Tuesday Teaser: Eddie’s Prize

Here you go: a little snippet from Eddie’s Prize. This is a scene that takes place the night before the Bride Fights.

 

      It was after midnight when Eddie crept on bare feet to the room Lisa and Carla had been given. His parents were finally in bed. They had stayed up late discussing the applicants for the Bride Fight, deciding who would be allowed to enter, but had banned him from joining the conversation.

      The furious whispers coming from the women’s room fell silent when he tapped softly. After a moment, Carla voice said, “Who is it?”

      “It’s me. Eddie. Can I come in? I want to talk to you.”

      After a moment the door opened and Carla stepped back to let him in. She was dressed for bed, her still-damp brown hair in a braid down her back. Eddie looked past her to where Lisa sat hunched on the side of the bed, her blond hair glorious in the dim glow of the lamp, her pale face miserable. Her fingers pleated a corner of the sheet with jerky movements. Eddie wanted to hug her and tell her everything would be okay. Instead he put his hands in his jeans’ pockets and tried to smile.

      “What do you want?” Carla asked rudely.

      “Sh! Not so loud,” Eddie whispered. “Let’s not wake up my parents.”

      “Are you supposed to be here?” Carla asked.

      That made Eddie smile. “Of course not. I’m going to be fighting tomorrow. If the other men knew I was here they’d think I was taking unfair advantage.”

      Carla’s glare could have parted his hair. “You’re fighting tomorrow? In this stupid Bride Fight thing?”

      “Sh!” said Eddie again. “Yes, for Lisa.” Did that sound rude? “You’re very pretty too,” Eddie hurried to say. “But—”

      Carla cut him off with the first real smile he’d seen from her. “That’s okay. I hope no one shows up to fight for me.”

      Eddie remembered the dozens of men who had passed through his father’s office that evening, especially Taye Wolfe, who had stood with arms folded grimly over his chest for the entire visiting hour, glaring at each and every admiring comment made about Carla.

      Eddie didn’t say anything. He looked over at Lisa. She had crumpled the sheet in one fist and was gazing at him pitifully. She reminded him of a half-drowned kitten. The prettiest, sweetest half-drowned kitten he could imagine.

 

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