Friday, November 5, 2010

Chapter Ten!!

Short post today, but I've got lots of news to make up for it.

First, I must, must share some fantastic news. My sister-in-law, Jennifer Shaw Wolf, who I like to call my protege because she is so brilliant, just signed her debut YA novel, TIGERSEYE with Walker! It's an incredible novel. Made my spine tingle from the start. I was so worried about the main character all the way through. Jen's got the first chapter posted on her blog. Read it. And then get in line as fast as you can for an ARC. Line up for an interview. This book is crazy good.

My second news is a signed, marked (that means I write all my secrets in the margins) copy of SING ME TO SLEEP is now on auction at Leave a Mark Auctions. Proceeds benefit You have until November 12th to bid. Good luck! It would be the best if one of you got it.

Here's the start of Chapter Ten. Enjoy! Happy weekend. Keep the comments coming. They are great food for my muse.



Kimbo69 says:  Report. Report. How did the big move in go?
Leesie327 says:  I’m like Frankenstein living in The Bachelorette Mansion.
Kimbo69 says:  You mean his monster.
Leesie327 says:  Everybody’s a critic.
Kimbo69 says:  Your roomies are that hot?
Leesie327 says:  Alex isn’t hot—just like Michael said. But the guys? Droolworthy in the extreme.
Kimbo69 says:  Stuck up?
Leesie327 says: Not really. Gabriel is a bit too good for the rest of the world, but when he walks by with no shirt on you don’t care.
Kimbo69 says: You’re typing way faster than last time we chatted.
Leesie327 says: Using two hands. Don’t tell my doctor.
Kimbo69 says: Is Michael regretting moving you in with all those hunks?
Leesie327 says: Did you actually use the world “hunk”? I thought we banned that word when we were Juniors.
Kimbo69 says: If you’d give me more details, maybe I’d be more inspired.
Leesie327 says: The guys didn’t look twice at me. Well, they took in the mess and looked away fast. Michael did seem kind of jealous. It’s cute. He got all romantic.
Kimbo69 says: Mark would be dragging me out of there by my ponytail.
Leesie327 says: Ouch. Don’t talk to me about ponytails.
Kimbo69 says:  Sorry. Lame one. How’s your head?
Leesie327 says: Itchy. Prickly. I guess that’s a good sign.
Kimbo69 says: Back to the men folk . . .
Leesie327 says: Alex is cool.
Kimbo69 says: I don’t care about Alex.
Leesie327 says:  She helped me unpack then we stayed up until two in the morning talking.
Kimbo69 says: You haven’t described in breathtaking detail the rest of the guys.
Leesie327 says: You’ll never believe what I found on the bottom of my second suitcase.
Kimbo69 says:  A digital camera so you can send me pictures?
Leesie327 says: Rough drafts of all the poems I wrote last year.
Kimbo69 says: I don’t get it.
Leesie327 says: Michael. He saved them from the wreck. Even scraps. Scribbled envelopes. There’s mud smudges and water stain’s on every page, but it’s dry. I think he ironed them. I would have lost it all, but he saved them.
Kimbo69 says: I can’t believe it.
Leesie327 says: I don’t deserve him. I should be alone, miserable, locked up somewhere banging my head on a wall, instead I’m with this beautiful boy who kisses me when I cry and saves my life every day.
Kimbo69 says: Maybe he finally deserves you.
Leesie327 says: I’d be so lost without him.
Kimbo69 says: So you’re computer got smashed?
Leesie327 says: Everything I took to school was in the back of the pickup.
Kimbo69 says: Even your hideous desktop?
Leesie327 says: I don’t know. It’s all gone.
Kimbo69 says: I’ve got all the poems you sent me. Do you want me to email them?
Leesie327 says: No. Maybe later. Keep them, okay? I’m not up to email. I’ve got three hundred unopened messages. All my mom screaming at me, probably. I don’t know who else.
Kimbo69 says: Did you leave you chapbook from high school at home?
Leesie327 says: Yeah. And the dive log Michael gave me. That’s safe.
Kimbo69 says:  Let me know if you change our mind. You should write. You can’t do anything else.
Leesie327 says: I can’t focus on anything. The pain pills they gave me aren’t helping that much. Wears me out.
Kimbo69 says: What are your plans?
Leesie327 says: Plans? That’s a good one. Today I’m nibbling on toast and drinking tepid water.
Kimbo69 says: And Michael’s just sitting there staring at you.
Leesie327 says: They are all working. I think I’m going to have the place to myself a lot.
Kimbo69 says: Is it going to hurt forever?
Leesie327 says: Today’s a big improvement. I don’t feel like throwing up.
Kimbo69 says: Try chicken broth.
Leesie327 says: There was a chicken wandering down the beach this morning. Maybe I can get the boys to catch it and I can cook it up for broth.
Kimbo69 says: Get that man of yours to buy you some of those little packets of dried up noodle soup. I love on those.
Leesie327 says: As soon as I can, I’m going to turn this place upside down.
Kimbo69 says:  What does that mean?
Leesie327 says: It’s a pig sty. Filthy. Bare cupboard. Beer and ketchup in the fridge. I need to get HAZ-MAT gear to attack the guys’ bathroom.
Kimbo69 says: Don’t hurt yourself.
Leesie327 says: Too late. Already did that.
Kimbo69 says: I got to go but I need to tell you something but I don’t know if I should.
Leesie327 says: What? You have to tell me now.
Kimbo69 says: Have you seen your wall?
Leesie327 says: No. I just come straight to chat.
Kimbo69 says: Go look at it. People love you, Leesie. A lot of them. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chapter Nine--17K words!

Here's Chapter Nine. You guys are helping so much. This is really flowing fast now. I passed 17,000 words today. Who-hoo!

Pieces of yesterday's discussion got woven into today's chapter. Keep the questions coming. I love that.

I think this dive log stands on it's own as a whole chapter. I don't have a hard and fast rule about what needs to be in a chapter and if we get a poem, chat or dive log. I don't always alternate them. I try to put it in the POV of the most vulnerable character. That means Leesie tomorrow. Enjoy Michael and all his new diving buddies today.

Thanks for the names. Do you like what I picked? If you get any visions of what these guys could look like, please post them! I concentrate on the voices at first and then have to go back and add bits and pieces of description. I'll really describe them better when Leesie talks to Kim in the next chapter. Too weird to have Michael commenting on a guy's hair color and rippedness. He would comment on if they've got shirts on or not. I think I'll make Gabriel shirtless for this scene. Imagine that's in there when you read it.



Dive Buddy: Leesie
Date:  05/09
Dive #:
Location: East End, Grand Cayman
Dive Site:
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  

            Felt bad dumping Leesie in that trashed apartment and bolting, but boats don’t wait. Maybe this isn’t going to work. She didn’t look happy when I left. Not that I expect her to look happy. She didn’t look content.
I thought about buying us our own condo down here or even a house, but we can’t stay there alone if we’re not married. She says that’s what she wants, but I’m convinced it’s because I’m off limits. Marrying me is as taboo as shacking up with me. I guess it wouldn’t be major sin, but it would be something close to it. When I asked her before Christmas last fall, she insisted I believe all her Mormon stuff and join up before she’d even consider putting on my ring. She’s so screwed up right now. She’s got to be thinking a lot straighter before we get married. What if she comes out of it in a year and hates me forever because I took advantage of her when she was desperate?
I don’t think she’ll ever be a hundred percent like she was before. I’ll take fifty—twenty-five. Maybe I’m crazy to think she’ll be close to that by the end of summer. But we’re waiting. It doesn’t feel right. Whenever I think of it, I get this dark, foreboding feeling. I’m not going to be her rapist. I’m not going to be the evil infidel who carries off the virgin. I’m not going to let her do drugs or smoke. Freak. I won’t even let her drink a stupid cup of tea. So what do we do? I had no idea.
And then all of a sudden these guys need me and Alex needs a roommate. Perfect answer. Almost. Me dumping her there and running off to dive—even if it’s work—is so not perfect.
I grab my bag of gear out of the back of the RAV, tote it down to the dock, and hand it into the boat to Alex.
“Have you got everything you need?”
“I have no idea.” I step down into the dive boat, take my bag, check it to make sure Claude actually sent all my gear. It looks good. I give Brock, an Aussie dude who’s captain today, a thumbs up, and Ethan and Gabriel, who will leave later on the other boat with Cooper, cast off the ropes. I catch one. Alex gets the other. And Brock motors towards the break in the reef and the wild three foot swells beyond it.
Brock guns the boat through the cut and we’re into. Our divers hang on tight. “This is calm for East End,” Brock yells down to them.
Alex and I get our divers geared up and thrown overboard. She gave me all the jocks. Nice. We go deep first dive.
I push my group to the edge to get down to my favorite swim through at this site. We wind through the coral cave that narrows into a tube. One of the divers gets hung up. I send the others ahead—fin back and help his useless buddy untangle the dude’s hoses. The group misses the turn that takes them up to the top of the reef. I get their attention banging on my tank with a heavy metal d-ring I keep hanging on my B.C. just for that purpose. I motion them to return and follow me. They maneuver around in the tight space, eventually we’re one by one carefully rising through a chute forty feet to the top of the reef.
We finish off the dive, toss around in the boat until we motor back inside the reef where it’s calm enough to wait out the interval without all the divers puking their guts up. So far no one’s blown chunks. Good day in the East End.
I change over all the gear while Alex cuts up fresh fruit and passes out bottles of water. I figure I owe her. I don’t mind doing the heavy work.
Second dive is shallow, surgey, and too short. A couple of my divers suck through their tanks too fast. I let the rest explore this easy site on their own, get the goons topside and safe on the rocking boat, and when I go back the rest are surfacing, too.
As the boat makes the dash through the break in the reef, I notice somebody lying on the beach. Nobody much uses this beach. It’s kind of there for show. Everybody who comes here dives all day long. We get closer, and I recognize Leesie.
I hustle heaving up gear bins and empty tanks. The other boat got in before us so there are lots of hands to help. Alex has amazing strength. She hands up tanks and gear almost as fast as I do.
I climb out of the boat, pick up my gear bag, and dump it in the soak tank. I’ll deal with it after I check in with Leese. She hasn’t moved since I first saw her.
“Hey, mate.” Brock calls after me. “When do we get to meet your fiancé?”
I stop, turn back. “Now’s good. She’s down on the beach.”
“I’ll gather the mates, and we’ll present ourselves to your lady. See you in ten.”
“Cool.” I hustle down to the beach to warn her.
She’s sleeping in the sand wearing just that ugly T-shirt I bought her and the bikini bottoms. She looks way too sexy like that to meet her new apartment-mates.
“Hey, babe.” I nudge her with my toe.
She doesn’t stir.
I drop onto the sand on all fours hanging over her. “Babe.”
She opens one eye. “Hey.”
I sit next to her and speak low. “What’s with the wet T-shirt contest?”
She yawns and opens both eyes. “I couldn’t tie those stupid strings.”
“You could have left your bra on.”  
“My sling covers everything.”
“Not everything. Here.” I hold out my towel. “Use this. The guys will be here in a few minutes. They want to meet you.”
“You don’t want them”—she glances down at what’s showing through her damp T-shirt—“to see that?”
“You’re jealous?” She sits up and takes the towel.
“Protective. These guys seem nice—divers and all—but did you see the bathroom? Animals.”
“I can clean it up for you.”
“Don’t go near it. It’s toxic. You’ll end up back in the hospital.”
“I’ve cleaned up after guys back—” She closes her eyes tight and puts her hand over her mouth to hide her trembling lips.
I sit next to her, wrap my towel around both of us, loop my arms around her shoulders and pull her in tight.
She shivers and puts her head on my shoulder. “I found his T-shirt mixed in with my stuff.” Her whisper is so quiet I can barely hear her.
I chafe her shoulders.  “That’s why you’re down here half-naked?”
“I guess.” Her voice quivers. “I dropped it. Couldn’t pick it up. Isn’t that stupid? It’s still on the floor.”
I squeeze her. “Not stupid at all. I’ll go up and take care of it.”
A shudder runs through her body.
“Do you want to meet these guys later?”
“I already met one. Why didn’t you tell me there was a guy asleep in the other bedroom?”
“I had no idea. Was he nice?”
“Must be Seth. I guess he has a right to be grumpy. I heard Ethan and Cooper had to pull him out of some bar late last night. He must have been sleeping it off.” I start to get up. “I’ll go tell the others you’ll meet them later.”
She holds me next to her. “Too late. They’re here.”
I stand up, leave Leesie the towel. “Hey guys—this is Leesie.”
She stays sitting in the sand, waves and even manages a smile. “Sorry I can’t get up. Both ankles are sprained.” She tips her head towards her blue post-op boots cast off beside her.
Brock squats down in front of her. “I’m Brock. These goons are Gabriel, and my Commonwealth brothers, Ethan and Cooper.”
Gabriel acknowledges her with a nod and a flashy smile and trudges through the sand toward the condo building, but Ethan and Cooper sit down beside her. I take up a proprietary station behind her, slip a possessive arm around her waist.
She glances from side to side at Ethan and Cooper. “Where are you guys from?”
Cooper, who has bleached blonde hair and a perpetual burn, smiles and says, “Guess.”
Leesie squints her eyes. “You don’t have an accent.”
Ethan tips his head close to hers. “Aye, he does lass. Get him to say ‘eh.’”
Cooper’s face gets a little pinker. “Guilty. And Ethan’s a loud mouth Scot.”
He leans forward so he can glare at Cooper. “She was supposed to guess.”
Brock settles cross-legged in the wet sand in front of her. “That leaves me. I’ll give you a hint. I’m not here to get out of the gloom and cold like these other two blokes are.”
“Braggart.” Ethan flicks sand at him.
I lean forward and whisper in Leesie’s ear. “He called me ‘mate’ like a thousand times today on the boat.”
“That could be English? No. Australian.”
Brock laughs. “No fair, mate. You gave it away.”
“Sorry, dude.” My arms tighten around Leesie’s waist. “I don’t like to see my damsel in distress.”
Brock takes the hint. “Well,” he stands, “we’ll leave you two to it.” He drags Ethan and Cooper off their butts. “Let’s give these two some peace.
“See you upstairs, eh?” Cooper exaggerates his accent.
“Glad to have you aboard.” Ethan puts out his hand and she takes it. “Alex is that pleased to have another lass in the place.”
Leesie smiles and let’s go of his hand. “Thanks. We’ll be up soon.”
She watches them out of sight. I watch her. “What do you think?”
“I like the Commonwealth Brothers.”
I nod. “Divers.”
“What’s with Gabriel?”
“Rumor is he’s a Latin playboy who will inherit half the known universe.”
“He is gorgeous.”
“Hey, remember who you came with, babe.”
“Well that are all a lot nicer than that guy upstairs.”
“He’s gross.”
“All guys are gross after they’ve drunk themselves numb.”
“You’ll never do that will you?”
“I can only think of one thing that would make me do that.”
“What do you think?”
“Me?” She snuggles her head under my chin. “In Thailand—when I accused you—what happened?”
“I became a work-a-holic.”
“I’m glad you had that job.”
“I should have blown it off—come right home and set you straight.”
“I should have believed you.”
I should never have stormed off in the first place. But freak, girl, you should have taken my ring. I still feel echoes of how angry I was even now.
She kisses my neck. “I’m sorry.” She finds my lips. “Things would be so different if I’d believed you.”
“What do you mean?” I murmur against her mouth.
“Nothing.” Her lips are on mine for a long time. “Why didn’t I trust you?”
“I don’t now, babe.” I scoop her in my arms so I can kiss her better. “It doesn’t matter now.”
I’m starving, and I’ve got all those tanks to fill, but I can’t let go of her. We make out with the ocean lapping at our feet and the sun setting behind us.
Alex interrupts us. “Sorry.” She holds out a paper plate with two sandwiches on it. “I’m not much of a cook.”
I grab a sandwich and take a big bite. “Leesie is.”
“Bonus.” Alex sits down by Leesie. “I knew I liked you.”
They start to jabber about clothes and stuff. I slip away, leaving the girls to get to know each other. I’ve got a date with about forty empty scuba tanks and big fat compressor.
As I walk down to the gear shack, I’m engulfed by a wave of intense emotion. It takes me a moment to figure out what it is. Freak, I’m happy. It’s tinged with ache for Leesie and her grief and pain. But we’re together. She’s mine.
And nothing can change that.
Ever again.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chapter 8!!!

I scribbled my head off today. Here's all of Chapter 8. Very, very rough. I think I might have to squish 7 and 8 together so enough happens. But this is where we are for now.

Thanks for all the great names. I still haven't chosen the diver guy names. There were so many good ones. I need to decide where the guys are from. It's Cayman--a British Commonwealth country--so we'll probably have Aussies, Brits, and at least one charming Canadian in honor of my Canadian hubby. If that inspires more country specific names, please post them.

And I appreciate the discussion we've been having over the last post. I'm mulling it all--still in the mood to push forward, but your suggestions will be so much help when I revise.

Don't ever be shy to give your opinions. I'm sad when you don't speak up. And as much as I like to hear that you love everything, I can really use the more critical comments. I won't be offended. Critiques are worth every word in gold. This is hot from my pen. It needs lots of work.  I might go overboard or get lazy. Or miss something gigantic. They spur me on as I create new scenes, too.

You'll see when I burn out on new stuff and go back to fix up what I've written how much your comments helped. I think I'll post revisions chunks of chapters at a time on pages rather than put them in the daily rough and ready posts.

And I'm planning a fantastic contest, to make this blog truly a blog, that will reward you with an entry every time you post. How's that for incentive?

So here's today's fresh output. Have at it, fellow travelers. That's what I expect.

This will be followed by a longer dive log from Michael where we meet the rest of their new room-mates. It might go at the end of this chapter or start off the next one. Leesie's poem is really long, so Michael needs equal time.



Dive Buddy: Leesie
Date:  05/09
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site:
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  

            I stop in Leesie’s room on my way to pick up my bags from the airport. Claude finally sent them. I got his email last night. He’s been busy. Shorthanded. I’m not easy to replace.
            The plane they were on landed at 6 AM. The airport’s on our route to our new digs in East End, but I don’t want Leesie to have to tough it out waiting if there’s problems at customs.
            Sugar’s serving Leesie breakfast. Tea and toast. Guess her stomach’s not up to her usual fruity smoothie. Shoot. She usually let me finish it off. Tea. Yuck. She can’t even drink it. One of her rules. Freak, you can’t even get a decent can of Coke on the entire BYU campus. She said caffeinated pop is a gray area. It’s not officially part of the rule—commandment. Lots of Mormons drink it, but my Leesie was a purist.
            She starts to say something to Sugar. Stops herself. Picks up the spoon and stirs the cup.
            “Leese.” I nod to Sugar as she leaves. “Don’t drink that.”
            She takes a spoonful, sips. “Damn. It’s hot.”
            I take the spoon from her. “What are you doing?”
            “Sugar said it would settle my stomach.” Her tongue makes “bleck” motions. “How do you drink this stuff? Even with honey it’s nasty.”
            “What’s wrong with your stomach?”
            “Just a bit queasy. I’m fine.”
            I fill her in—promise I’ll be back soon. “Are you excited?”
            She plasters a fake smile on her face. “Of course.” She drops ice from her water pitcher into her tea.
            “What’s wrong?” I need her to be pumped about this.
            “Nothing.” She concentrates on stirring the cup. “Can you hold this up for me? I’m afraid I’m going to spill it.”
            “No. I told you. You’re not breaking the rules with me around.”
            “Who made you my judge?”
             “You did.” I take the cup into her bathroom and dump it down the sink.
            “I was supposed to drink that.”
            “Don’t be like this, Leesie. It freaks me out.”
            “Do you even care what freaks me out?” She’s shouting by the end of the sentence.
            “Of course I do. That’s all I care about.”
            “You and Alex,” she shouts, “that freaks me out.”
            “What?” That came out of no where. Alex?
            “Don’t send me home. I’ll be good. I won’t drink tea.”
            “Why would I send you home?”
            “You’ve got her now?”
            “That hurts, Leesie. Really hurts. How can you even begin to think that?”
            “Is she pretty?”
            “Is she stacked?”
            “She’s all muscle. You’re stacked compared to her.”
            “Doe she have long hair?”
            “I couldn’t tell you. I think it’s short. I didn’t notice.”
            “Really. Are you going to be okay now? No more crazy ideas about Alex?”
            “Why are we moving in there?”
            “Because I got a job and,”—[beat]—“I think you could use a friend.”
            “I’m sorry. I’m nervous.”
            “Eat your toast.”
            She pushes the table away. “Come here.”
            I don’t feel like it at all, but I sit on her bed and kiss her. “Better?” I whisper.
            She nods her head and kisses me again.
            “Trust me.”
            “I’m trying.”

POEM #7?, ??

The clothes I wore here are clean,
folded on a chair. Sugar coaches
me getting the bra on by
myself. I wince and she sees it.
“You missing the morphine?”
I grit my teeth and pick up my jeans.
She puts her hand on mine, gives me
a package from her and the girls.
“Too hot here for denim.”
I unwrap the gift. I’m getting
dang good with my broken hand.
Can do almost anything if I enlist
my teeth. I shimmy into a short,
soft T-shirt dress that hits me
mid-thigh. Yellow as the sunshine.
The top striped turquoise to match
the jeweled water. No zippers,
no buttons, no snaps.
I hug her and cry.
“Hush now, we’ll see you on
Wednesday to take out those
stitches. Don’t forget your
physio.” She watches me
get my sling back on by myself,
hands me a cute yellow baseball hat
to match the dress. She winks.
“Make him take you shopping.”
I lift my eyebrows. “Good idea.”

I wait in the garden, breathing
in gardenias and wondering if
his mom knows my brother yet.

Michael arrives, red-faced and muttering
about customs tearing his bags apart
hunting for drugs. “You should have
shaved.” I’m jealous that the hair
on his face is already longer than
the itchy emergent growth
that shadows my head.
“I like your hat.” He helps me to my
feet, hands me the crutch. “And the dress
is way hot.” He strokes the few inches of bare
thigh exposed between cast and hem.
His fingers send pulses up my legs.
I lift my skirt higher and will
his hand to follow. He shakes
his head, the fingers retreat.
“Let’s go.”

We drive along Seven-Mile Beach,
through the honking, packed
downtown core onto a wild
highway that hugs the coast.
All the way the water’s too turquoise
to be real. Looks painted, fake—until
a wave rolls up and crashes
into the coral coast, spurting
white spray high in the air
through funnels that amplify
the power. I want to stop and watch,
but Michael’s late. He’s working
this afternoon.

We pull into the resort parking lot.
Doesn’t look like much after Seven-Mile
swank. Rectangular buildings built
to deflect storms. Three stories.
Colored a dark echo of the water.
He grabs my bags. “Most of my
stuff is gear. I’ve got a locker down
by the dock.” He totes my duffel bags
up all three flights of stairs
and bursts in through a door at the top.
I’m dizzy and hurting by the time
I catch up.

“Hey, Leese. This is Alex.”
He disappears into a room.
An over-tanned girl
with uber-short hair
gives me a hug.
“Welcome to the hovel.”
I feel the muscles in her
arms. She wears a rash
guard over a bikini.
Her legs are solid muscle—
like a skinny weight lifter.
She lets me go.
“You’re late,” she yells
at Michael like a boss.
“Our boat leaves in fifteen minutes.”

I find Michael in my new room.
It’s dominated by a giant
king-sized bed.
Alex hollers on her way
out the door, “They’re bringing
our new beds in an hour.
Can you let the guys in?”

Alex and her last roomie shared?
That makes me kind of nervous.
What did Michael leave out?
“Is she gay?” I need to know.
What if I said the wrong thing?
Michael shakes his head. “Broken-
hearted. Her boyfriend took off.”
“One of the defectors?”
He nods. “Y says she’s been sleeping
on the floor. Can’t stand
to get back in that bed.”
“And the other girl was here, too?”
“She was with Z.”
“Poor Alex.”
“Yeah. You’ll be good for her.”
He kisses me good-bye.
“Unpack. You get half
the closet and these drawers.”
He disappears.

I must rest, regroup, recover.
I lie on the forbidden bed,
close my eyes, drift
on the pain that radiates
out from my collarbone,
dwarfing every other malady.

The buzzer ringing and a loud
hammering knock shaking the door
startle me awake.
I can’t find my crutch, hobble
fast as I can to open it.
Two guys. Two mattresses.
“Where do you want these?”
I lead them to the room.
They shift bedding off the big
mattress and pick it up.
I retreat into the kitchen
to get out of their way.

A major ripped guy comes out of
the other bedroom just wearing boxers.
“What the eff’s going on?”
I manage to squeak,
“Just moving in,” around
my surpise.
He looks at me like I’m
circus freak meat.
“Who the hell are you?”
“Leesie.” Lame. Lame, Lame.
He heads into the bathroom—
doesn’t close the door.
I decide it’s time to enjoy
the view from the balcony.

The moving guys wave
good-bye, finished fast.
I’m chicken to go
back in. I’m alone
in this apartment
with a total stranger.
But Michael knows him.
Maybe? Trusts him.
Who knows?

It would serve Michael right
if this rude guy attacks me.
He stuck me here with the creep.
I hobble back in the apartment.
No sign of the guy.
His door’s closed again.
I trip over cots, towels, blankets,
and a pulled out hide-a-bed
hurrying to make it back to my room.
Pull the door tight. Lock it.
Go in the bathroom.
Lock that door, too.
Slip my right hand free
to splash water on my
burning neck, wishing
Michael was here
to take me floating again.

I finally face my afternoon’s labors,
unzip my first duffel bag
scared of what I’ll find inside—
muddy damp refuse from
the side of the mountain.
No. The clothes are fresh laundered,
folded sloppy-sweet like a guy did it.
Jeans and sweatshirts. Useless here.
Two pairs of capris, my old swimsuit,
ugly work-out shorts, socks, panties,
a couple of embarrassing worn out
double A bras that have always been
too big. Lots of T-shirts.

As I put the T’s in the second drawer down,
I notice one that’s not mine.
Navy. Guy cut. BYU logo across the front.
I see it on Phil the day before we left.

Drop it.


Breathe fast.


I kneel down,
stare at it,
willing it to move.

It doesn’t

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chapter Seven Part B

Happy election day for those of you who are in the U.S. I hope you voted. This is the first time we've got to vote in an AZ election since we've been home. When we lived overseas, voting was tough. Easy this time. Of course, I was glued to the coverage. Just like I'll be glued tonight. I promise to get back to scribbling in the morning. 

I had to go back to the dentist today for some drilling. Our new dentist is great, but my head is still kind of fuzzy from the shot. Please, turn a blind eye to huge errors! These are rough drafts. 

Thanks for all the help with character names. I'm going with Alex for the dive girl. It's going to be tough to choose the guy names. They are all great. Maybe I'll have to add more characters. I was thinking that Leesie's roommates need to find out something's happened to her by now. That could be another good chat. I think we'll hit 15,000 words tomorrow. That's a third of the novel. Only 45,000 more to go. 

I'm in the mood to press ahead and revise more later. I hope you're all in the same kind of mood. 


Kimbo69 says: Leesie living with six guys? That’s a picture I can’t process.
Leesie327 says:  Ick. You make it sound like they’ll be passing me around.
Kimbo69 says:  And the girl sounds fishy to me.
Leesie327 says: Michael says Alex is like one of the guys.
Kimbo69 says:  But she jumped to get him hired.
Leesie327 says: Michael says when they are down two dive masters it puts all of them at risk—too much diving. They could get bent. It’s dangerous.
Kimbo69 says:  She went after him for her health?
Leesie327 says: She didn’t go after him.
Kimbo69 says:  She convinced him to move in with her.
Leesie327 says:  I’m moving in with her.
Kimbo69 says:  Yeah. That’s a nice touch.
Leesie327 says: Michel and I are way beyond that petty stuff.
Kimbo69 says:  And I’m not? Mark and I aren’t? We’ve been together way longer than you have.
Leesie327 says: Our situation is different. No one else exists for either of us.
Kimbo69 says: Liar. You are insanely jealous.
Leesie327 says: Shut up.
Kimbo69 says:  Be honest.
Leesie327 says: Okay. I’m scared. I’m scared to leave here. I’m scared to unplug the hospital strength pain killer. I’m scared she’s pretty.
Kimbo69 says:  You’re pretty.
Leesie327 says:  I’m so hideous now.
Kimbo69 says:  Michael doesn’t think so.
Leesie327 says:  What if she has long hair?

POEM #76,

First day off morphine starts
off sore—even after I swallow
their pills. “You’re job, young lady”—
the doctor hands me a full bottle
of pain-a-cide—“is to take these pills
only for pain—not comfort, not anxiety.”
His golden Cayman tones echo off the
sunny walls. “Don’t skimp at first.
Taper off as soon as you can.”

I can’t eat breakfast—or even drink
my smoothie. I manage not to puke
my guts up but just barely.
The sore gets worse and worse,
but no way I’m telling because
he’s moving in tomorrow and I’m
going with him.

Michael gets excited when they
unwind the figure eight bandage
that’s trussed my collarbone in place.
“Keep your right arm in the sling.”
Sugar moves it gently back in place.
“But you can move it to dress and bathe.”

Michael rushes over to the tourist trap
across the street, comes back with
a bulging, plastic bag. “Let’s REALLY go
to the beach.” The dressing on my nose
now is more of a brace than a cast.
He tosses the bag on my lap.
I pull out a hottest pink, tropical print
bikini. “You’ve got to be kidding?”
My ribs are unwrapped, but still
black and blue. Bikinis are contraband.
Doesn’t he know the rules? Is this a hint?
Or is he as clueless with this as he was me
moving into an apartment full of guys?
He digs in the bag and pulls out a t-shirt.
“I got you one to match mine.”

My day’s been too long already. If only
I could lie in bed with the shades pulled down
counting the waves of pain. But
I’m fine. Remember. Nothing wrong today
or tomorrow.
Sugar helps me change, wraps my hand cast
in a bread bag. “Don’t get your face wet
or sand in your boots.” She just washed them.
They stunk so bad. She sprays my head with
sunscreen and ties a scarf around the stubble.

I limp half way. Michael carries me the rest.
He sets me on the sand, spreads out a straw beach mat,
trimmed in hot pink to match my swim suit.
We lie together on it in the sun.
His thigh touches mine. I squint
my eyes against the bright light.
“I forgot.” His hand goes
into his pocket. “One more present.”
He puts sunglasses over my eyes that have faded
from purple to greenish black.

We laze in the sun until I’m sweaty.
His hand reaches down and unvelcroes
the straps on my boots.
“What are you doing?”
He pushes off my scarf. “We’re going
“No we’re not.”
“No waves today. Come on babe.
I’ve got you.”

He picks me up, carries me
into cool, silky water deep as his chest.
His arms loosen. I clutch at him.
“Take it easy. This will feel good.”
He makes me lie flat on my back
one arm in my sling, my good hand
holding my broken one on top of
my stomach.
“Fill your chest with air.”
I inhale.
“Hold it.”
I’m beautifully buoyant in the
salt and sun and Michael’s arms.
“Relax. Put your head back.”
I obey—cool ocean blueness
laps around my body, easing
away heat and a measure of ache,
calming me as I lie embraced
by it’s subtle rhythm.
“Saltwater therapy.” His lips
find a patch of my fuzzy head.
“You need more of this.”
“I could lie like this forever.”
“That can be arranged.”

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy NaNoWiMo Day!

I made it! I made it! What a day. I hope everyone had a great Halloween Weekend. And I want to send positive vibes out there to all those National Novel Writing Month scribblers. I'd love to be trying that out this year, but alas, CAYMAN SUMMER calls. Maybe I'll join the fray next November. There's something empowering about cranking out a novel along with thousands and thousands of fellow scribblers. I think it would be hard to write 50K without revising. My rough drafts are so skin and bone. If I wrote 50K like that, the final novel would end up 80 or 90,000 words.

Here's more skin and bone for you to chew on. This is kind of half-revised. The first half is okay, but the last half needs more than just dialogue. You'll get a feel for where I'm going, though.

We're going to meet a new character tomorrow. Today Michael tells Leesie about her. So far she's just named X. Start thinking about names for her, okay? I always need help with names. I keep a list of suggestions teens give me when I visit their schools. You'll be able to get a better feel for her when we actually get to see her tomorrow. I learned a lot more about her today when I was writing that--so I'll have to share that with you tomorrow. And then we'll have a naming party. Six hunky dive guides need names, too. Any suggestions?

Oh, and before I go, I've got a cool contest to tell you about. Linda Weaver Clarke hosted me for an interview on her blog today. This week she's running a contest to give away a signed hard-cover copy of SING ME TO SLEEP! I know you want it! And if you've already read it, just think of what a great Christmas present it would be. The contest is open to residents of US and Canada and runs from today to November 8th. Please, tell your friends, too.


Dive Buddy: Leesie
Date:  05/05
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site:
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  

            “Hey, babe.” I close the door to her room and take up my station standing beside her bed. “Ba-abe. I’m back.” She made me go diving. Saturday, too. She knows I’m dying to get out there in the sun and saltwater—knows I wouldn’t leave her for a second unless she insisted. I feel guilty about that first trip I took. Guilty for diving the North Coast on Saturday. But, today, I don’t feel guilty at all.
            Leesie’s been docile—sleeps a lot in the day. Nights are hell. But in the day she makes me go to my hotel to get some decent sleep. Then Saturday she started in on diving. “You need to get out of here. I don’t want you to get sick of me.”
            At first I was hurt she thought I could ever get sick of her. But I didn’t resist long. I mean—it’s diving. Sorry. Hate me. I probably deserve it.
            She seemed happier Saturday when I got back. Slept better that night. Sunday I freaked her out by asking if she’d like me to try to find her a Mormon church to go to. Sugar said she could leave for a couple hours—no problem.  Leesie wouldn’t talk to me the whole rest of the day. Had nightmares again that night. At least that’s what Sugar told me. Leesie wouldn’t let me stay.
            So when she was docile and sweet again on Monday, I wasn’t going to argue when she brought up me going diving.
            “I’ll take you over to the beach again when I get back.” I plastered a grin on my face.
            She didn’t smile back. That rarely happens. Her face just looked less sad for a moment. “I’d love that.”
            I left her sleeping soundly, and when I phoned from my hotel early the next morning, Sugar said she stayed that way all night. I didn’t feel too bad hopping into the burnt orange RAV4 I rented last Friday and practiced driving on the left-hand side of the road like they do here in Cayman all the way around to the East End.
            And now, zero guilt. I’m glad I went.
“Leese.” I press my lips on her forehead. Her scalp is stubbly—like kissing sandpaper, so I don’t do that today.
Her eyes open. “Hey.” She purses her lips together until I kiss them. “Scratch my head, okay?” She closes her eyes.
I don’t know if it really itches—she’s still pretty numbed up. If she’s drugged enough not to feel her broken collarbone or her ribs smart when she inhales deeply, would she be able to feel an itchy head? I think she just likes me touching it. I scratch her head, lightly. She presses into my fingers.
I avoid the gash. She’s supposed to get the stitches out tomorrow. “I have news.”
Here eyes tighten—ready for a blow. “Did you talk to Stan? Are they going to charge me with vehicular manslaughter? Reckless endangerment?”
I move from scratching to rubbing her head. It feels freaky, but I keep stroking it. “Bad guess. Relax. It’s good news. Us news.”
Her eyes open wide. “We’re going to get married this afternoon instead of going to the beach?”
“Better guess.” I laugh. She never gives up. “But not that good.”
She doesn’t respond.
I draw my hand away from her head and sit down on her bed. “I found a job, and it comes with a place to stay.”
Her face falls. “How far away will you be?”
“The room next door.”
“No, babe. I got a job with our—my—favorite dive guys out at the East End. Two of their dive masters just took off. They are way shorthanded and can get an emergency work VISA pushed through for me. They are a great bunch of guys. You’re going to love them.”
“How far away from here is it?”
“Don’t worry. I’ll drive you back down for physio and check-ups.”
“Where am I going?”
“They are going to try switching you to less industrial-strength pain meds on Thursday. If that goes well, you don’t have to stay here anymore.”
“It will go well.”
“How do you feel about leaving?”
“You’ve got a place for the two of us?”
“Yeah. Well—not just us. There’s not a lot of decent apartments near the resort, and the place isn’t exactly booked up these days, so they rent out one of their condos to all the foreign dive masters and instructors. There’s like eight of them crammed into one two-bedroom condo. Or there was. And there will be again when we move in.”
“I’m moving in with seven guys?”
“No. X needs a roommate.”
“Who is X?”
“The girl running things on the boat today.”
“Not another old girlfriend.”
“Nope. She’s new here. She’s cool. She told me about the job—set the whole thing up for us.”
“I bet she did.” Her face clouds over.
I thought we were beyond jealousy by now. I pick up her broken hand in it’s shiny pink cast. “I talked about you—my fiancé—the whole freaking time.”
A rare smile appears on her face long enough for me to kiss it. “You, my coddled princess, get to share the master ensuite with X, and I’m stuck on a cot in the living room with three other guys.”
“So I’m just moving in with six guys?”
“They are cool, Leese. I met them today.”
“My mom would—” She stops, blinks her eyes to keep back tears that threaten. “Okay.” Her voice wavers but her eyes stay strong on mine. “If that’s what you want to do.”
“I know it’s not ideal—kind of a zoo.”
“It’ll be fun.”
“X is great. She’s got advanced rescue and some EMT training. She said she’d be happy to help you if you need it.”
“I should be able to take care of myself.”
“Cool.” I seal the deal with a kiss on her forehead.
She pulls her eyebrows down, accusing. “Aren’t we going to the beach?”