Before I forget yet again, it is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I am extremely pleased to announce that my content editor’s daughter has been officially declared CANCER-FREE as of yesterday! YAY!!! If you follow my Facebook account (not the page), you’ll notice I’m currently Wonder Woman. That’s part of the campaign to help raise awareness for childhood cancer.  If you’d like to join, I’m happy to suggest a superhero. Our own Christina Olsen assigned Wonder Woman for me. 🙂 To be a real superhero, click on the bee to be taken to St. Jude’s online donation center.



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All hail the Grand Mistress of the WIPpeteers, K.L. Schwengel!

My WIPpet this week is inordinately long, so I’m doing this a bit oddly.

If you just need the outcome, skip to Olive Oil. (Don’t worry, it’ll become clear.)

I thought this was just going to be a quick transition from one scene to the next. Well, it’s not. The “transition” ended up being it’s own scene. I’ve been breaking it up, but this bit is not easily divided. So, I decided to just throw it all out there in one go. I won’t be upset if you decide to skip it. 🙂

Math: month + 1 for fun = 9 + 1 = 10 paragraphs in the smaller chunk. Length of entire excerpt is about 1300 words.

Character descriptions:

Arvid 5’6″, dark copper skin, long brown hair, brown eyes, athletic build.

Taiamuk 6’3″, 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

  • Arvid and Tai kissed.
  • Tai started ignoring Arvid.
  • In response, Arvid started ignoring Tai.
  • This went on for a week until Arvid snapped at Tai.
  • Last paragraph from last week is included for clarity, sort of.
  • This is so first draft, it’s almost a pre-write.
  • English is a ridiculous language.

Thankful “kiss” never came up for exchange in their miniature vocabulary swapping sessions, she switched to his language and waved, dismissing her words. “It is nothing.”

She should feel ashamed for her emotional outburst, anyway. Children threw tantrums, not grown women and definitely not grown women who reached the highest level of combat training, whose lessons included the art of keeping one’s expression and stance neutral in the face of peril. Hoping to pretend it never happened, she turned back to her cooking.

Tai squeezed her shoulder. His hand felt warm and gentle, the way Father’s hand, or Kiano’s, or, very rarely, Master’s felt when they wanted to comfort her over a failure. With an exaggerated sigh she hoped conveyed a desire to avoid prolonging the discussion, she set down her spoon and waited for him to speak his mind. She deserved to get a piece of it after letting her temper get the better of her.

“You are…” His gaze flitted back and forth from one of her eyes to the other. “Hurt?”

Arvid just barely managed to keep from rolling her eyes. She forced a nonchalant smile. “My feet are more good,” she answered in his language.

“No. It’s good for your feet, but no. You. You, but not this.” He released her shoulder to gesture at her body. After a pause, during which he stared at her with his face squinched in thought, he touched her head. “Here. You’re hurt here?”

Arvid rolled her eyes. She lingered over the gesture, making it large and unmistakable. “No, Tai. I’m not hurt in the head.”

Brows furrowing, he scooted closer to her. “No. You talk fast to me. Why?”

“I told you. It’s nothing.” She felt silly for letting her angst get the better of her. She wanted to drop the subject and go back to being silent hut-mates. With spring approaching and their ways destined to part, it made more sense than trying to recapture a friendship broken by a moment of poor self-control anyway.

“It’s not nothing. You talk to you. You talk fast to me. Why? This is not nothing. Are you hurt? Or…” Palms upward, he tapped the air with his arms, as if he expected something to land in them. “I don’t have what to say.”

“You don’t have…” Arvid stared at him while she tried to interpret his meaning. After several heartbeats she shook her head, unsure what he wanted to communicate and convinced it didn’t matter at this point. “It is nothing, Tai.” She went back to her own language to add, “You can go back to pretending I don’t exist.”

“No, Ayrvid. It is not nothing. This… Ugh.” He pressed the heels of his palms into his temples. “This is not good. This not talk.”

Arvid stuck a hand on her hip and glared at him. “You make the not talk.”

He started the communication drought, not that they had much to work with before. If he thought his gender or status gave him the right to ignore her while requiring her to attend to him, she planned to give him some words of wisdom too succinct to be disregarded in any language.

“Yes, but… “ He dropped his hands to his side and tilted his head back to stare wide-eyed at the ceiling. When he spoke, his words sounded squeezed through his throat. “Uuuuugh! Eleam sav the’teh mirtayd ay advird. Ay’tehnehy the’mavadpikvud ay ad gigkav.”

Arvid caught “woman,” something that sounded like “understand,” and a few pronouns. Narrowing her eyes, she sucked in a breath and let it out to a count of ten before allowing herself to open her mouth. “You don’t want me to talk fast, but you talk fast?”

Tai lowered his chin to look at her with an expression that reminded her of Mother getting ready to lecture and took his own counted breath. “Yes, but—“

“No. Not ‘but.’ You make the not talk, but you want me to talk when you say talk? No.” She wished she spoke more of his language so she could expand on this concept. As it stood, she gave it her best shot. “You make the not talk. You make the not see. You made the fire but you don’t help with the wounds.”

She regretted the last part as soon as she said it. Up until those words, Tai looked sullen. Once they flew out of her mouth, his eyes dropped in shame. She would have stopped, but a week of silence and the momentum she gathered with her anger kept the hurt spilling out.

“You leave me in the morning and it is sundown when you return. You eat what I cook but not talk thank you. You…” She pressed a hand to puckered lips to convey her thought. “But now make like you don’t see or hear me. Why?”

His eyes met hers, flashing. Voice raised, he jabbered, “Tehtas niyayd zif ru ish’teh shaiayd ay agaish! Ay’nay ru. Ay’nay’yp ru videv ru’zeantam’p uv tai, tash ru’fehcheatsh’yp lam moomeadsh ru’tirt’p vean. Doo ay’teh tadshead hoonayd ru chav dadik eadeh.”

She heard frustration. She also heard too many words spoken with no regard for the listener’s comprehension. Hand on hip, head tilted, she quoted him, drawling, “’Slow, Ayrrrrrrrrvid.’”

Tai growled. “Siv’teh fipitrunav!” His hands shot out.

Expecting a slap or a blow, Arvid ducked. She moved a quarter heartbeat too late and he caught her. Instead of hitting, he cupped both her cheeks and moved close.


His face two fingerbreadths from hers, expression and touch soft, he whispered.  “I don’t have what to say in your talk. Ay’nay ru, Ayrvid. Do you understand?” His thumb swept across her left cheek. “Ay’nay ru.”

Her heart stopped, then started pattering. She did understand. She felt silly for not understanding sooner. His reticence made sense to her now. Indecision stilled her lips. Vulnerability frightened her, but lying shamed her.

Swallowing down the fear, she slid her gaze to the fire and answered in his language, “I love you, Tai.”

Tai pressed his hand into her cheek, trying to get her to look at him. “Do you understand?”

The sting of saying it out loud for the first time over with, she nodded. “I understand.” She let her face turn with his nudging to meet his exotic gray eyes. “I love you.”

As if he doubted her assertion, he brushed his lips across hers then pulled back to see her reaction. She remained still, neither leaning in nor pulling away, unwilling to risk another frenzy of passion but not rejecting him either. He kissed her again, still testing, she thought. She opened her mouth to receive his affection and moved her lips with his, slow, gentle, but not shy.

Strong arms encircled her waist and pulled her against his chest. Cautiously, she wove her fingers into his fiery hair at the base of his skull, pressing a hairsbreadth closer. Worries plagued her while the kiss lasted. Their language barriers caused numerous misunderstandings. [Spoilery detail.] She knew nothing of his life before now. He may be married. Spring and separation approached. Temptation thrived in lonely places.

She broke the kiss when her anxiety threatened to push bile into her mouth, but not the embrace. Resting her head against his shoulder, she listened to his heartbeat, trying to let it soothe her.

Tai nuzzled the top of her head. “Ru’maifeh ay.”

She laughed softly. A new phrase to try to interpret. Sighing, she pulled away to tend the potage before it burned. “I don’t understand.”


To join WIPpet Wednesday…

  1. Post a snippet of your WIP that relates to the date
  2. Thank K.L. Schwengel
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  4. Enjoy good writing