I am so sorry this is late! I know I promised it on the 19th, but the internet on Cassie Clare’s Fancy Tour Bus has been dodgy–though it is extremely worth it to be on a beauteous bus with my beauteous friends, being taken from event to event. Getting to meet some of you guys!
(Worth it even though Maureen Johnson says the desert around us is snake country…)
I have been extremely flattered by the many messages I have received reminding me to send it along. I sometimes worry I am too cruel to you guys. But I see now, you enjoy it.
I hope you enjoy this. I made Holly Black pick this, because I felt that her pick last month went well…
Ash closed the piano lid with a flourish, crossed the floor, and held out his hand to her. Kami looked down at her tap- ping fingers as if they had betrayed her, and realized she was standing in the exact place Jared had, the night he said he wanted nothing to do with her.
“I can’t actually dance,” Kami objected, suddenly shy. “I mean, I’ve done it. But people tell me . . . that I shouldn’t.”
“What do they know?” Ash asked, his hand still out. After a moment more of hesitation, Kami put hers in his, and Ash pulled her away from the bookcase into his arms.
Ash could dance as well he could play the piano. He moved in gentle circles across the floor, navigating sofas and chairs with effortless grace. Kami just had to follow his lead. He’d been trained for this sort of thing, she supposed, being the young prince in the castle. Being a fairy-tale prince who could waltz any girl around a room, him all gold and the room all arched stone, the moment perfect no matter who the girl happened to be.
Ash twirled Kami and pulled her back in against his chest. When he dipped her, she had a moment of unease because she couldn’t stand up by herself and would have fallen without his arm supporting her. But she looked up into his eyes, soft and sparkling with laughter, and smiled up at him instead.
Ash bent and kissed her. The kiss went through Kami like summer sunlight.
Just then the door opened with a creak.
“Sorry,” said Jared. “Aunt Lillian was looking for Ash.”
They all stayed still for a little too long. Kami and Ash did not drop each other’s hands, and Jared was standing braced as if waiting to be hit.
“Great,” Kami said at last, the word falling like a drop of rain into a pool, absorbed into the silence. She tugged her hands out of Ash’s and took a step toward Jared; he took a step back, still not looking up. “We’ve found out a lot of stuff we need to tell Lillian.”
“She’s in the drawing room,” Jared said, backing up, and they both followed him. When he got there, he opened the door for them.
When Kami gestured for Ash to go in ahead of her, he touched Kami’s arm. She turned to him and he gave her a worried glance, as if he thought he had done something wrong but was unsure of what it was. Kami gave Ash a quick reassuring smile, then looked back at Jared, catching a glimpse of his face as he looked down again.
“Hey,” Kami said softly. “Is everything okay?” She felt dumb asking. It wasn’t like Jared was ever subtle about it when he was upset: this was just him being quiet and not meeting her eyes, a little withdrawn. He was just feeling awk- ward about interrupting; he wasn’t unhappy.
That was confirmed when Jared answered, in a level voice, “Fine.”
“Okay,” Kami said uncertainly. She lifted her hand to bridge the space between them somehow, and a faint shudder ran through Jared’s body. He stepped away from her and into the drawing room, going to stand by the fireplace.