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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chapter 35 - Last Chapter

I can't believe we're here already. This one short poem is the entire last chapter. Don't worry. I'm writing a nice juicy Epilogue that you will all love. Look for it on Monday and Tuesday. It will be in two parts--Leesie and Michael will both get a chance to speak.

Have a great weekend! Remember, if you're in the Phoenix area, I'll be at Changing Hands on Saturday with a host of fantastic YA authors for a YAllapalooza! It starts at 4 PM. Find out more at http://www.changinghands.com/event/yallapalooza2011

Okay, here it is. The last chapter I'll ever write about Michael and Leesie. An Epilogue just isn't the same as a chapter. But this isn't the end. And I'll be posting revisions if you want to follow that.


CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE
LEESIE’S MOST PRIVATE CHAPBOOK
POEM #??,

Michael drops to his knees
beside me. “Thank God!
You’re all right.”
My head throbs but I
manage mustering a weak
smile. “Just dizzy.”
I turn to Alex.  “He always
makes me feel like that.”
Alex decides she’s thirsty
and tactfully disappears.
I turn back to Michael,
stare at his knees
afraid of what his face
will tell me. “Are we
all right?”

He pulls me onto his lap
and kisses me until
I can’t breathe.
“So you’ll still have me?”
I murmur when he lets
me up for air.
He kisses my forehead
and whispers, “Are you sure?”
I press my mouth on his—
relief, love, gratitude
pouring out of me
and all over him.

He wipes tears
from my face and his.
“Don’t cry, babe. I’ll
deal with this. If you don’t
blame me, your parents don’t—
I guess I can learn not to
blame myself.” He examines
the knot on my forehead.
“There’s only one thing
I can’t deal with.” His voice
throbs with emotion.
He clutches me close.
“I know,” I whisper. “Don’t
scare me like that again.”
He will, for sure. I can’t
guarantee I won’t scare him.
That’ll be our life, our test.
With enough love, enough faith,
enough understanding it won’t
destroy us.

He traces the scar
that snakes through
two inches of wispy hair
coating my head.
“Let’s get to that temple
of yours. I want you forever.”
I kiss him until he
can’t breathe as Cecilia
screams outside.

She isn’t the first storm
we’ve faced.
She won’t be
the last. I pray
we can weather them all
clutched in each other’s arms.

13 comments:

  1. Oh my. I'm so happy. That was beautiful. I'm SO in love with these two. I CAN"T wait until Monday!! I am dying to read the epilogue. :)

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  2. I'm so shocked! First of all, how is the book over already? Didn't it just start? And Michael and Leesie are TOGETHER!!! I was worried from day 1, and now I'm shocked, relieved, and soo happy! I can't wait to read the epilogue, and I'm glad we'll see both sides.

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  3. How can this be the end already? I can't wait to read the epilogue. I was just looking again at the cover and thinking how beautifully perfect it is!
    Thank you again for sharing the journey with us!

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  4. I'm a little speechless and crying like a baby. Is being a journey for me too. Beautiful Angela!!! I hope we can do a Week Theme when you know when the book will be available. Let me know.

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  5. I really liked the last 2 paragraphs! It's a perfect ending that ties all 3 books together I think. Way to go. How did you manage to write that with curious george on in the background? :)

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  6. Okay...I have to be honest and in doing so, hope you take my opinion for what it is: just one opinion in a mass of many.

    I am a devoted Michael and Leesie fan and an amirer of your work. I practically inhaled Taken by Storm, followed by Unbroken Connection. But now that I've reached the end of Cayman Summer, I feel...dismayed...incredulous. Why? Because Michael gave all and Leesie gave very little. Michael changed everything, Leesie changed nothing, or at best, very little. Yes, she lost Phil, but it wasn't her fault--it wasn't her conscious choice. In the end, Leesie got everything she wanted--hot guy, hot guy baptized, hot guy waiting a year, hot guy going to college, hot guy marrying her in the temple. I understand Michael loves Leesie and would do anything for her, but waiting another year to get married? It's the perfectly tied bow on the perfectly wrapped package and it leaves me...disappointed with its perfection. I don't know...it just makes me dislike Leesie--for her underlying, needy currents--and dislike MIchael (heaven forbid) for his constant caving to all things Leesie.
    So how would I like to see it end? With a marriage now--not after a year, not after Leesie convinces MIchael to live in Provo and go to college...but now. He can get baptized, they can get married in the backyard. It seems the perfect blend of two very different worlds and then they can get married in the temple in a year when Michael has had a chance to get his feet "wet".
    I respect your desire for a Happily Ever AFter for your characters, and I want them to have it too, but getting it all in one lump makes me think that too much perfection can leave one feeling hollow...

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  7. I have to completely agree with Foxyboxy. I too loved LOVED Taken and Unbroken Connection. They were real, raw and left me aching for more of Michael and Leesie's story. So, you can imagine my excitement at the prospect of being able to read Cayman Summer as it was being written. That being said, at the end of it all I feel let down. I feel as though Michael should have been able to ponder a little bit more on the decisions he was making instead of one night having a feeling like someone was out there and then the next moment he is getting baptised (after a few discussions with the missionaries). I was a missionary and honestly, even the golden investigators were never THAT golden. They had doubts until the very end. Even after their baptisms they struggled immensly with temptations and questions on whether they REALLY could live the LDS lifestyle. Now I know, that he has been around Leesie for years and knows her way of life, but come on he never really cared before. Took an accident and seeing Leesie jump off the deep end of the shallow end of the pool (since she was never really that far gone in the first place) for Michael to find the right path. AND FOR HEAVEN SAKE, let Michael have a moment Leesie. She is so worried about losing him he can't get a second to reflect by himself. For instance in the last chapter. He finally realizes that HE is the reason why the accident happened. He wants to be ALONE, so Leesie LET HIM BE ALONE. Instead of letting him work it out in his head by himself, she follows, gets hurt and MANIPULATES Michael even further to FOLLOW HER INTO THE LIGHT. She is so flawed to the point of exasperation. I just can't help but dislike her and SECRETLY WISH for the demise of their relationship. All I see is her manipulating him into joining her way of life throughout this entire book (she tries to get him to be with her physically when she is on the path of distuction and then when she turns her life around she pushes him towards that way of life- HER WAY OR NO WAY) and I honestly wish they would just break up already. He can take his time (ALONE) and discover for himself if this religion is what he really wants... Then we can be rest assured that he did not join FOR her, he did it because he TRULY believed. Let him BE Leesie, Let him GO!

    Now I know I may be very unpopular with your readers, but I felt as though I needed to speak my mind. Sorry... You are an AMAZING writer, Angela. You have captivated me before, I WISH I felt as captivated with Cayman Summer as I did with the other two in the series, but I feel as if it fell short of what it could be.

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  8. I will have to say I agree 100% with Foxy & Anonymous. They took all the words out of my mouth. I thought I was coming into this 3rd book looking at a great LDS trilogy but was left feeling frustrated & disappointed. Like when I read MockingJay. Michael was so real for me that it all just changed with this last book. I think you can only be yourself when your don't lose yourself and Michael did just that for me. Don't get me wrong I am all for Happily Ever After, Hopeless Romantic through & through but this was a bit too Jack Weyland. It was a disappointment.
    HJ

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  9. It's been a fantastic journey, Angela. And I'm so glad to be with it through and through. That was a lovely ending. And in all honesty, I can't wait for that juicy epilogue of yours.

    Xx

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  10. Just wanted to say Angela, I think you are amazing. I completely disagree with foxyboxy and the anonymous's.... Your ending was beautiful, and I in no way, shape, or form, think Michael was manipulated by Leesie. Not one bit. He made his own decision, and for that matter, she told him she would marry him with or without his baptism and them waiting a year. I would have been fine with them getting married in her backyard, after he got baptized, then them getting sealed a year later. As for everything else, once again I disagree. IT WAS HIS DECISION. Leesie was to the point, that she loved him no matter what. She said it herself. She wanted him and would be with him with or without him joining the church. His Choice. He still had doubts, but HE BELIEVED IT, he felt it for himself and knew the truth. I LOVED it! Michael and Leesie FOREVER! xoxo

    Can't wait for the epilogue Monday!

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  11. Hey everybody! I appreciate all this feedback. It really helps. I'll keep it all in mind as I revise--the negative and the positive. That's what good critics do. And you are all my first readers. Remember, this is a first draft. There are lots of things I need to weave hints of to make the whole thing hang together. All things are changeable. If there's areas of the story that YOU don't feel resonate or are authentic, I want to know. Even if every one else is cheering. This draft is like a tailored suit before the first fitting. It needs lots of nips and tucks. Maybe an additional scene here and there. Maybe I'll delete bits and pieces.

    That being said, wait for the epilogue. It might just address some of your concerns. Some of you will be dismayed, some of you will be happy.

    In the end though, I need to write what's true to my heart. I want to hear all your voices, so I can tell if I've communicated Michael and Leesie's story, but I'm the one whose name is on the cover. My inner truth's are the heart of this story. Jane Yolen says that if you don't write from your own inner truth, your stories will be "like rags on a stick masquerading as a story." I don't want to end up with that. I must follow where my inner truth guides me.

    Besides, I have sad ending fatigue. I've published three books with sad endings, I'm ready for a happy one. And I think Michael and Leesie deserve it. And Michael made a very good point. They are only nineteen. It's not going to hurt them to wait. They've both got more growing up to do.

    Anyway, more on Monday. I've got to get ready to head over to Changing Hands.

    I just want to say I love you all and appreciate your support and feedback more than you'll ever know. You're willingness to share CAYMAN SUMMER's birth and childhood with me kept me writing and producing scenes every day. Now we're moving into adolescence--otherwise known as revision. I hope to post 5-6 chapter chunks a couple times a week.

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  12. I so cant wait for michaels POV! Im so bummed its over I reread the last chapters again and again. What I thought the ending would be like was michael getting babtized, a happy backyard wedding, and then a temple wedding but, oh well! I still loved it <3

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