AW June Blog Chain

It’s my turn again to take the floor for another edition of the Absolute Write Water Cooler blog chain. This month, LadyMage asked us to post a scene from our WIP (Work In Progress) that really represents and/or defines our character.
There are already quite an amount of these “short scenes, big character revelations” on this blog, what with all the short stories. I usually use Cassidy and her folks in the blog chains but it seemed hardly fair to reuse scenes some of you have already read.
This is why, for the very first time, I will share snippets of The One Who Sees, the novel I am currently working on. It’s in French right now, though I plan to translate it later. I picked two scenes and translated them exclusively for you.

A little context, before we begin.
My one sentence for this project is: Hotel do-it-all Lily sees her attempts to avoid relationships with men thwarted by the imperative to become close to Christopher, a client whose death she dreamt.
The most defining scene for this character is probably when she decides to save Christopher, despite a shitload of “I don’t wannas”. However, for that scene to bear the weight it deserves, I would need a very long post. So let just start with the beginning of the book when Lily just woke up after one of her dreams about the future.

Completely zombie, I head for the kitchen. If my brain works full steam as soon as slumber deserts me, there is a serious delay before it establishes a connection with the rest of the universe. Before that happens, accidents, such as a fight between a part of my anatomy and the corner of a wall, are a high risk. Don’t place your bets, the fight is fixed: the wall always wins whether it’s pitted against a pinky, a shoulder or a head. In my case, you can say that making coffee is basic survival instinct. This absolute priority even precedes emptying my bladder or making my bed.
My hands work mechanically to fill the drip coffee maker. It appears clearly in the semidarkness: black coffee maker on yellow background, even the color of my walls is chosen to limit my morning-time clumsiness. As soon as the coffee’s aroma starts to conquer my condo, I’m appeased. In a few minutes, the percentage of chances I’ll harm myself will diminish drastically. While I wait, I walk toward the bathroom with really slow steps to avoid accidents.

This illustrates one of my favorite aspects of Lily: her auto-derision. She is so much fun to write because she is her own comic relief. No matter how hard I drive her to the ground, she’ll always come up with some witty self-criticism that’ll crack me up.
I would now like to let you see her interact with other people. In this scene, she has just brought lunch in the hotel room of Christopher, after she has dreamt of his death. She doesn’t know how he’ll die; she only knows that within the next seven days his life ends. She is usually very sweet with people but she hasn’t slept well for a few days, worked overtime and she has really good reasons to fear men.

I move away from the table so he can sit in front of his meal. I pull another chair and sit on it with my back straight. I readjust my blouse. Better not look too casual, it would send the wrong signals.
“Doctor Price…”
“Please, call me Chris. Doctor Price is my father. And after all, I’ve always called you Lily.”
His interruption roughens me a bit but not as much as his request for familiarity. What kind of desperate man looks for a girlfriend among the hotel staff where he stays? Probably the same man who fears commitment enough to enroll with Doctors Without Borders.
As soon as I think it, I regret my comment. Why am I so defensive? I will not fall for him. His efforts are vain. He doesn’t deserve to be insulted on top of that. I regret that our past camaraderie has been replaced by a romantic approach. Or maybe that’s what he was aiming for from the get-go…
To call him by his first name is okay: the client is always right. Plus, holding someone’s life in your hands ought to give you the right to the first name basis. However, that’s all the closeness I’m allowing.
“Chris. My schedule shows you are giving a conference today at three…”
What habit is that to cut people mid sentence! He’s already done it three times since he opened the door. Breath, Lily, breath. You don’t have to feel threatened by him. You’re in charge.
“I wanted to offer you to get acquainted with the conference room.”
Unbelievable! I finished a sentence. See? Cut the drama.
“Will you be my guide, Lily?”
Under the uninterested attitude, the deep honeyed tone is back. What an execrable character! Does he think himself irresistible to flirt with the first woman the hotel throws at him? He must know he’s cute. That’s what makes him despicable. I’m not even talking about the way he pronounces my name. He articulates it a tad too slowly, stretching the “l”. It sounds like he’s licking it.
For a moment, I wonder why I react so violently: the still hurtful memory of Eric or the frivolity hidden behind the swiftness with which Chris falls into flirting mode. Lack of sleep, surely.
“Then it’ll be my pleasure.” He says, smiling between to bites.
Why did I tell him I’m single? It’s the last time I’m making that mistake. How cold will I need to be to fix it?
“I have time at one for the visit.”
“Perfect for me.”
My irritation remains under control but I suddenly doubt that my initiative is “perfect for me”. Couldn’t destiny have designated someone else to save? A woman, maybe?
“I’ll meet you here,” I say as I stand up.
I make a beeline for the exit before he can catch up with me. I say goodbye from the threshold and eclipse myself. I hope this cold departure will smack his senses back in place. Who dares to be so annoying? When he’s not invading my sentences, he’s attacking my heart. As if that attitude would conquer me. He should have stuck to our light friendship. Pffff… Don Juan.
Once in the elevator, I regret the mood that precipitated me out of his room. What if he chokes on his pastas? I mutter to myself on the backdrop of tasteless music. That’ll teach him to pursue women until they flee.
Come on, Lily! A man doesn’t deserve to die because he’s craving sex. Right. Visual diversity would suffer.
I’m really in an appalling mood today.

There you have it! The very first bit of translation of The One Who Sees. I hope you enjoyed it and I invite you to check out the rest of the June Blog Chain:
LadyMage: and direct link to her post
FreshHell: and direct link to her post
Collectonian: and direct link to her post
Aimee Laine: and direct link to her post
AuburnAssassin: and direct link to her post
Lyra Jean: and direct link to her post
Aheïla (me)
Fokker Aeroplanbau:
Alpha Echo:

About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

32 responses to “AW June Blog Chain

  • Danielle (Arctic Fox)

    Very nice and if you can’t tell by my heritage is French so YAY for French!I like the last scene I have had similar things happen to me. Where little things just irk me to no end. Nice work!

    • Aheïla

      Your name clued me in on that. 😉
      How close is your French heritage?
      I think it all happens to us at one point or another to be annoyed by every single thing in a day.

      • Danielle (Arctic Fox)

        Yeah! my last name is DeLisle “of the island” I love it! My grandparents are French Canadian from New Brunswick and Quebec before that my great grandparents were from Belgium…that counts right?

      • Aheïla

        I’m born, raised and still living in Quebec City. I’m French to the bone. My grandfather came straight from France.
        English is my second language.
        Oh! And I am actually “of the island”: Orleans Island to be precise. Does that connect us somehow? *laughs*

      • Danielle (Arctic Fox)

        Maybe so! I am told the original form of our name was de L’isle and that it means were were nobility some where back in the line, because only nobility could have “of the” in their last name. Don’t know how true it is, but I prefer to believe it!

        J’aime le lange de francaise, parce que c’est tres belle. (Did I do OK? I am rusty!)

      • Aheïla

        Not bad! You forgot a “u” in “langue” and I know the accents are a pain on English keyboards (there’s suppose to be one on “très”).
        Mais pour quelqu’un de rouiller, tu te débrouilles bien! 😉

  • Aimee Laine

    “Don’t place your bets, the fight is fixed: the wall always wins whether it’s pitted against a pinky, a shoulder or a head.”

    I love it when a character exhibits a trait I have. 😉 Now where did that bruise come from? 😉

    Thanks for managing both chains (this and last month)!! 🙂

    • Aheïla

      And this is a trait I really don’t share with that character. I get clumsy when I’m really tired or stressed but most of the time, my pinkies are safe. 😉

      I like organizing the blog chains. It was a little hustle last week but I still enjoy it!

  • April (Alpha Echo)

    Oooh, I like her a lot! She makes me smile b/c she’s funny and so relatable. “Before that happens, accidents, such as a fight between a part of my anatomy and the corner of a wall, are a high risk. Don’t place your bets, the fight is fixed: the wall always wins whether it’s pitted against a pinky, a shoulder or a head. In my case, you can say that making coffee is basic survival instinct.” – sooo me!

    • Aheïla

      Thanks April!
      I wanted her to have a strong personality but still remain an “every woman”. I don’t like it when the MC of a first person story is kind of eclipsed by the story she’s telling. I understand why that can happen, though.
      Anyway, I’m glad you like her. 😉

  • Phil

    Lily reminds me of me, gender aside, not the clumsy in the morning but the self-derision, which I keep to myself so others don’t see my foibles…lol! Lily’s story looks to be dramatic and thrilling. A psychological thriller? I’d love to read it!

    • Aheïla

      Psychological thriller with a dash of fantasy mixed in. She sees the future, afterall. And there’s also a ghost showing up by the middle of the book. And some kind of vampire. And a witch…
      The more the story unfolds, the more Lily, a pretty straightforward, no nonsense woman, dabbles with the supernatural.
      Oh! And self-derision is definitely a trait Lily borrows heavily from me. 😉

  • Katherine Gilraine

    The way Lily starts off the day with coffee = nearly exactly like me.

    • Aheïla

      I had a roomate just like that. Personally, I have my “coffee mornings” but it’s only an average of once a week. I don’t actually make coffee at home. Only tea.

  • freshhell

    Nice – I like this. But, I’d need to pee before making coffee. That gives me a bit more time to wake up in the morning and get my bearings. Perhaps your character can make it for me. 🙂

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  • Proach

    Great scene, here Aheila. I really liked the tension Lily felt.

  • Hillary

    what a delight. Lily has such an excellent voice! I believe you when you say it’s a joy to write her. Licking the “l”…ugh.

    • Aheïla

      Thank you Hillary!
      “Licking the ‘l’” is one of my favorite lines from Lily. It kind of took me by surprise and now it cracks me up every time.
      I now realize that reading just this scene presents Chris under a very bad light. With the context around it, you know that the negativity here is just Lily’s defense mechanism. Chris is very much a perfect man. 😉

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  • Lyra

    I can very much relate to Lily. Especially the fighting with inanimate objects such as the walls and various pieces of furniture.

    I also liked the “Licking the I” phrase. In the second scene I can feel how she is sort of fighting herself not to be negative about Chris but failing. I don’t know how many times I’ve done this.

    You’ve made Lily very easy to relate to. Which is nice cause as much as I like the tough woman beating people down and taking names I’m just not that and that makes it harder to read the story.

    • Aheïla

      Wow! Thanks for the in-depth comment!
      Lily is indeed fragile in a way though she stands on her own feet. She’s not an action hero and her story is more about what happens within her.
      I’m glad so many of you guys find her relatable! 🙂

  • Nina Hansen

    Oh… Aheila, Aheila, PLEASE finish this book and publish it quickly so I can read the entire thing. I want to buy it RIGHT NOW. I absolutely love it, love the snarkiness, love the wittiness. I relate to Lily 100% percent. The way she covers her insecurities by dark humor… brilliant!!

    Two thumbs up!

    • Aheïla

      Oh Nina! *hides her blushing* Thanks!
      I’m trying to find time to work on it. My objective would be to start querying in 2011 so it’s not on its way to your door just yet. I can keep you in the back of my mind as a potential Beta reader if you’d like!
      To pass the time until then, you can always look up the 2010 story or my other stories. There’s quite a lot to read in here. 😉

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  • Nina Hansen

    I’m so definitely hunting down your other stories. 🙂 I loved this. And if you do need a beta reader, yes yes please I would love to! 😀

    • Aheïla

      I’ll keep you posted. Right now, I still have to finish the French draft and translate it. Last time I write in my first language first. 😉
      Don’t be afraid to comment on my other stories. The 2010 story (now officially titled Unforseen Dives) is kind of a Beta read thing. It’s a serial I post 2 times a week. Serves as my first draft that I’ll eventually rewrite into a full-blown novel. 😉

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  • Andrew G. Carson

    I’m looking forward to reading the book when it’s published as I think you got a best seller on your hands Aheila, very, very cool.

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