This week has been a pretty exciting one in terms of my writing progress with my first novel Lonely Hearts.Whilst I haven’t quite reached my goal for this month yet, the breakthroughs I’ve had this past week have been super exciting.
I’ve been able to explore Rose’s ‘gift’ in more detail as well as meet a couple of new characters. Lillian Jones and Matthew Johnson are both employees of Thomas.
Lillian is Thomas’ secretary and personal assistant, she is in her mid-thirties and loves all things fashion. She has short chocolate brown hair, brown eyes and a pale complexion, she likes to stand out and loves to wear bright red lipstick. Lillian is unmarried and isn’t sure if she will ever marry as she is still in love with her fiance who died in battle in World War I. Lillian and Rose will become great friends.
Matthew Johnson is a man of many talents, his main occupation is as a driver for Thomas, but there are many things outside of his job description that Johnson ‘takes care of’. Johnson served in World War I in Gallipoli and played a big part in the elaborate deception operations that aided in the evacuation of Allied Forces in December 1915. After returning from the war, Johnson had some difficulty adjusting to life again in Australia and much of his time was spent in the local bars and winning round after round in the underground boxing scene in Sydney. Thomas and Johnson met when some members of one of the many Razor Gangs at the time, attempted to rob Thomas. Johnson fought off the men with his bare hands and Thomas immediately recognised the value of having a bloke like Johnson around (because well… he’s built like a brick shithouse) and offered him a job as his driver.
I could talk all day about these two great characters and their backstory, but I’m sure you won’t find it as interesting or exciting as I do. Every character has a backstory, it’s up to the writer to decide what parts of each characters backstory add value and which parts are simply for the writer’s eyes only.
So, I’m off to work closer to my self-imposed word count for the month, while I leave you with a little excerpt to enjoy, remember this is very much a first draft, so be kind!
“Rosie, are you coming?” Lillian knocked on the door but opened I before I could answer, “Hey what’s wrong, are you crying? I told you, Mr Heath wants to see you, not some fake and flawless Hollywood starlet.” She walked towards me and gave me a reassuring hug then took a step back assessing my emotional state, I smiled, but shook my head at her, “It’s not that, I believe what you said, I was just thinking about my mum, and I just wish she could have been here.” She hugged me again, “Oh Rosie, she is here believe me, as long as we remember them and hold them in our hearts, the ones we love will never really be gone.” Lillian stepped back but held my hands in hers, “I know, thank you Lillian, for everything.” Lillian was right about that, our loved ones would always be with us but she had no idea how right she really was. “Thank you Lillian, for everything.”
“Hey Rosie girl, this isn’t goodbye, we’re going to be great friends, I can feel it! How about lunch next week and you can tell me all the dirty details of your evening.” I gaped in mock horror, “Lillian there will be no dirty details I can assure you. It’s just dinner, but lunch next week sounds lovely.”
“Ok lunch it is, I’ll organise and send you the details early next week. Oh and I love a good story, if there’s no dirty details then make them up, now come on Rosie girl, let’s not keep him waiting any longer.” With a ridiculous smile on my face, I pulled my light black wrap around me, in an effort to cover my exposed back, then went to the door and stepped outside. As the warmth of the evening breeze caressed my skin, my smile quickly faded as I saw Thomas’ driver standing next to an expensive looking limousine, a Lincoln I believe it was. Obviously Thomas was delayed and had sent his driver to take me to wherever we were going for the evening, which was completely understandable. I couldn’t help the wave of disappointed that swept over me, I don’t know what I expected for the evening, but I guess I thought Thomas would be here to escort me, not his driver. The man was dressed in a type of uniform that I assumed was the standard sort for a driver and wore a black driver’s hat which he tipped to me as I stepped towards the car. He didn’t really look like a driver, he had the clothing and the hat but judging by his size and obvious strength, I had the feeling that he was more than just a driver. “Miss Greene, I’m Johnson, Mr Heath’s driver. If it’s not too bold of me to say so, you look lovely this evening, Miss Greene.” I thanked him and smiled politely as he opened the door for me and I slid into the car.
“Well, hello there.” I gasped as the unexpected sound of his voice caught me by surprise. There, sitting in the back of the expensive looking Lincoln, was Thomas smiling that smile that sent quivers of awareness shooting through my body. I sat in shock and for a moment I thought that perhaps I was a little crazy. I was, after all, a person who talked to her dead mother, maybe I was crazy and this wasn’t really happening. Then he reached towards me taking my hand and kissing it ever so gently. His touched sent waves of heat through me, making me realise that I was not imagining things, I still was on the fence to whether I was a little crazy or not, but I definitely was not dreaming. “Hello,” was all I managed to say, my voice sounding little more than a whisper. He smiled that smile again, still holding my hand and rubbing his thumb back and forth across my knuckles, a small but seemingly intimate touch, especially for two people who barely knew each other. I finally gathered myself as Johnson climbed into the driver’s seat and pulled out onto the street. I needed to say something to fill the silence so I said the first thing that came to mind, “This is a very nice car Mr. Heath, but it’s different to the one you came in the other day, is it not?”
“Ah, you are not only beautiful but also very perceptive, Miss Greene.” He let go of my hand and I felt bereft at the loss of his touch.
“Rosie, please call me Rosie.”
He tilted his head as if he was considering some great dilemma, “I will call you Rosie, when you call me Thomas. Now, to answer your question Miss Greene, yes this is a different car the one you saw last time was my town car, this is my evening car, it’s a 1935 Lincoln model K V-12 Series 301 limousine, it’s not available in Australia yet, I have the only one in the country so far. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to take her out” The excitement in his voice was clear as he talked about his new car made him actually look his age, like a child in a candy shop. “Well it’s a lovely car Thomas and I’m glad to give an excuse to take it out.”
“I’m glad you like it, although I wasn’t sure you would when I saw your face as you stepped out the door, you sort of looked like somebody just told you your kitten had died.” I can’t believe that he noticed my expression when I stepped out and saw his driver waiting there- not him. I sensed that he was having a joke at my expense- again. “Thomas, you’re not making fun of me are you?” The look on his face told me he knew exactly why the look of disappointment had flashed across my face mere moments ago and I had the feeling that it was all a part of his plan. Thomas gaped in mock horror, “Who me? I would never do such a thing as to poke fun at such a beautiful woman.” I blushed at the compliment and turned to turn out of the window trying to hide my reddened cheeks. I turned back to him as he took my hand in his again and looked at it as if he were studying it intently, “Oh and thank you.”
His expression of gratitude took me by surprise, what was he thanking me for? Liking his new car? As I tried to comprehend the meaning of the statement he looked into my eyes and clarified, “Thank you for calling me Thomas, not many people call me by my first name anymore.” My mind spun as I tried to grasp how something as seemingly small as calling him Thomas, could mean so much to him. The look in his eyes told me that there was more to this story, but now was definitely not the time to pry. He was definitely a man of complexity and in that moment I wondered if I would ever understand the man that was Thomas Heath.
“So where are we heading?” I asked trying to fill the silence that had taken hold once again.
“Oh well, that my Rosie, is a secret,” He said, tapping the side of his nose and winking playfully, “But you’ll find out soon enough, we’ll be there shortly. Luckily we’re both dressed for such an occasion.” It was then that I noticed that Thomas was dressed in black-tie with his blonde hair combed neatly in his usual style. It was obvious that Thomas was not going to be giving away any details any time soon, so I decided to sit back and enjoy the sights as we drove through the city, all the while Thomas kept hold of my hand.
© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.