In Flagrante Delicto
by Liberty

Griffin: It lacked certain elements that we need to market a film successfully.
June: What elements?
Griffin: Suspense, laughter, violence. Hope, heart, nudity, sex. Happy endings. Mainly happy endings.
June: What about reality?
-The Player

It starts as yesterday. For that reason she never quite remembers how the beginning goes.

Hollywood isn't as she thought it would be. She expected sharpness and shine, reflective surfaces cast everywhere until she was either humbled or blind. The truth is that Hollywood is just like LA - dull mountains of gray cloud, trying desperately to be clear.

Elsie has always thought the earth must be jealous of the ocean, with it's vast waves of clear depth. She'd never actually seen the ocean until now, except in runny paintings and faded uncoloured photographs. In reality the ocean is a lot like her, much too powerful for it's body. It can't be contained. The ocean, in the end, is much sadder than she could have ever imagined.

It was never a dream of hers to come to America, she never even thought about it until she was landing at the airport, the wheels of the plane scraping over concrete, and the people next to her didn't smell the same.

Perhaps leaving Gosford Park didn't faze her as much as it maybe should have. But to Elsie it was just like flipping a coin. Sometimes you get heads.


She walks down the beach with hands twined behind her back. The water is sipping thirstily from her heels and she teases it a little, laughing, until she sees the figure ahead of her.

His hair is knotted and his clothes full of creases. Elsie watches as he tries to smoothen them forcefully but then shakes his wrists as if they ache with the pressure. She's not surprised that he followed her down here, even if she has no idea what he's expecting from her. On the way to LA they sat side by side in the plane and he kept pressing the rough, starched sleeve of his shirt against her arm, but the entire time Henry still didn't look up or smile. He would have seemed pathetic, maybe, had he not still been Henry Denton and with that name possessed an invulnerable dignity that she can't seem to look under.

Elsie nods at him a little as they come to face each other, on the hot sand.

"Henry Denton," she says, carefully, as if he's the last person she expected to see.

"Hello, Elsie," he drawls, slowly, because if he talked quickly it wouldn't be nearly as arrogant, and looks her over. Henry seems amused but underneath there is a twitch of curiosity and his lips quiver like the feather of an arrow.

Elsie examines him as he steps closer and the feel of roughness, wet against her neck, increases.

"What can I do for you?" she asks, with false politeness that her tone gives away, backing up a step and wiping slightly at the table beside her with greased fingers that smudge the freshly cleaned surface.

Henry bites his lip and grins.


She's going to be an actress and it's certainly not what she'd expected. Morris sent Henry to get her to work with him, because he think she has `flair' and Elsie could feel the slippery weight of his gaze even without him there, but she's willing to make sacrifices for a new shade of life. It won't be the first time.

There's a party and martinis and Henry's knowing gaze on her as Morris pulls her around by the arm, showing her off like a dime store mannequin, spit-shined and polished, a dress of melted rubies soft against her legs. Elsie remembers the music, pounding piano keys like a symphony of fingers, and the taste of stolen vodka in the back of her throat. This is similar, but here she eats finger sandwiches fresh off the trays and they squish under her fingers like the wings of moths. And here Henry slips around her side, tugging at her hair, twisting the curls with his fingers.

Later, there's hazy maroon walls, a bed behind her back in forest green, and quiet. She knows her eyes are sparkling, like a lit match but she can't figure out how to dull them.

"Are you trying to seduce me?" she asks, a shifting teasing tone that follows her fingers as they press into buttonholes.

Henry rubs his palms down Elsie's arms, cold and sticky, and she can feel the smirk ruffle her hair as Henry breaths her scent in deeply. Elsie wonders what she smells like to him. She imagines that she probably doesn't want to know. For a moment Elsie wishes she could bury her face in Henry's hair and pull out a scent. But all she can smell anymore is crumbling ashes.

His thin, white fingers dig into Elsie's arms and she grimaces slightly but then there's wet heat on her neck and she bites her lip and that pain's better. Henry pulls her even closer as he traces a path across her flesh with his tongue, scraping his teeth slightly on the skin. Elsie imagines her shoulders will be red and tender for days after this. She doesn't groan but thinks about it, imagining marks and bruises that bleed and fade.

Her whole body feels dry, sucked free of liquid, except the small trail of moisture that stretches across her shoulders. Henry is smiling against her skin as his tongue laps harder, sandpaper rough, and rolls lewdly over salted flesh.

It's wrong. Very wrong, she knows. But Henry is growling lightly in the back of his throat, begging for control, like he knows what she's thinking. He tugs a little on the hair curling at her neck, just enough to sting, and she leans forward to lap at the almost invisible scar running along the edge of his jaw. Tugging him forward and pulling him back. They neither want to be altogether in control but never out of it and she feels off-balance just from trying to fight it.

"We - " she starts to say with hapless words that string together in her mind and can't be forced past her lips.

"Shut up." Henry moves his head down and growls against her neck with desperate gasps. "Just shut up."

Then his tongue is winding its way back up to her collarbone and she doesn't have much of a choice. Henry tips his tongue back against the bone and then freezes for a moment. Elsie tilts her head down and catches his mouth with hers, sucking desperately with heated moans. Henry grinds uncontrollably against her and she can feel his cock grinding into her, through her body. As if to make a point, as if to whisper for profit.

The taste on his tongue is breaths of bitter lemon and in the next moment Elsie yanks away and almost trips over his robe as she stumbles backwards.

"We can't - " she tries to say but wipes furiously at her mouth instead. The marks on her neck are aching and wet.

Henry is looking at her under half-lidded eyes but he looks resigned and smiles slightly, with forced conviction. Her hands shake where she holds them behind her back but she clenches them tightly so the pain overrides it.

"Well," Henry says and the word is rough like it has been sharpened into its own weapon. "It's been fun." His words sound like tea in the breakfast nook in late afternoon.

She has the sudden urge to laugh, but doesn't, because it wouldn't be a very rational sound at this moment and she doesn't want to seem out of control. She watches as Henry leaves the room without a backward glance. It seems like the worst kind of goodbye. The kind that isn't.

Hollywood isn't the best place to be when a person is trying to avoid something, because everything is unavoidable. Elsie goes to Morris' on Tuesday and sits across the room from Henry, but now she can feel the presence burning on the back of her neck. The liquored tongue tracing the hairs that disappear over her shoulder blade. She unconsciously lifts up a hand and rubs against the skin, scraping it until it feels red and dry like shale.

Morris is looking at her strangely as if Elsie said something particularly odd and she stares back, emotionless, before forcing herself to smile. The expectation is still there, even after Morris turns back away, but she doesn't want to think about it.

For the rest of the day she listens to Morris and rubs the back of her neck and pictures snakes flying from the window to her eyes.


Morris gets her an audition for a small part in a play and she gets the part even though Elsie is pretty sure she didn't do well at all. She's beginning to understand that nothing anyone does in Hollywood is about who they are, but more about who they know. She can't decide which great lie of her life is better and which is closer to the truth.

Things are just so, so different from her life before, that Elsie's beginning to think the rest was just a well-calculated dream to gift her with humility and a broken heart. If she wasn't so clear on the memory of Isobel's thigh against her fingers in the morning as she turned up the sheet, or sketching glances over breakfast, or William whispering too, too sweet things in her ear like diamonds, she'd think it really was just an abstraction.

Most days she talks to her co-actors between scenes and after rehearsal, leaning against the side of the stage and sharing packs of cigarettes that seemed to appear like air.

The theatre life is thrilling and fast-paced and Elsie isn't quite sure how to keep up with her lies but people don't seem to care whether she tells the truth or not. The people are so different here, and more than just the lilt in their voices or the bored nonchalance. Some of them are unbearable in their own self-worth, but it's still fascinating to see them interact, colliding like circus trains.

Elsie almost knows where she stands and the looks they exchange around her don't bother her. She used to sneak into the guest rooms with William and the servants would look at her the next day, through slitted eyes, but it wasn't anything she let herself worry about. After awhile she just stopped feeling guilty.

In the beginning she entered their life as Anonymous. A nameless face that straightened dishonestly in her chair with a facade of Hollywood melodrama. Now she's their friend.

Nights are taken up by herself mostly, but about once a week she's normally invited to some society party as Morris' guest and she has to smile and act charming and never let them find out where she came from. She worries that they know anyway, just from looking at her face, but after awhile she has learned that people in Hollywood rarely see what they don't want to. And right now, for a few months anyway, they want to see her as a confident, slightly bitchy, almost beautiful, up-and-coming actress, so she lets them. They won't invite her the next time, until they notice that she's there.

Her heritage does good for her. When they still see England as foreign and refined, kissing her on the cheek at the end of the night means maybe they are too. She feels like she's a constant osmosis.


Henry likes to watch her across rooms, whispering things into his glasses, like secrets, and then raising them in a silent toast when he catches her eye. And he does know some of her secrets, but Elsie's knows enough to understand that he couldn't tell anyone, even if he wanted to. She knows he has nothing that could hurt her. But whenever his crystal glass is raised in a quiet, mocking toast, or he laughs at the wrong moment, it's a constant reminder that she doesn't belong here.

She hates Henry and everything he stands for. She hates the way he looks at her like she's naked, like he knows what she's done and with who. That he probably does. The truth abides and she doesn't like it but Henry seems to know everything some days. She sees the way he plays Morris and, even in her sympathetic state, it's impressive. He would have been a wonderful servant. Henry knows what people want before they do, and even if they don't already, he makes them want it. Elsie especially hates that he'll probably do the same to her.

Henry isn't as smart as he thinks and his manipulations are easy to see through for someone like Elsie who has seen them all her life. But he's an actor, and she's reluctant to admit, a rather decent one, so it's hard sometimes for her to take what he says at face value. In her most uncertain moments, Elsie is certain that the whole persona of Henry Denton is just an endless sequence of well-played roles.

Still, there is something to be said for charm, even if it's not necessarily good things. He's intriguing. He's sharp and funny and vindictive, in an utterly ironic way. He's not much like Isobel at all. Except they're both spoiled and they both know how to make her crumble.


that is but the small ugly thought rising in anticipation of the tiger:

In August she strings gardenias from the little window plant she grew in the spring and wears them around her neck for three days, until they're falling off the string, petals loose and lucid.

"You have to be insane," Henry says on the second day, and sometimes the false British accent comes back to tinge his words. It's mostly around her and it always sounds more like a lie those times. "I never liked these kind of flowers anyway," he continues, tracing one finger under the string an lifting it from her collar bone.

She watches him cooly and ignores the rush of heat over her skin. "It's funny that you'd think I care."

Henry laughs. "Oh, Elsie. I would never presume that you would care about anything." His fingers fall downward and rim the collar of her blouse, lightly. His eyes are pinned to the scarlet of her cheeks as he leans closer and grins wetly near her skin. "Certainly not me."

She doesn't even pretend that she doesn't know what he means by that. Her eyes flicker over his face in challenge, but then Morris comes stumbling in, bags falling from his fingers. He looks at them, startled. "Oh, there you are." His gaze falls to where Henry's hand is still grazing her throat. "I hope you're not getting into trouble." His voice is light and he looks like he knows something they don't, which is ridiculous because Elsie hasn't come this far not to know that Morris isn't trusted by anyone.

Henry's hand falls away from her. "I was just admiring our Elsie's lovely flowers," he says, smoothly stepping back. It almost sounds like the truth, to her too, even though Henry never sounds genuine about anything.

Morris claps his hands together in approval and comes over to admire the flowers in full. Elsie has to try hard to keep from shrinking away as his fingers press into her skin, leaving little white marks that merge into red.

Henry has pulled a cigarette from his coat and is watching them, smirking, as he fumbles to light his match. Elsie waits until Morris' head is down to glare, pointedly.

"Are we going to that party tonight?" she asks, as though she's thrilled about it. Morris affirms and finally turns away from her.

"Not until 8 o'clock, though." He sees Henry as he sets down his coat and frowns. "I really wish you wouldn't smoke. It presents the wrong image."

Henry remains as disaffected as usual and taps the ashes from the kindling tip onto Morris' rug. "Elsie does also," he says casually.

Morris looks at Elsie, almost nervously. "Yes, but people think a woman who smokes is mysterious. It's a common belief nowadays of many good people that a man who smokes regularly just comes off as vulgar." The way Morris says `vulgar' makes him sound like an old show diva and Elsie finds it suitably amusing.

Henry sighs and stubs the cigarette out on the table, ignoring Morris' wince. "Perhaps I want to be vulgar." He rolls the word off his tongue like licorice. Elsie covers her grin with a hand.

She edges open the sides of one of Morris' bags with her fingers and looks up at him. "Don't whine, Henry. Morris is just looking out for you." Then she turns away and watches Morris show off the things he has bought her for that night. She ignores the heat of Henry's gaze on her back.


"You think it's funny to play with me, don't you?" Henry asks, circling around her like a predator, but with his tone remaining neutral. They're on an empty balcony, jutting off from the side of the party room like an iceberg. Elsie wants to say `I didn't know I could', mockingly, but she knows this game and she watches him as apathetically as she can.

"I really don't think much about it at all, really."

Henry glances over her briefly and looks contemplative, like he's playing the part of a weary politician. He says, "that's because you're afraid to consider anything real."

And Elsie can hold her own in a verbal spar, in keeping up a facade, but not when the rules keep being slipped out from under her.

"I'm not - " Elsie starts to say but falters.

"I don't believe you." Henry states. She looks at him in question, so she doesn't have to voice it. Henry's gaze flickers over her face and Elsie wishes she was anywhere but here. But she can't be the first one to leave. No matter what, this is a game and she won't let Henry win. Even when there's nothing left to lose. "There is such a thing as too much pride. There's the truth."

"The - " she tries to argue but then there's a slick tongue winding into her mouth, a vague sense of fog blown into her chest, and she tastes sweetness and flavour and no words at all.


they match despite the kitchen yawning
and red

When she goes to Morris' house the next day she finds it empty except for Henry. He's lying back on the couch and she stands over him, watching the way his coat falls crookedly over his form, as if it's revolutionizing fashion.

"Staring isn't very lady-like," he says, his eyelids remaining closed, dark coffee stains around his eyes.

"I'm not much of a lady," she replies, plucking the pack of cigarettes from his pocket. She captures one between her lips, smudged red, and lights it. It tastes musty and full. Henry opens his eyes and smirks at her, trapping her hand when she returns the pack. "What are you doing?" she asks, slowly, smoke curling out of her mouth and down her throat. Henry is the only one that never withers under her stares.

"Don't be so naive," he says, almost amused, and her hand is tugged until she's resting beside him on the couch.

"My naivete is the least of your problems." She puts her cigarette to his lips and watches his throat tighten as he inhales deeply, mouth pursed against the rolled tobacco flakes.

"I can't say that surprises me."

"It might do you some good to be surprised from time to time."


They share smoke later, side by side on the bed, like a twisted fairytale. Her hair is bunched around her head and his fingers tangled in the curls. It's the only place they touch.

"You're so slick you make the butt damp," she criticizes lightly, grimacing through her parted lips. It's like licking a kindling fire.

"I make a lot of things damp," he replies pulling almost hard on her tangle of hair. She laughs and exhales. The rolls over on top of him and closes her eyes.


The thing with William wasn't what people thought it was anyway. It wasn't an affair, per se, any more than what Silvia and Henry did, was. Or as much as what her and Isobel were. It was a matter of personal relations, of survival. In Gosford Park the farthest someone can get outside the walls is how far they can stretch the ones inside. She had no life, unless she let one be given to her, and William gave her something. She might have let it become too much, too important, but he still gave her the way out.

Henry doesn't understand it. But Henry has never washed up vomit or given up on himself. He's never trusted anyone more than himself.

Isobel was the one who made her teeth hurt. Elsie once heard a story about a woman who wore a ribbon around her neck until the day she died, and when her husband untied it the woman's head fell off. That's how Elsie remembers feeling with Isobel, like her neck was supported by a thread. It's possibly the one thing in her life she can't bring herself to regret. She still misses that fire in her fingertips.


The warm hand print pressure on my fingers
too much, too tall anymore.

The next time he tries to touch her, sliding a hand into the crook of her neck and breathing close, Elsie shrugs him away forcibly. "Don't touch me," she says, trying not to sound petulant, or too much like she cares. If she's going to do this she wants to be able to walk away with a high head.

"This isn't about Isobel, is it?" Henry asks and of course he cuts straight to the quick. He's not afraid of Elsie, not in the way that other people can be.

"Of course not." She forces her expression blank.

"You're such a bad liar, Els." Henry is shaking his head and he looks angry, actually angry, as if this is important to him, instead of just a game.

"How would you know if I was? Have you ever caught me in one?" She looks at him, challengingly, until she can see him back down a little. "And I told you not to call me that." It's not like she's lying, anyway. This isn't about Isobel, it's about the fact that she can't replace things that were never even broken.

"I told you I didn't care. Besides, you don't have to tell me. You wear everything on your face for the right person to see. If they know how to read at all."

"Well, we know how highly educated you are, Henry Denton."

"Education is overrated. Which is a good thing for you. I don't associate with imbeciles."

She thinks that's probably the closet thing to a compliment he's ever given her. She raises her eyebrows a little.

"I'm touched."


So that would have been it. It would have been over with cutting words that slit across her skin and would have faded without a scar. But she should have remembered not to underestimate Henry's stubbornness and with Morris shoving them together at every moment, it's hard to avoid him for long. With him looking at her, all shaved lies and swollen skin, it's even harder to remember why it wasn't easy to just fall.

She doesn't even like Henry most of the time. Not really. She never even tried to hide that. But she knows there is a big difference between like and love, because she loved her father, on principle, but she definitely didn't like him. She also knows that there is an even bigger difference between like and lust but she hasn't quite figured out what that one means. It feels like spiders on her skin.

Everything is getting larger in her mind and Elsie hasn't had a home in awhile, so she asks Morris for a plane flight home.

And of course Henry comes along because Morris isn't able to, but this time Elsie finds she isn't really bothered by his scratching touch. Maybe she even misses him, a little.

The plane ride is shaky, long, and Elsie stares out the window watching the clouds ghost through the air beneath them. She's riding above the rain and she thinks of remembered, unrequited love. As metaphor, as truth. Then as paper, thin and flapping on the breeze, and overhead `the' in bloody strips. Elsie worries that she will spend her whole life trying to figure out the `what'.

Henry sits next to her and halfway through the flight he says, "Do you think we'll ever get it back?" and she's not sure what he means but she can imagine it's something worth it, like fireworks on calm, cool nights or fading flowers over her collar bone, so she nods a little. Just to see if it can come true.


Coming back isn't like going home, it's like the fall before the water slaps across her back. She thinks 'I used to live here once' but she doesn't know what it means.

Gosford Park is the same as when she left. Large and cold, like the stone was mixed with ice before they built it and its never melted. She knows she's not welcome there, but she goes anyway. Entering through the front door, Silvia greets her, shocked, in the foyer and she's angry, trying to force Elsie away with just a look. She might have succeeded but Elsie's already pushing her way up the stairs and Isobel's coming down.

She's in a white dress with her hair pulled back behind her ears and her skin is paler than Elsie remembers. The silk of the dress slides over her curves like sheets of ice and mortar. White like a bride until she spreads her legs and bleeds.

"It's a funny moment that brings people you thought you'd forgotten to your door." Isobel always speaks as if the breath is being forced past her lips, sharp and binding.

"Had you thought you'd forgotten about me?" Elsie says, teasingly, because she's no longer afraid of making a scene.

"No," Isobel answers, simply.

"Isobel, what is this about?" Silvia is glaring up the stares, like staring at the sun, and Elsie wants to be able to smirk, but instead she just looks away. Guilt is always fresh.

"Nothing, mother," Isobel says in a bored tone as she turns, letting Elsie follow her upstairs.


"Mother has been intolerable lately," Isobel tells her, lying lazily back onto the bed. "Especially about Jeremy."

Elsie frowns a little, her eyes fixed on Isobel's form and she makes herself stay back a little. "Mr. Blond?" she asks, not sure what he has to do with anything.

"Yes." She looks at Elsie strangely, raising her head from searching through her bedside table, probably for a cigarette. "We're engaged now, didn't you know?"

If her spine had cracked open she would have known and been less shocked then by those words. Elsie fumbles with her cigarette case and passes one over to Isobel, looking away from her eyes. "I hadn't heard."

Isobel seems unconcerned, lighting a match and grinning against the flame. "Well, never mind that. You've been acting with that other boy, I've been told. The one who was with Mr. Weissman."

Elsie's a bit surprised that Isobel would bother keeping tabs on her at all. And suddenly it seems horribly bothersome that Isobel can't even be bothered to remember Henry's name, like she hadn't learned manners in such things all her life. She shifts a little and closes her eyes against the thoughts. "In Hollywood, yes."

"I thought about being an actress once," Isobel says, like she's talking about being a princess, or an electrician. Like it's absurdity. "I don't suppose I would be very good at it."

Elsie can't help but laugh a little. She says, seriously, "I imagine you could have been remarkable." Isobel hesitates in a grin and Elsie forces a sincere smile. She means it, in the most ironic and bitter way she can.

Not a lot of what Elsie grew up with has shaped who she is now. Most of it was either forgotten or she blocks it out. But, even now, with people who aren't her parents or her employers, she dislikes being told she's pretty and people who touch her hair because they think she likes it.


a thought of softness before her eulogy. The
instant of recall.

"Do you remember anything?" Elsie says suddenly, staring at the way the embers ghost over Isobel's fingers and reflect like ash into her eyes. She says, "About us?" because maybe it's true and Isobel has forgotten, maybe Elsie was right before and none of this even happened.

Except Isobel is looking down suddenly, not guiltily, probably not even sadly, but not at Elsie either. "I try not to. It's childishness really, Elsie." She waves her hand around and ashes fall onto the bed. "I mean the servant and her mistress. Have you ever heard anything so trite?" Her eyes are dull when she raises them again, not at all like Elsie used to see them and for a moment she's glad that at least this reality is harsher, easier to leave behind.

"Well, I'm not a servant anymore."

"No, I imagine not. But most people aren't that changeable, and we can't forget the past, can we? We wouldn't be here if we could," Isobel says, like it's obvious. And of course she can't forget the bad parts of everything. She still lives in a house with ghosts. "Drink your tea, now, before it gets cold."

The tea in England, in contrast, is bitter and tainted. Traces of lemon seed are crushed under her tongue.

"You always were so insufferably conservative, Isobel." Elsie says, before she can think through the words. But the anger and hurt are boiling over inside her and she has no reason to stop them.

Isobel tenses, her left hand clenching in the bedding. "I suggest you don't talk such a way in my house. You never know who might hear." Her tone is light but there's implied insult and perhaps a little guilt.

She stubs out her cigarette on the blue crystal ashtray, not even turning back as she says, "I think you should leave now."

When Elsie was younger she got into a verbal fight with a girl she met who thought Elsie was going to go to hell because she didn't pray before every meal. She eventually won that argument because she was stubborn (as a mule her grandmother would say with tight tones later as she stroked her hair) and the other girl eventually got tired. Elsie never got tired.

Now, staring at Isobel, she feels the same as she did then. Like everything she'd ever heard was just a lie, but a good lie, and she would give it that much credit. "Did it mean nothing to you at all?" she asks, stopped in the doorway, nails digging into the wood of the frame.

Isobel is silent.

"I imagine it didn't." Elsie hates how much that still bothers her.

"That boy is out in the car waiting for you, is he not? I suggest you listen to someone other than yourself for once, Elsie. You seem to have grown too accustomed to the sound of your own voice."

And that's the last word; Isobel always gets the last word. But Elsie no longer cares because she learned a long time ago that it was possible to be deaf to the things she didn't want to hear. She also thinks that Isobel might be partly right.


She's outside and the air in England is so thin it almost strips the skin off her bones.

"What happened?" Henry asks when he lets her into the car.

Elsie stares ahead for a moment, watching the fading image of Gosford Park swim before her. She sees Henry's fingers clench on the gear shift and turns to him. "Do you have a coin?" He hesitates only a second, then pulls one from his pocket and places it in her outstretched hand, warm fingers pressed against her palm. Elsie turns it in her hand, then flips it once in the air, watching it turn twice before closing her eyes. The small metal lands and rests on her hand, indenting the face of it into her palm, then she closes her fist and places it in her pocket. "I'd like to go back home. As soon as possible." She wipes her fingers over her skirt, looking out the window and avoiding Henry's gaze.

But he doesn't question her, he knows her better by now, and merely says, "There's a plane leaving in an hour."


They still don't move and Elsie is impatient, she wants to get away from this place. The altitude has been giving her a headache since she stepped off the plane. Henry seems to be considering something, then he says, "I spoke to Morris. He wants us to do a film together." He sounds so uncertain that Elsie can hardly believe it.

"Do you think that's a good idea?" she asks, knowing the way such things can ruin careers, lives, relationships.

Henry smiles a little at her. "You have something better to do?"

"No. No, I suppose not."

She turns to Henry and kisses him long and deep on the corner of his mouth. When she releases him Henry runs a hand down her cheekbone, watching her like her skin is made of glass, then he shifts into gear and pulls away.

"It was tails," he says, a few minutes later, smiling at her like he knows he wasn't supposed to tell. But it's Henry so he does that, he can get away with it.

Elsie closes her eyes and sees the road stretching back from under her. She thinks she might still smile before the day is over.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Plain Style / Fancy Style