Heading Straight for a Fall

Author’s Note: So there were no snippets this weekend. It was not a good weekend for me, and I didn’t have much in me writer-wise. I was thinking of burning stories, editing made me want to cry when I didn’t want to burn, and one of the things I did write was a melodramatic piece where the character insisted he wasn’t going to die and asked someone to take care of his family if things went badly.

So… There was no Sunday silly in me. At all.

Fortunately, today is Monday Mayhem/Mystery, and so I have something for that, even if I seem to be stalled on what I had thought was my new story with Integrated Division.

It just took going for random music on my computer and deciding it was way past time I did something with “Diamonds and Rust” by Joan Baez.

Heading Straight for a Fall

You’re heading straight for a fall, she told herself, cursing the fact that she had picked up the phone in the first place. She knew that voice. She knew what it could do to her, knew how weak she was to that old familiar tone. She should hate him for that, but she hated herself for it more, knowing that he still had that power over her, that she still let him have it.

She’d thought she wouldn’t, and she would have said it was too late for it now, years out of the blue, with a call that came in the night without any kind of warning, the sort that compelled her to answer, thinking it was an emergency, and she supposed in some way, it must be—he wouldn’t have called unless it was—he wasn’t that cruel, and he’d been raised with better manners than that anyway.

“What is it this time?”

“Your specialty.”

“Something cold and cool yet brilliant as fire and twice as stunning?” She asked, sitting back against the pillows and closing her eyes as she played with her necklace. He would have laughed if he’d been able to see it. She was always a source of amusement, if nothing else.

“I don’t have time to flatter you tonight. I need to ask for your expertise. Nothing else.”

She shrugged. “Nothing else to ask for, is there?”

He didn’t answer that one, not that she’d thought he would. Whatever past they had, he’d wanted it dead and buried for a while now, though he had just as bad a habit of falling back into old routines as she did. That man could tease, and his eyes would sparkle blue as he did, making things just that added bit worse for any woman around.

Not that she let many others around. She didn’t do competition.

“You’ve heard the news, haven’t you?”

She snorted. “What use is politics to me? Or should I pretend I have any sort of interest in reality television and the stars that come from it? I don’t, you know. All I care about is compressed carbon. It is a beautiful thing.”

“Yes, I expect your terms would be quite mercenary, won’t they?”

“Always.” She didn’t mention that once she would have done it for free, that if he said the right words, she might go right to that place, laughing with him with the leaves falling and the snow with them, dancing around in the park when they were two young fools with no responsibilities, before the truth of what they both were came between them.

“Are your skills still what they were?”

“Darling, if one of us is rusty, it isn’t me.”

“Well, your tongue is sharp as ever,” he muttered, and she thought she heard him curse under his breath. She should, she supposed, put him out of his misery, admit that she knew what he wanted her to discuss, but she didn’t feel like making this easy for him. If she made it easy, they were like friends, and when they played at friends, they played at other more dangerous things as well.

The band on her finger still burned at the thought of him, and she’d have to remember to replace it before he showed up at her office. “You never did manage to refine my rough edges.”

“You were already hardened by fire by the time I knew you.”

“Don’t you ever tire of our game of puns?” She knew the answer—she wasn’t sure if it was the same for him, but she knew she stuck to them because they were safe. Talking of meaningful things brought them too close to what they’d never be again.

“Only when you make terrible ones.”

“Yours were worse.”

“I’m not the one who is a walking pun,” he said. “Or a lousy poet.”

She hung up on him.

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