Hi, guys :D
So I'm back with a new story, but this one is completely different from all the other ones that I've written. Why, you ask? Well, because this one is being submitted for a contest. That's right. A contest for Instant Noodles Productions, to be exact. I worked on it for a good few months, and five days before the deadline, I've finally finished it.
-You must be called out to submit and entry
-The story has to be no less than 2000 words
-It must include a really awkward moment
-There must be a girl who's chained to a tree
-Must include these quotes:
"I'm not nice, darling."
"Holy shit!" "Shit's not holy..." (as a package)
"Umm, mind telling me why you're in my boxers?"
"I'm not obsessive, I'm just curious."
"That's nice. I don't care."
"Why does everyone think I'm paranoid? Do you discuss this behind my back?"
And here we go.
The snow piles beside the road slowly accumulated from none to plenty as we made our way north. It had begun falling from the sky by the time we turned off the main road and into the town of Stowe, Vermont.
Even the snowfall was different here. In New York, it fell in wet masses of snowflakes that melted, almost always, the second they touched the concrete. Here, however, the snow was nearly microscopic. It swirled around on the street in the form of a dry powder before it finally settled into a drift somewhere.
"My God, would you look at this place?" I murmured. I leaned forward over the steering wheel, peering at the quaint town outside the warmth of the car. The buildings, some of them over two-hundred years old, were lined up neatly beside the road. Their roofs were plastered in snow, matching the top of the covered bridge opposite the town.
I silently wondered how the founders of this place had made it all the way up this God-forsaken mountain two-hundred years ago. We had had enough trouble, and we had been in a vehicle with a motor.
Past town, the side road that our map said to take was approaching on my right. However, I began to slow down as I got a better view of it.
The road was made of nothing more than dirt, and, in my opinion, it was almost at a ninety-degree angle going further up the mountain. The trees on either side were evergreens or thin birches; a good percentage of them had snapped from the wind, lying horizontally on the ground.
"I'm thinking maybe we should turn back…" I mumbled to Logan.
He raised an eyebrow. "I sat in this car for six and a half hours just so we can turn back? You're hysterical. Really. Keep going."
I heaved a sigh and pressed my foot onto the acceleration again. He could be so unsympathetic sometimes. Nonetheless, I protested. "Logan… Look how icy this road is. We'll never get up. We're going to start rolling backwards and then we're going to plummet to our snowy deaths. Maybe even hit a moose on the way down."
"You're paranoid, Meg. Even your mom says it, and that's coming from the woman who won't let your family have a microwave for fear of getting electric and magnetic fields in your food."
"I'm not paranoid. Why does everyone think I'm paranoid? Do you discuss this behind my back?"
"My point exactly," Logan replied, his voice muffled by a yawn. He stretched his arms upward as far as he could in the cluttered car.
I chose to ignore him. "We're going to die," I told him. "This car is going to skid into a forest in the middle of nowhere, and we're going to be stuck there for weeks with nothing to eat or drink but melted snow and the bark off of trees."
"Megan, relax. That isn't going to happen."
"Says who?" I asked. My hands were gripped so tightly around the steering wheel that my knuckles matched the snowfall. For every ten feet we accomplished, the car would slide back five. My eyes habitually jumped to the emergency brake, preparing to use it if necessary.
"That's not good enough. You're wrong all the time," I spat.
"Hey! Be nice to me. You're getting a full-out week vacation because of me."
Logan rolled his eyes as a smile pulled at his mouth. "I'm not nice, darling," he told me. However, he sighed upon seeing my facial expression drop. "Fine, Meg. I'll make you a bet. If this car skids and we slide down this mountain and end up in an extremely difficult situation, I'll sit still while you take as many punches at me as you want."
"Hm…" I bit my lip pensively. "Yeah, alright. Sounds fair."
Logan held up his pointer finger, indicating that he wasn't done yet. "However, if we get to the house safely, I get to embarrass you in any form I want."
"Yeah, no. That doesn't sound as fair."
He shrugged. "That's the deal."
Heaving another sigh, I rolled my eyes. "Fine. Whatever. There's no way we're getting up this mountain anyway. There's currently about an inch of ice skidding underneath our tires, my car was practically made before they had four-wheel drive, and, in addition," I added, my eyes flickering to the small meter to the left of my steering wheel, "we're almost out of gas."
Logan grinned contentedly as I agreed to another one of his stupid bets.
I had met Logan halfway through my first year of college. We had both gone to school for interior design, and he had been in the majority of my classes. With his sense of humor and my incapacity to be funny, the two of us were best friends in no time.
Logan was about five-foot-seven with blue eyes and dirty blonde hair, often styled in a faux-hawk. He took pride in his eye for decorating and his clean-cut clothes. Logan had always been a lot of fun to be around.
However, for those girls who always dreamed of having a gay guy for a best friend, let me assure you: it's not always a walk in the park. Especially when you're slowly climbing a treacherous, icy mountain in a ten-year-old car, and said best friend declares that if you, "don't move your ass, they'll be an imprint of it outside in the snow."
Needless to say, the last ten minutes seemed longer than the entire ride combined.
"My God." Logan whistled as he shut the door to my old Taurus. He leaned against it and crossed his arms, peering through the snowfall at the house in front of us. "You sure as hell lucked out when it came to choosing your career."
"It's not a career," I stated, pulling the keys out of the ignition. "I'm doing this temporarily, until I can get a better gig. I'm hoping to design houses like this; not be a scout for some… travel agency club."
"A better gig? Meg, you've got to be kidding me," Logan groaned. "You get paid--"
"Not very much, may I remind you," I interrupted. "Leave the bags in the car; we'll get them later," I added.
Logan shot me a look. "You get paid," he continued, obviously perturbed that I had interrupted, "to stay in houses like this." He motioned to the residence that was a cross between a New England Colonial and a farmhouse. It was perched on the tip of the mountain, seemingly endless trees surrounding it.
I shrugged. "I dunno. It was fun at first, but the traveling is really starting to get to me. Besides… My boss keeps sending me to the most desolately northern locations, and we all know how snow isn't my thing… I'm thinking they'll need a new scout by the end of this coming summer. I can't do this much longer."
"Is complaining the only thing you know how to do?"
Ignoring my best friend, I walked past him toward the front door.
I tapped my fingertip against my chin as I tried to remember where the owner of the house had said the key was. He had told me during our last phone conversation when he had given me the address. I couldn't recall exactly what he'd said, but more often than not, the owner put the key either in the mailbox or underneath the doormat.
"What're you looking for?" Logan asked.
"The key?" I said, as if it were obvious. "Unless you'd rather camp out in the car."
Logan didn't respond, but I knew he was making a face at the back of my head.
"Ah!" I exclaimed, noticing a hanging plant beside the doorway. I reached in, and, sure enough, the key was lying right on top of the dirt.
Our footsteps echoed as we stepped into the vacant house. Compared to the howling wind outside, the residence seemed unnaturally quiet.
"This place is gigantic," Logan stated, peering around.
"Yep." I tossed the keys onto the counter beside the door. "So go look around. Choose a room, if you want."
Logan disappeared faster than a kid in a candy store. His love for house-design almost outweighed his love for shoes, Starbucks, and his own mother combined.
I glanced around carefully, as it was my job to take in all the details I could. The theme of the place seemed to be something along the lines of "quaint farmhouse," what with the red-and-white plaid curtains, animal-designed plates on the wall, and the cedar crafted cabinets. The wrap-around windows caught my attention, and I walked over to them. There was a small frozen pond in the backyard, surrounded by stones and a few trees. The wind dragged the snow across it, covering and uncovering the ice.
Finally, after scrutinizing the rest of the downstairs, I chose one of the two staircases and made my way upwards.
I counted a total of three bedrooms on the left side of the house. In addition, there was a large loft, accessible by wooden ladder, with three air-mattresses on the carpeted floor.
In the end, I chose a bedroom with a queen-sized bed and put my pocketbook down on the comforter, claiming it as my own. I sauntered to the window to check out the view. From up here, I could see endless mountains. Most of them had white curving stripes of cleared terrain; although I knew nothing about the sport, most likely because of my aversion for snow, I assumed that these stripes were ski-trails.
Just as I was examining the other furniture in the room, such as the cedar-wood dresser and the rocking chair pushed off to the corner, Logan stormed in.
"Ah. Found you. I swear, this place is a maze."
I laughed. "I haven't even seen all the bedrooms yet. How many are there?"
"I've seen four or five," he told me. "I think I'm going to stay in the one across from the study."
"There's a study?"
"You bet," he replied. Logan sat down on the bed and peered around the room. "Nice choice," he commented. "I like the use of color in the curtains and throw-pillows."
"Exactly what I thought," I replied.
There was a slight lull in the conversation as I opened the walk-in closet and stepped inside. The light automatically turned on and I glanced around.
"Oh, hey… I have something for you," Logan said, seemingly recalling something.
As I stepped back into the room, I shut the double-doors to the closet. "Hm?" I murmured, but before I could even ask what it was, a rolled-up ball of fabric was tossed at me. I reached up and caught it. Then, shaking it out, I examined the material in my hand.
I raised an eyebrow at the blue cloth with a rubber-ducky design on it.
"Logan… I do not want your boxers," I stated, still staring curiously at them.
"As if I wear underwear with ducks on them. They're not mine, you moron."
I brought my gaze up to my best friend. "Is this your demented way of telling me that you got a boyfriend and you've already gotten into bed with him, thus having possession of his underw--"
"My God, no, Megan," Logan said, waving my comment away. "I found them in one of the bedrooms."
I shook my head slowly from side to side, indicating that I was still unsure where he was going with this.
"Well… We're here, aren't we? We got to the house without rolling down the mountain and into a dark abyss of nothingness or whatever you were complaining about." Logan grinned widely and shot me a demanding look. "You don't mean to tell me you've forgotten about our bet, do you, Megan?"
I let my shoulders drop as I sighed. "Are you kidding me?"
Logan pursed his mouth to the side and shrugged. "A deal's a deal."
"Oh, come on. We were joking around. I wasn't even taking the terms of the bet seriously. If we did happen to roll down a hill, I wasn't about to beat the crap out of you while you sat there and took it. I think I'd be a bit more preoccupied with the dilemma of getting back on the road and--"
Logan shook his head and held up his pointer finger, cutting my rant short. "A deal's a deal," he repeated, putting more emphasis on the words this time.
After rolling my eyes in defeat, I held the boxers up by the waistband and took another look at them. "You're so immature. Get out," I said, ushering him toward the door.
Logan beamed. "I'll be down in the kitchen when you're ready to model your new look."
"Yeah, yeah… Whatever."
Knowing that patience was not one of Logan's strong points, I took my sweet time getting changed. I made him linger downstairs for a good fifteen minutes, using the wait as payback for making me do this ridiculous thing in the first place.
Finally, when I decided to just get it over with, I dragged myself down the stairs. Logan was sitting at the counter, looking over a travel brochure that he had apparently found. He looked up upon hearing my entrance.
I heaved a sigh and held my arms out, palms pointed toward the ceiling. "Ta-da," I murmured, but my voice couldn't have lacked any more emotion.
Logan stifled a laugh, which seemed like a pretty pointless gesture, as he began laughing openly at me soon afterwards.
"Oh, it is not that funny," I snapped. I glanced down at myself. I was wearing a plain white tee-shirt, a pair of simple black mid-calf boots, and, of course, the rubber-ducky boxers.
Logan finished laughing and his smile slowly faded. "You're right," he concluded. "It's not that funny. I could do much better."
I raised an eyebrow, but before I could ask, he stood up from the counter and strolled over to the front door. "Come with me," he said, turning the knob.
Logan nodded. "Absolutely. A deal's a deal."
"Would you stop saying that? And I've held up my end of the deal. I'm going upstairs to get changed."
"Oh, that's bullshit. Standing in the middle of a kitchen in a pair of boxers is not nearly embarrassing enough," he told me. "Especially if the only one looking at you is your gay best friend. You clarified no end to the embarrassment I can put you through; therefore, I'm nowhere near done. Let's go."
"You're acting like a five year old," I grumbled, but I walked toward him anyway. Along with waiting for things, not getting his way was yet another thing that my best friend resented.
I trudged through the snow, trying desperately hard to keep up with his much larger strides. Logan approached my car and opened the trunk. Then he began sifting through all the useless crap that had collected there over the years.
"Hurry it up, I'm freezing," I protested. I folded my arms over my chest as a shiver went through me.
Logan, without taking his eyes away from the task, took his three-button blazer off and threw it at me. "Stop your whining," he said. I quickly put it on, but my legs were still bare below the cursed boxers.
After finding everything from a dodgeball to a binder filled with my dad's old stamp collection, Logan pulled out a chain made of metal links. On the end there was a plastic ball that was made to look like it weighed a ton.
"What the hell is this?" he asked.
I bit my lip, trying to remember. "I think that's from my Halloween costume two or three years ago. When I was a jailbird. Remember?"
Logan stared at it for a moment. Then he shrugged, closed the trunk, and murmured something about how it "would have to do."
Then, with the prop in his hand, Logan began examining the trees around us. He walked from birch to birch, seemingly looking for the perfect one.
"Look, Logan… If you're done playing boyscout, I'd like to get the hell back inside. Incase you didn't notice, It's mother-freaking hailing and I'm in duck boxers."
"This one," he declared, stopping in front of a tree particularly close to the driveway. I could see the side street from where we stood, and periodically a car would slowly drive past, upturning the fresh snow.
"My legs are going numb, and I've suddenly become aware that these boots are not waterproof, as the snow is seeping through them and wetting my feet. Furthermore, this jacket is extremely thin and, although I appreciate the effort, I think it would be a tad bit more effective if you'd just let me go inside."
All through my belligerent rambling, Logan had been leading me closer to the tree he had picked out. As I droned on and on, he took my hands and wrapped them around the meager tree with my back pressed against the bark. Then he proceeded to wind the chain around my wrists and twist it, somehow knotting the links.
"Annndd it seems you've managed to chain me to a birch tree. Wonderful." I tried to twist out of it, but the chain held my wrists closely fastened.
"Look, Logan. I don't know what the hell is going on in your demented little mind, but this really isn't funny. Oh, Megan's chained to a tree, ha-ha. Yeah, it'll make for a great story. How embarrassing. Now let me go before I wind back and kick you so hard that you couldn't pass on your genes even if you decided to go back to heterosexuality."
Logan, however, seemed to be ignoring me. He looked up at the clouded sky, as if thinking something over. Then he patted his stomach and looked back at the house. "I'm hungry," he declared. "Think the kitchen is stocked with groceries and such?"
"Logan…" I growled.
"I'm gonna go check."
"Logan Daniel Gordon, I swear to the high heavens, if you leave me here…" I raised my voice as loud as I could, but all I could see was Logan's back through the snowfall as he sauntered away from me.
"I'm going to get frostbite! Do you not see what I'm dressed in!? Of course you see what I'm dressed in! You made me dress in it!" I was yelling at the top of my lungs now, but he didn't turn around.
A freezing gust of wind blew past me, cutting right through my former best-friend's jacket and the boxers. I let my head drop backwards against the tree and shouted upwards, my voice pointed at no one in particular now that he had left me there alone. "Alright! I am officially embarrassed! Holy shit, it is cold out! Holy shit!"
"Shit's not holy," came a voice from behind me. My heart nearly stopped in my chest. The voice was questioning, but at the same time composed. Most importantly, the voice was not that of Logan. It was someone else. I swallowed the lump in my throat, making a perfectly audible gulp sound.
Then, doing so as best as I could while still chained to a god-forsaken tree, I turned my head and looked over my shoulder.
"Um… Mind telling me while you're in my boxers?"