Purple Prose + weekend

Sweet Saturday Sample:

I forgot to sign up for the 'official' link, but I still wanted to do a sweet Saturday Sample:

Fall in the Great Smoky Mountains brought millions of
people to the otherwise rustic region to drive up the mountain, hike
the trails, visit Cades Cove, go to the famous theme park, or just do
some Christmas shopping in the cities of Pigeon Forge and
Gatlinburg. They were drawn to the mountains for the splendor of
the colorful leaves adorning and then falling off the trees. Around
October, the trees turned from deep green to bright yellow, burnt
orange, and brilliant red hues. It wasn’t surprising that most people
visited the mountains during early fall, which was precisely why
David hadn’t planned their trip for October. “Too many people,”
he said.

The Grant Gospel Church Youth Group arrived in the city at
the foot of the mountain two weeks before Thanksgiving.
“So this is the famous Gatlinburg?” Carly Jones stretched
from her seat beside Rachel.

“Sure is.” Rachel smiled at her friend, happy to have her
awake and semi-­‐‑coherent.

Carly sat up and pulled her long brown hair into a high
ponytail. She leaned across Rachel and peeked out of the window
at the rural scenery. Even though Gatlinburg was a city, it had the
quaintness of a small town. Two streets ran parallel through the
city, and it was an easy walk from one end to the other. The city
sold hillbilly chic and used images of the bears that roamed the
mountains as mascots. They were plastered everywhere.

“Interesting,” Carly mused as they passed one of the many
hillbilly mini golf courses.

“Your enthusiasm is contagious.” Rachel laughed. A bit of
sarcasm tipped her voice.

“Oh, I’m enthusiastic about the hike. I think that will be fun.
But not so much spending two days away from home with

“You’ll live,” Rachel said, turning off her e-­‐‑reader and
placing it in her lap.

“I guess.” Carly shrugged, crossing her arms with a sigh. “I
suppose this trip won’t kill me.”

“That’s the spirit.”

“Of course,” came a voice two seats ahead, “you could
always be killed by a bear. I hear they are known for preying on the
sweeter among us.”

“Sid, save it for someone who cares,” Carly moaned, rolling
her eyes at the guy who had once meant the world to her. Rachel
had nothing personal against Sid. He sinned like all of them, but
Sid’s sin had hurt her best friend, and that in turn hurt Rachel. She
prayed that Sid got in a hiking group that didn’t contain her or
Carly, so she wouldn’t have to hear them arguing all day.

“Children,” David called from the front seat. “No one is
dying on this trip, got it?” he emphasized, keeping his eyes on the
narrowing road leading through the city. “No one is getting killed
by a bear or a coyote or a snake…”

“Sid should know all about snakes,” Carly spat.

“And no one is bickering,” David stressed. “Got it? We are
here to have fun, not to audition for a soap opera. We are going to
show the people of the Smokies what good, upstanding teenagers
come from Georgia, and we are going to live as Christianly
examples in all areas of our trip. Does everyone understand that?”

“Yes, brother,” Sid sighed. “Are you here to spread your
Christianly example?” Rachel heard him ask the boy next to him.
She rolled her eyes. Why did he have to make a joke about

Carly eyeballed her ex. “I can’t stand him.” She slumped in
her seat, pulled her legs toward her, and picked at the lint on her
dark wash jeans.

“Well, you are going to have to make peace with him for the
sake of us all. It’s going to be miserable if you don’t. He’s asked for
forgiveness. Don’t you think you should give it?” Rachel prayed for
all of their sakes she took the advice.

Carly’s eyes bugged out like they might jump out of their
sockets. “Rachel, I love you, but I don’t feel like hearing the ‘you-­‐‑
have-­‐‑to-­‐‑forgive-­‐‑him-­‐‑because-­‐‑Jesus-­‐‑forgave-­‐‑you’ speech. I’ve
already heard it from my dad. You are my friend and are supposed
to be on my side.”

“I am,” Rachel said, trying her best not to get defensive. “But
being mad at Sid isn’t going to do any good. He messed up. Sure,
yeah, it was a major mess-­‐‑up, but still. Time to move on, don’t you

“Major? I caught him kissing that blonde bimbo, Easy
Emily,” Carly reminded her as if she could ever forget. She talked
about ‘Easy Emily’ every chance she got. “I’m sorry, but it’s going
to take a while for me to get over that.”

Carly laid her head back on the seat and stared in Sid’s
direction. Rachel had no idea how to help her friend. Her
experience with boys consisted of seeing them at school and at
church. Dates had to be mom approved, not that anyone had ever

“And why did he bring Asher Jenkins, anyway?” Carly
asked, still eyeballing him. “It’s not like he even goes to our

Rachel shrugged. “Who knows? Maybe just to be nice?”
“Ha,” Carly laughed. “Sid wouldn’t know nice if it bit him
on the butt.”

“You guys do know we can hear you, right?” Sid said,
leaning around his seat. Embarrassed, Rachel’s cheeks turned as
bright as her hair.

Carly didn’t seem to care. She ignored him and continued
right on talking. “Did you know that Sid and I dated for six
months, and in that time I could count on one hand the weekends
Asher wasn’t at his house? It’s crazy. Does he not have a home?
And now he’s here… wonder what’s going on?”

“Curiosity killed the cat,” Rachel whispered and wished
Carly would do the same.

“Yeah, and CPR brought it back.”

“That makes no sense,” she had to laugh and shook her
head, causing the wild curls that had escaped from her messy bun
to dance. She moved a rogue strand that had fallen in her eyes and
tucked it behind her ear.

“Neither does love.” Carly sighed. “Neither does love.”
Rachel might not have had much experience with boys, but she
knew that expression. Carly looked at Sid with puppy love mixed
with the need for revenge. Not such a great combination.

“Leave the boy alone,” Rachel told her. “It’s not worth it.
Besides, you have other problems.”

“Like what?”

“Like walking a five-­‐‑mile trail with a ten-­‐‑pound backpack in
bear-­‐‑filled mountains.”

Carly’s face dropped and a wrinkle appeared between her
brows. “Oh, yeah. That.”

When the van pulled into the Thorne Stone Inn parking lot
at around eight o’clock, Rachel was relieved. Her legs needed a
break. David and Susan went inside the office of the two-­‐‑story
building with a cabin appearance to ask if their rooms were ready.
Vanessa Dryer, the Senior Pastor’s wife, stayed behind to watch the

Sid got out of the van first, stretching his sore muscles and
cracking his neck. Asher followed. Soon only Carly, who refused to
get out as long as Sid was around, remained in the van.

The group congregated in the parking lot, waiting for what
seemed like forever to hear if they could get in their rooms. Rachel
prayed that they could. She wanted to leave her suitcase and
freshen up before the hike.

When it became clear David and Susan would be a while,
Vanessa told them they could roam the property but to stay with a
buddy and not wander off. She told them that she trusted them but
not that much. Vanessa was always honest like that.

With Carly showing no signs of emerging from the van,
Rachel had to roam alone. Dawn-­‐‑Alice, Sam, and Heather took off
toward one of the airbrush t-­‐‑shirt shops close to the hotel. Hope
Dryer chatted against the van with her mom, Vanessa, and Sid
disappeared inside the van with Carly. Rachel knew that
conversation didn’t need her; plus Carly would no doubt tell her all
about it later. Starved, she decided to try to find some sort of snack

Her mom had packed a few snacks in her backpack along
with everything else on the day hiker checklist. Judging by how
heavy it had felt, her mom had also packed a lot of things that
weren’t on the list. The bad news was her bag and snacks sat on the
floor next to Carly, and she had no intention of going and
interrupting that conversation. Spending an extra dollar seemed
well worth it.

Rachel felt inside of her emerald green coat pockets for some
change. She loved her coat and tried to find a shirt to match it for
the hike. The best she could come up with in her closet was a dark
teal one with three buttons up the top. At least it was warm.

After walking around for five minutes without any luck,
Rachel started to question if the hotel even had a snack machine.
About to give up, she spotted one down the hall facing the creek.
At the moment, it was being held up by Sid’s friend, Asher. Having
no idea anyone was around, he stood there, fiddling with some sort
of black rectangular thing. When he saw her, he threw it in the
inside pocket of his hike-­‐‑inappropriate, black leather jacket.
Well aware of his family’s reputation, Rachel jumped to the
obvious conclusion: he had some sort of drugs or maybe a little
black book with all of the names of the women he’d hooked up
with scribbled inside. Either way, it didn’t need to be on a church

“David’s gonna be mad if he catches you with that.”

“I doubt if David does anything to me.” Asher smirked and
amusement lit his eyes. It made her a bit ticked that he found it fun
to toy with her. He didn’t even know her that well.

She plopped herself in front of the machine and looked over
the rather sparse selection.

“Why do you think the worst of people?” Asher leaned his
arm on the machine inches from her. She could feel him staring
down at her, and her face warmed.

“If the shoe fits.” She shrugged, and her shoulder rubbed
against his arm, causing her skin to get little goose bumps. She
hadn’t expected that.

He waited until she retrieved her selection, the barbecue
chips from A-­‐‑2, before he answered. “How about this? You don’t
assume things about me, and I won’t assume things about you.”

Her gaze darted up to him. At full height, she barely reached
his shoulder. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Without answering, a self-­‐‑satisfied smirk crossed his face
and he strolled past her.

“Asher,” she yelled, but he never stopped walking. He
hadn’t heard something about her, had he? And why did she care?

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Sweet Saturday Sample: + weekend