I've been writing this one for a while now. The idea to do a modern, fairly bit more mundane fantasy romance came to me when the epic fantasy I'd been writing just seemed to bog me down a bit too much. I'm only on Chapter 2, but I've already a grand sense of where this novel is headed.
A small portion of the Novel is below.
A Tristian Caldwell Novel
He pulled the large stack of cases toward him along his desk, smiling to himself: He’d just gotten off the phone with the D.A.’s office – they were looking into his track record, liked what they saw. His smile never wavered as he took his eyes off his current cases and stared around the cozy office he’d been given upon his promotion to contract lawyer. Yes, he’d done quite well for himself, he thought, eyeing the dark green silken wallpaper, the dark brown panels just below them that lined the smug office. Of course, atop this wallpaper sat an assortment of accomplishments he’d been sure to work hard to acquire; everyone knew he was a shoe in for partner someday, but if the D.A. stepped in first…well, he couldn’t be blamed for weighing his options.
It was true that Mason & Bennett, the law firm in which he’d made his cozy housings, had been failing to notice his long running streak of solved cases, and all in favor of Angela, the none-too bright associate while Derek Bennett and Patricia Mason ruled the firm with iron fists. Of course, it helped that they were sleeping together – a fact they were none to discreet about. At least to his eyes.
He’d made the split-second decision just moments before to head over to the local D.A.’s office and accept their offer – if, and only if his work was not identified here. But until then….
He sighed, scribbling signatures across papers, preparing to end the day and get home to bad food and even worse television, when his secretary's voice rang painfully loud and clear through the phone’s speaker.
“Mr. Caldwell, there’s a woman here to see you.”
A woman? he thought as he quickly thumbed through his file of appointments for the day. No, he’d seen everyone he was meant to, save for Mrs. Grey who’d opted for a phone conversation instead of the usual in-person confrontation. He smiled briefly for he’d made quite a bit working through that case with Mrs. Grey: she’d suspected her husband was cheating on her and wanted to be absolutely sure she had a case against him should she ever take him to court; a case she’d wasted no words expounding upon the moment he’d picked up the phone.
He pushed the black button and said, “Really, Abby? I’ve no more appointments for today; does this woman want to set an appointment for a later date? I’m just about to wrap up here.”
There was silence as he released the button and waited for a response, his mind walking through who the mysterious caller could be. He was well known throughout New York, he had been caught on camera after winning a big case or several across news stations within the state, this caller could have been anyone. Anyone with a cheating husband, anyone with a family feud, anyone with any problems at all. So who could this mysterious caller be – and at (he chanced a glance at the old Victorian clock on the wall above the door) ten o’clock pm?
And then the silence was broken with Abby’s terse voice saying, “Uh…she’s not an appointment, Mr. Caldwell – she’s a walk-in—” Click.
He pushed the button again, mind racing. Why was Abby suddenly so tense? “A walk-in….” He couldn’t take a walk-in now. “Listen, Abby, I can’t take another client tonight, tell this woman she’ll have to call my office tomorrow to set up an appointment—”
His mahogany door swung open, causing him to jump up, his finger sliding off the intercom button. The force of the door seemed to reverberate around the smug office, the leather chair where he sat behind his black desk, staring upon the intruder in awe.
A tight red dress clung to every curve along the slender body and as she sauntered forward, a most forlorn Abby behind her mumbling rapid apologies into the air, she reached into a black shoulder bag and dug from it what looked to be two rather old pa-pers.
Slamming the dog-eared, slightly yellowed sheets down on his desk with a well manicured hand, she looked up into his black eyes and in them he saw fear, tremendous fear, but also what looked like the faintest glimmer of hope. And as they stared at each other, he realized her pink lips had been moving: “Take these. Take them and run. They are coming.”
And before he could call her back, or say a word at all, she had turned on a red heel, and had stepped briskly from the room, her long raven hair flying out behind her before she disappeared behind the dark door that had closed with a slam just as fierce as the one she had caused when entering.
Abby stepped forward immediately, for she had remained near the door watching everything with anxious eyes, and she reached a hand for the old papers upon the dark desk. “I’m so sorry, Mr. Caldwell...she just barged in...before I knew what she was doing, she was already walking toward your office—” she said quickly before he placed a hand upon an arm to still her.
“That won’t be necessary, Ms. Ellis.”
“She looked genuinely scared,” he said, eyeing the older woman seriously, the image of her green eyes never leaving his mind. “I owe it to her to see what has her so rattled, don’t I?”
Her lips pursed at his words and then understanding seemed to line her light blue eyes. “Genuinely scared? She was downright rude, barging in here without setting an ap-pointment—”
“Abby, Abby, please,” he said quickly, ceasing what was sure to be a tirade on what was right and what was wrong. “Just let me see what she has left,” he jerked the papers out of her unwilling hands, “and see if she was being serious or just ‘downright rude.’”
Her short fingers relaxed as they now clutched air, and she sighed impatiently. “Cases like this you don’t need, Tristian,” she said crossly, straightening the sleeves on her blouse.
“Maybe so,” he said with a small smile, as she gave a last disapproving look towards the papers in his hands. She returned the small smile, although grudgingly, and stepped from the desk, sure to tell him she was leaving for the night and he would be smart to do so as well.
As the door closed, quietly this time, he sank slowly back into his chair and, mind filled with the image of the mysterious woman still, he straightened the dog-eared papers as best he could and stared.
There were no words upon the first page...well as far as he could make out, for there were words, somehow, Gaelic, he guessed. They were faint and looked hand-written, scrawled haphazardly over a symbol that seemed to filled the page.
It was a sort of seal, as far as he could tell, done in thick black ink that bled through the thin page, it was a circle filled with all sorts of weird symbols and designs, once again, he assumed, to be Gaelic.
“Take these, take them and run. They are coming.”
Her frantic voice echoed through his mind as he thought of what he was to do with a piece of strange paper, and what it was the woman was there for. Estranged husband threatening to kill her for...what? These flimsy bits of old paper? He was ready to believe anything, such were the number of strange cases he’d seen over his long, lucrative career. But this, two bits of ancient paper with no explanation except for a cryptic warning?
Perhaps her safety was in danger. With this thought, a most uncomfortable sensation settled itself into his stomach, and he hesitated briefly before picking up the phone and punching in the numbers with three of his fingers.
He set the receiver to his ear and waited until the gruff voice said, “Jesus, Caldwell. It’s damn near eleven. Ever heard of a curfew?”
He disregarded these cynical words and said calmly, “Listen John, a woman just barged into my office – it was like fire was on her ass. I need you to tail her – see if she’s being followed.”
“Jesus,” he said again, although the note of cynicism had gone, “you get her name? Description?” And Tristian could hear the man scratching around a desk to grab any materials he could get his hands on.
He waited but a minute before the commotion on the other end stopped before he said, “Tall, about five-seven, though the heels must’ve added about three inches or so, so scratch that. Five-five. She was wearing a red dress that stopped at her thighs, dress had thin straps over each shoulder—”
“A prostitute,” John said at once, interrupting Tristian’s description.
“No, no, I don’t think she was. Prostitutes don’t generally waltz into my office without waving around a stack of cash first – this one went straight for these old sheets of paper,” he said, tapping the dark circle filled with symbols. “And at any rate she looked terrified. Told me to take the papers – to take them and run.”
There was a moment of thoughtful silence on the other end of the phone, and then he said, “She warned you. That can only mean two things, Trist. One, you got yourself a woman in some real serious trouble, we can be talking anywhere from gangs to the mafia.”
“That did cross my mind,” he admitted.
“Or,” the voice went on as though Tristian hadn’t said a word, “this is some sort of set up to lure you to some place on one of those papers, kill you, and take your wallet.”
He shook his head wearily. “Okay, John. Number one sounds the most plausible at this point. And besides there’s nothing on these papers, just a jumbled mess of some old language. Looks Gaelic....”
“Yeah...” he said distractedly, moving aside the paper with the dark symbol to stare upon the second. Here were the words he’d been looking for. “Look. John, I’m going have to call you back....”
“What? Anything else happen?”
“No,” he said quietly, dark eyes scanning the page quickly, “no, it’s just...I may have found something more. I’ll call you when I’m sure. Stay by your phone.”
“Okay, Caldwell,” John said, stifling a yawn. “Can’t promise I’ll be up too late. Working on this case for this woman – wants me to tag some ne’er-do-well asswipe that’s been bothering her. Name’s Sylvia Gallagher – comes from some old family in power somewhere in Ireland or something. Big money. Big case.”
“Yeah,” Tristian said, no longer listening. “‘Bye, John.”
There was a click and the dial tone buzzed in his ear. He slowly placed the phone back on its stand and retraced his steps, starting from the beginning:
If you are reading this, you have been chosen. The attached document is a seal in itself, a tracker to find others, others like you. Others with the gift.
Take the seal to Aiden. He can help.
There was nothing else.
Rubbing a hand over his mouth he continued to stare upon the page for minutes more, not understanding any of it, before he abruptly folded both papers, stuffed them in his briefcase, and, ignoring the stack of folders upon his desk that had never been touched, rose from the chair and headed toward his door, quite prepared to head home to his bad television and even worse food.
For surely, a strange note given to him by a mysterious, beautiful woman was not worth a second thought; he’d dealt with stranger things after all.