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“This whole thing we have going on is … it’s very bad for my productivity,” August says.

“What exactly do we have going on?” Jane asks her. “You still haven’t told me.”

“The thing where I wanted you for months, and then I had you, and now I want you all the time,” August says before she can stop herself. She feels her face go pink. “We’re on a deadline, and it’s distracting.”

Jane’s smiling, her eyes whiskey brown and full of trouble.

“All the time?” Jane says. “Like … right now?”

Yeah, definitely trouble.

“I mean,” August says, “not necessarily right now.” Yes, right now. Right now all the time always. “I have to tell you about the case.”

“Sure,” Jane says. But her fingertips slide under the hem of August’s skirt. It startles a soft gasp out of her, and Jane says quietly, “I’ll stop any time you tell me to stop.”

She moves as if to pull her hand away, and August holds her wrist down on reflex.

“Don’t stop.”

“Okay, then,” Jane says. “You tell me about the case, and I’ll…” Her hand disappears beneath the fabric pooled in August’s lap. “Listen.”

August swallows. “Right.”

She talks about the electricity and the tracks, holding just enough back—the parts about the connection between the two of them—and Jane listens quietly as she unravels their ideas about feedback loops and feelings and memories.

“So,” August goes on, “if you can remember what exactly happened that got you stuck here, maybe there’ll be a way to re-create the event and undo it. Like a manual reboot.”

“Knock me back into place,” Jane says.

“Yeah,” August agrees. “And then … then, theoretically, we could get you back to the ’70s. Where you’re supposed to be. Unless we can’t figure it out, then … well, it doesn’t matter. I’ll figure it out.”

“Okay,” Jane says. Her eyes have gone a little distant.

“So, we have to get you to remember what happened the day you got stuck here.”


“Any ideas how we might do that?”

Jane hums, her hand sliding higher, hidden completely under August’s skirt and the jacket in her lap. “I have a lot of ideas, actually.”

“I—” August stutters. “I don’t understand how you’re so laid-back about this. It’s your existence on the mortal plane.”

“Look,” Jane says, fingers spreading to grip right below her ass. August’s hand tightens on Jane’s collar. “If you’re right, I’m here for a good time, not a long time. So, maybe I want to have a little fun. It doesn’t always have to be so serious.”

August thinks about the tally marks, the girls Jane kissed in every city, and she wonders if this is all Jane really wants from her. Maybe August is different from the other girls, but Jane is still Jane, loving with firecracker quickness, using her hands and her mouth and half of her heart. A good time. Nothing serious.

And August, who has spent most of her life taking everything seriously with the occasional detour into cynical jokes for survival, has to admit—Jane has a point.

“Okay,” August says. “You got me.”

“I know I got you,” Jane says, and there it is: the dull scrape of short nails against the cotton of August’s underwear.


“Jane,” she says, even though nobody around is remotely paying attention.

Jane’s hand stills carefully, but she leans up, into August’s neck, lips brushing her earlobe when she says, “Tell me to stop.”

And August should. August should tell her to stop.

She should really want to tell her to stop.

But Jane’s fingertips are brushing against her, teasing out her nerve endings and making her hips ache, and she thinks about all the months of wanting honed down to an exquisitely fine point, sharp against her skin until it feels like it could draw blood.

Caution and a knife. She used to swear by it. But this is sharper, and she doesn’t want it to stop.

So when Jane’s thumb swipes up under the cotton, and Jane looks into her eyes for an answer, August nods.

The thing about Jane is, she’s exactly what August isn’t, and it works. Where she’s soft, Jane is hard. Where she’s harsh and prickly and resistant, Jane is all generous smiles and ease. August is lost in something dangerously like love, and Jane is laughing. And here, between stops, between her legs, she’s anxious and tense and Jane is confident and smooth, dragging her fingers, finding her way, slick and maddening.

Her mind is softening at the edges, sinking into the feeling of not having to be in control, letting Jane push her right to the edge of her limits.

“Keep talking, angel,” Jane whispers in her ear.

“Uh—” August stammers, struggling to keep a blank face. Jane’s middle finger does a tight circle and August wants to push into it, press down, but she can’t move. She’s never been so thankful for people who bring Ikea furniture on the subway. “Shit.”

She feels the warm burst of Jane’s quiet laugh against the side of her neck.

“We could—” August attempts. It takes everything to keep her voice level. “We could try rebuilding everything from summer of ’76 on. I can break—fuck—um, into the office at Billy’s and see if there’s—oh—uh, if they have any records that would be helpful.”

“Breaking and entering,” Jane says. The car sways into daylight, and August has to dig her fingernails into Jane’s knee to keep her composure. “Do you know how hot that is?”

“I’m, uh—” A short gasp. She can’t believe this is happening. She can’t believe she’s doing this. She can’t believe she ever has to stop doing this. “I guess criminal behavior isn’t as much of a turn-on for me.”

“That’s interesting,” Jane says conversationally. “Because it seems like doing things you’re not supposed to do kind of gets you off.”

“I don’t know if you have enough—ah—evidence to support that theory.”

Jane leans in and says, “Try not to come, then.”

And August thinks, she has to find a way to get Jane out of here, just so she can kill her.

It goes slow at first—from the tension in Jane’s shoulder, it’s obvious she can’t move like she wants to, so she settles for working short and precise and deadly—until it doesn’t, until it’s quick and shallow and August is talking, trying to make words happen from her mouth, to swallow down sighs, trying not to look at Jane looking at her. It’s the stupidest thing she’s done since she jumped between train cars, but somehow it feels like her body finally makes sense. She bites her lip through the build, the whiteout, her eyes screwed shut and her hips burning from the effort not to move. Jane kisses the side of her neck, beneath her hair.

“Well,” Jane says casually. August’s cheeks are burning a furious pink, and Jane looks coolly unfazed, except for her pupils, which are blown wide. “It sounds like you have a pretty good plan.”