Mmm, so, after addressing the ache in my fingers, I feel that I’m getting somewhere.
That first ache, I think, will continue to be exactly that for quite some time, though the act of stretching across chords is still a pain. Hurty! I know that so long as I keep pushing, that will get easier. The second ache, I think is loads better!
I’ve really been pushing at Clash this week and I think that I’m making good progress with it. Michelle, as a character is rounding out nicely, and Aaron (yes, I’ve changed his name back to Aaron now! :P) is also less flat. He was, before a bit pale and washed out a character, but the hints about his past when he’s talking to Dieter are helping to give him dimension. I don’t think I like him, lol, as a person that is. If I met him and got to know about him, what I know now, I’d run a mile! But that’s perfect.
The dynamic between him and Dieter is improving too. Its a fantastic sort of love/hate thing going on which reminds me just a little of Ileandra and Diavian on TIWT. Then again, theirs is a very obvious relationship between ‘mother’ and ‘daughter’ that was doomed from the very beginning. With Aaron, his depends on Dieter in a way that obviously pisses him off something rotten and he resents the implication that he cannot think and act for himself. But he also wants Dieter’s approval and is constantly struggling to earn it. Couple that with the mission he’s given and his own little ‘problems’ with women, its all just deliciously tense to write.
In fact, I think I’d like to give you an exert. This is the tail end of the first scene the novel puts Dieter and Aaron together. They are at Aaron’s home and Dieter has just allowed Aaron to ‘scent’ Michelle’s clothing. They are now talking about what to do.
Reluctantly, Aaron perched on the end of the bend, resting his hands on his knees.
“I found her today ,” Dieter began softly, pointing to the pile of dirty clothing. “I have been searching for many years and today, at last, I had the chance to steal her possessions to enable us to follow her. When we spoke, I knew; she reeked of cat.”
With a grin, Aaron stooped to retrieve the dropped clothes, once more thrusting them against his nose. “So she is Felis!”
“She is a beggar.” Dieter said wryly. “I found her on Motion Road begging for change in front of the library. There was also a kitten… it seemed… odd to me, but most cats do. In any case, I cannot think why the girl would carry such a pet around if she did not have an affinity for them. She must be the one… that smell…! But she has an arrogance to her which is incredibly unattractive. It is a classic hallmark of Felis: I offered her money and she refused to take it.”
Aaron shook his head, trying not to laugh. “Did you go to her looking like that? All stiff and uptight and professional? The kindly businessman doing his bit for the poorer people? If that’s how you’ve been searching no wonder you’ve had no luck.”
Surprise filled Dieter’s face as he fingered his clothes. “What is wrong with my attire? I am clean, presentable. I have a kind face – when I wish it – and I speak your language well enough… better than most in fact. Why should she be so scared of me? Because she was scared of me; I smelt that too. She would have run from me if I had not blocked her escape.”
“Well for starters, that would make her scared. You’re a complete stranger and a big guy besides. She’s just a helpless, homeless woman. For you to just march up to her and wave money in her face, it’s no wonder she was scared. Top that off with your spotless suit and your stiff, angry face I’m surprised she didn’t scream ‘rape!’ You have no people skills.”
Dieter smiled. “It is not my job to speak with people, I speak only with Lupus; that means you and the King. I may have no skill… But you do.”
Aaron’s smile froze on his face.
“You are well known, you are liked,” Dieter continued with an increasingly sly smile, “you have very many woman swooning before you every time you leave this apartment and each night your bed is home to a new one. You have a way to speak with people; women in particular. That is why I came here tonight.”
Aaron frowned as he began to connect the dots of this conversation. “You want me to talk to her?”
“Almost. You must get close enough to ensure you are alone and private and then you must kill her.”
Drumming his fingertips against his knees, Aaron slowly pursed his lips. His palms unconsciously rubbed at the fabric of the shabby jeans. “Why? If she’s one of us, then why kill her? Shouldn’t we be talking to her, trying to bring her to our side?”
Dieter all but spat in fury. “She is not one of us! She is a cat! She is lying, scheming and power hungry and believe me, if she knew what you were, she would destroy you without hesitation. We must not give her that chance.”
“Then why don’t you do it? You’re miles stronger than me.”
An impatient sigh slipped from Dieter’s lips. “She knows my face; I would not be able to get close enough. But you, the great and handsome Aaron Dantane could easily soothe her long enough to ensure that she is disposed of and never seen again.”
Aaron felt a wolfish grin tug at his lips. “If she smells like this, I’d much rather bring her home. I can think of a couple of things I’d like to do to her!” His hands tightened on the pile of clothes, and his body tingled gently with a pleasurable surge of lust. “If she’s a Follower, then she’ll be as strong as me, right? I won’t be able to damage her by accident like I do with human women?”
Dieter laughed loudly. “Always, you think with your little head!” Quite suddenly, he jammed a hand between Aaron’s legs, making the younger man yelp in surprise and anger. “This thing will get you in trouble.” He squeezed savagely on his handful of flesh and Aaron rocketed to his feet, scrambling away from the bed with his legs pressed together.
He pointed a trembling finger at Dieter’s face. “You said you wouldn’t touch me!” He roared. “I knew you were fucking queer!”
“Queer?” The blond man cocked his head. “I do not know this word. But it does not matter. I meant only to tell you that you must stop thinking with that thing between your legs and use the real brain between your ears. It is big enough to handle this mission I think, if only just.”
Aaron growled unintelligibly, jerking his dressing gown closed and tying the cord tightly around his middle. “Don’t do that again. Ever.”
“The girl must die. It is that simple. Tomorrow I will find her and tell you the direction she is going. Then you are to find her and kill her.”
Wistfully Aaron stared at the clothes. “Are you sure I can’t bring her here first? Just to… you know?”
Another pair of stinging slaps threw Aaron’s face first left than right. He snarled angrily, feeling a sharp crack along his jaw which told him that he was beginning to shift; bones displacing and reshaping to accommodate the growth of a muzzle. “Stop doing that!” He roared.
Dieter stared impassively. “Find her and kill her; that is all. If you fail I will do things to you to make these paternal beatings look a trifle. Do not fail.” He turned aside, moving towards the bedroom door. “And learn to control your temper.” With that, he slipped through the door and vanished from sight.
Its only a small secton; I don’t want to give too much away, but this scene took me a day to get how I wanted it. There are still lines here and there I want to tweak, but compared to the first edit, this is loads better. Which, of course, is the point! 😀