Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas in London

The world is entering my favourite season once more and like I haven't been for a little while pulling myself out of the deep end I find myself back once again with a warm glow inside. 

Christmas used to make me feel that way, and I'm so glad that it does again. So last night my family and I put up our Christmas tree together with the new sapphire and silver decorations that we bought. It was the first time probably since Christmas 1993 when we haven't used the box of collected green, red and gold works we've accumulated since then, and it felt right although I was reluctant at first. 

I'm a different person to who I was last year, and I suppose it makes sense that I have a shiny, bright new glittering Christmas tree to show it. The decorations look how I feel: glittering, brand new and happy. It's so good to see them and feel like I can see myself reflected there; I don't have to pretend any more because it's real now, just like my Christmas tree. It really is a time for peace, hope and dreams. 

I did something I've never gotten to do too now - I wrote a short story about Christmas in London with Daphne. I've wanted to do that since I first wrote CCJ in 2009, but have never managed to get onto it. And not only did I finally write one it was so emotional that my own writing left me incredibly floaty and dreamy, close to tears just imagining the beautiful scenario that I had just written. It felt amazing.

But I have spent Christmas in London before, so I remembered how that felt, and I will spend the holidays there again this year: something I've been dreaming about and wishing for since I left London last time! The experience, all in all, was humbling and quite frankly pretty awesome. 

And so here I am this evening, excited to go in only 21 short days to spend my favourite season in the city that is so close to my heart and I've finally achieved something I've wanted to for years. I suppose the only thing I can really say is: Good times.

But here it is, I hope you enjoy it; Don't worry, I don't expect you all to tear up like I did :) But I do hope that every one has a very Merry Christmas this year, wherever you are.

What's happening: Daphne tries to help Roy get his Christmas season going.

Current NaNo Word Count: 46,569


Mara






Roy sat on the couch in his flat surrounded by the scattered remains of Christmas wrapping and ribbons gone wrong, a stray piece of sticky tape forgotten on his cheek and a very exasperated, grumpy expression on his face. To say that Christmas present wrapping was one of his strong suits was a huge extrapolation of the actual truth.
            Roy, who got excited over Halloween like I did in Disneyland, had a fear of Christmas and all its hullabuloo that almost verged into Scrooge and Grinch territory.
            Seeing him look so defeated by cellophane and glitter right now I could see why.
            Last year, I hadn’t witnessed anything of the sort – having not known each other too long, we’d exchanged alcohol and made a pact to drink them together on New Year’s Eve. We had, it had been messy, and it had been amazing.
            I realised looking at Roy trying to scrape the glitter off his hand that the alcohol had been his idea, probably because it hadn’t required any wrapping.
            “It looks like Christmas hell in here, Roy.”
            Finally realising that I’d witnessed his crazed attempt to put his presents together, Roy looked up at me and his eyes twinkled.
            “You!” His lips twisted into a predatory smile that made me take a half step backwards in trepidation. “Finally!”
            “Urgh...”
            Roy sprang up and grabbed me by the arms and gave me a small shake. Suddenly, he looked almost manic if not for the green and gold glitter stamped on his face.
            “You can help me!”
            I slapped his arms off and gave a bark of laughter. “Jesus, Roy, I thought something was seriously wrong for a minute there.”
            He shook his head like a little boy and gave me big, blue puppy dog eyes. “Something is – this crap!” He pointed sullenly at the most ridiculously wrapped present of all time. Tufts of paper hung off it like a preschool art project. “I need help! I need you to wrap these goddamn presents for me before I blow my brains out with the glue gun!”
            I really did lose it and felt tears prick my eyes when I began to laugh so hard my stomach began to ache. Roy scowled at me and actually stamped his foot.
            “Red, this is not funny! I really need your help – Gloria won’t do it because of the time I glued her cat to the floorboards.” I stopped laughing mid peal to stare at him in abject horror. “He was fine! Just lost a few tail hairs...”
            “Oh dear god, Roy, how can anyone seriously be this terrible at Christmas wrapping? It’s not that hard! My cousin can do it and he’s like ten or something.”
            Roy bent down and picked up the present he’d been trying to wrap when I arrived and thrust it into my hands. “Please, Red – I’m actually begging you, I really do need help. If I have to sit there one more time while my brothers laugh at my wrapping and my nieces get stuck to the paper again, I think I will hang myself.”
            With a smile and shake of my head I finally agreed and began to inspect his work. It was genuinely terrible, I didn’t know how, but it was. “Alright, I’ll help you. But only because I don’t understand how someone can be so bad at this without trying to be.”
            Roy scoffed and ran a hand through his hair. “Oh you’d be surprised.”
            “Alright, well I think we should start by clearing this shit up.” I gestured to the Christmas present graveyard before us. “Get some garbage bags and your broom.”
            It didn’t take all that long to sweep up the tiny paper chips and shreds of paper from the floor and bag it all up, but the amount of glitter Roy had spilt meant that until he got the world’s most powerful vacuum cleaner he was going to have a sparkling floor for a while to come.
            I clapped my hands in anticipation when the bag was tossed into the corner for later, and drew out my mp3 player to start up my all-star Christmas song list. “Best way to do anything Christmassy,” I explained as I set the volume up on ‘We Need a little Christmas’. “Where is your tree? We should really do this by the tree too – being in a Christmassy environment with Christmas music often makes wrapping presents very Zen, you know?”
            At the mention of his tree, Roy had paled a little.
            “What is it?”
            “About my tree...”
            “What about it? Oh dear god, don’t tell me you don’t have one!” I felt my panic start to rise a little and began to grip the scissors I’d picked up in my hand.
            Roy noticed and help us hands up. “No, I do! It’s not that; I...I think you’d better look.”
            He grimaced and began to lead the way around the corner to where his living area met his ‘drawing room’, as he called it. In the far corner of the room by the front window sat his Christmas tree, skirted by a calico cloth.
            I couldn’t stop the little scream that bubbled up in my throat.
            “What the ever-loving hell is that?” I practically shrieked.
            Roy’s Christmas tree, if you could even call it that was a sparse looking evergreen pine tree, with a single wrap of silver tinsel and two baubles. One was purple and the other was blue. It felt like it should have been on show at the Guggenheim with a plaque that read ‘The Lonely Christmas’ or something.
            I sucked in a horrified breath and turned very slowly to look at Roy who shrunk back in mock fear. “Please don’t hurt me – I never remember to buy more decorations! I’m usually so busy this time of year and I’m always at my parent’s house for Christmas dinner anyway...”
            He trailed off when I glared and shook my head at him.
            “Get your coat, Roy. Right now.”
            He scrambled out of there so fast; I imagined a white cloud trailing him Road Runner and Coyote style.
            He was back in record time with a cherry red scarf wrapped around his neck and dark navy military-inspired winter coat slung over his shoulders. I hadn’t moved except to snap a picture of the sad tree and text it to my sister, Lacey.
            In my family there was no bigger Christmas junkie or tree Nazi around. She’d have burnt Roy’s tree to the ground and started over. I wasn’t going to be that harsh, but he needed someone to save him from himself.
            Roy was uncharacteristically quiet as I grabbed my own coat and satchel and we headed back out into the frosty London December morning, hailed a cab and stared Roy down when I told him “Piccadilly Circus.”
           
            We stood in the middle of the department store hours later in what was effectively, the North Pole.
            This time, Roy had baubles hanging off every square inch of him. Well, except for his feet. He was starting to look like a Christmas tree himself and the irony wasn’t lost on me. In fact, I was doing my very best to stop the hysterical laughter coming out of my mouth.
            “Oh kay, Red, i’ve lost count now but I’m pretty sure we have plenty decorations.”
            “Just one more!” I took the star out from behind my back and placed the star on top of his head and clapped. “There, all done!”
            Roy narrowed his eyes and began to tickle me mercilessly.
            By the time we finally left the store laden with bags full of decor, I had a spent a lofty sum of Roy’s money and gained myself a great new profile picture next to my human Christmas tree.
            “Come on then, Dr Fonda, let’s go fix your Christmas!”
            That year, Roy had the nicest Christmas tree of his lifetime, his presents were all beautifully wrapped and the damage to his flat was minimal. I didn’t tell anyone I’d done most of the work, not even Eric, so that when Roy distributed his gifts everyone would think that he’d improved his skill all by himself.
            Unfortunately I never got to see the total proof of my hard work at Roy’s family function Christmas day, but I did at least get to see the fun of it when the Egyptology team went for an early Christmas dinner at some swanky London restaurant two days before Eric and I flew back to Australia.
            The night of the 14th of December came around and I donned some festive Christmas earrings, a shiny off-the-shoulder red dress and dark opaque stockings. The thin line across my breastbone was practically gone now that I wasn’t so worried about covering it.
            One of the perks of god-bestowed powers? Advanced healing – quicker, more effective and without scarring. Like being a vampire without the teeth. Chomp chomp.
            Eric slunk up behind me, careful to keep himself out of the mirror’s reflection, so that when I finally heard him it was too late and he swung me into his arms and kissed me. My lipstick smudged and I couldn’t summon enough effort to care. I’d just fix it in the car.
            “Ready to celebrate Christmas with our London family, darlin’?” Eric’s lilting Southern Louisiana accent sent a trickle of warmth down my spine and I cuddled closer.
            “Mhmm. In a minute.” I clutched him hard to me, snuggling against him.
            I felt the same inner worry that most girls did before introducing their boyfriends to their parents, even though we weren’t even in the same continent as mine yet. I wasn’t worried that they wouldn’t like Eric – everyone loved Eric. No, I was more worried that they were going to embarrass me to hell and back, I’d sweat out my self-esteem in the summer sun and feel like I was back the same girl I was before hightailing out of that god forsaken city in the first place.
            Eric, ever astute, pressed a kiss to my neck. “Don’t worry, darlin’, we’ll be fine.” He leant back a bit and gave me an adorable crooked smile. “Honey, we defeated the North American charter of the Organisation of Ra, set an Ancient witch from her tomb, and have been through so much else in the past year I really don’t think you should be so worried about your family.” He chucked me under the chin fondly, then bit my bottom lip lightly. “Come on, Daph, let’s go.” Then he released me and smack me on the ass. I yelped in surprised and stared. Eric winked. “I love you. And when we get home I’ll show you how much.”
            “I’m fond of you, too.” I winked back and bolted out, turning my back on him. I was half-way across the flat by the time Eric caught up to me and rugby tackled me to the floor behind the couch.
            We were twenty-one minutes late to dinner and Roy ordered entrees for us.
           
            Christmas in London was one of the most magical experiences of all time. Last year when it had been my first time, everything had been so new and wintery perfect. Light snowflakes falling with crystal white perfection to land along my coat sleaves and in my hair, steaming mugs of mulled wine and ice skating in the converted moat of the Tower.                                                                                        It was like being in love, and I had been then too.
            Eric had been there to take me everywhere, hold my hand as we watched the snow fall, hand me a hot drink, cuddle me on the ice rink. We’d put up a tree together and decorated it to the upbeat Christmas music of my mp3 player, and woken up together cosy and warm on Christmas morning.
            It was the perfect Christmas love story and I had felt like I was living a fluffy, warm, magical dream. The kind I’d imagined when I was a little girl.
            Damn, I was even getting dreamy and floaty just remembering it.
            This year was going to be different, but no less amazing. It was going to be hotter than hell home in Perth, there would be no snow, no ice skating, no steaming hot drinks or snuggling by the fire. Hell there would be sticky nights, drowning ourselves in the pool at my parent’s house, and pina coladas on Christmas day. With my family, lots of pina coladas.
            After our wintery Christmas feast the night before last, we’d swapped gifts with the team and listened with glee as Gloria, Harry and Eric had complimented Roy’s improved Christmas wrapping. Frank had caught the smile on my face though I’d tried to hide it and raised his champagne glass to me in silent toast.
            Gloria had given me a designer new purse complete with a picture of her and I from New York inside. Harry’s present was tucked inside it too: a personalised voucher for a day spa in Perth. The boy had done his research and chosen a popular place.
            “To calm your nerves,” he explained with a knowing smile.
            Roy rubbed his hands together in glee when I’d opened the present he bought me – safely tucked in a gift box that was no doubt store wrapped since I hadn’t seen it before. Inside the box was crisp white tissue paper that I pulled back delicately to reveal the softest cotton pyjamas I’d ever seen printed with scenes from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. My favourite.
            Roy knew me so well. I kissed his cheek to thank him.
            Frank’s gift, of all those I received that night, was probably closest to my heart; he’d rather flushed as he pushed a small tiffany’s box in my direction.
            Inside was a white gold chain-link bracelet with three symbols on it: a cat, a jackal and the symbol of ankh surrounded by angel-like wings. My gaze snapped to him in surprise and he nodded with a slight smile.
            “Frank...It’s perfect. Thank you.”
            I continued to gaze at it with love as Eric drew it from its sky blue box and fasten it around my left wrist – right over the jagged scar made by Janice Uther’s knife that was yet to fade.
            It told me two things: Frank knew me, and he understood.
            “Really, Frank, thank-you.”
            Frank raised his glass to toast us all this time with a blinding smile. “Merry Christmas everyone.”
            We raised our glasses in response and drank, the taste of champagne bringing red to my cheeks as I celebrated with my London family.


Monday, November 26, 2012

A Scream in the Dark


It's without much further ado that I give you a dark little scene that I put together today. To those who came and said hello while I was writing at the coffee shop today, you may be interested to see what I was working on...

What's Happening: Daphne breaks into the Magic shop for the second time to get a book.

Current NaNo Word Count: 44,137

Enjoy!

Mara



“I’ll meet you at the Opaque Lounge,” I told Eric, and gathered my trench and satchel up in my arms. At his look of distrust I rubbed his bicep reassuringly and smiled up at him. “Don’t worry; I’ll only be a few minutes after you. I just need to drop back a file to the Met on the way.” Which was still half true, I just neglected to mention that after that I wanted to pop back into Makin’ Magic to swipe that book of incantations and summons I’d been perusing with Margery’s help.
            Oh, trust me I planned to leave my thanks.
            Despite Mim’s best efforts when I’d cried that morning, I had refused to reveal everything that Nailah had said in the dream and needed to keep at least some things to myself until I could understand her actions more than I did.
            So, for that I needed to summon some more spirits and work on strengthening the power that Nailah had granted me. I needed the book I’d used with Margery for that, but there was seriously no way in hell Mim or Eric were going to just sit by and let me do that.
            I was well aware of the danger it threatened in returning, which was why I’d relegated James to come with again knowing he could alert Mim who’d no doubt be prowling not too far behind whether I ordered him not to follow me or not. But the point remained that neither Eric nor Mim found out in time to stop me from achieving my goal.
            I might not have convinced Nailah to live, but I was sure as hell not going to sit back and let this continue. I was going to get to the bottom of this like Poirot and gods help me if I failed because my men were too over-protective. What was the fun in being the Priestess of the Gods, if you couldn’t do any good, anyway?
            So, when I’d told Mim I’d meet him at the lounge and that I’d be arriving with Eric he’d reluctantly let me go. Then when I’d told Eric that Mim was being uncharacteristically cool with me detouring a moment so long as I met Eric at the lounge at the allotted time, I hadn’t expected him to be so trusting, and I felt an incredible stab of guilt when he kissed me hard and let me go.
            I had exactly half an hour to be at the Opaque Lounge downtown with the book safely in my satchel, or Mim and Eric were going to figure out I’d given them the slip and my already shortened leash of trust was going to be tightened beyond human endurance. In other words, I was going to be so dead.
            Turns out, that would be the least of my worries.
            James, who’d figured me out and floated after me telling me off in the most upper-class English way possible how stupid I was, threatened to expose me a number of times on the journey to the Met.
            I hadn’t necessarily lied to Eric earlier when I’d said I had to drop off a file to the Met, because I did, I’d spent part of the day in Starbucks with Roy putting the final touches on the analysis report we re-submitted to include the final two figurines we’d looked at the day before. After we’d completed it, we’d gone for a last adventure run through the city together and ended up at Museum of Natural History for so long we’d run out of time to drop back the file. So, I’d offered to do it on the way to thank-you party.
            It was the perfect cover, and I couldn’t have planned it any better myself.
            It only took me five minutes to burst into the Met and slip the report onto Inna’s desk before racing back for the waiting taxi, where James still sat glowering in my direction.
            “Would you stop? You of all people should get why I had to lie. And it wasn’t even a total lie.”
            “You of all people,” James said mimicking my tone. “Should understand why lying to your protectors when entering into a dangerous situation is not recommended.”
            “But they wouldn’t of let me go!”
            “Because it is dangerous!”
            The taxi driver swivelled around to stare at me in confusion. “You talkin’ to me, miss?” He asked in concerned Brooklyn.
            “Er, no, just on the hands free!” I’d hastily slid a headphone into one ear as I’d slunk back into the cab.
            He continued to look a little worried as I gave him the new address for Makin’ Magic and the cab pulled away from the curb.
            “Some days, con, I truly believe that you have a death wish. I should have gotten your wasted years to live. I’d have married and had children and published works in Egyptology to rival my beloved Carter.”
            “Yeah, but then you’d never have met me in the first place and all of that would have invalidated anyway.”
            James just glared. “Touché, but it still does not make your actions acceptable.”
            “Yeah, yeah, James. Let’s just go get the book and then it’ll be over.”
            Makin’ Magic was as destitute as the last time I’d seen it, and after paying for the cab I waited for it to leave before heading to the back and breaking back in through the same window as before.
            The book sat on the same shelf I’d left it, and when my hands caught it I gave a sigh of relief convinced I was in the clear.
            Too soon, apparently, because when I tucked it away in my satchel and turned back towards the window to leave the way was blocked by two very large, very solid bodies. I looked up horror and vaguely recognised the two henchman that had flanked me in Central Park before something very hard and heavy contacted with the side of my head and plunged me into darkness.
            James’ voice screeching in alarm was the last thing I heard.

            I woke up god knows how much later, my head pounding and my mind in a jumble. It was dark, even after I fought to open my eyes, and everything was fuzzy.
            The was a metallic, bloody taste in my mouth and every slight movement racked me with pain.
            Gradually memory began to return and I vaguely remembered something connecting with my skull and knocking me out.
            The Necromancer’s henchmen. Of course.
            As awareness began to return a light flickered to my right, and the brightness sent a shockwave of pain through my brain. I groaned before I could stop myself.
            “You’re awake.”
            I didn’t recognise the woman’s voice who spoke, and she crept over to me with her lantern, illuminating my surroundings.
            Cold grey was everywhere around me, and it wasn’t long before I realised we were in a tomb. A cold, unfeeling tomb very different to Ye Vanck Amun’s, but resplendent in regard for the modern mausoleum’s built for the rich in the Western World; I hoped it meant I was still in New York.
            The woman came into view and dropped the hood of the robe covering her face.
            I gasped in surprise, as I both realised who it was and that this was the Necromancer that had been trying to kill me since I’d come to the city. I wasn’t sure whether I was shocked more shocked that she’d kidnapped me, revealed herself to me, or by who she was.
            Matronly Janice Uther, Egyptologist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art stared down at me with a manic smile on her sullen face, a lantern in one hand and a dagger in the other.
            I hadn’t seen that one coming.
            I tried to move but she just laughed in response, the knife glinting in the light from her lantern.
            “You’re all tied up this time, my dear. No running for you this time.”
            As she spoke I became aware that my arms were secured tightly above my head, and my ankles were tied together. The cold, hard granite beneath me told me that I was either lying on a sarcophagus or some kind of stone slab of an altar like a sacrifice.
            Oh man, I thought, how in the hell was I going to get myself out of this mess?
            James! James, I remembered, had been there. He would warn Mim! That hope died a horrible death when my gaze fell on a mortalised James, bound and gagged on the floor against the wall opposite me.
            Well, shit. There went that plan.
            “Noticed your little spirit friend, did you?” Janice laughed, and twirled the knife in her hand. “I am a master of the dead, it was far too easy of me to simply cast him into flesh and bind him here. You can forget about him fetching your Prince of Cats or your Jackal. Nothing is going to save you this time, Priestess.”
            The knife lowered to my skin and I sliced a thin line from my collarbone to the top of my left breast. The pain was overcome by shock but I still screamed. I screamed for my failed plan, my dejection and my fading hope that Mim or Eric were going to find me in time.
            Janice laughed like a psychopath as red blood trickled down onto my clothes and the stone beneath me. And as tears burned my eyes, I screamed.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Final ten and out.

NaNo is drawing, once again to its epic conclusion. And likewise, Operation Osiris - the third book in my Daphne Savoy series is drawing to an end also. It's been a pretty flowing story this year - taking up almost exactly where I left off last year when Thesis Fever grabbed me and I failed to finish. 

Now here we are with less than 10,000 words to go and 7 days to write them. 

I'll post another teaser real soon! But for now - it's back to the books!

Well, where I left them last Mim and Daph were ensconced in a library...

Mara

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Copy, do you read me?

If you haven't heard from in a little while it certainly hasn't been because I've been slack. Instead, I've been Up North on fieldwork - I'm still an archaeologist, you know - and been pumping out fiction after hours like there's no tomorrow! 

I have a very raunchy scene for you, but as you know only people who ask me directly get to read them. I'll give you a little taste of it later, anyway. 

So, where am I at? How am I going? NaNo this years is almost proving a minimal challenge - I'm churning out the words and letting the story flow easier than ever before. In fact, it is day 16 today, just over halfway through the month, and I am just about burst through 30,000 words. 

And I haven't even resorted to chopping scenes as they come to me this time - for the most part, everything is sequential. 

The Back-Pocket Book I started up to keep on me on site helped a fair bit to flesh out scenes and snippets whilst on lunch and morning-tea breaks. But perhaps it is also the routine of getting up everyday, going to work, doing yoga, having dinner then settling down with my computer to write that has really spurned me into action? Whatever the reason, it is certainly working and writer's block has been rallied to a minimum. At this rate I'll have up to five days spare at the end of the month!

Certainly an achievement I'll say. 

On the other scale of things, my trip is drawing nearer and London is beginning to call to me in anticipation. Christmas is just around the corner, and all things merry are certainly coming my way! And that's not even beginning to add the joys of early next year with my jaunt to Egypt with the Adventurous Alyce! 

I think I deserve it for not losing my mind after the dramas of last year and early this year. At least my Christmas in London will be beyond magical when last year I was broken-hearted and sad. Blergh, I know right? No way!

But this year has been much better, and I am much  for it - Stress levels lowered, toxic friends eradicated, forgiven and put out of mind. If it's not too arrogant to say, then I certainly like myself much better than I ever have before.

And you know what? I thought it over, considered the possibility of time travel even (thank you Dr Who!), and realised that even if I could go back I wouldn't change a thing. Because I learnt, and I grew. 

Such is life.

Enough waffling and philosophising - here is a raunchy snippet of Daphne and Eric's passionate argument after she is cornered in Central Park by Adarian Leveaux and the Necromancer..

What's Happening: Daphne and Eric's argument turns heated when they can't agree over Daphne's reasons for meeting Adarian in the Park at night. 

Current NaNo Word Count: 29, 111

Happy reading, may the muses ever be with you!

Mara






On the tenth floor the elevator pulled to a halt and I stepped out. My incredibly hazy memories of the night before and coming here, then those of me leaving in the morning pointed me in the direction of 10-07B. 
            I sidled up to the door and looked over at Mim before raising a hand to knock. The were-cat stood a few steps back and glowered at me. I just shrugged at him in return and rapped on the door.
            A sudden fission of excitement rolled through me and I realised this was the first real time I was going to Eric’s apartment – in New York – when I wasn’t either severely incapacitated or pulling a morning-after walk-of-shame escape out the door. In his shirt, but hey, it worked with the belt.
            Eric answered within seconds and for a second we stood there in silence, face to face.
            “Hi,” I said.
            “Hi,” he replied, a faint smile on his lips that dropped slightly when he noticed Mim pouting behind me in the hall. “You brought your cat?”
            Mim’s hiss permeated the thick air of the landing, and I quickly waved him off. “Mim was just walking me over, isn’t that right, Mim?” The man in question stood stock still, looking like he wanted to rally and argue, but at my look he simply forced a toothy smile and nodded like a ventriloquist dummy.
            “Yes, Priestess.”
            “Good, now thank you for the escort – safe trip back to the Plaza.”
            Eric took a step aside to usher me in, but Mim stopped him, stalking forward until they were, once again, nose to nose.
            “You had best protect my Priestess, Jackal,” He hissed, raking one clawed hand down the wall beside the door, leaving a mark. “Or there will be a reckoning so many years overdue.”
            Eric growled back. “Bring it on, kitty.” He was returning back into the room towards me when, as an almost afterthought added, “Oh, and just FYI; Daphne may be your Priestess, and protecting her your primary purpose of existence, but she is my girlfriend and at the end of the day her heart will always be mine as mine will be hers. Your failure would be enough.” Then, with a great flourish, Eric slammed the door right in Mim’s face, latched the door and strolled over to me.
            Without a word he scooped me up and kissed me soundly, crushing me to him so tightly I could hardly breathe.
            When he released me and let me slide down his body, we were both breathing hard. Eric kept a loose arm around my hips and sighed.
            “Don’t ever do that again.”
            Mind fuzzy from the kiss, I blinked up at him in confusion. “Do what?”
            “Run off after some crazy-ass fucking Frenchman and knock ten years off my life when you’re nearly hurt or worse! Jesus, Daph, are you trying to give me a heart attack?”
            I groaned as realisation dawned, and took a second to drop my bag to the floor by couch before confronting yet another argument. I was starting to think that this was the day that wouldn’t end. For starting the day with the hangover from hell, the day certainly descended into shit pretty quickly.
            “Ok, Eric – give it to me,” I sighed.
            “Oh do not give me that, Daphne,” Eric stalked closer, putting me between him and the couch. “I’m sure Mim gave it to you when I left, but you can’t keep taking such huge risks like this – what would any of us do if something happened to you? I love you so fucking much I can’t think straight when you’re in danger, and even though you are the most stubborn woman I have ever met I refuse to give up on you! For god’s sake, please just try to take better care of yourself!”
            “But Eric-
            “Do you have any idea what I thought when I saw you crumble into my arms at the park? When I had to carry you boneless to set you down somewhere else?”
            “Eric, I’m sorry-
            “When we have children, I’m going to tell them all what a completely irresponsible, stubborn ass their mother was when we were young. I’ve half a mind to spank you like a naughty school girl!”
            We both froze for a second as his words sunk in. I gulped and took another half step back, bristling under the sudden sexual tension that had burst into the room.
            With an awkward cough, Eric ruffled the back of his hair sending locks of hair spiking upwards. “Er, that’s not what I meant...” I didn’t doubt it, but now that it was out there I knew he was thinking it.
            I cleared my throat to diffuse the tension. “I’m sorry, Eric, I really didn’t mean to make you freak out. I didn’t even expect you actually – I didn’t tell anyone except for Mellie, my, uh, new friend.”
            He groaned again and I realised that hadn’t been the right thing to say either. “I know you didn’t, but you were still reckless and you’ve been lucky so far, getting out at the last minute, I’m just terrified you’re going to luck out someday and I’ll be too late!”
            “No, you’ll always be there, at the last second, you’ll always be there!” I realised I hadn’t actually considered what Eric had been doing in the park when he’d gotten the same cover story I gave Mim – spending the night with Roy. “Er, how did you happen to find out what was going on?”
            Eric glared down at me, I lifted my palms up in a sort of ‘please-don’t-hurt-me’ motion. “From your bloody cat! I was leaving the bar where I was having a drink with Frank when I saw your Guardian come racing heal for leather out of the elevator like he’d seen a ghost and I just knew it was something to do with you, so I followed!”
            I mentally slapped myself on the forehead.
            “And it’s a good thing I did! Things may be weird between us right now, Daphne, and you won’t let me in but you need to trust me!”
            “Or what, Eric, you’ll spank me?”
            He seized me up in his arms again and bent me back into a dip, lips firm on mine. But what started out as an angry, punishing kiss soon progressed into something far, far more passionate. Eric’s tongue thrust between my lips as his hands brushed down my body to land on my behind, gripping the backs of my jeans with a ferocity that made liquid begin to pool in my stomach and me press closer. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Just a little snippet with a hangover

Just as the title says, basically!

Mara

What's happening: Daphne and Roy attempt to recover from a night of over-indulgence at a strip club. 

Current NaNo Word Count: 13, 545





“Oh, bugger me,” Roy groaned, pressing a cold compress to his forehead. “I don’t think I’ve been this dreadfully hung-over since the Nile Party back in ’08.”
            I groaned in response from where I was draped across the opposite lab bench with my head against the microscope. I’d flung myself there when staring at the soil sample we’d brushed off of one of the tiny broaches had started to give me a bit of tunnel vision.
            “And there’s really no one else who could have done this analysis today?”
            “Nada.”
            “And we couldn’t have done it tomorrow?”
            “No dice.”
            “Frank can be really sick sometimes.”
            “You’re telling me; I came in after a buck’s night once and Frank handed me a stack of bulk samples to shift through and said I had until 3.57pm to do it.”
            “Why 3.57?” I asked, moaning from the pain my look of confusion gave me.”
            “He wanted to come back and check through the results at 4 for something.”
            “Right.”
            “Best boss ever, but hard task master and little sympathy for the drink impaired.”
            “Makes sense,” I passed a hand over my eyes, shielding them from the light of the lab. “Frank isn’t really one to go crazy himself. He’s so English, sometimes.”
            Roy chuckled, and then whimpered as the motion must have made his head spin.
            My head began to ache too when the sound of heels click-clacking in the hall outside grew louder as they headed towards us. I really just hoped to god that it wasn’t Inna checking on our progress.
            After all it was around morning tea time and we had accomplished a grand total of nothing. Nada. Zilch.
            The problem with lab work was that there was so little and so much of it.
            And after the crazy night that we’d had, I was leaning towards the ‘too much’ end of that scale.
            Roy, who had now begun to sweat a little despite the ice pack he held against his face, looked about as bad as I felt. He’d also consumed gods knew how many glasses of champagne before Eric and I had even made it to the strip joint last night, and I was the one who had a sketchy memory of the whole thing.
            The mummy thing, though, that I remembered.
            How I ended up half-naked in Eric’s bed – not so much.
            The clicking of heels finally stopped only to give way to the sound of the heavy lab door creaking open, and Gloria stuck her head around the door.
            Roy lifted the compress from his head to see who’d come in, then dropped it back with a moan of “oh hell”.
            “Working hard, I see, compadres?”
            I just stared at her in mock-offense while Roy flipped her the bird. In response she laughed a light, musical laugh.
            “Oh my dears, you simply kill me. Red, can I speak to you, por favor? I have some wonderful news!”
            I had a sudden dim recollection from the night before, but couldn’t remember it all. “Er, sure. Buy me a coffee? I think my head needs the caffeine.”
            “What about me? My swollen head needs the caffeine, too!”
            Gloria sent him a long-suffering look. “Red and I need a girl chat. I trust you can cope a little longer?”    
            I shrugged at him in sympathy, glad to be headed to coffee myself. “You can go when we get back, Roy.”
            He sighed in acceptance and tapped his lip thoughtfully. “Oh, okay, loves. Bring me back a strong macchiato, at least.” Beat. “Pretty please?”
            “Cyanide, no sugar?”
            “Funny, Glory, every time. Just don’t you forget how I held your hair back after the Nile Party!”
            “And tried to feel me up,” She snorted, then raised a hand to silence the onslaught of protest before Roy could even start. “Alright, alright, I’ll bring you a latte. Sangre de Dios.” Gloria shook her head in exasperation then turned back to me and smiled. “Shall we? There’s a Starbucks not too far from here, and I know how you love them!”
            “Oh, Glory,” I murmured with a faint smile. “Key to my heart!”