NaNo 2014: Julian Files, Excerpt(s) 5: a study in Beaulieus

nano2014cert

I hit 50,000 words early this month! First time that’s ever happened! I still have a long way to go before Julian Files as a book is finished but I mentioned earlier maybe I’d do an excerpt from Julian Files in celebration.

Well, I decided–why just one? Why not three? Because overkill! 😀

So here are a few excerpts below, from different parts. NO EDITING HAS BEEN DONE so it’s probably all levels of bad with lots of repetition but you can still get an idea from it. I tried to pull from a range of moods so it wasn’t all the same thing. This is sort of like a glimpse at the different ways the Beaulieus interacted with each other. I’m starting with the sad one first but then it’s better I swear!

ALSO, not in these excerpts but in the book there are a number of cameos– and one is someone you know very well from ICoS. Just sayin’.

Thursday July 21, 2005

By the time he made it home, Boyd’s knee hurt so much he could barely move it. He opened the front door quietly. He peered around the heavy wooden door but his stealth hadn’t worked. He saw his mother reclining on the couch, holding a glass of something pale and not for kids that she called white wine.

Her gaze turned to him at the sound, and darkened.

Austin’s words passed through his mind. They all wish you’d die. Sometimes he thought his mother felt the same.

“What did you do?”

Her voice was cold and sharp, and Boyd felt ashamed for having disappointed her. He stared at her wordlessly, not knowing how to respond. He didn’t know what he’d done to make Austin angry today. Maybe if he did, he could know what not to do tomorrow.

Her lips tightened. “And I suppose you wandered about bedraggled like this the entire way home, making a spectacle of it all?”

He continued to stare wide-eyed, not knowing what answer to give to make her happy. In the end, he didn’t have long to wait before she scoffed in disgust and turned away from him.

“You know where the first aid kit is.”

Boyd did. His mother always made sure it was well-stocked for him. He thought that was very kind of her and showed that she cared. If he wasn’t a good boy she would stop stocking it, he thought. So he had to make sure he stayed good.

In the bathroom he carefully pulled the first aid kit out of the cupboard, trying to ignore the way his neck and shoulders hurt when he lifted his arms at the wrong angle, and how his knee trembled with his weight. He selected the right size of bandaids and placed them on as carefully as he could.

Once most of the scrapes and big cuts were covered, he put the first aid kit away and then went into his room where he changed. He carried his dirty clothes over to the hamper in the bathroom, and then realized he was still dirty and bloody and tried to reach for the faucet but it was too high. He started to try to pull himself up, but something very painful that shot bright lights through his eyes pulled at his shoulders, and he fell back with a short cry. He hit his butt on the floor and told himself he didn’t want to cry at how much that had hurt.

He was a boy and boys didn’t cry.

He was just about to push himself back up to a stand when he noticed movement in the doorway and he froze, looking over with wide, guilty eyes. He shouldn’t have made a noise. Now she was angry with him for interrupting her, he knew it.

His fears seemed confirmed when he saw the way she glared at him. At first she only stood there and her anger felt more pronounced to Boyd the longer the silence stretched.

But then she scoffed and said lowly, “You can’t do anything right, can you?”

She walked to the sink while he watched, half curiously and half in trepidation. Soon, she was kneeling next to him with a soapy, wet cloth in one hand, and a fluffy towel folded on her lap. She wiped at the blood and dirt caked all over him, not meeting his eyes, nor touching him other than through the cloth as she cleaned him up.

Neither of them spoke.

When she was done, she pulled a bandaid off that hadn’t covered the wound well enough. She pulled the first aid kit out again, and then set gauze over the wound and taped it on with the odd tape Boyd had never figured out how to use properly. When finished, she put everything away again, and rinsed the cloth out in the sink before setting it in the hamper.

She ran a clinical eye over Boyd, and then turned and walked out of the bathroom. Boyd stood up and inspected her handiwork. The gauze was much better. The bandaid had hurt the way he’d had it on; too small for the wound and unable to stick to the blood.

He walked out of the bathroom, peered down the hall to find her sitting once more on the couch, sipping a glass of white wine and staring blankly out the living room window. He thought about thanking her for her help but he knew that the best way to thank her was to be very quiet so he didn’t upset her.

 


 

Thursday August 18, 2005

“Why have you called me here?” Vivienne regarded the rooms they passed with an unnecessary amount of wariness, as far as Cedrick was concerned.

“You’ll see.”

Vivienne’s lips thinned. “I do not like surprises.”

Cedrick grinned over his shoulder. “I know. But I’m not setting you up for anything, I promise. I just don’t want to predispose you to anything.”

“A proper summary of events to provide context is not predisposing me to anything.”

An amused smirk pulled at Cedrick’s lips. “Oh? I’ve found your Kryptonite, have I? Vivienne Beaulieu can’t handle not having all the information going into a situation and turns into a tetchy child?”

“I am none of those things,” Vivienne informed him, her nose actually rising into the air. Cedrick had to contain a laugh. She could deadpan like no one else he knew.

“If you say so.”

“I do.”

Cedrick chuckled, and snatched her hand from where it swung at her side. She glared sidelong at him, he suspected more to continue her prickliness than anything, and he grinned cheekily at her. She stared at him and then rolled her eyes, but he felt her fingers curl around his. Their palms were warm against each other, and their gaits fell in step. His hand brushed her leg every now and then, and when they got into the elevator and the doors closed, he found that they were alone. He turned to her, lifted their hands, and kissed her knuckles.

She gave him an odd look. “What was that for?”

“I love you.”

A slight smile softened her features and she shook her head. He saw the fondness in it, and heard it in her voice. “You are an idiot.”

“I know.”

“Uncommonly sappy and unexpectedly romantic.”

“That’s me. Don’t forget to put it on my gravestone.”

She gravitated closer to him. She spoke more quietly, until they were so close their lips nearly brushed. “I do not know what to do with you.”

“I think you should kiss–”

Their lips met; a gentle pull of magnetic force that led them together and made it too difficult to pull away. He could taste the lipstick on her, which he’d never liked, but beneath that chemical mix it was purely Vivienne: all strong notes and sharp edges masking the curves. His eyes fell closed at some point, and their hands squeezed each other.

When the elevator dinged on their level, Vivienne didn’t pull away immediately. Her touch lingered, taking in the heat of him the way an open door does the wayward snow. They opened their eyes, too close for proper focus so all he could see was blue and blue and blue– and against his lips, he felt her smile.

He had never loved her more than in that moment.

 


 

late summer, 2006

“There they were, as still as stone,” Boyd sang, “dreaming they were still alone. And so he crawled onto their bed–”

Cedrick mimed wriggling up the side of a bed, and Boyd snickered before continuing.

“And cuddled close up to their heads–”

Cedrick curled around Boyd’s head as much as he could while they walked. It was awkward and probably looked ridiculous, and it made Boyd laugh and shove him in the stomach.

“Stop it, Daddy, it’s hard to sing like that!”

Cedrick chuckled and released his son, stepping back to his side. He tapped his lips and looked up at the sky in deep thought. “What happened next? I don’t remember the rest of the song.”

Boyd snorted, making it clear just how little he thought of that claim, and swung his arms in wide pendulum movements as he walked and continued the song.

“He stayed there sleeping through the night, and only left at early light. They slept the night so safe and warm,” he wrapped his arms around his torso and rocked back and forth, “could weather even strongest storms–”

“Even a tornado?” Cedrick gasped.

“Yes.”

“Even a blizzard?”

“Yes.”

“Even an earthquake?” Cedrick sputtered in shock, and Boyd snickered.

“Earthquakes aren’t storms!”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes! And we don’t get them!”

“Do we get hurricanes?”

“No!”

“What do we get?”

“We get thunderstorms and snow and, and…”

“And sandstorms.”

“Nooo, we don’t get those!” Boyd was laughing outright now, all the somber darkness that had been there before completely gone. “Daddy, stop! You’re being silly!”

“I’m just trying to understand what General Whiskers protects the children from.”

“He protects them from everything, don’t you listen?”

“I listened so well I could hear your thoughts.”

“No you couldn’t!”

“Uh-huh,” Cedrick countered, nodding sagely. “I could. I can even tell you what you’re thinking about right now.”

Boyd looked ready to argue but then he paused uncertainly. “You can?”

“Yep.”

“What is it?”

“Right now, you’re thinking abouuut…” Cedrick screwed his face up and pressed two fingers to each temple. His eyes popped open. “General Whiskers!”

“That’s cheating!” Boyd protested, all three feet of indignation.

“What!” Cedrick grasped at his heart and rocked backward. “How dare you! How dare you accuse me of cheating!”

“But you did. We were talking about General Whiskers so you knew.”

“Merely a coincidence! Don’t use that to doubt my psychic abilities.”

Boyd frowned, his eyes darting around his father’s face and eyebrows furrowing. He looked confused, his head tipping to the side faintly, and it took Cedrick a second to realize that maybe Boyd didn’t know all the words he’d used. Maybe he was trying to decide whether he should ask for definitions or if he was too stubborn to do so.

Apparently stubbornness won out because he pushed on mulishly, “No, you have to listen to the rest of the song!”

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