[This is a photo of actor Oded Fehr, and this is who I would cast in the role of Jesse Cherrie]
Sometimes a character has more to say than will fit in the novel. Hey, I have a word count limit, and I can only include chapters that will move the plot forward . I can't just go willy-nilly, sticking in every little thing each character wants me to say about them; inserting scenes of their love lives or distant history that have nothing to do with the current story-line. This is where blogging comes in.
Like the scenes that end up on the cutting room floor, here is a scene in the life of RABBIT:CHASING BETH RIDER character Jesse Cherrie. Jesse belongs to the race of vampire-like wraiths, called Rakum. In this scene, he picks up a woman with the intention of having her over for a drink. Implied vampire activity intentional!
This scene fits into the novel, with all references to my other characters and their motivations, but alas, this scene takes place weeks before our novel begins... so let's sit back and enjoy a few words to Jesse's honor. He loves to be the center of attention...
Jesse Cherrie and the Tennis Pro
Jesse opened his eyes to watch Atlanta fade into his past once again. Like clockwork, every Tuesday at sundown, he left his comfortable apartment in New York City for JFK, hopped a 747 to Atlanta, and then a regional jet to Montgomery. All to check his holdings in the Southern Companies, and of course, to visit Michael Stone.
Jesse and Michael went way back, practically to the beginning. They were dumped in the same Lair-House at the age of five and paired up soon after by the Group Proctor. They were a perfect match with Michael’s natural brawn and Jesse’s mystical gifts; there was nothing they couldn’t accomplish together. Delivered over to Elder Jack Dawn for Ritual training, they were made tough and successful. The duo graduated First Ritual at the head of their class over a century ago. Of course, those days were thankfully far behind them. Since then, they settled into separate and comfortable lives, co-existing with the cattle that populated the planet; enjoying what mankind had to offer in the way of luxury and comfort, while avoiding the traps that befell the humans as a matter of course.
Jesse smiled to himself and turned up the volume on his iPod. It wasn’t so much the music, he’d listen to almost anything, but it was the distraction. He had an hour-long flight ahead of him and if no one spoke to him or vied for his attention, he’d be on cloud nine. Tonight, it so happened he was listening to the Moody Blues and he cranked up the volume to nine, readjusting his briefcase in the seat next to him. He always purchased two seats to assure his privacy and he always flew first class.
Jesse nodded his head along with the second tune and thought about the night ahead. He would try to get Michael to hit the town with him again. Last week, they’d gone to a bar frequented by dozens of twenty-somethings sipping dainty cocktails and fruity wine-coolers. What Michael saw in the place, Jesse couldn’t fathom, but it was more than boring. Mike probably liked looking at the girls—he was a bit of a horn dog. But none of them were touchable and none of them reliably alone. Jesse made him promise they’d avoid that place in the future. So tonight, what could he talk his old friend in to?
The song ended and in the quiet break Jesse heard someone clucking at him. He opened his eyes, turned to the aisle and pulled out the ear bud on that side.
“I’m sorry to disturb you sir, but we’ve had a little accident two rows back. Would you be so kind to allow this passenger to sit with you for a few minutes while we clean up her seat?”
It was the petite blonde flight attendant who’d seated him with a gigantic smile only minutes before. She was seriously not Jesse’s type, and he made an irritated noise but pulled his case out of the seat and to tuck under his knees. Blondie smiled, all dimples blushing bright pink, and stepped aside for another person to pass.
Jesse was rearranging his case and checking the floor space when she stepped in, and so the first thing he saw was a toe to knee cast on a woman’s leg. The woman maneuvered carefully into the space, crutches, purse and briefcase making the job a truer challenge. When she collapsed gratefully into her chair, Blondie left them alone.
“I am so sorry to barge in on you like this.”
The woman stuck out her hand and Jesse shook with her, easily masking his distaste. He did not welcome physical contact, but to fit the role he played, shaking with them was expected.
“My neighbor spilled his coffee in my seat when I stepped out to the restroom. How he could be so clumsy I’ll never know.”
Jesse nodded his head and offered her a tight smile, but did not meet her eyes. If he could survive the intrusion for ten minutes without getting to know the woman, that would suit him best.
“Pardon me, but, I notice you wear your watch on the right. Are you left handed?”
Jesse stifled a sigh. “Yes.”
“I thought so.” She replied and held up her right hand to show that on her slender wrist dangled an expensive and feminine Rolex.
Jesse smiled, appreciating her taste in watches, as he wore the same brand and she had already noticed the coincidence. She was about to make more small talk with him and he prepared for it, now allowing himself to study her eyes, her face, her mouth. Why not? She was barging into his private world now and fair game to a little scrutiny.
The woman had copper-colored hair, cropped close and spiked on top with product, and she looked at him with confidence with her sea-foam green eyes. Because of an organizational emblem on her purse strap, Jesse surmised that she was a tennis player and maybe a pro by the looks of her athletic build. But today she was dressed in a business suit; dark gray slacks, matching blazer and a low-cut deep red silk shirt. A diamond and white-gold tennis racket adorned her lapel and her briefcase was very similar to Jesse’s. She made a comment about it as soon as she noticed his interest. He nodded and she launched into more conversation.
“I am buying a restaurant in Montgomery. Is that where you’re headed?”
Jesse smiled and shook his head. As he expected, he’d spent enough time with the woman now—a good four minutes, sitting close enough to reach out and touch her—that he wanted to try her out. She wasn’t wearing a wedding ring, and that was a good first sign.
“No, I am going to see a friend.” He offered, slowly taking in her figure in such a way that she would notice. But she didn’t cringe or seem offended in the least. She waited until his eye landed on her obvious injured leg and she placed her hand on her bare knee, just above the plaster.
“I was in a car accident last week.” She rearranged the folded pants leg that made way for the cast and when Jesse met her eyes, she was watching him the way he was watching her. As far as she knew.
“What is your name?”
“Oh, sorry.” The woman laughed and put her knee hand now to her breast, knowing Jesse would follow with his eyes. “Kelly Jacobs. Where’re my manners!”
Jesse smiled wider and she blushed. He had her now.
“Jesse Compton. Nice to meet you Kelly.”
It was alias he used with women often enough. Jessie Cherrie was a man you could Google. Jesse Compton was nobody he knew.
The woman accepted the name and batted her eyelashes as she looked away. They were so easy, the mortals. And he was the luckiest Rakum he knew. Unlike Michael who situated regular voluntary blood donors all over town, Jesse had only two where he lived. He preferred to pick up his dinner on the fly. The variety and excitement gave him more satisfaction, which was of course his main goal.
Blondie the Flight Attendant returned just then and offered to help Kelly Jacobs back to her seat. Jesse held up his hand and invited her to stay with him.
“Oh thank you Jesse.”
Jessie sent the irritating tot away and relaxed into his seat, stretching his long legs. The tennis pro watched his every move, as he knew she would, and he could see he was her type.
“When we land in Montgomery, will you join me for a drink?” Jesse asked her, giving her a glimpse of his killer smile.
She interpreted his gaze as a come-on and blushed again. Jesse waited until she consented with a tiny nod. She was playing innocent and coy, but she’d been around. She’d never been with one of Jesse’s kind, but she was accustomed to picking up men wherever she went.
Jesse listened to her small talk with one ear, and the end of the Moody Blues album in the other; his plans for the night set. Take Kelly Jacobs to his hotel room and get that drink.
Then he’d send her on her way, his stomach full.
He was the luckiest Rakum alive.