Red Fox from Dex’s POV, Rebecca’s letter – a blog tour wrap-up

I had quite the suc­cess­ful blog tour last week for On Demon Wings. In case you missed it, I’ve com­piled some of the blog posts that I wrote for the var­i­ous par­tic­i­pat­ing blogs.
Let’s start first with Rebecca’s let­ter to Perry (writ­ten after Lying Sea­son) – as seen on Good Choice Reading

Dear Perry,

I know this email prob­a­bly won’t reach you. Me, Dex, Emily, Jimmy – we’ve all tried to get in touch with you the last few weeks but to no avail. I fig­ured you’ve blocked us as spam or per­haps closed your email account all together, but I wanted to try, one last time.

I’m not writ­ing this on behalf of any­body. No one knows I’m doing this or say­ing this to you. Every­one has just sort of given up and moved on (well, not every­one). But I just had to write you and tell you a few things. These might hurt to read, if you ever do read them, but it’s just the truth.

I really like you, Perry. A lot. Dex has told me that you don’t have too many female friends, that you’re always wor­ried about being rejected or let go, like peo­ple don’t have your back. I was like that once too, so I under­stand. In fact, before I met Emily, I was a lit­tle too aloof. This Eng­lish charm of mine? I cer­tainly used it to my advan­tage on more than one occa­sion. To be alone was to be safe. To not let any­one into my heart was to be smart. I was cool as Pimms cup cucumber.

Then I met Emily and it all went out the win­dow. Never mind the fact that she would even­tu­ally become my lover, then my girl­friend. At first she was a friend and that was the first step. Even let­ting her in on that level was scary, but I’m oh so glad I did because the risk was worth it.

I think I could use a friend like you Perry and you could use a friend like me. I could be that friend to you. Of course we won’t tran­si­tion into lovers (I like blondes, and, you’re not a les­bian), but I think we could learn to trust each other and have some fun.

My first course of duty as your friend would be to write you as I am writ­ing you now. And tell you about what you left behind.

I know you’re hurt by what Dex did. I would be dev­as­tated. But I know how you feel, Perry. I know how you feel about him. I know you love him. But he doesn’t. He’s just a man who got in way too deep and scared him­self half to death. He hurt you badly and he hurt him­self too. In all the years I’ve known Dex, he’s never been as happy as he is with you. That’s all I saw dur­ing that week you were in Seat­tle. I know you were too para­noid about Jenn, but I saw it. His eyes light up when he’s with you, when he talks about you. I could go on, but what’s the point. I don’t think any of this would make you feel any less hurt or humil­i­ated. Peo­ple make mis­takes. I’m sure you’ve made a few. I know I have. And Dex, all he seems to do is make mis­takes. Some­times by acci­dent and most of the time on pur­pose. Most of the time to pun­ish him­self, because of the demons in his past. He never meant to hurt you – and I think he thought he couldn’t hurt you. You seemed too eager to keep your emo­tions at bay and he in turn did the same.

You’re both just supremely fucked up. Sorry! But again, it’s the truth and that’s what friends tell each other. The two of you together have so much poten­tial – for great­ness and for dis­as­ter. But it’s up to you, together, to decide what that’s going to be. You can trust some­one first and then let them in. Or you can let them in and trust them later. But you’ll never be hon­est until you can do both of those things. And I really, truly hope you can. Because you both deserve to be happy, and, ide­ally, with each other.

Take care,

Your friend Rebecca Sims

Then there is the pop­u­lar bar scene from Red Fox, writ­ten from Dex’s POV – as seen on What the Cat Read

Red Fox — Dex

“Sex­u­ally frus­trated?” Perry asked, her voice strug­gling to be heard in the noisy bar.
I turned my head away from my beer bot­tle and looked at her in sur­prise. The girl must have been psy­chic, though I could see from the way her round eyes were slant­ing at the cor­ners that she might just be drunk.

I had to smile. “Yes.”

There was really no use in deny­ing it. Even with all the bull­shit going around and the feel­ing that my brain was split­ting in two, it was hav­ing to sleep next to her every night – and just sleep – that was fuck­ing me up the most. I looked down at the beer bot­tle label that was stick­ing to my fin­gers in moist chunks. Christ, I couldn’t be more obvious.

She didn’t appear put off. She rarely did. It was one of her annoy­ing super powers.

Because your girl­friend isn’t here?”

Sure.” That was part of it. But even if Jenn were here, God help us all, it still wouldn’t have got­ten rid of the con­stant boner adjustments.

I took a long gulp of my beer, hop­ing that she would get the hint and not pry any fur­ther. Perry didn’t seem to have con­trol over her lips half the time and not in a good way and it was only a mat­ter of time before I said some­thing really stu­pid. I didn’t trust myself with­out the meds.

I glanced up at Max­imus and Bird talk­ing across the table from us. I hated Max again. I didn’t know if it was being off the meds or whatthe­fuck­ever but his rock­a­billy bull­shit act was wear­ing thin. I didn’t like how he acted like he knew every­thing and I didn’t like the way he was try­ing to win Perry over. He would deny it, but I knew exactly what the fucker was try­ing to do to me. And Perry was too inno­cent, her self-esteem too rav­aged to pick up on it.

To cement my point, Dire Straits came on and after Perry pro­claimed her sud­den (and sur­pris­ing) love for the band, the douche­fucker stood up and asked her to dance like he was a Cajun Rhett Butler.

She agreed, tak­ing his hand with a look that was pretty close to glee, and he led her to the packed dance floor. I looked back at the beer just in case she wanted me to notice what was going on, notice them together. My fin­gers started pick­ing at the label again. I wouldn’t give them that satisfaction.

You care about her a great deal,” Bird said in his ‘I’m an old man’ voice.

I shot him a look and resumed con­cen­tra­tion on the beer, tak­ing respite in the monot­o­nous move­ments. I didn’t say any­thing. There wasn’t any­thing to say. It was the truth, that’s all it was.

It’s OK, Dex,” he con­tin­ued. “I would too. But you have to respect each other. You have to move slowly. You are both too much the same.”

What does that mean?” I snapped at him. I felt bad, once again I wasn’t in con­trol of my emo­tions, but Bird’s face was impas­sive and gave noth­ing away.

You know what it means,” he said and he left it at that. I did know what he meant. That’s what made the whole sit­u­a­tion harder.

We sat in silence for a bit, then he excused him­self to go to the bar, promis­ing to bring me a beer. I wanted to stick my fuck­ing head in a pitcher but I needed to take it easy. Drink­ing never really helped me in the way I thought it did. And those thoughts always came when I was three sheets to the wind.

I man­aged to avoid look­ing in Max’s and Perry’s direc­tion but that all went fuck­aloo when U2 came on and Perry wasn’t back at her seat with fin­gers in her ears.

Instead she was still on the dance floor. Slow danc­ing. With gin­ger fuck­ing Elvis. They were danc­ing close, way too close. Her breasts were crammed up into his chest, he was hold­ing her like he was about to turn her over his knee and spank her six ways from Sunday.

And she was let­ting him. She looked like she was enjoy­ing the body pres­sure as much as he was. I could only imag­ine the way his chubby must have been grind­ing against her. Not that I wanted to imag­ine that. I shud­dered, feel­ing the curi­ous mix of dis­gust and envy carry through me. Feel­ings, fuck, I wasn’t used to this.

I was still mak­ing a dis­gusted face when Bird came back but to his credit he just handed me my beer and didn’t say any­thing. It was tak­ing all my willpower to peel my eyes away from the cou­ple and con­cen­trate on some­thing else.
This came in the form of Cheri and Amanda, two MILF’s who had been eye­ing me since I sat down. I’m sure they prob­a­bly went after any guy under 35 who didn’t clean his ears out with his car keys, but I decided to be flat­tered. I grinned at them and as expected they teetered over to me on tacky plas­tic heels, smiles broad, breaths rank.

I didn’t really hear a word they were say­ing, I was just try­ing to look hand­some and not breathe in through my nose. One of them, Cheri, maybe, took a lik­ing to Bird which he didn’t seem to mind. Bird didn’t strike me as some­one who had a wife wait­ing for him at home, though he could have cer­tainly done bet­ter than some old lush with wrin­kled cleav­age and brown-speckled teeth. I felt like throw­ing up in my mouth but I played up my viril­ity and asked Amanda, maybe, if she’d help choose songs from the juke­box with me.

We walked to the box through the sticky crowd and I kept Perry and Max in my periph­eral vision. On the out­side it looked like I was hav­ing fun, on the inside I was para­noid as fuck. I kept fear­ing that he’d grab her and take her away some­where dark and pri­vate. The thought of him touch­ing her, kiss­ing her, both­ered me to no end but Amanda was watch­ing me and look­ing con­fused at my expres­sion. I smiled at her again, all good vibes and good sex, and let her select some shitty songs first before I requested mine.

We had just got­ten back to the table (where Bird was try­ing to give Cheri a very polite GTFO) when Max and Perry finally removed them­selves from the floor. I wanted to make some cut­ting remark to him and cut him down a peg but there was a weird aura of ten­sion just steam­ing off. Some­thing had gone down between them and even though it soothed the spite in me, I was a bit con­cerned for Perry.

Appar­ently, so was Amanda. The minute she saw Perry’s sweet, wor­ried face she grabbed my arm, sink­ing her Pepto Bis­mol –col­ored talons into my skin.

You’re danc­ing with me, sugar,” she com­manded. She was sur­pris­ingly strong for her size and her sun-raped arms had no prob­lem drag­ging me to my feet.

Like I have a choice,” I said, try­ing not to laugh. This was one hun­gry cougar.

I gave Perry a quick wink as we went past and decided to give Amanda what she’d been wait­ing for: Some­one young. Some­one fun. I grabbed a cow­boy hat off of some ran­dom Joe Blow and gave “Croc­o­dile Rock” my best moves.
It had been a while since I was able to use some of my the­atre school skills, other than fuck­ing Michelle in the orches­tra pit and tak­ing hits between mono­logues. I knew it didn’t mat­ter if I screwed up or looked like a retard because that wasn’t the point, but I was sur­prised how eas­ily it came back to me. Again, all I could think about was how deep I felt the music, how deep I was feeling…everything. Though I was swing­ing Amanda around, my mind dwelled on what my med­ica­tion was hid­ing half the time. Besides the very obvious.

You’re good,” Amanda said to me, hold­ing me close to her, try­ing to take back the con­trol. Peo­ple were clap­ping and watch­ing us with amuse­ment and she was bask­ing in the glow.

It comes nat­u­rally. But so does being bad,” I said with a smirk.

I can see that. Your wife must be pretty pissed.”

Wife? Oh right. Fuck­ity fuck. I didn’t need to eye the ring on my fin­ger to remem­ber the whole cha­rade. Not that the town of Red Fox gave two shits whether I was really mar­ried to Perry or pre­tend mar­ried, but it didn’t hurt to keep up appearances.

She’s pretty under­stand­ing,” I said.

Amanda nod­ded. I noticed her ear­rings were clip-ons and dan­ger­ously close to slip­ping off. This was one sweaty, stanky ass bar.

You’re the under­stand­ing one. Most men here would be all macho about it if their wife was danc­ing with another man. But I could see he wasn’t a threat at all.”

Oh really? I wanted to pry her for her cougarly wis­dom but I bit my lip instead. We danced some more and then we were inter­rupted by another woman. She said her name was Mary Sue (nat­u­rally) and she was years younger (pos­si­bly even under­age) with des­per­ate eyes that screamed at me, like danc­ing with Dex Foray was the most excite­ment she’d ever get. That made me really fuck­ing sad. How pathetic this town must be to find a fuckup like me as their sav­ior.
I danced with Mary Sue, going through the motions, think­ing about the fake wed­ding band on my ring fin­ger. When the song ended again and I could see more women approach­ing me (look, I get that I can look pretty hot, but no one should attract this many red­necks), I decided I had enough. I knew what song was next and I knew who I was danc­ing with. My wife.

I walked toward her, ignor­ing the women and focused on her face until her big blue eyes met mine. She looked so small and dainty sit­ting there among Max and Bird, drink­ing and try­ing to have fun even though a world of dan­ger whirled around her. I could see the strain on her face, I knew she was always hyper-aware of what lurked in the dark. I knew because Bird was right. We were too much the same.

I stopped in front of her and tipped my hat in the most awk­ward imi­ta­tion of a cow­boy.
“It’s our song,” I said to her over the piano notes of Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman.” I held out my hand, hop­ing she’d take it.

Her eyes lit up and she took my hand. I quickly grasped it, cool and white between my fin­gers. I led her to the floor and put my arm around her, bring­ing her in hard and fast to my side. She was mine. For the sake of appear­ances, she was my wife, but she was mine any­way. She didn’t know it yet, but I did. It was wrong and it made no sense, but she belonged with me. No one else, not any­one else.

It was a shame that I was the one who belonged to some­one else. I won­dered if I’d ever have the strength to cor­rect that or if I’d pun­ish myself forever.

We started danc­ing slowly, side to side, and I put one hand behind her back, where it was hot and small, tempt­ingly close to her ass. The other held her hand. I kept her as close to me as pos­si­ble, but I didn’t want to impose like Max­imus did. Besides, the last thing Perry needed was to feel my hard-on on her hip, even though it was fuck­ing tempt­ing to let her know what she was doing to me. I enter­tained the idea that she might even like it. It was a high school dance all over again.

I had to know. I stared into her eyes, lost in the storm, and started singing along with Joel. Softly, and at a dis­tance to start, then I leaned into her ear where it smelled like sun­shine and baby pow­der. I closed my eyes and sang, feel­ing my breath bound off of her ear in hot clouds. It was tak­ing all of my willpower to not take this fur­ther, to not wrap my lips around it and lick the lobe to see what it would taste like. See if I could make those eyes roll back and make her for­get every­thing that had hap­pened to her. I didn’t want to be Red Fox’s sav­ior, but I wanted to be hers.

NOTE: I was sur­prised at how fun and easy it was to get inside Dex’s head – and boy, do you guys love it! It looks like I’ll be releas­ing a com­pi­la­tion of scenes from all the books from his POV, most likely in August or Sep­tem­ber. And yes, the strip club scene from Dead Sky Morn­ing will be in it (you perverts!)

Here are some more posts too:
A blog from Ada Palomino

An inter­view with everyone’s favorite, Jenn

Dex and why you should watch EIT

– And Perry’s thoughts on love and ghosts

Thanks to See­ing Night Reviews for host­ing the won­der­ful tour!