Word dump Wednesdays are all that keeping my NaNo afloat at this point.
Don’t get me wrong, It’s going well. I’m half-way there, only have three more scenes I must write, and plenty of time to do it in. I can do this, I will do this, and then, I can finally string it all together and see how it looks as one long story instead of bits and pieces. Should be fun 🙂
Rain wheeled her bike out onto the street and started peddling absently. She didn’t know where she was going, but she knew she didn’t want to head for the bridge, so she rode in the general direction of the Early Bird. Maybe she’d get a better idea of what she wanted to do from there.
Frost padded a long beside her, long stride making it easy for him to keep up. When he didn’t melt into nothingness as he had before, Rain started watching the people they passed more closely. No one so much as blinked when they passed, which got more and more odd as they kept moving. As they paused at a light, Rain studied the man next to her, who stared unerringly forward.
“It’s like they don’t even see me…”
She didn’t know why she’d said that aloud, but when even that got no response, Rain became officially unnerved.
“What the hell? Is this all you Frost?”
She turned to shoot him a confused look, but the light changed, so she pedaled across and kept moving and the wheels in her head kept turning.
She hadn’t been invisible to Rabe and Rinna on the walk home, though Frost had laid lower then too. So why was he out now? And was that the reason everyone’s gaze kept sliding over her?
“If you’re doing this, stop it.” She hissed the words between her teeth, her discomfort making her angrier than she’d meant to sound. “It’s just seriously freaking me out.”
She didn’t know if Frost had feelings to hurt, but she didn’t want to offend him. She just also didn’t want to feel like the world was going by without her. When they pulled up on the Early Bird, she decided to go in and unwind for a minute. She didn’t like riding this distracted, it was a good way to get hit by a car.
When she stepped in the doorway, the man who’d walked in before her jump. Rain shot a dirty glare out the window to Frost, who had curled up to nap outside again. That wolf was seriously weird. But she was sure now, he’d been hiding her. Damnit. How did you explain to a magical wolf the importance of visibility while riding down a busy street? She’d try talking to him directly, once she decided to head home. For now, tea sounded lovely, and Asha’s smiling face was a welcome sight.
“Rain! Heya girlie!”
Nanae coughed, a not so subtle reminder to Asha to stay focused. She’d ignored the customer actually ordering in favor of greeting Rain, and apologized all over herself to the man when she’d realized she’d done it. Rain grinned, but tried not to make too big a deal out of it. It had been nice though, being greeted so warmly.
Nanae stepped in when Rain approached the counter. “Go make her tea, little one. I can see you’re dying to sit and chat.” She tried to purse her lips and be stern, but that lasted all of two seconds. She laughed and waved the two younger girls towards the stools at the counter. “Go! Go on you with you! Some of us have work to do.” Nanae couldn’t keep the laughter out of her voice.
Asha rushed over to the steamers, setting a bag to steep without even asking Rain what she wanted. Rain didn’t mind – if their apples were that good, she trusted the fey’s judgment. Besides, everything she’d had here had always been lovely. As soon as the drink was done, Asha practically laid on the counter as she leaned in to talk with Rain.
“So? Who is he?”
“Who is who?” Rain asked, blinking. Wisely, she scooted her tea off to the side to protect it from Asha’s excited gestures. She kept her tone under control, but that was about it.
“That gorgeous man waiting outside for you, of course! Why didn’t you bring him in?”
Rain spun around in her seat, scanning all the windows. All she saw was a big furry white back. She turned back to Asha, giving her a look. “You don’t mean… Frost?”
“Ooooh, is that his name? It suits him.” Asha wasn’t shy about checking the man over, which just disturbed Rain more. “You must be seeing something I’m not- all I brought with me was an overgrown guard dog.”
Asha flung herself backward, eyes wide in shock. “No! That’s your new guardian?”
Nanae hissed through her teeth, frowning at the girls to keep quiet. Asha ducked and leaned back on the counter. “Seriously though- that’s who you met in the garden yesterday?”
Rain started to ask, “How do you know about that?” but then Meliki appeared from the back store rooms.
“If you two are going to make sure a fuss, I’d rather you not do it out here,” she said softly, but with an iron sternness that made even Rain shrink back.
“No, Kuloa, I will finish my shift. I’m sorry, ma’am.”
Asha moved away, starting on the drinks Nanae had queued up. There weren’t that many, but Meliki stepped over to help anyways. She spoke in hushed tones to Asha, who looked ready to curl up and die on the spot. Rain quietly sipped her tea, doing her best not to look at either the fey or the big wolf outside. That left her with pretty much just people watching, so she pulled a notebook out of her backpack and began scribbling down things she noticed out of habit.
She very deliberately ignored the voice in her head that reminded her those details may or may not be true.
The man who’d preceded her in was reading a newspaper- and drinking tea made with catnip. Oook then. A couple of women were knitting in the corner, chatting about how wool was better for baby things, because it was highly resistant to fire. Rain turned away mental before following that train of thought. She didn’t want to know what babies needed to be fireproof. Another girl was curled up in an armchair, alternating between texting and staring aimlessly out the window. Her eyes flicked to Rain, flashing opening hostility for just the briefest of moments, and then she was back to looking out the window. Rain wondered what she’d done to merit the scathing “fuck you” look, but let it go. Asha was coming back over anyways.
“Hey, sorry if I caused you any trouble,” Rain said first.
“No, no girlie, you’re fine – I just need to learn to reel it in a bit. I get kinda loopy this late in the day.” Her point was underscored by a mighty yawn. “Heh. I’m still such a lightweight when it comes to sunshine.”
Rain quirked an eyebrow, but Asha shook her head. “Nope, no more secrets today. I’ve run my mouth enough as it is.”
Rain nodded, tucking her notebook away. “It’s no problem. I seem to be hitting all the nerves today.”
It was Asha’s turn to give Rain a questioning look. Rain sighed and stared into her teacup. “Just said something stupid to Zig earlier. He was cool about it, but you know how bouncy he usually is – Zig being cool isn’t right.”
Asha laughed and nodded vigorously. “Truth, girlie.” She reached out and patted Rain’s arm. “I wouldn’t worry about him too much though- boys like him tend to bounce back easy. Serious thought might mess up his hair.”
Rain snrked and tried to cover it up with a sip of tea, but Asha’s eyes stayed bright, and in the end Rain gave in and laughed. “Alright, alright- you win. No more moping.” She finished her tea then leaned back and stretched her arms over head. “At least not here. I’ll have to go home for a proper mope.”
Asha stuck her lower lip out in a mock pout. “Leaving me already? Just gonna take the tea and run?”
Rain wrinkled her nose and smiled. “Sorry, I do have homework. But I’ll come by again this weekend, ok?”
Asha nodded and scooped up Rain’s cup. “Have fun – and bring me some stories about you know who!” Her eyes flicked out the window again and Rain shook her head. “Will do, weirdo.”
As she was unlocking her bike, she muttered under her breath to Frost. “Alright you – I dunno what the deal is, but I can’t go all invisible woman this time, ok? You can’t protect me from motorists that can’t see me.”
Frost’s only response was to stretch lazily, so Rain climbed on her bike and headed toward home.
JJ swore as the girl vanished from view once she left the ally beside the shop. She was there one minute and then poof, gone. He knew she had to be there, but for the life of him he could see where she’d gone. He texted Al, who told him to head for the coffee shop.
Alonso had hated bringing someone else in. But it’d been a week, and there was still guarded like Fort Knox. Between school and spending every second with her mother, there was simply no time. So he’d gone under the table, contracting one of the young kids that ran errands for the gang.
“Just get her alone,” he’d told Nicky. “We’ll do the rest. You just hang out at the coffee shop after school, and if she shows up, let us know and keep her there and we’ll do the rest.”
She’d given him lip, but he’d pulled rank on her and threatened to bleed her if she didn’t shut up and do as she was told. It was a gamble, if she went to LBB directly things might get messy, but in the end she’d given him attitude but went along with it, as long as it didn’t interfere with her other jobs.
And then of course on the very day he’d put Nicky in place, their target had finally gotten careless. Figures.