#NaNoWriMo2015 Novel excerpt, day 1

      “You’re here now, that’s all that matters.” She looks down at the spoon in the batter.
“Oh, perfect!” I say, pretending I just noticed it. I carefully pick up the spoon and lick off some of the brownies. She relaxes a little bit and laughs, then gets another spoon out of the drawer. I pick up the bowl and start for the living room. Mom follows. “Spruce Ridge just started, right? Let’s see what Olivia and John are up to today.”
“No,” Mom says, sitting on the couch. “Olivia’s with Nick again. He’s back in town.” I gasp, and I can tell she’s relieved to get her mind on something else. She gets a spoonful of brownie batter, and I turn on the television. “You missed a lot, but I’ll fill you in.”
I feel like I missed everything.

#NaNoPrep 2015

NaNovember starts in less than a week, and so far my prep has consisted of the following:

  • thinking I could write a companion to High School Soap Opera called High School Comic Book, with completely new characters
  • thinking it might be about time to really write The Story of Disco World, an idea that goes back to NaNo 2009 that I have tried twice
  • creating a NaNo Soundtrack for myself, with general songs plus inspiration songs from each year (except 2013, because I can’t find record of any songs that inspired my writing for High School Soap Opera)
  • skimming through what I wrote for TSoDW in the past, and thinking some is okay and some is bad but I should probably start over completely
  • visiting the NaNo forums, but not as much as I used to
  • thinking it might be about time to really write Escape From Candy Land (working title), which I started in 2013 and probably need to come up with totally new plot ideas because what I had was dumb and wasn’t even 1000 words
  • skimming through the words I have written for Escape from Candy Land in the past, and thinking knowing it totally sucks
  • thinking I really should post in my blog more… and here I am

Yesterday my brother asked me on Facebook if I have been outlining or brainstorming. I said:

Here’s what I do. I spend the last week or so of October planning, then November comes and I change my idea. So I haven’t done any hardcore planning that I would just be throwing out, no.

That’s pretty accurate. In fact, the last year I participated/won was 2013 and that whole novel came about after I did some freewriting with a thought I had several years ago and wrote down in a writing notebook I have. I actually think that is the best novel I’ve written – I’m definitely improving with each one.

So what am I going to write this year? I have no idea. And if I did have an idea, I would change it next week anyway. I may pick up with one of my previous attempts, or I may write something completely new. I only work on 13 days in November, so hopefully my daughter won’t get in the way too much. I actually write best late at night, which would be after she goes to bed so I think I’ll be okay.

#NaNoWriMo Novel – High School Soap Opera: Chapter 20

High School Soap Opera

Chapter 20

Early that evening, after school, I call Josette. I know she doesn’t have practice tonight. She answers on the fourth ring. “Can we talk?” I ask. I am sitting on my bed with my back to the headboard.

“What’s there to talk about, Jenna?” she asks. “You were pretty clear yesterday that you’re jealous of my new friends. Just like you were jealous when I was going out with Thomas. Why can’t you just be happy for me?”

“Look, I’m calling to apologize.” She doesn’t say anything at first, and I wonder if she hung up. I look at my cell phone, and the call isn’t disconnected.

“I’m listening,” she says impatiently.

“You were right. I am dramatic, and I was a little jealous. But I think I was just being scared of what my life is going to be like without you. We both know that we’ve been drifting apart. I’ve realized over the past week-” I stop. It wasn’t really a week, not for her. Not for real. “I mean, maybe it’s best to just admit the truth. We aren’t best friends anymore. It’s not something to fight, it’s already done. I still want to be friends though, even if we both have moved on to new best friends.”

“Of course we’re still friends!” she protests, but I notice that she didn’t object to me saying that we’re not best friends. “But you’re always talking to Talie, or you’re talking to me about Talie. How do you think that makes me feel?”

“Really?” I never realized that I did that. “I’m sorry, Josette.” I stand up and walk to the window. I look outside. My parents still aren’t home from work yet.

“Yeah, you always talk about your theories about what she did to get detention for a year, and your plans to try to make her tell you what she did. You checked out of this friendship long before I ever did.”

“I’m sorry,” I repeat. “I didn’t know you felt like that. I didn’t mean to… you know.”

“It’s fine. It’s just…” She lets her sentence dangle like that, without an ending. I wait to see if she’s going finish her thought, but she doesn’t say anything.

“What?” I ask, but it’s probably not even important. I open a drawer and get out a nail file. As I start fixing a sharp edge, it occurs to me that this is a prime example of what we’ve become. Conversations are forced, or strained, or we both just wish we were doing something else. I would rather groom myself than talk to Josette.

“Nothing,” she says. “I have to go, I have another call coming in. I’ll see you around?”

“Yeah, sure,” I say. But as I hang up the phone, I know that she’s gone. She didn’t even hesitate to use her second call as an excuse to end my call. And I’m okay with that now. I’ll be fine without her. I’ve been through worse things, I think with a smirk.

The next call I make is to Talie. She picks up on the first ring, a fact that doesn’t escape my notice. Josette didn’t get it until the fourth ring. “Jenna!” she almost shouts right in my ear. “Where were you today, are you feeling okay? You seemed fine yesterday, was it just like a 24 hour thing, or are you really sick?” Josette didn’t ask how I am or why I wasn’t in school. I wonder if she even noticed.

“I’m sorry about yesterday,” I say, recalling how Talie got upset when I asked why she was in detention. “I didn’t mean to make you mad.”

“Sorry for what?” she asks, like she doesn’t even remember. Or maybe she just doesn’t care. “Jenna, are you okay? You didn’t answer me.”

“I’m feeling a lot better now,” I say with a smile. “Do you want to go out for pizza? I’m a little stir-crazy from being in my room all day.”

“Yes, I’ll meet you at Pizza Hut. Do you need me to stop somewhere for cough drops or something? Because it’s not a problem.”

“Don’t you have to ask your parents?” I ask. My parents won’t care, Friday night is date night and they’ll be going out to dinner.

“No, I need to get away,” she says. Then she quickly says, “I mean, I was going to go out anyway. They already said it’s okay.”

“Talie,” I start, but then I think about how upset she got yesterday. I can’t ask what’s wrong at home. “Do you want to sleep over my house? My parents always tell me they want to meet you, I’m sure they’d be happy to have you. They’ll probably let you stay all weekend and come to school with me on Monday morning.”


I get to Pizza Hut before Talie, so I wait outside for her. I see a motorcycle on the other side of the parking lot, and I think that maybe I’ll get my own bike some day. Before I can get lost in thought, a taxi pulls in next to me and Talie gets out and pays the driver. I help her get her bags out of the trunk and move them to my car, then she waves to let the driver know she’s done, and he drives away.

“You wouldn’t believe how much I’ve missed you,” I tell her. She saw me yesterday, but to me it’s been a week. I give her a big hug, and she squeezes me back tightly. “I’m so glad you’re spending the weekend.”

“Before we go in, can we just stay out here and talk for a few minutes?” It looks like there’s something big on her mind, and we walk to the restaurant and sit on a bench outside. “I have a question, but before you answer you have to listen to my confession.”

“What’s going on? Are you okay?”

“Do you think your parents would let me stay longer than a weekend?” Tears fill her eyes, and I put my arm around her shoulders. She pulls away, then lifts her shirt on one side. There’s a huge bruise there. It looks like it’s almost gone, but then she shows me her other side, and her arms, and her legs.

“You look like a punching bag!” I exclaim, and then it clicks. “Talie… is this why you wanted detention for a year?” She nods, and the tears fall. I hold her gently and let her cry, I think about Amelia holding Olivia when she was crying the morning she told us Ambrosia had been shot. I’m not scared to step in anymore. I can be proactive in my life, and in Talie’s if that’s what she needs. “You can stay as long as you need to, my parents won’t mind. But you have to show them what you showed me. You have to tell them the truth, okay? Can you do that?”

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” she says.

“Of course not. Nobody deserves to be treated like this.”

“No,” she says, shaking her head. “I mean, to get detention. I don’t have to stay after school every day. I just talked to Mr. Chapman after class one day and said that my parents don’t want me home alone after school, and asked if I could go to detention every day even though I wasn’t in trouble for anything. And he said he didn’t care, as long as I let him tell other teachers and students that I had gotten in trouble.”

“We can keep going if you want,” I say, “or you can just tell everyone that you got off for good behavior, and come home with me instead.”

“Sounds like a plan,” she says with a smile. “Let’s go in. I’m starving.” We go in, and a hostess tells us we can sit anywhere we want. We go to a table far from the kitchen, and I sit facing the windows. “Oh my god,” she whispers, “don’t look now but the waiter is really cute. He’s coming over.”

“Can I get you a drink?” he asks, and I freeze. It’s not possible. Then again, lately my life has been full of impossible things. I look up, and it’s him. He even has a name tag that says Jack. He hasn’t even noticed me, he’s looking at Talie.

“Are you a goofy guy?” I ask, and he drops his pen and looks at me.

“Jenna?” he asks. “What are you doing here?”

“I live here,” I say. “How did you get here?” I look at Talie, and she’s looking at me in surprise. “Sorry, can you just excuse us for a minute?” I stand up, then bend down and whisper in her ear, “I promise to tell you everything later.”

Jack picks up his pen, then leads me to the door. “I need to take my break now,” he says to the hostess. He opens the door for me, and we sit on the bench. “I can’t believe it’s really you.”

“Wait, before anything else… You remember being in Spruce Ridge with me for a week, right?” He nods. “Because I came back home and it was the same day I left.” I think about the show. When I got back, I think I actually saw a few lines that I had already seen before leaving. “Actually, it might have been a few minutes earlier. I thought I was crazy.”

“Crazy beautiful,” he says, and I laugh.

“No really, I don’t understand any of this. How are you here in my world?”

“You left when you admitted that you didn’t belong in my world,” he says. “And I guess you came back here. I tried to be okay with it, but I’m not. It was not okay for you to leave me. I realized that without you, I didn’t belong there either. And you even said that I wasn’t a character on the television show you watched, so I didn’t think it would matter if I stayed there or not.”

“I’m sort of with you,” I say, “but I still don’t know how you got here.”

“You don’t know how you got there or back either,” he reminds me. “I don’t know, I watched you disappear, and then Olivia and Nick walked back in and I saw how happy they were together, and I just knew I couldn’t let you go. I thought maybe it was in the words you said, so I said out loud that I didn’t belong in that world, that I belong wherever you are. And then… poof! Next thing I knew I was in the kitchen wearing this apron and name tag.”

“How long have you been here?”

“Only about ten minutes,” he says. “Why?”

“I got here fifteen minutes ago, I just had to wait for Talie before I could go in. So whatever power brought me to you and then back here, it must have brought you to the place you needed to be to see me.”

“Wait, that was Talie?” he asks, trying to see her through a window, but there’s a tree in the way. He grins. “Did you tell her about me? I know girls like to talk about boys all night long.” I playfully hit him on the arm, and he leans in and kisses me. “There,” he mutters. “You can tell her about that too.”

“No,” I whisper. “I haven’t told her about you yet, but I’m going to.” I smile. I just can’t believe he’s here. “So I’m seventeen here,” I say. “No lie.”

“I’m 24,” he says. “Still. But I still don’t care about the age difference.”

“Me neither.” He kisses me again, and it’s the kind of long, strong kiss that you only share when you’re very much in love. Then I pull away. “Let’s go back inside. I want to introduce you to Talie. And you’re on the job anyway.”

“Yeah,” he says as we stand, “and I need to keep this job. I didn’t get to bring my millions with me, I’m broke.”

“Don’t worry,” I say. “I always tip well when I have a hot waiter.”

“Oh really?”

“Yeah,” I say, “and if you let me put the money down your shirt, I’ll tip even more.” He laughs and follows me back inside and to the table, where Talie is waiting. “Talie, I’d like you to meet Jack. My boyfriend.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Jack says grandly. “I’ve heard quite a bit about you.” I sit back in my seat across from Talie, and Jack sits down next to me, even though he’s supposed to be taking our order.

“I’m sorry if I seem flustered,” she says, “but I haven’t heard a thing about you. Why have you been hiding him, Jenna?”

“I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure it’s going to last,” I say, and it’s true. If Jack hadn’t shown up, I would have never told anyone about him. “He’s going to follow us back to my house later,” I say, turning to him, “on his motorcycle.” He looks confused, then puts his hand in his pocket. He pulls out the keys in amazement. Somehow, I knew that was his bike outside. I turn back to Talie. “He doesn’t have a place to sleep right now, so I hope my parents will let him stay in the guest bedroom until he gets an apartment.”

“You don’t have to do that, Jenna. I wouldn’t want to ask your parents…” I know what he means. He doesn’t think his seventeen year old girlfriend’s parents would let her 24 year old boyfriend stay at their house. To be honest, I’m not sure they’ll agree to it, but I’ll probably tell them Talie feels safer with him around or something.

“Just returning the favor,” I whisper in his ear, then I kiss his cheek. He looks in my eyes, and for a minute I forget that we’re not the only people in the world. This whole experience is crazy, right? This can’t be real. Things like this only happen in movies.

“I can’t stand the cute,” Talie says, startling me. I look at her. “You guys! You are so cute together! You look like you’ve been together for years.”

“It hasn’t been quite that long,” he says.

“No,” I say. “I swear, it feels like we just met.”

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

#NaNoWriMo Novel – High School Soap Opera: Chapter 19

High School Soap Opera

Chapter 19

Candace came back to Jack’s house with us, and she insisted the guys wait downstairs while we get ready upstairs. She helps me shower and wash my hair since I still can’t move my right arm very much without my shoulder hurting. Once I’m dressed, which I also can’t do on my own, she does my makeup. I warn her that I don’t want something crazy, and when I see the results, I have to smile. I look natural, just better. She fixes my hair in a way that covers the bald spot and stitches, which I’m also grateful for.

“Shouldn’t you be with Monet?” I ask. “Why are you still helping me?”

“She doesn’t have injuries stopping her from getting ready on her own,” she says. “Plus she’s started seeing this guy from school again. Kaitlin stole her boyfriend, but he came crying back to Monet the other night, and she’s actually taking him back, if only to stick it to Kaitlin.” I laugh. “And anyway,” she says seriously, “it may be Olivia’s birthday, but you’re going to be the star of the night… Done! Let’s go.”

We get to the stairs, and I grab Candace’s arm. If I’m in a soap opera and I’m going to a party with a makeover, you can be damn sure I’m going to have my dramatic entrance. “Go down there and announce me,” I say.

“What?” she asks, smiling. “Like in She’s All That?” I nod. “Fine, ‘Lainie,'” she says, referring to the girl in the movie, “just don’t trip on the bottom stair.”

“I don’t have to get used to contacts and heels, I’ll be fine.”

So she goes down and tells the guys to stand up. She announces me, and I start walking down the stairs slowly. When I get down to the bottom, I look at Jack. He is giving me that dramatically stunned look I was hoping for, and I try not to laugh. “Wow,” Jack says.

“Come on, Beautiful,” Nick says, offering me his arm. He offers the other to Candace. “I have my car, but it’s ladies’ choice who gets to sit in the front with me.”

“I’ll sit with Jack,” I say.

On the ride to Amelia’s Jack is back to normal. We talk like usual, and he makes silly jokes that make me laugh. He’s wearing a nice shirt and tie, and I feel like we’re being driven to the prom, except that instead of corsage, Jack has a small gift for Olivia.

When we get to the diner, Jack escorts me inside. Olivia rushes over. Jack hands her the gift and she thanks him, but she puts it down on a nearby table and hugs me tightly. “Jenna, I am so sorry for what John did to you.”

“I am sorry for what he did to Ambrosia,” I say. “And to you. I couldn’t let him get away with it. It really sucks that you have to spend your first birthday without her so soon after she was killed.”

“He seemed like such a good guy,” she says. “I don’t know how I didn’t see what a monster he really is.”

“Sometimes,” I say, moving aside so Nick can say hello, “you just can’t see the truth about someone who is right in front of you.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t believe you,” she says.

“Happy birthday, Liv.” He bends down and gives her a tentative kiss. She starts to fall, as if her knees went weak, but his arm is behind her and he holds tight so she doesn’t go down. “Are you okay?”

Olivia blinks a few times, then looks into Nick’s eyes. She rises on her tip toes and kisses him back, the kind of long, strong kiss that you only share when you’re very much in love. Everyone in the room has noticed, and they are all staring. It starts to feel uncomfortable, like we’re intruding on a private moment, but then the kiss ends.

“Liv?” Nick whispers.

“I remember,” she whispers, and I think everyone else in the room gasps at the same time. “Oh my god, I remember everything!” They kiss again, and I know there will be a lot more of that before the night is over. She pulls away from him and says, “I love you.”

“If I knew all it would take to make you remember me was a kiss, I would have been making out with you while you were still in a coma,” he says, and everyone in the room laughs. Nick and Olivia look around them, realizing they’re not alone.

“Let’s go outside and talk for a little bit,” Olivia says. She turns back to her party guests. “We’ll be right back.”

“Take your time!” Otis calls with a wink. Nick laughs, and Olivia blushes.

“We have all the time in the world,” Nick says. “We don’t need to go outside yet.” He looks at Olivia. “At least let me give you your present first.” She looks, but he doesn’t have a gift with him. Instead he drops to one knee. “Olivia,” he begins, but she doesn’t let him go any further.

“Yes,” she says. “Yes, I will marry you, and if that’s not what you were going to say, just pretend it is.” She sits on his knee and throws her arm around him. They kiss again, and Otis starts clapping. We all join in, and then Nick and Olivia do go outside to talk. Everyone inside goes back to their own conversations. Candace takes my hand and gives it a little squeeze. We grin at each other, and then she goes off, probably to find Monet.

I look at Jack, and his smile is as big as mine. “How do we top that?” he asks.

“I’m not going to propose or anything,” I say, “but how about I tell you where I came from?” I know that’s something he’s been wondering about since I got here almost a week ago. I almost told him Sunday, but then I chickened out and told him Candace told me about Olivia and Ambrosia’s childhood together. This time, I’m not going to let fear stop me. Nick may have been confused, but he believed me. Now it’s time to give Jack the truth and hope he reacts similarly.

“Yeah, where did you come from? California? New York?” I take his arm and lead him to a quiet booth in the back.

“I’m not from your world,” I say.

“What, like, an alien thing?” he asks. “Are you from a distant planet? Because I don’t care, you make one hell of a human being.”

“No, I’m not an alien.” Why is this so hard? I already told Nick, this should be easier the second time. But Nick isn’t my boyfriend. If I go back home, it won’t change his life. He’ll still have Olivia. “Okay, I know this is going to sound insane. But Spruce Ridge is a soap opera. I’ve been watching it for a few years, and then somehow Friday I went from watching it to living it.” His jaw drops. “That’s how I know so much about everybody. I’ve seen everything. Like, I know that Serenity paid off Dolf to set fire to her shop because Adaire loaned her the money to open the shop, and she was paying him back like she should, and then he kept raising the interest until she couldn’t pay it anymore. She figured she could take everything she was supposed to deposit and give it to Adaire, and then the insurance on the pastry shop would give her enough to rebuild and, if she scaled back on the renovations, pay him the rest of his money.”

“Jenna, that’s a serious accusation,” he says. “You can’t just go making up stories like that about people like Adaire. He’s one of the richest guys in town.”

“Ask Serenity why she had the shop burned down. Ask if it had anything to do with Adaire.” I don’t think he’s going to do it, but he calls the police station and asks if Serenity can accept a call. “It’s Jack,” he says into the phone. He looks in my eyes and doesn’t look away. “I need to ask you something. Did you give Dolf money to set the shop on fire because Adaire was raising the interest on your loan?” He listens to her answer, then says, “Okay, don’t say anything else. Alexis will be back tomorrow. Tell her everything, and we’ll see if she can get the charges dropped and turn this around on him… No, I can’t tell you how I knew that.” He hangs up.

“I told you so,” I say, but it’s not teasing. I’m very matter-of-fact. I have nothing to lose. I can feel my storyline tying up all the little loose ends. It’s like I’m preparing to go home. Maybe this is it.

“So you’ve really been watching us on TV?” he asks. “That’s… weird. How much have you seen of me?”

“That’s the weird thing. I have never seen you before. You weren’t a character like everyone else. I mean, I knew Adaire and Candace, and Nick, Olivia, Ambrosia, Monet, Otis and Amelia, Serenity… but you and the rest of the staff at the bar were all new characters.”

“Was everything a lie?” he asks. “Were you just inventing a character, or are you really you?”

“Everything about me is real, except…” He looks up. “I had to lie about my age. I appeared here in a bar, I couldn’t admit that I’m underage without getting in trouble. So I just went with it.”

“How… under? How old are you, really?”

“I’m seventeen,” I say. “But age is nothing to me. I don’t care that your that much older than me, it’s not important.”

“How do you get home?” he asks quietly. “And when are you going?”

“I don’t know, I think soon. Somehow, I have a feeling it’ll be very soon.” He gets up and comes to my side of the table and sits next to me.

“Don’t go,” he whispers. “I don’t care about the age difference either.” He kisses me, and I never want to leave. But I know that I can’t stay here.

“I have to,” I say. “I don’t belong here.”

And suddenly I’m back in my room, in my pajamas. On the television, Candace and Adaire are together in the bar. So everything that happened to me in Spruce Ridge actually happened in the blink of an eye? How is that possible? But I know I won’t get an answer. I watch the TV, wondering if my imagination was anything like what the writers had planned.

“I own a company,” Adaire says slyly. “It’s very boring, I assure you. I’d rather hear about your job. You must be a model, right? Pretty girl like you…”

“You’re such a skeeze,” a girl says loudly. I’m shocked to see a girl that looks a lot like me walk up to the table.

“What did you just call me?” Adaire asks. “Did you just call me a… a skeeze?” he asks, like he can’t believe someone just had the balls to call him that. Or maybe he’s just never heard that word before.

“Yeah, I called you a skeeze,” she says, then looks at Candace. “What are you doing with this guy? You can definitely get someone younger. I’m going to the bar to get one of those college guys to buy me a drink. You in?”

Candace stands up. “I’m Candace,” she says, leaving Adaire alone in bewilderment. “What’s your name?”

“Jenna.” No way. No. Fucking. Way. They go to the bar, a little way down from the college guys, and wait for them to come over. If Jack is the bartender, I will faint with shock. It’s not long before one of the guys walks over to them.

“What are two pretty ladies like yourselves doing here alone on a Friday afternoon?” he asks.

“We were waiting to see how long it would take for you and your friends to notice us. I thought your buddy there with the black shirt was gonna come over first, but my friend Candace here knew that it would be you.” The guy smiles and, taking the bait, waves over bartender. He comes over to take their order, and it’s a guy I’ve seen in the background before.

Part of me is glad that it’s not Jack, because it would be too hard to see him and not be able to be with him. But then, I realize that I’m disappointed. Now I’ll never see him again, and that’s even worse than the potential to see him with another girl. Especially this new ‘me’ character. The bartender gets two beers for the girls, and then the scene changes.

Boyd and Serenity are having dinner at home. He toasts to her health, and they sip their wine. “I’ll go get dessert,” she says. “I made a cherry pie.” While she is gone, Boyd takes a flask out the inside pocket of his jacket and takes a long drink. He puts it back in his pocket just as she’s coming back in the room with the pie and a knife.

“It smells delicious!” Boyd says. “Do you have vanilla ice cream for the side?”

She puts down the pie, then turns back to the kitchen. “I think so, let me check.” He drinks from the flask again. This is not looking good for Serenity. Was I right? Is he going to get drunk and crash into her car later? It can’t be, how would I know that?

The scene changes again. Ambrosia is getting dressed, and John is waking up, and groggy. He looks around, like he blacked out and is just coming to. Ambrosia looks at him and smiles. “You know, Olivia was right. It’s not all about size in your relationship. But it’s big enough to do the job.”

“What the hell did you do to me?” John asks. I have no sympathy for him.

“I didn’t do anything,” she says going to the bookcase, “except for recording that little scene.” She picks up the camera and turns it off. “And if you don’t want Olivia to see it, then you will sign over your shares in Adaire’s company to me.”

“That’s blackmail,” he says, and she laughs.

“You figured that out, huh?” she asks. “Then you should be able to figure out that your best move is to accept my deal. Sign over your shares, and this video goes away. Refuse, and I email it to Olivia. It’s your choice.”

“Fine, I’ll do it. Now delete the video.”

“Uh uh uh! I’m not stupid. The video gets deleted after I have the stocks in my hand, in my name.”

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

#NaNoWriMo Novel – High School Soap Opera: Chapter 18

High School Soap Opera

Chapter 18

This door may be locked, but it’s wood. The smoke weakened the wall, so maybe it affected the door too. I kick at the door weakly, but nothing happens. I hit it with my fists. I try to shove my good shoulder into it. Nothing happens. I sit on the couch. After what I’ve been through, it’s ironic that the thing that’s going to do me in is a simple wooden door. I look around. There has to be something else.

Clearly I’m still suffering the effects of low oxygen to the brain, because on the opposite wall is a window. I unlock it and open the window by sliding up the glass. The screen is easy to remove, and I throw it to the center of the room. I look outside. It’s dark. It can’t still be Sunday, so it’s Monday night, maybe later. The shops across the parking lot are closed, so it’s late. At least there are a few lights in the parking light.

I look down, and I want to cry when I see the nice soft grass landing. It’s still a bit far to go face first, though. I push the desk over to the window and stand on it. I put one leg through the window then lower myself so I’m sitting. I put the other leg out the window, and duck my head through. I take a deep breath, and then jump down.

I can’t celebrate now, I have to get to safety. Why did I take off my shoes? I must look awful. Gash on the side of my head, smelling like rotten food and vomit, and barefoot. I start walking in the direction I think I came from last night. (Was it just one night ago? I don’t know, I’ll go with it.) I walk down the road slowly, thinking about how similar to a zombie I am right now. I touch the left side of my head. Maybe I’m more like a zombie’s victim.

I hear something in the distance. Is that a motorcycle? The sound is coming closer. No, it’s too slow to be a motorcycle. I see it in the distance, and there are two lights. A car. I am near a street lamp, so I go to stand beneath it. I try to raise my hands, but my shoulder hurts a lot. I raise the one I can and wave it back and forth. The car passes me, and my hand drops. I’m about to start walking again, but the car slowed to a stop. The driver gets out.

“Are you okay?” a woman calls. I try to say no, but my mouth is dry and no sound comes out. I can’t move any more, but she is walking toward me now. “Jenna?” She runs now, and when she gets here she is shocked. So am I, though – it’s Candace!

“Help,” I try to say. Again, no sound, but she saw it.

“Wait here, let me drive it back so you don’t have to walk.” She gets the car, then helps me into the passenger seat. I try to tell her what happened, but I can’t speak. “Don’t worry, I’ve got you. Just rest now, you can talk about it later. Oh here, I have some water.” She gets a bottle from the backseat, twists off the cap, and hands it to me. She drives away, and I close my eyes.

I drink the water slowly. When I finish, my mouth is still dry, but at least I might be able to speak. “Jack…” I say hoarsely.

“I’m taking you to the hospital. We can call him from there.” She’s driving fast, and I hope she doesn’t get pulled over for speeding. I open my eyes and look at the speedometer. It must be broken, because it says she’s only going 45.

“John…” I say, but it’s hard. I don’t think she even heard me. “John… bad…”

“Shh… You’re safe now, Jenna.” I relax back into the seat. She’s right, I should just rest for now. When we get to the hospital, she refuses to leave me alone in the car. She honks the horn outside the Emergency Room entrance until someone comes out to ask her to stop. She gets out of the car and hands the person her keys.

“I’m not a valet,” the nurse says. “Park your own car.”

“Do you see this woman?” Candace asks, helping me stand. “I’m not leaving her. So you can either park the car, or leave it here. I don’t care. But we’re going inside.” She helps me walk inside, then puts me in a wheelchair.


Candace didn’t lie when she said she wasn’t going to leave me. She called Monet and said that she had taken a friend to the hospital, then called the bar. Nobody answered, and I don’t have Jack’s phone number. She called Monet back and had her call Lukas, who is Monet’s neighbor, to get Jack’s home number. Meanwhile, I’ve been put on IV fluids and pain medication, and someone cleaned and stitched my head wound. I was right that they had to shave the area, but that’s the least of my concerns right now.

Candace is about to call Jack when an orderly says he has to take me to get an x-ray of my shoulder. He wheels me down the hall, and suddenly I’m afraid. He’s not in on it with John is he? I scream, and he stops. Candace comes running down the hall. “It’s okay, I’m here,” she says. She strokes the back of my hand. “I’m sorry,” she tells the orderly. “She must have been through something really bad. Can I come?”

“Usually no,” he says. “But if that’s going to keep her calm, then you can come this one time.” The x-ray is painful, but they get me back to my room in the ER pretty quickly.

Before she calls Jack, Candace looks at me, a worried look on her face. “I know you don’t want to think about this, but do you need them to do a rape kit?”

“No,” I say firmly. I know John took Ambrosia’s phone from my pocket, but I’m positive he didn’t rape me.

“Can you tell me what happened? The doctor is going to need you to tell her before you can leave anyway.”

“Nick is innocent,” I say. “I found evidence that pointed to John as the killer, and I texted him Sunday night from Ambrosia’s phone to come to Serenity’s pastry shop. There’s a camera there, the footage is on Serenity’s computer. It should be enough to convict John.”

John did this to you?” she asks.

“He hit me in the head with Nick’s gun, I don’t know how he got it. I woke up in the walk-in fridge. I was handcuffed and tied up.” I look at my hands. The cuffs are gone. When did that happen? “What day is it?”

“It’s Tuesday night,” she says. I groan. It’s been longer than I thought. “Let’s call Jack, he should be here.”

“Call the police. I have to make a statement.”


A lot happens after my rescue. Jack brings the police the video from Ambrosia’s computer, showing her seducing John and coercing him to sign over her shares of the stock in Adaire’s company. The police find the walk-in fridge at Serenity’s pastry shop is exactly as I described it, and they find John’s DNA in the office, and his fingerprint on the broken escape button. They also find the footage on Serenity’s computer showing both Nick’s night there, as well as my conversation with John. After he knocked me out, he spoke to my unconscious body, telling me every detail of his plan, and he kept laughing and saying nobody would ever know now that I’ll be out of the way.

On Thursday, John is put in jail, and Nick is released. He comes straight to see me at the hospital, where I’m being kept for a few days to make sure there’s no lasting damage to my head and brain. Nick knocks lightly on the door, and I look up as he walks in. He brings me a dozen roses and a big blue teddy bear. He asks Jack if he can talk to me alone, and Jack says he’ll be in the family lounge down the hall.

“How are you feeling?” Nick asks. He sits in the chair that Jack was just using.

“I’ve been better,” I say, and I try to laugh. “They have me on some pretty good pain medication.” He smiles, but then his face grows serious.

“I heard what happened. I can’t believe you did all that for me.” He shakes his head. “I didn’t even know you until a few days ago.”

It’s now or never. Even if he thinks I’m crazy, I have to tell him the truth.

“I’m going to tell you a secret, but you can’t say anything until I’m done. No questions, because I can’t answer them.” He looks at me, and I can tell he’s curious. “I know you’re going to think I’m crazy, but I promise it’s not my head injury. This is the truth.” I wait a second, trying to figure out the best way to say it, and then decide it’s best to just say it. “You’re a soap opera character. Everyone here is. I don’t know how I got here. I was watching TV in my bedroom on Friday, I was talking to Adaire and Candace while watching a scene with them at the Stargazer Lounge, and the next thing I knew, I was there, standing in front of them.”

“I’m not an actor,” he says with a laugh.

“I know, you don’t believe me. I wouldn’t believe it if I were you. But I promise, it’s true. Ask me anything. Something I couldn’t possibly know unless I was there, or watching it on TV.” But he doesn’t. “Your first date with Olivia was at a carnival.” He gasps, and I keep going. “You rode the ferris wheel, and you wanted to kiss her but you didn’t. You won her a stuffed pig at the Test Your Strength game, and she still has it on her bed, but with her amnesia she doesn’t know it’s from you.”

“That’s impossible,” he says.

“You slept together on the third date. You were at her house, where she had made you a steak dinner. You brought her Pinot Grigio, which is her favorite wine.”

“How do you know all of that?” he asks, blushing.

“I told you, Spruce Ridge is my favorite soap opera. I don’t know how I got here, but I couldn’t let you go to jail for a crime you didn’t commit.” We’re both quiet for a few minutes. He’s trying to figure it out, but I can’t even explain how it happened, so I don’t expect him to understand.

“Does Jack know this?” he asks. “Did you tell anyone else?”

“No,” I say, and he looks surprised. “I’m just trying to say, again, why I have such a strong loyalty to you. You might have just met me, but I really have been watching you for years.”

“You told me on Sunday that I wouldn’t believe you when you said how you know so much, but you were wrong about one thing. I’m not the one who rescued Olivia from John. You are. And maybe, I can rescue her from herself.” He smiles at me, and I smile back. He stands and comes over to the bed, and then he kisses me. This time it’s on the cheek, and afterwards he doesn’t regret it this time. “Thank you, Jenna. I can never thank you enough.”

“You can thank me by never giving up on Olivia. You two are meant to be together, don’t forget that.”

“So what now?” he asks. “Are you staying here?”

“I don’t know how I got here, and I definitely don’t know how to get home. So yeah, for now I guess I’m staying here.”

Candace bursts in the door, calling, “Jenna!” She stops when she sees Nick. “NICK!” She runs over and hugs him. She always thought Nick would be her brother-in-law some day, and she was upset when he left town. Jack must have seen her running, so he follows her in.

“Hey there, Candy Cane!” Nick says. “How have you been?”

“Better now,” she says with a huge grin. She looks at me. “Jenna, the nurse said you can leave the hospital. She’s coming in a few minutes to disconnect the IV and do all the discharge papers.” She gives me a large bag, and I open it up. There’s a dress and shoes inside.

“What’s this for?” I ask. I’m happy for the clean clothes, but I think a dress might be overkill.

“Tonight is Olivia’s birthday party, and she said I should invite the girl who discovered that her boyfriend killed her best friend. I asked if I could invite a few other friends, and she said, and I quote, ‘Whatever.’ Nick, you have to come! Jack too, you’re all invited.”

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