Just getting started, but here’s a taste of what you’ll find in Andante, Book 2 of the Muse series.
Thanks for reading!
“Ouch! Do you have to hold my hand so tight?”
Theo was almost beside himself. First of all, to have an excuse to go to an actual post office and mail an actual letter that he wrote longhand made him giddy. He even smelled the stamp. I could just imagine if they’d had wax seals here at the Winter Rain central office. That fact alone may have rendered him almost orgasmic. Now that he had finished writing, folding, stuffing and licking, he was ramroding his way to the mailslot on the wall, apparently trying to separate my shoulder from its housing in the process. I waited until he’d played out his manic moment and had more calmly walked outdoors into the cold pink sunshine to give him my inquiring look.
“Ah yes, of course,” he smiled. “'What the bloody hell are you on about now, Theo?' Am I surmising your question correctly?”
“Basically, yes,” I deadpanned back, almost completely able to hide my smile. He offered me his arm and we began the short walk back home.
“Oh but this is a good one, my dear Elma. We are about to embark on the phenomenon of time travel!”
The fact that I simply rolled my eyes spoke volumes about the distance between my worldview six months ago and my worldview today. “Cool,” was all I said. Theo patted my hand and took that as his cue to launch forth into a brand-new Theo Talk.
“I believe it was about three years or so into my work centered on the science of the occult that I had a knock on my door at the hour of half three in the morning--insultingly enough, after a night of particularly raucous drinking with a few blokes from University. A celebration of what I don’t quite remember ... perhaps the fact that we had blushing young livers. But I digress. I hobbled the door and opened it to find a complete stranger looking at me--a short, skinny chap dressed in breeches and a lab coat, with the most bizarre round lenses affixed to his head. Very like flight goggles, really.
“Without pause, he stuck out his hand to me in greeting, an enormous smile plastered across his face, and introduced himself as Dieter. No surname, just Dieter. Then he passed into the house, sat on my favorite armchair and removed his shoes."
“Was that normal in 18...”
“...73, and no, not normal at all. Rather bizarre, actually, as I'd thought at the time. Over a cup of tea, Dieter proceeded to tell me that he’d come from the year 1912, had heard a great deal about me, and had voyaged there, to my flat on that day and at that time, to beg my collaboration on his time travel work.”
“Indeed. It would seem that, in the area of paranormal science, I was at that time ‘the shit,’ as is so coarsely said today. But there you have it. Fast forward a few months, and Dieter and I had become quite good friends and scholarly partners.”
My nose was getting cold, but I could feel the heat of the cedar logs in the fireplace already, and clearly smelled the burning cedar, so I knew we were close to the den. “He just time-traveled back and forth?”
“Actually, yes. He bent the continuum quite often, as it happened, so the opportunity to work together presented itself without much trouble.”
“Why always to that place and time? I mean, not for nothing, I think that if I had a time machine I’d be branching out a bit more beyond Victorian England. No offense, mate,” I winked, and patted him on the butt.
“You minx,” he purred, and bussed me on the mouth, nuzzling me with his beard. “He seemed to have a particular reason for coming back again and again. What specifically I never did ascertain. All well for us, though, I must say. We had a ripping good time. I last saw him in ... blimey can it be?”
He stroked the hair on his chin thoughtfully, eyes to the sky as if squinting at a giant celestial number line. “We last saw one another shortly before I left London for Morocco ... I believe that was 1901 ... my dear goodness." He smiled a faraway smile for a second, eyes still focused in the direction of that number line, and then brought them back to rest on me.
“But allow me to skip to the end, as it were,” he continued cheerfully as I fished for my keys. “If we need to learn the root of Roux’s allegiance to this rather dastardly entity, I believe a gentleman with a time machine may be just the thing to give us a nudge, hey?”
The moment his idea came flying into my head, I laughed out loud. Learning how to take down Roux and her network by going to the source? This could be the best idea he’s had in the current century. “Theo, that is--you are--BRILLIANT!”
He gave a courtly little bow. “Now I must caveat your excitement by advising you that I do not know when we may expect to hear from dear Dieter. He currently lives thirty or so years in the future. The clever little shit acquired a post box for himself in New York City back at the turn of the century. He uses it to this day ... or that day in which he currently resides, rather ... so bloody confusing. I’ve just now sent a letter there requesting him to meet us on this day at our address.”
“I don’t get it.”
Theo just shrugged, patted my hand that held his arm, and we walked in cozy silence the rest of the way back to the den. Theo kissed me again as we stomped off the residual snow from our boots on the front porch, and then held the door for me to walk under his arm into the house. As I cleared his bicep, I saw a man in a lab coat and oversized flip-up sunglasses sitting on the sofa in his bare feet. He was smiling.