Happy Wednesday! It’s been a productive week. I wrote some stuff for an anonymous community I belong to, and the response was pretty overwhelmingly positive. (I’m not sharing it here; like I said, anonymous. The whole point is to write free without people knowing who you are/having preconceived ideas.) I’m always a little surprised when I get positive feedback because I am so critical of my own work. I can go back through it and find dozens of little things I think I ought to fix. Until I started writing seriously, I never considered myself a perfectionist. Yeah.
I’m sticking with this novel for now, even thought it’s done with Beta Round 1, because my awesome betas suggested adding an entire scene in the last chapter. Thankfully, I have my own “educational consultant” (aka, my husband). He gave me an idea for a terrific plot twist.
Today’s WIPpet math is: 19 +14 x 2 = 66 sentences. You get a nice, long section. One of my betas said Dani is her favorite character. Hopefully, this gives a bit of insight into who she is.
Vic said, “It’s an option for ‘failing’ schools. They don’t have to worry about the Department of Education breathing down their necks, so they can teach however the hell they want, and it makes money for them and all their investors. It’s a done deal, Dani. Phin told me everything when he showed up. He’s supposed to give the impression that he’s creating a ‘school improvement plan’”—he made air quotes—“but he’s really scoping things out to give the go-ahead on the charter.”
That confirmed Dani’s suspicion that there was a connection between NYSED and EduText, though she still couldn’t quite see how the pieces fit together. “I see.” Dani crossed her arms. “That doesn’t explain why you never told me what you knew.”
Vic looked up at her, his expression pleading. “He asked for my help.”
She stepped back a pace, feeling as though she’d been punched. “You agreed.”
“You know as well as I do that the school is in trouble. The state’s going to do something no matter what. By giving him what he wanted, I thought I could keep you out of it. All I told him was that you knew everything about the school because of your job.”
“You actually sent him to me to work me over like you just said he does with all his clients?” She gaped at him.
“No! I made him promise he’d leave you alone. He wanted to use you to get information on some of the staff. He told me he’d find someone else.”
“And I handed her to him on a silver platter. What if he’d used Gia like that? You know what she’s like. And Alex is already fighting his own feelings for him—I can see it whenever they’re within twenty feet of each other. You didn’t think to say something to me?”
“I didn’t say anything because I didn’t think it would matter to you what I did.”
“You chose a liar with a dubious history over me.” She closed her eyes. “Over us.”
“Us?” He gestured between them. “There’s no us, Dani. You’ve made that clear. We never made a commitment to each other. For more than a year, you’ve been using me. I wanted him to get in, do his job, and get out so that I could move on. You think you’re the only one who’s been tired of waiting? I’m sick of waiting for you to figure your shit out and decide what you want.”
“What I want? Like you’re just an innocent bystander, right? I don’t recall you objecting to anything we’ve done. And now you’re ready to just move on?”
He sighed. “Yes. I can’t do this anymore. God knows, I’ve tried. I practically helped you raise Jake when his daddy died, but you keep shutting me out. I’m not your security blanket. You gotta move on, or I’ll do it without you. I’m not asking you to forget Jim, but I sure as hell can’t just be someone to keep you warm at night.” He snorted. “As if you’re even letting me that far in.”
“So, you thought if you helped Phin destroy the school, that would—what? Force me to choose you?” She glared at him. “You know you’ve lost that chance now, don’t you?” She stalked to the doorway. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Vic rising from his seat and reaching out his hand to her.
“Dani, wait. That’s not—”
She couldn’t listen anymore. Ignoring him, she continued to the front door and walked out, pulling it shut behind her. She heard Vic call her name once more, and she almost turned around. Instead, she retreated to the safety of her own home, refusing to acknowledge the sound of his voice.