NaNoWriMo Day 19: 24k

I have returned from my vanishing act and have managed to fall behind on NaNo in my absence, mostly because I got lazy and didn’t bother writing anything. But now I’m back! *throws confetti* Anyway, I’ve still got time to catch up if I pull out plenty of high wordage days. *hyperventilates*

Before I lose my brain, I’m going to post an excerpt from day five, just before I stopped keeping track of the days I wrote things on.

They sat quietly for a while, Darian alternating between stifling yawns and managing caffeine shakes, Valora frowning out the windshield and muttering words under her breath. Darian figured she’d tell him what was on her mind without prompting if she wanted to share. The road kept on rolling beneath the white hood of the car. Finally, Valora looked at Darian for a second. Long enough to let him know she was about to speak, but short enough that she didn’t veer off the road and kill the both of them.

“I wanted to ask you something,” Valora said slowly. “Are you… all right?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean your insomnia isn’t exactly a secret, for starters.” Valora tapped her fingernails against the steering wheel. “And having the room right next to yours makes me rather… privy to things.”

“What things? Do I sleep talk or something?” Darian’s insides squirmed independently of his issues with cars.

“Sometimes,” Valora replied. “But that wasn’t really what I was talking about. You sounded like somebody was killing you last night.”

“Right. That.” Darian self-consciously tugged his left sleeve down to better cover the area he had almost cut the night before. “Shit, did I wake you up?”

Valora shrugged. “Doesn’t really matter.”

“It does to me.” Darian glared out the side window. There was a faded red car sitting on the side of the road, missing its wheels.

“You don’t have to be ashamed of having nightmares, you know,” Valora said gently. It was the first time Darian had ever heard her soften the sharp edges in her voice, and it put him a little on edge.

“You sound like you’re saying that from experience.”

“I am. I get them too.” Valora’s frown deepened. “I know you’ve been through a lot, and I was kind of stupid to hope I’d get you out of there with your head in one piece.”

“My head was fucked up long before we met, believe me.” Neither he nor Valora had made eye contact since she’d glanced in his direction immediately before broaching the subject. They were playing eye tag; whenever one looked, the other looked away.

“Well, between the rest of us, I think you fit right in,” Valora managed a grim smile. “Maybe when we know each other better, you’ll feel comfortable coming to me when you need someone to talk to. Don’t forget I’m here whenever you decide you’re ready for that.”

“You too… I guess.” The commitment sounded like something more than a promise to listen to each other’s trouble. It felt like some kind of bond, something a bit presumptuous for Darian’s current state of mind, but maybe their relationship would grow into it over time. Darian, for all his irritation with her, liked Valora a lot. Maybe even more than he’d first anticipated.

It’s kind of rough and I don’t like some of the repetitive bits, but it’s better than nothing, I guess.

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