A mad dash back from Richmond so I could get to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waynesboro for Sunday service and lunch afterwards. I missed my local region’s write-in at JMU’s Rose Library, which has a Starbucks in it! But I spent the afternoon and early evening writing. In between watching the NASCAR race, of course.
Today’s word count: 2,606, and an eight-day total of 24,137. So close to 25,000, but I didn’t have 863 more words in me.
So, I’ve upped the angst and the tension. Today, I upped the sappiness:
“How long have I been out?” he asked.
“About twelve hours,” she said. “You have to have an operation. Your ribs are pretty bad.”
“You’ll stay?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said, then added, “Jinksy’s orders.” She saw his eyes shift to disappointment. Well, damn. Nelson had said he could get morose. “By the way,” she said, leaning closer. She pressed her lips against his and said, “That’s from Nelson.”
“I’d prefer it was from you,” he said.
“This one’s from me.”
She kissed him again, let her lips linger. His moved beneath hers, parting slightly. The roughness of his beard reminded her of the first morning they’d woken together, and finally it was a pleasant memory here.
Mai broke off the kiss. “They’ll be in soon to get you ready for the surgery,” she said.
“Tell me something before they do,” he said.
Mai frowned and said, “What?”
“That you believe I called and left a message with O’Saidh.”
“I’m almost there.”
“How far is almost?”
“More than half. I need to close the loop with O’Saidh, but here’s the thing. Why didn’t you call the broker in Paris and cancel the reservation?”
“Because I barely had the time to call you before I had to leave. I’d pre-paid, and since I thought you weren’t going to show up, she would never have known we weren’t there.”
“I still had the key.”
“She probably would have contacted me at some point about that,” he said.
“I have friends who are women, whom I haven’t slept with. Look, you’ll have to update Nelson on my condition. Ask him.”
“He’s the reason I almost believe you. Look, Alexei, they’ll be in soon. Let’s get this over with, and when you’re better, we’ll talk some more. All right?”
“All right. What did you do with my overnight bag?”
Of all the things. “It was at my house, but I brought it here this morning. Why?”
“There’s something in it for you. A small package wrapped in green paper. Open it while I’m being cut up,” he said.
“I’ll wait until you’re awake,” she replied.
“No, please. I want you to have it. In case…” He broke off and gave a one-shoulder shrug.
“Look here, mister, there is no ‘in case.’ You’re going to be fine,” she said, feeling the sting of tears again.
His eyelids drooped, but he managed a smile. “Lady Fisher has declared it so,” he murmured.
“If necessary,” she said. She started to put the oxygen mask back over his nose and mouth.
“One more kiss,” he said.
“You’re incorrigible,” she replied.
She kissed him and put the oxygen mask back in place.