I’m so excited for book2! I’ve put so much work into telling the story I really want to tell with this book. I’m getting really close to the editing stage and I wanted to share another one of my favorite scenes.
Y’all know I’m a complete tea addict by now right? Right, hehe anyway enjoy!
Mark couldn’t get his father awake and moving fast enough, he had gotten up at six-fifty-five on the dot, getting ready in a flash and waiting outside his parents’ room with his practice sword, until January trudged out. His graying father stood in the doorway a little startled, blinking confused then smirking. “You know we have an hour right? And I need to get some tea before I can function.”
He playfully pushed Mark out of the way, and yawned as his feet shuffled slowly across the carpet. Mark laughed, January’s hair was insanely frizzy in the mornings, he normally tamed it down before emerging, and Mark didn’t know why he didn’t just cut it. But then, Mark was also growing out his hair, and he could see the fun in fighting with it.
January set a silver kettle upon the median of the sink and filled it, almost falling back asleep as the sound of water lulled him away. Every movement January made was slow and Mark wanted to scream, run out into the car, and drive there himself. This was so frustrating. January sat down at the kitchen table and checked his phone which was left there every night.
Mark glanced over to the kettle on the stove, hating it, wishing the water would just boil faster. Between his father and the kettle, he was going to lose his mind. The stove wasn’t even on! Stifling a growl, Mark left his father to check his phone and wandered closer to the stove, just to turn it on for his half-present dad. Just as he touched the knob, Mark hesitated, reminded of the fire in his heart and he smiled a little.
That’s it… I’m the most impatient person I know! He pressed his empty palm to the side of the kettle and very slowly raised the temperature of the metal without setting himself on fire.
A gentle vibration started to roll around inside the aluminum, steadily growing faster but Mark didn’t really notice the heat. He was used to temperatures like this, almost all the time. So when it started rising he was just focused on making sure he didn’t create any flames that would potentially set off the smoke detector. Suddenly the kettle started to whistle loudly, the steam coming out faster than it ever did when January boiled it naturally, and his father jumped.
It took a second for January to realize what Mark was doing and hastily, Mark reeled away letting the kettle calm down as he hastily got out. “Sorry… I just wanted it to go faster!”
Perfectly bemused, January fetched a mug. “Well if I could get the water to boil that fast every day…” he trailed off, measuring his tea and pouring.
Mark stepped back as the smells of the black tea rose. He wanted to say something snide, like “You could get an electric kettle,” but he held his tongue. He had to stay in his dad’s good graces for now.
January put the faintest sweetness in his tea, stirred it around and removed the loose tea before huddling over the mug at the table, and drinking it slowly. Mark couldn’t make himself do anything other than stare, too impatient to move on. “Do you ever put milk in your tea?” he forced himself to ask.
Perking up and slowly becoming more awake, January shrugged. “Sometimes… why do—”
“Keller gave me tea with milk in the ASH,” Mark interrupted. “It was good, so I was curious.”
“Do you want some tea?” January offered, ready to get up.
Mark clung to the wooden sword, wanting to get out of here more, but being impatient wouldn’t make eight o’clock come around any faster. Pressing his lips together, he nodded shakily.
January lit up, a warmth in his cheeks Mark hadn’t really seen before, when his son showed interest in the one hobby or collection he held onto. As always, everything January did was habit. Mark set aside his practice sword, January took down another mug, and he tenderly showed him how to prepare loose tea. January had a collection of infusers, it was basically the one inspired Christmas gift he ever received, a new infuser. He set the fine sieve in the mug so its handles sat over the rim and he measured the black, wrinkly, dried leaves.
“You only need a teaspoon, I don’t really measure, just eyeball it,” he demonstrated. The hot steam clouded Mark’s face as he fill the mug. “You can decide on the strength you like, but I’ll make it my way this time, sound good?”
“Okay,” Mark managed softly.
January pushed around the leaves with a spoon, coaxing them to open up, and adding a very small amount of golden sugar to the cup. Mark could see him basing it on the smell and the color, sensing the moment the tea was perfect and not timing it. He removed the leaves, letting the infuser drip slowly until all of the golden tea had strained out, then he set the hot mug into Mark’s hands.
Once more the hot ceramic didn’t bother Mark, his Shadow made it easy, and he sat down at the kitchen table with his dad, to sink into that cup of tea. It was darker and not as creamy as what he had tasted in the ASH, but it was smooth, and he could see why January collected it. He was glad for it, with the hot tea absorbing his thoughts, the time passed a little quicker, and by seven-forty-five, Marissa emerged with the aim of coffee.
That certainly motivated January to get out of there. He downed the last of his tea, used as few words as possible to explain their plans, then ducked out into the cold garage.
Finally! Mark let out in the Realm, stuffing the wooden sword into the car with him.
Mark and his father have a difficult relationship. January is distant, depressive, and non-assertive making it very hard for Mark to find any connection with him. But after Mark found out he’s a Shadow he can tell his dad is trying really hard to connect. January has a deteriorating memory, he’s only 41 and he clings to things to make sure he won’t forget them, but he can’t remember anything before he was 18. With all the Shadows in his life now, Mark thinks maybe he can help get his father’s memories back somehow.
Editing on LC starts next weekend, and to keep myself from going crazy while I hand over my child to my lovely editor, I have already started work on the cover of LC, and in the process I’m getting ideas to redesign the cover of FH which I told myself not to do… but apparently my art mojo don’t listen. Is FH getting a new cover?
The LC cover is coming along nicely, though that pose took me forever as usual. I can’t have any real dates yet but I’m hoping to have it print ready by July. This is going to be a fun ride! Even better than the first book.