This is what our window looked like when we woke up Saturday morning. A thick layer of frost obscured our view of the trees and river beyond so I knew I'd be wearing long pants and a jacket for my LSR. It was cool enough that I wished I'd packed my running gloves as well, but I still had a terrific run. I only did 14k up the river and back but it felt much better than last weekend's long run. I kept it relatively short because I knew I'd be joining my friend, David, for another 10k this morning. It was cool again today but the sun shone brightly and David and I talked non-stop so I thoroughly enjoyed it.
On the writing front, my story is still coming along well. With luck, I'll top 31,000 words before I crawl into bed tonight - so I'll have a small cushion going into next week. There are thirteen days of writing ahead so, as long as I don't run into a wall or suffer a major technological glitch, I should succeed in reaching my goal of writing 50,000 words by November 30th. Of course, that may not be the end of it since I'm pretty sure I won't be finished telling the story by then, and in any case will have tonnes of revision to do before I can refer to all those words as a "novel". However, I'm determined not to think about that for now. For the next thirteen days, the only thing I want to worry about it writing 50,000 words.
My one disappointment this weekend was that I didn't ride my motorcycle as much as planned. I kept hoping it would warm up so riding would feel as comfortable as it did last weekend but, alas, it wasn't to be. I did go for a short ride yesterday afternoon but, despite layering up, got cold quickly and concluded I'd better head back to the house before my hands got too numb to operate the clutch and brake levers. When the temperatures dropped even further today, I decided to give riding a miss altogether. Here's hoping next weekend's is a bit warmer so that I can get out at least once more before the bike goes away for the winter.
In closing, here's another snippet from the story, written over weekend. Hope you enjoy it!
Kate opened the door smiling, and waved him inside as she turned to head back to the kitchen immediately.
“Sorry, I just need to go turn the scallops over. Don’t worry about your shoes. Just hang your coat in the closet to the left and follow me to the kitchen when you’re ready.”
“Scallops? I thought you said you were making pasta.”
“I did. I am. But, in honour of company, I decided to pull a few scallops out of the freezer to throw in the sauce. Do you mind? I know not everyone likes them.”
“Mind? Absolutely not. It smells great and I love scallops.” He’d hung his coat in the closet, noticing as he did that there didn’t seem to be any men’s coats or jackets hanging there.
“Here’s the wine,” he said walking into the kitchen. “I wasn’t sure what to get so I asked the guy at the store for advice and he recommended this one. It’s from the Valley but he swears it’s good.” She smiled, took the wine and examined the label.
“He’s right. It is good - one of my favourites, in fact - so thank you. I know some people look down on local wines but they’re much better than they used to be, and it’s nice to support local producers. Several of them have won national and international prizes in fact.”
“Are you into wine then?” he asked.
“No, but I like to drink it and one of my regular clients is the NS Vintners’ Association so I’ve picked up a fair bit of information along the way.”
She set the scallops aside and stirred cream into a pan of sliced sweet peppers, black olives and string beans. A second pot of water boiled on the stove.
“Anything I can do to help?” MacIntyre asks.
“Just set the table, if you don’t mind. There’s cutlery in the top drawer to your left, and plates and glasses in the cupboard above it.” The dining room is small but nicely decorated. There’s a round dark dining table with four chairs and a matching sideboard. A tall bookshelf in one corner holds two shelves of books and a collection of pottery and photographs. On the walls, there are several pieces of original artwork in vibrant shades of red, blues and greens. He takes a two placemats off the sideboard, lays them on the table, and arranges the dishes and cutlery. When he returns to the kitchen, she has just dropped a handful of linguini into the pot on the stove and is putting the finishing touches to a simple green salad.
“All set,” he reports.
“Great. Thanks. Sorry there’s nothing to munch on before supper but I wasn’t planning on company this week and I hate stuff going off before I get around to eating it.”
“No problem. It’s a treat having a home-cooked meal.”
“You don’t cook?”
“I do, actually, but it’s not much fun cooking for one.”
“No. I know what you mean. I feel the same.”
“So I guess that means both of us are single?” he says raising an eyebrow.
“Ha. I guess. At least, I am. You?”
“Divorced. A couple of years now. But, in the interest of full disclosure, she had good reasons for dumping me.”
“Now, that’s interesting.”
“I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a man say a woman had good reasons for dumping him. May I ask what you did to deserve it?”
“The usual, I guess. Worked too hard, took her for granted, behaved selfishly, did too little to help around the house - and left the toilet seat up, of course.”
“Of course”, she says dryly. “Is there anything else I should know?”
“No, I don’t think so”, he replies, feeling a slight pang of guilt. He doesn’t need to mention Jocelyne, does he? They’re not really a couple - more like friends with benefits. At least, that’s the way he thinks of it, though maybe she sees things differently. He supposed it was time they talked about it.
“Do you have kids, for instance?”
“I do, actually. A daughter - Lindsey. She’s 23.”
“Does she live here in the city?”
“Yeah. She’s got a cute little apartment in the Hydrostone and works with an event management company. It’s great having her so close. What about you? Any kids?”
“No, I was married years ago - very briefly - but we never had children - which was a good thing as it turned out. My ex wouldn’t have made much of a father. The pasta’s ready. Why don’t you put the salad and bread on table and have a seat? I’ll bring the pasta in as soon as it’s dished up.”
Over supper, they talked about work, running, and the places they’d traveled. The both loved Ireland, and were lukewarm about Germany. Paris was fantastic. When they’d finished, MacIntyre washed the dishes and Kate dried.
“Tom, if you can’t say anything, I understand, of course, but can you tell me more about how Patrick died? The newspapers haven’t been very specific, other than to say where his body was found.”
“You’re right, Kate, I can’t say much - mostly because we don’t know much at this point. He died as a result of a nasty blow to the head. It looks like he was murdered but we don’t know who did it or why, and so far we haven’t got much in the way of leads to go on.”
“What was he even doing in town?”
“His daughter tells us he was here to finalize his divorce but we’re still confirming that.”
“I see,” Kate said thoughtfully.
“Well, I’m just surprised, that’s all. I wouldn’t have thought he’d need to be here as long as he and Heather agreed on how to divide up their property - but maybe it was an excuse to visit Maddie too.”
“That makes sense.” Kate yawned and MacIntyre looked at his watch realizing how late it was.
“Sorry, Kate. I’m a bit of a night owl, so I just didn’t realize how late it was. It’s time I was hitting the road and let you get some sleep.”
“No worries, Tom. I enjoyed having you but you’re right. It’s a bit late and I’m afraid I’m fading.”
She walked with him to the front door. For a moment, he stood with his hand on the doorknob wondering if he should kiss her goodnight. Before he’d made up his mind, she put her hands on his arms, stood on her tiptoes and pressed her lips to his softly, then stepped back to stand looking up at him, her head tilted to one side quizzically.
“What?” he asked.
“You seem like a really decent guy, Tom.”
“Decent, eh? I’m not sure how to take that. Would a 'decent' guy ask if he could have another kiss goodnight?” She smiled.
“Actually, that’s exactly what a decent guy would do.”
“Well, then, may I?”
“You may,” she said laughing and stepped into his arms. This time, they kiss more slowly.
“I’d like to see you again, Kate.”
“I’d like that too, Tom.”
“Good. Then I’ll call you - soon.”Stepping out into the cold night air, he closed the door behind him and breathed deeply. What a great evening, he thought to himself. The woman’s fearless, smart, gorgeous - and she can cook. Don’t screw this up, Tommy boy.