This week’s contribution from the Blurb File is a piece that takes place in Ireland that’s fairly high up on the list of projects to tackle next. All work is, of course, copyrighted and subject to change, use, etc. So don’t steal. The title is Wanderlust.
The moodiness of the sea suited her temperament, Aislin decided. Too restless to stay in the house, she shouldered her violin case and headed for the bluffs. Spurts of hot anger had her climbing quickly, despite her skirt, pushing upward with unrestrained violence.
The gall of that woman.
Aislin hadn’t expected open arms or an easy transition when she met her grandmother. But she had at least expected civility. Not outright denial. Aislin was beginning to think that the charge left to her mother and then to her by her late grandfather was an impossible task. Reconciliation indeed.
And yet she felt compelled to carry out his wishes.
Here were the roots she’d always longed for. The past and family history she’d never known.
Pensive, she pulled out her violin and began to play her heart.
* * *
Liam Gallagher couldn’t work to save his soul. He’d been alternately staring at the same page of dialogue or out the open window for more than an hour. He tried to tell himself he didn’t believe in writer’s block. But damned if he didn’t have it. The few lumbering lines he’d composed had been stilted and flat and had been deleted almost as soon as they were finished.
When the plaintive strains of music reached him on the faint breeze that stirred his mother’s lace curtains at the window of the study, Liam gave up all pretense of working and sat back to listen for a few moments. The music was haunting and somehow heartbreaking.
Bane went to the door and scratched to go out and investigate, so Liam slipped on his boots and followed the big black dog at a brisk walk. He’d already bounded to the trail at the bottom of the cliffs and back twice before Liam reached him. Bane wasn’t inclined to climb the rocky trail alone, as it was there he’d been callously abandoned as a puppy, unable to scrabble down. There that Liam had found him, shivering and half starved. And kept him, though God knew he hadn’t needed a dog.
Together they wound their way through the rocks, toward the top of the bluffs. As they climbed, the music grew louder. It was angry now, echoed by the thunder of the sea on the rocks below.
Bane had stopped at the head of the trail, quivering. When Liam cleared the top, he stopped and stared too.
He could see only her back, auburn hair streaming behind her as she bent and swayed with the passionate fury of her song. Her skirt snapped in the wind and plastered to a body that was petite and soft and made of undulating curves. Liam eased down on a rock to watch her.
She played her instrument with her entire body, each note apparently ripped from her soul. Liam was fascinated. She was talented, no question about that. And she brought something to the music that went so far beyond the mere notes that it reached down into the soul of the listener and plucked heartstrings there. As the fury gave way and melted into a wistful hope he was all but undone.
What sort of woman climbed a mountain in a skirt to play a solitary concert to the sea?
Her bow slowed and shuddered to a halt, the last dying notes being swallowed by the wind. She lowered the violin to her side, shoulders heaving with exertion. She stared out at the waves for a long time, and it never occurred to Liam to make her aware of his presence or to slip away unnoticed. He simply sat.
She turned, obviously intending to put her instrument away and let out a strangled scream, reflexively clutching the violin to her chest as if it were some sort of shield.
“I’m sorry,” said Liam rising. “I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
She edged backward.
“I promise I’ll not harm you.” He held out his hands in surrender. “It’s only you drew me up here with your song. And it didn’t seem right to speak and break the spell.”
Slowly, she lowered the violin to its case and continued to watch him with wary, curiously slanted green eyes. The mouth was full and wide, the sort of mouth a man took his time to savor and sip. The softness he’d observed before didn’t reach her face. She looked strained. Her cheeks were just a bit too sharp, the nose just a bit too snub for classic beauty. But by Christ, she had an arresting face. He couldn’t take his eyes off it.
“Are you in the habit of sneaking up on strangers, then?” she asked at last.
Her voice was a curious mix of accents. Irish inflection with undertones of something like a southern drawl. He hadn’t expected a Yank. If that was, in fact, what she was.
“As a rule, no.”
Bane chose that moment to go make friends. He approached the woman with a wagging tail and pushed his head up under her hand to be petted. Most people were somewhat put off by his size, but she didn’t appear to be bothered. Rather, she scratched amiably behind his ears and under his chin, murmuring to him in a soft voice. When he rose up and planted his front paws on the woman’s shoulders, she threw back her head and laughed, letting him give her a thorough tongue bath. Liam was perfectly mortified at his dog’s poor manners. He crossed the few yards to them in moments and grabbed the pooch by the collar.
“Down, Bane. Mind your manners you big galumph. It isn’t polite to paw a lady.”
She turned eyes still lit with laughter toward Liam, and he forgot whatever it was he’d been about to say.
“What sort of dog is he?” she asked.
“We’re not entirely sure. We think he’s a cross between an Irish wolfhound and a wooly mammoth.”
She laughed again and all the angles of strain melted from her face. Her smile was radiant.
“Why is he called Bane?”
“Because he was the bane of my existence for quite some time. He annoyed me into keeping him, always hanging about the house and looking soulful. I couldn’t handle those pitiful eyes anymore, so I let him stay.”
She smiled and leaned down to cuddle the dog, who wagged his entire back end and groaned in ecstasy.
“I’m Liam,” he said, as an afterthought.
“I’m Aislin,” she said. “And I think I’m in love with your dog.”
“You’re a soft touch then. And he knows it. You’ve a friend for life now.”
“He’s welcome at my door anytime.”
“Careful, he’ll follow you home,” Liam grinned. “With that adoring doggie grin, he might follow you all the way to America.”
“He doesn’t have so far to go as that. I live just beyond that ridge,” said Aislin gesturing.
“Edan Casey’s old place?” asked Liam in surprise.
“I hadn’t realized it was for sale.”
“It wasn’t. I inherited it. I’m his granddaughter.”
Well now, wasn’t that interesting, as Edan Casey had supposedly died without children.
Liam studied her for a moment.
“You’ve his eyes. And his love for music.”
“You knew him?” she asked, excitement lightening her face.
“Oh, aye. We’re in the way of being neighbors. He used to read my scribbles as a child. I suppose he’s part of why I chose to write.”
“You’re a writer?”
“Aye. I write to please myself mostly. Just as your grandda used to play his music.”
Hope you enjoyed! Next week I have another blurb from this same piece to put up, so for once you’ll get to see more of the same characters. Please post links to your snippet with Mr. Linky so we can all enjoy!