While revising Getting Dirty I cut A  LOT. This prologue is one of those things. At the time I just thought it was too much to have a prologue and a prelude. You'll have to let me know what you think. My beta readers haven't even read this! 

So here goes...the real first time Madeline met Jace and Jess:

 

Many, many years ago. 

The laughter and whooping drew me behind the body shop where I wasn't supposed to wander. To blond boys around my age stood covered in mud, a hose nosily spilling water between them.

They began cheering as I rounded the corner. 

“What are you doing?”

At my question one jerks guiltily looking over. The other barely glances my way. 

The guilty one’s expression turns friendly and he gives me a wave. “Hi. We’re shooting salamanders. Wanna join?” 

Horror goes through me. “Like, you’re killing them?”

“No,” he laughs. “We catch em’ then we shoot em’ out the hose into water.” He holds the wiggling little lizard, pops it in the end of the hose. His brother turns the spigot on and the lizard goes sailing through the air like Superman only to land with a slash in one of the muddy pools they’ve dug. 

“Wanna try?” he asks.

Yes! an internal shouts. I know I shouldn’t. Proper ladies don’t play with lizards or mud. But I’ve never held a lizard and I want to shoot one out of a hose! I cast another glance at the garage where my father is ordering parts for his new hobby car.

“If I hold the lizard will it give me warts?” I ask.

“It’s not a toad stupid,” the other boy says.

“Don’t call me stupid.” I’ll show him. “Hand me one of those.” I grab the hose from the nice boy, and the other hands me the fattest, slimiest salamander in the bucket.

I just know he did that on purpose.

Glaring, I load the hose and nod at them to turn the water on. I aim for the farthest puddle and shoot my lizard. He lands with a huge splash. 

The nice boy whoops and I have to stop myself from jumping in excitement. Ladies don’t jump. 

“That wasn’t bad for a girl,” the other boy concedes. 

“What do we do now?” I ask. 

“Now we round ‘em up and shoot ‘em again.” He wiggles his eye brows. “Come on.”

The nice boy already has his hand in the mud puddle slipping out salamanders to toss in his bucket. The other is walking towards the woods off the parking lot. 

“Madeline Elaine.” The sharp bark of my first and middle name makes me freeze in my tracks. Slowly, I turn to see my father by the side of the garage, glaring. “Get over here now.”

“Ahh, you’re in trouble,” the mean boy teases. 

“No, I’m not.” I hide my dirty hands behind my back hoping it’s true. “Hi,” I say to my father as I walk beside him to the car. 

He glares down at me as we drive home. “What were you doing with those boys?” 

“Nothing. They just showed me the lizards they caught.”

My father’s narrowed gaze tells me he doesn’t believe me. “Madeline. You’re a young lady. And a Fitzpatrick. You comport yourself with decorum at all times. And you certainly don’t t fraternize with dirty boys outside of a garage. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes sir.” I sink down in my seat. I hate disappointing my father. I like being the best at everything I do, but with him, it’s never quite good enough. 

“We’re from a different class, Madeline. It’s important to be cordial to everyone but know that we don’t mix.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, I do business with my mechanic, but we wouldn’t invite him to dinner.”

“Why not?”

“Because, we don’t fraternize with the help.”

“Why not?”

“Because it would be uncomfortable for everyone involved. He doesn’t have money like we do. Or an education. We come from different worlds and we don’t mix those worlds. Do you understand?”

“Yes, father.” I nod emphatically even though I don’t understand. Not really. I have no idea why money and education matter when eating dinner or shooting salamanders, but rules are rules. And my father’s rules are law.

If he says it’s the way it is, it must be true.

 

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