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.
“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: http://www.katherinegilraine.com and direct link to her post
FreshHell: http://freshhell.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
Collectonian: http://collectonian.livejournal.com and direct link to her post
Aimee Laine: http://www.aimeelaine.com/writing/blog and direct link to her post
AuburnAssassin: http://clairegillian.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
Lyra Jean: http://lyratorres.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
Fokker Aeroplanbau: http://rightfarright.blogspot.com/
Alpha Echo: http://writersramblings81.blogspot.com/