Friday, October 15, 2010
Chapter One--most likely the second half
Here's the revision I promised. This chapter will start with a Leesie poem that I need to research and then force myself to write. The dive log is just page 1-3 of my unintelligible messy rough draft. I like to keep chapters pretty short. Leesie's poem and this dive log should be enough for chapter one. At this stage, I shift chapter breaks around a lot. Or don't even think about them. Another Leesie poem comes after this dive log. This feels like a good, dramatic place to break. What do you think?
(Taken by Storm Book #3)
by Angela Morrison
LEESIE’S MOST PRIVATE CHAPBOOK
[Leesie poem re their journey.]
MICHAEL’S DIVE LOG—VOLUME #10
Dive Buddy: Leesie
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site: [hotel?]
Weather Condition: clear skies, full moon
Water Condition: choppy
Depth: way, way, way over my head
Visibility: I can’t see anything but her
Water Temp: steamy out
Bottom Time: all night long
The hotel doesn’t have wheelchairs like the airport. I follow the porter to Leesie’s room carrying her in my arms. It’s steamy in Cayman so we stripped off our matching Bonnie and Clyde get-away jackets waiting in line at emigration. Leather and the tropics don’t mix. I stuffed them in one of Leesie’s duffel bags when we claimed them. All I’ve got is my backpack.
As I walk down the hall, my feet sinking into the plush carpet, I’m hyper-aware of Leesie’s wounded head pressed against my shoulder, her breath on my neck. Holding her turns me on and there’s nothing I can do to stop that. Half her head is shaven and there’s forty-four stitches running down into her forehead. She’s got a bandage over her broken nose, wrapped ribs, a blue cloth brace to keep her collar-bone set, a cast on her left hand, and Velcro boot things on both her sprained ankles. The bruising around her eyes is less purple tonight. Her lip is gashed and swollen. But she’s still Leesie. I still love her. Touching her still makes me want her. I’ll always want her. “Hang in there, babe,” I whisper into her ear. “We’re almost there.”
“Hurry.” She wouldn’t use the john at the airport. “I’m going to explode.”
Me, too, babe. Me, too.
The porter opens the door, and I follow him inside the hotel room. I take Leesie right into the bathroom and set her down. I whisper so the guy can’t hear us. “Can you manage?”
“Not the snap.” Her eyes find mine, and we both take a step further into the new reality we find ourselves in.
I shake my head and drop my eyes. Careful not to touch anything but her pants, I unfasten her jeans and shut the door.
I get the porter to unlock the connecting door to my room, dump my backpack in there, press ten bucks in the guy’s hand, and usher him out. I pull Leesie’s pain pills out of my pocket, take four out and place them beside a bottle of water on the nightstand next to the bed closest to the bathroom.
Leesie hobbles out of the bathroom on her own steam. “I’ve never had to go that bad in my life.” Her jeans are pulled up but undone.
I force myself not to stare at the white underwear triangle between the open zipper teeth. “Let me help.” I steer clear of her zipper, but scoop her up for the thousandth time since we signed her out of that hospital room in Kellogg, Idaho. I lay her down on the bed—have to stop myself from kissing her neck. I haven’t slept for more than an hour or two at a time for the past several days. And we’re alone in a hotel room for the first time. I’ve got like zero self-control left. I move to the bottom of the bed and go to work relieving her of the ugly Velcroed boots.
Leesie yawns and stretches her legs. “Are you sure we want this bed? You can’t see the TV very well from here.”
I pull off the first boot. “I’ll move you. Just let me finish.”
“It doesn’t matter.” She swallows and the bottom half of her cheeks and her pale, lovely neck turn pink. “If this is where you want to sleep—”
“Leese.” It kills me to say this. “My bed is in the room next door.”
The heightened color drains out of her face. “I need you here.” Her eyes fill with terror. “You’re not going to leave me are you?”
I slip off the other boot. “This isn’t the hospital with nurses and aids coming in and out all night. That door is locked. We’re alone.” I stare down at her bandaged ankles and can’t stop myself touching both her feet, caressing them. “I don’t trust myself.” I bend down and kiss her big toe.
“I’m yours now, Michael.” Her good hand reaches for me. “Whatever you want.”
I take her hand and kneel down by the bed. “I’m not going to hurt you more.”
“I’ll be okay.” Her grip on my hand gets tight. I know she’s lying. Scared. Of me. “Just,” her voice drops so low I can barely hear her, “don’t put any pressure on my upper body.”
My mind instinctively flies to solving that problem. Freak. What a creep. It takes all the self-control I thought I didn’t have to let go of her hand, stand up, and back away from her bed. “I promised your dad—”
“You called my dad?” She scowls, but I hear longing in her voice, too.
My eyes shift to the phone on the nightstand. “Let me, Leesie. Please.”
“No—that’s over.” She sets her jaw and struggles to keep the tears at bay. “They don’t exist. Anything you said to him doesn’t matter.” She takes a deep breath. Her eyes lift to mine. “You’re all I am now.”
“You’re wrong, babe.” I’m hearing what I thought I always wanted her to say, and it’s torture. “Don’t be crazy like this.” Her whole life has been about being a Mormon. There’s no way I can replace that—ruin it. “It does matter.”
No sex unless we’re married, Leese. Those are your rules. I remember my conversation at Thanksgiving with her dad. Almost isn’t good enough for him. Isn’t good enough for my Leesie. “I’m keeping that promise.”
Tears flow down her face. She says God won’t forgive her for what happened to Phil. Thinks she should suffer—die, too. If there is a God, I don’t think he’d want that. I don’t know if she’s screwed things up or Mormonism is really that screwy. She hasn’t told me what went on in the cab of that pickup truck. It’s destroying her, though. Whatever it was.
I soften my voice. “You lost Phil and that’s awful, but everything else is still there.”
She wipes her tears with her broken left hand. She’s still got my ring on her third finger. “I disgust you now, don’t I?”
“I want you so badly, Leese, that I got to get out of here.” I take another step back. “Take your pills. Sleep.”
“You can’t go.” She needs help getting undressed, help taking her pills, help getting under the covers.
“I wish I had the strength to stay and take care of you.” My eyes sting and I have to swallow hard. “But I’m a guy and I love you.” A sob chokes me a moment. “If I touch you one more time tonight—”
I bolt through the door, slam it shut, lock it. Press my ear to the wood.
“Michael.” She calls me. “Michael, Michael, Michael.”