I was going to keep my WIPpet intro extra short this week, because my excerpt is long, but something happened Tuesday that upset me a lot, and I want to tell you about it.

Most of you know by now that I have four children. Some of you know that two of these children are on the autistic spectrum. So, you’ll all understand when I tell you it upset me deeply to learn that a company fired a friend of mine for being autistic. He got the job without any problem, later revealed his autism, and then was fired and told he could never learn to do the job. I am disgusted and discouraged. If you happen to do business with Quick Print of Tulsa, Oklahoma, please consider finding another company to give your money to.

Now that I’ve said my piece, onto

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My gratitude to K.L. Schwengel for hosting and to all of you for coming by to read my excerpt. πŸ™‚

Math = 1st digit of date + second digit of date – an arbitrary 1 = 2 + 9 – 1 = 10 paragraphs (under 500 words)

Character descriptions:

Arvid 5’6β€³, dark copper skin, long brown hair, brown eyes, athletic build.

Taiamuk 6’3β€³, long red hair, gray eyes, a multitude of freckles, numerous scars, muscles a la Jackie Chan. Notable scars include three stab wounds on his right side and a long, horizontal gash across his chest. Owns one piece of clothing: trousers.

Necessary Context:

  • This excerpt has been butchered to get rid of spoilers. Sorry it’s choppy.
  • The last chunk happened a week or two after the dance scene. (Forgot to mention that last week.)
  • This happens about 20 minutes after the last chunk.
  • Arvid found Tai.
  • She also found trouble.
  • Arvid’s people Do. Not. Cry. unless someone is dead.

A grip as determined as death wrapped around her arm. Tai, sword still in hand, hauled her to her feet and rushed her away from the fire. She staggered beside him, dizzy from inhaling smoke and drenched in sweat. Only his hold on her arm kept her on her feet until they reached the hut. Once through the door, she collapsed.

He shouted something and tugged at her clothes. They were freezing onto her. She pulled the dress off and crawled to the bedroll, where she huddled under the blanket until she got her other dress on.

Removing her boots took more care. The blisters on her feet had burst and the burnt leather took skin with it. Tai knelt in front of her and scooped a mixture of snow and herbs onto her feet. He winced on her behalf and babbled while he worked, his tone reminiscent of her mother’s lectures.

She wanted to ask him about the fire. Her words sounded as much like gibberish to him as his sounded to her, though. With time, they might learn, but winter would not last forever. She settled for searching his face instead. Droplets of what she assumed to be sweat or melted snow stood at the edge of his lashes. With clumsy, inexperienced hands, he wrapped strips of cloth around her feet.

They settled onto the bedroll and she saw the droplets still trickling down his cheeks. He was crying. Arvid brushed the tears away, wondering what loss caused this intense show of emotion. β€œTai, what’s wrong?”

He replied with a string of words, none of which she understood. She shook her head to show her confusion and brushed away another tear.

Tai laced his fingers through her hair, closed his eyes, and set his forehead against hers. Arvid, exhausted and cold after her ordeal, let her eyes slip shut and soaked in the warmth his closeness offered.Β  She loved him. The realization made her heart ache, knowing spring meant separation, but for now, he held her. When his lips pressed into hers, she didn’t draw away. For a moment, she felt nothing but the sharp ache of impending loss and then he kissed her again, this time with such force it took her breath away. She gasped for air when he repositioned but tried to give back as good as she got.

He started untying her laces with expert dexterity, his fingers brushing skin as he worked. A war of apprehension and anticipation erupted in her thoughts, stealing pleasure from the moment. Already the shame and humiliation of her situation ate at her. Living together for survival might be forgiven by the elders, but not this.

She staid his hands. β€œI can’t.”

Tai sucked in his breath, closed his eyes, and nodded. With his arms wrapped around her in his usual, casual manner, he kissed her twice more on the forehead. β€œI understand.”

Der Kuss by Peter Behrens, 1898.

Der Kuss by Peter Behrens, 1898.

To join WIPpet Wednesday…

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