An Excerpt (from the new story)

So remember when I mentioned I was composing a new story?

I have a portion here I’d like to share 🙂

Let me know what you guys think!
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It was watching the newly emerging sensation Harris Rainey that Claire first truly learned about the Touched.

Harris was a decent musician with a smooth voice that could get girls (and some boys) easily aflutter.  But what really set him apart was that he could play almost any instrument handed to him on the first try.  He traveled around doing more of a novelty act than a show.  She’d seen him on TV where he’d had audience members hand him things while he was blindfolded and request a tune.  And he’d respond with perfection.

Clarissa didn’t think much of him.  There were a lot of weird people doing weird shows like that on television these days.  She had better things to worry about.

But when she ran away from home at 16, she made the fateful decision to stop at a backwoods bar to get a ride.
A decision that would change her life.

When she slipped onto a stool at the bar, the bartender narrowed his eyes briefly.

“I am not giving you a drink.” He stated firmly.  Her eyes skittered up to his for a moment, then she blinked and her whole posture changed.

“You don’t even know what I’m going to order.” The response was coy, almost flirty.  The bartender blinked.  She seemed to age before his eyes.  Her expression was no longer lost girl.  It was all woman.

“What do you want?” He asked hesitantly.  She started to grin, then the expression slipped off her face.  Her eyes hardened.

“Just a coke please.” She said firmly. She reached into her jeans and pulled out a five.  The bartender sighed and waved the money away.

“Nah, on the house.” He quickly set the glass in front of her.  She sipped at it while her eyes flicked around, accessing.  She saw the bartender was still watching her and she met his gaze brazenly.

“I’m trying to get a ride.  To the city.” She paused for a second, “Not that city.  I mean outside of Illinois.”

“I wouldn’t recommend looking for one here, darling.” The bartender said, his tone kind.  Her eyes flashed.

“I can take care of myself.”

It was that moment that a handsome young man sat next to her.

“Don’t question her, Tom.” The new gentleman said with a chuckle, “She sounds like she can handle herself fine.  Did you have a city in mind? Besides Chicago, obviously.” 

Tom shrugged and set a shot glass and bottle in front of the new guy before wandering down to the other end of the bar.  Claire frowned.

“And you might be?” She knew she recognized him and if he had anything to do with her father, she was prepared to turn tail and run.  A small part of her was even prepared to stay and fight.

He stuck out a hand, “Harris Rainey, at your service.”

“Rainey…” She paused, remembering who he was.  He had the grace to turn faintly pink.

“Ah. I see you’ve seen that god-awful show I do on TV.”

Despite herself, a small smile slipped out of Claire at his embarrassment.  He tossed back a shot of the brown liquid easily.  The label of the bottle was turned away from her, so she wasn’t sure what type it was but brown was the favored color of her father too.  She frowned.

“You don’t seem to be in any condition to be of service in driving to another city.” Her voice clipped.  He let out a low chuckle and Claire found herself relaxing unconsciously.

“You are quite right.  Which would be why I employ a driver.  Otherwise I would never manage to remain in this lovely condition.”  He saluted her with the open bottle.  She was now pretty sure it was whiskey.  The label looked vaguely familiar. “But it is entirely up to you.  No pressure.  You were the one requesting a free ride.”  He tossed back another shot.  She glanced down at her own drink, playing with the straw while she debated.

“Ok.” She replied softly.  Harris broke into a grin.

“Fantastic! I hate riding in the back all on my lonesome.  My driver’s a complete mute.” He stood.  “Now, I must play a brief set, but we can leave right after.”  He left the shot glass and bottle on the bar and headed for the stage.  Someone handed him a guitar and set a microphone in front of him.  Claire was prepared for his normally goofy antics he did on TV.

She was blown away.

The music he played was deep, thrumming through her whole body, his voice seeming to breathe directly into her ear.  She’d never heard anything like it before.  And he kept his eyes shyly downcast, none of the arrogantly flirty glances he tossed around on his show.  When he finished, a couple people politely clapped and he stepped down, handing off his guitar.  He was back at Claire’s side within minutes.  Her jaw was still slack.

He caught sight of her expression and smirked.

“A surprise, huh?  Yeah, there’s a reason I find these tiny skeevy bars to play my real music in.  Any of my TV fans would be disgusted, I’m sure.”

“Disgusted??” Claire stammered, “That was…it was…indescribably beautiful.  That’s the stuff you should be playing on television.”

“Ah the naivety of youth.” Harris said as he sipped directly from his bottle, “Come on, sweetheart, let’s get out of here.”

She had been sure she wasn’t going with him when she found who he was, saw the whiskey, heard his jokes about being alone in the back of a car. 

And yet she got up and easily followed him out the door and into the dark limo discreetly parked half a block away.

She told herself it was the music.

_______________________________________________________

(I just wanted to mention that Harris is not a bad guy.  I know he’s coming off as skeevy.  I should mention that the point of view is unreliable because of Claire’s past.  Harris is a doll. I’m thinking I may share some character bios next.)

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