In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share a little scene that never made it into Louder Than Love. The book has been out for five months now, and I am completely blown away by the reader response! Most surprising were the number of readers who said how much they loved and related to Katrina’s brother Kevin, and how they would love to have “his story” someday.
Kevin is the quintessential “fan boy” and it was fun for me to write him. I have four older brothers, and a few of them were music-obsessed as well. I also grew up in a neighborhood full of guys who started a new garage band each week. So it wasn’t hard to channel the spirit of a brother with an “inner Peter Pan” who moved away from home, but left a shrine dedicated to his rock idols behind in his childhood bedroom.
Kevin doesn’t have a major part in Louder Than Love; in fact, he doesn’t arrive in Lauder Lake until the end of the novel. But we first hear about him in chapter one, when we learn he “could bake the pants off Betty Crocker . . . and he sweet-talked them off most any girl at Lauder High.” Liz, Katrina’s friend who’s “been single since before coffee cost $4.85 a cup,” dated Kev in high school and never really got over him. Throughout the novel, we see Liz navigating the singles scene and trying to find a good guy who hasn’t been taken.
Ironically, it is Liz who discovers the real identity of Kat’s new boyfriend before the rest of the Kat’s friends and family do. Because of Kevin’s influence and the rock and roll education he gave Liz during their courtship, she is able to connect the dots leading Adrian, the eloquent, soft-spoken kiddie musician, to his hard-rocking, former-bad-boy alter ego, Digger Graves. But she keeps the secret safe for Kat and Adrian, not even telling Digger’s biggest fan – and her old flame – Kevin.
This small scene contains some brother-sister bonding on Halloween night. Kevin has flown in for the big Corroded Corpse reunion show, and drops a bomb on Kat about his feelings for Liz. It never made it past the first draft, but it still holds a soft spot in my heart. Enjoy!
Halloween was finally upon us. Kevin and I strolled with Abbey through the neighborhood, trick-or-treating early before the show. Not many people were home from work yet, and the sun had barely left the sky. Abbey didn’t care; she was just happy to visit Jasper and a few others on the street. Leaves whipped about in tiny tornados around our feet as we shuffled along.
“So Tabitha and I broke up,” Kev suddenly confessed. Quirky and sweet Tabitha ran a vintage clothes store and had been his girlfriend on and off for the past five years. Before I had time to comment, he continued. “ The relationship was sort of like that tomato I let rot in the basement that one Halloween, remember that?” I did; he had planned on nailing our busybody neighbor Hilda Franz’s house with it, and had checked on its deteriorating progress daily with maniacal glee.
“Yeah…whatever happened to it?” I watched Abbey showing off her kitty tail to our neighbors Chuck and Kyle. She was dressed as Maxwell, of course. Their poodle Ruby Two Boots pranced happily around her.
“Liz showed me her titties behind the potting shed and I forgot about the tomato.” He laughed. “It turned, like, white and stuff, and mom found it and freaked, threw it out. But I think I just let the relationship with Tabitha fester…neglected, like in the basement of my heart. Easier than just ending it.”
We walked in silence, watching as Abbey’s little plastic pumpkin became harder and harder for her to carry on her own.
“Tree, I love Liz,” he blurted.
“Why? Because she showed you her titties behind the potting shed?”
“No, you fool. I mean…I never stopped loving her. She’s what I compare all the girls I meet out there to. And they never stack up. No pun intended on her huge rack. But seriously. Do you think –”
“I think she would love to spend some more time with you.” I unburdened Abbey of her candy haul, and she skipped circles around us back to the house.
Kev nicked a KitKat from the stash. “Speaking of love…this new guy, what’s he like?”
“He’s a little older, he’s English –”
“I hope you don’t smile at him like that, it’s weirding me out, sis.” He earned a sisterly punch for that. “Abbey told me he works for PBS.”
“Sorta. You’re going to approve.”