All We Have Lost

All We Have Lost by Aimee Alexander Read Free Book Online

Book: All We Have Lost by Aimee Alexander Read Free Book Online
Authors: Aimee Alexander
on plot,’ she says, as if I’ve touched a nerve. ‘Now, about your work,’ she says, pointedly, as though conscious of her own deadline. Given the publishing phenomenon that she is, I wonder how much each of her words is worth.
    ‘Thank you,’ I say, pen poised.
    She sounds very encouraging as she breaks the news that what I’ve written ‘needs work’. My plot is ‘leaky’, my characters ‘one-dimensional’, my vocabulary ‘pedestrian’.
    I put down the phone. And cry.
    When I recover (it takes a while), I open my laptop and do a word count. Five-thousand-eight-hundred-and-two words. According to Deirdre French, this should have taken me three days. It’s been four weeks. And it’s pedestrian.
     
    ‘Deirdre French thinks my book is crap,’ I say to Ian.
    ‘She really said it was crap?’
    ‘Well, she didn’t actually use the word. But she meant it.’
    ‘I’m sure she didn’t. Wouldn’t.’
    ‘She’s right, though. It is crap. You think it’s crap too. You just won’t admit it.’
    ‘Kim, you know I don’t read fiction.’
    ‘I know, but you must have some opinion.’
    ‘And it’s this: better no advice than bad advice.’
    ‘I’ve given up my business for nothing.’
    ‘Kim. Deirdre French is one person.’
    ‘Yeah, but she knows what she’s talking about.’
    ‘Does she write crime?’
    ‘No,’ I say grudgingly. I feel two-year-old grumpy.
    He smiles. ‘Come here.’ He opens his arms.
    I snuggle into him. And feel marginally better.
    ‘You’ll do it. I know you will. You’re great.’
    ‘You’re biased.’
    ‘I know. I’m your biggest fan.’
    I start to smile. He pulls me closer.
    ‘Pretend we’re in a cave and there’s a blizzard outside.’
    ‘It’s you who should be writing books,’ I say but I do it – I pretend we’re in a cave and there’s a blizzard outside. It’s lovely.
     
    I stand in front of an open case. Six condoms for three days? Call me an optimist.
    We park at the airport. I’m raring to go but the (official) worker of the family has to make three ‘quick’ work calls first. I’ve no problem with that – easy to be positive when there’s a mini-break on the horizon. I take out my copy of On Writing by Stephen King, but get a little distracted by the man beside me. He’s got the most gorgeous profile. I sit forward to get a peak at his eyes, my favourite Ian feature – it’s the way they change from blue to turquoise depending on the sky.
    He hangs up.
    ‘What are you looking at?’ he asks, smiling.
    ‘You, Ian.’
    ‘Me, Tarzan .’
    ‘You Ian – as opposed to You Dad or You Husband.’
    ‘And yet I do have quite a number of Tarzan-like features,’ he says swishing back imaginary long hair.
    ‘No loincloth, though.’
    ‘That could be arranged. Come on, Jane, let’s go.’
    ‘I’ll just grab my vine.’
    We walk in sync towards the airport terminal. I bump him with my shoulder. He bumps me back and I go flying. We laugh and he holds out his hand. Taking it, I tell myself that I shouldn’t worry so much about the writing. I have Ian. I shouldn’t forget that. I can lean on him, a little. He won’t mind; he might even like it.
    About an hour into our flight, Ian gives me a corny smile. He takes my hand and begins to, what can only be described as, ‘fondle’ it. Then he starts to serenade me. Out loud. On a full – and very big – plane.
    ‘Every time you go awa y, ’ he sings, earnest and cheesy. ‘You take a piece a me with yo u …’
    I’m laughing when an airhostess arrives with a Financial Times for the crooner. He doesn’t drop my hand or look awkward, just beams up a very charming thank you.
    She looks at him as if to say, ‘You can serenade me any time.’ Then walks off.
    ‘She remembered,’ he says, touching his heart.
    ‘Either that or people were begging her to do something – anything – to stop the “singing”.’
    He gives me one of his earphones so that we’re still together while he

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