MrsDarwin's NaNoWriMo novel last year was so much fun I wanted to get in on the action. However, based on last year's experience, we knew that it wouldn't possibly work to have both of us write at the same time in November. Writing 50,000 words in 31 days is a consuming enough experience that the other adult has to be free to keep the house running (plus provide moral and story planning support.) So we agreed some time ago that I'd take August this year and MrsD would take November again.
So here it goes. I'll be blogging a novel over the next month, trying to get 50,000 words done by the 31st. To make things more exciting, it turns out that I'll be leaving my current employer and starting a new job during the month as well, but my theory is that since writing is a night time activity, this gives me a good reason to otherwise unplug. MrsDarwin set a high standard, but I hope I can please as well.
Working Title: If You Can Get It
Her cellphone rang. Kristy’s first instinct was not to answer it. It was her last day of sanity before the run-up to product launch, and she could think of no one who had a greater claim on her time at ten o’clock on that Sunday morning than her cup of coffee and her newspaper. The vibrate function of the phone caused it to creep impatiently across the table at her as it rang again and Kristy flipped it over to see who it was. Katie. She sighed.
“Hey, Katie. What’s up.”
“Kristy. Hi. Umm. How’s it going?”
Her ten-years-younger sister had not acquired better phone skills in the months since they had last talked. Kristy turned the page of the newspaper. “Oh, you know. Busy at work. I’m taking a lazy day today. I’m heading into the last month before a product launch I’m in charge of, so I don’t know when I’ll next have a quiet morning to call my own. What are you up to since college? Sorry I couldn’t fly back for graduation.”
“I’ve been looking for a job and stuff. Well. Mostly I guess I’ve been fighting with Mom and Dad. Being back home really sucks now they’re in this religious nut phase.”
“Mmm hmm? I bet.” Why this insight needed to be imparted on a quiet Sunday morning Kristy couldn’t imagine.
“Actually…” Katie hesitated then spoke in a rush. “I really can’t take it at home anymore. After having been on my own for five years, and with their religious kick, I just can’t stand going back. Mom’s always asking me why I’ve been out late and shit. Last week she freaked out because she said I had too much alcohol in the house.”
“That hardly sounds like her. She never noticed the vodka I kept in my room during high school. She never noticed anything I did in high school.”
“Yeah, well she notices now. So I had to get out. I’m moving.”
“Where are you going?”
“Well.” The pause was just long enough for Kristy to realize what was coming. “I was hoping to move in with you. Just for a while. Until I can get a job and get my own place.”
“Look, I dunno, Katie. It’s really expensive here in the South Bay if you don’t have a really good job. And I’m barely going to be home over the next month. Maybe you should think about it a bit. Do you have any college friends you could move in with? Maybe closer to home or in a more affordable city.”
“Kristy. How often have I asked you for anything?” Kristy found herself mentally tallying the ‘Mom and Dad said they didn’t have money for’ calls over the last few years: text books, study abroad, car down payment.
“Look, I’m sorry. I know you’re busy,” Katie continued. “I just need a few weeks. I’m not going to cause any trouble. I’ll stay out of the way.” The words were coming faster and she sounded close to tears. “Please?”
What kind of sister am I? Kristy sighed. “Yeah. Okay.” Compulsively she got up and began neatening: coffee cup and breakfast plate to the sink, newspaper folded. “When are you thinking of coming? The next couple weeks are really crazy, but—”
“I’m parked out front now.”
“Now?” A few steps and a look out the condo’s front window showed Katie’s red Focus parked on the street, with boxes and bags visibly piled in the back seat. “Katie. What the?”
“I’m sorry, Kristy! Mom was just so… Thursday night she totally reamed me out for literally no reason.”
“And I decided I just had to get out so I started throwing things in the car and left early Friday morning. I was going to call you, but I kept worrying you’d say no.”
“So you just showed up? Katie, that’s— Oh, it’s stupid talking on the phone when I can see you. Come on up.”
Kristy hung up the phone, opened the front door, and went out onto the balcony shared with the condo next door. She watched Katie get out of the car, stretch, and come up the stairs.
“You look like you overslept an 8AM class,” Kristy observed, surveying Katie’s battered flip flops, plaid pants, tank top and bedraggled hair.
“You look like Sporty Mum from some Stepford Wives compound,” Katie shot back. “God, I feel terrible. Can I use your bathroom?”
Kristy pointed and Katie dived for it, leaving the door slightly ajar. From inside, Kristy could hear the sound of retching. After a moment it ceased and water ran. Katie emerged wiping her face with the hand towel. “That’s better.”
“Are you sick?” Kristy demanded.
“I spent the last two days living off Red Bull and Doritos and taking naps in rest areas. I feel disgusting.”
“Why didn’t you get some decent food and sleep in a motel?”
“Do you have any idea what they put in that fast food? Besides, I didn’t want to waste money. Can I take a nap before I bring my stuff in?”
Kristy went to open the door to the spare bedroom, but Katie threw herself down on the couch, pulled one of the cushions over her head, and was still.
For a moment Kristy stood, contemplating the motionless form before her and the evaporating prospect of a quiet Sunday. Still, the interruption was quieted for now. She went back into the kitchen for another cup of coffee. Maybe there would even be time for a run before Katie woke up.