When you’re growing up, it’s seems easy to figure out who’s going to be what when they turn into bigger versions of themselves. Kids who lord over the playground or steal your lunch money, which I never got the pleasure of having done to me, are either gonna become bloodthirsty corporate execs who spend weekends drunk or have a change of heart, right? Well, that’s the neat little bow we throw around people, tie em up nice and good to fit into our version of what they are, or what we want them to become.
But what happens when people aren’t what you expect them to be? What do you do when you have this fantasy or dream of them that can just never be real? Good, bad, whatever.
While writing ARSON, I constantly told myself it has to be real; it has to feel real. The characters. The setting. The things that happen. If it’s not real, you (the awesome, cool reader) just won’t give a crap. So creating Arson and Emery and Mandy, and the tension that broods between them, was actually really fun and really interesting. I had to write Mandy (Arson’s love interest since before he ever wandered into puberty) in a way that made her physically irresistible while at the same time venomous. She’s the chick you grow up dreaming about, imagining yourself planning a life together, but then something changes in your head, and you’re, like, what the…?
Well, this scene’s kinda like that. Enjoy the fantasy, if you can.
When Arson entered her bedroom, he noticed that dolls of every variety covered much of the floor space. “I knowit’s childish,” she said, “but I think they’re still pretty cool.”
Posters of Orlando Bloom and Brad Pitt covered the pink and white walls. A king-size bed with floral arrangements sat in the corner of the room atop a pastel rug and next to that, a six-foot tall vanity and a closet the size of his entire bedroom.
“I guess that’s the problem with being an only child. I always get what I want.”
“That was never my problem.” He shrugged.
“I mean, they love me. Like, because I’m Daddy’s little girl and everything, I think he feels obligated to shower me with all the stuff he never had.”
Arson shoved his hands into his pockets. A nervous sweat trickled down his brow. He looked at Mandy.
“I never got to properly thank you for all those free ice creams you gave me, Arson Gable.”
“Oh, don’t worry about it. I make enough.”
“No, you don’t.” She shut her bedroom door and leaned in
He was paralyzed once he inhaled her sweet, inviting breath. His heart drummed. “I’ve never been in a girl’s room before.”
Mandy smiled and kissed him. “I’ll bet you’ve never done this before either.”
He couldn’t help but stare at her, noticing her eyes were closed and focused while his wandered to everything in the room. After seconds, he closed his eyes and started thinking
with his lips. Was he doing it right? His mind wouldn’t let him believe this was happening. It couldn’t be. Was she trying to make out with him? Did she even really like him?
But then it came with a whisper. “Freak,” she said.
“What? Why did you call me that?”
“You’re acting crazy,” Mandy denied immediately. “I didn’t say anything.”
“You called me a freak.”
“Arson, don’t be stupid. I thought this was what you wanted. Your mind must be playing tricks on you. Now quit it, all right? I could easily think of about six other boys who would give up a spot on the team to be where you are right now, so let it go!”
She leaned into him once more, and he didn’t resist. Couldn’t. With one hand she massaged the back of his neck. It felt soft, delicate.
“What about your parents?” Arson panted. “Won’t they come up eventually?”
“Mandy, what is this? Why all of a sudden? You never liked me before.” He breathed short, nervous breaths, hands still shaking. “I don’t get it.”
“What’s there to get? I’m a girl who has everything I want. Except you. You’re dangerous, unpredictable. Kinda cute.”
“What’s so dangerous about me?” Arson felt another rush of anxiety and unease bleeding down his spine.
“I know what you do, Arson. Rumors spread quickly around school. But you don’t have to deny them. I know you’re not like everybody else. Besides, I’ve had the ordinary, boring
guys. I want something more, something dangerous. Don’t you want me?”
His throat quivered.
Mandy kissed him again on the lips. “Just relax. I know what I’m doing.”
“Mandy, your parents are downstairs.”
“I know,” she said, nudging up against him. “Forget about them. They won’t mind.”
Arson’s chest felt like it was going to shatter into a million pieces. It ached with each heartbeat. Sweat dripped into his eyes and down his face. Heat started at his fingertips and
spread to his body slowly.
“You’re warm.” Mandy smiled.
What was this? He’d dreamt of kissing Mandy for so long, wondered what she would smell like up close, what her hands might feel like wrapped around his neck in an embrace. But he couldn’t touch her. All he could do was lie still. Images of Grandma beating him with a rolled-up newspaper and spitting in a fit of anger ruined the moment. In a flash, Emery appeared, as if out of thin air. She stood right in front of him, looking at the scene through a creepy mask. Arson could sense she was hurt. He tried to close his eyes and make the imaginations disappear, but they wouldn’t. Instead the fear dragged him away.
“I want this, Arson. I always wanted my own firestarter.”
Thanks for reading. Spread the fire!