Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The King's Crown - Chapter Three

This is a short chapter, written before I knew what chaptering was all about. Hell, it was written before I knew what writing was all about. Like so many others, I figured I could crank a book out in no time and as soon as I finished it, they'd be crawling all over each other to publish it. Easy as that, right?


At any rate, writing doesn't work out quite like that.

Here's chapter three of The King's Crown. I hope you enjoy it.


Chapter Three

Alex met Paul during her first semester at college. He was a Senior finishing up his degree requirements by taking a beginning computer course. They met in one of the computer labs where Alex was working. He was cute and charming. She thought it was romantic the way he called her Alexandra, so she began concentrating on helping him in the evenings when she was supposed to be helping everyone. One night he had a project that was due the following day, and she let him stay after she locked up so he could finish it. One thing led to another that night and they began seeing each other.

Thinking back Alex could see it was anything but a normal relationship. They met in the back of the library or at a small coffee shop just off campus. Paul never took Alex back to his dorm room. When they ran into each other on campus, neither one spoke. Paul convinced Alex that meeting in out of the way places and not acknowledging one another in public would be exciting and would keep them out of the rumor mills that were a large part of campus life. They saw each other in secret nearly every day for two months.

One day in particular stood out in Alex’s mind...

"I love you so much, Paul.” Alex looked over at the fair haired man sitting next to her. “I can’t wait until we can finally be together.” She grinned into his sparkling blue eyes. They sat under a tree in front of the Student Union building. They didn’t touch. Sitting a small distance apart, they held books and did their best to appear to be studying separately. Occasionally Alex would turn to talk to Paul but when Paul replied he spoke into his text book.

"I love you too, baby. We won’t have to wait much longer. After all, I graduate next month.” Paul turned the pages of the book he obviously wasn’t reading.

Alex sighed, “But then you’ll be going to graduate school. Paul, I need to talk to you about us.” She gave up the pretense of studying and turned to Paul in earnest.

He didn’t even look her way, although you could tell by the look on his face that he didn’t appreciate her dropping her end of the act. “Oh, baby. Don’t be such a worry wart, I’ll only be an hour away and by the time you get your degree here I’ll be graduating there. We can be together then.” Paul took a highlighting pen out of his book bag and began marking sentences randomly.

Alex snatched the pen out of his hands, “Paul, I said I need to talk to you.”

"Alexandra, please, you’re making a scene. We can talk later. Now I’m going back to my room, and I suggest you do the same before somebody sees us.” Paul began to gather his books. He began stuffing them randomly into his book bag.

"Paul, I said I need to talk to you and I mean now. I’d prefer if we don’t talk here but if you insist...” Alex began.

"Really Alex, can’t this wait. I told you we could meet the coffee shop...we could get that booth in the back.” Paul glanced around nervously, “Alex people are beginning to stare. I’ll see you at 9.” And with that Paul turned to walk away.

"I’m pregnant.” Alex stated.

That little phrase stopped Paul dead in his tracks. “YOU’RE WHAT?!” He shouted. He grabbed Alex by the top of her arm and jerked her closer to him. “How did this happen?!”

"Paul, you’re hurting me.” Alex cried as his fingers dug into her. “And you know very well how this happened. You were there too, you know.” Alex tried to pry loose of his grasp.

"Don’t get smart with me you bitch.” He growled, “This will ruin everything. Why weren’t you more careful? I thought you were on the pill for Christ’s sake.” Paul began to shake Alex. “What will happen to my studies? Did you think of that? I can’t very well support you and pay my tuition too. My God! What is my wife going to say?!” He stopped and physically shuddered. “You conniving little bitch! You did this on purpose. You with your big lofty talk about how you wanted to concentrate on your studies and how nothing was going to get in the way of that. Bull shit. Boy, what a liar you turned out to be.” He screamed. “Give it up for adoption, get an abortion, get hit by a truck for all I care. Just don’t expect to get a cent out of me. It probably isn’t even mine, you little slut!” And with that Paul pushed her away from him.

Alex remembered stumbling for a few feet and then her feet seemed to drop out from underneath her and she was falling. Too late she remembered the stairwell leading to the underground amphitheater. Her ankle turned on the first step causing her to fall down the remaining twelve. She hit the landing with a sickening thud and everything went black.

When Alex awoke, someone had carried her to the grass at the top of the stairs and there was a crowd of people standing around. Someone was patting her hand. She tried to push the hand away and stand up but the hand held her in place. “No honey, you must try to lie still.” a woman’s voice said, “The police have been called and an ambulance is on its way.”

"I don’t need an ambulance.” Alex denied and she sat up. It was then that she noticed the pain and the sickening wet feeling between her legs. “Oh my God! My baby!” She cried. She could feel herself getting dizzy and she heard the sirens in the background. She tried to keep alert but the pain was too great. The last thing she remembered of that day was the sight of Paul being pushed into the back of a police car.


Alex shook herself and went back into the house. The memories of that day still haunted her after all these years. Alex spent a few days in the hospital recovering from her miscarriage and the infection that followed. Paul spent a few months in jail for assault. The results of that day left Alex infertile. Paul’s legal career ended with a that push and his life ended with a leap off a chair in a jail cell. She wasn’t sorry that she had pressed charges against Paul. She was sorry that he wasn’t man enough to take the punishment for what he’d done.

As she wandered through her big empty house, she caught a glimpse of her reflection in a china cabinet. She saw the face of the girl she had been then - haunted and empty. The tell tale traces of her tears could still be seen on her cheeks but for the moment she was done crying. 11 years she had spent most of her time crying. She cried for the baby she had lost; she cried for the man she had lost. She didn’t cry for Paul. He wasn’t the man she thought he was; she was in love with the lie he had created. Paul’s wife, it turned out, was living back home in Ohio - waiting for her devoted husband to finish school and come back to her.

The only thing about that incident that Alex was thankful for was that her parents never found out a thing. Her mother commented on Alex’s dropping grades that year, and on her lack of communication for about a month of so, but after that she never thought about it again. Alex threw herself into her studies. She completed her bachelor’s degree in only three years. Everyone who knew her at school told her she was driven but they never once mentioned the reason why. Her father exclaimed to his lodge buddies about what an over achiever his daughter was; her mother lied to her bridge club that Alex was finishing school quick so she become an eligible and sought after single woman. Alex never talked to a soul about the whole disaster, even though friends tried to get her to open up and her doctor recommended counseling. She buried herself in her work and tried to forget.

Now, after all these years she met someone who ignited a spark in her and it brought all the old hurts back to the surface. And the old fears. Here was a man she knew nothing about; a man who charmed and surprised her, just as Paul had. She shook her head and walked into her work room. Computers were her life now and she thought that she’d come to terms with that years ago. Computers didn’t require an ounce of emotion; they never lied and they never betrayed.

Being a freelance consultant gave her the freedom she required. Working with computers allowed her to keep her distance from humanity and that was just how she liked it! She thought angrily. “How dare this stranger, this man, barge into my life and destroy the careful walls I spent years building!”

"Well,” she said to herself, “That’s the last I’ll see of him.”


  1. Well, one day you'll just have to finish this one up.

  2. I enjoyed this. Have a great writing year 2008, B.E.!