Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Should've Seen It Coming...

Michelle over at Beautiful Chaos had the most awesome idea...EVER. She proposed a blogfest in which we share our most favorite scene. She called it the "Share Your Darlings" Blogfest and it is Uber-Cool

So this is from a book I wrote last year called, Purple Knot. This scene is after a very emotional chapter in which the main character, Rain Cruz, signed off on an emergency C-section that resulted in her best friend, Summer's, death. 

Jimmy is the main character's love interest and the brother of the friend that just died. Mona made a scene upstairs not ten minutes ago...screaming and throwing medical supplies about the room in an outburst of violent grief.

Rain is not a fan.

I'll let Rain describe Mona in her own words:

"Mona was Jimmy and Summer’s mother. Big haired and perpetually tipsy, she was a southern belle of epic movie proportions. Given to sneaking cigarettes at inopportune moments, she never seemed to be around when they needed her. Mona and I never really hit it off. The only time she ever took my side was when I announced I was moving away from Seattle, away from her son."

Purple Knot
Chapter Four

In retrospect I should’ve seen it coming. After signing papers with the nurse, I wandered down to the cafeteria to find some coffee, or arsenic. Either would have done, really. I stood in the aisle between the hanging packages of trail mix, and the steaming soup buckets wondering what I was even doing down here, when Mona yelled my name at the top of her lungs.

“How could you do this? That baby has no mother because of you!”

I froze with a bowl full of potato soup in one hand, a ladle in the other. Again, hindsight tells me I should have kept the ladle in my possession.

I was not sure what to say to a crazy person who was now suffering unbearable grief.

“I’m sorr-”

“Don’t you ever speak to me again!”

Mona bellowed and strode across the cafeteria toward me. People parted for her like they knew her, and made an open path right to me.

“You are the worst kind of…of…scum.”

I watched with morbid fascination as her hands came up again. Her long coral-pink nails flashed in the buzzing florescent lights. I saw Jimmy run out of the elevator, scan right then left, do a double-take and launch himself towards us. Alas, he always seemed to be a second behind the action. Mona grabbed my sweater with both hands and shook me like bag of dirty rags. Occupied by the bowl of now wildly sloshing potato soup in my hands, I was useless against her onslaught.

“You…did…this! You did this!”

Mona heaved with the strain of throttling me and I could smell the bourbon on her breath. Where did she get bourbon in a hospital, I thought madly? Jimmy yanked Mona off of me and sent her sliding on her butt through the puddle of spilled soup. His face was tight when he wrapped an arm around my waist and pulled me toward the door.

“You need to come with me.”

He carried me out of the cafeteria into the elevator. The bowl of soup was still in my hands. I could hear Mona shouting as the doors closed achingly slow on yet another crowd of disbelieving stares.

This is one of my favorite scenes because I've experienced dealing with grief and surreal craziness at the same time. Its strange the things you notice during moments like that...the coral nails are a detail ripped from my own reality.

I hope you liked the excerpt. I encourage you to go on over to Beautiful Chaos to catch some other great "Darlings"...Until next time -- Go Write!
Photograph by mukais.


Mesmerix said...

Strangely, the coral nails were the first things that stood out to me as I was reading. Again, I really enjoy your writing.

Michelle Gregory said...

you pulled me in right away, made me feel like i was right there. great stuff. thanks for participating.

Kristie Cook said...

I love your writing and these scenes from PURPLE KNOT. When will we get to read it all?????

Raquel Byrnes said...

My agent is shopping it publishing houses so *fingers crossed* soon I hope!

Dawn Embers said...

Wow. That is quite dramatic but fitting with the tone of the scene and what has just happened in that section of the story. Well done.

Erin Kane Spock said...

Mona is so real -- I itch to slap her. I bet I could I take her...
Wonderful selection here.

Margo Berendsen said...

Oh this is so good! I LOVE Rain's voice! "some coffee, or arsenic. Either would have done, really" and "hindsight tells me I should have kept the ladle in my possession". I'm her friend already. And when the tipsy nutcase slides through the soup...awesome. Though I guess I can't blame her for being crazy at the loss of her daughter.

E. Arroyo said...

I like the voice in this piece. I was hooked with the arsenic. LOL

L'Aussie said...

I loved the first 2 sentence which drew me in - 'coffee..or arsenic?' Excellent. A very lively scene..:)

Donna Hole said...

I'm always amazed how you can combine narrative description, action, and internal musings and make it all work right. I noticed this in your Secrets post also.

I'm not normally a romance reader, but I can't wait for your first two to be published. I very intrigued by the subject matter; and by the writer herself.

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.


Wanda said...

Hi Raquel, stopping by to say hello. Enjoyed reading the scene.

Michelle Gregory said...

Raquel, you are now the proud owner of James Scott Bell's The Art of War for Writers. email for details.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Cool...I won a book in the "Darlings" Contest! Thanks Michelle. I can't wait to read it!

Francine said...


Have to say I just knew to keep clear of that soup bowl!

Nicely orchestrated scene and telling a story within a story.

Good luck with subbing!


Zoe C. Courtman said...

Wow - talk about tension and conflict!! You nailed those. Thanks for sharing, Raquel!!