Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday

This week's work in progress post is a short scened building suspense before Joseph and Alexis officially meet for the first time. I would guess, you'll realize this is not love at first sight, which will become even more evident by next week's scene.

One thing I want to express in this scene is Lexi's vulnerability. I know she's all tough on the outside, and she can take care of herself but, whether she likes it or not, sometimes she needs to be rescued, not necessarily from others, but from herself.

This scene is, by far, the one most likely to be rewritten. I'm not sure I like it yet, and feel there is much to be removed, and maybe even some things added for clarity.


Business at the bar was relatively slow most of the night, although the pace was steady. Customers came and went, creating a rise and fall in activity, rather than a steady flow. One lonely dancer graced the stage, moving suggestively to old worn out rock and roll songs. Lexi wanted to talk to the woman, but stayed just busy enough to be serving drinks each time the dancer took a break. Besides, during every break, the dancer went into the small crowd sitting with a customer.
She finally caught the dancer leaving the stage after a short set. Business in the bar was in a slow lull, so Lexi decided she would take a short break, and get to know only other female employee in the bar. She gave the woman a smile as she left the stage, and followed her to a table along the outside wall of the bar.
"Mind if I sit with you," Lexi said as she pulled out a chair. "By the way, my name's Paulina." Lexi gave her the name she gave everyone else since arriving in Montgomery.
"Sure. Be my guest," the woman said, not mentioning her name, instead taking a tube of cherry chap-ice chap stick off the table, and running it in a circle across her lips.
The woman lifted a container of bottled water up, snapping the cap open, and bringing it to her lips. Lexi watched, as she tipped the bottle up, drinking about half of it in one long pull. Lexi wondered why a dancer in a shady strip club would choose water over any of the harder drinks probably provided free to her while she worked. The woman suddenly stopped, looking at Lexi through her uplifted water bottle.
"What, you never saw a dancer drinking water on her break?" The woman sat the bottle back down on the table, screwing the cap on, a wry smile forming as she stared at Lexi. After what seemed a lifetime of staring, the woman finally broke her gaze, picking up the tube of chap stick again for another two laps around her lips.
"Becky," she said, as she pushed the cap onto the chap stick tube. "My name's Becky."
"Nice to meet you, Becky." Lexi watched her stand the chap stick tube upright on the table, and slide her water bottle toward her. Becky moved with a grace and fluidity that Lexi thought was beyond that of a dancer in a club. She wondered if Becky had some other professional dancing experience. Lexi asked. "How long have you worked here?"
"About a year or so." Becky stared at her again, as if trying to see beyond her eyes, and into her soul. "I started out in the New York ballet. After an injury, I moved to Vegas. I did the circuit there for awhile, and then ended up here."
"That's a big jump, Vegas to Montgomery, Alabama. How did that happen?"
Becky grabbed at her chap stick again. "Let's just say, a relationship brought me here, and when it ended, I was stuck." She uncapped the chap stick tube with a pop, and ran it around her lips again, like a car racing around a track.
Lexi decided not to press the issue any further, afraid of what might have happened to Becky that she couldn't leave. She looked away, not wanting to go any deeper into conversation. Across the dark room, she saw Lefty raising his glass and shaking it until ice cubes spilled out the sides onto the carpet.
"Looks like you've met our resident sleaze ball," Becky said as she pushed her chair back, and got up from the small round table.
"Yeah, he's been making me nervous all night." Lexi got up, and extended her hand. "It was nice meeting you, Becky."
Yeah, same to you. Take care of yourself ... Paulina. Don't let guys like Lefty get to you. If you do, you won't last a week here."
"Thanks," Lexi said. "I'll keep that in mind." She glance over to him and saw he was still holding his glass up, an expectant look on his face. "I guess I better go fill his drink before he has a fit."
Becky strolled seductively back to the stage, grabbing the pole, and beginning a slow dance in the middle of a song. Lexi waited for another minute before making her way over to Lefty's table, just to make him sweat a little.
It didn't take long for the bar's crowd to dwindle down to nearly nothing. By nine o'clock, the bar was empty except for the creepy, greasy-haired man, Sam called Lefty. Lexi wanted to show Sam that she was a valuable employee, willing to take initiative and get things done. She found some plastic trash bags behind the bar, and walked through the bar, emptying ashtrays and garbage cans. She filled both bags by the time she worked her way to the side door, leading out to alleyway, and the dumpsters.
She hoisted the heavy plastic bags up, and backed into the door, moving into the alley backward. once outside, she dropped the bags and jumped for the door, but it closed before she reached it, leaving her stranded and alone in the dark alley. After throwing the bags into the dumpster, she turned to walk out of the alley to the front of the building, and he was there. Lefty's dark shadow filled the small alley space as he double-stepped, closing the distant between him and Lexi.
"What's a pretty little thing like you doing out here alone," Lefty said as he reached over and grabbed Lexi's arm at the elbow.
Lexi said nothing, giving him a nasty look as she yanked her arm away. Undaunted, Lefty moved in closer, gripping her elbow again. She felt the hairs on her arms tickling her skin, and a primal urge to attack flash through her mind, as he pushed her against the side of the dumpster.
"Leave me alone," she said, as she did her best to will the shift away. This was the last thing she needed on her first night of work. She couldn't afford to bring attention to herself, but she couldn't just let this creep take advantage of her either. Lefty moved in to her so close, she could smell the bourbon on his breath. His lips were parted, not in a smile, but in that way a child or an unintelligent adult might let their mouth fall open when the attention is required for some mundane task overruns their brain's ability to manage other bodily functions. Lexy clinched her jaw and balled her hand into a fist as she slid across the cold metal of the dumpster, choking back her rage against a flood of memories. It didn't help that Lefty kept moving against her, his open mouth venting a putrid cloud of alcohol and stomach bile.
"Come on, Baby, I saw you looking at me in the club." Lefty leaned into her, pushing his nasty body against her, running the stub of his half-finger across her cheek. "I know you want it."
That was it. Lexi felt the hair on her arms thickening, her canines growing painfully in her mouth. She yanked her arm out of his grip again, and let a low growl build within the depth of her throat.
"You alright ma'am?" A voice came from the alley entrance.

As always, your comments and critiques are welcome. I will add that I may skip ahead a few scenes at a time in the near future. It seems my draft will be complete soon, and after the first edit, ready to go out to beta readers. Once changes are made suggested by betas, I'll send it off to the editor for another few rounds with the machete.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you. Your comments are valued.