A special scene from book three…
Within a sanctuary of tree trunks and brush beyond the Galloway house, Sebastian could hear the piano’s song. It added a melodic line to the timpani of nature filling his ears. Lightning streaked behind him, illuminating his shadow, but he gave it no consideration, too consumed in a tune on a piano and fantasies of the agile motion of her hands along the keys, …hands he burned to feel over every inch of his body.
Thought no longer reigned supreme, and before he realized it, he was feet from the full-length terrace windows, peering in to glimpse her outline. How beautiful she was! Always beautiful, more so than she knew. Her dark locks were twisted in a low chignon, random dissenters having broken free to frame her face. She was concentrating, or at least attempting it, and those gray-green eyes whose spark he adored were fixed on the motion of her hands over the keys. Once again as she played, he was entranced by that lyrical movement she unknowingly danced, a graceful rise and fall of torso and limbs with music’s creation. It was a scene he yearned to be a part of.
Raindrops were streaking the glass in front of him, and as Sebastian gazed through their paths in a fever, he grew irritated that they dared to blur the details of her shape. Did they not know they should clear away from even grazing the image of her ethereal brilliance? Nothing should be permitted to touch her; not even he was worthy, though as he ached for exactly that.
Music was a guiding light, and as she played, Gillian could feel it like a tangible thing flowing out from her fingertips with her heart and her soul in its brilliance. And then as her hazy eyes dared to glance to the drumbeat accompaniment outside, she faltered mid-note. In the glowed burst of lightning, she saw his silhouette, the angel outside her window keeping guard. Just a flash, and in the next flicker, she saw amber eyes and alabaster skin, chestnut hair dampened by the mist falling from the sky, sculpted features set in harsh planes of longing.
“Sebastian,” she spoke his name in a breathless whisper, but he seemed to hear it, shivering as violently as if she’d spoken it against his ear.
Every lightning pulsation gave distinction to what otherwise would have been shadows, and she found herself impatiently enduring the dark in between for that brief instant of exposure. As his eyes bore into hers with every illumination, goose bumps arose along the surface of her skin, needing to be smoothed out of existence by his hands and their touch alone. Rising from the piano on knees that shook, she felt as though the invisible cord binding them was leading her movements. It drew her in like a willing marionette, and she never fought its possession.
Gillian halted before the tall window with his image on the opposite side. She studied him critically, experiencing every emotion with him in a reflection of her own. With the slightest tremble, she lifted her hand and set it flat to the cool pane of glass between, feeling a vibration strum through it of the ache pulsing on either side. How she wished she were touching skin instead!
A hinted smile tinged his perfectly sculpted lips as amber eyes locked on the graceful curve of her palm and the joints of every little finger, and without hesitation, he lay his own hand at the place of hers, pressing palm to palm across a barricade constructed to insurmountable heights.
“Gillian.” She heard his voice tickle her ear, and for a moment, she could have sworn it wasn’t glass she touched; it was skin, his fingers surpassing her own, his palm matching her shape. She could feel him.
With a discontented sigh as reality was once again a boundary in between, she edged closer until she could lean against the window’s stability, laying her cheek beside their hands. Her breath made discernible puffs upon the glass surface, a hazy blemish to match the fingerprints her hand would leave behind; they were unavoidable proof of her life and existence.
In her periphery, she watched Sebastian bend forward until he pressed his forehead to that same glass, his breath a pattern to match. It was nearly an embrace, as close as they could have while thunder resounded its echo along a glass plate and raindrops splattered the canvas. For one moment held in time, all that existed was the mirrored body on the other side and the potent need seeping in between.
Gillian gasped and recoiled, spinning about just as Felix entered the parlor.
“Are you all right?” Felix asked, noticing her flustered agitation. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you. One of the maids said she heard the piano. Were you playing?”
“Oh, …yes, I was,” she stammered and peeked over her shoulder, but the next illuminating strike of lightning showed nothing unordinary, no angel in a haphazard embrace…as if he’d never been there. “I was…distracted by the storm.”
Regarding her oddly, Felix replied, “It’s just a storm.” As he followed her line of vision to the constant barrage of rain smearing the windowpane, he commented lightly, “Your mother really needs to hire better help. There are fingerprints all over the glass. You’d think the maids could manage to clean one window.”
She shrugged as if in agreement, but her eyes were locked on those fingerprints, mirror images on either side, …an untouched touch.