Stagecraft Chapter Two
Chapter Two: Gin and Fog
By Thursday of that week, Skylar Clarke found a new problem to vex her. Will bought Zoe a small heart-shaped diamond pendant. A chip really, but Skylar wanted to possess that necklace the way she wanted to possess Will. The gift reopened all the rejection of the break up. It wasn’t pretty.
It had been months since the Will-Skylar divorce. Countless rebound boyfriends. Even a rumor that Skylar let the Varsity basketball team have their way with her at Homecoming. And Derrick was around more and more.
But that stupid necklace made Skylar’s whole world this festering crater of unrequited love. This void was surrounded by a pool of half-crystallized syrup—Skylar’s overly saccharine interactions with Zoe. If Will gave that necklace to Skylar, she would have laughed in his face. The irony both bemused and incensed Hannah.
The only solution: house party. An impromptu get together, Skylar swore to Hannah. It was, after all, the night before auditions. But the Evite and fifty people would suggest otherwise.
Auditions were always the first Saturday in March at 9 a.m. sharp. The musical shared the campus with softball clinics, Speech and Debate, and Gaelic Society planning their St. Patrick’s Day Bash. A motley crew they were.
Skylar’s dad was away on business with his new wife Katrina Torres-Clarke. They went to Sun Valley to put the vacation home on the market. The home that Skylar’s mom custom built. She adored that place like it was another child. Every detail handpicked. Skylar said that her dad wouldn’t make back half of what he spent on it. But Katrina wanted a place somewhere warmer.
“Of course, she wants something else. Do you think Katrina Torres from the Boogie Down Bronx skis? You think she rides?” Skylar sniped. Hannah stood there irrelevant while Skylar whined to Derrick about Katrina’s ridiculously long fake nails.
Wonder who she hates more…Zoe or her stepmom? Total toss-up. And look at Derrick. Skylar’s just chatting away while he’s conversing with her boobs. If there’s one subject that could get the calculating Skylar Clarke chatting like a mom after a glass of Chardonnay, it was Katrina. Derrick seems pleased with the attention though. Anyone would be.
Zoe and Will were the only no shows for Skylar’s party. Zoe doesn’t drink. Big surprise. Will was with Zoe. Another shocker. Their absence was another bit of rage to fuel Skylar’s reckless binge drinking. Straight tequila. Katrina’s favorite bottle stolen from the liquor cabinet. No one was allowed to touch Mr. Clarke’s scotch collection but everything else was fair game.
One of the sophomores stood staring at Mr. Clarke’s bottle of MacCallan 1939, lit from beneath in a teak and cherry art deco curio cabinet. Skylar pounced, “Not that. That’s Daddy’s. If you want more parties like this, we don’t touch it.”
Mr. Clarke knew about Skylar’s parties. He was permissive and largely inattentive after his wife died. A few things were off limits, like his car collection and scotch, but otherwise Skylar, a high school senior, had the largest, most luxurious property in Whispering Hills to use and abuse. High school party heaven.
Around half past twelve, Skylar launched into an unexpected tirade, kicking half the guests out. She just looked up from her phone and tore through the throng of guests around the enormous marble-topped kitchen island.
Greg Tate put his arm around Hannah with the love that comes three stiff drinks in, “She’s been texting Will all night. This is not going to be good.” Bet you’re excited to witness the carnage. I should get in the fray. Like an experienced first responder, Hannah moved toward the action.
Glass broke. A few students rushed away. Skylar screamed at Cynthia. Hannah shepherded some party-goers to the exit. When she got back to the kitchen, Skylar was still laying into Cynthia who awkwardly attempted self-defense. Save Cynthia. Then she’ll tell Brody how awesome I am. But the alcohol had really taken hold. Forget it. Cynthia is a tool.
Besides, Greg was getting Cynthia’s coat. Greg would rescue her. Later, Greg texted that Skylar slapped a freshman for grinding up on one of her lacrosse groupies. Like Skylar actually cared about some athletics douchebag.
Hannah snuck outside to the back porch. Someone smoked a joint in the hot tub. The pot smelled good drifting over the chilly air. Earthy and mellow.
“Hey, come here,” a baritone voice called from the hot tub.
Hannah squinted. Who is that? She looked closer but took baby steps. If this is some random Speech and Debater, I’m going to barf. S&D think they’re so cool because Dean Feldman is in love with them. Big deal. You’re going to Princeton. Guess what? At Princeton, you’re mediocre.
Oh shoot, it’s Brody Wolcott. Hannah’s heart beat faster. She gulped down her drink and walked over, determined to play cool. Brody is Cynthia’s brother, Hannah reminded herself in an effort to calm down. Cynthia is horrible and annoying and should consider killing herself.
Using that logic, Brody Wolcott was not worth Hannah’s time. Right?
But Hannah Cross has had a crush on Brody since freshmen year. Almost four years of weird hormonal dreams and waking up sweaty. Brody invades Hannah’s thoughts during the day too. When a teacher calls on Hannah and she fumbles an answer, it’s Brody’s fault. You’d think I would daydream of the day I get to be on a real Broadway stage? But no, I fantasize about my cliché high school crush.
She walked closer and pretended not to see exactly who it was. I know, I’ll lie and pretend like I think it’s Greg in the hot tub. Brody would be annoyed that his broad muscled shoulders were mistaken for Greg’s skimpy silhouette.
“Hannah. Hey.” Brody Wolcott smiled coyly and jiggled his beer. Am I desperate enough to get him another beer? She pretended not to notice the bottle hanging in the air.
He turned to face her. Brody’s strong arms folded across the ledge. Steam rose off his shoulders. His hair wet and slicked back.
“Get in,” he commanded.
Hannah laughed—but the sound was clumsily and stupid. She awkwardly brushed her hair back. I’m so stupid. I’m screwing it up.
“I don’t have my bathing suit.”
Hannah’s feet wavered. She felt the tequila she’d been mainlining all night. God, why did I take that last shot? And auditions are tomorrow too.
But auditions were the furthest thing from Hannah’s mind right now. Brody grinned again, wickedly this time. He had the swagger of a college kid. Had it since sophomore year.
“I don’t have a bathing suit either,” Brody’s deep laugh danced through the air.
Hannah stepped a little closer.
“You look cold,” he seemed genuinely concerned. It was disarming.
A few more seconds…
“Okay, fine. But don’t look,” Hannah conceded.
“Perfect gentleman. I promise,” Brody turned his body back around and Hannah undressed slowly, keeping her bra and panties on. Her nipples were hard against the cold March air. Hannah folded her arms across her chest and looked down at her body. Years of monthly moodiness and period cramps…and no curves to show for it. Nothing like Skylar’s hourglass. Hannah’s hips might as well have belonged to a twelve-year-old boy. And breasts? Nonexistent. She sighed.She hopped in the water quickly and soaked down until only her collarbones were visible, “I’m in.”
“Can I open my eyes now?”
“You never had to close them. Your back was turned,” Hannah smiled flirtatiously.
Brody swam closer. The two were nose to nose. “I needed to take extra precautions. I don’t trust myself around you.”
She could play it cool no longer. It was as if teenage heaven opened up and little teen angels started singing the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Brody never spoke to Hannah in school. It took Brody all of three minutes to break down all Hannah’s artificial barriers.
Hannah beamed, “I didn’t even think you knew who I was.” What a dork. I’m messing this up royally.
“Hannah Cross. The girl I’m about to kiss.” His right hand cupped her jawbone. Her mouth was immediately wet and ready to meet his. This could go on for hours. Brody’s left hand slid around the small of Hannah’s back and then she was on his lap. If all Brody just said was bullshit, the lower half of him couldn’t lie. The bulge in his wet boxer shorts certainly knew who Hannah was. She felt empowered by it.
Hannah ran her fingers through Brody’s hair and stuck her tongue in his mouth hard. They kissed and he got more confident, nibbling her ear and running his hands under her bra. Hannah’s body responded—she let out a satisfied sound that was somewhere between a groan and an exhalation.
Then the crash of a sliding glass door shutting hard.
“Who’s that sexing it up all over my hot tub?”
Why did we have to be at her house? Why did Brody finally happen when Skylar Clarke could be around to ruin it?
“Oh, my word! Hannah? Who the hell are you with?”
She kept walking closer, the deep V-neck in her tight cashmere sweater revealing perfectly round cleavage. Hannah scrambled to cover her flat breasts and felt blood rush up through her neck and face.
Skylar threw her head back and laughed wildly, “Is that Brody? Oh, I’m so telling Cynthia.”
She leaned against the Jacuzzi, “Do you have to biggest hard on right now? Hannah’s hot, right?”
Brody lifted Hannah off him gently. Her whole body filled with rejection. Hannah knew he was just sparing her more embarrassment but still, she felt the rebuff strongly. Tears welled up in Hannah’s eyes. Thank God it’s dark. That’s all Skylar needs is to see me crying.
Brody pushed his torso out of the hot tub, “Hand me that towel, Skylar.”
“Nope, I want to see it.”
Nothing from Brody—except a stare that even Hannah could feel.
“What’s the matter? Equipment not working?” Skylar cocked her head to one side.
“Screw you.” He hopped out quickly, splashing water all over her. Brody grabbed a towel from one of the lounge chairs, wrapped it around his waist and went inside.
Skylar squealed at the splash, “Hey! This is cashmere!”
She loves this. I hate her right now.
She turned back to Hannah, winking, “I’m telling Cynthia this. Obviously.”
“I’m going home,” Hannah lifted herself out of the water and Skylar pushed her down hard.
She laughed again, “You’re so light! Tell you what, I won’t tell Cynthia if you stay over.”
“No.” Hannah got out the other side and started walking towards the towels. Her underwear was white and sticking to every inch of her.
“Hannah,” Skylar whined innocently, “Don’t be like that. Look, I’m sorry I ruined your drunk make out sesh. And don’t worry, I really won’t tell bat shit crazy Cynthia. She probably has a crush on her brother. Wouldn’t want to unearth any more of her Freudian bullshit.”
Hannah wrapped a towel around her body and walked inside. Skylar grabbed her friend’s elbow, “Hey, I’m serious. Stay over. No one is home and I’m afraid to be in this big house by myself.”
Suddenly, Skylar looked harmless. It’s cliché but maybe it was the moonlight. Maybe Hannah was actually just getting cold. Hannah was also abandoned by her father so maybe Hannah could relate.
Every time Skylar screwed up, even though Hannah had a right to be mad, she was afraid instead. Shit will come crashing down at school if I actually stick up for herself. It was a difficult pill to swallow.
But Hannah agreed. And Skylar bounced up and down with delight. And when they cuddled in her bed two hours later, Hannah told her best friend all about Brody.
Continue to Chapter Three.
Copyright ©️ 2019 Kristin Sample All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written consent of the author.
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