I’m participating in the A to Z blogger challenge this year. Since April also is the anniversary month for the release of my novel, ’Til Death Do Us Part, I thought I’d use that for the theme of my posts. For each letter I will come up with a word that is pertinent to the story, and post a short excerpt featuring it.
In general these excerpts will bounce around the timeline (after all, the story isn’t told in alphabetical order). No worries, I’ll give a little context leading into each scene so it won’t be necessary to read the others to enjoy the snippet-of-the-day.
Q is for Quivering Lips
Poor little Buddy’s quivering lips, to be more specific. The action in this scene takes place immediately after where the “Be is for Buddy” post ends. It’s Henry, Buddy, Garrett, and Devon’s first morning on the island, and Henry has taken Buddy into the island’s interior in search of puddles left from the prior night’s rain. Garrett and Devon are circling the island keeping an eye our for rescue crews. Buddy has attached himself to Henry, but Henry isn’t sure he’ll be able to handle a young child. This scene is told from Henry’s 1st-person POV:
One thing I did remember about kids was my sister-in-law saying that was the best way to talk to them. Just use your “matter-of-fact” voice, she’d told me. Don’t use a coaxing tone or they’ll think it’s something they wouldn’t want to do. Apparently it was as good as challenging the kid to resist or argue with you about it. I never heard her use the wheedling voice I’d heard random parents in public use when trying to get their kids to behave, and I never heard her raise her voice in anger at the kids, either. She just used a no-nonsense tone. I had to admit, she has some great kids.
Could I pull it off? Would Buddy be able to tell I was a poser who had no real experience being responsible for a child?
He actually let go with one hand as I maneuvered to shift us into position. I lowered my face to the puddle and drank first, to give him a demonstration. The water was tepid, but still tasted wonderful. I forced myself to back off so the kid could have a go.
“Your turn, Buddy,” I told him, and motioned for him to try. He seemed to understand and lowered his pale blond head toward the puddle. He made some slurping sounds so I figured he was getting something out of it.
“You’re doing great.” I laid a hand on his back to encourage him. Perhaps it also made him feel more secure since he let go of me with his remaining hand and slithered forward to improve his angle on the water.
There wasn’t much there, and when it became too low for him to get any more water, he pushed up and maneuvered his legs until he was sitting on his little rump looking up at me with woeful hazel eyes and quivering lips. I quickly reassured him. “There’s more, Buddy. We’ll find another one.”
It wasn’t exactly a lie. There were more puddles for the time being, but what about when it hadn’t been raining? Technically the wet season was over. That didn’t mean there wouldn’t be any at all, but not as much.
It was my turn to hold the baby to my chest for reassurance. I tried not to think of the wretched end we’d all have if dehydration was to be our fate. Perhaps we’d have been better off sinking with the others. I’d heard drowning was peaceful after the initial gasping intake of water. I didn’t know from personal experience, of course, and I didn’t want to die at all, but wouldn’t anything quick be better than drawn-out pain and suffering?
The idea of Buddy going through that depressed me more than for myself. I didn’t want to watch this trusting child who’d latched onto me as a surrogate parent, naively putting his innocent life in my hands, die a painful death because I couldn’t figure out how to help him survive. But worse, I didn’t want him to additionally have the fear of dying alone, the last of us to succumb.
Henry and Sam Miller-Greene are living the dream. They love their careers — which afford each of them opportunities to travel to exotic locations — they love their home, Sam’s caring family, and each other. They disagree on the subject of adoption, but are fully committed to each other in marriage … ’Til Death Do Us Part.
The dream is shattered when Henry’s plane crashes, and he’s presumed dead. But four people — Henry, two other men, and a child — survive undetected on a remote, small, and insignificant island. Will Sam and Henry’s love be able to survive as well?
Henry fights to endure in harsh conditions, never knowing when disaster will strike. Sam struggles with his loss, but with help moves on with his life. Will Sam be able to put aside his new love when he reunites with Henry?
Info & Links: ’Til Death Do Us Part