And so that night I went home and jotted down a few characters. I'd had this story swirling around in my head for a long time--some sort of cross between the movie Ladyhawk and Lord of the Rings. Giving the characters names and faces, I wrote up a chapter. I think it was somewhere in the middle of the story, I can't really remember. After handing it over to Aubrey, she took it, read it, and came back with the request, "More, please." And so what was when then-titled Glow slowly formed.
Back then the story of Emily and her elves was written in first-person perspective and while the skeleton of the story remains, the rest was very much different. It started out pretty contrived and cheesy, an opus on my part as a means to show just how Neil Gaiman-y I could be in my writing. After MANY rewrites, re-inventions, and revisions, the story Return to Arethane was born.
Anyway, there was a lot cut from the original Glow that I didn't want to cut. So in order to give those bits new life, I'm sharing them with you here. Below is a fun little interaction between Jarrad and Emily that ultimately ended up on the chopping block due to it reeking a little too much of Roswell. Hope you enjoy it!
“Why don’t you just try out for the team?” I asked, almost desperately.
I could see the longing on Jarrad’s face every Friday as another night of football arrived without him getting to join in the competition. The look was the closest thing to sadness I ever saw in his bright eyes and it killed me that there was nothing I could do to make it better.
School had ended for another weekend and the halls were already emptying while we walked slowly toward the exit.
“I can’t officially join any team here,” he said softly, pulling my hand to his heart, running his fingertips lightly down the pale underside of my arm, creating a trail of goose bumps.
“Why not? You’re certainly talented enough. You’d be the best player on the team.”
“Joining a team requires more…there are physicals…blood tests.”
“Blood tests?” I repeated incredulously. I didn’t think of that, because I never thought it was a problem. Everything about him physically – aside from his inhuman beauty – was quite human; quite… manly.
“But I’ve seen your blood, it looks just like mine!” My throat strained, trying to express my curiosity in whispers.
“Yes, looks like yours,” he replied looking around. “But…here.”
He opened the door to the biology lab and pulled me through, closing it again behind me. He then wiped his hand along the narrow rectangular window, turning the clear glass into a smoky haze, so that no one could see in.
“Sit,” he ordered, gently pushing me into a seat at one of the lab tables. I smiled and watched him walk to the back of the room, rifle through one of the cabinets, and return with a microscope and a small box. I recognized the box from one of my classes last year. It was a blood testing kit.
He sat in the chair next to me and set up our impromptu lab. He opened the kit, set out two rectangular pieces of glass and picked up the needle. He turned to me and grabbed my hand.
“Nu-uh!” I protested as he moved to prick my finger. His mouth turned up at the corner and his eyes looked slightly annoyed.
“C’mon, Em. You know I’ll heal you before you can feel a thing.” He paused at my sour face. “It’s just a little prick.”
My expression still protested, my nose crinkled and my mouth twisted, as I pulled away while he still held my hand.
His eyelids grew heavy, smoldering blue flames within, he leaned in close to my face.
“Emily,” he said.
“Not fair,” I sighed, weakened already from his gaze.
“You can’t elf spell me…every…time…”
“Emily,” he repeated and I fell into his eyes and relaxed into his deep, soft voice. “I’m not enchanting you.”
His grin grew bigger, amusement playing across his face like a child’s song.
“Yes?” I sighed, succumbing and forgetting everything.
“You won’t feel a thing.”
I was helpless. Whether he intended to do it or not, he enchanted me. The light in his eyes, the gentle touch of his voice, the warmth of his breath near my face, it all enchanted me.
And he was right. He could remove my whole arm right now and I wouldn’t feel it. My heart thudding in my ears distracted me from all other senses.
“All done,” he stated lightly as he lifted my hand to his mouth, pressing his lips against my fingertips.
“You still don’t fight fair,” I said dryly.
“I didn’t enchant you, Emily. I told you I would never make you do anything against your will.”
“Yeah, but I just look into your eyes and fall to pieces.”
“And that’s bad, why?”
I rolled my eyes and watched as he pressed the needle into his own index finger, a deep crimson bubble growing in the spot. He then pressed his finger on the second glass rectangle, smearing the blood, and turned to the microscope, placing both samples side by side on the plate. His tongue stuck out slightly from the corner of his mouth as he focused into the lens and adjusted the magnifier and I couldn’t help smiling at him.
“Now,” he leaned back. “Look. The top is yours and the bottom is mine.”
I leaned in, squinting one eye as I looked through the lens with the other. The top, my blood, looked just as I had expected it; large, red blood cells swimming aimlessly around in a small space. I focused on the bottom sample and gasped.
I leaned back and looked bewildered at Jarrad. He smiled and raised one eyebrow, silently saying “See?”
I returned to the lens and looked again at the blood sample. Just like mine, there were large, red blood cells, but each cell was surrounded in a bright, yellow halo of light. And they didn’t float aimlessly. Instead, they vibrated wildly, like someone shook them.
“Poses a bit of a problem, doesn’t it?” he asked.
“I’d say,” I stated, leaning back again. “How have you avoided any tests up until now?”
He shrugged and picked up the samples, explaining as he walked to the sink to wash away the blood. “We never get sick. We usually don’t put ourselves in a position to have to submit to random drug testing, and we have ways of creating fake records to submit to administrations for enrollment and such.”
He returned and reached out his hands. I picked up the microscope and placed it in his waiting palms. “It’s sort of the advantage to having magic in your blood,” he added with a grin as he turned to replace the instrument in its cabinet.
“Wow,” was all I could reply.
He was back by my side and raised his hand, holding my cheek in his palm. It felt like fire against my cold face. He voice was softer when he spoke again.
“But when you cut me open, I still have a heart, like you. I still have lungs, like you. I still bleed.”
“Right,” I stated. “But you could seal yourself back up without needing stitches!”
He laughed and lowered his face to mine, kissing me lightly on the lips before taking my hands and leading me out of the classroom; tapping the window before we left, returning the glass to its rightful state.