There was an error in this gadget

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chapter 14 - Leesie's poem

YAY! It's Friday and there's a new Harry Potter movie out. What could be better? (Well, maybe a new Twilight movie.) Actually, for me, a new Jane Austen movie would top everything. No, no, no, if I want to dream a little, a new Michael and Leesie movie would be the best. Or a SING ME TO SLEEP movie that featured the real, live Amabile guys. Okay, that's dreaming a ton.

Here's today's post. Hope you enjoy. No torture today. See you all again Monday!

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

LEESIE’S MOST PRIVATE CHAPBOOK
POEM # ??,

I spin around and scream
in his face, “No, no, no, no!”
sink to my knees in the sand,
bang my head on the ground.
“No.”

He’s there, beside me.
“Leese, listen.”
His hand finds my arm.
I flick it off. “Don’t touch me.”
I scramble to get away, but he
has me, holds me, won’t let me
go.

“No.” I cry into his shoulder
and pound his chest with my cast.

“Remember that crazy honeymoon
we made up?”

“No.”

“Our deserted island and 24/7?”

“No.”

“Remember how I said I’d buy
you seashells?”

“No.”

“Every market I went to, I’d buy
something for you.”

“For me?

He kisses my forehead.
“For you.”

Me?
“The skirts and scarves—all the stuff
you found—it’s not Suki’s.”
I shudder and he squeezes me.
“I bought it all for you.”
He puts the necklace
in my hand and kisses
my trembling mouth.

“Really?”
“Yes.”
“I want to believe you,
but—”
He lets go, hangs his head, steps back.
“I’ve been a freaking moron lately?”

I hold up the necklace to catch the light
from behind us.
A round shell center pierced
with strands of wood beads
turquoise, round and square,
light and dark.
“It’s Cayman colored.”
He kisses my fingers. “It is.”
I kiss his mouth so I don’t cry, turn
and wade into the water.
“Just leave me here.”
A few steps takes me up
to my knees in soft,
pulsing blue, perfection.
Cool. Clear. Enticing.
“Maybe the tide will take me away.”

He plunges after me, grabs my arm.
“That’s enough. It’s over.”
I jerk my arm trying to free it.
“I’m too evil to live! I pervert
everything. This gift. Your love.
His grip tightens—
I stare at his fingers then into his eyes,
“You’re too good to be near me.”
My eyes drop to the cool water
sucking on my knees.
“I killed my brother, Michael.”
I take a step deeper.
“I really did.
I screamed,
cursed him, and drove
off the road.”

His arms wrap around me.
“Hush, babe.” He presses
my head against his
beating heart. “It’s okay.
I’m here now.”
His voice breaks.
He doesn’t move,
doesn’t speak
until he regains control
enough to whisper,
“I’m back.”

His two little words unlock
my heart. My body relaxes
against his. “Where did you go?”
He kisses the top
of my furry buzz cut.
“Let’s call it a guilt trip.”

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The rest of 13--Michael's reaction

I'm posting this first thing so you don't have to wait any longer. Sorry to leave you on the edge of a cliff. Your groans and protests tell me a lot about the effectiveness of the scene, though. Thanks for being such patient guinea pigs. Well, I guess you aren't all that patient, but thanks for being guinea pigs.

Before I put you out of your misery, I have some news and a big favor to ask. I've learned that Sing me to Sleep AND Unbroken Connection are both eligible for the Whitney Award. The Whitneys are like the Academy Awards for LDS authors and their books. Only members of the Whitney academy vote on who gets the final award, but anyone over twelve-years-old who doesn't have a financial stake in the book, can nominate it. A committee chooses the finalists and the academy of LDS publishing professionals--authors, booksellers, publishers, bloggers, etc., vote on the award. If you are an LDS author or bloggers, you might want to join the academy. (See http://whitneyawards.com/wordpress/whitney-academy/

To nominate either Sing me to Sleep or Unbroken Connection or BOTH, all you have to do is follow this link to the nominating form, fill in your name, email address (they won't spam you or anything) and then in the description box put your city and state and the following information:

Sing me to Sleep
Angela Morrison
Penguin/Razorbill
March 2010

AND/OR (use a separate form for each nomination)

Unbroken Connection (Taken by Storm, Book #2)
Angela Morrison
Independent (CreateSpace)
August 2010

THANK YOU!! I appreciate your help. And now, drum roll, here's Michael's dive log.





MICHAEL’S DIVE LOG – VOLUME #10

Dive Buddy:           
Date:  05/28
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site:
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Depth:  
Visibility: 
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  
Comments:
           
            I avoid the apartment. Avoid Alex. Avoid Leesie. Avoid everything. There’s enough work to hide in—to bury my resolve to take her home, my doubts, my desire. The passion that flares every time I look at her.
            I can tell she thinks I’m punishing her, but it’s me that needs punishment. Every day that passes makes the new dawn harder to face.
            “We can’t get married.” I try to imagine myself tell her that. “I’m not a Mormon. Marry Jaron. He loves you—even thinking you’re sleeping with me, he loves you.” But I can’t say it.
            “I’m taking you home.”
            I can’t say that, either.
            I dial her dad—hang up when it rings. Six days in a row. On the seventh day, I give up.
            I will marry her.
            I won’t take her home.
            I’ll quit this job, and we’ll get out of this stupid apartment—away from Alex and that look she gives me like I’m the world’s worst criminal.
            She’s looking at me like that right now from across the boat. I hustle when we dock, get up to the apartment before everybody. “Babe!” No answer. “Leesie—let’s get out of here. We need to talk.”
            A sheen of black silk bathed in sunlight catches my eye. The skirts I bought Leesie. The pretty scarves. A shell necklace I thought would look cool with her fringed up leather jacket are crumpled on the floor.
            I stare at the mess—confused. “Leese?”
            No answer.
            I look for my keys. They’re gone.
            Freak. What would this look like to her?
            I scoop the gifts into my arms, grab Alex’s car keys and head out.
            “Where are you going?” Alex blocks my way halfway down the stairs.
            “She’s gone. I’m taking your car.” I push past her stunned face, get in her car, dump my burden on the car seat, and squeal out of the parking lot.
            Airport.
            Nope.
            Our first hotel.
            The rehab place.
            The beach where she first floated on seawater.
            Nope, nope, nope.
            She could be anywhere.
            I keep pushing west, and north, driving all around the island. Check beaches. Keep driving, driving.
            Freak. Why don’t we have stupid cell phones that work here? After I find her, we’ll get phones. Tonight. No. Better yet, when I find her, I won’t ever let her out of my sight again.
            When I find her? How am I supposed to do that? Go back to the apartment and wait? No. Not yet. I can’t sit and wait. Push on.
It’s dark when I get up north to Rum Point where we had dinner with the guys and those sleazy chicks. The place is empty. Cruise ship sheep gone home for the night.
            Except there’s a girl at a table, slumped over—wearing my old black baseball hat with “Eagle Ray Dive Club” embroidered across the front.
            “Leesie,” I yell and run over to her. “Thank, God.”
I sit down next to her. She doesn’t move. There’s a pill bottle clasped in her fingers. “Babe.” I shake her, pry the bottle from her hand. “Wake up.”
Freak.
The bottle is empty.
“Leese, babe, did you take these?”
One eye opens. She sees me. Turns her face the other direction.
“How long ago? You need to vomit. I’m calling Sugar.” I grab her arm.
She jerks away like my touch is poison. “I flushed them down the toilet. I can’t even kill myself. I was lying here hoping a hurricane would stop by. Instead I get you.”
“Leese. Leese. Listen to me.”
“No.” She stands up and wanders away—to the beach, to the water.
I run after her. “Leese. Listen.”
“No!”

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

LEESIE’S MOST PRIVATE CHAPBOOK
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
untouched.

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
bag.

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—
away,
away,
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?

Nothing.
Nothing.
Nothing.

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

Nothing.
Nothing.
Nothing.

                        

Monday, November 15, 2010

Here's Michael's take on dinner--Chapter 12, part two

Wow, we're closing in on a hundred followers. Cool. Thanks for spreading the word, everybody. To prove how grateful I am, here's that scene you've all been waiting for. Yikes! It's a doozy.



MICHAEL’S DIVE LOG – VOLUME #10

Dive Buddy:           
Date:  05/16
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site: Rum Point
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Depth:  
Visibility: 
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  
Comments:

            Alex and Leesie meet us for dinner at Rum Point. Funky place on the north side with painted signs pointing to Liverpool, Russia, India. Good beach. Restaurant on the sand. Only gets crowded if there’s a cruise ship in port. Today’s Saturday so we’re safe from the masses.
            I nod hello to Alex and then get a load of Leesie getting out of the car. She’s got a white scarf wrapped on her head like a halo. She’s wearing a new white dress that shows her shoulders and back—too much in the front when she looses that arm sling. After two weeks here, she’s getting tan. Looks good.
            “You like it?” She spins around when she sees me. The full skirt flairs and falls back against her bare legs.
            Brock and Ethan come up behind me. “Nice.”
            Leesie gets pink, and I put my arm around her exposed shoulders and guide her to the big round table where Gabriel and his pickup hangs with Cooper and the chick’s friend. I wanted Leesie to be too tired when they called to set this up. No luck.
            “This is a first,” she says so only I can hear.
            “What?”
            “I don’t think we’ve ever gone to a real restaurant together.”
            I pull out her chair and whisper as she sits. “Only your stupid Cougar Eat.”
            “That doesn’t count.”
            Ethan takes the chair next to her. “What doesn’t count.”
            She gets even pinker. “Nothing.”
            I squish into the seat next to Leesie. We’ve got eight around a table for six. Kind of close quarters. Nobody seems to care.
            Alex slips into a chair in between Gabriel and Ethan. “Where’s Seth?”
            Ethan shakes his head. “Couldn’t get him to come.”
            Brock grabs a chair from the table behind us and shoves it in between me and Cooper. That makes us nine. Brock runs his hands through his hair. “He’ll be hitting the bars again.”
            Alex leans forward with her elbows on the table. “And you let him?”
            “We can’t hold his hand forever.”
            Gabriel clears his throat and introduces the women but their names go in one ear and out the other. Blonde One and Blonde Two. Both made-up and slinky. Gabriel’s is hotter, but Cooper’s is hungry.
            While I study the menu, Leesie swallows a couple of pills with the ice water the waiter brought before we arrived.
            Blonde Two’s been staring at Leesie. “What happened to you?”
            Blonde One tears her eyes off Gabriel long enough to give us a glance. She assesses me like a piece of meat and then rests her critical gaze on Leesie.
            Alex leans around Gabriel, and spits, “Car accident,” into the chick’s face.
            Blonde One backs off. “Too bad.” The blondes go back to seducing Cooper and Gabriel.
            Alex sticks her tongue out behind her hand.
            Silent sparks fly back and forth between her and Leesie. Raised eyebrows. Squints. Stares. Maybe they didn’t know these chicks would be here.
I hide in the menu. I haven’t eaten here for awhile. I turn to Brock. “What’s good these days?”
            Brock peals his eyes off the two chicks with his room-mates. “I like the crab.”
            Crab. No way can I order crab. It’s been a year and half since that crabfest on Dive Festiva, but eating it would seem like a sacrilege.  
            “Crab?” Blonde Two pipes up. “Sounds good.”
            Most of them order it. I order shrimp. Safer. I’d hate to freak here. Leesie gets a salad. She doesn’t say much while we eat. Her eyes keep going to Gabriel and Cooper and those chicks who are falling out of their dresses and giggling at everything Cooper says. Gabriel wears his superior smile. They all crack crab and dip it in butter. Blonde Two feeds Cooper with buttery fingers. He sucks on them staring down her dress.
Leesie’s eyes dart to Alex when Blonde One leans over and plants her buttery lips smack on Gabriel’s mouth, then excuses herself. Gabriel follows her down the beach.
I got to bail. The crab is getting to me, and I don’t want Leesie around this crap. “Let’s go. You’re tired.”
She yawns and nods. “Thanks, Alex.” She touches her head wrap. “It was fun.”
Alex gives her thumbs up. “Any time.”
“Sorry about tonight.” Leesie glances down the beach.
Alex shrugs. “There will be other nights.”
Leesie leans hard against me on the way to the RAV4.
I shift my arm to support her better. “Too much. Too soon.”
She doesn’t agree, but lets me lift her into the passenger’s seat.  When I get in the other side, she holds out her arms and says, “Do you like me like this?”
I turn the key. “You look like an angel.”
She pulls a face. “Guess I shouldn’t have bought white.”
It’s an hour drive back to the apartment. She’s sound asleep by the time we get there. I carry her upstairs, lay her on her bed, slip off her sandals and scarf, stroke her soft furry head, tuck her in—dress and all. And she’s still sound asleep.
I tiptoe out of her room, shut the door, throw myself down on my cot, wondering how I can get the thought of Leesie in bed alone in the next room out of my head when Isadore attacks.
Crab legs. Giant ones. Walk through her waves. Grasp me with their claws. Pull me off the deck of the boat and down into the water. I fight, choke, sink, surface, kick, thrash, call out to my mother, “Save me. Save me,” until a small, pale hand shakes my shoulder. “Mom?”
“Michael?”
It’s Leesie, glowing white kneeling on the floor beside my cot like I dreamed her every night back in Tekoa fighting Isadore nightmares in my dad’s old room under that quilt Gram made out of his old jeans. I groan and lift her into bed with me, clutch tight to her reality.
“It’s okay. I’m here.” She kisses away my terror, presses her body to mine.
Instinct takes over. I shift to get her body under me, and flimsy cot we’re lying on collapses.
She’s on her feet, pulling me out of the wreckage. “Let’s go to my room,” she whispers. “Alex is cool. I’ll put a note on the door.”
I stumble after her.
In her room, she turns her back to me. “Can you help?” She can’t reach the zipper that holds the flowing white fabric around her slender shape.
I press my face into her neck, fumble to find the zipper, grasp it, pull it down—stop. “No, Leese.” I step back. “No.”
I get out of her room. The apartment. Try to sleep in the back seat of the RAV. Beat myself up for getting so close. Freak. That can’t happen again. Freak. Freak. Freak.
I should go back up there.
Tell her to her face.
I get out of the RAV.
Stop.
I know exactly why I want to go back up there and it’s not to tell her, “No.”
I stare at myself in the black reflection of the RA’s window. Alex’s car pulls into the parking lot. She gets out and opens the passenger door. Seth falls out on her. No sign of the other guys.
I sprint across the lot. “Can I help?”
I lift Seth off her.
“Thanks.” Alex ducks under Seth’s left arm.
I take the right side and get my arm around his back so I can half carry, half drag him up the stairs. “What happened to Brock and Ethan?”
“The bar we found him in was having a whisky shot contest. Did you know Scots invented whisky?”
“Nope.”
“Ethan couldn’t resist the challenge. Brock will get him home.”
We make it up all three flights—freak Alex is strong—and dump Seth in his room on his bed. I trip over Cooper’s cot trying to get out of there. He sleeps in there with Seth. Gabriel, Brock, and Ethan sleep out in the front room with me.
“Thanks,” Alex grabs my arm and guides me out of the messy room. She closes. “You’re a lifesaver.” She glances at the closed door of her and Leesie’s room. “You know, if you and Leesie want the room, I don’t mind roughing it with the  Neanderthals.”
I hold up my hands and shake my head. “No. We wouldn’t dream of kicking you out of your room.”
“I thought you’d be in there tonight for sure. I told Leesie you guys could have it.”
“Don’t do that again.”
“What’s with you two? You’re engaged aren’t you?”
“Long story.”
She flicks on the kitchen light. “I’m not tired.”
We sit up at the table drinking milk and eating Leesie’s homemade chocolate chip cookies. I tell Alex about my parents, how me and Leese met, the whole Mormon thing, Suki, the accident, Phil. It feels good to spill my guts to her. She’s freaking easy to talk to.
Her eyes move from her glass of milk to me to Leesie’s closed door. “So you guys have never—?”
“Not until we’re married.”
Her eyebrows lift. “And you’re going to convert to Mormonism?”
“No.” Freak. I hadn’t thought of that.
“She’ll marry you now without that?”
“Yeah. I don’t know. Everything’s messed up since the accident.”
She studies me hard—like she’s trying to see the gears churning in my thick head. “It’s not fair to her if you don’t.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You said she wouldn’t marry you before because you aren’t a Mormon. If you marry her now, you’re taking advantage of her tragedy. That’s so wrong.”
“Who are you to judge me?”
“Nobody.”
“Do you know what I’ve done for her? How hard all this is?”
“It doesn’t look easy for her, either.”
She doesn’t say it, but I can tell exactly what she’s thinking. “I should take her home?”
She studies the cookie crumbs on the table, mashes them with her thumb and licks it. “Probably.”
I shake my head. “She’d hate me forever.”
“If it’s right—”
I bow my head until it rests on the table. “I don’t know what’s right anymore.”
Alex puts her hand on my shoulder. “I think you do.”
She slips behind that door where Leesie’s probably seething mad at me, and I bend back the legs of my stupid cot until it supports me again. I fix the blankets, lie on it—waiting for the crash—pretend I’m asleep when Brock and Ethan stumble in laughing and cursing and peeing all over Leesie’s clean bathroom. I want to jump up and starting swinging, smashing, bashing their heads together. Instead, I roll over and the freaking cot collapses again.
Brock and Ethan stand there joking while I throw the useless piece of crap off the balcony. I grab a pillow and a sheet and fling myself on the lounge chair outside. My mind races round and round.
How could I be so stupid?
How could I think this would work?
This stupid apartment.
Cayman.
Running away.
Me and Leesie.
Getting married.
We’re nineteen. Legal, but—come one. Get real.
And the Mormon thing.
Crap. Stupid Alex.
She is so damn right.