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Will It Bloom This Year?

"Thanks for coming out with me," Simon said to Suzanne. "I mean, for the walk."

They were strolling down by the waterfront, and she was holding his hand because it wasn't too terribly cold that day. He was walking fine, almost not leaning on the cane at all. "It's been a week since I saw you last," she said, smiling at him. "I needed reassurance that you haven't gone off and found another woman."

He grinned. "Well, you'll never, ever be able to displace the Fat Lady, I'm afraid," he said, "but since that's about as likely to happen as the Ultimate suddenly falling for me, I think you're safe."

"I'd be willing to share you with the Fat Lady, I think," Suzanne said. "Once."

"You're awfully kind, ma'am," Simon said with a little bow. "And I'll keep that in mind."

"Like I could ever refuse you something you really wanted," Suzanne said, looking past him out at the river. She noticed the slight smell of decay on the water, the sight of darkly rotted stumps of the old piers, and the sound the gulls made as they wheeled overhead.

"The feeling's mutual," Simon said, squeezing her hand briefly. His hand was warm and smooth, and she could feel the hard muscle of his forearm along hers.

Suzanne sighed. In the madness of post-holiday development deadlines at the office, it was the first Saturday she'd had free since New Year's. The habit of the office was hard to shake off -- she kept having to find ways to clear her ever-growing to-do list out of her head. "So what's been going on at Marigold Lane since I was last there?"

Simon shrugged. "Not much. Megan and G still aren't seeing each other. I think Megan may be interested in some vampire friend of Zoltan's, but it's hard to be sure with Megan. Um. Zoltan has mostly not been bringing any of his pretty boys home lately. Watson is working on a couple of cases that she thinks are dull -- divorces, I think. G is working on the new Mother Necessity shelter design, so she's out late at the office. Or maybe she's gallivanting around as a superhero. Hard to tell."

"Sounds like the same old, same old," Suzanne said. "And Jack Hammer never does anything interesting?"

"I try to avoid knowing what Mr. Hammer is up to," Simon said with a very slight shudder. "He scares me."

"But doesn't scare the pants off you," Suzanne said with a wink, "is that it?"

"Exactly," Simon said. "Besides, I've been noticing some cute little twink of an android around his house lately."

"Nosy," Suzanne said, touching his nose.

Simon grinned and turned toward her. "My nose is cold, Suzanne!" he said, with teasing plaintiveness, and he began to try to put his (very) cold nose in various relatively warm locations exposed by her coat. She swatted at him and made squeaks of protest.

Wind gusted suddenly, and Simon froze, his head going up like a hound's, nostrils flaring.

"What's wrong?" Suzanne said, her spine growing cold as she observed his quivering attention.

He shook his head and lunged past her, off the walking path and up a slope to a woody spot populated by firs and junipers and a few leafless birches. She followed him.

He was sniffing audibly now, and she got a glimpse of him making a disgusted face. Even she was able to detect the odor now. After circling a particular spot among the trees, he pulled a couple of large juniper branches apart.

Even though he immediately let go the branches, she saw, and recognized what she saw. Swallowing hard, caught between nausea and a delicious adrenaline rush she hadn't had in years, she said, "I'll call 911."

"Yeah," he said, glancing at her, his brown skin taking on a chalky grey look. "I... I've never seen a dead body that... looked that bad before."

She pulled him against her and dialed the phone one-handed. She recognized the paradoxical feeling of that rush and delight in something so horrible: the journalist in the back of her head was screaming, STORY!

---

From the Author:
Thank you, everyone, for the enthusiastic response! Remember: I will post twice weekly during the month of December as a [fill in holiday here] gift for you all. If you like getting WCS twice weekly, then please comment on anything -- how I'm abusing your favorite character, a character you'd like to see more of, speculations on the amatory habits of characters, whatever. :) If I get 50 comments over the course of December, I will post twice weekly all through January as well. If I get 75 comments, I'll post twice weekly through February. If, by some amazing work of you wonderful folks, I get more comments than that, I will come up with some even better reward.

Again, all this is contingent on my not breaking myself again or acquiring some horrible pathogen. If something bad happens to derail me, I will figure out how to extend the gift.


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Date: 2010-12-03 03:37 am (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
...I love the tension in Suzanne, between 'ew body' and 'yay story'. And she's honest about it -- a lot of people would deny the 'yay' even to themselves.

O_O

Date: 2010-12-03 08:54 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I perceive that Simon has a nose for trouble. What a thing to find. I'm glad mine just leads me to roadkill.

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