Saturday, November 9, 2019
Hello, my chuckaboos! Welcome back to the magical #steampunk riverboat, the The Delta Pearl.
I have a chatty intro this weekend. Most of it is rooted in National Novel Writing Month, so that’s were I’ll begin.
This is my eighth year to participate in “NaNoWriMo.” Horror of horrors I’m behind on my average daily word count! (Hey, I saw you roll your eyes.) Everyone tells me “You always say that, Teagan, but you always manage to do it.” Okay, I admit that. However, the only NaNoWriMo novel I have published, the only one I’ve been satisfied enough with is Atonement, Tennessee. (I’ve done the editing version of NaNo for a couple of my published books.) The others await finishing touches… or more.
This year, with my creativity-draining job left behind, I hoped (I mean hope!) to produce another great product, one that doesn’t need extensive rewriting before I’m satisfied with it. You know I’m about to say how my time is being consumed by that, rather than blogging, writing the serial, or cleaning ths house, blah-blah-blah. So, I’ll just say that’s Item-1.
Because of Item-1, I didn’t do the re-write of this chapter of The Delta Pearl. My “item” with that is when I made Émeraude younger, this chapter didn’t work for me any more. I hate to post it that way. I would alter Agate’s participation in this chapter, and let the results be a prank by our mysterious trouble-maker, or maybe Obsidian, or even Onyx. If you want to know what I’m talking about, you’ll have to read below. Oh, also, since I didn’t do the re-write there aren’t any “random things” from readers. Okay– that’s Item-2.
Now to Item-3.
All of my ebooks are now at a pre-holiday sale price! A convenient way for you to see everything at once is this handy “universal link” (all countries) to my Amazon Author Page.
Finally, Item-4. I hope you’ll leave a friendly comment, but I might be slow to reply. I’m also squeezing out some time to head more than an hour north of my home, to a village in the Sierra Blanca mountain range. (You know that is a big challenge to my agoraphobia, so I’m bracing myself. I’m grateful for the friend who is willing to drag me out of my house.) I hope to see some fall colors, but I’m not sure what to expect, since this is my first autumn here.
Now I’m off to “WriMo-mo-mo!” as I like to say — which also explains the video above.
Let’s get back on the riverboat. If you want to review, click the link for Chapter 13 — Agitate.
The Delta Pearl
Chapter 14 — Drink
My bland gaze focused on the swirl of the cream in my tea and the pattern it made after I stopped stirring.
“A sip of that tea will be a step in the right direction, Emmie my dear,” the Cook told me, her Scottish accent particularly strong. “You’ve been moping aboot this auld boat all day. Mibbe you need a hauf of whiskey in that cup of tea. Your sweet sixteen is near enough that you might have a wee nip. Why, if I didn’t know better, I’d think there was a man behind your mood.”
I inadvertently glanced into her eyes. I looked away quickly but she had caught the expression in my gaze.
“Wha— so it is a man that has you skulking. Which of them wankers is it? And what did he do to you? There’s nothing that can cause misery quicker than a man. Still not talking, eh? At least drink your tea,” she urged.
No one could compete with Agate. When she was bent on getting to the bottom of a thing, she had no equal. I drank my tea, making sure I didn’t meet her eyes again.
“I’m not thinking the Captain has hurt your feelings, else I’d have known about it already. If one of the porters or deckhands got a mite too friendly, why I reckon you would have just knocked him one yer own self,” the Cook said in a pondering tone.
She picked up a crystal decanter and made as if to pour some of the whiskey it contained into my tea. I quickly put my hand over the cup.
“Oh, that’s right. You don’t like whiskey. Hows aboot some of that Russian stuff then?” she asked and quickly turned to the liquor cabinet to retrieve a bottle of vodka.
I didn’t try to stop her when she poured a small splash into my cup. One has to choose one’s battles, after all.
“There we go. A little nip-kiss of vodka will do if you won’t have a proper Scotch whiskey. Alright then, so it must be one of the passengers,” Agate supposed.
I dropped my head against the table. The woman was like a snapping turtle — she wouldn’t let go of something until it thundered or the sun went down.
“Agate, please just—” I begged to no avail.
“I wouldn’t put it past that minted Needleman to try and seduce an innocent lass. Rich folk got no respect that way. But he’s a married man, so I know you would have put a stop to that before it started. And it couldn’t be that speccy inventor. Not a little milquetoast like that with his spectacles and all…” her voice trailed away in an obviously leading tone.
I poured more vodka into my tea while she wasn’t looking. After all, it had been her idea in the first place. While the Cook would have found it proper enough for me drink a small, supervised amount of liquor, she would not have approved of the cupful I poured into my tea… or the next cupful.
Agate had figured out my crush. There was no telling what sort of well-intentioned “help” might ensue.
The river seemed angrily rough as I staggered back toward my quarters. Somehow, I managed to take a wrong turn and ended up outside the Chandelier Deck. I paused, feeling most confused.
The unexpected sound of voices behind me caused me to turn. Unfortunately, I moved too fast and my head swam as if the Delta Pearl had been pulled into a whirlpool. Or at least that was how it felt. I stumbled and grabbed the railing.
Maybe that was why the Cook would only have approved the little splash of vodka.
“Oh my goodness! Are you alright?” asked Alison Ritchie.
The runaway socialite was once again in her guise as the boy, Alex Rice. She took one of my arms and her secret paramour, Azalea Morton took my other arm. Between the two of them, they managed to steady me. Sadly, I didn’t think my inebriated state was lost on them. When I hiccupped, there was no longer any doubt.
“I was just… I was just about to… Do something, but I’ve no idea what it was just now,” I told them abashedly.
Azalea started to giggle.
“Your hair is a mess, dear Émeraude,” she told me as she moved a strand that had fallen across my eyes. “I think perhaps you were about to come to our cabin,” she added with another giggle as she stroked my cheek.
“Um, no. That wasn’t it,” I replied in all seriousness, having completely missed her innuendo.
“Come now, Azalea,” Alex/Alison chided her. “That wouldn’t be right. It’s not decent to take advantage of an intoxicated woman.”
Laughter sputtered from my lips as her meaning finally registered.
“Oh no! What kind of governess are you? Ah, I’m sorry. You are merely teasing. Besides, three is a crowd.”
“Well…” Azalea began, but her partner cut off her reply.
Then I saw the Dealer beyond the etched glass doors.
“Oh, that’s it. I needed to see the Dealer,” I replied and hurriedly made my exit.
Unfortunately, I failed to open the doors before trying to go inside and I walked right into them despite the fact that they were closed. A tiny crack appeared at one of the etched designs. The young women hurried forward to open the doors for me, giggling the while. When I was safely inside, they went on their way.
I rubbed a sore spot on my forehead, uncertain why it hurt. Oh yes, the doors. Again, I spotted the tiny crack my noggin made in the glass. I watched in wonder as the Delta Pearl healed the slight damage to her glass.
When I turned back, Jaspe was right beside me. He was damnably quite that one. It startled me. When I gasped I hiccupped again.
“ZAASH paaah,” I began, trying to use his accent. “I’m not sure we should be dancing right now,” I told him when he put a steadying hand to my back. “You’re twirling me around a little too fast.”
“Émeraude, we are not dancing. In fact, we are not moving at all. Is the Cook to blame for your intoxicated state?” he asked, sounding rather put-out.
“No, no. Agate would not do that. You know how proper she is… Or I guess she isn’t all that proper at that. But Agate only gave me tea. You know I don’t like whiskey. She didn’t put any whiskey in my tea. It was the vodka,” I explained.
End Chapter 14
Thanks for reading, my chuckaboos. I hope you’ll leave a comment — and if you want, include an appropriate random thing to go in a future chapter. I will definitely go back to using the things.
Feel free to comment or ask about National Novel Writing Month as well.
I’ll be waiting for you at the steampunk riverboat next time!
Now for the obligatory shameless self-promotion…
Universal link to my Amazon Author Page
Universal link Kindle/e-book A Ghost in the Kitchen
Universal link paperback A Ghost in the Kitchen
USA: Atonement in Bloom
USA: Atonement, Tennessee
(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )
This is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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