As of about quarter past one this morning, Australian Daylight Saving Time, I completed my novel of 90,635 words. This is the fastest draft I have ever written, which isn’t saying much since my first took me two years exactly, and also the shortest. In my case, that’s a good thing because I tend to write too much. NaNoWriMo has been perfect for me, pushing me to write as much as I can. While I did tire myself out mid-month, I was able to find my second wind and… well, you can see the result.
God, I’m so happy with myself right now. I’m so happy with this book. I’m so happy I have more time to set it aside and let myself gain some objectivity before I plunge into edits and I’m happy I have plenty to work on in the meantime. Whatever happens now, the pressure is off. I have now completed two first drafts in my whole life. That’s progress for a small fry like me. I have a third in the works and ideas brewing in my head for a sequel to my NaNovel. In short, there are a lot of crazy thoughts racing in my head like those dodgem cars I suck at driving.
In celebration, I’m going to post three excerpts from the novel. I’m not going to stick to limits on where these sections come from, because I don’t really have the patience for that after typing and typing and typing for many collective hours. However, you might notice I’ve stuck to a particular theme with the characters involved here. So let’s go 😀
“Shut. Up.” I so wanted to punch him right then. “I feel like my goddamn heart’s been ripped out of my chest. Do you know how much I’d love to know if my best friend in the whole world was alive, even if she, for some reason, sided with Dragan? Aren’t you relieved Sara’s alive, at least?”
“I am. But she was—”
“Your friend. I know.” Oh, God, my throat was doing that funny tight thing it did when I was about to cry. I could not do that in front of Caleb again. Once was bad enough. “I don’t even know where my friend is. I gave myself up to Dragan so this would stop. And it hasn’t.”
“I know, Gwen.” Caleb grabbed my wrists like he had at Tibia’s. “I know. I’m not like you. I don’t do stuff like give myself up to killers to save the people I love, because I’m just not brave enough. Is that what you want from me? To admit you’re braver than I am? Done.”
“That’s not what I… I don’t even know what I want.” I pulled my hands away. “I just lost it, okay? I’m sorry. I keep doing it. I even did it to Alistair yesterday.”
Caleb stood up, right in my personal space. I didn’t step away; he was not going to win the space invasion game here. He combed his fingers through my hair. I knew what he was doing; the bastard was trying to calm me down, make me all reasonable again.
“Gwen,” he whispered, turning my name into something intimate. Even in private, I felt embarrassed hearing it like that. His face came closer. I felt myself be drawn closer, as if we were opposite magnets. Our faces were an inch apart, when I backed away.
“Not now,” I said.
“Why not?” Caleb tried to step closer, but I put my hands on his chest. I tried not to think about the muscle I could feel under his shirt.
“Because you’re upset about Sara and I’m a raging howler monkey. Not. Now.”
“Does that mean you’ll say yes another time?” he asked, smirking.
“Maybe. Now get out of my room before people think we’re having sex in here.”
Both of Caleb’s arms were around me now. He was murmuring things in my ear that I couldn’t quite understand. It sort of sounded like a song. Soft. Comforting. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t understand the language. It didn’t matter I didn’t even know what language it was, or how Caleb knew it. All that mattered was the knots I’d tied inside myself were slowly unraveling.
Caleb’s fingers brushed against my cheekbone. I wasn’t angry or scared anymore. It was like magic. Of course it was. Music and magic were intertwined in this place. It was so easy to get lost in it. And this time, I wanted it.
I snuggled into Caleb’s chest, feeling the gentle vibrations as he kept singing that murmur song. For the first time since waking on that cold stone table, I felt warm again. Free.
Caleb’s skin smelled like these sandalwood. I liked it. I also liked his hand in my hair.
I pulled away slightly so I could look at him, at the tiny upward curve of his lips as his magic took hold of me. He didn’t need to sing anymore—I was calm—but he continued anyway. Well, I didn’t want to make any extra work for him…
I pounced, crushing my lips to his. His hands flew around my waist immediately. I had to get closer to him, even as I reveled, eyes closed, in the softness of his lips. I was in his lap. We pressed our bodies together as tight as we could. We weren’t human anymore; there was no need to breathe. The musical magic continued even after I had silenced him, tying us together, body, soul, mind, heart.
He was a part of me, and I a part of him. In that moment, nothing else mattered but me and him, mouth to mouth, chest to chest. We could have continued all night.
Eventually, Caleb loosened his hold on me and I pulled back. He had the biggest, goofiest grin I had even seen on a boy. I curled up in his arms and he started stroking my hair again, singing a new song. A lullaby.
I was asleep in moments.
I silenced him with a kiss. He tasted salty, like tears. He never tasted quite the same. Caleb’s arms were around me while I held on tight to his head so he wouldn’t pull away from me and finish his sentence. I was on my toes, although I didn’t really need to be. He wasn’t that much taller than I was.
Time stopped. Everything stopped. It was just me and him, locked together in an eternal moment. Maybe I loved him. I’d never felt like this before, and the absence of normal human reactions made it hard for me to gauge my own feelings. All I knew what that I didn’t want him to ever let go, that I wanted to be even closer, even though we were already crushed together like two berries squashed between someone’s hands.
Caleb repeated my name in my mouth, more sensation than sound between our tongues. He pulled his head back despite my gripping hands. His eyes were like a driftwood fire. He slowly tucked a strand of hair behind my ear.
“I will not lose you,” he murmured, all husky from both emotion and the kiss.
“You might not have to,” I replied, my voice just as weak. “You stay alive, I stay alive. Deal?”
Caleb didn’t smile. “Deal,” he said, leaning in to kiss me again. One of his hands found the hem of my shirt and darted beneath it. I was crushed against the wall again, feet slightly off the ground, supported by Caleb’s body. This felt different, somehow. His mouth was hot on mine, hungry, wanting. I was suddenly all the more aware of every place our bodies were connected. We were charged, electric, hot, and more human than ever.
Caleb nipped at my neck, shooting more electricity through me. I was so alive. My clothes felt cumbersome and too hot. Caleb nipped my bottom lip. I was losing my grip on everything. Everything but him.
“I think,” he whispered, “we should go somewhere more private.” There was no hesitation, none of his earlier embarrassment. He was as resolved as I was.
If you got to this point, obviously I haven’t scared you off with my first drafts and I applaud you for your strength. Hopefully I’ll get my brain together soon and write some blog posts that are actually useful to people.