What am I working on Wednesday is a new bi-monthly meme of snippets and excerpts that should keep you updated on my current projects. To listen to a recording, please click on the application below.
Today: Where the Wind Settles, a high concept lgbt YA novel
Excerpt of Chapter 12:
“Is… this how you’re supposed to do it?” Ingrid asked Pablo. Before she’d run off again to get one last thing, Chinook left the sweet dough to rest in the fridge and turned on some music. It sounded a little bit like what Pablo been playing in the park that day and Ingrid liked the sudden, unexpected pang of familiarity. She looked down at her sugar skull again, carefully holding the flimsy little icing dispenser.
“I don’t think there’s much of a rule to it,” Pablo replied mildly. He held the cigarette behind him and away from her face when he leaned over to look at her handiwork, at the crooked yellow teeth and the sun-flower eyes. “You have steady hands,” he commented, then leaned back again before he turned his head away and exhaled a breath of smoke. Ingrid watched the way his lips puckered out for a suspended moment and then slipped back into place.
“How would you do it?” she asked and Pablo looked down at the table in front of him, empty except for the coffee mug he kept refilling.
“Can’t say I ever tried.”
“Oh.” Ingrid looked away and at her own little sugar skull. It was such a strange idea, bizarre even – sweet on the tongue and to look at, not anything she had ever associated with death before.
“Can I ask you something?” Pablo said, slightly cross-eyed as he seemed to mediate over the tiny glimmer at the end of his cigarette butt before he quenched it in a kitchy glittering ash-tray.
He smiled, got up from his chair and emptied the ash-tray into the trash. There was a thoughtful expression on his face while he ran water over it and took a few haphazard wipes at it with an old sponge.
He wasn’t looking at her yet and something about that fact made the question feel less startling. She wet her lips. Her cheeks were still a little flushed but she wasn’t afraid – just not used being spoken to, asked things like a normal person.
“Yeah…” she offered, then pulled her shoulders up to her ears but quickly dropped them when Pablo looked back at her with his dark eyes. In the light of the kitchen lamp above him, his lashes looked huge – dark, long wings that framed his bottomless eyes. She felt her heart beat a little quicker.
“I’m just asking,” he said quietly, tilting his head, “because I love Nook, she’s a wonderful and caring person. But sometimes she forgets to ask. And you have a choice – you can stay with us, or you can mourn in your own way, or not at all… it’s up to you, okay?”
It took Ingrid a few heartbeats to drag her eyes away from his. Nook. Nook. Nook. They were kissing again in front of her mind’s eye and his lashes were brushing against Chinook’s porcelain cheeks.
“I do… want to be here,” she finally whispered. She picked up the red icing, staring at the tiny nozzle and pressed a drop onto her index-finger. It looked like that time, years ago, in the hospital. They had poked her finger until a small droplet of blood blossomed on her skin, then they had smeared it onto glass plate and told her to sit down again. Hours later, and only after she asked, her father told her that her blood hadn’t been the kind to help her mother and Ingrid had stood by a window, searching her finger for the tiny hole for hours. That was the first time she’d ever thought people had stopped seeing her but it would be years until it became a stable skill. And now she was loosing it.
“Are you okay?” Pablo asked. He was squatting by her side looking up at her, but Ingrid had no idea how he’d got there so fast. She didn’t jump, just felt her eyes sting. Then she brought the finger to her mouth and sucked the sugary paste onto her tongue. Was that was blood tasted to the dead?
She remembered to nod and Pablo awkwardly patted her knee, then stood up again and found his chair. He didn’t light another cigarette. The lack made it look as though he didn’t know what to do with his hands anymore.