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Habeas Blogus

Book reviews, more for my memory than anything else.

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Location: Austin, Texas, United States

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

An Almost Love Scene

I like how this scene came out, and consider it high validation regarding my decision to do NaNoWriMo this year. I don't pretend that it's great or that it's the way it will be after a final edit. I just liked it and wanted to share, that's all. Nyah.

The only things you should need as set up are these:

  • I'm working with a style that's unfamiliar to me. It's much more dramatic and fun, but also a little strange. I'm using fragments and stream-of-consciousness blocks to convey more narrative emotion than I'm used to... all grammatical infractions are therefore intentional.
  • The narrator is Marc, younger brother (around 15 years old) of the main character, a French gentleman (a Vicomte) named Remy
  • When Marc sees white, it usually triggers fantasies about a girl named Charlotte
  • Remy is in love with Genevieve, but Marc has barely so much as looked at her before this scene

>>>
Remy stood in the doorway wearing his second skin, the blue jacket that had worn thin at the armpits and buttonholes. It was not quite six in the morning, and his face showed anger such as he never showed before at least 3 in the afternoon. It would be a long day.

“That cow can’t milk herself. We need milk, the butter is long gone, and you are the one who volunteered to—“

“I know, I know. You’ve told me every morning for the last...” I think I drifted off to sleep.

He jerked my legs out of the bed and threw my shirt at me, the one I’d been wearing for two solid months with only a few washings.

Stool, bucket, udders, squeezing, whiteness, milky, creamy... my Charlotte was my only thought. My Charlotte, my Goddess, her ankle and her slip. Her black eyes in the middle of white perfection. The crimson on her lips, the crimson [from the cut] on the back of her hand, the crimson of my cheeks when she looked at me.

Squeeze, crimp, pull, grip, grope, fondle, knead. Hands on skin, hands on white. Charlotte! Hands in white liquid, drinking her, spilling her out of my mouth, consuming her, every drop infusing my soul with her scent.

I imagined things I didn't fully understand. What do I do with my hands? What do I do with my mouth? How do I hold her? How does she lay? Am I supposed to be on top of her? Are we supposed to take our clothes off first? I might enjoy that well enough to prolong it for hours. Shoulder straps and lace. Pins in her hair, removed one by one, pulled out without a tug. Maybe a slight tug... I watch her eyes as they wince in pain. Then she looks at me, smiling and biting her lower lip. I pull another pin and this time I’m not careful. She gasps, her sweet breath hitting me like honey. I put my fingers on the back of her head, then run them up up up, weaving my fingers into her mane, pulling her head to me, gripping her roughly. She smiles, mouth open, and looks over my shoulder, looking in a daze as though her mind is elsewhere. But I know it’s not. I feel the skin of her breasts on my chest. I run my hand from her breast down her side, to her waist, to the curve that becomes her hip. I feel the bone there, sharp and perfect. Then my hand runs inward, down down down.

I run my hands under the milk as it comes out in spurts.The inhabitants of my father's estate, both permanent and temporary, will drink the milk of my fantasies.

Hands on my shoulders, soft hands. I’m not startled, in fact I expected it. My Charlotte has come for me, hearing me across the—

“Marc. I said, are you okay? Can you not hear me? Are you well?”

Genevieve stood in her peasant gown, a single layer protecting her from the world, from Remy’s hungry eyes. If only my white fantasies could be separated by a single layer, rather than an ocean. How I needed my living Goddess then!

Imagining Charlotte standing where Genevieve stood, concentrating all my desires in the world in that tiny woman, I could see how Remy could burn for her. I began to wonder if she was actually Charlotte, here in the flesh. I leaned in to her.

“Marc? What are you? What has gotten into—“

I kissed her full on the lips, I took her in my arms and felt—or did I just imagine it?—felt her slacken, give in, give me a fraction of a second of a glimpse into the world of sensual pleasure. Her lips were hot and alive, and as they parted I felt moisture, the essence of another human being, alive as my own and giving me energy. My cheeks flushed, my loins tingled, and my heart swelled with the certainty that she needed me as badly as I did her.

A fraction of a second is all it lasted. She pushed me away, teeth gritted and struggling.

“Marc! Let me go! Have you lost your mind?”

The room was black with night, lit only by a tiny lamp. The barn, broken down and half-burned, materialized in front of me. I realized that Genevieve’s softness, her yielding to my fantasies for the briefest flash, was a gift to me. She gave me this because she knew I was a man who couldn’t make it much longer alone. The offense she took now wasn’t sincere. It was her obligation. I had always considered her to be a saint, a helper of those in need, but I had never known just to what extent she understood the suffering of others in non-material terms. Had I not been so lost in love with my white Charlotte, I might have fallen for Genevieve as deeply as Remy had.

“I—I’m so sorry, Genevieve. I don’t know what came over me.”

She rubbed her shoulder, which I'm sure I bruised.

“I think we’re all on the point of starvation. You couldn’t help yourself.” She looked down. “Sometimes I’m surprised other members of the household haven’t taken more liberties.”

She said nothing for a moment. Something in the back of my neck burned. “Has someone violated you?”

Her lower lip trembled for a moment, then she looked at me.

“No, it was nothing. I shouldn’t have said a word.”

My fists clenched. I was angrier than I had any right to be.

“Who was it? Was it Remy? I’ll kill him, the—“

Non!” her eyes were wide. “No, it wasn’t your brother. You must know that he would never do something like that to anyone. It was someone... else.”

“Tell me now. Tell me so I can make it right, so I can make him pay.”

She looked up at me for several seconds. Her lip trembled and the saintly gloss normally in her eyes was replaced by anguish and tears.

I can’t tell you. You mustn’t tell anyone else, either. You can’t—“

“I’ll kill him! What did he do to you? Who—what have you had to endure?”

“It was just another man desperate for the touch of a woman. There are many such men in this part of the country, even in this house. The people have been so miserable for so long. Don’t you remember what life was like before they took the Bastille?” She looked toward the barn door behind me, as though through it she could re-enter the past.

“How can you talk this way? You are telling me that you’ve been raped, and you’re prepared to give your attacker the excuse of the revolution?”

“It’s over and there’s nothing I can do about it now. Bringing the accused party to some violent end wouldn’t help me any more than it would help him. I’ve locked it away in my heart forever, and I beg of you, do the same. For the good of this house, do the same.”

I said nothing. I felt more rage than I could describe. Rage, built from the day I bit the stranger’s finger off, to the pools of blood outside the Bastille, to months and years of near-death existence. I knew that I had to either fight somebody or, or do something I could never bring myself to say out loud. With the rush of emotions I had lived through just since I began to milk the cow, I deduced that I would rather kill a man than do the same as had been done to Genevieve. That is a flower I could never pluck.

“Genevieve.”

Her eyes regained the look of the Saint as she looked back at me.

“You know that I don’t have it in me to do what—what he did to you,” I said.

“I know.”

“I don’t need the physical sensations. I need the warmth and human connection.”

She put her arms around me in a motherly embrace.

“You will have all of that which you could require. Don’t mistake my refusal as anything but an honor to my wedding vows. If you need to know you are loved, know that I love you like a--like a sister.”

My throat tightened and tears began to fall from my eyes. I let out a sob, then another one followed. Within a minute I had soaked her gown with my tears.

All the while, my sister, Remy’s Genevieve, stroked my hair and whispered to me in a language without words, the one I had heard her use so many times with her infant son.

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