Go to content Go to navigation Go to search

Table of Contents

“What were you thinking?”

“What were you thinking?”

Ysabel stands on the sidewalk arms akimboed, face hidden in the shadows under the streetlights. A thin mist not quite rain seeps slowly out of the air to sheen the pavement and the cars parked up and down the street. Jo still in her long grey dress barefoot sheathed sword in her hand comes down the steps from the porch of the big white ramshackle house on the corner, its windows behind her all lit up with candles and Christmas lights. “I was thinking,” she says, “we’d take a taxi. Borrowed a phone from the drummer. I mean even if I was ready to walk home like this, you wouldn’t make it in those heels.”

Her beaded gown clattering Ysabel folds her arms together as Jo steps onto the sidewalk. “How are we going to pay for a taxi?” she says.

“That’s supposed to be my line,” says Jo, holding up the gold credit card. “So maybe I’ll cop yours and say don’t worry about it.”

“Where did you get that?” says Ysabel, taking the card slowly from Jo, turning it over and over again.

“The Duke gave it to me. Said it was one of the – ”

“The Duke?” says Ysabel, sharply. “The Hawk was here? Tonight?”

“Yeah,” says Jo. “I was talking to him, in the library. Which is where I was I guess when the whole thing happened, which, I mean, I’m sorry, but – ”

“This is a big deal,” says Ysabel. She isn’t looking at the card. She’s looking away across the intersection at a darkened green house on the opposite corner behind a low stone wall.

Jo’s hugging herself tightly, shivering a little. “Yeah,” she says, and lets out a shaky little laugh. “If it works like he says it really changes everything. We’ll be taking a lot more taxis, you know?”

“We could,” says Ysabel, holding the card out to Jo. “Did you fuck him for it?”

Jo doesn’t take the card her hands still tightly holding her bare arms. “He gave it to me because I’m a knight now,” she says, her voice leashed tight, her breath a clammy cloud about her face.

“Wonderful,” says Ysabel, letting the card fall to the sidewalk. “Did you fuck him because you’re a knight now?”

“What the hell,” snaps Jo, stooping to collect the card.

“Don’t tell me it’s none of my business, Gallowglas.” Ysabel grabs Jo’s arm and hauls her around, upright. “The Duke would sit the Empty Throne.” Jo shakes her arm free. “If he survives he’ll be the King. He’ll have me as his Bride. He’ll send my mother off to Gammer-hood, or worse.”

Jo says nothing, fingers curled around that gold card.

“Do you love him?” says Ysabel.

Jo’s laugh is short and flat. “No. Don’t be – ”

“Do you love me?”

Jo shivers. Wraps her arms back around herself. “You, you didn’t,” she says, “you said,” and then a deep sharp breath in through her nose. She closes her eyes. “I thought you understood,” she says in a small and quiet voice, and then she opens her eyes. “Not like that. Ysabel, I’m sorry, I’m not – Ysabel!”

Ysabel’s very slowly falling sinking to her knees there on the sidewalk as with sharp cold popping sounds fat raindrops start to splat about them. Jo kneeling there by Ysabel who’s on her hands and knees saying “Harder than what went before” to herself and then, looking up at Jo with blank dark eyes, she rocks back and says, “There.” Her hair gone flat in the thickening rain. “So nice and neat,” she says. “You’re his. And now I’m yours.”

“What?” says Jo Maguire.

Table of Contents

MeiLin    17 March 2010    #

You gotta TELL me when you update! :D

That was awesome and weird. The Duke and Jo were like THE last pairing I ever could’ve thought up, as much as I like the Duke, and I do.

M.E.Traylor    15 August 2010    #

I must admit to having a little sinking feeling at the possible ‘gay/bi person unrequited longing for apologetic straight person’ dynamic, just because I see it so. Often. And I think it contributes to the whole politically correct exotification of same-sex orientation that often doesn’t give those people an actual voice, just someone else’s perception of them. But I am also completely convinced of your ability to do it awesome-ly, if that dynamic is in fact what it is.

  Textile Help