Mackenzie slumped into the chair opposite Will.
“Well the phones are working but not the computers, and we have some lighting but no air.”
“Controlled brownout,” Will said. “Nothing to do but hang tight.”
“You’re being pretty zen about the whole thing.” Mac was suspicious of his calm.
“Don’t tell me you don’t find the timing comment-worthy.”
“Where is the wiener girl, anyway?”
“I left her in the studio with an intern.”
“Do we have an ETA on power?”
“Maggie says a couple hours.”
“Power company says. She already called six times.”
“What’s a couple of hours? Two hours? Three? Eight?”
“Calm down, Mac. It’ll take as long as it takes.”
Mac willed herself to be calm. She hated inaction. In the field, she’d have found a way to file this story. Actually, she corrected herself, she’d have found a way to lose it and never speak of it again and found something of consequence with which to occupy her time. Will was talking.
“Here,” he was standing next to her, offering a glass. “Have a drink with me.”
“Why not?” She accepted the scotch with only the smallest hesitation.
A comfortable silence fell, Will’s leather chair offering a muted creak as he lowered himself back into it. Mackenzie went to the window, sipping.
“It’s blacked out for blocks.”
The silence expanded, the darkness a quiet license for a shared introspection. A low hum of subdued activity from outside the office was the only sound. This high up, the slow moving traffic below was almost noiseless. When Will swallowed his drink, it seemed loud.
“I want the debate.”
“I didn’t say anything!” Mackenzie protested.
“It’s only for a little longer. I know you hate it.”
“There’s an understatement.”
“Don’t you think I hate it too? News Night 2.0 is an ideal, but we exist in reality. This was bound to happen.”
Mac began to protest but caught herself. Their interactions were always so combative, but he wasn’t saying anything she didn’t know to be true. She did like to debate him, though. She tasted the scotch again, then took a deeper drink. She could smell his cologne. Would it get easier, working with him? Even with her mind only half on her work she was still the best EP around right now, and if she could free up the fifty per cent of her being that was preoccupied with getting Will to look at her that way again, she could conquer the world. And yet, having spent the last several years trying to prove something to herself, she welcomed the blossoming desire. The heartache felt good, reminded her that as much as she had tried to kill it, she still needed and wanted.
“What are you thinking about?” Will had lit a cigarette, and the embers reflected in his eyes as he took a long pull.
“Stuff. Things. Old work.” She lied easily.
“I miss you.”
Mackenzie’s heart stopped. Almost out of nowhere, there he was. Her breath caught in her throat, mercifully preventing her from making a fool of herself. She could not assume for a moment that this was a grand overture. Will liked to play with her, lately.
“We see each other every day.” Her voice was tolerably level, but tears stung her eyes. Would he ever forgive her?
“It’s not how I want it.” He had looked away now, and she took the moment to study what she could see of his expression. A line had appeared in the centre of his brow, and his expression was petulant and tense. She wanted to soothe him, but was shy of the constant rebuffs.
“You’re killing me, Will.”
“I know.” He sighed, deeply, apologetic almost.
She wanted to ask him if they would ever be able to move on, but it seemed like to ask would be to acquiesce, and for what it was worth she wasn’t about to pretend that she did. There was only one way she would permit her heartache to be eased, and she realised she was happy to punish herself for a good while longer, yet. He took another long drag on his cigarette, put it out, and stood.
With no ambient light sources, the glass doors to Will’s office revealed nothing to the staff outside. He had risen and come to stand behind her as she remained, arms folded, gazing at nothing outside the window, and she felt exposed and safe and daring all at once. Clearly he felt the seductiveness of this darkness, too.
“Habeeb says I need to forgive you.”
“And you told him to go fuck himself.” It wasn’t a question.
“Don’t. Don’t say anything. I don’t know what the answer is. I just know I miss you and I hate it.” He brushed his fingers against her elbow and she shivered. He stroked again, more deliberate this time. She didn’t turn around. To look in his eyes would be to force a decision she wasn’t sure would go her way.
“Are you hoping I’m going to stop this? Because I don’t know if I can.” Mackenzie’s tone pleaded, but she hoped against hope.
“I’m hoping this dark lasts a long time.”
Lightly, so lightly, she reached for his hand and sighed in relief and pleasure when he gripped her fingers, hard. She felt his breath on her neck, his lips brushing her ear, so tantalizingly close, and she shivered in expectation. She felt him inhale, and his arms reached around her to pull tighter, eliminating the remaining space between them.
“Turn around, Mac.”
“I don’t want to. What happens when the lights come back on?”
“I don’t know, I just want you to turn around.”
“I just...” Will started to try to persuade, to convince, something he was good at, but he felt Mac holding herself rigid, almost holding her breath, afraid. Instead he let his hands wander. A gentle caress of her abdomen to begin, growing firmer, bringing his hands up to the undersides of her breasts. He felt her tension ratchet up, and as a final coercion, dipped his mouth to the side of her neck as he allowed his hands to explore more voraciously. She turned around.
The kiss was hungry, their bodies pressed together as if to possess the other by osmosis. Her eager, nervous gasps thrilled Will, and he felt himself grow harder with every vocalisation, every brush of her breasts against his chest. How he had missed her... the old pain rose up to tighten his chest and threatened to pull him out of the moment. It was an almost imperceptible shift, but Mackenzie sensed it. Please, she whispered into the kiss, and for a moment he came back to her, his hands dipping to cup her behind and pull her against his hardness. Then the contact was gone, and Mackenzie had to steady her knees as she blinked into almost blinding light. The hum of technology and conversation swelled and a couple of whoops and a smattering of applause came from the bullpen.
“Power’s back on.” Will offered helpfully, awkwardly standing a now respectable distance back. Mac had no words, her body still humming from his attentions and her mind still mid-swoon. Maggie came to put her head in Will’s door, asking with her raised eyebrows why he wasn’t already on his way back to the floor. Time dilated for Mac, potential forgiveness and the chance of more kisses like that one, hanging in the balance. Will glanced at Maggie, back to Mac. He turned as if to go and her heart sank, her eyes dropping to the floor to avoid showing Maggie the tears that stung there.
“Will?” Maggie asked brightly, confused.
“Just a second.”
And he turned back to Mac, took her face between his hands and kissed her soundly. Maggie made a squeaking noise but seemed frozen in place. Mac sympathised, as Will’s blue eyes held her gaze.
“Power’s back on,” he repeated. “Let’s get back to work.”