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if you won't say it first

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The party was in full swing. Blue watched it all from a distance, taking slow sips of her coke as she tried to catch her breath. She felt like she'd been dancing all night, even though she'd only been here for a few hours, and she was already looking forward to sleeping in the next day.

Noah was beside her, suddenly, and he made a face at her drink. "You should drink something stronger," he said. "I bet I could feel it."

"You think?" she asked, considering it for a moment. "We should try it some time. Maybe not here, though. And not tonight." She'd probably invited enough scandal into her life when she'd decided to turn her plus one from her invitation to a cousin's wedding into a plus four. The amount of psychic power running through her bloodline meant that everyone in the room was more than likely aware of how unfortunately lacking in scandal her love life was, at least -- though she wasn't sure that was any better.

Noah nodded, looking excited, and she grinned at him. He wasn't grinning back, though, and she followed his eyes to an archway where someone -- Noah himself, if she were guessing -- had hung a sprig of mistletoe. "Ugh," she said, wrinkling her nose. "Way to find a way to make even more people do the one thing I can't. And it's a wedding! Christmas is still months away!"

"Yeah, but look who's underneath it," Noah said, and Blue squinted.

"Is that -- of course it's Orla," she said, even more irritated, and then she saw who she was leaning into. "Oh."


Adam was -- not uncomfortable, really, but definitely not within the bounds of his comfort zone. Orla looked inordinately pleased, every inch the cat who'd caught the canary. "Well, fancy meeting you here," she said, and he managed to turn his eye-rolling into a glance at the mistletoe.

"Definitely a coincidence, I'm sure," he replied. "Are you, uh, angling for something here?"

"I wouldn't say angling," she said, looking a little put out. "I mean, it's not like I'm being subtle about it."

He laughed, then, and she smiled prettily at him, and he was -- definitely more comfortable than he had been, anyway. "So what are you waiting for?"

"About time," she said, and tipped her head up to press her lips against his.


"I can't look away," Blue said, dismayed. "I hate her so much right now."

"Not as much as Ronan does," Noah pointed out, head tipping over to where Ronan was very pointedly not looking at Adam and Orla.

Blue smirked fondly -- which she didn't think was a combination that should work, but then again, Ronan always brought out the most contradictory parts of her. "I don't know," she joked. "I mean, he could still kiss someone if he wanted to."

"You could still kiss someone if you wanted to," Noah said, and he was exactly as far away as he'd been a moment before, but he felt closer somehow.

"Noah!" she said, delighted. "That was downright smooth. I'm shocked."

"I can be smooth," he protested. "It worked on you the first time, didn't it?"

"The first time?" Gansey said from just outside Blue's field of vision. His voice sounded oddly strangled. Blue turned to see him wearing the strangest expression she'd ever seen on his face. She shrugged, not quite apologetically. "And I wasn't even there?"

"You could be this time," Noah said, looking at Gansey through his lashes. Blue choked back a laugh as Gansey somehow managed to look like a popped balloon that was getting air pumped back into it.

"Fine, Noah, I admit it. You're smooth. Here, hold this," she said, handing off the rest of her drink to Gansey as she passed him. He was currently staring at Noah like he'd hung the moon, and she shook her head. "I'll be back in a minute. And keep in mind that at least half of the people in this room know everything you're saying."


It was a nice kiss, Adam thought. Orla certainly seemed to be enjoying herself, content to let him set the pace, making an approving noise when his tongue slipped against her lips, and again when his hand dropped to the curve of her waist, fingers digging in just slightly.

She pulled away fairly quickly anyway. "Not quite what you were after?" she said knowingly, and the part of Adam that even after all these months screamed unknowable flinched. She sighed dramatically, though she didn't look particularly put out. "There's always someone. Are they watching?"

"Probably," he said, because Ronan always knew, somehow.

"Well, that's something," she said, and kissed him again, setting her own pace this time.


"If the wind changes, you'll stay like that," Blue said, shaking her head at Ronan's sour look.

"Oh, good," he said, "just what this night needed."

"Dance with me," she said, and it wasn't a request. He stared at her for a moment, unimpressed, but let her pull him onto the dance floor anyway. It was a strange thing, she thought, that Ronan would let himself be pulled anywhere, let alone by her. It filled her with the same weird burst of smirking fondness that he'd inspired in her before, and she squeezed his hand once before letting go as they reached a spot that wasn't too crowded.

Blue was a decent dancer, but of course Ronan had the perfect form of someone who'd had lessons. He didn't comment on her occasional fumbles, though, just tightened his grip on her hip and led her through the right steps.

"There," she said, halfway through the song, when the stiffness had dropped out of his posture and his expression looked distinctly less murderous. "Now you look like you're less likely to start a fight at my cousin's wedding."

His guard came back up instantly -- she could practically see his hackles rising, and she snorted. "You're easy to read, Lynch. Just -- less talk, more action," she suggested.

His lips thinned. "Less talk isn't the problem."

"So talk to him. Talking is action."

"That's the opposite of what you just said, Maggot."

She sighed. "Do. Something."

"What," he snipped. "You want me to kiss you? Make him jealous? You could, you know. It wouldn't kill me."

"Oh, I know, believe me," Blue snipped back. "If I thought it would kill you, I'd have done it long before now."

The song ended, and he let go of her, giving her a sarcastic bow. "I'd say thank you," he started.

"But you're an ungrateful prick," she finished for him. "It's okay, I know. Your secret's safe with me."


When Blue made her way back to her wall space, she was both surprised and totally, completely, unsurprised to see Gansey pressed back against the wall, Noah's mouth over his.

"Without me?" she asked, trying to sound hurt but only sounding pleased as punch.

"That, Jane," Gansey said, sounding far too prim for someone whose mouth was noticeably kiss-bruised, if you were looking for it. (Blue was.) "That is what they call the pot calling the kettle black."

"Fair enough," she said. "Are we heading back to Monmouth or what?"

"I'll race you," Noah said, and promptly disappeared altogether.

"That's cheating," Blue said with a laugh, and Gansey sighed, reaching for her hand as they walked towards the door.


One final kiss later, Orla left Adam under the mistletoe, which he promptly scurried away from. His friends were nowhere in sight, and he headed outside to look for them. His skin prickled as he felt someone watching him; he was wary until he turned and realized it was just Ronan, standing by the door. He doubled back. "I thought you all left," Adam said.

"Not for lack of trying on my part," Ronan said. "I didn't drive tonight, and I'm not sure where Gansey went."

"Well, you would if you hadn't left your phone in my car two days ago," Adam said, removing it from his jacket pocket. It must have been on silent -- there was an unread message from Gansey's number. "Drive Ronan back please? Not Monmouth, thanks - B. "Looks like you're stuck with me."

He handed the phone back to Ronan, who pocketed it without looking at it. "Whatever," he said. "Are you leaving now?"

"That's the plan."

"Oh, good," Ronan said, falling into step with Adam as they walked to his car. "Thought you might have found some other plans, actually."

Adam glanced at him. Ronan looked amused, and Adam felt suddenly, irrationally annoyed. "Yeah, I guess that would have sucked for you. Would've had to find someone else to drive your sorry ass home," he said, and it came out with more bite than he intended.

Ronan just ignored it altogether. "Calm down, Parrish, and let's get out of here."


Ronan ignored him on the ride back, and Adam was sorely tempted to disregard Blue's message and drop him off at Monmouth. He drove to the church anyway, and Ronan didn't seem surprised, following him across the parking lot without question.

"You're being weird," Adam said as they walked up the stairs to his room, and Ronan didn't say anything, but Adam didn't have to turn to know he was rolling his eyes. "No, you are. I haven't seen you this quiet before."

"You can't see someone be quiet, Parrish," he said.

That's more like it, Adam thought, shaking his head as he unlocked the door. Before he could open it, Ronan leaned against the wall beside him. "Hey," he said, and Adam turned when he didn't say anything else.

He'd caught Ronan looking at him with feigned disinterest more and more these days. There was no disinterest here now, something sharp and hungry in his eyes as he studied Adam's expression. Whatever he saw must have satisfied him, because he moved closer then, close enough that Adam could bridge the gap between their lips if he wanted to.

Adam wanted to, so he did.

Kissing Orla had been fun; she was a pretty girl who'd wanted to kiss a cute boy. Ronan, though, wanted to kiss him, and it was a different feeling altogether. Less fun, more awesome, yet absolutely terrifying. Against all reason, and against all odds, Ronan knew him, and Ronan wanted him anyway.

Ronan's kiss was full of promise, but he ended it all too quickly for Adam's liking. "You're overthinking this, aren't you?" he asked.

"Like you aren't."

"I'm not," Ronan said.

It was Ronan, so it was the truth. Adam narrowed his eyes. "But you were. Or else it wouldn't have taken you this long."

"Yeah, yeah," Ronan said. "Are we going to stand around in the hallway all night?"

He didn't invite himself in, Adam noticed. He didn't say he was leaving, either. Adam smiled. "That depends. You want to come in?"