Here's a scene I deleted from the first draft of Daughter of the South Wind when I rewrote the beginning. It takes place during the "in-between week" of the holiday season. Enjoy!
The giant bottle of Jack Daniels sat in the center of Eve’s round, breakfast-nook table. The warm lights of the family room Christmas tree reflected off the brown liquid so the glass glowed like a beacon.
“Jeez, Dad,” I nudged him, “Get enough booze for New Year’s?”
He moved forward and slid into one of the wooden chairs. “Doesn’t it remind you of something, Dawn?”
I joined him at the table. “Other than my favorite drink, not really. Sure could have used some a few days ago during all the present unwrapping, though.”
“Eve’s kids sure do scream at an unholy pitch,” he chuckled. “It’s not the same brand, but the bottle size and spirit type should spark a memory, especially given you’re about to start your Masters in a couple weeks.”
“Ohmigod, how could I forget--the huge Jim Beam bottle after the tornado.”
“No matter how many times you try to explain to me wind dynamics in severe storms, Dawn, I’ll never understand how such force could obliterate our entire house yet leave a bottle of whisky untouched as it fell from the kitchen counter all the way to the basement floor.”
“I think our best explanation, Dad, is the tornado gods shielded it from projectiles and gently sat it on the concrete.”
We both laughed at my childhood attempt to understand what had happened by believing in the existence of immortal beings who had targeted our house because we’d failed to make the right offering to them.
Dad pushed his glasses up to reseat in their normal position on the bridge of his nose.
“Remember how we noticed it right away after we crawled from our hiding spots? As if we could ignore it…right in the middle of the basement, no debris around it, and sunlight glinting on the glass bright enough to blind a person.”
“Not a scratch on the glass. I know, Dad, freaky. Then we realized sunshine shouldn’t be coming through the basement ceiling.”
“Well, kiddo, I thought since your Mom and I will be half-way around the globe when you chase tornados—”
“—I’m not going to chase tornados, Dad.”
“Don’t kid yourself. I know you, Dawn, and you’re going to figure out some way to chase tornados as a part of your degree studies since you didn’t get a chance to do it in undergrad. So, when you do, I want you to have something to celebrate with after your first one. And your Mom wants an epic pic of it, too. We’re both very proud of you.”
I was the luckiest girl in the world. Not only did our family survive an unwarned, EF-4 tornado’s direct hit on our house seventeen years ago, but through the years, my parents supported me in everything: band, volleyball, college, and now, my Master’s in Meteorology. Hell, they even encouraged me to take risks. Like now.
“Thanks, Dad. For everything. Eve thinks I’m crazy, so knowing you and Mom support me really helps.”
“Eve needs to live her own life and let you live yours. Don’t forget, you choose your own path, and no matter what direction you go, your Mom and I will always back you just like we encouraged Eve in her decisions.”
He stood and placed a hand on my shoulder. “Make sure you celebrate with friends, and for God’s sake, don’t finish the bottle in one sitting.” He bent forward and kissed my forehead.
Dad walked into the family room where everyone had gathered to watch a bowl game. I stared at the giant whisky bottle, my family’s symbol of survival and resilience, its glow now disrupted by the shimmer of blue-light from the wall-mounted TV.
Yup, he was right. I was going to chase tornados this summer.