Friday, August 13, 2010

Rain, Revolvers, and Reckless Words

This week's meme from The Red Writing Hood is to post a piece of fiction that contains an argument between two characters.

This excerpt is from a romantic suspense novel I wrote called, Purple Knot.

To set up the scene, Rain and Jimmy are former lovers. They are thrown back together when his sister is murdered and Rain, a private investigator, decides to look into the case. The result is an attack in her office by a masked man. Officer Wicket is the officer that took the report. Salem is Rain's intern at her agency. Summer is the sister that died.

Purple Knot

After Wicket left, I stared at Jimmy’s back for a couple of seconds, decided to leave him alone, and went to go and find the vacuum. I rooted around in the supply closet and was amazed at the amount of pens Salem felt the need to keep on hand. I finally gave up on the vacuum and grabbed the broom. The dustpan was wedged, impossibly, underneath a box of printer paper and I yanked at it angrily. It wouldn’t budge, and I just got more and more angry until finally I was yelling, and kicking at it, and crying. Jimmy appeared in the doorway with a look of concern and utter exasperation on his face.

“Why didn’t you tell me about the phone call and the flowers?”

I froze, not wanting to look at him but he reached out and tucked a ringlet behind my ear. I took a breath.

“I…should have. I just didn’t want to make you worry.”

“You didn’t want me to worry?”

I heard the change in his voice. I looked up at his gray eyes and saw the anger flare behind them.

“Then why, after that kind of warning, did you come here alone, Rain? What were you thinking?”

He was angry at me? Hands on my hips, I whirled on him.

“What was I thinking? I was thinking that maybe it should be safe for me to come to my own place of business! What were you thinking? Why were you creeping around outside this time of night? You could have been shot!”

“I nearly was, thanks to you, Annie Oakley!”

“How do you even know about the phone call and flowers, anyway?”

“Salem called me this morning. He thinks you’re being reckless. I tend to agree. What are you doing, Rain? This isn’t a game!”

“Oh, so this is my fault? I should have what? Run over to Salem’s for protection?”

I waved my arms in the air, growing furious with Jimmy.

He stepped toward me, his voice almost a growl.

“No, that’s not what I’m saying, and you know it. But maybe, when someone threatens you, you go to a hotel for the night.”

“I’m not going to turn tail and run at the first sign of a threat,” I shot back. “I’m not going to cower in the corner, Jimmy. I’m not--”

I stopped myself when my brain caught up to my mouth.

“What, Rain?” Jimmy shouted. “You’re not Summer?”

He stalked away from the doorway, walked to my desk, and grabbed his coat.

“That’s not what I was going to say,” I lied, following him.

He headed for the door, muttering to himself like he always did when we fought.

“Why is everything so one way or the other with you?” He asked suddenly.

He turned to face me, and I could tell he was exasperated. I didn’t understand.


“You’re in danger, so you either ignore it and go about your business, or run headlong toward someone trying to kill you?”

My face burned, as did my stomach. Why was he reacting this way? Suddenly defending myself was a character flaw?

“This is my place, Jimmy,” I shouted, pointing to the floor. “I have every right to be here!”

He shook his head, and I threw my hands up, at a loss.

“You’re so stubborn! You could have been killed.”

“What would you have me do, then Jimmy? What?”

“Stop and think!” he shouted angrily. “Stop acting like you’re alone in this world, and start behaving like some of us love you! I wouldn’t survive losing you, Rain. I couldn’t take it!”

I looked at him stunned, and then he strode out of the office.


He didn’t come back. I paced the floor for a few minutes, trying to stop what felt like an impending aneurism from blowing, before I called for a cab. I grabbed the Bower files and my suitcase and went downstairs. A lone sedan idled in the parking lot; the interior light illuminated Jimmy’s disheveled hair. I didn’t want to fight again, and tried to slip around the side, but he looked up and saw me. He got out of the car, walked around to the passenger side, and opened the door for me.

“I already called a cab,” I said without moving toward him.

“You can cancel on our way,” he said.

Once again back to his slow, laid back drawl he walked over to where I stood and took my suitcase.

“It’s not really nice to call a cab and then not use them.”

Jimmy put the suitcase in the trunk and looked at me quietly. I walked toward him and slid into the passenger seat.

Jimmy closed the door, walked around the front of the car, scanned the street up and down. He got in behind the steering wheel and sat there, staring out the windshield. When he looked at me, his eyes were red, worried, and exhausted. When he spoke his voice was quiet, controlled.

“Rain, when I heard those gunshots I nearly lost my mind. I just kept thinking about all the time we’ve lost, dancing around each other. I don’t’ want to do this anymore, Rain. I don’t want to give you anymore space. I don’t want to be patient anymore. You said you miss us. Well here I am. All in, Rain. I’m here in this all the way.”

He looked at me then and I started to tremble. His gray eyes were dark, full of pain. When he spoke again it was barely above a whisper.

“What about you, Rain. What do you want?”

My heart jumped in my chest. I reached out and ran my fingers along his jaw, and I smiled, not caring that my lip was trembling again. The words caught in my throat.

“I’m all in, Jimmy,” I said finally.

He reached up, took my hand, and kissed my palm. Relief and wariness mingled in his gaze and he looked at me intently.

“You’re sure?”

I nodded, smiling and crying at the same time.

Jimmy slid his hand along my neck and pulled me to him, his lips pressed against mine softly. Every muscle in my body burned for him. My hands went to his jaw, drew him closer. His lips parted mine and my breath escaped in a moan. I kissed him with a million years of missing him.

He pulled back, out of breath.

“That’s pretty sure,” he murmured.

I hope you enjoyed the argument meme and take a look at the other blogs that participated. You can find them, and other Red Writing Hood writing prompts every week.

Until next time...Go Write.