Thursday, November 12, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Day 12 - Hard hard hard....

Oof. It is very hard to just sit down and find the time to write. I find I need at least an hour to myself, even if I don't write all that time.

But it is creeping along. Over 5000 words now - could do better the stats say, but hopefully I will get a good kernel together by the end of the month. And maybe, just maybe I'll have a go at keeping on writing after the end of the month. We'll see.

Anyway. Another snippet for you to be going along with.


8 for 8.30 Anna said. It's 7.55 and I am parked up just down the road, Anna lives in a splendid pile in Cockfosters. Gated, carriage drive, big detached house. Not new, built in the first part of the 1900s i suppose, it has a very Arts & Crafts look to it, asymmetrical nooks and crannies. The outside is covered in wisteria and Virginia creeper, so its beautiful all year round. The wisteria is in bloom at the moment and it looks stunning.

I crunch up the gravel path. I am as nervous as a kitten. Ring ring. it's my mobile. It's Anna.

“where are you?”

“Just coming to the door… I’m a bit early. Why? Is there a problem?”

“You’re not early… you’re late! I moved it forward an hour… didn’t you get the message? I sent you an email”

“No, I haven’t been home yet. Some of us work on Saturdays as well you know? Well, I’m here now.”

And I ring off and ring the doorbell.

Anna opens the door. She is trilling..

“Hahaha! Here she is! The little Tardy One!”

What is wrong with her? She has that desperate fixed grin on her face that makes her look like Cherie Blair. She is beckoning me in. “Quick, quick..” she hisses and shushes me in front of her.

“Coat!” she hisses again. Shush, shush, almost a shove…I feel like a huskie. She will yell “Mush” in a moment.

“What is the matter…!” I hiss back.

“They've all been here for an hour... I was getting frantic. I called you at home but no reply. “ She is starting to sound bit calmer now. “I'm sorry, I don't know why I didn't try your mobile. It IS normally switched off”

She sounds sort of sheepish yet defiant. Whatever. Now is not the time to prove a point. I decide to make soothing noises instead. I give her a hug.

“Well, I'm here now. Come on then, let's see what you have lined up for my deeelectation”

Crisis averted. Anna is now looking me up and down.

She seems back to her acid best.

“ Well, I must say you've scrubbed up well tonight. Ok, off we go. Eyes and teeth, dahling, eyes and teeth..”

That's more like it, I give my best theatrical smile, and enter the fray.

It is only a dinner party, so why do I feel like saluting and shouting “We who are about to die salute Caesar!”?


The dining room is a picture. the lights are all turned down low, and the sideboard and table covered with creamy church candles of different sizes. The smell is like warm honey. It is a lovely mild night, and the French doors are open, I can see everyone gathered on the terrace outside.

Martin glances up and sees me.

“Asti! We were quite worried! What would you like to drink? Champers?”

“Just water for now please, Martin, I'm driving and I want to have a drink with dinner,”

“Righty-ho. Ice and a slice?”


He squeezes my shoulder. “Won't be a tick then. You look scrummy tonight by the way”

I love Martin by the way. I know I take the mickey out of him, and tease Anna about his old fashioned ways, but he is a diamond really. He had worked his way up in the traditional way at the stockbrokers he worked for, from office boy to one of the partners, collecting Anna on his way up. They were now disgustingly, jealous makingly rich, but Martin seemed to have avoided being either Wide Boy flash or New Money pretentious. He was still just himself, which was a relief. It kept my envy at bay, to be honest.

Anna is tinkling a spoon on a glass.

“Hello everyone! This is what you have all been waiting for! She's here! This is ...” I wait for the drum roll


Good god. I'm amazed she didn't introduce me with “Roll up, roll up...”

Please ground. Open up. Swallow me whole. You'll find I'm very tasty.

My smile is freezing on my face, and I can feel my teeth sticking to the underside of my lip. I need to move nd get shot of the adrenaline I can feel flooding me before i break out into a cold sweat.

I look around. So many people! How many has she invited? And there aren't many women either... oh God.

I'm going to have real trouble brazening this out. I wish I had never come. I really don't like a lot of people at one time, I prefer small cozy groups, maybe 6 or 7 max. This is like the opening of an exhibition.

Of course, I realise. it is an exhibition. And the star – in fact the only – exhibit, is me.

I turn round to fine an elegant tall waiter standing beside me, bearing a tray with a tall glass.

“Your water, madam”

“Thank you “

Good, something to sip and detach my teeth before I have to speak to anyone.

Good God, Good God. I have just realised. They've catered it! How can I live up to this? I want to run and hide somewhere. I can feel a panic attack on the way.

I need to calm down about this. OK, it is over the top, but what a lot of effort Anna has gone to just for me. I glance sideways at her. She is looking anxious and nervous.

I link arms with her. She is my bestest friend in the whole world, We have loved each other since we were 11, and there is no way she has anything but my best interests at heart. And it is the intention that is important, isn't it? Can I just go with the flow? I can but try.

Deep breath then. It feels like i have been panicking for ages, but it is only seconds really.

“Come on, you can't just announce me like the first course at dinner... introduce me properly!”

A tall blond man is walking up to us.

“Hi. I'm Adam. I work with Martin, I'm so glad to meet you. Isn't the news wonderful?”

“Hi Adam, lovely to meet you too. Umm, which news is that? “ I laugh lightly. Anna is making “I'll tell you later” faces. “There is always something happening with these two, I can't keep up...” She looks a bit happier.

“Martin's promotion to Partner? I think we're celebrating that?” He looks quizzically at Anna. She smiles and mutely nods encouragement to me.

“Ah, yes. I thought you were going to say Anna was pregnant for a moment there...”

Oh the daggers! My thick hide deflects them... ha! gotcha there then. babies are NOT on Anna's to Do list.


p.s. Please forgive the grotty typing.. I typed this on my little Eeee at about 6 this morning, and my fat fingers don't always hit the write buttons... sigh. And one of the rules of Nanowrimo is NO EDITING!! NO REVISING!!! JUST WRITE!! So I do.

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