This post is for a contest hosted by An Aspiring Writer's World. Please read the other entries! Each is from a completed manuscript.
After reading the others, I see most included a bit of context; I'll do the same. George is Daphne's father. He has been searching for James, the man who abused and then raped his daughter. Lila is his latest victim, and one George now feels responsible for.
Name: Kimberly Gould
Title: Thickness of Blood
Genre: Literary Fiction
Entry word count: 469
Manuscript word count: 64000
Link number: 17
“Do you... Do you know what you plan to do now, Lila?”
She felt her throat tighten. He knew she wasn’t going home, but she hadn’t told him she couldn’t. The truth was that she had no idea what to do next. She had a vague idea to go to another city, maybe as far as Nashville, and try to find work. That would mean living in the street, not the hardest thing at this time of year, she expected, but she didn’t have the faintest idea how or where to start. She’d never
had to take care of herself before.
“No,” she answered honestly, breaking eye contact to look at and finger her toast. “I thought I’d go... somewhere else. Start new.”
His smile, soft before, broadened now. “I think that’s a good idea. Are you particular where you go?” The smile slid a little, something else in his eyes now, worry? Fear?
She shook her head. “No. My first thought was Nashville, but I’m not picky at all. I can’t go to family anywhere,” she muttered, picking up the toast again. Her eyes met his. “You know, don’t you?”
“About a possible baby?” he said, cocking his head to one side. “About being kicked out of your house? Yes, Lila. Grace gets word fast, and she heard that this was likely to happen, if...” he broke off. Smile gone completely now, a growl entered his voice, “If James had touched you. I swear, Lila, if I had known this would happen...” He covered his eyes with one of his hands and his broad shoulders slumped.
He’d only been kind to her, this strange man. Showing her more care and love than anyone she had known before, she felt the overwhelming need to comfort him now. She stood, her chair scraping on the wood floor, and rounded the table to put her arms around his shoulders, hands barely meeting on the far one. He lifted one hand to touch her elbow, and she thought she heard him sob.
“George?” she asked. She had never seen a man cry before.
“He got you, Lila. I shouldn’t have been the only one looking for him. If I’d told someone...” he cried again, and this time Lila saw the tear fall.
“He didn’t hurt me, George. He just left me,” she tried to explain.
“Lila, you didn’t want what he did to you, did you?” he asked, turning those sorrowful eyes to her. “You didn’t chase him, did you?” His lip trembled a little.
Her throat caught, remember that first day, a year ago now. He had definitely been chasing. “No,” she answered in a whisper.
George’s chair scraped as he pushed it out from the table. He put an arm around her waist and hugged her back. “Neither did Daphne.”