Monday, March 7, 2011

Catch Me If You Can!

~~Yeah! The day has dawned and I'm ready...I think. Really, I've been editing and rewriting the first 550 words for the last week to get ready and I've happy with the result. Hopefully, you will all agree that my first scene of FRIENDY FIRE catches your attention.
~~For more info on Kristina's first ever blogfest go to KayKay's Corner. You'll find links to the other bloggers posting their first words as well. Hop around and sample a few.
~~Writers know that their first few pages have to hook a agent, editor, and readers to make it, so without further delay, here's the first scene of FRIENDLY FIRE.
~~Kristina suggested we include an email link for lengthy critiques. I'd love the input if you're inclined. ; )


Happiness crinkled my friend Jen’s eyes as she looked around the large fellowship hall and turned to me. “Isn’t it great, Laura Grace? I didn’t expect so many foster kids, but we have enough goodies for an army.”

She was right. The foster care respite party was a big success so far. Who knew so many would come on Mother’s Day weekend?

But why had I set myself up for this torment? I knew better, and yet here I was helping with a Mother’s Day party and scheduled to sing in the Mother’s Day service tomorrow.

Rosemary joined us. Her voice rose just loud enough to be heard over the racket of nearly fifty kids as they ran and shrieked around us. “Laura Grace, are you going to be okay?” My backup had arrived.

I winced as two kids shoved each other into me. “I taught high school for a reason, Jen. I haven’t a clue how to entertain a herd of toddlers and elementary kids.”

“I know you think that, but you love kids or you wouldn’t have taught for so long.” Frowning, Jen said, “I know you have ideas about how we can help their foster parents. Giving them a two hour break once a month is a start.”

Noise ricocheted off the block walls. “Yes, they need help, but I’m not the one for this job.” My shoulders hunched with the onslaught. A cloud of soiled diaper stench drifted over us.

A petite blond girl eyed the rest of the children from in front of the stage at one end of the room. Soft curls framed the big blue eyes staring stoically at the mayhem, but her face was closed, contained. “Who’s the older kid?”

Jen swiveled toward the child. “Samantha Smith. She’s a challenge. I hoped she would find someone to talk to.”

“What’s wrong with her?” Her fragile beauty reminded me of a student who had endured years of abuse.

“That’s the challenge. Her foster mom has six kids. Samantha isn’t difficult if she’s allowed to withdraw. Though…” Jen frowned. “She’s twelve. Acts older.”

“Most of them do at that age. Why is she special?”

Her eyes scanned the room, not looking at the child or us.

“Spit it out, Jen.”

She leaned close and lowered her voice. “Her mother was beaten to death by a live-in boyfriend. Samantha saw it all.”

“That’s horrible!” I looked at the girl again.

“I know.” Jen’s voice trembled and creases appeared between Rosemary’s brows.

Tearing up, I said, “Is she in therapy?”

“Medicaid provides a little, but Samantha needs more. How do you expect a parent to provide that on foster pay?” Jen’s frown deepened. “Just how long did you teach?”

“Thirty years. And I didn’t leave a day too soon. The kids’ problems were tearing me up. Parents don’t appreciate the gift God gives them.”  Through a scrim of tears, I looked at the girl. “Tom and I tried so long and now he’s dead and I don’t even have him anymore.” The old familiar ache seized my heart. “I can’t stand this. I’ve got to go.”

As I reached the door, I heard Rosemary’s voice. “Jen, you knew being here would upset Laura Grace. Why did you badger her into coming?”