Below is a dialogue exercise I wrote for one of my English classes. The assignment was to write the dialogue between two characters – one who wants to leave and one who wants the other to stay. Please give it a read and let me know what you think!
A white Jeep wrangler idled at the opening of River Road. The driver-side’s window was rolled down half-way and all the doors were locked except for the passenger’s. Britney sat in the driver’s seat, with her back against the door, both feet on the chair, legs bent to her chest. She pursed her lips and raised her left eyebrow. It had been pierced earlier that day.
Jessica sat in the passenger’s seat. She had rested her elbows on her knees and clasped her hands. Looking up – over the dashboard – Jessica could see her mailbox’s lip through the headlights’ trail. Painted on the side of her mailbox was the number eighteen: Britney’s favorite.
Britney’s eyebrow lowered when Jessica looked over. “Ya know,” Jessica said, “I can just walk -”
“It’s cold though.” Britney lowered her legs and faced the wheel. “I mean,” she reclined her seat, then turned to the back and started to rustle through books, cd’s, empty cans of soda. “You can have my sweatshirt.”
Jessica sat up and lightly pulled on her belt buckle. “Don’t worry about it,” she whispered. Having been felt in her front pocket, her phone vibrated three times. The buzzing continued. Kyle was probably calling her, she thought. She told him she’d be home by nine; the clock on Britney’s radio read: 9:20.
“Today was fun.” Britney tickled Jessica’s forearm.
Keeping her eyes closed, Jessica felt the acrylics stroke her forearm – Britney’s fingers moved like a paintbrush; her knuckles’ bent with every brush forward and flexed with every brush back.
“What are you thinking about?” Britney asked.
The stroking stopped.
Jessica opened her eyes. “Kyle.” She looked at Britney, “I miss him.”
“Call him.” Britney smiled and stroked Jessica’s arm, starting at her bicep, where her bra-strap hung loose, and down to her open palm.
“I will!” She closed her hand into a fist. “Once. Once I’m home.”
“I don’t mind, Jess. I call Joe in front of you.”
“I…you…we only know.”
“We?” Jessica brought her right hand up to her mouth. She pinched and pulled down her lower lip. She let go. “We know what, Britney?”
“This.” Britney grabbed Jessica’s hand. She weaved her thumb in and out of the crevices between Jessica’s knuckles. She chuckled and leaned over the console. Jessica hand reached for the handle once Britney’s nose nuzzled her cheek. “Come on. It’s okay.” She pulled on Jessica’s arm; her legs now back on her seat.
“Let me go home.” Jessica wrapped her fingers around the door handle and pulled it towards her. An alarm came on: the keys were still in the ignition. “This…that. It’s not me. I-I can’t.”
“Who needs to know, Jess?” Britney placed her hand on Jessica’s left knee.
“If I know, he knows it too.” Jessica went to open the door. Britney squeezed around her knee cap. A small tickle. Jessica let go of the handle. The door shut. Britney moved back to her seat, put her seatbelt on and then put the car into drive. “At least let me bring you there.” She stepped onto the gas. The back of Jessica’s head hit her seat; she lurched forward, almost hitting the dashboard, once Britney put the car into park at the top of her drive-way.
Jessica removed her phone from her pocket. She typed in her code to unlock the screen: two missed calls from Kyle. Of course. Reaching for the door, Jessica whispered a “thanks.”
Jessica remained seated. The door was open a crack. She could hear the engine hum: an orchestra for the crickets and barking dogs. “Yeah?”
“Am I bringing you to school?”
“Up to you.” In hand, Jessica’s phone started to vibrate. “I need to -”
“I-I don’t have to.” Britney dug her acrylics into the center of her steering wheel. “Don’t have to now.” Britney looked at her.
“Then don’t.” She shrugged her shoulders and sighed.
“I don’t want to keep this weird.” Britney leaned back in her chair; ran her fingers through her hair and stared at her radio. The clock read: 9:50. “But. But that’s how you’re acting. Acting like it’s fuckin’ weird now, Jess!” Britney closed her eyes and pinched in between.
Jessica was usually the one who cried. “It wasn’t normal, Britney. Think you’d agree with -”
“It was natural!” Britney yelled. She placed each hand on the side of her head and grabbed a bunch of hair in each fist. “Natural!” She let go of her hair and leaned against her window that was still half-way down. “We did it, we did it, we fuckin’ did it, Jess! I was there; you were there. I leaned in; you leaned in. It happened! Quick! It was quick. So, so quick that I didn’t even close my eyes. So quick.”
“Must have been longer than you remember.” Jessica pushed the door open as she stepped out of the car.
“Jess, please.” Britney exhaled. “What, what do you mean?”
Jessica looked up at her; her left hand against the backseat’s windows. “Your eyes were closed.”
Britney leaned over the console. Her hands on the passenger seat. “How, how -”
“I kept my eyes open.”