Character Profile: Dylan Paris

In Just Remember to Breathe, Dylan Paris is one of the two main characters. Twenty-one years old and still recovering from serious injuries in Afghanistan, that book is Dylan and Alexandra Thompson’s love story.

Dylan comes from a troubled past, but he’s pushed past huge obstacles to make his life what it is. And, in May we’ll see a lot more of him (and Alex) in The Last Hour

Here’s what Alex had to say the first time she sees Dylan in Just Remember to Breathe:

As I approached though, I felt my heart begin to thump in my chest. Because the closer I got, the more he looked like Dylan. But what would he be doing here? Dylan, who had broken my heart, then disappeared as if he’d never existed, his email deleted, Facebook page closed, Skype account gone. Dylan, who had erased himself from my life, all because of a stupid conversation that shouldn’t have happened.

If you’ve read Just Remember to Breathe, then you know what happened with those two. If not, you should check it out.

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Here’s Ray Sherman, in The Last Hour, talking about his friend while they were in Afghanistan:

Thirty seconds later I heard scrabbling from inside, boots in the snow, as Paris made his way out.  Then I saw a hand coming through the small opening.  Colton and I reached forward and pulled, sliding Paris right through the opening.  He took a second to catch his breath, and then stood.

I’ll never forget the look in his eyes when he stood and faced us. He opened his mouth to speak, then closed it. His jaw was working, and he swallowed, and his eyes looked hollow, haunted.  And then he said… “Kids. A family.  Six of them.”

And then he walked away from us, ten feet, then twenty, and stood there, his back to us, his shoulders shaking.

Not quite a year later, in a hospital in Washington, DC, Carrie describes a conversation:

“There’s nothing Sherman could have done, Carrie, nothing at all. Except maybe get himself killed too.”

I stared at the table. There wasn’t anything here I didn’t already know. I’d sat in on the trial, and Ray had told me a lot of the details.

Alexandra said, “I remember that night… you cancelled, then showed up in the middle of the night half frozen. Why didn’t you tell me any of this?”

Dylan stared at her for a second, then said, “It wasn’t my story to tell, Alex.”

Not his story to tell. He took that for granted. Yes, I could see that. They had a code, a code of loyalty to each other that superseded everything else. Except Ray had broken that code.

One final bit about Dylan, in a discussion with Ray in the winter of 2012:

Dylan shook his head.  I could see the shock, the disappointment in his face. He walked away from me for a moment, breathing heavily. Clouds of tiny ice crystals floated away as he breathed.

“Why didn’t you tell me this before?” he shouted.

“What the fuck, Paris? When was I supposed to tell you? When you were in the hospital, by open email? Or, let me guess, when you were getting yourself thrown in jail? Or should I have told you when you were fucking making yourself and Alex miserable?”

His face fell, almost as if I’d hit him. And then I felt like crap, because I had drunk a little too much, and the drink had taken whatever filters I normally maintain and thrown them out the window.

“Jesus, Paris, I’m sorry. There just … hasn’t been a chance. And honestly, I didn’t want to tell you. We all looked at Colton like he was our father. And then to see him go nuts like that… it was awful. You had enough crap to deal with.”

Dylan stomped his feet, trying to stay warm, and said, “All right. Yeah, I get it. I haven’t exactly been in the best shape this fall, have I?”

I shrugged, and he said, “Speaking of which, my leg’s starting to kill me. Let’s get inside somewhere where it’s warm.”

So we walked toward his apartment. “What happens now?” he asked.

“I don’t know. That’s gonna depend on the Army.”

The Last Hour will be available May 15th, 2013.

 

 

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