So, in case you weren't following the comments yesterday, BlogHer cofounder Elisa Camahort addressed my concern regarding whether or not this year's Chicago conference would be in an affordable price range, and she laid my fears to rest when she said one could attend both days for around $250, which includes breakfast, lunch, and cocktail appetizers for each day. Her good news was all it took for me to return to BlogHer's Web site, grab the HTML for one of their "I'm going" buttons, and voila! I'm going! Molly and I are going, and Isabel is going, and her BBF HollowSquirrel is going, and did I mention the venue will be Navy Pier? You all remember my connection with the Pier, right? Move outta my way, muthafuckas, because I'm getting myself a salted garlic Parmesan cheese pretzel or two or three, cholesterol be damned, is all I'm saying.
Oh, and also, for those of you worried about my not having an ob/gyn already, I schedule my womanly exams faithfully every December with my general practitioner. I don't care who's down there with my who ha, so long as the ultimate result is a clean bill of health.
On to TLF.
People, we have twenty-two pages left before the sequel, and rather than stretch it out for as long as I can, I'm just going to type in excerpts of normal length so we can move on to bigger and more dramatic storylines. However, before we move on to part two, I'd like to give non-TLF readers a chance to join in on the fun without having to spend an hour or two reading the archives to catch up on what they've missed. So I'm hosting a little contest. Whoever writes the best Tragic Love Friday synopsis will win their very own copy of...
Beverly Hills, 90210: The First Season. What better way to pay homage to TLF's theme of love, betrayal, and batshit-insane teenage antics then with the gang that started it all?
All participants will receive a little something for their efforts, which will be equally fabulous but about thirty dollars cheaper.
The winning review will include character descriptions of our main players, summarize all major plot points (how you choose to work in this information will be entirely up to you), and feature a word count no longer than an average TLF post. It also has to be funny as hell so non-TLF readers will be persuaded to hop on the part two bandwagon. Submissions must be turned in by the Wednesday after part one's last excerpt is posted, which should happen in the next few weeks. Don't stress out too much over spelling and grammar, as I promise to fix typos, missing words, and the like. I will NOT edit sentence structure or overall content. That's all you, sugar.
Please tell me you think this is a fun idea. In the meantime, we've got a baby to find!
CHAPTER THIRTEEN - KAYLA
I woke up to the sound of my bar door being opened loudly. I glanced at the small clock at the foot of my bed. 8:30 A.M. I jumped out of bed and found myself staring into the eyes of 2 police officers. "Kayla Evans, we have to give you some bad news," one of them said, looking grim. I shook my head. "Whatever it is can wait. A nurse should be bringing my baby here to be fed. She SHOULD have been here an hour ago."
[You know, because babies fewer than three weeks don't really care when they eat. They're breezy!]
"At 12:27 A.M. last night, Katherine Marie Evans, your daughter, was reported missing from the prison's nursery."
[So she's probably still hungry, then.]
"No," I whispered. "You must be mistaken." I felt my legs turn to jello. One of the officers noticed my wariness and grabbed my arm. "It's all true. Now sit down so we can ask you some questions."
My head started to spin. I stumbled and fell on my bed. My vision started to blur. I was vaguely aware of the officers in the room. They ignored my condition and started firing questions at me.
[For this scene, I like to imagine Kayla throwing herself dramatically on the mattress while the cops roll their eyes and uncap their Bic pens. Honestly, what some people will do for attention!]
"Do you have any idea of who could have taken the infant? Have you any enemies? Or," the policeman asked, raising his eyebrows, "did you arrange the whole thing?"
[Dun dun dun!]
It took all my willpower to keep myself from knocking him out. "I love my baby," I sobbed. "I would never hurt her. How can you accuse me of such a thing?"
"Because you started receiving visitors the week of the baby's birth, and then suddenly she's gone," he snapped.
[Oooh, good point. Nice job, lil' Frema!]
"Believe me, I would never--"
"Shut up!" he shouted. "How can I believe you? You, who killed your lover and attempted to murder his pregnant fiance! She lost her baby. Why should I think that you care about yours?" He shook his head in disgust, and motioning to the other officer, they left me alone.
[So, now that I've berated the kidnapped baby's mother and thrown out wild accusations, I'll just be on my way. Nothing to see here!]
I cried for a long time. When I finally calmed down, my thoughts wandered to the welfare of my child. Was Katherine being fed? I breastfeed her. How would she react to formula? Was she even alive? Why did the kidnapper take MY baby?
The kidnapper. Who was it? They had to know the set up of the building. First chance I got, I'd call Jenna and we could--
A terrible thought occured to me. [And the lightbulb finally goes off!] I banged on my door, yelling, "Guard! Guard!"
He came running. "What is it?"
My hands were shaking. "I - I need to make a phone call." He raised an eyebrow. "You're only allowed one call a day. You sure you want to make it this early?"
[Maybe you'd rather, I don't know, SHARE YOUR SUSPICIONS WITH THE POLICE.]
"Yes." We went to the phones, and I punched in Jenna's number. Her mother picked up on the first ring. "Hello?" I asked. "Is - is Jenna there?"
"Kayla? She's gone," her mom angerily said, sobbing. "Food, clothes, and our biggest butcher knife is gone. Don't you dare call again, you murderer!" The line went dead.
[And Mrs. Meddows is the proud recipient of today's Random Dialogue of the Week Award!]
I took a deep breath and screamed. I pulled at my hair. The guard tried to hold me down, but I pulled away. "No!" I screamed. "She took my baby!"
He slapped me then, and I felt the world fade away as I collapsed to the floor.
[More violence against women. Cassie's probably got two black eyes by now.]
[Also, Lifetime? Feel free to approach me about a movie script at any time.]
CHAPTER FOURTEEN - JENNA
My eyelids fluttered. Rolling my head from side to side to loosen the stiffness in my neck [your mom's got a stiffness!], I glanced sleepily at Katherine, who had nestled comfortably in my lap, and then at Michael, who was still driving. He looked like he would fall asleep at the wheel. I reached out and squeezed his shoulder affectionately. [A little lower, Jenna, a little lower....] "Hey there, angel. I think it's time for you to catch some Z's, don't you?" He smiled at me and yawned. "Don't worry about me, Doll. I'm fine. We crossed the border into Wisconsin a few hours ago."
[What? Doesn't everyone drive through Wisconsin to get to Iowa? Clearly geography was not my best subject in school.]
"Really? That's great." I took a look at my wristwatch. 9:00 A.M. I wiggled into an upright position. "Katherine should be wanting to eat soon."
[Sweetie, if Katherine hasn't eaten since she left the prison, she's probably dead. No need to rush.]
"I fed her already," Michael replied, his eyes on the road. "She woke up crying an hour ago, so I just threw together a bottle for her [one-handed, while driving]. A while later, she went back to sleep."
"I didn't know you knew anything about babies," I said, surprised.
"Sure. I have lots of younger cousins."
I stared at my companion's profile as we drove on. He was very cute, in a different way. [So now Clark Kent's not good enough for you? For cripe's sake, Jenna.] He was built, and he had wavy black hair that fell over his right eye. He also wore wire-rimmed glasses.
Michael was a great guy, but the girls I knew at school labeled him a do-gooder. [Don't worry, the kidnapping charges will take care of that!] He didn't date much. Sometimes I felt sorry for him; you could tell he was lonely.
A little while later, we came across a local drugstore. "Let's stop in," Mike suggested. I agreed. "We can't both go in with the baby, though. We'll be noticed." I ruffled his hair playfully. "You need a disguise, too."
I went in first. I felt like a spy as I purchased a baseball cap and a pair of black sunglasses similar to mine, and a few bottles of mineral water. I ran to the car and stopped in my tracks. Michael had his back turned towards me. Peering through the window, I saw him tickle Katherine; she made sounds that seemed like laughter. He said something I couldn't quite hear, and she laughed again. I smiled. Michael would make a good father someday. A good husband, too.
[Hello, Foreshadowing, my old friend...]
I tapped on the window. Startled, he gathered the smiling baby in his arms and opened the door. "Having fun?" I asked.
He looked embarassed to have been found playing with the little girl. "She needed a clean diaper," he said, blushing. I smiled and gave him the thumbs-up sign. "Sure, Mike. I believe you." I took Katherine from him and gave him the bag. "Here's your disguise. The water's for the baby." He nodded and got out of the car. "I bought everything. You don't have to go in," I said. He grinned.
Five minutes later, we were on the road again, only this time I was driving while Michael fell asleep with Katherine in his arms. I sighed. Michael didn't hesitate to join Katherine and me on our "journey." He must really care about what happens to me. I didn't deserve such a great friend.
[If she were a real person, I'd happily give her a second slap for being so damn blind.]
For the first time I thought about Kayla. She must be going out of her mind, I thought, but I wasn't as happy as I thought I would be. She didn't know if her baby was alive, dead, or being taken care of properly. [Kayla also wouldn't be thrilled at the thought of her daughter cruising around Wisconsin with her head in another man's crotch, but that's neither here nor there, I suppose.] I felt a pain in my heart as I thought of Mary Katherine, lying beneath 6 feet of dirt. My baby was gone because of the hatred Kayla felt for me.
Tears welled in my eyes, and I reached out and touched Katherine's cheek. She stirred and opened her eyes, giving me a curious stare. [Probably wishing this crazy woman would just leave her the hell alone to dehydrate in peace.] I pulled the car over and took her in my arms. Her mouth formed in a tiny O. As I held her to me, I thought of my actions. I had kidnapped my ex-best friend's baby. Even though I told myself I hated Kayla, I found myself rationalizing her actions. Yes, she made love to my fiance, but it was obvious that she'd never stopped loving him. And she didn't demand anything from David until she found out she was pregnant.
I hated to admit it, but I missed Kayla; I missed the girl who used to be my best friend. When had things changed?
When I started dating her ex-boyfriend.
I was crying. My body shook, and I began to wonder what I was doing. I was hurting my...my best friend. Michael's words came to my mind:
"'Make peace with Kayla, and yourself so you can go on with your life! If you leave with that baby, it'll never be over!"
God, how I wanted the pain to be over. As I gazed at Katherine, she smiled, showing me her toothless gums. Oh, I loved this baby like it was my own. It had just taken one look at her and she was in my heart. It would be like losing another child when I gave her back to Kayla.
But I knew that's what I had to do.
Happy Friday, everyone!