Gah, so weird. I can't believe it's here. Perfect Lies was such a fun and hard book to write. Here's some trivia: In Mind Games, I originally thought the second POV would be Adam's, not Annie's. And in my original idea for Perfect Lies, I thought the second POV would be James. But, much like when I tried to write Adam as a POV, I couldn't get over the fact that this needed to be a book about the relationship between the sisters, not the relationship between Fia and a love interest.
I still like the idea of writing a short that would trace the history of James and Rafael, how they got to where they are in Perfect Lies. Maybe someday. Until then, as a special release day bonus, I'll share the experimental opening scene for a James POV story.
And again, some more, always: Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy the second half of Fia and Annie's story!
Twenty Years Ago
She reads him Greek tragedies for bedtime stories.
He puts on his favorite pajamas, always laid out on the bed by the maid. Everything smells like the bubblegum peppermint of his toothpaste, except when she hugs him and his nose fills with the sharp tingling flower scent of her perfume. She lets him jump on the bed precisely five times before grabbing his ankles mid-jump and giving him that wild, terrifying rush of falling before being safely caught by the mattress.
She makes him tell her the best part of his day as she tucks the blankets tightly, and she tells him hers, which is always the same: him.
Her favorite story to read is Cassandra; only later will he realize that she wrote this version herself. He giggles when Cassandra falls asleep in the temple and the snakes lick her ears and give her the gift of prophecy, imagining slippery reptile tongues cleaning out his own ears. Sometimes when his ears are being washed he pretends the washcloth is a snake and he’ll be like Cassandra and start hearing the future. But by the point in the story where Cassandra goes mad because no one will listen to her prophecies he has usually lost interest, most often fallen asleep.
The story always ends with the same line: Cassandra saw a future that destroyed everyone she loved, and she could do nothing to change it.
If he is still awake, he puts a small hand on his mother’s cheek and tries to make her look at him, but she stares further away than he can see, and she looks impossibly sad, and it scares him. That’s why he likes to fall asleep before the end of the story.