chicks, pants, showing it all, dancing


See the Shadows of Innocence and Sanity

a shadow of the day

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need friends, slipping away, let go
About Sin.

Aspasia stifled a yawn with her palm. In the moment before she killed the engine of her Camaro, the clock on the dashboard read 3:23. They had made good time, even after stopping at a Steak ‘n’ Shake around midnight.

She released her seatbelt with a soft sigh and turned to look at Sin. He had fallen asleep almost an hour before, and was now huddled against the door, his ever-longer hair hiding most of his peaceful face. Her hand gently rubbed his shoulder, and he stirred a little.

“Wake up, il mio amore,” she murmured softly. “We are here.” His hazel eyes fluttered open, and she smiled at him, brushing his hair away from his face with callused fingertips. A sleepy smile spread across his face. He took her hand in his, kissing the back of it lightly before moving to stiffly get out of the tightly fit car.

Inside the house, Aspasia could see her father in the front room, asleep in a plush armchair with a book facedown in his lap. He was clad in a tailored business suit, shoes and all; the only exception was the jacket, draped over the back of the chair. Pacie smiled; such a sight was typical. Alonzo was always impeccably dressed throughout her memories; it would not take both of her hands to count the number of times she had seen her father in jeans, even in almost nineteen years.

With a weary sigh, Aspasia let her backpack slip off her shoulders. Her father might be grumpy if she woke him up now, but he was sure to be pissed in the morning if she hadn’t woken him when she got home, especially if it meant he spent the night in a chair.

“Papa,” she said, shaking his shoulder gently. He jerked awake, but his expression softened as he recognized his youngest daughter. He smiled fondly as he reached out to pet her thick black hair.

“Aspasia, sweetheart.” He stood to wrap her in a tight hug. “Come stai?”

Molto bene, eh leh?

Non c’e male.” His expression grew firmer and sterner as he turned to face a yawning Sin. “Signore Sin, buona sera.” Aspasia grinned. At 6’3”, the strongly built Italian Alonzo was an imposing figure, but she saw hints of fondness in his dealings with Sin. The sparkle in his espresso eyes at the moment was a dead giveaway.

Sin meekly stepped forward and offered his hand. He spoke haltingly, with a couple of incorrect accents, but with a clear earnestness in his expression that made Pacie smile fondly at him. “Grazie… Buona sera, signore.

Alonzo let out one of the deep belly laughs he was known for as he clasped and shook Sin’s hand. “Welcome, Sin. I see Pacie has not been an altogether bad influence on you.”

Sin grinned, voice soft with sleep. “Not at all. I wonder why she puts up with a basket like myself.”

Alonzo turned to face his daughter and found her trying to stifle a yawn. “Go get some rest, both of you. We will talk more later.” He hugged Aspasia once more, kissing her forehead. “It is good to have you home again, la mia angela.” He smiled warmly, and, for a second, he was the father he was before Celestina died. “Buona notte.”

A sleepy, contented smile crossed her face. “Buona notte, Papa.” She reached to pick up her backpack only to find that Sin had lifted it and was set to carry it, as well as his own, up the stairs. He gestured for her to precede him. Never one to feel patronized, she responded a little more crankily than she intended to. She hoped it was due to weariness. “Sin, give me my bag.”

“Let me help you for once, Swimbo, love,” he teased. “Go on.”


Alonzo interrupted, his voice commanding. “Let him carry it, Aspasia.”

She sighed with all the petulance of a much younger teenager. “Fine.” She turned to head up the carpeted stairs. She felt a little ridiculous, but she was too tired to care.

“Aspasia,” Alonzo called after her.

She turned. “Que?” She noticed his eyes still sparkled.

La sua sorpresa è disposta.”

She grinned. “Grazie, Papa.” She headed up the stairs, looking a little happier than she had. Sin followed her, not much fazed by her mood shifts. She had insisted on driving most of the thirteen-hour trip; that alone justified a little grumpiness. He did wonder what Mr. Aleron had said that had changed her disposition so quickly, though. His Italian was not nearly good enough yet to catch the quick, short phrase he had uttered.

Halfway up the stairs, her arm slid around his waist. “Mi dispiace,” Aspasia said softly. Sin did not recall the meaning of the words, but understood her tone well enough.

“Alright, love. Really,” he assured her.

Inside her bedroom, Aspasia headed straight for her bed, flopping down onto the beckoning mattresses fully clothed. She buried her face in the pillows and breathed deep. Her room did not always seem so much like home anymore, after spending so much of her time in Boston, but the smell of her bedding was always the same, in her father’s house or KSA: a curious blend of a certain brand of detergent and her own perfume. Weird little things like that always comforted her.

Sin went about putting down their bags, nearly weak with exhaustion himself. With the long ride and the pressure of upcoming finals, he just wanted to curl up beside the girl like they were used to doing. Stepping lightly, he leaned over her on the bed, kissing her cheek softly.

“Goodnight, mo chuisle,” he whispered. “I will see you in the morning.” He started to go to the guest bedroom across the hall when Pacie stopped him.

Dontgo.” He almost thought it was a foreign language before he realized, with her hand firmly holding his, she asked him not to go.

“Love, I have to go. Your parents….” He halfheartedly tried to show reason, but the late hour was toying with him.

She cracked open an eye to look at him. With only a look, part annoyed and part pleading and more than half asleep, she broke down his resolve. With a sigh, he lay beside her, pulling up the one loose blanket at the foot of the bed to tuck around them. The soft scent of the vanilla jasmine she used wrapped around him, lulling him into the safety of sleeping beside the girl. With a sigh, he relaxed into her. Pacie snuggled contentedly back against Sin’s warmth. Her eyes fluttered closed, and she sighed softly.

After a moment, she shifted a little uncomfortably before easing out of his arms. If Sin wanted to sleep in the clothes he had been wearing for God knows how long now, that was fine, but after a thirteen-plus hour drive, these clothes had to go. After changing into an oversized t-shirt, she slid back onto the bed, nudging his shoulder gently.

“Move long enough to get under the rest of the blankets, love.” She would not have disturbed him, but there was a reason she kept several blankets on her bed. Even with Sin’s body heat, she would be freezing by the time they got up the next morning if she were only covered by the one blanket.

Sin shifted sleepily, but it was enough for her to tug the blankets under him and back up over the two of them.

Once under the covers, Sin melted back into his comfort zone, one that made a perfect counterpart to Pacie. Even asleep, he was malleable and flexible, something that had saved him in many classes. Under the covers, Aspasia snuggled up to Sin, her forehead pressed against him, breathing in that scent that was unmistakably him, sandalwood and something else she could not really put a name to. She smiled against his skin, happy and secure with him in her bed.

The next afternoon, the two of them left Aspasia’s house around 3:30, after sleeping in, and after Pacie had insisted on cooking a much too big breakfast. Darcy had turned her nose up at the meal—much more Kentucky country than Italian or anything to that woman’s standards—but Alonzo, Pacie’s big brother Antony, and Sin happily sat with Aspasia and ate.

Sin could see the sparkle in her eyes as she drove toward the riverfront, with her music turned up just a little too loud for him to think clearly. He winced as the wind whipped the loud lyrics round and round his ears. He gave her a smile and prayed she would turn it down or they would park soon.

A man wearing a Derby Festival t-shirt and ratty blue jeans held a large sign. Thunder Parking -- $10. Pacie followed a short line of cars into the yard and, after handing the man a ten-dollar bill through her window, bounded out of the car like an excited puppy. Laughing to himself, he followed her.

When Sin reached her side, she slipped her hand into his, smiling brightly. “The park is only a couple of blocks that way.” She pointed vaguely over her left shoulder and started to walk.

Walk was not quite the right word. Something more like a bounce. He had a suspicion that if he were not holding her hand, she might be skipping down the crowded sidewalk. The visual of his Pacie skipping—in all her gothic glory—brought a grin to his face. He shook his head a little. He would probably never understand why she got so into this. All the noise made him cringe inside, but the sight of her happy kept him moving forward with her, body lithely keeping up with the joyous bounce in her step.

Sin had to admit, as a warm breeze wrapped around them, that the weather was much nicer this year. He had been skeptical when Aspasia suggested he might want to bring shorts. He thought they were all going to freeze to death last year, especially right on the river. But now, walking toward some park where they were to meet some of Aspasia’s friends, a bright sun beamed down from overhead, warming his skin and almost making him wish he had brought the shorts as she had said. But years of living on an island kept the sane part of him remembering the cold of waterfront air at night.

Pacie tugged on his hand, and he followed her lead as they wove through milling crowds of people and vendors selling everything from fried turkey legs and beer to weird furry hats and inflatable toys bigger than his torso. He figured it would be a few more hours before they would begin selling glow sticks and other things to light up the nighttime. Overhead, planes roared, many spinning in tricks that would make someone dizzy if they even watched too long.

They reached the park in a few minutes, and Aspasia began scanning the surrounding crowds, which had significantly lessened as they had left the vendors. Sin thought, but did not say out loud, that Pacie’s friends should be pretty easy to find surrounded by all of these families—particularly if they still dressed like she did. He shrugged vaguely to himself and glanced out at the river. He could not decide if it looked more or less murky with the sun gleaming on its surface than it had with heavy gray clouds hanging overhead.

The glint of the mercurial waves called to him though, and he slipped away from her side. He wandered close to the metal railing that bordered the park and kept ambitious children from wandering too close to the riverbank, and found himself watching the boats. He yearned to sail along with them, feeling the splashes of mist and the wind against his face. A whole winter without being on the water was beginning to show in the way he leaned even farther over the rail, watching rowboats and motor boats skipping along the current filled waters.

Pacie’s hand slipped into his again. “They are not here yet.” She did not seem concerned. She clambered up to sit on top of the waist-high railing. “What are you watching?”

“Boats. See those over there, with all of the alcos on it? Perfect for fishing, those. All aluminium and stable and easy to control.” He kept pointing out other boats. “That one? With the yellow sail? 22 feet of sailing joy. Just you, the wind and the water, fighting it out together. My grandda’ had a little boat like that. Best days of my life were on that.” He smiled, remembering.

Pacie had a gleeful grin on her face; he wondered if he was amusing her that greatly, or if she just was not telling him something. Probably a blend of both. She pointed at something out on the water.

“What do you think about that one?”

He looked out to where she was pointing. His jaw dropped and he was sure he was drooling. “That,” he breathed, “that is the most beautiful piece of material I have ever seen in my life. She’s…… she’s brilliant.” He could not speak with the awe of it. Seeming on impulse, she tiptoed to kiss him gently. Even more bewildered now, he said, “Why do you ask?”

She grinned, a smile that meant everything and nothing. “Because,” she said slowly, dragging out the word as her arms went around his waist and she tilted her head back to look up at him, “it is ours for the day, though I believe Gareth and everyone else have already commandeered it and left without us.” Her smile grew. “They will be back.” Her dark eyes danced as she waited for his reaction.

His legs went a bit weak, and he had to steady himself between Pacie and the handrail. “Ours?” he stuttered, utterly gobsmacked at the prospect of that boat.

She laughed as he picked her up and spun her around in joy. “I take it you like it?”

“Like it?” he sputtered. “I… I… it is beautiful! I’ve been waiting for a boat like that my whole life, ‘Spasia.” She smirked at him as he brightened considerably. “Do I get to sail it?”

Taking him by the hand, they wandered down to the boat dock, where her friends were waiting. She could not help but notice the barely contained energy now present in Sin’s hand. He was nearly trembling with excitement, and his stride was getting longer with the need to go go go.

This Thunder was going to be fantastic, he thought, a set of keys jangling against his thigh waiting for him to ask her to move in with him. He could not wait.


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