Days 21 – 25 #nanowrimo

days 19 to 23It’s been a while between dips into the blog. I am excited to announce that although it has been quiet here the words have continued off screen despite a few hiccups and life incursions.

It was a bit of a struggle toward the end of last week, Friday being a low point of just 800 words. Gratefully I woke early Saturday morning and as I lay in bed contemplating everything that I had to do, a long wrestled with conversation started downloading in my head. Upshot, I got 2100 words, alongside a spectacular breakfast and knew the day of my 40th party was going to work out fine.

Sunday I realised I wasn’t going to be able to wing it to the end of the novel. I needed to carefully think through the role all my characters had to play. And I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Friday I brained stormed a scene with Em for her novel over sushi lunch and Thursday with Rus for his (sadly not in person), so I knew it was time to call in a favour.

Rob and I sat in his steamy kitchen with my huge sketch book between us as thunder detonated around us and rain added extra humidity to the air rather than clear it. I truly sweated out a story.

And while I told bits of the story to help Rob piece together the newer, bigger version of the short story, those bits sounded increasing desperate and stupid. I tried not to scribble all over my mud/mine map. I could see Rob tapping his fingers on the table top in ever increasingly elaborate displays. And all I could think was ‘I fucked it all up.’ I have so fucked it up.

“You don’t want to turn it into a murder mystery,” he said.

“Hell, no. This is the ending.” I said.

And then the pieces fell into place. Who was playing who. Who really had all the stuff to lose. What I think is most amazing, is all the pieces were there, all the characters were in play and I had just failed to make one important connection between the characters. Bit by bit we went through and I fitted it all together. Who dies first and how. Who died next and how. Right down to the end.

The best bit about all of this, is the fun that will be had in the second draft when I get to go back and retrofit all this.

IMG_6467Back at the start of November Adam issued me with three dares. The second was to include a derided classical novel. When I told Lois about the dare she insisted that I share how it all played out. This is by no stretch of the imagination polished. But here is a bunch of folk sitting around a table… talking about stuff!

* * *

“Favourites?” Becca said, placing her knife and fork in the thick smear of Reading Sauce on her plate, the bottle now hidden from view and the brunt of puns about Cocks’s brand of sauces. “What do you think favourites actually means? What does it tell you about someone?”

“I think it’s what people don’t like that tell you more about them than what they actually like,” said Christian.

“Oh yeah, people will tell you what they don’t like without thinking,” Lucas said

“That’s not entirely correct. Half the time we don’t even know what we don’t like and the other half of time the we’re too afraid to say it,” Gordy countered

“So like, I ask someone what colour they really hate,” Becca continued, ignoring Lucas and Gordy, “and without  even thinking about it, they say orange.”

“I like orange,” Lucas said.

“You are weird,” Becca said. “Okay, but I ask them what their favourite colour is, and they have to, you know, think about it.”

“I said, my favourite colour is orange.”

“You’re being belligerent.”

“I am offering an alternate point of view.”

“You are being –”

“Maybe it’s kinda like body language, how it says all the things that we really don’t want to say.”

Tabitha straightened up and stopped pulling at the corners of her nails.

“Maybe you shouldn’t be asking about favourites. Maybe you should be asking what’s the best accidental indicator of the real person,” Ramsey said and turned to face the sculptor to his right, “of the person sitting next to you for example.”

“You mean the stuff that says stuff about themselves without them meaning to?” Lucas asked.

“I’m an open book,” the sculptor said and Tabitha was sure she’d never heard such profanity in a simple statement.

“Francois Mauriac says if you want to know a man’s heart look not to what he reads, but what he re-reads,” Tabitha said.

“Interesting,” commented Ramsey he went to pour the wine and the sculptor went to take the bottle from him. “Let’s not stand on tradition tonight,” he said, keeping hold of the bottle. “Let us just serve ourselves. I’d like us to be, what is the word, contempories.”

Becca suppressed a giggle behind her hand.

“I’ve never re-read a book,” the sculptor said.

Gordy accepted the bottle and poured himself some and then topped up Becca’s glass.

“You’ve read a book though?” Tabitha said.

“Of course I’ve read a book.” Gordy passed the bottle to Christian who emptied it between his glass and Tabitha’s.

“I’ve never re-read a book,” Lucas said. “I’ve hardly read any books that aren’t text books. A hand full of novels maybe. I can’t concentrate. My head skips a million miles an hour over stuff. I’m bored too easily by them.”

“I’ve re-read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ three times,” said Becca. “What do you reckon that says about me?”

“That you’re a decade too early for housewife porn,” Tabitha said, pulling apart a roll and teasing the soft white innards out. “And have nothing better do with your time.”

“So you’ve read it then?”

“I wouldn’t waste my time on cheap, badly written smut.”

“Smut… that’s a bit prudish isn’t it.”

“Prudish? Your vocabulary doesn’t mirror your taste in literature.” Tabitha put down the dismembered roll. “You have this idea of me as, what? A repressed bored housewife. You think sex in literature bothers me. That talking about sex at the dinner table bothers me?”

She felt Christian’s hand on her knee and she wasn’t sure if it was a come on or a back off. She pulled at the broach at her throat, wishing she could be free of the confines of the fucking clothes they had to wear.

“I read Lady Chatterley’s Lover when I was 17. I’ve read it several times since and each time I get something new from it. DH Lawrence wrote it in 1928 and uses words EL James won’t even use. Inner goddness and all that euphemistic crap. Does she even use the word cock?”

Tabitha gauged the reaction of her dining company. “If you want to actually learn something about intimate relationships, Becca, not normalised and popularised abusive relationships, why don’t you grab the first edition from the drawing room and read that. Broaden your mind.”

Becca sat fuming.

“I guarantee if you want to get off, DH Lawrence will get you there better and faster than anything Ms James spewed onto the page as bad Twilight fan fiction.”

“You didn’t just read DH Lawrence as a teenager, Tabby,” Christian said. “You’ve watched your fair share of crap on TV.”

“I’m loud and proud about my love of Die Hard.”

“Is there an expectation, Tabitha that one should read certain books, like certain books and re-read them in accordance with their creative enclave?” asked Ramsey re-routing the conversation.

“I read what I like. I read what I enjoy and I re-read the books that give me something every time I read them again. I don’t care what I’m meant to read. That’s a kill joy. Sure fire way to hate something.”

“It’s no different to your favourite movie. Or your favourite album then,” Gordy said.

“Unless it’s Jeff Fucking Buckley,” swore Tabitha and then blushed furiously. “I apologise, it’s just, I had this – boyfriend – who would only ever listen to Jeff Buckley. I can’t bear to listen to it. He totally ruined Jeff for me.”

“What does it mean to fixate on something then?” Ramsey asked.

“That’s a bit strong,” Gordy countered. “You can like something, you can want to feel it in your bones, but it doesn’t mean it’s like, some drug.”

“I don’t know, only ever listening to Jeff Buckley?” She rolled her eyes. “C’mon, he released two albums. At least if it was The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, someone with a back catalogue of work. Or someone who was going to produce new work.”

“Unless someone’s worked out the exhumation thing –”

“Everything you are talking about, it seems to me shines like a beacon of one of the fundamental flaws of humans,” The Sculptor said.

“And what would that be?” Tabitha asked.

“That we all seek comfort in the familiar and not the unknown. You re-read what?”

“The ‘Time Travellers Wife’?”

“Because why?”

“Because every time I pick it up Henry de Tamble lives.”

“Wasn’t he a pedaphile?” Becca interjected. “I heard he was.”

“He’s not a pedaphile.”

“So is it your inability to cope with death and loss that brings you back to reading it over and over again.”

“I’m not like Robert and the Jeff Buckley thing. I read, other books too.”

“But you come back to this book. Often, I am guessing.” He took a long sip and ensured he completely had the floor. “It just seems to me, that there is not enough time in a single life time to read all the important books, to see all the art, movies, listen to all the music, so why go back and do old stuff, when there is new stuff to be experienced. What life changing book might you miss because you’re back reading ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ again?”

“I believe there is a book that is meant to change my life, then it will find its way to me. And it will come at the right time. You realise that we’re not sharks. We’re not in perpetuation motion, consuming and hunting down the next thing. Moving to survive. There is nothing wrong with stopping. With comfort.”

“Isn’t there?” The Sculptor cocked an eyebrow and smiled, and his teeth glinted with a sharpened edge she hadn’t noticed before.

“So is there stuff we share with some people and not with others. Give them the illusion that we might like something when actually it’s not what we like. There was that article about the books people have to impress others.” Becca looked directly at Tabitha and before she could answer, Gordy cut in.

“What if repetitive consumption is something, we like, only do with some things and not others.”

“Like people who never form close and important relationships?” Tabitha said looking first at the Sculptor and then at Becca. “Or who never move beyond Jeff Buckley.”

“I can’t live without music, my favourite tracks are right up there with coffee in the morning,” Gordy said.

“You say tracks,” said Christian. “What about albums. We’re losing the ability to appreciate something as a whole. Don’t musicians create something as pieces of something bigger. What’s lost when you are  just creating singles?”

“You sound like you’re talking about a concept album.”

“It’s like a short story compared to a novel,” Tabitha said. “Both work if the writer knows what they are doing. But they are different beasts. You can’t compare one against the other.”

“Where is the light and shade if it’s all about one song?” Christian said.

“Is there not one perfect song in your life?”

“Doesn’t it change, as you change?”

“Is there one album you love every song on? Not one weak song. No fillers.”

“Several,” Christian said. “Because I appreciate them not just on each song’s individual merit but because of what they add to the tracks around them. What they create as a whole.”

“Why’d you give up music?” Becca asked and the buzz of conversation died. “Why do you keep turning down our invites to come and jam?”

“Like Tabitha said, you wait for the right time and right place… and sometimes,” he tapped his finger on the rim of the wine glass. “Sometimes the pieces just don’t fit. Or sometimes you break them, trying to make them fit.”

“So,” Becca said. “What’s your expression, Christian What’s the replay that’s most important.”

“Movies,” said Christian. “’Apocalypse Now’, if you want to pin me to one.”

“Books,” said Tabitha. “Followed by music.”

“Movies,” and Lucas. “Then clothes.”

“Music,” said Gordy.

“I can’t believe your banal enough to even ask that.”

“Then pretend she asked everyone but you then,” Tabitha snarked.

“Life,” cut in Ramsey, “Life is my most precious replay. Why I’m so grateful to have you here sharing yours with me.”

Day Sixteen #nanowrimo

day 16Words for the day: 8382 (target was reach 50K by the evening)
T-shirt: Fashion was less important that words today
Best music vibe: “Love Me Again” John Newman

I lay in bed half awake contemplating the possiblity of hitting 50K. It wasn’t something I had gone to bed thinking was doable but something in the haze of a 6am Saturday morning skim of consciousness, I thought it was.

I got up. I didn’t bother with a shower (I’m photographed again in my nighty!). I boiled the kettle, made tea and sat down. I checked my word count. I was just shy of 9K from the elusive ‘win’. Even as I typed, I wasn’t sure if I could make it. If I was setting myself up for disaster to even announce my intention publicly. Somewhere along the way I did.

Despite the eddy of arguments in my household and plans that shifted like quick sand, I left with a tissue drenched in ‘focus’ oil and headed to the Write In at Milton. It was my first chance to attend one and Mel did a great job of getting me sorted out with all my paraphenalia. Jon offered to put my catch up stickers on my card, until I told him I was waiting until I hit 50K. That was what I was there to do. And write I did.

If I had have been at home, you know, I would have wandered away and done washing, swept a floor, anything, because it was hard. It hurt. And when I realised that I was going to have to write the scene between Tabitha and the sculptor as my final scene for the day it felt like a cruel irony I would end up here.

It came with a silver lining. That scene in the sculptor’s lair is the only fully fleshed out scene in the entire short story. I copied and pasted it into my manuscript and reworked it to fit the new narrative. And then the end. Oh Christ! I found out exactly why she gave in and let him do what he did. While it’s no explicit about what happens in the end, you don’t need to be Einstein to work it out and perhaps that’s what makes it all the more horrible.

But I won’t leave that as my legacy at 50K.

This is the most I have ever written in two week (actually two weeks and two days). While I’m not writing this on the eve of the 16th day (I came home, sunk into a bath with a beer, tried to eat something and passed out in bed) I feel as though I can do a far better job of capturing it all with a brain that works.

I  know when writing is hard, it often means it is good, but hell…

Speaking of hell, let’s see what happens how Christian comes to sell his soul to the devil we will come to know better as The Sculptor (or John Hardgrave away everyone but Tabitha calls him!)

* * *

Christian knocked the scotch back and felt it curdle with the eggs in his stomach.

“That’s what I want to talk to you about.” He inclined his head to the book and the pages depicting breakfast that morning, sketched in. John would add colour later.

“I’d like to barter with you.” The words sounded ridiculous and he pulled at the place where his suspenders joined his breeches.

“Barter.” John took a slow savouring sip of the scotch.

“You want us all to sit for you. Tabitha refuses. She doesn’t want either of us to sit for you.”

“What do you have to barter, Christian?”

“I’ll sit for you,” Christian said rubbing his damp hands against the top of his trousers.

“And in return.”

“I want one of your sketch books. A blank one and a supply of pencils.” He knocked the rest of the scotch back and sat rotating the glass on the table top waiting for the reply.

“We are friends, are we not comrade. This seems a rather, formal request. I’d be happy to just give you one.”

Christian swallowed hard. “This is the only way it can be and Tabitha can’t know. She doesn’t want either of us in here.”

“Intriguing.” John poured more scotch for them both. “I generally ask that those who come here refrain from talking about what goes on in these four walls. I like to protect my subjects in that way.”

“And what goes on in these four walls?”

“Artistic surrender. On both our parts”

Christian felt a cold sweat break out over his body.

“Honesty. I demand honesty.” He sipped at his scotch. “What I produce is a multi-faceted experience. It is my story, your story and the story of us all reproduced in plaster and clay, in ink and watercolour. Art demands naked expression. It does not abide falseness.”

“I have nothing to hide,” Christian said and slammed the rest of the scotch back. “I’ve… been naked before. For. For Art.”

John poured more scotch and Christian saw the door open on the past, himself peering in: Aliyah passed out on a mattress, her long hair in a snarled halo around her head, hands and arms encrusted with oil paint; Grim plucking funk baselines in stained pair of Y-fronts on a battered couch, his chest gleaming with sweat and come down from the last hit.

“To show the good faith of our deal,” said John and the door shut. Christian was back in the messy studio a world away from that share house and his first and last taste of fame.

He placed the black sketch book on the table, several pencils alongside it and then topped up their glasses.

“For art,” toasted John.

“For art.”

Day Fourteen #nanowrimo

day 14Words for the day: 2203 (target was 2.5K)
T-shirt: Another bikini day
Best music vibe: “The Mostly Come At Night, Mostly” Yacht Club DJs (aka the Elyora soundtrack)

My first day of cafe writing but it was underwhelmed by an (unrelated) panic attack on the way there. Once I’d finished writing I felt a little adrift. Having crossed the midway point it is all about things slowly going to shit. And it kinda of smarted to be in the middle of the first of Christian and Tabitha’s arguments.

The drive over to Stacey’s provided the headspace for what comes next. I can see Tabitha not necessarily wandering the halls alone in her madness but perhaps sharing it with Lucas (Ham) Hammond who has his own demons to confront. And then there is the back story of Christian, the one he hides very neatly from Tabitha, and how if he told her, there would be no way she’d ever think Christian was doing anything with Becca. And there is the looming big scene with the sculptor. I need to work out what comes between now and then.

There is still so much to write, but it is the dark twisted stuff. You know, the stuff I sink totally into. I will give Tabitha and Christian one more sweet moment, perhaps seen through the prying eyes of Ramsey (as I haven’t quite worked out how to wind his stuff in here yet?) Then its all about breaking it apart.

So today we meet (and then leave) Tabitha alone in the dining room, wrestling with her thoughts.

* * *

In the same chair Ramsey had held court from hours earlier, she sat shivering in her PJs, presiding over the huge table that yawned like a mortician’s slab before her. Slow moving shadows converged to perform an autopsy on her unreliable heart. To dissect and tsk over machinery made imperfect by doubts and failures and the inability to trust. To always and only ever believe the worst.

Go back upstairs. Stop the slow rot you’ve infected Christian with. Or he will morph into the villain you know too well.

Day Twelve #nanowrimo

day 12Words for the day: 2144 (target was 2.5K)
T-shirt: 2010 Official ‘Snakes and Ladders’ NaNoWriMo t-shirt
Best music vibe: UNKLE

The love of a woman will undo a man’s very sanity. It will pick him apart at the seams and restitch him in a way that only he can feel. And the world will carousel around him as if nothing has changed. But different he is, for to love is to gain and lose the entire world in a heart beat. ~David Ramsey

As a storm bears down on my corner of the world, just as there’s also a storm brewing in Dalhousie.

Today I reached the midpoint of the novel. Coming in at 36.5K this means the novel will be somewhere in the vicinity of 75K when finished. That means I am literally in the middle and if I keep writing, there will be time aplenty to end this before the month.

Today I got to delve into the other side of Ramsey and I was surprised at what I found. All manner of truly smart things come out of his mouth (and Christian too making me realise more than ever how much of a CHANNEL I am for characters. I couldn’t think this stuff up if I tried!)

David Ramsey is modeled on a real life man from the mid 17th Century. He was the first master of the Guild of Clock and Watchmakers. He was Clockmaker to James the First but fell from favour, ended up in debtor’s prison and his death is recorded as a post script in a letter from his son.

While Ramsey loved his cogs and springs, he like most of the other scientists of his time made all manner of ‘instruments’ and was deeply interested in the occult. When I stumbled across him back in April looking for information on clock making I had no idea he would end up front and centre of my story.

And now, after all this time, I know what motivates him. Plus, how it is possible that Christian may become the next Ramsey.

The scene that ran through my head in the depths of the night, I’m not sure if it will play out just the way I saw it. It’s a bit like the scene with Tabitha and the Sculptor. It came to me in the dead of night and I thought it far too awful to work within the story. But I made it happen and I suspect, given it’s the same antagonist the same will happen with Christian. But that’s all saved up for tomorrow.

Yesterday I gave you a look at the Brothers Hammond, today it is my pleasure to present Ramsey!

* * *

“Do you love Tabitha,” Ramsey asked, swinging the lamp off the bench and holding it beneath him so the light played tricks with his face.

“I am afraid to know my heart.”

“Afraid you should be.” He caressed the music box briefly and turned back to Christian. “I loved a woman. Her name was Antoinette. That was Antoinette’s silhouette in the music box. There is another of her buried somewhere in this house, a portrait, painted by Paul van Somer, not a silhouette.

“Why not put it front a centre where everyone can see it, such a fine painting that it is? To do so would be to place it where I would pass it every day. Two, three, a dozen times a day. Do I wish to say to the world this is what I loved a lost. To relive each time that loss as I gaze up at her. No. I took her painting and put it somewhere safe. And as long as I live, so does she. To die is to truly lose her forever because only I am left to remember her.”

Ramsey looked up and realised he was talking aloud.

“Where did you meet her?”

“I applaud you Mr MacLeod either as an ignoramus of merit or an astute scholar of time. For you ask where and not when. Good, good.”

He began to pace and the lantern threw chaotic shadows against the walls. The machines at the back appeared to momentarily live and then die.

“We are not so un-alike, Mister MacLeod.”

He stopped pacing as though he needed to halt the forward momentum for his thoughts to catch up with him.

“Where? Yes, Where? I met Antoinette at the King’s court. She had come to be lady-in-waiting to the Queen. And both Paul and I fell passionately in love with her. Only I was married and Paul wasn’t. The painting, it is his. Forever am I tormented to see her through the eyes of the man who was my friend, who did not have the tenacity or imagination to be her lover for all time.”

He began to pace again and his mechanical minions lived and died by the swing of the lantern.

“I lost everything to try and win her: my commission at court, the small amount of money I had saved, my house, my reputation, everything until I was thrown in debtor’s prison. And it was there she finally came to me and confessed her love. By the time I had bought my way out of debtor’s prison, it was too late. She was dead from a fever. Paul had returned to Brussels and I was alone again in a life I didn’t want to be part of.

“I was old before my time. Worn out. Prison had leached from my will to live. I thought I was dead inside. Rather than go home and attempt to resurrect myself I died in a fire. Easy enough to do back then, not so much poking around in the ashes to decipher the who, what, when and why. And David Ramsey, the first Master of the Clock and Watchmakers Guild died and I was born in his ashes.”

He lifted the wick of the kerosene lamp and unlocked a door on the far wall, motioned for Christian to follow him.

“I have spent the rest of my life experimenting with the parameters of time…” Christian stepped into a huge circular room. The light bounced off a massive clockwork mechanism in the middle. “…trying to find my way back.”

Day Eleven #nanowrimo

Day 11Words for the day: 3817 (target was 2.5K)
T-shirt: No t-shirt today, it was write from home in your bikini day
Best music vibe: “War Stories” album UNKLE

My NaNo stats tell me that at this rate I will finish in five days time. On Saturday I will have reached my goal. If only my goal was just 50K.

I joked that I like days like today. Days where writing does not feel like opening a vein that refuses to bleed. Conversation always drives my stories and when you put seven people in a room together, there is going to be plenty to say, thank you very much.

Plus the last 24 hours has had a few good reveals. I know who Marie is now. The boys in the band with Becca revealed themselves in brothers (The Brothers Hammond) and I finally worked out the narrative link that gets Christian down into the basement with Ramsey.

What has been most interesting has been revisiting the midpoint. As the word count midpoint came closer (and I relented and wrote down everything that needed to occur between where I was at and where the midpoint would be) I realised that perhaps I’d got the midpoint wrong. After all it is the pivot. It turns every 180 degrees.

The midpoint is not Tabitha going into the sculptor’s chamber. Something has already happened to make Tabitha rethink going to the sculptor. By that point Christian’s behaviour has taken a weird trajectory away from her and that is the impetus for her to go to the sculptor.

So I now think the midpoint belongs to the scene where Christian goes down into the basement with Ramsey and is lured into service, in what appears at first to be a little innocent tinkering, but becomes Christian’s obsession as he is able to extrapolate the potential the opportunity presents in the long term.

Which brings me to today’s extract. How about some characters we haven’t seen too much of yet?

In Act One Gordo arrives at the Orientation Evening in a 70’s shirt and pinstriped pants. His brother Ham in a tweed jacket and too-tight jeans. Gordo is the younger brother, plays guitar, does the electronic loop, sings a bit. Ham is a 3rd year medical student and plays the drums. And he’s another lurking character with an interesting back story and arc.

* * *

“Is she always such a loud pain in the arse?” Christian said to Gordo.

“She does the whole bad girl, righteous anger thing well. Underneath it all, she’s not so bad. You know Chrissy Amphlett, the whole school-girl get up. The bitch thing is Becca’s costume.”

“It worked great until we come out of it on the wrong side of the street press,” Ham butted in.

“That was once,” Gordo defended.

“And the whole Jayden as Voldemort thing.”

“Let the Jayden thing go, okay. He left because he wanted to.”

“He left because of Becca.”

“You know about the Rolling Stones, yeah?” Christian said slicing into the middle of the brothers’ argument.

“Everyone knows about the Stones.”

“But about the Stones, about being bad boys.” Gordo and Ham looked liked they’d been cut free from the moorings of the conversation. “There couldn’t be another Beatles, right, so management created the Rolling Stones’s image as the anti-Beatles,” Christian explained.

“But over time they became the bad boys of rock and roll; a self-fulfilling prophecy. And they copped it badly. Where the Beatles waltzed from country to country, gig to gig, and were generally the darlings of the press, the Rolling Stones had gigs turn into riots and shut down, they were hounded and misrepresented by the press, harassed coming through customs and that was before Keith and all the shit with drugs. Then there was Ultimo. You want to be careful what you are creating today. It might not be who you want to be tomorrow.”

Day Ten #nanowrimo

Day 10Words for the day: 3851 (target was to reach 30K)
T-shirt: Infinity
Best song vibe: More of The Preatures (this is getting a bit ridiculous!)

Hello and welcome to the end of the first third of NaNo. I reached 30K today (30623 if I’m going to be pedantic about numbers). I’m ahead of the word count for 50K and for 75K. That’s a good feeling.

What’s less of a good feeling is the realisation I have a lot to pack into the next 5-7K in order to line the events up for the mid point switch back. After feeling like it was taking forever to get to where I wanted to go now it’s like arriving far too early. So I need to sit down and think hard about what needs to play about between the first dinner party and Tabitha’s visit to the sculptor.

I knew there was something not quite right about the trajectory of Tabitha and Christian’s sexual relationship and I think I fixed that up today. Added an extra scene in and now I think it is a smoother transition.

I’ve ended today with all residents sitting down to their first fancy dinner. Christian and Tabitha are playing a married couple to conform to the protocols of the house, Becca has been running off at the mouth and I’m still unsure how the character of Marie fits in. I keep thinking there needs to be two of her to get through all the work that is required (and that just gave me a brilliant idea).

I’ll leave off with the horizontal folk dancing for a bit and leave you with a sweet and tender moment. I’m intrigued at how all these moments come via Christian and not Tabitha!

* * *

A shiver ran down her back.

“Someone walk on your grave?”

“Just me stepping over my dead thoughts. The bits of me I left behind to come here.” His stroked the side of her hip and moved his hand down to settle on her stomach. “I think the silence might have crushed me if I’d come here alone. I thought I could do it. But I don’t think I would’ve survived.”

“You would have done it. You are stronger than you think you are. The waif of a girl I knew at high school, she grew into an amazing woman.”

“But Robert –”

“You can define your life by your past or by your future.”

“What am I to you? Past or future?”

“You are and have always been my present.” He reached up so his hand nestled on top of her heart, the pound of it an aphrodisiac of a different kind. “You are the gift of life. You made me feel alive when I didn’t even realise I was dead inside.”

“We’re not going to come out of this the same people we went in, are we?”

The rhythm of her heart beneath his hand sped up. “Probably not.”

“You remember how I asked you when we’d know it was the end?”

“And I said when it was the end. I was trying to be all philosophical for you. I thought that was the sort of person you’d be attracted to.”

“I was only ever attracted to you, not some other version of you.” her hand rested over the top of his. “I think it’s only now that it’s starting. Everything else was just prologue.”

“Then let’s just be happy then and not worry that every prologue is bookended with an epilogue.”

“Is that you trying to be philosophical again?”

“No, that’s just me being wanky and thinking shit aloud that was probably best unsaid,” he said, kissing her shoulder.

“Speaking of the unsaid, do you see the light in the walls?” Tabitha asked, rolling away from him so they were looking at each other through the void of the darkness. He felt her fingers on his cheek bones and on his lips.

“I don’t see anything. It’s dark.”

“The light moves through the walls like clouds across the sky,” Tabitha said in a drowsy voice that like the night before, felt like it came from a long way off even though he felt the words on his lips. “I saw one that looked like a rabbit.”

“I only see you.” He moved forward until his lips brushed hers.

“What do I look like in the dark?”

“Perfect,” he said, kissing her harder.

The only protest, when he lifted her leg up over his and he slid slowly into her, was from a body that was two decades too old to keep pace with his desire for her.

“We’re in no rush,” she whispered as if she’d heard his thoughts and he surrendered to the motion of two bodies learning to fit together.

Day Nine #nanowrimo

Day NineWords for the day: 1538 (target was 2.5K)
T-shirt: Live to Dance
Best song vibe: “Take A Card” by the Preatures

It was Girls Arvo In today so I knew word would be thin on the ground once the festivities kicked in (I didn’t quite count on the hang over that has decided to grace me with it’s presence before dinner time).

I’m currently wading through the negotiation and and exploring the boundaries within and beyond Tabitha and Christian. And well, you know, there’s kinda a lot of sex, including baiting the servant Marie to watch then through the key hole. In writing that I’ve realised I need to write one scene that connects them taking to the horizontal folk dance floor for the first time and having enough gumption to begin mind game of exhibitionism.

So that’s the fun for tomorrow to find the where and how of that connecting scene.

The best bit about today was getting a chance to sit in the car, during the drive from Stacey’s place to mind and talk about my story. It appears to make sense when I related it and Stacey gave me a great recommendation of an author to read, who combines horror and erotica well.

So what to leave you with this evening?

* * *

“There’s tea,” Christian said, pouring a second cup. “Come on Tabby, don’t ruin the morning with a tantie about the food.”

“I half expect bloody Basil Fawltey to walk through the door.”

“Lets hope he doesn’t. ”Christian sniggered and poured a dash of milk into the tea. “So you reckon they have a house cow sequestered away in the house somewhere?”

“I think you have the wrong class of folk. Isn’t it the poor who live with their animals.”

“I was just thinking,” he said, adding a sugar cube. “If we’re totally cut off from the outside world – where does all the food come from. You know, the fresh food.”

“I couldn’t care less if there was no milk. I take my coffee black.”

“When you’re not drinking lattes.”

“You always just assumed I drank the same as you. I was only being polite.”

“Only being polite,” he parroted and drew her into his lap, nuzzled her neck.

“How many positions did Prince have in that one night stand?” His words caressed her ear, sparking a delicious shiver down her back that chased away her bad mood.  She’d eaten worse as a student. Hell, she’d eaten worse in the 18 years of living with her constantly distracted parents.

“21 or something like that,” Tabitha said, moving from the chaos of the series of houses they’d called home, the smell of oil paint, turpentine and rollies to the gentle creep of his hands under her top.

“And we’re up to how many?”

“I didn’t think we were counting,” she said, arching her back to let him take her nipple in his mouth.