Part II: "Crossing Lines"
Copyright © 2014 by Lauren Gilley
Maggie had made white chocolate, dark chocolate, and marble cheesecakes for the dinner, and everyone waited to be served…everyone but Mercy. Where had he been? Maggie wondered. She hadn’t seen him for at least a half hour. Ava neither, now that she thought about it. It was a big house, a big party; easy to get lost.
But Mercy and Ava stood together over the marble cheesecake at the kitchen counter, Mercy’s tall frame almost curled around her as he looked over her shoulder, smiled at whatever she’d said. His hand, for just a second, was at her hip, too low for casual.
He pulled it away and turned as Maggie stopped in the threshold, his eyes coming straight to her face, the mask not fast enough in coming down. Naked fear strobed in their black depths before he could catch hold of it.
Don’t say anything. Don’t take her from me. Don’t you dare. I will fight all of them. Oh, God, it’s all going to blow up, isn’t it?
Then his face blanked over and he looked away from her, hand going in his pocket, attention going back to whatever Ava was saying to him over her shoulder.
Maggie saw the little things: the clothes not quite straight, the high color in their faces, the windswept look to Ava’s hair.
The air shimmered around them, neon with possibility, the chemistry of them this hot, sticky amalgam of complementary metals.
Mercy had crossed the line.
Ava had either followed him, or invited him to come across it to her.
Maggie felt the lump well up in her throat, the sting of tears at the backs of her eyes.
It was so perfect, and it was so disastrous.
And they’d be sliced to bits before it was all over.