I’m a few words short with this entry, but it seemed a natural stopping point in order to share with you.
I’m feeling a wee bit ambivalent at the moment, so proceed with caution if you read this entry.
My confession. This is the first time that I have written a NaNoWriMo novel in chronological order. In the past, I’ve written scenes out of sequence depending on how I felt on a given day and what I wanted to say. There’s something to be said for that capricious approach because this has felt a little intense for me…or maybe it’s the fact of knowing that I’m going to share it here, which is intimidating because I’m not proofing and grooming the text before presenting it. Not to mention the fact that you all are getting a lot of off-the-cuff plotting, which may make you feel like you are on a bizarre roller coaster. Thanks for not egging my monitor. 😉 And thanks for sticking with me…if you have.
Word Count: 21,373
The storm droned on through the night. The electricity didn’t return. The neighboring houses were dark as well.
Aunt Philo and Aunt Caroline made a dinner of fancy grilled cheese sandwiches (three different cheeses, tomatoes, mushrooms, and basil), fried on the gas stove with own autumn root vegetable stew laced with cumin and ginger and a tossed salad with fried goat cheese.
Phoebe kept glancing at Kaden. The flame he had aroused in her continued to burn. She felt like nothing would sate the desire in her except feeling him naked against her. She kept trying to shake herself of the feeling because it seemed like the very last thing she should be seeking when the world was literally thundering around them. She knew she should quell the thoughts, the need. It felt a little too much like that melodramatic need she read about in romance novels. She always raised an eyebrow when the heroine, in the midst of mortal danger, paused to think about just how sexy the hero was.
Maybe because it had been so long since she had felt it, this overpowering attraction. And, the last time had not ended so well.
She could sense something equal in him though. His eyes seemed glazed when they looked at her, as though his arousal couldn’t be swayed.
When the storm seemed to die down a little, Phoebe went to the front door hoping to retrieve her overnight case and the bag of books from her car. She could smell sulfur in the damp air the moment she stepped onto the wide front porch. She strode down two steps but as her foot was about to hit the third lightning struck just below the bottom step, the unprotected area. She screeched and fell back. A black scorch mark seared the ground. She stared at that mark and then looked at the sky above her. It was dark now. There was no hint of green in the clouds. But, oddly, there were no clouds. She could see stars glinting in the midnight sky. So where did the lightning come from? Why was there still thunder?
She looked up at the sky again and then thought she saw something dark skittering across the stars, an undulating flickering, like a swarm of insects, flowing and unflowing. She didn’t know what it was, but felt it was familiar, like something she had seen, but had never experienced. She sat on the step and continued to watch the sky. She saw the movement several more times. Was she nuts? Maybe she was just seeing things.
The door open behind her and Kaden appeared. .
“You okay?” he asked.
“I have no idea,” she said truthfully.
He sat next to her. “You aren’t upset about earlier?”
“The thing with you and me.”
“The kissing thing.”
“The kissing thing,” she repeated and then looked at him. He sat next to her on the step, his height raising his lips just a few inches above hers. She wanted to kiss those lips more than anything, except for the fact that, oh, yeah, the world was bursting around them with lightning and thunder. That did seem like kind of an impediment.
He lowered his head and looked down at the step. “It’s all crazy, isn’t it?”
He held his head straight but his eyes darted toward her. “You know, I have no idea what’s real or what’s not. What I’ve caused. It seems a little coincidental that I get cursed by your cousin and then something else happens. Something unexplainable. Just a little too coincidental.”
Phoebe looked away from him toward the moon full in the sky. “Are you blaming us for this?”
“I’m just saying that it’s all coincidental.”
Phoebe shook her head.
“I was fine, Phoebe. I was fine until Serena. And now I hear you all talking about something before and it sounds pretty far-fetched.”
“I’m not sure you were fine.”
“I was fine.”
Phoebe shrugged. “Great. You were fine. And now what?”
She heard him groan. She glanced at him, but he was looking at his shoes or the ground around him, anywhere but at her.
She moved to stand, but his hand grabbed her wrist. “I don’t know what I’m saying or what I mean. I saw what happened in California with that entity possessing you. That entity was speaking to me.” He paused and shook his head. She could see feel his thoughts and wanted to tune in, but that wasn’t fair to him. He was trying to convince himself that this was them and had nothing to do with him.
Maybe she didn’t completely blame him. In his shoes, she might be feeling the same. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that a man had turned heel and run far, far away from them once he understood exactly what was going on, or presumed he understood.
She realized that there was no reason for him to believe that this was something that came from his own world, except maybe for the way in which his mother died. He must know that it was too unlikely for her, the aunts or her sister to know about his mother and tie all of those things together.
She felt his eyes on her and looked at him, wanting to listen in on his thoughts.
“I know what you’re thinking,” he said, grinning at the irony.
“You’re trying to decide if I really think you’re to blame and you want to read my thoughts.”
She grinned. “That’s pretty accurate.”
“No, I don’t think you’re to blame. But I do wonder if it’s Serena.”
“But she couldn’t know about your mother, could she? Did you ever tell her about your family?”
He shook his head. “Nope. Nothing. That’s not exactly the kind of information I share. Although bits and pieces of it have found their way onto the internet gossip sites. I always kind of hope that anyone who reads those things takes them with a grain of salt, even if the information’s true.”
“Is it hard being a sexy rock star?” she asked.
He laughed. “Very. Feel pity for me?”
“Not so much,” she said. “But truthfully? Is it? I didn’t notice a lot of paparazzi around you.”
He shrugged and then extended his arms behind him and leaned on his hands. “A few years ago it was worse, when we were called an overnight sensation. Ha. An overnight sensation after seven years in the business.”
“So what changed? I’ve never followed your music . . .”
“Yeah, what’s up with that?”
“I’ve always liked classical music and jazz. I think it’s because the lyrics to most pop and rock songs make me go insane. Clichéd words and rhyme. The same thoughts over and over again. How many stupid ways can a guy tell a girl he loves her?”
“Nice. Maybe you should listen to some of our music.”
“Because I don’t write clichés.”
She laughed. “You always say the most humble things.”
“I just speak the truth, chere. False modesty is, well, fake.”
“I like Bob Dylan and Lucinda Williams,” she said.
“I write nowhere near as good as Dylan. Lucinda Williams? Maybe I write almost as well as her but now so folky-country. Is that what you like? I can’t believe that after knowing me for– what, a month?—that you never felt curious enough to download some of our music. I feel almost hurt.”
“Right. I don’t think my opinion matters that much to you.”
He was quiet for a moment. “Actually, it’s beginning to mean a lot to me.”
She almost laughed, but then her eyes met his and she saw that he was serious and she looked quickly away. She knew how this would play out. She knew that once she allowed herself to open up to him, she’d be lost and he’d be gone. After the last time, she didn’t think she could go through that heartbreak again.
end of Day 13