Thursday, March 24, 2016

A New Excerpt for a New Day

Well, it's now March of 2016, but I haven't abandoned y'all! I have some more excerpts coming up, including this one. Enjoy, and have fun guessing!


A flash of humor crossed Anna's mind and she grinned at him. “I've stopped sleeping around, if that makes you feel any better. I've got that part down, I know you frown on that.”

Mr. Vickers' mouth spasmed, maybe a smile, maybe not. “That's a start,” he remarked.

And I'm not getting drunk anymore!” she continued, not sure whether the joke was over yet. “Something must be getting through.”

The old priest stepped back and leaned on the counter, regarding her earnestly with piercing eyes. He waited for so long to speak that Anna suddenly feared that she had offended him somehow. He licked his lips, then squinted at her with a strange look in his eye. “So, how long do you think either of those achievements will last?”

Anna was taken aback. “How long? I dunno, hopefully forever.”

Mr. Vickers held her eyes with his, still squinting at her. “Forever? That's your best guess?”

I think so. Why?”

He looked down at the floor but his voice still filled the space between them with its quiet weight. “And when the original reasons for the drunkenness and sleeping around return, what then? What motive will you have to deny those temptations? Will you truly have the freedom to say 'no'?”

Anna frowned at him. “Are you suggesting that I can't be a good and decent person just the way I am? Are you already questioning my resolve?”

Still staring at the floor, the old man answered her bluntly. “Yes, I am. Until what you've heard with your ears and understood with your head filters into your heart and becomes its lifeblood, you will fall. Maybe not today, but the time will come when your resolve will be severely tested, possibly beyond its limits.” He lifted his head back up and locked stares with her, and somewhere deep inside his eyes Anna detected a flicker of paternal fear. “And when that day comes, that's when we find out where your strength really comes from, yourself or from above.” He cast her a grim smile. “Everyone fails the ideal, even saints. But we don't trash the ideal just because we don't always reach it.”

Anna's face contorted in a storm of mixed emotions. She sat down at the table and put her head in her hands, stroking her temples through her mussed hair and trying to hide from the man's gaze. “I'm not the person I was then,” she offered by way of placating him. “Jesse's out of my life. I've stopped drinking. I'm not that woman anymore.”

Mr. Vickers pushed off from the counter and approached the table. “So, your transformation is all negatives? Jesse is gone, the drinking has stopped, you've stopped thinking the way you did before? How does one live a life full of things that are not present?”

Anna looked back up at him and shook her head. “You're damn confusing sometimes, you know that?”

He frowned at her. “You know what I'm talking about, Annalise. Don't play stupid.”

She rolled her eyes. “Fine, I do know. But I might disagree.”