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dreamgazer220

Balancing Act by dreamgazer220

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Hello, hello, and welcome to my NaNo nest for 2017!

I'm definitely no stranger to NaNoWriMo -- I've done it consecutively since 2008, though I haven't won in a few years.  Every November is really a chance for me to focus exclusively on original fiction, and this year is going to be no different.  I'm pretty pumped about this year's novel, although you'll probably recognize similar themes from my various, darker fanfic stories.  

This idea is based off of an original collaborative story I write with my friend from high school via Google docs.  I've changed a fair amount of the story, but the two main characters are pretty close to my heart for that purpose.  Also, because it's NaNo, and original fiction, I probably won't be posting anywhere -- though if you guys are interested, I'm sure I'll post snippets of it here in my nest for you to enjoy.  Anyway, enough background, let's get to the actual story! 

_____________________________________

Balancing Act

Newly appointed Head Cheerleader, Maddy Adler, was excited for senior year at Riverside High.  After being groomed for the captaincy since the start of her junior year, she knew what roles she was expected to play, what her duties were, and who she was and was not allowed to associate with.  She was ready — she just wasn’t sure that the girls on her squad were ready for her as captain. 

At least until a phone call changes everything.  As Maddy learns of the death of her former best friend, Brittany Davis, she vows to make Riverside High a better place.  Even if it means breaking a few rules in the process. 

Maddy is about to discover that life isn’t about who you were, or what you’ve done; but rather a balance between who you are and who you’re meant to be. 

_____________________________________


I've created a Pinterest board for this story to help with visuals and to keep me inspired.  You can find it +here (M). 

And a list of faceclaims, for my key players:

  • Maddy Adler -- Danielle Campbell
  • Zach Davis -- Alex Lange 
  • Brittany Davis -- Charlotte S McKee
  • Sophie Quinn -- Lili Reinhart 

And yes, in case you're curious, of course there's going to be romance -- though it won't come across right away.  And all sorts of drama, angst, sins of the past, broken promises of the future, and maybe, just maybe a sliver of redemption for Maddy.  Feel free to ask me any questions (I may or may not know the answers to them), poke me to make sure I'm writing, or just to see if this thread's been updated at all :P

 

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Hi! This sounds very interesting indeed, and I'm curious to know more about the narrator. It seems that she's having a change of heart after her friend's death; is she a typical mean popular girl, or is it something else? And do you plan on telling the story through flashbacks at all? I'd be interested to see the contact between her old self and the new. 

Great job! And the Pinterest board is such a good idea :) I usually do tumblr but for something like this it makes more sense.

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Hey! 

41 minutes ago, firewhiskey said:

It seems that she's having a change of heart after her friend's death; is she a typical mean popular girl, or is it something else? And do you plan on telling the story through flashbacks at all?

I wouldn't say she's a typical mean popular girl -- maybe on the surface she appears that way, but really it's a blend of something else.  And I love flashbacks, so I'm sure I'll have a few in the story to show Maddy in the past vs who she is now/striving to be.  

Thanks for stopping by! <3 

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Hello Jill, dear! :hug:

So when I first read your summary, I misread Riverside as Riverdale, haha. Moving on.

It sounds awesome! And Jill-like ;) Which is obviously a very good thing indeed.

Questions!

  1. Who is the main antagonist in this?
  2. What is the school like? What is the town like? 
  3. Why does Brittany's death inspire Maddy to improve the school?
  4. Who is Zach?
  5. Who is Sophie?
  6. What are the other students at the school like?

xoxo Renee

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Hello, Jill! I'm stopping by with some questions for you today!

  • The summary suggests that Maddy and Brittany weren't best friends at the time of Brittany's death. How has the loss of their friendship affected Maddy's reaction? Was there a sliver of hope that they'd be friends again that's now been dashed?
  • Do the other students at the school consider cheerleaders 'the mean girls'? If yes, how has this affected their perception of how Maddy 'should' be grieving?
  • Who groomed Maddy for the captaincy? Why did she deserve to be the head cheerleader instead of one of the others on the squad?
  • In what way does Maddy feel that Riverside High needs to be a better place?
  • What consequences are there of breaking the rules? Are those rules about how one should behave in society or school rules?
  • Why did you decide to dedicate November/NaNo to writing original fiction each year?

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Ooh great questions!! Y'know, I realized after you posted them that I probably should have given more information about characters and such. :$

RENEE.  It's okay, I've actually had to remind myself that it's not Riverdale and Riverside instead, so you're not alone there!

19 hours ago, MuggleMaybe said:

Who is the main antagonist in this?

This is an amazing question that I don't have a straight answer to.  Really what Maddy is trying to overcome is her past self, the social hierarchy, and I guess you could argue some of the staff/the principal of the school.  Does this answer the question??

19 hours ago, MuggleMaybe said:

What is the school like? What is the town like? 

The town is small and in a rather affluent part of Connecticut -- everyone knows everyone.  Kind of think Stars Hallow from Gilmore Girls, but not that small.  It's mostly white, and as such, so is the school, although there is a small minority population.  The town has cute things like an oldschool diner, a public library, a bar, and a coffee shop, and is divided by East River.

The school is a product of the town.  The athletes rule all and can almost get away with murder.  Hazing is a problem; cliques are strong, but not Mean Girls strong and apparent.  There are more preppy/popular kids/kids from wealthier families than not.

I've actually thought about the answer to that one! :P

20 hours ago, MuggleMaybe said:

Why does Brittany's death inspire Maddy to improve the school?

Maddy has a lot of guilt around Brittany's death and the way she was treated after they stopped being friends.  And I'm going to sort of leave it at that! :)

20 hours ago, MuggleMaybe said:

Who is Zach?

Zach is Brittany's twin brother, the true "black sheep" of the Davis family.   He skateboards and is an artist, and has gotten caught a few times by the cops tagging places around town with graffiti.  He's rough around the edges, very blunt, highly perceptive,  and protective of the women in his life.  He has major guilt in terms of Brittany's death, and he also used to be friends-ish with Maddy.  He keeps everyone at arms' length. I just love him <3 He's also the eventual love interest of Maddy and he plays a really major role in her story.

20 hours ago, MuggleMaybe said:

Who is Sophie?

Sophie is Maddy's right hand woman.  She's on the cheerleading squad, and was sort of gunning for captaincy junior year too and is a little salty that Maddy got the spot over her.  She's loyal to her inner circle only, but everyone knows that she looks out for herself first.  She and Maddy are going to butt heads a lot this year, but I wouldn't really call her the 'main antagonist'. 

20 hours ago, MuggleMaybe said:

What are the other students at the school like?

The other students are kind of like typical high school students.  I can't really think of anyone who stands out of the crowd, but there might be later. <3 

Thanks for these awesome questions, lovely!!

 

ISOBEL! HI!

18 hours ago, esmeraude said:

The summary suggests that Maddy and Brittany weren't best friends at the time of Brittany's death. How has the loss of their friendship affected Maddy's reaction? Was there a sliver of hope that they'd be friends again that's now been dashed?

Maddy and Brittany definitely weren't best friends at the time of Brittany's death, and it majorly affects Maddy's reaction.  She feels guilty and battles with a lot of self-hatred and regret.  I hadn't thought about a sliver of hope before the death, but the way I have things plotted out so far, I don't think so.

18 hours ago, esmeraude said:

Do the other students at the school consider cheerleaders 'the mean girls'? If yes, how has this affected their perception of how Maddy 'should' be grieving?

100%, yes.  Maddy is not an open book by nature, and she's really going to be struggling with how she should act vs how she feels; that's a major arch. <3

18 hours ago, esmeraude said:

Who groomed Maddy for the captaincy? Why did she deserve to be the head cheerleader instead of one of the others on the squad?

The former captain groomed Maddy to take over junior year -- I don't have a name for her yet, but I probably should! She deserved it because I think the former captain saw Maddy's true potential over the rest of the girls, and knew she didn't really fit into the stereotypical cheerleader.

18 hours ago, esmeraude said:

In what way does Maddy feel that Riverside High needs to be a better place?

There's a lot of bullying and hazing that goes on at Riverside High, and it often goes "unnoticed" by the staff/administration.  Maddy's hoping that Brittany's death is going to help wake a lot of people up about this subject and make some changes.

18 hours ago, esmeraude said:

What consequences are there of breaking the rules? Are those rules about how one should behave in society or school rules?

Er, I'm not sure about consequences yet, but there definitely will be.  And they're more school/cheerleading/social rules more than anything else. 

19 hours ago, esmeraude said:

Why did you decide to dedicate November/NaNo to writing original fiction each year?

Honestly, mostly because I never knew you could do fanfic for NaNo, and it's the one time of year I really try to focus on OF.  My goal is to one day be a published author, and for some reason I can't really bring myself to focus on original as strongly as I do when November rolls around.

 

Thank you so much for these awesome questions! I hope my answers were satisfying! <3

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Hello Jill :hug:

Oh my gosh! I also have a friend from high school with whom I'm collaborating on a story via google docs! I absolutely LOVE reading high school drama

  • Is your friend doing Nano with you?
  • Is there any mystery surrounding Brittany's death?
  • Have you already planned how you want to end the story?
  • Are you going to tackle social issues at the high school level as well? 
  • Is this story set in 2017?

I think it is so amazing htat you dedicate every Nano to an OF, and you've actually inspired me to think about doing something similar with Camp Nano or next year's Nano! Thank you so much for the idea, and I'm definitely interested in reading snippets if you plan on sharing them :wub:

Good luck with Nano! I'm rooting for you :rose:

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Ysh!! :hug:

That is super awesome! Google docs is definitely one of the best platforms for that.

11 hours ago, FlamingQuilltips said:

Is your friend doing Nano with you?

She's not.  This project is my own beast this month, and she was planning on attempting to do her own too, but her work/life schedule is way too hectic to allow the time. She's done it in the past though, and is actually the one who introduced me to NaNo!

11 hours ago, FlamingQuilltips said:

Is there any mystery surrounding Brittany's death?

Not really.  Everyone knows how it happened, though I guess you could argue there's some mystery because no one knows why.  It comes completely unexpectedly, and that makes it so much harder for Maddy to navigate. 

11 hours ago, FlamingQuilltips said:

Have you already planned how you want to end the story?

Nope! I only know that I want Zach and Maddy to be together, but everything else is up in the air. :)

11 hours ago, FlamingQuilltips said:

Are you going to tackle social issues at the high school level as well? 

Yaaaas! That's a major plot point in this novel. I'm very excited about it.

11 hours ago, FlamingQuilltips said:

Is this story set in 2017?

It is indeed, mostly to make my life easier with technology, pop culture references, etc. 

 

Thank you so much for stopping by with these questions, and I'm glad I've inspired you a bit! Hopefully you get to tackle your own OF whenever you decide to get to it.  It's so good to see you on the forums again <33

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Howdy Jill! I'm always excited to read people's OF ideas and yours seems to carry that delightful blend of mystery and understanding what you'll be diving into. I have some questions, that I've been careful to make sure (hopefully) haven't been asked yet!

1. Will there be any alumni that "return" for the story that will play a significant role?

2. What decade is the story set in? What unique challenges do you think that will carry?

3. Do you see the romance you've envisioned for Maddy as endgame as far as this story is concerned or is it more of a vehicle for growth that will live its life within the confines of this book?

Looking forward to your answers! Hope you're able to start NaNo with a bang!

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Hi Jill! 

1. This sounds really interesting and sort of gives me Riverdale-vibes (especially with Lilli Reinhart). Are you inspired by Riverdale in any way? If not, what are your other sources of inspiration for this? 

2. Are you going to deal with any post-high-school decisions that Maddy’s going to make (i.e college, starting a business, something else entirely?) 

3. Cheerleading squads are generally cliquey... is Maddy’s squad cliquey too?

4. How is she viewed by the other cheerleaders, especially considering that she was, as you say, “groomed” for captaincy? (I bet there’s some jealousy!) 

5. Does Maddy, or do any of your characters, have any sort of interesting quirks to share?

6. Are there any unspoken rules in Maddy’s squad?

7. You mentioned that Maddy and Zach used to be friends-ish. What were the circumstances causing that friendship, and what caused them to fall apart? 

8. Finally, why a fic set in high school specifically? :) 

Sorry for the rather long list of question; the summary definitely sparked my interest and I hope to read this fic someday! (I also wanted to say I appreciate the title with its connections to cheerleading too :)). 

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More questions!! :wub:

HI KEVIN!!

On 10/31/2017 at 10:25 PM, TidalDragon said:

Will there be any alumni that "return" for the story that will play a significant role?

I actually hadn't thought about this at all until you asked it, so it's a great question! There are definitely opportunities for alumni to come back -- I'm planning on a Homecoming game/dance and maybe a fall festival -- but I'm not sure how significant they'll be.  Probably the most significant one that will at least be name dropped a bunch will be Julia Pierce, who is the former HC of the Riverside Ravens and has had a lot of influence on Maddy.

On 10/31/2017 at 10:25 PM, TidalDragon said:

What decade is the story set in? What unique challenges do you think that will carry?

It's set in modern times, 2017.  I honestly can't think of any unique challenges at the moment, though I wouldn't be surprised if technology is both an advantage and disadvantage, especially with the hype of social media.

On 10/31/2017 at 10:25 PM, TidalDragon said:

Do you see the romance you've envisioned for Maddy as endgame as far as this story is concerned or is it more of a vehicle for growth that will live its life within the confines of this book?

Hmm, that's an excellent question too. I think it really depends on Maddy and Zach and how they write themselves in, y'know? I sort of originally planned them as like a mid-point thing, so they're together for at least a portion of the story because that could have major effects on the story itself.  They're definitely endgame in terms of the fact that they'll end up together; they really are equals in a lot of ways and are good at balancing each other out.  I'm just not sure how quickly they'll get together, but they'll probably be more of a slow burn.  I hope this sort of answers the question :P

 

HELLO! Thanks for stopping by my nest <3

On 10/31/2017 at 10:37 PM, forever_dreaming said:

This sounds really interesting and sort of gives me Riverdale-vibes (especially with Lilli Reinhart). Are you inspired by Riverdale in any way? If not, what are your other sources of inspiration for this?

Yes, I'm definitely inspired by Riverdale! Although this story was formed way before I personally started watching it (like two weeks ago).  But the setting is definitely a major inspiration, and it's given me ideas for characters and other scenes.  But this story, in its conception, is more inspired/based off of a project I've been working on with one of my friends.

On 10/31/2017 at 10:37 PM, forever_dreaming said:

Are you going to deal with any post-high-school decisions that Maddy’s going to make (i.e college, starting a business, something else entirely?)

College decisions are for sure going to be a part of this.  And not just for Maddy, but Zach is going to be heavily impacted by it too.

On 10/31/2017 at 10:37 PM, forever_dreaming said:

Cheerleading squads are generally cliquey... is Maddy’s squad cliquey too?

100%.

On 10/31/2017 at 10:37 PM, forever_dreaming said:

How is she viewed by the other cheerleaders, especially considering that she was, as you say, “groomed” for captaincy? (I bet there’s some jealousy!)

I think a lot of the younger girls (freshman-sophomore, some juniors) see her as a role model/look up to her.  Some of the seniors though, like Sophie Quinn, have issues with her, and think she's a threat to the "way things used to be", and there's a ton of jealousy that Maddy got the role, even if it wasn't a surprise.

On 10/31/2017 at 10:37 PM, forever_dreaming said:

Does Maddy, or do any of your characters, have any sort of interesting quirks to share?

Honestly none that I can think of now, but I'm sure some will write themselves into the story. <3

On 10/31/2017 at 10:37 PM, forever_dreaming said:

Are there any unspoken rules in Maddy’s squad?

Yeah, for sure.  Things like who you can eat lunch with, talk to/generally socialize with is a huge unspoken rule.  There's also some diet/appearance stuff that falls into that category as well. <3

On 10/31/2017 at 10:37 PM, forever_dreaming said:

Finally, why a fic set in high school specifically?

Mostly because I  find the high school age easiest to write, plus I feel like I can get away with a lot more coming-of-age type drama. And since this is sort of about overcoming the social hierarchy, that's a little harder to translate into the adult world.

 

Thank you so much for these awesome questions!! And I love to share, so I'm sure I'll be posting snippets of scenes I actually love as I write, so keep your eyes peeled on my nest for those. <3

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Hello everyone! :waving:

We're officially a week into November, so I thought it was time to dust off this thread with a few updates on how the story is progressing. 

Also, this is just a warning that this post briefly mentions bullying and hazing.  I kept them as brief as I could, but it's a major theme of the story, so I still wanted to include them in the snippets that are posted below.  If you're not comfortable reading further, I totally understand <3

 

Character Aesthetics:

5a03963a41823_Maddycollage.thumb.jpg.1c572eac6bc5d6714b15b4f20dd3753e.jpg   5a039762687b2_ClaireBalances.jpg.be92d616ba51838c4ee33db91962dd34.jpg
(Made by me)                                                                 (Made by @clevernotbrilliant)

 

Progress Report:

current word count: 13,750/50,000
current chapter: 4

All of my major characters have been introduced, and I've written my first official scene with Zach and Maddy, and they're just as wonderful as I expected them to be. 

Some new characters have made their way onto the screen and they come with their own set of problems:

  • Daniel Porter:  Maddy's ex-boyfriend. Dan was one of her closest friends (before they got together) and he's currently dating Sophie Quinn (Maddy's best friend/right hand woman). He's also captain of the football team and quarterback, and is not really for Maddy's "movement" to enforce the school's anti-hazing policy because he believes in tradition, and he thinks it's a different experience for guys than it is for girls.  They broke up in April, shortly after Brittany's death, because Maddy was (apparently) very distant and distracted, at least according to him.
  • James Fitzgerald: a student at the local college.  He's also Maddy's music instructor, and they have a bit of a fling going on -- which causes a problem when James starts observing Maddy's music class at Riverside High.

There is apparently a lot of romance drama, which I was not anticipating (see above).  I'm also thinking I need to diversify my cast, but I'm not really sure how to do that, and I don't really want to do that just because, so if anyone has any tips or tricks in that regard, I'm happy to hear them. 

My other biggest thing is that I don't want Maddy and/or Zach to overcome their issues because of each other being a crutch, but rather as a way for them to grow as people.  I hope that makes sense, and I think that's just something I need to work on on my own as I write. They're still going to be endgame; they're too dynamic not to be.  Also, I just want them to be together :P

My only concern is that there's too much romance drama... but there will still be focus on the important issues I plan on tackling in this novel too.

 

Snippets:

Maddy and Sophie are about to walk into school for their first day as seniors -->

Spoiler
Quote

“First day of school!” she exclaimed eagerly, coming over and hugging me tightly.  

“Okay, Nemo,” I replied, rolling my eyes and making a small choking noise.  “S, come on, I can’t breathe.”

“Feeling a little dramatic this morning, Mads?” she asked, though she pulled away and gave me a quick once over.  “You’re good, right?” 

I thought about telling her how I hadn’t slept well since the funeral, and I thought about telling her about how much my appetite seemed to decrease as it was weighed down with guilt and shame.  Instead, all I did was take a sip of my own coffee, swallowed, and pushed my sunglasses to the top of my head. 

“Of course I’m good.  Why wouldn’t I be?” 

 

 

Maddy attempts to sway Dan to take her side of things -->

Spoiler
Quote

I frowned, although I wasn’t entirely surprised by his attitude.  “But we’re role models this year, Porter.  It’s up to us to create a safe environment for everyone — and you know how much sway we could have with the school board.”

“And what’s going to happen if you start enforcing this policy, Maddy?  It’s going to be our friends on the line, our teams.  If you force the school to punish every single person that commits an act of hazing or bullying, we’re not going to have a goddamned football team or cheerleading squad or soccer team or—”

“I get it,” I growled.  “But it’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

 


Maddy ended up going for a run at five in the morning, and found herself at Riverside Park, where she, Brittany, and Zach used to spend a lot of time as kids, especially by the swings:

Spoiler
Quote

I didn’t know him well enough anymore to ask him, but that same, unexplainable worry gnawed at my stomach, battling with nostalgia.  When I saw him in school the last two days, he looked the same as he always did:  intense.  Brooding.  Maybe a little angry, like he was ready to explode if given the right spark.  

But how could I just walk up to him and tell him that I missed him?   That I missed when it was the three of us against the world?  All he would do was roll his eyes and tell me I was being dramatic; that I was Maddy Adler, Head Cheerleader of the Riverside Ravens with the world at my feet.  That I was invincible. 

We’d barely spoken the last three years, but I could still hear his voice in my head — the blatant honesty, whether I wanted it or not.  The intense stare.  

Or maybe it was just being in this place that was bringing back all of these memories.  As if they were yesterday, and not a lifetime before that.  

 

 

And that's a wrap for week 1 of NaNoWriMo!
Many thanks if you stuck around reading all of this, and I'd love any feedback, tips, or questions! :wub:

Edited by dreamgazer220
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I'm back again with a week 2 update! :yay:

General Update:

Week 2 is sometimes a struggle, and this year's NaNo was no different.  There were days where I asked why I was doing this to myself, and days I simply didn't write at all -- and then there were days that I wrote 4k to make up for it all.  I thankfully haven't fallen too far behind, at least enough where I can still catch up. I'm so glad I haven't given up on this story yet, because when I do write it, I'm really enjoying it.  <3
 

Progress Report:

current word count: 25,440/50,000
current chapter: 6

 tumblr_inline_obz0aj81fV1skccvi_500.gif

I've officially made it to the halfway point!  At least as far as NaNoWriMo is concerned, because I don't think I'm quite halfway through the story.  So if I ever do something with this, even with editing, it'll probably be longer than the 50k that I'll write this month.
 

Things I've Discovered:

  • Zach and Maddy's relationship is turbulent to say the least, but they're at least talking.  Also, I discovered that rather than the fact that they hadn't talked all summer since Brittany's funeral, they had.  I decided it made sense if Zach was interested in both art and music, and James taught him as well; and he and Maddy bonded over their mutual love of music and their shared pain.  Then, of course, they came back to school and everything went back to "normal".  This'll definitely add conflict later on, especially when Zach finds out about James.
  • There's less social politics than I originally intended.  I think I'm gonna have to make that an update if I edit for later drafts.
  • I haven't really found a way to diversify my cast yet, but I'm hoping edits will change that. 
     

Snippets!:

I've written some really cute (and mildly ridiculous) Zach and Maddy scenes over the last few days, but I have three favorites I want to share.  Zach invited Maddy to help clean out Brittany's bedroom, since they used to be best friends and he didn't want to do it with just his parents.  Here's a few snippets in this chapter:

Maddy arrives at the Davis house -->

Spoiler
Quote

I let out a shallow breath and knocked on the front door.

Zach was the one who answered.  He almost looked relieved at the sight of me; like this was something he didn’t want to have to do with just his parents.

“You came,” he said, and the emotion in his voice was something I couldn’t quite place.  Surprise mixed with relief mixed with… something else.  He smelled like a chimney, and my guess was that he snuck out to smoke at least a pack of cigarettes before I came over.

“You invited me,” I replied, my tone blunt but mixed with that same element of surprise.

His lips curved into a smile.  “Welcome back,  Princess.” 

 


Zach and Maddy in the attic, grabbing boxes to sort through things -->

Spoiler
Quote

“What’s with all the questions?” Zach asked calmly.  “Although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you would judge me, considering.” 

“Considering what?” I demanded, although I had a feeling I knew where he was going with this.

“You’re the princess of Riverside High,” he replied, shrugging.  “Those of us not lucky enough to be in your inner circle are merely mortals who are supposed to just worship the ground you walk on.” 

“I never wanted anyone to worship me,” I said, “least of all you.” 

“Why’s that?”

I swallowed, suddenly feeling like I was being interrogated by the police.  “Because…” I began, not really sure what to say.  Finding that anything that was coming to mind to be irrelevant.  “You’re Zach.” 

“And what does that mean?” 

“It means you’re not like everyone else.  You never were, and I hope you never are.” 

“If I’m ever like anyone else, I want you to slam a piano on my head like in the old Road Runner cartoons,” he replied.  A giggle escaped my lips and Zach merely raised a brow.  “I see the boxes.”

 


Zach and Maddy's first Moment -->

Spoiler
Quote

There was another part of me that wanted to hug him.  I didn’t know where the impulse came from, but I could practically feel the rage radiating off of him as I stepped closer.  He didn’t back away; he simply stared at me again, the same expression as when he was watching me like a hawk, and I tentatively wrapped my arms around his shoulders. He was a few inches taller than me, so I almost had to step on my toes to get better hugging access, but I didn’t care.  When was even the last time Zach had been hugged?

He didn’t hug me back.  Not at first, and I was almost going to pull away, apology bursting from my lips at the audacity of touching Zach Davis, but then his arms formed around my waist, drawing me in closer to him.

I could still smell the faint hint of smoke, although we’d been cleaning in Brittany’s room for at least a few hours before I found the box of photographs that had sent me down here in the first place.  But hugging Zach — it was like being near him, but better.  It was almost like being whole, and there was a part of me that hadn’t even realized I was broken to begin with.

I wasn’t sure how long we stood in his living room, clutching onto each other like we were each other’s life support, but we eventually pulled away.  There wasn’t an ounce of embarrassment or disappointment across Zach’s cool face, and I was sure I looked like a wreck in comparison.  Tear stained cheeks, messed up hair, red eyes.

But Zach was looking at me like he was really seeing me for the first time, and there was an intense wave of emotion that came over me.  I swallowed again, almost tempted to look away because it was too much, but it was like he felt it too.  Like when we were with each other, we were home.

 

 

Shoutouts!:

As always, just wanted to give a shoutout to @clevernotbrilliant for all of her help, patience, and encouragement.  I definitely wouldn't be this far without you!
Another shoutout this week goes to @WindingArrow for all of our epic races, which helped me get right back on track! Honestly I probably wouldn't have written this much in the last few days without you.
And @MegGonagall made me a gorgeous character asthetic for Zach, which you can find on my tumblr [M]. (I wasn't 100% sure if I could post it in the nest, so I figured I'd link it.)

And that's a wrap for NaNoWriMo Week 2! 
Many thanks if you stuck around reading all of this, and as always, I'd love any feedback, tips, or questions! :wub:

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