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Outtake: Kyle


December 27, 2012 by Lyn

Just after Chapter 14

“What I want.  Okay.”

This was going better than Kyle had expected.

Of course, he realized, he’d really been expecting to do this with Eirena and not with Addy.

He pulled out a notebook.  “I’ll write everything down, and then we can cross stuff out we can’t agree on, okay?”

“So practical.”

“I stole the idea from Ciara.”  Tiny little girl, staring down the wolf with nothing but a notebook.  Kyle had been more than a little impressed, to say the least.

“Ha.  Okay, what’s first?”

“No interfering with classwork.  I don’t want to get stuck here longer than four years.”

“You know about the… other thing?”

“The kids?  I sort of guessed.  Lots of kids around.”

“Does that count in that rule?”

“No, that’s different.”

“Okay.  You get to do your homework, that makes sense.”

He felt like he was missing a loophole there.  He’d worry about that, later.

“No stupid clothes.”

“Who defines stupid?”  She frowned up at him. “I mean, you’d look silly in those little tramp dresses Agra puts his girl in.”

He couldn’t help but laugh.  “I would.  Uh.  You’ve seen what Gregori puts Speed in?”

“I think those are the clothes he came with.”

“Hunh.  Well.  I look silly in those, too.”

“So, mostly, you want a veto on your clothes.”

“Yeah.  I don’t want to wander around looking like… I dunno, like someone shrank my clothes.”

“I think we can come up with an agreement there.”

“Oh, good.”  That wasn’t his real deal-breaker, but it was a nice way to start out.  “Because I really don’t want to get paraded around like something on the cover of a bad magazine.”

“That was something B-… my…” Addy frowned, leaving Kyle frowning back at her.

“You can say it, you know.  His name, or ‘Keeper.’  It’s not like you’re giving away any secrets.”

“Bowen.”  She sighed it out, not like a swear word, but more like something that made her tired and sad.

“Oh, him.”  It was out before he realized what he’d said.  Damnit, he had to be more careful about that, especially when he was trying to negotiate.

“You know him?”  She actually moved back a couple feet.  Kyle sighed.  This was not part of the plan.  This was not what he wanted to be doing.

“I grew up in the Village.  I don’t like talking about it.  It makes people look at me funny, like I have some unfair advantage…”

“Well, you kind of do, don’t you?”

“A little, I guess?  But, I mean, it’s not like I can’t get caught anyway.  People get trapped when they know what’s going on.  All it takes is the right Words.”

“I guess I never thought about it that way.  But you weren’t in the Village when I came here, were you?”

He shook his head.  “Mom sent me away a while ago.  To have some time in a ‘normal’ school before I came here.  I left most of the way through the Fifth Cohort’s first year.”

“Oh.”  She went wide-eyed on him, which probably wasn’t good either.  “He didn’t talk about that year, but sometimes, someone else would say something…”

This was not where he wanted this to be going.  But if he could give her a little peace, a little understanding of what had led Bowen to be the way he was – well, he owed her that, even if it didn’t help his cause.  He took a breath, and used the time he was inhaling and exhaling to gather his thoughts.

“He was Kept by Agatha, who was, to put it mildly, an incredibly poisonous person.”  That was more than mildly; that was practically censoring it.  But he could give a little more.  “I didn’t see them often, because she didn’t seem to enjoy his company, but she’d bring him into the Village once in a while. Not leashed – nobody really gets away with that for long, unless their Kept likes it – but trailing along behind her, carrying packages, generally being miserable.”

There was one time, he remembered… “The worst – maybe the worst for any Kept – was the way she talked to him.  Constantly putting him down.  Telling him he was stupid, worthless, useless.  That he should be grateful for her ‘correction.’”

Addy twitched.  “Kendon does that.  Bowen only did that to me once.”

“Good.”  He sounded a little louder about that than he wanted to.  “I mean… well, no, I mean good.  It’s easy to keep doing.  I wouldn’t want you talking to me like that, and I don’t want anyone to have talked to you like that.”

“I won’t.  I won’t talk down to you.  I won’t abuse you.”

“That’s a good start, at least.”  He wrote it down on his list, anyway.

“His cy’ree talked him out of being too rough with me.”  She offered it shyly, like a present.  Maybe it was.  “I know my cy’ree wouldn’t put up with someone treating their Kept that way.  They’re the survivors.”

“Cy’Pelletier.”  Kyle nodded.  He’d heard things about a couple of that cy’ree… but now wasn’t the time for that, he thought.  “They’re good people.”

“But you still weren’t sure you wanted me to Keep you.”

“I wasn’t sure you’d go for negotiation.  And I wasn’t sure you could take the other… challengers.  But you’ve said you’re good for both.”

She nodded.  She was looking very thoughtful; he hoped that was a good thing.

“I don’t want to Keep someone and not be in charge.”

“I fully expect you to be in charge.  But I don’t want to end up locked in a box or something because I irritated you.”

“I wouldn’t… well.  How literal are we talking, here?”

“Um.”  It wasn’t quite cold chills up his back.  “Literal box.  Like.  Coffin.  Or closet.  I mean… I don’t want to be starved, or something.”

“So, not locking you in a coffin – Kyle, where would I even put a coffin?”

“Under your bed?” This conversation was creeping him out.  But he was pretty sure it was better to have it now than when he had a collar around his neck.

“I wonder if… never mind.  So.  If you, per chance, really, really piss me off, how about the bathroom?”

“Well, only if you don’t want to pee.”  The bathroom, though… “No longer than twelve hours.”

“Okay.  I can agree to that.  Are you claustrophobic, or do you just have an aversion to closets of coffins?”

This conversation was definitely getting really uncomfortable.  “I could handle a smaller… box… I guess, if I fit in it.  But not for long.”  Please not for long.

“So, closet, or something small, if I’m really, really pissed off, but for no more than… say, two hours?”

He could do that.  He could handle that.  He nodded.  “Okay, I have one more.  This is the hard one.”

“I’m listening.”

“I want… say, five vetoes a week.  Five times I can say ‘no, I don’t want to do that’ and have you abide by it.”

“Three, in private.”

“Four, and I’ll try to give them in private.”

“Hrrm.  How about… five, and I can veto your veto?”

“How many times a week?”

“Twice, but you can spend another veto to counter-veto.”

“We’re going to need a chart, aren’t we?”  On the other hand, he had a Keeping  – a potential Keeping – that involved rules for both sides.  That needed a chart.  He could handle that.

“I think that’s a pretty small price to pay.  Are we ready to draw up the contract?”

“I… yeah. I think we are.  Yeah.”  A contract.  He was going to have a contract.  “Yeah.”


This story was written in response to Ari’s donation and request for more Kyle and Addy. 

For every $5US donated, I will write 300 words on the character or situation of your choice. In addition, every donation will bring you to a small snippet of story – a new snippet every Wednesday! Want more?


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  1. Rix says:

    A wall chart where they can both see it?

  2. Wysteria says:

    Now, this was fun. Whee.

  3. Rendia says:

    This is the sort of thing they all need!

  4. guesty says:

    Negotiation. Kyle is very wise. Especially for a teenager.

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