Richard stood transfixed for a heartbeat, then wrenched his gaze to the side. His voice, commendably, was just shy of even. "Julia..- How are you?"
A turquoise shimmer, the click of heels against pavement. His eyes returned to the impeccably dressed woman after Ryan locked away the surprise he knew they'd shown. She moved closer and he made no move as a familiar perfume forced its way into his mind, listened closely as she spoke, "Richard, come on. It's not like we're just acquaintances."
They certainly weren't. He pushed off the wall and slid easily to stand before Julia with a lithe ease that very nearly concealed a stiffening of muscles, hand outstretched. Richard returned her regal stare. "Poor manners. It's good to see you."
She gave him a look, lowered her eyelids, raised her eyebrows, tilted her head, haughty as he remembered. Rolled her eyes without rolling her eyes. She moved forward, noting the minute recoil Richard made as he fought the urge to keep the distance. He could not refuse the implicit gesture, and raised his arms. Julia pressed against him. "We're not shaking hands. Really?"
She let go, though Richard noticed she remained standing intimately close. A light caress of his tie yanked his thoughts into the present. "You did great tonight. You and that professional. Her dress was pretty, wasn't it? She was... elegant."
She woke with her face pressed to the carpet.
Groggy, a glance at the clock told Kylee that it was 1:36 in the afternoon, and she had gone to bed at… what time? Four?
She pushed herself up and shook her head. Another day. The roomed seemed dark for early afternoon in April. Crossing the section of her apartment in a few short strides, she yanked the blinds up. Dark grey clouds and patters of rain greeted her coolly.
Sighing, Kylee turned to the doorway of her bedroom to prepare for work.
It turned out to be a long shift.
That which gave me pause was not the sight, the appearance of the dreadful ruler of this wretched Hell, nor did my feet falter at the sight of the agony so visible mere feet below my own. No, my dear mentor's feet stopped as he saw mine halt, as they did upon the sight of a vast dip in the frozen wasteland. Within lay an old woman. My very own stomach threatened me with expulsion of sustenance as the sight revealed itself to my eyes: her skeletal hands, frozen to the wrist, and her feet, frozen to the ankle, all four limbs encased in clear, unmerciful frost. The various locations her extremities were bound into the plain of ice locked her very body into a gruesomely unnatural pose, one that I fear belongs only to those who have undertaken a speedy journey from a great height to a height of nothing at all.
What struck me heavily in the precious few moments my eyes rested on her in sorrowful silence lays upon me now, though not as heavily as I believe it did her: an uneven mountain of ice, immense in proportion, rested on top of her body- no, what remained of her body, crushed by a weight worthy of the Greek Atlas himself.
"I hope, my pupil, that pity is not the emotion I see flickering in thine eyes," My mentor and guide grasped my shoulder with his hands, softening the blow of his words. "For bound by this frigid and rightfully cruel landscape is the younger Tullia, daughter to good King Servius Tullius. Tullia, she who was cast down here into Judecca at her death alongside her wicked husband."
Forestalling the question preparing to spring from my lips, Virgil my wise guide continued, "Her crimes were many. A meeting with her may have been open to you in a higher circle of this Hell, for manipulation of her husband is an act among her crimes, but her history places her soul here. She orchestrated his claim upon the throne, betraying her father in doing so. And therein lays her most offensive crime and why she rests in eternal agony here: when her husband Tarquin threw Tullius from his throne, it was none other than Tullia herself who, taking the reins of her carriage, cruelly drove its heavy wheels over her father's bruised body. She not only betrayed her very father, her family, but also her lord and benefactor, and thus her soul lays under its mountain of ice for her crimes."
Rebecca was the one who'd derided his dancing. She'd make fun of the way he'd miscount steps, or lose time, the way he'd been unable to converse while waltzing. She was a loose cannon. Usually a cannon loosed and aimed at his heart. She used to berate him for a slight lacking in his intellect. Use your common sense. The sarcasm dripping from the words still stung, years later.
She had nagged him endlessly, about picking up his clothes, picking her up from work, about the way he acted without thought sometimes, always piercing his heart with the icy spear of sarcasm.
It still burned to remember how she'd fly into moods, or come home from wherever she was, stewing with anger that would boil over onto his skin, skin that eventually grew thick and hard.
Of course, ice cut deeper and hurt more than flames ever did.
His throat still clenched over the vague, unclear mess that had been her connection to Jake. He'd never known for sure, and never would. There would be no closure, no resolution, no smiles of happiness, no gasps of relief. There would not be tears of despair, nor short gasping breaths of betrayal, would not have averting of the eyes, nor resolution and closure for him.
It started when she sidled up to the circle he was standing in. No more than a casual acquaintance to Will, Hannah nevertheless captured his eyes and his attention at the worst of times. He wondered wryly if he meant best of times, when he was a little drunk and it was just friends around the house.
It really started when he, singing enthusiastically and drunkenly along to the pounding music, noticed Hannah standing nearby with a tiny smile. She cocked her head and grinned. "Have you lost it yet?"
Amazingly enough - in Will's intoxicated mind - that was the name of the song. He laughed a little harder than was probably necessary, and a huge smile stretched his cheeks, the sensation lending larger wings to his drunkenness. "You know the song!"
She laughed right along with him and obligingly stretched for the hand he extended, for a high five. When his thoughts locked on to how her hand felt pressed against his, Will felt the tide of apprehension sweep him, and fought valiantly against it. She's cute, but I'm not going to think anything of it, or do anything.
Stepping away, Hannah left Will with a wink. Normally, he would have smiled happily at her companionable gesture and continued on singing with abandon. The small, uninhibited grin left him standing, mouthing the song half-heartedly. Oh, fuck.
Posts show up when 'Blog archive' is clicked on, but the homepage is blank. I checked the color settings, they're still the same.
Anyone else having this?
Jared sat in an armchair, set at angle to the flickering fireplace. As Jamie rose from the sofa that created the rest of the angle, he glanced up, hazel eyes framed by a bare hint of gray in his dark hair. She smiled softly at his inquisitive glance, and shook her head. His lips twitched back, and she moved through the hallway, into the kitchen.
When Jamie returned, Jared had gone back to staring at the crackling fire. She set down a glass of wine onto the table to the right of the armchair, and he looked up at the sound of glass meeting wood.
"You only ever stare at the fire and be silent like that when something's on your mind." Jamie laid a hand on his shoulder for a moment, then raised it to caress his cheek. Jared leaned into the touch, closing his eyes, and they remained there for a silent moment. Then she continued, "What is it, babe?"
The endearment always brought a smile to Jared's face, and it did not fail this time. One side of Jared's mouth lifted. "I don't really know, Jamie."
She glanced at the piece of thick paper he grasped in the gap between two fingers. Jared had not once released it the whole evening, Jamie noticed. He caught her glance, and he gave another crooked expression, one shoulder rising and falling. "You know I never keep anything more serious than planned gifts or vacations a secret from you. This came today."
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