Ellair & Sage

Chapter One

Ellair walked silently down the street, heading for the Pont Alexandre III, a bridge he often liked to visit since it was always so peaceful. That’s why he was so surprised when he rounded the corner and saw someone jump off of it. His heart leaped in his chest and he ran toward the bridge, pulling off his jacket and diving into the icy water. He was an incredibly fast swimmer, catching up with the person fairly quickly. “What the hell are you doing?” It was a woman and she sounded angry as he pulled her up to the river bank.

“Saving you, what the hell were you doing?”

“Saving someone else.” She unzipped her jacket, showing him the cat she had tucked inside. “You’re lucky I grabbed it before you grabbed me, I would have killed you if it had drowned.”

“You scared the shit out of me, I thought you were trying to kill yourself.”

She laughed as she got to her feet. “If I wanted to do that I would have picked a much higher place. She took the cat out and zipped her jacket back up. “Stay off the bridge kitty because next time I might not be here to save you.” She sat the cat down and it started licking itself. Ellair got up and held his hand out. She smiled and took it, allowing him to pull her up. “My name is Sage by the way, thank you for trying to be a hero.”

“Ellair and I’m sorry I thought you were trying to kill yourself.”

“I’m sure anyone would have thought the same, though many probably wouldn’t have jumped in.” She shivered. “I need to get my bag and get home, it’s freezing.”

“I’ll walk you, my jacket’s up there anyway.”

She smiled. “Look how serious you are. Alright, you can be my escort home, just no weird stuff because I know how to do some damage, my dad is a retired police officer.”
“I would never hurt a woman unless I had to” He answered a little too seriously. Sage shook her head at him then walked by his side back to her bag. “Do you want my jacket?”

“You need it and I’m tougher than all that.”

“Alright”

“Why are you so serious?’

“I don’t know. I’ve always been serious. I guess I have to be with how crazy Eoin is”

“Eoin?”

“My twin brother. He’s mischievous and crazy”

“Sounds like fun”

“Not when you have to be his brother” she laughed “I need to loosen you up so you can enjoy life more”

“Eoin has tried”

“He’s not a woman. I just think you need a womans touch” Ellair actually gave a small smile “yay, look at that. progress already. I’m a miracle worker. Tell you what, as a reward for saving my life I’ll spend some time with you and unwind you a bit”

“You didn’t need saving”

“I want to anyway. What do you think about us spending time together when we aren’t freezing?”

“I’d like that”

“Good” When they arrived at her home they exchanged numbers to make plans another day before Ellair hailed a cab to take him back to his own home. He was far too cold now to stay out like he had planned to.
“Whoa bro what were you doing tonight?” Eoin asked when Ellair walked through the door.

“I went swimming, some woman jumped off a bridge, I thought she was trying to kill herself.”

“She wasn’t?” Eoin paused his game and looked at his brother.

“No, she was saving a cat so I got soaked for no reason.”

“She cute?”

Ellair shrugged as he went into the laundry room and pulled off his wet clothes. He grabbed a pair of shorts and tugged them on before going into the living room. “What’re you playing?”

“Tomb Raider.”

“I see, Lara Croft.”

“If she was real I’d marry her.”

Ellair arched an eyebrow. “She’s cut off your balls first.”

“Tell me about this woman?”

“Her name is Sage, blonde hair, green eyes, the top of her head comes up to my collar bone. She’s kind of upbeat, wants to hang out with me some time.”

“Geez, you sound like you’re describing a mark. I asked if she was cute, not would she be good at shooing a rifle.”

“Yeah, she’s cute, beautiful actually. I like her smile, but she had this strange smell about her. She smelled like turpentine.”

“Turpentine?” He shrugged. “Guess you’ll find out why when you take her out.”
“How do you know I’m going out with her?”

“I’m your twin brother. I can tell you like her and you said she was beautiful so even without knowing you that’s a dead give away you probably asked her out”

“Technically she asked me but yes. We’re going to get together soon”

“If you want this one to work out try to relax. Things don’t have to be so serious”

“I’m an adult. Serious is what I’m supposed to be. Besides, you know I’m incapable of not being serious”

“You are, you just havent found a good enough reason to relax.”

‘what’s that even mean?’ Eoin laughed “Nothing” he said before unpausing his game to play. Ellair watched his brother for awhile then headed into his room. He checked his phone to see if maybe Sage had sent him a message but he had nothing yet. It honestly disappointed him but she probably just went to bed. He decided to do the same so he plugged up his cell then relaxed in the comfort of his warm bed.
The next morning he jerked awake to the sound of his phone going off. He grunted and reached over, grabbing it and answering. “Hello?”

“Still asleep?”

He sat up. “Sage?”

“You do remember my name. Lets go do something.”

“Like what?”

“Do you like crepes?”

“Yeah.”

“Good, get your butt up and get dressed then, you’re having breakfast with me. Meet me at the bridge.”

“Okay, give me a few minutes.”

Ellair got out of bed and stretched then went and took a shower since he took a dive in a river the night before. He dried and pulled on clean clothes then grabbed his phone and house key. “Going out?” Eoin asked.

“Yeah, looks like you’ll be eating breakfast alone this morning.”

“Fine with me, I might go out and find me a cute girl too.”

“Hopefully you can find one that can deal with your sarcastic mouth.”

“If you can find a girl that likes you Mister Serious then I should have no problem.”
“Bye” Ellair said as he walked out of the house and back to the bridge. She looked even more beautiful in the daylight than she had under the glow of the moon. Sage was looking over the water so didn’t notice him staring as he walked up. Sage looked beautiful beyond ords with that short blonde hair moving about in the soft breeze. He could only imagine how pretty those grey eyes were going to look in the days light. Ellair had almost reached Sage when she noticed him.

She turned with a luminous smile “morning”

‘Morning”

“Follow me”

“Alright, where are we going?”

“Lesson one in loosening up, follow me without knowing where we are going aside from the fact we’ll have breakfast there”

“I can do that”

“I’m glad you’ve accepted the mission Captain Serious. I’ll give you further instruction after we eat” She said in such a way that made a smile tug at his lips. She smiled happily “good, I can make you smile”
He had never been to the cafe she took him to, but it smelled of delicious food and coffee. She smiled at the waitress and they were quickly seated. “I would like two crepes with black berry sauce, a mocha caramel coffee for me and a black coffee for him, two sugars.”

“How did you know I liked my coffee like that?” He asked.

“Well you’re serious, but you have a little bit of sweetness in there. You did jump into a river to save a perfect stranger.”

“I’ve always been this way, I’m the serious adult and Eoin is the sarcastic child. We’re both very capable at our jobs though.”

“And what do you and your brother do?”

“We’re mercenaries, we hunt down people and drag them kicking and screaming back to justice.”

“And here I thought you were something like a businessman.”

“I’m in the business of hunt and capture. We try not to kill anyone, but we are licensed to do so.”

“I’m an artist.”

“I like art, especially galleries.” Their crepes and coffee were delivered and Ellair took a bite as she watched. “This is delicious.”

“I’m glad you think so, I figured you’d like them. So what do you like to do besides visit galleries and hunt down baddies?”

“Sky dive, read, practice with my sword. My brother and I have matching ones. I go rock climbing some times too, no equipment.”
“You sound so fun for someone so serious”

“You can be serious and have fun. I enjoyed walking you home last night and am enjoying breakfast now”

“The world is more fun when you lighten up though”

“You sound like my brother”

“I did warn you i was going to try and get you to loosen up”

“Yeah, so, do you have any siblings?”

“Nope”

“Close to your parents?”

“Yeah, we dont spend a ton of time together but we are close. never even went through an I hate my parents phase that a lot of teenagers go through”

“I wouldn’t say close but we get along. We’ve never had any kind of falling out and when we talk on the phone it’s always nice.”

“do you and your brother work alone?”

“No, we work under Raisa and now her boyfriend Silus works with us too”

“Is Raisa a good boss?”

“She’s our best friend and we think of her like a sister”
“Do you like your job?”

“Love it, the H.A.L.O. hopping is the best. We don’t get to do it often, but when we do it causes the biggest rush.”

“I’d love to do that.”

“Well you have to have a certain amount of tandem skydiving jumps and then I can teach you H.A.L.O. hopping. You have to wear an oxygen mask up there and know when to open your chute.”

“I’d love learning if it was you teaching me.”

“Then we can set up a date to do your first skydiving jump.”

Sage smiled. “Looks like someone is starting to open up more. Maybe you can bring your brother and we can all go together.”

Ellair felt a little worried at the prospect of her meeting Eoin, not because he was a horrible person, but because she might think him boring in comparison. It was a strange feeling, one he didn’t appreciate bubbling to the surface. “I bet he’d like that, we’re both love that sort of thing.”

“But you’re the more intellectual of you two right?”

He shrugged. “I like to read.”
Sage smiled “what do you like to read?’

“anything and everything. I read both for fun and to learn”

“so you are the smart one of the two. Its sweet you’re modest” Ellair wrestled down his blush and was glad to have won. Since it didn’t seem Ellair was going to speak again Sage asked “when do you think you can teach me?”

“since you want to meet my brother I have to see when he’s free. I’ll ask him when we’re done with this date.”

“What would you like to do after breakfast?”

“I could take you to some of my favorite spots here. I mean, I’m sure you’ve probably been to them but still it would make a nice date”

“A man with an opinion, you get better all the time” Ellair ran his right hand through his hair nervously. He was glad she actually liked the idea of him taking her around.

Chapter Two

They quickly finished eating and Ellair paid before they walked out onto the streets. It was a beautiful day, but they kept their jackets on since there was a cold breeze moving down the street. Sage’s beautiful smile and musical laugh captivated him, making his heart flutter excited in his chest as they visited his favorite places. He really loved the older buildings and the canals and was glad to see Sage enjoying herself. She never once expressed her familiarity with a place, but simply followed him around, talking with him and making him crack a smile here and there. At lunch time they stopped at a cafe and ordered sandwiches to go, not wanting to stop their exploring.

They took a break in a park where she pulled out her notebook and pencils and started sketching. “What are you drawing?” He asked.

“If I told you I’d have to kill you.” She answered and shot him her beautiful smile.

“Come on, tell me.”

“It’s a surprise.” She didn’t want him to know it was him she was sketching, not yet anyway. “You know if you don’t smile more your face will be stuck like that.

“I don’t think that ever really happens.”

“Yeah, but I really like seeing you smile, it’s kind of sexy.”

He did blush that time. “Sexy?”

“Yeah, really sexy, like brings you to your knees sexy.”

“Are you teasing me?”

“Nope, this is me being serious.”
He swallowed, wishing he wasn’t still blushing because he knew she could tell. Sage turned her attention to drawing while Ellair just watched her. Now that she wasn’t looking at him it was easier to make his blush subside. Soon it began to look like Sage was drawing a person. Ellair yawned not meaning to so Sage asked “If you’re bored you don’t have to watch me sketch. I guess it was a little rude of me. Lets go” She flipped her sketchpad shut as he said ‘No, I’m not bored. I don’t know why i yawned. I was enjoying watching you”

“It’s ok, I’ll finish up later and show you the complete product tomorrow. Seriously, I want to see more of the things you love here. Today has been really nice.”

“It really has.” Ellair though he should actually say out loud some of the things he liked about her since she had told him about his smile. The mere second of thinking about her words had him blushing again which caused Sage to smile “what?”

“I just wanted to tell you that i’ve enjoyed your smile and laugh. You are a beautiful person, in and out. I haven’t been bored for a second of today”

“You said that so seriously. Like you were delivering a mission statement. It’s funny how you can be cute even talking like that. Thank you. It’s good to hear you enjoy me as much as I enjoy you. Lets go have some fun”
They found their way to the beach where they pulled off their shoes and rolled up their jeans before walking along the shoreline letting the water splash over their feet. “Ever been surfing?” Sage asked.

“Yeah, a few times. Eoin and I like to compete.”

“Boys and their child like need to see who’s better.”

“A little competition is a healthy thing among siblings as long as it doesn’t get out of control.”

“True I guess, we should go some time. I love the water.”

“I’d like that.”

They enjoyed the rest of the day on the beach, tossing rocks into the water, finding shells, and trying to spot sharks and dolphins. All they saw were a few seals swimming near some fishermen in hopes of stealing their catch. “You ready for me to walk you home?” Ellair asked as they dusted off their feet and slipped their socks and shoes back on.

“Not really, I was having a lot of fun.”

He smiled, a real smile this time. “Me too, but how about we have dinner together then I’ll walk you home.”
“ok” She gave him another jaw dropping smile then walked with him back to where they could eat together. When their evening was over Ellair felt sadness in him since he didn’t know when Eoin would have to time to jump with them. Sage kissed Ellair on the cheek “Just give me a call when you and your brother are ready to start teaching me. I’ll make sure to keep my schedule open” He gave her a genuine smile that warmed Sage’s heart. She was glad to see it again so she could better draw him the way she liked him. Ellair didn’t move until he saw Sage enter her door. He knew too well all that could happen to a woman alone, especially in the evening time. He made his way back home to find Eoin wasn’t there to discuss when he was free.

Ellair sighed and texted his brother who ended up being with Raisa and Silus. When Eoin didn’t have the next day free Ellair just wanted to teach Sage on his own. He was still plagued with the insecurity of Sage meeting Eoin. He was always making people laugh and he couldn’t get over the fear Sage would like him better. It was annoying and extremely frustrating to feel the way he was. Eoin had time the day after tomorrow and said they could all go right after breakfast if Sage could do it so Ellair dialed Sage to ask if that was ok.

“Calling so soon?”

“My brother has time the day after tomorrow”

“When?’

“After breakfast”
“Sounds fun, just get everything set up and tell me where to meet you.”

“I’ll get everything done tomorrow, it shouldn’t be too hard.”

“You’ve gone all serious again, I hope to see you smiling the next time I see you.”

He rubbed the back of his neck. “What time would you like to meet tomorrow?”

“It’ll have to be after one, I have some things I have to do.”

“Like what?”

She gave a soft laugh. “You sound a little jealous. Would you like to come with me?”

He sighed. “I don’t want to go if I’ll be in the way.”

“You won’t be, meet me here at eight.”

“Alright, good night then.”

“Good night Ellair.”

They hung up and he went into his room, kicking off his shoes and flopping down on his bed. He set an alarm and plugged his phone into its charger before falling asleep. Sage sat at her kitchen table finishing up the picture of Ellair, making him smiling and happy like he had been with her. She loved his smile, how it was almost flirtatious. She sat there staring at his face for awhile the sighed and flipped her sketchbook shut. She hoped he liked it. The next morning Ellair’s alarm woke him and he jumped out of bed, taking a quick shower then scarfing down a bowl of cheerios before leaving a note for Eoin and heading out. He hurried to Sage’s house, giving her door three knocks when he got there. She pulled the door open, giving him that heart stopping smile. She was wearing a black skirt with tights and a baby blue top with the same brown jacket she had been wearing on the bridge. Her satchel hung on her shoulder.

“So where are we going?” He asked when he could speak.

“First let me show you something.” She pulled her sketch book out of her satchel and flipped through the pages until she came to one of him. “This is what I was working on yesterday.”

He held it in his hands and smiled at it. “This is amazing.” He handed it back.

“Your smile is one of my favorite things about you.”

He chuckled. “Well thank you, I’ll try to do it more, now where are we going?”

“We are going to this bakery a few blocks down and then heading over to the rehabilitation center to hand out goodies. You are going to help me carry bags today.”

“Sounds good and when we get there I’ll get on reserving us a plane and gear for tomorrow and yes before you ask, I know people so it should be easy to get them.”
“I figured you did since you jump for work. Is your brother coming?’

“Yeah” Sage detected the small bit of unhappiness he seemed to have about that but she didn’t say anything about it. Ellair glanced at Sages hand a few times with want to hold it. They were on a date so he figured and hoped it would be ok so he gently took her hand in his, wearing the most serious face she had seen him make yet. She smiled sweetly and held his hand in return. He relaxed since she didn’t have a bad reaction to it. Ellair kept her hand until they arrived at the bakery. Sage maid her order then paid before taking Ellairs hand again.

“I’m glad you decided to come with me today”

“I would have jumped with you today if my brother wasn’t busy”

“What did he have to do?” Ellair shrugged then took his hand out of hers. “Let me call before our stuff is all ready”

“Ok”
Sage listened to Ellair talk on the phone, smiling at how business like he sounded even when he was talking with someone he knew. She could only imagine how he talked to his brother. “So, are we going to be able to go?” She asked when he hung up.

“Yeah, Stevey John’s putting it all together. He’s going to fly here then refuel and take us up in the morning. So let me tall you how this works. You will be hooked to me, your back to my front. When we get to a certain height I will tell you when to pull the cord to deploy the parachute. If you freeze up, I’ll pull it, I promise.”

“I’m so excited.”

“Now I just have to give Eoin the time.” He sent a text to his brother and was happy when he quickly responded. “He says nine is perfect.”

“So, can I take a camera with me? I want to take pictures after we land.”

“Eoin has a camera he likes to wear on his head when we jump so I’m sure he’ll bring it then we can make you a copy of it.”

“I’m still bringing my camera, I want pictures of all of us.” She grabbed his hand and he smiled. “You are so businesslike in everything you do, makes me wonder about things.”

“What things?”

“How you are as a lover.”

He jerked his head around to look at her. “What?”

“Well do you treat it like some sort of transaction or are you passionate?”

“Uh, so what kind of rehabilitation center are we going to?”

“The kind with drug addicts. The goodies make them feel better when they’re going through withdrawals. You changed the subject.”

“Yes I did, can we just keep it changed?”

“Seeing you nervous is quite interesting though, but I guess I’ll let it go this time.”
“thank you” He answered causing Sages smile to grow wider at his embarrassment. When Sage’s order came up Ellair insisted on carrying everything which he seemed to do with ease. They walked until they reached the center and were met with warm welcomes by the staff. They had been expecting Sage’s visit so there were large tables setting out in the communal room for their treats to be placed on. “who’s this?” One of the women asked Sage. “I met him two nights ago. He thought I was trying to kill myself when I was trying to save a cat. After his sweet rescue we went on a date the next day and are on another one now. I can’t wait for our date tomorrow. He’s taking me skydiving”

“Nice but you didn’t tell me his name” Sage laughed “sorry, he’s Ellair. Ellair, this is Claudia”

“Nice to meet you” Ellair said in his normal serious tone. Claudia smiled then grabbed one of the sweets, needing anything to distract her from her discomfort. Claudia needed to get better for her family and wouldn’t disappoint them again. Ellair was mostly just observing everything as Sage talked happily with everyone and exchanged hugs. He was surprised a place for getting over addiction could be so happy.

Chapter Three

“Sage has never brought someone with her before.” One of the nurses said. Her name tag said Joy.

“She said she needed my help carrying the bags.”

“She’s a very sweet person, she’s been doing this since she was fifteen. She even comes in some weekends and gives art classes. Everyone here is extremely fond of her.”

“She’s someone worth being fond of.” He replied with a smile, his eyes never leaving Sage as she sat and talked with some of the patients. She was so open and understanding, never judging the people around her and she was absolutely fearless. In such a short time he had already grown to love that part of her.

“Okay everyone, I need to be going.” There were many frowns and she gave a soft laugh. “Don’t worry, I’ll be back some time next week. Joy told me you guys want another art class.”

“It helps us focus on something else.” Claudia said.

“We’ll do sculpting next time then, it’s a lot of fun.” She hugged everyone then made her way over to Ellair. “You ready to go?”

“Only if you are, don’t rush out of here.”

“I’m not, this is about the time I leave every day.”

“Okay.” She laced her fingers through his and pulled him out of the rehabilitation center.

“Did you have fun?”

“Yeah, I liked watching you with those people. Where most would be judging them and giving up on them, you’re there bringing them treats and looking them in the eye. You’re amazing.” She smiled at the adoration in his voice, liking that he was showing her how he really felt.
“I’m overly excited about tomorrow. When can i jump by myself?”

“We’ll see how you do jumping attached to me first. Eventually you will be. I just want to be sure you wont freeze or anything first” Sage gave a bigger smile. It’ll be fun attached to you aswell”

“Do you have anything else you need to do?”

“I’m free now so anything you want is good”

“Could you show me more of your artwork?”

“I’d love to” They went back to her home where she showed him all her paintings and sculptures. Things she had created were all over her home along with paintings and creations of other artists she liked. Ellair listened to her intently as adored all of her work. “you are soi good. is this how you make your money?”

“Yep”

“Can i buy anything from you?’

“I’ll make you anything you wish for free. You can even take somthing off my walls if you want. I can replace it all, especially for you” He gave her that soft handsome smile “let me think about it” Ellair stayed with Sage until about seven at night then left so she could be well rested the next morning. Sage had surprised him after their hug because she gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek. His heart was racing even as he got home from it. Eoin was playing video games again “hey, have fun?” he asked as his brother entered their home.
“Yeah, we had fun.” Ellair smiled and Eoin paused his game.

“Did you just smile or am I having a stroke?”

“Shut up.”

“Seriously, I think maybe I should go to the hospital. Feel my head, do I have a fever?”

“I’m about ready to kick your ass.” Eoin held up the second controller.

“Bring it on, I’m tired of playing single player anyway.”

Ellair grabbed the controller and Eoin switched King of Fighters over to two player. They played for an hour, Ellair beating him every time. They switched it off, knowing they needed to get to bed so they would be fully awake for their jump tomorrow. They ate a quick breakfast the next morning and took Eoin’s car over to Sage’s place. She was waiting for them on her front porch and smiled when Ellair got out of the car. She crossed over to him and kissed him on the cheek as Eoin was getting out of the car.

“So you’re the great and powerful Sage.” He said.

“And you’re the sarcastic, childish Eoin.”

“That’s me, nice to meet you. You know you’re lucky that’s Ellair you kissed, for all you know it could have been me.”

“There is no way I could mistake you for him.” She said as she climbed in the back seat and Ellair got in beside her.

“Oh really, why is that?” Eoin asked as he got behind the wheel.

“Well for one he’s better looking.”

“Ouch, that really burned. I may get blisters.”
Ellair cracked another smile that surprised Eoin again. The smile even reached his eyes which was almost too shocking for Eoin. They had done almost everything together their whole lives and it was rare to get a smile out of him and never had he seen smiles like he had when thinking about or being with Sage. Ellair was just happy to already hear confirmation that Sage still had her attention on him even with his brother around who was much more fun than he felt he ever could be.

Ellair took Sages hand in his. Sage was liking this habit they were forming of always keeping eachothers grasp if it was possible. It wasn’t long before they arrived where they needed to be and got out of the car. The gear they would need was waiting on them so there wasn’t anything they had to retrieve out of the car. While most people would be nervous about jumping for their first time sage was ecstatic.
“You three ready?” Stevey John asked as he finished prepping the plane.

“You have the most adorable accent.” Sage said as Ellair checked her harness.

“Stevey here is from Texas, lots of girls love his southern drawl.” Eoin said.

“Never had anyone call it adorable though.”

They laughed as they climbed into the plane. “So when do you hook us together?” Sage asked as the engine started.

“As soon as we’re at the correct altitude.” Ellair yelled so she could hear him.

Sage sat their excitedly as the plane started to roll and gave a squeal of delight as the began to as end. Ellair smiled and grabbed her hand while Eoin filmed them so he could tease his brother later. They went higher and higher and then leveled off. Eoin stood and made his way to the button that opened the back hatch and Ellair got Sage on her feet and clipped them together. They made their way to the back and Eoin looked to the front. Stevey gave them a thumbs up and Eoin hit the button. They held on as the hatch opened then Eoin smiled and dove out. Ellair hit the button and jumped out with Sage as the hatch closed behind them.
Sage still had no fear as the wind hit her and they began to fall. Eoins laughter and excited yells were contagious making her laugh too even though she was mostly amazed by the view up here. This felt amazing though it would honestly take her awhile to get used to the feeling it gave her stomach. Ellair loved listening to Sage and having her close to him. He was also happy when he yelled “Pull it Sage” that she obeyed instantly without hesitation as he feared she may have. Now Ellair just wrapped his arms around her, wanting a hug even though she couldn’t hug him back.

Sage smiled happily, wanting to go right back up and do it again. She decided not to put her stomach through too much in one day since it did bother it slightly to jump from that height. Once they were all unhooked Sage said happily “thank you so much. That was great”
“I’m glad you had fun.”

“That was more than fun, it was such a rush. I mean I’m shaking from the adrenaline.”

“That’ll happen.” She grabbed his face in her hands and kissed him.

“We’re definitely doing that again.” Eoin started laughing at his brother’s dumbstruck look and was glad he hadn’t stopped filming yet. He pulled his camera off his head and switched it off. “We have to get pictures now.” Sage said as she pulled her camera out of her back pocket. Come on Eoin.” Ellair shook his head to wake himself up. They stood together, smiling at the camera as Sage raised it up and took a picture of them all together. She snapped a few photos of Ellair and Eoin, unable to keep herself from laughing when Eoin would strike a pose.

“Real model material right?” Eoin said as he took the camera.

“Oh yes, very sexy.”

“I knew it.”

Once Eoin had taken a few pictures of Ellair and Sage, she insisted that she get some with Eoin as well. Ellair still felt a little self conscious, especially seeing how goofy they were together. He told himself that just because their personalities were compatible didn’t mean that they were attracted to each other and that Sage had only shown interest in Eoin as a friend and nothing more. He handed her the camera when he thought he had enough and she gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you, these are great.”
“You hungry?”

“Sure, anywhere you two like to eat is great with me” It was a long walk back but they made it and loaded back in the car. Eoin picked where to go since he was driving so Ellair and Sage just relaxed in the back and held hands. Ellair let his thumb gently rub Sage’s hand as he thought about their kiss. He wished he had been prepared for a real one but planned on asking Sage before they parted if he could have a kiss he was actually ready for. The rest if their day went by much too fast for anyones liking. When it came time to drop Sage off Ellair asked “Can I have a real kiss again while I’m expecting it?” Sage smiled and took his face in her hands again.

Eoin wanted to make jokes but also didn’t want to be murdered by Ellair so sat down in the car and shut the door. He could always pick on him later when he’d live to laugh about it. The kiss was short but enough to make both their hearts pitter in their chests. “You better come see me again tomorrow” Sage said softly. “I will, I dont have anything I do between jobs.”

“Get going before I kiss you again in front of your brother”
“Like I care.” He brushed his knuckles over her cheek.

“Go and come see me tomorrow.”

“I will.” He climbed into the car before he decided he was staying. He didn’t want to be too pushy. “Don’t say a damn word brother or I’ll strangle you.”

“I wasn’t going to say anything other than how absolutely stupid you are for Sage, I mean the look on your face was priceless.” Ellair punched him and he just laughed. “Awe look at you getting all huffy.”

“Shut it and get us home before I kill you.”

When they got home Eoin flopped down on the couch and switched on the TV while Ellair grabbed his book and sat down at the kitchen table. He wasn’t really paying attention to the words, just using it as an excuse to avoid Eoin for a few minutes. All he could think about was the feel of Sage’s lips against his, about how soft and warm they were. He had never been so excited by something so simple. “Hey lover boy, I’m going to go get a pizza, you want anything?” Eoin asked from the other room.

“Uh huh.”

“Well what do you want?” Eoin stepped into the kitchen.

“What?”

“Man you got it bad, why don’t you just go over there and spend the night, let me have the pizza to myself. Better yet pick up your own pizza and take it over there.”
“she didn’t invite me”

“Man up and go Ellair. Worst she can do is send you back home and I highly doubt she will” Ellair didn’t want to seem pushy but him going back didn’t have to be. If she said no to him staying he would just leave but having a night with her was worth the pain he would feel if she shot down him staying the night. He got up without further prompting to pack himself a pair of pajamas and a change of clothes. Eoin just smiled as Ellair rushed out.

Ellair took the car instead of walking since he was going to pick up pizza and wanted to get to Sage quickly. He didn’t know what toppings she liked so he just ordered a cheese pizza then headed over. When Sage answered the door she was shocked to see Ellair standing there with pizza. “hey” she said in a voice that sounded happy to see him but also portrayed her confusion.

“Hey, I hope this isn’t too forward but I would really like to spend the night. I don’t have to sleep with you. The couch is fine with me. It would just give us more time together”
“Come on.” She moved aside and he stepped in, letting out a sigh of relief that she was actually okay with him staying. He sat the pizza on her kitchen counter then dropped his bag next to the couch.

“I hope cheese pizza is okay, I didn’t know what you liked.”

“Cheese is just fine, but for future reference I love pizza with everything on it. I don’t have any allergies.”

“Good, it would have sucked if I sent you to the hospital.” He rubbed the back of his neck and she smiled at his awkwardness.

“I’ll get plates then.” He sat down at her kitchen table, studying the paintings on the walls as she put pizza on plates and brought them to the table. “Still haven’t found something you like?”

“I love all of them, that’s the problem. There is no way I’d be able to find a place for everything you draw and paint and sculpt.” He picked up his slice of pizza and took a bite.

“Can I ask you something?” He nodded. “Did your brother make you come here?” He froze mid chew and just stared at her for a second then quickly finished what was in his mouth.

“He didn’t make me, he suggested it. I want to be here because you’re here, not because I feel obligated?”

She smiled. “Good because if you felt obligated I’d make you sleep on the porch. Another question, have you ever played with body paint?”

“No.”

“Oh my god, really? It’s so much fun. When I was in art school, I had this friend I always partnered with and one day we were told that we would have a two day art project where we would have to use each other as human canvases. The teacher had this hypoallergenic stuff that smelled like strawberries, but tasted like crap. My partner got some on my lips while painting my face and I immediately spit it out. Anyway, the point of my question was would you like to play with mine. They still taste like crap, but they smell like lavender. I made them myself.”

“Uh…well I guess?”

She started laughing. “Well you don’t have too, but it might be fun and on top of that, I get to see you shirtless.” She said and winked.
He gave another nervous smile “want to finish eating first?” Sage grabbed a slice of pizza and took a bite. She hoped playing with the paints would get him fully comfortable with her so he wouldn’t have to be nervous. Sage only ate the one slice of pizza before going to find her paints. He went ahead and scarfed his down since she seemed so eager. When Sage returned she asked “where would you like us to paint eachother? It cleans up fairly easy so we don’t have to worry that much”

“It’s your house, please pick”

“Kitchen or my room?’

“Kitchen” he answered and she smiled “well you are sleeping in my room tonight and holding me right? Or are you too serious for spooning”

“we can paint in the kitchen and still sleep in your room” Sage gave a small laugh “A mercenary afraid of my room. I must be intimidating.” Ellair took off his shirt in hopes she’d stop teasing him. It worked like a charm. “wow, you actually look better than I pictured you with that off”

“so you’d rather tease me or paint me?’

“Maybe both” she said playfully.
She dipped her finger into the jar of blue and ran it across his chest, making him shiver. “It’s cold.”

She giggled. “No one said it would be warm, you’ll get used to it.” She stroked her finger over his skin, painting a blue orchid. “I really like flowers you know, especially orchids.” She closed the blue and sat it down then wiped of her finger and grabbed the purple. She opened it, making the center of the flower a deep purple. She switched to green and did the stem next, making him shiver as she painted all the way down to the waistband of his jeans. The leaves were next. “There all finished.”

Ellair looked down at the flower. “It’s beautiful. How do you make something so beautiful even on a person?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know, but it’s your turn. Where do you want to paint?”

“I guess your back.”

She smiled and pulled her shirt off, making him inhale sharply. “Never seen a bra before?”

“Of course I have.”

Her smile widened and she turned around. “Here, unhook my bra so you’re unobstructed.”

“Okay.” He did as she asked and she dropped her bra to the floor. He picked one of the paint canisters and opened it. “I’m not good at painting.”

“It’s okay, it’s all in good fun. Just paint what you like.”

He dipped his finger in the paint and traced it slowly over her skin. She was immediately covered in goosebumps and he swallowed nervously. Her skin was so soft, like silk. It was something he could get used to touching. He drew a sun burst on her back, going from her lower back to her shoulders. He used yellow, red and orange, making it as beautiful as he could with the little talent he had. “Okay, all done.”

“Lets check it out in the mirror.” She grabbed his hand and pulled him through her room and then into her bathroom. She turned around and looked over her shoulder and he averted his gaze. “Wow, you did a really good job. It’s very pretty.” She could see he was looking away by his reflection in the mirror and turned to look at him. “It’s okay if you look at me, I don’t mind.” She cupped his cheek and turned his his head. “It’s okay.”

“I don’t want to do something stupid because I’m…”

“Turned on?” He nodded. “Did you at least have fun?”

He cracked a smile.” Yes, I did.”

She slipped her arms around his neck and pulled him down so his face was mere inches from hers. “I did ask you what kind of lover you were, I’d really like to know.” She kissed him, making his heart stutter in his chest. “Make love to me.”
Ellair met their mouths again in a hungry kiss. He wanted to be passionate with her, to show her how he felt though passion with a woman wasn’t somthing he was used to. He had even been serious when it came to this but with her he wanted it to be different. Ellair broke their kiss to devour the sweetness of Sage’s neck Her breasts heaved with how excited Ellair was already making her. She grabbed his pants and undid the button before unzipping them and pushing down. Ellair finished getting out of them even as he sensually bit her shoulder. He slowly trailed kisses down her before feasting on Sage. Her legs began to grow weak “Ellair, I can’t stand” He smiled then removed her pants. Ellair lifted Sage effortlessly so she could wrap her legs around him.

He pressed her against the bathroom wall while pressing his forehead into hers. Her deep, animated moans made him harder. He felt like kissing Sage again but didn’t want to miss a single sound that was coming from her. He only now realized he wasn’t wearing a condom but they were in a bathroom so that was no problem. When he felt himself about to release into her heat he forced himself to pull out and shoot into the toilet. Sage felt warm and weak as she stood there. Ellair turned back to her and lifted Sage into his arms “do we need to shower or can i lay down with you?”

“I’ll wash the sheets and if it wont come out I have plenty” Ellair kissed Sage again, wondering if that was passionate enough for her. Porn had never much interested him so all he knew was from personal experience. Once in her bedroom he got under the covers with Sage, keeping her close and near his racing heart. “that was really amazing. I love you can pick me up so easily.”

“I’ll do that as often as you want”

“Careful what you offer” Ellair blissfully laughed “That I will never get tired of. Anything with you i wont”

“I never want you to leave. Since you can’t pick a painting to take home would you like to move in with me? I want you here in my bed every night Ellair”

“I’d really like that”

“wont be weird living without your brother” Ellair smiled “I’d pick living with you over him anyday. Besides, we will still live near eachother”

“Next time we make love I’ll have to show you a few things”

“I look forward to it”

“you are such a sweet man under all that seriousness Ellair”

“I want to be for you. You make me truly smile and feel happy. I need you.”

“I need you too.” They talked for about an hour more before drifting peacefully into rest. There wasn’t anything in the world that held Ellairs thoughts as he held her. Sage was already his everything and he planned on trying his hardest to laugh and smile more. If he could do it with anyone it was the amazing woman he was lucky enough to have in his arms in this moment.

~ The End ~

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