice. She couldn't remember his name. They must have talked. The party went on for another 3 or 4 hours before they went to the diner. And Julie said they were inseparable.

"Um, yeah. So what did you think of him?"

"What?" Julie was merging onto the highway onramp, snaking through gaps in the bumper to bumper traffic.

"When you got a chance to talk with him at the diner? What did you think of him?"

Julie stared into space for a few moments, unsure how to respond.

"He seemed very nice. Very polite and all that. It was kind of creepy the way he stared at you so much. I couldn't decide if it was a romantic stare or a stalker stare. But when you guys kissed good night…"

"Whoa! We kissed?!?" Gabbie was sure she would have remembered that even if she had forgotten everything else.

"Um, yeah. Are you sure your head's ok? After the diner, I drove everybody home. We dropped him off first. Kind of a dingy neighborhood, but still. Before he got out of the car, he leaned in and gave you a soft kiss on the cheek. It seemed a little more forward than you usually like so I figured you were going to cuss him out and shove him out of the car.

"Instead, you stayed silent, turned your face to him and smiled. You stared at each other for a few second then you leaned forward and kissed his lips. It wasn't a very active kiss. Your lips were pressed against his. He tilted his head forward and closed his eyes. Then…Wow. I sound like a total voyeur. You're acting weird Gabbie. What's going on?"

"Nothing. I was just messing with you. I hoped you didn't see that."

Gabbie chuckled nervously then stared down on the road, listening to Julie yelling at a few random drivers. Gabbie wasn't sure what to think. How could she have forgotten something like that? It had been months since her last kiss. Thirteen months, seven days, to be exact. Her six month anniversary dating Barry, and he gave her a kiss-off and went his way. It took her weeks to get over Barry. They'd felt so connected. And he was a good kisser. Two months after the breakup, she realized she wasn't missing Barry so much as she was missing kissing Barry.

For over a year, her lips had been aching to be kissed. And now, they had been, and she couldn't remember it. The whole night was a blur since she met him. Had she been drugged? Hypnotized? What was going on?

"Did anything seem strange about him?"

"Strange? Like what? Other than his total obsession with you. But you are Gorgeous Gabbie so it's not really that strange." Julie winked at her friend. "So, are you going to see him again? Did you give him your number? Or set up a date or anything?"

"Julie. I'm not really sure what's going on. I…Whoa!"

As the car sped down the offramp, Julie swerved tight to avoid a dingy looking man carrying a cardboard sign and shuffling across the road against the light. Gabbie found herself staring across the rapidly shrinking intersection at a wide-eyed old woman in an SUV. Fortunately the light was red for the oncoming traffic, but Julie had to swerve hard again to avoid a head on crash with the stopped cars. The car skidded up onto the curb and a second later, Julie had hopped out of the car and began shouting scathing curses at the old man who finished walking across the intersection, apparently oblivious that he'd nearly been run down. He didn't even seem to hear Julie screaming at him.

"Julie!" Gabbie leaned across the driver's seat and shouted at her friend through the door. "Julie! Come on! We've got to get to work!"

Julie huffed at the man again and reluctantly pushed back into the car. She was fuming as she maneuvered the car to get them facing the right direction and back on track. Neither girl spoke until they were nearly at the office.

"Julie. Are you okay?"



"I'm fine Gabbie. I'll be fine. I just can't believe that guy. Ugh. Did you see him? He just kept walking like nothing happened. He practically got us killed."

"He nearly got himself killed too. Maybe that was the plan?"

Julie clenched her teeth and kept driving. Gabbie's frustration and confusion were growing Gabbie finally decided she needed to try and find some answers.

"Julie. Um. I need your advice on something."

At first, Gabbie wasn't sure she'd been heard. It took a moment for Julie to respond.

"Sure Gabs. You know you can always ask me anything. What's up?"

Gabbie tried to figure out what to say as Julie worked her way to their office parking lot and began circling, looking for an open spot. She finally pulled into a spot and turned to her friend.

"What's up Gabbie? You're worryin' me."

"I don't…um. Julie, I don't remember the kiss last night. In fact I don't remember hardly anything from last night."

"What? What do you mean you don't remember?"

"I mean, I don't remember. It's like a blur. I keep remembering snippets of things that happened, but it all seems so surreal, like it didn't really happen. I can't remember anything that we talked about. I can remember basic events, but nothing specific. I can't even remember this guy's name."

"Do you think he slipped you something?" Julie reached out and covered Gabbie's hand with her own.

"I don't know. I don't think so." Gabbie shook her head. "I've never been drugged before so I don't know how it works. If he did drug me, I should be able to remember something, before I was drugged, right? I can't remember any particulars at all from the moment I first saw him at the party. I had my own drink anyway, remember? We got smoothies on the way over. How could he have drugged me."

"You sound like you're defending the guy."

"I don't know what I'm doing. I'm just so confused."

"Did he do anything to you?"

"I don't know. Like I said, I didn't even remember kissing him." She watched the concern ripple in Julie's eyes. She wasn't sure about the rest of it, but felt like she needed to talk to somebody. "There's more."


"Yeah. This morning, I found a note."

"From him?"

"I don't know. I don't know who it was from or how it got there."

"Got where?"

"In my fridge."

"You found a note in your fridge? Why would somebody leave a note in your fridge?"

"I don't know. But it gets weirder. The envelope was addressed to me. So whoever it was, they knew me. It had a weird note inside it. A bird or something with instructions to meet at the park tonight. But that's not the weirdest part. It also had this."

Gabbie dug into her purse and removed the envelope. She pulled out the note and opened it to reveal the hundred dollar bill.

"What is this?" Julie gaped at the bill then picked it up and turned it over in her hands. "Is this real?"

"I think so. I don't know. I'm so confused. I have no idea what's going on. I don't know if this is related to the guy from last night or not. I don't know what this would mean anyway. Julie." Gabbie's voice broke softly. "Julie, what do I do?"

Julie stared at her friend. There was fear on her face. The hint of a tear bubbled at the corner of her eye. Julie dropped the bill back on her lap and squeezed her friend's hands.

"I don't know. But we'll figure it out together." The two girls smiled at each other. Julie stretched her arms around Gabbie's shoulders and pulled her into a hug. Gabbie pressed her forehead against Julie's shoulder and started to cry. Julie patted her on the back and whispered softly into her brown curly hair.

"It'll be okay. We'll figure this out. I'm sure nothing happened. But we'll figure it out, whatever it is."

After a moment, the two girls sat back up and stared at each other. Julie was the first to speak.

"Do you think we should go to the cops?"

"Maybe. I don't know. I don't think so. I don't think anything happened. Besides, we have to get to work."

"Work? Are you serious." Julie tried to keep her voice from rising to anger, but there was definite frustration in her tone. "How can you think about going to work? No offense Gabbie, but you're a mess. We've got to sort this thing out before you do anything."

Gabbie gathered up the note and the money, shoved them back in the envelope and put the envelope back in her purse. She stared at Julie for a moment. She appreciated her friend's concern. She'd been hesitant to talk with Julie about this. Julie was her best friend but she was so impulsive. She was one who jumped first and looked later. She was always racing around frantically, letting her emotions pull her this way and that. Gabbie on the other hand was generally very calm, collected and methodical. She liked to think things through before doing anything. She was often accused of overanalyzing everything and never being willing to have any fun. Julie had dragged her to the party last night in an attempt to get some variety in her life. Gabbie had reluctantly agreed, more to get away from her homework than to appease her friend. Even in her concession to go to the party, she had thought the whole thing through logically, determining that a break from studying would help her approach her project with a new perspective. Still, Julie was her best friend and was the only one Gabbie felt she could really trust with this.

"I know you're just trying to help Jules." Gabbie twisted in her seat and opened the door before Julie could object. "But really, I think going to work might help me clear my mind a little bit. Help me get some perspective around this and figure out what to do next."

"Gabbie? Come on. Let me at least take you to breakfast. We can talk it over there."

Gabbie stood and got out of the car. She leaned on the door and stooped to look at Julie.

"Meet me on your lunch break. I'll hang around and wait for you."

"Wait for me?"

"It's school today, remember? Short work day. I've got class at 2."

Gabbie shut the car door and started walking around the front of the car. She looked through the windshield and tried not to laugh as she watched Julie muttering to herself and frantically grabbing her purse from the backseat before hopping out of the car and running up to walk beside Gabbie.

"OK. You can work until lunch. And then we're leaving. We'll go figure this out."

Julie wrapped her arm around Gabbie's shoulder. Gabbie just smiled and leaned her head towards her friend.

"You really are a great friend Julie. Thanks so much."

The girls pushed through the office doors, walked across the lobby and turned down different hallways towards their individual departments. Back in the parking lot, a dingy looking man with a cardboard sign wandered from the bushes and tried to open the passenger door of Julie's car. Finding it locked, he smashed the window and whipped the door open. He riffled through the glove compartment and knelt to feel around under the passenger seat. He then stood up and stared at the office building before turning and running back to the nearby bushes where he sat down, leaned against a tree and pretended to sleep.

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