Just a little winter love :)
There's something magical about a fire.
It's almost impossible to be sad or worried when you're sitting by one. The ever-hungry flames seem to greedily lick up any errant thoughts that you may have. The heat radiating from the fireplace soothes and calms as it warms your skin.
I sat and stared into the flames, not even really seeing them. I wondered idly what Angel would say if she had caught that last thought. She'd probably say something about the "blogger in me".
Footsteps distracted me from my thoughts, and I glanced up absently. Max practically flew into the living room, hastily shedding coat, scarf, hat, and gloves on the couch as she tried to warm herself up. She sighed and flopped down beside me, stretching out on her stomach close enough to the fire to feel the heat. Her arm was companionably pressed up against my leg as I sat cross-legged on the carpet.
"Hey, Max," I said, a hint of amusement coloring my tone at her obvious contentedness as well as the hectic red flush dancing crazily across her cheeks from the cold.
"Mmm," she made a sound not unlike a cat purring, her eyes closed.
I allowed a half smile to touch my lips and my eyes to fix on her still form.
She wasn't looking, after all.
I gazed at her with openness that I didn't usually allow myself. I couldn't help it. The firelight did things to her skin that shouldn't be allowed to happen without authorization.
Without opening her eyes, Max spoke. "So what are we going to do for Iggy's birthday?"
She cracked an eye at me before slowly allowing it to drift closed again. "Well, we could invite his friends from school to come, I guess."
"Yeah." I was much, much too fascinated with the way the dim lighting toyed with her hair. The golden streaks glowed like fine threads of gold against the darker layers beneath where the sun didn't reach. I had to restrain myself from reaching out to her, just to touch.
"And I still have no idea what to give him for a gift," she mused.
"What are you getting him? Fang?" Max pressed when I didn't answer right away. She rolled lazily to her side, opening her eyes to look at me and see why I wasn't responding.
Man. I felt like I was drowning as I mentally gaped at her. Her sleepy brown eyes and flushed cheeks as she gazed at me in the light put off by the fire packed a powerful punch.
I tried to remember the thread of the conversation. "Uh… bombs?" I answered lamely, smacking myself mentally on the forehead. You dope.
Max chuckled. "That's what you thought." She closed her eyes again, and I almost sighed in relief. I couldn't carry on a coherent conversation while she was looking at me like that. Even though she was so close to the fire, she shuddered as a chill breezed through the room. I wordlessly handed her a blanket from a pile near me.
"Thanks." She sat up and pulled the blanket tightly around her shoulders. I frowned as I saw how small her waist was. Nobody should be allowed to be that tiny.
"…don't you think?"
I tore my gaze away and focused on her face again, realizing that I had missed something she said.
Max laughed again and smacked me on the shoulder lightly. "Keep up. I said it would be nice if we all pitched in to make dinner on his birthday so he doesn't have to."
"Yeah." I smirked. "Just not you."
She shrugged, unconcerned by the fact that she could probably burn a glass of water. "It's the thought that counts." She held out one side of the blanket and looked at me with a questioning look.
Unable to refuse, I slid over next to her and let her wrap the blanket around my other shoulder. I slid my arm around her slim waist and secured her to my side to make things more comfortable. I nearly sighed at how warm she was now. I again had to consciously restrain myself from burying my face in her long hair or doing something equally stupid.
Max did sigh, and we sat in silence for a long time, just staring at the fire.
"This is so great," she said finally. "Who would have thought that you and I would ever be able to just relax like this?"
I pursed my lips in agreement but didn't say anything.
"And of course you're my best friend so that makes it all the better," she added quietly.
I groaned. "Great, Max, now look what you did."
She looked up at me, confusion and slight hurt beginning to show in her eyes. "What?"
"You said that. Now I just have to kiss you." I ducked my head and pressed my lips to hers.
After recovering from the surprise, Max kissed me sweetly and then pulled away, a flush of a different origin spreading across her cheekbones as her eyes practically glowed at me.
"Have to? Because it's such an awful thing to have to do…" she teased.
"Mmm." I was unable to prevent myself from leaning down for another.
As Max sighed and rested her head on my shoulder, I felt warm from my head to my toes. And there was a very different kind of heat that started in my heart and spread out over my chest as we sat and watched the fire blaze in all its glory.