Some lines and visuals from Walking Wounded.
Copyright © 2016 by Lauren Gilley
|Georgetown, Washington DC|
When his need for nicotine began to outweigh the craving for caffeine, he trashed the rest of his latte and hit the sidewalk, smoking and walking, unhurried, earning dark looks from posh daytime shoppers who thought smoking was the most disgusting thing a human could do in public.
He lives in New York. He knows it isn’t the most disgusting thing.
He’d walked all day, sightseeing. Had peered down into the dark water of the canal and watched his wavering reflection. Had window-shopped for clothes he could never afford.
This is going to take a while. Part of Luke is frustrated by this, but a larger, more secretive, artistic part of him is glad for the challenge of it. When he interviews someone for a piece – which is rarely – it’s all shorthand, tape recorders, and wedging into too-tight corners of coffee shops, his mark shifting, impatient, and nervous as a prospective john caught hiring a call girl. Like there’s something wrong with making a statement that will be put down on paper. People want to be transparent and transient these days. They don’t want anything to stick to them: not mortgage payments, not weekend plans, and not something they said one time to that moody loser with the glasses.
|Fall in Virginia|
Trees crowd the road, orange maples and yellow pecans, flicking loose leaves to spiral toward the windshield. Driveways marked with painted mailboxes snake through the expanding fields and copses. The landscape comes from a previous time; they could be driving through the colony of Virginia, rather than the state. DC’s bustle seems an age ago, several miles behind them.
Luke cracks his eyes against the dappled shadows that fall across them through the windows. Squints at the quaint, colonial city-center that he reads is Leesburg from a roadside sign.
|Maddox family home in Leesburg|
Luke isn’t loving the idea of getting out – all that movement – so he sits too, waiting. “Did Matt grow up here?” he asks.
“Yeah.” A smile touches the corner of Hal’s mouth. “Will too.”
Luke sees them, sepia ghosts moving across the grass. Little Will with a missing tooth and hair shining beneath the sun, rips in the knees of his pants. Chasing Finn, the two of them laughing, the sound bright and clean in the autumn air.
|Colonial interior at the Leesburg house|
The Leesburg house has its own heartbeat. A pulse reverberating deep beneath the floorboards, flickering in the rumpled top corners of the wallpaper. It breathes, sighs dust motes and the sharp scent of cedar-lined closets. It’s full of benevolent ghosts: children thundering down the stairs, maidens lingering in the library windows, field hands in the front pasture, sickles propped on their shoulders as they survey the grand brick structure. The wear of hundreds of handprints has sanded the chair railing smooth. The field stone feels like marble under bare toes, cold and polished by feet, and socks, and boots.
Tentative release date is Dec. 17.
Luke always thought he’d grow up to be a famous author. Then again, he also thought nothing could ever damage his relationship with his childhood best friend, Hal. He thought a lot of things that proved to be untrue. But now he barely makes rent and proofreads articles at a New York gossip rag, dreaming about what-might-have-been. He’s not bitter about it. He’s not. And he certainly isn’t lonely.
Will Maddox – Korean War vet, unapologetic curmudgeon – is the father of a controversial young US Senator, and he’s in trouble with the law after striking someone outside a charity event. In Luke’s eyes, he’s just a senile old man with anger management issues, and he has no idea why his editor would send him to DC to interview him. He flies down from New York thinking he’ll stay a day, expecting an epically boring assignment.
The catch? Hal works security for the Maddox family. And he’s really excited to see Luke after three years apart. And Luke is still really, hopelessly, desperately in love with his best friend.
Luke’s about to learn there’s a big difference between expectations and reality. And this interview just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to him.
A book about the bravery of ordinary people, and the wounds they carry.