Under the trees Pomeroy ran him to ground. They were both slightly high, jazzed from the chase. He was laughing when she tackled him in a long low rugby dive, laughing even when the breath chuffed out of him. They rolled through the needles and the mulch, him twisting and writhing in her grip, but she had him and he knew it. She got him down on the ground and her knees on his back and held his face to the root of a tree until he lay still. They were laughing raggedly, exhausted but both pleased. Her fingernails were tar-black and long enough to prick him through his tattered velveteen coat. “Ha,” she said.
He spat cedar leaves and said, “You’re hurting me. Ease up there a little; I’m a wee thing, you great auld beast.”
“Your word,” Pomeroy said, the callouses of her fingers firm against his neck.
“Ah,” he said. “Damn. Yes, yes, if it’ll give me the room to breathe. I am bound.”
She rolled herself along the forest floor and looked up at the sun through the branches of the trees. Golden and lovely. Tiny fingers brushed her cheek, as light as rain, as warm as life. Her lips tightened toward a smile — that was dangerous.
“Y’are so soft,” he said. In his voice was the jingling of coins and the promise of lies.