Chapter 1: Chapter 1
There was no way they both worked at Witness Publishing. He was certain he would have seen her at some point. After all, the company was incredibly small, a tiny independent but successful publishing firm.
Ichabod Crane worked in historical fiction. The department consisted only of himself and was housed in a corner of the basement of their building. He had windows thankfully, but the low hanging ceilings often made him feel extremely claustrophobic. He’d been trying to negotiate with Frank for months now to get him moved at least to the first floor. Still, Frank always cited a lack of room to move and Ichabod made due with the space he was given. Today, however, he decided to take his work with him to the lounge on the seventh floor.
The lounge, as it were, was a glorified sunroom that sat on the corner of the floor. The ceilings were slanted but vaulted as the seventh floor was the top floor of the building. There were large windows that let in glorious amounts of natural sunlight. A friend of Frank’s, a rather severe looking woman by the name of Reyes, had gifted them with furniture for the room when she shuttered her own publishing business and moved into consulting. There were several tables, lamps, armchairs and sofas that contributed to an inspiringly welcoming environment.
The smell of freshly brewed coffee hit him the moment he stepped off the elevator. He was puzzled by this, as no one but him used the lounge for work, but he pressed on nonetheless.
The sight that greeted him when he entered was not entirely unwelcome, but he was surprised. He had not expected to find anyone in the room at this time of day. Instead, he entered the lounge to see the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid eyes upon.
Her skin was dark and rich, her bright brown eyes, framed by black rimmed glasses, were intently focused on all the pages spread out before her. She wore a large black and white striped cashmere sweater that drifted off one of her shoulders and black running tights beneath them. He could see the hint of another shirt beneath her sweater when she reached up to pull a pen from her hair which had been styled into a haphazard bun.
He tried not to be too distracted by the way both her legs were spread out as she leaned forward, stretching slightly. He spied a mug of coffee ahead of her that she picked up when she stretched forward, her toes curling into the carpet as she did so.
“My apologies for interrupting. I did not know this room would be in use at this moment.” The words tumbled from Crane’s mouth so quickly that he wasn’t even sure if he’d said what he intended to.
The woman jumped slightly as she finally noticed and put the coffee back down before rising to meet him. “Oh, no worries. The room’s big enough to share.” She smiled and suddenly he felt like every mystery in his life suddenly made sense.
“I do not think I’ve ever seen you here before, Ms…”
“Oh!” The woman extended her hand toward him. “I’m Abbie Mills, the new editor for the fiction department. I have historical fiction, young adult, all that jazz.”
He made a mental note to ask Frank more about this woman as he shook her hand. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Mills. I am Ichabod Crane from historical fiction. I was coming up to go over a manuscript actually.”
Abbie turned and gestured toward her papers that were spread out across the plush carpet. “Do you need me to go? I’ve been up here a couple hours so I don’t mind clearing out for a bit.”
“Oh, heavens, no! Stay as long as you must. You won’t even know I’m here.” He gave her an easy smile as he walked over to the bench seat that was attached to the window.
It was his favorite spot in the whole room to work. The light was bright but hardly overpowering. There were pillows which meant his back hardly ever cramped up. Best of all, the bench seat accommodated his 6’4 form.
As he set up the manuscript to go over for the third time, he pulled out his tablet and headphones, cueing up his favorite playlist that contained classical music good for concentration.
Abbie watched him as he hummed what she thought might be a song from Carmina Burana, crossing out, circling, and writing notes in the margins of the manuscript he was reading.
He was incredibly tall, probably a foot taller than her, with short dark hair and slightly rounded brown tortoise shell glasses. His eyes, she noted, were a rather arresting shade of blue. Though he was only casually reviewing a manuscript, he seemed to put quite a bit of effort into his work.
He was dressed the way Abbie imagined most college professors dressed: a white dress shirt, a navy blue jacket and trousers, and dark brown dress shoes. Ichabod had taken off his jacket and rolled up the sleeves on his shirt in an effort to get comfortable and Abbie noticed that his arms appeared quite muscular considering the lanky build of his body.
Stop it, girl!
She shook herself from her thoughts about Ichabod Crane and focused back on the task of assembling the final manuscript of a science-fiction novel she’d inherited from her predecessor.
Abbie felt excited as she finally got the pages in the correct order she wanted them in. She read through the first few chapters again, making small corrections and comments as she went. If the author had the edits and rewrites completed by the end of the week, they could finally move forward with preparing to publish. She smiled and let out a small happy squeal when she finally finished.
“Oh, this is gonna be fantastic.” Abbie said to herself, smiling softly. She gathered up all of the papers and put them on a sofa in a stack before standing to stretch and walking over to drop her coffee mug in the sink.
“I take it you have successfully completed your review?” Ichabod’s melodic voice carried across the room, sparking a warm feeling in her stomach.
“Yes,” Abbie replied as she finished washing the mug. “Finally. That thing was a mess when I first got it. It’s damn near perfect now.”
Ichabod laughed to himself as he looked down at the manuscript he was working on. “This is my third review of this particularly tedious tome. I suspect it shall require three more, but the author appears to be making a great deal of progress with each new round.”
“That’s always good.”
The room fell into an oddly comfortable silence as Ichabod and Abbie shared a long look. He felt his fingers tapping furiously at his sides and Abbie pretended not to notice that her grip hadn’t tightened around the mug somewhat.
“Well, I hate to cut and run but I actually need to get back to my office. It was lovely meeting you, Mr. Crane.” Abbie gave him a genuine smile and a small wave before scooping up her papers and leaving the room.
His breath hitched in his throat and he choked out a weak “My pleasure.” as she walked away. He distantly heard the elevator ring and was startled back into looking at his manuscript. He would try to pretend that his sudden lack of concentration on it had nothing at all to do with the woman he just met.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
“Staff meeting is at 4pm today, Abs.” Sophie Foster said in a singsong voice as she breezed past her office.
“Staff meeting? For what?” Abbie called back, a hint of annoyance in her voice.
Sophie walked back, poking her head into the office. “Holiday party apparently. Frank’s trying to ‘increase morale’ or some shit this quarter so he’s throwing a costume party for Halloween.”
Abbie nodded in response and sighed as she pulled her hand down her face. “That sounds about as fun as I think it does.”
The other woman laughed as she took a seat in the chair across from Abbie’s desk. “We are all being voluntold to help with setup some kinda way. I don’t know the specs.” Sophie threw her hands up in frustration. “You met everybody under you yet?”
Abbie shrugged. “Just this kind of cute guy from historical fiction. Other than that, no one.”
Sophie squinted slightly. “Wait a second. You met fine-as-hell Ichabod Crane from historical fiction and didn’t tell me? Oh, Abbie, you wound me.” She feigned hurt as she clutched her hand to her chest.
“I didn’t think it was a big deal!”
Sophie’s eyes grew comically wide and she threw her head back to stare at the ceiling, groaning as she did so. “You’re killin’ me, Smalls.”
Abbie took in the overdramatic woman before her, a vague smile on her face. Sophie Foster had been her best friend for nearly half her life. It helped that she was also her cousin, something they’d discovered only five years ago.
“Not like it matters anyway,” She said at the time. “We’ve been family for years, Abs.”
Sophie was taller than Abbie by a few inches, often dwarfing her when they were side-by-side. She kept her dark, wavy hair in some updo when she first came into work, but somehow it always ended up down by the end of the day. Her bright hazel eyes shone mischievously as she sat up again, pushing her hair over one shoulder.
“You know what this means, right?” Her voice was low, the one she used when she was planning something Abbie would probably be annoyed by.
Abbie stared at her warily. “What does it mean, Soph?”
“You have to talk to him!” She threw her hands up as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “He’s gorgeous and smart and funny! He’s in the same line of work as you so he won’t pitch a bitch all the time like Danny--”
“Sophie.” Abbie countered, warning in her voice.
“Sorry. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Anyway, you guys would be great together!”
Abbie shook her head vehemently as she checked through her calendar for the rest of the day. “It would be totally inappropriate! We work together for Christ’s sake. Besides, he’s probably married or something.”
Sophie rolled her eyes, knowing her best friend had a tendency to be self-sabotaging at time. “He’s been there, done that, and got the t-shirt, girl. Trust me, he is on the market.”
“He was married, but he isn’t anymore.” Sophie answered, her tone implicating that she knew more than she’d revealed to Abbie.
“So, you gonna tell me what happened or keep me in suspense?” Abbie sat back in her chair, realizing that going over her calendar was a bit of a lost cause now.
Sophie leaned forward, her black blazer falling away from her burgundy dress as she did so. “He was married to Katrina Van Tassel. They divorced, like, two years ago because she cheated on him with his best friend.”
Abbie’s eyes widened at this new information. “Damn. That’s...that’s stone cold.”
“Right? But that isn’t even the worst part, Abbie. His best friend was Abraham Van Brundt, as in Senior Editorial Director of Four Horsemen Publishing & Acquisitions.”
The room got quiet as Abbie absorbed what Sophie had just revealed to her. Four Horsemen Publishing & Acquisitions was their absolute biggest competitor. She couldn’t help wondering if that had anything to do with Katrina’s affair with Abraham.
“Well, shit.” Abbie muttered to herself. Now, she felt even more intrigued about Ichabod Crane. She hated herself for it.
Just then, a knock on Abbie’s door pulled her away from her thoughts. She and Sophie both looked up to see Frank Irving, the Senior Editorial Director of Witness Publishing, standing in the doorway.
“Frank. How can I help you?” Abbie asked as she pushed some files over to the side of her desk.
“Yes, why have you decided to grace the commoners?” Sophie added.
He rolled his eyes and sighed before speaking. “If you two are done gossiping like a couple of old women, the staff meeting has been moved up.”
Abbie’s eyebrows knitted together in confusion. “To when?”
No one ever visited Ichabod Crane of historical fiction in the basement. It was a small, relatively dark space that stifled any hope of creativity. He knew this because he was the only one in the basement.
Thus, he was incredibly surprised when Frank Irving was the one stepping out of the elevator to Ichabod's area. He finished a note in the margin of the manuscript he was looking at and turned to give Frank his undivided attention.
“Captain Irving. With what can I assist you today?”
Frank laughed and shook his head. “I told you about calling me that, Crane. I’m not law enforcement anymore.” Ichabod shrugged and gave him a blank look. Frank shook his head again and leaned against the wall. “Well, the staff meeting has been moved up. We’re starting in five minutes in the lounge on the seventh floor.”
“For what reason are we having a staff meeting, Captain?”
Now, it was Frank’s turn to fix Crane with a look. “Did you forget that the Halloween party is in two weeks? I need all hands on deck, Crane.”
“Whatever for? Shall not the party only be for Witness Publishing? There are only a handful of people working here anyway.” Ichabod replied, standing to follow Frank to a staff meeting he wasn’t sure was necessary.
“Witness Publishing should be like family, Crane. We’re small, yes, but our success depends largely on our ability to work together, to let our clients know that regardless of who handles their manuscript they will be taken care of.”
Ichabod felt his respect for the man grow exponentially. “Then, I shall be happy to follow your lead, Captain.”
By the time Ichabod and Frank got up to the lounge, the other employees had filled the room, all of them talking animatedly with one another. Ichabod spied Ms. Mills in a small semi-circle of other employees telling some story that had them all in stitches from laughing so hard.
Frank cleared his throat and immediately the room grew quiet. Ichabod made his way to back to the bench seat he’d been in that morning, just close enough to pay attention to the proceedings but far enough that he did not feel suffocated by his colleagues.
Perhaps, he thought, it was his time in the basement that had turned him into such a solitary creature. Though he did not despise it, he preferred his own company to anyone else. Being the only person in his department meant that he did all the work himself, meaning the only person he needed to rely on was himself.
No one bothered him in the basement. He was friendly when the time called for it and extremely thoughtful. For that, as well his legendary work ethic, he knew his colleagues liked him well enough.
His eyes drifted out of the window, Frank’s words turning into white noise as he did so. The building that Witness Publishing was based in sat across from Sleepy Hollow National Park. From this side of the building, Ichabod was afforded a stunning view of Lake Washington and the botanical garden adjacent to it. He had not had the chance to visit yet, primarily because he was always so consumed with his work. He had just been hoping that an occasion might arise for him to go to the park when he heard someone saying his name repeatedly.
“Earth to Captain Crane.” Frank’s dry voice forced him to turn his attention back to the meeting.
“I apologize, sir. My attention was diverted.” Crane mumbled in response.
“Well, if that’s your nice way of saying I’m boring, I’ll go ahead and introduce our new Director of Editing for the fiction department: Abbie Mills.” Frank raised an eyebrow at Crane as he gestured over to Abbie.
Crane watched in fascination as Abbie walked to the front of the room. She had not changed out of her outfit from earlier. He thought she looked like the world’s most adorable librarian.
“Thank you, Frank, for having me. I won’t take long, I promise.” She smiled warmly before speaking again. “I’m Grace Abigail Mills, but I prefer to go by Abbie. I have known Frank for a while now and I feel honored to work for him and for this amazing company. I look forward to getting to know you.” She said her last sentence with her eyes boring directly into Ichabod’s.
He felt his breath catch and his face warm as Abbie smiled again and resumed her seat next to a somewhat fair skinned woman with dark, wavy hair. The other woman nudge Abbie and smirked, her eyes drifting over to Ichabod. He suddenly felt the urge to look at the floor.
“Well, now that’s out of the way, we can discuss the Halloween party. I will be dividing you all into pairs for costumes. You and your partner must have themed costumes. The winner gets a gift card or something, I haven’t decided yet.” Frank piped up.
At this, a uniform groan sounded throughout the room. Ichabod felt his heart pick up speed as he grew nervous. He liked his colleagues, sure, but he didn’t know them. He suddenly found himself wondering if he could feign sickness to get out of the party.
“You’ll find out who your partner is later this week. Now, the last thing is publication. We have got to pick things up this quarter if we want to remain competitive.”
Ichabod’s eyes drifted away from Frank once more and over to Abbie Mills who also did not appear to be paying any kind of attention to Frank either. Her eyes found his, boring into them once more, and she smiled softly at him.
If his heart skipped a few beats, he would only attribute it to complete and utter coincidence.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
The partner lists went out on Friday evening, just before everyone left for the day. Sophie came into Abbie’s office in a huff, which, in itself, was not unusual. Abbie, however, had been nose deep in a first round revision of a new manuscript. She glared up at her best friend, wondering why on earth she’d interrupted her.
“What is it, Sophie?” She asked, taking off her glasses and squinting slightly at the other woman.
Sophie took a seat in the chair across from Abbie’s desk. “Check your e-mail. Frank’s partner assignments went out today. I got Luke fucking Morales from self-help.” She rolled her eyes and growled slightly.
Abbie gave her a sympathetic look before signing into her e-mail account. She found the e-mail Sophie was talking about relatively quickly and pulled up the attachment. Toward the bottom she saw her name and...Ichabod Crane?
“Holy shit.” she breathed out. “He didn’t.”
Sophie gave her a grudging smile. “That is the one bright spot in all this. You got the gorgeous specimen that is Ichabod Crane. What’s your costume?”
Abbie allowed her eyes to travel over the document a bit more and she couldn’t help the laugh that escaped her. “Frank wants us to be superheroes!”
“Lucky! He gave me and Luke nursery rhyme characters.” Sophie huffed and rolled her eyes again, reminding Abbie very much of when they were teenagers and she used to pitch similar fits when she didn’t get her way.
“Seriously?” Abbie could not contain her laughter. “That’s fucked up.”
She shrugged and gave Abbie a glare. “He hates me obviously.”
“Or he likes you.” Abbie taunted in response, dodging the paper ball that came sailing her way.
“Ew! Don’t even.” Sophie rose from her chair and stretched as she felt the end of the day begin to catch up to her. “Besides, you better go catch Crane before he leaves for the day so you guys can decide on your costumes and so he can ask you out.”
Abbie’s eyes widened slightly. “No, Soph. Besides he probably doesn’t even know I exist.”
“Oh, please.” Sophie responded with yet another scoff and eyeroll. “I saw how he was looking at you in the staff meeting today. He knows you exist, girl. Now, please go jump on that before someone else does.” She waved from the doorway and left for the day.
Abbie sighed and looked at the e-mail again to be certain there wasn’t some kind of error, but the writing hadn’t changed. She was, indeed, Ichabod Crane’s partner.
A few minutes later she found herself exiting the elevator in the basement where Crane was located. It was certainly much dimmer than any other place in the building. Even with the muted sunlight creeping through the windows, the basement felt incredibly small and dark.
Crane had made half of the space a library of sorts and the other half his office. Once she got past the bookshelves, she saw him hunched over his desk, furiously crossing out, circling, and writing things in a manuscript, possibly the one she’d seen him working on earlier in the week. He was muttering to himself about simple grammatical errors when she decided to announce her presence.
“Hi,” she started, wincing slightly as he jumped slightly in response. “I didn’t mean to startle you, Ichabod, I’m sorry.”
He straightened slightly as he realized that the gorgeous woman, the new Director of Editing for Fiction was in the basement, his basement, talking to him. He smiled at her and stood from his desk. “Ms. Mills! To what do I owe the pleasure of your company today?”
Abbie felt her face warm as she walked closer to his desk. “Well, Frank sent out the pairing assignments for the Halloween party.”
He nodded, giving her a blank look. “Yes, I recall him mentioning that but I was unaware he sent the list out. Have you had a look at it? The signal is horrid down here and my computer never works.”
She tried not to laugh and shook her head instead. “You’re my partner. We’re supposed to dress up as superheroes.”
Ichabod felt his insides begin to buzz with nervousness in that moment but it was momentarily quelled when he saw the gentle smile on Abbie’s face. He took a deep breath, allowing his fingers to tap furiously at his side. “Perfect. What did you have in mind?”
Abbie shrugged and took a seat in the chair nearest to his desk. He sat back down in his chair, leaning back ever so slightly. “I don’t know,” she said. “I’ve never really paid attention to comic books.”
“Nor have I.”
The room was silent as they both thought of how best to pull things off. Finally, Abbie gasped. “I have an idea. What if we pick each other’s costumes?”
Ichabod looked slightly mortified at the idea but he smiled slightly nonetheless. “I believe that is an excellent suggestion, Ms. Mills. How do you propose we decide?”
She shrugged again. “We really don’t know each other that well, so it might be a bit difficult.”
He had an idea then. It was positively silly and he was certain Abbie would never agree to it. But if the excite feeling in his chest was anything to go by, he could not be afraid. He looked at her then and felt butterflies float furiously in his stomach.
Her hair was straightened and in an updo once more, hair swept off to the right side of her face. The glasses he’d seen her in earlier in the week were gone, showing off her beautiful brown eyes more than ever. She was wearing a fuschia colored blouse and black slacks today, a rather extreme departure from the casual clothes he’d first seen her in. On her feet were black heels that made her legs appear endless. As his eyes travelled back up to her face, he realized she was wearing a light dusting of makeup. She looked even more beautiful.
“Perhaps,” he began. “We should make an attempt to get to know one another, wouldn’t you agree?”
Oh, shit. Abbie felt her mind begin to run a mile a minute as she thought of Sophie and that smug look on her face. Sophie is going to go nuts if he’s asking me what I think he is.
“You’re right. What should we do?”
He smiled as he felt an odd calm settle over him. “Would you be adverse to dinner tomorrow night?
Abbie felt her mouth go slightly dry as she nervously pushed her hair away from her face. She could see Crane beginning to second guess himself. Did he like her? Had Sophie really been right about him?
“Yes!” She blurted out, suddenly realizing that it sounded like she was declining Crane’s invitation to dinner. “I mean no!” She shook her head, inwardly cursing herself for being an awkward mess.
“No, I would not be adverse to dinner tomorrow night.” She interrupted, ringing her hands nervously, casting an equally flustered smile at Crane.
He gave her a gentle smile back as she stood to leave. “I am glad to hear it. We shall meet at Diacci for 8pm if you are unopposed.”
Abbie nodded and made to leave, already feeling like the world’s largest idiot. “Sounds good! See you tomorrow, Mr. Crane.”
Fifteen minutes later, Abbie was pulling into the parking lot of her apartment complex when her phone started ringing. She glanced down and saw that it was Sophie calling. She got out, locking her door, before heading up the stairs to her floor and answering the phone.
“Crane asked me out.” She stated simply, holding the phone away from her ear when Sophie’s excited screaming became too much to bear.
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
As Sophie helped her get ready for her date, Abbie could not stop thinking about how excited Jenny would have been for her, how she would have picked the sluttiest dress she had in her closet and gave it to her. When Sophie left on a run to the drugstore for eyeliner, she allowed herself to sit and cry for a bit.
Jennifer Mills had gone missing four years ago, vanishing without a trace. She’d been on some archaeological dig in Azerbaijan and had vanished from her camp the week before Christmas.
Authorities tried to find her but were unable. Abbie had run herself ragged contacting every single person Jenny knew in her line of work to see if any of them knew where she might be but came up empty. After a few weeks, it was assumed that Jenny was probably dead.
But Abbie held out hope.
She refused to believe that her sister, tough as nails and taker of shit from absolutely no one, could be in some obscure area of some obscure country dead.
Her eyes travelled to the picture she had of Jenny in the corner of her mirror. It was from a surprise birthday party Abbie had thrown for Jenny just before she left on that last trip. The two of them were smiling and hugging each other, both ridiculously drunk.
“I’ll tell you all about this date when you get back.” Abbie said out loud, passing a watery smile to the picture.
Just then, she heard her front door open and the sound of a plastic bag in motion. She’d just wiped her eyes when Sophie came into the room.
She noticed Abbie’s eyes were puffy and gave her a hug. “Come on,” she said, steering her toward the shower. “You’ve got a date with Prince Charming to get ready for.”
Nearly an hour later, Abbie held up two dresses for what felt to Sophie like the millionth time. “I already said that the red one is better. Do you just want to wear the black one?” she asked, her voice betraying mild annoyance.
“Yeah, but which one would I look best in?” Abbie asked, pulling the black dress up in front of her again.
With a huff, Sophie got up from the bed and snatched the black dress out of her hands and tossed it into a corner. “Decision made. Now hurry up and get ready!”
Abbie’s makeup was already done, as was her hair, but Sophie still wanted her to be ready at least an hour before she was to meet Crane. “Fine, fine. Whatever you say, godmother.”
“Woah,” Sophie breathed out ten minutes later as she finished helping Abbie with her jewelry. “He is going to die when he sees you, Abs.”
She turned to look in the mirror and couldn’t help the smile that spread across her face. Sophie had somehow found the perfect shade of red lipstick to match her dress. Aside from that her eye makeup was minimal, though she hadn’t noticed due to the bright silver diamond earrings and necklace she was wearing that matched her shoes.
“Here,” Sophie said, handing her a black clutch. “It’s 7:50. If you don’t go now, you’re gonna be late.” Abbie nodded, giving her a tight hug before heading out.
She would be lying if she said she wasn’t nervous about her date with Crane. She was. What if he figured out he didn’t want them to be partners? While Abbie was not one to get sad over the unreturned affections of a man, she certainly would be hurt.
When she got to Diacci, it was 8:02pm. It was packed even for a Saturday night. She walked up to the hostess and asked if a man named Ichabod Crane had arrived. The woman took her to a table outside facing Lake Washington that sat on the corner of the deck and below a space heater.
Ichabod immediately stood when he saw her heading toward him and, if Abbie didn’t know any better, he looked somewhat stunned.
“Ms. Mills, you are positively radiant,” he breathed out. “Please, sit.”
She fought the warmth in her cheeks as she sat across from him. There was a bottle of white wine on the table, the name of which she wouldn’t dream of pronouncing. Crane, for his part, made Abbie’s mouth go dry. He wore a well-fitting dress shirt and slacks, his jacket a deep midnight blue. His hair was pulled back from his face and his deep blue eyes seemed to sparkle more than ever.
“You look great, too.” Abbie gave him a shy smile before picking up the menu and browsing it absently. Truth be told, she wasn’t actually hungry. She was too nervous to eat.
Crane attempted to peruse the menu but failed as his mind continued to wander back to Abbie. He could barely keep his eyes off her. “If I may ask,” he said eventually, putting the menu to the side for the moment. “Why did you decide to go into publishing?”
She took a deep breath, trying to expel the nerves, before answering. “I love reading and I love writing stories. I love the stories of other people, you know, how imaginative they can be. But, I guess, the real answer is that I was in law enforcement and...after an accident, I gave it up and decided to go after something I love just as equally but with less chance of me getting hurt.”
She could see the intrigue in Crane’s eyes. She knew he would want to ask about the accident, but she wasn’t ready to tell him yet.
“That is incredibly brave of you, Ms. Mills. My story is not nearly as interesting in comparison.” Crane replied with a soft laugh.
“Every story is an interesting story, Mr. Crane.” Abbie smiled at him before taking a sip of her wine and Crane thought his chest might burst.
How had she rendered him into a heart-eyed pile of slush?
“Yes,” he returned, smiling. “I suppose so.”
Her smile faded only briefly as she waited with expectant eyes. “Sharing is caring, Mr. Crane.”
“Yes, of course! Certainly. Well, I graduated from Columbia University with a degree in English and I later received a PhD in the same subject from Harvard. Rather than be a professor, I realized that I wished to be a writer of historical fiction.”
Surprise radiated from Abbie’s face. “You write?”
He nodded, suddenly shy. “It’s hardly anything spectacular. I applied to several publishing firms, yet upon interviewing with Captain Irving at Witness Publishing, something felt--”
“Right? Perfect?” Abbie offered as the waiter brought bread to the table.
Their conversation paused momentarily while they both ordered their food and resumed when the waiter left them.
“Yes. I felt...this will sound cliché but I felt as if I had come home. Every single day, I look forward to going to work. But the best part is it doesn’t feel like work. Witness Publishing has amazingly talented workers, present company included, not to mention the Captain.” Ichabod’s face had lit up as he spoke about their shared jobs and Abbie could not fight the warm feeling in her chest.
“Well, I think I know what superhero you could be for the party.” Abbie said after a long and comfortable silence between the two of them after their food arrived.
“I will. Later. I need to make sure my instincts are correct on it.”
The two ate their food in comfortable silence, drinking wine and trading content smiles with one another, until Ichabod moved to eat a portion of his chicken parmesan. The night had been pleasant until then, for at that moment he let out a most guttural moan that made Abbie’s face grow warm.
“This is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted.” He said with closed eyes. He sat back and took a deep drink of wine from his glass.
She heard him speaking, though his words had sailed straight through one ear and out of the other. She could not stop staring at his lips now.
“Ms. Mills, are you alright?” He asked, noticing the faraway look in her eyes.
She blinked a few times and stood suddenly. “I need to go to the restroom.”
He stared curiously after her as she darted through the restaurant, wondering if he’d somehow upset her.
“Sophie, I’m screwed.” Abbie whispered furiously into the phone after her best friend answered on the first ring.
“Wait, what? What happened?” Sophie asked.
“I definitely like him now. More than I should as his boss.”
“I’m waiting to hear the bad part.”
Abbie rolled her eyes and shifted the phone to a different shoulder. “It’s unprofessional.”
“That’s it? Girl, you know Frank is professionally star-eyed over you. It’s not like he’ll fire you if you and Ichabod all of a sudden start fucking.”
“Sophie!” Abbie reprimanded loudly, checking to see if there was anyone else in the restroom.
“What? You know I’m telling the truth. Now, go back out and enjoy your damn date, Abs.”
The telltale beeping told Abbie her best friend had ended their call. She rolled her eyes and took several deep breaths before heading back out to Ichabod.
He stood the minute she came into view and she could see the concern in his eyes. “Is everything alright?” He asked as he took both of her hands into his own.
“Yes, Ichabod. I’m fine. But would you be terribly opposed to getting some air?”
It was odd to say, she realized, as they were already outside. But the intimate environment of Diacci coupled with Crane’s sinful moans over amazing food were beginning to make her lightheaded.
He nodded and a few moments later they were outside the restaurant and he was walking her to her car. “I’m fine, Crane. Don’t worry. “
He seemed more than skeptical but did not press the matter. A thought occurred to him as she opened the door. “Miss Mills, what superhero do you wish me to be for the Captain’s party?”
She made a big show of thinking it over before smiling. “I’ll tell you Monday, Mr. Crane.”
When she finally drove off into the night, Ichabod felt as if his feet were glued to the sidewalk. He could still see her face in his mind and he felt warmth rise to his cheeks. He would deny to himself that he was already quite taken with her.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
The weekend dragged for Abbie. Somehow, she found herself wishing it would go faster if only so that she could see Crane again. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt like this. It had been so long. She spent most of Saturday working on her manuscripts and getting some housework done. She checked her emails as she always did, hoping against hope that one of the people she’d contacted about Jenny would have something new to say. They didn’t. They never did.
By the time Monday came around, she finally knew who she wanted Crane to be for the Halloween party. She only hoped he picked someone nice for her too. Abbie powered through her work for the day with her office door closed and the blinds pulled shut. The last thing she needed was a distraction while she edited another manuscript and sent out rejection letters. She worked through her lunch and well into the afternoon until a distant pang shot through her stomach and she realized she’d gone the entire day without eating.
Luckily, it was he end of the day and she could grab something on the way home. Or maybe, she thought, Crane could go with her. They could have another date. Before the courage could leave her, Abbie clocked out and raced to the elevator. Hopefully, Crane hadn’t left for the day just yet.
She caught him as soon as the elevator door opened. Actually, she ran right into him. “Oh, shit, sorry!” She apologized as she stepped back at the same time that Crane said, “Dear heavens, my apologies!”
There was a rather charged moment where they locked eyes with one other, mouths dry as the desert, the rest of the world melting away, before everything seemed to rush back into focus. The words tumbled out of her mouth before she could stop them. “Do you wanna grab dinner with me?”
Crane felt an involuntary smile come to his face as he looked down at the woman before him. Abbie’s hair was in a messy halo braid today with tendrils framing her face. Her chestnut colored eyes peered up at him over the rim of her glasses. Today, she wore a bright grey sweater with a black shirt underneath, jeans, and short ankle boots which gave her more height than normal. She was positively radiant.
“I would love to, Ms. Mills.” Crane replied. Abbie let out a breath she couldn’t ever remember holding.
She adjusted her bag and smiled at him. “Good. There's a little café in Sleepy Hollow National I think you’d love.”
A few minutes later, the pair stepped into the glorious evening air. The weather was the perfect medium between warm and cool and the wind blew gently around them. Sleepy Hollow National Park was filled with families having picnics on the grass, dogs running after toys, and the sound of children on the playground. In the middle of it all was Lake Washington.
They walked around the park together, close but never touching. Neither of them was certain what the appropriate behavior was anyway. They were comfortably quiet as they watching everyone else enjoy the evening. Abbie spied a bench coming up on the walking trail and pulled him over to it.
“I told you that you’d know your superhero by today,” she said as she reached into her bag. “Well, here he is.” Abbie pressed a comic book into Crane’s hands.
He looked down curiously before a smile erupted across his face. “Aquaman?”
Abbie laughed a bit. “Yeah! Arthur Curry. Maybe the movie version though, since you have dark hair.” She sat back against the bench, her face feeling warmer than usual.
“I look forward to reading this. It will be a welcome reprieve from the manuscripts I’ve been going through recently.” Crane replied. He put the comic book in his own bag before turning to Abbie again. “As for your superhero, I thought it best to give you Wonder Woman. You are, after all, quite wondrous if I do say so myself.”
“Well, aren’t you a cornball.” Abbie replied. “But I can see myself as her, I think, so good job.”
They sat rather close to one another on the bench, looking out as the setting sun danced marvelously on the small waves in the lake, as the park began to empty of children and families in favor of couples and the occasional jogger. Abbie felt very conscious of Crane’s proximity to her and tried not to be so terribly nervous about it. To her, it seemed painfully obvious that there was something between them. Still, she didn’t want to assume.
“If you’re as hungry as I am, we should probably get some food now. But, I have one small amendment to our plans.” Crane said after a while. “Would you perhaps, instead, like to come to my home where I can cook something for both of us?”
Abbie felt as if her stomach had been taken over my ferocious butterflies. “You mean like a date?” She found herself blurting out.
“Yes,” Crane replied. “Our second date if my memory serves me.” He smiled to her, the beautiful expression one equal parts smugness and equal parts happiness.
“I wasn’t sure if you really liked me that way. Especially after I ran off in the middle of dinner like that at Diacci.” Abbie confessed. “But I’m glad you do.”
Crane offered his hand to her which she readily took and squeezed it reassuringly. “While I admit I was puzzled about your sudden exit, you later informed me that you were alright and I trusted that. Besides, that wouldn’t have made me not think you were quite possibly the most amazing woman I’d ever been on a date with.”
His words were doing a number on her if she was being honest. But she smiled back at him, her face warming pleasantly. “Thank you, Mr. Crane.”
If his declaration that she was the most amazing woman he’d been on a date with and that they were about to go on their second date made her tingle with excitement, she assured herself it was purely coincidence.
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
Abbie realized she didn’t like Crane as much as she thought she did. She liked his dog so much more.
From the second she walked into the apartment she and the dog, a gorgeous, rust-colored Cocker Spaniel by the name of Ruby, were inseparable. “You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!” She was a pile of mush, petting and hugging Ruby as she licked her face.
Ichabod watched the two, an insanely warm feeling in his chest, as he went about in the kitchen making homemade soy peanut soba noodles and honey peanut chicken for the two of them. “If you aren’t careful she’ll have you wrapped around her paws.” He said conversationally.
“I don’t see the bad part yet.” Abbie replied with a smile. She kissed Ruby on the head and came to meet Ichabod in the kitchen. “Anything I can help with?”
“You’ll recall that I’m supposed to be the one making dinner for you, Abbie.”
Abbie laughed a bit and pulled herself up to sit on the counter. “Well, how about I just provide moral support?”
He smiled at her in acquiescence. His ridiculously blue eyes seemed to sparkle in the light of the kitchen. “That will do just fine.”
They talked for what felt like hours about everything under the sun. Abbie learned that Ichabod was a Londoner, born and raised, and that he had two sisters named Elizabeth Ross Crane and Mary Dean Crane. She learned that his parents, Victoria Lee and John Alexander, had amassed a sizeable fortune from their shipping company: Crane International Transport.
“So you guys are loaded?” Abbie asked as she watched him chop bell peppers.
“In a manner of speaking,” Crane answered somewhat uncomfortably.
Abbie took notice and began tugging at her bottom lip thoughtfully. “Sore spot for you?”
Crane paused his vegetable chopping for a moment to face her. “Let’s just say that when you decide to go into publishing and writing rather than the six figure job that’s been waiting for you since practically birth, the family gets a tad disappointed.”
“Oh, come on, Crane. Really? The entire family?” Abbie found it hard to believe that a man as kind and smart as Ichabod was would be turned away from his own family simply for pursuing a career he loved more than the one that was expected of him.
“My father and sister Mary were vastly disappointed in me. Beth and my mother didn’t care what I did as long as I was happy doing it. My mother knew from an early age that I was hardly interested in the family business. Beth knew it too; she’s only five years older than me. Still, she filled in my gaps and took up my slack. She’s the one who truly loves the business and wants to take it as far as she can.” Ichabod felt like he was rambling but neither Abbie’s eyes or body language indicated that she was bored or wanted him to stop.
“What about your other sister Mary?” Abbie asked curiously, noticing the way he skirted around mentioning her too much.
His face visibly soured. “She hates my guts.”
Abbie frowned slightly. “What do you mean by that?”
Ichabod sighed and leaned against the counter while the veggies and chicken sizzled away on the stove. “Mary’s father and my mother were once engaged to be married. Unfortunately, both her parents tragically died in a car accident which left no relatives who wished to take her in. Though it had been years since she’d even laid eyes on Mary’s father, my mother still fought hard to adopt her into our family. Mary is theoretically the oldest of the three of us though I believe she resents Beth and I for being the biological children of our parents.”
“There must be more to it than that though. Right?” Abbie asked. She wanted to know more about Ichabod’s own sister that seemed to hate him.
“There most certainly is more to it than what I have said. Perhaps it might be best to save some for our next date, don’t you think?” Crane asked, resuming his easy and content demeanor.
Abbie found a warm feeling spread through her chest as he mentioned their next date. “You’re awfully confident that there will be another one.”
Ichabod stepped back again and came to stand directly in front of her. Due to his ridiculous height he towered over her as he always did. But this time felt different. His bright blue eyes bore down into hers and she would’ve sworn they’d melted down her very soul. Her breath hitched as his hands came to rest on her waist, a practically electric feeling coursing through her. His eyes flickered down to her lips and she believed then that he might try to eat her alive. Well, she wouldn’t be terribly opposed to that would she?
“There will be another one, Miss Mills,” Ichabod’s voice was low and gravelly now. She felt goosebumps rise on her arms as he moved closer to her. They were merely inches apart now. Centimeters. Millimeters. “Would you mind terribly if I kissed you?”
Her mouth felt like the Sahara Desert and he was the water. She tried to reply but it took her three tries. “Not at all,” Abbie said. “Kiss me.”
The first thing Abbie thought when Crane’s lips touched hers was that Sophie was going to tease her mercilessly forever when she found out that Crane was every bit as sexy as she’d guessed. The kiss was soft, exploring even. Abbie’s arms came to rest around his neck as he pressed further against her. She felt her body heat up and felt him, all of him, against her.
Before she knew it, a heavenly moan escaped her and the kiss between them grew more intense, more heated. Suddenly, her hands were on his shirt, pulling it over his head at the same time he removed her sweater and shirt. Abbie’s hands flew to his belt buckle and he immediately pulled away.
“What’s wrong?” She asked, panting like a dog in heat. Hell, maybe she was.
“Nothing,” Crane replied as he removed her jeans. She now sat on the counter in only a matching black lace bra and panty set. “I want to do something for you.”
She gasped as he pulled her panties away and tossed them onto the floor before he dropped down to both knees in front of her. “Oh, dead lord.” She breathed out, knowing exactly what he was about to.
“Do you want me to continue? I have no problem with stopping if you do not wish to—“
“Baby?” Abbie asked sweetly as she gripped his chin softly.
Her grip tightened and her eyes suddenly matched the hunger in his. “Start eating.”
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
Abbie was fairly certain that she had never came so hard that she astral projected. Scratch fairly. She was entirely certain that hadn’t ever happened before. It turned out that, along with writing and editing, Crane had the tongue of a god.
He stopped when he noticed her legs shaking involuntarily, kissing her inner thighs and cleaning up the delightful mess he’d made. He gave her center a final parting kiss before standing and pulling her to him for an earth shattering kiss.
“So,” he said when he pulled away at last. “How about that third date?” A cocky, smug grin now took residence on his face.
Abbie grabbed a dish towel from nearby and balled it up before tossing it at him. “Oh, shut up! You were good, I’ll give you that. But third date material?”
A flicker of uncertainty crossed Crane’s face faster than Abbie would have been able to notice.
She pulled him down to kiss him deeply again and laughed a bit when they broke apart. “I might need a bit more proof from you before I agree to date number three.”
Crane smiled down at her. “Of course. Perhaps we can consider how best to meet your burden for proof after dinner?”
He and Abbie made themselves presentable again, practically bleaching the counter before taking quick showers. Somewhere along the line, Crane asked Abbie if she wished to stay overnight as it was already getting late.
“I’ll take the sofa and you can have my bed. Also, I can wash your clothes for you if you wish.” Crane said as he began plating their dinner. Abbie poured them both a glass of wine.
“You mean to tell me that after eating me like I was the Last Supper you suddenly wanna sleep on the sofa if I stay over?” Abbie asked, trying her absolute hardest not to burst out laughing.
Crane, for his part, looked genuinely confused. “I’m merely being a gentlemen.”
“The very same gentlemen who nearly died of suffocation just ten minutes ago from wrapping my legs around his face? Same guy?” She could hold back her laughter no longer. Abbie took a sip of the wine when she was finally able to catch her breath.
“I suppose it does sound rather silly when you put it that way. Still, I didn’t want to give the impression that I wanted anything in return for….you know.” Crane actually seemed bashful now, as if he hadn’t just sucked the soul out of her.
Abbie sat at the small table, her bare feet kicking out above the floor. She was wearing an old t-shirt of Crane’s and some boxers he’d yet to wear while her clothes were in the wash. “While I appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed that lovely little surprise of yours, I have to admit I didn’t see us getting that far for a while!”
Crane swore to himself. “Damn it all to hell, I should have waited until you were ready and now—“
Abbie smiled reassuringly at him. “I don’t regret what we did, baby. I don’t. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m glad you don’t expect anything in return, that you did what you did because you wanted to. Us having sex, I just thought it would be eons from now because I’m a chronic dork and you seemed all into propriety and moving slow. What I’m saying is I have no problem sharing a bed with you. I’m okay with it because we fucked sooner than I thought we would.”
Crane still looked very confused. “Well, I think I’ll have to work to change your definition of the word ‘fucked’, won’t I?”
Abbie laughed and threw another dish towel at him. “You cocky motherfucker.”
They shared in laughter and then comfortable silence a few moments later. Crane brought the noodles and chicken over to her and she moaned in pleasure when she tasted it. Was there anything Crane wasn’t good at? Later, they washed the dishes together and Abbie realized it felt like they’d been together for longer than two dates. Together? She supposed that was something she ought to clear up with him sometime soon.
When Ichabod finished washing the last dish he dried his hands and came to stand behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist and resting his head in the crook of her neck. “Hurry please, Abbie.” His voice sounded as adorable as he could possibly manage and Abbie fought back laughter.
“What’s the rush? We have all night.” Abbie continued rinsing the dishes and putting them in the dish rack. Finally, she was finished and she turned around so that she now faced Crane.
“I thought we might get to work planning our costumes for the Halloween party. I’m told that Pinterest and Tumblr might be incredibly helpful on that front.” He answered.
“I’ll do it on one condition.”
For what felt like the umpteenth time that night, Crane looked down at her in slight confusion. “Which is?”
Abbie stood on the tips of her toes to kiss him deeply. She tried not to let her body get too far ahead of her mind this time. “Maybe we could do all that planning from the bed?”
He picked her up so that her legs were now wrapped around his waist. “I don’t think I would be terribly opposed to that.”
A few moments later, Abbie was splayed across the bed on her back with Crane’s head between her legs yet again. Leave it to him to act like he was starving. “Dinner was hardly enough for me, I’m afraid.” He said between slow, languid laps at her center.
She laced her hands into his hair, bringing him as close to her as she possibly could and moaning at how very perfect it all felt. “You’ve got to stop doing this, baby. I’m beginning to think I owe you something.” Her words came out as breathy half moans. She was already seeing stars and she hadn’t even come yet.
“You don’t,” he growled before inserting one, two fingers into her. Much like his mouth they moved slowly and rhythmically, as if they were trying to memorize what she felt like, what she tasted like. “I consider it the highest honor to make you feel what I feel simply by looking at you.”
That was what did it. Abbie pulled him up to meet her for a hungry kiss before flipping him over onto his back with surprising strength even she didn’t know she had. “Well, I’m paying you back now.”
If you had told Ichabod Crane even a day ago that he would have the most beautiful woman in the world in his house, in his bed, and on top of him like he was a Harley Davidson motorcycle, he might have laughed it off. There was no way that was possible.
But it was.
Certainly, it was far too early to claim that he loved Abbie but if the night so far was any indication he was almost there. It felt surreal that it was only their second date. Was it a mistake to have sex so soon? He didn’t think so. They were adults. Grown people. Why shouldn’t they have sex if they were so attracted to each other?
A moan from Abbie cut his rambling thoughts as she rode him harder. This, he thought, was what heaven felt like. Soon, she was over the edge, her body shuddering and her lips forming cries to any and all deities. Crane was not far behind her.
After withdrawing from her and removing the condom, he cleaned them both up in the bathroom which nearly became counterproductive. Somehow the two of them kept their wits about them enough to make it back to the bed without doing anything untoward.
“That was... amazing .” Abbie said after a while. Both of them were on their backs staring up at the ceiling. Crane had pulled her toward him so that her head rested on his chest.
“Yes, well you are quite an astonishing woman. You might have ruined me for sex with anyone else.” Ichabod replied, his voice thoughtful.
“This is the best second date I’ve ever been on.”
“Glad to hear it.” Crane kissed her forehead and they both laughed quietly.
“This next date is going to have a lot to live up to.” Abbie said eventually.
Crane smiled to himself and then at her. “I am confident it will exceed all expectations.”
Chapter 8: Chapter 8
This chapter is just some fluff and sweetness because things are going to get rather tense/actiony after this one. Hope you all enjoy!
It seemed that Witness Publishing chose the immediate time after Abbie and Crane’s very successful second date to get insanely busy. October was a month for deadlines and everyone was running around like chickens with their heads cut off. It had been over a week since Abbie actually saw Ichabod and it was driving them both up the wall.
Abbie was momentarily distracted by a noise from her laptop indicating that someone had texted her. She smiled to herself when she saw the message was from Crane and smiled even bigger when she read it.
Care to join me in the lounge?—IC
She looked around her office at the papers all over and the manuscript stacks that seemed to be taking over the room. The window was barely visible anymore and Abbie was certainly beginning to feel restless.
I don’t know. You might distract me.—AM
Abbie waited for Crane’s reply as she eyed the clock on her desk. It was nearly the lunch and she hadn’t eaten anything more than green juices and vending machine snacks the past few days. It was Friday now and the Halloween party would take place in exactly one week. She knew she needed to get the manuscripts that were still sitting done before then.
Perhaps you need to be distracted.—IC
She couldn’t help raising an eyebrow at the new message. It was funny to her how bashful and quiet Crane seemed at first. He was different with her.
Think I’m gonna take off early. This office is driving me crazy.—AM
Frank wouldn’t fight her on leaving early, she knew. Even he had seen that Abbie was nearly running herself ragged trying to meet deadlines. The energy in the office was tense at best. Everyone was stressed to within an inch of their sanity. Abbie resolved to simply come in tomorrow, a Saturday, when no one would be around and she could focus more clearly.
Might I join you when I leave later?—IC
Later? Why not now?—AM
I have a mountain of work before me that I cannot possibly hope to get through if I leave early.—IC
I’m coming in tomorrow to work on my stuff. Less people.—AM
A sound plan. I’ll meet you after I get off this evening.—IC
You’re getting off this evening? ;-) —AM
Very funny. See you later.—IC
Abbie packed her things, making absolutely sure she took none of her work home with her. She needed to spend the rest of the day doing non-work-related things. After ensuring her office was locked up, Abbie went to Frank’s office. For his credit, he looked about as tired and stressed as she did.
“Mind if I leave early? I’m not feeling too hot.” Abbie said from the doorway.
Frank looked up from his computer and gave her a tired smile. “Tired of vending machines for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I see.”
Abbie laughed only slightly as she stepped into the office. “That’s part of it. I’m actually planning to come in tomorrow to get some work done but today…”
“Go on then. I may join you tomorrow, by the way.”
“Good,” Abbie replied. “See you tomorrow, Frank.”
About half an hour later, Abbie was walking into her apartment with everything she needed for a relaxing night in: her favorite wine (a Riesling), two frozen DiGiorno’s (one cheese and one pepperoni), a few bath bombs, and her favorite candy (Sour Patch Kids).
“Thank you, CVS.” Abbie muttered to herself as she began putting everything away. The very first thing she needed to do was sleep. She sat on her bed to take off her shoes and leaned back onto the bed for only a second, really, but somehow she found herself asleep anyway.
She woke up nearly four hours later to her phone vibrating angrily on her nightstand, edging closer to falling off it entirely. Abbie grabbed it before that could happen and noted that Crane was the one calling her.
“Hey!” She answered brightly, her voice not quite shaking the sleep away just yet.
“Were you sleeping? Did I interrupt?” Crane asked from the other end.
"No,” she said. “I’m just waking up actually.”
Abbie moved so that she was lying on her back with one arm over her head. Her nap had left her feeling refreshed and ready for the night she’d planned for herself. The frozen pizza was really calling her name.
“Do you have any plans this evening? I know the last week has been positively insane and—“
“Nope. No plans. Just staying in tonight with wine and pizza watching British crime dramas.” Abbie smiled as she interrupted him.
“Would you mind if I joined you?” Ichabod asked sweetly. Abbie rolled her eyes and laughed.
“Not at all. I need to take a bath and fix my apartment up a bit first so how about you get here at 7?” She was off the bed now, doing that Thing people did when they were on the phone: walking around aimlessly, fixing things in the room that didn’t need to get fixed.
Abbie settled for cleaning up first before taking her bath. While her apartment wasn’t a disaster area, she knew that the stress of work the past week meant that she hadn’t been as attentive to keeping everything as clean as humanly possible as she always did. After nearly an hour her apartment was so clean it looked staged. Happy with the end result, Abbie started a warm bath and tossed one of her new bath bombs in.
She didn’t know how but she fell asleep in the bathtub. When she woke up it was to a polite but firm knock on the front door. Abbie shot up out of the tub with a muttered “shitshitshit” and drained it before racing to the front door, a towel barely covering her. It was, of course, Crane at the door. She heard his breath catch immediately when he saw her.
“I fell asleep in the tub. Wanna start the oven for me while I go get dressed?” Abbie asked after she let him in.
He pouted slightly as he pulled her close to him for a searing kiss. “Must you get dressed so soon?”
Abbie laughed as she kissed him again. “Yes, you weirdo. I had a whole night planned and I’m not letting some good dick get in the way of that?”
He feigned offense. “You think so little of me, Treasure.”
She felt her chest warm at the endearing nickname he gave her and she kissed him again. “Be a good boy while I go get dressed. The temperature for the oven is on the pizza box.”
Crane watched her head back to her room with an odd sense of longing. It felt like he missed her. But how was that even possible when she hadn’t gone anywhere? Deciding to file away that piece of information later, Crane headed into the kitchen and did as Abbie asked.
Fifteen minutes later, Abbie came back out into the living room wearing a SHPD t-shirt that was far too big for her and black socks that came up to her thighs. Her hair was pulled hastily up into a bun and she looked admittedly less antsy than she had when she’d opened the door for Crane.
“The prodigal Abbie returns.” Crane said slyly as he checked on the progress of the pizza in the oven. It was nearly done.
“Very funny. Is the pizza done yet?”
“Nearly,” he replied. “You may want to start pouring the wine now.”
The time felt like it flew by as they talked and waited for the pizza to be done. Eventually, it was and the two of them huddled close to one another on the sofa scarfing down their dinner and drinking liberal amounts of wine.
“We really need to get our costumes together. We have to have the best one!” Abbie said after her second glass of wine.
“Indeed. Am I to understand that I am meant to live up to the absolute vision that is Jason Momoa in his incarnation of Arthur Curry?” Crane asked. Much like Abbie, he too was beginning to feel the effects of the wine they’d been drinking. “Because I think that might be impossible. I don’t know that I could do it much justice.”
“Mmm,” Abbie took another sip of wine and turned to face him. “You both have a lot in common with each other actually. You’re tall, your hair is dark, and you’re fine as all hell. Did I miss anything?”
Crane leaned forward and kissed her soundly, relishing in the taste of what was now his favorite wine on her lips. “No, not a thing.”