NaNoWriMo Day 22, Soup’s Off

soup's off cover

Observations: It’s pouring outside but inside the words aren’t quite as prolific, but I’m going on.

No real observations here. No profound thoughts, as you will note as you (if you) read.

Disclaimer: Still very, very much a draft!

Total word count: 37,984

You can read previous sections here.


Against the better judgment of my rational side, we go back to my cottage in the woods. The sound of a barred owl greets us when we get out of the car and walk along the graveled path to my door. As soon as we enter, I realize how small my cottage is because this six foot four man seems to take up a lot of space. He glances around quickly as we move from the foyer with its rustic hard-wood flooring, to the small galley kitchen that opens to the living room dinette area looking into the woods.

My effort to bring the outdoors in shows with the number of hanging pots containing philodendron and Swedish ivy. The latter catches Anton’s attention. He holds one of the round leaves between his fingers.

“Did you know that Swedish ivy is really from the southern hemisphere?” he asks.

“I did not know that. Although, I’m not surprised. It probably couldn’t survive in Sweden’s climate.”

“True.”

He drifts through the room, picking up a picture of my family taken about five years ago when I graduated from college. He grins.

“So many gingers and you were blonde.”

I shrug. “My period of revolt. And just in case you want to know, red heads have far more fun than blondes.”

I dish up part of Moira’s Thanksgiving feast and can see her disappointment when she realizes she’s not getting it all tonight.

“How can it be a Thanksgiving feast if you’re giving me such a dainty portion?” Moira asks.

“That’s rich stuff there. It would make you ill to eat a lot of it,” I tell her, once again forgetting I can do it with my mind when Anton’s eyes move between me and Moira in amusement.

I grab a bottle of a red blend, which I hand to Anton with the corkscrew. He nods at the label and then opens the bottle with little effort.

I warm up my Thanksgiving soup, pour them carefully into the bowls to create the yin-yang design, and then top them with the accoutrements.

“Nice,” Anton says, watching me. “I’ll finally have my first taste of your soup. Will I fly?”

“Maybe,” I say, grinning at him.

I slice up some of Rose’s parmesan and garlic bread before lighting candles on the table. This looks very romantic, I think, which is probably a very bad thing with the way my body is attracted to his. Even feet away from him, I can feel his pull.

Moira scratches at the door. Anton glances at me.

“Is it okay to let her out?”

I nod. Moira is careful outside. I don’t need to worry about her running after a deer or getting into a scrap with a coyote. In some ways it’s like having a human dressed in a dog suit.

We settle at the table, which feels domestic and kind of scarily so. As he tastes the soup, I see Anton’s eyes brighten. Is it because the soup is good, which I believe that it is, or because of my magic?

“Your reputation is well-earned,” he says before eating another spoonful.

Oddly chuffed, I feel my cheeks warm slightly. “Thanks.”

His bowl is empty in moments. He sops up the remaining drips with bread. When I offer more, he nods and smiles in a way that gives me an idea of what he must have looked like as a boy, winsome, sweet, captivating.

After I bring him seconds, I take a sip of wine, waiting for conversation to come to me. I don’t usually have a problem talking to men, but then I usually have something in common with the men I dine with, which is one more reason why bringing him home was probably a very bad idea. But then again, it’s not like one night is a commitment, is it? Except I gave that whole lecture about not being nonchalant sexually. I am one great big confused mess.

“You look pensive,” he says. His hand on the wine glass looks huge, and my mind instantly goes to the gutter.

Mentally I shake my head, close my eyes and think, oh, I could ask about his family. That should be a nice safe topic.

“Do you have brothers and sisters?”

“Four younger brothers.”

“Are they witch slayers? Is this something you’re born into?”

While nodding, he wipes his lips on a napkin. “We are hereditary witch slayers. Others can be trained to be, but they don’t possess any natural powers. If they are chosen to move up through the ranks, they can go through a power ceremony and acquire some low grade powers, but nothing like those that a hereditary witch slayer possesses.”

I reheat our “Thanksgiving feasts” from Smokey Dave’s, plate them up, and then let Moira in. She moves around Anton and me as if checking to see if any scraps will come her way. She’s already stuck her nose up at veggie burgers, with an “as if.” She gives Anton her big brown eyes poor pitiful me stare, which he rewards with a small slice of turkey.

“Why did your mother choose to bind your sisters’ and your powers?” Anton asks.

This is definitely not a safe topic. I don’t know what I should and shouldn’t tell him. He is supposed to be our enemy.

“And yet he’s sitting here all cozy like,” Moira observes.

And this is true. And I’m enjoying his company. He isn’t restless nor trying overly hard to be charming. He seems comfortable in his skin.

Shrugging my shoulders, I shake my head. “I don’t know, I think they thought they were protecting us. It’s seems like it’s had the absolute opposite effect, especially considering Isla.”

“Tell me about Isla.” His voice is soothing, which sends up dozens of red flags.

“No. I don’t think so.”

His hand slides over mine, engulfing it. “You don’t think you can trust me?”

I laugh. “Do you think you can trust me?”

He leans back in the chair, those blue-green eyes of his wandering over my face. “Yes, actually I think I can. But there is a limit to what I can share with you, Sophia. And perhaps you are wise to limit what you tell me.”

As we finish our meal, we share anecdotes from our childhood, which sound reasonably similar despite the fact that he was raised in Sweden and I was raised in the hills of Virginia. We both had uncles who liked to take us fishing, although he didn’t embarrass his uncle in front of his friends by starting to bawl while watching the fish struggling at the end of the hook like I did until Uncle Jesse had to throw the bass back into the lake.

“That was the last time I went fishing. I grabbed my book, climbed a tree, and that’s the way I spent the rest of their fishing afternoon, which was just fine with me and them,” I tell Anton, smiling. “Uncle Jesse never offered to take me fishing again. He did drive me to the library sometimes and then he’d go into Smokey Dave’s and have a beer, waiting for me to get my armful of books.”

We compare books that we like. Both love Harry Potter. And then music. Both like Audioslave better than Soundgarden. He tells me how much he loves hiking in nature. The definitely irrational side of me suggests that it would be very easy to fall in love with this tree of a man.

Sitting close together on the loveseat, he takes my hand, his fingers twining with mine, and then we’re kissing each other as if our lives depended on it. So much for lacking nonchalance, I think as we’re shedding clothes in my bedroom five minutes later, our eyes hungrily feasting on each other.

Later, in that moment when magic should be happening, when my brain usually becomes a fuzzy ball of yarn, I am startled by visions that make me cry out in a far different way than I’ve ever cried out before, not that I’m noisy in the bedroom. So many images of Anton and me rush through my head as if I were watching a film on fast speed. The blond Viking and the Scottish peasant girl naked before a fire. The soldier and nurse circa World War II. By the end, I’m clinging to him, gasping, shaking as flames engulf the last image of the giant blond and short redhead. Was that us? Did we die in flames? Or will it be us?


end of Day 22

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