Made of Glass Ch. 08bybrightlyiburn©
Chapter Eight: Good Intentions
'Are we only the sum of our intentions?
If I intend you and me to be
Then I can sum it up thus:
We are made of good intentions' -- K.A.
Though the dial tone became progressively more annoying, Ellery could do little but stare, aghast, at her cell phone. This can't be happening, she thought. It can't. How can she do this? For everything else Nancy had done, Ellery hadn't quite believed she'd go this far. That was, of course, until her recent chitchat with Nancy's lawyer.
Finally Ellery calmed herself enough to hang the cell phone up. She dropped it on the coffee table and flopped down on the couch. What would she do now? She had no money for a lawyer, no way to defend herself. And was any of this even legal? She didn't quite think so. Threatening someone, accusing them of theft with no proof, talking about bringing in the police... Maybe I should ask Kort's father.
Kort wouldn't like that, not one bit. Ellery had met his father a couple times when she was younger, but she hadn't seen him in years; not since he and Kort had their falling out. Kort's father, a top-tier lawyer, didn't exactly approve of his son's dual mechanic/musician career. These days they barely spoke.
Only if I must, Ellery decided. Things with Kort were going so well; she didn't want to jeopardize it.
The end of the couch dipped, the springs creaked. She lifted her head and groaned when she saw Sadhbh perching on the arm of the couch. Muirne and Niamh stood behind her, gazing down expectantly at Ellery. She sighed, sat up, tried to smile at them. Niamh's dark eyes, as fathomless as ever, sent a shiver down her spine.
"Sorry girls, I don't really have time for this," Ellery said, making her smile apologetic.
"True," Sadhbh agreed. "You need to get ready."
"Um, yeah. Hello, Ells? Your date."
Ellery's eyes widened. "Oh shit!"
She scrambled up off the couch, coming within a hairsbreadth of banging her knee on the coffee table. Yikes, she thought, as she dodged the proverbial bullet. Wouldn't be able to wear a skirt if I did that! Not that she had any idea what she was going to wear.
Ellery burst through the door into her bedroom, her sisters on her heels. Sadhbh and Muirne laughed, catching her by the elbows as if it were a dance. They swung her in a circle; she might have been annoyed, but she found it difficult to resist the pull of their joy and enthusiasm. Carefully she pried herself from their grip and went to her closet. She had a lot of new clothes to choose from, but... What'll make the impression I want to make?
"I guess we can't do the corset thing again," Sadhbh said with a pout. "Guess we should've thought ahead. Corsets are good concert wear."
"No, not tonight," Niamh said, her voice soft, whispery. "Ells needs something different tonight, something..."
"Innocent," Muirne finished with a grin.
Niamh made a moue. "That wasn't exactly where—"
"Ooo, yeah!" Sadhbh agreed. She threw an arm around Niamh's shoulders. "It's okay, sis, your ideas are good but I think Muirne has it right this time."
Muirne and Sadhbh converged on the closet, an overly eager whirlwind. They jostled Ellery to the side and began rummaging through the clothes. Ellery leaned on the nearest wall, watching them in amusement.
"That's not innocent, it's bloody boring. Why is this even still in here?" Sadhbh tossed a high-necked shirt out of the closet.
"How about this one?" Muirne suggested.
"Which? Lemme see!"
Ellery fell back to a safe distance. As she moved, she caught the look on Niamh's face. There it was again, that dark something surging in her sister's eyes. Her tongue flicked out like a viper's, wetting her lusciously full lips. She looks like a snake, Ellery thought uneasily. Like a snake waiting to swallow down an unsuspecting mouse...
Niamh noticed her watching. The Faerie's expression changed, shifted, becoming more pleasant. She turned and walked towards Ellery, who backed up instinctively. A sad smile spread across Niamh's face, convincing, almost genuine, but something about it still felt off. As slippery as the serpent she sometimes resembled, Niamh wound an arm around Ellery's waist, pulled her close.
"They're a nuisance sometimes," she said, gesturing at her sisters with her chin, "but I love them dearly."
For once she truly sounded sincere. "I like them," Ellery agreed. "Sadhbh's particular brand of...exuberance aside."
"They can't help it. They're not fully Unseelie Court."
Ellery fought to keep her surprise off her face. She didn't want to give Niamh any ammunition—or a reason to stop talking. She knew little of Faerie, and what research she'd tried to do left her confused, bloated and convoluted by years of stories and fiction as it was. The Unseelie Court—the Dark Court to some—was supposed to be full of the cruelest, most vicious Faerie, but Ellery had no idea if that was true. She had no idea what to think about any of it.
"Oh?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.
Niamh smiled. "Their father was Summer Court. I don't know why, it's hardly mother's usual inclination, but there you have it."
Summer Court. Ellery wasn't sure exactly what that meant, but the information was valuable nonetheless.
"Got it!" Sadhbh crowed, turning away from the closet and holding up a dress. "All right, come on Ells. Let's get you done up."
Muirne had fished a curling iron from somewhere at the bottom of the closet. She held it up, pushing the handle so it clacked ominously.
Ellery sighed while Niamh laughed. "More like done in."
"So that's her, huh?"
Kort looked up from tuning his guitar. Their lead singer Ruby peered around the edge of the stage, eyeing the crowd. She was a strange one, their fearless leader. She insisted her name was short for Ruby Soho, after the Rancid song—even though she was a good four, five years too old to be named for it. Her punk-short black hair spiked at the front, but she was largely clear of tattoos and piercings, though she was the kind of girl you'd think would have many.
"Her who?" Kort asked, as casually as possible.
"Nice try, lover boy." Ruby turned to him and planted her hands on her hips. For some reason she'd worn a fluffy pink tutu with her white camisole, black vest, and chunky combat boots. Not that this was unusual, per se. He just couldn't help wondering what drove her to make such choices. "You said she'd be here. That's her, right? The redhead?"
Kort sighed. He set his guitar aside and rose. Ruby watched him, her green eyes eerily similar to Ellery's; that peridot green he'd once thought no one else in the world must have.
He peeked out from behind the stage, Ruby leaning against him and sticking her head out curiously. In the midst of the crowd, standing out like a dove among ravens, Ellery stood. She fidgeted nervously with the strap of her purse, eyeing the people around her uncertainly. She wore a white dress of some airy, gauzy material, with white ruffles like sea foam at the hem of the skirt. Her hair had been worked into an elaborate updo, with braids crisscrossing at the back and curls framing her face.
Kort sucked in a breath. Wow, he thought, a foolish grin threatening to break on his face. She looked completely out of place and utterly impossible to miss. That glow he'd noticed the other day at Ven's was back.
"Not too shabby," Ruby commented, elbowing him in the ribs. "Come on, we got a show to put on."
Kort grabbed his guitar, then followed Ruby as she strutted out onto the stage. Wyatt (bass), Rhys (drums), and Nolan (keyboard or acoustic guitar, depending) trailed behind him. The crowd let out a roar; Good Intentions played often at The Hole and their audience knew them well.
Ellery waved when she saw him. Even though he knew he shouldn't, he waved back. Girls turned to each other in the crowd, trying to figure out who'd won his attention. Kort grinned as Ellery joined in the search, acting as if she didn't know. The female fans were unlikely to be happy if they knew Kort—long known for being a bachelor—had become unavailable. Though he, unlike Rhys, never slept with groupies, some of them kept hope alive.
Ruby welcomed the crowd, basking in their cheers. Then the show was on. Good Intentions had its own line up of songs, but they played a lot of covers too. And with Ruby as their singer, why not? She had a rich, husky voice; she'd never win American Idol, but she could belt out rock songs at the top of her lungs or croon ballads sweetly enough for their fans.
The crowd went wild. If Good Intentions was a cult, Ruby was the gal handing out the Kool-Aid.
While they played, Kort kept his eyes on Ellery. She started out shy, barely even swaying to the music. But Ruby did her thing—cradling her mic like it was her lover, dominating the stage with her presence—and the crowd around Ellery surged, moving to the music. Slowly but surely, caught up in the tide, Ellery began to dance too. And then Kort really couldn't take his eyes off her.
Somehow, despite being mesmerized by the movement of her hips, he managed not to make mistakes. He wanted to be down there with her, to hold her hips while she swayed, but well, he couldn't have everything.
During a break in their set, while Ruby got a drink of water, Kort decided to approach their leader. The guys gathered around her too, just in case she made any spontaneous changes to their lineup; she did that fairly often. Ugh, Kort thought, didn't want to bring this up around them. But he refused to back down.
"Hey Ruby," he began, trying to sound nonchalant. "Can I get a request?"
"Ooo, want a song for your girlfriend?" Rhys taunted. He pushed his hair—as wild as his drumming—out of his eyes.
Kort ignored him. "How about it?"
"Anything for you, love." Ruby tossed aside her empty water bottle. "What you want?"
He ignored the guys' smirks as he told her, then went back to his place. Ruby took up her spot at the mic stand; they'd been on for more than an hour but she showed little sign of wear.
"All right, got a special request now," Ruby said, to the cheers of the audience. "For you in the crowd there. You, the redhead with the cute little tits."
Kort groaned. In the crowd, Ellery folded her arms over her chest and turned bright red. People turned to look at her, some curious, some jealous, some both.
"Don't be ashamed, love. They're adorable. I wanna bite 'em." Ruby clacked her teeth together. Then she tossed her head back and laughed. Ellery, responding to Ruby's effervescence, laughed too.
"All right, hit it boys!" Ruby shouted. As the music started up, she leaned into the microphone and sang, "That way that she moves, well I was aroused, impassioned, empowered by every move..."
Ellery broke into a grin. Her embarrassment apparently forgotten, she began to dance again. Kort watched her, not caring who noticed. She followed the beat, mussing her perfect curls. As he soaked in the vision of her, he leaned forward to join the band in the chorus.
"She's automatic, so automatic, the way that she moves, the way that she moves."
The next few songs were a blur, as Kort struggled to maintain his focus. He wanted so badly to be down there with her, to catch her hand and run until they were far away from here. Somewhere like his apartment, where they could be alone, where he could slide his hands beneath that skirt... Whoa, okay, don't go there, he thought, swallowing hard. Not onstage, in front of all these people.
As the set neared the end—but the encore had yet to begin—Kort's impatience built. He glanced at his watch; they were going to be late.
While he worried, the song finished and Ruby stepped away from her microphone. She sauntered over to him, her eyes flashing, a knowing smile curving her lips. Nolan came over as well, his acoustic guitar strung across his back. Kort felt a prickle of hope as Ruby pushed his microphone away.
"Go on, lover boy," she said, grinning. "We'll do the encore unplugged. Get your girl and go."
He didn't hesitate. Kort slid his guitar strap off and handed it off the Ruby. Then he leapt off the stage, eliciting gasps and laughter from the crowd. They reached out for him, trying to grab hold of him, but the only one he reached for in return was Ellery. She let him take her wrist, let him pull her through the rush of people. And when he looked back, as they raced through the door, she was laughing.
Amore was a tiny Italian restaurant on the edge of town that everyone loved. At least, that's what Kort had heard. He'd been lucky to get a reservation with so little notice. And now we're late, he thought with a sigh.
Ellery stepped out of the car and took in their location, her eyes lighting in pleasure. Kort had wondered if it was too much for a casual something, something he wasn't even sure was a date. In truth he knew little about dating; his experiences were with one-night stands and a few brief flings that were purely physical.
"How'd you know?" Ellery asked as they crossed the parking lot.
"That I've been dying to try this places for ages."
He reached over and tugged one of her wilted curls. "You have mentioned it a time or two."
"I didn't think you were listening." She looped her arm through his and leaned into him. "You guys were awesome, by the way. Your singer..."
"Ruby. She's great. I mean, okay, she isn't like Mariah Carey or anything in terms of voice, but she sounds good, and she has so much charisma."
"She even made you blush."
To his delight, Ellery went red again. "That's not that difficult."
No, perhaps not, Kort thought. He remembered her pleasure the other night, when he'd made the confession to her. At the time he couldn't quite believe he'd said it; the revelation had only just come to him. He probably should have acknowledged it much sooner, considering he'd been having wet dreams about her since high school. But he'd always thought, hey, he was a horny teenage boy, she was a girl, certainly that must be why. Which just proves that I'm an idiot.
So he leaned over and whispered in her ear, "I wanna bite 'em too."
She went even more red and huffed. "I dunno...Ruby's offer was pretty tempting."
"Oh really?" He raised an eyebrow. "I didn't know you swing that way."
She nudged him with her elbow. Grinning, he untangled himself from her and grabbed the door. She swept past him, into the scent of basil and olive oil, and a pervading sense of cozy warmth. Behind a counter stood a man in a shirt so pressed and starched, Kort wouldn't have been surprised if it could've stood on its own. The man—the maitre'd, he supposed, in a restaurant this fancy—regarded them expressionlessly.
"Ambrose," Kort said, as he approached the counter. "I've got a reservation..."
The maitre'd checked the list. "You're late."
"Well, yeah. My work kind of ran over..."
"Your table has already been taken."
Kort stared. "What?"
"Thanks," Ellery cut in. She smiled at the maitre'd as she took Kort's arm. "Come on, let's go."
"But," Kort started to protest.
Ellery tugged. Kort, still stunned, allowed himself to be pulled along. I didn't even get a chance, he thought. I mean, geez, our date hasn't even begun yet. But the maitre'd's expression made it clear there was nothing he could do. Good thing they hadn't made this official; it would've sucked even more.
Outside, he turned to apologize to Ellery. She grabbed him by the shoulders, stopping his words with her mouth. More astonishment washed over him, of a much more pleasant variety. She kissed him until he was nearly breathless and when she pulled away, he could only stare.
"What was that for?"
"For remembering that I wanted to come here," she explained.
"But we didn't get to," he pointed out, as she started across the parking lot. "You might've noticed...Ells!"
"I don't care." She glanced back over her shoulder. "You remembered. That's good enough for me. Now let's go."
"Go where?" he asked, trotting to catch up with her.
"The grocery store."
She grinned. "You said we'd get something to eat, right? Well, I make a mean steak."