|Much's non-historically accurate (that is, never used in the book) catchphrase.|
So instead, I thought I'd do something I don't do often here, and share the new and already infamous hair-cutting scene that I've been teasing my fans with by mentioning and not sharing. This is "characters [read: Much] taking over a scene and making it better" at its finest. I need to cut it down a bit, but I'm not doing that today.
So, here are the 789 words of Chapter 7, Draft IV, in their unedited glory. I hope you enjoy them. Happy April 1st!
“Robin,” I said.
“What?” he muttered, adjusting his grip on the weapon Much had give him.
“I need to cut my hair.”
His eyebrows jumped higher than I thought I had ever seen them before. “What?”
“I can’t keep control of it,” I said. “I’m going with Much to buy the clothes. And I’m coming with you. To Jacqueline’s wedding.”
“You can’t return to Nottingham like that,” he said.
“Well, isn’t that what you want?” I said, annoyed that he would so quickly decide it couldn’t be allowed.
“I’m not about to cut your hair, Lady Marian.”
“It’s dishonorable,” he said.
“So is, I’m sure, living with a bunch of outlaws, and yet I’m doing that.”
“Marian...” he said.
“Robin...” I mimicked.
He glared at me, blue eyes flashing. “I’m not going to cut your hair,” he repeated.
“Well I’m doing it,” I said. “It will look terrible, but I’ll do it anyway.”
Much walked by, twirling his sword and humming something. I raised my voice. “Maybe Much will help me.”
“Huh?” he said.
“Robin won’t help me with my hair.”
“What do you need, lady mine?” Much teased.
“She wants it cut,” Robin said.
“Oh,” Much said, eyebrows imitating Robin’s. “Why?”
“You’ve seen the mess and trouble it is,” I said.
“Oh indeed,” Much said, obviously in a good mood. “How cruel not to help her, Robin.”
“You do it, if you think I’m cruel,” Robin muttered.
“I’m sure I’d accidentally cut her neck or something else just as dreadful,” Much said. He mimed fatalities that seemed to mostly consist of me fainting. The he continued in a sappy voice, “Considering your obvious higher skill in archery over swordsmanship, surely you are the better choice--”
“All right!” Robin said, voice rising.
“All right what?” I asked.
“I can’t fight both of you. How short do you want it? Would you prefer to be bald?”
His words seemed to suggest teasing, but there was something else in his voice that disconcerted me.
“Er--around my shoulders, I guess,” I said. “That’s not too long, is it? I mean, for men’s styles?”
“For noblemen,” Much said.
“Well I don’t want it shorter,” I said, tension tightening my shoulders in spite of myself. “I don’t know how long it takes to grow it back.”
Much now mimed mile-long hair. “I imagine awhile, lady dear.”
“I wish I had something to hit you with,” I said.
“Do I just use my dagger?” Robin asked, polite but dead-solemn.
“Gar!” I said, grabbing Robin’s borrowed sword from the ground and rushing at Much.
He rolled away and stood, dark eyes dancing as he drew his sword.
“Er...” I said, looking down at the weapon I held in two hands and then up to the man high above me. “En garde!”
“You Norman!” Much laughed, banging it easily out of my grasp, and wringing my wrists in the process.
“Ouch,” I said, rubbing them.
Even Robin laughed at that.
“Now,” Much said, taking my hand. “For the butchering of mine maiden’s fair locks.”
“Don’t say it like that,” I said, nervous again. For a moment I was very glad I didn’t have a mother on the earth anymore.
“Doesn’t it cut better when wet?” Robin asked.
“I’ll get some water!” Much volunteered.
Robin rolled his eyes. “With all of his helpfulness,” he remarked, “you’d think he’d just do it himself. I’m sorry in advance for butchering it.”
“So long as you don’t butcher me,” I said, mimicking Much’s fainting throes. Robin didn’t smile.
“Are you angry with me?”
He moved behind me and took some of my hair in hand. His fingers brushed my back.
“My fault,” I said, gathering up the hair myself.
Then the tidal wave hit.
I staggered forward, stunned for a moment by my sudden change in temperature and clothing.
“Much!” Robin hollered.
I spun around. “Much-the-miller’s-son-I-will-kill-you!”
He was long gone, leaving me dripping wet and Robin trying desperately not to laugh.
“Well it’s wet now,” I said.
“That it certainly is.”
I dripped over to him and sat down on the log.
He didn’t say anything, but when he took up my hair again his hands were shaking.
“You can laugh, Robin.”
So he did.
I felt safer after that.
My hair soon lay in frightening sodden heaps, with the fringes brushing my shoulders.
“Now what do we do with it?” Robin asked, scratching the back of his neck.
“Er...” I said, gathering it up. He helped me, solemn as ever, though we had nothing to do with the dripping mess.
“You have a good friend, Robin,” I found myself saying.
He grinned all the way to his eyes.