They were eating breaking together as a family like they always did before Ronnie took the children to school when Tegin asked “may I go over to Eline’s today after homework? She wants to show me her new flowers”
“She’s expanded her garden more?”
“yeah, she says these are extra special”
“hm, how so”
“I told her I wouldn’t tell. It’s a secret class project, only shes doing it though…I guess she was picked because shes so smart” He blushed as his mother giggled. “Mom”
“what? You’re so cute, you and your little crush”
“a special project just for her? We’re your parents, tell us about it. We wont tell Eline you told” Ronnie said, seeming a little suspicious. While he seemed hesitant Tegin told them out of fear they’d say no to him going over there. “Yeah, she said one of the teachers gave her some seeds and told her to plant them without telling anybody and take care of them.”
“what do her parents think of this, a teacher just giving something to Eline”
“she hasn’t told them and she has a garden anyway so I guess they wouldn’t think anything weird of new flowers”
“Hm…well, I guess you can”
“Ronnie, it’s just flowers” Olina said and he sighed “theres magic and bad people everywhere. Little girls are more often the prey than little boys so a teacher singling her out draws concerns for me, especially since something happening to her would break Tegins heart” Tegin blushed, looking away from them and taking a bite of food. “well be vigilant when you’re over there honey, I’ll take you right after homework” his mother said with a soft smile. “thank you”
Ronnie could tell Tegin was excited as he drove, but he himself still felt wary. When he pulled up to the front of the kids school he told Tegin to hold on. “I know your mom thinks that the seed thing is innocent and I hope she’s right, but if anything happens or you notice anything weird, I want you to let me know, okay?”
“I don’t want you to be scared, but remember you can tell your mother and I anything.”
“I know, love you dad.”
“Love you too, go on now, have a good day.” Ronnie really wanted Olina to be right as he watched his kids head up to the front door together, but he couldn’t help but shake his worries.
Tegin and Elines classes had recess at the same time so when it was finally time to go outside he instantly began looking for her. He always sought her out at recess but today he was particularly excited to since he was allowed to go to her home later “Eline” She smiled “Tegin, what did your parents say?”
“They said I could come over after homework. I’m going to try to get any done before I go home today so maybe I can come straight over.”
“Okay, I will too then. I’m so excited. The flowers aren’t much yet but they are already pretty. I told my mom you might be coming over. She said if you could you could stay for dinner. It would be cool if you could have sleepovers with me like Mildrene. If she stays for dinner as you know she normally gets to stay the night. I brought it up to my parents again when mom said you could stay but of course my dad was like no way in heck is a boy spending the night. It’s stupid, I mean, we’re just friends”
“Yeah, it’s okay though. We still hangout a lot and who knows if my parents would even be okay with that.”
“yeah, Some of my friends from class want to play freeze tag, you in?”
Ronnie could barely concentrate as he worked on his newest little invention. He couldn’t focus as he thought about what his son had told him of that teacher. It just didn’t set right with him, but he also worried it was just his need to protect his children. If anything happened to them, it would kill him and if anything happened to Eline, he knew it would devastate his son and he couldn’t stand to see his son hurt in any way. “Not going anywhere?” Olina’s voice still made his heart stutter and he put down the tools he was using and turned to face her as she crossed over to him with a cup of coffee.
“No, unfortunately.” He gave her a smile as he took the coffee and sat it down then pulled her into his lap. “When do you have to leave for work?”
“In a couple of hours.”
“Good, you can sit here and tell me I’m be over protective and crazy.”
She let out a little laugh. “You’re not being over protective and crazy, you’re being a good dad.”
She nodded. “Yes, but I don’t think the plants are dangerous.”
“Yeah, I guess there’s no reason to worry too much. If our son notices anything off he will tell us”
“exactly and I’m sure if the teacher has gross motives she wouldn’t be naive enough to go anywhere alone with him. Most predators that would go about it that way wait until they can get the child to go willingly with them.”
“yeah” When Ronnie picked up the kids from school Tegin said “I already finished my homework and Eline says she has to. I promise, can you just take me now”
“okay, when should I come get you or are they bringing you home?”
“they said I could stay for dinner. I’m sure one of her parents will just bring me home again”
“Okay, have fun. I’m sorry about worrying so much.”
“I know you just love me dad.” Ronnie smiled and said to his other children “do you guys feel like going anywhere after I drop him off? Once we’re over that way we may aswell do something” Osyei and Ankha started suggesting things excitedly. Their day sounded fun but Tegin felt his day would be better.
Ronnie watched as Tegin excitedly headed for Eline’s front porch once he’d dropped him off, giving a smile when he saw the front door open and Eline come out to greet him. His son turned and waved and Ronnie and Tegin’s siblings waved back as he pulled away. “So, you want to hang out for awhile or show me your new flowers first?” Tegin asked as he stepped in after Eline.
“You’re the guest.” Eline replied with her usual bright smile.
“Yeah, but you invited me.”
She giggled and he felt himself blush. “Alright, then we’ll hang out for a bit. I don’t want to bore you with just flowers.”
“That’s impossible, you could never be boring.”
“You’re such a dork.” She grabbed his hand. “Come on.”
Ronnie enjoyed the afternoon with his other two children, managing not to worry. They walked around toy stores then found a nice place to have ice cream together. It was about the time he took the other two children to the park that Eline brought Tegin to her garden “They aren’t much yet but he says they are going to be gorgeous” They knelt down next to the small flower buds among her fully blossomed flower garden. “is there anything special you need to do to them or are they pretty easy to take care of?”
“They needed something special at first but they are no trouble now. I had to rub them in some of my blood before I planted them”
“don’t sound so alarmed. I mean, thats the weirdest thing I’ve ever had to do for my special flowers but some flowers just take extra care”
“so…do you think its weird you’re not even supposed to tell your parents” she shrugged “I didn’t think about it”
“Maybe you should so they can talk to…which teacher was it?”
“Mr Kelman and I kind of want to surprise them with these. He says they are really special. I mean, I only told you right away because you’re my best friend and we tell eachother everything” He smiled “well, I can’t wait to see them. Just the buds seem pretty”
“Yeah, once I’m done with these I’m going to ask my parents to help me make my garden bigger. Maybe they will get me a bunch more things to put in it for my birthday in a few months”
“You could theme your party that way. Just have your parents tell everyone elses parents you want plants”
“Thats such a good idea”
Tegin smiled. “Before long your whole yard will be a garden. You’ll look like a fairy princess in here.”
She laughed, gently nudging him. “Silly.”
“They really are pretty.” Tegin reached out, letting his finger lightly brush one of the buds. He felt pain stab up his arm and into his chest and he gasped as he pulled away, his stomach twisting and he had to slap his hand over his mouth to keep himself from throwing up.
“Tegin? What’s wrong?” He was so shocked he couldn’t answer. “Tegin?”
Her face was growing more concerned as she said his name a few more times, eventually asking “Are you sick? I can tell my parents to go ahead and take you home”
“Have you touched them since you planted them?”
“No” she moved to touch them but she already was by the time he said “Eline don’t!” The buds surprised him again when they didn’t seem to bother Eline “Maybe you are just sick. They aren’t doing anything to me” she lowered her voice to hardly a whisper “Maybe the Pixiu are just allergic to this kind of flowers.” he had told her last year and she had believed him without a seconds hesitation. Eline was the sweetest, most trusting girl he had ever known and now Tegin was actually worried his dad might be on to something. “I don’t think we’re allergic to anything…what are these called Eline?”
“He didn’t say”
“will you ask him”
“yeah, I’ll ask when I see him Monday. I’m sorry they hurt you”
“don’t be sorry” she looked so sad he had to hug her. “I’m glad you showed me” Tegin said softly, soon blood red when he saw her dad come out “come eat you two”
Tegin couldn’t shake the feeling in his gut as he ate, but he forced himself to hide it for Eline. He would talk to his dad about it when he got home. He called home once dinner was over and his mom let him know she was on her way. “Are you sure you’re alright?” Eline asked as they sat on the front porch together, waiting.
“Yeah, sorry if I freaked you out.”
“Nah, I just don’t want you to get hurt or something. If it turns out you’re allergic I can always get rid of them.”
He wanted to tell her that was a good idea, but what if it wasn’t as serious as he thought. He would feel like he was forcing her to get rid of the plants she loved so much over his overactive imagination. “It’s okay, don’t worry about it, I just won’t touch them again.”
“Maybe we can hangout outside of school again soon. Tomorrow some of my cousins will be coming over. I don’t know if they are staying yet though”
“Well ask your parents after your cousins leave and just let me know”
“Do you want to play anything online together tonight?”
“Sure, we could work more in our world on minecraft” Eline smiled “Yeah, that sounds awesome. Make sure you wear your headset so we can talk” Tegin gave her a tight hug when his mothers car pulled up “I have to do something when I get home but I wont forgetto get on Minecraft”
“Bye Eline” Tegin ran to the car then waved at Eline who waved back as Olina drove away “so, how was your afternoon with Eline?”
“It was good until she showed me the flowers”
“was there actually something wrong with them?”
“well for starters she told me she had to rub them in her blood before she planted them”
“I know nothing about flowers but that doesnt sound normal”
“yeah, I mean she says some flowers just have special needs but that got me worried dad might be right and that was even before I touched them. They hurt me, I felt this sharp pain travel up my arm and into my chest. My stomach twisted too but she touched them right after and they didn’t hurt her…I don’t know. She thought maybe I was allergic to them so I guess I’ll have to talk to dad”
“yeah…I’m kind of worried about her now. You’ll really hate me if I talk to her mother?”
“she wont trust me anymore. I wasn’t supposed to tell you. Besides, if I told her they were dangerous she’d probably get rid of them. She wants to just because she thinks I’m allergic but I told her it was okay. She really likes them and they might be fine. Maybe she had to rub them in her blood so they wouldn’t hurt her”
“still, why on earth would a teacher give her something like that. She’s an amazing little gardener but she’s still eleven.” A thought crossed Olina’s mind “baby, did you ask her when and where her teacher gave her those flowers”
“why does that matter”
“well, if it wasn’t at school or super early or maybe after school it may have not been her teacher. Some beings can masquerade as other people and Eline wouldn’t know the difference”
Olina didn’t like the look of worry on her son’s face and she hope Ronnie had some answers. She would hate to see Tegin heartbroken. Ronnie was sitting in the living room reading when they came in and he went from smiling to concerned when his eyes met his son’s. “What happened?” He asked as he marked his place and put the book down.
“Um…something weird happened at Eline’s.”
“Like what?” He patted the couch and Tegin dropped down next to him, his mother taking the spot on his other side.
“Are we allergic to anything?”
Tegin’s frown deepened as his worry increased. “I think there’s something wrong with Eline’s new flowers.” He explained everything that had happened and what Eline had told him, about the blood and how sick he had felt after touching them. He hated he was breaking Eline’s trust, but he didn’t want to lose her because he didn’t say anything.
“I think I should see these flowers. Maybe I can get Adelram to sneak over there late tonight and take a picture. They’ve never met him so if they catch him there it wont be an awkward conversation. I’ll call him” Ronnie pulled his phone out of his pocket sighing when his friend didn’t answer. He typed out a message, knowing his friend would call back as soon as possible “I will start researching anyway and talking to some of my other friends about what this could possibly be.” Olina spoke “I’m also wondering if her teacher really gave her those flowers. I mean, all the teachers at that school are human and those flowers aren’t a gift I think a human would give”
Ronnie nodded “did you two make any more plans?”
“I’m supposed to play minecraft with her tonight”
“get more of the story on how she received the flowers alright?”
“Okay” They watched their son go to his room then Ronnie hugged Olina “it’ll be okay”
“Eline is such a sweet little girl. I hate the thought of something hurting her”
“Nothings going to happen to her, I’ll make sure of that” Olina sat with Ronnie as he began trying to figure out what these flowers were. Adelram never did call back that night but Ronnie just opted not to sleep, worried he found his answer around two in the morning. Ronnie went to his sons room, not surprised he was sleeping at his computer with his headset on “Tegin” Ronnie said urgently as he shook his son “dad?”
“did she tell you how she got the flowers?” Tegin rubbed his face and slid the headphones off “Apparently one afternoon her mom happened to fall asleep and slept through pick up time. Eline doesn’t have a cellphone yet so she was left sitting there a long time. At one point he walked up to her and gave her the project”
“Like your mother, I don’t believe that was her teacher. I don’t want to scare you but I know you want to remain informed”
“are they going to hurt her?”
“If we let them keep growing but”
“then lets just dig them out” Tegin interrupted “it’s not that simple and I need to see them to be entirely sure. Maybe I’m wrong and everything is okay. I’m going to go over to her home and check them out’
“He never called back”
“what if they see you”
“I’ll just go into their yard as a true Pixiu. They will think they are just seeing things”
“I just want her safe dad.”
Ronnie patted his head. “I know and I promise everything’s going to be okay. Why don’t you get in bed, I promise to let you know what’s going on as soon as I can.”
Ronnie didn’t like leaving his son worried, but he knew there was nothing he could say to truly reassure him. After what had happened to Olina, he understood that uncertainty and fear. He left his son’s room and went back to Olina, letting her know he was leaving and giving her a kiss. He shifted the moment he was outside and let his wings lift him off the ground. Having wings gave him the advantage of stealth and it was much faster than driving.
Olina couldn’t sleep after Ronnie left and wound up getting out of bed and checking on Tegin. He was laying in bed staring at the ceiling when she pushed the door open, but sat up when she stuck her head in. “Hey sweetie, you okay?”
“I’m scared.” He answered and she went to sit on his bed, pulling him into a hug.
“I know honey, but your daddy’s on it.”
When Ronnie made it to Eline’s neighborhood he was relieved that all the houses were dark save for a light or two in some houses that were probably just nightlights. He landed carefully and slowly approached the flower bed. He couldn’t help but growl a little, these were just what he thought but they were also something else, he could feel it. Like someone had altered them for another purpose but what. They were already sinister so he didn’t look forward to having to share with his son that they not only possessed the drive to eventually seek Eline out, paralyze and consume her but the gifter of these had something else in mind.
He couldn’t imagine what it was. They would need blood and much more than even an adult could give without dying to thrive into what they were meant to be so why change the magic of them. He asked himself again what could the being possibly want and why would they do this to Eline. He wondered if they might just be there to capture and paralyze her eventually. Eline was a beautiful little girl, it was why his mind jumped so quick from the start to the teacher having immoral reason for giving her the flowers.
Ronnie decided to check on her while he was here anyway so he’d be able to tell his son that she was safely sleeping in bed tonight, the danger not quite here yet. He soundlessly went behind the home and flew up to her bedroom, getting close so he could listen but it wasn’t just a sleeping little girl he heard, there was some weird noise and if the kids had fallen asleep talking the sound couldn’t be coming from her tv or computer. He kept listening, unsure of what to do.
The parents didn’t know about them or anything magical. If he went in there he’d sound like a raving lunatic. The sound kept happening and he kept trying to place it. He eventually decided to go to the door and claim his son had been woken up by an alarming sound in the headphones and asked him to go check on her. Elines father answered, his hair tussled from sleep and his pajamas obviously hastily put on to answer the door “Ronnie?” Elines father looked confused to see him but this was a weird time to be at the door.
“Our kids fell asleep talking to eachother while playing Minecraft. My son woke me up saying some man on his headphones woke him up. I rushed right over to make sure Eline was okay and nobody had broken in” That had her father awake and rushing with Ronnie to Elines room. She was in bed but laying on top of her covers, a hairbrush beside her and then he could place that noise. Somebody had been brushing her hair and that chilled him to the bone. Eline’s father shut the door and it took all of Ronnie’s self control not to ask him to check her bedroom.
Someone had been there, Ronnie could smell it. “he must of had a nightmare but thank you for checking”
“does she always sleep with a hairbrush?”
“She’s been sleepwalking the past two months. Nothing harmful, she actually mostly just takes care of herself at night. She paints her nails, brushes her hair, stuff like that. Her pediatrician says it happens and she might grow out of it. If she starts doing things that could hurt her he says he’ll put her on something so she can’t get up at night so we’re not worried”
“I see, well it’s a relief everything’s okay on this end.”
“I’m glad Tegin said something to you and didn’t just write it off as background noise. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Ronnie nodded. “Sorry to wake you like that.”
“It’s fine, seriously, thanks for checking. Let Tegin know she’s safe for me, I know how much he cares about her.”
“I will, see you around.” Ronnie didn’t want to leave their home, not after knowing someone had just been in there with Eline. His phone vibrated as he started down the block and he quickly answered when he saw it was Adelram. “It’s about time.”
“Whoa, easy, what’s going on? I was out, I left my phone.”
Ronnie sighed. “Sorry, I need you to do something for me. There’s something going on with Tegin’s friend Eline, something’s after her, something dangerous and I need you to stake out her house for me for the rest of the night.”
“Sure, no problem. I’ll head over now.”
“Thank you and call me if you notice anything strange.”
“I will” Ronnie felt a bulk of the weight leave his shoulders now that he knew Adelram would watch her. He was Incubus, elf and vampire, Adelram could probably do a better job of protecting her than he even could. Now Ronnie just hoped her parents were too sleepy to notice he hadn’t come there in a car. When Ronnie arrived home he almost instantly got a hug from his mate whom had been pacing “Is she alright? Is it what you thought?”
“It is and possibly worse”
“worse than the flowers killing her”
“They’ve been changed. I don’t know how but I could feel the magic and worse…whatever gave her those was in her room tonight. I woke her parents up and it either fled or hid in her room but something was there, brushing her hair”
“Brushing her hair?”
“Her father thinks shes been sleep walking but when he told me what shes doing at night…I think something is visiting her”
“Oh my god, what can we do? We must be able to do something”
“Adelram is watching her home tonight. Maybe he’ll spot it and bring him, her or whatever here to talk to me”
“Tegin’s already worried enough and now this.”
“Is he asleep?”
“He wasn’t when I left his room.”
“I’ll go check and talk to him about what’s going on if he’s still awake.” He pressed a kiss to her forehead. “Whatever it is, I won’t let it hurt her.”
“I know, I love you.”
“I love you too, why don’t you go back to bed.”
“I don’t think I can, I might make some cookies instead.”
He nodded as they separated and he headed to Tegin’s room. He wasn’t surprised to see his son sitting and staring out his bedroom window, a worried expression on his face. “Tegin?” His son turned and was immediately out of his bed and on his feet.
“So? Is she safe?”
“For now, yes, but it’s complicated.”
Ronnie crossed the room and took a seat on Tegin’s bed, then patted the spot beside him. Tegin sat down, swallowing his fear. “Do you want the truth?”
“I’ll start with the fact Adelram is on his way to her home to watch over her right now if he isn’t already there. I know if I ask him to he will watch her house every night”
“Those flowers need a lot of blood to grow. They will eventually seek out, paralyze and drain whomever planted them. I thought they weren’t in use anymore but I suppose whatever brought them here knew a human wouldn’t know what they were doing like if he had given them to someone in my home world or a place like that. There is a way, however complicated to get rid of the flowers before they are ready to take her but we will still need to contend with the being who gave them to her in the first place.”
Ronnie was having a hard time talking to his son about this, he looked so worried and upset but he continued anyway “when I was there tonight I heard something in her room…I think the being is visiting her at night…did she tell you she’s been sleep walking? ”
“well yeah but…”
“I think he’s the one moving her at night, probably using some sort of magic to keep her asleep”
“dad…” Ronnie hugged him “she will be okay son. Thankfully you two are close so she told you about all this before it got too far. We can handle this. It may not be much comfort but we still dont know precisely what its doing. If he just wanted to rape or kidnap her it could have already done it”
“Why is it doing all those things? What if it kidnaps her? Should I say something?” His voice cracked and it took everything Ronnie had not to go back to Eline’s and force that thing to show itself.
“I don’t want it to know we know, it could turn violent. For now, just act normal and if you can, gather as much information as you can.” He patted his son’s back. “We’ll protect her.”
Tegin nodded as he pulled back to wipe at the tears on his face. He hadn’t meant to start crying. “I’m going to have to tell her once you and Adelram have caught it, whatever it is. I hope she doesn’t get too mad.”
“I doubt she will Tegin, you’re just protecting her.”
“Your mom’s making cookies if you don’t think you can go back to sleep.”
“that sounds good, I dont know how I’m supposed to sleep again with this going on”
“Adelram would jump on that thing the second it even thought about hurting her and while you enjoy cookies I’m going to start getting ready to remove the flowers so we’re able to when the time comes” Ronnie hugged his son again then walked with him to his mother “oh baby” Olina said when she saw him. Ronnie kissed her cheek “I’ve got more work to do.”
“want me to bring you anything?”
“would you make more coffee?”
“sure honey” As Adelram kept a watchful eye from a tree he made sure to keep up his Incubus charms so nobody would think it was odd he was sitting there. Sometimes it really paid to have that in his bloodline. You could get away with quite a bit. The next night had hardly come when a very angry man came his way “what’re you doing here” the man snapped. “thats none of your business” Adelram retorted, knowing this was the piece of garbage bothering Eline. She had run by him and his scent had been all over her. He was suppressing the part of his scent that would give what he was away but this man wasn’t human, Adelram could just feel it.
The mans voice was low and he was obviously trying to be threatening “That child is already claimed”
“what is she claimed for?” Adelram was angry but he knew the thing might be more honest with him if he didn’t realize Adelram was there specifically to stop him. Thankfully he had taken his standing there as interest in Eline. “that’s none of your business” The man threw back at him. Adelram shrugged “you’re too chicken shit to let me know what you are. I could kill you and have her to myself but… you could convince me your needs for her are more important”
“I cant believe you go around humans like that”
“I’m not embarrassed” The man seemed to think for awhile then said “She’s going to be my new doll. I only let close friends see but I can show you my collection if you’ll leave her alone. She’ll be my prettiest one yet, I need her. You can have one of my older dolls. It’ll take a few days to wake her up if your desires call for her being awake but you can take her today regardless. I can just tell you what you need to do to bring her back”
“bring her back”
“we’ve already discussed too much here. Come to my home and we will discuss this further”
“I’m really interested in Eline, it better be soon” The man grumbled “fine, we’ll go now. Her stupid cousins are here anyway”
“you don’t want them as well?” The man laughed “I am a collector, I don’t just add any dolls. You’ll see when you get to my home. I will only trade one doll for her, I mean it.”
“fine, at least I wont have to capture her”
“precisely and I do this slowly to make sure my little dolls dont get damaged. You wont find a single mark on them.” Adelram began following the man, wishing he could message Ronnie and Olina an update but he worried that might look weird and he wanted to know where these little girls were. Adelram found his chance as the man seemed to be getting a portal ready.
Ronnie’s phone vibrating pulled him away from his preparations and he was relieved to see it was a text from Adelram until he actually read it. “Found the creature, come now, be stealthy.” He hurried to Olina and Tegin, letting them know he had to go then rushed out the door and shifted. He wasn’t going to give that thing a chance to escape.
“How long is this going to take?” Adelram asked, acting impatient.
“Be patient or I’ll change my mind.”
Adelram huffed, crossing his arms. The moment the portal was open, he picked up the sound of Ronnie’s wings and that’s when he struck, jumping on the man’s back, one hand going over his mouth as he wrestled him to the ground. He wrenched his head to the side, sinking his fangs in. He could feel the man’s strength as they wrestled and he reached up, grabbing Adelram by the back of his neck and pitching him off. “You bastard.” The man growled at him as he jumped on him and wrapped his fingers around Adelram’s neck, squeezing. “Bastard, you can’t have my dolls, you can rot here.” Adelram let his incubus powers flare out and hit the creature on top of him, causing him to loosen his grip in surprise just as Ronnie slammed in him, sending him flying.
“Go through, I’ll handle him.” Ronnie’s voice came out as a growl.
Ronnie went through and was relieved when he stepped into a dining room. He heard a gasp and noticed a girl wearing a collar. “It’s okay, I’m not here to hurt anybody” she swallowed “why are you here without Cathal”
“so Cathal was his name” she nodded and asked “did you kill him or something”
“we just might, what are you doing here?”
“I don’t know because of this” she touched her collar “None of the maids know who they are. These collars not only take away any of our abilities but it makes us forget anything before this house so even if we get away we don’t know where to go. I…well…we learned that it could have also taken abilities from us because one girl he lured here on a date…and we saw her do a few things before he…well did this to her too and now she’s just like the rest of us”
She looked so scared. Adelram could tell she wasn’t sure if he was here to help them or be their new master so he cleared that up “He was after a little girl one of my best friends kids has a crush on. Thankfully I’m good at having a cool head so I was able to talk to him instead of just bashing his brains in at the start. I’m not like him, I’m here to help everyone here”
“Oh…oh goodness he was going to add another doll”
“Then I’m so glad you stopped him but how are you going to wake them up or get these collars off without him. Only he knows how to do it”
“Hopefully Ronnie hasn’t killed him off and if he has we’re both pretty intelligent. Especially Ronnie, he’ll have this all fixed in no time” He looked at her collar again “come here” she approached him cautiously but he didn’t blame her. He didn’t know what kind of sick games the kind of people Cathal brought here played. He grabbed it to feel it’s magic “I know what this is. Does he have a dagger anywhere that he keeps near him”
“Yeah, in his room”
“show me please” He asked as he let it go. She smiled, as if she might even laugh. “sorry” she started “If we just needed to cut these things off ourselves I might never recover from feeling stupid”
“I’m sure messing with them didn’t go unpunished” he said, glancing over at a healing wound on her arm “No…no it didn’t but”
“the last thing you should ever do when you leave here is look back and feel stupid. Bad things happen and they can happen to anybody and few can think straight when they live in constant fear and abuse” She sighed “well let me take you to his room” As they started walking he asked “what’s your name. Does he at least leave you with that?”
“He doesn’t so I don’t want to give you the name he gave me, I never want to have to say thats my name again. I also learned from that woman that he does rename us”
“alright, well I’m Adelram”
“thank you Adelram”
“You have nothing to thank me for”
“Of course I do” This place was amazing but most of Adelrams attention was on the maid. His heart ached for her pain and he wished he had the kind of magic that would mend her arm. When they arrived in Cathals room she walked him to his bedside table. It had a small, locked drawer but he just destroyed it, causing her to yelp and jump back. In just the time it took him to stand up she was back at the door “Hey, it’s okay. I’m sorry. I just didn’t want to waste more time looking for a key to it”
His attention went back to the drawer and there was the dagger he was looking for. It’s magic energy matched the collar “look, I can fix it” She didn’t move so he tried walking to her slowly, letting on just a little of his charm to calm her down. Her heart was beating far too fast. She didn’t look at him as he approached so he remained slow and careful as he took the collar again and cut it off.
There, see.” He tossed the collar to the floor. “You’re free.” Her eyes filled with tears and he tucked the dagger in the waist of his pants so he could hug her. “It’s okay, everything’s okay.”
“It’s okay.” He didn’t want to know what had been done to this woman to make her so fearful. “I promise we’ll get you home.” He stood there stroking her hair for a few moments, giving her time to calm down. He let her go when she pulled away and she quickly dried her face. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah, thank you so much.”
“Why don’t you show me the others then we’ll see if Ronnie let that creature live so we can wake all the girls he took.”
She took him to the other maids who almost immediately asked “Do you remember anything now?” She shook her head sadly. One looked sympathetic “maybe it takes a little bit”
“Yeah” another chimed in. She nodded “after he frees you guys we’re going to his friend who has Cathal”
“If you don’t mind we’re just going to take off before he comes back”
“I hope you all find your homes”
“we hope that for you too. Why don’t you come with us” As they spoke Adelram was removing collars. Another chimed in “Yeah, come on. This man will save the little girls”
“I want to stay and make sure” they all took a turn hugging her “good luck, I hope we see you again under better circumstances”
“yeah” The girls all took off running and Adelram said “thanks for staying. It’ll be good to have someone who knows the house to make sure we clear it of any bad crap he has here”
“I’ll help with anything if you can help those little girls” They returned to Ronnie who had beat Cathal bloody. “who’s this?”
“He apparently magicked himself into some maids too. He had collars on them to control them” Ronnie gave him a death look that had Cathal shaking. “I’m glad you aren’t dead you piece of shit. Come wake up those damn girls”
“Please, not my dolls. The maids, fine but not my dolls. It’s not cruel, I let them live out their fantasy in their heads. They don’t even realize they are paralyzed and unconscious” Adelram lifted Cathal by his shirt and they all went back through the portal into his home. “where are the girls?” Adelram asked surprisingly nicely. It took her a second to answer it shocked her so much since he had just moments ago sounded like he was seconds from ripping Cathals heart out “this way” She showed them to the massive room he kept them in.
Ronnie bawled his fists when he saw how many there were “what the fuck is wrong with you?”
“I told you they”
“dont you dare justify yourself again” They were actually lined up on shelves, all still as could be in their slumber. Ronnie could see he must spend a lot of time with them by the condition the little girls were in. They all looked about the same age so Ronnie had to ask “Is Eline your first human?”
“All of these girls were human. You think I want dolls with families that could bother me like this? If I had known Eline was involved with kinds such as yourselves I wouldn’t have picked her…its…she would have been such a beautiful doll…please, just let me have Eline. Your son can find”
“shut up right now, I’m still not quite sure I’m going to let you live so you better not piss me off anymore”
“How have you kept them young?”
“The spell I use to keep them out and in their fantasy world keeps them just as they were when I brought them here”
“Do you have any idea how many families you may have broken?” Adelram asked, giving Cathal a hard shake. “How long has the oldest one been missing?”
“Awhile…a long time…may forty years.”
Ronnie growled and Cathal flinched. “You bastard.”
“Wake them, now or I swear I will finish what I started outside.” Adelram snapped, showing his fangs.
“Look away.” He said to the maid and she covered her eyes. He pulled Cathal’s head back and sank his fangs in. The man fought against him, trying his hardest to push him off.
“Please…I’ll…I’ll do it…please.”
Adelram pulled back, his eyes threatening death. “If you try anything, I’ll end you.” He dropped Cathal to the floor. “Wake them.” He wiped the blood from his face with his shirt then gently touched the maid’s shoulder. “It’s okay now.”
Now that she had his attention again he asked “why can’t she remember anything yet”
“Just like it may take the girls a few days to wake up it may take her a few days to remember who she is”
“well you know who she is, whats her actual name so I have something to call her.” Cathal sighed, frustratedly “I dont know”
“You really are an asshole. How could you not remember her name” Ronnie spoke angrily and Adelram said “I forgot to mention he renamed his maids. Thats probably fucking why”
“am I human?” she asked.
“No but let me concentrate on these girls” Cathal was uncomfortable and it made Adelram want him to answer “what is she Cathal, why don’t you want to tell her”
“I just dont want you guys to fucking hit me again”
“what is she and why don’t you want to tell her” He groaned again “she’s a pegasus” she teared up and said “you didn’t…”
“he didn’t want?”
“All his pillows are filled with pegasus feathers…those scars on my back”
“When I saw you I had no idea you were a shifter. I just wanted your wings. I spotted you trotting by my home. It took so much effort to remove your wings after I knocked you out I didn’t feel like disposing of you when I was done. I was going to do it the next day but it turns out you didn’t bleed to death from me cutting them off”
“why didn’t you just take the feathers?” she asked in horror “I didnt want to have to rush and damage the feathers. I didn’t give a fuck if you bled to death from me removing the wings from your body…anyway…you were in human form then and you were so pretty I felt I needed another maid” She still didn’t remember those days but her heart still ached with the pain of it. Her soul knew and it felt anguish over the loss of her wings and life.
Cathal went back to the task of waking up the girls, his heart thudding in his chest at the rage he felt in the room. “it’s done, I swear” Cathal said sometime later “well we’ll just keep you around to make sure they wake up” Ronnie said angrily. “but that might be days”
“you took a lot more than days from them. Are there any young enough we could take them home?” He pointed out five girls “Jesus…only five”
“yes and I suppose you’ll make me take you to their home worlds”
“yes we fucking will but first” Ronnie looked at the maid “what do you want to do in the meantime?”
“I’ll help with the girls”
“are you sure?My wife would be happy to let you just rest in our home. She’d back you something and make you any kind of drink you’d want”
“yeah, I want to help these girls. I always felt worse for them than I did any of us. I, along with the other maids got our childhoods…these girls…its always killed me to know this room exists here”
“alright, first I need to update my wife so she wisn’t worried something happened to us here”
“You go do that Ronnie, I’ll stay here” Adelram suggested.
Cathal was too afraid to dare fighting Adelram and Ronnie knew his friend could handle himself, so he stepped back through the portal and took to the sky, hurrying home. Both Olina and Tegin were on the couch, her reading a book and him asleep with his head in her lap, but he jerked awake when his mother moved. “Dad?” He said sleepily as he sat up. “Is she okay?”
“Yes, we caught the creature responsible, she’s safe.” Tegin was up and hugging his father, tears of relief filling his eyes.
“Thank you dad, thank you.”
“You don’t have to thank me, you know that.” He patted his son’s back then gave him a squeeze. “Tomorrow I want you to tell Eline the flowers are dangerous so I can get rid of them, okay. I know you think she’ll be mad, but she needs to know.”
“Okay, I will.” Tegin thanked him again then headed to his room, exhausted and relieved.
“what’re you going to do with him?” Olina asked and Ronnie sighed then filled her in on everything they had learned and seen so far before saying “right now we’re going to return what girls we can then I guess Adelram and I can split the rest of the girls and raise them if you wouldn’t mind having more children around here. We can just say we adopted them because thats pretty much what we’re doing.”
“Okay, I’m good with taking them all in really if Adelram doesn’t want to raise any”
“At least you have something to do while I return the girls. Find us a bigger home regardless or a nice piece of land that can be built on. Honestly, the land might be better. I miss just being a lion at times. If we had our own property the kids and I could just be us more. I know we’ve talked about moving to a different world once the kids are out of school but we don’t have enough room for the girls here so it’s a good reason to go ahead and get out of the city”
“alright, Tegins going to hate not being in town with Eline but even if her parents wont make the drive you and I can take turns to make sure he still sees her” Ronnie gave her a long, deep kiss incase returning the girls took a long time then hurried off. Ronnie was relieved to see two of the young girls awake when he returned to Cathals home. The only hard thing about it was of course the two girls who were awake weren’t two girls who were going to be returning to their human families unless of course they came from a world that knew about magic and everything could be explained to their parents.
It turned out there was no such luck with these two. The maid held one as she started to cry. Ronnie didn’t know what to do until she said “you two just start on the girls that are still young enough to take back without them not aging being weird. They should wake up at home if at all possible. I have these girls”
“are you sure?” Ronnie asked and she nodded. Adelram roughly grabbed Cathal again “lets get to work asshole” Thanks to his ease with making portals they returned the first three quickly but they had a problem with the fourth girl, her parents had moved “damn it” Ronnie cursed the luck of it as he stood in front of the for sale sign. He knew he should have expected as much from at least one of the parents though. He couldn’t imagine how hard it was to go on living in the same house you once shared with a child that got stolen from you.
Adelram spoke up “we will just return the fifth girl then hunt down this ones parents. I’m sure a neighbor can help. That means actually talking to humans about this and trying to weave a good story but we can think of that while we return the other girl” Ronnie took a deep breath in then out “You’re right, lets do that” They popped back into Cathals house, switching girls, updating the maid then leaving again.
When they came back to get to work on returning the girl that would now be a challenge it wasn’t just the little girls that were weepy but the maid as well “what’s wrong?” Adelram asked and she said sadly “I remember…I…I thought things would be easier once I remembered but…it all hurts so much more now…I’m sorry. I’m going to make some tea and pull myself together for these girls”
“don’t be sorry…I’ll stay with you while Ronnie tries to take that other little girl home. We can make Cathal open the portal again easy and then I can keep an eye on him here. Wont that work Ronnie?” Adelram asked his friend who nodded “see? I’m staying here this time”
“Oh no…it’s fine, really…you” He gently began running his fingers down her hair “You’ve been through a lot. I don’t think anybody could expect you to be a rock after everything you’ve been through. It amazes me you didn’t completely fall apart upon learning you once had wings that this piece of garbage now uses as pillows. Ronnie can handle taking a little girl home, you need someone too. Not just these little girls…what’s your name”
“That’s a beautiful name.”
“It is, a beautiful name for a beautiful woman.” She blushed and he gave her a smile. “Feel better?”
“Yeah, for now, thank you.”
He reached up and wiped at her tears. “You never have to thank me, I just don’t like seeing you upset. I know it’s going to take some time, but you’ll be happy again and if you want to fly again, I’ll take you up myself.”
“You don’t have to go that far.”
“Of course I do. It’ll make you happy won’t it?” She nodded. “Then I do and besides, I want to.”
“You’re far too sweet, Adelram.”
Ronnie worked tirelessly to get each girl who still had a home back where they belonged, having to force himself not to kill the sniveling Cathal. He didn’t know what possessed a being to be so selfish. What had he been thinking? Even if he wasn’t doing anything to the girls, the fact he didn’t care about what their families had gone through, was sickening. If he had had to see that look of devastation on Tegin’s face, he would have killed the man the moment he laid eyes on him.
Ronnie could tell Cathal was nervous as they walked back to a portal after returning the last returnable little girl “what’re you two going to do with me? I don’t sense you’re just going to let me go?”
“I’m going to talk it over with Adelram. I’d love to wring your pathetic neck though.”
“I gave those girls a good life in their heads”
“Yes, please keep speaking so I can honestly tell my wife I was too blinded by my rage to keep myself from killing you…what about your maids hm. Not saying what you did to those little girls was any better but you forced them to serve you, took away their memories and worse…what you took from Dahra” Cathal had the sense not to speak any longer. He could tell his attempts at getting mercy for his deeds were only making the two beings madder but he couldn’t help but try.
Dahra and Adelram were talking to one of the little girls when Ronnie stepped back through. “This cant be true” she said in anguish “I’m sorry little one but it is” She looked over at Ronnie “if you can’t take me home too what’re you going to do with us”
“I hadn’t discussed that with my friend Adelram yet but my idea was to let some of you live with my family and some of you live with him. True to vampire form Adelram has a large mansion he lives in by himself”
“He’s a vampire” the little girl seemed so wow’d, especially when Adelram added “among other things. That arrangement sits well with me. It’ll be good for me to have constant company.” Adelram looked at Dhara “you have a place with me too if you have nowhere else to go”
“I have a herd but there’s no telling where they are. Long story short Pegasus normally stick together…One day I just had this irresistible urge to go it alone for awhile. My parents didn’t want me to leave but they supported my desire. Thats why nobody has looked for me. They have no way of knowing anything went wrong since we didn’t discuss when I’d ever return to them. I want to find my herd at some point but for now, I’d just like somewhere to be”
Ronnie spoke again “now that we have those things settled we need to discuss Cathal” Adelram spoke to Darah again “talk to the girls about who they want to go with, Ronnie and his family or you and I while we discuss this outside. If it matters to you girls Ronnie and his children are Pixiu, Lions basically. His wife is a vampire like me” Adelram now looked at his friend and the two left the room, Ronnie holding tight to Cathal.
Once they were out of earshot Adelram said “You know me, I jsut want to kill him”
“Me too but we’re better than that”
“so what? We let him hurt others?”
“Of course not Adelram. I’m angry too but we need to find a solution that isn’t killing him” Adelram made a few disgruntled noises. “Lets just put a fucking collar on him and see if he likes beings a butler in my mansion”
“I know you were just being an angry smart ass but maybe a good way to get karma on him and reform him IS to put one of those collars on him. Restart him basically”
“what would we do with him?”
“I wish I knew, trying not to be a killer is a pain in the ass”
“so lets just kill him”
“Adelram” Ronnie lowered his voice even though they had stepped far enough away Dhara couldn’t hear “we’ve been friends a long time…I see you’re already taking quite the shine to Dhara, You need to calm down if you’re going to end up with a mate. How do you think she’d feel about your answer to everything being kill the person” That left Adelram speechless a few moments before he sighed “alright, lets just get one of those collars on him before he does something stupid then take whats left of the girls home”
“so you admit you like Dhara”
“we have more important things to discuss” Ronnie laughed at Adelrams growing embarrassment.
They went back to Cathal and Adelram grabbed him by the back of his neck and forced him to walk while Ronnie stooped to grab one of the collars. “Wh…what are you going to do with me?” Cathal asked in a terrified tone. Neither of them answered as they took him out of sight of Dhara and the girls. “Please, what are you going to do?”
Adelram slammed him into the ground, pinning him there. “You have no idea how much I want you dead, but that would make me a monster like you.” He flipped him over and Cathal’s eyes moved to Ronnie then the collar in his hands.
“It’s the only way to show you what you put those girls through.” Ronnie said as he squatted down.
Cathal struggled, but it was no use. Adelram held him down while Ronnie put the collar around his neck. They could see the fear and shock in his eyes fade away as everything he was was taken from him. “Maybe once you’ve shown us you can be good, we’ll take it off.” Adelram said as Cathal slipped into unconsciousness.
Adelram let him go and stood, taking a deep breath and Ronnie patted him on the back. “Thank you, for not killing him.”
“I don’t want to go to them with blood on my hands, even if I do hate him.”
“do you know anybody that can deal with him while we figure out what to actually do with him?”
“yeah, someone I know should be able to help. Would you take him with you while I figure it out. You’ve been practicing self control longer than me and I don’t want to upset Dhara”
“Lets get out of his house?”
“whose house?” Cathal asked and Ronnie said “nobodies, just come on Cathal”
“yes you are”
“who are you?”
“later, just come.” They went back to Dhara and the girls “do we all know who we want to go with” Dhara nodded “they divided themselves up about evenly and I hope I wasn’t wrong in telling them they’d get to know both of you no matter who they chose” Ronnie smiled “of course, lets leave this place alright. You just need to follow Adelram and I”The girls were obedient and soon they were all back in Ronnie and Adelrams world. The girls all seemed frightened again from the journey but Dhara took it well.
She comforted the girls, telling them they were in a much better place now. “Now how are we getting these girls to our homes? Neither of us has a big enough car and mine isn’t even here”
“You can make trips in my car and we can also call your wife. I can use my charms so nobody questions us just sitting here like this”
“your charms” Dhara said as a question. Ronnie could feel Adelrams unease and was proud of his friend for saying plainly “Part of me is Incubus, I’m vampire, Incubus and Elf”
“I promise, I dont use that part of me like most of my kind do. I use it for situations like this where I need people not to question what I’m doing”
“I believe that” Dhara said with a smile. “so you’ll still come home with me?” He asked and she blushed “yeah” It took a great deal of time but they managed to get the girls that were going with Adelram to his home and the girls that were going to live with Ronnie to his home. Now it was up to Adelram to find something to do with Cathal. Once Adelram was sure Dhara was comfortable he said “I need to make a few calls about Cathal. Are you good with the girls?”
“Yeah, they are little angels, just like I always thought they’d be” He smiled “you’ll have to help me get good rooms set up for them…and you…I want you all to be happy here” she blushed again, her heart tripping over herself at the way he had said that. He walked away to make his calls in private and Dhara just sat down, a hand over her beating heart.
When Olina brought the children home from school Ronnie asked his son “How did Eline take your talk”
“Thankfully she wasn’t mad at me for telling you guys. It doesn’t seem like it anyway. She’s also okay about you removing her flowers. When can you do it?”
“Hopefully tonight, I still need to prepare a few things first”
“thank you dad”
“Thank me by being a good host for Cathal…he’s here”
“You brought him here?!”
“He wont be hurting anybody. I’m using one of his own tools against him. Adelram is sorting out permanent arrangements for him.”
“what’re you using against him?”
“He had maids too and he used magical collars to make them forget everything about themselves so they’d be easy to control. Now it is him at the mercy of those collars”
“serves him right”
“Go do your homework if you have any. Then you have new sisters to meet”
“Yeah, mom told me about them in the car. Where are they?”
“Your sisters room right now”
“mom says we’re moving”
“Hopefulyl fast too. This place isn’t big enough and before you ask, yes, we will make sure no matter how far we move you’ll still get to see Eline.” Tegin seemed emotional and his father asked “are you okay son?”
“yeah” Tegin wiped his face and continued “Its just…you and mom are really the best…for doing all this for Eline and taking my feelings for her seriously…My friends parents sometime act like feelings so young are a joke but you two take me seriously and I really appreciate that. I really do love her, I know I’m eleven but I love her” Ronnie hugged his son “I know, these things dont always work out but thats no reason to make light of it. Your mom and I will always support you Tegin”
Tegin nodded, completely drying up his face before heading to his room to get started on his homework. He didn’t want to pass one of the girls and worry them. “So, introduce me to our other guest.” Olina said and Ronnie took her hand, leading her out back where Cathal was sitting and staring off into space, a confused expression his face.
“Cathal?” Ronnie called and the man looked over at them, coming to his feet when he saw Olina.
“Oh, it’s you, Ronnie right?” He said.
“That’s right and this is my wife Olina.”
“Nice to meet you.” His brow knitted together. “Are we friends? I can’t seem to remember either of your faces.”
“We’re…” Ronnie started the paused. What was he supposed to say to him. He couldn’t tell him the truth, not yet anyway.
“We’re your caretakers for now, but someone else will be coming to get you and take you to your new home.” Olina explained, her voice calm and soothing.
“Oh, did something happen to me?”
“An accident of sorts.”
“I see.” He reached up and touched the collar. “And this?”
“To keep you safe.” Ronnie answered. It wasn’t a lie. If he was still himself, Cathal would be in danger, more than likely from Adelram, but as an amnesiac, he was safe. Adelram, no matter how angry, wouldn’t kill a man who couldn’t remember anything.
“Is that how I got this?” He touched the bite mark on his neck he had received from Adelram. “Did someone try to kill me?” Olina could see a little bit of panic rising in his eyes. “Is that why I can’t remember?”
“It’s okay, Cathal, take a breath alright? You’re going to be completely safe and get a fresh start.” She rested a hand on his shoulder.
“That’s right, so try and calm down.” Ronnie added. “Why don’t you come inside, have something to eat or drink.”
“I think I want to stay here for a bit, if that’s alright.”
“Sure, just don’t wander off.”
There was a knock at Adelrams door so she answered it to find a woman about the same height as her with blood red eyes and long brown hair that flowed just past her shoulders. She smiled “You must be Dhara”
“Yeah…you’re looking for me?”
“Adelram and I are family, not blood related but his dad was with my mom a pretty long time when we were children so we’re close. He called me so I can fix that arm of yours and see if you’re hurt anywhere else”
“Oh…I thought he was calling people about Cathal”
“I think he wanted to take care of you first” Dhara blushed again as the woman stepped in “I’m Seonag by the way” she looked around “where are the girls?”
“There’s been a lot of crying over the fact they wont be with their parents again. I was singing to them and they fell asleep”
“That has to be a hard concept for them.” Dhara nodded and Seonag took her hand “come on, I want to look at you” Seonag pulled Dhara into a room and first mended her arm, causing Dhara to sigh in relief. Seonag could see on her face so much relief she had to ask “you were in a lot of pain? You have a pretty impressive pain tolerance”
“Yeah, I’ve never been a complainer but I’m so relieved. Thank you so much”
“You should have told Adelram and Ronnie you were huring that much, they would have tended to this sooner”
“I’m glad it waited, I’m so happy to know some of the girls are home and I think the other girls will start to settle better the more and more they feel at home here and at Ronnies.”
“Still, make sure you to tell Adelram if you need or even want anything. I got a feeling talking to him on the phone he’d do just about anything for you” Dharas heart stuttered again and Seonag grinned “sorry to embarrass you. I only put his feelings so plainly because I’m sure he has, even if he doesn’t realize it. You can read Adelram like a book, he doesn’t really hide anything, he’s not used to it. The Adelram you see and talk to is precisely who he is but you can tell him if he’s being too much though and he’ll stop”
“Oh…I’m…I’m sure he’s just being nice…he’s nice isn’t he…I mean, he’s worried about the girls too” Seonag giggled “He is a nice guy” She decided to go back to the reason she was invited over “can you take your clothes off so I can examine you?”
“yeah” she took them off and Seonag asked “is it okay to touch you?”
“yeah, I’m okay”
“Just making sure, Adelram said you were collard and had to serve Cathal”
“Not in that way, he was horrible at times but he was never a rapist”
“Thats a relief to hear” When she had Dhara turn she gasped a little “what did he do to you?”
“He didn’t tell you about my wings?”
“Not those scars, thats bad enough. Whats the rest of it”
“I got in trouble right before he left to visit Eline…thats also why my arm was the way it was” Dhara could feel how angry Seonag was so she said “it’s okay” that didn’t seem like the right thing to say though “Its not fucking okay, what did he do, fucking whip you?”
“at first yeah but I don’t really want to talk about it if thats okay” Seonag sighed “while I fix it may I ask why you got in trouble” Dhara already felt relief “He had found out I was feeding Beth, another maid. With the others, when they got in trouble he just wouldn’t feed them for a certain period of time or really he just declared they werent allowed to eat. I only got punished the way I did because that really didn’t deter me like it did the other girls. Well when she first went on that sort of punishment she was eating anyway when he wasnt home, just like I did when he tried to tell me that so he did what he did to me and locked her up. Well…then I started feeding her anyway and he figured it out. He let her go then told me I was going to take the rest of her punishment”
“it’s over now”
“and you’re good as new Dhara…” Dhara pulled on her clothes then noticed how sad Seonag looked so she hugged her “I’m okay, I’m free now and there are so many out there who’ve had it harder than me. Before him I lived an amazing life. I have a wonderful herd out there. I know this will soon be a chapter of life long since forgotten and buried in better times.”
Back at Ronnies they soon had their own knock at the door “Yes?” Ronnie asked and the man said “Adelram sent me. I’m going to have Cathal work for me, make an honest living for himself and an honest man out of him”
“that was fast”
“I’ve been needing more workers so I came right away. Adelram sounded impatient to get rid of him and I didn’t want him giving Cathal to someone else” Cathal was now drinking tea on the couch. He set his glass down “I’m going to be working for you? Doing what?”
“construction, come along” Cathal left without so much as another question. It was almost wild to Ronnie how innocent and trusting those collars made someone. Ronnie sent Adelram a quick text to let him know Cathal was off their hands then finished up his bag. He’d be going over tonight to Elines to remove the flowers so all that he’d have to worry about was getting a bigger home.
That night Eline’s parents going to bed couldn’t have come fast enough for Ronnie. He seized the moment as soon as it came and not only removed but successfully destroyed the flowers so they wouldn’t be able to harm Eline. Sighing with relief Ronnie returned home, happy to find his wifes arms as soon as he stepped inside “we should sleep now” Olina suggested.
“as long as I can hold you”
“I’d like that a lot” Ronnie and Olina soon cuddled up in bed together, letting the troubles of the past few days fall away. Everyone was safe now and it had felt like much longer than a few days since he had just been able to lay with his wife and enjoy her warmth.
~ The End ~