Posting another snippet. This is (mostly) new to this draft. It’s from early in the book (which still needs a title)(which I was up until 2:30 brainstorming to no avail).
“Should we see if Bree’s okay?”
Claire shakes her head. “Nah, give her–”
But before Claire can finish her sentence, an eerie voice rings out. Silence breaks across the terrace, conversations splintering. The pianist trails off mid-sonata. What is that? It sounds like a woman singing, but I’ve never heard anyone sing like that. The voice is high and haunting. Beautiful but strange.
A lump of sadness wedges itself in my throat. Memories begin to sputter like film reels through my head. I’m back listening to a bugler playing “Taps” over my grandfather’s flag-draped coffin, the sunshine sacrilegious as my family flanks the grave. It’s the only time I ever saw my father cry—except for the telltale shimmer in his eyes when he and Mom told me they were getting a divorce. Even at ten, I knew those tears meant something awful was coming, felt the foreboding pressing me down like a paperweight.
The wailing goes on. Has it been three minutes or twenty?
Four burly security guards burst onto the terrace, handguns drawn. I’ve never seen a real gun before. It’s enough to shatter the bizarre spell I’m under.
“Claire! What’s going on?”
“It’s okay. They can’t get in.”
Men’s low, angry voices overlap with the shrill concern of their wives. People on the terrace rush into the house, looking frightened; people in the house rush out onto the terrace to discover the source of the panic. Drunken debutantes in flowing chiffon are tottering around with sad raccoon eyes. Men in power suits stare morosely into their scotch. I watch as a high-society matriarch swipes at the mascara trails weaving down her rouged cheeks. She looks like a sad, freaky clown.
Gemma’s mom is fluttering here and there, every step an elaborate dance. She urges several waiters to serve more champagne, then approaches a middle-aged couple. She smiles up at the man, puts a reassuring arm around the woman’s shoulder. The woman, cucumber-cold, gives her total bitchface. Arianna freezes, whirls, and spins away.
Beneath the dirge, I catch bits and pieces of conversation:
“I can’t believe even They would–”
“–possibly hope to accomplish?”
“—publicly embarrass us!”
“Claire, what’s happening? Who is it?” I ask again.
“Gatecrashers. Party’s over, I think.”