Happy Valentine's Day, people! As you may know, this Is It Getting Hot In Here Bloghop is being hosted by Cassie Mae and Hope Roberson. I probably won't be hopping around until tomorrow (the 15th) because I'm doing something kind of big on Valentine's Day (wink, wink) but it is totally stealth so I'll let y'all in on it later.
I'm using a scene from That Book On a Flash Drive in My Nightstand. I prepared this before the bloghop was limited to 300 words. I did cut a lot from this but it's still way over 300 words. You don't have to read all the way through if you don't want to! If it just doesn't interest you, move on. I won't be offended!
What you need to know before you read this: A young boy named Carl in a small town has disappeared. Sera is his much older sister. She is also a world famous ice skater. Cheyanne is her aunt and also an attorney. Shawn is the Chief of Police. He is meeting with Cheyanne and Sera to talk about the case. Also, Shawn is separated from his longtime girlfriend, Brenda. Sera is in a relationship with a much older man, Jeffrey but that relationship is on the rocks. All of these things have been exacerbated by the stress of Carl having vanished.
Here is the scene:
“Great,” Cheyanne says, retreating toward the hall. She pulls the door closed behind her, leaving Sera alone with Shawn. He smiles wanly. Sera rises and says, “Thank you.”
She moves closer to him, grasps his arm, and plants a soft kiss on his cheek. She turns away from him but he pulls her back to him, cups her chin, and kisses her on the mouth. The kiss is full, soft, and deep. When they part, Sera stands momentarily with her face turned up, eyes half-closed, like a flower yawning toward the sun.
Shawn pushes her away. He makes a sound like a dog that twitches and yelps in its sleep. He covers his eyes with one large hand. “I’m sorry,” he moans. “God. That was wrong on so many levels.”
His hand falls away, revealing a torn look, a look like fresh ice streaked with blade marks. Sera touches her lips. She knows she should say something. It’s okay. Wow. Don’t worry about it. Do it again. Forget it. It never happened.
In all the years since Sera has wanted to kiss a member of the opposite sex, she’s only kissed Jeffrey. His lips are old and familiar to her. They’ve surveyed every inch of her. They feel natural, comfortable against her own, the way a favorite chair feels against your body when you’ve sat in it enough times to make your own indentation. Jeffrey’s lips are just an impression of her own.
In the beginning, they were exciting, unnerving. Then they brought nothing. Now, when Jeffrey kisses her, there is only a world of unspoken words, emotions, desires, unfulfilled needs, miscommunications, and frustrations. It is like a shield of Plexiglas between them. They kiss against it, trying to find each other’s mouths.
Shawn’s lips are new. They are softer, wetter, more cloying. They feel like a sigh or a moan. Sera doesn’t know it if is the newness of his lips, the novelty of them, the seamy excitement of kissing someone she shouldn’t, or the tiny little crush she’s had on him for months that she admits to no one, not even herself, but Sera liked the kiss.
She knows she shouldn’t. She knows it is wrong. Shawn is still in love with Brenda Reyes. Brenda is her friend. Sera has Jeffrey. Shawn is working a case involving Sera’s brother. Everything is turned upside down. Both their lives have become a kaleidoscope of unpleasant experiences, always shifting, never making sense. The picture turns inside out, outside in. Blurry edges, shards of perfect images distorted into a new haphazard one. Senseless.
Because nothing makes sense anymore, because Sera James cannot get through the day without fighting off the dreaded panic and because she knows that the few minutes in this office are the only she’ll have with Shawn Hill in which to make a secret with him, Sera goes to him. He is tall and she has to stand on her tiptoes. She reaches into the uncombed hair at the back of his head and pulls him down to her. She kisses hard, like a woman trying to steal the oxygen out of his lungs.
Shawn seems to fall off the edge of the desk, into the kiss. His arms wrap around her as if seeking support. The passion of the kiss is awkward. Shawn reaches up and cups her face, to steady himself and draw Sera closer. She presses her body into his and puts one hand to his chest.
Their parting is like a suction cup being removed from a smooth flat surface or a factory-sealed jar opening for the first time. They make a popping sound. Sera stumbles backward. She feels hot all over. She knows her face is beet-red, like sunburn. Shawn gropes his way to the chair Cheyanne vacated and collapses there, breathing heavily.
They don’t look at each other, don’t speak. The room is filled with electric knots of energy, zinging, hissing, and popping like a pinball machine. Sera takes her place in the chair next to Shawn. She sits up straight, hands in her lap, knees knocking together.
“I’m sorry,” Sera says, her voice so small she isn’t sure if he hears it.
“Sera,” Shawn says, his eyes on his feet. “I didn’t mean, I, that wasn’t fair for me to do that. I don’t know why I—“
She cuts him off. “It’s okay. It wasn’t fair of me either.”
Another bout of silence. Sera wants to stay with him. She wants to walk over to him, take his hand, and lead him to the cot where they can hide their pain in each other. Where the feel of their skin touching, rubbing, pressing will replace everything else. She wants to envelop herself in his arms, curl against his body and forget everything. Every single thing. Carl, Jeffrey, her mother, Cheyanne, skating, new friends, her whole life. Pretend she is someone else entirely. Not even allow him to call her by her name. Lock Cheyanne out, toss Shawn’s badge out the window, and rip the phone out of the wall. Stay there, in his office forever, pretending.
But she can’t and she knows if she stays one minute longer in his defeated silence, punctuated by crazy pinging knots of energy, she will give in. So she stands up, squeezes his shoulder, touches his cheek, and says goodbye. She closes the door behind her and walks down the hall like a woman leaving the scene of an accident.