Tuesday, August 12, 2014

all smiles and no one remembers our names

+ What's on: Alexithymia, by Anberlin

Sorry, no news yet! Have reread book 3 since getting it back from the first two betas, though, and am happy (surprised?) to say I'm pleased with it. Is it perfect? Nothing ever will be. But it's the ending I wanted for the series.

Distracting myself with more Star Wars: The Old Republic than is probably healthy, but it's mindless entertainment. (Anyone else play?) I've tried figuring out a project to work on next, but I can't keep my thoughts settled on any one book. At least I'm thinking about writing again... for a few weeks I thought I'd just give up on writing entirely to make my life easier.

This past weekend I decided to learn how to crochet. For my first project I am (of course) working on an orange and white blanket. At the rate I'm going it will be done sometime next year. I probably should've aimed for something smaller and simpler as a first project, but ha! I damned myself when I tried to figure out how big to make it, because then everything about it had to have meaning, from the number of stitches to the number of rows. It's time-consuming as hell, but it's doing wonders for my stress levels and helps me zone out of everything that's going on in RL. For that it's a priceless investment.

I felt like I posted this side story before, but I couldn't find it. Sorry?

Timeline: takes place during the events of The Foxhole Court, the first day all of the Foxes are back in South Carolina for summer practices. An older story, so not as refined as it should be, but...

David reached for the lightswitch as he came through the front door, but his hand stilled halfway to it. The hall light was already on; someone had beaten him home. Abby and Neil both had keys to his place, but they would have said something to him before dropping by. That left only one other option, but the silence didn't bode well. David locked the door behind himself and went down the hall in search of his uninvited guest.

Andrew was sitting cross-legged on his couch, hands clenched white-knuckled around his ankles. A bottle of whiskey was half-empty on the coffee table and the plastic beside it sure as hell wasn't from sugar packets. Despite everything Andrew was choking his system with to ward off withdrawal, there was a tightness to his mouth that said he was two seconds away from being violently ill. He slid a dark look David's way as David paused in the doorway.

"You're a fucking idiot," David said.

"Shut the fuck up," Andrew said, but he couldn't sound threatening when he was speaking through clenched teeth.

David shook his head and continued to the kitchen. The absence of dirty dishes on the counter had him tossing his mail onto the table with disgust. Andrew knew better to mix alcohol and crackers with his medication, and he definitely knew better than to do it on an empty stomach. That he'd done it anyway was stupid beyond words and so predictably Andrew David was tempted to choke him. He pushed around the slim pickings in his cabinet before settling on sandwiches. He made four, divided them between two places, and went back to the living room. He sat on the coffee table facing Andrew and put one of the saucers on the cushion at Andrew's side.

"You're cleaning this place before you leave," David said. "You leave even a speck of that dust behind in my apartment and we're going to have a serious problem."

"We already have a serious problem," Andrew said.

"Eat first, bitch at me later."

It was almost a minute before Andrew finally relaxed his grip enough to reach for the food. He tore his sandwich into shreds, then took the shreds apart and ate it one small piece at a time. He managed three-quarters of it before giving up and going for the whiskey again. He swigged straight from the mouth, which was a pretty good sign he was pissed at David. Until Neil moved in this May, Andrew had made an almost biweekly habit of breaking into David's apartment. Most of the time he was just after David's alcohol, but he'd started using cups around the tenth visit.

Andrew drank until he had to come up for air, then asked, "What color are his eyes?"

"Green."

Andrew looked at him like David was being stupid on purpose. "I'm not talking about Kevin."

"For once." David set aside his saucer.

"Who have you let on my team?"

It was not at all the accusation David was expecting. This shitfit was supposed to be about the bombshell he'd dropped on the Foxes at today's meeting. How Neil outranked the Ravens' district change on Andrew's skewed list of priorities, David had no idea. "Kevin picked him. I just signed off on him."

"Mistake. He can't stay. If you don't chase him off I will."

"Leave him alone," David said. Andrew didn't answer but reached for the whiskey again. David slammed it back down onto the tabletop. "Andrew. Leave him alone. He's got just as much right to be here as any of you do."

"He is losing that right at an alarming rate," Andrew said. "I'm sick of his lies."

"I'm sure he's sick of your sunshine attitude, too."
 
"We missed something," Andrew said as if David hadn't spoken. "I don't know how. I don't know where. It doesn't add up. Did you know? The only truth he tells is Exy. That isn't enough, and it isn't going to last. He can't spend every second of every day with us without unraveling at the seams. The cracks are starting to show. Do you know what he's hiding?"

"It's not my business unless he makes it mine."

"You saw the way he looked at Kevin."

"You used to hate Kevin too," David reminded him. "Kevin's not exactly a people person."

"I won't tolerate loose ends," Andrew said flatly. "Not this year, not with Riko in our district. He isn't safe."

"Have you even tried talking to him?"

"Like talking to a politician," Andrew said. "Fake smiles and bullshit. Complete waste of time. No. He had his chance to come clean and he ignored it. I'm taking him to Columbia this Friday."

"Don't you dare."

"You can't stop me."

"But I can end you," David said. "All of you. If you do to him what you did to Matt, I will cut every last one of you from my roster."

"You don't even know who you're protecting."

"A Fox," David said, "same as any of you."

Andrew didn't look moved, but David knew he'd won. Andrew wouldn't think twice about screwing himself and his relatives out of their scholarships, but Kevin was a different story entirely. David wouldn't really cut Kevin, not when he was Kayleigh's son and not with Riko a fast-approaching threat on the horizon, but Andrew would never call his bluff. The consequences of being wrong were too severe for even Andrew to accept.
 
David gave it a few more minutes just in case, but finally Andrew turned his attention back on the whiskey. David understood the retreat for what it was and got to his feet. He took their plates with him out of the room and spent the rest of the evening working in his office. He smoked half a pack of cigarettes in the time it took him to arrange travel arrangements for their away games. Andrew's phone going off down the hall startled him into looking up from his computer screen. David checked the clock and went to grab a spare blanket from the linen closet.

The cap was screwed tight on the whiskey bottle, so David threw the blanket at Andrew from the doorway. Andrew pushed it around on the floor with his shoe a moment. David half-expected him to leave, but at length Andrew dragged the blanket up onto the couch.

"You wouldn't really cut Kevin," Andrew said.

David ignored him and went back to his office. He looked at his screen, but he couldn't focus on the words. His thoughts teetered between Andrew and Neil until he finally pulled Neil's sparse file from his cabinet. He studied Neil's profile picture, from his impassive expression to the guarded look in his eyes. He thought about Friday and wondered if there wasn't more he could do to try and rein Andrew it, but then he thought about Kevin and Riko and Kayleigh.

David liked Neil. The kid was a bit ragged around the edges and ice all the way through, but he was all right. But David had loved Kayleigh, and he wouldn't risk losing her only son. Kevin was all David had left of her.

 "I'm sorry," David said, and he put Neil's file away.

23 comments:

Amber Ezell said...

Yay, cant wait for the new book!!! I'm a long time lurker/follower :) - I was pretty intense TOR before free to play, brought a merc along then became highly irate when I was no longer viable PVP. Sigh. Started leveling another character and then life got in the way, and stayed in the way. boo. But back to the book, and the whole gang, YAAAAY!

8488ba1a-1541-11e4-8c7e-47451df392ea said...

Another lurker, though I don't know why my comments post with a long string of numbers ...

I loved reading that! Thanks for the snack before you bring out the banquet. :) I had wondered about the coach's thoughts about Kevin's mom. The first time I read the first two books, I stupidly wondered if he even knew, like it could be some sort of coincidence. Dumb of me, I realized upon rereading.

That said, thank you for completing this for us. I'm so darn excited.

And good luck with the crocheting. I took it up, but didn't have the patience beyond two sad little squares that I keep around to taunt me. Sigh. Some day, I'm really going to do it.

gin said...

So he didn't know kevin was his son? Wow.
And LOL at Andrew thinking that Neil was a more pressing matter than riko and his squad coming to the foxes district hahaha.

SarSar said...

I always wondered what a side conversation bt Renee and Andrew looked like ??? I picture animated dialogue about Neil and Andrews feelings on that subject!! Did u ever write a side story about those two? I enjoy their friendship a ton!

lime-yay said...

YAY! This was fantastic! I hope you post more side stories, I absolutely adore them. SarSar brought up an interesting idea, we know Andrew and Renee are buddies, but we never see them directly interact. That'd be interesting. I also adore that Bee knew a lot about Neil from Andrew. I'd love to see him gushing to her about Neil.

Anyway, that was great! I loved seeing Neil from a third person perspective: "David liked Neil. The kid was a bit ragged around the edges and ice all the way through, but he was all right." :)

marynoel said...

Amber : I can't seem to get into PVP, but I'm slowly working through all of the class storylines. Working on the knight now-- it's more exciting than I expected it to be! :O

Numbers-Anon XD : I'm excited/scared-as-hell for people's reactions to the last book! I thought about making the blanket project into a scarf so it'd be done faster, but now that I've tied it into the Foxes' numbers I know I can't give up on it.. It's kind of comforting how mindless it is, isn't it?

gin : Noooope, poor bastard. And yeah, Andrew needs to rethink his priorities!

SarSar : I wrote a short (26K) story about Andrew's freshman year from Renee's point of view, but it's a couple years old and enough plot points/personality nuances have changed that I'd have to edit it before putting it up again anywhere.

lime-yay : Andrew & Renee get a little more time together in book 3. I love their friendship.. They're my impossible head!canon OTP. ♥

Jessi Nguyen said...

I really am excited for the book release!! I'm so happy that things are going well, and I hope you continue writing!! I look forward to future projects... :D

I am super glad you posted the side story. it was awesome!! I love how andrew does focus on Neil so much... (though that might be my inner yaoi-fangirl kicking in...)

best wishes and hope to hear from you soon!! :D

gin said...

More Andrew & Neil sidestory if possible?;)

sharon hunter said...

I can't wait for the third book! I check back here at least once a week to check for an update on when to expect it!!!

SarSar said...

Thanks for the response!Sometimes, when I'm feeling really twisted, I try to picture this entire story from Riko's perspective. Madness. Also, I have always wondered about Allison's point of view. I suspect she is feeding information to the Ravens, out of misguided spite for a member of her own team getting Seth killed. Like I said, just bored speculation while I wait for your next amazing book :)

Q said...

I believe it's time to reread books 1 and 2 *rubs hands together*. The last time I waited this eagerly for anything was when the Harry Potter series were still a work in progress.

Love you for writing this trilogy and putting it out there. You've made a lifelong fan of me for your m/m works if you decide to continue word-mongering. If you do, I hope that you write for yourself, never for the fans, because we're a fickle bunch and our opinions should be irrelevant :)

Wishing you a life free of anxiety and stress *hugs*.

tsquaire said...

I'm glad crocheting is working for you! (I could never figure it out sadly) for me it's knitting! Keep up the good work and please don't stop writing.

maryvel said...

The anticipation is killing me. Since you posted this I've reread books 1 and 2 in parts yet again, as well as your entire blog... It's true, it's like waiting for the next Harry Potter volume to come out. Great! ^_^

To be honest, when I read the previous books I thought there wasn't ever going to be a relationship, everything too subtle usually just goes straight over my head...
In the beginning I thought it was going to be Neil/Kevin, but then we find out that Kevin has a girlfriend and Andrew seemed too messed up to get really close to somebody else, so I was a bit disappointed, but kept reading because I loved the characters and your writing style and the story drew me in big time.

However since I found out, that there is going to be Andrew/Neil action in book three, I've reread the story from a different viewpoint and I can hardly wait to see how you've managed to bring them together.

I'll just keep coming back every few hours, the wait is definitely worth it!

JamieCowanReed said...

I have enjoyed all of the extras that you have posted on the Foxes. everyone probably has this URL already, but its is by far, my favorite extra for book 3:

http://boysinourbooks.com/2013/11/06/freefic-week-guest-post-exclusive-excerpt-quick-qa-nora-sakavic/

As a matter of fact, this is how I found your blog, when I was trolling the Net for more information on book 3, and the Foxes. So if I'm late for the party with this URL, SO SORRY. If not, ENJOY!!!


Shadow04130 said...

I've recently reread book one and two and fell in love all over again. I'm so excited to read the third book that I've started imagining what might happen in my head.

I've tried crocheting blankets before, but I've never finished anything. You have more dedication than anyone I know, though, so I'm sure you'll be able to finish it. Maybe you could post a picture of it when you do. :)

Wren Safe said...

Thank you so much for the added story snippet. It's a great piece! I loved reading it. Any add-on to this universe is much appreciated since I'm in love with everything about these books.

I feel like waiting for the third book to drop is like having to pee really really really badly in the middle of a meeting at work. I don't want to rush along anything because I know that's very rude and what they have to say is important... but I'm not sure how much longer I can hold it either?

I check this blog: (1) in the morning when I wake up (2) on my lunch break (3) first thing when I get home (4) First thing after dinner (5) Right before I go to sleep. Every day this week.

I re-read the first two books and all the snippets of stories on your blog thinking it'd help me stall but it just made it worse. I'm so pumped for the release of this book. You're an amazing story teller and I have to know how it ends.

Please - the wait is killing me.

Gemma Mac said...

Can't wait for the release date..so excited

Marina Elena said...

Oh my god, I had to laugh so hard about the comment comparing the wait with having to pee. :D
I think it's especially excrutiating now because I know the book is finished, but I can't get my hands on it.

I've reread the first two books a few times in the past weeks and I notice more and more about the characters with every read through. Like how Andrew is so fiercly protective of his chosen family and how far he's willing to go for them. He would have killed himself to protect his foster mother from finding out about her son and he refused to help Higgins just to keep Nicky and Aaron as far away from Drake as he possibly could.
I also think that he wanted his brother from the start, but he told Aaron to piss off, because he didn't want him to get mixed up in Andrew's life.

He's willing to risk absolutely everything to keep the few people he chose to protect save, and now that the situation's reversed, that someone else got bady hurt to protect him, I can't wait to find out how he's going to react to that. Especially now that he'll be sober for the first time in the series I can't predict his reaction at all, I just really doubt he'll take it well.

I also hope that Riko didn't manage to break Neil to the point where he can't recover. He's come so far in the first two books, standing his ground and slowly learning to get involved with others and making a place for them in his life.

I'm sooo excited I'm practically squealing at all he things I imagine might happen between them all.
I also don't want to rush you at all, the anticipation is killing me, but I'm willing to wait for as long as it takes for you to feel comfortable with releasing The King's Men, but have you heard anything at all? Just so I'll be able to stop checking your blog every 5 seconds because I fear I might miss it. Seriously, I wake up every morning thinking 'today's the day!' ^^

Also, I wonder if you've given more thought to how much you'll charge for the book. You wrote somewhere, that you don't dare ask for more that 99c, because that's what you decided on for The Raven King, but I really think there's no need for you to think like that.
You've put just as much work into your books as any other author and deserve to be compensated. You've put years of work into writing them and most people have no problem paying for that. Even if this might be an unpopular opinion (I doubt it), I think you can charge a proper price for book three. I say that even though I'm jobless and broke at the moment so I really mean it... U_U

gin said...

Hi guys. Passing by again hahaha

marynoel said...

Jessi : Thanks for your patience! I hope it's worth the wait!

gin : The problem with Andrew & Neil side stories are that they tend to be spoilerish!

Sharon : Sorry about the delays! I hope I have good news for you soon.

SarSar : Your lack of faith in Allison is a little sad ;D but it's an interesting theory. I love imagining the story from Riko's POV, and I once considered writing a what-if version of the story just for fun-- what if Neil's mother hadn't run?

Q : That's high praise indeed! Thank you so much for taking a chance on the books! Hopefully we'll have a date soon.

tsquaire : I can't imagine knitting, I think I'd lose control over the project within a couple seconds, ha!

maryvel : Sorryyyy, as soon as I have a date you'll know! The series was originally built around a Kevin/Neil relationship, but those two would never work out in this version.

JamieCowanReed : Haha, that excerpt amuses me because I had to rewrite a chunk of that scene. Thanks for reading! :D

marynoel said...

Shadow04130 : haha, we'll see if I can stick with it.. It helps that I started bringing it to work. I can get a couple rows done in between reports vs having to stop everything at home to do it.

Wren Safe : Wish I had more than just a snip to offer! The second I have some news you guys will be the first to know, I promise!

Gemma Mac : Sooooon, I hope!

Marina Elena : Your take on Andrew makes me go ♥♥♥ So far no new news, but I'll try and reach out this week to both the sister and the beta. Saturday I'll post something on the blog whether I know anything or not, if that helps? As far as pricing goes, yeah, TKM is still going to be 99c. Might as well keep the project consistent, but I really appreciate the support.

gin : Hi again :D

Marina Elena said...

Oh yes, that helps! Thank you! :-)

SarSar said...

Oh my God - life long crochet hound here, and I always wanted to try knitting but sucked at it- until....**drum roll** the Knitting Knook!!! **gasp of amazement** Seriously, it's a knitting cheat device, and I have now knit like 500 scarves. I have nothing to do with these scarves, but I can PRODUCE a scarf via knitting. This is what matters :)