paulak_rumin8: (Austin and Mickey)
Okay, first of all, I am back to writing, and chapter 7 will come to completion just dandy as soon as I have the time to write it. I'm not too worried at this point. Secondly, I have a little sketch I tossed out this evening, just for fun. It's not really a spoiler, since it's simple, self-indulgent fluff that probably won't ever be part of the current story, but it might fit as sort of an "afterward." I enjoy my little afterward sketches.

I didn't intend to share this one, but it gives me warm fuzzies, so who am I to deny the opportunity to others? Ah, dear, Morning Paula is going to be very cross with Night Paula come 5 a.m. Oh well.



Probe Fluff

“I told you I couldn’t stay because I knew you wouldn’t want me to. And I left.” If she had hoped he would ask no further questions about it, she was disappointed. He wasn’t quite ready to let it go. Not yet.

“And what did I say?”

“You said I have a great attention span.” It wasn’t a lie. She discreetly failed to mention the whole of it, how he’d prefaced the declaration with, “You know what I like best about you, Mickey?”

“’Great attention span.’ Those are the words I used?”

“You may have used the word, ‘phenomenal.’” She smiled sheepishly, but he hardly noticed. He looked away, a troubled expression building on his face.

“That’s awkward,” he muttered under his breath.

“I thought it was a really nice thing to say.” But even as she spoke, he was turning and walking away, ready to bury himself in the bowels of his workshop, no doubt. Something inside of her balked at the idea of ending the conversation here. Something was coming to a head, and this time she was in no mood to prevent it.

“Hey!” she cried, stopping him short. She advanced toward him a few steps.“Don’t go.” She waited until he turned around and faced her again. His expression was neutral, guarded. One hand buried itself in his pocket and the other remained clenched at his side. Mickey crossed her arms, leveled an intent stare at him. “Do you mean it?” she demanded. “Do you really think my attention span is phenomenal?”

He licked his lips, hesitated much longer than the question warranted. Then he answered, in a voice so low she could hardly hear him. “Yes.”

“Good,” she blurted, arms still crossed.

He looked startled, almost offended. “Good?” He let out a humorless laugh and shook his head.

“Because I love you, too.”

The jaded smile dropped from his face in an instant. His mouth hung loose, blue eyes piercingly attentive. But he didn’t speak. Maybe he couldn’t.

She plundered on. The floodgates were opened, and words fell out of her mouth like a springtime rain. “I don’t know when or how, but I do. And I didn’t like Belinda any better than you liked Tristan; same reason. And don’t look at me like you don’t know what I’m talking about! I wanted to dump her drink on her a couple of times, just so she’d cool it.” His confusion had faded, to be replaced by slow, growing amusement illuminating his eyes and playing at the corners of his mouth. And still, he said nothing.

“And I know you keep saying the universe is all you need, but I don’t believe that anymore, and I don’t think you do either. I think you’re just too afraid to admit it, because that would mean you’d have to depend on somebody to stick around, when you even call yourself ‘slightly schizophrenic’ and ‘maladjusted.’ What rational person is going to put up with that?

“But you’re neither of those things, Austin James. You’re brilliant and sometimes you’re crazy. But I think you’re phenomenal, too, and I love you.”

She ran out of words, and in the lingering quiet that followed, she wondered whether she should have stopped after ‘good.’ He still stood some feet in front of her, intimidatingly silent. His eyes left hers and seemed to study a point on the floor for an interminable moment. At last, he lifted them to hers again, still wearing a mildly perplexed expression on his face.

“There is nothing rational about you, is there, Michelle Castle?”

She smiled at him, though her eyes smarted. “Nothing.”

He stepped forward, close enough to hold. He gently clasped her arms above her elbows, and settled an ironic smile on her face. “Lucky for me.”
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