Thursday, March 10, 2011

Friday Fiction for March 11, 2011

Friday Fiction is hosted this week by Karlene again, only this week on her Dancin’ In the Rain, Splashin’ in His Love blog. Dance on over and splash right into the Linky, for this week’s reading fun.

Five years ago, my daughter and I were enrolled in a writing course at the local college, for advanced writers working on novel length projects. “Cardan’s Pod” was already a finished story, but I wanted critique feedback on it, and this class was a good place to get that. One week, someone made the comment that she could not imagine why the main character, Josh, had ended up married to a woman that wanted to kill him in the first place.

I thought, ‘Haven’t you ever read the news? People get married to someone who intends to kill them much too often in real life.’ I initially dismissed the question, but before long, thought about it some more and decided there could be a good scene in the answer. This excerpt, from Chapter 13, was the result of that question.

In Love With the Idea

Marta was stretched out on her belly, her left arm bent beneath her head and face turned toward where Josh rested. It was a strange experience to enjoy casual conversation with a normal man, as Dr. Marcel had rarely just talked with them. Most of the time his interaction had been to teach, and there had always been some task pressing on him and cutting their time short.

Though the ladder was just a few feet away, Josh, on the other hand, appeared in no hurry to leave her. She pursued her subject, even though he sounded uneasy with it.

“What I don’t understand is why a person would do that. Why would she leave you to die?”

“The only reason I can think of is that she wants what I have, Marta.”

“I still don’t understand. If she is your wife, doesn’t that make your relationship similar to the Pod; you share what you have for the good of the whole?”

“For some things, yes, but I own a company, and much of what I have is tied up in corporate stock and other such assets.”

“But you both share that, right?”

“Think about the pantry upstairs and all the canned food in it. It’s been here all along, right?”

“I guess so. We didn’t even know about it until you found it and brought some back.”

“But even if you had known about it, it wouldn’t have done you any good; you couldn’t access it. It’s the same with a good portion of my wealth. Cynthia knows about it, but as long as I refuse to sell it, she can’t access it.”

“But why try to kill you if she can’t access it unless you agree to sell it?”

“Because with me dead, she then becomes the one who controls whether the company is sold or not. I won’t sell the company because it’s been the family business since my grandfather founded it. It was important to Granddad that my father took over the business after him, and it was important to my father that I took over when he died. If I ever have children, I want the company to stay in the Cardan family as well.” He grunted as he shifted positions, and his arm brushed her hand.

She responded with a tentative touch. “You want children, then?”

“I’d hoped Cynthia and I would start a family soon, though she’d never expressed much interest in it. I guess now I know why.” Josh gave a grim laugh. “She made sure I knew that’s not going to happen at all.”

“So why did you end up with her?”

“I loved her, and I thought she loved me.”

“But you couldn’t tell?”

“Looking back, it seems so obvious now, but at the time, no, I couldn’t tell. My dad had died shortly before I met her, and I was completely lost in trying to take over the company. I met Cynthia at a trade show, and she was just so smart and so pretty that I couldn’t believe how lucky I was when she invited me to join her for dinner.” He sniffed and then coughed. “Now that I think about it, I wanted so much to be as happy as Diego and Sally that I never looked beyond the surface of what Cynthia was like. I was in love with the idea of being in love, Marta. Does that make any sense?”

“I don’t know,” she said, glad that the darkness hid her face from his view. Whether it made sense or not, she knew what it felt like.


Debra Gray-Elliott said...

Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed reading this excerpt.

Catrina Bradley said...

I remember reading this part, and having experienced a failed relationship (tho not to the point of murder), you described it VERY well. Great job, Rick. :)