'Sarah,' you may say at this point. 'When you said you were sorry for not posting more we did not expect you to post every day this week.' But so it is! I have now reached the deadline hysteria, and am mad as a March hare: at least it's seasonal.
I did not get a consensus from the masses about what people desired as a cookie, but it was pointed out that Nick had not been seen in some time! And since he is my hero, in the sense of... boy who gets the most page time in the trilogy... it seemed right and just to hand over a Nick cookie.
So here it is. I hope you like it! Let me know your wishes for the next cookie.
He was devastatingly beautiful, Mae thought, and devastating was the word: She could see storms and cities burning in his eyes.
“I didn’t think I’d want to mark a human,” he said. “But I do.”
“Alan,” Mae whispered.
“Yes,” Nick whispered back. “And you.”
Mae went still, torn between the impulse that said the demon’s eye was on her, that she should run, and the impulse to move closer. Nick had never said anything to indicate she mattered to him before.
“Oh,” she said.
“And Jamie,” Nick continued.
“Oh,” she said, in a very different way. “Well. Thanks for my part in the compliment. Naturally I’d love to be watched and controlled, but I think I may be washing my hair that day.”
Nick grinned. “Yeah, all right.”
He looked more relaxed, Mae noticed. He was pleased about that book, she thought, pleased by the idea of the past and his father reading to him, his brother happy.
“I think we can get by without that,” she said. “Even if I, as the bombshell of the group, have to take one for the team and go seduce Gerald’s secrets out of him.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Nick told her. “I’m clearly the bombshell of the group.”
Mae laughed and held out her hand.
“What?” Nick demanded warily. “I’m not sure I’m ready for more hand holding.”
“What?” Mae echoed back at him. “Another lesson for you, Nick: When you want to make a human happy, do something they enjoy with them. Besides, I’m having a moment of probably soon-to-be-destroyed optimism about the future. Don’t worry. It probably won’t last.”
She ran to put in a CD she liked that was a little bit rock and a little bit blues, and then she went over and grasped Nick’s hands in hers, pulling him to his feet.
Her confidence was checked by the way he just looked down at her, as if waiting for the human to explain her strange customs. She opened her hands and his slipped out of hers,
down by his sides.
Mae’s skin was prickling with sudden shame. She wanted to run away so he would stop looking at her, slam as many doors as she could between herself and his eyes, and she wanted to somehow carry this off so he thought nothing was wrong.
“Come on,” she said, her voice going too high to be really light. “You know how to dance, don’t you?”
He reached for her waist and then slid his big hands down along her body, fingers curling around her belt. His ring was a cold shock on the strip of skin between her shirt and her jeans.
“Yeah,” Nick said, his voice curling in the air like smoke from a raging fire, filling her lungs and making it hard to breathe. “I know how to dance.”
Mae looked up at him and saw nothing she could read: lowered eyelids and the line of his mouth. She put her hands up anyway, catching at his shoulders and the rhythm. Her hands curved around the fragile barrier of his T-shirt, grasping the worn cotton as if it was all that was holding her up.
Her knuckles pressed tight against the swell of his shoulders, feeling his muscles shift as he moved with her.
She dipped down with him a little, his hips touching hers, stepped back and then up against him again. Her breath hitched every time he stepped in to her, a warm scrape in the back of her throat, and she wished desperately that she could stop it, but she couldn’t. He must be hearing it, every time.
When they neared a wall, she almost blundered backward into it, not expecting it, barely aware of things like walls, for God’s sake. He palmed her hip, the hollow of his hand pressing down against her hipbone, and turned her easily, swinging her against him.
Mae’s death grip on his shirt went loose, fingers curling up of what seemed to be their own volition to touch his neck, and that was a mistake. Nick started slightly, his cut-short hair prickling under her fingertips, and then she completely lost her mind, because she suddenly had both hands in his hair and was pulling his head down to catch the part of his lips, his tiny indrawn breath.
His mouth brushed hers for an instant, and then strong hands grabbed her shoulders and pushed her back at arm’s length, hard.
“No,” said Nick.
Just that, short and brutal. He let her go and walked back to the window.
Mae’s first impulse was to die of shame, but she realized after a hot, stomach-clenching moment that this was probably impractical.