I Am Writing – 15/8/21 – Prelude to Love

Marcus listened for a moment but zoned out as soon as Joel began talking about enharmonic equivalents—whatever that meant. Joel moved in closer to Isabel as he spoke so they could both see the book. He spoke slowly enough to ensure she could follow what he was saying, yet was careful to pause in places to give her the opportunity to ask questions. He must have taught the subject many times before, yet he still sounded enthusiastic. Although Marcus had given up trying to understand what Joel was talking about, he found himself listening to the timbre of his voice. He leaned back on the sofa and closed his eyes. He still felt tired after the upheaval of the past few days.

He opened his eyes with a start when he realised Joel had stopped talking, and immediately felt bad that he’d felt relaxed enough to drift off. He was supposed to be listening to the lesson and Isabel’s playing. After all, that was the reason she’d asked him to bring her, right?

Isabel stood to pack her bag. She turned to Joel, frowning. “Shouldn’t your next pupil be here by now?”

“Joseph’s coming on Fridays now,” Joel explained. “He’s playing water polo on Tuesdays, so his mum asked if he could swap days.” He shrugged. “I was happy to change things around for him. Tonight is my lesson prep night, so it gives me more time for that.”

“Darin said you teach at the local high school too?” Marcus wanted to know more about Joel. Surely he wasn’t making ends meet just by teaching a few kids after school? He wracked his memory, but couldn’t remember if that had come up in conversation during those family dinners. Even if it had, Joel’s situation could have changed since then.

A large ginger cat wandered into the room and made a beeline for Isabel. She bent to pat the cat, which started purring loudly. “Can I take Nannerl out to the kitchen and give her some treats?”

“Sure.” Joel rolled his eyes. “I swear that cat loves you and your dad more than she loves me. As soon as either of you are here, it’s as though I don’t exist. Treats are in the usual place, but don’t give her too many even if she begs for them.”

“I won’t.” Isabel skipped out of the room, the cat following closely behind.

“Nannerl?” Marcus asked. It seemed a strange name for a cat—unless he was missing something.

“She’s a girl, so I couldn’t call her Wolfgang,” Joel said as though the comment explained everything.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at https://annebarwell.wordpress.com
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