My writing and art! Main @cjadewyton and polished work on @jade-wyton
A little rough, and I definitely want to fix it up a little, but I'm glad to finally be writing the scene where Gavin comes out to Dale ;u; Dale hesitates for all of 5 seconds before his Good Dad Insticts kick in.
But that second time... it had just felt right to him. And he supposed it had to her, as well.
She’d cried on the way up the stairs that day.
It was strange, how things had turned out. Everything was so different— But also, so much the same.
The biggest difference, really, was that Talia had been happier.
Their relationship hadn’t been a magical fix and she was still having a lot of trouble being open with him.... But she was definitely happier. And right now, that was all he could ask for.
This was only the second time she’d let him stay over in the three months since they gotten together. He’d have stayed over every night, if she’d let him. Or had her stay at his house— Which she still wasn’t comfortable with.
Dale was distracted from his thoughts as Talia stretched and stole the blanket, and he had to bite back his laugh as he stole it back. He tugged her close against his chest, catching a glimpse of the alarm on her bedside table and quietly cursing that he only had another ten minutes with her before it went off. Though, as he heard Gavin’s feet hit the floor in the other room, he realised he wasn’t going to get it.
Dale had barely let out his sigh before Talia’s door creaked open and the light from the hall shone in.
‘Gav, it’s not even seven yet,’ Dale muttered. ‘Don’t you want to sleep a little longer?’
‘No, I’m awake,’ Gavin replied. ‘I.... I want to talk to you about something, Dale. It’s important.’
‘Alright,’ Dale took a deep, throaty breath, and forced himself out of bed. He stretched, then stumbled down the hall after Gavin. ‘Guess I’ll make breakfast for everyone, huh?’
‘That’d be nice,’ Gavin said, pulling a chair from the table to the kitchen. ‘And we can talk while you do?’
‘Yeah, course,’ Dale yawned as he went through the cupboards. ‘Bacon and eggs?’
‘Yes please. Scrambled?’
‘Sure,’ Dale pulled out what he needed and, with another yawn, started cooking. ‘So, what did you want to talk to me about?’
‘Well... it’s about...’ he hesitated. Then sighed. ‘Dale, you had a lot of girlfriends before my mum, right?’
‘Yeah, a few,’ Dale replied. ‘Why?’
‘Well... I want to know.... How do you ask someone out?’
Dale felt himself chuckling. ‘You have a crush?’
Gavin gave a nod, a blush creeping over his cheeks as he looked to his feet and kicked out at the wall. ‘I’ve been watching you and mum, and I think how I feel is the same.’
‘Ah,’ Dale gave his own nod. ‘I see.... That’s cool. What’s her name?’
‘No— Not a girl,’ Gavin admitted. ‘It’s Jacob.’
‘Jacob?’ Dale paused. ‘Connor?’
Gavin nodded, though he still didn’t meet Dale’s eye.
‘Oh, well, that’s fine,’ Dale shrugged, and quickly scraped the food out of the pan and onto a plate. He headed to the table, ruffling Gavin’s hair as he passed. ‘Jacob’s pretty cool, isn’t he?’
‘Yeah,’ Gavin gave a smile, and finally looked to Dale as he dragged his chair back to where it belonged and started serving himself breakfast. ‘Yeah he’s cool.... Do you think I should ask him out?’
‘Why not?’ Dale turned to the hall as he heard Talia’s alarm go off. ‘He seems nice, what have you got to lose— Hey, save some eggs for your mum, right? She’s mean when she’s hungry.’
‘She’s mean anyway,’ Gavin giggled.
‘Yeah, but you’re not spending the day at work with her!’ Dale retorted, gently smacking the boy’s hand away from the food. ‘Eat what you’ve got already, you little brat!’
Hey! Just added chapter 13 to A Man Worth a Million! :D Dale and Talia have FINALLY gotten together!
Ya'll can read the draft so far here: https://cjadewyton.com/my-writing/kladstone-romances/
It was good to hear him laugh so much.
And just as she thought about it, she heard him start laughing, and wondered what joke she’d missed as Dale turned into the apartment’s parking lot and slotted into one of the spots.
She’d only half-undone her seatbelt before Gavin leant over the seat and planted a kiss on her cheek.
‘I’ll meet you inside!’ he decided, reaching into Talia’s pocket for her keys. She didn’t have time to suggest otherwise before he was out of the car and halfway into the stairwell.
‘Gavin wai— Ugh,’ Talia leant back in her seat as her son disappeared.
‘There he goes,’ Dale’s voice floated into the car as he pulled open Talia’s door for her. ‘Fast little bugger, isn’t he? Nyoom.’
‘Nyoom,’ Talia repeated, though a little flatter than Dale had said it. ‘Sometimes I wish he’d slow down. Just a little bit.’
‘Aw, but then he wouldn’t be Gavin, would he?’ joked Dale. Then he offered Talia his hand. ‘Come on. You alright?’
‘Yeah, I...’ Talia hesitated, then took his hand and let him pull her up. ‘I’m fine. I just....’
She lost her train of thought.
And when Dale waited patiently for her to continue she felt her cheeks start to burn, and she looked away and pulled her hand back.
‘Talia?’ Dale’s voice was soft as his hand took hers again and gave it a squeeze that trapped butterflies in her stomach. ‘Hey.... Look at me?’
She dared to turn back, and as she met his soft, kind eyes she felt the butterflies trying to push out of her throat.
‘Talia,’ Dale managed, his voice cracking with the same emotions that had paralysed Talia. ‘Please be my girlfriend?’
And the butterflies escaped her as a laugh.
She didn’t mean them to.
But they escaped her, and she found herself choking on giggle after giggle as she collapsed back into the car and covered her mouth with her hands.
She had known that the question was coming, but she hadn’t expected it to sound like that out loud. She hadn’t thought he would say it like that.
She couldn’t breathe.
It was too much.
‘Yes!’ she managed. ‘Yes! Yes! Yes, Dale! Yes!’
‘You want to talk about what happened?’
‘I don’t know,’ said Talia. ‘I guess we have to, don’t we?’
‘I suppose we do,’ Dale replied. ‘Well.... First things first; do you like me?’
Talia looked away, focusing her gaze on the school yard and scanning the building for signs of students. ‘Yes.’
‘Do you want to date me?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘You don’t know?’ Dale asked, his fingers tapping on the wheel again.
‘I’ve been trying to decide all day,’ Talia admitted. ‘That’s why I didn’t want to talk about it sooner. Because I’m just not sure. It’s... overwhelming. And I’m sorry. I wish I had an answer.’
‘Hey, it’s alright,’ Dale replied, and she felt his hand rest on hers. When she turned, his gaze was soft, and kind, and full of love, and it made her heart wrench sideways and upside down. ‘You don’t have to be sure, yet. You can think about it.’
‘You’d wait for an answer?’ Talia almost scoffed. ‘That’s.... I don’t know how long it’ll take me. What if it takes me a week to decide?’
Dale shrugged. ‘Then I’ll wait a week for the answer.’
‘God, I want to strangle you! Stop being so sweet!’ Talia groaned. She caught a glimpse of Dale’s grin as she turned and dropped her head against the window with a huff. They both sat for a while, staring at the nearby buildings, before Talia let out an exasperated breath and turned back. ‘Dale?’
‘Thanks,’ she managed. ‘For being patient with me. I appreciate it.’
‘It’s alright,’ he replied.
Then the bell rang, and less than a minute later students were pouring out the doors into the yard.
‘Here they come,’ Dale said.
‘Oh, no, is that Jacob?’ Talia groaned— And then felt herself relax as Jacob waved goodbye and veered off in another direction. ‘Oh thank god. I did not want him being involved in this conversion.’
‘Yeah, talk about awkward,’ Dale gave a half-hearted laugh, which became much more genuine as Gavin pulled open the car door and leapt in. ‘Hey, Gav, how was school?’
‘Was alright,’ Gavin replied, throwing his bag in the foot-well and pulling on his belt. ‘What were you doing in mum’s bed last night?’
For god’s sake, Gavin! Talia almost screamed as she watched her son through the rear-view mirror. Have some tact!
Thankfully, Dale chuckled. Though it was awkward. ‘Just chilling.’
Gavin’s brow furrowed, and he looked confused as he stared at Dale. ‘Chilling?’
‘Yeah, chilling!’ Dale repeated. ‘Nothing wrong with two people just, you know, hanging out!’
‘In bed together?’
‘Yeah!’ said Dale, his voice cracking as he blushed. ‘Just two good friends. Hanging out.’
Gavin looked at his mother. Then to Dale. Then back and forth again before he rolled his eyes. ‘You asked her out, didn’t you?’
‘Yes,’ Dale admitted.
‘Like you said you would.’
Pretty sure I've posted this before, but I think it was back with the old post types and I'm gonna guess the formatting is all messed up so 😅 just gonna repost instead of looking for it!
A sadder scene from my book
‘I know,’ Dale replied. ‘I’m sorry.’
‘I didn’t want Gavin,’ the words just came out, and she felt so guilty as she heard what she was saying... but she couldn’t stop as she continued, ‘I wanted— I tried— My parents didn’t let me get an abortion! And then— When Evan— When he broke up with me they said— They didn’t— Want— An unmarried mother in their— Their house—’
‘—Breathe, Talia,’ Dale reminded her.
‘I’m a terrible mother!’ she blurted.
‘No you’re not,’ said Dale.
‘I almost gave him away!’ Talia sobbed. ‘I was— I was going to give him away! But then I saw— I saw his face and I— I couldn’t! I couldn’t....’
‘Breathe,’ his voice was so soft Talia wasn’t sure he’d actually said anything. ‘You’re okay. You’ve done a good job.’
‘—Talia, listen to me,’ Dale interrupted. ‘You’re a good mother.’
She didn’t believe him. ‘But I was going to give him up.’
‘That doesn’t make you a bad mother,’ Dale replied. ‘Even if you had given him up. It wouldn’t have made you a bad mother.’
She swallowed, and rubbed her eyes. ‘I just.... After Evan left I didn’t know what to do.’
‘Whoa,’ Gavin leant back against the car seat. ‘There’s a lot about dating I don’t know yet.’
‘Well, you’re only eleven,’ Dale comforted. ‘Give it some time, and you’ll figure it out. No reason to rush.’
‘Right, you’ve had a lot of practice, haven’t you?’
‘Good,’ said Gavin. ‘You can teach my mum, then! She’s never dated anyone! Not since she had me! So she’s not very good at it and will need a lot of help.’
‘Gavin—’ Talia cut off with a sigh and eyed her son through the rear-view mirror. ‘Honey. Please. I’m not completely useless.’
‘Mmm,’ Gavin pulled a face, and Talia wasn’t sure whether or not she should have been offended. ‘When it comes to dating you kinda are.’
‘—I think you’re just bad at talking to people,’ Gavin continued. ‘Like. In general? It’s not something you’re very good at. Even with Trish and Anna you can get kinda weird and mean.’
‘Hey, Gav, keep the roasts for dinner,’ Dale cut in. Then he eyed Talia and gave her a cheeky grin. ‘Just because something’s true doesn’t mean you need to say it.’
‘Dale!’ Talia snapped, feeling her cheeks flush hot. ‘You boys— I swear to god! I will get out of this car right now and walk home if you don’t watch your mouths!’
‘We’re on the highway,’ Dale commented. ‘I’m going eighty.’
‘You think that’ll stop me?’ Talia put her hand on her seatbelt buckle and raised her brow. ‘You think I’m afraid to prove a point?’
Dale didn’t reply. Instead, he reached for the dashboard— And Talia heard the car doors lock as he pressed one of the buttons under the radio.
‘Smart choice,’ Talia commented, resting her hands on her knees.
‘Well, I want you alive,’ Dale chuckled. ‘You know. On account of the whole, loving you thing.’
A quick exerpt from chapter 13 of A Man Worth a Million! Dale and Talia are FINALLY getting together!
This is one of my favourite scene changes in the book so far shdhd.
‘Mm,’ Talia tapped her foot anxiously, her eyes still on her paperwork as her hands found their way behind her back and her glasses slipped forward to the end of her nose. ‘Work.’
‘Work,’ Dale repeated. Then he gave a shrug and turned to his office. ‘Well, then. I guess I’ll just....’
He’d barely taken two steps before Talia’s hand found his arm and he turned back, just in time for her to lift herself onto her toes and peck him on the lips. He felt his entire body stiffen as she dropped back down and looked away again.
‘We’ll talk after work,’ she muttered. ‘I just need some time to think about things.’
‘Yeah,’ Dale gave her a nod. His knees were so weak he thought he might collapse as he swallowed and licked his lips— Tasting that lipstick again. ‘I understand. Just... after work, right?’
‘Right,’ it took all of Dale’s effort to turn back to his office. And his heart stopped when he saw Aiden standing awkwardly in his doorway, half-filled bag of garbage in one hand, broom in the other.
‘Oh... Uh,’ Aiden looked past Dale, and Dale could only guess that Talia was glaring daggers at him as he blushed and rushed to the elevator. He pressed the button too many times, both while waiting for it to arrive and waiting for the doors to close.... And then, as they were closing, Dale saw him drop his things and pull out his phone.
Probably to gossip to Meg. Who would tell Trish. Who would call Talia.... And who knew how that would go?
Dale certainly didn’t— So he hurried into his office and closed the door.
Talia was furious at Aiden. The bastard had slunk off home after telling Meg about the kiss, and Talia hadn’t been able to strangle him to death in the break room like she’d been hoping to after she’d gotten off the phone with Trish.
Smart idea he had, fucking off after a stunt like that.... But he had to come back to work someday, and when he did.... She was going to kill him.
Dale pulled up into the pickup bay of Gavin’s school and Talia let out a heavy sigh. She knew it was coming. He hadn’t said anything the whole drive, and they had to talk about it before they picked up Gavin.... He’d ask questions about that morning. And Talia had no idea how to answer any of them.
Dale’s fingers rapped against the steering wheel for a moment before he leant back in his seat and let out a sigh of his own.
‘So,’ he started.
‘You want to talk about what happened?’
‘I don’t know,’ said Talia. ‘I guess we have to, don’t we?’
I know I need to do more editing on chapter 12, but I'm just REALLY excited for chapter 13, and wrote the opening scene for it. Now it's somehow 4am, but I'm feeling fulfilled after struggling so much with the last chapter.
Talia and Dale *finally* have that wonderful moment.
It was calming, looking out the window at the dark, wet road. It reminded her of when she was young, and things were simpler. Easier.
She almost wished it didn’t. She didn’t want to remember her parents talking in the front seat as they drove around the block in an effort to lull her to sleep. Like they actually cared about her, or something. ...
She glanced into the rear view mirror with weary eyes and couldn’t help but smile when she saw Trish brush the hair away from Anna’s face before stealing a kiss. ... And Dale missed it as he glanced into his blind spot to turn.
Of course he would miss it, Talia felt herself laugh. It was weak, and tired, but it found its way from her chest to her nose and she felt the urge to cover her mouth as Dale pulled into the apartment’s parking lot.
‘Something funny?’ Dale asked.
‘Just ... nothing,’ Talia muttered, resting her head against the window again.
Gavin would be in bed by now. That was a relief. She didn’t think she’d be able to put him in bed if he wasn’t. ... But as Dale had said before, he always seemed to listen to Richard.
Talia was snapped back awake by the sound of Dale pulling on the hand-break. She didn’t think she’d fallen asleep, but she must have. Just for a moment or two as Dale had parked the car. ... Had she?
God, she was tired.
‘Hey, wake up, hon,’ Trish gently shook Anna until she let out a yawn and mumbled herself conscious again. ‘We’re home. Come on, I’ll tuck you in with the heated blanket and rub your feet.’
The girls climbed out of the car and wearily stumbled through the lot to the stairwell door.
‘Trish seems like a great friend,’ Dale commented as the girls started up the stairs.
Talia was too tired to think of something mean to say. She could barely muster up the energy to think about how stupid he was.
Stupid and charming.
It scared her, how much she liked him. ... How much she’d enjoyed the kiss. She had loved it. And although she’d spent all night trying, she couldn’t seem to convince herself otherwise.
She’d had the perfect excuse for it, too. And Dale never had to know that it had been something she’d been wanting to do. That it was a type of intimacy she’d been craving for so long she hadn’t even realised just how much she’d needed it before it was over.
Maybe he enjoyed it too?
Wishful thinking, she told herself.
Though. ... He’d licked his lips all night. Long after the lipstick mark had disappeared. Like he was hoping for the feeling to come back, just like she was.
Maybe she should say something. ...
No. She couldn’t.
Because she had to go to bed.
She had to go to bed.
And she realised she was already in bed, and Dale was halfway out her bedroom door.
‘Dale?’ she muttered. Had he carried her up the stairs again?
‘Yeah?’ he paused to let her speak, his form silhouetted by the hallway light that spilled into the room and cast yellow-black shadows along the walls.
A hundred thoughts tried to find their way out of her head. But in the end, a weak, ‘Stay?’ was all she could manage.
Dale let go of the door and made his way across the room, each step letting more of the light into the room— But his shadow never pulling away from Talia’s face. Even when he sat beside her, he shielded her eyes from the harsh yellow light.
Talia lifted herself onto an elbow and took a deep breath.
She had to say something.
About her feelings. About her fears.
She had to tell him how much she wanted him.
She had to.
‘I’m sorry,’ she muttered. ‘I’m sorry I’m always so ... so me. I’m trying not to be. To be a better person. ... It’s hard.’
Dale’s hand met hers, and she felt a shiver crawl from her toes to her ears as their eyes met.
He didn’t say anything else as he lifted her blanket and slipped underneath it.
And she felt warm, and wasn’t sure if it was her blush or if it was Dale’s arms around her as his fingers ran through her hair and his lips slowly ... so, so slowly ... pressed against hers for the second time that night.
It was so perfect.
Nothing could ever. ...
Nothing could ever disturb this. ...
Talia closed her eyes and took in a deep breath.
Then she jolted awake as a shape with the weight of an eleven-year-old boy leapt onto her legs and shouted that it was late for school.
Oh no— Gavin!
She’d slept in!
Talia tried to clamber out of bed, but tripped on Dale.
She half-processed the thought before she heard her son’s feet hit the floor and her brain started to bounce between the two boys in her bedroom.
She climbed over the top of Dale to reach her bedside table, and fumbled with Gavin’s medicine.
‘School?’ Dale echoed. ‘Oh, shit— Gavin!’
He fell out of bed after Talia and bolted into the kitchen with enough force to almost demolish it. Talia grabbed his keys as they fell to the floor behind him and practically threw Gavin’s medicine into his mouth.
‘Keys!’ she exclaimed. ‘Medicine!’
‘Lunch!’ Dale responded. ‘Car!’
‘Downstairs! Hurry! Go! Go! Now!’
The door slammed behind them with a bang, and the apartment was left to fall silent.
Sunny gets in a fight
SUNNY: I’M NOT GIVING YOU SHIT UNTIL YOU PAY ME BACK, SANDY!
Sandy leaps at the table, attempting to steal food from Sunny. Sunny slams a hand against Sandy, slapping the gull so hard it flies sideways and crashes onto the ground with another loud, angry cry. The café-goers all audibly gasp as this happens.
The gull then stands up and opens its wings before starting to angrily scream at Sunny, who starts shouting back.
SUNNY: NO, SANDY! YOUR MOTHER’S THE STUPID ONE! SHE CAN’T EVEN OPEN CLAMS!
Jazza quickly gets to his feet and gets between Sunny and the gull. He holds his hands out and speaks calmly.
JAZZA: Okay, okay. Let’s calm down. Sit down.
SUNNY: Oh, now you’ve done it! You’ve made my boyfriend mad! Jazza, defend me!
Jazza looks awkwardly between the woman and the bird before sighing and wiping his nose on his sleeve. He turns to the gull and takes a few steps toward it as it squawks at him.
JAZZA: Okay… You’re not hurt are you?
Sunny pouts in the background of the shot as Jazza pulls his gloves out of his pockets and puts them on, then carefully picks up the bird and checks it over. It tries to bite him but he ignores it and makes sure it’s fine.
JAZZA: You need to leave… Ma’am.
He carries the bird away from the tables and throws it into the air. It flies away, still furiously screeching.
Jazza watches as it disappears into the parking lot before turning around to the staring patrons. Half of them look amused, the other half just look confused.
Keeyata’s finally found love, after 50 years of loneliness and abuse.
Centela’s happy for her— But wishes she’d get a room.
‘He’ll sleep through anything,’ Keeyata responded, nudging Trezali with a wing. ‘Believe me. Not even food can wake him!’
Centela wondered if he should say something, and let them know he wasn’t sleeping … but then Keeyata wrapped her arms over Trezali’s shoulders, giggling, and he lost his nerve. He swallowed and hoped their goodnights would be quick.
‘You’re so beautiful,’ Trezali whispered. ‘Like a sunset in the hot season.’
‘You remind me of home,’ Keeyata replied. ‘You look like the sweets mother used to bring to us on her visits. I like that.’
‘My brothers used to joke that I looked like a basket of fruit.’
‘A very attractive basket of fruit,’ Keeyata said gently, leaning closer to Trezali.
Centela held back his giggle as Keeyata nipped Trezali’s nose.
‘I bet you taste as sweet as you look, fruit-basket.’
He didn’t mean to laugh. He didn’t mean for it to be so loud. Or sudden. Or long. But he couldn’t stop himself from laughing and ended up rolling off the couch and landing in a tangled heap of blankets on the floor.
‘Centela?’ Keeyata exclaimed, a hot pink blush flushing from her shoulders to her cheeks. She leapt on her nephew and wrestled him into a headlock. ‘You brat! You absolute wretch!’
‘I’m sorry,’ Centela chuckled as he struggled to break free. ‘But “fruit-basket”? Really?’
‘Sneaky little eavesdropper,’ Keeyata growled playfully. ‘You know what I’m going to do with you?’
‘What?’ Centela tried to stop himself laughing, but failed when his aunt grabbed his blankets and began to wrap them around him tightly.
‘I’m going to wrap you up like a broken arm and drop you in the ocean!’ she threatened; though she was hardly as terrifying as she was trying to be with her blush and her grin. ‘Then we’ll see who’s laughing at who!’
Trezali chuckled and knelt beside the two. ‘I guess I’ll be off then.’
‘NO!’ Keeyata’s voice broke and she dropped Centela in order to grab her partner’s arm. ‘I mean— No. Please stay a little longer. Centela will give us privacy. Won’t you, Centela?’
‘Yeah,’ Centela grinned, untangling himself from the heap. ‘Of course.’
Trezali took a half-breath, and paused with his mouth open, as if he was going to speak but couldn’t think of what to say. Then he sighed, and kissed Keeyata’s cheek. ‘Sweet Keeya, I need to get at least a little bit of sleep tonight.’
‘But I love you,’ Keeyata muttered, suddenly seeming very small. ‘Please don’t leave me. …’
‘I’m not,’ Trezali reminded her. Then he put a hand on her cheek and smiled warmly. ‘Why don’t we share my hammock tonight?’
Keeyata shook her head. ‘You know I’ll just fall out.’
‘What if I put blankets on my roof, underneath me?’ he suggested. ‘You can be with me, but safe, and we can hold hands and look at the stars until our eyes are so heavy we can’t keep them open.’
Keeyata’s ears twitched, as did the corners of her mouth, and her blush grew deeper. She was almost breathless as she agreed.
Trezali helped her to her feet and, after a quick goodnight to Centela, scooped her into his arms and carried her out of the tiny house.
Centela didn’t bother resettling on the couch and just curled up where he was on the floor.
EXT. BEACHSIDE CAFÉ – LATE MORNING
The scene cuts again to show Jazza’s car pulling up to the crowded beachside café where Jazza had first picked Sunny up.
The car parks, and Dan and Jazza both climb out. They’re still talking about nothing important as Jazza opens the car door for Sunny and helps her undo her seatbelt.
They start towards the café together.
INT. BEACHSIDE CAFÉ – LATE MORNING
The scene cuts to show the café door from the inside as the group approaches.
Jazza stops to open the door, and Sunny keeps walking directly into the café window.
‘Do you want my honest opinion?’ Dale asked.
‘Yeah, sure. …’
‘Evan’s an arsehole.’
Talia was expecting more. For him to continue. To say Evan was just a kid when it happened, and it was unfair to expect him to give up his life and his future. … To say what everyone else seemed to say, over and over and over.
But then he didn’t. He didn’t say another word, and they both sat in silence until Talia sniffed and swallowed and finally managed, ‘Is that … it?’
‘Yeah,’ Dale confirmed. ‘My whole opinion. Evan sounds like an arsehole.’
‘Y. … Yeah,’ Talia agreed. ‘Yeah. He was.’
‘And you deserve better than that,’ replied Dale. ‘So, if you know where he lives I’m more than happy to break into his house and shred all his socks.’
‘Which is yours?’ Talia asked, passing the heavy-looking plastic bag from one hand to the other. ‘I don’t see any spy cars around, Bond.’
‘Ha ha,’ responded Dale, flatly. ‘It’s the blue sedan.’
Dale frowned. ‘You’re not getting in my car—’
‘—Yes, I am!’ Talia snapped. ‘Unless you’d rather I scream. Help. Someone. I’m being kidnapped. That sort of thing.’
‘I’m not kidnapping you,’ Dale snorted. ‘If anything, it’s the other way around!’
‘Open the door,’ Talia repeated.
‘Are you crazy?’ asked Dale as he unlocked his car and watched Talia settle into the passenger seat. A sigh, and he joined her. He adjusted his mirror, avoiding eye contact with her, and then slammed his hands into place on the wheel and let out an exasperated groan. ‘I could be a murderer, you know! What about that son of yours?’
‘You’re too much of a pussy to kill me,’ Talia responded nonchalantly. ‘If you were that tough, you wouldn’t have pissed your pants in the ally.’
‘I didn’t piss my—’ Dale cut off halfway through and turned to the windscreen, scowling. He let out a long, frustrated breath as he turned the ignition in the car. Then he drove in silence, not daring to even glance at Talia as he made his way through the quiet streets.
‘Who’s Richard?’ Talia asked. ‘You steal his wallet, too?’
Dale slammed on his brakes. ‘Get out of my bag!’
‘Why? You went through mine,’ Talia shrugged and, as if to make a point, noisily unzipped the next pocket and stuck her hand in.
‘MUM!’ Gavin called from his room. ‘MUM, CAN YOU HELP ME?’
‘I’ll help,’ said Anna. She made her way to Gavin’s room, then hurried back in. ‘Apparently not. He needs you specifically, Tally.’
Sighing, Talia pushed herself off the couch and made her way to her son’s bedroom. She found him showing Jacob the new soccer ball he’d gotten on a shopping trip with Dale.
‘Hi mum!’ Gavin grinned.
‘Hey honey, what did you need help with?’
‘Nothing,’ responded Gavin, his grin growing wider. ‘I just wanted to see if I could make you come in.’
‘Gavin!’ Talia snapped.
Talia rolled her eyes. ‘Any more surprises I should know about?’
For a minute, Dale bit his lip and thought. Then he clicked his fingers and let out an excited exclamation,
‘Right! Richard wants me to teach you how to use a gun!’
‘Well, it’s a long story,’ Dale rubbed the back of his neck. ‘But to cut it short, I’m the reason he limps.’
Talia put her face in her hands. ‘So let me get this straight: you shot Richard—’
‘—And he wants you to be the one to teach me how to use a gun?’ Talia let out a long sigh as Dale gave her a confident nod. ‘Is he sure about that? Or is he actually wanting to end up in a wheelchair?’
‘Why is the pillow sticky?’ she muttered. She shook her head as she realised it was her makeup, not the fabric, and frowned. ‘When did I get home?’
‘About ten minutes after you fell asleep,’ Dale’s voice laughed from the dining table.
Talia snapped her head up and looked at the group of people sitting in her apartment. She stared at them for a moment, taking them in. Dale. Gavin. Richard. Trish.
‘Anna’s not back yet?’ Talia yawned.
‘It’s only nine,’ Trish commented, taking a bite out of some very wet-looking, off-coloured bread. ‘Good beef. Try it as a sandwich. Tastes like heaven.’
‘I like it with the potatoes!’ Gavin giggled.
‘Potatoes?’ Talia asked. ‘I didn’t think I made potatoes?’
‘Dale did,’ Richard commented. ‘We were waiting for you to wake up, so we made some extras to pass the time. Then Patricia came in and started eating, so we figured it wouldn’t be too rude to begin without you.’
‘Of course she did!’ laughed Talia. Then she sat up and stretched. ‘How’d I get upstairs? Oh— No. Dale? You didn’t—’
‘—HE DID!’ Gavin shrieked. ‘He carried you! All the way up!’
‘It’s three flights!’ Talia exclaimed.
‘You’re not too heavy,’ said Dale, sipping his drink. ‘Though I almost dropped you at one point. I don’t envy the me from the universe where I did.’
‘Yeah, nah. He’s dead and you know it,’ Talia snickered. ‘So, what else did I miss?’
‘Gavin took his meds,’ Dale commented. ‘And a bird flew into the kitchen window while we cooked. Scared me so much I accidentally threw a carton of juice into Richard’s face.’
‘It went everywhere!’ squeaked Gavin.
‘Kind of like your lipstick,’ Trish commented, pointing to her own mouth and wiggling her finger. ‘Might want to go wash your face.’
‘Christ,’ Talia muttered, slipping off the couch and hurrying into the bathroom. She dared a look in the mirror and was met with the ugliest version of herself she’d ever seen. ‘Frick!’
Another scene from A Man Worth a Million; but this one is from the first draft, not the final. It's chapter 26 of the first draft but, we'll see how much content gets cut/added and where it is in the final, eventually.
Talia meets her ex in a supermarket. She's pregnant again, wearing real gold and diamonds in a dress that costs more than a car (coming home from a VERY fancy party), and eating whip cream directly from the can. Because she's Talia, and Talia does what she wants.
Talia managed to swallow the whipped cream.
‘How have I been lately, or how have I been over the last twelve years?’ Talia asked bitterly. She felt the whip on her cheek, but didn’t wipe it off as she stared down her ex. He looked … well. Better than he had in high school, Talia thought. Though he still dressed like an arsehole. …
‘Look— Talia— I’m sorry,’ it came out as a sigh, and Talia almost believed it was genuine.
‘Yeah, imagine facing the consequences for your actions,’ Talia scoffed. She didn’t feel like talking and squirted another glob of whipped cream into her mouth.
‘—I don’t accept your apology!’ Talia snapped, mouth still full. ‘You’re a coward who ran away and left me to clean up your shit, and I don’t have time for someone like you!’
‘You ruined my life!’ Talia growled. ‘So you didn’t lose your chance to play football!’
‘It was wrong of me!’ Evan blurted. ‘And I really am sorry. I’ve felt so bad about it. …’
‘Then why didn’t you contact me sooner?’ Talia snorted, spraying another lot of cream into her mouth. ‘Oh, wait. It’s because you’re too much of a coward to actually face the people you’ve hurt.’
‘N-No, I didn’t know h-how,’ Evan stammered.
Talia didn’t budge. ‘Huh, well it’s weird that everyone else knew how to find me. Did you miss the memo? I wasn’t exactly hiding.’
‘—Coward,’ Talia hissed. She downed the last of the whipped cream from the can and threw it in the trolley with a loud clang.
Evan shuffled as Dale came out of the bathroom and put an arm around Talia, kissing his wife, laughing, and wiping her cheek before glancing to her companion.
‘Who’s— Oh,’ the drop in his tone was telling. He recognised him from the photo.
Gavin grabbed his mother’s hand and looked from her to Evan, back to her. ‘Mum? Are you okay?’
Evan shifted even more awkwardly at the sight of Gavin, and awkwardly rubbed his cheek to hide his face from the child. ‘I suppose I should be going.’
‘Alright. Bye then,’ Dale said dryly, turning away with a wave of his hand. He put his arm around Gavin and quickly pushed his family away, only turning back to grab the trolly, dropping his voice as he glared at Evan. ‘Have a fun life, arsehole.’
‘Was that my dad?’ Gavin asked. ‘Like, my other one?’
Talia sighed. ‘Yes.’
‘Dale’s better,’ Gavin shrugged. Then he looked to his mother and frowned before spinning around. ‘Dale’s a better dad than you’ll ever be! YOU’RE STUPID AND EVERYONE HATES YOU!’
Talia scoffed a laugh and shushed her son. ‘Gavin, don’t yell.’
‘But I have to stand up for you!’ Gavin declared.
‘I can defend myself,’ she told him. She glanced up and saw Evan staring awkwardly back. ‘He’s just a dumb coward.’
‘COWARD!’ Gavin shrieked.
‘Shush!’ Talia repeated. ‘You win by being better than him!’
‘But I want to win by yelling at him!’ Gavin declared, drawing looks from the surrounding shoppers. ‘He made you cry! I wanna make him cry back!’
‘Gavin,’ Talia sighed. ‘I’m sure he’s cried enough already.’
‘Then I’ll— I’ll break his legs instead!’
‘You will not!’ Talia snapped. ‘You will behave yourself and get in the car without any more yelling.’
‘Come on, Gav,’ Dale wrapped his arms around Gavin and heaved him over his shoulder. ‘I’m her husband. It’s my job to beat up people who make her cry.’
Talia shook her head and rolled her eyes, huffing loudly. ‘You boys, I swear. I can’t take you anywhere!’
Gavin had been chatty the entire drive home.
To be expected, Dale thought, with the day he’s had.
Glancing into the back of the car as he pulled into the apartment’s parking lot, he couldn’t help but sigh. Talia looked too peaceful to wake up. He wasn’t sure he’d have the heart to do it.
‘Told you she gets tired,’ Gavin gloated. ‘Are you going to carry her up the stairs again?’
‘Don’t think I have a choice,’ Dale laughed his response, clambering out of the car and walking to the back seat to retrieve Talia.
She didn’t seem to notice as she was hefted into the air, and simply lay heavy and limp in his arms. She didn’t even give a mumble of protest as Dale used her head to push the car door shut.
‘She’d be so mad if she knew you did that!’ Gavin snickered.
‘Well, don’t tell her,’ Dale replied.
She took in another deep breath and rolled out of bed and onto the floor. She reached under the bed and pulled out the old, tattered shoe-box of trinkets she kept hidden away and took off the lid.
There was the photo. On top? She thought she’d put it on the bottom. But she must have been wrong. … It was fitting that Evan’s face was the first thing she saw.
She carefully pulled out the tape-covered photo and stared at it.
She felt … nothing. So she put the photo back in the box and stood up, carrying it into the lounge. And then into the hall. All the way to the garbage chute beside the stairwell— And watched as the box slid all the way down it into darkness.
The thing that shocked her most was the relief. It was gone.
That was it.
And it was that easy.
Why hadn’t she done that sooner?
Talia gave a start and turned to the stairs to see Anna and Trish, home from their studies and looking as tired as she felt.
‘You alright?’ Trish asked, pointing to her own face. ‘You look like you’ve been. …’
‘Crying,’ Talia confirmed.
[A Man Worth a Million -Chapter 10]
‘Really, Dale?’ all of Talia’s anger was replaced with surprise as she yanked a pair of pink, feathery handcuffs out of the bottom of Dale’s bag. ‘All those jokes you made! I didn’t realise you actually owned a pair!’
About five different expressions passed over Dale’s face —which Talia could almost swear matched perfectly with the five stages of grief— until he settled on acceptance.
‘I forgot those were in there.’
‘But why?’ Talia laughed. ‘Why would you need these in your work bag?’
‘It’s. … I. … An indescribably weird no-questions-asked favour for Richard?’ Dale gave a cough and took the handcuffs from Talia. He played with the safety latch for a minute before clicking them open and holding them out. ‘Do you … want to try them on?’
For a minute Talia stared at him. Then she sighed and figured … why not?
She held out her wrists and let Dale clip the handcuff around one of them. ‘Oh, please officer. I have a son! I have a son!’
‘Well, that’s too bad!’ Dale responded. ‘My name is Sergeant Awesome, and I’m arresting you for being too pretty.’
‘Please! No! I won’t do it again!’ Talia mock-cried as Dale tugged her towards the couch.
He sat her down and clipped the other side of the handcuffs to the coffee table’s leg, then snatched the remote off the floor. ‘We both know that’s a lie! Repeat offence means you’re sentenced to watching TV with a friend! Sorry, I don’t make the rules.’
‘Oh, no! Not TV! Anything but TV!’
[A Man Worth a Million, Chapter 9]
People seemed to really like the bits I posted before so here’s some more seagull logic
I really want to spoil the entire thing and explain the plot and ending because imo it’s great but... I gotta finish it instead aushdhshsh
Anyway I’ll update the files on my website tonight and try to get a bit more written!
transcript under cut
JAZZA: Really? What made you like me?
SUNNY: You gave me chips.
JAZZA: (surprised) Is that- Is that it?
JAZZA: That’s all it took?
SUNNY: Well, not ALL it took, but it certainly was one of the sexiest things a human’s ever done for me!
It's REALLY hard to pick my favourite jokes from my own writing when the entire goal of my work is "make myself laugh repeatedly on every reread." Sorry that it's all in images I didn't want to mess up the format (YOU'RE NOT BEING VERY ACCESSIBLE, JADE) but these are all my best out-of-context quotes from the script I'm attempting to write!
The premise of the story is "There are lots of movies about animals like cats/dogs/mermaids turning human and falling in love. But what if it was an absolute bastard of an animal, like the Australian seagull? How would that go?"