Sophie bent down to tuck in the sheets at the edge of the bed, sliding her hands beneath the cool mattress. Her hair was pulled into a tight bun, her uniform smudged with bits of dirt. Her scar was ever prominent on her cheek, almost glowing in the morning light.
She jumped back from the soft sound of her name being whispered and released the sheet she had been pulling on. She placed a hand onto her heart and turned towards the doorway to see who it was. But she already knew. She would know that voice anywhere, the way his lips formed her name—her Christian name. She loved it when he said it, but knew it was improper for him to call her by that. She hated telling him to call her Miss Collins. Apparently, so did he.
"Gideon," she breathed, straightening her gown. He was standing, leaning against the doorframe with his shirt slightly crooked and his smile the same. His eyes were brilliant green, and she swooned inwardly at the sight of him. He was dressed in what appeared to be old gear, the kind Shadowhunters usually used for training. It needed a good wash, and Sophie made a mental note to herself to take care of his laundry.
Sophie quickly realized she was staring. She reached over and picked up the corner of the sheet and resumed her work, trying not to act so taken aback. "I mean, Mr. Lightwood. I was just finishing making your bed. I will only be a moment longer," she apologized, her cheeks burning red.
"Oh, don't worry about it. I will only sleep in it again, won't I?" His voice was velvety sweet, smooth and luxurious and everything Sophie could want. But couldn't have.
"I suppose but—"
"It is fine, Sophie. Finish if you want." He dropped his seraph blade on the dresser and started to undress. Sophie gasped at this and looked away quickly.
"I would prefer it if you called me Miss Collins, please. And if you must change I can leave."
"No, no, it's fine. I won't keep you from doing your job. Though it's pointless, as I've explained." Gideon wasn't facing her, but she could tell he was grinning, teasing her. She could hear it in his voice.
"Well, if you insist that your bed is fine the way it is, then I will leave. I should not be in here while you change, Mr. Lightwood. It is improper," She promptly headed towards the door, keeping her eyes averted despite her inner desire, but was caught by an outstretched, familiar hand.
"Miss Collins, why is it improper to stay here while I dress when you help ready Tessa each day?" he raised his eyebrows at her and she fought back parting her lips. She wanted so desperately to lean into him. His hand on her arm was like spice, burning her but leaving her wanting more. She pulled away.
"Tessa is a women, as am I. And I only help her with her dresses, for they are very complex. If you need assistance, I would be happy to call fo—"
"But I don't mind, Sophie. I'm comfortable around you."
"Mr. Lightwood, please—"
"Why don't you help me with my shirt? There are many buttons and I could surely use some help." Gideon looked at her expectantly, one eyebrow raised. His smile was cocky but somehow still sweet. He liked this, messing with her, tempting her. Sophie started to protest again, but Gideon guided her hand to the buttons running along the front of his gear. She swallowed hard and worked quickly, unclasping each button with her nimble fingers. She never took her eyes off the black shirt, afraid that if she looked at Gideon she would blush even more.
She finally finished and stepped away, intent on leaving. "Miss Collins?" he asked as she opened the door.
"Yes?" she said, her voice quiet and shy. She didn't turn around, though, for she was afraid he had already removed the rest of his shirt. Her heart wanted to look, but her mind told her better.
"Actually, could you perhaps straighten out my pillows?" he asked.
Oh, by the Angel, Sophie thought. She had picked up on the term from the occupants of the Institute and thought that it was perfect for the moment. All that talk Gideon was giving her and now he wanted her to make his bed? Sophie just rolled her eyes and proceeded over towards the bed.
She crawled atop it in order to reach the center of the bed, for her frame was small. She was straightening the middle pillow when she felt the weight of another body pressing on the sheets, straining them. She turned around and gasped to find Gideon sitting above her on the bed.
She was right about him being shirtless. He was breathtaking, with his chiseled chest marked in thick, twining black runes. Sophie fought back the urge to reach her hand out. His eyes were glowing, just above her, and she found herself staring right into them. "Mr. Lightwood? What are you—"
"Oh, Sophie," he moaned, grabbing hold of her shoulders and pulling her towards him. Their lips collided before she could object, heat and warmth tingling through her body. He tangled his hands in her hair, pulling at her perfectly neat bun. Her hair fell down across her shoulders, long and wild and lovely.
She knew she should pull away, tell him no, but her body didn't want to listen. She leaned into his kiss, opening her mouth further and pressing her hands onto his warm chest. He smiled against her lips and eased her down against the bed so that she was lying down completely with him on top of her.
He tugged one of her sleeves down, revealing a bit of her skin. "Gideon," she breathed as he placed his lips on her shoulder. His touch made her shiver with pleasure and she fought the urge to help him with the rest of her dress, pull it down completely. But no, she couldn't. She knew she couldn't. "Mr. Lightwood, stop. Please," she finally got out, pushing him aside slightly.
He rolled off of her and stared at her with disappointment. "What's wrong, Sophie? I don't understand why you can't just . . . just stop keeping up this charade. You don't need to act like this," he sighed.
"Charade? I don't understand, Mr. Lightwood." Sophie's cheeks were bright red, her hair messy and her eyes wide.
"Stop calling me that," he muttered, rolling his eyes. He cursed in Spanish and then placed his hand gently on hers. "You keep acting like you don't—like you don't want me, Sophie. And I know it's not true."
"Gid—Mr. Lightwood, please. I'm not acting. I'm just . . . I'm just trying not to get into something that isn't real. That won't last. It's no good for me," she murmurs shyly.
"What do you mean? Something that won't last? Sophie, I feel as if you are my heart. You are all that I want, the only person I care for." His voice was just above a whisper, but Sophie winced as if he was yelling. How could he say that? What of his brother, his sister? Even his horrid father?
"You could never be with me, Mr. Lightwood. Though I do not see why you would want to," Sophie admitted. She was looking away from him now, scared that she'll let her feelings spill out freely. She could not do that. She had to do what was right for him. "I am a human, not a Nephilim. A maid, not a warrior. And I am scared, not beautiful like yourself."
"No, Mr. Lightwood. You shouldn't want me. You shouldn't care for me at all, let alone in this sense. You deserve someone of your own rank; a beautiful, Shadowhunter girl. Not me." Gideon placed his thumb on top of her scar, stroking it gently. He leaned in and kissed it, making Sophie close her eyes with longing.
No. She couldn't do this to him.
Sophie stood up and pulled herself off the bed, away from Gideon's yearning, extended arm. She straightened her dress and knotted her hair again. "If you need assistance with your gear, I can fetch Cyril. But if not, then I will be going, Mr. Lightwood."