Sunday, October 9, 2011


Pat was watching me strangely. "Did you say something to my dad?"

She'd always been observant, just like her mother, Rita. I glanced up at her, hoping to pull off innocent though it had been a long time since I had been.

"Why would you ask?"

"He apologized when he came back." Pat fiddled with the hem of her shirt. "And Mom was the one who said it'd be okay to see you again." She met my eyes, her own nearly as sharp as the few high ranking mothers we had in the tribe. "She wouldn't say that unless Dad had said something to her, but he's too stubborn to tell me."

I didn't know what to say. It's not that lying is hard for me, just lying to Pat. I hesitated, and she caught it right away. "You did! You talked to my father? Why would you talk to my father?"

She gave me a hard shove on my shoulder with the last question. I couldn't help being reminded of her father right then. She was so like Frank sometimes that it was downright creepy.

"Why did you talk to him?" She repeated, but this time she spoke softly, her thoughts coming to one conclusion.

"Because you were hurt. He was wrong, and he knew he was wrong. He would've apologized anyway."

She kept her eyes on me. "So then why did you talk to him?"

I could feel the blood rushing up my neck to my ears. "I was pissed off. I didn't want him to think that someone like me could just come in and sweep you away."

Pat was surprised. I could hear her thought as clear as if she spoke it, But you probably could. She was looking down at the ground, but she almost seemed to sway towards me. I reached out for her and wrapped my arms around her. She didn't fight it. We stood together for a while, right there at the back fence to her parent's house. It was the first time we'd ever been that brazen, and yet there was still something wrong. Her thoughts had grown quiet, and she held onto me tightly as if she dreaded letting go.

Finally she spoke. "This can't work out, can it?" She didn't move. Her voice was soft in my ear. It wasn't really a question, just gentle resolve. She said it because she believed it. We were both almost adults; our time was short. Maybe the time to enjoy each others company had already passed.

"You can't marry me," She said as she stepped back. "I'm probably never going to leave the village, and you can't join the village. You're going to have to do whatever it is that you do."

A thought of hers bubbled up over the buzz of her other thoughts, Before I get hurt. Before you hurt someone. I wondered if she even knew it was there between the two of us.

I didn't know what to say. It couldn't end like that. It seemed too soon. Our time together was so short and so spread out that it didn't count. We'd never really gotten anywhere, and we were never going to get anywhere if I couldn't say something to encourage her and convince her that it could work out if we wanted it to.

There were things about me she didn't know yet, things I actually hadn't offered to tell her. I wasn't exactly sure why I held back. Maybe I held back for the same reasons I'd guess Jimmy held back too. Because it still hurt years later, even as I approached real adulthood. And because somewhere deep inside, I did worry about Pat and I becoming too close. It wasn't safe. Hadn't that already been proven to me?

I didn't want to become like Jimmy or Henri. I didn't want to be one of those men who seemed to only live for their jobs and their duties. It was my chance right there, with Pat, to change things, to send us down a different path, and I couldn't.

Pat turned away from me without saying a word. She couldn't look me in my eyes. Whatever thoughts were on her mind were so busy and jumbled that I couldn't catch any of them, but she acted as if she thought I could.

"Maybe we should give it a rest for a little. It's not really fair to you, is it?"

I wanted to say something, but she was already walking away, hoping that I wouldn't follow. It didn't feel as if following would do any good. Things could only get worse. So I left her alone, and let her go.

Next Chapter -->


Ha! Bet you didn't think you'd see an update from me this week!

My interview at Sim Storytellers. Also, I'm hosting a giveaway on my writing blog for the proof copy of the book and an advanced copy of The Two Brothers, which will be a brand new, never released story. Just in case anyone would care for what I'm calling book prototypes.

I was also on Shana Norris' blog talking about Ruin and the inspiration behind it.


  1. I love these two together. Maybe it would be nice if they could be somewhat official, but... you know, I don't think a legal document matters much in the long run. Some couples don't even have to live together to make it work. What's great about Brandon and Pat is--or at least, so it seems to my admittedly unromantic brain--that they have an understanding. They don't need any reassurance that they get it.

    Looking forward to the new book :)

  2. These two are definitely one of my rare obviously-meant-to-be-together couples, and I don't think officiality means anything at all for them. (Wow, I'm positive that's a made up word. It seems to make some sense to me right now at 1AM.)

    That's definitely something that will define their later relationship, after Melissa is in the picture.

  3. I was sort of thinking along similar lines when I was reading this. Not necessarily that Brandon and Pat have an understanding but just that no, they won't get married or even live together but they'll be "together" in their own sort of way and it will work for both of them.

    I really like what we're learning about Pat in this story so far. She's very gentle and soft but there's a real...feistiness? to her that might not be immediately obvious.

    And this was all stated much, much more clearly before I did some kind of weird key combination and lost my original comment, lol!

  4. The two of them are so right for each other so it's very sad that they can't be together. I guess Pat's right, it doesn't seem possible. With that deep understanding between them, it's hard to imagine how they will ever be able to move past it, though.

    The shot with the little chapel or church under the trees is just beautiful.

  5. Carla, Pat's softness and gentleness here have surprised me, because that is not the image I have had of her in my head. She definitely is feisty though.

    I like that aspect of her, because I see it changing in a few short years...

    SB, I'm glad you noticed that shot. It was something of an accidental foreshadow.

    It doesn't seem possible, not to Pat's logical mind, that the two of them can be together.

  6. I was supposed to go to bed damn it and then I had to go check for updates, curse my ceaseless hope for more of this story.

    I love that Pat reminds Brandon of her father, somehow I wasn't expecting that, but it fits perfectly, just another reason why he's wary of what may happen to her, he probably wouldn't have trusted himself at her age either!

    The last bit of this is heart breaking, not because they're not going to be together, but because just like that they both grow up completely and any vestiges of innocence is just gone as they face what they always knew, that they're world's apart. I'm happy that we know their love will be able to bridge the gap!

  7. Hey Willow Weeds. ^___^ Yeah, posting has slowed way down. I was supposed to post something this week, have it written out and everything, buuuuut PETS!

    Pat looks a lot like her mother, but she is very much like her father in some respects. I agree, her father probably would not have trusted himself either at that age, lol!

    True, they do grow up both so quickly. And there's still more growing to do. :(

    Thanks for your comment. :)

  8. Poor Pat. And poor Brandon. He thinks it will work, but I'm still not convinced that it will work for her in the same way it will work for him. I'm really, really interested to see how they go from this to Melissa, since Pat is so aware of the obstacles to them having the type of relationship she apparently envisions as being workable.

  9. Hey, Rachel! Sorry I'm so late here getting to your comments.

    I think this is an interesting difference between Pat and Brandon. He's the one with his head a little in the clouds and she's the pragmatic one. It's an interesting ride, and I'm not sure where they're heading either.

    Thanks for commenting. :)