Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Friday Snippet


I haven't done a Friday Snippet in a while, so here is one from

'Angels on Crusade'

I could barely keep myself together that day. Perhaps it was the fight; more likely it was just depression settling over me. The dusty road wound between huge cliffs that cast a deep violet shade. Above our heads, the sky was raw blue. The cliffs were red, and the grass was yellow. In the distance was the sea. I could smell it now. Salt in the air left a faint glitter on our skin.
Fatigue made my head spin, made me clumsy. I stumbled repeatedly. Charles grabbed my arm and urged me on. When the sun was straight overhead, Jean spotted a recess in the rocks, and we climbed a narrow goat path to a small cave. Other travelers had left a pile of tinder, but we had nothing to cook so we lit no fire. I simply sat and shuddered as the full horror of my situation registered on my mind. Charles watched me closely for a while, then said he’d go find water. I think he’d decided I was dying of thirst.
Actually, I was parched, but it made no difference to my mood. All I could think about was suicide, and soon. My mission started to fade into the background; I could hardly remember it anyhow. What was I supposed to do? Why? Why bother? I was going to die anyway. I might as well be erased so none of this would ever have happened.
Jean slid over to me and took me in his embrace. Immersed in my own thoughts, his actions took me completely off guard. The feel of his arms around me was like an electric shock. No one had touched me in so long aside from the doctors in prison that I turned to him and clung, pressing my shivering body to his.
His hands slid down my sides and his breathing deepened. My head spun; I didn’t realize what was happening until he’d already lifted my dress over my head. By then, it was too late to stop. Desire rose within me, sharp and compelling. All thoughts fled at his touch. Surprise and longing took hold of me. I arched my whole body towards him and offered myself wantonly.
It was over very quickly. Just the touch of my bare skin made him cry out. I hardly had time to draw him into me before he shuddered and spent himself. His breath was ragged; sweat stood out on his brow.
I couldn’t move, completely under the spell of raw passion. My body had been wakened by Jean’s touch, but my mind was strangely lethargic. Locked in a tight embrace, the stuffy heat in the cave making our bodies slick with sweat, I couldn’t think of anything but assuaging my desire. After a minute, he hardened again and we made love once more. This time I took control of the situation and showed him how to give me pleasure. It was soon done—a violin string couldn’t have been drawn tighter than my lust. We cried out in unison, his in surprise, mine in release.
He rolled off me and lay panting on the floor. I sat up and drew my blouse over my breasts. With hands that shook, I smoothed my dress down over my legs.
Jean watched me with a puzzled expression, as if he couldn’t quite place me. “I’m sorry,” he said. “Did I hurt you?”
I closed my eyes. I wanted the silence to become visible, to cloak me and cover me in darkness so I could melt away.
“No, Isobel, look at me!” Even his pleas were stern. Perhaps he couldn’t help it; he was used to giving orders.
I put my hand out blindly and touched his face. Slowly I drew my fingers down his cheeks, over his chin, then back up to his forehead. I searched his face with my hand, looking for something, some sort of salvation, but all I felt was the smooth cheeks of youth and fuzz on his chin where a beard should have been. If only he’d been older. Sixteen! Oh, God, I’d just lain with a sixteen-year-old. I was thirteen years older than he was. No, I shook my head. Who was really older? He’d been born more than thirteen centuries before I had—I was younger than Jean by nearly a thousand years. A giggle burst from my lips. I buried my face in my hands and, for the first time in two weeks, started to laugh.
“Isobel!” Relief, and a hint of anger, colored in his voice.
I raised my head and looked at him. “I’ll be all right,” I said.
“I don’t know what happened, I felt, I wanted…” He moved closer to me and gripped my arm. “Will you marry me?”
“Oh, Jean.” I sighed. My sorrow was lessening. I could feel its weight easing off my body, and I could move without the feeling of lead in my limbs. “You don’t have to marry me, for heaven’s sake. All we did was make love. You can’t go and ask the first girl you lay with to marry you. You have to get to know the person, fall in love with her, want to spend the rest of your life with her, have children…” My voice tapered off.
“Will you have a child?” he asked, his eyes very bright.
“No, I will not,” I said. The depression departed, but I was exhausted. My head ached. “Let me sleep now. I won’t marry you and I won’t have a child. We can make love again, whenever you want to. It’s better to ask first, instead of just falling upon me, though.” I yawned. “It’s all right, don’t worry.”
“Why are you crying then?” He pulled my head down to his lap and stroked my cheeks.
“I don’t know, I think I’m just tired.”
“Then sleep, Isobel, sleep.” His voice, I realized, could be very gentle. I slept.

3 comments:

Oopsy Daisy said...

Wow! I enjoyed your snippet very much! Another fine Jennifer Macaire novel to add to my wish list.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Daisy!!
How have you been doing? Any news at all on your situation?? I keep checking your blog, and hoping everything is going to be all right!

Sam

Charles Gramlich said...

Nice description there at the beginning. An engaging snippet.