It is November 23rd! Day 23 of NaNoWriMo. Just over a week left for writers across the globe to reach their goal of writing 50,000 words of a novel.
To be on target, writers should have 38333 words by the end of the day today. Currently, I have 42,371 words. I hope to pass 45,000 today.
I’ll have a lot of words next week about the overall process, but for today I give you an excerpt from Kassandra.
It would be so easy to give in to him. She imagined wrapping her arm around his neck, pulling him close and kissing him. That’s all she would have to do. He would direct everything from there, she was sure. She wouldn’t have to make any more decisions other than the decision to take the first step down that path.
But what about after? Would he disappear? Would he follow her home? Leave, but then randomly reappear whenever he decided that she hadn’t paid enough for the gift, demanding more? Kass didn’t know what the fall-out would be if she did what he wanted, what she was tempted to do. Kass didn’t know him.
She opened her eyes. “No.”
He took a single step toward her. “No?”
“Are you sure about that, Kassandra? I really do think it is a reasonable request.” Apollo moved closer, close enough to twine the single stray curl around his finger, close enough that every hair on her body stood up, drawn to him. “Your body tells me you want to, that you are tempted.” Kass nodded again, unable to squeeze out any words.
Apollo took a step back, withdrawing his warmth. She suddenly felt empty, cold. He saw the change in her face. “Hmm, change your mind?”
“No. I won’t change my mind. I don’t know you. I certainly don’t love you.”
“That’s not a requirement, you know.”
“It might be for me. That’s something else I don’t know. I don’t know enough about me.”
Apollo nodded. “Last chance. You’re certain of your decision?”
Kass took a deep breath and swallowed, now concerned that there might be consequences for denying a God. She couldn’t make herself say anything at all, so she just nodded.
“All right, then. I withdraw my request for compensation.” Kass let out a huge sigh. “I do have another request, though.” Again he stepped close. So close this time that she could feel his muscular thighs brushing her slimmer ones, so close that she had to brace her hand against his bare stomach to keep her balance, to keep him at any sort of distance. Every muscle in Kass’s body was tense, waiting to hear what his new demand would be.
“One kiss,” he said.
This request was far more tempting. A single kiss. From a Greek God. It was sure to be an amazing kiss. They had already settled the issue of sex, so Kass didn’t think he would press her for more. “One kiss? That’s all?”
His eyes locked on hers, he nodded, leaning even closer. Kass was forced to move her hand. She let it slide, traveling across the ridges of his abdomen to curve around his side. She felt his muscles tense, his breath hitch, as her fingers passed. Kass smiled, enjoying the effect she had on him.
Apollo took the smile as permission. He closed the sliver of distance still separating them, letting his lips land softly on hers. As soon as their lips touched, they both stopped breathing. They stood frozen in place for a long moment, overwhelmed by the power of the connection.
He was the first to move, sliding one hand behind her head to angle her head the way he wanted it, the other around her waist to pull her tightly against him. His movements were slow, and velvet smooth, but worked to get them both breathing again. Their lips parted as they shared the same breath.
Apollo took advantage of the opening, deepening the kiss. Kass had a flicker of a thought that this kiss was a bad idea, that she should pull away, but the feel of him was too much for her to give up.
She would have continued kissing him until the end of time, but he pulled slightly away, resting his forehead against hers as he looked into her eyes. “Please remember that I gave you a choice,” he said.
“What do you mean?”
“You might not like what I’m about to tell you. I want to remind you that it was your choice.”
Kass shifted back, wanting to step away. Apollo let her go. There was no need to hold her now.
“What? What did you do?”
“Why do you think I did something?”
“You’re a God. You have powers. You can make things happen.”
“What do you think I did?”
“I don’t know.” Kass shuffled through possibilities in her mind. “You wanted compensation for the gift you gave me. Did you take it back? Did you take away my visions?” Kass didn’t know what answer she wanted. Her visions were often unpleasant, sometimes forcing her to think fast, figure out how to change what was fated to happen. But they gave her a chance. A chance to make the world a little bit better, sometimes a lot better.
Apollo shook his head. “Funny thing about gift’s from the Gods. Once we give them, they can’t be taken back, they are yours forever. There is no way for me to take the visions from you.” His lips twisted into a smile of wicked delight. “But there’s nothing that keeps me from giving you another ‘gift.’”
“You gave me another gift.”
He nodded, a chuckle escaping him. “I did.”
“What did you give me?”
“I gave you a curse with my kiss. Since I couldn’t take away your visions I added a caveat. You will see things that are fated to happen. But no one will believe your warnings or fall for your attempts to change what you see.”
Kass took a moment to think about what this meant. “I will be able to see the future, but unable to change it? I will know bad things are going to happen, and just have to watch them unfold? Like the boat, over and over.” She started to breath fast, too fast to actually get oxygen into her blood. Kass started to feel dizzy.
“You should probably sit down.” Unlike before, Apollo did not offer to help her, guide her to a seat. He stood back and watched her as she stumbled past him, sinking onto the rock. It was not enough. Her body said enough, and shut her down, sliding her into unconsciousness.
Apollo caught her falling form, lowering her to the soft moss beside the rock. “We’ll see how this plays out my dear.” He kissed her on the cheek, then was gone.