I couldnt stop thinking about the words that Ryder had said, in that voice so alluring, so captivating. I might have laid awake all night, remembering the slight brush of his lips against my own. The feel of magic sweeping over me.
Anthony might have crossed my mind a time or two, but now more than ever I was sure there was nothing betweeb us. Maybe there had been once, but things changed. People changed. Love faded away.
As November came to a close, the first snowfall overcame the city. New York was even more stunning in the winter, if that was possible, and I found myself drawn into the swirling white wonder of it all. I founnd myself standing before the mirror, white and purple hair swept up into a high ponytail, light jacket exchanged for a tight black pea coat and faux fur scarf. A bit of snow would not keep me from my coffee.
Of course I was hoping Ryder would be there, awaiting me with his deviish grin and overwhelming personality. I'd been avoiding Anthony's calls for days, tearing out my throat with dangerous words only said in the safety of the dark. Words meant for Ryder to hear.
I was treading a deadly line. Here was a boy I didnt even know, stealing my breath away so effortlessly. I need to stop thinking for a bit. Instead I focused on the city as it passed, lost myself in the gentle hum of the taxi's engine. There was a reason people wrote so many songs about New York City. It was truth, belief in something greater than just us. It was everything that had ever made me sing.
I had barely stepped onto the sidewalk when I was suddenly grabbed by the arm, dragged away from the throngs of people into the shadows, that place just barely out of sight. "Dinah." My name came out in a rushed breath, and then warm lips had found my own, and we were kissing, kissing frantically, and everything was so perfect. My tongue darted out to dance around his, bodies pressed into each other.
At long last I pulled away for air. "Ryder."
He let out a sigh, visible in the cloud that escaped his mouth. "I'm sorry. I've been thinking about you."
I smiled a little. In my mind, I was planning my escape from the life I led, plotting a way to leave it all and stay at the side of this angel, this darkened soul I knew nothing about. I could so simply imagine all the things I couldnt take, couldnt bear to say. But I had a voice, didnt I? I couldnt let this die.
But what if I was wrong, and I was meant to stay?
"I've been thinking about you too," I said eventually. Breathless. Blaming the cold, when I should have been blaming him. If I went with Ryder now, I would need him to promise me that there was no mistake in it. "This is crazy."
Ryder let out a light laugh. "We're crazy. Just...we'll take our time with everything."
I nodded, reassured by the hesitation in his own voice. "Okay," I replied. "And you can show me where to go."
We emerged back onto the sidewalk, oblivious of the stares people were giving us, unaware of how the snow fell and tangled itself in my hair. Maybe I couldnt save anything, but somehow I knew that I could find a way to move him, to make him open up and let in some of the light the world gave off.
I'd written too many songs about just giving up. Maybe...maybe he would help me to find my voice again.
[Here We Are After Dark, The Dangerous Summer]