The lovely young-adult author, Beth Fantaskey, agreed to write a guest post for today's Haunted Blog Tour! She has written the book "Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side", and the soon-to-be-released book "Jekel Loves Hyde".
Beth has decided to re-write a chapter in her novel from a different character's perspective. Even if you haven't read the book yet (like me), you should still read it. It's amazing! :) Check back tomorrow for a great contest.
Hey everyone! Happy Halloween!
This is one of my favorite holidays, and I couldn’t resist including a Halloween scene in my first novel, Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. For the “Haunted Blog Tour,” I’ve rewritten that scene from the point of view of Jake Zinn, a character many readers root for, probably because Jake’s an average guy with a good heart who does his best to compete for the heroine’s affection against nothing less than a vampire prince.
Here’s a glimpse into Jake’s thoughts as he prepares to kiss Jess for the first time – even as he suspects that she has feelings for the charismatic, foreign boy who has suddenly shown up in their quiet, rural community.
Have a scary-fun holiday!
Jake Zinn – Halloween Night
I couldn’t think of anything to say to her. Not one stupid thing, even though we’d just spent two hours at the school’s fall carnival together.
Jess Packwood was sitting next to me in my truck, biting her fingernails and looking out the window at nothing, and my brain was about as blank as the view passing by.
I jammed the truck into fourth and almost laughed. What would old Mrs. Wilhelm call that? “As blank as the view?”
A simile? Metaphor? Analogy?
One of those things.
I stopped laughing, and my fingers got tight around the gearshift.
Vladescu would have known. That guy was all about reading and metaphors and Moby Dick and might as well’ve taught English lit., the way he was always piping up from the back of the room. Mrs. Wilhelm was so in love with him, it was kind of sick. She was practically as bad as the rest of the girls in school, who made faces like, “Oh, god, look at him,” every time Luc walked down the hall.
I looked over at Jess, who was still biting her fingernail, looking really pretty.
And what about her? Was she, like, in love with the guy who lived over her folks’ garage?
I kind of thought so, even though Jess swore they were hardly even friends.
“The carnival was fun, huh?” I asked, just to say something.
Jess yanked her hand away from her mouth and looked over at me, looking surprised, like she’d been daydreaming. “What?” She hugged the stuffed hot dog I’d won for her by throwing some softballs at a cardboard clown. “Oh, yeah… It was great.”
Now what? Why couldn’t I think of anything to talk about?
I thought about Jess all the time. I thought of stuff I wanted to tell her, and in my brain it came out great. And we’d talked a lot over the summer, when I’d go to the diner where she’d worked. I’d known Jess practically my whole life, but she’d just been this girl who lived on the weird farm where they didn’t seem to grow anything but stray cats. But sometime over the summer, without me even noticing, that changed. I must’ve eaten about 30 hot turkey sandwiches before I figured out why I didn’t really go anyplace else. I liked hanging out with Jess, watching her add up checks in her head, without a pen. She could even do the tax. I liked to tease her about that.
But tonight she seemed like a gazillion miles away. The whole time we’d been at the carnival, she’d kept watching the door, like she was expecting somebody to maybe show up. I didn’t want to know who.
“So… how about that reading list for lit.,” I tried again. “It’s like a book a week!”
“Yeah, it’s a pretty crazy schedule,” Jess agreed, still hanging on to the hot dog.
What a stupid prize. I wished I could have won her the bear, which was cooler. But I’d only been able to get two softballs through the clown’s mouth. I sucked at throwing. That’s why I’d gone out for wrestling. No pressure to throw anything.
And why’d I have to bring up lit.? I saw the way Jess turned around whenever Luc talked about “symbolism.”
I downshifted kind of rough and hauled on the steering wheel, turning onto the dirt road that went to the Packwood place.
Vladescu could throw. He was the big basketball star at Wilson.
I’d tried to like that guy, and give him a chance, but it was hard. And I wasn’t the only one who thought he was different. Frank Dormand was telling the whole school that Lucius was crazy. Maybe dangerous.
Sometimes I wondered if I should have slammed Dormand against a locker for teasing Jess, like Luc had done while I’d stood there like an idiot. But my parents would kill me for getting in a fight at school, and Dormand had just been joking around…
“Hey, we’re here,” I said, like Jess wouldn’t recognize her own house, which was right in front of our faces. I pulled over near the barn, where I usually parked to deliver hay, put the truck in neutral and turned to look at her, and all of a sudden I really couldn’t talk.
Wow, she was pretty in that dress. It was, like, more mature than what the other girls wore to the carnival – but Jess had a body, and that dress showed it off. Not, like, in a sleazy way, but just… wow.
I’d seen guys checking her out all night – the same guys who’d been busting on me for liking a math geek – and I’d felt like telling them, “Back off, because I saw her first. You snoozed, and you lost!”
“Thanks again for winning me the hot dog,” she said, twisting around so we were face to face in the dark cab. Over her shoulder, I could see a jack-o-lantern lit up on the porch. And something, or somebody, next to it. At first I thought her dad – talk about a weird guy – had made a scarecrow, but then I thought I saw it move…
“I had a great time at the carnival,” Jess added.
“Sorry I didn’t get the bear,” I told her.
She smiled and shrugged, so the top of her dress shifted a little, and it was really hard not to look down at her chest, even though my dad told me never to do that when you talked to a girl. “Well, a hot dog’s nice,” she said. “It’s different, you know?”
I licked my lip, getting nervous. I’d kissed girls before, sure, and I knew it was time to make a move, but Jess made me act like I was in junior high. She was different. Good different. I looked past her out the window again. And was her dad on the porch? Or was that…?
“Did I tell you that you look really great in that dress?” I asked, stalling.
“Thanks.” She smiled again and wrapped one of her curls around her fingers, and I just about lost it. What was it about this girl?
We said some more lame stuff – I didn’t even know what I was saying – and all the sudden she started getting out of the truck, so I quick killed the engine and hustled around to get her door. And the weird thing was, as I walked in front of my truck, I decided not to even try to kiss Jess.
Not that night, or ever.
I made up my mind, right then and there, that we were through before we even really got started.
That’s when she tried to hop down, tripped on her own feet, and fell right on to me.
I heard her say “crap,” which was pretty funny, and then she slammed into my chest.
Yeah, I had planned to tell Jess that I’d see her around, and not even promise to call her, because I wasn’t going to. But when I caught her, she smelled so nice, and she felt so good, and a part of me still wanted to kiss her, so I did. It was like I lost control of myself, and the next thing I knew, we were kind of making out. A little.
I’d never heard of Jess having a boyfriend, but she was a good kisser. Her lips were really soft, and she tasted like the cotton candy I’d bought us at the carnival. Sweet. I almost felt like maybe I wasn’t so hot at kissing.
Where’d she learn to kiss so good…?
I opened my eyes and saw that jack-o-lantern laughing at us. I stopped kissing her. “I gotta get going, or I’ll break curfew,” I said.
Then I promised to call her, and I knew I would do it.
I also knew I should offer to walk Jess to her door, but I didn’t. I got back into my truck, and she stood there while I drove away. I slowed at the curve just past the barn, but I didn’t check the rearview to watch her go into the house, because I didn’t want to see her not open the front door. I didn’t want to see the girl I liked so much sit down next to the guy I’d seen watching us when I’d come around the front of my truck.
I steered around the curve, still not looking back.
He was the reason I’d almost told Jess that I didn’t think we should keep hanging out. He was waiting for her next to that jack-o-lantern, looking scarier than anything else I’d seen that Halloween. Looking mad.
I didn’t really wanna be part of a pissing match with some foreign kid, even over Jess. Especially not with Luc, who looked like he’d been in a few fights, back in whatever country he came from. I didn’t check out guys in the locker room, but it was hard to miss that scar on his arm. I’d butchered stuff, and I knew the kind of marks knives left behind.
I drove down the Packwood’s dirt road, knowing I would call Jess, like I’d promised, because I was a nice guy – and for some reason, I couldn’t help wanting to be with her. Even though I had this feeling that it was all gonna turn out bad. That someday, it was gonna come down to me versus Vladescu. And remembering how Luc had practically strangled Dormand just for teasing Jess, let alone kissing her – I had this spooky feeling… Mrs. Wilhelm definitely would have called it “foreshadowing”… that one of us was gonna get hurt.