I’ve been working on my WIP, Where Poppies Bloom, pretty extensively over the last two weeks, adding between 1K and 2K per day. The manuscript is kind of all over the place right now. Normally, I write in order, scene by scene, but with this project I’ve jumped around quite a bit, just picking up on a scene that inspires me and diving right in. It’s hard not to get all anxious and OCD about the gaping, highlighted holes in my Word Doc, but I’m going with it and trying out a new writing method. Whether it works is left to be seen. 🙂
For now, I thought I’d share an excerpt, just for fun.
We find a quiet spot on the beach and sit side by side in the sun-toasted sand. I pull my knees up, digging my bare toes deeper to find the damp, cooler grains beneath. We’re quiet for a long while, rhythmic cresting of waves the only sound. There’s nothing to say really, not at this point. We’re at odds and it feels wrong, like snowflakes in August. I’ve grown so accustom to Tucker radiating light, unearthing my smiles—laughter, even, occasionally. The solemnity of this afternoon makes my headache more intense. The dull twinge that’s become a constant companion morphs into the deep pounding of a bass drum.
I’m tired too, deep in my bones and head and heart, the kind of tired that makes you feel like you’re coming down with something. Am I? I haven’t felt well in weeks. My late nights with Henry aren’t healthy. I see that in the light of day, but when the sun goes down… he’s a trustworthy means of escape, the most tempting of drugs. I could tell him to stay away. Quit him, cold-turkey, like I did with pot.
But I’m not sure I want to.
My head throbs, pulsing in sync with the blood in my veins.
I drop my forehead onto my knees; my hair falls around me, a flaxen curtain shielding me from the world. I close my eyes and see white spots on the backs of my lids. I draw figure eights in the sand with my fingertips in an effort remain conscious.
“You okay?” Tucker asks, that raspy voice of his even more appealing set against crashing waves and salty ocean wind.
I nod without lifting my head.
Again, I nod.
“What’s up with that?”
Somewhere I find the strength to look up at him, wisps of blonde streaking across my face with the breeze. He reaches out to brush my hair away and his touch—a zap of electricity—makes me more alert and alive than I want to be. I don’t answer his question about my head because the shift between is too distracting. Too profound. A change in the humid ocean air that makes everything heavier. My parents. Henry. Tucker…
He’s staring at me now, celadon eyes that give nothing away, yet at the same time communicate much more than I’m ready to confront.
The somber tone of our afternoon passes as soon as his mouth quirks into a half-smile, the one that inevitably makes me smile too. I can tell by his expression, the longing in his eyes… he wants to kiss me. Right here on the beach. After everything that’s happened today.
And then, with a force that nearly sucks the breath right out of my lungs, I realize I want to kiss him. I want to lie back in the sand and feel his weight press into me. I want to taste his mouth. I want him to kiss me back without restraint, until forget I about everything else.
He moves slightly, inching barely closer. I shift my gaze, but I don’t turn away. I can’t. I take a breath, and my thoughts turn cart wheels, discouraging me, mocking me, cheering me on.
“Let’s see what we can do about your head,” Tucker says, jerking me out of the moment.
Was I imagining it all?
He slides back and over, behind me. He stretches a long leg out on either side of me, and then moves forward so we’re touching, his warm mingling with my cool. He grasps my shoulders, tugs me back a little, then slowly, so slowly, runs his hands beneath my hair. His splayed fingers, strong and capable, run the length of my scalp, from the base of my neck, to my crown, then up to my forehead. He does it again and the pressure is amazing. It eases my headache immediately. I don’t tell Tucker, though. I don’t want him to stop.
I am beeswax, softening under his warm fingers, melting into the fine sand.