Here's my latest. Hope you enjoy it!

If I were Henry H Neff, I wouldn't have just entered the contest to get a signed copy of the Maelstrom.


Sidetracked

He'd been sitting there talking about smees for several minutes now, and she hadn't even looked up.

Cooper leaned back in his chair to study the situation.

They were, for some unfathomable reason, sitting in Rattlerafters, and Hazel Boon had been poring over an array of parchments, spell diagrams, and books for the last two hours, barely even noticing when Old Tom's chimes shook the room. Saying her name elicited no response unless it was repeated in increasingly louder tones, and even then one only received a vague "Hm?" before her attention was lost to the papers once more.

He didn't even know what she was working on.

"Hazel," he said. "Are you planning to be like this all night?"

She scribbled something down and flipped a page in the book.

"Hazel. Did you even eat dinner?"

Her eyebrows furrowed at a particularly interesting block of text.

"Hazel, the library's on fire. …There are vyes outside the window. Elias Bram? Tweedy says you're in his seat."

She made an irritated noise at this last statement and turned another page.

Progress.

"Hazel. Hazel. Hazel Boon. Hazel Benson Boon. I'm just going to sit here and talk until you look up."

Evidently that was going to be a while. Cooper drummed his fingers on the table and let his gaze drift around the room. What did it take to get her attention when she was working? He'd tried everything short of yelling in her ear, something he didn't quite dare attempt.

The Agent turned his attention back to her. Wasn't her neck stiff from bending over those papers for so long? She tilted her head slightly, and her glasses flashed in the candlelight. Cooper shook his head. He could probably reach out and take them right off her nose without her noticing. Hazel absently ran a hand through her hair, leaving it slightly ruffled, and made a note on her paper. Cooper studied her for a moment and then straightened up, leaning forward.

"Hazel."

She gave no response, and he leaned forward a little more. "Hazel. Hazel Boon."

She turned another page.

Cooper gently reached out and put a hand under her chin, tipping her face ever so slightly upward.

She blinked, suddenly aware of her surroundings, and the mismatched eyes flashed with annoyance. "William, what –"

He leaned forward and kissed her, gently.

Even the ticking of Old Tom's second hand, faintly heard somewhere above them, seemed to fall silent.

She kissed him back, and they pulled apart. "William, what…" This time the statement was more breathless and bemused than angry.

Cooper smiled, relieved that it didn't sound like she was going to kill him. "Desperate measures, Hazel. Desperate measures."


Thanks for reading! Have a mystical day!