I think it’s fair to say that I am rather giddy, because my 2nd book is coming out tomorrow! Few days back I got a box in the mail, and in that box I found several brand-new trade paperbacks. The advance copies of “Zipper Fall” have arrived, and I have already decided who gets which one.
I took the elevator all the way up and stepped out on the roof. The air hung thick with moisture after a storm that swept through earlier, and the surface felt a bit slick. The darkness was thin, diluted by the streetlights below as I rubbed my foot against the edge of the parapet, reevaluating my plan. A bit riskier, perhaps, but I recalled the look of thrill on Azurri’s face as he watched me climb up to the roof last time around, and I knew I wanted to see that dizzying expression again. The rope was damp from having been stored in the vent, but was neither wet nor slippery, and that did it. Instead of using my harness, I wrapped the climbing rope around my waist and between my legs and back again and self-harnessed with my own climbing line just because I’ve always thought it was a pretty slick trick and looked sexy to boot, and I was only going down three stories, which was peanuts compared to my other climbs. Once again I leaned my back straight out above the street. A damp rope won’t slip through the loops of the harness as fast, so the rate of descent is a lot easier to control than with a dry line.
When I was self-harnessing, the sky looked a bit low, but the weather was good. I hung my butt off the edge and started rappelling, walking my feet down the carved decorations of the building.
It started to rain halfway down.
My grippy rubber soles stuck to the wet stone just fine and I was grateful to be able to hold onto all that ornamented masonry, because without it I’d be swinging by the side of the building like a pendulum. A gust of wind forced me to bend my knees and wait for the air currents to settle; my rope was digging into my legs right behind my butt cheeks, almost too close to where it didn’t belong.
I felt like an idiot, not wearing a harness because I thought it didn’t look as cool. Then again, I was acting exactly according to Azzuri’s instructions: I acted normal.
Normal for me, that is.
The parapet of his bedroom window couldn’t have come fast enough. I dropped down onto it, letting my body settle into a gentle crouch. The sticky rubber of my shoes gripping the wet stone for all they were worth. I held both ends of the rope with my left hand while I extricated my phone from the side cargo pocket with my right. I found his number and pressed the green button.
“Yeah.” There was a hint of impatience in his voice.
“Wyatt Gaudens here. Would you care to open up for me? My hands are full.”
“Took you long enough,” he groused. Another light went on somewhere within the dimly lit apartment and I heard him open the door.
“Where the hell are you, Gaudens?” He bellowed so loud, I almost dropped my phone to the sidewalk below.
“On your window ledge. Where else?”