Below is an excerpt of one of my novel manuscripts: “In the Between.’ I’ve parked this one because it needs more work and time than I have to dedicate to it at the moment. It’s the first one I wrote, which means it’s the worst. I cringe when I read parts of it, but that’s all part of the learning process. I posted the excerpt below just so I don’t feel so bad neglecting it.
Warning: Swearing, sexual references. It’s a pretty raw scene towards the end of the book.
Jay jumped up into the driver’s seat and turned the car on, the heater was blasting, making the car smell like him. Like leather and mint, at one time that would have been a comfort, but now all I wanted was sunshine and pineapples.
“Are you alright?” I put my hand on his before he could put the car in reverse.
He turned to look at me. “Yeah. Why?” He was sarcastic, no matter how together he looked while other people were around, I could tell. Jay wasn’t fine. Not even close. I rolled my eyes at him, and he tried again.
“Isn’t that what you want to hear, Layla? That I’m okay?” he said, without looking at me.
“I don’t want you to tell me what I want to hear. I want you to tell me the truth.”
Jay tightened his hands on the steering wheel, his knuckles were white as he exhaled sharply. “The truth? I can do that.”
He turned, and his eyes were black fire, I fought the reflex to back away from him. He wouldn’t hurt me, no matter how angry he was. “The truth Layla, is I’m as far from okay as I can get. I see you with him, and I feel like he has the life I should have had with you. That maybe if I did something different you would have still wanted me.”
I started to tell him what he meant to me, but he cut me off.
“And I don’t mean physically Layla, I mean wanted me!” His voice rose as he smacked his chest, the slap loud in the car.
“You were the only woman I ever loved, you didn’t judge me, or tell me I wasn’t worth anything to you, and you loved me back. The only woman I actually ever wanted. None of them care about me, just what I can do for them socially or in bed. Except for you. You saw me.” He leaned over to my side of the car and looked me right in the eye.
“Did you know the first woman I fucked after you left me looked almost the same as you? She had the same shade of eyes you do, that same hazel colour. I don’t even remember her name but I remember that, and all of the women after that had to have something about them that reminded me of you.” He wiped roughly at the corner of his eyes.
I didn’t know that, I just thought he had a type, and the knowledge hit me in the gut like a wrecking ball.
“Now you’re happy. Praise the Lord, Layla’s happy, and I’m fucking miserable. And that’s okay because I love you enough to stand back while you live happily ever after with him. Maybe I’ll hang around waiting for him to fuck up. Which, any way you look at it, is pretty damn pathetic.” He scrubbed his hands over his face.
I sat quietly, absorbing everything, and rage clouded my vision. I grabbed his collar and forced him to look at me.
“You have never been pathetic Jay. You’ve always been there when I needed you. Jesus Christ! You have saved my life more than once, and I was the bitch who broke up with you. I still haven’t figured out why you don’t hate me?” I was out of control, but I kept going. “First for breaking your heart and then carrying on physically like nothing ever happened? Why didn’t you tell me to go and fuck myself? I ruin lives, Jay. It is only a matter of time before he leaves me. Not the other way around.” I dropped my head in my hands, too spent to cry, the only sound in the car was our heavy breathing.
“I don’t hate you,” he said quietly. “I couldn’t hate you. I tried. Really fucking hard, but I couldn’t, not after everything that I know about you, and you know about me.”