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Tales told - a.k.a free reads > August/September 2018 Prompt--Loser to Lover -Stories Wanted!

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message 1: by Sammy Goode (new)

Sammy Goode | 5380 comments

Oh my--what an intriguing picture--how did their arm get broken? Whose hand are they holding? Where do they fall on the spectrum?? This picture is crying out for your thoughts so please post away! Poems, haiku, limericks, stories--the sky is the limit. Just please remember to keep it YA themed and if you use more than one comment box please indicate the end of your offering with either the words, The End or four ####. Now--go for it and have fun!!


message 2: by Sammy Goode (new)

Sammy Goode | 5380 comments reserved


message 3: by Brooklyn (last edited Aug 06, 2018 09:37PM) (new)

Brooklyn Graham | 58 comments A 'V'ery Short Story

As they stood together, hand in hand, Sam thought back to the week before, and the event that had resulted in her arm being broken. She didn't really know her; just another passing face in a sea of faces. Until that day, until that moment. She didn't know why they were bothering her; did it even matter?
And it wasn't as though she was defenseless, but there were so many of them. Finally, when one of the girls grabbed the girl by the hair and pulled her to the floor, there was nothing that could have prevented Sam from stepping in.
Sam did her best to shield the girl from them, but their assault was relentless. During the melee and before the throng of teachers arrived, someone had stomped on her arm.
A gasp escaped her lips, but she didn't move until the crowd had been disbursed, and the two of them were lifted to their feet.
It was immediately obvious that something was terribly wrong with Sam's arm, and when the girl saw it, she began to cry. "I'm so sorry!"
Before she could say or do anything, Sam had been whisked away to the nursing office.
Later, as Sam sat in the Emergency Room, the cast slowly setting on her arm, she thought about the girl. Sam didn't even know her name. She could have been miserable, thinking about her ruined summer, and all the things she wouldn't be able to do. Instead, all she could do was worry about the girl.
Sam remembered her eyes, welling with tears. They were blue, a deep, almost cerulean blue, and she knew somehow, that those tears were nothing to do with what had happened to the girl but rather everything to do with what had happened to Sam.
"It doesn't hurt." she said, as the car pulled into the drive. Sam hadn't been shy about what had happened, but her mother had trouble understanding.
"Why would you put yourself at risk like that?" She asked.
Sam struggled with the door handle as she got out, having to reach across with her good arm. "I guess you would had to have been there to really get it."
The following day in class, Sam struggled with her writing. "It couldn't have been my left arm?" She muttered to herself. Later in the day, and without any warning at all, some of the same girls surrounded her in the hall.
"You're no better than Lisa, are you?" As they approached her, Sam realized that she was in trouble. "Let's give her something to remember, right."
The punch to her middle doubled her over, and she tried to get away, but they had pressed her against the lockers, her casted arm twisted away from her side. As suddenly as they had appeared, they were gone. Sam slumped against the wall, her arm aching from being so mishandled. It was then that she noticed the writing they had scrawled onto her cast. LOSER, in letters too large to miss.
Angry over having let them get the better of her, she slammed her head back into the lockers, thinking better of it afterwards. The rest of the day, Sam struggled to cover the scrawl, and was beginning to feel a little sorry for herself. Maybe, she could go to the art department and have somebody paint over it, or something. Anything.
It was then that she saw her. The girl. Lisa. Without hesitation she walked up to Sam and threw her arms around her, apologizing again for what had happened. Again, the tears in those beautiful eyes. "I'm fine, honestly." Sam tried her best to hide the writing on her cast from her, but to no avail.
"They're the losers." Lisa spat. "Not you." She led Sam by her free hand to an empty classroom, and closed the door. "Let me see that."
Not knowing what else to do, Sam held out the cast, ashamed to have her see it so plainly. Digging into her bag, Lisa pulled a hot pink highlighter from a pocket on the side. "Watch what happens when I do this." Holding the cast from below, Lisa boldly substituted a 'V' for the 'S'.
Sam could hardly pull her eyes away from Lisa's as she worked, and being that close to her was such a distraction that she barely noticed what had been done. "Why were they bothering you, Lisa?" Sam finally asked.
Lisa hesitated for a moment, but the easy expression on Sam's face gave her courage to confide in her. "Because I'm queer."
For a moment, Sam held her breath, but realizing she had let the admission hang for too long, met her eyes. "I am so glad."
Sam looked down at her cast, admiring the transformation. LOVER, with a bold, pink 'V'. They each smiled at one another, a new understanding between them.
"My name's Sam."
"I know."

The Beginning


message 4: by Sammy Goode (new)

Sammy Goode | 5380 comments Brooklyn, that was fabulous—so full of hope and promise! Thank you!


message 5: by Kaje (last edited Sep 04, 2018 07:52AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16566 comments Brooklyn wrote: "A 'V'ery Short Story

As they stood together, hand in hand, Sam thought back to the week before, and the event that had resulted in her arm being broken. She didn't really know her; just another pa..."


Lovely, turning pain to hope. Thank you! (And the title is cute :D )


message 6: by Brooklyn (new)

Brooklyn Graham | 58 comments Thank you, it was rewarding to write a story to go with this image. The power of love and hope, will always prevail over hatred and ignorance.


message 7: by Eric (new)

Eric Westfall (eawestfall) | 198 comments Brooklyn,

A belated bravo! or brava! (one can never be sure these days, and even now I may inadvertently offend) for a superb story, that so beautifully captures everything there in the image.

Thanks for sharing.

Eric


message 8: by Kaje (last edited Sep 02, 2018 09:59AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16566 comments Rewritten

The doorbell rang as I was setting my backpack down in the hallway. Mom called from the kitchen, "Steven? That'll be your uncles. Open the door."

I'd hoped to get safely to my room before facing Uncle Jeff. He's retired Special Services, and way too sharp-eyed. But I couldn't leave him and Uncle Nathan standing on the doorstep. I turned and reached for the door handle, casually holding my bad arm behind my back.

Uncle Jeff was standing in front, and he reached out to ruffle my hair, even though I'm fourteen, not four. He paused, hand outstretched, then said, "What happened, kiddo?"

"To what?"

"The arm."

"Oh." I shrugged and plastered a smile on my face. "I fell doing a double axel."

"That's a skating move right?" Uncle Nathan said.

"Yeah. A jump. It's what I'm working on right now. Well, once I get the cast off again." I stepped back to let them in the house, still keeping the cast out of the way.

"I guess that's a downside to a sport done on hard ice," Uncle Jeff said.

"Not usually." Mostly I just had semi-permanent bruises on my hips, but this time I put my hand down wrong. "Anyway, Mom's in the kitchen. I'm gonna run my books up to my room and get changed, maybe do some math, but I'll be down soon. You guys should go on through."

Uncle Jeff caught at the hem of my T-shirt as I turned for the stairs. "Hang on, Steven. You only babble when you're hiding something."

"I don't. I mean, I'm not. Hiding anything, that is."

"Uh huh."

At the same moment Uncle Nathan, who had stepped to my bad side said softly, "Oh, Steven." The little ache in his voice meant he'd seen it. I didn't bother to resist when he took my fiberglass-clad wrist and lifted it gently. The word LOSER scrawled on the cast in Sharpie mocked me, like it had when Candy and Jennifer put it there.

"I thought you said those boys weren't bullying you anymore," Uncle Jeff said.

"They're not." I jerked my arm free. "It was girls, all right? I'm so pathetic I get bullied by girls!"

"That's a bit sexist, don't you think?" Uncle Nathan asked.

"Huh?"

"Suggesting girls can't bully as hard as boys. Or that it's more wimpy to be attacked by a girl. Or— "

Uncle Jeff nudged him. "Quit while you're ahead, Nate." He looked at me. "What's your plan?"

"I was going to just make a black box over it. Or maybe a design, transform it." Although my art skills are pathetic, so a black box was more likely.

"Transform. A good thought." Uncle Jeff raised an eyebrow at his husband.

"You got Sharpies?" Uncle Nathan asked. "I could make it cool."

He is an artist, and I had a little surge of interest about what he could do with the ugly on my arm. "Upstairs."

"Lead the way."

I headed to my room, with my uncles following me. I had a moment of hesitation as I reached for my door, because no one but Mom had been in my room in ages. It kind of said a lot about me, with the posters of Johnny Weir and Adam Rippon and Nathan Chen and Stéphane Lambiel— with the cheekbones to die for— all over the walls. And in a couple of Adam's he was not skating.

But I pushed past that, because half the world knew I was gay, and I'd be damned if I'd be anything less than proud of following Adam. "In here."

Uncle Jeff swept a sharp look around the room. "You like your guys on skates, huh?"

Uncle Nathan said, "Well, it's a pretty tasty selection." He tilted his head, looking Stéphane up and down.

Uncle Jeff nudged him. "You always did have a thing for dark hair and tight butts."

"So do you." Uncle Nathan ran a hand over his black hair, then laughed. "Okay, Steven, grab the pens and tell me what you want."

I found a pack of colors and brought them over to him, but when he reached for them I pulled back.

"What?" Uncle Jeff asked.

"I— I need to think for a second."

"Sure."

I could get Uncle Nathan to create some kind of cityscape or cool superhero scene or whatever. But those girls would always know that I'd hidden their word in my uncle's art. No one else would see it, 'cause he's that good. But they'd know.

I wasn't sure why that mattered.

But it did.

"Can you do me something? Can you just, um, put a V over the S?"

"A— oh, like lover. Well, yeah, but I can't make the S vanish. Well, maybe with a little color-matched acrylic."

"No, I don't need it to. Just stick it over the top." I handed him the red, and held out my arm.

"You don't need an artist for that." Uncle Jeff took the marker from him and drew a big, bold V in place. "That works?"

"Sure." I stared at it, not sure if I could walk around with that or not.

He capped the marker and raised a dark eyebrow at me. "Why the switch?"

"Well, you always say it's futile to try to change the past. But you can rewrite the future."

He turned to Uncle Nathan. "Nate! When did I become Yoda and why didn't you stop me?"

Uncle Nathan elbowed him. "You're more of an Obi Wan, and since when could I stop you?"

I touched the red V. "I like this. That other thing happened." I paused, remembering being shoved against the wall of the rec building, my broken arm twisted up by Candy's surprisingly strong grip while Jennifer wrote on it and Nan whispered nasty words in my ear. I don't know if I was paralyzed by surprise, or fear, or some tattered remnants of misplaced chivalry. After all, you don't hit girls, right? They'd let go, and walked off laughing, and I'd stood there still frozen for long moments afterward. "Well, I can't change that I was a loser in that moment, but I'm predicting something different to come."

"Don't!" Uncle Nathan's voice was surprisingly intense. "Don't take on the word. Bullying happened, yeah. But that doesn't make it true. You know how many names I was called, twenty and thirty years ago? I walked around in a haze of that shit for years. They can call you what they choose, but that doesn't make it true."

Uncle Jeff put an arm around him, and nodded.

"Okay," I said. mainly to take that look out of my gentle uncle's eyes. Mom's told me how he used to get bullied at school when they were kids. He was one of those guys who couldn't hide, even back when it was probably terrifying to be out all the time. "I'm not really a loser. But I do hope to be a lover."

Uncle Jeff laughed. "That's the spirit. But maybe wait a couple of years."

Suddenly bold, I asked him, "How old were you, the first time?"

He glanced at Uncle Nate, and to my surprise flushed a little. "None of your business, kid. Just do as I said, not as I did."

I wondered if he had sex at fourteen. Or maybe he was a virgin until he met Uncle Nathan. No way he'd ever tell me, though. "Adults. You're all the same."

He ruffled my hair again. "Don't sass your elders."

Uncle Nathan added, "We'll brainstorm dealing with girl bullies, if you like. Because yeah, just punching them back is not a good plan, even with today's feminism."

"True. But now you have experts in covert operations." Uncle Jeff motioned between them.

"Since when am I an expert in that?" Uncle Nathan asked.

"Since Operation Get-Jeff-Out-Of-The-Gay-Bar-Unseen?"

"Oh yeah, that." Uncle Nathan had one dimple, and it showed up with his crooked smile. I wasn't surprised when Uncle Jeff leaned in and kissed him.

When they separated, Uncle Jeff said, "So how about we go down and say hi to your mom?"

"Um." I looked at my arm. Maybe I should have gone with superheroes. "She hasn't seen the, um, artwork yet."

"Oh dear." Uncle Nathan sighed. "Let's send Jeff down first to butter her up. She likes him. Then we'll follow. Eventually."

"Hooyah! I was trained to sacrifice all for my teammates." Uncle Jeff saluted. "Anything for a baby gay."

"I'm not a baby!"

"I didn't mean it in a bad way." Uncle Jeff's tone went serious. "Us older guys have seen a lot of shit we hope kids like you never have to deal with. That's all. We love seeing baby gays who can wear a rainbow and hang posters of guys with hot asses on their bedroom walls."

"Hot asses that aren't on football players," Uncle Nathan put in.

"Yeah. And we're not up for anyone shitting on that. I know your life gets tough, but we're here for you. Okay?"

"Okay," I said, clearing my throat to get rid of the lump. "And thanks."

"Even when it's my sister we have to deal with," Uncle Nathan said. "Jeffy? Lead the way."

****

Next day at school, I was rethinking my artwork decision by the third person who asked about it. Particularly when it was Tony. I don't have a crush on him. Exactly. But he's awfully pretty, blond and small and with a sweetness to his smile.

He said, "What happened?"

"Well, I thought I was a loser," I said, loud enough for the other kids hanging around the playground to hear. "But this guy disagreed."

"What guy?"

I let a slow smile cross my face. "Let's just say he's gay, almost six feet tall, lifts weights, and has cheekbones that could cut glass."

"You have a boyfriend?"

"Did I say boyfriend?"

"No." But there was a cloud in his clear blue eyes.

As the other kids moved away, I leaned closer and whispered, "I don't have a boyfriend."

"Oh!" Some of the sparkle returned. For a minute we stood there, looking at each other. The sounds of the playground receded in the background. The sun caught gold lights in his hair. He licked his lips, glanced around, then whispered, "D'you want one?"

I softened my voice to match. "Are you offering?"

"Maybe?"

"Then maybe."

He grinned, wide and happy.

I knew right then I'd take on anyone who might want to dim that smile. "Hanging out with me might not be smart. Jennifer is out to get me, for some reason."

"Oh, me too," he said calmly. "Safety in numbers, right."

I waved my cast. "You just want me for my battering ram, huh?"

"I want you for more than that." For a second his slim fingers landed butterfly-soft on that red V. "But this is an added bonus."

And when the gym teacher told us to all join hands for a game of Red Rover—with stern instructions that no one try to break through where my broken arm was—he slid his hand in mine. Through the entire game, our fingers shared hopes that only the future would know. But this was already a better future than I'd expected against the wall, just one day before.

####


message 9: by Shelley (new)

Shelley Chastagner (edcsdc) | 13 comments Love, love, love this one! Now we need the full book, please.


message 10: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16566 comments <3 Thank you.


message 11: by Sarina (new)

Sarina (inquisitiveowl) | 48 comments ‘’Well, it’s a pretty tasty selection.’” 😆 Thanks, this story is a bright spot in my morning.


message 12: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16566 comments :) I'm glad you liked it.


message 13: by Mika (new)

Mika | 21 comments I'm worried about Robin. He says I shouldn't be but, you know, he doesn't get to tell me what I feel. Right? If he didn't want me to worry, he shouldn't have written that word on his cast.

It's not like anyone at school will ever know what happened because it was just me and him and then his mom and she won't ever tell, because, well, because of his dad and she's not stupid and she really doesn't want to have the family explode.

It totally wasn't his fault. If anyone's, it was his sister's fault for picking a prom gown with long sleeves. Who does that? That's so 1980's.

So when he tripped, wearing her heels with it, and I couldn't catch him and he went down wrong and hit the footboard with his wrist, we were screwed. He tried. Jesus, tears running down his face he tried to take the damned gown off before his mom got home, and saw him that way, dressed like the princess he sometimes wants to be, but he couldn't. It just hurt too bad. After a bit I hugged him so he'd stop trying, so you could say it was really my fault too.

His mom cut it off him. She's going to tell Marie that she sold it second-hand. Marie's in college now anyway and it's not like she probably even cares what happened to the dress, but Robin's mom won't out him. Not 'cause she's okay with it but because she's so not okay with it that she wants to pretend it never happened. She dressed him in sweats and a tank top before taking him to the ER for the x-ray.

She looks at me funny now. She doesn't look at him at all.

But I do. I look at him a lot. I see the clouds come and go in his eyes. I see how there's a kind of darkness there that wasn't before and it hurts my heart, because he was brave and beautiful in that dress, the moment before he fell, the moment he turned to me with a bright smile, eyes lit from inside, and lifted the skirt and curtsied and said, "What do you think?"

And I said, "You look gorgeous."

I meant it. I'm going to stay close until he believes it again.

I have a red Sharpie in my bag.


***


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