Old 02-06-2013, 03:19 PM   #1
SweetAsSuga
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A Clean Slate

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A Clean Slate

“Venti mocha, double shot of espresso with skim, no cream.” The barista’s voice could barely be heard above the cacophony of the crowded, Manhattan Starbucks.

Pushing through the throng, Laurel Kingston reached for her drink, only to be blocked by a hulking man in a construction vest
.
“God would you get out of my way.” She pushed the man aside, her freshly done French manicure a stark contrast to the man’s neon orange vest. The man stumbled back, surprised at the ferocity of the petite socialite. But Laurel knew how to handle herself and get what she wanted – one glimpse of her when the new Gucci line hit the racks would make a person believe she was a force to be reckoned with.

Her much needed caffeine fix in hand, Laurel glanced around Starbucks then checked her diamond encrusted Cartier watch – a gift from her beloved Aaron, it went quite well with her two carat engagement ring. Jo was late, as usual. Laurel supposed that nineteen months wasn’t enough time to change such habits. It was one of those annoying traits that had fueled the fight between them. At least it fueled Laurel’s side of the fight.

But, now it was time to mend fences. Laurel didn’t want to walk down the aisle without her lifelong friend at her side. If only Jo would show up on time.

Heaving a world-weary sigh, Laurel searched for an empty table, preferably near the window. The Neiman Marcus store across the street caught her eye and a slow grin tugged at the corners of her mouth. If she had to wait for Jo, then she might as well have some fun. Tugging her tan, leather, Prada bag further up her shoulder, Laurel headed out of the Starbucks. Perhaps Jo would finally learn her lesson if she was the one to wait for once.

It hadn't always been tense between the two friends - who had been inseparable since they met in the seventh grade. They used to be so close that one was never without the other. They were one entity: JoandLaurel, LaurelandJo, their names uttered together in one word instead of two. Then, nearly two years ago, after going through all of life's ups and downs together, the two had gotten into a fight so big that there was no coming back from it. What exactly they had fought about, Laurel couldn't remember. The matter had been so small, so forgettable. But it had been fed by years of small annoyances that had finally, in one screaming match, bubbled to the surface.

As she stepped off the sidewalk to cross the street, Laurel's cellphone rang. With her coffee balanced precariously in one hand, Laurel looked down as she walked, digging through the black hole that was her purse. She didn't even notice the taxi racing down the street until the brakes screeched loudly. At that point it was too late. In an instant, her whole world went black.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:41 PM   #2
thewhiteone
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Jo Williams was running late, as usual. It never failed to happen, she would oversleep, her car wouldn’t want to start, there’d be a traffic jam, Jo’d loose track of time playing on the Xbox…always something or multiple somethings causing her to be late. In today’s case, it had been a hangover, which was a result of a heavy night of drinking, which was a result of being nervous about today.

It shouldn’t have been like this. There should have been no reason for her to be nervous about seeing her old friend, the always glowing Laurel. Laurel and Jo had been inseparable since back in junior high, ever since Jo “applied a bit of kinetic energy to move the mass known as Greg” away from Laurel.

Jo and Laurel couldn't have been more different. Laurel was born into extravagant wealth, Jo was raised alone by her mother who struggled to make ends meat. Laurel always wore whatever was fashionable (and expensive), Jo bought what was cheap comfortable. Laurel always liked dragging Jo on shopping trips and getaways; Jo preferred to go to a walk or simply hang out. Despite their differences, or maybe because of them, the two were BFFs for life. Jo was to be the maid of honor at Laurel’s wedding.

Jo never asked for help or expensive gifts from her wealthy friend, and Laurel respected Jo’s determination to make her own way.

Thirteen years of friendship that had been deemed unsinkable.

And then the iceberg came. Only a small trivial thing it had seemed…but like the iceberg, there had been more beneath the surface than anyone realized…including Jo and Laurel. She couldn’t remember what it was that had set them off, or even most of the other things that had been so irritating back then.

It had been over two years since they’d last seen each other. Jo had been miserable for most of it. It had been like living without a limb, even after you adapt to it’s absence, you still feel its loss. And then out of the blue, she got a call from Laurel. Laurel was engaged (as Jo knew via the internet) and she wanted Jo to be her maid of honor…if they could repair the rift between them. She had quickly agreed, shamed by the fact that it was Laurel who broke the silence between them first.

And then she got cold feet, which lead to her grabbing some liquid courage… and then a bit too much of it. By the time she was functional again, it was time for her to be leaving, but she decided on brushing her teeth and taking a fast shower. Showing up late would be bad, showing up on time in yesterday’s cloths reeking of alcohol would be worse.

Throwing on fresh clothes, she grabbed her keys and dashed out to her car. At the first red light, she pulled out her cell and called Laurel to let her know she was on her way. The call rang twice, and a sudden feeling of dread came over Jo. The kind that felt like a hole had been ripped out of your stomach.

She drove like a taxi driver offered a $100 bill to get to the destination yesterday.

She arrived to the wail of sirens, and flashing of lights.

Jo abandoned her old car, racing toward the emergency vehicles, screaming Laurel’s name.
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:31 PM   #3
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Her body felt heavy and her head pounded as if someone were beating it with a hammer. She tried to open her eyes, but they were glued shut. In the distance she could hear voices barking at each other, but their words were a jumble.

A moan pressed against her lips as she felt her body being lifted. Her chest hurt, a weight crushing against her made it difficult to draw breath. A light shone through her eyelids, turning the darkness to a brilliant red. The color of blood. She groaned and the light disappeared.



She hung, suspended, in a world of darkness. Drifting in and out of consciousness, her eyes never opening, but vaguely aware of life going on around her.




It felt like seconds. The world around her slowly came into view as her eyes finally opened. The sterile smell of antiseptic flooded her senses as stark white walls formed in front of her. A steady beeping sounded in her ears and she could feel a rough blanket beneath her fingers. Where was she?

Though it sent her head spinning, she forced her neck to turn so that she could take in her surroundings. A young woman sat in the chair next to the bed she lay in, watching intently.

"You're awake!" The woman said, instantly moving closer to the bed.

"Who are you?" Her throat was rough, as if she'd gone days without water. She stared down the length of her body where it lay in the bed, taking in the gentle curves of a body that seemed so foreign though it was her own. She returned her gaze to the woman. "Who am I?"
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:32 AM   #4
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Everything seemed to be going slow, too slow. It seemed like every motion was mired in sand. People didn’t move fast enough as she pushed them out of the way.

Finally…through the people shaped obstacles…Laurel…stretcher…blood everywhere…something stopping her from going forward…stopping her from to Laurel…she screams for Laurel, her hand out stretched…no response from Laurel…the thing holding her back says something…she struggles to get past it...she screams again for her friend…something else grabs her…pulling her away from Laurel…

//////////////////

Her presence at the hospital was met with mixed feelings. Phoebe, Laurel’s mother, had never approved of Laurel’s ‘plebeian friend’. That hadn’t changed one bit. Charles, her father was pleased by her presence, if only because it freed him from having to worry about having someone at his daughter’s side at all times. Thus leaving him to spend more time back at work. Laurel’s younger sister, Tamera, was unsure about her presence. The two had got along great, but it had been two years since they last saw each other. The one person who was very glad to see her was Laurel’s grandmother, Olivia. Olivia had always been fond of Jo, and very glad that Laurel had a friend from outside her social circle. Jo barely even recognized any of them. She was like zombie, her only concern was to get near Laurel.

Jo only left Laurel’s side to go to the bathroom. Olivia saw to it that food was brought to her, but Jo never would notice it until her stomach would snarl and churn, only then would she eat the cold meal that had been sitting there for hours. Even then, she only ate enough to silence the growl.

Jo noticed almost nothing the entire time. She just sat there, staring at her friend, hoping for some sign that she would wake.

On the fifth day, as Jo sat there alone, those eyelids slid open. Her heart leaped for joy, her friend was awake!

“You’re awake!” she leaned closer. Laurel was awake! She wasn’t in a coma!

Jo barely heard the hoarse words her friend spoke, she buried her face in Laurel’s shoulder, and began to ball her eyes out, “Oh Laurel!” she sobbed, her own voice hoarse from disuse, “I’m so SORRY!!! It’s all my fault! If only I hadn’t been late! I’m sooo SORRY!” the emotional anguish she felt could not have been any more obvious.
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