I would really appreciate some reviews you guys! :) What's the point of even publishing this if I don't know anyone's reading it?
I'm heading to Europe for the next couple weeks (Yeehaw, I can't wait!). I'll be in Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia touring the world's music capitals on my American Music Abroad trip! I spent nearly all day packing and trying to keep my luggage under 35 lbs and trust me, it's been a struggle when you're addicted to shoes like I am! However, that means limited internet access and I won't be able to publish anymore chapters until I get back on the 9th. But don't worry, I will have plenty of time to write on my ten hour flight... (totally NOT looking forward to that!) So if, AND ONLY IF, I get enough reviews I will publish three or four chapters when I get back.
Yes, I know I'm being mean by holding my chapters hostage until I get reviews... but I'm tired of publishing stories and not getting very much feedback. SO REVIEW PEOPLE. REVIEW LIKE JUNE'S LIFE DEPENDS ON IT. (I know you're not that attached to her, we're only on chapter one, but for my sake just pretend like you are.)
So let it out and let it in, hey Jude, begin
You're waiting for someone to perform with
And don't you know that it's just you, hey Jude, you'll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder
-"Hey Jude" by the Beatles
The boys were back from camp.
The town had been unusually quiet while they had been gone. The rowdy teenagers weren't there to fill the silence with their laughter and jabbering. The town had been in an uproar before they left for camp due to a white man shooting a black teenager outside one of the convenient stores in the town's shopping center and the boys had been some of the first to start the riots. Gerry and Walker had lingered outside the shop for days, warning any colored man that walked past they'd be next. But with them gone, this had quieted down significantly and things were almost back to normal.
Walker, Emma, and June were sitting at one of the booths in the back of the local soda shop. Walker had his arm around June, stroking her shoulder with his thumb while Emma slurped away noisily at her root beer float.
"He'll be here any minute," June comforted, pushing the float away from her.
"I know, I know," Emma said, pushing her long blonde hair from her face. "I'm just nervous. He gets so tense around colored folk and he just spent two weeks cooped up with one of them in a dorm!"
Walker's arm tensed up around June's shoulders. His dark eyes narrowed, giving him an appearance she didn't like. She patted his leg with her free hand, giving him a small smile as she continued to look over her menu. Emma began slurping away at her float again until there was none left and she resorted to biting her nails, worry evident in her light green eyes.
The bell to the shop's door rung as it swung open. Gerry Bertier's crooked smile could be seen over the many rows of booths and in one swift movement, Emma was out of the booth and in Gerry's arms, kissing him lightly on the lips. They walked back to June and Walker, hand in hand, huge grins on both of their faces.
"Welcome back, Bertier," Walker said, taking his arm from around her shoulder to shake his hand.
"June," Gerry said, flashing her a smile as Emma and he slid into the booth. "Missed seeing you two while I was gone. Camp was hell!"
Walker tried to ask more about it when the waitress came to take their order.
"Double bacon cheeseburger with fries," Walker ordered, handing June his menu. "And a chocolate milkshake, please."
"Shouldn't you be watching what you eat?" June teased as the waitress took Emma and Gerry's orders. She playfully poked him in the stomach, smiling, but it quickly vanished from the harsh look he gave her. She sighed and ordered a salad, giving the waitress their menus as Emma whispered something in Gerry's ear, making him laugh.
She sometimes envied Emma of having such a well rounded boyfriend. Gerry was well-mannered, handsome, tall, well-built... someone you wouldn't want to get into a fight with that's for sure. Walker on the other hand had a tendency to be rude and quick tempered when he was angry. When they first met he was strong and muscular but had let himself go after the wrestling team lost regional's and had gained some significant weight. She loved him, but sometimes she wished he would be more patient and understanding.
"How's the new coach?" Emma asked nervously to Gerry.
He looked around the table at the three of them, his eyebrows drawn together in deep thought. June looked at Walker, whose expression had grown dark and serious again. Gerry had always been one of the first to put a colored student in line if he ever crossed him. In fact, she couldn't remember a single day after school last year where she didn't hear him throwing insult at the colored students walking home from school. It was unlike him to be hesitant if he was given an opportunity to insult colored folk.
"He's... crazy," he said at last. "For the first few days he had us doing three-a-days and doing up-downs like we were machines created to play football or somethin'."
She could hear Walker gritting his teeth together. "Yoast's still on board?" he asked.
"You bet," Gerry replied, leaning back as their waitress set a glass of pop in front of him. "Him and Boone were at each other's necks the entire time but we survived." He took a sip of his cream soda before another crooked smile broke across his face. "I'm team captain."
"That's great!" Emma exclaimed, throwing her arms around him. June took Walker's hand as he relaxed and he smiled at her, obviously relieved Gerry still held his position from last year. "Telling those blacks who's in charge, right Bertier?" he laughed, putting his arm back around June. She sat back into the crook of his arm, a smile on her face. Walked was like an animal when he was angry, and it was rare he was this affectionate in public.
Gerry's smile faltered slightly before he responded, "Somethin' like that..."
They were interrupted by their waitress returning with their food. Walker practically dove into his cheeseburger while Emma and Gerry shared their basket of chicken tenders. June poked around at her salad, eyeing Gerry as he laughed at one of Emma's jokes. She had never seen him so... well... happy. Before he had left, he had spent nearly every day complaining about the integration of the team. It was strange that he seemed alright with colored players on the team after only a couple of weeks, and she wasn't sure if she liked it.
The rest of the meal continued with Walker and Gerry talking about defensive positions and tactics while Emma and June secretly smiled at each other and shook their heads. They didn't understand boys and their need to talk about sports all the time. Even though June had been on the varsity cheerleading squad the past three years, she didn't really understand football that well. She just knew to cheer when a touchdown was scored or a first down or something along the lines of that occurred. When they paid and left, Gerry gave a quick nod and smile to the colored bus boy who was cleaning the booth next to theirs. June's eyes widened and she glanced at Walker nervously, but he hadn't seemed to notice his actions. Emma was too busy putting change in purse to notice either.
"Gerry," Emma said, "Let's head down to the Sears, they've got a new line of dresses I've been dying to try!"
She flashed him that smile could melt any guy's heart and get her anything she wants. As she guessed, Gerry's eyes grew soft as she grabbed his hand and began to pull him down the sidewalk.
"See you, Jones!" he called over his shoulder, laughing to himself.
"Later, Bertier!" Walker called. He glanced at June, shaking his head and smiling, before beginning to head back to the car.
"Did you notice anything different about Gerry?" she asked, taking his hand. He shrugged, interlacing their fingers. "What do you mean?"
She sighed. "He seemed, well, really laid back. I mean you saw how upset he was about the new coach and players before he left."
"There's not much for him to worry about," he said. "I bet you Bosely, Budds, and him put those blacks in their place."
She nodded, biting her lips as they reached his car. As he drove her home, she put her elbow on the window and rested her head on her hand, watching the trees and buildings whiz by as they both remained silent. They both sat deep in thought, and she could tell Walker was thinking about the upcoming season from the way he was gripping the steering wheel. If she knew any better, she guessed Gerry had made peace with the colored players, or even yet, had become friends with them. It made her extremely nervous.
"I'm going to stop by the auto shop, that okay with you?" Walked grunted. It really wasn't a question, he just asked to be nice.
"Fine with me," she said, "I'll go return my library book while you're in the store."
He nodded as they pulled into the auto shop's parking lot. She grabbed her book from the backseat and hurried to the library a couple buildings down, trying to shake all thoughts of football camp from her mind. As she approached the red brick building, she was slightly taken aback that there was no "WHITES ONLY" sign on the front door. She glanced nervously around her, trying to decide if she was supposed to go in. Her gaze found the small drop off slot right next to the front doors and sighed in relief.
"What? Dammit!" she said softly when her book wouldn't fit into the small opening. She sighed heavily, smoothed down her hair, put on her best game face, and marched through the front doors.
She flinched slightly when she used to much force to open the doors, causing a loud bang to echo around the silent library. One of the librarians jumped, her reading glasses falling off her nose. She shot June a dirty look as she strolled past, heading towards the drop off desk on the other side of the room.
She had been to the library nearly two weeks ago and there had been two separate sections for white and colored folk. She hadn't been downtown since then because of having to make arrangements for cheerleading tryouts and camp. It was amazing how much it had changed in that short amount of time. The colored section was gone, replaced by a new children's section (empty of children and their parents, of course) and the white section had been transformed into a non-fiction section. She paused, lingering to look around at the old library which had been a part of her childhood. It was hardly the same place, and she was beginning to second guess herself if she was in the right building when she saw two colored girls sitting at a desk a few feet away from her. They were pouring over a book and giggling to themselves while three colored boys about her age were shooting them looks over the top of their comic books at another desk. The only other people in the library were a handful of white men and women who were sitting at the desks at the other side of the room. They turned up their noses every time one of the colored girls laughed, one woman even wrinkling her nose and shifting her chair so it faced away from them.
Suddenly, something crashed into her, sending her into a nearby book cart and spilling a set of encyclopedias onto the floor.
"Oh shit! Sorry about that!"
A pair of brown hands were suddenly in hers, pulling her up from the floor and putting her book back into her arms. Her gaze met a pair of dark brown eyes, some of the darkest she'd ever seen, filled with concern. He was her age, maybe a little older, with short black hair, full lips, and skin the color of mocha chocolate. She dropped her gaze, turning red with embarrassment as he dropped to the floor, scooping up four or five encyclopedias at a time and dropping them back on the cart. She stood there, dumbfounded, until he was finished. He straightened his button down shirt and flashed her a set of the whitest teeth she'd ever seen.
"Sorry again. I wasn't looking where I was going!"
She stared at him, wide-eyed with her mouth slightly open for a split second before mumbling, "M'fine" and scurrying away.
"Hey!" he called after her, sending a barrage of "Shh!"s from every direction his way. "C'mon, the least I can do is carry that for you!"
He was beside her in a second, taking the book from her arms and flashing her another smile. God, she wished he would stop doing that.
"A Beginner's Guide to Guitar," he read off the cover. "Ah, so you're a musician!"
She remained silent, wishing she could just melt right here and disappear into the shaggy gray carpet beneath them. The white folk were staring at them from the other side of the room, some of them whispering to one another. He was completely oblivious, staring back at her like a conversation between the two of them was perfectly normal.
"Uh," she said, stumbling over her own words. They reached the drop off desk and she thanked God under her breath, taking her book from him. She was glad he would finally leave her alone, but he stayed, that stupid smile on his face as she handed the librarian her book.
"Library card?" she asked June, an eyebrow raised towards the boy next to her.
"Oh, right," June said, fumbling through her purse until she found the flimsy piece of plastic.
"I'm Jerry," the boy said as she took her card.
"M'June," she muttered, barely audible and averting her gaze.
"Jude? Like the song?" he said, laughing. "Hey Jude, don't make it bad! Take a sad song and make it better!"
"Shh!" the librarian scolded, making him laugh harder.
"No, June," she snapped, looking him dead in the eye. The librarian gave her card back and she shoved it into her purse, perfectly annoyed with this boy. "Thanks for your help, but I would appreciate it if you would leave me alone."
He put up his hands as an act of surrender as she began to march back to the front doors. She could hear him giggling behind her as she began to leave.
"Bye Jude!" he called after her, making her grit her teeth together and give him a dirty look on her way out.
She could hear his laughter the entire way back to the auto shop.
Disclaimer: June is yours truly, and her views do not reflect mine or anyone else's for that matter. She's a character for goodness sakes!