Sylvie knew she was staring, but a magnetic pull stopped her from being able to tear her eyes away from his face. She almost said she wished saving her was his every-day gig, but she stopped herself and the words came out instead as a choking sound, then a cough, followed by a fit of sneezing. When she had composed herself, she dared to glance across again as she rubbed at her nose.
The stark moonlight illuminated his features and he appeared to be oblivious to her intense scrutiny, concentrating on driving, so she didn’t try to look away. Her body zipped and tingled with electricity, as though the interior of the car was alive with static.
Separately there was nothing spectacular or beguiling about any of his features, but the manner in which they were assembled was a masterpiece. Once she’d read beauty came from symmetry – perfect balance. She didn’t believe in God or any particular religious dogma. Her pagan leanings and her love of the Goddess came more as part of her midwifery practise than an actual personal decision to pursue any path of belief. But something pulled at her when she looked at Marcus. In that moment, with his beautiful face in profile, serene but serious, staring out into the hostile nothingness, it was easy to believe something divine had had a hand in creating him. Or she’d just been sequestered away from men too long, yearning for love and the quiet simplicity of a life beyond The Underground.
Trina had always said she could put a fantastical spin on anything given half a chance. But in those days she was conjuring fairies, not heroic demi-Gods in mustangs.
It was the hands though, that did it for her when she finally looked away from his face to the rest of him. They were long and elegant, tapered fingers wrapped around the steering wheel, but not white-knuckled with the pressure and stress which hers would be. Despite the sub zero temperature, he wore a crumbled grey t-shirt which showed his muscular body to good effect, but Sylvie got the feeling he couldn’t have cared what he looked like and was totally oblivious to the effect he was having on her. And he didn’t seem to feel the cold.
A large tattoo ran the from beneath the sleeve of the t-shirt down to the tip of his elbow. In the low light she couldn’t make out what it was and didn’t feel it her place to ask. She didn’t want to make it any more obvious she was opening staring and taking stock of him.
He turned and didn’t just look at her, but into her. The clouds, from the building snow storm, swallowed the moonlight and the interior of the car was encapsulated in darkness again. Marcus’s eyes glowed briefly and he turned away. Pulling at the waist band of her hoodie, Sylvie looked down at her lap embarrassed to have been caught openly gawking at him like a smitten teenager.
Impeccable social skills Sylv.
She almost wished for another embarrassing sneezing fit.
Leaning back into the seat of the car it seem to mould around her, shifting to embrace her rather than some stuffing giving way to her greater weight. It made the hairs on the back of her neck want to stand up, but she wasn’t scared; something instinctive in her telling her to pay attention and to stay vigilant, but to stay calm as well. Her mother had told her to never believe everything she saw and to question everything. Fantastical thinking got you know where in the real world.
The landscape outside raced past in a blur; tumble-down high rise buildings, smaller collections of what looked to be adobe styled houses and wide open spaces of nothing which felt even more foreign in the middle of the city. Finally a wall appeared and Sylvie braced – the memory of her own brush with a wall fresh, like the blood drying on her forehead.
He drove around the perimeter of the wall once and then stopped, the engine roaring one last time before quietening to an idle and then stilling. As Sylvie went to get out, the clouds shifted again and a shaft of moonlight caught a diamond-like trinket hanging from the rear vision mirror and she lent across to touch it. Rather than a trinket it was a belly ring, a graceful silver bar with a dangling line of diamonds ending in one large one, tied to a length of cord and then to the arm of the rear vision mirror. It swayed and turned, like a tiny, barely lit mirrorball at her touch.
“Talisman?” she asked. Marcus opened his door and got out, ignoring her questions. Sylvie opened her door and said as the cold night air struck her like a hammer, “My sister had one just like that.”
This installment incorporates Fiona’s challenge (a tattoo) and passing mention of Constantine’s (heart/middle of the city)