EMOTION: Nick: guilty, slightly embarrassed, a little annoyed. Claudia: angry, but in that seething, simmering kind of way.
Set-up: Nick (Nick is "I" in this passage) and Claudia are on a cross-country trip. Claudia has discovered an acceptance letter from Brown University that Nick has been hiding from her for a few months.
“When did this all happen?” Claudia calls to me as I head around to the front seat. She is waving the brown folder at me. The white crest with the red cross catches the sunlight and temporarily blinds me.
“Like, April,” I gulp and shrug.
“April? Were you going to tell me about it?” Her voice is measured.
I just shrug again. “Eventually, I guess.”
“Like when you were packing your suitcases? Or maybe after you got there and moved in? Or maybe graduation day four years from now. That would have been the perfect time to say, ‘Oh, Claud, by the way, I got into Brown.’” Her voice has gotten just a little bit loud.
“I would have told you, I swear. I’m not even sure if I’m going or not.” I say to the ground.
“What? Of course you’re going! You were smart enough to get into the Ivy League and you’re talking about not going? Are you nuts?”
“I don’t know. We don’t have to talk about it right now, do we?” I say, heading to the driver’s side of the car and holding out my hand for the keys.
Claudia sets her mouth in a line and I can see her cigarette shaking in her hand. She takes a breath like she’s about to say something, thinks better of it and plops the keys in my hand. “You’re the boss,” she mutters.