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Journalism Profile on Will Litton 2 ……………...…....................


Q&A with Mo Ryan ……………………………………………..


Copywriting Fat Brain Toys ……………………………………...……………….


Reviews “Swan Song” Supernatural 5.22 ......................................


“It’s a Shame About Ray” Girls 2.4 ...................................


Fiction “Bruises” a short story ..................................................


Resume ........................................................................


Bio ...................................................................................


Profile on Will Litton


ill Litton is one of the founding editors of Wag’s Revue, an online only literature magazine that is changing the way online publishing is viewed. He currently serves as the fiction editor, and is about to start working towards his MFA. Wag’s Revue got started while Litton studied at Brown. He, with two friends, Sandra Allen and Will Guzzardi, were talking about where literary magazines were going and how the internet was changing print forever. “It dawned on us that we have a good cast of characters to create an online magazine, something that hadn’t really been done well yet,” Litton says, over the phone. They were lucky enough to have friends help with the technology, and he was close with Brian Evenson, who was chair of the Literary Arts program at Brown, who was wanting to publish a project he couldn’t find a medium for print magazines didn’t have the funds to get glossy photographs on the page. “Our first issue made a splash. We were fortunate. We had big names, good content and just sort of.. dove in, which gave us enough momentum to keep doing it in spite of everything else. Regardless of what people were saying, good or bad, we made a considerable splash for an obscure literary magazine.” One of those names was Wells Tower, someone Will spent a long time tracking down. “It’s funny, actually, he knew my friend’s mom or something. A lot of random things fell into place.” The essays editor, Sandra, was able to call in on an owed favor and interview Dave Eggers. All of these connections enabled the three of them to catch attention and establish themselves as a legitimate magazine. The first issue also taught them a lot. They have now had three years to work out the kinks - like technical bugs, needing to make the site work efficiently in all browsers. Their goal is to “maintain the page as a sacred unit, and reimagine the space of the page online, but keep the aesthetic pleasing.” It’s still difficult, and a hurdle they continuously are trying to jump over. Right now they’re in the middle of a website redesign, that will hopefully be launched by the end of summer. “But that could probably turn into a few months later,” Litton says, laughing. Wag’s is also trying to secure a few grants, in order to pay their authors a little more. Notable about Wag’s is that it’s nonprofit. None of the editors actually get paid, though they offer 100 dollars for each published piece. They don’t charge for their magazine either - every issue is available online for free, and for always. They make their money from fundraising, and their writing contests, held twice a year. Each contest has an entry fee of 20 dollars, but there are three large cash prizes and all pieces are considered for publication. “Mostly though, the secret to keeping it free, is not being paid at all. It’s a labor of love, and we’re fine with that.”


The magazine is equal parts poetry, interviews, fiction, and essays. Fiction is popular though, and Litton has to sift through three times as many submissions as his fellow editors. It’s also a challenge for him to get even midrange authors, since Wag’s can’t pay as much, and there’s still the stigma of publishing online to break through. Though it’s getting better, “after being published in print, it feels like going backwards”. That’s what Wag’s is trying to change. They only publish their magazine online, and it’s created specifically for the internet. They want to prove that publishing online is just as legitimate as print. Litton also looks for content that take risks, stories that print magazines wouldn’t touch. One story from issue ten last fall, titled “The Idiot” was written entirely on the author Victor Vazquez’s phone, and sent in that way. The story is told through a repetitive ‘the idiot.. the idiot.. the idiot..’. “A lot of it is me diving into slush. I’ll work with an author through even dozens of drafts if I like it.” He also goes to lit readings to find aspiring authors. “I look for the ones who haven’t been published in The Paris Review yet, but probably someday will. Snag them before they rise.” Litton says he trolls around coffee shops and events, meets a lot of MFA students, and finds the challenge of recruiting people to send him writing is fun. The website is beautifully designed and each issue is accompanied with unique artwork, which is another benefit to publishing online - trying to print their magazine as is would cost a lot, and the internet makes things pretty darn cheap. However, there are drawbacks. The internet is a very now society. “They want content three times a day. But we want our quarterly to be one totally packaged magazine that can be read as a whole, and be really well edited before we put it out. The internet is all don’t worry about dotting your i’s just keep people coming.. but we want to maintain Wag’s how we imagined it.” This is why they started up a blog a few months ago, as part of the site. It can have a fun, frequent presence, without sacrificing the quality or intent of the magazine itself. They brought on a new editor to run the blog, but called on their previous submitters to write for it. Though Wag’s Revue is online only, the mag still tries to maintain a Chicago presence. They hold readings here in the summer, and also attended the AWP conference. The editors all communicate and work online, which makes living in different states not an issue, but make it a goal to extend past their internet community and keep Chicago alive in the mag, or “wag”, if you will. Ÿ


Q&A With Mo Ryan


o Ryan is a TV critic who writes for the Huffington Post and has nearly 20,000 twitter followers. Previously she wrote for AOL TV, and Chicago Tribune. As one of the top critics, she has landed interviews with big names such as Jane Espenson (EP Once Upon a Time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Jared Padelecki and Jensen Ackles (main stars of Supernatural), D.B. Weiss (EP of Game of Thrones), Matthew Weiner (EP of Mad Men), and many more. Yet, she is still one of the most humble and friendly people I’ve ever met. I first met Mo in the spring when she came to Columbia College Chicago to do an interview with her friend, Jane Espenson (who I also fangirl over). After the interview they stuck around and I had time to squeeze in a quick introduction before having to run off to class, and I was touched they bothered to stay. That stuck with me - Mo is extremely busy (as is Jane) but they both stayed and kept talking over an hour after the schedule ended. When I approached her about an interview she responded very enthusiastically (she uses smiley faces, what a great lady) and gave me her email. This is what we talked about. Q: How did you make the transition from fan to critic? A: Well, I was working for the Chicago Tribune as an arts editor, and watching a fair amount of TV. Around 2003 I began writing about it, then in 2004 the paper’s TV critic went on leave, and I began filling in for him. I really loved it. I’ve been working as a TV critic ever since. It helped that I was in the journalism profession already. Being a fan and journalist converged really nicely. Q: What was the switch between the Tribune and HuffPost like? A: Great, but scary! I had been at the Tribune for 13 years, and I didn’t know if I had built up enough of a following to be found in my new home. I really worried about that. And I’m not one of those online types who dismisses print readers they were always a vital part of what I did at the Tribune. I really miss being in print, and seeing my name in the paper. But at Huffington Post, I’ve been exposed to an even larger audience and a very active commenting community. It’s enormously helpful to be a part of a TV site staff. At the Tribune, I was usually the only person writing about TV and wondered if I was doing enough. It’s difficult to serve two masters, print and online have different needs, so to switch back and forth constantly can be tiring. I’m really happy with the HuffPost TV gig, and am glad I landed there. Q: Sounds awesome. But how do you fit in so much TV watching?? A: I actually watch less than people think I do, which makes me sad - I wish I was watching 10 hours of TV a day! Well, sometimes I do, depending on the show,


haha. I try to fit in some of it during the day, but the truth is I watch a lot of TV for work in the evening, after my son has gone to bed. So it tends to be a long day at times, but I can’t complain because it’s a lot of fun. Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job? A: Choosing what to focus on - it’s a constant worry that I’ll miss something I should have written about or forget to keep up with a show that became interesting or worth writing about. That’s what’s great about social media, people can let me know what they’re enjoying, or what’s going downhill, and sometimes I can jump on those shows mid-stream. It’s a constant struggle to decide whether to focus on ongoing programs or new fare - should I do a lot of interviews/features/reviews of a program I like that has a fervent fanbase? Or should I try to review as many new or returning shows as possible? I’m always trying to strike that balance. I’m not always sure I’ve gotten it right, but I’m always thinking about it. Q: What was your first big interview like? A: Oh gosh, I’m not sure if I can remember the first! Among them was Chris Carter from the X-Files. I worked for a magazine that covered the show frequently, and then our company got the contract to produce The Official X-Files Magazine, so I ended up interviewing him a lot in the 90s. That educated me as to the ways of a showrunner who appears to give you answers but really does not give any definitive answers that you can pin down, ha. He was a nice guy but usually quite opaque, which makes sense given the mysteries of the show. Q: What shows is it time to just lay to rest? Any that deserve to be resurrected? A: Oh, Dexter has needed to go away for a long time now! I loved it when it first began but it’s just getting worse and worse each year. I’d love if Firefly and Farscape would come back, or maybe Star Trek with an infusion of fresh blood and ideas. I love my sci-fi/space operas! Q: Don’t we all?? What are your top 5 shows right now? A: Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation, Homeland, Louie…and just for kicks I’ll say Spartacus, because it’s really really good, and everyone underestimates it and I’d love them to know how wrong they are. Q: And as a fellow Doctor Who fan I just have to ask.. who is your favorite Doctor? A: Tom Baker! Though Matt Smith is tied with him at the moment :) Ÿ


Loopy Ball

Loopy Ball is a soft and vibrant toy that inspires baby to explore touch. Multiple textures on the rings provide new tactile sensations and the overall softness of Loopy Ball will have baby squeezing and not wanting to let go! The bright colors and engaging patterns will stand out in baby's vision. No part of Loopy Ball is the same! This toy is easy to explore for infants and as baby grows all of the loops and rings can be grasped and tugged, aiding in development of fine motor skills. This squishy toy also improves hand eye coordination. Baby's auditory sense is stimulated with the gentle chimes and clacks of Loopy Ball. Give this toy a tilt, shake, or squeeze and make some soothing sounds! Loopy Ball is the perfect size for travel. It's small enough for the car and comes with a link that easily attaches to stroller or carrier. Soft and safe for baby to play, Loopy Ball is also completely BPA free. Baby will love discovering touch with this bold, cushioned ball! Â

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Freeze Up

Freeze Up is the pass around word play game that's fun for the whole family! With over 170 categories to choose from, the questions will never get old. Can you name a flower that starts with M? How about an animal that starts with L, or a state with the letter C? It sounds easy - but with the pressure of the timer, you might get a brain freeze! Try auto play for a nail biting race against the clock, or use manual settings for more relaxed game play where you control the pace. Start by selecting how many players, then press go and get ready to answer! If you get stuck, don't have a meltdown, just press new letter for a different choice. Don't worry if you're still frozen, you can try the new category button for a fresh question. As soon as you answer the question, hit freeze to stop the timer and pass to the next player. But hurry, you don't want to run out of time! Continue game play until the timer runs out. The last player standing with time on the clock wins! .cfm


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Candy-opoly makes it possible to collect treats all year round! This sweet game includes themed spaces for all your favorite candy. From peppermint to caramel creams or gummy worms to lollipops, that candy craving is covered! Kids move their piece around the board to collect candy, and once they do, they can learn all about it! On the backs of candy cards are fun facts about the treats did you know the world's largest lollipop is as tall as a giraffe? Whenever another player lands on an owned candy space, the owner shouts out 'Give me something sweet to eat!' and the player has to pay their rent in chocolate coins. Every aspect of this board game has a delicious tie-in to candy. Made in the USA with high quality materials Candy-opoly is a game that is made to last and satisfy the sweet tooth of any child. cfm


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Prismatoy is a geometric adventure that is fun for all ages! Adults and children can enjoy keeping their hands busy with this interactive sculpture. Prismatoy comes in a variety of vibrant colors, and is made up of 72 individual joints to ensure hours of entertainment. You can bend it, stretch it, tilt it, collapse it, transform it into any shape you like! How many shapes can you make? This is an excellent tool for relieving stress. Keep Prismatoy at the office or at home to unwind. Use it to focus, or simply pass the time! Hands will no longer fidget in vain with Prismatoy to thrill them. It stimulates the sense of touch and is impossible to put down. This kinetic toy is both fun and educational. The more children play, the more they discover what Prismatoy can do! You can rest easy knowing Prismatoy is safe for your child and free of dangerous lead, phthalate, and BPA unlike other plastic toys.


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Hoot ‘ n Rattle Stacker

Earlyyears Hoot 'n Rattle Stacker is a hoot for baby! This bright and bold owl stacker is easy to grasp with four thick plush rings. Each ring is a new colorful pattern and soft texture for baby to explore, from the crinkly wings to the rich velour stripes. Stack these rings on the center pole to make a mama owl that stands over 8 inches tall! She comes with two baby owls attached on their own rings - they have brightly patterned bellies that rattle, and wings that crackle too! Baby will be amazed as they discover multi-sensory textures, colorful fabric, easy grip stacking, and joyful rattling with this whimsical owl. ears_hoot_n_rattle_stacker.cfm


“Swan Song” Supernatural 5.22 Review


wan Song” opens with the unofficial Supernatural anthem of “Carry on my Wayward Son” by Kansas accompanying the road so far montage. Aka it’s the song that just starts and makes all Supernatural fans weep. It’s the perfect music for the finale. Otherwise this episode starts a little differently. It’s narrated by Chuck, the prophet who sees the Winchesters life. He’s writing the story of the episode, beginning to end, following the thread of the Impala. This car is Dean’s baby, it’s the car the Winchester’s grew up in on the road, and it’s the one they drive around the country now. The car comes off the line, seemingly unimportant, but turns out to be their world. Both Sam and Dean are exceptionally broody this episode, and with good reason. This isn’t like season 3 finale, when they know Dean is going to die, but manage to delude themselves there’s a chance they’ll make it out and end up singing a heart wrenching rendition of “Wanted Dead or Alive”. They are distant. They are arguing and broken. Instead of singing in the car, this drive to the end has Sam resigned to rot in the cage, and he forces Dean to promise to leave him there, and live a “happy, normal, apple pie life”. We visit the Impala again, and the important relics that make this car theirs - the legos rattling in the vents, the army man still melted in the car, their carved initials. This car has been destroyed time and time again, and Dean always builds it up. Dean is carrying this episode. It’s challenging acting for Jared (Sam), sure, but Dean.. the betrayed vulnerability when Sam takes in the devil, the loyalty to a fault when he tries to shove Sam in the hole, and the heartbreak while he watches his loved ones die.. and of course, his insistence on staying with Sam to the end, even when he’s beaten to a bloody pulp. Everything is on his sleeve and it’s almost hard to stomach, but in the best way. And okay, Sam arguing as himself and Lucifer is pretty impressive too. This episode pushed both Jared and Jensen to a whole new level. This isn’t just an episode about taking down the bad guy. It’s about family. It’s about the good and evil in all of us. It’s about the struggle to do what’s right versus what’s best - and yes, there is a delicate difference. I like how this show doesn’t portray Lucifer as evil. He’s just misunderstood. He’s not a thrashing heartless monster who just wants blood - he honestly believes he’s the wronged party, that he’s doing what’s right, and he’s coldly logical when appealing to the human desires in all of us. I by no means think he’s good, I just appreciate the way he’s drawn as a character. Castiel is sprinkled throughout the episode with his usual deadpan humor. “What do we do?” Dean asks, and Cas responds with “I suggest copious amounts


of alcohol”. He also doesn’t realize he’s supposed to lie about being able to pull it off, awkward. Instead of focusing on the blood and guts this war against demons has seen, we get to see the non-hunting side of the boys, them as brothers driving to a game, looking at the stars. It’s the scenes like this that make this finale epic, the set up to a perfect end of the show, and not just the season. Engineered in the beginning and finally coming to a rise five seasons later, everything comes down to this fight. The obvious parallels are drawn – Lucifer and Michael have the same argument Sam and Dean had every season. Every part of this ending is flawless. Lucifer is delivering blow after blow, and as Dean get’s beat into an unrecognizable mess he’s promising Sam he’s there, and it’s okay. All of this is happening against the car, and then there Sam sees it - the tiny army man wedged in the door. Sam is back ya’ll, and we get another montage of life with his brother, this time through his eyes. Sam promises it’s going to be okay, and he jumps in the hole. Dean can’t speak, he’s just sitting, watching his brother disappear into hell, and saving the world. If there’s one thing Supernatural is known for, it’s making it hurt so good. What really gets me is Chuck, talking about how impossible endings are. I agree. Instead of summarizing how perfect it is, I’m letting him do it for you. “Endings are hard. Any chapped-ass monkey with a keyboard can poop out a beginning, but endings are impossible. You try to tie up every loose end, but you never can. The fans are always gonna bitch. There’s always gonna be holes. And since it’s the ending, it’s all supposed to add up to something. I’m telling you, they’re a raging pain in the ass. So what’s it all add up to? It’s hard to say. But me, I’d say this was a test… for Sam and Dean. And I think they did all right. Up against good, evil, angels, devils, destiny, and God himself, they made their own choice. They chose family. And, well… isn’t that kinda the whole point? No doubt - endings are hard. But then again… nothing ever really ends, does it?” It’s honestly the best, most fitting, ending the fans could have asked for. It’s the kind of ending that feels like an accomplishment, where all the pieces neatly sew together and there’s nothing more satisfying than that. Then we get the cheap ten second add on ending. Despite the creator intending the show to end (it was written to be five seasons) and leaving, the network wanted to keep going (yay ratings) so we get a last minute twist that doesn’t fit with anything, of an evilly lurking Sam outside Dean’s house. Come on, none of us wanted it to end, but it should have - nothing could have topped that for a series finale, and it was just ridiculous. Ÿ


“It’ s a Shame About Ray” Girls 2.4 Review


ow, was this an entire episode without an awkward sex scene? I pretty much have a hate-hate relationship with this show. I watch because I have respect for Lena Dunham. It’s like, what am I doing with my life sitting here blogging? She’s my age and writing, directing, producing, acting wow. Just w-ooooo-w. I also have hope it’s going to get better, because this show has so much potential. I think a show about girls having sexuality and dealing with issues needs to be on TV. But this show is such a let down. Most episodes it’s just feeling like Hannah is Lena, and it’s sex, sex, sex, and not with a point, either. It’s just awkward and uncomfortable to the point it’s hard to watch. This show is sort of really bad it tastes so good and I can’t stop watching. This week wasn’t so much about making people uncomfortable, but exposing that delicate vulnerability I love so much. We get a look into married life, the struggle as the honeymoon falls apart into reality. It’s heart breaking, but interesting to watch it unravel. Jessa doesn’t weep and beg for acceptance, she punches her husband in the face. He’s as much of an asshole as she is inconsiderate. I think when you see her snotting in the bath tub you realize she did care more than was let on, and it’s a side of her I loved seeing. Who really just gets naked in the tub with their friends though and snots in the water? I sure don’t. Then the subway scene - I seriously love Shoshonna. She’s my favorite character because she’s hilarious and always so heartfelt; up front about everything and entirely sincere. Her naivety is refreshing instead of annoying. So often we see characters like her made out to be the joke, or trampled on, but she seems to have found her footing. She accepts Ray as he is and their moment at the subway at the end with the train whizzing by was so perfect and struck the perfect emotional chord. I find it weird that Charlie and his girlfriend hang around and act like Marnie is the stalker, when Hannah was her friend in the first place, but I loved the way Hannah, even though she was mad at her (for a totally stupid reason) stood up for her when Charlie was trashing her. Finally let me just say I LOVE the music this show uses, it’s always spot on, whether it’s a song I already know and love (Wonderwall) or it’s introducing me to a new one (I Don’t Care), but literally every week, in the final scene I’m just like YES. I like the direction this is going, and I want even more of it, I want it to go deeper. Overall this was a quality episode I found myself enjoying, instead of wanting it to be over. Ÿ




od, she wanted to kiss her. They were sharing an ice cream cone and those lips were just taunting her. Emily couldn’t help but wonder, was this normal? Was this what friends did? Even though the handle of Laura’s bottom row locker was digging into her back through her thin polo and making her spine go numb, she didn’t care. She was next to Laura, who always smelled like watermelon. Together they sat in the senior hallway, alone on the dusty floor the janitors were too lazy to mop. This was their routine, as it had been since they were assigned to be partners in drama class at the beginning of the school year. Seven months later, and no longer bound to work on their final scene, Emily was happy to be doing the same thing, watching Laura’s perfect bow lips dip into the soft serve and wipe it away with a quick flick of tongue. She felt special when Laura tilted her vanilla cone toward her and asked, “Want a lick?” It was in that moment she knew why Laura always had a boyfriend. She guessed she looked too excited because Laura raised both eyebrows, withdrawing her offer as she brought the ice cream back to her lips, tongue swirling around the melting top. “It’s just ice cream,” Laura said with a roll of her eyes, and Emily blushed. Sometimes, when Laura looked at her, she felt like she might have been pretty; like she didn’t have a metal mouth, or glasses, or dull brown hair stuck at the awkward growing out length. It was crazy because Laura was the epitome of cool, from the kelly green converse on her feet to the bottlecap necklace at her throat. She was the only girl who had the guts to roll the plaid, pleated skirt up above uniform mandated length, and it revealed a patch of freckles above her right knee. Emily wanted to connect the freckles like dots, tracing patterns into Laura’s skin with her fingertips. Maybe she’d draw a giraffe, or a heart. With their arms almost touching she could feel an invisible string connecting them, an electric pull that kept either of them from scooting further away. It sent goosebumps prickling at her skin. But Emily wasn’t gay. She knew this because she asked her friend Claire. “I had a dream about her, Claire. I don’t know what it means. I think I like her,” Emily finally admitted, after class on their way to lunch. Claire’s eyes widened, in a sense of alarm, like Emily had just said that someone got hit by a car or pushed off the roof, like this was the worst news she could have delivered. “No, Em,” she said, voice dramatically low, as if sharing the most precious of secrets. “You don’t. You just look up to her, admire her. Like a sister! That’s all. You don’t like her. It’s not weird. Just.. don’t say that to anybody. Okay? Promise me? Your secret is safe with me.” At their school, it was against the rules to be gay. Emily heard stories about two girls who got expelled once, after marching down the hallway holding hands.


She found a smile and nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. That’s it, I’m glad you get it.” The words left her feeling empty, but she supposed it made sense, and so she didn’t say anything about liking Laura again. God, if she could just kiss Laura’s lips then everything would be fine. She would be okay. She would forget about the plum sized bruises left on her arm in the shape of her mother’s fingerprints. She would be safe, and she would be happy, if she could kiss her. No one ever asked about the bruises. In books and movies the main character always had to lie. Everyone would notice the marks, the fading purple, and they’d ask. Then the main character would make up an excuse, and everyone would feel sad, because she fought this secret battle no one knew about, and no one was there to save her. Emily never had to lie, no one wanted to ask, no one even noticed her. But Laura did, and Laura asked, she saw Emily’s arm and demanded to know what happened. Walking home was lonely. The sun beat down on her, and her backpack weighed too much, and there were too many hills that made her calves burn. School was almost over, Laura would be graduating soon, and then she’d be left to spend the rest of her high school years alone. But the radio helped. The hosts Jenny and Johnny, were talking about a contest, all you had to do was be caller number nine after the alert sound, and then you’d win two passes to the new Depp movie. That was Laura’s favorite actor. All week she dialed and dialed, by the end her fingers could punch in the numbers by reflex. Emily had this elaborate plan, like maybe in the dark of the theater things would be different. It was the perfect time - Laura and Ian just broke up again, so she was available, and it was the beginning of summer so her curfew was a whole hour later. She could take Laura’s hand, just as a friend, or maybe not, maybe it would be more, but that would be okay. Maybe the theater could be their own little secret. Mostly though, she just daydreamed about kissing her. The night of the movie Laura was running late. She hadn’t been as excited as Emily pictured when she told Laura she won tickets, dropping by her locker on clean out day. Laura just shrugged, slammed her locker door shut and said, “Cool.” When Laura’s minivan – well, really the one that belonged to her mother, Emily felt a nervous sweat break out at the back of her neck. She ran to the car so fast she almost slipped down the hill. During the previews Emily reached into the bag, at the same time Laura was reaching over, and their fingers brushed. It gave her a jolt that when straight to her stomach and turned into butterflies. She didn’t notice that Laura’s hand leapt away. Emily couldn’t focus the entire movie. She was too busy analyzing everything and thinking about how Laura’s denim clad thigh pressed against her bare leg. She wondered if the hand on the armrest was an invitation. Could she do


it, grab her hand, or would it ruin everything? Should she put her arm around her, or was it too soon? Was Laura even enjoying the movie? The longer the movie went on the stronger her sense of urgency was, anxious she’d run out of time and miss her one chance to make a move. She lifted her arm, nudging Laura’s over a fraction so they could share the armrest. Her fingers twitched with the need to seize her opportunity, it was torture to feel Laura’s hand so close. The second she thought about trying, Laura’s fingers had dove into the popcorn again. The hand came back a few minutes later, once Laura had emptied her handful into her mouth, but Emily lost her nerve. She couldn’t bring herself to go for it, and so she helped herself to popcorn again. As they exited the movie she walked as slow as possible, barely shuffling her feet over the thick red carpet. “Hey Em, how’s it goin’ with your parents?” Laura asked, barely looking up from her phone, mouth twisted into a sultry smile. “The usual,” Emily admitted softly, staring at her hands. Why were they so useless? Why couldn’t they do what she wanted them to? “I mean, not as bad lately. It’s not good, the other night we had a fight, but I’m okay.” They’re parked in the driveway, it’s now or never. Emily unbuckles her seatbelt, but ignores the door handle. “Hug goodbye?” Laura offers, and Emily grins. “Yeah.” She leans in, securing her arms around Laura’s shoulders, and breathes in against her neck. Watermelon, as always, and a faint trace of popcorn is still clinging to her. Laura gives a firm squeeze, one that warms Emily to the bone. When she pulls back her eyes lock on Laura, gleaming, and Laura’s lips part to say something but before the words get out Emily’s launched forward, stamping her lips over Laura’s. Laura jerks back immediately, shoving Emily’s shoulders. She can’t find any words, and just stares. Emily crumples, it hurts worse than if Laura had just slapped her across the face and left behind an angry red welt. “I’m sorry,” she blubbers, “I’m sorry.” She’s fumbling with the handle, trying to get the door open, but now it’s sticking and can’t see through the tears welling up in her eyes. “Em, it’s okay, you’re a great friend, and a special girl, but I just don’t think of you that way -” Laura’s reaching out to coax her, pull Emily in for one of the hugs that leaves her feeling warm and safe, but she’s not listening, finally managing to get the door open. She runs across the front lawn to her house, leaving the door open and dinging behind her. Emily had kissed those lips, and nothing felt okay. Ÿ




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