Monday, February 22

Posted by Laurel Garver on Monday, February 22, 2010 32 comments
Thanks to everyone participating in today's blogfest! I can't wait to pop round to see all your wacky gaffes, bodacious blunders and excruciating embarrassments.

Here's my offering from WIP-1. The setting is Durham Cathedral, in northeast England. My teen protagonist is having a day out with family, and squeezing in a little homework as well.


Aunt Cecily motions for me to join her near the quire, where a group of mostly old folks have gathered for cathedral tour. Oh, right, I’m supposed to be doing research for that stupid history presentation. I pack up my sketching supplies and head up the main aisle.

The guide has already started her spiel about the cathedral’s history by the time I reach my aunt. I expected my little cousin to be weaving through Cecily’s legs and swinging back and forth from her purse strap. But Janie’s nowhere to be seen. Maybe she decided to pick up our game of guerrilla stealth with her sister.

“This is not to be missed,” Cecily whispers. “Adèle is the best guide here.”

I get lost in Adèle’s magical voice, the slight Frenchness in her British accent. Every detail seems lusher when she describes it with her whispery consonants and throaty vowels. She leads us into the choir stalls, describing the artisans' techniques for crafting the ornate fretwork that rings the top of the stalls. It’s like an enchanted skyline bristling with Gothic spires. The group fans out and we weave through the rows to get a closer look.

From out of nowhere, a tiny hand grabs my ankle and a piping voice says, “Boo!”

I squawk like a strangled rooster and jump back, crashing into someone behind me. Someone male. He yelps in surprise as we topple onto a pew. A really lumpy pew. It shifts under me—muscle and bone and a pocket full of something I don’t care to think about because holy crap I’m in some old creep’s lap! ACK! I leap up like I scorched my backside on a griddle.

“Sorry, sorry, so sorry!” I gush in a whisper, afraid to make eye contact. I back away, staring at brown wide-wale corduroy legs and huge oxford shoes.

I’m going to kill that twerp Janie! I can’t believe she’d guerrilla stealth me here in the middle of these so-serious geezer tourists.

“’sall right. No worries,” the mysterious male says. Australian words, but the accent is totally London. That’s weird.

“My cousin and I were playing a game and—”

“You’re in big, big, big trouble, miss!” Aunt Cecily jabs my shoulder with each “big.”

“It got a little out of hand,” I finish feebly and finally peek up at my victim. It’s not a grandfatherly sixty-something like I expected, but a college-aged guy with murky eyes. He leans languidly in the pew and slowly slides a finger across his thick lower lip. I turn away, blushing, and see the group moving on toward the high altar.

Aunt Cecily grabs Janie’s slim arm and hisses, “Jane Louise, come out this instant!”

“Sorry, Mummy, sorry!” Janie scrambles to her feet, ashy pale.

“Enough! Both of you, come with me.” Cecily grabs our wrists and drags us from the quire. I hope she knows I’m too old for spankings.

“I’m terribly sorry for squashing you,” I tell the guy I’d sat on.

He smirks and raises an eyebrow. “I’m fine” he mouths, squinting in a way that’s almost…I don’t know, seductive?

Cecily leads us to a chapel off the back of the nave. “So what do you two have to say for yourselves?”

“Sorry,” I mutter. “We shouldn’t horse around in a cathedral. It’s a house of God.”

“Right. And you?”

Janie grins. “Thanks, Mummy!”

“Well done!” Cecily high-fives her.

“She jolly well sounded like a chicken, didn’t she, Mummy?”

“Don’t know—I’ve never heard a person make a sound like that before.”

I goggle at them. “You mean I’m not actually in trouble?”

“Lord, no.” Cecily laughs. “You must know how dead boring this is for Janie. It was awfully good of you to come up with a game to get her through it.”

“But…” I frown at Janie. “You weren’t supposed to tell your mum.”

“You never said that.”

Cecily sniggers. “The chap she sat on, that was a great bonus. And you know what?” She waggles her eyebrows. “I think he rather liked it.”
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  1. Hee! This was great. A terrific way to start Monday morning. I love the conspiracy. :)

    And this line:

    It shifts under me—muscle and bone and a pocket full of something I don’t care to think about because holy crap I’m in some old creep’s lap!

    I just loved that line. It just cracked me up.

  2. I just love your writing style. So vivid.

    And two thumbs up for using the word "twerp". So underutilized, in my opinion. :)

  3. I love your offering Lauren.

    Especially this line, Cecily sniggers. “The chap she sat on, that was a great bonus. And you know what?” She waggles her eyebrows. “I think he rather liked it.” So great Lauren.

    And WHOOPS, I missed it. I got back from unplug week read Nisa's post and came over. I had misread the date, I guess. And all this, after I talked myself into doing it. =)

  4. Awesome. Some of the things I especially enjoyed... "I leap up like I scorched my backside on a hot griddle." The guy she landed on and his smirky, "I'm fine." Aunt Cecily and "geezer tourists." Very funny!

  5. Sarahjayne: Thanks! keeping it PG is always the challenge, but the work-arounds have their own charm.

    Karen: Thanks so much. I loves me some twerp, dweeb and other kid lingo. So much more fun and colorful than the usually cursing-based adult insults.

    Robyn: thanks. Visiting the participants and cheering them on is a great way to enjoy the fest too.

    Roxy: Thanks. Yeah, squashed dude liked the teenaged cutie in his lap a little too much. :-)

  6. Ha! Hahaa! Hahaaahahhaha! Nicely done, Laurel. I'm glad we haven't looked at this in crit group yet, 'cause it was a lovely surprise. Best line? This one:

    "muscle and bone and a pocket full of something I don’t care to think about because holy crap I’m in some old creep’s lap!"

    *snicker* *snort*

  7. I think he rather liked it, as well ;)

    Very cute. Great ending.

  8. Ha! Such unholy behavior ;) I'm sure he rather liked it. He's a boy right?

  9. I love your writing! I'm sure he liked it a lot. :)

  10. Personal favorite line: "I squawk like a strangled rooster."

    Hilarious! Very well done. I can see why you chose this theme for the blog fest! :)

  11. Simon: Thanks. Just keeping it PG, my friend. She's a nice church-going girl after all, and pretty darned clueless about her effect on the male population. ;-)

    Tara: Oh yeah, he reeeeeeally did. Thanks!

    T. Anne: Indeed, but would it be as funny to have happened at a museum instead?

    Seriously though, in much of this chapter, the MC struggles with a sense of God's distance. The irreverent moment puts into motion events that will radically change her thinking on that score.

  12. Nice twist at the end. And I'm fascinated to think what this might set in motion.

  13. Loved the British flair. Very cute.

  14. That was wonderful! I loved the descriptions and ooh flirting in a cathedral! And I'm already charmed by our guy in the pew :)

  15. This was an awesome scene!

    Tee hee, I too enjoyed the guy she sat on...interesting!

  16. I laughed out loud! Bravo. And, yes, I'm intrigued. Does the guy from the pew follow the fallen girl?

  17. hands down the best line ever: "A really lumpy pew. It shifts under me—muscle and bone and a pocket full of something I don’t care to think about because holy crap I’m in some old creep’s lap!"

    Thanks for hosting this blogfest!

  18. This was great! Dito on the British flair!

    Mine scene is posted at

  19. Oh, I Liiiiiiiked this. Great stuff, Laurel. Especially this line: "It shifts under me—muscle and bone and a pocket full of something I don’t care to think about because holy crap I’m in some old creep’s lap!" Haha!

    So glad she didn't get in trouble, too. You did a fabulous job conveying some of the underlying tension--it was subtle but it was clearly there in the college boy's reaction to her. Well done!

  20. Wow, I'm completely overwhelmed with the great responses. Many thanks, everyone. I have a crit group meeting tonight and am running short on time to respond individually, but maybe tomorrow!

    And I hate to disappoint, but come on, squashed guy is WAY too old for her. She's a HS sophomore! And he's not a nice guy. Not at all. I've posted a scene about him before, and believe me it was NOT for the Love at First Sight Blogfest.

  21. Terrific descriptions, Laurel, and such fun. Loved the last line.

    Oh, and thanks for hosting the blogfest, it's been awesome!

  22. Oh, this is LOVELY! I really like this a lot. I love how it wraps up at the end, and how much characterization you've got going on right from the get go!

  23. Laurel! You're great! How funny! I've skimmed through all my books and you know what? I don't have the whoops factor, that I can remember! So sad... I'll create one from scratch before the day is out. Hopefully it won't sound patchy!!
    OH, thanks for this fun!!

  24. Awesome!! I didn't expect the aunt to be in on it! Great twist :)

    Congrats on a great 'fest! I've read some terrific scenes today!!

  25. Heehee! That was funny! And I love that he looked at her seductive!! :))

  26. Awesome Laurel. I had about six different parts I want to say was my favorite; but really this: "It’s like an enchanted skyline bristling with Gothic spires." set the mood so well. I was really in the scene with that. I loved how she jumped, even though she was expecting it at some point. So much fun.

    Thanks for hosting this blogfest. It has put me in such a great mood. And I really needed that right now.


  27. Holy cannolis! I rather liked it myself. Mmmm...embarrassing yet to have someone seduce you with their smirk is friggin' awesome. Love it! I give it a 10. Great description.

  28. What a great scene! Was so sorry I had to miss the fest -- darn virus.

    However, I think we have solved the goobledegook puzzle, and by we I mean my hubs... so I should be back to blogging today!

  29. Bethany: Thanks! glad you enjoyed it.

    Lizzy: Many thanks. Embarrassment is one of those universals that I thought folks would have fun with--it's everywhere in my work. Thanks for participating in the fest.

    Laura: Hint--go find my Fight scene blogfest entry.

    Elle: I plead very guilty to being an extreme Anglophile. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Nicole: Interesting. Perhaps I should have made it more clear that Dani's only 15. College guy should seduce someone his own age. :-)

    Elizabeth: Thanks!

  30. Mary: Glad it made you laugh. He does. It's not pretty.

    Amalia: Thanks, and you're welcome!

    Julie: I copied your link into the widget. Hopefully others will find you more easily now. Thanks for joining the fun!

    Carol: I <3 your insightfulness.

    VR: Thanks, and you're quite welcome. This has been a great fest.

  31. Glam: Many thanks!

    Elizabeth: Kudos to your for drafting something and hopping right in!

    Jemi: Thanks! Aunt C. is good at hiding her mischievous side. The fest has been awesome. Thanks for cheering on the participants.

    Tiffany: When you're only 15, it's a bit disconcerting!

    Donna: Narrative misdirection, baby. I picked that technique up from Rowling. Glad you liked!

    Tina: Wow, I'm blushing. Thanks!

    Amber: Yay for hubs the hero! Hope you can now enjoy some the participants' offerings. Great stuff!

  32. Oh geez! lol! That is too funny! Very nice, Laurel. I'm going to be laughing for awhile.

    Sorry for getting to the reading of it a day late!