I feel obliged at this point to remind you (those of you who have never tried NaNoWriMo before) that this is freshly written draft from a pantser. Since I promised that there would be “audience involvement,” if the audience desired, I don’t have an outline, no qualifications on that one. Day 3 has been cursorily glanced over. Erm…I haven’t even given thought as to where chapter breaks should go, so it’s one long lovely chapter so far.
Just shout out in the comments if you want to change direction, we, unfortunately, can’t go backward. 🙂
My current word count is: 5232.
Kaden Roarke: supposed gift to women everywhere. She had thankfully never met a man like him before. She grinned inside when she thought–he’s so cocksure–because that just seemed so apt.
For the first time, she thought she could understand why Serena might have been driven to curse him. On the other hand, Serena must have started out stupid for getting involved with him in the first place.
“Do you mind walking about a half-mile?” Phoebe asked, half-expecting him to whine. He did seem the type.
“Not a bit. I didn’t get my run in this morning.”
She refused to glance at his body. Earlier she had noted that his jeans fit extremely well, but now she absolutely refused to check him out.
“A runner. I wouldn’t have thought you had the time,” she said. She sounded snarky. Oops.
“I always have time for a run. Obviously except for this morning. It clears my head. When I’m at home, I run on the beach. Nothing like it.”
She nodded. “I know.”
“You run?” he asked.
“You don’t look the type. No offense. You seem more like a prissy girl.”
Phoebe glanced at him and then burst out laughing. She even jumped up and down a little with complete delight. “Me? A prissy girl? That may be the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“Yep. I’m a stand-up comedian in my spare time. I take it you don’t see yourself as a prissy girl. Girly-girl.”
She lifted her combat booted foot up and shook it. “This is as girly as I get. I’m a blue jeans girl and I’m not talking about the ones that designer’s rip. If mine are ripped, it’s because I did something to get them ripped.”
Her words hung in the air and she tried not to pick up on what he was thinking, but she couldn’t help it. The man’s thoughts were like a book of erotica or a porn shop. Dial up sex all of the time. How could he live like that?
“Why do you think about sex all of the time?” she asked.
He frowned. “What? Have we even said the word?”
“You can read my mind?”
She felt the blush creep over her face. “I bet that’s something else you don’t believe in.”
She could feel his eyes burning into her as she stared straight ahead. When she glanced at him, his eyes were inquisitive.
“To be honest, I don’t know what to believe anymore.” He lowered his fedora and slipped his sunglasses on as they approached a group of teenagers.
“Hi, Phoebe,” Phoebe’s niece, Giselle, a seventeen-year-old with golden blonde hair, said and then turned her gaze expectantly toward Kaden. “Who’s your friend?”
Phoebe glanced at Kaden and knew that he didn’t want anyone to know he was here. “He’s a professor doing research on space aliens,” Phoebe said.
“He doesn’t look like any professor I’ve ever seen.”
“He’s traveling in disguise.”
“What? So the aliens don’t recognize him?” Giselle’s friends giggled.
Phoebe grinned. “Exactly. Come along, Dr. Dick.”
When they were out of earshot, Kaden leaned toward her. “Dr. Dick?”
“Yeah, sorry. I don’t do well under pressure.”
They came to the Quarter Moon Café, which looked like most of the other storefronts on Main Street, with an unassuming red brick exterior and windowed front, except that the brick was embellished with a large golden quarter moon and the figure of a sultry witch and black cat sitting in the arc. Kaden glanced from the moon to Phoebe and raised his eyebrow.
“Is this town full of witches?”
She shook her head and opened the wooden door. “No. My family owns the café.”
The interior of the Quarter Moon Café belied the outside. Honey colored wood paneling adorned the walls and it was warmly lit. A fire burned in the corner. Phoebe looked up at Kaden.
“Where do you want to sit?” she asked.
“The table near the fire looks good,” he said.
A woman of about forty, with curly auburn hair approached, her gaze fixed on Kaden. She was taller than Phoebe by several inches, almost as tall as Kaden. She wore a gauzy red shirt over black jeans.
“Is this him?” she asked Phoebe who nodded.
“Kaden Roarke, this is my Aunt Philomena.”
Aunt Philo extended her hand toward Kaden. “Your pictures don’t do you justice. I love your music. You have a way with words. Or, as I understand it: you had a way with words.”
Kaden smiled at her. It was probably the first genuine smile that Phoebe had seen from him. It changed his entire face, made him seem more human, accessible, less arrogant, less cocky. “Thanks. I’m hoping your niece will help me out with that.”
They sat down and Aunt Philo handed them each a menu, which looked like a giftcard with a picture of a cauldron on the outside. The list of appetizers and entrees was written in calligraphy on the inside.
“Drinks?” Aunt Philo asked.
Phoebe grinned. “Why don’t you bring us two of your specials?” She glanced quickly at Kaden. “You do drink alcohol?”
He nodded. “So this is a cocktail and not a witches brew?”
A wicked smile curved Phoebe’s lips. “Don’t be silly. It’s both.”
He leaned back in his chair and smiled at her. It seemed like the same lazy, practiced smile as before and she partly wished he would share one of his real ones with her and not just with her Aunt. He glanced inside the card and then flipped it around to look at the empty back.
“There’s not much of a selection,” he said.
“Not much need. Everything is excellent. Seriously.”
“Because witches make it?”
“Geez, would you stop already with that?”
“So the chef’s not a witch?”
Phoebe grinned, a dimple appearing at the side of her mouth. She rolled her eyes. “Well, actually, my Aunt Caroline is the chef and she’s also a witch.”
Kaden shook his head and looked away toward the bar where a couple of men sat sipping beers. Groups of people were scattered at tables around the café. He turned back toward her.
Phoebe forced herself to not peer into his thoughts. Aunt Philo said it wasn’t fair and for the most part Phoebe always restrained herself, but when new people came into her life, sometimes she found herself cheating, like earlier.
“What are you thinking?” she asked.
Those magnetic azure eyes swept over her face. “You can’t read my thoughts?”
She raised an eyebrow. “Choosing not to.”
He stretched his legs out and fingered the edge of the napkin. “I feel like my world’s been turned upside down and I don’t know if it’s for real or if I’m having a nervous breakdown. Or both?”
Aunt Philo arrived at that moment with two cocktails in mugs that resembled cauldrons. A slight haze like smoke rose from the top and curled upwards. Kaden looked from the mug to Phoebe.
Aunt Philo, always kind, patted him on the shoulder. “You’ll like it. It might even help with your aura. It has bourbon with spiced cherries in it.”
“I love bourbon and spiced cherries,” he said. “My Uncle back in Kentucky used to make a bourbon drink with cherries during the holidays.”
“I know, sweetheart,” Aunt Philo said and then left them alone.
Phoebe watched Kaden hesitantly lift the mug to his lips and taste. The corners of his eyes crinkled in appreciation.
“Be careful there,” she said. “It packs a punch.”
“That reminds me of family,” he said, gesturing toward the mug.
Phoebe glanced toward the back of the café at Aunt Philo who gave her a thumbs up. Kaden was still contemplating his mug. He shook his head at one point and looked at her and smiled, this time a real smile, and she wasn’t ready for its impact. It left her breathless, speechless.
“So you’re from Kentucky?” she asked, reaching for her own mug and trying to avoid his eyes.
“No. Near New Orleans, originally. Cajun country.”
“I don’t hear anything of the south in your voice.”
He took a breath and then started speaking in what she assumed was French, but it had a different accent, earthier. She didn’t know what he said but the words and his voice, deep and lulling, touched something in her, something that felt like a distant memory. She tried to inch the memory upwards as she did when these events occurred, but it stayed firmly rooted. But the words tingled inside of her, his words she could have sworn she’d heard before, maybe in another lifetime.
“That’s pretty,” she said after sipping her beverage, the bourbon warming a path through her. “What did you say?”
“The alligator soup needs a little more salt and the frog legs have quit jumping.”
She laughed and he grinned. “You did not.”
He nodded. “It’s actually part of an old song Memere used to sing. I think she may have made it up because I’ve googled it and never found it.”
She watched him as he sipped his cocktail. He kept looking inside the mug as if he were expecting something strange to appear, which made her chuckle inside. Suddenly she realized that the earlier anger had dissipated and she was enjoying herself. Under other circumstances would she have actually liked Kaden Roarke? She thought about it and decided that she probably wouldn’t. From what she understood of his lifestyle. He only took from women. He did do much in the giving department, which sounded like a pretty empty life to her. But who was she to judge?
“This is the most relaxed I’ve been in . . .hell, I can’t remember how long. You tell me what’s best for dinner,” he said.
“I like the eggplant parmesan,” she said. “It’s the best I’ve ever had.”
“Your family’s Italian?”
She shook her head. “Not a drop. Irish, Scottish, and English.”
“But you look exotic. Your eyes. Crap, if I could write words again, I could write a song just about your eyes.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t have another drink,” Phoebe said, laughing and feeling a blush creep over her cheeks. She knew it was the alcohol talking, and maybe him too. She suspected he had never heard a line he didn’t feel the need to try on a woman. Yet, something also felt real about him for the first time since he entered her shop.
“It’s not the bourbon, cher,” he said, his accent altering. He raised an eyebrow. “Maybe it is the bourbon. I haven’t spoken like anything other than a surfer dude in a while.”
Aunt Philo and took their orders for eggplant parmesan and two more cocktails. Her hand again gently patted Kaden shoulder, an action that didn’t go unnoticed by him. She nodded, smiled and then winked at Phoebe, which Phoebe found odd.
“Is there a reason why your Aunt keeps touching my shoulder?” he asked. “Is she Serena’s mother?”
“No, she’s not Serena’s mother. That’s Aunt Beatrice who lives in Dublin. And, Aunt Philo just always likes to touch people.”
He shook his head. “Don’t buy it.”
She shrugged and looked around the café briefly before returning her gaze to him. “That I can’t help. My Aunt is a very touchy feely kind of person. She’s one of the best people I know. I don’t think she’s ever had an unkind thought in her life.”
“What about you?”
“What about me?”
“You seemed like you were having some pretty unkind thoughts about me earlier.”
“I’m not as kind as my Aunt,” Phoebe admitted.
Their conversation drifted to his music. She confessed that she had never heard any of it. He sat there staring at her for a moment, his eyes finally narrowing at her.
“That car jingle. The one with the blonde in the silver dress . . .”
“I don’t watch television,” she said.
“Of course, you don’t,” he said, shaking his head and sipping his drink. “I think you’re altogether from another planet.”
“And, is that so bad? If I were?” she asked, her lips pursed, her eyes provocative.
He grinned. “Not a single bit.”
end of day 3