I slept in the next day. Being a writer, working from home, and being able to submit work online definitely had its benefits. As long as the work was completed on time, I could set my own schedule and set up my workspace however suited me best. I had no co-workers to distract me with their phone calls, no copiers giving strange errors, and no interruptions due to idle conversation.
Once I got up, I had a long soak in the footed bathtub near my room. It wasn’t lion-footed– it was dragon-footed, and I adored that little detail. I was tempted to look for my enamel paints and add some designs to the side of the tub. Maybe some other time. For now, it’s nice just to be able to soak in the hot water and relax in the quiet. I’d set up my diffuser in the bathroom and had willow-scented oil running through it. The smell eased my mind, and sometimes put me in the mood to write.
I had other things to do before I got to writing, though. After my bath, I called my cellular company from the land-line and switched over to a plan that had more coverage in the mountains. Then I did the last of my unpacking and organizing.
I had just finished a late lunch when the phone rang. It was the land-line. The nearest phone didn’t have caller ID on it, so I was a little surprised by who was on the other end.
“Leila, finally!” a male voice said.
“Your friendly, neighborhood Irish red-head!” the voice replied cheerfully. I could picture him grinning widely; his grin always brightened up the room like sunshine. “Man, you weren’t kiddin’ about the poor reception, were you?”
Killian is basically a cousin of mine, twice removed or something to that effect. He’d been born in Ireland and moved to the States when he was nearly done with high school. He lived down the street from me with his parents and sisters, so we went to school together for a while. I could still hear his Irish accent, though it wasn’t nearly as strong as it had been when we’d first met.
“Did you keep trying my cell phone?” I asked, relaxing back in my chair. This wasn’t one of the cordless phones, so I couldn’t get up to clean the dishes or anything; that was fine, since I was pretty stuffed. “You’re calling the land-line now, so I know you got my e-mail. I did tell you not to bother.”
“Well, I did bother,” he replied. I but he was sticking his tongue out at his phone. “I thought maybe ye’d put a rush on changing yer phone plan.”
I laughed a little then. ” Nah… I just got around to it today. The cell should be back to working once they’re done on their end.”
“I don’ like losin’ touch with ye, Leila,” he said. His tone sounded a little more disappointed than I was used to hearing from him.
“Good to know you care, Killian. So what else is up?”
“Oh… just seein’ how ye like Ol’ Morrigan’s house.”
Morrigan Moss was the relative I’d inherited the house from. “It’s a really cool house,” I told him. “And the location is absolutely gorgeous.”
“Ol’ Morrigan had great taste, didn’t he? I figured ye’d like the place. Is that grandfather clock still tickin’ away?”
“Yeah, it is… Wait, have you been here before?”
“Of course!” Killian said, sounding as though it was completely natural. “Back when great-grandpa Morrigan lived near Limerick, we’d visit him all the time. He’d always let me help him wind that old clock. Then when he moved to the States, we helped him. I think I was in second or third class back then.”
“Wait… but this house is a lot older than that.”
“Yeah,” Killian agreed. “I never said Morrigan was the one who had it built.”
“I don’t remember who it was who had it built, just that it’s always been in the Moss family,” Killian told me. “It’s so cool that Morrigan gave it to ye, Leila!”
I wanted to agree, but I was still feeling a pang of guilt. “Killian… if you spent so much time with Morrigan, why didn’t he will the house to you?”
“Hey, ye don’t think I’m havin’ hard feelings about the house do ye? First off, I’m genuinely happy for ya, Leila. Second, I can’t do what I do up in the mountains. Third… what was yer question? Oh, right, well I don’t know his reasoning.”
“Speaking of what you do for a living, how has the concert scene been?”
“It’s been great,” he said. “We’re doin’ ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ in a few weeks.”
“That’s fantastic! Wow, Killian, that’s one of my favorites. I’ll have to pull it up online later while I write.”
Killian chuckled into the phone. I bet he was remembering the time I danced wildly to a techno version of the song; he never has let me forget that. “Ye enjoyin’ writin’ at home instead of at the office?”
“Do you even have to ask? I’ve gotten more done up here than I ever did at the office– and that’s even with the time I spent moving. No missing staplers, no idle conversation–”
“No TPS reports,” he threw in.
I was about to crack up at the reference. “Yeah, and my printer actually works.”
“That’s all wonderful,” he said, and I could tell his tone was sincere.
“You should come visit when you’re not busy with your bassoon.”
“I’d love to. But first I think ye should come down as visit us.”
“‘Us’?” I repeated.
“Yeah, me and Stefan. He’s playin’ as guest oboe at the symphony. We’re doing a bunch of Edvard Grieg pieces.”
Stefan was my friend from middle school. Once Killian moved and joined us at our high school, he fit in with us like he should have been there all along. He also went to community college with us before we were all accepted at Lewis and Clark. He loves music like I love writing and fantasy– he even earned their best music studies scholarship.
“Will I get to see you two in concert?”
“I’m looking at your ticket right now.”
“Killian, you’re the best!”
“I try,” he said, utterly failing at being humble– but in a fun-loving way. “But ye should come down this weekend, not just for the Edvard Grieg concert.”
“Because Stefan is doing a different type of concert. At that club yer always talking about.”
“Seriously?” I asked, sitting up straighter. “Club Nightshadow is having him as a guest DJ?”
“Nae exactly. He’s headlinin’, and he wants ye tae be there when the city meets him as DJ Sleipnir.”
Here is one of Edvard Grieg’s songs: