Anyway, I can't think of anything snappy to blog about (er, anything snappier than "wippet"), so I decided to post a snippet of my currently-paused WIP White Like Ashes. I still love this story idea, but don't think I'll get to finish it any time soon. It's now been pushed to #4 in my story queue, which, if I was a novel-writing fiend like Natalie, wouldn't be a problem. But I'm not. In fact, since the quarter ended, I've written a grand total of 0 words. Yup. Go me.
But to encourage myself to FREAKIN' WRITE while I have oodles of homework-less time, I'm going to post a chunk from White Like Ashes so you all can tell me to keep FREAKIN' WRITING. This scene is pretty self-explanatory, but a bit of background: Evan is going to her bridesmaid's dress fitting for her mother's wedding. Her father died last year, and Evan isn't at all pleased with her mother's decision to move on so quickly.
The door dinged above me, setting a tone of cheesy-wedding-gore that ricocheted throughout the entire shop. Rows of designer wedding gowns in clear plastic garment bags lined the right wall while the left mirrored it except with bridesmaids gowns. The floor, walls, and checkout counter all reflected the same shade of nauseating pastel pink to enhance the fact that weddings made most people sick.
The owner, Barbara Stevens, waggled her hands in the air as she scurried toward me. She wouldn’t be so stupid as to hug me. We’d only met once, two months ago, at the first fitting. Casual acquaintances don’t hug the daughters of clients–
Nope. Apparently they do.
Barbara’s perfume even smelled pink. “Your party’s this way! I can’t wait to see you in that dress, Evan; you’ll glow!”
There were so many things wrong with those two sentences that all I could do was follow her in a stupefied daze.
She led me to the back of the store where the pink carpet forked around a mirror-encased pedestal with a hall of fitting rooms on either side. The only “party” in the store sat in a semi-circle of pink upholstered chairs around the pedestal, giggling over glasses of champagne.
“Ladies! Another bridesmaid has arrived!”
The five women swung around at the same time, confusion linking their movements. Other bridesmaid? Oh, that’s right. That daughter-thing Madeleine has.
An empty chair waited for me next to Patricia Kingswood. She, Mary Anne Hayward, and Rebecca Shockton made up the three bridesmaids from my mother’s country club. The remaining two, Goldie Lewis and Hannah Rice, were distant friends from my mother’s college days. Though not from Fintan, they belonged to their own country club somewhere else in Pennsylvania, so they didn’t have the least bit of trouble sipping champagne and gibbering about flower arrangements.
“Your mom’s trying on her gown first, dear.” Patricia patted my knee as though I looked concerned as to my mother’s whereabouts. I lifted my eyebrows in acknowledgement, releasing her from any further entertainment duties by plugging into my iPod.
Barbara moved down the right-side set of dressing rooms. A moment passed, and she ran right back out. I didn’t need to hear her to know that she was squeaking about my mother’s approach.
Sure enough, five seconds later my mother turned the corner and ascended the pedestal. The other bridesmaids leapt up and flocked around her, a flurry of waving hands and carefully lifted champagne glasses. Their ooes and awes drowned out my iPod.
“You’re positively breathtaking, Maddy!” It had to be either Hannah or Goldie; only people from mom’s past called her Maddy. My father had called her Maddy.
“The veil isn’t too much, is it? I love the length,” my mom fussed. Her hands popped up above the assault of bridesmaids, holding a strand of tulle in the air.
“Take it off and I’ll kill you!” someone squealed. “It’s perfect!”
“Oh, Madeleine Rockford!”
I didn’t have enough brain function to even try to guess who squeaked that. My mother’s name on Stewart’s last name slammed into me, and I was a few seconds away from grabbing the three glasses of champagne that had been left by the chairs.
I jumped. The bridesmaids had parted down the middle, all staring at me in a strange sort of forced silence, like they would pop if they didn’t let out a squeal or two in the next minute. My mother, half-turned toward me, waited.
“Evan? What do you think?” she asked, or more like mouthed, as my iPod didn’t have trouble drowning out normal speech.
My mouth went dry and I pulled an earbud out. But all those eyes on me – chugging champagne would never go unnoticed.
The gown my mother had chosen was traditional yet modern. Strapless, satin, princess-ball-gown skirt, with tight silver beading along the bodice and down into the waistline. Her sheer veil tumbled down her back, brushing the floor, the edge rimmed with the same silver beading as the bodice. She was beautiful, of course; she was always beautiful. But she wasn’t glowing. She didn’t have the same irresistible shine around her that she’d had in the videos of her and my father’s wedding. She wasn’t – happy.
“No one will even know, will they?”
My words froze her face one muscle at a time. The bridesmaids tightened, too, and looked awkwardly at the pink floor.
I’d broken our unspoken agreement. I’d talked about what we’d never, ever talked about.
“Excuse me?” My mother squinted, hoping she’d heard wrong.
The words tumbled out, a year of silence blasting through my lips. “No one will ever know how happy Connor Gorecki used to make you, will they? No one will ever know you used to love the disgraced BM Industries employee.”
Her blue eyes darkened. “Not now, Evan. This is hardly the place.” There will never be a place. We will never talk about this. Ever.
“Oh, don’t worry; after the wedding they’ll never know I was the offspring of the crazy scientist and his perfect Stepford wife. I won’t exist either.”
I shoved myself up from the chair, ignored Barbara’s protests that I hadn’t tried my dress on yet. I ignored the other bridesmaids’ looks of concern and sympathy. I ignored my mother’s continued icy glare. I ignored everything. Like mother like daughter.