31 January, 2012

Here's the deal...

Okay, here's the deal.  I am sick to death of Becca's Story.  I've been writer's blocked for a few months now.  Most of that was because I did nothing but sleep and eat toast - Yay for two months of morning sickness.  And it was during the holidays, too.  How lame is that?

Also because I'm just kind of stuck on what to do next.  I think it needs to sit and percolate a bit before I try to revamp it.  The plot has shifted around so much, I'm not sure where I want it to go.

Which leads me to my writerly thoughts for today.

25 January, 2012


And in the crumbling ruin of the Great Storm of Aught-Twelve...

Phew, I'm glad that's over.

Exciting news!  An agent emailed me and asked for some pages to review!  Yay!!!!!  I had to read the message twice, just to make sure.  I even did a little dance.  Woot!

Here's the next bit of Becca's story.  I do think I'm going to take a break from this.  I haven't been super motivated to write (thank you, Muffin) but when I am, I kind of don't want to deal with Becca's angst at present.


Thanks for reading!


I traded spots with Elsie mid-afternoon. As I munched the fries we had just bought at a drive-through, I realized sitting behind Kevin was worse than sitting next to him. He could look at me in the rear-view mirror without Elsie commenting on the fact that he was staring at me.
He wasn’t really. But every time my eyes strayed to the mirror, his would too, holding mine until I would blush and looked away.

It was a long day.

“Should we get a hotel?” Elsie asked as the sun set, pausing her witty, entertaining conversation. I felt a little better that Kevin mostly grunted in response, but he had laughed a few times.


He pulled off the freeway and wound through the gas stations to a chain hotel.

“Get us a room,” he told Elie, handing over a fold of bills. “I’ll get the bags.”

“Just one?” she asked.

He didn’t look over at her. “You want your own?”

She shot me a quick look. “No, one is fine. Two beds?”

“Not unless you and Becca want to share.”

She made a face even as I did. I smiled at her and she smiled back.

“Come on,” she said. The bored clerk checked us in and handed over three key-cards. As we passed the on-site restaurant, Elsie and I both breathed deeply and sighed.

“I’m starving,” she declared, jabbing the elevator button.

“Me, too.”

We stepped inside the small box. I pressed the button that read ‘5’ and we started up.

“So, have you known Kevin long?” She asked.

I cursed myself for being stupid enough to let her get me alone.

“No. Like a week.”

She hummed thoughtfully. “We used to date.”

I clenched my fists behind my back. “Yeah, he told me.”

“He’s a great guy, yeah?”


I could tell she was puzzled by my terse replies. No matter the thought of him made my heart tripped excitedly, I was still angry at him and he at me.

We arrived on our floor, saving me from any more questions. “This way,” Elsie directed. We went around a corner and found the correct room.

I flipped on the light as we entered. Two wide beds sat against the wall, a couch facing a television. I jumped as a heavy thump sounded from the balcony. Elise went to the sliding door and peeked out the curtains.

My pack sailed up and hit the cement. Then Kevin’s hands gripped the railing and he swung over the railing. He gathered up the packs and stepped through the glass.

“Here,” he said shortly, dumping my pack on the bed closest to him. “Either of you hungry?”

We both nodded. He dropped his backpack. It floated across the room and landed on the couch. I frowned at him as he snapped his fingers and one of the keys zipped from Elsie’s hand to his.

“Then let’s go.” He said. He walked to the door. It flew open before him and slammed shut after.

Elsie looked at me. “Okay, did I miss something?”

I stammered a little. “Uh, I don’t know.”

“He’s pissed.”

I grimaced. I had already apologized. I didn’t know what else I could say I was sorry about. “Come on,” I muttered. “Or he’ll frighten the waitress.”

We found him already seated in a booth peering at a menu. I was going to sit across from him with Elsie, but he looked up and stood. His glare told me I was going to sit next to him. I did, sliding into the tiny booth. He sat and opened his menu once more.

Our server came. She gave us the usual monologue about specials and drink menus. Kevin didn’t spare her a glance. I saw her look at him several times, frowning a little.

I looked as well as Elsie ordered. He was making no effort to hide what he was. I could feel the power in him. The air hummed with it.

I elbowed him discretely.

“What?” he muttered.

“You’re scaring her.”

Kevin glanced up. “So?”

“So, stop.”


I sighed.

“And for you?” the lady asked.

I ordered a hearty amount. I was starving, no matter I had done nothing all day but sit in a car.

We waited in silence until the food came. And we ate in silence. Even Elsie’s ability to make conversation failed her. She flicked looks between us, her eyes narrow.

“I’ve got to run to the bathroom,” she stated. I watched her walk away, nervous about being left alone with Kevin.

He didn’t say anything. His left hand, which had been on his thigh, moved to mine. It rested half way between my knee and my hip.

If Elsie noticed the slight change in our seating arrangement, she made no comment. Luckily, the booth was skinny enough our legs were completely under the table.

“Dessert?” the server asked.

“No.” Kevin said. He laid some money on the table. “Thanks.”

He stood and Elsie and I made haste to follow.

Back in the room, he tossed his key to his couch and went to the sliding glass door. “Why don’t you girls shower. Then we should get some sleep. I want to leave early.”

I exchanged a look with Elsie.

“You go first,” she offered.

I shrugged and gathered my things. After a quick wash and a blow-dry, I came out to find Elsie watching TV. Kevin was outside on the balcony.

“Your turn.”

She grunted and went in. I heard the lock click. Again, why?

Sighing, I went to the back door. It was locked, too. Undoing the latch, I stepped out.

Kevin was leaning on the railing, his elbows braced on the wrought iron. I stood next to him, looking out over the freeway. The lights of the cars made ribbons of white and red, the occasional yellow flare as one signaled.

“I can’t imagine everything dying,” Kevin said slowly. “All that life and energy.”

I nodded. “I know.”

“It’s not your fault, Becca. You didn’t do anything to cause it.”

But he had. He was holding it back. But still it made no sense. My life was not worth the world. To me, at least. What was I worth to him?

The fear that was always licking at me rose up. Malcolm had said will was everything. What could a man like Kevin do? One of the strongest in the nation, maybe the world, if he felt he had to? Could he really end the world?


He grunted.

“If we fail-”

“We won’t.”

“But if we do,” I persisted. “If we try everything and can’t find a way to stop it. If there is no other option, will you let me die?”

I let him think in silence. Finally he sighed. He straightened and held his hand out. I took it.

“Yes.” He said.

“Thank you, Kevin.”

“I will hate myself, but I will let you die. No one is worth the world. Not even you.”

I leaned into him, resting my head on his shoulder. It felt nice, pushing back my fear and uncertainty. My parents had stood like this a lot. His arm was strong around my waist.

I couldn’t help but feel awkward, even as I relaxed into the embrace. It was a new sensation, knowing I was in a relationship, of whatever sort this turned out to be. I felt there should have been something more declarative. A voice of thunder. Something on the evening news. Top story this evening, cursed Rebecca Beckons and Kevin Walowitz kissed and are now sort-of dating until such time that she dies or the world ends. In other news, his gorgeous ex-girlfriend is traveling with them. More after the weather.

His arm tightened. Before I could resist, he pulled me out of the beam of light shining through the glass. The world whirled and I found myself against the wall, Kevin’s arms around me.

“What if she comes out?” I asked in a trembling voice.

“What if she does?” Kevin said gruffly.


“Shut up, Becca.”

I did. Mostly because he kissed me and I forgot what I had been going to say.

He groaned and I shivered joyously. A giddy laugh bubbled up.

“Why are you smiling?” he asked, lifting his head. I giggled a little and he groaned again, dropping his head to rest on my shoulder. His hair was soft between my fingers. “We should have gotten two rooms.”

My happiness slammed flat. I pushed him back, my heart lurching. “Now, hold on a minute!”

I could see the shape of his face, but not his expression. His eyes gleamed in the darkness. “What’s wrong?”

I could not make myself say it. I stammered incoherently until he figured it out.

“Oh. Oh.” He stepped back. “No, I meant - no, Becca, please, wait.”

I had turned to go back in the hotel room, hot from my hair to my toes. I flinched as his hand touched my arm. “I meant for me.”

“For you?” I repeated dumbly. He drew me gently back into the shadows.

“For me,” he said firmly. “I…well, I don’t think I’ll be sleeping much tonight.”

I was still flushing, waves of heat rushing over me. Kissing was one thing, even the way he had been kissing me. But anything else…

His hands were on my face, touching my cheeks, the corner of my mouth. “I meant what I said, Becca. It’s been all I can do to keep my hands off you. But,” He added as I stiffened. “But, I’m not about to ruin this. I’ve never felt like this before. Not with anyone.”

“Anyone?” I asked timidly, meaning Elsie and her dazzling features and sparkling violet eyes. Who had purple eyes? It was absurd and unfair.

“Anyone. You?”

I shook my head.

He sighed and I thought it might be with relief. “Look, I know declarations are pointless until this curse is gone, but honestly and truly? I think I’m in love with you.”

I had heard that those sevens words usually brought a budding relationship crashing down around its foundations. As it was, my lungs froze up, no matter Malcolm had told me and Kevin had said it himself this morning as we fought.

“You do?” I squeaked.

He laughed in a self-deprecating sort of way. “I think so. I don’t know. Sorry.”

“Why are you sorry?”

“I don’t know that either. I don’t know what to do.” He sounded tired. “Go inside. Before Elsie comes out.”

That was clearly snide. I took a breath to snap back. He turned away and I could see the tilt of his head, the listless slump to his shoulders.

He was tired. And worried. And terrified I would be dead soon and he would have to stand and watch helplessly.

“Kevin, please,” I begged.

“What?” He had turned gruff again. He was pushing me away.

“How come every time we kiss, we end up fighting?”

“You tell me,” he snarled.

“You bet I will,” I bit out. “You are an arrogant, jealous, pig-headed ass! That’s why!”

“Becca,” Kevin said sternly, his gleaming eyes on mine.

I sneered. “That doesn’t work anymore, Kevin. I’m magic, too, remember?”

I whirled away and wrenched the door open. I slammed it behind me so hard to rocked in its track. I stood glaring at the hotel room.

The bathroom door cracked open and Elsie’s towel wrapped head peered out.

“Are you okay?” she asked timidly.

I barked at her. “Fine!”

She retreated, shutting the door softly. Kevin’s hands closed around my arms and jerked me through the glass.

He held me still, my back pressed into his chest.

“I like to fight with you,” he said unexpectedly. “I broke it off with Elsie because she never stopped trying to make me happy. She’s nice enough, but I don’t want to be worshiped. I’m the strongest practitioner in a hundred years. Why do you think I went to CMR? I wanted to get away from them, get some space and do what I wanted without a bunch of pandering fools simpering at my heels.”

“You’re not helping your case as a arrogant jerk,” I commented.

His laugh rumbling along my spine. “I am an arrogant jerk. And you’re the first person who’s ever told me to my face.” He planted a solid kiss on the side of my neck. It was all I could do not to melt into a puddle of quivering goo at his feet. “Go.”

I obeyed. He stayed outside. I went straight to my bed and slid under the blankets. Elsie came out a few minutes later. I looked at the flashing TV screen as if my life depended on it.

“Where’s Kevin?” she asked, brushing out her hair.



I shrugged, turning away and closing my eyes. I listened to her get into bed as well. The glow of the TV died and the light went out.


“Night,” I returned.

I had watched the red numerals on the clock count off an hour before I felt a shiver of air. Kevin had stepped back into the room. The curtains made a hissing noise as they slid shut.

I lay still, wondering what he would do. Elsie was sleeping; I knew her soft snores well enough, now.

He went to the couch and stretched out, his feet up on the armrest.

“Sleep well, Becca.” He whispered.

“You, too.”

He shifted, the springs of the couch complaining. “I’m here if you need anything, alright?”


“And I’m more than willing to…comfort you, should you have a nightmare.”

I blushed. “Oh, shut up.”

He chuckled.

13 January, 2012

Becca's Story Chapter Nineteen

Hey peeps! Sorry for the delay.  We're nearing the end of the Becca stuff I have written and not only is it over 50,000 words - Yikes!!! - but I'm kind of petering out with ideas.  I think I might have to take a break for a bit with her story and work on something else.  Something actually...ahem...short.  I don't know what happened: once I get started, the plots have a mind of their own.

Here you are!  Thanks for reading!  I really appreciate it.  :)  E.T.

A long hike through a crocodile infested bog improved no one’s mood. Any satisfaction I had at Elsie’s make-up streaking in the heat was crushed every time I looked at Kevin’s rigid shoulders.
“Finally,” he growled as we broke from the trees.

I drew up, looking around in astonishment. It was the parking lot for a Wal-Mart. The huge store sat a few acres away from us, shoppers going in and out with no idea that a magical school existed only a few miles away in the swamp.

“This is me,” Elsie said. She unlocked the door of the small passenger car and popped the trunk. “Need anything before we go?” she gestured to the big-box store.

“I’m fine,” I said weakly. Kevin maintained his glower as he dropped his pack in the trunk.

“I’ll drive,” he said, taking the key from Elsie’s hand. She watched him slide into the driver’s seat, then turned to me.

What’s up? She mouthed. I shrugged. She opened the passenger door. “I’ll sit in back,” she offered.

Unexpectedly, I smiled. “Coward.”

She shrugged at me and smiled too. I put my pack in the back, shut the trunk and went to the front passenger door. I didn’t look at Kevin as I got in my seat and buckled in.

“North?” he asked.

I closed my eyes, feeling. It was easier than it had been before. “That way,” I said, pointing. I opened my eyes to look. I was stabbing the Wal-Mart with my finger.

“North,” Kevin agreed. He started the car and backed out of the spot.

“How far?” Elsie asked.


Kevin found a freeway in a matter of minutes. The silence inside the car was oppressive, but I wasn’t going to be the first to break it. The only thing I could imagine that would make this situation worse would be to materialize Jeff in the backseat next to Elsie.

I wondered if the car would explode from the force of Kevin and Jeff trapped inside. He was already taking up more than his fair share of ego. Add their castings on me into the mix and between the three of us we might blast a crater in the middle of the road. Poor Elsie wouldn’t have a chance.

As we drove, I looked out the window, just thinking. It didn’t help at all, but it gave me something to do instead of staring at Kevin’s profile.

What was in that house? I knew it had nothing to do with Jeff. Would it help me break the castings that Jeff and Kevin had put on me? Could I convince Kevin to see his somehow, to undo it, even though the curse would be able to reach me?

And why was the power out of balance? What made me so special? Nothing, I was sure. It was not me. I was just a girl, a stupid, useless, nonmagical girl. No matter what Malcolm said, I had no skill in magic, I couldn’t use it. I might as well not have it at all.

Was it my magic that was healing me and not a shield Jeff had put around me? When I cut my own hand, it had not healed. But then it had after I had seen the curse? Could I heal others, if I could find a way to control my magic?

I shivered as I realized where my thoughts were going. I did not want to use magic, no matter how much I had inside me. I did not want to be magic at all.

I closed my eyes and tried to think of nothing. Blazing lines crossed my vision, blue and gold, twisting, fighting, until I fell asleep.


I stirred, surprised out of another dream of that house. The few windows not broken out glinted in the sun.

I lifted my head looking around blearily. Kevin’s hand was resting on my knee.

“Becca, it’s lunch time. Are you hungry?” I straightened in my seat, my neck aching. I felt a little better about passing out when I saw noticed Elsie curled up on the backseat as well.


I shook my head. “No. Thanks, though.”

He grunted and lifted his hand away and put it on the steering wheel.

I sighed, both glad and annoyed by having a third wheel snoring in the backseat. It made it hard to have a private conversation.



“I’m sorry.”

His eyebrow I could see flattened. “You keep saying that. Are you sorry you kissed me?”

I blushed, glancing warningly back to Elsie.

“She can’t hear us.” He said.

“Why not?”

“I put her to sleep.”

I simply stared at him. “Why?”

“We need to talk.” He slowed and stopped the car right in the middle of the busy freeway. I flinched as a semi-truck swerved to avoid us. Nobody honked, just shifted at the last moment to slip by the car.

“I’m not sorry I kissed you, Becca.” I took refuge in staring at the center console. “I don’t know why you felt you couldn’t tell me. And honestly, I’m pissed you didn’t. I think I’ve proved myself enough to you.”

I was oddly relieved to be getting this all out now. I had thought it would fester between us for days, until we could get rid of Elsie. He went on.

“I’m going to help you. You know I will. I will find a way to save you.” His voice had become steely. I could feel his casting tightening around me, suffocating.

His fingers were tapping on his leg, showing his agitation. It was the bravest thing I had ever done. I reached over and gripped them. They stilled under mine.

“Kevin,” I said gently. “I am not sorry I kissed you. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I was scared and shocked and I didn’t know what to do.”

His thumb was running along my knuckles, making it hard to think at all, let alone be reasonable. I took a quivering breath and said what I had to.

“I know you want to try to save me. I want to try to save me. But I might have to die. You have to accept this.”

I heard his sharp intake of breath to deny it and cut him off. “Kevin, I promise I will not try to end it myself until the very last moment. I will do anything you think will help, go anywhere searching for an answer. But I can’t fully trust you until you take off your casting.”

I felt him stiffen, his fingers clenching around mine. “What?”

I explained as gently as I could. “You put a spell or something on me. It is holding back the curse. You have to take it off.”

He twisted, gripping my shoulders and shaking me. “That’s a lie!”

I shook my head, looking in his blazing eyes. He knew I couldn’t lie under eye contact. “Kevin, I can see it.” I could, bright lines across my vision. I wonder he couldn’t feel their heat. “You must take it off.”

“I haven’t put a casting on you,” he snarled.

“Yes, Kevin. Can’t you see it?”

He set his jaw. “I did not put a casting on you, Becca.”

I sighed and dropped my eyes. “Kevin, please.”


We sat like that for a long time, listening to the traffic rushing around us. He growled under his breath and jerked me to him.

I discovered I really liked being kissed. By Kevin particularly. I thought it had been the shock that had made the first one so electric.

He pulled away a little. “I’m sorry, but I did not put a casting on you.”

I smiled sadly. His was brighter now, stronger than Jeff’s, more tightly woven. I knew that was bad, but it was hard to care about my curse or anything with his arms wrapped around me.

His eyes moved over my face slowly. “I can’t see it.”

“Your casting?” I asked, slurring a little.

He grunted. “No. Your magic.”

I shrugged. “I can’t see it most times either. Or the curse.”

“You can see your curse?” he demanded. I nodded, more than happy to drown in his eyes.

“Sometimes. It’s like a dark cloud, blotting out the world. You’re holding it back. You and Jeff.”

I knew that was the wrong thing to say as soon as it left my mouth, but I couldn’t help it. I thought for a moment Kevin was going to back off. Then he swore.

“I’m getting really tired of hearing about Strenton,” he growled. Before I could respond, he kissed me again and even in my inexperience I could feel the possessive quality of it. He was claiming me as his, in some base, hormone-driven fashion. I didn’t put up much of fight. Any, really.

I was pleasantly surprised that when he drew back at last even he had kind of a starry-eyed look. He cleared his throat, glancing to the backseat. “I wish you hadn’t let her come,” he said.

I shrugged. “I needed a ride.”

He made a rude noise. “Becca, look at me.”

I was, smilingly. “Yes?”

The blue of his eyes flared. “You ever kiss him like that?”

And all at once I knew how to fight his power over me. Sharp, seething bitterness cut through the soft fog that had wrapped around my mind. I wiggled out of his arms.

“No.” I answered truthfully. “And I’d appreciate it if you would believe me. I’ve already told you there was nothing between us.” My insides squirmed. “I may have had a crush on him once. But nothing happened.”

I crossed my arms over my racing heart and stared out the windshield. “For your information, today was the first time I have ever been kissed.” I imagined he winced.

“Sorry,” he said softly.

“For what?” The irony of us reprising our conversation from this morning was not lost on me. I was not amused.

He sighed. “I don’t know. I just am.”

“Sorry you kissed me?” I asked nastily.

I did not expect him to chuckle. But he did, low and rich. Like chocolate again.

“No,” he said. “No more secrets, Becca. I’ve wanted to kiss you since I first saw you. It’s been all I could do not to. Then you took us to Strenton’s school and that hellhole in Montana…” he sighed and when I chanced a look, he was rubbing the back of his head, his brown hair ruffled. “Well, I thought you were looking for him. The Speaking sends you after what you desire most.”

“I needed to find Strenton,” I said. “So he can take off his casting.”

“I did not put any spell on you, Becca, I swear it.” He touched my arm. I looked at him. “I swear, Becca. No more secrets, okay? What are you looking for in this house?”

I met his eyes squarely and lied. “I don’t know. I just feel we need to go there.” Until he saw the casting, I could not tell him my plan.

He smiled a little. “Alright.”

“Speaking of secrets, what was between you and Elsie?”

Kevin grimaced and glanced to the backseat. “We dated a few years ago. Nothing serious.”

I sniffed. He chuckled again. Before I could draw away, he pressed a firm kiss to my lips. “Don’t be jealous.”

“I’ll stop when you stop,” I retorted. He grinned at me. I watched him settle himself in his seat uneasily. Where we boyfriend and girlfriend now? How did one go about that? “What are you going to tell Elsie?”

“I said it before.” Kevin said with a hint of exasperation coloring his tone. “What happens between us is none of her business.”

“But if really there’s nothing between you,” I said, “Why don’t you want to tell her?”

Kevin stilled, his hand on the key. “Becca?”


“You need to learn to keep your mouth shut.” He started the car. “Tell her if you want. I don’t care.”

He was angry again. Why? “Why are you angry?”

“I want you to trust me,” he snapped.

“I do!” Almost.

“Then stop asking me about Elsie.”


“I’m done talking about this.” He made a curt gesture. I had opened my mouth to argue when Elsie yawned hugely and sat up, rubbing her face.

“Wow!” she said, yawning again. “How long was I asleep?”

“Not long,” I assured her. I eyed Kevin. He was gripping the steering wheel so tightly the tendons in his arms were standing out.

I sighed and looked out the window at the world passing us by once more. We were back where we started, him angry and hurt, me confused and too inexperienced to figure out how to fix things.

His casting shimmered around me, Jeff’s still fighting his, jealous and gaining strength, the curse pressing closer, reaching, searching.