Category Archives: Will

Prologue

(A/N: a revamp and completed version of this)

“God, you sleep like a rock.”

Will lifted his arm from his eyes, squinting against the glare of sunlight pouring in from the window. He searched for Kate, blinking furiously until her silhouette took shape. She was standing by the other end of the couch in a tank top and pajamas, one bare foot resting on top of the other as she surveyed him over a glass of orange juice.

“What?” he asked, rubbing at his eyes.

“Your alarm’s been going off for the last half hour,” she said, throwing his phone onto his stomach. “Don’t you have some lunch thing to go to?”

He yawned. “What time is it?”

As if to answer him, his alarm started ringing again. 11:40! it announced on the lit up screen. He swore, cushions and bedding falling with him as he tumbled off the couch into an unceremonious heap on Kate’s dorm room floor. He flailed for a moment, tangled in the comforter, but managed to extract himself so that he stood victorious in his boxes, hands akimbo, surveying the mess of the couch at his feet.

“I’m okay,” he declared. “Where are my pants?”

Kate took a stoic sip of orange juice and gestured vaguely behind the couch. “You fell asleep in your clothes, but evidently you stripped in the middle of the night.”

“Oh.” He found his jeans in a pile on the floor, and his t-shirt inside out on top of his shoes. Now that she mentioned it, he did somewhat recall waking up around five and deciding it was too hot. It was mid-May after all, and even with the window open—but there was no time for explanations. He was supposed to be in Woodside in twenty minutes, and preferably better dressed than this.

It unnerved him that Kate was watching him pull his jeans on, not that he had anything to hide. Usually she would say something to break this kind of silence, to jibe at him even when she knew he was in a hurry. Usually. Who was he to say what she would usually do? This was only the third time he’d seen her in the past month, and before that, it had been almost a year. And whose fault is that? he reminded himself. He pushed that thought away and forced himself to think about his dress shirt. It was still hanging in the backseat of his car. He’d have to make do with yesterday’s t-shirt for now.

“Sorry to skip out on you like this,” he apologized, flipping the shirt right side out and pulling it over his head.

“It’s fine,” she said. “I mean, I knew you were planning on leaving in the morning.”

“No, I’m sorry, I would’ve stayed to have lunch with you, except I mentioned to my boss that I was coming down here, and he wanted me to have lunch with him and his wife—”

Kate set her glass down and went over to him. “Will,” she said, putting her hands on his shoulders, “it’s okay.”

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I’m sorry. We’ll hang out again soon, though. I promise.”

Resigned, she smiled wanly, and he could still see a wistful sadness in her eyes. That, more than anything, pushed against that stowaway guilt hiding in the back of his mind. But again he buried the feeling and instead bent to pick up his wallet and keys from the coffee table.

“We’ll see each other soon,” he insisted. His shoes took a little stomping to get into, but they gave way by the time he reached the door.

She nodded and gave him a quick hug. “At this rate, yeah. I will be seeing you soon.”

“Yes,” he declared, placing a hand on top of her head and looking into her eyes. “Take care of yourself?”

“Always do.”

He left her standing in the doorway and pounded down the stairs, his footsteps echoing wildly in the cold cement stairwell. I’m sorry, he thought again, hoping somehow he could beam his apology to her. He threw open the stairwell door to the courtyard between her building and the one next door. Trees shaded the lawn from the harsh morning sun, though a light haze of pollen and dust filled the air. He looked up through the branches and thought he saw Kate watching him from her window, but a glare crossed the glass and when it was gone, so was she.

His car was already baking. He fetched his dress shirt from the backseat and stripped off his t-shirt right there in the parking lot. A Range Rover passed him while he was undoing buttons, and he thought he heard someone yell, “Sun’s out, guns out!” but ignored it. He checked his reflection in the passenger window—good enough. He probably should have done something with his hair—wet it down or something—but it ought to flatten by the time he reached Woodside. His engine started with a grinding roar, and with a steady hand he steered his car out of the parking lot. He hit the gas and sped around the corner, Kate’s building disappearing from his rear view mirror. See you soon, Kate.

The lights were all green to the highway, and Will sped through each with a silent thank you, one eye still on the clock. With the on-ramp in sight, he shifted into high gear, taking it a little faster than he usually would have. He couldn’t count the number of times he’d taken this on-ramp leaving campus on his way north towards the city. Accelerating down it was second nature to him—but it had been a few months since he’d last driven it, and now a narrow strip of newly paved cement crossed the curve of the ramp. His tires hit the dip just wrong, and Will felt the car lurch under him. In slow motion, he saw the world tilting—

He was going too fast—

The road was sliding away from under him—

He saw the pale blue sky for a suspended moment and then everything went black.

(Edited 6/19/11)

Wandering

Will had wandered these streets before. Or maybe wandered wasn’t the right word. It definitely fit what he was doing right now, but he couldn’t remember why this particular tilt of light on the stone facades of these houses struck him as so familiar. He passed cascades of bright flowers tumbling from second story planters, and turned his head up to stare at an inky red blossom that sought to kiss his hair. Hello flower, he thought at it. It nodded in the breeze and bobbed sadly when he wandered on.

A/N: Started working on a novel. This is about as far as I got before something else demanded my time.

Morning

(A/N: Not really sure how Kate and Will’s relationship works, or what kind of people they are, so the only way to find out is by writing them and feeling it out. Here’s the start of something, I suppose…)

“God, you sleep like a rock.”

Will lifted his arm from his eyes, the world painfully bright and out of focus. Where the hell— He blinked a couple times until the voice had a speaker. Shit. Kate. What was she doing here? More importantly, where was here?

“Morning,” she said brightly. She was wearing a tank top and pajamas, one bare foot resting on top of the other as she surveyed him from behind her glass of orange juice. She looked… amused, that was probably the best word for it. Maybe a little annoyed, too, but that could just be him projecting. Her hair was shorter than he’d last seen it—shorter than he remembered. The fringe over her eyes was new. Maybe. It had been a while.

“Kate?” he mumbled, for lack of anything better to say.

“Yep,” she said. She kept standing there looking down at him, and took a stoic sip of orange juice.

“Hi.”

“Hello.”

Will rubbed his eyes with a finger and thumb and tried to look around. Bad news, he didn’t recognize anything. “Um,” he began, trying to figure out how to phrase this. “So, where am I?”

A small smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. “On my couch.”

“Oh,” he said in a small voice. How did he get here? He tried to sit up, but a pounding headache pummeled him back to a horizontal position.

“I probably could’ve warned you about that,” said Kate, her voice retreating elsewhere in the room while he cradled his head and groaned. “I’m guessing you don’t remember much of last night, do you?” she asked.

He shook his head. Wait… He glanced down at himself—just boxers under the blanket. “Wait—we didn’t—”

She glanced over at him from her dresser. Her expression wasn’t helpful.

“Did we?” he asked and followed it with a questioning look.

“Please,” she laughed. “If I wouldn’t sleep with you last spring, what makes you think I’d sleep with you when you’re blackout drunk?”

He shrugged, tilting himself upright as slowly as he could. “Sorry, I just… wanted to check.” Well, if he hadn’t felt like a jackass before, he sure did now. He took advantage of the silence to look around for a moment. They were in her dorm room, or so he guessed. How would he know? After all, he hadn’t seen Kate in almost a year, not since graduation. He meant to keep in touch—they said they’d keep in touch—but things just piled up and calling her had fallen to the bottom of his to do list. Now that he was fully awake, the painful awkwardness of this situation was dawning on him. It pushed at his already queasy insides, and suddenly, though he couldn’t say why, he wished he could hug her without things getting really awkward.

He swallowed that impulse and kept looking around. Her room was nice. Different from the room she’d had last year, but it seemed more… her. Maybe it was because she didn’t have a roommate this year, no one to clash décor with. She’d found a way to make the small, typically awkward dorm room into a comfortable living space, with large posters and swaths of fabric warming the otherwise sterile white walls.

Think, Will. Think. How did you get here? The last thing he could remember was FC Bayern winning their match against Manchester United. And then drinking. Heavily. Not much after that, although he’d watched the game at a bar in downtown, which at least put him in the vicinity of Kate. Closer than normal, anyway.

Kate stood across the room, considering him. She didn’t seem mad that he’d unceremoniously crashed here, but then again, she never seemed outright mad. The sunlight tumbling through the blinds was making her dark brown hair glow. It softened her expression. Definitely not mad… well, maybe.

“So,” he said. Might as well test the waters. “So… how did I get here?”

The question didn’t faze her, which he took as a good sign.

(To be continued…? Or rehauled? We’ll see…)

Kate

Katherine was my great-grandmother’s name. My parents chose it because she passed away while my mother was pregnant with me, although I would have been named Addison after some other relative if I’d turned out to be a boy. I like to think I dodged a bullet there. My mother adores names, but she said she had a hard time with boys’ names that went with Winchester. So many syllables, so many sounds. My brother Elliot was almost named Parker, but apparently the repeated er just didn’t sound right.

I love the sound of my name — the soft th sound, the hard K, the crisp ine that finishes it off. It took a long time for me to appreciate that sort of regal sound of my own name. When I was little, I couldn’t even say the th right. Katerine. Everyone in school called me Katie, at least up until sixth grade when I started telling my teachers that Katherine was fine. Since then everyone, except for my father, calls me Katherine.

Will’s the only one who calls me Kate. It’s a thing of his — his way of claiming ownership on some part of my identity, regardless of whether or not he actually has any stake to it. He never asked, but he never would anyway. It took me a while to notice, then one day I realized we’d gone from Tyler’s friend Katherine to Katherine to just Kate. I asked him once if I could call him Bill, or Willie, or Liam — he just laughed. When pushed, he said he’d never respond to Bill or Liam, but if I ever called him Willie, he’d kick my ass. He wouldn’t dare.

And I hate how I love the way he says it. Casual, light, glancing — “hey Kate, I’m outside” and “oh c’mon Kate.” He holds my name on the roof of his mouth, like he might add the ie I’d expect from grade school friends, or like he might spin it into some elaborate nickname. But no, it’s just Kate — then an exhale. Kate — breathe out. “Kate, come take a shot.” It’s his leash on me, whether I realized it or not. “Kiss me, Kate.” That one said while drunk. “I love you Kate.” That one never said.

(written somewhat with the chapter “My Name” from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros in mind)

In the movie theater arcade

(A/N: Will is not at all formed in my head, but I’ve decided based on that random thing last week that he travels a lot. He’s become the protagonist for my latest set of story ideas, so here we go…? Today’s freewrite based on the seed “arcade” from Purun.)

Will stepped into the arcade with his hands in his pockets. He wasn’t sure why he was protecting his spare change and not his wallet in his back pocket, but something about the jangling of the arcade made him want to shield the quarters and lint from harm. The movie wouldn’t start for another twenty minutes, and that would just be previews anyway. Besides, the movie would be on its way out of theaters within the next week, so it wasn’t like Will would get a bad seat.

Arcades were the same, no matter where he went. Movie theaters, bowling alleys, ice rinks, mini-golf courses, malls — all the same games and sounds and smells. This arcade featured an air hockey table, some shooter games, an old-fashioned pinball machine, Dance Dance Revolution (of course), and a couple racing games as well. Will didn’t feel particularly inclined to play any of them, but he had to kill time somehow and ended up watching two kids play air hockey until their game was up.

“You wanna play?” asked the girl who had just lost. She looked about sixteen, old enough to be in high school and figuring herself out, but still young enough that the world hadn’t shown her how complicated things could be. She had her light brown hair down and loose — he had noticed how she flicked her head periodically while she played to get her bangs out of her eyes.

“I — uh,” he stammered. Will hadn’t been prepared for conversation. If he’d been ready for it, he would’ve had some quick quip to throw at her, to shut her down unless she was hardened enough to throw something back. But he’d just been watching, killing time before he could let the movie wash over his senses. He hadn’t been planning on being engaged with anything tonight. Let it all come to him. After the past month of seeking out adventure, he just wanted adventure to show up and slap him in the face.

The girl was still staring at him, so he shook his head and shrugged at the same time and spun on his heel to walk away with the most nonchalance he could muster in his quick getaway. Wow. Way to feel competent, Will. He shook himself mentally and set off for the candy and popcorn counter. A little sugar and butter would put him back in a vegetative mood.