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This scene doesn’t fit anywhere in a book yet. It features two of my well developed characters, and I was trying to play around with subtext in dialogue. You know, where there’s lots being felt, but the people really aren’t saying things out loud.
This is my first attempt at subtext, and I think it’s about as subtle as a jackhammer, but there you have it.
Also, I cheated. Mackenzie is cooking, not baking, but it’s in the spirit of things!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
Kayth had been off all week, Mackenzie couldn’t help but notice. He was a quiet person, but he was brooding over something. He talked, he laughed, he made every show of having a good time, but he was thinking. Hard.
Dinner was her responsibility tonight, and she decided spaghetti was something she could make that would turn out edible. Her friends and family were split between downstairs swimming, or in the basement playing pool. Even Autumn, who had previously been underfoot, was playing pool with her Uncle Cole and Argent.
The only question was whether or not to ask him about it. Kayth wasn’t shy, and usually talked to her about something if he wanted to. He was a private person, and preferred to think about things in his own time.
I guess I will just leave him be, Mackenzie thought, stirring the sauce and humming to herself.
She turned around to grab some spices and almost ran right into Kayth at the kitchen island, tearing up lettuce.
Mackenzie yelped, “Oh!”
“Sorry. I thought you heard me.”
Mackenzie laughed. “You? An elf? No way.”
Kayth pulled some tomatoes out of the fridge, and started slicing them up on the cutting board. His shoulder length black hair was pulled back into a ponytail, the way she liked.
She resisted the urge to touch his hair. “Oh, Kayth, you don’t have to help. It’s my turn,” Mackenzie said.
Kayth looked up. “You want me to leave?” He said with unexpected intensity.
“Uh, no. I just mean that you don’t have to help me make dinner. You can enjoy yourself at the pool.”
“Okay,” Mackenzie said. She shrugged, and pulled some oregano, basil, and a bay leaf out of the drawer where they kept the spices. Definitely brooding about something.
Mackenzie tried to think of something to say, but all she could think of was his strange behavior, his quiet intensity. “You guys like going on that pirate walk?”
Kayth shrugged. “It was certainly more informative than I thought it would be. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable. Xenarah really enjoyed herself.”
Kayth paused, and added as an afterthought, “There were a few spots that were questionable with ghost activity.”
“Oh, good thing I didn’t come along then,” Mackenzie said. She never liked talking about her magical abilities. She didn’t understand them. “Autumn buried everyone in the sand at the beach today.”
Kayth nodded again. There was a pause, and then he said, “Everyone this time and not just Dallis and Cole?”
“Yep. She even managed to rope in a few of the locals before she was done.”
Kayth smiled, and started another tomato.
Mackenzie tried desperately to ignore Kayth’s strange behavior, but his energy took up the entire kitchen. Before long it felt like the tiny hairs on Mackenzie’s neck was standing on end.
“You guys have any plans for tomorrow?” Mackenzie asked, stirring the noodles.
Kayth shook his head no.
“Autumn wants to go wave running.” The knife hovered in the air for a split second before Kayth sliced the tomatoes. She might not have caught the pause if she didn’t know him so well. What about Autumn going wave running got a reaction out of him? “I’m going to see how many people want to come, and then call the tour guide tomorrow. There’s a ctour of the bay area that looks really fun.” Don’t babble on, Mackenzie. He sees right through you and will know if you’re uncomfortable. He might even ask what's wrong, and then what you would say? You? You're being weird and it's making me jumpy?
Kayth was silent while he started on the cucumbers.
“Do you want to come?”
Mackenzie tried not to let out of puff of air. “Wave running.”
Mackenzie grinned. “It’s like a jet ski, only a little smaller, and there’s a stream of water that shoots out of the back. You ride around on it on the ocean.”
“So, self propelled personal boats?”
“Yes. Autumn said she’s going to ride piggyback with her Uncle Cole, since he takes her on his motorcycle and lets her drive sometimes. Personally, I think she’s hoping he’ll let her drive, even though she’s way too young. So you can ride piggyback with someone, or go solo.” Mackenzie rolled her shoulders, trying to calm down.
Kayth nodded. “Who are you riding with?”
“Me? No one. I was going to ride with Autumn, but then she said wants to ride with Cole. We don’t all have to double up, but it’s better for those of us with a little experience to steer for those of us without. You could accidentally tip the wave runner over or something.”
Kayth nodded again, scraping the tomatoes into the salad bowl.
“It’s not hard to learn how to drive them, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
Kayth looked at her. “You said it was better to ride with an experienced driver.” His voice was soft, but his voice held undercurrents of emotion like the ocean here had a deceptively strong undertow.
“Well, yeah. But…” Mackenzie blinked. “Anyway. I was just trying to see who wanted to come. We can work out all of the logistics after we get the final headcount.”
Mackenzie turned and stirred the sauce and noodles. The noodles were done. She could feel Kayth watching her, thinking. She wanted to shake him and ask him what was on his mind, but she knew better. He would talk to her when and if he was ready. She never got anywhere from pressing him.
Mackenzie poured the noodles into the strainer, the moist steam rising out of the sink like a small mushroom cloud. She turned the sauce on low, and pulled the French bread out and set it on the counter. The banality of routine settled her nerves.
“I would like to go wave running tomorrow,” Kayth said, sliding the cucumbers into the salad bowl.
“Great!” Mackenzie grinned. “Now we just need to convince Vega.” She started to mix the garlic and the butter together. “I doubt Xenarah will need much convincing. And Argent and Cadence already said they wanted to go.”
“Will you ride with me?”
Mackenzie looked up. “Huh?”
Kayth was watching her face. “The wave runner. You said before that you’ve ridden them. I have not. Will you ride with me?”
Her stomach flip flopped. Don’t be stupid, Mackenzie. It doesn’t mean anything more than he likes you more than a friend. It’s just because it’s technology he doesn’t understand. “Sure. You want to drive for a bit too?”
Kayth shrugged. “We’ll see.”
Mackenzie nodded, as a herd of elephants in the form of the rest of her friends made their way up the stairs. Their dinner senses were going off, and soon the room was swarming with people and food and plates. A warm feeling in the pit of her stomach stayed with her the entire time.
Suddenly tomorrow was looking up.