Chapter 5.4 (Ryder)Mature

Something was most definitely up with Mollie. I was grateful that she had admitted it, even if she wouldn't talk about it with me. I still wanted to know though, of course.

I frowned at myself as I stood behind the counter. Something was obviously wrong with me. I was worrying about her. Concern had never really been within my emotional range. Boredom, anger, desire, confusion even, I could cope with - but concern? Hell, I could even manage trust at a push.

"Are you okay?" I heard Mollie ask.

I glanced over at her across the room, letting my frown drop. "Yeah, fine. Just thinking."

"What about?"

"Just... things," I said dismissively. I was hardly going to reveal this new revelation to her when I hardly understand it myself. I needed to talk to Alistair.

She raised an eyebrow at me. "Things?"

"Yes, things," I answered with cold eyes.

She seemed to understand that I wasn't going to discuss it. At all. Probably ever. She went back to pricing the pile of new books we'd got in. She was almost done from the look of it.

I thought back to my meeting with Death earlier in the day. I wasn't sure whether he'd realised that there was something going on between Mollie and I. If he had, he hadn't said anything and - knowing Death - he would have unless he wanted to watch the situation unfold.

To be honest, even I wasn't sure what was going on between the two of us. I mean, she pulled me back to her and she even wrapped her legs around my waist, then she pushed me away. Every time she did, I felt... something. I couldn't explain and I didn't want to focus on it for as long as possible. It just... God, there was something about being a reaper that let you distance yourself from humans and their 'feelings'. Ever since I'd met Mollie I hadn't been able to find that disassociation more than half the time; I found myself pitying those I passed on the streets. What sort of reaper empathises with those he's only going to have to collect at some point? A shit one, that's the answer to that.

I was getting too involved with everything, with Mollie, with the area, even the bloody world that I had once belonged to. I knew that I should just go straight back to Limbo and hand Death my... resignation, I suppose - at least with this assignment. Thing is: I didn't want to. No matter how professional I knew I was supposed to be, I didn't want to be. I... wanted to be involved with all of this. What the fuck was going on with my mind? Too much time around Alistair... That must have been it. Had to be.

I sighed quietly and ran my fingers through my hair. Mollie either didn't notice my sigh or judiciously ignored it. Whichever it was, I was grateful. God, I needed time to think.

Mollie had her back to me, giving me the opportunity to study her. She turned suddenly - to get another book - and caught me looking. She blushed, focusing unnecessarily hard on the shrinking pile of books as she reached down for another. I couldn't help my cheeky smile.

I went over to her, taking the book from her hand and placing it on the shelf behind her. She looked up at me, her lips slightly parted. I took her chin between my fingers and leant down to kiss her. Her lips pressed back against mine. I let my thumb trail along her jaw and down her throat. My hands pulled her arms around my neck before resting on her hips.

We kissed for a while. Time simply slipped away as we stayed in the same position. This didn't bother her, just kissing like this. Even as I deepened the kiss and looped my arms loosely around her waist, she didn't push me away. Yet another odd, alien feeling bloomed inside of me but I pushed it away; now wasn't the time for a personal psychological examination.

"Hello, love-birds," said Alistair's casual voice from over by the door.

Mollie pulled her lips away immediately and moved to take her arms back. I slightly tightened the circle of my arms around her waist and after a moment, put hers back in place.

"What do you want, Alistair?" I asked, glancing over at him briefly before returning my gaze to Mollie.

"I was just dropping by to talk to you, but I can see you're busy - it can wait."

"What's it about?" I asked, meeting his gaze. His eyes told me before his words did.

"Our little society," he said simply, looking back at me.

"Ah," I replied, "yes, I'll come and find you later or in the morning."

His lips curled with knowing. Apparently he thought I had a plan for the evening. Of course, that gave me the idea. He left quickly, a grin spreading over his face. Typical.

The End

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