We had a good evening, Erin and I. After work, Erin picked me up and we spent some time in Chapters sharing coffee, before heading out for a restaurant and being impressed at how much of a restauranteering day Valentine’s Day has become. Or perhaps it was just Friday.
I picked up Erin’s gifts at Chapters: two books of poetry. They were strongly suggested by her as a more romantic gift than what I originally suggested: a fish. A couple of months ago, Erin bought a fish tank and three goldfish to entertain Gus, our cat, and she and Gus have derived great pleasure in our secondary pets. I thought I’d add one to the bunch: a nice algae eater, who’d take care of the buildup of green algae on the front of the aquarium.
Poetry it was.
Erin’s present was more subtle. She’s editing Fathom Five for me, which I very much appreciate. She really leant a lot of sparkle to Rosemary and Time and I look forward to what she can do to my second story.
Here’s a sample of Fathom Five with Erin’s revisions. In this scene, Peter is taking Rosemary out for pizza in a sort-of, not-really, kind-of date…
“So, what’s the occasion?” asked Rosemary.
Peter blinked. “What do you mean?”
“It’s Tuesday. Pizza on Tuesday makes me wonder what’s up.”
“Nothing’s up. Can’t I take my friend out to pizza whenever I want?”
“I suppose.” They paused as Luigi cut in, delivering drinks. Rosemary sipped her soda. “Not like I have any other dates.”
Peter frowned at her. “What do you mean?”
“Well, look at me. Nobody’s lined up to date me.”
Peter snorted. He couldn’t help himself. Rosemary glared at him. “It’s not that funny.”
“No, you’re wrong,” said Peter. “You’d be a great date.”
Now Rosemary snorted. “Come on, I’m a geek. A short geek! A short geek with glasses! A short fat geek with—”
“You’re not fat!”
“What? You’re not going to argue with the rest of it?”
She rubbed her right palm idly. Peter saw the blue spot like a birthmark at the centre of it, the only sign of the adventure they’d shared months before.
I’ve faced death with her, he thought. I can face telling her the truth. Can’t I?
“Look…” he hesitated a moment, before deciding to dive in. “You’re pretty. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. So you’re not thin like a model, consider yourself lucky. You have nice cheeks, hair I could run my fingers through all day, and dreamboat hazel eyes, which your glasses magnify nicely, by the way. You’re intelligent, kind, you laugh at my jokes…”
He stopped when he saw Rosemary giving him a look that was equal parts pleasure, shock, embarrassment and panic, and tipping towards panic. He was also aware that the noise level in the restaurant had dropped several decibels.
He coughed and took a sip of soda. “Well. Yeah. That’s what I think.”
Rosemary flushed and looked away. “Thanks,” she said quietly. She curled up into herself for a moment, and then gave Peter a quick look. “Really?”