Thursday, February 14, 2013

False Start Friday--Valentine Edition!

No, it's not really Friday but Suze thought a Valentine edition would be fun.  Here's a list of participants.

It turns out that my older work is shockingly lacking in romantic, tender or emotional scenes.  So I had to cheat a little.  This is from a WIP that will become a false start if I don't sell the first of the trilogy.

I should maybe mention that Anna is a selkie.  A fairy-tale creature that is a seal in the water but when they come on land can peel off their skin and become human. She and her husband are reuniting after a year apart.

Paul’s arms tightened around Anna, “When I think you could have—” his voice choked off.
“I didn’t.  I’m fine.”  Her voice was soft in the dark, her breath tickled his cheek.  He couldn’t see her, only feel and touch.  She was much thinner than a year ago.  Frail.
“Fine?  This is fine?  Anna, I can’t stand to see you like this.” 
“You can’t see me at all.”  There was a laugh in her voice.  “Just as I can’t see you.  But I can tell you are too skinny.  I can feel all your ribs.”  She traced her finger over his side. He squirmed and let out a sound that was remarkably close to a squeal and Anna laughed.  “Still ticklish though.  That’s good to know.”
“Anna…”  he trailed off and tightened his arms a little more.  His eyes were wet and he blinked, the moisture falling onto her hair. 
“Don’t worry.  I’ll feed you up.  Starting tomorrow. For breakfast there will be ham, eggs, hotcakes, hash browns, and fresh milk.” 
“What?  You’re not going to slaughter a cow and feed it to me whole?” 
Anna laughed.  It was the best sound in the world, all warm and velvety and he kissed her again.
“That’s for lunch.” She said when he released her mouth.  “I’ll have you big and strong before long.”  She ran her hands over his still broad shoulders.
“What of you?  Will you be big and strong again?”
“I already am.”  She nuzzled her face into his cheek, feeling the rasp of his beard.  “You will have to shave tomorrow though.” 
“Stick to the point.”  He gasped as he spoke, he was forgetting the point himself. 
“Was the point not how happy I am that you’re back?”  She smoothed her hands through his shaggy hair and set a lingering kiss on his lips.
“No,”  His breath was ragged.  “It’s not…” he kissed the spot where her jaw met her neck and ran his hands down her back.  He could feel her spine, and he could circle her waist with his hands.  To skinny.  She had always been lithe and graceful, but curvy in all the right places, now she was pointy and angular, straight like a stick.  He put his hands on her shoulders and pushed her back, breaking his lips away from hers.  “Anna.  I can’t bear you being like this.  I can’t bear being the reason you’re dying.” 
“I’m not dying Paul.  I was sick.  But being here, by the ocean, has helped.  With you back I’ll be plump again in to time.”
“The ocean,” he said, resigned.  “That’s what you need.”  He pulled something from his pocket.  Fumbling in the dark he found her hand and placed the soft fur in it.  She gasped and her hand tightened convulsively.  “Please, go back to the ocean, be well.” 
“Paul, what are you saying?” 
“I’m saying I want you to live.” 
“There is no life without you.  I’ve always known that.  Since the night I chose you over the ocean I’ve needed you.”  He was silent and she gently reached out and touched his arm, lightly drawing her finger down from his shoulder to elbow.  “You are my life. I’m getting old Paul.  I’ll die someday anyway.  As will you.  But I want to spend what is left of it with you.”  He felt something soft touch his fingers as she thrust the skin at him.  “Keep this for me as you have all these years.  Come, hold me in your arms.  That is a better embrace than any I could get in the ocean.” 


  1. I really like this, Sara. I can identify. This is how I feel when my husband goes on one of his "no sugar" fasts. I'm screaming, "Gain some weight! I can feel your ribs." :)

  2. I've always found the selkie an interesting creature. This story snippet reminds me of the Japanese myth of the Crane Wife. Are you familiar? It's ancient, but here, a modern band sings it.

  3. I smiled at:' “Still ticklish though. That’s good to know.” '

    and again at ' “What? You’re not going to slaughter a cow and feed it to me whole?” '

    I'm not familiar with selkies so this was all new to me. What is the significance of the soft fur he places in her hand?

    1. It's her skin so she can return to the ocean as a selkie. While selkies can become human, they need and crave water.

      Glad I could make you smile.

  4. Hi Sara,
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    1. Thanks for visiting! I'll see you around the A to Z challenge.

  5. This sounds like a bitter-sweet story which I was enjoying a lot.

  6. It's my first time reading about a selkie... interesting creature.

    1. There should definitely be more selkie stories. Of course if there were it might make the field over saturated and be harder to sell.

  7. This is sad :(

    Very well written though!!

  8. Selkies are familiar to me- grew up with The Selkie Wife faery tale- loved it even though it was sad: the sadness was only a reminder of how tender love can be. This feeling comes through here too. Happy Valentine Sara!

  9. This is sweet. I like when she tells him he has to shave - a sense of tactile realism.

  10. Well, shish, I wasn't expecting a tear-jerker. No fair, no warning.

    Wow, this was very special, Sara. Really touching.

  11. Oh, Sara, this is wonderful. I wasn't familiar with Selkies, but the emotion and interaction in your snippet ring true. Great job!

    1. Thanks.

      I'm educating people about selkies one snip at a time.

  12. What a fun idea this is, and I love your snippet. Darling! Great work!

  13. Oh no, I didn't need to see this! I can't bear to imagine these two apart, not now that Anna's finally turned her heart to him!