|Have to add a copy of|
my cover, because
it's just too pretty :)
So, while this scene never made it into the final (and there were some plot changes that made it no longer work), here's Tom and Ari:
Somewhere half-way through my story, Ari slid her cool hands under my shirt. I couldn’t stop the low moan that slipped past my lips, and she took it as a sign of submission. The fact she wasn’t human was the only way to account for how fast she got my clothes off.
“Wait,” I didn’t know what part of my brain managed to say anything, or pull away from her lithe form, but I did. The pained look in her eyes forced the next words out in a rush, “Ari, are you sure about this? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I want to. But, you’re just going to leave. You’re going to go back and beg to stay with the Sary. There’s no guarantee I’ll ever get to see you again. I…I don’t want that.”
Ari worried her bottom lip, evaluating my words with more caution than I’d said them. It was the truth though. If she stayed with the Sary, I’d never see her again. Ever. If that happened, I’d wish the fire had done me in.
The part that reminded me she was already half-undressed asked me why I cared. The rest of me knew why. I wanted her here. I could never ask her that though.
I never would ask her to give it all up. Not for me.
“I know that. I mean, I really do. I don’t want that either, but,” she sighed and I pulled her closer to stifle her shivering. “It’s not so easy. Do you have any idea how long I’ve been doing this? And it’s not like I hate it. Sure, it sucks sometimes, but it’s been interesting. But, this here has been better. So much better. I’ve spent centuries looking in on other people’s lives, like some kind of spy, and now that I’ve gotten a taste of it, I don’t want to go back to living on the outside.”
“So don’t.” There was more I wanted to say, but I held back. I was not going to beg.
“I don’t know how. I don’t know if I can.”
I closed my eyes, resting my chin on top of her head. I could feel her heartbeat against my chest, much too slow to be normal. Words tumbled around in my mind, trying to find order or meaning, but nothing was right. Whatever prompted what I said next didn’t form in my mind: “Ari, if you’re think you’d miss it at all, even for a minute, if you were with me, then don’t do it. You owe it to yourself, and to me, to stay with the Sary. But if you thought we could be happy, that we could live without any regrets, well, think about it, okay?”
Ari’s laughter was tinged with tears. I moved so I could see her face and brushed away the drops. “Please, don’t cry.”
She shook her head. “It’s just that. I don’t think I’ll miss it. Being here, I know it’s not going to be easy, but just the thought of getting to spend more time with you, it gives me hope. I can’t explain it right, but I want that. So bad. But it scares the shit out of me.”
We laughed; it tasted good after the tension of the last few minutes and allowed me to breathe.
“I need to think about it. I know I need to answer, but I just need some time.”
As much as I wanted her to respond now, promise me she wouldn’t leave, I knew I couldn’t ask that. Nodding, I ran a hand through her silky hair, letting my silence be enough.
A few minutes later, I couldn’t stop myself from asking, “So, I was kind of wondering something,” I propped my head onto my hand, staring at her sideways. “About the other way you can look?”
Ari must have seen the mischievous grin I tried to hide. “Oh really?” She arched an eyebrow.
“Yeah. I mean, if you’re going to take some time to think about all that, we still have the afternoon, right?” So much for being chaste. I’d said my piece, and if I lost her, I’d deal with that later. Right now I had a half-naked angel in my bed. Everything else could wait.
“Well, what happens if we, well,” I tried to keep from coloring and failed.
Ari burst out laughing. “I honestly have no idea. Want to find out?”
“I think I might like that.”
She dissolved into a pool of light, reforming in my arms. Her wings were smooth and soft against my hands and I couldn’t help running my hands over the thick layers. The plumes slid between my fingers, cool and unlike anything I’d ever felt before.Ari’s reaction took a moment to register, but the drowsy, half-asleep look of pure pleasure she wore made it clear she was enjoying what I was doing. I kissed her, lost in an instant.