Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chapter 13--first nibble

Here's Chapter 13. It's kind of freaky that this chapter is that number. I think you'll agree after you read Leesie's poem.

I won't be posting tomorrow. I get to speak at the Arizona Library Association Conference. SCBWI has a booth, too, so I get to hang out there most of the day. (If you don't know what SCBWI is, go to www.scbwi.org and find out.)

I'll post early Thursday morning--I promise. See you all then.

Chapter Thirteen

POEM #??,

Michael’s quiet, distant—cold?
Working too much.
No time off Monday.
No kayak ride.
No mishap.
No resue.
He’s out late filling tanks,
mixing Nitrox, fixing o-rings.
Misses dinner. Gone early.
I make French toast
adding more and more cinnamon.

He hasn’t touched me since
his nightmare, since
he dragged me into his cot, since
I almost won, but lost—lost
too much to try again.

I hide that white dress,
the bikini, and the push-up bra—
wear my old T-shirts and ugly capris.
Find his baseball cap and keep
it on my head so he can see I’m his
from this distant strain I can’t surmount.

I bake him cookies he doesn’t eat,
an apple pie that Cooper smacks his lips
over and says, “Just like my mum’s.”
The slice I guard for Michael
sits in the fridge day after day

A week. Ten days. Limbo.
Alex drives me to physio,
tells me he told her all about us—
He spilled our secrets out
in the middle of the night
all over this stranger?
“He’s trying to decide,” she spies
at me through her rear view mirror
trained on my stunned face.
“What do you mean?”
“You need to go home.”
“I can’t.”

Next day, I wash his blanket
and sheet, make up his new cot
all nice for him.
I wash all the clothes jumbled
in the duffel bag he never unpacked.
I fold and put it away in empty
drawers, clean out the bottom of the

My fingers slip on silk.
I draw out a black bundle.
A turquoise necklace of shell
and beads clatters to the floor.
I step away like it’s a snake
but still it’s fangs sink deep.

With my broken left hand,
careful not to snag the slick fabric
on the jagged edges of my cast,
I shake out the silk.
A long black skirt,
sexy and Asian, hangs
from my fingertips.

I see it on her—Sukanda
the Seductress—her taking
it off, leaving it on his cabin’s
floor to mingle with his
shed clothes.

I search the bag—find sheer
scarves, another skirt.

Suki and Michael?
Suki and Michael?
Pictures don’t lie.
They don’t lie.
Does he?

An enormous fear rises
from the fabric clutched
in my hands.
Dear Lord, Phil?
You died for this?

The guy's screwed half of Asia by now
and you want him back?
Open your flipping eyes!

Echoes fly at me from every direction.

Open your eyes, open your eyes,
your eyes, your eyes, eyes!

I hurl the fabric at the wall.
Michael’s keys shine on the dresser.
I grab them and run.

I pull out into honking cars
and the right lane—wrong.
I swerve hard over to the left
where I should have been
in this upside down world,
floor it up the highway—
just take me away before
the echoes can catch up to me
and force me to ask,

If all I am is Michael,
what am I now?


A bottle of my pain pills
roll out from under
the passenger’s seat.




  1. No!!!! Let's hope she doesn't lose all reasonable senses and take all those pills.!! WOA Angela, you aiming for suspense?!! But can't complain.. This is catchy and as solid as rock doesn't need to be revised for publication.. LOVE this part..

    Jackie-from Goodreads.

  2. WOW. Even more crazy and dramatic than yesterday! I love it, so much suspense it's killing me I'll have to wait 'till Thursday! :) Just making sure, those clothes and the necklace Michael bought for Leesie right? It makes sense due to the situation, but I'm surprised Michael would be this distant. Even with all the things they've been through he's always still interacted with Leesie, or at least wanted to. Kinda scaring me!! When I read the last few lines I almost screamed out loud, "Don't take those pills, Leesie!!" Can't wait to see what happens next!:)

  3. i am with you jenna...... i so can't wait for thursday!! this part is sooo intense!! i love love love it! i want to know how she is going to react if she finds out it was for her (was it??)will she belive michael?? or not?? cant wait! till thursday!!!!

  4. wow! beside i don´t yet read the second or even the first books i love it! do you want to know why i don´t read them yet?? simple, i´m form mexico, and it´s not easy to find a book i want. i don´t know if waiting for the books in spanish (if you´re going to publish them in spanish) or buy them in english... i´m still thinking, but i would obviously read them someday :)
    i mention i loved the chapter?? it is great!
    have a nice day :)

  5. Oh no you didn't just leave us like this until thursday.

  6. This is way intense - so powerful i love it! I think this is really well placed, because it didn't feel like it was a deliberate ploy to make the plot more attractive (I mean, it already is but you get what I mean)...it just fits. With Leesie's insecurities mounting, and with her broken spirit it really does makes sense that she would assume and do something like this. I wonder if it is really Suki's? Michael should explain a lot, actually. Frankly, I was never satisfied with Michael's explanations about Suki in Unbroken Connection (he didn't explain much, did he? He just said there was no her), and I still kind of dislike him for lusting after Suki. Poor, poor Leesie. Since I already said that, I think Leesie needs to have another guy to talk to - the boys all have different personalities, but Leesie's condition and Seth's darkness seem to coincide - maybe they'd make good 'friends'/confidants? I think they both need it, problems and all. Also, Leesie hasn't made many guy friends so I think she needs to have one too - usually she won't be approachable to or approaching anyone, but again with her vulnerability, she might be able to do risk it and be close to some guy other than Michael. A breath of fresh air perhaps, or just to talk to someone who isn't really entangled with her. It will clear her mind, I think. Of course, my opinion did not consider Michael's possible reaction...che can be jealous all he wants (I think he will too, but damn he had it coming. He wasn't jealous enough about Jaron)!

    Just my thoughts :)

  7. I agree with anonymous. I know you want to focus on the Leesie and MichaeI relationship, but now that Leesie is becoming different, she does need maybe a guy friend. Not to mention she hasn't completely made Michael pay or his little desire for Suki...I think Leesie needs to make him a little more jealous. love...love this chapter!!! I love them all:) Amazing. Deep. Lies! Betrayal! Every chapter has something new. That's why I look forward to this. It's absolutely impossible to be boring. I feel for Leesie. She has a right to be afraid, confused. Hearing Phil's words is soo sad...miss him. Leesie is definitely in trouble...can't wait to see what happens!! Edge of my seat...just as good as a thriller, but better!!

  8. Wow, I agree completely with Anonymous's comment above mine. This makes so much sense, what with Leesie being so confused and frustrated, and it all coming together to form these massive insecurities. It's perfect. But so scary! Talk about a cliffhanger. Leesie will not throw all of it away, will she? Not another car accident, and defintiely not a drug overdose (this is what I was screaming to her in my head). She and Michael are perfect for each other, but she still is her own person. The worderful, pure person Michael fell in love with, but whom he's lost (temporarily). All she has to do is find her like Alex, Kim and Michael are telling her.
    Kind of a rant. But basically, what I'm trying to say is, this scene is KICK-ASS.
    Wait, ARE the skirt and necklace for Leesie? I thought they were Suki's? If not, when did Michael buy them for her?

  9. Oh my. I am trying not to freak out here. This is crazy good. I'm so worried though.....

  10. Thankfully, because of the time difference, I didn't actually get to see this to Wednesday, so I don't have to wait too long for the next one - but how awful you are to those who have to go a whole day without knowing what happens next, Angela! Haha!
    Oooooooh, this is just... scary. Really scary. I don't know how you're going to fix this! Why is Michael being distant?! Is it his worry of not being able to resist? Or his jealousy? And awwk, poor Leesie finding the necklace and the clothes. I really can't rememebr if they're Suki's or hers, but either way... I can't believe she doesn't trust him. Seriously, after all he's done since the accident! Would he really go to so many lengths if he wasn't that bothered? I am soooo worried!

  11. I'm sorry I had to leave you hanging like that. I guess I'm getting better at suspense! That's never been a strength.

    Thanks for all your comments.

    And Andii, I don't have a Spanish publisher yet. A wonderful group of Latin bloggers are doing their best to raise awareness with Spanish readers and publishers, but no deal right now. I'd buy them in English. Amazon ships anywhere. I'm curious, does the story make any sense not knowing ALL the background from books one and two?

  12. Oh my gosh, Angela. Seriously, the suspense is deadly! Hahaha poor Leesie! She's so messed up in her own right, so far from the "perfect" image she had in the first book. I love that her character is developing, but at the same time I totally empathize with her. Great start of a chapter!

  13. Oh god, no, no, no. This had me clutching my heart. What's happening? What's gonna happen? Argh! You're killing me, Angela.