Thursday, December 8, 2011
Moon Dance Sample: A Christmas Scene
I was going to post this a lot closer to Christmas, but I absolutely cannot resist having it be part of my Six Month Blogversary, so you're getting it early. What's "it" exactly? This is a Christmas scene between Sarena and Kyden, the God of Plagues.
Long story short: Kyden loves her and Sarena doesn't know. Kyden marked her with a tattoo and Sarena thinks he can use it to make her sick if she does not do what he wants. I think that should be enough to make this all make sense. Anyway, enjoy! And please feel free to leave a comment. I love those. :)
On Christmas Eve...
The doorbell rang. Sara got up to answer it.
Opening the door she found herself face to face with Kyden, a bouquet of roses and several gift boxes in his arms. She stepped back, waiting for him to come inside. She fought down the panic that threatened to swallow her whole. No one could know who he was.
"Come on in." Curse the bastard for making her say it.
"Thanks." His presence seemed to overfill the hallway as he stepped into her home and closed the door. He set the gifts down until all he held was a small box wrapped in purple and silver paper. He held it out to her. "For you."
Her hands shook as she took the gift from him. She heard footsteps behind her and her whole body tensed. Someone was going to know something was wrong. She looked at him, her mind blank as she tried to figure out what to do.
"Another of Sara's friends?" Not now, mom. "How wonderful. Would you like a mug of cocoa? Oh, look. Presents. How thoughtful."
"Another time, perhaps." Was there regret in his voice? Sara watched him carefully, afraid he might do something if she averted her gaze for even a second. "I just wanted to drop these off before I went home. My brothers are all home for the holidays."
"Isn't that nice?" There was a catch in Mom's voice. Sara glared at Kyden. "Well, I'll leave you two to your good-byes, then."
The moment mother walked away Kyden's hand gripped Sara's arm. "Make sure those get to Amy. Please."
"Of course." Sara wondered whether Kyden really had anyone to spend Christmas with. Or had he gleamed a touch of her mother's past? Uncle Joe had died two years ago and despite Mom's love of the holidays, they had become a tough time for her. "You sure you don't want a drink or something?"
"I'm touched. Really." He pulled her into a hug. She felt her body begin to tense. She forced it to relax and returned the hug instead. Hadn't Grandma McClure told her how years ago in the middle of war soldiers had put down their guns? It had been one of the stories she had liked most as a child. What would grandma think if she didn't live up to that now? "You're still too scared for that. It's okay. I understand."
"Merry Christmas." Her words hung in the air. He smiled at her. "I'd better get back in there or they'll wonder where I went."
"Yeah. Good idea." If it was such a great idea why was he still standing there? Did he want her to slam the door in his face? His lips twitched as if he could tell what she was thinking and was trying not to laugh.
She could see the headlights of his car lighting up the driveway. Somebody didn't care if they wasted gas. Must be nice. Damn driver's liscence. If she had one she could go and light the candles herself.
She wondered if, just maybe, Kyden wouldn't be as opposed to taking her out as he was to coming in. The thought of being alone with him made her stomach do a little flip, caught somewhere between her attraction to a good friend and her fear of how overnight he had practically become a stranger. This was dangerous and the others wouldn't like it.
But they wouldn't take her to the church, either. This was likely her only chance, and for Grandma's sake she would take it.
"Wait." Sara reached out and touched his arm. She could feel her stomach threaten to knot. She had no business asking him for a favor. He could kill her in a blink. But she was desperate.
He took a step toward her. "Yes?"
Was she imagining it or had his expression softened? She couldn't be sure. She bit down on her bottom lip. The tops of her slouchy seude boots had never looked more interesting.
He lifted her chin with two fingers. "Sarena?"
She shivered. His touch was gentle, but she was no fool. She knew the power this man weilded. It was quite likely her request would anger him.
"I need a favor." The words came out in a whisper. As she waited for him to say something she started to worry that maybe she'd only mouthed them.
"Go on." His fingers traced up her cheek. Sank into her hair and pulled a few strands back away from her face.
Oh the nerve of him. Touching her like that after what he had done.
Who was she kidding? She was the one about to make a deal with the devil.
She turned her head toward the livingroom. Kesyl. Amy. Jayden. Carita. Couldn't she just ask one of them again?
They'd all said no. Amy had even laughed at her. And her parents weren't going, either. It had to be him. She had no choice. There was no one else.
She could feel a lump forming in the back of her throat. Struggling to breathe she pushed it down. She would not let Kyden see her cry.
"Somewhere you need to be right now?" His hand slid down her cheek, brushed against the shoulder marked with his tattoo and gently circled her arm. "It's okay. Come on. I'll take you."
Warning bells went off in her head. How did he know? How could he tell? She opened her mouth to tell him to forget it but the words caught in her throat. She could not speak past the tears that threatened to fall.
"Put this on." Kyden held her coat out and she let him help her slip it on. She stood there, speechless, as he zipped it and lifted her hood up over her head. "It's cold outside. This way."
"Sara, are you going out? Now? What about our guests?"
Dammit. Why had mom picked now to come back?
Kyden smiled at her. "We won't be long. Sara offered to keep me company at the church. I want to go to their Christmas Eve service but didn't want to go alone."
Mom's eyes misted and Sara's first instinct was to close the gap and hold her. Kyden's hold on her arm lessened and he gave a slight nod. Sara didn't budge. If she moved now, she wasn't sure she'd have the strength to walk out the door.
"Going to light a candle for Grandma and Grandpa?"
Mom held out a long red voulve candle. "Could you..."
Kyden took the candle from her and put it into the pocket of his long black winter coat. "Of course we will. For your brother?"
Mom's eyes widdened. Tears were sliding down her cheeks now.
Kyden pulled a kerchief from his coat and handed it to her.
"Thank you." She wiped the deep purple cloth against her eyes. "I'm sorry. I must seem so depressing to you kids. This time of year is hard for me."
Sara just stood there, not sure what she should really do or say.
She finally fought down her own tears. Sucking in a breath she linked her hand through Kyden's. "Tell the others we won't be long."
"Of course. They seem busy in there. Planning some big fancy ski trip or something."
Sara's body tensed. Dammit, Mom. Shut up!
"Whistler, was it? Yeah, I think that's what I heard."
Sara fought to keep a straight face. If Mom thought she didn't trust Kyden there was no way she'd let him take Sara anywhere. So even though she didn't trust him she had to pretend that she did. Darn it, Grandma. Why so difficult?
Kyden grinned at Mom. "We need to get going or we'll be late. Don't worry. I won't have Sara out too long. And I'll make sure she gets home safe."
"That would be a welcome change." Mom frowned. "Lately she's banged, beat up or bruised in some new fashion every time I see her. It's gotta have something to do with those damned Kindred. Lets see if a nice normal boy can bring her back without a scratch, hm?"
Sara snorted. "Blame the car, not the driver, Mom."
"You two can argue later." Kyden gave her arm a tug. "Let's go."
Sara let him lead her out the door. A few minutes later they were in his car; a sleek black Lexus that so wasn't meant for winter driving and looked way too perfect for a vehicle being used that way.
"You're an empath or something, aren't you?"
It didn't take long to drive to the church. Good thing, since Kyden didn't seem like much of a talker. As they drove into the parking lot Sara could hear people singing "The Holy And The Ivy".
"You don't mind, do you?"
"The singing?" He paused to listen. "No. Why would I?"
"The others think it's stupid."
He pulled her against him as someone made their way down the stairs. "Give me this over the weeping, the screaming and the hate that I hear every other day of the year. I love Christmas. For you humans, Christmas is a time of hope. If anybody out there knows you guys need it, it's me."
"You really do hate your job." They walked toward the door. When they reached it she came to a stop. "Can you go in?"
Kyden gave her a funny look. Then he started to laugh. "You think I'll burst into flames or something? Of course I can enter."
"Just checking. I don't want to be burned alive, thanks." She rolled her eyes at his confused expression. "If it happened to you, I'd bet money it would happen to me, too."
"Anyone ever tell you you're nuts?"
The church was warm and dry. It wasn't really crowded or empty. It was sorta half full. People sat in pews, or stood in the back where a table of cookies and coffee and cakes had been set up. At the front of the room a tier of tables had been set. On these sat hundreds of various colored candles, their flames flickering bright.
He lead her to a pew in the middle and pulled her into his lap.
"Kyden, we're in a church."
Nevermind that he was her enemy. Nevermind that he'd branded her; that he was forcing her to serve him against her will. Oh, no. She was far more worried that someone would notice how incredibly hot she found him.
Heat rose to her cheeks. Who was she to be nagging him about their current location?
"Relax. No one is going to complain." His breath was warm against her ear. "Enjoy the singing. Or join it. I'd love to hear what you sound like."
"No you wouldn't. I can't carry a tune in a bucket."
"I can promise it will make you feel better." His hand reached up and rubbed her shoulder. "What have you got to lose?"
The shoulder with the tattoo. Asshole.
Okay. So he wanted to hear her bray like a donkey? Fine.
It had been a long time since she'd last sang a carol. She listened to them, only slightly more attentive then she'd noticed Kesyl being. Her reasons for aloofness were different then what she guessed his were, though.
Kesyl didn't listen because he didn't care. Sarena didn't listen because she was always afraid they'd make her cry.
She could take the lighter ones. Jingle Bells. Frosty. Rudalph. But anything with substance? No way.
Yet as she joined others in singing the beautiful hymns that the organist played she felt a strange shifting within her. With each song the silent pain that pressed down on her seemed to lift further away.
By the third song she was aware that Kyden was no longer touching her. Rather, he simply sat there with her in his lap, one of his hands holding one of hers. And he was singing, too.
"Let's go up there now." He said when the song was over. "We've been here half an hour. Your friends are going to get worried."
She got up and took his offered hand.
They stood in front of the candles. Kyden took out the one her mother had given him. He pulled out two more as well; a fat green one and a tall gold one.
"Where did you...?"
"Just go with it, Sarena." He sat the three candles down on the lowest table so that she could reach them.
She fumbled around in her purse, trying to find her lighter. She could never understand why she carried the damn thing. She wasn't a smoker and she totally hated fire. But it had been a gift from Jayden. What else could she do?
Pulling it out she hit the little button that made it ignite. She managed to fight the urge to jump back as fire shot up, eager to do her bidding.
"I'm not a fan either. Want to light them together?"
His hand covered hers and he guided her to each candle. He was more confident then she was. With him holding her hand she did not tremble as she normally would. Even a flame as tiny as this was enough to induce fear. After all, it had been a fire that had claimed her life.
It didn't stop her from doing this. Every year, without fail, she would light the darn candles. Every year, without fail, she would make certain her grandparents knew they had not been forgotten. Every year, wthout fail, she made certain they knew they were loved.
Kyden blew at the lighter. The flame extinguished.
"Ready to go?" Kyden asked. "I don't mean to rush you."
"It's okay. I don't like being near all the candles anyway."
The ride back was quiet, but this time the silence was easy, tranquil. Sara sat back in her seat, the sound of the radio playing softly in the background threatening to lull her to sleep. But it wasn't long before they were rounding the last corner back to the house.
"You amaze me."
Sara blinked. She'd just about dozed off when he broke the silence.
"What do you mean?"
"I thought you were going to kick me. Yell at me. Throw things at me." Kyden sounded familiar with these things. Sara reached over and touched his hand. "I know how your grandmother died. Go on. Let me have it. I won't hurt you."
"I won't hurt you, either. Not for that. Not tonight." She squeezed his hand. Her heart ached for him. He sat there, waiting for an attack that she knew was not coming. "She raised me better then that."
"Okay. Hit me for the tattoo, then. I know how much it hurt. I know how sick you felt. I know how scared you are."
"Why the heck would I do that?"
"I hurt you. I deserve it."
He parked the car in the driveway.
His face was inches from hers. Was he seriously sitting there waiting for her to slug him? Did he think she was that stupid? That petty? She couldn't decide which she found more annoying.
She placed her hands against his cheeks, the hint of five o'clock shadow making them rough to the touch as the pads of her fingers rubbed them. His gaze was Intense. A fish out of water, he clearly wasn't use to this. At the very least, he hadn't expected it.
She moved closer to him. Their noses were touching. She waited, made sure that she fully held his gaze. "I forgive you, Kyden."
He sat and stared at her. She waited a moment. Wondered if he would say anything.
"You should get inside, Sara. Someone might come looking for you."
She nodded. She hated the thought of leaving him alone like this on Christmas Eve.
He opened her door and she got out.
His arm circled her waist. "Thanks for coming with me tonight."
"You didn't mind taking me?"
They reached the front door. He still held her, used his body to shield her from the chill wind. "Do you feel better?"
His lips brushed a kiss against the tip of her nose. She stared up at him to find he was smiling. "Then it was my pleasure."
He opened the door and she stepped inside.
"Merry Christmas, Kyden."
"Still a little early for that, isn't it?"
"I'll see you tomorrow." He touched her cheek. His fingers felt warm. Gentle. A wave of drowsiness swept over her. "Trust me."