I'm always curious how other writers are when they sit down to write a story. Outline? Cliff notes? Character bios? That kind of thing.
I'm pretty sure I am absolutely not normal in the way I write. I don't outline. I don't have cliff notes or character bios. Tried it, and I almost always change my mind and make that all useless. It's almost like I am possessed whenever I get this way because I literally don't know what I'm writing until I begin to write it.
I have a general idea, something that won't leave my head and kind of haunts my dreams. Like a movie that I've watched and has stuck with me, only I haven't watched this movie because it doesn't exist. It lives only in my head where plots invade my thoughts when I stare aimlessly at nothing.
So, I will sit down with my laptop and think. I write the first sentence and think some more. I'm sure this is why it takes me so long to write my stories, but I let them guide me. I don't rush where it's going because I don't know where it's going. I think I do. I even write it a certain way, but then something happens. The characters are as fickle as I am, or twisted... it's a conundrum.
Here is what I mean by "something happens." I will have a story written one way, re-read it and then... damn if the characters don't whisper little things like, "Nope. That's not right. I said to..." and then I take a 180 and scrap thousands of words because another thousand is begging to be written. And the story as I thought I knew it is now a different story all together.
Hmmm... And I wonder why my head hurts all of the time. Too many people live there and they are so freaking bossy. LOL
For example: Did you know I wrote, Escape the Doubt as a completely different story line? That is before Josh and Riley finally convinced me of what they needed from me. Funny how that happens. Would you like to read a few deleted chapters? Well, here you go.
***Characters have a mind of their own. These are -UNEDITED- deleted chapters from Escape the Doubt, Book One in the Shifting Series. Enjoy!***
Secrets and betrayal
Life is full of many moments that make up time and memories. Some moments are small and unforgettable. Other moments are monumental and life changing. Then there are those moments that almost happened and become nonexistent, blowing away in the wind.
The second Josh and I answered our phones our moment became lost in the wind. An almost moment that was stolen from us. We drove away from that pier leaving something behind, something we wouldn’t get back. This almost moment was also a moment that would become life changing for both of us. We just didn’t know how exactly.
The ride in the truck to the hospital is pure agony. My mind is racing with a thousand thoughts, a million more questions. Everything happening so fast, yet in complete slow motion. Josh has been creepy quiet since the phone call and I have no idea what he’s thinking. All I know is I couldn’t slow my cogs enough to gather my own thoughts.
My Dad and his Mom were in a car accident together. Why were they together? It didn’t make sense. When I left he was with my Mom. Grant it, they were arguing as usual, but they were together. How and why was he with Josh’s mom?
Memories and realization begin flickering into my mind. Moments that were questionable but now made sense. I didn’t know if Josh wanted to talk, but I couldn’t stop the thoughts that were coming to me rapidly from leaving my lips.
“Josh, that day that you and Joey were suppose to be spending the weekend at your Dad’s but you went to your house first because Joey forgot something. You said your Mom was acting weird and stopped you in the garage before you came in the house.”
He didn’t look at me once when he spoke.
“She was dressed in a robe and her hair was a mess. She seemed nervous. She wouldn’t let me in the house.”
He reaches over to turn the radio off.
“She got Joey’s stuff and I swore I heard a man’s voice. I just assumed I interrupted a date night. She has a lot of those ya know?”
He stated it as though he was having the same thoughts I was, still never looking at me. I almost couldn’t bring myself to go where my head was going.
“I was suppose to go to the movies with Emily that night. I went home with her after school, but I felt sick and she dropped me off at home. When I came home, my Mom was on the couch drinking wine straight from the bottle and she had mascara running down her cheeks. I knew they got in a fight. I asked her where my Dad was and she told me he left… but Josh… my Dad’s car was parked in the driveway right alongside my Mom’s.”
I felt nauseous all the sudden. We are stopped at a stop sign when Josh finally turns his eyes to me.
“What are you saying Riley?”
I wince slightly from the tone of aggravation in his voice. I feel like I am going to throw up. I have to swallow several times before making myself say the words.
“What if she… what if he… what if they were together Josh? What if they have been—?”
“FUCK!” he shouts and punches the steering wheel causing me to jump. Someone behind us honks his or her horn. Josh turns the corner and parks the car on the side of the road. He is breathing fast, his eyes look wild.
I have never seen Josh like this, not even when his Dad left. He frightens me a little. The look in his eyes is pure anguish and something else I can’t place. Sorrow maybe? But definitely anger and worry.
He looks out the window at the cars passing by and tells me, “A while ago you told me that your Mom thought your Dad was cheating on her, that they got in a fight and he left,” he turns his eyes to lock with mine, “That he didn’t come back home until the following day.” His jaw tightens and ticks.
“I remember,” my voice is barely above a whisper.
“My Mom got a phone call that night, she asked me to watch Joey, said she needed to help a friend that was in trouble. She came home the next morning with donuts like she had just ran to get them, but she failed to change her clothes. I’m not naïve. She had just gotten home herself.”
I don’t know what to say. I have no words for what we are figuring out. Putting two and two together is hell. I feel my heart literally splinter in two.
“Jesus Christ, why would they do this, why would she do this?” He yells more to himself than at me. Several emotions are running through me. I don’t know what this meant for us, or what we will find when we reach the hospital. I want to go back to the lake, back to the moment before this and just not have this be happening right now. But it is happening.
I look away out the window. I feel a wall come up, feel a pit in my stomach grow wider. Eventually it will swallow me whole.
“Shaw,” he says softly. I turn to look at my best friend, but I am no longer able to keep the tears from falling.
He looks at my tears, his own eyes glassy from the fear we feel.
“I’m sorry, please don’t hate me because of this,” he whispers
“I could never hate you, Josh. You’re my best friend. I lo... I mean, I just… it just couldn’t happen,” I stumble and stutter on the verge of splitting open my heart for him.
Josh stares at me for a moment, searching my eyes for the truth I hide, but he doesn’t say anything else. He nods and starts the truck back up.
We arrive at the hospital, emotions in a whirlwind. Josh holds my hand like he always does, although he squeezes it a little tighter when we walk through the double doors into our worst nightmare.
I hate hospitals. They give me the creeps. They smell like Lysol and alcohol swabs. Sick people are everywhere. There is a lady in the corner vomiting into a trashcan. Another lady is pacing back and forth with a crying baby. We walk to the ER nurse’s station and are directed to the third floor waiting room.
Last time I was here was with Josh when he got tackled at the football game and didn’t get up right away. He ended up with a concussion. That was the day I realized I loved my best friend. Seeing him hurt like that, unmoving, scared the shit out of me. Picturing my life without him made me physically ache, I held my breathe just thinking about it.
Josh and I ride up the elevator in an uneasy silence. Unknowing what we will find when these doors opened. I want to run, to never go out there. I don’t want to know any of this.
We walk into the waiting room and it’s like time is standing still. Josh’s Dad’s is on the phone in the corner. Joey is sitting in a chair with her knees drawn up. She spots Josh and I standing there in a daze and immediately walks over embracing her brother, beginning to sob into his chest.
“Oh Josh, its not good.”
His eyes meet mine and I see the fear there.
He rubs her back, “Shhh…”
I have to walk away before I fall apart. I hate crying. I hate all of this.
I don’t see my Mom or Tatum. I am looking frantically left and right, seeing the faces of the familiar and not. It’s not until I hear banging across the hall and my sister’s voice curse that I see her.
“Shit, you stupid machine, I just want a damn coke!” She yells and bangs on the front of the machine.
I walk over to her, “Tatum?”
“WHAT!!” she snaps
I flinch, “You okay?”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you. I just wanted a coke and this piece of shit machine stole my dollar,” she explains and kicks the machine.
“When did you get here? Have you seen Mom?” she asks.
“Just now and no. Where is she?”
I look around again and can’t find her.
“She had to go fill out paperwork. Dad had a heart attack, Riley. They had to operate. They said he might not make it.”
My face falls. I don’t understand. I thought he was in a car accident.
“How did you get here, Tate?”
“Joey’s Dad got the call and he came and got us. We were at the mall watching a movie when both of our phones rang. Mom had just got off the phone with you.”
I have so many questions and I don’t even know what to ask.
“Um, how is Josh and Joey’s mom? Is she okay?”
Tatum for a brief second seems angry, but then she recovers seeming sympathetic.
“Well she um, she was driving the car and something must have happened because she drove off the road and hit the light post. She wasn’t buckled, and she went through the windshield. They had to air flight them both.”
I gasp, “Oh My God”
Unsure whether to ask I did anyway, “Do you know why they were together?”
She sighs and drops her head and eyes to the floor.
“No and neither does Mom. After we left this morning he got a text. He read it, told her he was doing damage control and would explain it all later. He had a suitcase packed and he left. That’s all she knows.”
Damage control? “I see.”
Life is full of many moments. Moments that can change your life forever. Moments where you get it right and everything is in beautiful harmony. Then there are those moments that you make a wrong decision, a choice that changes everything. This was that moment.
I will never forget the look on my Mom’s face when the doctor came into the waiting room to get us.
“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Shaw. We did all we could but...”
“No! Oh, God.” She crumbles to the floor in tears. Tatum holds her, and I stand like a robot to the side. “No, no, no, Oh, God, please. I’m so sorry, please?” My Mom begs and cries. Apologizes and cries more. I just don’t understand any of this.
I am standing there like a statue, unmoving. I am not even sure if I am breathing. My Dad is gone. Everything leading to this moment couldn’t have prepared me for the feelings that are overwhelming me. I am angry, I am heart broken. I am confused. I feel out of my body like this can’t be real. Except that it is. Real.
I didn’t see this coming. I didn’t say goodbye. We didn’t tell him goodbye. He died angry. He died. My Dad was dead.
I ran as fast as I could to the elevator. I had to leave that room. The smell was suffocating me. I was suffocating. I needed air.
As soon as I stepped through the glass doors to the outside world my lungs filled with air. Only, I still can’t breath. I can hear the sirens of an ambulance that has just pulled up. My insides are twisting up, my lungs are trying hard to work, but aren’t. The sound of my mothers sob is pounding in my ears. Her face as she apologizes and pleads for different news. I gasp and pull in as much air as my lungs will allow me, but it’s not fast enough. I am hyperventilating. I still can’t breathe.
I hunch over, my arms on my knees trying to open my lungs, in and out. Vomit is burning at the back of my throat. I smell him before I feel him. Josh. Oh my God. This can’t be happening, but it is.
“Riley?” he says softly and touches my back.
I didn’t mean to flinch away, but I do. And it was all there, rushing through my brain. All that had happened. He is gone. He was with Josh’s Mom. And he is gone. I knew love didn’t last forever. But this… with my best friends Mom? I loved Josh. God Josh’s mom? It didn’t make sense. I couldn’t stop the thoughts. They were coming too fast. My head was spinning, I felt dizzy and I can’t breathe. Then it goes black.
Questions without answers
“Is she going to be okay? Why isn’t she moving? Is she breathing?”
“Sir, she passed out just give it a moment. She will come to.”
I don’t know what happened. I can hear voices around me but they seemed muffled. I blink my eyes a few times trying to see what was going on. The voices are becoming louder and clearer. My head is pounding. I immediately reach my hand up to my throbbing head, rubbing circles into my temples. A nurse is kneeling on the ground beside me waving something in front of my nose. I flinch back from whatever it is.
“What happened?” I whisper to the voices
“Mam, you passed out, we need to get you inside, are you able to walk?” a female voice asks nicely.
“I’ve got her. I can carry her.” I recognized that voice. Josh.
His arms are around me, cradling me like a child. I am too weak to fight. I nestle my head along his chest breathing in his scent. He soothes me. I still feel confused, but calmer. He’s always been the calm in my storm.
He places me in a chair and looks at me with eyes full of worry. A doctor has joined the nurse shortly after. He is waving lights in my eyes and asking me questions. I just stare at Josh’s eyes. I can’t look away.
The doctor knelt down in front of me, “Do you know what happened, Miss?”
“Riley. Her name is Riley,” Josh answers him nervously.
I finally blink out of my trance of hazel eyes and look away to the doctor’s face.
“I um, no, I was outside, I couldn’t breathe, I felt dizzy and then I don’t know.”
I tried to think beyond the haze. “My Dad just died,” I tell him and hear Josh inhale loudly. “He um, upstairs, they couldn’t save him.” I continue telling the doctor trying to make sense, shaking my head back and forth.
The tears are burning my eyes, threatening to fall. I don’t want to cry. I don’t want to feel this pain, to feel any of this.
“I see. So your family is upstairs?” he asks sympathetically.
I nod, “Yes. I just needed… I needed some air. I um, I’m okay now. I think.” I’m not.
He watches me skeptically before speaking to his nurse. I look around for Josh, but I don’t see him anymore. He walked away. I didn’t blame him. Here he was worrying about me when his own mother was upstairs fighting for her own life I assumed.
The nurse walks over with a wheelchair for me to sit in. I thought it was ridiculous, but my options were sit and let her wheel me up to my heart broken mother or be admitted for observation. I chose the chair. We are at the elevator when Josh is suddenly at my side with a bottle of juice that he got from somewhere.
“You should drink this,” he offers sweetly.
My wide eyes lock with his and I see so much behind the depths I love. Love? Is that even real?
“Okay, thank you,” I say my voice quivering a little.
I tell the nurse our floor and we find my Mom and sister. They had placed my Dad in a room for us to say goodbye. It took every bit of my willpower to go in there. My Mom of course is startled to see me in the chair. The nurse explains to her that I hyperventilated and probably had a panic attack but I am okay. I feel better. I just freaked out. I am still freaking out, but I think I am in more control right now.
Josh went somewhere else as soon as we got off the elevator. I assumed to his family. I prayed she would be okay. I was angry with her. She was like family to us all these years, but I still wanted her to be okay. I never wanted Josh to feel this way.
My Dad is lying there, everything covered but his face. It’s a somber moment. My Mom isn’t crying anymore. Even Tatum is quiet. The three of us stand there by our father’s side, holding hands. I’m sure we each have different thoughts running through our minds at this moment. He looks peaceful actually. His face is pale, the stubble on his chin evident from a day of not shaving. His dark hair is a mass of chaotic waves, just like mine usually was.
My Mom squeezes my hand in hers, “What do we do now?” she asks quietly.
That was the question running through my own mind. What do we do now?
© Copyright 2014 by Andrea Michelle. All rights reserved.