A Second Chance

This is the first couple of pages of a book I wrote, would love to get thoughts. This scene is based on my own conversion experience. Let me know your thoughts! Dana

Raven staggered into her bedroom and fell on the bed.  The darkness was pressing into her on every side.  A shard of light sliced through the room.  She tried to focus on the ceiling but the room spun around her.  She slid to the edge of the bed until one foot laid flat on the floor, it was supposed to stop the spinning.  It didn’t.

Oh, God, she prayed, if You keep me from puking, I swear, I’ll never drink again. 

It was an empty promise, as deceiving as the alcohol was.  The numbness was too short.  All too quickly, she’d end up in the same position, praying the same stupid prayer, talking to a God she didn’t know.

Her mind drifted back to the party.  It had been a success except for Travis.  Looks wise, he was a welcomed addition to the guest list.  Tall dark and handsome was an understatement.  But he had a flaw, he was a Christian.

Raven wasn’t totally against Christians but Travis always went overboard.  Since his conversion, he was known for coming to parties and preaching, evangelizing is what he called it, everyone else called it something even she wouldn’t repeat.

She finally slipped into a restless sleep.  Teresa haunted her dreams, again, her face was white, her lips, blue, her body, cold.  She was calling her name…

“Raven!”

Raven rolled over on her side, pulled the pillow over her head, muffling the girls voice.  The shrink said the memories would fade.  They didn’t.

“Raven!”

She pulled the pillow tighter over her ears.

“Raven,” there was a pounding.  Raven quickly sat up.

“Get the door,” the voice said.

Raven slowly opened her eyes to see her sister standing in the doorway to her room.

Raven’s head pounded almost as loudly as her heart did.  Was it morning?  Had she slept?  Was she still buzzed or hung over?

She sat for a moment, her head throbbed, her mouth was dry and she thought she’d puke, she was hung over.

“The door?” Raven asked but Hailey had already disappeared.

Crawling across the bed she peeked out the window and looked down at the front porch.  There was the tall, dark and handsome preacher boy pushing the bell again.

“I’ll kill him,” she said as the doorbell rang through the house intensifying the pounding in her head.

She stood up, stumbled then caught herself on the dresser.  Standing for a moment, she waited for her equilibrium to stabilize then started down the stairs.  Opening the front door, she was blinded by what appeared to be an unusually bright sun.

Squinting, she said, “Are you crazy?  Do you know what time it is?”

“Yeah, it’s nine o’clock.”  Travis pushed past her and stood in the living room dressed in perfectly creased khaki pants and a pin-striped, untucked shirt.  “You going like that?”

Raven looked down at the same clothes she had on the night before.  Jeans and a t-shirt with a pizza stain on it.  She didn’t want to know what her hair or face looked like.

“Where am I going?” she asked.

“To church.”

Normally she would jump at the opportunity to go anywhere with Travis.  Despite his apparent Jesus freakishness, he was a wrestler with ripples that made your heart pound but this was crazy.

“Church?”  Her head throbbed harder and she slowly rubbed her temple, “Who said I was going to church?”

“You did, last night.”

“Last night?”

“Don’t you remember?”

Raven paced the living room, “I remember having a really good buzz and you asked me to dance.”

“Yeah, you remember anything else?”

She remembered his hard triceps, his wanting smile and the overwhelming urge to kiss him.

“No,” she said, “I don’t remember anything else.”

“I asked you to church and you said yes.”

“I said yes?  Are you sure?”

Of course he was sure or he wouldn’t be standing in her living room at 9:00 am on a Sunday morning.  Last nights overwhelming urge to kiss him turned into an overwhelming urge to get him out of her house, preferably with her not in his car on the way to church.

“Even if I did say yes,” she said, “There is no possible way I can go with you.  Look at this place.”  She motioned in the direction of the table littered with pizza boxes, stale chips and empty beer cans.  “My parents will be home tomorrow, I have to clean this mess.”

“You can clean when you get home, I’ll even help.”

Chewing on her bottom lip, she said, “Church?”

Travis sat down on the brown leather couch.  “If you’re not going to change, will you at least wash your face, maybe run a brush through your hair.”

Raven’s face flushed.  Crossing her arms over her chest she glared at him, “I never said I was going.”

“Yes, you did and I’m not leaving here without you.  You promised.”

“I made that promised so you’d shut up and dance.”

One side of his mouth went up into a grin, “So, you do remember.”

Vaguely.  When he had asked her to dance her stomach fluttered and her heart pounded furiously.  They had been friends for a long time but he never looked at her like a man looks at a woman.  Last night, she had hoped all that had changed.  Apparently not.  She had been evangelized.

“Do you know how annoying it is to be dancing with you,” she said, shifting her weight to her left leg, “And you start talking about church?”

“I care about you,” his grin deepened.

“Yeah, right,” she said, rolling her eyes.

Travis stood up.  He was six feet tall with skin that always looked tanned, black hair that almost hit his shoulders and pecks the size of her thighs.  He grabbed both of her arms and moved her into the foyer where an oval mirror hung.  “Look at yourself and tell me you don’t need church.”

She stared at her reflection.  If he was referring to her uncombed blond hair and smeared make-up, she could fix that in five minutes but if he was referring to her lifestyle he had no right.

She’d admit that some things happened because of her stupid choices, other things that had happened were beyond her control and some things, no matter how hard she tried, would never change.  Alcohol was her comfort, her momentary numbness from the pain.

He turned her to face him, smiling, his dimples deep, “It’s not that I don’t like your raccoon eyes but maybe you could lightened them up.”

She pushed his hands away, “Shut up.  You just woke me up and I’ve had very little sleep.  I don’t need your insults.”

“I’m not insulting you, I’m just saying…”

“Yeah, I got make-up smeared around my eyes, I get it.”  She opened the front door, “You can go now.”

“Okay,” he grabbed her hand, pulling her towards the door, “Let’s go.”

She yanked her hand from his, “I’m truly flattered that you think I need saved so badly but I’m not going.”

Hailey appeared at the top of the stairs, “Would you two get outta here so I can sleep.”

“He wants me to go to church,” Raven said, knowing her sister would back her up.  Tell him church was stupid, to get out of their house.

“So, go.”  Hailey disappeared.

She didn’t expect that.

Travis’s smile deepened, “Go change, I’ll wait.”

“Fine,” Raven said through gritted teeth.  She walked into her bedroom, “If he thinks I’m dressing up or anything…” she grabbed a black v-neck sweater and pulled it on over her t-shirt, covering the pizza stain.  “I’m eighteen years old and still can’t do what I want to do,” she said to her reflection in the mirror right before licking a cotton swab and rolling it under her eyes, removing the stray mascara.

She powdered her face and applied some blush.  Walking into the bathroom she brushed her teeth, ran a brush through her long blond hair then grabbed a clip and pulled it up.  A squirt of clean smelling perfume and viola.  Not bad for a two minute make-over.

Travis stood smiling when she walked back down the stairs into the living room.  “Let’s get this over with,” she said.

He shook the keys in his hands as they walked to his black Jeep Cherokee, “Sound a little more enthusiastic and you might just get lunch outta me.”

She opened the car door, forcing a smile, “That may make this all worth it.”  She slid into the car, “But you’re still helping me clean.”

He laughed as he climbed into the car and took off.

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