One of my favorite things to do when I’m a bit stuck in a piece is to write a scene that takes place off-camera, usually because my narrator isn’t there. Back when I first started writing (when I was thirteen!), I had rotating narrators in most of my pieces. It let me tell every part of the story every time. Now that I’m settling into writing one narrator per piece (first person narration, for what it’s worth), I find that I miss some of the stories that don’t get told.
Here’s a little bit of a scene from one of the Waiting Game books. David and Deane, just spending some time together. Which won’t show up in the book, because it isn’t the one he narrates.
Deane paused. “I know you are, David. It’s alright.”
“It’s not. I was being cruel. I was lashing out at you so that I’m not the only one hurting.”
“I’ve missed you so much.”
“I’ve missed you too.”
“I wish you’d come back.”
“So you can talk to me like that more often?”
“So we can be together like we’re supposed to be.”
“We can’t do that.”
“I know.” We stared at each other, and it was all I could do not to wrap her in my arms. “Where are you staying?”
“What room, I mean.”
“Oh. The blue one up on the third floor.”
“Are you okay being up there by yourself? The rest of us are on the second floor.”
“There’s no room for me on the second floor. I’ll be fine.”
“Stay with me.”
She paused. “I…don’t know.”
“I know what this is, Deane. I know what happens in a few days when it’s time for you to go home. Stay with me.”
“I wish things were different, David.”
“Maybe someday.” She turned toward the stairs. “Is that a no?” I asked.
“I need my things.”
“I already brought them down.”
She turned back to me. “Optimistic, are we?”
“Hopelessly so, yes.”
Now I did pull her against me, and she fit in the way she had so many times before. I soaked up the feel of her, the smell, all the things I wouldn’t be able to have in a few more days.
“I love you,” Deane said softly.
“I love you too. Every day, no matter what I say to you,” I replied.
“I wish I could be better for you.”
“Ditto. And you continue to be perfect for me.”
“Whenever I have a string of good days, I start thinking that I can come back. And once I start believing that, the good days stop.”
I rubbed her arms, wishing I could do more to comfort her. “I’m sorry. And I’m sorry I’m so awful to you.”
“You aren’t awful. You’re doing exactly what we both need you to do.”
“I don’t think it’s helping.”
“No, not really.” She pulled back and took my hand. “Show me your room.”