X is for Xenial
from Rebekah Loper’s book called The A-Zs of Worldbuilding: Building a Fictional World From Scratch
There aren’t a lot of guests in Zebulon. Once a month, one building hosts representatives from the other buildings in their common space. No one stays overnight in that situation because they live close enough to go home. There are certain customs that they observe. Every floor makes a dish to share with the guests so there is amble food for their day-long meeting. They are more likely to show off their best dishes, but they all have the same ingredients, so it’s not usually that spectacular. They can make specialty desserts though.
Four times a year, the cities come together and send ten representatives. There are 10 cities. (10 cities, 20 representatives, 1 from each of the 20 residential buildings) makes 200 people.
Those meetings are held on a rotating basis so that every city hosts once every 5 years. At the time they host, they have to make a lot of space. People will stay together with extra people in their rooms if they have to. Representatives from close cities will often go back to their city after the meeting, but not everyone is that close.
Above you see my description that I wrote based on the extensive questions in The A-Zs of Worldbuilding. Read on for a random excerpt from Chapter 10 in Exploration: An Erotic Novel.
Remember this (and most) of my posts contain adult content!
I jumped up off the bed and ran out of the room. James’ room was just on the other side of the living room. I could take the long way around and avoid the living room, which I seriously considered, but the living room was empty.
I rushed through and practically fell into James’ door.
He opened it as though he had been waiting for me. “Mara!” he said, and he opened the door wider so I could enter. His room was furnished the same way as mine. I sat down in his desk chair.
“What’s going on?” he asked.
I should have thought of a lie before I went over there, but I didn’t.
“What did Lori want?”
“I—uh—she wanted to talk to me about my job.”
“Why didn’t she just wait until tomorrow?”
“That’s what I said,” I latched onto that idea and rolled my eyes. “I don’t know. You know how Lori is.”
He nodded. “I can’t believe we got interrupted again.”
“I know,” I said.
He sat down on the couch and gestured for me to join him.
“Are you all packed?” I asked, ignoring the gesture.
He shrugged. “Enough. I don’t need much.”
“Mara, come here.”
“I-I’d better not,” I said. “I just, I just came to say goodbye.”
“Mara,” he said, this time his voice was disappointed. “You make it sound like it’s goodbye forever.”
“No, not forever,” I said. “Just for a few weeks.”
“You’ll be so busy with your new job that you won’t even know I’m gone.”
I highly doubted that.
“Mara, come here, please, I won’t bite.”
I couldn’t resist him. I didn’t want to. I moved and sat down next to him on the couch. Wrapping his arms around me, he inhaled my scent.
“Can’t we pick up where we left off?”
“Why, so someone else can knock on the door?” I scoffed.
“Then we’ll go. We can go up to the Exploration Floor. There have to be plenty of open rooms. Or let them knock. I’ll ignore it.”
I smiled at him and rested my hand against his jaw. “James,” I said, “it’s a lovely thought.”
His expression fell. “You don’t want to pick up where we left off, do you?” he asked.
I took a deep breath. “I just think that maybe now isn’t the right time,” I said.
I could see the frustration cross his features. “But Mara, I leave for three weeks in the morning.”
I nodded. “And I’ll see you when you get back.”
He stood up and scrubbed his hand through his hair. He left it standing on end, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of how it had looked after I had had my hands all in it.
I wanted to tell him the whole truth. I wanted to tell him about my Special Assignment, but I was afraid that I would be in trouble. Lori told me not to tell, and she had the power to change my assignment. I knew she did. And I didn’t want that. As much as I was fucking terrified of learning all these new things on camera for other residents to see, I wanted to learn. I wanted the opportunities that this job afforded me. And I knew that such a great opportunity wouldn’t come along lightly.
“Mara,” he said, and then he dropped to his knees in front of me, “what did Lori say that scared you off?”
I must be so transparent. “Nothing,” I protested, but the word felt false in my mouth.
He cocked his head to the side and took my hands in his. He waited, letting the silence stretch between us.
“When you get back, maybe things will be different,” I said.
“Maybe,” he repeated my word back to me. “What is that supposed to mean?”
I had no idea how long I would be on this Special Assignment. For all I knew, they would take me away, and I wouldn’t even be back when James was. “I’m so confused, James, I’m sorry.”
As much as there had been so many emotions in the last few hours, the worst of it was this. Seeing the hurt look on James’ face, knowing that he wanted to explore things with me, knowing that he wanted me to be his first, and knowing that that wasn’t going to happen. Seeing that look cross his face, telling me that he knew I wasn’t going to wait for him. And the worst part of all: not being able to tell him the truth behind the reason.
He let go of my hands and hauled me into his arms, our bodies pressing against one another. He kissed the top of my head.
“Mara, you have been my best friend as long as I can remember. If the time is right, then it will happen. This just isn’t our time.” I could hear the strain in his voice, the effort the words took. Tears stung my eyes, and I tried to blink them away.
“Thank you, James, thank you.”
He kissed me on the top of my head again. “Now you’d better go before your lips tempt me any more.”
I giggled, and a sob caught in my throat. But I couldn’t help it. I wrapped my arms around his neck, kissed his lips lightly, and then said, “Goodbye, James.”
I left him standing in his room, his arms still poised to hold me, his lips still molded in the shape of my mouth.
Why is she saying goodbye to James?
What does she think is going to happen while she’s gone?