I’m away again, so I’m going to leave you with another excerpt from Time’s Enemy. This passage takes place after Tony rescues nine-year-old Charlotte in the flood – twenty years later for her, in fact, when Tony comes to visit her as an adult in 1933.
Tony followed her into the basement, her favorite room in the house despite its constant, damp chill. Her favorite because of the workbench that ran along an entire wall, a place she could lose herself for hours. She snapped on the two metal clip lights above her creation, a welded, metal cabinet with foil-covered panels. Tony craned his neck to study the water tanks and the pipes she’d twisted around it. “I’m experimenting with water to store the sun’s heat,” she explained.
“I’d say you’re on the right track.” She searched his face. Not a hint of the veiled reservations her brother always tried to hide when she showed him one of her projects. She seldom mentioned her work to her sister, whose usual response was to chide her for wasting time she could better spend on something constructive, like quilting or working in the garden.
Louie had gone beyond skepticism to outright derision. Among other things, it proved he wasn’t the man for her. If he hadn’t broken their engagement, she would have. Elmer’s lack of enthusiasm confirmed she’d best keep her activities to herself, should they eventually marry.
That prospect grew less likely the longer she spent with Tony. She let her eyes travel over him and remembered the bubbles of joy she’d felt when he took her arm in his on the way home from Rike’s. So different than Elmer. Tony opened the cabinet’s sealed door and ran his fingers around its smooth edges. “You might be onto something here.”
“You think so?” She clasped her hands.
“Oh yeah, this is cool.”
“Cool?” Her shoulders slumped. “But it’s supposed to get hot. Or at least warm.”
He laughed, and heaviness fell over her body like a lead jacket. It was worse than Louie’s scorn. She started to turn away. “Oh, no, I mean it’s neat,” Tony said. “Good. Swell.” His face settled into a grin. “In my time, cool has another meaning besides temperature. It’s a good thing.”
Anticipation warred with unease, and she figured out why when they trudged back upstairs to start dinner.
She’d finally met a man who believed in her. Not only believed in her work, but wanted to help her. A man who could take her ideas and sell them. Do the part she hated and, she had to admit, was hampered in by the fact she was a woman. Tony could cross barriers she couldn’t. He could solicit interest in her work from men who couldn’t see the innovator beneath her feminine form.
He intrigued her, intellectually. And otherwise, she had to admit. If it weren’t for the fact that he belonged decades in the future, she’d want Tony to take her to the dance, not Elmer. Tony to be the one who spent his evenings with her. Tony who might ask her to marry him—
She couldn’t think such things. Especially about an Enemy of Time. A man she needed to convince to go to the Society House and turn himself in.
Later. First, she’d at least fix dinner. It would hardly be civil to send him to Theodore on an empty stomach.
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