This Julian Files excerpt has Vivienne POV. Again, it’s unedited and some things may change, but I can’t remember if I ever released anything with Viv that showed a bit of what her childhood was like. I know she mentioned it in Fade but I don’t think she gave many details because, to her, the details are unimportant.
What’s interesting to me is as I’ve been writing Julian Files, especially Cedrick POV, I’ve realized the parallels between Vivienne/Cedrick and Hsin/Boyd, particularly the slight parallels between Viv and Hsin, and the way Cedrick and Boyd viewed their respective partner. Those parallels had existed before but I’d never thought about it to any extent to realize they were there.
Anyway, there will be more on Vivienne’s life in Domino, but here’s a glimpse.
Austin stomped his foot. “You gotta say you’re sorry. We got more money than you so you have to.”
Vivienne stepped closer until she was looming over the impertinent brat. She watched him coldly. “Child, I could have bought and sold your entire family with the money I had when I was a teenager. Do not presume that your wealth means anything to me other than a crutch.”
Austin’s face reddened and scrunched with anger, but he didn’t have an immediate response and Vivienne felt no need to stick around until the imbecilic retort could surface. She gripped Boyd’s shoulder and led him to the car at a fast pace. Austin tried yelling something at them as they stepped inside but she couldn’t be bothered to listen. She could only hope the child would perish before he reached adulthood, or he might become the next breed of politicians set to disrupt the world.
Boyd was quiet as always as she drove them back to the house. She was unaccustomed to the intensity of emotions she had been feeling in the past hour, and she found that she welcomed his silence because she felt increasingly tired. It was as if all the life was draining from her the closer they came to home.
By the time she had parked in the garage and they were walking around front, she felt the heaviness taking over. It weighed down her shoulders and blanked out her mind. It reminded her that a glass of wine was relaxing and time alone was even more so.
The door rattled as she opened it; the keys clattered in the dish she dropped them in; her heels clunked when they hit the floor. Every sound was a vibration in her head, her chest, and every moment one more weight added to her thoughts. When she sat on the couch, she felt it coalesce. It became too much to feel, so she distanced it from herself the way her grandmother had taught her in those much-needed lessons.
She had been young once, too. She had felt alive, but in that liveliness she had been reckless and immature. Even now, she remembered her grandmother Mireille teaching her how to improve herself. The only way to live in this harsh world. The only way a woman could exist without being used or hurt.
The memory was strangely vivid: the long, curved fingers gripping her head as a child, tangled in her hair. The water on that precipice between painfully hot and comfortingly warm, sloshing against the edges of the porcelain tub. Mireille’s voice echoing faintly against the tiles as she said, “Control your expression. Show me that no matter how you feel, no one will know,” right before she shoved Vivienne down and back–under the water with barely a chance to gasp in breath. And the blurred view she had looking up; the bathroom ceiling and her grandmother’s face, twisted by the currents into something harsher than in reality. The burning in her lungs and the fight in her limbs that she tried to hold back. The thoughts rushing frantically through her mind: don’t fight, don’t be pathetic, don’t be a child, you can do this, while intermingling with her grandmother’s words: nobody will ever love a monster like you.
In Cedrick, she had proven her grandmother wrong while losing everything else in her life.
She realized she had been staring out the window, unfocused on the Hensley house across the street. She looked to the side, and saw that at some point Boyd had disappeared. Probably to sit in his bedroom and draw or whatever it was the child did on his own.
She was grateful. With the memory of water rushing into her lungs and her grandmother’s reprimand distorted by time, she didn’t think she could deal with him much longer tonight anyway.