I want so badly to crawl into Magnus’s lap and learn everything there is to know about him and what makes him who he is.
“But it didn’t work out, I’m guessing,” I answer him quietly, though I’m not sure if he’s listening anymore or if his thoughts are on something else.
Magnus looks over at me. His dark gaze warms me like the embers of a warm fire.
“No,” he says in a quiet voice. “No, it didn’t work out.”
“I don’t mean to pry,” I murmur because I feel like I’ve invaded his privacy. “I’m sorry. I probably shouldn’t have asked in the first place.”
“I want you to know,” Magnus says, looking away. “I want you to know everything.”
I know that he’s talking about the job, but I still let my thoughts linger in other avenues. Maybe he wants me to learn about him like I want him to learn about me.
I want Magnus to know what I feel when I look at him, the warmth in my chest that blooms when I see him, and the ache in my core that keeps me up at night. He’s like the sun and I want to throw myself into the heat of him. I want to brand myself to him like a tattoo and never let him go.
But all I say is, “I’m eager to learn,” hoping I haven’t gone too far.
“I’m sure that you are,” he says quietly.
I’m not sure how to take his response for a moment. I feel uncertain, but then I see the upturn of his plush mouth and I know everything is going to be okay. I have to believe that.
There’s a head of blonde hair on my shoulder. I have to physically stop myself from holding her close.
“Cassie,” I say gently, shaking her a little. “Cassie, we’re almost there.”
In response, Cassie just moans softly and the sound is so very sweet. I tip my head back, groaning internally. Cassie shuffles closer in her sleep and her warm hand slips over me, pressing against my stomach. I think for a moment that I can hear her whisper my name in her sleep and then her hand slides down, catching on my belt. The driver is looking at the road, but still.
“Cassie, come on,” I say insistently. “You need to wake up, okay? You need to see this.”
“Magnus,” Cassie moans softly, looking up at me. She’s bleary-eyed and sleepy-looking but only for a moment.
She jumps when she realizes she’s leaning on me, and I’m disappointed as she scrambles away.
“I’m sorry,” Cassie says with a pretty face that is slowly turning bright pink. “Are we here?”
“Not yet,” I answer her, opening the door. “I want you to see something outside.”
The rain has let up for the moment, allowing a brief respite from the downpour. I can hear thunder in the distance and I know that both the evening and the night will be cold and wet. But I want her to see this. The overlook is nearly covered by trees and the opening is small and slight.
There’s a staircase that leads to a platform and Cassie wraps her hand around mine as we make our way to the end. Cassie sucks in a soft breath as the whole of the view is revealed. She lets go of my hand and leans against the railing. The never-ending peaks of the mountains seem to stretch into the sky, and the fog from the rain drifts like ghostly fingers over their lofty rise.
Cassandra is heartbreakingly beautiful. I can only look at her, despite the view.
“You grew up here. It’s so beautiful,” Cassie says quietly. “I can’t even imagine. I’m from the city.”
I run a hand over the long, pale braid down her back and Cassie shivers.
“It wasn’t always beautiful,” I tell her, and when I move to stand behind her, pressing her petite body into mine, she doesn’t protest. The shape of her feels perfect pressed against me. Like we were meant to fit together like two puzzle pieces.
Cassie seems to hesitate for a moment, but she turns slowly in my arms. Her hands press against my chest, warm and light. My whole body aches to yank her in closer to me, to kiss her and slide my hands down her back.
“Beauty is subjective,” she tells me, shaking her head.
“No,” I say, tucking my fingers under her chin to tip her mouth to mine. Her breath whispers over my lips. “I know something lovely when I see it.”
As much as I’ve tried to hold back, my need for her wins out and I press my mouth against hers. Cassie melts into me like summer rain. She runs the tip of her tongue over my bottom lip and I grip her hips hard with my hands, digging my fingers in. The sweet sound that falls from her lips is swallowed by the kiss, but I feel it, all the same, lighting my body on fire.