PDA

View Full Version : When Trains Collide (Chapter 2)



JayRiggs
March 19th, 2013, 03:10 AM
He taught a writing class. It was the only true love in his life, the only outlet he’d ever known. With every stroke of a pen, an idea was brought to life. She happened to take the class. Both thought by chance, others by fate. In the beginning, he would size up his class, mostly filled with people who had never written anything in their lives and thought this class would turn them into a novelist. But she was different. He knew it as soon as he saw her. She was about 5’2, but you wouldn’t have known it by her body language. Maybe he was over-thinking things, maybe she’d just sit through the class, do average work, and be done with it. Never making a sound, never sticking out. But something kept nagging at the back of his mind that she was different.


And she was.


The weeks went by, an hour and a half class, two times a week. Neither could hide the growing attraction. They began counting on that short time spent in the same room, both always wanting more but knowing the risk of putting themselves out to the other. She rarely spooked easy, but there was something about him that was so intimidating, but so intriguing at the same time. His quiet confidence, the way he came off as if to say “I know I’m smarter than you.” But it didn’t intimidate her the same way it did everyone else. He was just like her, something she’d never experienced. She didn’t know how to handle it but she wanted more.


Her papers were always flawless, even the most mundane topics such as research papers. Something that normally would be filled with statistics and facts with no room for creativity, she turned into a work of art. She rarely asked questions and never asked for help. For the first couple weeks, she hardly made a comment at all. That was her way, observe without being observed until she got an accurate feel for the situation presented. It was then he knew she wasn’t like the rest. It was then he knew he’d do whatever he could to bring that out of her, let it flourish. Always in a very subtle manner, no one else would know what he was doing. Except for her.


He began offering to critique anyone’s papers before the final version was turned in. He knew she’d take the bait. He knew she wanted her paper to be perfect, even though she knew it was as close as it could be to that. He knew she wanted the chance to hear him tell her how good it already was, and how it didn’t need much change. He knew half the class would turn them in hoping for help on how to get by with a passing grade. He dreaded reading those papers, everyone made the same elementary mistakes over and over again. But once he read hers, he decided it was worth the tedious work of reading the other ones.


The first time she sent in a rough draft she was terrified. She had seen the other students step up to the desk, him tear their paper to shreds, them walking away with enough red marks on the paper to make it look like it was bleeding. “He’ll read mine and tear it apart, make me feel like an idiot” she thought over and over, watching his every expression while he was reading hers. He called her up. She walked cautiously to the desk and started justifying herself.


“I know it’s still got a lot of work, I didn’t know exactly where to…” She sputtered.


He stole a sideways glance at her and arched an eyebrow. And with almost no inflection, without missing a beat said, “This is honestly quite exceptional”


“Really?” That was the one of greatest complimens she’d get from another writer. She knew writers don’t like to drool over work that isn’t theirs.


“Yeah, I like it, I’ve never had a problem with any of your papers. You answered exactly what I asked of you. Do you want to turn it in now?”


“Sure. Go ahead and keep it, I’m done.” She tried to sound nonchalant, but her cockiness got the best of her. He tried to hide a cockeyed grin. She was beaming, he didn’t have to look, he heard the smile in her voice.


Her confidence grew with every class. She started talking more, answering more questions, asking more. She wanted to know “why” behind everything he lectured on. She had a natural curiosity about her. Her other classes weren’t very challenging. Maths and sciences never really held her attention. But writing was another story. She wanted to know everything she could to better herself. He started prodding at it with every chance he got. He stood at the same place in the front of the room, her sitting at the same desk every week, but with every discussion, the distance between them seemed to get smaller and smaller. He’d start asking the class questions aloud, leaving them open for anyone to answer but he’d look right at her the second he finished asking it. He didn’t care about anyone else’s answers, they’d never thrall him the way hers did. She wore her excitement about the topic at hand in her eyes. She tried to hide it, everything else about her was relaxed, almost indifferent. The way she leaned back in her chair, the almost lazy way she moved, to any normal person she’d have gotten away with it. But he wasn’t normal, and her eyes couldn’t lie to him.


Weeks went by, and the game got more intense with it. He started thinking about her even outside of school. He was in his 30’s, and the dating scene wasn’t exactly ideal. He couldn’t help but give up on finding the woman he needed. Every one was the same, unintelligent, divorcee, single parent, desk job. None of them ran deeper than a puddle. He felt empty, he knew what he needed and where to find it, but circumstance prevented it from ever being obtainable. He’d think about her when he went home, alone, from the bars his friends dragged him to. They tried to fix him up with girl after girl. After a while he got tired of being grilled on why it didn’t work and lectured on why said girl was perfect for him. No one knew what was perfect for him. He needed someone who could hang with him, his intellect, his appreciation for the written word, for film. He needed a girl who could hold her own against his wit, and shut him up with a cocky comment every now and then. He needed Jade.


And she needed Warren. He was in her head now, they both knew that. She was being pursued by guys, she didn’t have a problem attracting them. It was the type she attracted that she had the problem with. Time after time, the same things would happen. Some guy who couldn’t keep up with her when she talked about anything more serious than the weather or work. She’d start to talk about her writing and light up, hoping to get some kind of response and receiving nothing more than a smile and nod. She’d get bored over time. They never stacked up, and she started thinking no one ever would. She wanted masculinity, confidence, strength, maturity. She wanted intelligence, intellect, and appreciation for her passion for writing, a guy who could share a similar passion with her and teach her a few things along the way, a guy who could give out just as much shit as she could. She started comparing guys to him without even realizing. He crossed her mind more than she ever thought he would.


Finals week approached faster than the two of them were ready for. One final paper and a Powerpoint to go along with it. Jade had made amazing strides thus far, and this final project would further illuminate that, while she was good, she wasn’t too good to learn. She’d prove his advice and guidance had resonated with her. Warren expected nothing less.


The last day of class came. She had her paper polished as much as it could’ve been. They had to stay the whole class period, so once again he offered to proofread anyone’s paper before they turned it in. Jade turned her paper in last. Everyone before her had been up at his desk for what seemed like hours. He had no inhibition about cutting up the work they’d done, he never did. Time was running down. “God, I’m gonna have to make all these tiny changes in like a half hour, I should’ve never gave it to him.” She studied his every move while he was reading her paper, looking for some inclination of whether he liked it or not. He didn’t give any. He knew it was killing her. He’d look up every now and then to see her fidgeting, playing with her phone, checking the clock every 2 minutes. He loved it, he found it adorable that this confident, brilliant girl could fall to him, something he assumed wasn’t normal for her. He was right.


The paper was perfect, he wasn’t surprised by any means. He was proud. She’d done it. She took every piece of advice he gave her and used it to spin gold. He had to let her know it was appreciated, it had to be a grand gesture. He had to call her out, see her reaction. She never knew how many things he did or said just to get a reaction out of her.


“Jade.” He called her name in the same monotone voice he did everyone else’s. She regretted having him check it over. She should have just turned it in how it was, it was enough to pass. She started to stand up to take that mile long walk to his desk. He perked up more than usual, put his shoulders back, lowered his voice. And loud enough for the whole class to hear, declared “I don’t have anything for you to change. Do you want me to hang onto it?”


She tried to hide her confusion and excitement. He did it, he left her speechless, she didn’t know how to react but she was trying to contain herself. “Oh. Yeah, that’s fine.” The smile crept up to the corners of her mouth, against her will.


“Do you have the Powerpoint printed out for me?”


“I don’t.” She felt stupid. She completely forgot to print the presentation out. She could still present it. How could she forget to print it?


“Ok, well, I can still grade it when you present. Just bring the printed version to me in two weeks, the first day after break.”


Class was over. She walked by his desk without so much as a goodbye. That was it. They both were a little more let down at the other for not saying anything than they’d planned for. Those two weeks were hell for both of them. They both wondered what the other was doing. They both meticulously planned what they’d do the first day back from break. She planned her outfit, he got a haircut, trimmed up his beard. They both hoped their schedules allowed for at least a few passing glances in the new quarter. They’d gotten so used to that small bit of interaction, they didn’t know what they’d do without it.

Sparktheunknown
April 16th, 2013, 04:54 PM
Too many points of view happening all at once. That's the only problem I can come up with... lol. I Like it.

Lindacat
July 19th, 2013, 12:51 PM
Not sure i'm doing this right - first time. Anyway, i enjoyed your story. You build suspense and make me want to read on, but i see inconsistencies with you describe the characters. Noted below. Also, i think you could do more showing and less telling. Examples below.

He taught a writing class. It was the only true love in his life, the only outlet he’d ever known. With every stroke of a pen, an idea was brought to life. She happened to take the class. Both thought by chance, others by fate. In the beginning, he would size up his class, mostly filled with people who had never written anything in their lives and thought this class would turn them into a novelist. But she was different. He knew it as soon as he saw her. She was about 5’2, but you wouldn’t have known it by her body language. Maybe he was over-thinking things, maybe she’d just sit through the class, do average work, and be done with it. Never making a sound, never sticking out. But something kept nagging at the back of his mind that she was different.

--If there was something about her body language, then she already stuck out.
--I think you could give her a gesture or posture as an example ofher body language


And she was.


The weeks went by, an hour and a half class, two times a week. Neither could hide the growing attraction. They began counting on that short time spent in the same room, both always wanting more but knowing the risk of putting themselves out to the other. She rarely spooked easy, but there was something about him that was so intimidating, but so intriguing at the same time. His quiet confidence, the way he came off as if to say “I know I’m smarter than you.” But it didn’t intimidate her the same way it did everyone else. He was just like her, something she’d never experienced. She didn’t know how to handle it but she wanted more.


Her papers were always flawless, even the most mundane topics such as research papers. Something that normally would be filled with statistics and facts with no room for creativity, she turned into a work of art. She rarely asked questions and never asked for help. For the first couple weeks, she hardly made a comment at all. That was her way, observe without being observed until she got an accurate feel for the situation presented. It was then he knew she wasn’t like the rest. It was then he knew he’d do whatever he could to bring that out of her, let it flourish. Always in a very subtle manner, no one else would know what he was doing. Except for her.

--I'd like it if you'd show us how he was intimidating rather than tell us.


He began offering to critique anyone’s papers before the final version was turned in. He knew she’d take the bait. He knew she wanted her paper to be perfect, even though she knew it was as close as it could be to that. He knew she wanted the chance to hear him tell her how good it already was, and how it didn’t need much change. He knew half the class would turn them in hoping for help on how to get by with a passing grade. He dreaded reading those papers, everyone made the same elementary mistakes over and over again. But once he read hers, he decided it was worth the tedious work of reading the other ones.

--Why was it worth it if they kept repeating the same mistakes?

The first time she sent in a rough draft she was terrified. She had seen the other students step up to the desk, him tear their paper to shreds, them walking away with enough red marks on the paper to make it look like it was bleeding. “He’ll read mine and tear it apart, make me feel like an idiot” she thought over and over, watching his every expression while he was reading hers. He called her up. She walked cautiously to the desk and started justifying herself.


“I know it’s still got a lot of work, I didn’t know exactly where to…” She sputtered.


He stole a sideways glance at her and arched an eyebrow. And with almost no inflection, without missing a beat said, “This is honestly quite exceptional”


“Really?” That was the one of greatest complimens she’d get from another writer. She knew writers don’t like to drool over work that isn’t theirs.


“Yeah, I like it, I’ve never had a problem with any of your papers. You answered exactly what I asked of you. Do you want to turn it in now?”


“Sure. Go ahead and keep it, I’m done.” She tried to sound nonchalant, but her cockiness got the best of her. He tried to hide a cockeyed grin. She was beaming, he didn’t have to look, he heard the smile in her voice.


Her confidence grew with every class. She started talking more, answering more questions, asking more. She wanted to know “why” behind everything he lectured on. She had a natural curiosity about her. Her other classes weren’t very challenging. Maths and sciences never really held her attention. But writing was another story. She wanted to know everything she could to better herself. He started prodding at it with every chance he got. He stood at the same place in the front of the room, her sitting at the same desk every week, but with every discussion, the distance between them seemed to get smaller and smaller. He’d start asking the class questions aloud, leaving them open for anyone to answer but he’d look right at her the second he finished asking it. He didn’t care about anyone else’s answers, they’d never thrall him the way hers did. She wore her excitement about the topic at hand in her eyes. She tried to hide it, everything else about her was relaxed, almost indifferent. The way she leaned back in her chair, the almost lazy way she moved, to any normal person she’d have gotten away with it. But he wasn’t normal, and her eyes couldn’t lie to him.


Weeks went by, and the game got more intense with it. He started thinking about her even outside of school. He was in his 30’s, and the dating scene wasn’t exactly ideal. He couldn’t help but give up on finding the woman he needed. Every one was the same, unintelligent, divorcee, single parent, desk job. None of them ran deeper than a puddle. He felt empty, he knew what he needed and where to find it, but circumstance prevented it from ever being obtainable. He’d think about her when he went home, alone, from the bars his friends dragged him to. They tried to fix him up with girl after girl. After a while he got tired of being grilled on why it didn’t work and lectured on why said girl was perfect for him. No one knew what was perfect for him. He needed someone who could hang with him, his intellect, his appreciation for the written word, for film. He needed a girl who could hold her own against his wit, and shut him up with a cocky comment every now and then. He needed Jade.

--deeper than puddle Good!


And she needed Warren. He was in her head now, they both knew that. She was being pursued by guys, she didn’t have a problem attracting them. It was the type she attracted that she had the problem with. Time after time, the same things would happen. Some guy who couldn’t keep up with her when she talked about anything more serious than the weather or work. She’d start to talk about her writing and light up, hoping to get some kind of response and receiving nothing more than a smile and nod. She’d get bored over time. They never stacked up, and she started thinking no one ever would. She wanted masculinity, confidence, strength, maturity. She wanted intelligence, intellect, and appreciation for her passion for writing, a guy who could share a similar passion with her and teach her a few things along the way, a guy who could give out just as much shit as she could. She started comparing guys to him without even realizing. He crossed her mind more than she ever thought he would.

--Why do we first learn their names so far into the story?
--You didn't show her giving out shit, so it's kind of a surprize that she's thinking that.


Finals week approached faster than the two of them were ready for. One final paper and a Powerpoint to go along with it. Jade had made amazing strides thus far, and this final project would further illuminate that, while she was good, she wasn’t too good to learn. She’d prove his advice and guidance had resonated with her. Warren expected nothing less.


The last day of class came. She had her paper polished as much as it could’ve been. They had to stay the whole class period, so once again he offered to proofread anyone’s paper before they turned it in. Jade turned her paper in last. Everyone before her had been up at his desk for what seemed like hours. He had no inhibition about cutting up the work they’d done, he never did. Time was running down. “God, I’m gonna have to make all these tiny changes in like a half hour, I should’ve never gave it to him.” She studied his every move while he was reading her paper, looking for some inclination of whether he liked it or not. He didn’t give any. He knew it was killing her. He’d look up every now and then to see her fidgeting, playing with her phone, checking the clock every 2 minutes. He loved it, he found it adorable that this confident, brilliant girl could fall to him, something he assumed wasn’t normal for her. He was right.

--He's showing a little male sadism here, but there's no buildup, so i'm surprized this sweet-sounding male would be that way.


The paper was perfect, he wasn’t surprised by any means. He was proud. She’d done it. She took every piece of advice he gave her and used it to spin gold. He had to let her know it was appreciated, it had to be a grand gesture. He had to call her out, see her reaction. She never knew how many things he did or said just to get a reaction out of her.


“Jade.” He called her name in the same monotone voice he did everyone else’s. She regretted having him check it over. She should have just turned it in how it was, it was enough to pass. She started to stand up to take that mile long walk to his desk. He perked up more than usual, put his shoulders back, lowered his voice. And loud enough for the whole class to hear, declared “I don’t have anything for you to change. Do you want me to hang onto it?”

--long walk to his desk - Good!


She tried to hide her confusion and excitement. He did it, he left her speechless, she didn’t know how to react but she was trying to contain herself. “Oh. Yeah, that’s fine.” The smile crept up to the corners of her mouth, against her will.


“Do you have the Powerpoint printed out for me?”


“I don’t.” She felt stupid. She completely forgot to print the presentation out. She could still present it. How could she forget to print it?


“Ok, well, I can still grade it when you present. Just bring the printed version to me in two weeks, the first day after break.”


Class was over. She walked by his desk without so much as a goodbye. That was it. They both were a little more let down at the other for not saying anything than they’d planned for. Those two weeks were hell for both of them. They both wondered what the other was doing. They both meticulously planned what they’d do the first day back from break. She planned her outfit, he got a haircut, trimmed up his beard. They both hoped their schedules allowed for at least a few passing glances in the new quarter. They’d gotten so used to that small bit of interaction, they didn’t know what they’d do without it.

Sintalion
July 19th, 2013, 01:48 PM
Given her perfect papers, I'd like to say I find it a little hard to believe that she'd be so scared.

But then I think back to some of my college experiences and how I can relate to Jade. In one particular lab class I scored top marks for every 15 page paper (and every shorter one). He demolished people. In front of our class on the very first paper he announced that the average was a 45; one person got a 90.

He met with us privately to go over the first paper and graded the ones after on the spot. I was terrified every single time. The first time, understandably, but after that when I *knew* I was doing right, I was still scared. You know the past one was good, but a million little questions arise about the new topic. Did I format the charts correctly? That one data point that seemed off, was it off or did I input something wrong? Is the writing solid? Did I include enough references? Does my conclusion make sense? I don't really understand how a water maze works, so I hope my explanation's okay. And so on. Then, you have someone going line by line in front of you, judging you, running that red pen along the page corners while you sit in silence for 15 pages with nothing to examine but him- it's certainly enough to give you a thrill.

I also know a student in my freshman English class who ended up marrying the professor. I imagine their romance began a little like this.

So on that note, I think it's utterly believable that it could happen. However, something is off about the way it reads. Part of that might be fixed by giving a reason for her doubt.


You head hop. It was strongly written towards the man in the beginning, so it's particularly noticeable in the instances where you swap brains for a line or two.

Like the other user said, I don't understand why we have to wait so long to hear their names. There's not really any reason for it, and you don't present it in a special way to justify the earlier absence.

bezidentita
September 2nd, 2013, 05:03 AM
I have mixed feelings. Overall, I like it. I like the interplay. A couple things: is this Warren guy the teacher or a fellow student? It sounds one second like he's one, then he's the other. Also, the information in the whole thing goes on and on. I get that you're trying to tell a story, and trying to build the growing tension between the two. Good back stories on these two, BTW. so it's a cool piece. And I can relate to what the guy's going through. You might try shortening the whole thing up, having all the same information packed into less space. Less is more.

ericjohn
December 21st, 2013, 12:49 PM
I initially believed it would have to do something with railroads, which, since I am a foamer I clicked the link. Even though it wasn't railroad-related; I thouroughly enjoyed it. If only I could write with such description and bring about the atmosphere you do. I guess I will have to train myself. The story was VERY easy to visualize. For a while I was working on a story where a senior English teacher falls in love with a femal student. Of course the relationship is forbidden and a corrupt/controlling school president makes matters worse. I never got it off the ground. The title was Inappropriate Affection. Back to your story. I liked that it was written in third person omniscient, I try to write that way when I can and appreciate when others do. I hope they eventually fall in love with each other and have a successful relationship,as they seem pretty compatible. Keep on doing what you are doing...