I am so glad that I held off on a February snippets post until March, because now I'm on time for Katie's Snippets of Story and didn't dart ahead. I got a fair amount of writing done in February, some of it good, some of it middling, and some I know will be operated on severely come rewrites. Nevertheless, I've collected snippets from all of it below, and I hope you enjoy the review. Also, you there are changes afoot regarding the face of this blog--the most excellent Bree Holloway is concocting a new face for The Inkpen Authoress. If you stop by and don't recognize your surroundings, don't freak out. We've simply had a makeover. Now for the real stuffs:
“That was entirely useless,” Farnham hissed between teeth clenched in a faux smile as he tied Belch’s lead to his handlebar. “Of course I expected nothing but nonsense from the man. All that ridiculousness about Miss Bertois speaking with him. He said she wore a silky dress ‘just like the picture’. It was wool, as you plainly recall. What a stupid man. I’m afraid he couldn’t testify at a sheep-shearing let alone in court.”
One of the men hailed Farnham. “Any idea where I might find the scoop on the scandal?”
Farnham’s stomach doubled up and bit him. “What scandal?”
“American Actress Meets Frightful Death.”
“Oh, that. Try the police station--that’s where one usually finds justice and horrors evenly mixed.”
“Right. Well,” Jimmy looked her straight in the eyes. “See you soon, then?”
“Soon.” Vivi smiled in reply to his question, feeling that it held at actual inquiry that wanted affirmation. Yes, she wanted to see Jimmy again. Yes, she wanted it soon. She pulled her bike up and Jimmy steadied it while she got on. She peddled off, thanking God under her breath that she was past the waggle-waddle stage of remembering how.
The candle-flames bounced in an erratic dance with some unseen spectre of a draft. Two dried petals from the centerpiece of roses fell to the table with a tick like mouse claws, one right after another so it seemed that a ghost hand had drawn its nails over the wood.
Vivi smiled and folded her hands against her skirt, small, polite, impeccably distant. “My uncle is not at home right now and I’m afraid our butler is away on business, but--”
Michael spread his hands with a free grin. “Butlers on business? What a modernist.”
She bent her head as if into a stiff wind and continued: “But if you would like to wait in the study I am certain he will not be long.”
“If you’re my gaoler, I don’t mind being imprisoned in a room with a door that sticks.”
Vivi watched candlelight gleam on the gold of Michael’s ring like a bit of truth caught in a brass lie.
For some reason she was upset and he thought it quite likely the fault of that young god-like creature in the chair. His chair. He stared at the fellow, unwilling to initiate an acquaintance with a man who could sit in another man’s wing-chair with a smile like that upon his face; Farnham felt he knew the discomfort of dispossessed lords when seeing Americans purchase and dwell in their family castles as if there weren’t years of blood spilled and blood shared connecting a man with his ancestral home.
He prayed he wasn’t one of those tee-totallers who caused such trouble in the world when you wanted to get them out of the way by offering drinks all round.
They had come to the diningroom, so Farnham shook off her arm and set the candletree on the table. The flames gleamed in reflection on the glassy wood like the whirring golden beetles one could sometimes find in the back garden in summertime.
“Look,” Farnham said before he could stop himself, “fairy-lamps.”
He felt the red rush into his cheeks. He ground his jaw. He’d not anticipated how silly it would sound aloud.
She arranged the wedges on a baking stone and slid them into the oven without speaking. Not that she wasn’t going to speak, Farnham thought, but she hadn’t quite decided what she was going to say. He liked that about Vivi: so many women rattled on as if words didn’t cost something; as if people actually had time to listen to three sentences where one coherent thought would have done the job.
“Fifteen for Lillian to arrive at Holly Triad. What would you give him...five minutes to kill her?” Vivi’s face turned red. “I mean, let us presume she was a bit late and he was already in an ill temper. She does or tells him something that sets him off. It mightn’t even take that long.”
“Three minutes, let us say,” Farnham agreed. “What next?”
“Ten minutes for carrying the body the half mile between Holly Triad and its final resting place, do you think?” Vivi asked.
“I’ve never lugged a dead body cross-country,” Farnham admitted.
She was glad he had his hands in his pockets, for then she didn’t have to see his strong, supple fingers--fingers that could close with ease on a woman’s throat and extinguish the life from it. But would he?
His lips trembled as if he was about to speak, then warmed into a chiseled smile. “I suppose you didn’t come to speak about us either.”“No,” she said flatly. “We’ve exhausted that topic.”
Vivi shook the woman’s plump, sweating hand and a pair of keen eyes raked her up and down.“Woy up, then!”
“How do y’do?” Vivi answered, figuring the woman’s odd words were a like manner of greeting.
“Well she don’t look like a fiz-gig and ent that a relief!” Mrs. Froggle said with a wink at Farnham. “Lord knows we’ve got enough of ‘em in the world.”