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05 November 2013

NaNoWriMo: Day 5

Only 980 words today on my NaNoWriMo book, When Stones Sing.

But I also got (most of) my homework done, went to class, took my son to his soccer game (they whooped that other team's butt for serious - I kinda felt bad for the other kids, but not so bad that I wasn't totally cheering when my son made a goal), and got my errands done.

And, today was kinda a bad day with the depression. So all in all, this was an extremely productive day, considering how difficult it was to do anything at all.

Excerpt? Why yes of course:

Everyone’s settled but me, she thought, as the clock on her bookcase ticked toward midnight. The girls were sleeping near the warming stove. Trip was sleeping, curled in a tight little ball of cat on the seat of her chair at the kitchen table.
Jacq couldn’t settle.
She put her coat back on. The girls and Trip lifted their eyes, but made no move to follow. Boo’s tail thumped the floor a couple times, but when Jacq closed the door behind her, Boo went back to sleep.

Jacq’s feet took her up the hill and through a maze of paths and houses, over the crest between the canyons, and down the other side into the back end of Brewery Gulch. She came out onto the main road right between two gentlemen’s clubs. The crowds on the Gulch were raucous. She pushed through the foul-smelling men with her head low. Three doors farther down the canyon and across the street, Jacq shoved her way between two beefy revelers and into Madame Holly’s House.
Jacq recognized the girl on the stage at the back of the room, but she scanned the crowd for Sasha just the same. Some of the regulars were there, as were just as many that Jacq didn’t recognize. Vince was there, though his dark skin, dark clothes, and the lack of light where he stood made him hard to see. His huge frame took up the entire back corner, making it easy for him to be sure none of the customers tried to jump up on the stage with the girl, Lacy, harass the fiddler, or make their way into the dressing room through the door behind him. Jacq caught his eye and he smiled, briefly. There seemed to be no evidence of Sasha, however. Jacq found a likely spot at the bar and leaned into it. The two tenders were flurrying about at the far end. One, an almost androgynous brunette woman in a slim red dress, caught a glimpse of Jacq and held a finger up. Jacq waved back and pulled up an errant stool. The woman held three steins by the handles in one hand, and pulled the tap with the other hand. Then she turned and slid the brimming steins across the bar to a miner shaking a fist of dollars at her. She grabbed his money and another empty stein to fill. Jacq looked away as the fiddler – Joseph, she noticed – halted his song to announce a new dancer to the stage. It still wasn’t Sasha.
The brunette bartender caught Jacq’s attention with a well-placed stein of beer.
“Jacq, she’s here, but she’s busy right now.”
“Busy?” Jacq stared dumbly. Of course she was busy, she was so beautiful.
“Not like that. It’s not her night for that. You know that. She’s jus’ not dancin’ right now ‘cause somethin’s come up. You can go ask her yourself.”
“Oh. Ok. I will. Thanks Tanya.”
The bartender waved Jacq off.
Jacq collected her stein and eased off the bar. She slid her way through the crowd until she was even with Vince. He nodded at her, giving her a warm smile. Was it so long ago, she wondered, that his smile – so surprising on his rough square face – would have melted her knees? She smiled back, and pushed through the door to dressing room.
The dressing room was empty but for Sasha, who was sitting at her vanity and twirling a pencil between her fingers. A letter lay half-finished in front of her. Sasha glanced up as Jacq closed the door behind her, then looked back to her waiting page. Jacq didn’t say anything, just looked at the woman before her. Sasha had satiny bronze skin and a ballerina’s graceful limbs. Her wavy black hair, thick as a ship’s ropes when she grew it out, was cut short and clung wetly to her face. Jacq wondered again what such a beauty was doing in Bisbee, or even in Arizona.
Sasha sighed, put down the pencil, and turned toward her audience.
“Jacqueline.” She leveled her jade eyes at Jacq expectantly, but Jacq could only stand there dumbly as the moisture evaporated from her mouth at an alarming rate.
“Oh Jacq,” Sasha’s soft alto chided, “what are you doing here?”
“Come to see you,” Jacq croaked.
Sasha stood and stepped in close. She reached her hand up and touched her fingertips to Jacq’s dirty cheek.
“Sweetheart,” Sasha smiled, “you could have at least bathed.”
Jacq flushed. “Wouldn’t have mattered,” she mumbled. She could be fresh out of the tub and she would still feel like a scruffy pup next to Sasha.
“Were you out chasing bats again?”
“Not chasing – “ Jacq caught herself. “It keeps me occupied.”
Sasha’s smile dimmed. “I know it does honey.” She found Jacq’s eyes with her own. “So what can I do for you?”
Nothing. Everything. “I don’t know. Jacq paused. “Hoping to see you dance, I guess.” Jacq’s face heated. Why had she said that? “Hey, Tanya said something had come up – are you ok?”
Sasha swore and stepped back toward her vanity. “Damn busybody,” she fussed. “Yes, something has come up. Have you been to the Temple in the past few days?”
“No.”
“Well, Frank found a child. It was a few nights ago, when it was so windy. You remember? She was holed up in the entrance to the old cathedral. He brought her back to the Temple, thinking to keep her from going to Hel’s Table so early, and she survived the night, and now he’s thinking she needs somewhere to live.”
Jacq took a moment to process that. “So, what, is he suggesting you take the kid?”
Sasha’s eyes seemed suddenly cold. “And why not, Jacq?”
Jacq flinched. “No reason. I mean – I just didn’t know if that’s what had come up or there was something else. I mean, I don’t understand why that’s the reason you’re not dancing tonight. Not that you have to, or that you can’t –”
“Jacq,” Sasha held up her hand, “stop. It’s fine. I’m sorry. I haven’t explained everything yet. I did dance tonight, but earlier. You missed it, that’s all.” She smiled. “I got a message from Frank not even an hour ago, asking me to come help him with the child. He’s not exactly prepared to deal with a little girl.”
“How old is she?” Jacq asked.
Sasha shrugged. “Maybe four, he guessed. Said the girl hasn’t said a word to him. He’s hoping she’ll talk to me. Maybe she has parents and just got lost. I was just writing a note to send back.”
Jacq shifted uncomfortably. “Do you – do you need a ride? To the Temple? I could take you.”
Sasha smiled distantly. “Yes, that would be good.” Her face brightened then, and her voice strengthened. “But not tonight. I’ll need to get my things together and talk to Holly. I think I’ll need to stay at the Temple for a few days, at least. Will you stay, too?”
Jacq grimaced. “Maybe.”
“I saw that, Jacqueline Avery.” Sasha’s voice was soft again, happy and teasing. “Surely your menagerie can survive your absence for a few days?”
“Might be I could get someone to take care of them for me.” Jacq frowned.
“Ask Vince. He’d be happy to stay at your place for a few days. His roommate’s got a new lover. They’re drivin’ poor Vince up a wall.”

Jacq let out a soft chuckle. She could just picture the huge man scrambling up a wall like a sun spider was after him. Maybe she’d ask him after all. 

1 comment:

  1. This is real progress and it's good to see such an effort put towards it. Keep up your chin an dkeep hammering at those keys. Well done!

    ReplyDelete