Monday, November 22, 2004

Chapter 31

They went back to Seamus' house and both had a strong feeling of déjà vu as they walked up to the porch, and started checking for details. The weather was reassuringly more December-like: cold, with cloudy skies threatening rain for the next day. Inside, Cassidy carefully read the scrolling electronic messages, which were back to normal: "Om mani padme hum" on one, and "Minds are like books, they function best when open" on another. The messes were back to looking like real messes. They both relaxed and went up to Seamus' room.

"I'm glad to see that horrid pink outfit from the Book is gone," said Cassidy, looking into the corner where she had tossed it. "But it would be really nice to change into something else. These clothes have been through a bit much today."

"Sure," said Seamus, going over to his dresser and opening a drawer. "Those jeans of mine kind of fit you, right? There's probably something else in here you can wear…. Hmm… actually, it looks like those jeans are still in here. So you can wear the real ones if you want, instead of those fictional ones from the Book."

He pulled the jeans out and turned around to see Cassidy pulling her shirt up and off over her head. Her bra was black, and her body just curvy enough to soften the edges. She turned around, saw him watching, and smiled. She came over to him and took the folded jeans from his hand.

"Thank you," she said, setting them next to her on the chair without taking her eyes off Seamus.

"Um… sure, no problem," Seamus managed to mumble as her arms went around his neck. And then she was kissing him, and with hardly a pause for a reality check he was kissing her back, pulling her close to him with his hand on the warm skin of her back.

"Well," said Cassidy, when they came up for air some while later, "I don't suppose you're still curious about my tattoo, are you?"

He certainly was, and managed to find it without too much trouble. A thin blue flame, edged with orange, it followed the curve beneath her left breast precisely, ending with a slight flare curling out to her breastbone. He traced it in fascination with a fingertip, then kissed it.

Of course, after this discovery it was deemed necessary to make fully sure that there were no other secret tattoos hidden away anywhere. A thorough, patient search commenced and was reciprocated. Cassidy found a mole on the small of Seamus' back, and he found a tantalizing freckle on her inner thigh, both delighting in exploring each other inch by inch with eyes and fingertips and lips. The final tattoo score was, of course, Cassidy:1, Seamus:0, and they rolled into bed to celebrate their fine investigative work.

A couple hours later, they roused themselves from where they lay in a warm, sleepy cuddle. They showered together, laughing as they tried to maneuver around each other in the narrow shower stall, and Seamus toweled her off, rumpling her hair to her approval. They could hear both of their stomachs growling as they got dressed. It was now late in the evening, and they had no idea when it really was that they had had breakfast.

Downstairs, Seamus opens the refrigerator. "Sorry," he says, "but I don't usually keep a whole lot of interesting food around, and we don't have the Book providing for us anymore."

"That's okay," said Cassidy, looking in next to him, "looks like there's enough to put together something edible."

A quiet snicker came from behind them, and Cassidy started, turning around to see Nathan standing there.

"Hello hello," he said, with a leering grin. "And who have we got here?"

"Hi," said Seamus, standing up. "Nathan, this is my friend Cassidy."

"Your 'friend,' eh?" said Nathan, the quote marks around "friend" practically visible in his voice. "Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Know what I mean?" He snickered again. "Nice to meet you, Cassidy."

"You know, we can easily walk downtown from here," said Seamus, turning to Cassidy. "You want to go find a place to eat?"


"Okay, let's go. We'll see you later, Nathan." Seamus started guiding Cassidy purposefully upstairs. "Let's go get our coats."

"Have fun," came Nathan's voice behind them, in an awkward sing-song tone as the went out the front door a few minutes later. "Don't do anything I would do."

"Right. Thanks." Seamus shut the door behind them. "Sorry about that," he said to Cassidy. "Bit of a weirdo, and hard to get rid of. But it'll be nice to eat out anyway."

"That's okay," she said, smiling and taking his hand.

They walked downtown and found a diner that was still open. Seamus only got away with paying for her dinner because Cassidy's wallet was back in Oregon. When they got back, there was a light on in Matt's room, but the rest of the house was dark and there was thankfully no sign of Nathan. They went back up to Seamus' room and fell asleep in each other's arms some time later.


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