Disclaimer: I’ve never read anyone else’s NaNo Novel as they’ve been writing (and likewise no one before has read mine). I imagine that it will seem like the writer’s version of rubbernecking or witnessing a trainwreck. So consider this forewarning. What you read may not be pretty or show any signs of writerly talent whatsoever. But this is totally living up to the spirit of NaNoWriMo.
As I’ve mentioned in the past month, feel free to give your thoughts on how you’d like the story to evolve. Also, be aware that if the writer panics because the word count begins to slow, there could be zombies. Just sayin’. So, welcome to Day 1.
“Without you my heart would burst. Cursed. Crap.” Kaden tossed his pencil on the music writing pad, banged his forehead against the body of his guitar then raked his fingers through his dark brown hair.
“Language, Kade, remember Jilly’s lurking,” his bandmate, Jared said, invoking the name of his ten year old niece who was spending part of her summer vacation staying with Jared at the beach house while the band had some down time.
Kaden raised his hand and nodded. “Yeah, yeah.”
He set aside his guitar and stood up, pacing the deck that looked out over the Pacific Ocean. Usually hearing the waves calmed him, today it wasn’t working. Today his stomach roiled just like the waves.
It had been two weeks since Serena No-Last-Name (because he couldn’t remember it, if, indeed, he’d ever heard it) had supposedly cursed him. At first, he joked it off. Plenty of women cursed him, usually with very colorful language, especially lately when he had just stopped giving a damn about anything other than completely losing himself in his physical sensations. It was heartless, maybe, but it was the warm bodies he craved, the sense of just holding someone, someone who wouldn’t ultimately make demands on him or expect anything of him. Someone who would satisfy his needs and then go on her way.
Lots of women wanted to be close to Kaden Roarke the heart of Riot of Purple Profanity. They wanted to be his muse. The one he wrote his love songs about. The one he stayed with. There was always anger when they pushed, and he let them go.
Serena, well, that was slightly different. She scared him. She even felt cold to his touch, making him feel as if he were having sex with a snake or a lizard. She had all of the makings of the Glenn Close character in Fatal Attraction and maybe he hadn’t been quite as tactful with his: “it’s not you, it’s me” speech. He had just wanted her, and her threats, gone.
With her icy blue eyes blazing she uttered these words through her blood red lips: “Every song that comes to your mind, will be cursed from my heart with bad rhyme.”
He had grinned at her, which was probably stupid and probably not nice, but he hadn’t cared. And that little ditty with its bad rhyme, well, that just exemplified it, didn’t it? But from that Monday on, he had had nothing. Sure, he could still hear the music in his head, but his poetry, the words that made the songs, had disappeared. He could come up with a nice phrase, but then it was followed by something corny, something you’d expect a lovesick teenager to compose.
He just had another month to compose five more songs before they were supposed be in the studio to record their next album. Usually that was not an issue. Usually songs were floating around his head just waiting for him to have the time to transpose them to the page. Usually he hadn’t been cursed by a demonic brown haired witch.
Kaden glanced at Jared who was studying his cell and intermittently grinning, which he’d been doing a lot since he’d become involved with the elfin-like Chloe, who had, coincidentally been a friend of Serena’s.
“Do you believe in curses?” Kaden asked.
Jared looked up frowning. “Curses? Like bad luck?”
“Yeah, like do you think that woman could have actually cursed me with her little rhyme?”
Jared shrugged. “Chloe says that Serena deals in the black arts.”
Kaden sat on the sofa, leaning forward. “What’s that mean?”
“I don’t know. Something to do with witches and dark magic.”
“Really? People believe in that?”
“Chloe says it’s real.”
Kaden rubbed the pads of his fingers over his eyes. “What if it is real? I’m royally f . . .”
“Let me text, Chloe. She’ll probably know something.”
Kaden shook his head. Jared used any excuse these days to text Chloe, not that he needed one. The guy was totally lost in love.
It was craziness. Kaden knew it. He was on a plane traveling across the country to the completely opposite coast to see Chloe’s sister, a self-proclaimed witch. Sure, he had told himself about twenty times since he had booked his first class ticket that this was a first class waste of time, but doing nothing also amounted to a waste of time. He was screwed either way. He was just hoping that mind over matter worked, that maybe it was all just in his head and then having some elfin-like creature–because a witch and Chloe’s sister, just had to be as equally elfin as Chloe, right?—chant some beautiful words over him or in front of him with her magic wand would do the trick. That’s the way it worked, right?
He fell asleep and dreamed of dark haired witches in white dresses dancing on a beige sandy beach while fireflies swirled around their heads.
“You did what?” Phoebe Morgan asked her younger sister, Chloe, trying to keep the impatience she felt out of her tone. She listened as her sister explained the situation. Evidently cousin Serena had been miffed that some prettier-than-he-should be rock star had rejected her and Serena cursed him. “I don’t want to clean up Serena’s messes. I’m always cleaning up her messes.” Silently Phoebe added: and yours and Deirdre’s.
If there had been a wall nearby, rather than just the beach maybe she would have banged her head against it. Instead she just fell backwards into the sand and stared up at the sky that was mottled with streaky white clouds. There would be a storm later. That brought her some comfort. She loved the sound of the thunder, the sight of the jagged lightning over the ocean. With those thoughts at least she could forget that Chloe, Serena, and Deirdre traipsed all over the world creating havoc then ultimately returned to her so she could clean it up. She was more than a little tired of that. But that is what came from being the responsible one, the one who stayed home with the Aunts and tended the family business.
Kaden Roarke. Phoebe thought she must have heard the name somewhere. What kind of name was Kaden? Probably something he had made up as a stage name to sound cool. She wondered if he bit the heads off of bats at concerts. If he did, she wasn’t helping him. That behavior was just plain cruel.
She sat back up and looked at the breaking waves. Unlike her sisters and cousin, she wasn’t hit by wanderlust. She loved this beach and the tiny town where her family had lived for generations. Here she knew everyone and they knew her. No one looked twice if she decided to dye her hair purple or wear strange clothes or paint her house purple to match her hair.
Maybe she wasn’t infected with wanderlust because of her parents. There was nothing like being thirteen years old living with Aunts and taking care of your two younger siblings while your parents chased strange dreams around the world. Once upon a time she thought it was lucky if she saw her parents four or five times a year. Now she didn’t think it was very lucky at all.
Phoebe was filling several vials with the rosemary and lavender essential oil she had combined earlier when the soft tinkle of bells over the door at the front of the shop alerted her to a visitor. She took a step to the right so she could see around the stand of gardening and herb books. For not the first time, it occurred to her that they should move the stand so that there was a clear view to the front of the shop.
A dark-haired man of average height wearing blue jeans, a white button down and a black leather jacket stood just inside the door as he surveyed the shop. He shook his fedora-covered head. A fedora? Finally he glanced to the back of the shop and saw her.
“Are you Phoebe Morgan?” he asked, his voice low, a throbbing timbre that felt like a warm caress.
Phoebe stiffened her back. She supposed that his voice must be one of the reasons why he was a famous rock star. That kind of made sense. What didn’t make sense was her near visceral reaction to that voice.
“I’m Kaden Roarke.”
“Jaden Cork?” she asked. She knew that playing with his name was childish, but for some reason she couldn’t help herself.
He swiped his sunglasses from his face, slipped them into an inside pocket of his jacket, and approached her.
Crap, those blue eyes. She had never seen anything like them. They were magnetic. Powerful. They were like her Aunt Philo’s crystal ball when it went crazy-hazy with some beautiful phenomenon. Phoebe took a step back and the small of her back hit the counter. Her hand automatically went up to her heart, she could feel it pounding beneath her fingertips.
He held his hand out to her. She noticed his long tapering fingers. The hands of a pianist, she knew. She stared at them a moment too long before extending her hand to his.
“Kaden Roarke,” he said, enunciating his name. “I thought your sister told you about me?”
“Oh, right. The rock star. I’m afraid I’ve never heard of your little band so your name just didn’t ring a bell.” Oh, dear. Did she really just say “little band?” Oh, dear, did she just think: oh, dear?
He smiled the way one would to a troublesome child, pure patience and tolerance knowing the child was misbehaving for attention. His smile irritated her. And the fact that he was way too handsome probably didn’t help. That combined with his smile just made him seem a little too conceited, too used to getting his own way.
“Look, I’m just here for the placebo effect,” he said.
Phoebe adjusted the neck of her white cotton t-shirt that peeked out from the crocheted cream-colored lace dress.
“Yeah, no offense, but I don’t really believe in any of this stuff.” His right hand gestured around the shop.
“Stuff?” She yanked a paperback book on herb gardens from the rack and held it in front of her with a questioning look. “You don’t believe in herb gardens?”
He frowned at her as if doubting her intelligence. “Not that. The other mumbo jumbo. The witchy crap.”
“Oh, I see. Yes. The witchy crap. We’ll try to keep that to a minimum. So what’s this placebo you’re chasing?”
“I just want you to chant some words over me so that my brain will go back to its previous state.”
Phoebe bit her bottom lip. “You mean your brain hasn’t always been so judging and intolerant?”
“I can see I’ve offended you.”
“Not in the least. Oddly I’m used to men like you.”
He hesitated. His lips pressed together in a thin line. “Men like me.”
“Condescending and bigoted.”
“I’m neither of those things.”
“Fine. I don’t see any point in arguing. But the thing is you don’t really believe that Serena cursed you.”
“I don’t believe in curses.”
He held her gaze and then his eyes moved over her spiky purple hair to her billowing layered dress to her black combat boots. She waited for his expression to sour, but he gave nothing away. He earned points for that, she decided.
“Look. I’m sorry. We probably got off on the wrong foot. Let me take you for a coffee or a meal. I could really use your help,” he said and then he smiled. If she had been smart, she knew she should have run away right then and never looked back. The smile was so disarming that she felt her head begin to nod even before her brain caught up. When she smiled in return, he frowned instantly, ruining the entire moment and reigniting her temper.
end of Day 1, 11/1/2016