It’s a WIP!: Excerpt from DOWN FINNEGAN’S HOLLOW.

It'sAWipIf you follow my writing posts, you know my struggle with this story. I work on it, and then leave it for months at a time, and then work on it again. I had submitted it to a small press and I think they wanted it, and I did start revisions on their suggestions, but then I had my little accident and it’s taken me a while to get back into this novel. I think I know why too. I’ve decided to change a major element in the plot, which had me killing off characters. I’ve done two complete revisions to this novel, but it seems I’m due for one more to phase in this new plot bunny.

Anyhoo . . . I thought you might like a little taste of what I wrote. It’s a scene between the MC (Marina) her ex-husband (Adam), and their two children (Trina and Jared.) I like it because the dialogue flows and I could see this scene playing out in any household.

~~~~

A flash of reflected light shone through the front window and the sound of an expensive car engine followed. Marina got up and took a quick look outside as a Jaguar pulled into the driveway.

She snorted under her breath. “I can’t believe you bought that.” She walked to the bottom of the stairs, pulling her light sweater tight around her body. Why was a fancy new car the first thing men bought when they had a mid-life crisis? How did Sissy let him buy something that with the wedding in a few months? She peeked through the small bevelled glass window next to the front door. “You better not have used the kid’s college money.” She turned to the stairs. “Kids. Your dad’s here.”

The doorbell rang and Marina shuffled over to a hanging mirror next to the door. She took a quick glance and tucked in a few wayward strands of hair. Adam’s silhouette cut a dark shadow on the frosted glass of the front door. They’d been divorced for just over a year and yet her heart raced each time he came over to pick up the kids. She inhaled slowly as she grabbed the doorknob.

Adam Hart looked good for his age. Almost too good. He took off his sunglasses and opened the screen door. “Hey, Marina. Are the kids ready?”

“As ready as they’ll ever be,” she said, and stepped back.

Adam was foot taller than her with an athletic build. She was pretty sure he was working out at the gym now, and she noticed a touch of grey in his goatee. “When did you start growing that?”

Adam frowned. “Start growing what?”

“Your beard?”

He stroked the side of his chin. “Last month. Sissy says I look better with some facial hair.”

Marina crossed her arms. “I said that too. Ten years ago.”

He shrugged. “Well I didn’t think I did then.”

“And now you do?”

“Yeah.”

Marina rolled her eyes. “But you said they were too much work to keep them looking good.”

He shrugged. “Sissy bought me some beard grooming tools. I couldn’t exactly say no, right?”

She glanced out at the car and at the cute brunette in the passenger seat. She wanted to hate Sissy, but it was hard. The woman was genuinely nice, cared about the kids and about having a good relationship with them. How could she hate someone like that? She was accommodating to Adam too. As far as she knew, Sissy never complained about the kids wanting to be with just him. Even Viola liked her, when she was in her more lucid moments. So why did Marina feel like she had to hate the woman? Jealously? Bitter ex-wife syndrome? Displaced aggression? She un-crossed her arms and leaned against the wall. She needed to follow her own advice. Sissy was a part of her life now too and she’d have to do the adult thing and deal with it.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Trina’s energetic dance down the stairs dressed in yet another miss-matched outfit. Marina shook her head as she looked over her daughter. The rain boots were still in play but the tutu and wings had been replaced with rainbow leggings, one of Jaden’s old rock tee shirts and a belt she was pretty sure came from an old Halloween costume. Marina covered her mouth to hide her grin. She had to admit, the kid knew how to rebel.

There was a look of horror on Adam’s face. “What are you wearing?”

“Do you like it?” Trina turned so he could get a good look at the ensemble. “I think the belt compliments my style.”

Adam frowned. “Your style? You’re seven. You don’t have a style.”

She pranced past him. “Sure I do. And this is it.”

Jaden stomped toward them a few moments later. His hair completely covering his face and wearing enough black clothing to resemble a moving shadow.

Adam smiled. “Hey kid. How’s the new high school?”

“All right, I guess.”

“Make any friends yet?”

“A couple.” A lone eye peered out from between a small part in his hair. “Where are we going for dinner?”

“There’s this really nice restaurant downtown that Sissy wants to try.”

A scowl came to his lips. “Seriously? I thought we were going to a burger place.”

“This is a special night.”

Jaden rolled his eyes. “Why does everyone keep telling me that?” He grabbed his coat and headed out the door. “They better have hamburgers.”

Adam shook his head. “Doesn’t he eat anything else?”

Marina tried to hide her smile. “Nope.”

He glanced down the hall toward the back of the house. “How’s your mother doing?”

She inhaled slowly. “Not good. She eats like a bird when she does eat, and I have home care people coming in twice a day.” She looked past him and out the screen door. “The doctor says it could be any day now.”

Adam put his hand on her back. “I’m sorry. Are you sure you don’t want her in palliative care? I’d pay for it. It’d be a lot easier on you.”

Marina blinked back her tears. “Thanks, but this is what she wanted, and with her memory loss and confusion, it would be too stressful on both of us if she were any place else.”

Adam stayed quiet for a few moments and watched her. “If you need anything, you have my cell number, right?”

Marina nodded.

“I mean it. Day or night. She’s always been good to me. Even after the divorce.”

Marina turned away to him. “She always liked you.”

She gazed into his eyes. The deep blue was still prominent, but there was something missing. That hint of mischief she fell in love with wasn’t as prominent anymore; dimmed with the onset of middle age and maturity. Maybe that’s why he decided to turn their lives upside down. Trying to recapture the spark of youth before it was gone for good.

The horn sounded on his car and briskly turned away and looked out the screen door. “I was wondering if I could keep the kids overnight tonight.”

“Really?”

“Well, this place we’re going to, it’s pretty fancy and we might not get out until late. My place is a few blocks away and it would save me the trouble of driving all the way out here.”

Marina waved her hand. “Sure. I guess.”

“Great.” He opened the screen door without looking back. “I’ll drop them off in the morning.”

Marina nodded as he walked off. She wondered how much of an argument Trina would give him on staying overnight. She wasn’t even sure if Adam’s new place had any of the kids’ stuff. She watched them drive off and shut the door. Reaching for her purse she pulled out her cell phone and checked the battery. She better keep in on all night. Just in case.

 

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About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal it to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing or working with crystals, she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and very loud music.

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