~~~
Day’s Verse:
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10
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WARNING: Some sexually suggestive content in this post. Forewarned is forearmed.

Afterwards, Summer’s impression of the party came in a series of muddled memories all jumbled together. There had, of course, been lots of drinking, and she thought she had seen some suspicious white powder change hands a couple times, too. But mostly Summer remembered the blaze of music pounding too loudly for any but the screechiest conversations, drinking heavily and dancing wildly, and most of all afterwards. A delightful fuzziness covered the whole memory, tinting it rose-colored and lining it with glittering sparks.

The building they drove to, out on the Sammamish plateau of all places, looked like an abandoned warehouse from the outside. Some enterprising thirty-somethings had converted it into one vast, echoing room. They had painted the walls some dark color, but Summer couldn’t make it out because the lighting consisted entirely of red bulbs suspended on wires hanging from the distant, dark-shrouded ceiling. Glittering above, in that darkness, were thousands of tiny white lights that suggested stars. At one end of the enormous hall some huge speakers had been set up, stacked atop one another into a tower of decibels that astounded Summer when she saw it. The DJ presided between the two enormous towers, mixing the music that flowed like life’s-blood through the mass of people dancing in the dark. Summer never even got close to that end of the room, but Hunter howled into her ear that he knew the DJ and could get him to play anything she wanted (which Summer amended in her mind to “anything as long as it involves incredibly loud bass and screaming lead singers”). Along another wall, not far from the entry door, stood the bar.

The bar consisted mainly of a very long series of boards laid across saw horses. Behind the bar, huge stacks of bottles and crates dominated the tiny bartender. She dashed up and down the long bar, pouring almost indiscriminately into patrons’ glasses. Summer could barely make out the surface of the bar when she drew closer, so many empty and half-consumed glasses stood there.

The whole vast room, from DJ to bar, from wall to wall, was utterly packed with people. They squeezed in every corner, jumping and dancing and screaming and drinking and sweating. When Summer first walked into the room, sporting a black polar bear stamp on her hand from her entrance, she felt the heat and noise as physical entities, a gigantic hand that pressed against her chest and pushed her back out into the cool, quiet dark. She didn’t have a moment to balk, however, because Hunter grabbed her hand and pulled her into the mêlée, his face lit with exuberance. The chaos of sound, heat, and light seemed to pull at him like a vacuum, filling some missing part of his life. His grip on Summer’s hand felt sweaty and tight, like he wouldn’t let go but he wouldn’t allow her let go, either.

Continue reading.Hunter’s first act upon entering was to weave his way to the bar and procure drinks—strong ones, much stronger than Summer usually drank. But Hunter knocked his back in one swift swallow, and Summer wasn’t about to look stupid in front of him on their first date by balking at drinking the finger of clear liquid at the bottom of her grimy glass. She swallowed it down quickly, trying not to taste it—motor oil? If motor oil was clear?—and a moment later felt it flood her veins with heat. She relaxed a little bit, eased her viselike grip on Hunter’s hand.

After that, they danced, and drank, and then danced more. Summer enjoyed herself progressively more and more as the night wore on, until her experience blurred into a whirl of pale, red-tinted faces with half-closed eyes, the feel of bodies pressed against hers leaping and grinding, and above it all the glitter of the ceiling stars. Summer danced with total strangers in wild, un-Summer-like abandon, not caring what she looked like or who she was or what was in her past or future. Time contracted into each moment, the pound of the beat paralleling the pound of her heart and the sweat trickling down between her breasts. At one point, a very drunk young man who couldn’t stop staring at Summer’s exposed cleavage complimented on her dress, which Summer thought very nice. It was all going splendidly. Summer wondered why she’d never done this before, and didn’t even think about Lance or afternoon tea with the associates’ wives. She had just decided that she’d missed out on the best part of life as she danced so close to Hunter they breathed one another’s exhaled air, when she started to feel quite sick. And suddenly she felt extremely tired and imminently sick.

After she vomited into the bushes outside the warehouse, Summer felt better—but also embarrassed. She didn’t want Hunter seeing her this way, but she still felt buzzed enough that the embarrassment didn’t rise too near the surface. Instead, she felt a delicious lethargy creeping into her limbs, keeping her from wanting to go back inside. The cool of the night, with its quiet breeze and pinprick stars so like the ones inside seemed particularly magnificent, more beautiful than any night she’d ever experienced before.

Summer leaned against Hunter—who had gallantly held her flyaway hair moments before—and they stood looking at the increasingly cloudy sky together. Patches of stars remained visible, gleaming brightly against the obscuring gray masses moving in.

“It’s beautiful,” Summer said. Or tried to say; somehow her words tangled and slurred. Since when had forming words been so difficult?

But Hunter understood her, because he said “Mmm,” his arms tightening around her. He felt strong, stable in a world that whirled and tilted in unpredictable ways.

“I can feel the earth moving,” Summer informed him, “and I can hear your heart beating.”

“Not my heart anymore,” he mumbled into her hair. “Yours.”

There really was only one thing to do in response. Summer tilted her face to his, starlight and the glint of faraway streetlights illuminating her face like a faint, white daisy. Hunter bent his head to hers and kissed her.

To Summer, feeling his soft, cool lips against her hot ones, feeling the deep yearning passion masked by tenderness, the kiss was like coming home. She pressed against him, twining her arms around his neck and her fingers into his wavy hair, opening her mouth a little—an invitation, but still shy.

Hunter responded electrically. He gathered her in until she groaned and felt his erection against her thigh. His body felt like marble, each muscle carved and delineated. His tongue invaded her mouth, exploring and probing, suggesting that so much more awaited them. One hand slipped under her dress to cup her bottom, while the other wrapped around her and pressed her into him.

For a glorious endless moment, Summer lost her self-awareness. There were only his hands, tongue, hair, rock-hard body, and the desire to be one with him. His hand beneath her skirt slipped lower, feeling between her legs as his tongue explored her mouth. Summer’s pulse raced as together they stumbled, panting, back against the building into the dark shadows.

“I need you,” Hunter groaned, sliding her skirt up, feeling the edge of her black silky panties. Summer’s fingers, taking on a life of their own, had started in on his belt, unbuckling it and feeling at the confounding button and zipper between them.

“Hunter,” Summer
said, and it came out in a moan. She wanted him too, more than she had ever desired Lance. The button came undone, his zipper following a moment later, and her hand wrapped around his engorged length. He dropped to his knees, nuzzling at her, as he pulled her underwear down around her knees, licking at her and seeking her sweet spot.

Then light flashed on them, a car’s headlights on the road to the warehouse, and the moment shattered like a frozen mirror. Summer grabbed her underwear and settled her skirt into a semblance of order as Hunter fell away from her, panting. The car turned off and away, stretching their shadows until the dark came to surround them once more.

For a long moment they stood, gasping, Summer realizing how close she had come to making love to Hunter right there against the side of the building. She had wanted him, had longed for nothing more than to feel him slide inside her and press rhythmically towards her core.

“Hunter,” she said, this time hesitantly. “I don’t know—”

“It’s OK,” he replied. “It’s not the right place.”

That wasn’t what Summer had intended to say; she meant to tell him that she was no whore; she didn’t sleep around or seduce men, and didn’t intend to do so with him. Instead, she nodded and agreed: “No,” glancing around as if to suggest the setting left much to be desired. Which it did, had she intended to make love to Hunter.

Summer didn’t want to drive; she knew she was drunk, and she didn’t want to hit some poor pedestrian.

“Oh come on,” Hunter had chided, “What pedestrians will be out at 2:30 am?” To which Summer had no good reply, because who would be out at this time of night?

“You drive to your place and I’ll get home for there.”

“You don’t have to go home,” he told her, “I’ve got space at my place.” He didn’t say where, but Summer imagined his bed and the feel of waking up next to him and desperately wanted to stay.

“We’ll see how I feel when we get there,” she demurred. In the car, she put her head back against the headrest, closed her eyes, and dropped immediately into a dreamless, black sleep. She barely woke when Hunter parked the car and shook her awake. He guided her, still half-asleep, up the stairs and into his ground-floor apartment. Summer remembered nothing of undressing or dropping into his bed, a narrow single that barely accommodated Hunter by himself.

The next morning, Summer awoke confused. The apartment smelled like old coffee and burned toast and aftershave, totally unfamiliar to her. The mattress, harder than she preferred, the flattened-down pillow covered with pale hairs, the pilled sheets, all felt like strangers to Summer’s body. More familiar was the painfully bright sunlight streaming through uncurtained windows. Distressingly unfamiliar was the jackhammer-operator and twenty of his buddies, all pounding away in her head.

“Auuughh,” said Summer.

A weight pressed down on one edge of the mattress, which sagged as if in greeting to its regular occupant. “Good morning,” said Hunter, offering her a steaming mug of coffee and several aspirin. He wore faded pajama bottoms and no shirt. Through her morning grogginess and the jackhammer crew, Summer still noticed the clear delineation of his chest muscles and the ripple of his abdomen as he shifted on the bed. The muscles in his arms, rather than bulking too large, spoke of the whip-hard strength of rock climbers.

“My head,” Summer told him in explanation as she sat up. She deliberately looked at his face, his sleep-tousled hair, his slight five o’clock shadow, the glitter of his clear eyes. Don’t stare. Don’t be obvious. “How much did I drink last night?”

“Not that much,” he protested, but Summer thought he probably measured such things on a different scale than she did. His “not much” felt like a freight train the morning after, and she hoped to never feel his characterization of “a lot.” She took the coffee, slurping down a steaming mouthful along with the aspirin.

“What time is it?” Suddenly Summer realized she had stripped totally the night before—there were her clothes, a pile of red and black puddled on the floor over by the door—and she had sat up to drink the coffee. Hurriedly, with belated modesty, Summer pulled the sheet up to cover her chest, glancing at Hunter to see what he thought. His eyes held a smile, but he’d kept his finely-drawn lips straight and the rest of his face looked serious enough. Even so, Summer blushed at the implications. Here she sat totally naked in another man’s bed, two days after meeting him.
Hunter, oblivious of Summer’s sudden overwhelming compunctions about their current situation, blithely informed her that it was 10:30 or so.

“Oh my gosh,” Summer gasped. “I’m missing church right now!” Then guilt flooded her, the morning-after headache a penance for her debauchery of the night before. She thought of the people she knew at church, who would be singing a praise song right about now, dressed neatly and well-rested from going to bed at 11 o’clock on Saturday night. They might wonder where she was, perhaps worry that she had gotten sick with nobody to take care of her, and if they called to see how she was—

“Church?” Hunter asked, just as Summer let go of the sheet with one hand to motion him out of the room.

“I’ve gotta get home,” she told him, in a tone rather brisker than she’d used on him yet. “Maybe I can still make it before the sermon starts…” But she knew she couldn’t, and that she just needed this excuse to escape the situation she had placed herself in.

“OK,” he said, sounding rather confused, as he turned his back. “The shower—”

“No shower,” Summer’s voice came muffled as she pulled last night’s wrinkled dress back over her head. Somehow it felt dirty to put it on again, but she had nothing else. It smelled of alcohol, cigarette smoke, even a little of vomit. “I’ve got to get back as soon as I can. They’ll be missing me for sure. Oh man, oh man…”

With little ado—and no good-bye kiss for the truly bewildered Hunter, who leaned in for one and was rebuffed quite firmly—Summer escorted herself out in a flurry of stockings and accessories. She drove home almost recklessly fast, rushing through stale yellow lights and barely slowing through stop signs. Fortunately, the quiet of Sunday morning pervaded the roads and she saw few other drivers, although pedestrians and their dogs populated the sidewalks in some abundance. By the time she pulled up in front of her shabby complex, Summer’s pulse had stopped racing. Nobody from church would call. Nobody would know that she’d practically slept with this handsome, thoughtful, intelligent, almost-stranger.

Closing her apartment’s front door, Summer leaned against it, a wash of emotions flowing over her. Why had she left so precipitously? He’d never want to see her again, and Summer thought she was actually starting to love him. Yet the overwhelming urge to escape and hide from what looked by the sober, even stern, light of day to be a multitude of sins had compelled her to flee. Summer sagged down against the door, wrapped her arms around her knees, and started sobbing. Or: My NaNoWriMo profile.

6 thoughts on “Romance Novel: Day 8

  1. I don’t like where you’re going with the story right now. The organization has problems. First, you simply cannot justify a first kiss immediately following the vomiting scene.
    Second and more importantly, the flow is not going well. I don’t like the party being her first experience with Hunter after the jump without any…uh… bonding time in between. It feels like it’s going to climax too soon (pun absolutely intended, 10 cents if you can work it into the story).

    I won’t include any spoilers in this post, but she has to be back on cloud nine Monday morning. How are you going to get there from here?

    In general, remember Summer’s arc. She needs a good long run of fairly uneventful happiness in the foreground while you set stuff up in the background.

    Your foreplay scene is simultaneously hilarious and nauseating. IE, perfect.

    If you want to call this weekend for further instruction and brainstorming, go right ahead.

  2. I was bothered by the post-vomitous kiss as well. At least give her a mint or something! 😉

    I am not a romance reader, so I don’t know how this compares, but I’m finding it amusing. And I know you’re just plowing straight through, so my fiddly wording issues are probably not appropriate commentary at this point.

  3. Colleen: Don’t worry, I do have a sense of where I’m going. It’ll be fine. Summer is turning out very emotional, and it only takes one good thing to perk her up — and I know exactly what it will be. Several good things. However, it probably wouldn’t hurt to have a consultation phone call. Is today one of your busy days, or would this evening work?

    Both: Regarding the post-vomit kiss, I’ll definitely give her a mint.

  4. I’ll hold the hard line and call for a full reorganization of the pre-kiss scene. I don’t see Hunter as the care-for-sick-girlfriend type at all, and it’s just a bad leadup. It doesn’t transition naturally. But don’t worry; leave that for the editing stage.

    Call me anytime this afternoon if you like, with the caveat that I have lab starting at 6.

  5. Colleen, you have no idea what a guy will do to get in a girl’s pants. If Hunter is going to pursue her right after their first meeting he will definately hold her hair back while she pukes her guts out if it will get him some play.

  6. i just wanted to let you know that this is sinful and offensive, and i do not want to read about anyones hiney until i reach the altar. thank you.

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