The Adventures of Laura and Justin: Prologue
In the preface for the first piece of this story, I noted that it might end up being between two other “chapters.” What follows here is the “prequel” to “The Adventures of Laura and Justin: Chapter 1.” Which could potentially be confusing. As I said earlier, “The Adventures of Laura and Justin” is a working title, and a really bad one at that, so if you have any suggestions, I’m still looking for something (no one’s suggested anything yet).
I’m really pleased (and completely surprised) that of the 10 or so people I’ve asked to read the first piece, everyone liked it quite a bit. That said, I’d still appreciate any feedback, and I still say that “constructive criticism would be very helpful; saying you hate it but not telling me why is kind of pointless for me.”
Summary: Laura and Justin, both between the ages of 22 and 24, are spending their last night together on location in Canada before Laura has to finish her degree in Syracuse. Told in the 3rd person p.o.v, following Laura (mostly).
The story is below the page break.
“Would you turn that thing off and go to sleep with me?” Justin pleaded, his voice thick with annoyance and sleepiness.
“Okay, okay,” Laura said in defeat. She closed Justin’s Macbook and set it on the floor, just beside his bed, which was as far as her arms could reach from on top of it, and scooted forward from her sitting position so that she could lie next to Justin. He’d turned off the lights in his room already, and the laptop was the last source of artificial light they had. Without it, all that was left was the muffled light of the streetlamp outside the window. “I thought you didn’t mind light while you were trying to sleep,” Laura remarked in the semi-darkness.
“It’s not the light that bothers me. I can’t sleep without you,” Justin responded, adjusting himself so that he was spooning Laura, his arm wrapped around her tummy. Apparently that wasn’t comfortable, so he slid his hand down her body until it came to rest on her upper thigh. Laura noticed from the way his breathing pattern hadn’t changed that this intimacy was second nature to him.
Without thinking, Laura scoffed in response.
“Never mind,” Laura said quickly.
“What was that about?” Justin pressed.
“You have a girlfriend,” Laura started.
“Yeah,” Justin agreed.
Laura changed her mind with a sigh. “Never mind.”
Laura felt something inside her snap. She flipped herself around to face Justin in the darkness, feeling heat rising into her words as she spoke. “The only thing—“ She sighed and started again. “Aside from sex and making out, there’s no difference between us and a romantic relationship. You spend more time in bed with me than you do your own girlfriend. I thought we’d…” she trailed off, starting that last sentence quietly. “…by now.”
The silence between the two of them seemed endless, despite it only being a couple of seconds. Justin began to speak, clearly flustered, but Laura cut him off. “Just leave it. It doesn’t matter anyway; I’ll be back in Syracuse tomorrow and you can go back to pretending you love Claire.”
“I do love Claire,” Justin countered. When Laura didn’t say anything, he continued on, his temper rising. “I was with Claire before I even met you.”
“No, you weren’t,” Laura corrected him.
“You know what I mean,” Justin practically hissed. “I was with her before we got close, and I’ll be with her after you’re gone.”
“Yeah.” The shortness and hurt tone of her agreement shook the anger from Justin; he wanted to take it back. “I know,” she finished.
“Besides,” he said, trying to console her, “it’s not like we won’t talk every day.”
Laura sighed in fake agreement, turning away from Justin. He tried to saddle up to her, to get close to her again, but she wouldn’t let him cuddle up as near as usual. After she shook his arm off her body a couple of times, he took the hint and kept his limbs to himself.
The blaring sound of a rooster’s crow caused Laura to open her eyes. She groaned softly and closed them again as she groped blindly for the source of the noise: her cell phone. She found it, barely within her reach, and slid it into her grasp. Opening one eye, she silenced the alarm and put the phone back on the bed.
As she blinked away the sleepy haze that she felt still enveloping her, Laura smiled: Justin had managed to pull her closer to his body during the night; his warm left arm encircled her stomach protectively. Her smiled faded, however, when she remembered their conversation from the night before. Shrugging away any further thoughts about it, she tried to slip quietly from the bed.
Justin felt her weight shift beneath his arm, however. “Where are you going?” he asked, eyes still closed.
Laura hesitated for a moment before she responded. “Bathroom.”
Justin’s arm pressed a little tighter to her abdomen in objection. “You don’t pee right when you get up,” he pointed out.
Why does he know that? Laura wondered, but decided not to point out to him that it was a little odd that he’d picked up on that. “I should get back to my room and pack,” she admitted, her voice just above a whisper. “I leave in a few hours.” She felt Justin’s grip tighten even further in protest; his fingers dug into her flesh and she felt him inch closer, probably out of instinct. A moment later, though, he let his arm fall from her completely, and Laura was able to get up from the bed.
“I still plan on sending you off,” Justin reminded her once she’d returned from his bathroom, fully clothed with her pajamas bunched in her hand.
“Good,” Laura answered, smiling at the strange tension that had filled the room since she’d left the bed. Justin smiled back at her, and the tension dissolved. “I’ve got a lot to pack; I’ll see you on the platform. Don’t be late or you’ll miss me,” she chided, slipping her flats on and dashing out of his room.
“Wait!” he called. When she reentered the room, Justin was standing and walking toward the door. He pulled Laura into his arms for an almost overly friendly hug. “The Doctor’s got to hug Rose before she leaves,” he told her, before releasing her.
“Right,” Laura responded. It was half an agreement and half an “if you say so, ya crazy.” “Well, Doctor, since you don’t actually have a TARDIS, don’t be late. And don’t forget to bring Claire; I want to say goodbye to her.”
Justin smirked as Laura turned to leave his room again.
Couldn’t have asked for better weather, Laura thought to herself as she watched a couple of broad-shouldered men heave her suitcases onto the train that was going to take her back to Syracuse. If only I wasn’t going to be stuck in a tiny box for all of it. She glanced up and watched as a summer breeze pushed two wisps of cloud lazily along the bright blue sky.
“Excuse me; if you’re planning on getting on the train, now would be the time to do it. It leaves in five minutes,” one of the ticket checkers said. He walked away rolling his eyes.
Walking toward the door through which the men had disappeared with her suitcases, Laura thought of the almost comical goodbyes she’d exchanged with her cast-mates, roughly ten minutes earlier. Drake had lifted her off the ground with a hug, and put her back down with a kiss, making her promise to continue learning the chord progressions he’d started teaching her on the guitar. Amanda, over emotional as ever, made Laura tear up with her practically sobbing farewell. Claire extended her hand to Laura, but when Laura reached out to shake it, Claire pulled her into a hug, smiling broadly. Justin, who Laura had saved for last, held her close, practically squeezed the life out of her for a just a second, and let her go, but wouldn’t look her in the eye. She briefly wondered why he didn’t mention anything about the Doctor or Rose.
Pounding footsteps distracted Laura from her thoughts as she ascended the stairs to the train car. Curious, she turned around to see who had almost missed the train and saw Justin running toward her. She hopped back onto the platform just as he caught up to her. Smirking to herself, she wondered aloud, “What’d I forget?”
“Don’t go,” Justin choked out between ragged breaths.
Laura’s smirk was wiped from her face. “What?”
“Just, don’t go,” he breathed. When she didn’t respond, he continued. “St-stay here.”
“In Canada?” Laura scoffed. “What am I going to do in Canada?” She laughed, trying to lighten the mood.
“Be with me? Spend time with me.”
“Justin, I have to finish college. I have one semester left; I have to go back to Syracuse,” Laura said, slightly flustered.
“But,” Justin paused. “I love you,” he whispered hoarsely. Laura grinned at him, without missing a beat.
“’Quite right, too,’” she whispered. Justin grinned back at her in recognition of the Doctor Who reference. “’And I suppose,’” Laura continued softly, “’if this is my last chance to say it…’” She absentmindedly bit her lip, and her grin softened; his smile faltered, unsure of what was coming. “Justin Butler—“ she paused dramatically.
Just as she was going to finish her sentence, someone screamed, “All aboard!” from behind her. Laura turned around; the ticket checker from earlier was glaring at her.
A different voice made her turn her attention back to Justin. Claire had come out of nowhere and was calling desperately to Justin. “I’m going to be late!” she was screaming. “You have the damn keys and I’m going to be late for my final review!”
Laura was just barely able to see the look of bewilderment on Justin’s face before he was whisked away.
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