I’ll be posting excerpts from my 2008 National Novel Writing Month project, Racing Heart, every Tuesday in November. I have comments turned off, not because I don’t want your feedback, but because I can’t afford to think too much about what I’m doing at this point – I hope you understand. 🙂
I didn’t get as much writing in as I would have liked. It’s amazing how much time is needed just to churn out 2,000 words – time I am having difficulty squeezing out of my schedule at the moment. (Notice I didn’t say I didn’t have time, I am simply choosing to spend that time elsewhere, like sleeping off caffeine headaches, for example. Grr).
But I can’t say I’m really surprised. I tend to slack off in week two and especially in week three. Today is my husband and son’s birthdays – after today, I should be back on the writing wagon. Of course, there’s still Christmas shopping to do and considering the boys want things from websites that take a while to ship …. I probably should get started right away.
Enough with the excuses. I’m now officially behind, not by much, but behind. I plan on heading to the library today, pounding out 2,000 words,
take my son out of school for lunch (he rejected me – waah!), then back home to clean house for our party tonight. I can do this – I WILL do this.
Thanks for reading.
Chapter One (continued)
You can read the prologue and the first part of chapter one.
“Your spine was crushed, Alex,” the doctor began before stopping to clear his throat. “I tried to repair as much of the spinal column as I could, but your nerves were simply …” He paused and looked at both Mike and Helen, “well, they were in pretty bad shape. I’m afraid I wasn’t able to save it”
“So,” began her father, his voice sounding faint and far away, “you’re saying this is permanent? He’ll never walk again?”
“Well,” the doctor began, “nothing is really permanent. With lots of hard work and physical therapy, it’s possible that Alex will walk with the aid of crutches …”
“Crutches!” Mike yelled and the entire room started in surprise at the outburst. “You mean, he’ll never race again?”
Julie sputtered a bitter chuckle of surprise at her father’s one-track mind. Did the man NEVER think of anything else?
Her father shot her a look so full of venom and hostility that Julie actually blinked in surprise.
He’s never going to forgive me, she thought.
“Race?” The doctor asked, his expression confused.
“My brother is Alex Meadows, doctor. Three-time Winston Cup winner.”
The doctor flipped back to the front of Alex’s chart and then nodded. “Right. I’m sorry, I didn’t recognize the name as being THE Alex Meadows.” He turned toward Julie’s father. “I’m terribly sorry, Mr. Meadows. This must be doubly devastating for you.”
Mike Meadows studied the doctor for long moments before shifting his eyes to Helen. They stared at each other for several more moments and as if they had communicated telepathically, Mike suddenly turned to the doctor and Helen, releasing Alex’s hand, began gathering up his things.
“Right then, we’re taking him.”
“Uh … what a minute, what?” the doctor sputtered in confusion.
“We’re taking him home.”
“But he’s not ready. He needs more tests and …”
“And we’ll hire a private nurse and he can have all of those tests done at our house.”
“But Mr. Meadows, I don’t think you understand Alex’s condition, it’s serious. Very serious.”
“You think I don’t understand what’s going on here? You think I don’t get the fact that my son, my pride and joy, will never get behind the wheel of a race car again? You think I don’t understand that it’s my daughter’s fault that Alex is lying here right this very minute?”
Helen gasped and Julie swayed from the verbal impact of his resentment towards her.
“I’m sorry dad. I’m really, really sorry. I didn’t see Bobby coming up on the outside. I assumed Alex had plenty of room to pass. I had no idea Bobby would suddenly turn aggressive like that. I didn’t mean …”
Mike held up his hand and Julie stopped talking. “I know what you were doing, Julie, and it wasn’t your job!” he yelled so loudly his cheeks filled with angry color.
“Well, it certainly doesn’t sound boring in here,” a blonde woman said as she breezed in, a large bouquet of colorful flowers clasped between her hands. She placed the vase of flowers on the table next to the bed and leaned in to give Alex a soft, intimate kiss on the lips. “What sort of trouble are you stirring up now, sweetheart?” she purred against Alex’s mouth.
“Hey beautiful, I was wondering if you were going to show up,” said Alex.
“And miss this soap opera? I think not,” the woman said while turning to the trio standing awkwardly off to the side.
“Hello Bridget,” Helen said and moved forward to politely give her a light kiss on the cheek.
“Mrs. Meadows, it’s nice to see you again. Mr. Meadows,” Bridget said while nodding to the older gentleman. “And you must be Julie,” she said while extending her hand.
Julie studied the woman for long seconds before offering her hand. She really didn’t care if she was being rude or not. This woman was being rude by walking into the middle of a family … affair.
She cringed inwardly. She hated to call it a family feud, but it was now apparent that her father was going to hold her responsible for Alex’s accident.
“It’s nice to meet you,” she said. She hadn’t really meant for the tone of her voice to be quite so brusque, but she was irritated, worried and just a little scared that her rocky relationship with her father, the relationship she had been working for her entire life to strengthen, was indeed over before it really began.
A nurse walked into the room and then stopped abruptly. “There are way too many people in this room.” She nodded toward Helen. “Someone needs to leave. There should only be two other people in this room besides the patient and the doctor.
“Julie was just leaving,” Mike Meadows growled out.
“Dad,” Alex said. “I need to talk to Julie. Can you give us a few minutes, please?”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Alex,” said Mike.
“Yeah, I might go nuts and slip you some poison in your IV or something,” Julie said bitterly.
“Oh for Christ’s sake!” Mike yelled.
Helen moved toward her husband and taking him by the arm, began leading him to the door. “Alright honey,” she crooned, “let’s go get some coffee. It’s been a long night and we still need to figure out how we’re going to get Alex out of here.”
The couple passed by Julie as they were exiting the room.
“Thanks mom,” Julie said quietly.
Helen gave her a quick, sad smile. Mike pointedly ignored her.
“Right,” said the doctor and hooked Alex’s chart at the foot of his bed. “I’ll be back later to check on you. If you need anything …”
Alex merely nodded and the room remained quiet until both the doctor and nurse left.