Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Drunk At First Sight Blogfest

As mentioned, this is my entry into John Paul's Drunk At First Sight Blogfest!

This is a snippit from the later half of my '09 NaNo novel, Eternal Spring. It is science fiction cum urban fantasy, so please just bear with the unfamiliarities (and it hasn't been edited, so take it with a shaker of salt.)

WARNING: Adult content. Consider yourself warned! 


    “This roun’s on me,” Dagen slurred, weaving as he pushed up from the table. “I’ll be right back.”
    “Somebody help him,” Devon demanded, tossing back the remains of the amber liquid in his glass. “I don’t think I can stand up.”
    “For fuck’s sake,” Kinnasy muttered, then pushed her glass towards the center of the table, where it clinked against the others that were piling up. “Fine. I’ll go.”
    Not that she was in much better shape. Celebration had been in order, and that could only mean going to one place: the skeevy dive in Reno that bootlegged liquor from the Old Country. It was damn expensive, but worth every ounce. After all, they couldn’t celebrate their impending independence by drinking the humans’ ale.
    Her feet were feeling decidedly numb, but Kinnasy managed to clomp her way to Dagen, knocking into quite a few irate customers on the way, whom she skillfully ignored. She grabbed his arm, trying to steady herself—not that he was in any better shape.
    They wormed their way to the bar and leaned on its polished obsidian surface. It was a welcome cool to combat the flush she’d worked up between the drink and the overwhelming press of bodies in here. For a dive, it was all crowded to hell, and by a surprising number of humans. They didn’t get many chances to rub elbows with the duathinae.
    “Another round?” the bartender asked, already pulling out a tray and lining up five glasses on it.
    “You got it,” Dagen said. “Just put it on the tab.”
    “No problem.” The civilian duathinon reached below the counter and pulled out the inconspicuous-looking glass bottle and emptying it into the first glass. “Shit, that was the last one I have out front. Just stay here for a minute—I have to go to the back.”
    He yelled for the other bartender to cover, then disappeared. Dagen eyed the one full glass like he was already thinking about trying it. Kinnasy turned around so she could look out into the bar, propping her elbows up against the counter. She could just barely make out their table, mostly drawn by the back of Jason’s head. He looked like just about any other duathinon male, though his black locks were heavily waved, but she knew the back of his head as well as she knew the front.
    “What’s going on with you two tonight?” Dagen said in her ear. Kinnasy turned to look at him, drawing back some when his face was right up against hers.
    “What’re you talking about?” she said with a bit more force than she’d intended. Dagen tsk-ed.
    “Why do you even bother lying to me? How long have we known each other now? Twenty years?”
Kinnasy rolled her eyes and looked back out at the crowd. “Force of habit. And there’s nothing going on.”
    “Bullshit,” he scoffed. “Jason looks like he's trying to shit a brick, and you’ve been hitting the booze even harder than usual. Which is saying something,” he added wickedly. Kinnasy scowled. She’d hoped the celebration would have eased some of the tension between them, but so far all it had done was make him retreat further into his shell. Every time she smiled at a male, even one of the twins, the frown lines just deepened.
    “He’s just got his panties in a twist,” she muttered.
    “Doesn’t have anything to do with your little trip last night, does it?”
    She whipped her head around so fast that her neck popped. “What are you talking about?”
    Dagen laughed. “Kinnasy, please. You’ve got a big mouth. I heard every word you two were saying back at the base. And a few that you weren’t,” he added. She frowned. Great. It was fairly common knowledge that Jason had feelings for her, but she didn’t want everyone knowing the details of her burgeoning relationship with the godson Haakon, even if it was supposed to be strictly professional.
    “Does Devon know?”
    “Nah. He was too busy trying to sweet talk Fiona,” he said, referring to the trainee his twin was currently drooling over at their table. “Besides, his hearing isn’t as good as mine.”
    “Lucky me.”
    “Here we go!” The bartender was back, two cut-glass bottles in his hands, brimming with the potent amber liquid. Kinnasy gave Dagen a hard look, then turned back around to watch the bartender fill the rest of the glasses.
    “Why don’t you go ahead and do another round,” Kinnasy suggested. The morning would be hell, but at the rate this night was going, it would almost be a relief. The bartender hesitated, then shrugged.
    “Whatever you say.”
    They somehow managed to carry both trays back to their table without incident. Devon cheered when they plopped the alcohol down.
    “Better drink quick,” he told them. “Connoly's on her way!”
    “What!” Kinnasy protested, pulling her chair back out. Her knee accidentally brushed Jason's as she sat. “Who told her where we were?”
    “Please don't be mad!” Fiona said, cringing a bit as the force of Kinnasy's glare hit her. “She ranks above me...I couldn't not tell her!”
    “Goddammit. Fucking figures.” Kinnasy snatched one of the glasses and tossed it back, feeling the ball of nervous energy that was always inside her starting to throb. She was completely hammered, but also strangely wired, eager to get out and do something.
    A glance around the bar didn't help either. All the humans and duathinae alike were in surprising good form. No one was even yelling, let alone getting ready to throw down into a fight. Besides Jason's foul mood, she'd been having a decent time with her friends, but Connoly's impending arrival soured the deal. After their little run-in in the locker room, Kinnasy really didn't feel up to dealing with the bitch.
    “I'm getting out of here,” she announced, then drained the rest of her glass, opened up her purse and tossed a few bills on the table. “You guys have fun.”
    “See you in the morning,” Dagen said, then glanced pointedly at Jason. His expression clearly read fix this. She wanted to. She really did. But she was drunk and he was drunk, and that probably wasn't the best combination.
   Or was it?
   “You coming?” she asked Jason, then pushed back her chair and started for the door. She didn't wait to see if he was following her until she was outside.
   Music still throbbed the night, but at least the air was fresh. Kinnasy leaned against the outside of the club, fishing inside her purse for the slim metal case that kept her sane. There it was. Fingers clumsy from booze, she pulled out a thin roll and stuck it in her mouth, then tossed the case back in her purse and fumbled around for the lighter. A quick spark and she was inhaling the sweet taste of salvation.
   “You smoke too many of those.” Jason's voice purred through the velvety dark. Kinnasy blew a perfect smoke ring into the air.
   “Maybe you don't smoke enough.”
   He leaned against the wall beside her, his arm touching hers. She studied his profile, noticed that he hadn't shaved today, his jawline darkened by rough stubble. That was another unusual thing about him. Most duathinae men had a difficult time growing facial hair. Jason stayed clean-shaven most of the time, but tonight he looked as dark and introspective as she'd ever seen him.
   “You look like your brother in this light,” she remarked. Jason scoffed.
   “I'm impressed you can remember what he looks like.”
    “It hasn't been that long.”
   “Long enough.”
   She took another deep drag on the roll, then held it out to Jason. She heard him sigh lightly, then take it from her.
   “Tastes different,” he remarked after a moment.
   “Yeah. It's an import.”
   “Really.” She could hear the disapproval in his voice. He probably thought Haakon had bought them for her; the lysee plant only grew in the Old Country, and it was a powerful relaxant that most, if not all, practitioners of the first and second powers employed to help them deal with the stress of their abilities. The botanists at the Meris Order had developed a fairly decent imitation, though it came nowhere near the real thing.
    “Hey, crime pays,” she told him, taking the roll back, and felt a little tension leave her shoulders when he chuckled.
   “Yeah, we're big-time criminals, alright.”
   “Hell yes.”
    They passed the lysee roll back and forth a few more times. Jason groaned softly.
    “That's some potent shit.”
    “Worth every penny,” she agreed. Between the roll and the liquor, she felt like she was made of liquid.
    “You want to head back?”


DL Hammons said...

I suddenly have the urge for a beer...and a cigarette...and I don't smoke!

That was very good. Part of a bigger piece?

Enjoy your St. Patty day.

Unknown said...

Fantastic! I loved it! I love DL's comment, it's so funny, and kind of true!

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It moves along quickly!

sarahjayne smythe said...

I really like the dialogue here. Great entry for the blogfest. :)

Bish Denham said...

Green beer all round! My treat.

Anonymous said...

Top notch! I enjoyed this. I want to read on!

Kimberly Franklin said...

In an effort to help raise your spirits, I left something fun for you on my blog today! ; )


Amalia Dillin said...

I'm wondering how things will work out with her and Jason. Definitely could have kept reading! It made me want to take up smoking too!

Tara said...

Count me as another non-smoker wanting a drag. Good dialogue. I want to know what happens next...

Summer Frey said...

Thanks, everyone! Nice to come home to an inbox full of comments. :-)

DL--yes, it's from my 2009 NaNo novel, which is only about 10k shy of complete.

This scene develops into one of my favorite in the book. :-)

dolorah said...

Oh yeah, this gripped me. Really sounds like an interesting novel.


Dread Pirate Lainey said...

Yeah, I really enjoyed this too! I really like the snap action dialogue between the characters. I wanna read more!

A.T. Post said...

The tone is what really jumps out at me. Straightforward, no-holds-barred, filthy-mouthed, and honest. Carries off the human and nonhuman aspects of the thing very well, in my opinion.