This image is entitled Withdrawn and is by Caleb Sconosciuto. It is used in compliance of his Creative Commons license.
The story is coming together well, I think, though I should probably shift gears and move into some of the action scenes. My greatest concern right now is that the story is too talky. Not sure what to do about that, since it’s quite an internal tale, but perhaps I’ll be able to fix things during the editing phase. I did have an inspiration out of the blue today to write a scene where Perpetua speaks with one of the goblins and gets a better idea of the whole support structure that would have to be in place to make Earthenhouse’s society-within-a-society work, much less employ secret tunnel diggers.
This scene isn’t it. It’s another in Perpetua and Fergus’ developing relationship. Mostly a sweet diversion that will probably be chopped down in the final draft, but I had fun writing it.
Perpetua pushed past the power crowds and morning traffic and entered the diner. The huffing-puffing waitress gave her a grudging nod of recognition as she entered and Perpetua’s eyes tracked down the counter and spotted Fergus. She couldn’t help but smile, and tried to keep the bounce in her step down to a self-respecting level.
“Hey there,” he said as she came up. “They saved us our booth.”
She looked at him sharply. “We don’t have a booth!”
“We’ve eaten here at this table every weekday for over a month, now,” said Fergus. “You don’t think of this as our booth?”
“We only sit here for, what? Forty-five minutes each day?” said Perpetua. “This place is open round the clock. There must be dozens of people who share this seat every day.”
“I don’t see them,” he said. “Besides, I think it’s romantic.”
“It’s silly.” She picked up a menu. “Is every place we visit more than once in this city going to become ours? Our bookstore? Our library? Our souvenir shop? If only it were true, then I wouldn’t have to work as a secretary.”
“Oh,” he said. He sounded disappointed. He stirred his coffee. “So, should we go somewhere else for breakfast tomorrow?”
“Nah,” she said, looking down the menu. “I like it here in our diner.”
She looked up from the menu, but didn’t risk looking Fergus in the eye. She had said it, hadn’t she? Walked right into it. She could almost hear Fergus grinning at her. She glared at him. He hurriedly put the grin away.
“I’ve got a present for you,” said Fergus. He held out a box wrapped in colourful paper.
She looked up. “What for?”
“What do you mean ‘what for’? Can’t it be ‘just because’?”
She frowned. “Did I miss an occasion? Is it a one month anniversary or something?”
“Relax,” said Fergus. “I just got this for you because I like you.”
“Oh,” she said, and started thinking of what gift to get him.
“Take it, will you?” said Fergus. He shook the box. “It’s getting heavy.”
She grabbed it. It was heavier than she’d expected, and she almost dropped it on her lap. “Wow,” she said. She tore the paper off, and opened the box. “It’s great! It’s—” She stopped when she found herself staring at a smooth rounded shape of brown, shiny stone. She pulled it from its packing. It was as big as two fists, about the size of a latte.
“It’s a statue of a coffee bean,” she said.
Fergus beamed at her. “Yeah, isn’t that cool?”
She found herself smiling. “It’s sweet.” She set it on the bench beside her as the waitress came and placed their usual orders in front of them. Perpetua stared a moment at her scrambled eggs.
“If I want to order something different, I’m going to have to do it as I come in, aren’t I?” she said.
“Looks that way, doesn’t it?” said Fergus. He picked up his fork.