I flip on the light in my writing office.
Once my heart finds its way back into my chest and my pulse recovers, I glare at my Muse, who is standing just inside the doorway. “What the hell? You scared the shit outta me.”
He just stands there, arms crossed on his broad chest, inches in front of me. And he’s wearing that burgundy henley that fits him so well, sleeves shoved up to his elbows. I can smell apple cider and autumn leaves, along with a hint of campfire–not the smokey kind, the hot flames and weenie-roasting kind.
“Are you quite finished, love?”
“Um, could you, er, slide over a bit so I can get in here?”
He looms over me. “I thought you said you were going to finish your WIP before you started NaNo.”
“Ahh, yeah. Hey, I’m still working on it. Every night. I’m counting the words since last night toward my NaNo total.”
He doesn’t sound too convinced. And I’m burning writing time here. “You gonna move or what? I’ve got words to write.”
He pivots just enough to let me squeeze past him. “I will say you are giving it a good go, love.”
I settle behind my desk and fire up my laptop. “So what’s with the whole stoic muse thing you got going? I’m working, aren’t I?”
He paces to the front of my desk and plants his hands on the top before he leans over. “I want to see words. Two thousand a day. ”
“I know, I know. I’ve been doing NaNo for years, even outside of November,” I tell him, exasperation in my voice. I don’t need this sort of distraction. “So, how about some inspiration to go along with your hard-ass.” I fail to quash a fleeting thought of his nice…
“Hey.” He snaps his fingers and points to the computer. “Eyes on the screen, love. And I won’t be the only one keeping tabs on you during NaNo.”
Uh-oh. “Oh? Sooo, like, what? My book dragon? I’m sending her with Betsy to that writing conference she signed up for. And I’m pretty sure my Night Fury is on holiday all month. I think she’s avoiding me. This whole election thing–okay, the whole ‘my husband is a news junkie’ thing–isn’t doing my anxiety any good. Gawd, I can’t wait until those political ads are over.”
“No.” He waves a hand with a magician’s flourish to settle a foot above my desk, palm up. A sparkly cloud coalesces into a vertical disk before a whisper of wings reaches my ear.
“Ooooh, you got me a fire lizard?” I almost jump to my feet. I’ve wanted one of my own ever since I read Anne McCaffery’s Pern novels back in seventh grade.
My Muse deflates my excitement with a laser glare that I’m afraid might short out my computer. “No. Meet Grumpy.”
The dragon jumps off my Muse’s hand and settles beside my computer.
“O-kay. What happened to his wings?”
Grumpy snorts. “Who needs wings?” he says, his voice low and gravelly, like Sam Elliot meets Boris Karloff as the Grinch.
“But I heard…”
He snorts again, this time with a wisp of pale green smoke. “How the hell else am I supposed to get here? I got ’em. They’re camoflauged. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it. You’re supposed to be writing.”
I look up at my Muse. His smug expression makes me wonder if this is payback. “Seriously? I’m not writing fantasy.”
“Genre doesn’t matter, love. He’s almost as qualified as I am.”
Grumpy peers at him. “Don’t go there, pretty boy.”
My Muse stares back. “Don’t forget who has the capital ‘M’.”
“I earned it. When you’ve spent as much time with her as I have …”
Grumpy brushes him off with a wave. “Go on. I got this. Say ‘hi’ to E for me, and tell him I want a rematch. He ain’t that good at darts.”
“Wait. You stick me with Scaly here, and you’re going on a pub crawl with Mr. E?”
“That’s Grumpy, kiddo, and next time I won’t lose that last hand to some Aussie.”
Before I could process that, my Muse bends toward me and plants a quick kiss on my forehead. “Behave. Both of you.” He exits out the back door before the shock wears off.
What just happened?
Grumpy snaps his fingers. “Hey, focus.”
“Dude, I’ve got over eight hundred words in.”
“On your WIP? Get your mind with the program here.”
Um, well, no. But a blog post counts, right? I’m counting it. Twelve hundred words to go.
He is kinda cute, though. In a grumpy sort of way.
“Hey, less yakking, more writing.”
This weekend’s weather is looking like a prelude to winter, with rain and snow. Ugh. Better for writing, though.
Grumpy taps his foot. “I’m waiting.”
Fine. NaNo onward!