Good thing I had several 3,000+ word days earlier in the first week of NaNoWriMo because today took me hours to eke out 1,747 words. Lack of sleep last night, a long day today, and I wasn’t terribly productive, at least for my own standard.
The good news is I made it to 21,531 total words, almost halfway!
A brief excerpt tonight, with the tension ramping up:
“And all I could think about while I sat there in Paris wondering where you were was what your ex said to me, and even though you think you’ve explained that to your satisfaction, she certainly didn’t portray it that way,” Mai said.
“I told her before she left that she was welcome to make me the bad guy. I guess she did,” he said. “Normally, when I’m coming through Heathrow, I keep a better eye out for her.” He gave her a very Alexei-like smile. “I suppose I was distracted,” he said.
“Please,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“Mai, you have to tell me. Are you sleeping with this Brent fellow?” he asked.
Mai disengaged her hand from his and sighed. “No, I’m not.”
“But that was going to change tonight, wasn’t it?”
“He thought so, but no,” she said.
He studied her face, frowning slightly. “Were you playing him?”
“Bukharin, you are not read in on my work,” Mai said.
An alarm sounded on his monitor, and Mai studied it. His temperature was 102.9.
“I can’t see the monitor,” he said. “What is it?”
Mai laid her palm on his forehead. “You’re burning up,” she said.
A doctor and a nurse came in, the doctor freeing a stethoscope from his lab coat’s pocket. “Let’s have a listen to your chest and check for a little pneumonia,” he said.
The doctor flipped back the covers from Alexei’s chest. The nurses had stripped him down to only his briefs, and now Mai could see the extent of the bruising on his right side. The boot-print plus numerous fist-sized bruises covered half his chest. Mai gripped the bed rail and couldn’t take her eyes off the bruises. She felt the brush of Alexei’s hand against hers, and she shifted one hand to squeeze his. She looked up into his eyes, and she almost gasped.
For the first time since she’d known him, she saw emotion there. Alexei Bukharin was scared to death.