Here's a snippet from a half-completed novel --- one of these days, I need to finish it. Rough draft, please don't quote or repost.
Nikky drew in his breath. Those rich brown eyes and that lovely face. He couldn’t be mistaken. The girl he had seen a year before in a nobleman’s house. The one who had introduced herself as Tasha.
Berated by his mistress, the lead bearer swung the chair around. Unable to bear the disappointment he saw on the girl’s face, Nikky darted forward and thrust the red feather at her. The girl gave a start, searched his face, then eagerly took the feather.
The woman gave a loud scream. “Get away!”
Nikky jumped back from the chair and lost himself in the crowd.
“Don’t call after him, Tasha! What are you thinking!” the woman shrilled.
“What’s your name!” Tasha’s voice called out after him.
“Is that the kind of girl you are? Taking presents from a lowborn? Throw it out!”
“No, I won’t!”
Nikky passed beyond earshot, his cheeks burning and his heart pumping in his chest. He ran until he could run no more. He found concealment under a porch and lay in the gloom, panting for air, fright mixed with exultation on his face. Regardless of what came of it, she had accepted that feather from his hand. She had taken a gift from a ragged, scruffy Lowertown boy. He expected every minute to be dragged away and punished, but he also felt as if he could leap the surrounding buildings and fly away.
True night had fallen when Nikky crawled out from under the porch at the Seaman’s Shanty, a tavern not far from the Waterfront. A drunken sailor bumped into him and set up a clamor. Nikky slipped into the concealing night, heart in his mouth, imagining strongarms coming at him from all sides. They would haul him before the Families who would look at him with their cold, cruel eyes and sentence him to death for daring to look at her….Expertly avoiding the con artists, the pick pockets, the nightwomen, the muggers and ruffians, Nikky crept back to the spice shop as the first fingers of dawn lightened the sky. He could hear Gerring’s snore at the back of the shop. Nikky had no doubt that Gerring would find out what he’d done, but he had at least a short reprieve until the sky fell.