I am a baby at drawing. But look at my pretty shadows! Yay!
I’m (insert mundane work details, indicating that I’m a-froth with bustling industry), and here is a bit of Diana for now:
“Well, we were here, just–just living here. Um, I don’t know how much you remember, Di. Diana, sorry,” Stuart said, flushing and scooting a little away on the bed.
Diana wanted to keep Stuart on the edge of feeling off-balance and uncomfortable, so she moved closer to keep them at the same distance.
He studied her for a moment, a hard light in his eyes, and then continued without making any comment on her behavior.
Good, Diana thought, and she looked at the bruising along Stuart’s face as he spoke.
“I don’t know what parts you were there for, but things started to jump around in my timeline after that fight we had. You remember, when I came back, or seemed to, and you threw water in my face and tried to beat me up?” Stuart asked.
“Yeah, I know that part,” Diana said.
“Good. Well, things got wonky after that. Um, I had you tied up in the bed, right? And I was trying to talk to you, to make you calm down, and then everything–well, the room around us dissolved and you and I both went and had a long talk with the aliens. Do you remember this?” Stuart asked.
Diana had no intention of revealing how much she’d experienced, so she made herself look haunted and tired and refused to answer. Stuart sighed.
“Yeah, I’ll just keep talking and telling my side. It’s hard for me to think about, too. I imagine it’s worse for you, if you do remember that stuff. When did you leave? What part did you miss?” Stuart asked.
“Stuart, talk,” Diana said.
“Yeah, okay. Well, I’ll work from that fight, then, and me tying you up. So the room dissolved and we had a really long talk with the aliens. They, um, froze you for parts of that, and then sometimes they froze me and talked to you instead. Negotiations went on forever, it seemed like, hours, and the conclusion was that we’d both be aged a bit and thrown into a facsimile neighborhood, to recreate young adulthood for the aliens. I feel really stupid saying all of this as if you weren’t there for it, Diana. I mean, you know most of this better than I do, I’m sure. You were managing most of it, telling the aliens what would be acceptable, and how things needed to be. I feel idiotic telling you the story like this,” Stuart said, his eyes asking her for help.
“No. Keep talking,” Diana said. Stuart sighed and nodded.
“So the aliens made us older. I was in my late twenties, I think, and you were at least twenty-one. I’m not sure exactly how old, but you told the aliens that twenty-one was your cut-off age for what you’d be comfortable with, and so you were early twenties and I was late twenties. Um, and we were still in this house at first. You changed so much, Di. I didn’t know at first if it was even you, but–I guess it might not have been you, actually,” Stuart said, looking moody.
“Look, Stu. If we ever get to the point of being really good friends and I feel I can trust you, then I’ll tell you my half and we can really compare timelines. For now, just be super honest,” Diana said.
“Okay,” Stuart said, clearly attempting to make himself small and docile-looking. Diana laughed and patted his knee, which made him flinch and then smile in a faltering manner.
“Stu, that’s not working. I know you’re not nearly this wrought up with dramatic feelings. Just talk,” Diana said.
Stuart’s looks melted into something like consternation. He eyed her and then sniffed with a ‘Well, fine, then’ kind of sound and went on.
You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, Rosie the toddler is about to be rescued (dramatically!).