Learning to stop myself when I know the next dialog sequence between the characters. That allows me 24 hours to play with the beginning of the next section. Thus: I saw the first ten lines between Logres and Libby yesterday. I know what they talk about when the cross the Channel tonight. As to what happens next, I’ll know before I sit back down to write in 23 hours.
Sneaky, old, clever, and lazy works for me.
It was his first kiss since Europa. Europa! He realized that the last few moments were the first one’s since he’d met her that he did not have her in mind! He reached his hands to Libby’s arms. They had white, soft creamy skin, but he felt the taught muscles underneath. He moved her arms away from his neck.
“I hope we do, Libby-cousin.” Still holding her arms, he took a half step back. “But please do not be so familiar with me.”
He watched her face fall, but only for a moment. She turned her wrists so that she could hold onto his arms, too. Her eyes gleamed with her teeth in the brightening day.
“When you came runnin’ down that path, that was sure one, big smile on your face!” She disengaged from him and rubbed her knuckles under her eyes.
“And now! *kutz, kutz!*” She pretended to cry; badly. “You’re being so distant to your cousin! Whom you’ve just met!”
“I… it’s…” He had never been so confused before. Suddenly, her index finger was just touching his nose.
“She must be very special, the girl you were running to see!” She said, grinning.
Georgie was quite right about these people.
“Yes. Yes, she is.” He replied. “And, I have lost her and do not know how to get her back.”
Libby’s touch fell.
“Oh. I’m sorry.” She appeared contrite. “I didn’t know.”
The breeze blew about them.
“If you watch…”
They spoke at the same time. Libby tilted her head and rolled her hand at him.
“This is, after all, your home, Loggy! Please go first!”
He was not sure about how she mangled his name.
“Thank you, cousin.” He replied. “I was going to ask, since you watch the seas, you must be acquainted with my little brother, Joey.”
Her eyes took on a peculiar cast, as if surprised at his choice of words. Still, she nodded.
“Of course! If it’s wet, we’ve been there!”
She pretended sudden embarrassment, crossing her hands in front of her bikini shorts.
“Loggy! Don’t think such nasty thoughts!”
She let her hands and shoulders drop with a sigh.
“… no sense of humor at all…”
She straightened her back and tried on another smile.
“So, yes, I know Joey-cousin very well!” That odd look, again. “You might call him your little brother, but even if I am stronger and faster than he, your brother is very wise in the ways of the sea.”
He understood what she was getting at. He tried to make a different kind of smile that what he wore for Europa.
“I see. My siblings have said I should get out more!” He said. “Please: your question?”
“Oh, yes!” She linked her hands and stretched her arms over her head. Logres tried to not stare. Everywhere. “Your girl! Maybe we can help! What’s her name and where did you last see her?”
“Europa. We met here, where you and I now stand.” He pointed over Libby’s shoulder, east. “She lives in the land beyond the Wall.”
Her arms and face again came down fast.
“Not a joke?”
“I don’t think I know what one of those are.”
Libby rubbed her chin with her right hand, muttering.
“She’s an adversary,” she said, glancing up at him under her brows.
“Our Slow Ones are adversaries,” he countered. “She and I love one another.”
Another sigh from the big blonde girl.
“Nothing’s ever easy…”
“Excuse me?” He asked.
“Do you, Logres-cousin,” she was suddenly formal, “know why my family is here?”
“No.” Her reply was emphatic enough to shake him. “Our Slow Ones no longer wish to co-exist with the Wall.”
Unsure what that meant, he nodded for her to continue.
“They want the Wall down and those within freed.”
…and those within…!
Now he took her hands.
“Freed!” He called. “When?”
She shook her head at him.
“No idea. But, if we push too hard, it could end in a complete disaster.”
Oh. He recalled his mistake atop the Wall that had darkened their world. He watched her shiver, as well.
“I hate being out of the water this long! How’s about you and I make a tiny splash over there,” she pointed to her right at the land across the sea. “You can tell me your story on the way!”
He’d been thinking about going. This was obviously meant to be. But: a tiny splash? Getting across the Channel was work for him!
“That sounds fine.”
“Super!” She turned and skipped towards the surf. While she did, he did what he needed to swim: his tunic off, rolled into a ball, tied in the small of his back by the cord. He was just starting walk towards the water when she’d turned, wondering what was taking him so long.
“Geh! Hee hee hee!” She’d raised her hand to partly cover her face as she laughed. She was also turning slightly red.
“Libby-cousin?” He asked, stepping into the water. She had trouble pulling her eyes up from his waist.
“This… this is so not going to work!” He noted two small changes to her bikini top. She laughed again, but held out something to him as she did.
He took it and stared. It resembled the close-fitting short pants that Joey-brother wore. He thought about that and what Libby-cousin was wearing.
“I should wear this while in the water, correct?”
“Uh, huh!” She turned away, her breathing a little short. Logres was beginning to realize he had made some kind of social error. He slid the dark gray shorts on and moved to Libby, the water just at their knees.
“Better?” he asked?
When she turned to look at him, her eyes were first to his lower half. Relieved, she looked up.
“Yes! Europa’s a lucky girl!”
She leapt four times her height and ten times her length out, into the water, vanishing below the surface. Everyone seemed more at home in their environment than he did. After a few more steps, he stretched out and began swimming.