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I got myself up off the bed when Sage didn’t come back quick enough from the window. She looked good like this. The light off the Masquerade showed bits, and in color: a red burst outlined her little waist, a gold flash caught on her neck. A tease. She had turned to look back at me, but I couldn’t see in the dark room what her eyes said. I misliked that and wanted to touch her anyways, so I crossed the hotel room and caught her by the hips. Pressed close. Skin-to-skin would have been better but her slick robe felt alright. I would’ve kissed her but she was looking down at the streets again.

“What do your people mean by all of this?” She hushed up her voice to ask it, like it wasn’t proper.

Normal-volume, I said back, “My people? A fair number of your people are down there, sweet thing.” She made me nervous, not answering, so I went on, “It’s fun. That’s all. You spend the rest of the year toiling so you get to make fun.”

“Oh.” She took my hands and pulled them around, so I held her.

“It’s good luck if you guess who’s really magic and who isn’t.”

“I wouldn’t want to ruin it for luck. It’s as if real and fake have collapsed together, and they are prettier in a tumble—” She stroked my thigh. She had a way of smiling with her voice whenever she meant something two ways. “—than ever they could be apart. No, it’s not worth luck.”

We watched for a while. The parades had been at sunrise and sunset, but you would think they went on forever. The crowd moved easy in one direction, like everyone agreed to make the streets one-way. A necromancer went by on a zombie made of cow and horse and goat parts. A whole crowd of fakers followed with steam engines, clockwork, clever costumes. I got luck from this and not prettiness, because of being around that sort so much, but I felt glad for Sage’s feeling. A gaggle of magicians trouped by making a light-show and tossing illusion candies to kids. Some not-humans were mixed into the crowd, too. One woman wore a shabbily made sunwise costume, with fake claws and wings that kept bumping into people. Sage and I saw a real sunwise get tired of it and pluck them off.

Masquerade smelled special, too. Magic. Sweat. Rum. A great deal of rum.

I freed my hand from Sage’s to pull her hair aside and kiss her neck. Kissed again when she didn’t react, and this time with a little teeth. It touched off my pride knowing I couldn’t leave a mark for her husband to find. “You want to go out? Nobody would mind us on Masquerade night.”

She shook her head. “I want to, but—think, Merle. We could if my husband were away, or dead. Until then, we can’t have...”

I ran a hand of up her side, across her breast. The woman got morbid without distractions. “Come to bed?”

“Yes. Please—” Please what I didn’t learn, because she made a sudden turn and pulled my face down for a kiss. The kiss bruised a bit, all tongue and suggestive noises. I undid the tie of the robe rough enough to hear something give, but she ignored it, and so did I.
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smwrites: A woman sits at a typewriter, pages flying, a plug in the back of her awesomely big-curly hair. (Default)

January 2014

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