Luke & Carya

Chapter One

Past:

Luke looked down at the little baby as he sheathed his sword, shocked that she was even alive. Her mother’s body was curled around her, arms holding her close in a protective embrace. He had found the child’s father dead in a puddle of blood by the front door. The house was a mess, completely ransacked. The only living thing was the little girl. He bent down, gently moving her mother’s arms and lifting the wailing infant up and against his chest. “Shhh, now, now little one, it’s alright.” He said softly as he carried her out of the house and over to where he had dropped his pack. He pulled his blanket out and wrapped it around her then laid her down. He couldn’t leave her parents like they were, but he also didn’t have time to bury them.

He dragged the father inside and placed him next to his wife then went and ignited a piece of firewood. He took it back out and tossed it onto the grass roof. “I’m sorry I arrived to late, may the Gods carry your souls away to a peaceful place.” He walked away, hoisted his pack onto his back then lifted the baby. He didn’t know the first thing about children and his life was certainly no life for one, but when he found her looking curiously up at him, he couldn’t help but promise to take care of her.

Present:

“Hand over your money.” The bandit said, the tip of his sword pointing at Luke and little Morgan.

“I can’t do that, I have a child to feed and you won’t be taking her dinner.” Luke shot back, keeping Morgan behind him.

“Don’t make me tell you again.”

Luke glanced around at the other four surrounding them. “Morgan, close your eyes and cover your ears.”

“Okay.” She said, her hands pressing to her ears and her eyes scrunching closed.

“What are you doing?” The bandit asked as Luke pulled the lute out of his pack.

“Looks like he wants to play us a song before he dies.” One of the other said, getting a laugh from his friends.

Luke sighed at their idiocy and started plucking the strings. The song resonated through him and through the ground and woods on either side of the small road. Shadows swirled inward, racing towards them and twisting around each other until black skeletons with eyes of purple fire stood around Luke and Morgan. The bandits look horrified upon realizing they were dealing with a necromancer, a couple of them dropping their weapons. He tried not to use his powers for this sort of thing, but Morgan’s safety mattered the most and he would rather not carry her into town covered in the blood of these men.

Morgan kept her eyes close, waiting for Lukes signal that everything was normal again. HIs magic was amazing but at the same time some of the things he summoned up gave her nightmares if she peeked when she wasn’t supposed to. She had learned to listen and keep her eyes tightly closed when asked. When the bandits were gone Luke rubbed the top of Morgans head gently “everything’s fine now, open your eyes” she did and instantly clung to him. He lifted her up to hug her “are you okay?”

“yeah”

“lets get you some dinner”

Carya looked up from wiping the bar when the little bell above the front door tinkled. She was a little taken back when she saw how handsome the stranger was. His eyes swept over the room, taking in every corner, every window, and every person and when they finally settled on her, she felt a blush move up her neck. She cleared her throat. “Welcome.” She managed as she put the rag away then came around the bar. “I’m Carya, how may I help you?”

“I would like a room with two beds and something to eat for my daughter and I.” He replied as he slipped his pack off his back and rolled his shoulders as if he were working out the sore muscles.

“Your daughter?”

“Morgan, will you please come out?”

Carya’s eyes were drawn to the little girl the moment she stepped out from behind her father, her face half hidden behind his cloak. She squatted down and smiled. “Well hello, it’s nice to meet you.” Morgan tried to pull back behind her father, but his hand stopped her.

“It’s alright, Morgan, she’s nice so we should be polite. Say hello.”

Morgan looked up at him then back at Carya. “Hello.” She said, her cheeks instantly tinting.

Carya stood back up and looked at him. “It’s alright, it’s nice to meet you…”

“Luke.”

“It’s very nice to meet you. Let me take you upstairs then I’ll get you both something to eat.”

“Thank you very much.”

Her first impression of them told her they’d be good guests. Owning and working at an Inn as long as she had, had taught her to read people. Luke didn’t look like a man to be messed with, he had great power of some sort but she could tell he was a good man and it took doing something to himself or someone he cared about to cause him to hurt anyone. The little girl was obviously timid and sweet, she doubted she’d even get up to the normal kid shenanigans. Carya gave them a nice room then left them to figure out something to eat.

“How are you doing, baby?” Luke asked after he had slid his pack and cloak under the bed.

“I’m fine.” Morgan said as she sat on the edge of her bed and kicked her feet.

“Are you really?” He squatted down in front of her. “Someone looks worried.”

“Are we staying?”

He sighed as he moved to sit next to her on the bed. “I know moving around so much is hard for you, I’m sorry about that. We’ll find a place, I promise. You know how people are when they learn of my spooooky powers.” He made his hands into claws and made scary noises which had her giggling. He patted her head then hugged her.

“I love you daddy.”

“I love you too, angel.”

Carya knocked on the bedroom door and her heart skipped a beat when Luke opened it. He smiled at her and she froze for a moment. His smile widened and she blushed, causing him to chuckle. “Sorry, your food.”

He looked down at the tray in her hands. “That looks amazing, please come in.”

He stepped aside and she carried the tray in and left it on the chest of drawers. “I hope you like it.”

“I’m sure we will, thank you. Morgan, say thank you.”

Morgan stood and looking at her feet said, “Thank you, ma’am.”

Carya went over and got down to the girl’s level. “Hey, if it’s okay with your daddy would you like to help me make dessert after you eat? I bet you’re a great cook.”

“He won’t let me mess with the fire.”

“Well, I bet if we asked him really, really nicely he would say yes.” Morgan just nodded and Carya stood back up and turned to Luke. “Is that alright with you?”

Luke hadn’t realized he was staring until she said something and he quickly pulled his focus away from her. “Uh, sure…yeah, if she want to. She doesn’t get to spend a lot of time with others, we travel a lot, so if she’s up to it. As long as she promises to be very careful with anything remotely sharp or hot.”

“I’ll make sure.”

Luke was surprised at how excited Morgan looked since she was such a shy child. He was glad this kind innkeeper was giving her an opportunity to do something so fun for a child. It seemed universal that kids loved helping in the kitchen. It showed she had a good heart and that he had chosen a good place to rest with his daughter. Luke let Carya know they’d meet her where they checked in when Morgan was ready to help with dessert so she left them to enjoy their meal. “You’re going to get to use a real kitchen” Luke pointed out to start a conversation with his little girl while they ate. “Yep! I can’t wait! I really will be super careful”

“I know you will and I’m sure she’ll keep a close eye on you”

“if we stay again maybe she’ll let me help cook dinner, do you think?”

“we can ask her”

Carya chatted happily with the patrons sitting at the bar, but her mind was on her new guests. “Carya, did you hear me?” She looked up at the man in front of her.

“Hmm?”

“Gordy and his boys said they were attacked by a neromancer.”

“I’m sure they did.” She said as she leaned on the bar. “Did they leave out the part where they tried to rob the person first?”

He chuckled. “They may have.”

“I thought so.”

“Dangerous creatures though, necromancers.”

“I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt. There’s no point in judging someone until they’ve done something.”

“You’re too sweet, Carya.”

“I would say she’s just the perfect amount of sweet.” The voice startled both of them and Carya found herself blushing as she turned and looked at Luke. He was standing at the bottom of the stairs, tray in his hands, lute slung across his back, and Morgan standing slightly behind him. “Your food was delicious.”

She swallowed. “Thank you.” His smile was one of those that probably had women literally fighting each other for his attention, but it just caused her brain to go blank and she had to force herself to speak. “I can take that.” She said.

“I wasn’t sure what to do with it.” He handed the tray over and she turned and gave it to the other woman who was sweeping behind the bar. “Since you and Morgan are going to be cooking, I was wondering if I could leave her with you for a bit while I did some shopping. She needs new clothes.”

“Of course, if she wants to.” Morgan nodded and Luke gently patted her head.

“Stick to Carya, okay.”

“Okay.” Morgan said. “I won’t be too long.” He said to Carya.

“Alright, stay safe then.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Maya” she called and another woman appeared “yes Carya?” Morgan gasped at the woman then blushed, feeling embarrassed “You do not have to worry about me little Morgan.”

“I’m sorry”

“I can be a bit startling at first, even to adults, don’t worry about it a bit” Morgan took the woman in as she spoke. She thought her long blue horns were cool and she had never seen wings that combination of colors. They were tucked tightly to Maya’s body right now but Morgan could only imagine how pretty they were when she had them out. Her eyes were interesting as well. They were as dark as they night sky, not a trace of white like she was used to seeing. The brown in her eyes was hard to catch but it was there. Morgan also really liked her hair, how it was blue with golden tips. Her fingers looked sharp but her father trusted Carya so Morgan would trust anybody Carya trusted.

“watch the bar for me while I make dessert with Morgan”

“Alright, when you two are done can I go ahead and get off? I know I haven’t been here long today but” before she could continue Carya said “it’s fine, you know you don’t have to explain.”

“Thank you” When they were in the kitchen Morgan asked “so she works here?”

“for a few years now”

“what is she?”

“a mixture of a lot. She’s really nice and a good worker when she’s here”

“would it be rude if I asked to see her wings spread out?”

“we’ll walk outside with her when she goes to leave so you can see, pretty huh?”

“yeah”

“what;s your favorite dessert, I’ll help you make anything you like”

“Um…I don’t know”

“do you like cakes?”

“yeah”

“Hm, how about strawberries?”

“yes mam”

“then would you like to help me bake strawberry cake?”

Chapter Two

Luke strolled at a leisurely pace through the busy village, stopping briefly at a stall to grab a couple of peaches. Morgan loved them. He smiled politely at everyone he made eye contact with and stopped once to ask for directions. He found his way to a seamstress, an elderly woman with a bright smile and dexterous fingers. “Good evening ma’am.” He said. “Please don’t get up on my account.” The woman paused for a moment then sat back down in her chair and offered her hand which he took gently in his. “May I ask your name?”

“Londa.”

“It’s very nice to meet you, Londa. I’m Luke and I’ll just be looking around.”

“Call if you need anything.”

“Of course.” He left her to her sewing and walked along the rows of clothes. He found a couple of things in Morgan’s size then went and bought them. He also wanted to get her a good pair of shoes. She was starting to get too big for hers. He paused in front of an odds and ends store and wondered if he should get a gift for Carya. He wasn’t sure if it would be appropriate, but she was being so wonderful to Morgan and had seemed to win the shy little girl over when no one else could.

He decided to go in, she deserved something nice to be done for her. If it made her uncomfortable he would apologize later and simply explain he was trying to thank her for being kind to Morgan. He imagined someone as beautiful as her got a lot of unwanted advances which was why he worried at all. He didn’t know her well but he noticed the beads in her hair so he guessed she liked jewelry so when he found a beautiful necklace in the store he picked it up for her. It was about this time that Carya and Morgan finished with dessert so that Maya could leave “Hey, is it alright if we walk out with you Maya? Morgan wants to see your wings when you have them spread” Maya smiled “Of course, come on”

There were other workers inside so Carya didn’t worry about stepping out for a moment with Morgan and Maya. Maya was normally quick about taking off but she made a show of it for the obviously excited little girl. She stretched her wings as far as they would go, just holding them out a few moments so Morgna could take them in “would you like to feel them too?” Maya asked

“Can I really?” She looked up at Carya.

“Go ahead, I’m sure your daddy won’t mind.”

Carya moved closer and let her hand run over the dark blue feathers. “They’re soft and pretty.”

“I’m glad you like them.”

“Thank you.” Morgan said as she moved back to stand with Carya.

“You’re very welcome.” She looked at Carya. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Take as long as you need and stay safe.” Maya nodded and let her wings take her up. She did a few rolls for Morgan who watched her with her mouth hanging open, then flew away. Neither of them moved until Maya was out of sight.

“I want to fly.” Morgan finally said. “Can she take me up?”

“You’ll have to ask your dad first.”

“Ask me what?” Carya didn’t think she would ever get used to how quiet he could be and turned to him as he walked up.

“Daddy!” Morgan said and ran to him.

“Hello sweetheart.”

“Daddy, can I go flying with Maya? Please, please, please?”

“Maya?”

“She’s a friend.” Carya answered.

“You know if you want to fly, I could always conjure something for you. Like a dragon.”

Morgan shook her head. “Some of your stuff is scary.”

“Alright, then as long as she keeps you safe and you listen to her.”

“Maya would take good care of her, she’s someone I trust a lot around here”

“she has blue and gold wings dad!” Morgan added excitedly. Luke chuckled “That’s amazing Morgan” He fished around in one of the smaller bags and pulled out Carya’s present “I just wanted to thank you for being so nice to my daughter” He had thought about giving it to her after Morgan went to sleep for the night but he was far too nervous about the gift making her uncomfortable. He figured she might better see it was a thank you if he gave it to her around his daughter. He could tell by her expression she thought it was beautiful which relieved him. He couldn’t remember the last time he bought something like that for a woman. “wow, you really didn’t have to. She’s such a sweet girl. She wasn’t any trouble at all”

“Still, you’re the only one who has managed to get close to her.”

“Well thank you, this is really sweet.” Her smile was breathtaking and he actually felt his heart stutter a little.

“So, anyway…” he cleared his throat. “Morgan, would you like to see your new clothes?”

“Can I carry them inside?”

“Sure honey.” He handed her the bag and she started for the inn with he and Carya following.

“Despite her shyness, she seems really happy.”

“It’s surprising. I travel so much, you would think she would be more sad.”

“Have you always moved around?”

He nodded as he sat down on the porch. He knew Morgan was safe inside. Carya didn’t seem like the type of woman to employ bad people and her patrons had seemed respectful. “I don’t stay in a place for too long. People tend to be a little wary of me. It didn’t used to worry me, but I don’t want Morgan being treated like a freak.”

“Are you dangerous?” She teased as she sat down next to him.

“Oh yes, real trouble, you should stay away.” He joked back. “It’s my gift. Being able to raise the dead makes people uncomfortable.”

She smiled. “So it was you that scared Gordy and his friends.”

“Gordy? You mean the bandits?” She nodded. “Well, they started it and it’s not like I killed them.” He sighed. “I try not to summon skeletons around Morgan, it scares her sometimes.”

“She doesn’t seem effected.”

“Would you like to see? I promise not to summon anything too scary.” He pulled the lute off his back. “Ever seen a butterfly’s spirit?” She shook her head. He gently plucked the strings, letting the magic flow out of him and into the notes. “They’re beautiful, I know that sounds morbid, but they really are. Like wisps of fabric and light. Nothing like the ones I summon for defense. When Morgan was a baby, I would call on them to help calm her.”

“You seem like such a good dad Luke”

“I’ve tried”

“she did amazing with the cake.”

“what kind?”

“strawberry” he smiled “I’d like to try some when we go back inside” This was nice, just sitting here and talking to another adult. He loved his daughter but he didn’t get to have normal conversations with other adults often. She acted like he was just any other guy, he didn’t see a trace of fear, anxiety or judgement for what he did and when he showed her those butterflies she looked amazed, like his skill was beautiful. “Maybe we can all sit and eat it together before you two go to bed for the night”

“That sounds nice” He was excited she suggested it. He had already been forward once today when he gave her that gift, he probably wouldn’t have asked her to stay and eat dessert with them too. “How’re things with your inn?”

“Good, I have a steady stream of business and I have managed to put together a really incredible staff”

“Anyone giving you trouble?”

“Nothing I can’t handle. I know how to fight.”

“Well if you ever need me to, I can conjure something that’ll give anyone bothering you nightmares.”

Carya laughed. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

They headed inside and he went up to get Morgan while Carya grabbed plates and forks and set them on the little table. She then grabbed the cake and sat it in the middle. Luke came into the kitchen with Morgan on his hip and was listening with interest to her talking. Morgan was excited about flying and she expressed how much she liked the inn and even Carya. Luke’s eyes turned to Carya, his smile affectionate as he sat Morgan down. “This looks amazing.” He said as he pushed Morgan in then went around to do the same for Carya. “You two really outdid yourselves didn’t you?”

“It was so much fun.” Morgan said. “I got a lot of flour on me.”

“I managed to get it off.” Carya added.

“It’s no fun if you can’t get messy while baking.” He said as he sat down.

Luke wasted no time after the cake was served picking up his fork and sinking it into his slice of cake. He took a bite, slowly sliding his fork out of his mouth in such a way it caught Carya’s attention. She blushed, feeling like a hormonal teenager. “this is really good Morgan” his smile was warm as he turned to look at Carya ” thanks for letting her help. This is the best strawberry cake I’ve ever had” she didn’t know if he was just saying that for his daughters sake but she certainly hoped he truly liked it as much as he seemed. He was such a good father she knew there was a chance he just didn’t want to break a five year olds heart.

He let Morgan enjoy two slices before saying “more tomorrow, I want you to be able to sleep tonight. Will you go brush your teeth for me?”

“Yes sir” Morgan looked over at Carya “you wont leave while I’m brushing right?”

“I’ll be right here”

“Okay” Morgan said as she got out of her chair then hurried to their bag to pull out her toothbrush.

“This was truly amazing.” He said as he stood and picked up all of their plates.

“You don’t have to do that.”

“I want to, it’s the least I can do. Besides, you’ve been working hard all day, just relax.”

“I still have some cleaning to do.”

“Then I’ll help.” He took the plates to the sink and quickly washed and dried them while Carya put the cake away and wiped down the counters. “How stubborn.”

“It’s in my blood.”

Luke chuckled. “Well, it’s a good trait to have.” He leaned against the counter, watching her move around the kitchen. “Do you mind if I ask about those scars on your neck?”

Carya reached up and touched them. She sometimes forgot they even existed. “Mountain lion. I was protecting some children.”

“That’s very brave of you.”

“I was terrified.”

“I think that’s the point of bravery. It takes a lot to rush into danger. I’m surprised you’re not married yet.”

“What do you mean?” She turned to him, arms crossed.

“Beautiful, brave, stubborn, you would think the men around here would be fighting for your attention. They’re obviously blind. You’re perfect.”

She blushed, her heart tripping over itself. He wasn’t just messing with her, she could tell by his expression he meant every word. His smile widened when he noticed she was at a loss for words. He moved closer, his smile far too charming “earth to the gorgeous Ms Carya” His voice was gentle, almost playful. She was far too amazing to let slip through his fingers. If she wasn’t he wouldn’t be so forward so quickly. “you’re something else Luke…you’re not just being sweet are you?

“No and I promise I don’t just romance every girl I see. I don’t want to come on too quick and seem like some sort of playboy but I’d be an idiot to miss this chance..even if I risk making a fool of myself if you don’t feel the same way” her heart was thudding now “damn it you’ve turned my mind to mush” she smiled, her tone breathy. Luke chuckled out an apology “I’m sorry”

She playfully nudged him “don’t laugh at me”

“You’re adorable”

“well you’re incredibly hot and sweet and..well…maybe we could go on a date”

Chapter Three

“It’s been awhile since I’ve been on a date.” He took her hand, letting his thumb brush over her soft skin. “Besides,” he said as he raised her hand to his lips and pressed a kiss to her knuckles, “don’t you think going out with a necromancer is dangerous?”

“Or adventurous.”

He smiled. “I like that.”

“Stop looking at me like that.” She had to fight the urge to cover her face.

“I can’t help it.”

“So, a date then?”

“Absolutely. Do you think your friend would watch Morgan?”

“I’m sure she would. I’ll ask her when she comes back.”

“I can’t wait.” He pressed another kiss to her knuckles.

“Daddy, I’m done.” Morgan called. Carya tried to pull away when she heard the girl’s footsteps, but Luke held onto her hand. Morgan paused for a moment when she saw them holding hands and wrinkled her nose. “Gross, were you kissing?”

Luke laughed and Carya covered her face. “I was just telling Carya goodnight.” He looked at Carya. “Goodnight beautiful.”

“Luke.”

“Come tell Carya goodnight then I’ll tell you a story.”

Morgan hugged Carya “goodnight Miss Carya”

“I hope you sleep well. All your father has to do is let me know if you two need anything” Luke lifted his daughter into his arms and carried her to their room. Carya’s heart was still all over the place in her chest so she decided to check things around her Inn and Bar. There was nothing like work to calm her down. As luke tucked Morgan in she asked “do you like Miss Carya? You were holding her hand. I don’t see you touch people”

“I do, a lot”

“just dont kiss her in front of me” he grinned “Okay sweetheart” he went to their bag and pulled out a book then sat beside her on her bed to begin reading.

Carya was surprised at herself the next morning when she took extra time picking out an outfit. Usually she wouldn’t wear something overly nice since she worked in the kitchen and behind the bar, but her thoughts were so full of Luke that all she wanted was to look beautiful for him. She even made sure to wear the necklace he had picked out for her. She then left her home and walked next door to the inn. Those who had come in for breakfast turned and stared at her as she walked in and even Maya who was just serving a plate of biscuits and gravy paused. “Holy crap, Carya.” She whispered as they went back behind the bar together.

“What?”

“What’s the occasion?”

“There isn’t one.”

Maya laughed. “Come on, it’s him isn’t it?”

“Well…I did want to ask you if you wouldn’t mind watching Morgan for us. We…we want to go on a date.”

“Oh, a hot one I bet.”

“Maya!” A bright red blush crept up her neck.

She laughed again. “Yes, I’ll watch her.”

“thanks…Luke says you can take her flying.”

“That’ll be a fun way to pass time. You two take your time. You deserve a nice date”

“I’m not sure what we’re doing yet, I suppose since I’m the one that lives here I should think of something’

“Just let it happen, it’ll be more romantic that way.”

“I at least have to figure out what we should do first” Luke lightly chuckled, how did he always manage to get behind her so soundlessly? “it’ll be amazing no matter what we do. If you aren’t sure we can just go on a walk to start with” Blushing she said ‘okay”

“what’s for breakfast?” Morgan asked. Maya answered “I could get you biscuits and gravy if you want sweetheart”

“thanks!”

Carya sat next to Luke, eating breakfast with him at Maya’s insistence. He had already finished and was just sitting there watching her, an amused smile playing across his face at her blush. “Stop.” She finally said.

He sighed. “I’m sorry, you’re just so beautiful. Isn’t Carya pretty Morgan?”

“Mmhmm.” Morgan replied as she took another big bite of food.

“So what kind of stuff are you into?” Carya asked, trying to change the subject.

“A little bit of everything I suppose. I travel a lot so hiking, food, books, music, anything really.” He reached over and brushed his fingers lightly over the top of her hand. “I’ll be happy no matter where you take me.”

He made her feel so nervous but in the best way. It was nice to feel butterfly wings brush against her insides. It was also nice to feel beautiful, she hadn’t felt ugly before but the way he looked at her was incredibly sweet. It wasn’t sexual, it was like she was a work of art. Carya had grown accustom to lecherous looks here and there but Luke truly did just seem to think she was gorgeous. After breakfast Luke and Carya made sure Morgan was comfortable with Maya “I mean it, stay out as long as you want. I’ll hunt you two down if Morgan decides she needs her dad but we’re going to have a lot of fun.”

“yeah, I want to fly. Go away so she’ll take me up!” Luke chuckled, making a tingling sensation rush through Carya. He truly had the best laugh. It was comforting and warm, much like who he was as a person. She knew many would laugh at her for thinking of a necromancer this way but he seemed like such a good person. “alright sweetie, be good and remember, especially when she has you in the air you need to listen”

“yes sir, I love you”

“I love you too Morgan”

Luke looked back only once as they leaved and Carya couldn’t help but let out a little laugh. “She’ll be fine.”

“I know, sorry. It’s just I’ve never been far from her since I…”

“Since you what?”

He let out a little sigh. “I need to let you in on something, it’s not really a secret from Morgan, but it’s not something I tell others. I just know I can trust you.”

“What is it? Did something happen?”

“Not recently. It’s just, Morgan is adopted. I found her when she was a baby and I took her in. I want to be honest with you.”

“I see.”

“I hope that doesn’t put you off.”

“Not at all. It’s amazing really, you took in a child when you didn’t have to and gave her a loving home. You really are amazing. It doesn’t make you any less her father. You made sacrifices to provide for her and she’s so happy.”

“Yeah, I feel like she’s mine. I love her so much. It’s been amazing watching her grow up.”

“she is yours, you raised her. Where did you find her?”

“In the arms of her dead mother. Her father had been dead in the doorway. I’m not sure what happened but I saw that little girl and I had to help her” she took his hand and he gave her that same sweet smile as he held hers firmly. They walked until they came upon the library “lets go in, you said you like books.” she tugged him and he happily followed her inside. “so, what section do you browse first when you walk into a library?” she asked.

“fantasy”

Carya glanced at him as he let his fingers drift over the spine of each book. He studied each title then pulled one out and flipped it open, his eyes moving over the first page with interest. “Which one did you pick?” He showed her the title. “It’s good a…a romance.”

“It looks interesting. Dragons, knights, comedy. I’ll give it a try.”

“Are you going to be here long enough to finish it?”

He chuckled. “I would think so, I like it here.”

“Does that mean you’ll leave someday?”

He smiled as he reached out and tucked some hair behind her ear, taking the opportunity to caress her cheek. “How could I when I’ve found someone as amazing as you?”

“I’m not that amazing.”

“It’s not good to lie. You might get in trouble.”

“In trouble?”

He nodded. “Oh yes, big trouble.” He winked and her cheeks turned a deeper shade of red. “So cute.”

“You love to tease huh?”

“when I care about someone” he said gently then went to the register to purchase the book he had in his hands. They soon left and she couldn’t figure out what she wanted to say or even ask him. It was him taking her hand again that brought Carya out of her thoughts “sorry”

“You’re adorable no matter what you’re doing, it’s fine. I know I’m coming on a little strong. You’re just that amazing and I want to make my feelings clear. I know we haven’t been acquainted long but there’s something special about you and I promise it’s not just a line.”

“I can tell you mean what you say by the way you look at me when you say it” he stopped her so he could look Carya in the eyes “I’m glad, I really do want to stay here and I hope in staying here I can get you to fall in love with me”

“Does that mean you’re never going to leave?”

“Yes,” he gently pulled her closer, “I want this to grow into something more. You’re beautiful and smart, you make delicious food…” she laughed, “and you know exactly what to do to get Morgan to open up. I can tell she already adores you.” He leaned in, pressing their foreheads together. “You’ve given both of us a chance at a normal life.”

“You mean normal for a necromancer?”

He chuckled. “Yes, normal for a necromancer.” He rubbed their noses together. “You’re something else you know that? I think I’m already madly in love with you.”

“I think I’m in love with you too”

“May I kiss you then?”

“yes” Luke didn’t hesitate a second longer. He moved in and pressed their lips together. The two of them melted into it, forgetting all together they were in the middle of town. It even took Carya a few moments longer to realize where she was when they parted lips. She blushed and he smiled, caressing her face again “Now I know, I love you Carya. Please let me be with you” she hugged him and he held her tenderly “I love you too. You and Morgan should stay in my home, it’s right by the inn. That is, unless you think moving into my home would be too fast for your daughter”

“I’d like that. She needs her own space and a stable home where she can make friends.” He lowered his voice. “Does that mean I’m allowed to sleep with you?”

She was sure her skin couldn’t get any hotter, but it did. “Luke.”

He grinned and pressed a kiss to her cheek. “What? It’s just a question. Completely innocent.”

“It certainly sounds like it.”

He chuckled. “Let’s keep going before you blush yourself into a fever.” He let her lead him through town, only stopping when he found something interesting. They talked about necromancy and how each necromancer used their magic differently. He explained how he had already been good at playing the lute and decided to have one specially made to channel his magic into music. He told her that bandits often underestimated him when they saw the instrument. She pointed out his sword which he explained he knew how to use, but preferred not to unless absolutely necessary. She in turn talked to him about her business, telling him a couple of funny stories about her physically throwing people out. He remarked on how adorable she must have been forcefully tossing full grown men out of her inn which earned him another blush.

When they returned to her inn to pick up Morgan and talk to her the little girl ran happily into her fathers arms “did you two have fun?” she asked and he said “yes, in fact we had so much fun I have something I want to ask you”

“what is it?”

“would you like to move into Carya’s home instead of staying at the inn?”

“You mean live there, always?”

“yes” she lit up and it touched Carya so much she felt like crying “I’d love that!” Maya and Carya helped Luke move his and Morgans stuff into Caryas home then Carya gave them a tour so they’d know where everything was. “I love your home” Morgan said cheerfully as she continued to take everything in “I’m so happy. We’ll work on making your room really yours. I’m sure your dad would even help me paint it another color if there’s one you’d prefer”

“Thank you.” She hugged Carya and Luke couldn’t help but smile. That night when he was tucking Morgan into bed, she asked. “Is Carya going to be my mom?”

Luke chuckled because he knew Carya was standing in the doorway blushing. “I don’t know sweetie, would you like her to be your mom?”

“Yes.”

He pressed a kiss to her forehead. “How about this, we give it a little more time. It’s a big decision.”

“Okay, I love you.”

“I love you too baby girl, get some sleep okay. I’ll be sleeping just down the hall.”

“Goodnight daddy.”

“Goodnight.” Carya was waiting in the doorway, her face bright red, her eyes full of surprise. He took her hand in his and pulled her away from Morgan’s room and into their’s. “Are you okay?” He asked with a chuckle.

“Y…yeah, it’s just I didn’t expect her to ask something like that.”

“It’s okay right?”

“Of course.”

He pulled her into him, his arms wrapping around her waist. “Let’s not worry about that right now, I still have to make you fall hopelessly, madly in love with me.”

“You’re already doing that” she said nervously, causing him to smile. He kissed her again, this one slow and meaningful before he asked “could I sleep with you, please?”

“Just sleeping?”

“Just sleeping”

“Okay” they went into her bedroom then slid into bed together. She was too nervous to change even though she knew that was dumb and he was just making sure he didn’t make her uncomfortable. He’d much rather sleep in all his clothes than end up without Carya on the couch. They cuddled up together and he whispered “goodnight Carya”

“Goodnight Luke” He could get used to hearing that every night, he already knew he wanted the final thing he heard every day to be the sound of her voice. Carya was amazing and he felt abundantly blessed he was already getting to live with her. She was such a good, warm person and Luke was determined to be a good boyfriend so that maybe sometime soon he could be an even more amazing husband to her.

~ The End

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