Saturday, November 7, 2015

She was like a porcupine...

So, I was writing for Nanowrimo today and I ended up having this great scene about a girl having to go ask her ex if she could stay with him for a few days. A few of my friends asked to read it and I figure, I could do worse. Thus, I'm going to post the entire chapter here. Please, let me know what you think about it. By and all, it's unedited, except for a few things like spelling and character names, so please be kind. I hate sharing unedited stuff, but when it's Nanowrimo, what am I to do? Oh, in case you're also doing Nanowrimo and would like to friend me over there, my handle is Feytouched! I hope you enjoy my chapter twelve of Kitsune-Ken, Volume 1.

          Jocelyn kissed Salla again and she snuggled against him, her hands slowly searching his body. It was nice having her by his side, in his room. They hadn't been dating long, but they had become comfortable quickly. She understood him.
          There was a knock at his door and he grimaced. Most times she understood him. This was the part she hated though.
          "Sorry." He whispered, against her lips.
          He turned to the door and started to get up. He'd need clothes, pants at the very least. Fortunately, he always kept a set right by his bed. Salla's shoulders dropped.
          "Do you have to go immediately? Why can't you wait?"
          He sighed. "I'm the only healer in town. I need to be available, regardless of the hour."
         "But we're..." she gestured. "We're in the middle of something here. It's probably just someone who stubbed their toe or something. You can ignore it for a few minutes at least."
          She reached out to him. He caught her arms and kissed her fingers.
          "Salla, I'm sorry, but you know that I have to be available."
          She slumped but looked around at the house they were in.
          Because he was the healer, despite only being twenty, he lived in one of the nicer places around town. They had clean well access, tubs for heated water, thick stone walls and even a solid wooden roof. Repairs were done often by grateful people, food and new clothes were left at his door for him; everything he had, he had because he worked for the town for the benefit of everyone. Part of the job description meant that he needed to be available whenever someone needed him.
          Salla loved the respect they were all shown in and around town, but she didn't much like that he was always available for others.
          Honestly, even had he not been the town healer, he still would have done it though. It was his path to help people. The air was cold on his skin and he grabbed the pants and threw them on quickly.
          Though he would have done it anyway, times like this he did almost wish he could ignore the call.
          The stone floor was chilly and he made a mental note to throw an extra log on for the night. It may have been spring, but the weather was skill cool out, too cool to go without.
          He opened the door and blinked. Kuzunoha was on the other side of the door, looking chagrinned. His mood dropped along with the temperature as a cool breeze blew into the house, chilling the ground even more.
          "What do you want?" He asked and then winced. She'd asked to be left alone to make her own bad decisions. He'd told her to do so. Still, it wasn't like him to be rude and angry. Perhaps he didn't love her anymore, but that didn't mean that he wanted her to suffer. He just wanted her to grow up.
          "I'm sorry... Can I come in, Jocelyn?" She shivered.
          He hadn't noticed what she was wearing before then, but now he looked. Normally at this time of year she would be wearing a thick cotton robe, the traditional dress of her ancestors. Now, she was wearing a pair of men's breaches, a decidedly common homespun shirt and a pair of her best slippers. She hated the modern clothes that Himiko preferred, probably because Himiko preferred them. He couldn't think of any good reasons why she would be coming to his house late at night, wearing someone else's clothes unless something was wrong.
          "Get in here. What happened? Are you alright?" He led her to the kitchen and sat her down. Then he rushed over to the stove and threw on an extra two logs and a pot of water. A lot of things could happen to a woman this late at night.
          She watched him, shivering, her arms wrapped around herself.
          "I'm sorry, Jocelyn. I didn't mean to wake you like this."
          "It's alright, I wasn't asleep yet." He felt a slim pang for Salla. "Now tell me what happened?"
          The door to his bedroom opened and Salla came out. He had a momentary hope that she would be bringing him a shirt to wear, but to his embarrassment that was all she was wearing.
          "Who is it, Jocelyn?" She stopped as she saw Kuzunoha. Her mouth set into a line.           "We may not have been asleep, but it isn't as though we weren't doing anything."
          He raised an eyebrow at Salla. It may have been true, but it was cruel. Kuzunoha didn't need that. Since he'd caught her cheating, she had only come to him when she needed help, when no one else could, like when she'd brought Richard. She wouldn't come unless she was in need somehow.
          Kuzunoha saw what Salla was wearing and flushed, glancing down at her own clothes. She crossed her arms, as if she were embarrassed. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize that you were staying here at night now." She glanced back at him and looked away. "I'll just... leave. I'm... sorry."
          Kuzunoha was the sort of woman than made you want to protect her. He couldn't just let her leave this way.
          "Kuzunoha, sit down. My door is always open to you, even if... other doors may be closed." He looked at Salla. "Please go back in, I'll be back soon."
          Salla's eyes flashed and he sent her a slightly frustrated look. Please, he whispered to her in his mind, begging her to understand. The faster I help her, the faster I'll be able to come back to bed.
          As if she'd heard him, she sighed with annoyance and walked over to him. She kissed him, hard, her hands on his chest. He opened his mouth to her kiss. It was urgent, worried. She pulled away and smiled at him. That smile held all the confidence he could have hoped for.
          "I love you. I'll be waiting for you in bed."
          He smiled, watching her walk back to the room. Back when he'd dated Kuzunoha he'd decided that clothes were silly and that women paid too much attention to how they looked in them. Privately, he liked his women naked when they were with him, something partially concocted by Kuzunoha's refusal to leave his house unless she looked perfect. Salla had convinced him that women wearing his clothes, was a close second.
          He turned back to Kuzunoha as the door closed and he coughed into his hand. He tried not to be disrespectful... staring at Salla had been that. He cared about much more than just her body, but that display didn't show that side.
          Kuzunoha glanced back at him and jumped, looking away from him.
          "It isn't that important... not important enough that I disturb." She gestured to the bedroom. "I'll find somewhere else, it's fine..."
          He stopped her and sat back down. "Somewhere else? What are you talking about?"
          She sighed and wouldn't meet his eyes. "I... I can't really go back home."
          "Tonight? Can't you get a place at the Koi or..." He thought about it.
          She really didn't have many places to go. She wasn't the sort of person to make friends easily. She was more like a porcupine. If you could get past the quills, you'd seen what a cute creature she could be. If you irritated her... well, she wasn't shy about showing her displeasure.
          "Ever, maybe?" She sat down and pushed her hair behind her ear. "Himiko came home tonight while I was getting ready for dinner with Richard and-"
          "I was wondering whose clothes you were wearing," he muttered.
          She flushed and crossed her arms over her again. "Actually, these aren't his, but..."
          He groaned, "Start at the beginning, please."
          She sighed and told him. His measure of Richard went up slightly. At least the man knew where the boundaries of work and pleasure were. And if Kuzunoha had gone to make a deal with Jack, he would probably be doing some research on who Richard was now. If nothing else, he would want to make sure that she wouldn't be falling for this man or making sure that Richard would be leaving town. The two were friends, but Jocelyn knew he had some plan about marrying her and consolidating the families. He'd all but told most of the men in town to leave Kuzunoha to him.
          He wondered if he should warn her. He decided against it and made a note to go and see Jack later. Maybe he would find out some information about this stranger that would put Jocelyn's mind at ease.
          "And why can't you go back home?"
          She looked away. "I'm not... I'm an adult Jocelyn. I need my own home, my own... well, a place that's mine. She'll never respect me so long as I'm still living off the family's wages at home."
          "Kuzunoha, do you even know how to get a house?"
          She shook her head. "No, but I was going to ask... well, I thought... you might know..."
          He sighed. "Kuzunoha, most houses are built for their children when they marry, if their parents homes are too small for the entire family. You might be able to claim one of the abandoned houses at the outskirts of town, but you would have to clean them up, making them livable, do repairs..."
          Those homes were empty usually because of bandit raids. In some cases, the blood hadn't been washed out completely, left to dry and flake away after the bodies were removed. He personally wanted those homes taken down and perhaps new homes built over them. The question as always was who had the money or time to do such work And if Himiko wouldn't help her sister, Kuzunoha would have to choose one and hope that she could clean it herself. It was a bad place to be in.
          "Well, I will be leaving soon, perhaps as early as next week. But don't worry, if I find enough money with Richard, I should be able to afford to pay somebody to help me fix up one of them. And perhaps Richard will be willing to let me stay with him for the rest of the week. I don't want to..."
          "I can't give you the healing room, but I do have a cot, a pillow and a blanket you can borrow for a few days. After that, we'll have to talk about the arrangement, but I can at least do that." He wished that the look of relief she shot him didn't make the stones in his stomach crack so much. "Let me set up the cot."
          About ten minutes later, Kuzunoha was set up for the night and Jocelyn retired to his room. He looked at Salla. She was in his bed again, but she was glaring viciously at him.
          "So? What was wrong?"
          She would have heard him moving the cot, even if she hadn't heard the conversation.
          He slid out of his pants and under the covers. "Kuzunoha will be staying here for a few days. Her sister has cut off her money and until they make up, well, I can understand why she doesn't want to go home."
          He would have to talk to Himiko tomorrow. It wasn't quite in his job description, he was a healer, not a priest, but someone had to try to talk to her. If nothing else, she would want to know where Kuzunoha would be staying.
          He sighed. The last time Kuzunoha had stayed here had been years ago, when they'd still been together. She'd been in this room. It felt wrong, having her outside and Salla in here. Salla was glaring at him, but softened as she slid over.
          "It won't be for long will it?"
          She kissed him and then started trailing kisses down his chest. With a disappointed sigh, he stopped her from going lower.
          "It shouldn't be for long, but I've never liked... well, it would feel like there was an audience."
          He didn't like getting too intimate when he had a patient in the house, but somehow, knowing it was Kuzunoha right outside... it felt ever odder. Salla grumped and moved to the other side of the bed.
          "So, you're kicking me out while she's here?"
          He shook his head and pulled her close, kissing her.
          "No." he said fiercely. "You are always welcome, but its like when I have a patient. I just... don't like it. Please stay. I'd... I'd still like to have you by my side tonight."
          Slowly the tension left him and he pulled her close against him. He wanted more, the gods knew he did. He was so glad to have a girlfriend who understood. Still, it took him a long time to fall asleep, even with Salla lying warm beside him.

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