I suppose, since Lucid Dreaming has been released since August, this is less of a “preview” and more of a “snippet”. Either way, enjoy Quinn and Alison’s sickeningly sweet New Year’s Eve:
In the city everything was grey and harshly cold. The streets were bustling with activity and the bars were overflowing with noisy day-into-night drinkers who probably wouldn’t even last until midnight before passing out. In the city Times Square was an enormous sardine can, bursting at the seams with shivering bodies.
But in Quinn’s penthouse, it was quiet and toasty warm. Here there was scrumptious Peruvian food, freshly delivered from the restaurant down the block. Here there was fragrant mulled wine simmering on the stove.
“My mom used to make this when Matthew and I were little. My dad would sneak us sips sometimes. In retrospect, that sounds like a not-so-great thing for him to do.”
“Nah. A sip or two won’t hurt anyone. In many parts of Europe it’s common for children to be introduced to wine at a young age.” Quinn added the finishing touch, a slice of orange, to each glass and handed one to me. “Since you’re the mulled wine expert, you should taste it first.”
Excited, I blew on it for all of four seconds, then dared (stupidly) to take a sip.
“Hot!” I screeched, causing my companion to bust into laughter at my expense.
“But does it taste good?”
“You’re an ass,” I quipped. “And yes. It’s fucking delicious.”
Quinn wrapped his arm around my shoulders and proceeded to blow on his own glass. “I think I’ll let mine cool for a minute.”
He had already braced himself in anticipation of my pinch. I guess I was more frequently abusive than I realized.
Up on the roof we sat perched on the patio loveseat dressed in pajamas, jackets and winter hats. (Well, I was in pajamas and Quinn was wearing his usual attire.) We had brought with us both the blankets he owned up the spiral staircase and wrapped ourselves up like two caterpillars sharing a cocoon.
“I’m too cold to keep my hands out!” I whined melodramatically.
“Here,” he said, picking up his glass and raising it to my lips for me. I sipped, feeling a bit like a baby bird. Mulled wine dribbled down my chin and we both laughed.
“If we were smart we would have bought thermoses and reeeeally long straws so we could have held the wine under the blanket!”
“Well, I guess we’ll just have to remember that when we do this again in 365 days.”
My heart thrummed.
“What time is it?”
I gazed into the distance. The city of New York stretched out before us, the backdrop to this long, unpredictable play we were acting out, part comedy and part drama. It was a thrilling production to say the least and I hoped the curtain would never fall.
As the final moments of the year passed, the last six months replayed themselves in my mind. I couldn’t help but shake my head in wonder.
“What a strange year this has been,” I whispered.
“You’re preaching to the choir,” Quinn agreed.
I looked at him, his sleepy eyes were gentle and kind. His smile was warm and genuine. He used to be such a blank slate all the time. A walking question mark. He had almost never looked this way before.
I stretched my neck up to kiss him, just once quick on the lips.
“What was that for?” he asked.
“Do I need a reason?”
He leaned down to kiss me back, a little longer and a little slower.
“What was that for?”
“Because I can. Because you’ll let me.”
I rested my head on his shoulder and scanned the cityscape in pure, glowing happiness.
Crystal chandeliers of color lit up the night sky, the first of the Times Square fireworks crackling into life. To our right, the skies above Prospect Park were set ablaze too.
“Happy New Year,” I told him.
“I must admit, I’ve always wanted to kiss someone at midnight,” he said back.
So we kissed for a long time.