Yeah, yeah, yeah. The truth is…

…I’m writing. 

Sssh! Don’t tell anyone. 

WAITING IN THE WINGS must be ready for editing by the middle of next month so I’m burning my fingertips to get to the finish line on time. To prove it to you, here’s a sample of what I’ve added this week.

“What happened? Where’s Xavia?”

“With her Elder Counselor. Things between the two of you progressed faster than we’d like.”

How did she know? Was she watching him? The thought he was under constant surveillance prodded his temper. “What business is it of yours? It’s not like you give a shit about me. If you did, you wouldn’t have abandoned me when I needed you.”

She shook her head. “That’s not true. No one has abandoned you.”

“Oh? Then Sherman lied when he told me you were ‘unavailable’ to me?”

“I was with another student at the time.”

“Student?” He quirked a brow. “Is that what we are to you guys? ‘Cuz you’re so much smarter than us, right? Like we’re beneath you or something?”

“None of those things. You’re getting angry over inconsequential issues, Osiris.”

Yeah, he was. Because what just happened with Xavia scared the crap outta him. He’d only meant to hug her—to thank her for what she’d given him. But the instant he pulled her into his arms, his circuits went haywire, and he found his synapses absorbing hers. He’d never experienced anything remotely close to this sensation, this…soul-sucking. Not in any life on Earth or in all his time here. In that perfect moment, Xavia became a drug he couldn’t resist. The more he tasted her, the more euphoria he felt, and his hunger for her grew insatiable. He would’ve gobbled her up, leaving nothing but stray blips of wasted energy if Rafaela hadn’t intervened and yanked him into this meeting.

“I was unavailable due to my work with another like yourself,” she said, now yanking him back into their current conversation. “And you didn’t really need me since you found the answers you sought through Xavia. The interaction between you benefits you both in the long run. As to why we call you students, it is neither due to malice nor arrogance. We Elders consider you students of the universe. You are here to learn from your past mistakes, to grow wiser and more in tune with the grand plan of life, and to graduate—to move on—with the knowledge you’ve attained from your time here.”

Smooth talk, but he didn’t completely buy into her smokescreen. One big siren blared in his head. “Yeah? Then how come that Jenny broad is moving on before the rest of us? As far as I’m concerned, she’s nowhere near ready. What’d she do to get special privileges? Bring an apple for the teacher? If I suck up to you and the others, will I get to graduate faster, too?”

She shook her head. “Jenny is an unusual case. Like you, she’s a suicide. Thus, she arrived before we were ready for her. Had she lived to see her punishment through, she would have faced earthly justice. Much like you, by choosing to end her life precipitously, she must now face karmic justice—which, as you know—is a much harsher fate. Unlike you, however, she shows no signs of remorse for her actions. She requires intensive reprogramming.”

“Well, she seems to think she’s a temp. That she’s doing a quick stint in Children’s Services and then moving on.”

“She’s not wrong.”

He slammed a fist on the desk. “But that’s bullshit! She’s a fucking monster! You just said so yourself.”

Rafaela held up her index finger in a warning signal. “Be mindful of what you say, Osiris. You’re trying my patience.”

He let out an exasperated breath and spoke again, this time with more care. “Look, I understand why I’m here. And if you think I’m not ready yet, fine. But what about Xavia? She’s a good person. She definitely deserves to move on before Jenny Widmark, the spider-wife.”

“The what?”

“Spider-wife.” As soon as he repeated the phrase, he realized he’d screwed it up, but his priorities lay outside of words. “Whatever she called herself. You know what I mean. That bitch has no business moving on so quickly.”

“Yes, I do know what you mean. But do you?”


“I’m not sure you understand the term, ‘move on,’ as well as you think you do. Many souls arrive here because they’ve nowhere else to go at first. Some only stay for a short time, once we’ve ascertained they clearly do not belong in our realm. We do offer them an opportunity to prove that, perhaps, they can be rehabilitated, that they can learn from their past mistakes, and express true penitence. Sadly, Jenny Widmark is not a good candidate for our intervention at this time. And we want her far away from our more deserving students as quickly as possible. Therefore, she has already been transferred to another realm more suited to dealing with her particular vices.”

I hope you’ll stay tuned for info on this book and other exciting things to come. I promise I’ll try to be better about keeping you informed on my progress.

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