High School Soap Opera
I honestly don’t know how Jack manages to be so awake and chipper after so little sleep, but maybe in soap operas people don’t need as much sleep. Just like you don’t watch them go to the bathroom on TV, the only time you see them sleeping is when they are waking up the morning after they had sex, or when they are in a coma. Or when they were drugged, like when Carly was buried alive on Days of Our Lives (it happened before I was born, but I watched video clips of it on YouTube a couple of years ago when I was watching DOOL and Carly was back on the show for a while).
It seems like a waste of a limo ride (and a favor), but we go back to Jack’s place to drop off my shopping bags and so I can change. We bring the bags to the guest room – I insist – and then Jack goes to the kitchen to make sandwiches for lunch. I put on jeans, sneakers, and a turquoise-colored blouse. Finally I look like me. I go down the hall.
“Hey, you,” I say, and he smiles when I come in the room. He comes over and gives me a quick kiss. Everything feels like it’s happening so fast. Is this real? I mean, if this wasn’t a soap opera, none of this would be okay. I wouldn’t have gotten a job with no paperwork, no ID. I wouldn’t have gone home with him, I wouldn’t have slept in his bed, in his shirt. We wouldn’t have kissed the way we did last night, not so soon, and he wouldn’t have let me use his credit card without even looking at the total.
Then again, like I said, John and Dolf’s fight would have lasted a week if I was watching this at home. Storylines aren’t shown every day unless you’re a lead actor, and even then they are stretched out unrealistically. How long would this be on a soap? Getting Jack to hire me, working, talking to Selena about tips, seeing the motorcycle, riding home, talking to the cops about the accident, looking around Jack’s house… and all of that was just last night! That could have easily happened in a week or two, maybe even three if the other storylines are taking priority. So maybe it’s not strange for Jack after all.
“There she is,” he says, standing at arm’s length while I show him a quick twirl. “That’s the girl-next-door I knew I found last night.”
“You don’t think I looked better in Selena’s tight clothes this morning?” I ask, not even caring if the relief I feel is plain on my face. “You wouldn’t give a waitress a bigger tip for that?’
“Maybe in a strip club… wait, is that why she dresses like that?” I shrug. I don’t want to tell him directly that she’s skimming tips, since I did promise her that I wouldn’t. For now I’ve said enough.
“What kind of sandwiches did you make?” I can’t believe how hungry I am after the huge breakfast he cooked me. Who knew shopping could take so much energy?
“I hope you’re not disappointed,” he says. He hands me a plate, and I laugh. Grilled cheese. “I know,” he says with a shrug, “I can make a gourmet breakfast but lunch eludes me.”
“Actually, I was about to ask how you knew that I love grilled cheese sandwiches. This is the first meal I mastered that requires use of the stove.” I’m not even lying this time. I take a big bite.
“Oh, well in that case I can admit that I used my super hero powers to read your mind.” He puts his hands on his temples and squints like it takes a lot of effort.
“What am I thinking now?” I ask. No matter what he says, though, I’m just going to tell him he’s wrong.
“You’re thinking about how handsome and debonair I am,” he says with a smug grin. Not this time.
“Nope,” I say, and he looks surprised. “I was thinking that we’d better hurry because I can’t wait to go meet your cousin and make sure she’s okay.” He rolls his eyes and takes a bite of his grilled cheese.
I open the fridge and take out the milk. He points to a cabinet, and I take out two glasses. After I pour the milk, I go to put it back in the fridge and see that Jack has chocolate syrup. I put some in my milk, and he hands me a spoon to mix it. I could really get used to this ‘living with a boy’ thing.
I know Serenity better than Jack could ever understand, but I act the part of the new girlfriend meeting the family for the first time. I say it’s nice to meet her, and I ask how she’s doing, and if the police have any suspects. She asks how we met, says she has a bit of whiplash and some cuts and bruises, but nothing serious. The police don’t have any leads. It happened in the middle of the night, and nobody saw the car that hit her – maybe I’m wrong, but I didn’t tell anyone that I saw the car. How could I explain why I’m so certain it was Boyd’s car if I’m supposed to be new here? Everything is decidedly UN-soap-opera-like, despite the circumstances, and then someone walks in.
“I was going to surprise you at home, but it turns out I’m the one who’s surprised!” He gives Serenity a hug, and she and Jack look shocked. The man turns to us. “Hey Jack,” he says, and they do what looks like a secret handshake. He looks at me, but we’ve never met before. “Hi, I’m Nick. Serenity’s brother.”
Now it’s my turn to be shocked. Nick left the show about six months ago, and I heard the actor was going to be filming a movie. He was written off the show but not killed – not that it would have changed anything – so they could bring him back later. I guess they decided to recast the role and bring him back!
“Jenna,” I say, shaking his hand. “I’m with Jack.” Nick nods briefly, then his attention returns to his sister.
“The nurse said you can go home later. I can stay with you until then and give you a ride.”
“Thanks. It’s not like I can drive my car. I think it’s totaled.” Then she asks the question on everyone’s mind: “What are you doing back in town?”
Before he left, Nick and Olivia were well on their way to becoming a “super couple” – you know, the couple that keeps breaking up and getting back together no matter what the writers throw at them. Then Olivia got amnesia after a villain character (who was killed off soon after) held her head under water in an attempt to drown her – don’t ask, I don’t have time to tell you the whole history. Olivia didn’t remember anything about her relationship with Nick, and even though he tried to start over with her, she met John at the coffee shop one day and started going out with him instead. Nick left town utterly heartbroken, saying he couldn’t bear to see Olivia with John anymore.
“Time heals all wounds,” he says, but I don’t believe him for a second. The viewer in me wants to shout at him to never give up, that he and Olivia are soul mates and will find a way back to each other somehow, but I’m not watching this on television.
“Good,” Jack says. “Trevor quit last night, you interested in helping me out a few nights a week?” I’m actually glad he’s offering Nick the job. I was willing to learn when I needed money, but I don’t think I’d actually be any good at it. I think I’d be a much better waitress.
“Definitely,” Nick says. “I assume it’s all the same?”
“Yeah, you know. Hot girls going after hot guys, cougars going after hot guys, gay men going after hot guys, and all guys going after any girl they can get.” They laugh.
“She’s still with him,” Serenity says quietly. “I hope you didn’t come back with another big plan to break them up for good.”
“I used to want her back,” he says unconvincingly, “but if she’s happy with him, I have to be okay with that. Staying away isn’t going to help. I need to see them together, I guess to prove it’s really over.”
“So you’re not over her,” I say hopefully, feeling a little giddy and trying not to show it.
He looks at me for a minute, then changes the subject instead of answering my question. “So what’s up with you and Boyd? Have you made any progress on the wedding plans?”
“Not really,” she admits. “He’s kind of hard to talk to about it. I can’t get him to focus on wedding details long enough to make any decisions.”
Forget it, I think. Once you find out what really happened tonight, you won’t be planning a wedding anymore. If I know my soap operas – and clearly I do – then somehow the truth will come out… maybe sooner than I anticipated.
“I’ll be right back,” Jack says, standing. “Does anybody want anything from the vending machines?” Nobody does, so he goes into the hallway. A few seconds later he comes back in. “Actually, I think I’d better stay here. Boyd is coming down the hall, and he looks like he’s been drinking.” Again, or still?
Nick’s hands close into fists. Serenity notices too, and she puts her hand on his forearm to stop him. He doesn’t like Boyd, though I honestly don’t even remember when or how it began. He has tried making the best of the situation for Serenity’s sake, since she says she loves him, but it’s not easy.
Boyd finally comes into the room, and almost falls when he sees Nick. Of course, to the characters this is how he always looked; it’s just me who has to adjust to New Nick. Jack was right, but Boyd hasn’t just ‘been drinking.’ He reeks of alcohol and urine and looks like he’s gone off the deep end.
‘Whar you doon her?” he slurs, but before Nick can answer he says, “NOPE! I nuh cur.”
“Where the hell have you been all night?” Serenity asks, her voice rising a few decibals. “I was out looking for you in the middle of the night when some a-hole rear-ended me.”
A-hole? Wouldn’t she say the real version of that word if she’s that pissed. It’s like yesterday when I couldn’t say the F word. Suddenly it hits me: soap operas are daytime TV, and there are rules about words than can’t be said on television at certain times. Does this mean I’m on TV now? I don’t have time to ponder this, because the scene in front of me is far more intriguing.
“Well, Um surry,” Boyd says with slow belligerance. “Is nuhmuh f-… nuhmuh fall-…. Uhnuh meannuh doot.”
Serenity looks at Jack, but he just shrugs. “He wasn’t there, or you know I would have cut him off.”
“Yull be fine, she sed. Jus f’gimme.”
“Forgive you?” Serenity asks indignantly. “Forgive you for what, for getting drunk, for not telling me where you were, for not texting me or calling me back all night, or for continuing your drinking through the morning and afternoon?”
“Yah, allat,” Boyd says, circling his hand to indicate all that. “An fr almos hurring you.”
“Almost hurting her?” Nick yells, his hands once again becoming fists. This time Serenity doesn’t try to stop him. She’s not crying yet, because she probably thinks she’s hearing him wrong.
“Yah, an fr nuh stupping.”
“Are you saying that you were driving the car last night, the hit and run driver?” Nick asks.
“I nuh mean tuh,” Boyd repeats slowly, as if that’s all the apology she needs. “Jus frgimme an ill all be fine.”
Things start happening very quickly. Serenity starts crying, takes off the engagement ring, and throws it at Boyd, who doesn’t understand what’s happening and won’t remember all of this when he’s sober. Nick punches Boyd in the face, and Boyd’s face starts dripping bood. I think Nick broke his nose. Jack goes to hug Serenity, and while he’s at her bedside he hits the call button. A nurse comes in and sees Boyd on the floor, and she yells down the hall that she needs help. Two nurses come in. One helps the first nurse get Boyd out of there. The other asks to look at Nick’s hand. She says he might need stitches, and she leads him to the ER.
Jack and I try to calm Serenity down, but I let him talk more since she doesn’t really know me. At one point the sun hits something on the floor and I have to close my eyes against the brightness. It’s the ring, and I pick it up and hand it to Jack. I don’t know the proper etiquette, do you give the ring back if your fiance tries to kill you, or is that considered a gift that you can keep or sell as you see fit?
A police officer comes in the room a bit later, after Serenity has stopped crying and has moved on to talking shit about Boyd. I assume he’s going to ask us about Boyd’s injury. Instead he says, “Serenity Harrington, you are under arrest for embezzlement, arson, and anything else we can pin on you. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney…” When he finishes reading her Miranda rights, he asks, “Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?”
“Yes,” she says, then looks at Jack, but he is too stunned to say anything.
“Does she have to go with you right now?” I ask. “I mean, she’s in the hospital. She was in a car accident last night.”
“The nurse will be right in to remove the IV and discharge you into custody. You can get dressed, but then I have to cuff you and take you downtown.” Why is the police station always downtown? Doesn’t anyone put the station uptown?
“Don’t say anything,” Jack advises, finally coming to his senses. “Not until you talk to a lawyer.”
“Do you have a lawyer?” I ask, as if I don’t know if anyone on the show is an attorney.
“Yeah, I’ll call Alexis,” he says. That’s who I was just thinking of. Alexis gets called any time someone gets arrested, which on soap operas is pretty often. But she usually argues for the innocent people. I wonder if she’ll even accept Serenity’s case if she thinks she’s guilty.
“Jack… just don’t tell anyone,” Serenity says, but I know everybody is going to find out anyway. Somehow.
I’ve decided to post my NaNoWriMo novel on my blog this year, chapter by chapter. I hope you enjoy it! And remember, this is all about having fun and writing a whole lot in a short period of time, so please don’t give me “corrections.” I’m not planning on going for publication anyway. Start at the beginning: Chapter One