photo by Self
I missed my post again yesterday. Actually, that’s not true. I wrote it and wrote it and kept trashing what I wrote. The snippet wasn’t the problem. I was in an excellent fiction mood. Escape from reality was easy to come by, and emotionally necessary.
I’m in a touch of a funk. Not so much destructive as “odd”… The mind wobbles, so to speak.
But it’s getting late today and I still haven’t done my update for the ROW80 or found a suitable opening topic for the Tuesday Snippet that I want to write and post about. So today I’m combining the two “features” into one, the ROW80 check-in and the (normally Tuesday) Snippet of the Unnamed Story.
And as a little bit of shameless plugging, please check out the Garden of Delights on Monday May 21st for an incredible guest post by the very creative Barbara Chepaitis.
One might think that shortening goals would help a person find more time to get things done. Or that significantly reducing time on social media would add back all sorts of extra free time to one’s schedule.
I thought so too.
Instead, the laundry has piled up; the dishes have overflowed the sink twice today… and you do not want to see my livingroom rug at the moment. NO one wants to see my livingroom rug.♦
On my writing goals things seem to be falling into something of a patter, barring my “forgetting” to work on my blogs. The resistance in this area is monumental. It’s taken me most of the day to write this. However, I managed to almost finish the drafts for two short stories today, plus find a new plot point for CTSS.
In the worlds of fiction, it feels like the world is filling me up to overflowing. Even on days I have not been as creative as I could be, I am feeling incredibly energized. And though I have noticed that my output for “StoryADay” is not actually flowing as a single story every day of the month, I am finding myself ebbing and flowing from a day of dearth to abundance soon after when I am easily making up my slights.
I’m on track, and almost a story ahead…. I also am dreading the massive typing in that I will need to do.
As for the rest… Check-in comments are mostly on track. I have not done any yet today, but that will change tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing what my fellow ROWers have done with themselves. I’m almost always intrigued by posts I see. Why don’t you try visiting a few yourself here.
(♦ the real state of our house has been due to celebration: the Boodle is not the neatest opener of presents, and many the presents are those that contain a multitude of pieces. And the sink full of dishes in due to increased cooking sans microwave as the door handle broke on ours this weekend. The hubby is fixing it. All Hail, Gorilla Glue!)
Unnamed Story Snippet
When we last left the Unnamed Story, Valistii and ‘Mara were discussing politics over breakfast and Atyr had just told Val about their son that Val never knew about:
She heard the croaked “Atyr” even through the haze of her fury. That in itself was enough to make her pause, since even she would have admitted that she was too focused on her own misery to notice others when she got angry like this.
She whirled. He was sipping the water, one hand held up in a ‘wait’ gesture. She snarled to herself about his impertinence and turned back to the door.
“Atyr.” This time his voice was a touch stronger, although the word was spluttered in his water. “Please, Atyr. Stop. I’m sorry.”
That did make her stop.
He was sorry? He’d never been sorry for anything in his life. Certainly not that he’d ever admitted in her experience.
Sorry? Did he even know what the word meant?
It took her a few moments to turn this time. He decided that was a good thing. She did eventually face him.
Her expression bespoke shock and disbelief.
“Sorry.” Said that way she echoed disbelief with bland indifference discomfitingly. Again she said it. “Sorry. Do you even know what that means, Valichii Miniira?” She crossed her arms in front of her completing the image of disapproving lecturer.
He considered the question more for where it came from. Hell, yes, he thought. I’ve grown to know the meaning of that word better than I know my own flesh and blood. Better than you can ever imagine, woman.
He said nothing so inflammatory and just nodded. “Yes.”
She paused in her reply before lowering her arms slowly to her sides. “I doubt it.” She started turning to leave again.
Something in her tone inspired him to speak faster this time. A softer note… He grabbed at that, clutched at it, hoping he wasn’t reading her wrong this time like all the others. He hoped it really was her asking him to keep trying and not the cursory dismissal it appeared to be.
He quickly gulped down another swig of water. He barely swallowed it before he spoke again. “Maybe I’ve never been brave enough to admit it before?” Or smart enough, he mused. That seemed obvious enough to not need being stated aloud.
She didn’t keep walking away. She didn’t turn back to face him. He couldn’t be sure, but it looked like she started playing with her fingernails.
The moments passed in silence. He sipped some more water, wondering if he should go over to her but uncertain of whether it would hurt or help. Eventually he decided it didn’t matter. He wanted to go over, wanted to be next to her.
Getting out of bed proved easier than he’d expected as did walking along the edge of the bed. He tottered a bit as he left it. His cane was on the other side by his desk. He held himself upright though and slowly stepped toward his company.
“Atyr?” He tentatively reached out a hand to touch her hair when he was close enough to her.
She felt the uncertain touch of his hand as clearly as the hesitant overtone of his voice. She didn’t know what to think.
About this. About any of it.
She knew well enough to tell he wasn’t lying. Not because she’d checked his honesty. She’d stopped reading his thoughts and the meaning behind his words and actions long before they’d even become lovers.
Reading him had never helped anyway. She barely understood the reasons she did things. What had ever made her think she could understand someone else better?
She just wasn’t used to this, him being the strong one, ‘Listii being closed and insecure. She couldn’t help herself from smiling faintly. Maybe this situation, him finally having to face himself and his past actions was making him into the man she’d always hoped he would be instead of the man she loved but couldn’t live with.
She sighed and looked up at the ceiling. Why did the Havens always do these things to her? She’d always been faithful to the Bright Star, had always served Her to the best of her ability. Why did she deserve to have her faith tested so?
To finally see the changes she’d hoped for for so long was a trial greater than she’d imagined. Especially considering how close she was to losing him forever.
His tentative touch grew bolder at her change in posture. Bone-sharp fingertips brushed her cheek and jaw as they drew her hair back a touch. Then he touched her face with the back of his hand. She didn’t know if he really was quivering or if his weakness had taxed him to far.
It didn’t matter.
His murmur of “Little Mouse?”, so soft, so concerned, was beautiful. She wanted to hear it forever.
She couldn’t stop herself. She turned and buried her head into his shoulder. Then she couldn’t restrain herself at all.
Thank the Goddess that his reactions still were strong and that his instincts were good. He’d steeled his wavering legs only seconds before she collapsed against him. His arms went around her shoulders. His nose nuzzled into her hair only just before the tears started.
And he’d begun murmuring soft “don’t cry”s and “hush”es barely before she began sobbing in earnest.
“Oh, Val….” The rest was lost on a wail that he would have sworn was more joy than distress.
He hesitated only a moment then forced the natural barriers of his soul down as far as his strength allowed to be inundated with…
…inundated with joy, happy confusion, love.
He caught his breath, allowing the barriers to fall back in place, stunned for a moment. Then he understood the sad irony of the situation. So simple a statement…. He’d thought for so long it was too silly to speak aloud. They both knew the truth, or so he’d assumed. All she’d ever needed to do was look, and his soul was laid bare before her talents.
Lingering memories, whispers of caution…. His father’s gentle scold so long ago when Atyr and he’d had their first fight. “Don’t put faith in powers beyond your reach, Val. You love her, you tell her. You want her, you tell her that too. Don’t assume she’ll know.”
Likewise his brother’s caution about her fears came back, gentle urges from his mother, Vissellii’s lighthearted teases of how inept he was at dealing with women. Alanii’s urging to simply speak his heart before he lost it or broke it forever….
And for so simple a thing.
This time the tears of hurt, rage, betrayal even, were his. For so simple a thing he’d almost lost her forever, had nearly thrown her away.
No wonder the Goddess had refused him peace.
A twinge of gratitude broke through his self-recrimination and anguish. He’d learned that much finally, and it wasn’t too late. She was here, now, and there was time to start mending the past. Even if he died tomorrow, the biggest hurt was mended, the festering wound that it had hidden was being washed clean. Washed clean by tears he cried into her hair as her own soaked his shoulder.
That’s it. I really have to wonder… Does Atyr actually love Val? Does he love her? Or are they just going through the motions because the crisis?