The new rewrite is now officially longer than the original. And I’m only 40% into it. As a little pat on the back to myself, I figured I’d post a snippet from a cutesy scene I wrote today, featuring Claudia and Wyatt. Again, I can’t tell you how happy I am that these characters are getting more and more developed in this version, and that it just feels more solid and real. Even if no one else believed me, I’d know it and that’s more than enough. (But I do hope you see the jump in quality too.)
“I’d rather not risk you if I don’t have to,” Claudia was saying to Wyatt for the fifth time. “Give me a little more time and I can find a way to intercept their communications and send a message.”
“Or we could, hmm, skip that and drive out to where we know their patrols are searching.”
“They could kill you.”
“What else is new?”
“Damon won’t want to stay.” She didn’t want Wyatt to go, either.
He patted her hand with a soft smile, that smile he gave only her. It made her feel special, loved, wanted in a way Brandon never knew how to acknowledge.
“Can’t afford to lose him. I’ve spent too much time grooming him to take my place, you know?” He chuckled. “Besides, well, I trust him above all others to keep you safe.”
She smiled at him before turning to her readouts of recent rec room training scores. “How are Christopher and Owen?”
“Ready to go.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
He muttered to himself and shook his shoulders as if ruffling feathers that didn’t exist. It was an amusing quirk. “They’re hurting, but it’s nothing, well, crippling.”
“Angry. Which I think is a good thing, hmm?” He stuck out his neck a bit when he grinned this time, as if preening. “He has life in him again.”
“Maybe we all do.” She stared out across the rooftop — which was a screen attached to sensors in her garden, giving her the perception that her office was in the middle of it. “Things are finally moving forward. We might gain a foothold instead of clinging desperately to the side of the cliff.”
“You have a vivid imagination.”
“True.” She smiled sadly. “Any word from George?”
Wyatt shook his head and crossed his arms as he paced. “He’s waiting to see if we can establish contact. It hasn’t been attempted in, hmm, a century? I think he’s curious.”
“He won’t have to wait long.”
“Yes, well, we’ll either be dead or successful. Very immediate results.”
“That’s not funny.”
“I wasn’t trying to be.”
He bent down and kissed her cheek, but she turned and planted her lips firmly against his. She felt him stiffen in surprise and then surrender to press against her harder, causing her to lean back in her seat. When they finally stopped, Claudia felt a new ache in her heart. “You’d better come back,” she mumbled, pressing her forehead to his.
“I can’t make any promises.”
“I know that.” She kissed his cheek this time. “But sometimes lying helps better than the truth.”
“You and I both know that’s not true. Not in the end, hmm?” He tilted his head in that preening way and made her chuckle softly. “I’d promise to try my hardest to get back to you, but I make that promise every time we’re apart. Well, now that I’ve gone and said that,” he blushed, “it doesn’t sound as romantic as I thought it would.”
“Your honesty has always been endearing, Wyatt.”
“And your determination is an inspiration.” He saluted. “It’s been an honor. The biggest honor of my life.”
“Please — ”
“It will continue to be when we return.” He winked.
She was flattered that he would lie for her.