J&A TnT #6: It’s you, but it’s not you…

It’s November, and I’m writing the ninth and final Jason and Azazel book. In celebration, every Tuesday and Thursday (TnT), I’ll be posting scenes from previous Jason and Azazel books. Obviously, if you haven’t read the series, thar be spoilers in these parts. Read at your own risk!

The first kiss from Between the Heaves of Storm:

Once out of the house, I started down the hill towards the river. I didn’t know where I was going to go, exactly. This Jason thing had seemed like a really good idea when I’d been on my way here, but ever since getting here, it had just gotten weirder and weirder. So what that Jason was wicked hot and I wanted to make out with him? That was no reason to stay in a community with a bunch of crazy people.

It was dark outside and the moon was a sliver in the starry sky. It was pretty. I paused on the path towards the river and just stared up at the sky, breathing in the night air. It was so much cooler now that the sun had gone down. I liked it.

For a moment, everything seemed kind of perfect. Simple. I had no belongings. No memory of who I was. There was just me and the moon. Existing together. It was so nice. Then I realized I sounded like the crazy girls in the house, having “gains”about being close to nature. I grimaced and kept walking.

“Going somewhere?”said a voice behind me.

I whirled.

It was Jason. He was wearing a pair of beat up jeans. No shirt. No shoes. (He seemed to get plenty of service around here, though.) The muscles in his chest glinted in the moonlight, making him look like some kind of romance-novel-cover pin-up. I gulped. Why did he have to be so freaking pretty?

Jason padded over to me on his bare feet. “Everyone else is having house gatherings.”

“Yeah, well,”I said, “it’s been nice hanging out here, but I don’t think this place is for me.”

“You’re leaving.”He snorted. “Or maybe you’re just running off to the OF to tell them you’ve got a lay of the land and you can easily guide a thousand troops in here to annihilate me.”

“What are you talking about?”

He jammed his hands into his pockets. “I don’t know. It doesn’t make any sense, really. I don’t think you’d try something so convoluted. Why would you pretend to lose your memory? But why else would you be here if you weren’t trying to take me down?”

“I’m not trying anything,”I said. “Think what you want. I’m getting out of here.”

He moved to intercept me. “I can’t let you leave. I can’t be sure you’re not her.”

I tried to step around him, but he blocked me. “Who is it you think I am, anyway?”

“Oh come on,”he said. “Stop playing games.”

“I’m not playing games,”I said. “Before I got here, you seemed really great, and every time I thought about you, this feeling of peace and perfectness would wash over me. But ever since I looked into your eyes, all those feelings have gone away. And I just think that I must have been–”

“Wait.”He held up a finger. “You felt peace and perfection?”

“That’s what I said. Maybe it’s stupid, but–”

“No,”he said. “Not stupid. But it proves you’re telling the truth. Because if you were her, you never could have felt the effects of my power.”

“Your what?”

He grinned at my lopsidedly. “That feeling you felt. Was it something like this?”

Suddenly, my heart soared. I was buoyed up with a kind of elation. Joy bubbled out of my pores. It was the feeling I’d felt just when I woke up three weeks ago. The feeling I’d come to associate with Jason. But this feeling was ten times as perfect, too good. I gasped, hardly able to stand. I stumbled and Jason caught me.

Jason laughed, pulling me into his arms. “You aren’t her,”he said.

“I thought we’d established that.”

“Or… if you are her, you don’t have her powers.”Suddenly, Jason seized my left arm. He ran his fingers over it until they settled over a small spot of puckered skin on my upper arm. A scar? I hadn’t even known it was there. How had Jason known it was there?

Jason caressed the scar. “It’s you,”he said. “But you’re not you.”

“Who am I?”He did know me. And maybe I was the girl who’d hurt him so badly. If I could just–

“That’s not important,”said Jason, his voice velvet. Another wave of joyous pleasure racked my body.

I moaned. I’d been trying to think of something before, but now it didn’t seem very important. I sagged in Jason’s arms.

He pushed a strand of hair out of my face, whispering to me, “I stopped using my power on you when I saw you, because I was sure it wouldn’t work. But now it does for some reason. And I can make us happy again. I promise. All of the badness from before, it’s gone.”

“What badness?”I murmured. I was having a hard time remembering that there had ever been any badness.

Jason cupped my face with his hands. “Oh, Azazel,”he said, pressing his lips against mine.

Jolts of pleasure ratcheted through my body. But I pulled away. “My name is Joan.”It seemed important that he know that.

“Of course it is,”he said and kissed me again.

I clung to him, and he put his arm under my legs, swinging me up off the ground into his arms. He carried me back up the hill, never taking his eyes off my face.