Wednesday, May 26, 2010
A novel too deep and too wide
The inciting instance
Got mixed up with romance
And her brain felt like Cheez Whiz inside
I posted this ten days ago, and I still feel like mental Cheez Whiz.
That's what I get for letting Marenya go all playful. Now she's kissing Faldur's friend in the corner and I don't know what to do about it.
Anyone got any fries for my cheez brain?
The following scene will most likely be cut from the novel, but it's fun so I'm putting it up anyway:
“Aden fath, Marenya,” said a deep-timbred voice behind her. She turned to see Harth gazing at her with an appreciative grin, his hands clasped behind his back.
She returned the traditional greeting warmly. “Aden fath. It’s wonderful to see you again.”
“And you. You took my breath away a moment ago. I've never seen you looking lovelier.”
She bowed her head in acknowledgement of the compliment. She didn’t see Faldur, but didn’t want to appear rude by asking for him, as if Harth’s company were insufficient.
“I’m sorry we are so late arriving.”
“Is the Captain with you, then?”
“He is, but he had to clean himself up first. You know what messes he gets into.” He glanced piously toward the ceiling. “I'm constantly getting him out of scrapes.”
“I’m sure he relies on you greatly.”
“Yes,” said Harth mysteriously, “I even saved his life tonight, not that he thanked me for it.”
A patter of panic began in her chest. “What happened? Is he alright?”
“Oh, perfectly!” He looked as if he realized that he had gone too far. “You know how I exaggerate.”
“But what happened?”
“Ah! That I can’t say.” He assumed a grave expression. “All of our work is very important and secret, as you know. It would be more than my life is worth to divulge it.”
She laughed a little, and the patter in her chest quieted. Harth was prone to exaggeration. “Since he isn’t here, would you dance with me?”
He sighed dramatically. “Unfortunately, I cannot. Captain’s orders.”
“I’m afraid he did. ‘Hands off,’ he said. You would think he didn’t trust me.”
Marenya wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or offended. Harth was the most incorrigible flirt, but surely she was old enough to decide that for herself.
“However–.” He looked around to see if anyone was watching them, then leaned closer and murmured in her ear,“He said nothing about my lips. So if you would care to stroll outside with me, I promise to keep my hands behind my back the entire time.”
The peal of laughter that escaped Marenya at this suggestion was so loud that it drew several surprised looks from those around them. Harth drew back, looking so offended she thought perhaps he had been serious.
“Please forgive me.” She had half a mind to call his bluff. “I’m not accustomed to being made love to.”
“Of course. I forgive you.” He raised his eyebrows invitingly. “All the more reason to accept my offer.”
She cocked her head. “And what if I did?”
“Then I should call myself privileged indeed.”
She considered. “Faldur really told you to keep your hands off me, did he?”
“And did you save his life?”
She shivered slightly at the thought of them being in mortal danger. “Then he owes you a debt, and I shall repay it for him. If he finds out, you can send him to me for an explanation.”
Harth looked towards the door. “He won’t find out if we go now.”
With reckless haste, they hurried to the entryway. A group of Hanorja were talking together and did not notice them. Harth put a finger to his lips and led the way into the frosty courtyard, breaking his promise by putting a hand out to steady Marneya when she slid in the snow. When they had turned the corner, he led her to a sheltered spot, put his hands behind his back again, leaned in and kissed her thoroughly. It was exciting, and an entirely new experience for her, but no spark of passion ignited in her breast, nor seemed to have been kindled in his.
Which was just as well, but a little – just a little – disappointing.
Harth laughed, pulling away at last. “This really is difficult when I can’t put my arms around you properly. Curse Faldur!”
“What will you do if he catches us?”
“Remind him that he owes me a debt.” He suddenly dropped his playful tone. “Marenya, Faldur is my Captain and my friend, and my brother in every way that matters. I would lay down my life for his at any moment. So what I am about to say, I say with the deepest love and loyalty.
"I hope you won’t wait for him too long. He has the quickest mind and sharpest reflexes of anyone in the kingdom, but he is an absolute ass when it comes to hawen.” She opened her mouth to protest. “No, let me speak. He is wedded to his duty and I doubt he will ever love anything – or anyone – half as much. You deserve to be properly worshiped, and made love to as often as possible.”
She looked down at her hands, absorbing this.
“Don’t hate me for speaking the truth," he said gently. "I hate seeing you unhappy.”
She took a deep breath and met his gaze squarely. "Do I look unhappy?"
"You look radiant."
"You are wrong about him. I will prove it. But thank you for your kindness. Er m'uhl brin hanor."
"No, you honor me." He kissed her nose playfully, and looked over his shoulder. "Let's go inside before anyone catches us. I don't mind facing Faldur down, but your uncle is a different story."