Sunday, July 8, 2012

As Promised...A Sneak Peek

Hi Boys and Girls! 
What follows is an excerpt from the first of a series which is still unnamed. This is a first ever sneak peek at an unedited version of the story. Enjoy!
What happens when an African American girl and Asian Indian from two families who function as one, suddenly fall in love?

Excerpt from Latest Project
Wyatt didn't call or text Edy the day he saw her and Hassan kiss. And she didn't expect him to. But what she did expect was for him to show up to school the next day. Or the day after. Or the day after that. So, as each day passed, her irritation with his words slowly eked to worry, until worry was all she had left. After all, a week of missed school was enormous for the boy who never missed a day. 
She texted him, as her fingers resisted even that small measure, even as her mind recalled his blasphemy. But he had no real way of knowing the magnitude of his words, or what betrayal from Hassan would mean. Could he possibly understand the endless way their families were interwoven; the way father and father, mother and mother, children and parents, were connected one to the other? Severing any part of the chain would be devastating, but severing Hassan from Edy was unthinkable. 
Fingers trembling, Edy keyed in four simple characters and waited. 
How long she sat on the edge of her bed, she couldn't know. Outside, winter threatened an early retreat, as uncommitted to its previous bouts of frost as it was to sticking around. Night hung like damp silk, chilled but luring, calling Edy to the windowsill. 
She set down her phone and went to it.
In the sliver of garden visible from her room, Edy watched Rani as she adjusted the tarp over a winterized bed of roses. But there was no need to do so. Rani's prized flowers, cultivated with the help of Edy each year, were as protected from the elements as any threatened blooms in the arboretums of the world. As the flowers she offered up in her daily worship when the seasons allowed, Rani's roses were more than just eye-catching blossoms, they were testament to her religious devotion.
Edy bit her lip. If Rani Pradhan was fiddling in the garden on a January night, then something was bothering her. It was the secret that only Edy knew—gardening equaled penance, gardening made her calm.
Edy glanced behind her, just in time to see Rani's son, Hassan, shift in bed, curling in the warmth of where Edy's body just lay. Soon, he would wake on realizing her absence. It seemed neither could sleep much without the other these days. 
Penance. Once, when they were in middle school, Hassan beat an older boy bloody, ceasing only when the twins peeled him away. Even then, he'd spat on him. The boy's crime? Calling Edy the 'n' word.
Hassan's father thought the boy hadn't been beaten badly enough, and thought it fit that he pay a visit to his father, too. Hassan's mother, on the other hand, banished him to his room, and spent the afternoon praying fervently on behalf of her son, in their tiny family shrine. 
Was that where she headed? To the family shrine at twilight? Was she so desperate to gather a sacrifice, so desperate to be heard by Lord Shiva, that she would prick her thumbs on frozen thorns, grappling for the smallest of offerings? 
What would inspire such desperation? What did she know already?
Edy's gaze lifted to Hassan's bedroom window, directly across from her own. Dark, undoubtedly with the door locked. He slipped in and out that room without inhibition, having established the need for privacy at a much younger age. Such things only worked out with Indian boys, of course, no girl could assert herself in such a manner. 
Briefly, Edy wondered if Rani knew that her son left at night. What did she believe? That Hassan, the jock, traversed the homes of unsuspecting parents, pillaging the beds of daughter throughout Boston? No wonder she ransacked her garden. After all, she couldn't possibly know how close to home he remained, or whose bed he slept in at night. 
She expected that. 
Edy looked at Hassan, face in what she hoped was an expression devoid of all thought. 
“Can't sleep?” He sat up, as she knew he would, unwilling to sleep since she couldn't. 
“I see your mother,” she said. “In the garden.”
Hassan shrugged. “You know how she gets about those flowers. Can't be outdone.”
She stared back at him, wondering how they got that way. How it was that she knew his mother better than him, and he knew her father better than her. 
“What would she say?” Edy said as she took a seat on the windowsill. “About us?”
“Well,” Hassan said, and swung his legs out of the bed. “She would remind me that I'll be marrying a Punjabi girl of her choosing in a few short years. She would tell me to leave you alone.”
Before her now, he brushed hair from eyes. 
“But you already know that,” he said. 

Copyright by Shewanda Pugh
Author of Crimson Footprints
Release Date TBD

Twitter: @ShewandaP

1 comment:

Molly said...

Sounds good! Thanks for sharing!