I mentioned her here, and the original query was on Query Shark almost a year ago, here.
As I stutter and stumble through NaNo, blogging's been sort of falling off my to-do list on a regular basis, so I thought I'd remedy that by putting up a snip from Premeditated's first chapter. So, here you go; I hope you enjoy it.
"Your aunt and uncle really appreciate this," he said, rather than argue the point. "Having you around the house makes it easier..."
He let it drop, the way everyone did when they started to mention Claire. They all choked on her name, like she was ghost who hadn't quite caught on yet.
"Don't think you have to shoulder this, kid."
"I want to stay close in case something changes, and I don't want to go back to Ninth Street if I'm only going to be here a few weeks." That was the conservative estimate. Claire would either wake-up, or they'd stop expecting her to. "I'd just have to say good-bye to everyone again when Mom makes me come home. This way, I'll only be leaving strangers, and Aunt Helen and Uncle Paul didn't waste the tuition money."
"In a few weeks, they won't be strangers anymore."
Our truck melded into the flow of sedans and SUV's circling a paved drive with an ornate fountain in the middle. Stone deer and bear cubs played in marble flowers, while fairies poured water into a stream that emptied into the main bowl.
My old school had a flagpole and a dirt ring that, according to legend, held gladiolas at some point.
"People from a place like this will always be strange to me."
"I'm proud of you, D," he said.
D, which is short for Dinah, which is short for my great-grandmother, is my given name, and the first recorded instance of my dad protecting me from my mother. She intended to name me Diamond Rain or Rayne or Rhane – the spelling changes with each lament when she retells the story. Kind of like plain old Stacy became Stacia for the acting career that never was. Dinah, and all associated nicknames were rejected as too plain for her taste; they set off her allergy to the mundane. Thankfully, Dad still had a spine in those days, and filled in my birth certificate before her meds wore off.
Dad's hands tightened on the wheel again as he coasted into the "departing" area where other kids were climbing out of other cars. They gawked like they'd never seen a no-longer-quite-cherry red truck outside its natural habitat of the mechanic's shop before.
"Batter up, baby doll."
He may speak English, but sports analogies are my dad’s mother tongue.
"You haven't called me that since I was-"
"A real blonde?" he teased.
"Young enough to count my age on my fingers," I said.
"It's nice to see the real Dinah again."
The real me, also known as the "me no one had seen since sixth grade", was how he referred to my choice of clothing before I actually had a choice. When my mother used me as her personal paper doll, and paraded me down every runway within a hundred mile radius.
"Don't miss your flight." I shut the passenger-side door as he shouted a last request for photographic evidence that I'd returned from the dark side to give Mom when he got home.
'Over my dead body,' I thought.
Lightning was welcome to strike me down – so long as Brooks went first.