Fel Wetzig of The Peasants Revolt is hosting a bloghop in honor of her first blogoversary. Participants will share something they wrote in January 2012—blog posts, poetry, writing, etc. Everyone who participates will be eligible to win a giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card.
Last January, I was between projects, having put Justine Grown Up on hiatus for the first time to do some more edits on my Russian novel and Little Ragdoll. From looking back at blog posts, I know last January was when I completely redid the scene in Chapter 6, “Ginny’s Reign of Terror,” where Lyuba gets drunk.
The original scene was written in 1993, by some ignorant 13-year-old who’d never been drunk and was going off of stereotypical depictions of drunkenness. At 32, I knew no one would immediately become falling-down drunk after one glass of vodka!
This is August 1919, and they’re at one of many boarding houses they stay at as they try to stay one step ahead of the Bolsheviks.
Lyuba makes a violent face as she drinks. “Ványa, does your water taste funny too?”
Iván takes a sip and blanches too. “It does taste funny. Maybe the water supply is rank today.”
“Well, I’m thirsty. I guess we can’t be too picky about where anything comes from these days, since we’re lucky to still be alive.” Lyuba drinks her glass to the bottom and smiles an odd smile when she finishes. “Ginny, may I have more water?”
Ginny obediently ducks back into the room and refills her glass. “What’s wrong, Konev, not thirsty?”
“No, the water tastes funny. I’m not as thirsty as Lyuba.”
Lyuba starts drinking the second glass and feels the room starting to spin. The glass slips out of her hand as her head crashes down onto the table. The contents of the glass spill all over. Iván stares at her in horror as she slumps out of her chair. Lyuba tries to get up, but quickly topples over and starts giggling.
Iván picks his glass up and takes another sip, physically recoiling. With a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, he gets up to try to help Lyuba up. He isn’t prepared for her to began screaming hysterically and clawing at his face.
“Don’t touch me! By God’s cross, I’ll never let you violate me again! Get your dirty hands off me, Father!” She begins breathing in frantic, ragged gulps, blood rushing and pounding through her ears, as she continues flailing her limbs hysterically.
When Iván gets a whiff of her breath, he immediately realizes Ginny poured them vodka instead of water. Being a teetotaler, he hadn’t recognized the taste, but now he recognizes the smell as clear as day. Fighting back nightmarish images of his own father, he lays next to her and begins whispering in her ear, thankful everyone but Ginny and Kittey is out.
“Lyubashka, it’s me, Ványa. Calm down. We’re safe now. That mudak is away at war, and my father is dead. They haven’t touched you in over two years. I’ve been protecting you ever since we left home. Your evil cousin gave you vodka and tricked you into thinking it was water. He’s damn lucky you didn’t drink enough for alcohol poisoning. I’m going to stay with you till it gets out of your system, and take care of you while you’re sick. You’re just reliving bad memories in your head, but you’ve survived them and they’re only memories.”
Lyuba looks over at him through her fuzzy vision, still frantically gulping for breath. As his words start sinking in, she reaches out for him and gently strokes his face.
“That’s right, I’m your best friend, the one man in the world who’d never do anything to hurt you.” He pulls her into a sitting position, in which she promptly slumps forward, and gently rubs her back, patiently telling her to breathe in and out till her breathing finally returns to normal after what seems an eternity.
Iván looks up when he hears footsteps. Instead of Eliisabet and Alekséy returning from the market, Kat and Nikolás returning from their walk, or even Anastásiya and Katrin returning from sunbathing, it’s the source of all Lyuba’s trouble returning to the scene of his crime. Upon seeing Ginny starting to unlatch Tatyana’s highchair, Iván leaps up and starts menacingly towards him. In terror, Ginny starts for the stairwell.