Well, not really a city. But it's an excerpt, at least. This isn't the story I'm querying for, it's one I'm in the middle of working on. This is just a random scene; it isn't attached to a chapter yet, but I like it. It's an exchange between Sophie, the main character, and Carter, her annoying fiance. This is the first time she sees him as anything more than an idiot.
Comments are lovely. Good, bad, whichever. Telling me to go crawl alone in a hole, that'll work too. However, I will bring my pen and paper with me.
Let the excerpt commence!
“It bugs you that much, huh?” he asked, raising one perfect eyebrow. “I never got just how much it bothered you. But every time you look at me and start feeling even partly okay about us–even platonically!–the glamour just shuts you down.”
I wasn’t sure what to say, or even what to think. It wasn’t like that was the only reason he got on my nerves.
I glared at him. “The fact you’re residing in my head has quite a bit to do with current annoyance.”
He leaned forward, elbows on knees. His eyes turned into lasers, piercing me to the pits of my squirming soul. “Indulge me, then,” he said softly, drawing out the words slow and steady. “Why do I annoy you so much?”
Hesitation took hold of my tongue. I mean, it wasn’t like I hadn’t been writing lists for half of my life, because I had! There were plenty of reasons! A lifetime of reasons! I’d known Carter and I were just not meant to even be friends since . . . since . . .
Well, since eighth grade, actually.
That was when it got really bad, when I got my first boyfriend. My parents had laughed and told me that it was pointless, if cute, for me to date humans. I really hadn’t understood the whole ‘engagement’ thing up until that point.
Actually, before that . . . We’d kind of been friends.
So why was I so pissed now, just by looking at him?
“I don’t like being told what to do,” I said slowly. “And the marriage crap is the bossiest thing anyone’s ever pulled on me.”
He nodded. There was something calculating in his indigo eyes. It struck me, reluctantly, how pretty he was. Not just pretty. . . but . . . like, attractive.
“Don’t,” I warned as surprise flickered over his face. “Just because I think you’re cute doesn’t mean anything. Believe me. I think Dimitri’s cute too, and I’d rather kiss a frog.”
He grinned. “Good to know.” There was a moment of silence before he prodded, “other than the marriage thing, what else?”
What immediately came to mind was too embarrassing to say, but his lovely new ability made it so that I didn’t have to. This is why you never save anyone’s life.
Confusion took over his features, an irritating confusion. “I’m too ‘perfect’?” he said, fingers forming quotations around the words.
Oh, good. Now I had something to add to my hate list. People who make quotations with their hands are annoying, aggravating and pompous.
I glared at the nearest wall, resolutely shutting my mouth. The chorus of a Christmas carol found it’s way into the roadways of my head. Maybe if I sang it silently for a really, really long time he would get annoyed and leave.
If only I was that lucky.
“Perfect,” he was musing. His eyes flicked up and down over me. “I really don’t think you’re allowed to make bias’s off of that when you’re awfully perfect yourself.”
The second stanza of Jingle Bells died in my head. I turned my glare to him. “Don’t patronize me, princeling.” I forced as much acid as possible into my words.
He drew back, finally sitting up straight. I found myself watching his hands, unable to look at his face. Sonora had painted his nails a while ago. Chips of sparkly green polish still remained, his personal badge of being a good brother.
Perfect. Yes, he was. Charming, smart, smooth, handsome, caring . . . even lets his little sister paint his nails! I wasn’t finding any of that appealing, like I probably should. It just made me feel inadequate, and stupid that I cared so much.
Why should I care? There was no point. He would beat me on any front.
“Well.” Carter’s voice broke through my self pity. “You need to come with me.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Careful, that’s bordering harassment.”
His eyes flickered in confusion. I half smiled. He didn’t understand perverted jokes, I could add that to my list, too. As he heard my thoughts, he made a face and stood. He offered me a hand.
I ignored it but got to my feet anyway. He walked with me over to a door and pulled it open. I turned away in annoyance as I saw my face reflected. He’d made me get up to look a mirror.
“I know what I look like, Carter.”
He caught my shoulders, grip gentle but strong. “No, I don’t think you do. Look.”
I fidgeted, training my eyes anywhere but the mirror. I’d been avoiding those since I was roughly nine years old.
“You have beautiful hair,” he was saying. “Most fey would kill for it, and I do mean that literally. Painters have spent years trying to find the balance you have in your cheekbones. And your eyes? You’ve got Ogre green but fayrie shaped, and it’s stunning.”
I stared sullenly at the reflection. With him standing at my shoulder, his argument didn't hold up very well.
“You’re clever,” he continued. His voice was fayrie beautiful, melodic and soothing. “You’re kind, and you’re funny. If anyone in this room is perfect, Sophie, it isn’t me.”
I glanced over at the cat, sitting primly upon her velvet chair. “She is beautiful,” I murmured, but the joke fell flat.
He chuckled. “You still don’t believe me.”
I found myself looking at him in the mirror instead of me. He was the pretty one, I had to admit. His white gold hair, his indigo eyes . . . sharp cheekbones, beautiful smile. All of it . . . He was just so pretty.
It's a terrible world when a boy is the pretty one of your relationship.
“You forget something,” he said quietly, and I remembered with a jolt that he could listen to my thoughts. “Ironic, considering how much it bugs you. It’s an allusion, Sophie, one I’ve upheld for years. I think, though, it’s one that you need to see me without.”
And under my incredulous stare, the image next to mine, reflected in the mirror, began to change.