As promised last night, here’s this week’s Fiction Friday, sponsored by the folks at Write Anything.
Sometimes lies can have serious consequences. Describe a time when a lie had major consequences for your character.
The following is the first draft of a scene for a book I’ve been working on for upteen years. I’m hoping it’s not too melodramatic, but I did grow up watching my share of soap operas. I still watch a good bit of serial dramas now with my Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, but hopefully, it’s not too over the top. If so, that’s what editing — and more editing — is for!
Sara didn’t want to wait in the house for Monica to pick her up, even though she knew she’d be sitting on the front porch for hours. The brick steps became uncomfortable despite switching positions periodically and leaning on her packed suitcases, but she never considered going back inside. She was done with that house, the lake, the town. She knew she didn’t belong there anymore.
Billy’s car passed her house and pulled into the driveway next door. She wanted to avoid this. She had hoped Monica would get here first, and she could leave everything behind.
Billy was out of the car and coming closer to the porch, not running but striding along as if he were making sure he wasn’t late. Sara couldn’t look at him.
“Caroline just told me,” he said.
Sara rolled her eyes, “Figures.”
“You should have told me.”
She didn’t answer.
“Why are you going back to Charleston?”
“I don’t belong here.”
“But you’re carrying our baby.”
The brick steps cut into her hand as she gripped the stone to stay silent.
“Don’t I get a say in this?” Billy asked. “We’ll figure something out. Sara, we can —”
“It’s not your baby, Billy,” she said.
She heard the landscape rocks crunch under his shoes as he paced for a few seconds.
“You cheated on me?” he asked.
“No,” Sara fumbled for words, “I was with… I slept with someone else before I came home in October.”
The pacing continued again. The grinding of the stones began to sound like crumbling boulders.
“You said… I thought I was your first,” he said.
“I let you believe it.”
“Wow… you let me,” his voice trailed off as his shoes finally bristled across the grass in the front lawn.
Sara finally glanced up to see him looking across the street, back turned toward her, arms up, fingers laced, and palms pressed against the back of his head. His exhale sounded more like an incredulous laugh at having the wind knocked out of him.
“How could you do this?” he asked.
“How could I?” she let out her own incredulous laugh. “You haven’t exactly been a saint when it came to me either. What about last fall?”
“But we weren’t in a relationship then,” Billy said.
“And you didn’t let me believe that we could be?”
“You don’t get it,” he said. “All this time, I have tried to be so careful to do the right thing by you, to not hurt you, because of how well and how long we’ve known each other and because I never thought you could do the same.”
As she listened to him crunch back into the landscaping rocks, Sara realized that he didn’t know her anymore. He knew the friend from high school, but he had not seen her in Charleston. She rarely talked about being there.
The sound of a car coming around the corner turned their attention to the street. Monica’s car slowed and pulled into the driveway. Sara saw Alex sitting in the front seat, making her relieved and scared at the same time.
She stood and gathered her bags while Billy watched. She stepped toward him and looked up at him. She thought about all the glances during school — the smiles, the laughs, the grins. For so many years she knew all of his gestures. At that moment, she saw a look he had never given before, and she knew that expression would be the one he would give every time they saw each other in the future, and that realization made her cry.
She heard the passenger door open and close, and out of her peripheral vision she saw the trunk of Monica’s car open.
“I love you, Sara,” Billy said. “Were you lying when you said you loved me?”
“No,” she said, and while she knew she should not say the words, she also knew she could not keep anything else from him, “but I love him more.”
She choked out an apology amid the tears and walked past him toward the car. Looking at at the situation in a black and white manner, she had lied to him by withholding the truth. In grade school, lying sends a student to the principal’s office. In college, it could get a student kicked out of school. As an adult, it could send someone to jail, and while she had committed no crime, Sara knew she would feel that loss and that guilt for years to come.