This scene was to take pace in Chapter Eleven. It's a short conversation between Rise and Danny's father, Phillip Daly. This is the actual draft, in all its very un-edited glory!
Within a few hours, as the party got livelier, Rise was reconsidering her answer. People were eating and drinking and laughing and having a good time, and she was becoming miserable. She tried to keep a smile, but she really wanted to curl up on the floor in a dark, soundproof room. She slipped out the door, thinking some fresh air might help.
She leaned against the brick wall outside, closed her eyes and tried to relax. She could hear still hear the ruckus inside, the voices and the plates and forks scraping together. She breathed rhythmically, and tried to focus her attention elsewhere. She saw a dog across the street, sniffing around some litter and she concentrated on that. She heard the door to the pub creak open and shut. She didn’t budge.
“You okay Jalynn?” Mr. Daly asked. “I’m sorry, it’s Rise now, isn’t it? New tricks are hard for us old dogs.” He put a cigarette in his mouth and starting checking his pockets.
“It’s okay,” Rise said. “I’m fine, just needed some air. It’s hot in there.”
“Getting that way, that’s for sure,” he said, and his voice was muddled from talking around the cigarette. He flipped open a gold lighter with a USMC emblem on the side. He took a long drag. “So are you doing all right? I heard about what happened with that little girl. It was a brave thing you did. But I imagine seeing a thing like that would stick with a person.”
Rise’s first instinct was to smile and say she was fine, which had been her rote response to similar inquiries. But when she noticed the genuine concern in the man’s voice, it compelled her to answer truthfully; if he was kind enough to ask, she could at least mange an honest answer.
“I’m not sure how I feel about it yet,” she said.
Mr. Daly nodded and tapped some ashes onto the ground. “I’m supposed to tell you hello, from Emily. She had a touch of fever so I took her over to the neighbor’s house for the night.”
“I haven’t seen her in a while,” Rise said. “I bet she’s getting big. She’s twelve now, right? Danny told me she’s doing better.” Emily had been living in Florida with Danny’s mom, Marlene. But she’d died from cancer back in February and Emily had moved back to live with her dad. The little girl had been having a hard time adjusting.
“She’s getting there,” Mr. Daly said. “She liked going to the beach, so she misses that. And you know Marlene got re-married to that guy named Mike, and he had a daughter about the same ago, and Emily misses her, too. But she told me last week she’s looking forward having snow for Christmas again.” He shook his head and smiled. “When she was little, she used to make snow angels all over the yard, but she’s probably too old for that now. She’s starting to show an interest in art these days, taking after her mom, looks like.”
“Danny told me his mom starting painting before she died, ” Rise said, and shifted her weight. She was feeling odd, standing outside like this with her best friend’s father, talking about things she didn’t want to talk about. She noticed Mr. Daly had a drink in his free hand, and she suspected it wasn’t his first of the night. He wasn’t the chatty type.
Mr. Daly blew out a long stream of smoke.
“Emily told me her step-dad enclosed the porch on the house down there, so Marlene could use it to paint,” he said. “I guess she was pretty good, sold quite a few.” Mr. Daly got quiet for a minute. “Before the divorce, Marlene always told me she wanted to be an artist. She asked me more than a few times to clear out that back bedroom so she could use it as a studio, but I never got around to it.” He looked away. “There was a lot I didn’t get around to, I suppose.”
“You helped me a lot when I moved,” Rise said. She was starting to rethink her enjoyment of adulthood. If this kind of conversation came along with the title, she wasn’t sure she wanted the title. “And you volunteered almost every day last year with the rebuilding after the floods.”
“I decided I’d lost enough time being lazy. Marlene always wanted me to be one of those men that got up and did things.”
“Well, you are now,” Rise said, and hoped that was a good response.
“Maybe so, maybe so,” Mr. Daly said, and grunted. “All it took for me to be the man Marlene wanted was for her to leave. Funny isn’t it? But I did clear out that room. Emily uses it now.”
The door opened again and Emory’s mother stuck her head out. She was an attractive woman and kept her hair natural and very short. She’d recently had it colored, so it had a reddish hue.
“You better get back in here,” she said to Mr. Daly. “Half this bar is trying to buy your boy a drink. You’ll be carrying him home.”
“I’m coming,” he said with a laugh and tossed down the cigarette butt. “You staying out here, Rise?”
“Just for a few more minutes.”
The dog she had seen earlier crossed the street and wandered over. He was what most folks would call mangy, but his bushy tail was wagging so she held out her hand. He came over and sniffed her, then licked her fingers. She patted his head, mostly to get the slobber off. Then the dog’s tail went straight up and his fur stood on end. He took off running down the street.
Rise wondered what had spooked him, but then a strong gust of wind hit her and she looked up to see a man walking down the middle of the street in her direction. He was too far away to see his face clearly, but he was short and wide. Rise felt a tingle on the back of her neck and her senses perked. She decided the dog had the right idea and she scurried back into the bar.