NYC: Hannah & Hugh
Until the very last moment, Hannah had truly believed she wouldn't be able to go on the trip Hugh had planned. Albin had let her go, and she was on tenterhooks waiting for Carnem to come collect her. But they hadn't, and they didn't, and she'd boarded the plane while looking over her shoulder and expecting shadows to come from the corners and turn the world inky before she could board. But that hadn't happened, and nothing had happened on the flight, and the air in New York felt familiar and old, and it curled around her and made her think of a time before bad choices and inevitability. Because she was thinking about that a lot lately, about inevitable things, about time, about something that was just out of reach, something so close and that she almost understood. New York was that, and the apartment was pretty, and the theater was beautiful.
And as they walked outside, she forgot all about the game they'd agreed to play. The music was still twirling in her head, and she was warm and comfortable, having spent enough time in New York to know about the biting, humid cold of the northeastern coast.
She knew he was going to ask what she thought, and she'd been trying to collect words as they made their way out of the theater. But she found herself still speechless, and she walked a little further before trying to fill her mouth with words. And it was a good thing, because for the tiniest little moment she wasn't worrying. She wasn't waiting for Caspar to talk to his dad. She wasn't waiting for the explosion that she knew would come. She wasn't thinking about the fallout. She wasn't lost and lingering in the mess she'd made of her familial relationships.
For a teeny, tiny second, there was none of that. It was kind of like a good novel, one where she lost herself in the landscape of the pages, and it was as if her own life stopped until the book was closed once more. It was like that, but different, because it tasted more like reality than a book, as if it was a book that had climbed out from between its own pages and become real on that stage.
She took a shuddering breath, and she smiled over at him. "I think it was transcendent," she said, and she thought the word felt good. "Luminary?" Better. "Incandescent!" Better still. "The story! I know I shouldn't think it, but I can see why she was captivated by him. Raoul was nice and safe and handsome, but... something. Something?" She crinkled her nose as she looked over at him again. Something.