So, it's like this: being a Watcher can be a (literal) pain. There are headaches bad enough that Cassie grows intimately familiar with the toilet in whatever dive they happen to be living in, and the Saw franchise doesn't have anything on the gore that plays out in technicolour inside Cassie's head. Being a Watcher means that Cassie sometimes feels as if she's walking on pins and needles, always waiting for a hot poker to the temple.
And sure, that sucks. But the thing is, being a Watcher can be a sweet deal, too. Cassie is good at making big bucks when they're short on time, and oh, she's good at keeping them all alive. And there's no one who can ruin the punchline to a joke quite like Cassie, although that may have more to do with her questionable upbringing than the Watcher deal.
Whether her power is helping to keep her alive, or making her wish she were dead, Cassie is used to knowing things. Turns out, Cassie is a bit of a control freak.
"Nick," she says--gasps, really, like a breathless heroine straight out some trashy romance novel--and presses her fingers to her lips. "What the hell?"
It's not like Cassie hasn't thought about kissing Nick. Hell no, she's thought about doing downright nasty things with him. The first time they'd met, Cassie had been a little bit too old--and Nick had been way too hot--for the just like a brother idea to stick. It's hard to think of a guy as the big brother you never had when you can't keep your eyes off his ass, and so Cassie hadn't even tried.
Cassie hasn't spent the last few years pining over Nick, but she has keep an eye on the future with the thought of nookie in mind. She has plenty of half-guilty masturbatory fantasies, but there hasn't ever been any visions of future-Nick and Cassie getting it on. Cassie hasn't given up on her fantasies--fuck no, not when dream-Nick can do fantastic things with his mouth--but she's stopped expecting the future to fall into line with what she wants.
First rule of being a Watcher: The future is a bitch. If you can't change it, tough shit for you.
Nick drags his hands over his face. He looks shellshocked when he says: "Fuck. I don't know what that was."
"That," Cassie says, "was your tongue down my throat." She knows that she sounds shrill, but Cassie hasn't been so surprised in. . . ever. Locking lips with Nick is pretty good--really good--so far as surprises go, but still, she doesn't deal well with shock.
It doesn't do well with her reputation as a badass Watcher, after all.
Nick's mouth is pinched around the corners. He looks a little wild around the eyes as he regards Cassie. The shock is slowly being replaced by guilt. Cassie is pretty sure she knows what Nick is seeing, and it's not the hotass babe she's become. No, she's willing to lay bets that Nick is remembering that she used to be thirteen.
Her shocked flailing probably hadn't helped contribute to Cassie's image as an experienced woman of the world. Okay, unfortunate, but Cassie can salvage this. Nick kissed her, and that--that is really fucking amazing. Her lips are still tingling, and not just because she hasn't been able to stop touching them.
Cassie's knees give out, and she tumbles to the bed. "You should send out a few signs before kissing a girl, jerk," Cassie says, and gets to the heart of the matter: "My mouth tastes like stale pizza!"
Nick snorts, loud and so far from sexy that Cassie can't help but giggle. Nick mock frowns at her, and it's enough to set both of them off. He lands on the bed next to her, their shoulders brushing as they both tremble with laughter. The future where Nick bolts from the room in a snarl of panic and guilt--and gets himself into a ton of trouble, of course--gradually fades from possibility. Cassie grabs Nick's hand, holds on tight.
"You're saying that I should have slipped you a breath mint first?" Nick says. He squeezes Cassie's hand, gently, still not fully at ease with what he's done.
"Something like that," Cassie agrees mildly. "I didn't See that coming. And believe me, I've been looking."
Nick's mouth quirks. "Yeah, you aren't as subtle as you think, Cass. I've seen you staring at my ass. I don't know if I'll ever fully recover from being sexually objectified by a kid."
Now that has to stop, Cassie thinks crossly. She punches Nick on the shoulder, hard enough that he knows she means it. "I'm not a kid, Nick."
"I know," Nick says fervently.
"Good," Cassie says, breathless all over again. They're facing each other, close enough to kiss, and there's a bed right beneath them. Cassie doesn't need to be a Watcher to see where this is going. Destination: hot sex, straight ahead. She's already lightheaded just thinking about. Every single day it took to get to this moment is suddenly so very worth it.
Right up until the moment Nick pulls back, his mouth curved into a wry smile. "Cassie," he says.
"If you tell me that this is a mistake," Cassie warns, "I won't be held responsible for my actions. You tease."
"I'm not the one flashing my panties," he says.
Cassie arches her brows. Her mom would be so disappointed that Cassie never mastered the art of sitting like a lady. Cassie can't be bothered to be embarrassed, she's too absorbed by the idea of Nick checking out her goods. God, what underwear does she have on?
She hopes Nick doesn't expect her to wear the sexy shit all the time; that stuff itches.
"Oh, my," Cassie says, looking at Nick with all the dewy-eyed innocence she can muster. "What sort of perverted things are you thinking about?" No, really, she'd like to know. She hopes that Nick is thinking about his hand up her skirt, because that's certainly on the forefront of Cassie's mind.
Nick touches Cassie's cheek lightly, his palm warm and a little rough. "I'm thinking that you're absolutely perfect, Cassie. You're smart, funny, gorgeous, and--" his voice is solemn, and so low that Cassie leans closer to hear him, "--I can't make out with a woman wearing Care Bears underwear."
He's laughing. The jerk.
"They come off," Cassie promises, and they do.