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Antia & Andrej 2

Chapter One

“Do you think they had trouble on the road?” Antia asked as she and Andrej waited at the front door of their home for her brothers.

“I’m sure they’re fine my love.” Andrej couldn’t help but chuckle at how excited and worried she was. He could feel it. He pulled her into him and tipped her head back, adoring the blush that tinted her cheeks. “They’re grown men and I am sure capable.” read more

Elowen & Birch

Chapter One

Mei smiled back at little Tod as he buckled up in her backseat then drove away from the school “How was your day?”

“Great! Is mommy home yet?”

“Just two more nights” He just continued to smile as he began to look out the window so she put in one of his CD’s and put her attention back on the road. Mei was his live in nanny, had been since he was four and it was the best job she had ever taken. Tod was the sweetest boy anybody could ask for and his mother paid her far more than any other live in nannies she knew, especially when she took business trips. She had grown so fond of Tod over the past five years she’d probably even watch him for free at this point. She loved him like he was her own. The nice room, comfortable life and amazing income were just perks now.

Elowen was more like her friend than employer as well. She was a wonderful, warm woman and while she worked a lot she was an amazing mother. She had never seen Elowen miss a single school event and when Todd was sick, if he wanted his mother she stayed home. Anytime Tod needed her she was there and Mei had never met such a driven working mother that was so good at balancing things like that or to put in better words, so good at telling her job to fuck off when her child needed or wanted her.

As Mei pulled into the driveway Tod gasped “Mommy’s home! Her car wasn’t there so she shut off the car and turned “I’m sorry baby she isn’t.”

“But theres someone in the house and only we live there”

“what makes you say that” He looked back at the house “Oh…I thought I saw her peeking out the window” her heart started thudding “Tod, are you sure you saw someone”

“Yeah…I mean…I really think so Ms Mei” She had been running errands all day and while they lived in a nice neighborhood it didn’t make it impossible for someone to have broken into their home. He was only nine, maybe he had been seeing things but it wasn’t worth the risk to her “Okay buddy, lets go to Mr Birch’s home”

“You think somethings wrong?”

“I don’t know but lets be safe okay” Birch was one of Elowens close friends, someone Mei knew wouldn’t mind if she came unannounced with Tod. She wanted to call Elowen through the car but Tod would be able to hear and she didn’t want to upset him. There might not even be a problem and her own fear might work him up for no reason. Once there she sighed when his car wasn’t in the drive way. She parked, calling Elowen who answered quickly “Hey Mei, i can’t really talk, I had to step out of a meeting”

“I’m so sorry to bother you Elowen, I really am. I just had to check if you came home early and were trying to surprise Tod”

“No, why would you think that” she sounded concerned “When I was pulling in he thought he saw somebody in the window. I’m not trying to be over dramatic, I’m really not but he seems so sure so I drove to Birch’s house instead of taking him in”

“what did Birch say?”

“He isn’t home”

“well stop apologizing to me, I’d rather you be safe than sorry when you’re alone there with my son. I’ll tell everyone I need to go back to my room for now and I’ll call Birch, I’ll make it a conference call” The line was muted a few moments before Elowen was back and calling Birch who soon answered “Hey, I’m surprised to be hearing from you. I thought you were still gone. Are you home already?”

“you aren’t the first person to ask me that. Elowen is on the phone with us, she’s at your place.” Mei explained again and he said “I’m almost home, just wait for me alright. I’ll take care of this Elowen, don’t worry”

“Thank you Birch, thank you so much. Sometimes I don’t know what I’d do without you and Mei.”

“well hopefully nothing is wrong, Bane is still inside isn’t he? I’m sure he would have taken care of an intruder huh Tod”

“yeah” Tod said cheerfully. Elowen felt better hearing her son in good spirits and she especially felt better that Birch was helping Mei with the situation.

They sat in the driveway until Birch and he made sure they were okay before letting them into his home. “I’m going to go check Elowen’s place.” He said.

“Just be careful, if someone’s in there, Elowen wouldn’t want you getting hurt.” Mei replied.

“Don’t worry, just lock the door and make yourself at home, I’ll be back before you know it.”

“Can Bane come over?” Tod asked.

“Of course, he’s always welcome.”

Birch left them there and climbed back into his car, calling Elowen as he pulled away. “Are they alright?” She asked when she answered.

“Perfectly fine, I’m heading over to your place to check it out and get Bane.”

“Maybe you should call the police?”

“I will if there’s anyone there, I promise. I have my gun in the car, so don’t worry.”

“Still, stay safe and call me after.”

“I will.”

They got off the phone, Elowen a bundle of nerves Birch readying himself to check her home. Tod was young with an active imagination so this may be nothing at all but he wanted to go in there ready for anything. He was glad Mei had come over instead of trying to go in there herself just in case. Birch decided not to pull into the driveway. He parked in front of the neighbors house, slid his gun into his jeans and approached Elownes home. He could already hear their dog Bane going nuts which could mean there was somebody there or it could be the animals frustration that he had seen Mei come home and leave.

Either way Birch went to the front door and opened it with the spare key he had. Whenever Elowen took her son on vacation somewhere he would always be the one to come feed their dog since Mei went everywhere they went. He had expected the dog but Bane still startled Birch a little when he near instantly jumped up on him “hey, calm down buddy” Birch whispered as he began to pet him “is there anybody else in there?” Bane ran in and Birch followed.

Once inside everything looked alright, he walked all through the home, checking every closet and under the beds. Nothing seemed amiss until he realized Bane had stayed in Meis room the entire time “is there something I’m missing?” he asked the dog who continued to sit. Birch stood there a few moments before asking “are we in here for a reason buddy?” Bane moved around a little bit before sitting back down in the same spot he had been in when Birch entered. Birch decided maybe the window. He checked it, finding it unlocked.

He knew it was possible someone had tried it and found it open. Nothing seemed missing but as frequent as he came over he didn’t live here so he could be missing something. In any case the house seemed safe for now. He locked the window, checked everywhere one more time then grabbed Banes leash before going back to his car with him. He started it up then called Elowen to update her.

“You didn’t find anyone?”

“Just an unlocked window. I’m going to have Mei and Tod stay a couple of nights just to make sure, but I didn’t see anything out of place, I mean as far as I know. I’ll be sure to go back and check again when they’re ready to go home.”

“Thank you so much Birch.”

“You know it’s not a problem, just focus on work and I’ll hold down the fort.”

She gave a little laugh and it had him smiling. “I’ll call them a little later then, you’re the best Birch.”

“You’re pretty amazing yourself, talk to you later.”

Elowen smiled down at her phone a few moments before returning to the meeting that had apparently ended. She couldn’t tell how her boss felt but he seemed to have gotten used to the fact that if her son needed her she was going to answer the phone or go to him and if he didn’t like it she’d find another job. It wasn’t likely he’d fire her since she’d risen so far up in the company and always worked hard but she still knew one day it might bite her in the butt. She’d figure it out if that ever happened though.

Tod ran to his dog when Birch returned home. “is everything okay at the house?” Mei asked. “Your window was unlocked but I couldn’t find anybody inside. If you’d like to be sure you two are safe you’re welcome to stay here with me. I already told Elowen I’d off so you don’t need to check with her”

“I suppose for at least tonight. Hopefully Tod was simply seeing things”

“yeah” Birch walked over to the boy and his dog “do you have home work?”

“Yeah”

“why don’t you do it quick then maybe you and I can play some video games”

“sure!” Birch looked over at Mei “If you’d like Mei I can handle Tod the rest of the day. You can go out and have some fun. I saw some of your friends on Facebook had wanted you to go out with them but you had to remind them Elowen isn’t home”

“are you sure?”

“I don’t have any plans”

“Okay, thank you, if you decide you need me to take over though just call me. I’ll come back as quickly as I can. I will also stop back at the house to pick up things for tonight and in the morning”

“By yourself?”

“I’m sure it will be fine. You already checked the house”

“I don’t know, I’d hate for you to go back alone so soon and something happen.”

“well, I guess we can sort it out when I’m on the way back”

“alright, have fun” Mei sent a text to Elowen. She knew it was most likely okay but she still wanted to be sure Elowen wouldn’t mind her taking an unscheduled afternoon off.
She got a text back immediately so messaged her friends before going and getting ready. She gave Tod a hug goodnight and thanked Birch again before heading out. “Want pizza tonight, Tod?” Birch asked.

“Yeah, can we have pineapples on half?”

“Of course.” Birch went ahead and ordered, getting bread sticks and cinnamon twists as well. He hung up when he had everything he wanted then locked his front door and went to quickly change out of his work clothes. Tod was still working on his homework when he came back, Bane curled up next to his chair barely glancing his way. “Do you need any help or anything?”

“Maybe a little. I don’t understand this math problem.”

Birch pulled up a chair and began helping Tod. He took the time to make sure Tod knew what to do instead of just helping him quickly so they could play something. They finished his homework just before the pizza arrived which surprised Birch since normally it took much longer. He guessed it must be a slow evening for them. He paid the delivery man and brought the pizza to the table. He received a hug from Tod “I’m so happy I’m hanging out with you tonight. Mei would of made something healthy again” Birch chuckled “Mei and your mother just want to make sure you’re healthy. I can spoil you because I know they take such good care of you at home”

“Yeah…is my mom coming back soon?”

“Hopefuly it wont be too much longer” Tod smiled “you miss her a lot too huh” Birch fought down a blush “yeah, well, she’s my friend” Tods smile grew a little which could either be because he was now grabbing a slice of pizza or the nine year old realized the feelings he had for his mother. He wasn’t sure it was appropriate to talk about with her son so he didn’t try to. Hopefully it was that Tod realized and would approve if anything did finally happen between them. Birch was a straightforward guy but he still didn’t know what happened with Tods father and worried she might be too wounded from her past to have any desire to be with anybody again.

As far as he knew she never dated and she was far too warm, along with beautiful for nobody to of asked. Elowen just worked, spent time with her son and the few friends she had. She never so much as mentioned a guy being attractive and given the fact nobody spoke of Tods father made him even more concerned with what may lay in her past. Weather he died or was an abusive prick or his worst fear had raped her and made her swear off dating the last thing he wanted was to let her know how much he wanted to be more in her life than a friend and have her push him away because she couldn’t handle a romantic partner in her life. Sometimes he wanted to ask Mei. If anybody else knew she would but still, would Elowen get upset about him prying?

They got her settled in so late that evening he didn’t ask when she returned to his house but when the next night came, his last chance to ask her without Elowen being around he took it as soon as Tod was sleeping “Mei, care to have some wine with me and talk?”

“sounds serious, sure” They went into his kitchen where he grabbed them each a glass then began looking through his wine “My curiosity is peaked, whats up?” she asked as he looked. He sighed, looking over at her “I just…I wanted to ask if you knew anything about Tods father” he couldn’t tell if she was shocked, horrified or a mixture of both “why would you ask about that?”

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked”

“why are you asking? Someone was in Elowens home weren’t they?”

“No there wasn’t, what would that have to do with Tods father?”

“Birch I’ve always liked you but you have to be straight with me. Why are you asking?”

“because I want to be with her, thats all. I just felt I should know first if shes been through anything traumatic I mean his father has never been mentioned one time and she doesn’t date, she doesn’t even mention being attracted to anyone. I I’m sorry for asking” Mei sighed “jesus you scared me Birch.”

“seriously, what is the deal with his father?”

“The deal is he’s a monster, a literal monster and I never want to hear you ask about him ever again understand? Don’t you dare hurt her or Tod that way. Elowen has already moved twice to keep him away from her son.” Mei shook her head, lifting her hands a moment in an obvious storm of emotions “I can’t have you asking Elowen about this so lets get on your computer. I need to show you something” He took her to his computer and he waited as she typed something into the search bar. What came up took him back and he asked what even he knew was a stupid question “what does this news article have to do with Tods father”

“he’s the one who was doing this. He’d kill people by slowly removing their organs or simply just playing around inside them, doing everything he could to also keep them alive as long as possible” Birch read the article then said in horror “but this says he was never caught…how”

“Tods father is a literal monster. Elowen didn’t know until she became pregnant. He finally told her, showed her what he was and she accepted that until one day she founds him hunched over a dead body, innards in hand. He confessed everything to her, begged her to stay and run off to a different world with him where they could start over but being Elowen she couldn’t just act like he wasn’t a murderer, even if he was claiming he would stop for her. She figures if he could have stopped for her and their son he would have before she caught him”

“He didn’t take that well”

“He tried to kill her Birch. She moved, changed hers and Tods names and when he found her she did it all over again. I promise you after that scare at the house if you bring up Tods father she will be gone and we will never see her again…I mean she might take me. I know all this because once we got close she told me and asked that if he ever did kill her that I do everything I can not to let him get his hands on Tod and corrupt or hurt him”

“How can she even stand to be friends with me…I’m not human”

“she didn’t suddenly become a racist Birch, she’s changed her name twice and she cant be completely honest about her past. Damn it Birch she’ll kill me for saying this but she loves you too. She’s not an idiot, neither are Tod and I but she wont be with you if she cant be honest with you and the more people that know the more likely she is to be found by him again. Her mistake the first time she changed her name was getting romantically involved and telling the truth about herself. You and Elowen just cant be and you can’t bring this up”

“But I’ll protect her”

“You can’t promise that Birch. She’s fine being single, especially because that comes at no risk of having to uproot Tod now that hes old enough to realize he has to leave his entire life behind.”

“I can promise it, Mei, because I mean it. I’m not letting him have either of them and I’m not letting her just disappear.” He sighed. “She’s become so important to me, it’s like…it’s like finding a part of yourself you never knew you were missing.”

“But…”

“You all know what I can do, but he doesn’t. If he steps into this house, he won’t be leaving. I’ll discuss everything with Elowen once I know she and Tod are safe. Doesn’t she know what it would have felt like waking up one day to find her gone? I won’t let some creature ruin their lives again.”

Mei swallowed. “What are you going to do?”

“I’m a monster too, Mei, just a different kind. I’ll lure him out if I have too or hound him to the ends of the earth because if I don’t then he won’t stop, he’ll just keep chasing them until he has them cornered. He’s a predator and a killer and he won’t stop.” He shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair. “Even if she hates me, I can’t let her fight alone. I just can’t.”

Meis phone going off startled her. She grabbed it “it’s Elowen…well…I guess now I should say Nadja”

“Nadja” Birch repeated. Mei nodded, a few tears streaming down her cheek “I’m so scared she’s going to hate me…she’s like a sister to me but I do want her safe…I don’t want her to have to be afraid anymore”

“It’s all going to be okay, I’ll make sure of it. What is she saying” Mei wiped her face and checked her messages “she’s just reminding me to pick her up at 10am tomorrow”

“we will all go”

“she’s going to know somethings up right when we get her”

“I know and thats why I want to come too…Nadja though…that sounds Danish right?” mei nodded again “yeah, her dad was from the Netherlands”

“was?”

“they died in a car accident when she was a teenager. She doesn’t really have any family since her parents weren’t close to anybody they were related to. One of her friends parents allowed her to come live with them so she didn’t have to go to foster care or anything.”

“I see, so her parents did die”

“sh’s lied to you as little as possible you know. Most everything you know about her is true”

“I believe that…what’s Tods name?”

“well his birth name is Cailean but even if she does get to a safe point in her life I think she’ll leave it as Tod. It’s the name he knows”

“Cailean and Nadja” Mei shifted uncomfortably “I’m going to go to bed okay” she stood and Birch said “Hey…even if she’s mad at first…when I get rid of her ex I know she’ll forgive you”

“I hope you’re right”

When Elowen landed the next day she was elated to be home, especially knowing both Birch and Tod would be coming to the airport. She was practicly glowing with happiness until she saw Meis face “whats wrong?”

“Nothing really”

“I know that face Mei” Tod hugged his mother, taking her attention “Mommy”

“Hey hadnsome, I missed you so much”

“I missed you too.”

“did you have fun with Birch and Mei”

“Yeah!” he said excitedly. “good” she stood up straight and looked over at Birch “You’ll have to let me thank you in some way” she hugged him and he gently held her until she pulled away “Lets go” Once in the car Elowen asked “Do you need some time off after that break in scare Mei? I understand if you do. You look so tense”

“well…we kind of need to talk…Birch and I figured we could take Tod out to buy a new toy set then we’d go home and talk while he plays in his room”

“Oh…Okay”

“yay!” Tod exclaimed gleefully.

Chapter Two

“Birch, is everything alright?” Elowen asked as they browsed toys.

“I just want to wait until we’re back.”

She could see the determination on his face, could tell he was thinking hard about something. She was afraid of what that meant. Had she done something wrong? Had Mei? Surely it couldn’t be Tod. She shook her head. He would have come out with it right away if that were the case, and Birch had never lost his temper with any of them. He was so patient and kind. She was surprised when he reached over and took her hand and gave her a small smile.

“Don’t worry, it’s just important and not something I want to discuss in public.”

“Okay.”

It felt so good to hold his hand it almost hurt. Once they were finally home with the toy open and her son shut in his room the three adults sat on her couch. Mei was sitting beside Elowen while Birch took up a seat across from her. “I’m sorry about the tension you’ve felt about this talk. Your life has apparently had enough tension in it. Please, just listen to me before you react okay?”

“Okay…” she looked at Mei again and in her heart she knew Birch knew. Hers sunk as she listened “I know that your ex is a murderer and that you caught him and hes one of those if I cant have you nobody will types but you don’t have to be afraid anymore Nadja, you or Cailean. I’m not human either and I can protect you. I promise I can. I refuse to lose you and Tod. I’m happy to keep calling you guys whatever names you prefer but I love you and Mei says you love me too…I get why you haven’t gone out with me and I get why you’ve kept stuff to yourself. I know you’re really only thinking of Tod but please don’t run, allow me to love and protect you”

He could tell she was processing “Mei…why” Elowen finally said “he started asking about Tods dad and I panicked” It about broke him when she started to softly cry “we could all die. I ever make the smallest blip on the radar as myself and he finds me.”

“I know I…I’m sorry”

“It;s okay, I don’t hate you I promise” now Mei was bawling so Elowen hugged her a few moments before wiping her face again. She looked Birch in the eyes, seeing that same determination “you really want to get involved in this Birch? You should think about if we’re really worth it”

“I dont have to think about it. I knew the second she told me I wanted to protect you guys. I love both of you and Mei has become a good friend too. I can’t even picture my life without you”

“I just don’t want anyone to get hurt. I just want him to leave me and Tod alone.”

“It’s okay, Elowen.” He moved to sit next to her and wrapped his arms around her. “I’m not letting him touch any of you. He can try, but he’ll have to come through me.”

“I love you, I really do so much.”

“I love you too, so don’t run away, it’d kill me.”

“That means I’ll have to explain to Tod.”

He shook his head. “You don’t have to worry about that right now. You can explain everything to him when he’s a little older, I know he’ll understand.” He kissed her forehead. “You’re a wonderful mother, Elowen, you know that right?” She nodded and he leaned back and wiped the tears from her cheeks. “Everything’s going to be alright.”

“I really like this name by the way, Elowen. I’d just like you to keep calling us Elowen and Tod, even after Tod knows”

“alright, is it okay if we draw him out on purpose? I’d rather just knock him out now”

“lets wait, I promised Tod I’d let him go to summer camp. I’d rather him be nowhere near me when my ex finds me. I’ll pay in cash so he wont have any leads as to where Tod is. He of course also doesn’t know his current name”

“alright, I’ll take two months of bliss before I have to deal with him”

“and you’re sure there was nobody here?”

“I’m sure, just a kids imagination. He always wants you home so bad”

“I know, I hate I ever have to go but I make such good money I hate to quit.”

“Well, if you ever feel like staying home, you two can always move in with me.” She opened her mouth and he shook his head. “You don’t have to worry about answering now. I just want you to know you have the freedom to move in whenever you want, if you ever want to. Mei too, I have plenty of room.”

“You’re too kind, Birch.”

“It’s easy when it’s you.”

Even though she knew Birch wasn’t far, Elowen still spent two months looking over her shoulder. She knew what her ex was capable of and she didn’t want him surprising them. The only thing that kept her from going into a full panic and running was the fact she had Birch, Tod, and Mei with her. Tod was oblivious to the fact his biological father could be around and she appreciated Birch and Mei keeping it that way. She wanted him to be able to grow up happy, without having to move all the time. She knew it was unfair. Summer Camp seemed to come up far too quickly and she couldn’t help but reiterate to Tod that he should never go off alone and that if anyone approached him he didn’t know, he should run and get help.

“I promise mom, I’ll be so good. Thank you for letting me go this year”

“I’m sorry if I’m over protective at times” Tod hugged her “you’re a good mom. I know you just love me” She watched him join the group of kids he’d be there with. Birch stood beside her, waiting patiently for Elowen to be ready to walk away. “He’s going to have so much fun Elowen”

“I know, this will just be the longest we’ve ever been apart and I’m nervous about…you know.” Once she couldn’t see Tod any longer she finally made herself walk away, knowing the counselors here were more than capable. When they got on the road Elowen said “I cant believe you even did this drive with me”

“It was fun” her heart trembled “you know…if we make it through my ex…I think I’ll be ready to talk to Tod about us living with you”

“really?”

“Yeah, you’ve been so great…please don’t let yourself get killed”

“You’ve never seen me in action. I’ll be fine, I’m not even worried Elowen. We’ll be great, especially if Mei got everything set up that I asked her to while we were driving Tod here”

“I’ll text her and see how everything is going” It took about twenty minuets for her to text them back “No problems here. Just drive safe you two. I’m done and out with some friends”

Elowen was nervous as they headed back to her house. Birch had explained the best place to lure him out was somewhere that smelled mostly of her. It would mask his scent and allow him to ambush her ex. “Remember the plan?” He asked as he took her hand.

“Yeah, just go out and sit in the backyard and try not to panic.”

“You can do it, baby, I know you can. I won’t let him touch you, I just need him out in the open.”

“I know, I love you.”

“I love you too.”

She had to do this, especially for Tod. He was so young and he deserved a stable childhood. “Where will you be again?” She asked when they finally pulled into her driveway.

“In the tree. I’m going to walk a block down and come in the back way.”

“Okay.” He leaned over and pressed a kiss to her lips. It helped her calm down and gave her the strength to let him leave her.

Elowen walked toward her home, trying not to shake as she entered. If he wasn’t already there he would be soon. With the help of Meis friends multiple posts had been made about her and last time he had swooped in scarily fast. Elowen made a quick cup of coffee using her keurig, poured just a splash of creamer in it then went outside as though she just wanted to relax on her porch and enjoy the weather outside. “Birch wont let him hurt you. It’s going to be okay” she told herself, now looking at her phone. Her min wasn’t really registering anything on it but she wanted to look busy.

Birch had gone through so much trouble getting her home ready for this set up. She didn’t want her ex to get wise to the fact she was waiting and make Birch take bigger risks later. Elowen could still see that body, those eyes, all that blood. She was getting sick to her stomach so tried to actually look at her Facebook. She knocked over her coffee she was so startled when she heard his heavy breathing. She looked up, a scream caught in her throat she was so terrified.

Her ex was about to say something when what she guessed was Birch.ran long claws quickly across his throat, causing blood to gush. He was giant now, standing at least ten foot tall and his body, what on earth was he? His head resembled some sort of bird, maybe a rooster. As Birch wrapped his long tail around him and slammed him into the yard she could see wins and jesus how long was that tail. Her thoughts were all over the place. She was shocked when he ex was still able to shift, not quite gone yet.

Birch hissed as he attacked, claws slicing into the infuriated monster. The creature tried many times to get past him, wanting Elowen more than he wanted to save himself. He could hear Elowen’s racing heart and knew this must be terrifying for her. The monster’s nails cut him and he drove forward, snapping his teeth down on its throat. The monster thrashed in his grasp, scraping at him with his claws as he tried to free himself. He squeezed harder, feeling the crunch of bone and cartilage as he crushed the monster’s throat and broke his neck. He didn’t let go until his body went limp, then he let it drop to the ground.

He shifted back and turned to Elowen just as she slammed into him, her arms wrapping tightly around him. She started crying and he held her tightly, doing his best to comfort her. “It’s okay now, baby, everything’s okay.”

Elowen looked past him at her ex. His body had shifted back and it was hard to believe it was really him. For a moment, she could almost see who he had been before everything and she briefly wondered what could have made him into a monster. “Is he really dead?” She asked. “Is it really over?”

“Yes, you’re safe now, you and Tod and Mei.”

She started crying again and he understood. He had just killed somebody in front of her and not just anybody. Somebody she had once loved, someone she shared a child with before she found out he had been the one killing people where they lived. Even though he had intended to kill her too, the shock of his death and the fact he was dead at all had to be hard. “let me get you inside.” He picked her up and took her to the sofa since it was nearest. “let me handle calling the police. Want me to turn the tv on?’”

“No, they will come right away and I’ll have to talk to them too. I want to make sure they know everything so you dont end up in jail”

“I have his claw marks on me and with dna they will tie him to the murders. He’s also on your property when you haven’t been together for some time. The police will believe us honey” he hated how stressed she now looked but he was right, calling the police is what they should do. Everything only took a few days to sort out before they were completely off the hook with the police. Elowen couldn’t believe she could actually have a normal life now and an amazingly happy one at that. Birch was such a good man and had more than proven his devotion to her and Tod. She knew she was lucky in so many ways. Lucky to have survived her ex and lucky to find such a brave, amazing man to share the rest of her life with.

~ The End

Ambrose & Demeter 2

Chapter One

Ambrose sat there drinking some water, sweat running down his face as he took a break and watched Demeter practicing. There was something wrong, he could tell, and there had been for a few days. She slashed and blocked, spun and ducked, but she seemed exhausted, her form off and it worried him. He could even hear that her breathing was off, like she was struggling. It was when the other soldier knocked her sword out of her hand, shocking the both of them, that he stood and went over to her. Demeter was gripping her wrist and the young man was apologizing.

“Are you alright?” Ambrose asked as he took her hand.

“I’m fine,” she turned to the soldier, “it’s fine, really, I was careless. Why don’t you go and practice with one of the others for a bit.”

“Yes ma’am.” He hurried off and Demeter retrieved her sword, slipping it into its sheath.

“Demeter, love, what’s wrong? You haven’t been acting like yourself lately.”

“I don’t know, I’ve just been so tired and…and I can’t focus.”

“Maybe you’ve been overworking yourself?”

“I’ve worked a lot harder than this.”

He smiled, pressing their foreheads together. “Just because you’re a mighty warrior woman, doesn’t mean you can’t push yourself too hard.”

“I’m alright.”

“How about we ask for some time off, I’m sure my cousin would let us.”

She sighed, “It does seem like I need it.”

“Then let’s see if she has time to talk to us.” As always Cantaly was more than happy to talk to them and didn’t mind them leaving for a bit in the slightest.

“Thankfully I don’t think anything or anybody is foolish enough to mess with our kingdom at this point so always feel free to take breaks. I never want you pushing yourself too hard Demeter.”

“I really enjoy what I do.”

“I know, but taking care of yourself is important. Besides, who else could put up with my cousin Ambrose if you pushed yourself too far?” She said with a grin.

“Hey.” Ambrose said with mock annoyance.

Cantaly laughed, causing her husband whom was standing beside her to smile. “Go on you two, take as long of a vacation as you need. We can handle things around here.” With her blessing they left hand in hand.

“First off let’s just finish our day at home. I could cook for you and maybe give you a massage.”

Demeter kissed his cheek. “Thank you.”

Demeter was relieved to get home and remove what armor she was wearing. She dropped down on the couch and Ambrose sat down next to her, lifting her feet into his lap and removing her boots. “You don’t have to do that.”

“Sure I do.” He rubbed her feet and she let out a little sigh as she moved to lay back on the arm of the couch. “You okay?”

“Yeah, just exhausted.”

“Want me to get my uncle to come check you? You know he will if I ask.”

“No, Irim’s probably busy or spending time with his family.”

“As long as you’re sure.”

“I am, thank you.”

He leaned over her, giving her a kiss then got up to make her something to eat. He was worried about her, but didn’t want to be too pushy and upset her. He hoped it was just fatigue from overworking and that once she had time to recharge, she would be back to herself. He peeked in at her, seeing she had fallen asleep. He decided to just let her nap until he finished cooking.

Ambrose kept telling himself that Demeter was okay and would be just fine. He had to think positively or he knew he’d ruin their time together. He was going to make her an incredible meal then rub out her tense muscles more. Those things combined with rest had to get her feeling better again. He tried to focus on other meals he could make for her during her time off so he wouldn’t get any more anxious than he already was. He wanted them to taste amazing but also be good for her.

When he was finally finished cooking he made them each a plate and set the table before going to gently wake Demeter. She woke easily, rubbing her eyes. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, the point is for you to relax.”

The smell of dinner hit her nose. “Let’s eat what you made before it gets cold…thank you for making it by yourself.”

He kissed her head as he took Demeter in his arms to carry her to the table. “You deserve a little spoiling Demeter.”

Ambrose’s cooking was delicious as always and when they were finished eating, he refused to let her help him clean up, carrying her to their bedroom instead and asking her to wait. He quickly cleaned up then came back to her, crawling over her and pressing a kiss to her lips, his hands pushing at her clothes. “Ambrose.”

“It’ll be easier to rub you my love.”

“Oh sure.”

“I mean it, I promise to be good, you need to rest, husband’s orders.” He added with a smile.

“Yes boss.”

He chuckled. “Be careful, I might start liking the sound of that.” His heart fluttered when she laughed and he continued pulling her clothes off. He moved her onto her stomach and let his hands run over her, savoring the softness of her skin. She let out a little moan as her muscles loosened and he felt the stirring of desire. “You make it hard to be good.”

“I can’t help it.” She let out a contented sigh and he pressed a kiss to her shoulder then moved next to her, pulling her close. “What should we do with our time off?”

“Stay home and have lots of sex?”

“Ambrose.” Her skin warmed.

“Alright, go out and have…” she put her hand over his mouth and he laughed. He pulled her hand down to press it against his chest. “I’ll talk to my dad, he knows about a lot of fun places. You just have to promise me if you start to feel too sick, you’ll tell me.”

“I promise.”

“Alright, we can go over to their home in the morning after breakfast. We haven’t spent any real time with my parents in a long time so I guess we can hangout there until we have lunch with them.”

“I’m excited, your mom is so sweet. She also always seems to have cures for everything so maybe she can send us with something that will help me feel better.”

“She’s certainly raised enough children to know remedies to everything.”

Demeter laughed at his words. “Your dad certainly can’t keep his hands off of her…they really are so sweet. I hope we’re together as long as they’ve been together.”

She blushed as she said those words and Ambrose smiled, moving to kiss her again. “You’re not getting rid of me, no matter what. I love you every bit as much as my dad loves my mom.”

“I love you too.”

Demeter fell asleep snuggled against him and he just laid there brushing his fingers through her hair. He was truly lucky to have her and still didn’t know how he had got so lucky. He didn’t deserve her at all. He turned a little, pressing his forehead against hers and closing his eyes, letting himself drift off. Demeter woke a couple of hours later, her movement stirring him and he smiled lovingly at her. “Good nap?”

“Yeah, sorry.”

“It’s okay. Still feel like crap?”

“Fatigued, a little sick to my stomach, but other than that I’m alright.”

“Tell me if it gets worse.”

“I will.” They spent the rest of the day relaxing together, Ambrose fussing over her, making sure she didn’t do to much. She couldn’t help but smile at how adamant he was about her just relaxing.

The next day they were both up early, so much so Zane and Belle hadn’t even finished breakfast when they arrived but Belle was over joyed to see them when Zane brought the couple to the table. She quickly got up, hugging each one of them “How are you two?”

“We’re okay, myself more so than Demeter. She’s been incredibly fatigued lately. She’s taking some time off work so we wanted to spend the day with you guys and I wanted to talk to dad about possible places to take Demeter.”

“Oh no.” Belle said and Zane put a hand on her shoulder. “Demeter just works hard is all. She’ll be fine with rest. Come sit with us, are you two hungry?” He asked and Demeter answered, “We already ate. I feel bad about interrupting your own breakfast though.”

“It’s no trouble, just sit with us and we will all talk.”

“How long have you been feeling off?” Belle asked.

“About a week, just tired, felt a little sick to my stomach yesterday, but nothing really serious. It’s been making training the recruits hard.”

“Why don’t I make you something to help settle your stomach.”

“Thank you.”

“It’s no problem, you know that.”

“Do you know any good places we can relax?” Ambrose asked his father. “Hopefully somewhere we won’t be bothered.” He took Demeter’s hand. “I really want her to rest.”

“You could spend time in the Shadow Wood. There’s a cave there Irim helped me fix up. It’s protected by magic. There’s also the place I sent your brother and Tawny.” He named off a few more and Belle soon returned with a cup of ginger tea, handing it to Demeter.

“That should help.” She said with a warm smile.

“Thank you so much.” Demeter said then took a small sip. It was hot, but she was ready for any kind of relief.

“Why don’t we let them plan. I have a few things I want to show you around here. Zane and I have been busy again redoing a few things.”

“Sure.”

Belle looked at her son and said, “You know if she gets too tired I’ll bring her back here.” Demeter smiled as her husband blushed. Taking her drink she followed Belle out of the kitchen. They were in a newly renovated guest room when Belle spoke again, “So there really are things to show you, but are you sure you’re not pregnant?” Belle looked so eager. Even all these children and grandchildren later she was still all about babies.

Demeter almost laughed. “I didn’t even think about that.”

“You’re an incredibly fit woman and obviously not actually sick so that’s the only explanation to me.”

“I mean, if you’d like me to take a pregnancy test I will.”

“I’d love that.”

“That’s the first thing that came to your mind isn’t it?”

“Yeah, but what’s the point in working up Ambrose if you’re not. If you’re not though you should really let someone look at you because I can’t imagine why else you’d be getting exhausted when you’re used to a lot of physical activity.”

 

Chapter Two

Demeter didn’t know why she was suddenly so nervous now that she was about to take a pregnancy test, but she let Belle stay with her as she did, her mind racing as she sat the stick on the counter and waited. “It’s going to be okay.” Belle said.

“I know, it’s just do you think Ambrose will want kids?”

“He’s grown a lot since he was a kid, I think he’ll be worried, but happy.”

“Worried because of what happened between you two?”

“Yeah, I think he’ll be scared of a child winding up like how he was.”

“I don’t think that would happen, he’s been so sweet.”

“I know and you have no idea how happy Zane and I are.”

They continued to chat until Demeter had to check the test and her heart jumped when she saw it was positive. Belle had to cover her mouth to keep from screaming with happiness. She wanted Demeter to tell Ambrose in her own time. “I…I’m pregnant.” She rested her other hand on her abdomen. “Do you think that baby’s okay, I mean with all the physical activity?”

“Of course, it takes more than wrestling and sword fighting to hurt a fetus and you probably haven’t been pregnant that long.” Belle whispered. “I’m so excited, another grandbaby.”

“I think I should wait until we’re gone to tell Ambrose, he’ll start to fuss about us traveling is I don’t. Could you wait to tell everyone until we get back, except for Zane I mean?”

“Of course sweetie.” She hugged Demeter. “Are you happy?”

“Yeah, just surprised.”

“It’s amazing being a mother, it really is” Demeter smiled with both amusement and warmth. “I’m so glad just to know whats going on with me.”

“Yeah, it can be scary the first time but you can talk to me anytime about it and I can teach you how to make drinks and things like that to keep yourself feeling good.”

“Thank you so much.”

Belle hugged her. “Thank you for marrying my son and for now giving me another grandchild.” Belle let go then continued, “We should finish up this tour and get back before we seem suspicious.”

“Good thinking.” Belle showed Demeter a few more things around the house then they rejoined Zane and Ambrose

“He’s decided on a place.” Zane announced when they came in and Demeter said, “Let me guess, it’s a surprise?”

Ambrose smiled. “Well you know if you hadn’t run off with my mom it wouldn’t be a surprise. So you’ll have to deal.” Demeter smiled then kissed his cheek.

They spent most of the day with Belle and Zane and when they finally left, Zane pulled Belle into him, smiling at her excited face. “She’s pregnant isn’t she?”

“How did you know?”

“Because you always make that face when you find out about another baby.”

Ambrose insisted on carrying Demeter home even though she said she felt better. She relented and rested her head on his shoulder and he pressed a kiss to her forehead which made her heart flutter. “I love you Demeter.”

“I love you too.” And she couldn’t wait to tell him the news. “When are we leaving?”

“As soon as we’re packed, my dad said the place I picked is the prettiest at night and if I fly fast, I’ll get us there in no time.”

“I take it you plan on carrying me there?” She said in an amused tone.

“I can tell you’re still tired, just let me fuss, it’ll make me worry less.”

Her heart warmed as she looked up at her mate. “Alright, I’m so happy we’re getting away together.”

“Me too, we should make time for trips more like my parents do.”

“We really should, at least once a year.”

“We’ll do it, I promise. I won’t have you getting this tired again.” Her grin widened as she thought this may just happen a few more times. She hadn’t spent a great deal of time thinking about kids but the few times she had she felt four would be a good number for her. She even hoped that she would be lucky enough to enjoy two girls and two boys, in any order. She’d love whatever the universe granted her though even if she had all of one gender. They were soon home and packed with a few changes of clothes along with essentials before locking up and heading outside so Ambrose could shift.

Ambrose held Demeter protectively in his claws as he soared through the air, keeping the wind off of her. When he glanced down at her, she was laid back with her head resting on their pack, her eyes closed and even over the wind he could hear her humming. He dipped his head down, gently nuzzling her and her laugh made his heart flutter. He hoped she was feeling better, that his mother’s tea had helped her stomach. She fell asleep halfway through their journey and he only pushed himself to go faster, wanting to get her somewhere comfortable. When his destination came into view, the top of the mountain trail breaking through the woods, he slowed and started circling. His father had told him it was easier to come down the trail than it was to try landing in the thick wood.

Demeter woke when he landed and he shifted back, taking the pack and lifting her into his arms. “You don’t have to carry me silly.” She said with a yawn.

“You know I don’t mind, I love having you close, so let me.”

She nodded and looked around. “Wow, it’s so pretty here. Where are we?”

“Silverwood, but it’s not our true destination.” He started down the trail and Demeter marveled at how truly beautiful their surroundings were.

They weren’t much further when she said “I really love this place. Can we explore a little instead of going straight through? I mean…we aren’t in a hurry right?”

“Not exactly right here because of some creatures here, but if we go a little further we can stick around here awhile.”

She kissed his cheek. “You’re the best Ambrose. What sort of creatures live here?” She asked out of both curiosity and just wanting to talk to him.

“They are a lot like bears, but curved blades come out of their bodies.”

“Really?” She asked in almost a gasp. They sounded so interesting.

“Yeah, their bodies just make them and they can send them flying at you. They are razor sharp too.”

“They don’t cut up the bears coming out?”

“Nope and few blades can harm them.”

“That’s crazy.”

“Please don’t tell me you want to see one.”

If she wasn’t pregnant she would have, but she couldn’t take that risk with a little one in her stomach. “Maybe not right now because I know I need to relax.”

He kissed her head. “I was so worried you’d ask to see them now.”

“I know how worried you are. I don’t want to make you ill now with stress.”

He gave a sigh of relief. “Sorry, I don’t mean to act this way, but…”

“It’s okay, it doesn’t bother me. It’s actually cute seeing you all worried.”

Ambrose felt his face heat and he let out a huff. “I’m not cute.”

“Just like your dad when he’s around your mom.” She rubbed her nose against his cheek and he turned his head, pressing his lips briefly against hers, causing her to flush.

“I’ll show you cute once we’re in a safe place.”

She smiled, snuggling into him. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Ambrose kept himself alert as he walked, hoping any predators could sense he was a dragon and that if they attacked them he might make an exception and eat one of them. Once they finally made it through the dangerous part of the forest, he lowered her feet to the ground and laced his fingers through hers. “Stay close please.”

She laughed. “I will, I promise.”

Ambrose was glad this trip was already getting her to relax. She seemed so happy as she walked around and took everything in. Demeter had this amazing way of appreciating everything. She wasn’t rushing through to get to their destination, she saw something beautiful and wanted to take a break and experience it as well. Ambrose knew after all the years his parents had been together they must of stopped in here a time or two but he still hoped he might find something to tell his father about in return for his father telling him about this. He had such amazing parents, willing to help whenever he asked. They were genuinely good people and sometimes the embarrassment of who he used to be was unbearable.

Thankfully nobody ever brought it up, his family wasn’t the type to hold things in the past over your head forever. The fact everybody basically acted like his youth didn’t happen was the only way he could live with himself. They ended up spending the rest of the day there. Demeter suggested sleeping where they were but he was too worried about those bears coming over here. They generally didn’t but that didn’t mean they were safe.

“I’m fine just to carry you the rest of the way.”

“I’m sure we’ll be fine.”

“Sweetheart I wont be able to sleep here and I promise I’m fine. I know I can finish the trip or at least get to a spot I could sleep in.” She took his hand

“I’m not all that tired yet so lets walk together. The sky is so beautiful here. I want to enjoy it and yes if I get too tired you can carry me.” She kissed his cheek then tugged him along.

Demeter yawned as they walked through the twilight and Ambrose pulled her closer, his arm slipping around her waist. She knew it was just the baby exhausting her and she couldn’t wait to tell Ambrose so he wouldn’t have to worry so much. She let him pick her up once the sun had completely fallen and snuggled into him, letting her eyes drift closed and her hand rested on her abdomen. Ambrose picked up the pace, wanting to get her to their destination so she could rest comfortably.

He was glad she was asleep when they arrived, thinking it would be more of a surprise this way, and gently woke her. She blinked her eyes, smiling up at him. “We’re here.” He said softly and she turned, her eyes widening and a little gasp escaping her lips when she saw the tree house. “What do you think?”

“It’s beautiful.” She gently pushed until he lowered her feet to the ground. “Did your father build it?”

“He said he repaired it. Apparently fairies and elves build them sometimes and when they move on, they leave them.”

“Can we go up?”

He chuckled. “Of course.” He laced his fingers through hers and took her up the spiral staircase to the top.

Demeter even admired the staircase as they went up. Someone or a family obviously took great time and care to build this. It was beautiful and covered in designs. It made her all the more excited to look inside. If they took this much care with just the stairs she could only imagine the care they took in there. Demeter didn’t let her eagerness make her rush. The last thing she needed was to take a tumble down the steps with a baby in her stomach. She had fast reflex’s and Ambrose was right there but she couldn’t risk it. She already loved this baby too much.

 

Final Chapter

“My dad told me there’s a special word for lighting the interior.” Ambrose said as they stepped inside.

“How did he figure that out?”

“Irim, there’s nothing he doesn’t know.”

Demeter heard him say a short phrase in a language she didn’t understand and she let out a little gasp at the little dots of light that came to life, looking almost like shimmering stars as they hovered near the ceiling. “Oh wow.” She said softly then her eyes swept down and around the room. Everything had been carefully crafted from the forest surrounding the area and she stared in awe as she turned, trying to take everything in. “Oh Ambrose, it’s so beautiful.”

He pulled her into his arms and brushed a kiss to her forehead. “I’m glad you like it.” She teared up and he leaned back to look at her. “Are you alright, my love?”

“Yeah, sorry, I love it, I promise.” She wondered if it was the baby making her emotional.

“Maybe you just need to rest.”

“I’m fine, really, let’s look around first then we can eat.”

“Alright, but you have to promise to relax while I cook for you.”

“I promise.”

He couldn’t resist kissing her again before they both started looking around this amazing tree house. Demeter was surprised it was left vacant for people to visit. Surely someone would want to claim this for their own. Then again, there were risks involved with claiming a vacant home another creature built. They could come back eventually and they may or may not be sane. One morning you could wake up with some lunatic standing over you, angry and wanting answers about why you took up residence.

As promised, when they were done Demeter relaxed in an armchair while Ambrose prepared something for them to eat. She didn’t even realize she had fallen asleep until he was waking her to eat. She wondered if it was normal to be this tired right off the bat. She’d have to ask Belle when they returned home. “Sorry.”

“I was happy to find you getting more rest my love.”

He took her hand and pulled her gently to her feet and to the kitchen table. “How are you feeling?” He asked as they ate.

“Just a little tired, but other than that I’m fine.” She wondered when would be a good time to tell him. She hated that he looked so worried. “It’s okay, I promise, I’m alright.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too, Ambrose. You really are the sweetest, most adorable man I’ve ever seen.” She had to tease him a little, wanting to get his mind off his concern over her sudden exhaustion.

“Be good, you know I’ll pay you back.” He replied with a grin.

“My big, sweet, strong, cute husband wouldn’t.”

“I would.”

She let out a little laugh. “Then I guess I’ll have to eat slow.”

Demeter did eat slow, smiling here and there. Ambrose finally seemed amused rather than worried which was perfect. Demeter decided she would tell him tomorrow. He was fussing over her anyway so he may as well know the real reason she was tired. As Demeter ate she thought about different ways to tell him, settling on right when he woke up. She imagined he’d wake hilariously fast but most of all she hoped he’d be just as happy and excited as she was.

After dinner Ambrose carried Demeter to the bedroom and began kissing her as he laid her down. It was slow and passionate, the entire evening was and she woke eager for him to get up as well. He slept hard, she guessed it was because of the travel here and all the worrying but Demeter enjoyed admiring him as he slept. She gently ran a hand through his hair, sometimes trailing his skin. When he woke she smiled, almost deciding not to tease him by telling Ambrose first thing in the morning.

Ambrose turned into her, his arms wrapping around her as he snuggled close. He pressed his forehead against her chest and let out a contented sigh. “What are you doing awake my love, it’s far too early?” He asked drowsily.

“It’s actually late for us.”

“How are you feeling then?”

“Happy, a little tired, pregnant.”

“Mmm, that’s good.” She waited a moment and nearly laughed when he pulled back to look at her slightly confused. “Wait, say that again.”

“I’m happy and tired.”

“Demeter.”

“Pregnant, I’m pregnant.” She said with a laugh.

He took her face in his hands. “You’re sure, really sure? I’m not just dreaming?”

“I took a test at your parents.”

He smiled then and crushed her to him, his lips excitedly meeting hers. She started laughing and he pulled back to look at her. “I can’t believe it.” His eyes suddenly flashed with concern. “You’ve been practicing with swords with a baby and then you let me fly you all the way here. Are you okay? Is the baby okay? Maybe we should…”

She kissed him, cutting him off before he got himself too worked up. “Ambrose I’m fine, we’re both fine. I’m not even that far along.”

“Still, if I had known I wouldn’t have flown so fast.” He brushed his nose against hers. “I can’t believe I’m going to be a father.”

“I take it you’re happy?”

“And nervous and terrified, but yes, incredibly happy.

“This is going to be an amazing thing in our lives, I know it. You’re going to be such a good dad and your family is amazing. Your mom is so happy.” Demeter giggled at the memory.

“I bet, I’m surprised she could keep from telling me. I know she told dad the second we left.”

“Yeah, probably, but she promised not to tell anybody else. She wanted to let me be the first to let you know.”

“I promise to be a good dad.”

“You’re a good man, I know you’ll be. Just behave if it’s a girl. I don’t put it past you to strangle some young man.”

“Now that I can’t make promises on.” They both laughed and kissed again, completely wrapped in bliss about their situation.

Just as Demeter knew he would, Ambrose fussed over her even more, often talking to the baby and making sure she was getting enough to eat. He stayed close as they explored the forest and made sure she didn’t push herself to hard. “We’re going to have to ask my mom and aunts how to get your energy back up.” Ambrose said as he carried her back after a hike through the woods. “I don’t like you being so tired all the time, it’s concerning.”

“I’m sure it just depends on the baby.”

“Sorry if I’m being ridiculous.”

“You’re not.” She pressed a kiss to his cheek.

“And what about work, would you take time off? I know you love what you do, you’re amazing at it, but I don’t want either of you getting hurt while you’re pregnant. I know you like being active, but…”

She pressed a finger against his lips. “I will.”

“Thank you. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“I just know stress can cause all kinds of problem in pregnancy. I want you both to come out of this healthy.”

“You’re so sweet.” Their vacation was a peaceful one, filled with nothing but talk of the baby, wonder and laughter. They made sure they left the tree house clean, possibly cleaner than before they arrived. When they arrived home Zane and Belle arranged for a big family get together so they could easily share the news and Demeter would have a house full of experienced women to ask questions so she’d feel confident over the course of her pregnancy. Right away everyone started making their guesses about the gender of their first child. It was fun to think about not only that but what kind of personality their little one would have.

They walked home together that night, Ambrose seeming more at ease after having talked to everyone, having received a list from Irim of foods he had made for Ariel to help keep her healthy, and had been told if there were any complications to come to them right away. They didn’t want them going through anything like what Gabriel and Tawny had gone through. “So, boy or a girl?” Demeter asked and Ambrose pulled her closer.

“Healthy and ready to use a sword.” He answered, making her laugh. “I’ll have my dad teach them how to be terrifying.”

“Ambrose, be good.”

“I am, I’m going to create little warriors. They’ll be beautiful and strong like you and have my charm.” She laughed again and he picked her up and pressed a kiss to her lips. “I love you Demeter.”

“I love you too, you silly man.”

He pressed his forehead against hers. “Thank you for everything, for being my mate and for giving me the gift of a child.”

“Ambrose.” Her voice was soft and she felt herself tear up.

“I can’t wait to meet our little one.” He carried her the rest of the way home and they fell asleep that night wrapped in each others arms, both of them looking forward to this new stage of their lives.

THE END

Milena & Thomas

Chapter One

I’m not sure what to do as I’m reading my messages. One of my best friends wants to set me up on a blind date but it isn’t so blind for me. I’m living my life a second time. I was a bored housewife, not really even feeling alive anymore when an odd creature came to me and offered to let me start my life over. I didn’t take him seriously, I laughed as I struck the deal, thinking it all some huge joke but nobody ever laughed. The next thing I knew I was a child again. He had sent me back to being seven. I’m not sure why or even if there are real terms to this do over. Maybe he’s just watching me, maybe he lets people restart their lives for kicks and giggles or maybe one day I’ll have to give him my soul or some other weird fairy tail shit for this happening.

In any case this man she wants to introduce me to ends up being my husband but I’m not sure I want that again. I’ve done a lot of things differently this time and I am so much happier for it. Even before marriage I hadn’t been a very happy person. I had just made too many mistakes the first time around so my state back then may of had nothing at all to do with him but I don’t find myself jumping at the chance to meet him again this time and that in itself has me wondering if this is one of my old choices I should make again.

I send back a message telling her I’ll think about it. I need to go out and do some grocery shopping anyway and I really do need to mull things over. I grab my purse, slipping my phone inside, make sure I have my keys and then head out. My husband wasn’t a bad man, in fact he had always been sweet and honest, never losing his temper, even during arguments he just seemed sad rather than angry. There had been times I had wished he would snap at me. I let out a sigh as I climb behind the wheel of my car, start the ignition and pull away from my home. The trip to the store is uneventful as usual, my head too full of my husband, of what I should do, if I should meet him, if I could fall in love with him again knowing what our future held. I find an empty parking space once I’m there, climb out and head inside, grabbing one of the little baskets and start making my way down the isles.

I grab a few snacks, bagels, and then make my way to the meat section. I grab a couple of packages of ground beef then a package of chicken, but when I drop it in the basket, one end of the handle pops loose, making me jump as half of the items I had put in there were dumped on the floor. “Shit.” I mumble under my breath as I set the basket down and start to pick everything up.

“Hey, you alright?” I freeze midway to grabbing the package of bagels. I swallow. That voice. I grab the bagels and stand up straight, my heart giving a little stutter. “Miss?” He’s holding the little can of peanuts I had planned to buy. Thomas, my husband.

“Uh…” I say and he smiles at me.

“I think you dropped these and everything else.”

I snap out of my shock. “Oh, yes, thank you.” I take the peanuts and he bends down to help collect the rest of my things.

“That’s pretty surprising, you didn’t even have anything heavy in there.”

“Y…yeah.” Why was he here? I didn’t understand. I wasn’t supposed to meet him until our date.

“Here, I haven’t put anything in mine yet, you can use it” he offered his basket and my heart stuttered, he really had been a nice guy I remember now more than ever. That time in my life had been so long ago. I had to relieve everything since the time I was seven. Maybe the world wanted me to get back with him or maybe the strange man who had given me this second chance at my life really had liked us as a couple. The theory I honestly hold strongest to is he does this as some sort of tv show for himself. All this time I’ve never seen that man again, he hasn’t asked me for a thing so his only gain from doing this would be just to watch me redo everything and see what choices I change.

Immortals have to entertain themselves somehow I suppose “Miss?” I blush, wondering how long I was off in space thinking “th thank you” I take his basket though I feel bad. I took far more than I gave when we were married. I wasn’t trying to be selfish back then, I just didn’t have much in me to give when he came around. I was just so depressed, absolutely miserable. Sometimes I don’t know how anybody could have loved the person I grew into in my last life. “don’t you have shopping to do too though?”

His smile is warm, gentle even “Not really”

“then why” I started to ask why he was here but a friend of mine saw me “Milena!”

“Heather, hey.” I say as she walks up and gives me a hug.

“Milena?” Thomas says.

“Oh, who is this?” Heather asks.

“Uh…” I stop myself before saying his name. I’m not supposed to know that yet.

“I’m Thomas.” He replied then turned his attention back to me. “So, Milena, you wouldn’t happen to be Angelica’s Milena would you?”

I blushed. “Yeah.”

His laugh causes butterflies to brush my insides. “What are the odds?”

“Odds?” Heather looked confused.

“Oh, uh, well Angelica kind of wanted to set me up on a date…with a Thomas.” I say.

“That’s too weird, I guess you two meeting was meant to be” I blush and I glance over at him, seeing that he is actually blushing too. I find it cute and decide that maybe he is one of the few choices from my last life that I should make again. Agreeing to a date wasn’t agreeing to marry him so it wasn’t like this was a major one. “Yeah” I laugh nervously and say ask him “so, how do you feel about that date now that it isn’t so blind any more?”

“I’m looking forward to it unless meeting me has changed your mind. In fact, I’d rather go someplace I know you’d like so if you still want to…where would you like to go?”

“Yeah…um, do you like seafood? I promise to pay my own way.” Its not my favorite but its his and if I am going to try with him I want to be a little more giving this time. Honestly, some of my pause probably was feeling guilty of putting him through me again even though I’m a far cry from the woman I was. People had always said depression changes people but I never really understood that saying until reliving my life, seeing how different of a person I truly was without my depression. I feel like I almost see confusion in his face but he says “I love sea food and I’d like to pay for both of us if that’s something you’d be comfortable with. I’m kind of old school when it comes to dating”

“alright…um…maybe we should exchange numbers”

“Sure, sounds good.” He pulls out his phone and I rattle off my number. He quickly texted me so I would have his and I immediately save it. “So, um…text me the details?”

“Yeah, definitely.”

“Cool, I’ll see you later then.” He looked so nervous and like he wasn’t sure he wanted to leave, but he did anyway, and I stood there blushing, my heart fluttering in my chest.

“Awe, how cute.” Heather said as she nudge me with her elbow. “When’s the wedding?” She teased.

I felt my face heat even more. “Heather.”

“Come on, he’s pretty hot and that personality.” She winked.

“Oh hush.”

“You better have fun girl.”

“I will.”

Heather walked around with me and we finished up our shopping together, her teasing me the whole time about my hot date. Thomas and I’s first date hadn’t been like that at all, he had been really sweet, a perfect gentlemen and now that I thought about it, he had been nervous and done everything he could to get me to smile.

As soon as I arrive home I message Angelica and tell her everything. She sent back that Thomas had already told and thanked her already. “thanked you?” I send back and she sends “Lol, for setting you two up. Fate seemed to do it anyway but he was still grateful that I had tried. I pried a little and he thinks you’re cute” I swallow, my heart racing. I’m actually excited about all this now and I want to text him but I decide to invest my time on what I’m going to wear for our date. He’s going to take a selfie with me if this plays out similarly. He will say its for his phone contact but in our marriage he told me that he had just wanted to ask for a picture without seeming like a creep since it was the first date.

I grin at that memory, he’s far from a creeper. Just an adorable sweetheart that for whatever reason could have even loved me back when I was incredibly unlovable. I decide on the one Elwyn bought me for my last birthday, mostly for sentimental reasons. Elwyn was part of my depression during the first time I lived my life. We met as little kids in Elementary school and became close friends fast, never any romantic interest, he was like a brother. He had always been a sickly boy and none of us knew until it was too late that his mother not only beat him, he was so sick because she was making him sick. She’d put cleaners, bugs and all other kinds of disgusting things in his food and make him consume it. One day she took it too far and only his death brought the truth to light.

This time I met him sooner and I pushed to get invited over so I could discover what she was doing to him. I know the first time it wasn’t my fault but I had always remembered him and now, one thing I’m grateful I got to right was giving him a life. I have this gift because I got to spare him. His wife has an amazing husband and his kids have a loving father. I’d like to feel like I changed a lot of things for the better by saving him. It helps me be a happier person this time. I’d wear this shirt as part of Thomas meeting the new me

Once I had settled on the pants and shoes I would be wearing and had them all set out, I decided to text him where I wanted to go. His favorite place when we had been dating was a seafood shack that had been built across the street from this really nice park. We could go for a walk there before or after if he wanted. I took a deep breath, not knowing why I was suddenly so nervous, and pressed the little send icon. My heart was thumping loudly in my chest as I waited for him to text me back. He did almost immediately and I could practically hear how happy he is through his text.

Chapter Two

We officially set the date for tomorrow evening so I spent what remained of my day thinking about him. I felt bad I hadn’t thought of him much in this life but up until now I hadn’t been sure I’d choose him again. All it took was seeing him again to make me completely realize he was probably the only good choice I had made back then. Now it was a little worrisome to think about the fact there may be a price for this redo I didn’t know about yet. I fell asleep watching tv and thankfully the next day passed quickly so before I knew it I was in my car, driving toward the restaurant.

I was going to blow this date out of the park, at least I hoped so. I saw him standing by his car when I pulled into the parking lot. I was early and I wondered how early he must have gotten here. He wore a huge smile as I pulled into the space beside him and opened my car door for me “Hey Milena”

“Hey Thomas” I say as I get out of my car. He shuts the door and I lock it. My hearts thudding again and I know him well enough to see the signs of how nervous he actually is about this date. “You look beautiful” I smile and he blushes “thank you, lets go inside” I had thought about telling him how handsome he was too but I was a little worried about flirting too much more than I had on our actual first date.

The Chart House was nice and had a beautiful view of the park as well as the river behind it. We’re quickly greeted and given a seat in booth which gives us more privacy. I smile at him and he gives me one back, a mix of happiness and nervousness. “So, how was your day?” He asks.

“Good, yours?”

“Good, same as always.”

“So, is this place okay?”

“Yeah, I actually really like their food. I was surprised you picked it.”

“I wanted to try something different. I usually go for burgers and fries, but this place sounded good.”

“Cool.” We look through our menus and he throws me a couple of suggestions that are more along the lines of what I like. I had forgotten how kind and considerate he is and I once again feel that tinge of regret seeping it. I really had taken him for granted.

The food tasted amazing and we talked all through dinner. It certainly helped that this go around I knew everything he liked so could easily bring up stuff he was interested in. Once we requested the bill I brought up the park “would you like to go over to the park and walk with me? I’m having a really good time so…I’m not really ready for our time together to end” He smiled again “Yeah, I’m enjoying tonight too.” It was so touching to see him this happy. He paid and then we headed over. I took his hand, almost out of habit. I felt like we were already married again though I knew we weren’t. If he followed the same time line as last time I was looking at three years of dating before we were married.

He holds my hand firmly and we happily walk, talking just as we had over dinner. We stayed out until the early hours of the morning, not even realizing it was so late until it was two in the morning “woah, I’m so sorry” he says and I comfort him “I can call out of work tomorrow. It’s okay, it’s more than okay really. This is the best evening out I’ve ever had…I mean it” I suddenly feel like crying and I hope I dont. I’ll just look like a weirdo if I cry and possibly make it so we don’t end up together.

He smiles. “I feel the same.” He rubs the back of his neck, looking nervous and unsure. “I…it’s like I don’t know, I’ve known you for years. It’s weird right? It’s…”

A loud clicking sound captures both of our attention and we turn around, my eyes widening at the gun pointed at us. The man holding it looks crazed, desperate and he demands out money. We’re both so frozen that he points the gun at me. “Give me everything or I shoot her.”

I open my mouth to tell him okay, but Thomas moves, grabbing the man’s arm. I don’t know what to do and I don’t have time to do anything because the gun goes off and Thomas stumbles back, his hand clamped to his throat. The mugger runs and Thomas falls. I scream then as I drop down next to him. This can’t be happening. This isn’t fair. “Thomas, no, please, please.” I press my hand to his throat, his blood warm as it seeps between my fingers.

He smiles up at me, his hand comes up, his fingers brushing my cheek and then it drops away and everything stops. “He really is brave isn’t he?” She looks up, her eyes meeting those of the creature’s.

“You…please you can’t just let him die.”

He cocks his head. “Why not? You didn’t even want him.”

I shake my head. “That’s not true, I’m sorry, but please don’t take him from me. I’ll give you anything. My body, my soul, but please don’t take him. I was selfish with him before, I know that now.”

He looks pleased and if I wasn’t cradling Thomas’s head, I would attack him. “It’s so rare for someone to understand, to realize how important some people are. I have made many deals and few have proved to be as selfless as you. Saving your best friend and now Thomas.” He taps his chin as if contemplating. “Alright, one more chance, but only one. You save him, you keep him.” I nod my head then suddenly find myself standing next to Thomas again.

“…I’ve known you for years, I…”

I only have minutes so I reach for my wallet right there, ready to give it to the mugger. He barely has time to demand our money before I’m shoving it in the mans hand “please just take it” The bastard that murdered Thomas just moments ago runs off and I turn to Thomas “are you okay”

“Lets just get out of here. We need to go to the police and give them a description” We run back to our cars and I cry as we drive to the police station. Seeing him dead destroyed my heart and I realize now more than ever how much I need and love Thomas. I wonder where the creature is right now. It seems he might stay near me since he came upon the scene so fast. I hope next time I see him he allows me to ask questions.

When we arrive at the station Thomas and I describe the man as best we can then they help me cancel all the cards I had in my wallet. I didn’t think police did that sort of thing but maybe we had a particularly caring police force in our town. By the time we walk out it’s almost five am so I ask Thomas “would you come back to my place and sit with me…I don’t want to be alone” I can’t have hhim out of my sight, not after seeing him die.

“Of course, whatever you want.”

I give him directions to my home once we’re back in his car, barely stopping myself from crying again. I’m relieved when we finally pull into the driveway and we get out, him following me, obviously worried about me. I’m exhausted and upset, my heart still twisted at what I had witnessed. It was my fault because I had dared to go back and start over. “Milena?” Thomas’s voice makes my heart quicken and I turn to look at him. He must have seen something in my eyes because he pulled me into him and I feel the tears fill my eyes again. “It’s okay Milena, it’s okay.”

“It’s not, I could have lost you.” Again. I think.

“I’m not going anywhere, I promise.” He pulled back, giving me a a reassuring smile and I kiss him without thinking. He pulls back in surprise and I press my face into his chest.

“I…I’m sorry. I’m just so relieved, sorry.”

“don’t be sorry…you just surprised me”

“I’m just so emotional over what could have happened”

“thankfully you were fast. It was almost like you knew what was going to happen” A small part of me wants to tell him that I did but that was our first date and I want us to be together again. The last thing I need is for Thomas to think I’m crazy so I wont tell him for now but one day I want to. It’ll mean having to tell him that I agreed to reset my life and I hope that doesn’t hurt him too badly but if anybody deserves honesty it’s this wonderful man that’s standing here holding a woman he barely knows.

When he lets me go I’m still embarrassed to look at him but I try to tell myself that he isn’t upset about the kiss. Knowing him it wasn’t only shock. He was probably worried about me doing something I’d regret since I was so upset. He had always been a gentleman and apparently one that was willing to die for me.

“You should call your boss, tell them what happened and get some sleep.”

“I don’t think I can sleep, I’m too scared.”

“Um…well, why don’t we cuddle on the couch or something. You could sleep like that right?”

His nervousness brings a small smile to my lips and I nod. “Yeah, thank you.”

“You never have to thank me.”

I pull back. “I mean it, Thomas, thank you, you’re so sweet and amazing.”

“Well, it’s easy when it’s you.” He looks embarrassed.

I hug myself to him one more time, thankful he’s alive, still unable to get that image out of my head. I know it’ll haunt me the rest of my life, nearly losing him like that. The fact the creature gave me another chance still astounds me and I won’t waste it. I finally pull away from him, grabbing the phone off the cradle and heading to my room to change into something more comfortable.

I text my boss then grab a pair of pajama pants I actually feel cute in and the matching spaghetti strap top. I wish I kept any mens pajama pants but alas I have none and I hate he’ll have to sleep in his date clothes. When I’m back in the living room with him I say “I wont be uncomfortable if you take your shirt off. Are you sure you don’t want to run grab something to sleep in?”

“I’ll be fine, these jeans will be alright, especially if you really don’t mind my shirt being off” I had slept with him shirtless countless times, hell, we had had sex countless times already, he just didn’t know that. He took off his shirt and settled on the couch so i joined him, relaxing into his warmth as he holds me. “Thank you so much Thomas”

“If that mugger hadn’t come it would have been the best date of my life…you don’t have to keep thanking me…I’m happy to be here holding you Milena”

“Even so, thank you for everything.” I snuggle into him, my head resting on his chest. “You’re the best thing that’s happened to me.” I’m so tired I’m rambling, but I don’t care. It’s the truth and I allow myself to drift off, hoping he realizes how much he means to me. I wake with a start around lunch time still in his arms and find myself blushing. I don’t want to move, I just want to savor his closeness, his warmth, to feel him alive there with me. He shifts a little bit, his arms tightening around me for a moment, a little sigh of breath pushing past his lips and then he wakes.

“Milena? You awake?” He asks softly.

“Yeah.” I reply, my heart fluttering in my chest.

“Did you sleep alright?”

“Yeah, thanks to you.”

He chuckles, giving me a squeeze. “I didn’t do much.”

“You did more than you know.”

“You hungry? Is there anything here I can cook?”

“we can order take out. I just want to stay like this” He sleepily smiles “Okay, isn’t there a good chinese place near here?”

“yeah”

“I’ll pay again, I can even get you groceries or something while you’re waiting for new cards”

“Paying for take out would be wonderful but I have cash in my dresser. It’s how I save money. Putitng it in savings through the bank is too tempting because I see it all the time so I take out cash every now and then and put it in a piggy bank. I should have at least six hundred by now. I haven’t touched it in quite awhile.”

“alright…but, I’d be happy to help with anything should you need it” I knew that all too well. Thomas was possibly the most giving man in the universe. Once we knew what we wanted I called the chinese place and ordered our food.

They said it should be about fifteen minutes.” I say as I go and take my spot next to him.

“Want me to hold you some more?” He asks and I smile as I scoot closer, letting him pull me into his arms. “This okay?” I nod as I lean forward and grab the TV controller, switching it on and clicking on Hulu. I don’t really care what we watch, I just want to spend time with him. He runs his fingers through my hair as we watch TV and only stops when I let him know I need to go pick up our food.

“I’ll go get it.” He says, stretching. “Besides your car is still at the restaurant.”

“Well, why don’t we both go, then you can take me to get my car and we can come back here and eat.”

“Sounds good.” He reaches out and tucks my hair behind my ear, causing me to blush. He looks a little embarrassed, but smiles anyway. There’s some much sincerity in his touch, so much genuine affection that it makes my heart dance happily in my chest.

We end up kissing again and the urge to just tear my clothes off rises once more. I want to make love like we used to, better than we used to. I know I can even do that better now, especially for him. I wasn’t very interested in sex in my last life but being with him now I’ve never wanted it more. I still stop, reminding myself it’s too soon. We both soon leave for our cars and grab our food, the first afternoon of hopefully countless we will spend together. I love Thomas, he’s my soulmate and there is nothing in this world that will ever make me leave him again.

~ The End

Ebisu & Eva

Chapter One

It wasn’t the young twenty something walking into the bank that bothered Ebisu or the fact that the man decided to fire a round into the ceiling to scare the customers, it was the fact he seemed completely oblivious to the fact he had caused Ebisu’s six year old daughter to start crying. “Everyone on the floor now!” The would be robber screamed and everyone but Ebisu dropped. The young man bristled at him, glaring as he leveled the gun at the one who dared defy him. “I said, down.” Ebisu sighed. All he had wanted was to finish running errands and get back home. He shushed his daughter as he turned his back on the robber and walked up to the counter, smiling at one of the bank tellers. “Hey, down or I’ll shoot!”

“Excuse me miss, could you possibly watch my daughter for me?”

She came out of her shock, giving him a look of confusion. “Sure.”

“Thank you Miss.” He lifted his daughter over the counter and into the arms of the teller who sat down with her.

“Hey man what are you stupid?!”

Ebisu felt the gun poke into his back and he gave another sigh. He was almost a blur of speed as he moved, twisting around and grabbing the barrel of the gun, the metal disintegrating in his grasp and slipping between his fingers in a fine powder. His other hand came around balled in a fist, catching the robber in the jaw and sending him flying back, a dazed look on his face. Ebisu pinned him to the floor with a foot on his chest and grinned down at him, pitching his voice low enough that only he could hear. “Look at me, boy.” He ordered and the man managed to focus on him. “I was the Red Wolf of Damocles and making my daughter cry is the last thing someone should ever do.” Terror registered on the man’s face. Retired or not, Ebisu’s history of super villainy proceeded him.

“I…I…I’m sorry, I’ll leave, please, let me leave.” Ebisu put more pressure on his chest.

“Don’t ever do shit like this again and if you ever, somehow, make my daughter cry again there will be nothing that can save you. Get up, apologize to my little girl and get the hell out of here.” Nobody else knew precisely what was going on. Ebisu’s tone hadn’t risen, not wanting to scare his daughter any more than she already was. Ebisu removed his foot, ready to do worse to this man if he forced it but the now much wiser coward got up apologized and ran like a bat out of hell from the bank. Everyone clapped and his daughter pushed out of the woman’s arms to get to her father.

He went to her, eager to comfort Branwen. Nothing hurt quite like seeing his daughter or wife cry. “Shhh, you know I’d never let anybody hurt you Branwen, everything is alright.” She was already calming but still, the only thing keeping him from chasing that man down was Eva. He had promised her long ago he’d never be who he once was again and he’d never risk what he had, not for anything in the world. He hoped she wouldn’t be upset he told the man to run but he couldn’t look at him another second and knew his daughter would feel better faster if the man wasn’t around.

Ebisu’s next stop was the ice cream shop where he bought his daughter a cone to help her feel better. He was a lot calmer now so went to the store to get the things Eva needed. Branwen seemed more at ease, back to her cheerful self and he was glad the experience wouldn’t scar her. He worried about what she might think when she learned about his past, about how many banks he had robbed, how many heroes he had defeated, and just how terrifying he really was. His phone rang as he finished getting Branwen buckled into her seat and he smiled at Eva’s name.

“Hello love.” He answered.

“Are you two okay? I was told our bank was nearly robbed.” Her voice was a mix of worry and anger.

“We’re fine baby, Branwen got scared, but I handled it.”

She was silent for a moment. “You didn’t seriously hurt anyone did you? I mean not that I’d blame you with Bran there.”

“Nah, I just scared the jerk, dropped my villain name, and made him apologize. I think he broke the record for person to run from me the fastest.”

“Ebisu.” Even though she was reprimanding him, he could hear the laugh in her voice.

“I promise, we’re fine. I was just about to head home and get dinner started for my perfect wife.”

She smiled again, her heart warming at how constantly sweet he was. “Thank you Ebisu.” She loved her work as a cop and it had been her life before him. Now, she was always excited to get home. She would have never imagined a man who was once a super villain could be such an amazing husband and father, but she felt incredibly lucky. He warmed her heart especially since they had their daughter Branwen. She could see it in his eyes the day Branwen came into the world that she was instantly a big piece of his heart and that he’d do anything to make sure she was always safe and happy.

“Just hurry home for me. Branwen and I miss you.”

“Alright, it wont be too long.” They hung up and Ebisu headed home. He got Branwen set up with some of her toys then began cooking, sticking his head into the living room every now and then to make sure she was okay. She was a good girl but she had a little bit of his mischievousness at times. It amused him, but only when it didn’t result in Branwen getting injured.

Eva grabbed her sweater and left the minute her shift was over, waving at everyone she passed as she headed out. Even though she knew Ebisu and Branwen were safe, she wanted to see them for herself. The smell of food hit her nose when she walked through the front door and she could hear Ebisu talking to Branwen as he got her set up at the table. He raised his head and smiled at her when she walked in, meeting her halfway across the room to give her a kiss.

“How was your day?” He wrapped his arms around her, smiling lovingly at her.

“My day? What about you guys?”

“Oh you know,” he lowered his voice, “villains taking out villains.”

“I don’t know, what you did was pretty heroic.”

He chuckled. “My poor reputation.”

“Silly, I love you.”

“I love you too.” He gave her another kiss then let her go so she could check on Branwen and they could sit and eat.

Eva was relieved Branwen was okay. She could only imagine how scared she had been. When they were finished eating, Eva took her to bathe and get in her pajamas and pick out a story while Ebisu cleaned up.

Branwen was definitely herself as she playfully took a bath. Eva giggled as she made attempts to wash her. It was the weekend so there wasn’t any hurry to get Bran in bed so Eva was completely patient, letting it go at her daughter’s pace. Getting pajamas on her was much faster after the bath was over because Branwen was eager for her story. She was eager to hear one of the books she had checked out from the library. They had barely started when Ebisu joined them, sitting at the end of the bed while Branwen and Eva were cuddled at the head of the bed. She had picked a chapter book so it lasted until little Branwen was out for the night. Eva kissed her head, carefully moved out of bed then marked their place. “Goodnight sweetheart.” She whispered, leaving the room with her husband.

“Want to take a shower with me?” Ebisu asked as they made their way down the hall to their room.

“Sounds good. I think I need one.”

Ebisu lifted her, making her giggle as he carried her to their bathroom. He lowered her feet to the floor and she started undressing as he got the water adjusted. “Hey, that’s my job.”

“Well maybe if you were faster. Getting slow?”

“You wish.” He slowly took the rest of her clothes off, letting his fingers run over her exposed skin as he did it. He grinned at her goosebumps and pressed light kisses to her lips, down her neck, and over her shoulder.

“Ebisu, get undressed silly.”

“Sorry, you’re just so beautiful I forgot.” He pulled back, tugging his own clothes off, handing her into the tub and then stepping in behind her. “I’m not slow by the way, you can ask that bank robber.”

“I probably will once he’s captured. The bank cameras caught his face, so I was told.”

“Mmhmm, idiot didn’t even wear a mask. What an amateur.”

“Few villains put as much thought into what they are trying to do as you did. However, that certainly is a high level of stupid.” He began kissing Eva again, pressing his lips randomly across her skin. “I think you had ulterior motives when you invited me to shower.” Her voice was filled with amusement as she spoke. She felt him grin against her skin before he moved to rest his forehead against hers.

“You’re a hard woman to resist in clothes. It’s near impossible when you’re naked…I did just want to shower before, but please indulge me now. I need you.” Her face heated and he smiled again. “I love you Eva.”

“I love you too.” She gave into him, trying to be as quiet as possible despite the fact their daughter was sleeping. She never wanted to endure the nightmare of Branwen hearing them and going to investigate what was happening. Ebisu made being silent an onerous task with how good he always made her feel, but she still did her best. Ebisu came with a shudder and a loud moan of his own. Wanting to just enjoy the feeling and being in there with her he just stood there awhile, holding Eva who was still breathing heavy.

“Ebisu.” She prompted softly.

“Yeah?”

“The water is going to get cold baby.”

He laughed, rubbing their noses. “That’s okay, cold water’s invigorating.”

“Maybe to a villain.” She teased.

He let out another laugh, pressed a kiss to her lips then lowered her so they could wash. He dried her when they got out, wanting any excuse to touch her, then dried himself and carried her to bed and cuddled close to her. “I love you, Eva.”

“I love you too.”

“It’s the weekend, let’s take Branwen somewhere or have a date night or both. I could get Myles to watch her.”

“Isn’t he still a hero?”

“On break, he injured his shoulder saving a woman from an explosion. Fell out of a window and used his body as a buffer so she wouldn’t get hurt. He has his apprentice doing all the work until he heals up.”

“How did you find that out?”

“He called me bored.”

“Poor guy, his favorite villain retires and now he doesn’t know what to do.”

 

Chapter Two

Ebisu had laughter in his voice as he said, “Well we’ll give him something to do, take care of our little girl so we can go out on a date.”

“That would be really nice, a date tomorrow then we’ll make Sunday a family day.”

He gave her a long kiss. “Let me shoot him a text before we get too relaxed.” Ebisu found his cellphone and wrote out a text. He wasn’t too anxious about the response so he simply set it back down and cuddled up to Eva in bed. Neither was too incredibly tired but most nights they enjoyed just cuddling and talking until they fell asleep.

In the morning Ebisu had several texts from Myles, all indicating he was interested and wanting to know more about when and where. He didn’t much feel like talking, but he decided just to call so he wouldn’t have to check his phone during breakfast. As soon as Myles answered Ebisu said, “As soon as you can get over here would be great. She’s an easy kid and I really want to show Eva a good time today.”

“You know it’ll take me no time at all.”

“Use your car, no need to further injure yourself because you were in a hurry.”

“Alright, alright, be there soon.”

“So?” Eva asked.

“He’s coming.” Ebisu sat down at the kitchen table. “How do you feel about spending time with a superhero, Melody?”

“Sounds fun. Can we beat up bad guys like you did?”

Both Ebisu and Eva chuckled. “Maybe when you’re older, sweetheart.” He wondered how she would feel about her ex super villain daddy, if she would be scared or fascinated. He had to admit, he sometimes missed the uniform, the mask, and even the action, but he wouldn’t trade it for anything.

They ate breakfast and hungout with their daughter until they heard Myles knocking at the door. Ebisu got up, wanting to greet his old adversary himself. “Ebisu, looks like married life if suiting you well.” Myles said as he walked in the door. A family picture caught his eye and he walked right over to it. “Aw.”

Eva entered the living room now, Branwen right beside her. “This is Branwen, Branwen, this is Myles.” Just as Eva finished the introduction Branwen ran to Myles.

“You have to tell me all your stories, please.”

“Of course little one. It will be a good way to pass time.”

“Try not to make me too evil.” Ebisu said, lowering his voice so only Myles could hear him. “I mean, I did beat you up a lot.”

Myles slapped him on the back, nearly jolting Ebisu forward. He hadn’t forgotten how strong Myles was, not after being on the receiving end of his fists. He gave a chuckle. “You know you were my arch nemesis, I’d never speak ill of you. I mean what a challenge.”

“And remember, don’t tell her the Red Wolf was me. I want to have that discussion with her myself.”

“You have my word. You two just have fun and stay out of trouble.”

“Hey, trouble finds me, not the other way around, at least these days. If you need anything, just call.”

“Awe, how cute, the Red Wolf is such an adorable dad.” He turned to Eva. “You have my word, your daughter will be safe and we’ll have a blast.”

“Just don’t hurt yourself, Branwen has Ebisu’s penchant for mischief.”

Myles chuckled. “Then today will be more fun than I anticipated.”

Eva smiled as they walked out. “I really like him.”

“He was my favorite to fight against.”

“It’s nice you two can be on such good terms.” She said as they both sat down in the car, Ebisu in the drivers seat.

“It’s probably because we respected each other even back then.”

“You should let him actually hangout with us sometime.”

“I’m a little afraid something will slip out before I have the talk with Branwen…I really want it broken to her gently.”

“She’ll still love you Ebisu. She’ll probably be proud you gave it all up when we fell in love and have stayed on this path because you now love both of us so much.”

“I hope so, going back wouldn’t be worth losing the two of you.” Eva changed the topic to something happier as her husband drove. Today was date day and she didn’t want him stressing.

She gave him a sweet, touched smile when they pulled up to the place they first met. “Ebisu.”

“What?…oh…oh that’s right we met here.”

“Yeah, you totally forgot and so happened to bring me here.”

He winked. “Totally.”

“If I remember correctly I was trying to arrest you.”

“In the middle of a fight and I bravely rescued you.”

“The first step to you being a hero.”

He chuckled. “Come on, let’s walk around.”

They got out and he went around to her, letting his arm slide over her shoulders to pull her close. One of his favorite memories was of the first time he had seen her. He had been fighting another villain, a guy who thought to best the Red Wolf, when she had pulled up in her cruiser. She had had her gun in her hands and had been yelling at them to freeze. His opponent had attacked her and he had saved her. He fell for her the moment their eyes met and he hadn’t known what to do with himself. “Houston to the Red Wolf, are you there?” Eva waved her hand in front of his face and he grabbed it, pressing a kiss to her fingers.

“Sorry, just thinking. You have no idea how much meeting you has changed my life. I never even thought of getting married or having kids or being normal.”

“You’re far from normal.”

He chuckled. “You know what I mean. The day I met you I had to know you and I did whatever it took to get close to you.”

It was her turn to laugh. “I remember, you robbed a bank, returned the money with an anonymous letter, followed me home like a puppy, bought me flowers, and finally took off your mask. What was it you said again?”

“Now you know my face so now you can arrest me anytime, but please give me one date before you do.”

 

Final Chapter

“That was impossible to say no to, its what really made me fall in love with you. It showed how important being around me was to you”

“You mean more and more to me every day. I don’t think I could breathe anymore without you and our daughter.”

She kissed his cheek. “Taking me here was so sweet. I’m glad you did.” The couple continued walking and talking until Ebisu received a text. It was pictures, one of Branwen then a few others of things they were making together. Below the pictures was another text, “she wanted you to see” He messaged back, telling Myles to let their daughter know they thought her buildings were cool then they decide to leave. Ebisu was ready for the next part of their date day.

Eva’s heart did a little dance when he pulled into the parking lot of the large mall and she leaned over to kiss him, making him let out a little chuckle. “Are you taking me to all of our firsts?”

“Maybe or maybe I just want you to think I am.”

They got out and made their way inside, his arm once again around her shoulders. The mall housed an ice skating rink surrounded by different stores and even a couple of arcades. Their first date had been here, on the ice and in the arcade, the whole day was just them running around the large mall until Eva was exhausted. “So, ice skating, arcade, food, or wandering around? I’ll do whatever you want.”

“I say arcade since it also has food then ice skating. You can show off all your moves like last time.”

“Last time I was trying to impress you.”

“Well it worked.”

The arcade was a little busier today than he had hoped, but it was still fun to be back here with Eva. It was music to his ears when she would laugh and when they decided to eat, the food was actually a little better than last time. They let it digest a little while they talked before heading over to the ice skating rink and renting themselves each a pair skates. Eva was excited to watch him again, especially since the ice rink only had a few people in it besides them so they really had space to do what they wanted.

“I still got it, told you I wasn’t slowing down.” Ebisu said when they stopped to take a break.

“Alright, I admit, you’re still just as amazing as then.”

He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her into him. “I’m more amazing because you’re here.”

“Ebisu.”

“I mean it.”

“You’re way too sweet. Are you sure you used to be a villain?”

“I’m beginning to wonder.”

They were about to head back out onto the ice, Ebisu wanting to dance with her when they were interrupted. “Red?” Ebisu turned, letting out a little sigh at the man approaching them across the ice. “It is you.”

“Oh, hey, long time no see.”

“Small world.” The man’s eyes moved to Eva. “And who is this?”

“Eva, Tarren and Tarren, this is Eva, my wife.”

“Wife? Really? Amazing.” Tarren said, surprised. “Sorry, I used to be this guys second.” He held out his hand and Eva shook it.

“The press used to call you his wolflings.”

“I know, embarrassing right? Wow, married and not in prison, what a small world.”

“We’re kind of on a date.” Ebisu said, giving Tarren a look.

“Oh, my bad. It’s just I thought you were locked up or dead or something.”

“I just gave all that up…I live a different life now.”

“Hm, well, I guess I’ll see you around.” Tarren walked off, but tension still hung in the air.

“Ebisu, why so tense. He was trying to be friendly.”

“I know I’m an ass for saying it, but I don’t trust him, especially since I’m sure he still gets into mischief. I don’t want to hang around him.”

She smiled, giving him a kiss. “I think you could be good even if he is still bad. More importantly, maybe he isn’t.”

“Well then I’ll be nicer next time, but today is our date day. I don’t care who sees us out I want this to just be us.” She kissed him again then rested her head on his shoulder. They were soon back on the ice, not quite ready to stop completely yet.

They stopped when they were both hungry, quickly turning in their ice skates then heading over to the food court. “What would you like my love?”

“Curry soup?”

“Whatever you want.”

“What about you?”

“I want one of those mushroom cheddar burgers.”

She smiled, making his heart dance. It wasn’t a surprise he had given up villainy for her. “It’s a wonder you don’t get fat.”

“The food’s just too afraid to try.”

They went and got her food first and she found a place for them to set while he ordered his burger. He kept glancing back at her, making sure she was safe. After seeing Tarren, he was on high alert. He knew Eva would tell him it was alright, but he had spent years being the best of the best and being on alert was just instinct.

Eva noticed, smiling at how adorable and caring he was. Even though he had tried so hard to win her over, even she hadn’t expected back then that he’d make such a wonderful life partner. Her phone went off so she checked it, smiling at the fact Myles was sending more pictures of what they were doing. Since she was just waiting at the table she decided to text back “she looks so happy, thanks again. You don’t have to keep sending pictures though. We trust you” She closed her message then went back to the pictures, admiring what an adorable little girl she had.

“What has you looking so happy my love?” Ebisu asked as he sat down next to her and she showed him the picture of Branwen.

He grinned, giving a chuckle. “Myles already has her ready to fight crime.” Branwen looked cute with the sheet tied around her shoulders and the mask he knew Myles had helped make sitting on top of her head.

“It looks like your old mask, but pink and black.”

“The Pink Wolf. It’s got an adorable ring to it. It’s kind of perfect, bad guys won’t know what to expect.”

Eva’s laugh had butterflies brushing his insides. It was so beautiful, like music, so full of her love and joy that he couldn’t help but lean over and kiss her. “What was that for?” She asked.

“For being so perfect.”

“I am pretty amazing.”

“More than you know. You’re my hero Eva.”

“Oh stop.”

“I mean it, you saved me from my old life.”

“And in return I’m living a fairy tale so we both won.”

Ebisu was relieved there was still no sign of his old partner when they finished their food. He checked the time. “I’m sure Myles wont care if we look around the mall. I did tell him I wanted to make a day out of this.”

“He does seem to be doing well with Branwen. All he wants in return is to be able to come around. You should really give him that. I think it would be fun.”

“If he’ll give me more days like today sure, we can even let him come with us on family day tomorrow I suppose.”

“I bet he’d really like that. You’re so sweet.”

“Only for you two.”

They walked at a leisurely pace around the mall, Ebisu letting Eva pull him into any store that caught her attention. They wound up in a toy store and he chuckled when she got caught up in the action figures. “Oh look, there’s one of Myles.” She said quietly. “Do you think we should buy one for Bran?”

“Then I’d have to look at him every day.” Ebisu’s voice was full of false exasperation. “Branwen might try beating me up with him.”

Eva giggled. “Ebisu, stop, you dork.”

“Well if you want her to get that, then I’m getting her that.” He pointed at the giant stuffed animals and went over, picking up a huge unicorn. “She can beat me up with Myles and suffocate you with Mister Rainbow here.”

“Mister Rainbow?”

“It’s the perfect name for a unicorn.”

“Alright then, deal.”

They purchased the action figure and stuffed animal before finally deciding to go home. They were both excited to give them to their daughter. Also, while they loved getting out for a date, they missed little Bran. It felt weird being away from her, even just for a day. Myles was surprised they were back when he answered the door. “You could have stayed out longer.”

“We found gifts for Branwen. We were too excited to wait.” Myles smiled and moved so they could enter their home.

“Presents?” Branwen asked excitedly, still in her hero cape and mask.

Ebisu pulled out the unicorn from behind his back. “Meet Mister rainbow.”

Her little face lit up as she hugged the stuffed animal. “I love it!”

“I have something for you too.” Eva said, causing Branwen to gasp with excitement.

Eva showed her and Myles smile grew wide. “You guys didn’t?”

Ebisu shrugged. “It was Eva’s idea and I guess if she’s going to be idolizing any hero, it might as well be you. Even if you’re clumsy enough to injure yourself.”

Myles slapped him on the back then pulled him into a headlock. “I’ll make sure she does you proud, just send her my way once she graduates high school.”

“Let me go before I disintegrate your pants.”

Myles chuckled and released him. “Afraid I’ll win.”

“You’re just lucky I’m retired.” He fixed his shirt. “Also, we wanted to know if you would like to join us tomorrow on our family day. Since you’re going to be babysitting when you’re not fighting crime.”

“Am I now?”

“Of course.” He turned to Branwen. “Hey sweetie, would you like Myles to be your full time babysitter?”

“Yes!” She said excitedly.

“See, Myles and you know you can’t just go disappointing my little angel.”

“Low blow, Ebisu, but I’ll do it.” Myles laughed and leaned down, lowering his voice. “Are you sure you’re retired?”

“Absolutely.”

The following day was just as amazing as that had been, even with the extra company. Ebisu had been reluctant to let his old adversary in his life but it seemed like it just might be a really nice new chapter for them. He could now have a date night worry free and little Bran seemed to adore Myles. There still wasn’t any sign of his old minion either which was good by Ebisu planned to stay vigilant, at least for awhile. He knew better than to just take at face value Tarren would just leave them alone. A good villain made plans before doing something and Tarren had always been intelligent.

~ The End

Keltie & Kepu 2

Chapter One

“Kepu, where are we going?” Keltie asked as she relaxed into her husband.

“It’s a surprise.”

“A surprise?”

“Yes, so please just relax and enjoy the walk.”

She laughed. “I’m hardly walking. It’s almost like I don’t have feet at all.” She teased.

Kepu blushed. “You know I love carrying you. I can’t help it, having you against me makes me happy.”

There was no denying how sweet he was. Her big, teddy bear of a man. “I’ve never known you to keep secrets, Kepu.”

“I just want to spend some time alone with you. The children love visiting so I thought maybe we could get away for awhile, just us.”

She was blushing now, her heart fluttering in her chest. “I love you.” It was all she could think to say.

“I love you too.” He bent and pressed a kiss to the top of her head then she let herself just relax into him, her head resting against his chest and listening to the steady beating of his heart.

She actually grew tired from the gentle sway as he walked and the rhythm of his heart. Not to mention the comfort of simply being in his arms. She fought off rest though, she wanted to be alert and ready to take in wherever they were going. She let her mind wander through the possibilities and even to her kids, especially their youngest Alborz. He was well into being a grown man at this point but he was still her baby. When her thoughts wandered to their only daughter it was once again worrying if she’d ever find someone. She hated how hard it was for her being a 6 foot tall woman. It didn’t upset Umiko now, but Keltie hoped her daughter could find someone before it did start to bother her.

Kepu stayed alert as he walked, listening for any signs of danger, particularly hungry predators. They generally left him alone, but hunger could drive the most timid animals to madness and though Keltie was capable of protecting herself, he wouldn’t risk her. She let out a sigh, her cheek rubbing over his chest and his heart skipped a beat at the love and contentment coming off of her. It washed over him and he wondered how he had managed to get so lucky. He bent his head and kissed her forehead, making her smile up at him. “What was that for?” She asked.

“For being so amazing.”

“You really love me don’t you?”

“Of course I do, you can feel it right?”

She giggled. “Of course silly.” She let her fingers drift lovingly over his cheek. “How far are we going? I’m so excited, I want to run ahead.”

“It’s not too much further, you’ll love it. It’s very you.”

“Very me? Now I’m really curious.”

His face warmed. “It’s wild and beautiful I mean.”

She smiled, her heart warming at the fact he was still so sweet and thoughtful after all these years. She knew not everyone was as blessed as her when it came to their relationship. Keltie could tell it meant a lot to him to surprise her so she quit asking. She simply enjoyed the moment she was in. They came across some fruit Kepu knew could be eaten safely so he asked, “Would you like to eat a little since this is much easier than hunting?”

“Sure, I’m a little hungry and I’d rather wait as long as possible once we’re there to waste fun time hunting.” He set her down and they ate their fill before he attempted to take her in his arms again. “Could I ride on your shoulders?”

He smiled as he lifted her up, setting her on him. “Comfortable?”

“Yep.”

Keltie enjoyed their surroundings and ran her fingers lovingly through Kepu’s hair as he walked, leaving him feeling relaxed. When they drew closer to their destination, he lifted her down and back into his arms. “You have to close your eyes.”

“But then how am I supposed to see it?” She teased, loving his blush. If only people knew how easy he was to embarrass, how adorable he actually was.

“Keltie, please?”

“I’m only playing my love.” She closed her eyes and he started walking again. The forest opened up and he made his way downhill, only stopping when he was in the middle of where he wanted to take her. “Can I look?” She asked.

“Yes.”

Keltie opened her eyes and covered her mouth as she gasped. He sat her on her feet and she turned, taking in the emerald green grass and towering above them the caps of giant red mushrooms with vines wound around their trunks. Pale white flowers sprang from them and hummingbirds and bees flitted among their petals. They stood next to a pool of water and she reached down, letting her fingers play over the glass like surface, sending small ripples across it. She turned back to Kepu, jumping into his arms and lifted her so she could kiss him. “This is amazing. When did you find this?”

“On a hunting trip with your brother. I asked him to keep it a secret.”

“You’re so sweet, Kepu.”

“We can sleep under the mushrooms and the pool is fed by an underground stream so we have plenty of fresh water.”

“It’s perfect, thank you so much.”

“Your happiness is truly all the thanks I need, well, that and some alone time. I love our kids but I’m looking forward to having you to myself for a bit.” She smiled at him and he bent down to kiss her, feeling how much she wanted to do it again.

“Are the mushrooms strong enough to climb? They look it and I really want to try it”

“I’d imagine they are, lets do it.” He didn’t want her getting hurt, but she looked so excited and it would honestly surprise him if these things couldn’t support their weight. They ran over to one, both being careful not to hurt any wildlife flying around the flowers. Keltie stopped when a hummingbird actually just flew swayingly back and forth beside her. “It’s so cute.” she watched it until it flitted off and then resumed her climb.

When they made it to the top Kepu took her hand. If anything happened he already had her and this was all about being close to her. “This view.” She almost gasped the words.

“It really is gorgeous.”

“If we ever need to move this is where we’re doing it.” Kepu chuckled at her words.

She nearly gave him a heart attack when she jumped to another that was close and she giggled at the look on his face. He couldn’t help it, even after being together for so long he was still careful with her. He always worried he might hold her a little too tightly or something. She coaxed him over and hopped down next to her, immediately pulling her into his arms. She hugged him back and smiled up at him. “Ready to get down my teddy bear?”

“Yes, please, before I turn into a grizzly.”

“I don’t think that’s possible. Sorry I scared you, I’ll try not to do it again.”

He took her face gently in his hands and bent down, pressing a kiss to her lips. “You’re fine, never stop being you, just warn me next time.”

“I will.” She rubbed their noses together. “Come on, let’s explore.”

“Alright my love.”

Keltie made special effort to climb down carefully. She knew he wanted her to always be herself, but she also didn’t want to give him a heart attack. They began to wander around, Keltie tugging Kepu along as they held hands. She kept pointing out different things she saw as they went along, talking excitedly about it all. Kepu just listened, smiling happily at the joy he felt seeing her so happy.

“Oh look at these.” Keltie said as she knelt down in front of a small grouping of gorgeous pink and purple flowers. Their petals looked like small butterflies, so much so Keltie had to touch them to be sure it wasn’t a grouping of them.

She ran around until she was exhausted and flopped down in the grass next to the pool of water with a happy sigh. Kepu chuckled as he sat down next to her and lifted her feet into his lap, removing her boots and letting his fingers move over skin, working what he knew had to be sore muscles. She let out a little moan when he rubbed her calves and his heart stuttered. She giggled, her eyes bright with love and amusement. “I felt that.” She said and he looked away.

“I know, I can’t help it when you make sounds like that.” He wanted her so much sometimes it actually scared him. She leaned up, her fingers gripping his shirt and pulling him down, her lips finding his, causing his heart to dance. “Keltie.”

“I love you, don’t worry so much.” She said softly, her words tinged with embarrassment.

“Sorry, you would think I wouldn’t after all this time. You’re just so precious to me, you…you were the only one who saw me, the real me, the only woman besides my sister who wasn’t intimidated by me. I need you always, Keltie.”

“Then stop worrying because no matter what, I’m not going anywhere.”

They began kissing again, it soon evolving into passion right where they sat. Kepu could never get enough of being with her like this. When they were spent they tugged their clothes back on and cuddled, intending to take a nap so they could explore this place at night. Much to Kelties delight it was sunset when she woke. “Kepu?” She whispered sweetly, kissing his cheek.

He slowly opened his eyes. “Yeah?”

“Come on, it’s sunset. I want to walk around.” They both got up.

“Let me know if you want me to hold you. I know I didn’t massage you much before.”

Keltie giggled, interrupting him. “Well you made me feel really amazing in another way.” She winked, giving him a playful smile that had him blushing. Kepu took her hand and they walked on, Keltie excited and Kepu watchful for danger.

Keltie was easily drawn in by the fireflies and spun in circles to take them all in. “They’re like living stars.” She breathed, her hands coming up to cup one when it got close enough.

Kepu thought she looked beautiful in the firefly’s soft glow and was so captivated by her that he almost didn’t notice the big cat prowling along the edge of forest. “Keltie, could you please come here.” He said, his eyes staying on the large predator. She could feel his shift in emotion and nearly turned around, but he reached out, his fingers wrapping gently around her wrist and tugging her into him.

“What’s wrong?”

“Just a cat, he was stalking you.”

“I should have noticed. So much for being in tune with nature.” She joked.

He turned her around and pointed at the large shadow moving through the trees. “He must have thought you were less dangerous than I.”

“He would have been in for a surprise.” She turned and hugged him. “Thank you for watching my back.”

“I could do nothing else.” He took her hand again. “Come on, I have something else to show you, something you can only see at night.”

Keltie excitedly walked with him, not worried in the slightest even though a wild cat had briefly stalked them. She was going to pay a bit more attention and she knew her ever protective husband would stay alert. She smiled as she once again thought of him as her cuddly grizzly bear. They went a short ways and suddenly she saw it, gorgeous, bright colors swirling in the sky. Sometimes they’d rush down, looking like whatever caused them would hit the earth where they stood but the colors would flow and sway right back up “Oh my goodness.” She gasped.

“Want to lay down and just look up?”

“Yeah.” They laid down and Keltie rested her head on Kepu’s chest. Kepu wrapped his arm around her, resting his hand on her stomach. “I’m so glad we napped today.” Keltie said and Kepu just smiled, feeling blissful. He was glad such beautiful things existed in their world so he could share them with her.

 

Final Chapter

Keltie drifted off to the gentle movements of the colors moving across the sky and Kepu lifted her, carrying her back to the pool and laying her down in the soft grass long enough for him to get a fire started. It was warm, but a fire would keep predators away. He lifted her then found a comfortable spot leaning against a tree and situated her so she sat between his legs, her head resting against his chest. His arms wrapped protectively around her and he scanned the area one more time before allowing himself to drift off.

Keltie was up before him the next day and just lay there soaking up his warmth for a few minutes. She slowly looked up at him and smiled at how peaceful he looked. “Kepu, love?” She said gently as she patted his chest and he jumped awake, looking around. She giggled and could feel his embarrassment. “It’s okay, I’m safe.”

“Sorry.” He pulled her up and buried his nose in her hair. “Did you need something?”

“Breakfast and then maybe we could play in the water for a bit.”

“Of course.”

“You’re so sweet. I really want to bring the kids here someday, I think they’d love it.”

“If they’re anything like you, and I know they are, they will.”

“And any other babies we have.”

He pulled back to look at her. “Do you want more babies?”

She smiled. “Whenever you’re ready.”

“Are you sure, all of them have been kind of big and you were always so exhausted.”

“That’s part of pregnancy, but at least I have a big, strong husband who loves carrying me around.”

“Then we’ll start trying, I promise to help just as much as I did with the four we have.”

“You really are just as good of a dad as you’ve been a husband.” He kissed her head, once again filling with complete happiness. They went hunting together, Keltie not really the kind of wife to just wait by the fire. If their children had been there she would have stayed to sit with them but it was just her and Kepu and the hunt was just another way to explore this place. They killed a small animal, always trying to only take what they needed then quickly prepared it so they could get to swimming and the rest of the fun they knew this day would hold.

Kepu couldn’t help but stare at Keltie when she stripped down and stepped into the pool of water. She was just so breathtaking and he blushed when she turned and smiled at him then splashed him. “Come on silly, you can have me as much as you want later.”

He pulled his clothes off and got in with her, making her laugh when he was able to touch bottom when she couldn’t. “I can’t help I’m a giant.”

“It’s cute and the water’s a lot shallower than it looked.” She splashed him again and he grabbed for her, surprised when she dove down to escape his reach. She came up behind him giggling and he spent the whole time chasing her around, loving every moment, especially when he finally caught her and pulled her tightly against him. They dried themselves under the sun and he insisted she get dressed before they do anything else. Even if no one else showed up, he would hate for her to get hurt because she was naked and she was also such a temptation, he might not let her explore if she ran around with nothing on.

“Better?” She asked with an amused smile once her clothes were on.

“Sorry.”

“I tell you all the time, it makes me feel good how much you want me and I can constantly feel how much I mean to you so there’s nothing to worry about.” They began to wander around again, easily spending another day there. “I’m still not even close to done being here Kepu.”

He chuckled, “Well I’m not in any hurry to leave.” She kissed his shoulder then slowly moved her hand up his torso, grinning at the instant goosebumps she caused. Kepu slid a hand into her hair and brought Keltie into a sensual kiss, eager to make love again. Keltie gently bit his bottom lip as she started to slowly work off his pants.

He laid her down in the grass once they were both naked, pulling back to admire her. He let his hands slide up her legs, his fingers brushing teasingly over her thighs so she let out a breathy moan. He ran them up over her ribs, just marveling at how soft and sensitive she was. “Kepu.” Her voice was soft, needy, and he bent to kiss her as he pushed into her. He got lost in her every emotion, in the love and excited flutter of her heart. Feeling everything she felt was so euphoric and he could see from her expression that she felt the same.

She pushed him gently until he moved onto his back and he couldn’t help the gasp that escaped his lips or the stutter of his heart at how beautiful she looked, his fingers gripping gently to her hips as she moved above him. He pulled her down, his lips locking with hers as he neared his release. He pushed into her a little harder, her quivering heat pushing him over the edge so he flowed into her. He pressed feather light kisses to her face, making her smile when he planted one on the tip of her nose. “I love you Keltie.”

“I love you too.” She rested her head on his chest, catching her breath. “I might not survive to our next child at this rate.” She felt him blush and kissed his chest. “You’re just that amazing.”

“Well if a certain wife wasn’t so beautiful and perfect.”

“Oh so it’s my fault?” She teased.

“Absolutely.” He joked back.

 They laughed together, both willing a new baby into her stomach soon. It had been so long since they had had a child. As she thought about it Keltie suggested, “Lets have more than one. I’d like to start trying again once I feel completely better from the next one. You know Umiko, Ozuru and Zavier got to be kids together. I know Alborz had a good childhood and plenty of friends but I don’t know…I think I kind of regretted having him be a sort of only child, being his siblings were adults. How would you feel about two more kids so the next one can be little with someone else?”“I’ll have ten kids with you if that makes you happy Keltie.”

“Don’t tempt me.”

He pulled her in for another kiss. “Us trying gives me a reason to not feel so guilty for wanting you constantly so truly, as many as you want.” They chuckled together again, feeling completely blissful in the moment.

 Keltie loved the time they spent there, falling more and more in love with the place with every passing moment. She was disappointed when it was time for them to leave and head back home. They both knew if they didn’t their children would start to worry something had happened despite the fact they knew how strong their parents were. She stood there and gave the place one more look, letting out a little sigh and Kepu lifted her, pressing a kiss to her cheek.“Do you want to build a second home here Keltie?” He asked, feeling how sad she was.

“Yeah, but we don’t have to just because I’m upset.”

“Then it’s decided, we’ll tell the kids and have them come and help. I’m sure your brothers would tag along and your father. It’ll be our home away from home. Sound good?”

She kissed him briefly. “You’re truly the best Kepu.” Keltie said softly, feeling touched by how constantly sweet he was.

“I have to be to deserve someone like you.” She relaxed against him, her mind a flurry of layouts for a new home in an area she felt was perfect to live. Sure there was a wildcat problem, but she wasn’t worried about that. She also couldn’t wait to go home and tell her children they would be trying for to more children. She knew they would all be excited. Life had taken another amazing turn and while Keltie would remain excited about the future she wouldn’t forget to cherish every good moment she’d have getting there.

~ The End

Antia & Andrej

Chapter One

Antia stared down sadly at her hands as the carriage drew closer to the dark keep. Her fingers gripped her dress and her heart fluttering in fear. The idea of an arranged marriage was abhorrent to her, even if it was necessary. “You know I wouldn’t ask this of you if there were any other way.” Her father said, his voice tinged with worry.

“I know.” Of course she knew. He was a good man, kind and gentle, he cared for his people like they were his family and what his family needed was peace with one who had once been their enemy.

“He promises not to harm you.”

“He’s a demon king, he could be lying. They are known for their brutality.”

He reached over and placed his hand on hers. “He seems a man of his word. If we are to unite our people then this must be done. I’m sorry, Antia.”

“It’s okay daddy, it’s not your fault.” She gave him a smile, trying not to show her fear. “I’m the oldest, I can do this.” She was terrified of meeting her husband to be, even more terrified to be alone with him. She had heard rumors about him from her father’s soldiers. She swallowed when the carriage pulled to a stop, her heart giving a leap.

“Be brave, Antia.”

“I will.” The door opened and her father climbed out then turned and helped her. Her eyes moved up the stone steps, following the line of the castle to the highest tower. There was a coldness here, but she knew she could do this and if she had to, she would fight him.

She hadn’t thought he was waiting on her, but when they were let inside he was standing just inside the door, his eyes very obviously going over her. She couldn’t read his expression, but she was ready for anything. She wasn’t as quick to trust this as her father seemed to be, but she was willing to try this for her people. If marrying him could stop all the heartache that was caused she was more than willing to at least try. It was just hard for her to trust a man who would accept a bride as a means of peace, a man who she supposed may not be capable of love so could settle for a loveless marriage just to have a wife. If it was to have someone to do his bidding all the time he had another thing coming. She agreed to be a wife, not a servant and she knew her father wouldn’t fault her for demanding his respect.

Fear wouldn’t diminish her self worth so she would demand to be treated properly. “Welcome, it is nice to meet you Antia.” His voice was kinder than she expected, but she wasn’t ready to be put at ease “It’s nice to meet you too Sir Divna.”

“You are to marry me, it makes more sense for you to use my name as well Antia.”

“Alright, Andrej.”

Andrej’s eyes slid from her, to her father. “Larkin.”

“Divna, it’s nice to see you in good health.”

Andrej huffed out a laugh. “No need to lie.” He gestured to the rest of the keep. “I am sure you are both exhausted. Allow me to show you to your rooms and then you can join me for dinner.”

“You’re going to show us?” Antia asked and he let his eyes move back to her. She swallowed at his all too knowing gaze.

“Is there a problem with that princess? I have lived here all my life and I am quite capable.”

“I…very well then.”

He held out his hand to her and it took her a moment to realize he wanted her to take it. She didn’t like she couldn’t tell what he was thinking and she glanced at her father who gave her a nod. She reached out and took his hand and he pulled her close, placing her hand in the crook of his elbow. He guided her away, heading toward the stairs and her father followed behind. “I hope you will find my home to your liking.” He said. “I am sure it will take some getting used to.”

“I’m sure I’ll manage.”

He nodded. Andrej could tell his bride to be didn’t like him. It radiated off of her and she only seemed to tolerate his touch for her father’s sake. He, on the other hand, couldn’t help but notice the warmth of her skin and her sweet scent, he even found her attitude amusing. “If you would like, once we have seen your father off tomorrow, I can give you a tour. I would not want you to get lost.”

“You’re leaving daddy?” She asked as she turned to look behind her.

“Until the wedding, there are things I have to take care of, plus your brothers will want word that everything went well.”

Sadness crept into her heart at the thought of them being alone so soon. She had hoped her father would be around at least a few days so she could have some piece of home before being alone in a strange place to live with a man she only knew by the things she had heard about him. She wondered why he hadn’t told her that so she could better prepare herself emotionally. She knew the entire situation was hard for him as well so maybe it was that. She knew the guilt he felt that it had come to this. He was her father and a loving one at that. She knew he’d prefer her be happily wed to someone she loved, someone with a much better reputation than this man had so she wouldn’t say anything else and she wouldn’t show how her heart ached at the thought of being simply at Andrej’s mercy, or lack there of so soon.

Though she tried her father knew her too well to not notice and he felt even worse but she was determined to do this for their people and he knew if they backed out now things would only be worse between them and Andrej. They soon entered a room that surprised her. She hadn’t expected to be in the dungeon or anything but her room was actually pretty, it was honestly something she would have designed for herself. She might wonder if he had cared enough to decorate, paint and set the room up to her liking but they didn’t know each other, how could he have known how to make a room comfortable for her.

Dinner wont be long, someone will come for you. Just try to relax in here until then Antia. I will be off now to show your father to his room. She didn’t know what to say to him and he didn’t seem to expect her to say anything as he simply walked out of the room and shut the door behind them. She walked around the room, feeling the furniture and her bed, taking in the space that would be hers until she had to share a room with Andrej. Instead of sulking she took a deep breath in and a slow breath out, finding gratefulness in her heart that so far he seemed to want to stay true to what he said to her father, that he’d treat her well.

When the belongings she had brought from home were toted in her room by servants she pulled out something nice to wear and decided to shower. She may not like Andrej, but she wanted this to work. He was obviously willing to make some sort of effort so she would too and clean herself up from the journey here. Antia made it a quick shower, not wanting to still be inside when someone came to get her for dinner. Once dressed she dried and brushed out her long white hair in front of the mirror in her room, messing with it until she felt she looked pretty. She took a long, calming deep breath in again and let it go, reminding herself of all the people she was doing this for. She could handle this life and she still had time before their wedding. She wasn’t his wife yet and this really was a nice room.

Andrej and her father were waiting for in the dining room when she was escorted from her room. Her heart drummed quickly in her chest as Andrej’s eyes swept over her, seemingly studying every inch of her. Her skin flushed when his grey eyes finally met hers, reminding her of storm clouds. “Red is a good color on you.” He finally said.

“Oh, thank you.”

He stood and pulled out the chair next to his. “Please, join us.” She took a moment to look him over as she crossed to him. He had changed as well, now wearing a loose dark blue shirt and soft looking black breeches with knee high boots. His hair hung loose down his back, blue black and reminding her of raven wings. She had to admit he was quite handsome. “Was the room to your liking?” He asked as he pushed her chair in and took his spot next to her.

“Yes, it’s nice. The colors and decor…”

Andrej looked at her father. “He asked you be comfortable so I asked him about some of your favorite things.”

“I hope I got everything right.” Her father said.

“It’s perfect.”

“Your father said you prefer warmer colors.” Andrej added. “They suit you, little elf.”

So he had done it on purpose thanks to her fathers request. “Thank you.” She felt calmer, actually hopeful that this would be an okay marriage. This could all be show until after the wedding, but while she worried she also was logical enough to see he was doing things he didn’t have to do. He could have simply greeted her when she walked in then had a servant show her to her room. While her father had requested she be comfortable Andrej hadn’t needed to go out of his way like he had with her room. He certainly didn’t have to pull out a chair for her, she couldn’t remember the last man who had done that that wasn’t trying to get in her pants.

His traveling eyes suggested he probably did want to have sex with her, but as his wife that would be something she’d have to do regardless, it was one of the first things she had started mentally preparing herself for when it was decided this marriage would happen. She waited a bit into dinner to ask, “So exactly when do you have to go tomorrow?”

“Probably right after breakfast, there really is a lot to do.” He sounded so apologetic. Even the way he held his body seemed sad so she tried to comfort him by trying to come off as not being worried in the slightest “it’s fine, simply wondering”

“A week isn’t so long.”

“Not at all, I’m sure it’ll fly by.”

“We have plenty of things here to keep you occupied.” Andrej said as their food was brought out and placed in front of them. “Of course if you wish you are welcome to wander at your leisure. I only ask that you stay out of the forest unless I am with you. It can be quite dangerous.”

“Are there any places inside that are off limits?”

“This is your home now, go where you wish.”

“What about my family, will they be allowed?”

“Antia.” Her father said. He knew she could be stubborn, but Andrej was a demon and they were in his territory.

“Of course, I only ask for notice.”

“I think I can manage that.”

They sat and ate for a few moments in silence, Antia’s mind constantly on what living here would entail. She had heard a lot of horrible stories about demons, especially the men and Andrej was, she hated to admit, a bit intimidating in both size and temperament. Did he expect obedience and would he hurt her if she disobeyed? “Someone’s far away.” Andrej’s fingers brushed her hand and she jumped, surprised when an amused grin pulled at his lips. “So skittish, like a little bunny.” He cast his gaze to her father. “You should have told me, Alvar.”

“She isn’t usually.” Her father replied and she could see mirth creeping into his worried eyes.

“You only surprised me, I was deep in thought.” She felt heat crawling up her neck again and cursed her pale skin.

“And what were you thinking about?”

“Nothing important.”

“I see.” He took a drink of his wine, his eyes never leaving her. He breathed her in, letting everything about her play over his senses. He wouldn’t admit it to her, not yet anyway, but the moment he had seen her he had been shocked by how truly beautiful she was and had been drawn to the stubborn fire burning in her eyes. He had never met a woman like her, a woman with a wildness in her heart.

 

Chapter Two

He wished she would have said anything else as they ate, but he understood. He was truly just grateful her aura didn’t feel so against him anymore. He wanted a real relationship with her, especially now that they had met in person. “Since your father is leaving you two may go enjoy my library or wherever else you’ll be comfortable. I can sense how much he will be missed by you.” Andrej stood, straightening out his clothes. “Goodnight princess Antia.” he wanted to bend down and kiss even her forehead, but he wagered she’d be faster won if he didn’t push too hard. Andrej would wait until she was more at ease around him.

“Goodnight Andrej…I want to thank you again, for making this first evening nice.”

He was looking into her eyes as he said, “I want you to be happy here. I’d rather have a bride who isn’t only with me for her kingdom’s sake.” She blushed again and he made no effort to hide his grin.

“That was…something.” Her father said once Andrej was gone.

“Yeah.”

They both stood and she took her father’s arm, walking out of the dining room with him. There was another maid waiting there for them. “The library is this way, ma’am.”

“Thank you.”

The woman gave a slight curtsy then lead them down the hall to a set of double doors. “If you need anything, please call for one of us.” She pushed the doors open and Antia’s mouth fell open when she saw the shelves upon shelves of books. The fireplace had been lit and it felt warm and cozy. The room itself was beautifully constructed in a gothic style that to some might seem sinister, but in the light that poured through the large, ornate stained glass window it was gorgeous.

“Wow.” She finally said.

“Wow indeed.” Her father agreed. They took a seat in front of the fireplace and her father took her hand. “Are you going to be okay without me?”

“I’m going to have to be.”

“I am sorry, I should have said something, but I was so focused on bringing you here, on what might happen, that I…”

“It’s really okay daddy, I’m not mad, I know you have responsibilities back home and I’ll be fine. He seems to be trying. I’m scared, but I’m going to try for all of us.”

“It has been a relief to see his treatment of you so far. Not that I think you’d ever stay with a man who was horrid to you. I wouldn’t expect you too either so keep that in mind. I wont blame you if this falls apart because he was treating you poorly.”

“I love you dad.”

“I love you too my beautiful girl.” They had a nice night and when morning came she made sure not to let any tears fall down her cheeks. It was only a week and she could see him again on her wedding day. Not to mention Andrej had already given his word her father would be allowed to visit.

“Are you alright Antia?” Andrej asked as they watched her fathers carriage ride off.

“Yes.”

“Are you ready for the tour of your new home?”

“Yes.” She was happy he had saved the tour for after her father left. The distraction would help her not let the tug at her heart of parting with her dad get the better of her.

Andrej guided her slowly around, his hand pressed gently into the small of her back. He showed her the kitchen, introducing her to the cook and his daughter who assisted him. He made sure she knew the names of each maid as well as the butler who oversaw them and the rest of the workers. Now that she was actually paying attention to her surroundings, she realized how truly amazing it all was. A lot had gone into designing and building this place. She loved the living area and how beautifully decorated it was and she noticed there was a space above the fireplace where a painting had been. “What was up there?”

“My father’s portrait.” He answered. “Not exactly the kind of man you want staring at you all day.”

“Was he cruel?”

“Of course, but you can say it worked in my favor.”

“How so?”

“Because I would not be the man I am today if not for his cruelty. He wanted an heir that was also a weapon and he got me. I’m the perfect mix of strength, intelligence, and instinct.”

“Oh, I see.” Not just from people, but she had learn from books as well that demon males were often monstrous, committing heinous acts for the pleasure of it. She kept wondering when Andrej was going to pounce and if maybe this was all an act, but then again wouldn’t he have dropped it the moment her father left?

“You have heard the stories about me I presume.” His voice brought her out of her own thoughts.

“Yes, though they’re not all nice.”

“Good, embellishments bred fear which gave me the advantage.” He guided her out and to the ball room. “I don’t have the pleasure of using this, but perhaps with you here it won’t be such a waste.”

“Do you dance?”

“I learned, but I was never interested in it.” He smiled. “Perhaps you will give me the pleasure of dancing with you.” A blush tinted her cheeks and he chuckled. “Red really is your color, princess. It’s like watching flowers blooming in the snow.”

Her heart stuttered at how sweetly he was looking at her. Mostly because he wasn’t even close to what she had expected.”Would you like to try dancing now?” He gave her a half bow and held out his hand. She took it and he gently guided her to the center of the room. “Should I call on someone for music? We can just talk while we dance as well.”

“We can talk.” She wanted to get to know him more, the real him if what he was saying was true. He lead, moving them around the room expertly. “You really haven’t danced much?”

He chuckled again. “Once I learn something I never forget.”

“That must be nice.”

“In some ways, in other ways its a burden to have such a good memory. ”

“Because of your dad?”

“Yes.”

“I can’t even imagine, my dad has always been so wonderful, so has my mother.”

“I gathered that, you wouldn’t have seemed so sad at the thought of him leaving otherwise.” There was something about dancing with him that eased her. It made him glad he had given her a tour and brought her here. She didn’t want to spoil his seemingly good mood, but she had to ask so the question of why he’d want an arranged marriage wouldn’t plague her. “Why would you want an arranged marriage?”

He didn’t seem mad due to the question, but it took him a second to answer, he had wanted to be careful answering a question like that. “It’s something that’s been done all through history and it has about as much chance of working out as choosing your partner. There is also the added fact I can rest assured the war between your father and I is completely over. He loves you very much so I know he wont go back on anything we’ve agreed to in this peace we’ve arranged. I’m not accusing your father of being fickle just to be clear. I think if we both give this a chance we could be happy together Antia.”

“What would happen to me if another war broke out?”

“Nothing, I would keep you safe. You are not a bargaining chip to be used. This is your home and no matter what happens, I want you to be happy here. Besides, I doubt there will be another war between your father and I.” He pulled her a little closer, enjoying the heat of her pressed against him. She tipped her head back to look into his eyes and he found himself grinning.

“What?”

“I just realized how much smaller you are than me. It’s cute.”

Her face flushed with embarrassment. “Is there something wrong with that?”

“Not at all, you’re perfect.”

“W…well, you being so tall has its advantages I suppose. So, I guess you’re perfect too.”

He never realized how hard it was not to kiss someone until he met her and as they finished their dance, he compromised by bringing her knuckles to his lips and kissing them instead. “Thank you for that.”

“Thank you.”

He finished showing her around then asked, “How was your time in the library yesterday? Did you find any books you are interested in?”

“After I finished admiring it I mostly spoke to my father.”

“You like it?”

“It’s beautiful, everything around here is beautiful.”

“I agree.” He said with a smirk that she understood. She begged her own body not to blush, but he had her yet again. He looked so amused and happy because of it though she guessed blushing wasn’t so bad.

“S…so, do you recommend anything?” She asked as he took her back to the library.

He chuckled. “How cute you are trying to run from your own embarrassment.”

“I’m not, it’s just you do it so easily, it’s not fair.”

He smiled as he let her go and let his fingers run over the spines of some of the books. She admired how incredibly gentle his touch was for a warrior and blushed as she wondered if that’s how he would be with her. She didn’t know why her thoughts had to drift there and silently reprimanded herself. They barely knew each other, but the fact that he was so kind and handsome didn’t help. “Here we go, my little elf, I think you’ll enjoy this one.” He pulled one of the books down and went back to her, holding it out. It was bound in blue leather and well worn like he had spent a lot of time reading it.

“What is it?”

“Short stories about elves and dragons and even demons. There’s a lot of magic and sword fights and romance.”

“Thank you. Do you have a favorite?” She flipped the book open and he moved to look over her shoulder.

“The one about the dragon and his gold.”

“Dragons seem to always make for good stories. They are such interesting creatures.”

“Have you ever been near one? Besides through a book?”

“Yes, a few times.”

“Oh, could I hear about it?”

Her heart stuttered, he truly seemed to want to hear about her life. “Um, sure.” They sat down, Antia holding the book in her lap and Andrej sitting near her, unable to resist the urge to be close to Antia. “Well I was out for a walk when I was a teenager and found one sleeping. I was surprised, I didn’t think they ever just slept in the open. It had seemed to be in a deep rest, but it seemed to sense me walking towards it and woke up immediately. I was in such aw, it was gorgeous, most dragons are. If they aren’t gorgeous they’re…” she blushed again, she had almost said bad ass, but she wasn’t sure his point of view on women cursing. Things were going so well, she didn’t want to start them going in a bad direction, “cool looking.” She said instead.

 

Chapter Three

“And how did it react?”

“We just stared at each other for what seemed like forever and then it stood and shook out its wings. They were so pretty. Then it nodded at me and took off. Seeing one in flight, it was just amazing.”

The adorable way she described that experience had his heart tripping over itself. She looked so sweet and sincere, her face bright red, a gentle smile on her lips. He hoped he could always make her happy. It occurred to him that he hadn’t even properly asked her to marry him. Even though he was happy with their arrangement, he was sure it had been a shock to her. He had never had to give up anything, had never been forced to uproot his life and start over. He decided to continue getting to know her and then hopefully she would truly say yes when he asked. “Antia?”

“Hmm?” She looked up at him and for a moment he got lost in her eyes. “Yes?”

“Could I show you something amazing?”

“You haven’t already?”

He chuckled. “Okay, something just as amazing.”

She smiled as she closed the book. “Okay.”

“You don’t mind a little wind right?” He asked as he guided her out of the library.

“Not at all. Where are we going?”

“To the lookout tower. You can see everything from there.”

Her heart danced excitedly, she knew that would be amazing. His land was beautiful, she had watched it’s landscape go by on her way here and hoped the view would be everything she was hoping. So far everything was better than she would have thought so her disposition was much more hopeful and eager than it was when she arrived just yesterday. He could tell and that made him incredibly happy, especially when they arrived at the the top of the lookout tower and she was as pleased as he was hoping she’d be. “Wow.”

“I hope you realize I mean it, you are welcome to go anywhere you please in this castle as much as you desire.” She pulled her eyes away from the land and looked at him again, his eyes instantly locking with hers. The need to kiss her awoke in him again, she was just so gorgeous. He once again compromised by simply kissing her knuckles. That sweet gesture winning her over all the more.

They spent a little longer standing up there, her taking in the view and him admiring her. She gave a little shiver and he drew her into him. “Would you like to go?”

“We don’t have too, I’m alright.”

“You’re shivering. Let me take you inside.”

And she was blushin again at being so close to him. “Alright.”

“May I carry you?”

“Yes, of course.”

He lifted her gently in his arms, his own heart matching the stuttering pace of hers. Her arms went around his neck and he chuckled. “Afraid I’ll drop you?”

“No, does it bother you?”

“Not at all, in fact I may just carry you everywhere.”

By the time night came she was actually sad to part from him, but she was hardly going to ask if she could share his room. It was an oddly happy sadness though as he shut her in for the night. She actually wanted to be with him, she could help her people and truly be happy at the same time. She sat on her bed, opening the book he had left her with and began to read. She hadn’t even realized she’d fallen asleep until he came for her the next morning. He smiled when she answered the door. “You look like someone who was reading all night.”

“It is a really good book.”

“I wanted to walk with you to breakfast, would it be alright if I waited for you to get ready Antia?”

“Yeah, I’ll be quick.” She happily got ready, taking a little time with her hair but no so long as to make his wait terrible. He smiled when she returned, lifting her into his arms.

“I did warn you I may carry you everywhere.” She blushed, wondering if it was a desire to hold her that made him come so early to her bedroom.

He sat next to her as they ate, making her blush with his every little flirtation. He even asked her about which stories she had read and if she had any favorite characters. She asked him about his childhood and if he had any good memories. She wasn’t surprised to find that they were all the ones her father would define as dangerous. Climbing up to sit on top of the lookout tower, stealing his father’s horse and being chased down by some of the guards. “I wouldn’t peg you for the rebellious type.”

“Oh?” He looked so amused.

“Well I mean from the way my father and the other soldiers describe you, you don’t seem like the type to disobey.”

“Just because I was raised to be a weapon, does not mean I never found it tedious. I also think a little rebellion is good for the soul. Have you never done anything you shouldn’t?”

“No.”

“So pure, how sweet.”

Her heart stuttered. “Well, I suppose in fairness I just never felt the urge to rebel. Right away I just wanted to do whatever I could to help my parents with the kingdom. I also had my little brothers, I’ve spent many hours just playing with them.”

“I hope you’ll always tell me if you miss them too horribly.”

“Thank you.” They spent another day just getting to know one another and that night all he could think about was a way to propose to her. Tomorrow was her fourth day here which meant there were only three more days until their wedding and he wanted to ask before. As his heart grew founder of her he wasn’t even sure he could marry her if she was only doing it for her people. He wanted her to be happy, he knew she could find happiness out of the war ending, but he had a mind to give her that anyway. She deserved a peaceful life, a life of her choosing. By morning he knew precisely how he’d ask and started making arrangements as she still slept peacefully in her room.

Antia woke later that she expected and couldn’t help the smile pulling at her face. Happiness wasn’t something she ever thought she would feel here, but Andrej had been so kind and understanding that it welled up in her immediately upon waking. There was a gentle knocking on her bedroom door as she got up and she knew it had to be him. His smile sent heat sweeping up her neck and had her heart dancing happily in her chest. He had a coat draped over his arm. “Good morning princess.” He said.

“Good morning. Sorry I slept so late.”

“It’s not that late. I have a surprise for you.”

“Really?”

“It’s waiting for you up in the tower, if you would accompany me.”

“Of course, just let me get dressed.”

“Alright.”

She was a little nervous as she pulled on her favorite red dress and did her hair. She didn’t know why when he had been so sincere. When she finally opened her door and stepped out, he held up the jacket and she slipped into it. “Thank you.”

“I wouldn’t want you getting cold again.” He replied as he lifted her and she put her arms around his neck, making him smile.

He hoped she would never tire of being toted like this as he took her back up to the tower. He found himself struggling once again not to kiss her as her scent enveloped him. It was so beautiful, as pure as she was and he hoped if she said yes today she would spend the night in his room tonight so he could hold her, so his room would smell as amazing as she did. When they entered the differences caught her eyes immediately. “What’s going on?” She asked as she took it in. It looked so romantic now, like their breakfast together was more like a date. “You deserve to be wooed properly…is this too much?”

“No, not at all. It just surprised me.”

“It’s not the only surprise in store for you princess Antia.” Her heart stuttered again as he set her down. They sat together, her quickly taking a bite of the incredible looking meal before her.

“This…is amazing Andrej.”

“I hoped it would be to your liking. You haven’t complained about anything so I hope you will tell me when you don’t like something.”

“I will, I’m not really the type of person to keep quiet.”

“Are you warm enough?”

“Yes. Why did you do all this?”

“Because you deserve to be showered with affection and I have something for you, another gift.”

She laughed and every cell in his body sang. He loved that sound, how musical it was, how her face lit up. “If you keep giving me things, I’m going to feel spoiled.”

“I like spoiling you. Let’s eat, I’m eager to get to the other half of my surprise.”

Antia’s mind was on what else he could have planned as she ate and they talked. He periodically checked on her to ensure she was warm, causing her to smile and blush at his attentiveness. She wondered what everyone back home would think if they heard he was actually this sweet.

 

Final Chapter

His heart beat a little harder once she finished her food, he was actually a little surprised at just how nervous he was about this. Being nervous wasn’t something he was accustomed to, but falling in love also wasn’t something he was accustomed to. He stood then offered his hand to Antia to help her up, goosebumps forming as she took it. He gently tugged her over to the window then called out what sounded like a name. A large, mostly black dragon with blood red eyes soon came swooping in, hovering beside the window. “What’s this?” She forced herself to look away from the beautiful creature and at her soon to be husband.

“This dragon is an ally of mine and I asked him a favor. We can’t ride him all the time but he permits it today.” This couldn’t be real, she couldn’t even speak. Andrej found her loss of words adorable. “I’ll get on first then help you.” She gave a small nod, making him deeply desire to kiss her again. Once they were both settled he locked his arms around her tightly, unwilling to risk her falling though he knew the dragon wouldn’t be so foolish as to let her die. Antia took her new homeland in, still speechless at the fact she was actually on a dragon and how beautiful her new home was certainly wasn’t helping words find her again.

“Are you happy?” He asked, his mouth close to her ear, his breath tickling her skin. She nodded, this moment feeling like a dream. It was so beautiful. “I have something else.”

She turned her head to look at him. “Truly?”

He stroked her cheek, savoring her softness and warmth. “I’m a little nervous, but I feel like you deserve more than an arranged marriage.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out the ring he had picked out for her. “You are so beautiful and extraordinary, you’ve captivated me, surprised me, made me fall for you so hard that I am already scared of losing you.” He gently lifted her hand and slipped the ring on her finger, hearing her heart skip a beat, a gasp escaping her lips. “Will you marry me, Antia? Not because of some peace treaty, not because your father and I arranged it, but because you want to, because you love me too.”

She teared up, letting her eyes move over the ring. It was gorgeous, the ruby stone glittering in the sunlight. “Andrej.”

“I will love you regardless of your answer, you are the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me and I want to give you everything.”

“Yes, of course yes. How could I not say yes? You’ve done so much for me, you’ve been so sweet.”

He finally dared to kiss her, emotion tugging at his heart even harder as she instantly kissed him back. The dragon took them home, landing right in front of Andrej’s castle. Andrej carried Antia inside asking, “May I dance with you again?” He wanted more than anything to keep her close right now, to bask in this happiness of her truly wanting to be his wife.

“Mhm.” She sounded so happy as she agreed. Once in the ballroom he took her jacket off then had a servant get some music going. Music in this room was another thing he arranged to have. When her family arrived for the wedding her dad actually cried he was so relieved to find out his daughter was happy. The guilt he had carried with him since the deal was made finally lifted off his shoulders.

“I thought I might find you here, my sweet princess.” Andrej said, making Antia jump and look up from the book she was reading. He smiled as he crossed over to her and picked her up then sat with her on his lap. “I finished my vows. Are you excited for tomorrow?”

“What’s happening tomorrow?” She teased.

“Well if I remember correctly I am supposed to be marrying this beautiful, outspoken, princess, but perhaps I am mistaken.” He reached up, his fingers sliding over the nape of her neck and pulling her down. “Oh that’s right, you’re the one I’m marrying.”

“How could I forget?”

Her cheeks flushed and he pressed his lips against hers, his other arm wrapping tightly around her waist. “I love you my sweet little elf and I have never been more excited about anything. I finally get to sleep with you.”

“Andrej.”

He chuckled. “What? You don’t want too?” He ran his fingers through her hair, causing the red in her cheeks to deepen.

“Of course I do, I’m just nervous.”

“Don’t be, you know I will only take what you are willing to give.” He brought her knuckles to his lips. “Speaking of bed, we should get to sleep, it’s a big day tomorrow.”

“You’re right.” He couldn’t resist giving her one more kiss before slowly carrying Antia to her bedroom. This would be the last night he would have to part from her, but it was still hard. She noticed he was walking slowly and smiled, relaxing even more against him. He set her down in front of her door and she hugged him. “I love you Andrej.”

She wanted to hear those words from him again so was happy when he answered, “I love you too Antia, rest well.” They were both so blissful that night sleep found them easily and before they knew it, he was in his tuxedo and she was dressed in a gorgeous, red wedding dress tailored perfectly to her body. It wasn’t tradition but she was an extraordinary woman, that normal wasn’t really fit for his bride. Plus red truly was her color.

All he could see was Antia and all she could see was him until her father’s sniffle pulled her attention away. “Daddy.” She whispered in a loving tone.

“You’re so beautiful Antia.” He whispered back. It was the last words between them before she was standing in front of Andrej. He took her hands, eager to speak his vows. He hoped they were as moving as he felt they were when he wrote them.

“When this was arranged, I did not think I would fall so hard for as fast as I did. The moment I met you, the first time I heard your voice and our eyes met, I couldn’t help but want you, need you even. Everything about you moved me. Standing here now, I have never felt so lucky, like every moment before now was leading up to this, to us, to loving you and being loved by you. Antia, thank you for choosing me, even when you didn’t have to, thank you for loving me even though I know I don’t deserve someone as beautiful and as bright as you.” He lifted her hands and pressed a kiss to her knuckles, smiling at her, his gaze pure adoration.

Tears shimmered in her eyes and it took her a moment to start speaking. “Andrej, you were not at all what I expected when I met you. I was scared and I thought I was going to hate this place. You took me by such surprise, your kindness, your generosity, how gentle and sincere you are touched me. I have never known a man as amazing as you and every moment we spend together I fall more and more in love with you. I am so happy that this, that we, happened and I love you more than I can truly express. So I want to make a request, I want you to marry me not just like this, but also in the way of my people. It’s the only gift I can give you, my absolute trust with every part of my being.”

He knew what that meant and absolutely couldn’t stop himself from kissing her. Since the moment she arrived he had to control himself and those words were enough to break him of that control. The man performing the ceremony actually chuckled, “Well it was time to kiss the bride anyway.” They slid rings on each others ring fingers then walked back down the aisle together. The day was beautiful and filled with numerous well wish’s and that night, though Antia had been nervous, ended the best day of her life with the best night of her life. When she was too tired to go on he held her gratefully. He couldn’t believe he had such an amazing, perfect wife and he hoped she would always know how thankful he was to have her at his side.

~ The End

Haru & Cili

Chapter One

Haru raised the gun as his target’s bodyguard stood and reached in his coat. He fired two bullets into him and then into the other bodyguard as well. His target brought his hands up, placating him and he pulled the trigger. He felt his gun slip back into its holster as he turned away and that’s when the pain blossomed in his back. He gritted his teeth as he twisted around, pulling his gun free and firing into the head of the surviving bodyguard. The man went down with a shocked look on his face and Haru moved closer, seeing the vest peeking out of his shirt.

“Shit!” He spat as he reached up and touched his shoulder where the bullet had exited. Luckily it had hit him high, but he needed to get out of there and to Cili. He knew he would never hear the end of this from her. He never slipped up, he was one of the best. He could partially blame it on intel. No one had said anything about bullet proof vests, but he also knew he should have expected it. He made sure the other bodyguard was dead then left, getting into his car and pulling out of the driveway.

“Oh stop being such a baby, it’s four stitches.” Cili said as she pulled the wound on Reugar’s leg closed.

“It hurts, Cili, damn.”

“Well maybe next time you won’t go vaulting over wrought iron fences.”

“For a doctor who works on killers you sure have a lot of sass…ow…I’m sorry.”

“Keeps me grounded.” She finished up and wrapped his leg then handed him a roll of gauze and medical tape. “Keep an eye on it and if you think you might rub the stitches then put that over it and try to keep it dry.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Seriously, be more careful.”

“Thank you Cili, I’ll try.” just then Haru came in and she sighed.

Reugar chuckled. “Maybe tell your boyfriend to be careful.”

“Oh I will.” Reugar walked out and Haru sat down, looking irritated and regretful.

“I’m sorry Cili.”

“What happened?” Her voice was soft and it put him at ease. It could have gone either way, a stern reprimand or loving concern. It could still be a mixture of both but he knew it was only because of how much she cared.

“I didn’t know they had bullet proof vests, but even though I wasn’t told I should have assumed damn it.” The cursing was partly his frustration and partly because she had just started cleaning his wound.

“At least it looks like a clean shot. Nothing important seems damaged so you should heal alright.”

“I know you’re probably upset with me, but a kiss would make me feel a lot better. It hurts like hell.”

She gave him a quick yet loving kiss. “I could never be mad enough to refuse to kiss you Haru.”

Being with Cili was the only time he felt truly human. She was so gentle and loving, easily chasing away any lingering darkness. He pressed his forehead to hers and sighed. “I love you, Cili.”

“I love you too. Why don’t you go tell the big boss you’re done then come and rest on one of the beds.”

“What if he has more work for me?”

“Tell him if he even thinks of giving you another job right now, I won’t cook him wontons ever again.”

He smiled. “You’re a real angel, you know that?”

“Only with you.”

He hopped down from the examination table and moved into her office, pulling out his cell and dialing his boss. “Haru.” His boss’s said after the third ring.

“It’s done.”

“Good, did you get hurt?”

How did he know? “Yes, sir.”

“Cili’s orders?”

“Take time off or no more wontons for you…sir.”

His boss chuckled. “How cruel. Tell her understood and I expect a whole batch just for me next time.”

“You’ll have to take that up with her after work. I’ll be more careful next time.”

“You better. If you make Cili cry, I’ll raise you from the dead just to kill you again.”

“I’d deserve a million deaths for hurting her…I mean that.”

“I’m glad you know, now go rest. I suppose I’ll be talking to her later about another batch of wontons”

They got off the phone and he went back to Cili who said, “When I’m done here today I’ll come straight home. You better be resting when I get there.”

“I promise Cili and the boss wants to talk to you about more wontons. He wants a whole batch for giving me time off.”

She laughed, “That can be done.” He kissed her again then gave her a long hug. She smiled, always surprised at how affectionate he was. Most people would never believe a man who took lives for a living could be such an amazing boyfriend but he was. She had never been happier.

Haru’s shoulder was sore as he drove home and he hoped he healed quickly. He didn’t want to worry Cili in any way and he knew he could be stubborn when it came to his injuries. Since he had promised to be resting when she got there, he decided it would be alright if he cooked her dinner. She might fuss at him over it, but he would simply tell her that he was contractually obligated to insure she eat right as her boyfriend. He knew she worked hard and wouldn’t stand for her missing a single meal because of it. He decided on chicken and rice since it was easy to put together and practically cooked itself. Once he had everything in the oven and the timer set, he went upstairs and changed into a pair of sweats. He then grabbed a beer out of the fridge and flopped down on the couch, switched on the TV and found something on Netflix.

Cili came through the front door just as the alarm went off and she arched an eyebrow at him when he got up to go check on the food. “I don’t think cooking counts as resting.” She said as she kicked off her shoes and followed him.

“Well, making sure you eat is kind of my job. I’m pretty sure it’s written somewhere in the contract.”

“Contract?”

He nodded. “The boyfriend contract. The one that says I’m supposed to take care of my hard working, incredibly beautiful girlfriend.” He pulled the chicken and rice out then switched off the oven. “Besides, all I did was throw it together then put it in the oven. No heavy lifting and I stayed on the couch until now, so technically I was resting.”

She smiled, seeming amused by him. “Well thank you for making something, but no more boyfriend stuff after we eat. Rest, I mean it.” Her voice was firm so he knew he wouldn’t be able to get away with anything else. She had him sit as she served them each a plate then poured sweet tea into two glasses before placing those two glasses on the table. She had been particularly hungry so was relieved to already be eating with him despite the fact she would have preferred him just to lay down. She didn’t want him injuring himself further. “What were you watching?”

“Just another documentary, not incredibly interesting, but I was just burning time until you came home.”

“We could watch anime together after dinner if you want.”

“Sure, it’s been so long maybe we should start Saga of Tanya the Evil over in case we forgot something.”

“Yeah, I don’t even remember what episode we’re on.”

She shooed him out of the kitchen once they were finished eating, knowing if she didn’t he might help clean up. He simply brushed a kiss against her cheek and went and sat on the couch, finding their show and waiting patiently for her. He felt his entire being warm when she finally came and sat down next to him and wrapped his good arm around her as he started their show. “So, how was the rest of your night?” He asked.

“It was alright, I had to put one of the twins in a sling, dislocated shoulder. Then Rose brought in a woman she had found in the basement of her target’s house, the poor woman was in shock and banged up. I patched her up then had Rose take her to the hospital.”

“Damn baby, I’m sorry. Maybe I should have stayed.”

“It’s okay, you need rest too. How are you feeling?”

“Like an idiot.”

“You can’t know everything.”

“I should.” He pressed a kiss to her temple. “Good thing I have you as my doctor and nurse.”

She laughed. “Well now that you have some time off, maybe we can do something together.” He started to open his mouth and she pressed her finger against his lips. “Something easy, Haru, no hiking or climbing or anything that will put too much strain on you.” He frowned and she added. “You know I can practically read your mind right?”

“But one of my favorite activities with you just happens to be a bit strenuous.”

She blushed. “You’re bad and if it makes you feel better, I’ll do all the work.”

He smiled, gently nibbling her ear then giving it a gentle tug with his teeth before whispering, “Oh?”

Cili blushed a little more and said, “So bad, at least wait through tonight. Tomorrow we’ll have sex.” He smiled, easily shifting back into simply watching this anime with her. He hoped they could get through the whole series without having to start over again due to lack of watching. They often started anime over due to their lives so it took them forever to move on to something new. It didn’t much matter but there were a few other things he wanted to watch with her. They nearly fell asleep together on the couch after a few hours of watching but Cili was too worried about him to allow herself to simply pass out. He needed their bed. “Haru, come on.”

“But I’m comfortable.”

“We can get comfortable again in our room.” She helped him up and made him lean on her though he fought a bit. When they got there she snuggled up to him again “Goodnight Haru.”

“Goodnight my love.”

They were woke the next morning by Haru’s phone going off and he was surprised to find it not next to the bed when he reached for it. He realized he had left it in his pants pocket and quickly got up, retrieving it from the hamper. He was relieved to find it was only an alert telling him his payment had been transferred into his bank account. He went back to Cili and pulled her tightly against him. “Your arm baby.” She said softly without even opening her eyes.

“I’m being careful, don’t worry.” He pushed his nose into her hair and breathed her in. “What do you want to do today?”

“I’m not sure, you’ve never been so injured you had to take time off.” She said with a little laugh. “Maybe you could help me with those wontons and then we can go from there.”

“Sounds good. Shopping? It makes me sound so normal.”

She smiled, moving just so she could kiss his chest then settled back down. “You are normal, just what you do for a living isn’t and honestly, the people you kill, can barely be considered people most the time.” They cuddled a short time longer before they finally decided to begin their day. They went to the kitchen as they were and began preparing wontons for Haru’s boss. He was technically her boss too, but general rule of thumb, nobody was Cili’s boss. She would tell anybody off in a moment and it was one of the things that made Haru love her. It was weird since she was such a calm person that she could become so outspoken, but then again he considered himself kind and loving so most would be surprised he could take lives so easily.

 

Chapter Two

Haru hovered close when she started dipping the wontons in the pan of hot oil, ready to pull her back if anything happened. She smiled, causing his heart to stutter and a blush to steal up his neck. He didn’t mean to be so overprotective, but with the kind of work he did, he couldn’t help himself. He would kill and die for her without question and he never wanted harm to come to her. “Do you want to move the ones already out to a tupper ware container for me?” She asked and he quickly retrieved one and started transferring them so she would have more room on the plate.

“When you say you’ll make a big batch, you mean it.” He chuckled.

“Of course, he’ll be so wontoned out he won’t know what to do.”

“You’re going to wind up making him fat then he won’t be able to do his job.”

Cili laughed at the image in her head. Their boss was in his fifties, but broad and well muscled. He was tough and intimidating to most, but to Cili he was nothing more than a teddy bear. “Do you think he’d be mad?”

“I think he’d be too busy enjoying your cooking to notice.”

She smiled and soon they had the entire batch of wontons in a container to take to Holden. She wanted to thank him as soon as possible for letting Haru take time off so he could heal properly. Haru wanted to carry the container but his girlfriend was hardly helpless and right now he knew he’d get a firm no on the matter. They took it out to the car and stopped by Holden’s home where he seemed happy to see them. “You made them already?” His voice portraying how eager he was to eat them.

“Yes, thank you for giving him time off.”

“Thank you for this, your wontons are the best Cili. Do you two want to come in for coffee?”

“It’s okay, but thank you. We’re going to figure out how we’re going to spend our day.”

“You two should enjoy the one on one time. It’s important for a relationship, have a good break Haru and don’t come back until you have the all clear from Cili.” The two went back to their car and drove back to where they lived to talk about what they would be doing.

“How about a picnic or maybe fishing?” Cili said as they relaxed on the couch, snacking on the wontons they hadn’t been able to fit in the container.

“Do you think fishing is safe for my shoulder?” He rolled it, forcing himself not to wince at the ache there.

“As long as you don’t flail around like a crazy person, I don’t think you’ll reopen the wound.”

He nodded. “I think I can manage, but why don’t we do both? We can catch dinner and then just relax next to the lake.”

“That sounds perfect.” She pressed a kiss to his cheek and he quickly pulled her back to press one to her lips. He loved the blush that tinted her cheeks and he leaned into her, pressing their foreheads together. “What are you doing, silly?”

“Just reminding myself again about how lucky I am.”

She smiled, her heart tingling. “You’re so sweet.” They stayed like this a few moments before parting to find their fishing gear and everything else they would need. Once it was gathered Cili loaded the car while once again Haru wished he was allowed to help. “You ready to go Haru?” She asked after her final trip to the car.

“Yeah.” He hugged her before they walked out, just wanting to give her another reminder of how much he cared about her. They locked up and Cili drove them over to one of their favorite places to fish. She felt excited to finally be doing this again. It had probably been months since they last went fishing or on a picnic. “Could I help get everything out? It’s really not that heavy of stuff.”

“You’re right, it’s not, let me do it.” He looked sad so she sighed. “Just the fishing poles.”

Despite being wounded, Haru was still an amazing fisherman. It always amazed Cili how easily he pulled them out of the water. She knew they were both going to wind up hitting their limit and that she would either have to freeze some or give some away. There were plenty of people working with them that she was sure would appreciate them. “How’s your shoulder doing?” She asked.

“Good, a little sore, but nothing I can’t handle. I got wounded a lot during training.”

“I remember, I was just my dad’s assistant back then. You got stabbed and I had to help give you stitches.”

He smiled. “The face you made and we weren’t even dating then.”

“It’s because you just shrugged it off and Holden just stood there trying not to laugh.”

“Probably because a little thirteen year old was giving me the look.” He chuckled. “I think I was just more curious why a thirteen year old was even there.”

Cili smiled, remembering fondly working with her father. “Brains run in the family, I feel for kids that actually have to stay in school all those years.”

Haru chuckled. “Well, I’m grateful for it. You’re the best thing to ever happen to me.”

“I already said I’d have sex with you later.” She said with a grin that she was happy stirred up another laugh from him.

“You know I mean it.”

“I do, now stop being a dork.” He happily chuckled again and they went back to catching fish, only stopping when they had enough to eat today and then give out to the people they worked with. Haru insisted on helping prepare what they were going to eat and she let him, knowing if she kept him from doing too much he’d go crazy. He was smart enough to mind his wound.

Haru enjoyed his time with Cili by the lake and once they finished eating, they put everything away and just laid together, listening to the sound of the water lapping at the shore and watching birds fly over head. Even though he wouldn’t say it out loud, he was almost glad he had been injured. Sometimes he wondered if Cili got lonely, but she never complained and was always supportive of him. “How are you feeling?” Cili asked.

He chuckled. “I’m fine baby, really. It’s like I have a big bruise.” He brushed a kiss to the top of her head. “I’m just happy to be here with you.”

“It’s so warm it’s making me sleepy.”

“Do you want to go?”

“We don’t have too, just let me lay here for a little while longer.”

Haru was happy to oblige and rolled onto his side so he was facing her. He ran his fingers through her hair, smiling at how adorable she looked as she fell asleep. “You know you’re my angel right, Cili?” He asked softly so he wouldn’t wake her.

Haru relaxed, almost tempted to let sleep take him as well, but he couldn’t, not with her out here. If anybody came to bother them he wanted to be ready to protect her. He was far too well acquainted with what horrible people were out there and the kind of things they did, especially to women. He hoped nobody was ever foolish enough to hurt her, but he’d make them regret ever even looking at her if they did. Basically everyone he worked with would help him too, but he’d stay awake and make sure she never had horrific memories to recover from. It was only when it looked like it might start raining soon that he woke her with a kiss. She woke easily, always coming to quickly when he woke her this way. “It might rain, lets go home.”

“Okay, I hope you didn’t stay here too long for me.”

“It’s nice just having some peaceful time with you, I enjoyed it, truly.” They both got up, loaded their car then headed home. They felt lucky that the sky didn’t begin to pour until they were already inside the home they shared. “How about we lay together more after we get everything put away, we can watch anime in our bedroom” He suggested.

“Sure, it’s wild having all this time to simply relax.”

“It’s nice…you aren’t ever lonely are you?” He ventured to ask and she gave him a confused look.

“Where did that come from?”

“It’s just something I worry about from time to time.”

“I don’t have time to get bored Haru so don’t be silly. It takes a lot of my time keeping you guys together and I do a lot of studying just in case something comes up I don’t have experience with. I never want you or anybody else I help to need me to do something and me not know how to perform it.”

“I just don’t want you to ever feel neglected.” He ran his fingers through her hair and took her face gently in his hands. “I love you so much and if I lost you because I made you feel less important than my work, I would die.”

“Haru, you silly man, I know how much you love me.”

“No you don’t, it’s so much more than you could ever imagine.” He pressed his lips against the softness of hers, his entire being warming and sinking into her. “You make me feel so alive, Cili.”

“Sweet talker.”

He smiled. “Only for you, you bring it out in me.”

“Help me put this stuff away before we get too distracted.”

“Yes ma’am.”

He had to keep himself from scooping her up and carrying her to bed once everything was put away. He would clean the fish later so she wouldn’t have to. She was already taking care of him and even wounded he could manage fish. He took her hand in his and lead her to their room, his heart dancing when she giggled at his apparent struggle with habit. “Sometimes, you’re too cute for words.” She said happily.

He grinned, tugging her onto the bed. “Well I’d really like for us to be less cute for a little bit.” Cili started a passionate kiss then with exceeding care took his shirt off. He smiled again, she was still fussing over his injury. She was far less careful with his pants and soon had his length in her mouth. He deeply moaned, rising within moments. Once she had him erect she slipped off her underwear and went to straddle him, he whined and she smiled, knowing he wanted to see her breasts bouncing as she rode him. She knew he’d want that, but sometimes it felt good to not only tease him a little but to have him ask to see more. She tugged off her shirt and unhooked her bra so he could see all of her and he couldn’t stop admiring her as she moved.

“Cili, my beautiful Cili.” He couldn’t keep his hands off of the softness of her skin, the heat of her drove him mad with desire for her. His hands dropped to her thighs, his hips rolling to meet hers so her back arched and a loud moan escaped her lips. He let his hand slide up, his thumb rubbing against her.

“Haru.” Her loud cry and quivering heat were enough to push him over the edge and he pulled her down, his lips finding hers as he released into her depths. He rolled then onto his side, his arms still wrapped around her as he pressed loving kisses to her lips and they caught their breath. He loved how she looked afterwards, the mess of her hair, her flushed skin, and how sensitive she was to his touch. She gave a little sigh and snuggled into him. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“Satisfied?” She said in a teasing tone.

“I don’t know, maybe we should go another round.” He teased back.

“Butt head.”

He kiss her forehead. “I’m extremely satisfied.”

 

Chapter Three

The rest of their day was spent cuddling, napping and watching anime then the next morning Haru got up early and began cleaning the fish, still feeling energized from making love to her. Even though that was nowhere near the passion they normally had while making love it was a drug to him all the same. Before he knew it he was humming, his thoughts only on her and getting these fish ready for their friends. He felt her come in the kitchen before she even said anything. “You’re in for some real punishment Haru.”

“Mmm Cili, should we go back in the room?”

She sighed, a smile now on her face even though she had tried to fight it down. “Haru.”

“I’m not that injured my love.”

“Still, sneaking off like that.”

“I’ll make sure to make it up to you a hundred times over once my shoulder is completely healed.” He looked over his shoulder and winked at her, grinning at her blush. “I’ll gut them, you bag the ones you want to give away. Sound good?”

“I suppose. I should get dressed first.”

“But we’re all alone.”

“Are you pouting?”

“Do you think it would get you to stay naked?”

“You’re bad.” She went and grabbed some ziplock bags out of the pantry then started rinsing the fish and sticking them in bags. Haru leaned down and pressed a kiss to her cheek and then another to her lips, causing her skin to heat up.

“I love you my sweet, sexy angel.”

“I love you too.”

They discussed what they had been watching as they worked and soon had everyone’s fish packaged and ready to go. Cili drove again and they spent a little time with everyone as they dropped off fish, it was another amazing day spent. The following morning Cili looked up things going on near them as she drank her coffee since it was she who woke up first this morning. She took interest in a festival that was more of a fundraiser. They were holding it to help out the local homeless shelters so the two of them could have fun and be helping at the same time. Now that she knew what they could do today she left her computer and headed into the kitchen to start farmers casserole.

It took a little over an hour to get done so she only made it when she woke up first in the morning. Haru made his way into the kitchen just as she was setting the timer. “What’re you making?”

“Farmers casserole.”

“Did you just get it in?”

“Yeah, if you’re starving you wont hurt my feelings if you grab some cereal.”

“No, I can wait. I’ll just sip a cup of coffee.” He said since he saw there was an almost full pot on the counter.

“Alright my love.”

He grabbed his favorite cup out of the cabinet and filled it then took a sip. “You always buy the best coffee.” He breathed it in. “Hazelnut this time.”

“Good nose.”

He leaned against the counter. “You know I never would have thought I would have things like a favorite coffee mug or be able to enjoy mornings with a beautiful woman.” She moved into him and wrapped her arms around him.

“Is it really that strange?”

“It was at first. I used to think why did she pick me? I’m not normal, I come home with blood on my hands, but she looks at me like I’m the most amazing thing in the world. Why me?”

“Because the first time I met you, I fell in love. I know I was young, but there was something about you.”

He kissed the top of her head. “You changed me, Cili. Holden gave me focus, he gave me the skills to survive, but you gave me life and reason.”

“Oh hush.”

“It’s true.” He tipped her head back and in that moment he had a thought of what he could do to show her how much she meant to him. He wanted to marry her, to give her a family if she wanted one.

He’d need a ring but amazon could help him there. They had gorgeous rings and there wasn’t any way that he could go somewhere alone for awhile. When night fell and she was sound asleep he snuck out of bed and went over to their computer, browsing until he found the perfect one. He paid for overnight shipping so he’d have it by morning. Now that he had the idea in his head he just couldn’t wait. Morning came and he told her he wanted to stay home and relax with her which she agreed to easily. When the knock came he couldn’t get up fast enough. She finally grew suspicious when he took it in their room and shut the door. “Haru?”

“Just wait out there please.”

“What did you order?”

“Please?”

“Um..okay.” She stood on the other side of the door waiting until he finally came out, having changed into something nicer and holding a small box “Haru?”

He got down on one knee and opened the little box. “Cili…I’ve been wanting to show you just how much I love you and I couldn’t think of a better way to express how much of a blessing I find you than to ask you to marry me. I want you to be my wife and I want to have kids if you want them, please Cili.”

She was a little dumbfounded but quickly found her words. “Yes! Of course I will Haru.” she looked close to tears as he slid the ring on. He kissed her, relieved she said yes. Marriage was a huge step, even if she was willing to live with him so he had been a little nervous as he got ready to pop the question. “I do really want kids too, If I didn’t want to fit into a gorgeous dress I’d want to start trying now.”

He smiled, caressing her face. “Then we’ll start trying on our wedding night.”

“To be honest, I didn’t think you’d ever want to get married. I mean, I know you love me but it’s surprising for some reason.”

He kissed her forehead “I’m just glad you said yes Cili.”

“I want to go ahead and call some of my family members.”

“I’ll call the guys while you do that.” She excitedly ran to her phone and he happily went to grab his own. They spread the good news for a few hours then the rest of the day they couldn’t stop making love to one another, both utterly happily. Their life may be full of a lot of grim situations but their love was deep and passionate, filling them to their core with the sort of happiness most only dream of achieving with another human being.

~ The End

 

Lady Allysia and Sir Michael

Original Concept by Breanna Touloff and co written with Breanna Toutloff

Chapter One

She looked down at the ring glistening off of her finger. Sadness engulfed her as she imagined her life to come. For a brief moment she thought about running away, running for her freedom. She knew deep down though that she would never disrespect her family like that. She knew she had to honor them, even through this arranged marriage. She had only met her betrothed once before at a social gathering and they had hardly spoke ten words to each other. She was shy and not much the talking type and he was intimidated by her beauty. She didn’t know but he had thought her the most beautiful lady at the soiree. He had barely had the nerve to make eye contact and he knew he had blown his first impression. He was Sir Michael the fifth and his parents expected confidence and bravery but when he met Lady Allysia his courage escaped with his breath. When Allysia had met Michael she had more on her mind and hadn’t paid much attention. She was upset at her parents for putting on the gathering and knew that a husband would come of it. There were so many bachelor’s that were introduced to her and that took her hand it was hard to keep track between the swirls and swoons. Now Lady Allysia was promised to Sir Michael and she didn’t know what to expect. She couldn’t even remember which one he was, unaware that to Sir Michael, this acceptance of proposal by her parents had made his dreams come true.
Allysia sat next to the river and looked up to a bird singing in the willow next to her. A single tear slid down her cheek as she wished she could fly away like the little blue bird that comforted her. She figured she better be on her way back home before her mother started to worry. She gathered her books and started on her way. When she reached home she stopped outside the door for a moment more to gather herself. She entered the magnificent building blandly while other’s would be in awe at the splendor. She could smell the food wafting from the kitchen and knew supper would be served shortly. She hurried to her chambers and changed before she could be tardy. Her father hated tardiness and scalded her every time she was late. She arrived and took her designated seat at the table. She could hear her mother drone on about her day but Allysia’s mind was elsewhere. She was still thinking about her soon to be husband and was wondering what her life was going to be like. She had heard many stories of unlucky wives betrothed to abusive men, violent and disgusting. Her fear crept up as the thoughts flew around her mind. She didn’t even realize what was going on until her sister nudged her.
“What?” she asked startled.
“I said, how were your lessons this afternoon?” her mother asked.
“They were very interesting today Mother. More history than anything else..” she trailed off.
Her mother didn’t press more, knowing the heavy heart her daughter carried. She herself had had an arranged marriage and knew the worries and pain that came with it. Her marriage had gone smoothly and she was blessed with a loving and kind husband. She had tried her best to choose the same for her daughter.

Sir MIchael seemed kind and at the party he had looked at her daughter more like she was a goddess to be worshiped when most of the other men just had looked like they wanted to bed her. She truly hoped in her heart that she and her husband had made the right choice for Allysia and that she’d be happy when she left their home. After dinner her mother urged “you’ll be off tomorrow to your new life as a wife. Why don’t you spend some time with your father, sister and I..please. I know you must be hurting and worried, it’ll keep your mind off things”

“I guess”

“I love you sweetheart and I think he will too” she nodded but wanted to argue. She just had learned from a young age that yelling at her mother would not be tolerated by her father. They all went to one of the larger rooms that had a huge fire place. This room was just as beautiful as all the others in the castle but she was used to them all having grown up here.

Her thoughts swirled in her mind. She would fall asleep a daughter and wake a wife. Once again the thought of fleeing crossed her mind but she quickly put it to rest. Tomorrow day she would be greeted by her betrothed and go off to live the rest of her life as a different person. Would she even recognize herself? Would she be able to BE herself? A million thought raced through her mind as her anxiety reared it’s ugly head. She sat down and tried to look at the other side of this predicament. She trusted her mother and her mothers judgement. Her father would look for power and security, while her mother would look for a good heart and humility. She knew that in the end her father would have the last word on her suitors but knew that he would head her mother just the same. Her father loved her mother and loved them also very much and wanted the best for them as well as the family. One face stood out from the ball that sent shivers down her spine. She couldn’t recall his name and prayed to the heavens it was not the suitor that her parents had chosen. His words were smooth, almost sly and she didn’t trust him. He had an air of cruelty to him and she knew instantly not to cross his path. She couldn’t image her parents forcing her to that wicked of a fate. They must have been able to see right through him the way that she could. She could also see that he had power though. He held his head high and seemed to not take no for an answer. Chills swept through her body and his eyes peered into her soul. This was not a good man. What was she to do if it was though, refuse? She had no choice but to be his dutiful wife for the rest of eternity, to bear him children and an heir. She knew she would be his slave more than his wife but quickly shook the thoughts from her mind. If she thought about it anymore her last night at home would be plagued with nightmares. Instead she decided to go to her sister. She was very close to her sister and loved her very much, they were best friends of course. There was never a secret between them and rarely ever harsh words. Only two years apart she knew that soon her sister’s time would come as well where it was time for her to be paired with a suitable gentleman. Allysia hoped he would be a kind and gentle man to match her sister nicely. With these things you can never be sure.
“Are you nervous?” she asked.
“Of course, dear sister. Would you not be if a strange man was coming to steal you away for the rest of your life?” Allysia replied.
“Oh no, I imagine it would be quite romantic, I hope he is handsome and warm.” she giggled as she thought of her own proposal one day. Laura always was the romantic of the two. Allysia was more of the realist and they balanced each other out quite nicely.
“I will miss you sister. You are my best friend and I love you for now and for forever. Please do not forget me, I will write you whenever I can and I pray that my new husband will allow visitations.”
“Do not fret sister, I will see you again. I have no fear in my heart for you and feel that you will be a happy wife to a good man. ”
Allysia hoped that she was right and wished that she could have her sister’s confidence in marriage. She obviously was still nieve to the world outside of these beautiful decorated walls. She glanced over at her mother and noticed tears welled up in her eyes. She quickly goes to sit next to her troubled mother.
“Are you ok?”
“I will be fine my dear. My oldest daughter is to be married tomorrow day. Your father and I have chosen the best possible suitor for you against many grievances and pray that you will be happy. I hate not knowing when I will see you again, you have my heart Allysia.”
She could not hold back the tears anymore and they spilled from her cheeks.
“Please Mother, do not cry. I am afraid if you do I will not be able to contain myself.”
Her mother wiped away the escaped tears from her face and held her head high.
“Everything will be alright Allysia, I promise. I love you dear daughter. ”

“I love you too” she was glad fear of her dad getting upset kept her from telling her mother how upset she had been. Her mother was obviously dealing with her own emotions when it came to this and she wished she had thought of her instead of being upset with her. This was how things went, women didn’t often choose their husbands and her parents were only doing what everyone expected of them. Unless the women rose up one day and refused to be treated as property to be exchanged and promised to men this was how it would always be but she didn’t have it in herself to start any such uprising. Allysia just hoped her husband would be good to her as her father had been good to her mother.

That night she woke up a lot, tossing and turning the whole night through so she had to apply extra makeup under her eyes to look good for whomever her husband was. She didn’t know him but she still didn’t want to look bad. She guessed if he thought she was beautiful he’d be more likely to treat her well. She had breakfast with her family then said tearful goodbyes before getting into the carriage with her belongings to meet this mystery husband. She pulled out a book as soon as she couldn’t wave to her family any longer. She knew she’d obsess and worry the entire trip if she didn’t let a book take her mind.

She was thankful that her new home wasn’t too far off. The wedding was still to be held and she desperately wanted her family there but the prospect had demanded the wedding be in his kingdom. She found herself wandering away from her book and kept trying to get back into it. Her worries troubled her and clouded her mind, making it hard to follow the story. She knew it by heart, it was one of her favorite books. Far away tales of Princesses married to majestic Princes. She prayed that her fate would be similar to that of the Princess in her book. She put the book down and leaned against the carriage. Sleep crossed her mind but she gave up after so long, realizing that she was far too anxious to catch any beauty rest. The sun was slowly beginning to fall behind the treeline and she wondered how much longer they would be on the road. These were peaceful times but rebels and thieves were never too far off. Before too long she couldn’t see her hand in front of her face and decided she must sleep if she was going to be presentable to her soon-to-be husband. She didn’t even realize the tear that fell from her cheek. Morning came and the sun woke her early. She had experienced a restless night full of uncomfortable positions and too many bumps in the night. At least they had gotten through the night safe and sound. That’s at least something she had to be thankful for. She wanted to ask how much further they had until they arrived but her heart was too heavy to move. She picked her book back up and began where she left off, with the Princess traveling to the Princes kingdom. “Ironic”, she thought to herself. All of a sudden she heard voices above and the horses began to slow. They must be here. She couldn’t bring herself to look out the window, afraid of what she might see. “Will I like it here? Are the people kind?” a million thoughts crossed her mind. She knew she would have this knowledge soon enough but she wished that the ride wasn’t yet over. She wasn’t ready to face her betrothed and her new kingdom. If only she could have a little more time to prepare her mind.

Chapter Two

Michael stood there trying to compose himself. She was here, she was really here and the reason was even more mind blowing. He couldn’t believe with all the men that had wanted her he was blessed enough to be chosen. He wanted to make her happy, to fill his castle with her laughter and always keep a smile on that perfect face but right now he needed to focus on redeeming himself. He didnt want her to think he was a loser and he felt that was probably how she saw him after their meeting since her beauty had caused him to be such an idiot. This was why the assholes always got the girl. They didn’t care so they were always so cool and together. When you cared you made mistakes, you stuttered, you forgot what you wanted to say and therefor looked like an absolute idiot to the women they cared about.

She was handed out of the carriage and stole his breath away yet again. Even after a long ride she was the most stunning woman he had ever laid eyes on “come on, make a good impression Michael” he said to himself to get steady as she approached. When she reached him he offered his hand “it’s amazing to see you. I hope your ride went well”

“it did, thank you for asking my lord”

“you..you don’t have to call me that” his heart was racing “you can call me by my name, Michael”

“Thank you Michael” A short silence fell and he blushed “you should have walked her inside you idiot” he said to himself then out loud he said “I’m sorry, lets go in”

The carriage door opened and a hand was offered to the Lady Allysia. She accepted politely, keeping her gaze on her shoes, afraid to look up and meet her soon-to-be husband.
“It’s amazing to see you. I hope your ride went well”.
The voice that Allysia heard was kind and warm. Startled she raised her eyes and found herself looked in a gaze with one of the most handsome men she had ever seen. She didn’t recognize him from the ball but there had been so many men that she had eventually stopped paying any mind to the blur of faces that came in front of her. It was the most she could do not to be sick after the countless hours of twirling in silly dance. She quickly looks down and remembers that he spoke to her.
“It did, thank you for asking my lord” she replied, repramanding herself for not speaking sooner.
“You..you don’t have to call me that, you can call me by my name, Michael”.
Allysia noticed a slight twitch when he spoke, almost as if he was nervous. This made her feel a little better that she wasn’t the only one. “Michael” she said to herself, feeling out the name. She decided it was quite nice and suited him in it’s entirety. She looked up quickly, stealing a glance at her handsome husband-to-be and when he caught her, her cheeks flushed with color. As she evaluated him from a distance she wondered if he was as kind as he looked or if it was a cruel mask to fool her into this marriage. She prayed it wasn’t the latter.
“I’m sorry, lets go in” Lord Michael speaks.
“Of course” she smiles and looks back down. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest and swore he could hear. Embarrassed she quickly looks anywhere, just to distract herself. The house was beautiful and quite a bit larger than she had expected. There were servants at front doors ready to open them to let them pass. Once inside, they took their coats.
“This is Miss Isabella. She will take care of you and show you around. I would be pleased if you would join me for dinner this evening. I would love to talk to you more before we are to wed.”
The mention of marriage brought blood rushing back to her cheeks and she cursed her blushing traits.
“Thank you kind Lord, I mean, Michael. I would love to accompany you for dinner.” Allysia looked towards the woman who must be Miss Isabella and started walking towards her, desperate to be away from so many new prying eyes. Miss Isabella turned courteously and began to walk up the first wonderous staircase which curved out to each side instead of going straight up. It was magnificent. Miss Isabella took her first to her room to settle down and unload her things.
“This is where you will be staying until the wedding my lady. If there is anything you need I will gather it for you. I expect you would like me to run you a bath before dinner?”
“Y-yes, please, thank you Miss Isabella.” Allysia wasn’t used to having a servant of her own. Of course her family had them but they were family servants and not individual’s. Miss Isabella left to begin drawing a bath and Allysia sat her things on the bed. It was gorgeous, carved out of cherry oak and wonderfully detailed. There was a large window to the East that gave way to a breathtaking view of the ocean, clear as day. She knew they were near but had not realized how close they really were. It was so serene her nerves began to calm at once. She had feared a monsterous and cruel husband who treated her like property but instead had met a very handsome Lord who seemed generous and warm. “Is this really happening?” she thought to herself. “Could I really be the princess in my book who marries the marvelous prince?”

When Isabella returned she said “it’s ready my lady. I’m happy to see you a bit more relaxed. I don’t know if my opinion will bring you any comfort but he is kind”

“thank you, for the bath and for giving me some comfort. I can’t believe he gave me such a nice room”

“May I speak freely miss?”

“yes, of course”

“well, woman to woman he was very happy your parents accepted his proposal. You left quite an impression on him and he wants you happy here”

“do you think he’d let me go to the ocean at some point then?”

“I’m pretty sure you could ask him for anything my lady” Alyysia smiled “your words really are a comfort”

“well, lets get you in that bath before it cools. Do you require my help undressing Lady Allysia?”

“I’ve always done it myself, thank you” She walked into the bathroom then stripped her clothes before settling into the water. Whatever the maid had put in the tube smelled phenomenal. Allysia wasn’t sure she’d want to leave but once the warmth left the water she second thought that notion and was able to get out of the tub and grab the towel Isabella left for her. It was soft, even softer than the ones she had at her castle. She realized she didn’t bring clothes in but it hardly mattered, this bathroom connected to her room so she simply walked in, surprised to see the maid still sitting there. Isabella smiled “My job is to serve you my lady”

“oh..um…the bath was perfect, thank you…and that towel”

“he’ll be pleased your happy. Are you sure you wont need help redressing?”

“I’m sure” Allysia picked a dress then began the long process of dressing herself. Women had to wear so many ridiculous things that made getting dressed and undressed practically a job but she managed then looked herself over in the mirror, blushing when she realized she wanted to look pretty for him. “when’s dinner?” she asked, trying to think of something else besides her realization. “still a few hours from now my lady”

“Do you mind showing me around to occupy my time until dinner Miss Isabella.” Allysia spoke softly, still not used to having her own personal servant.
“I would be more than happy to my lady”. With that she bowed and turned to the door, beckoning for Allysia to follow. The castle was so large that Allysia felt she would surely get lost if on her own. There were rooms upon rooms and hallways that seemed to go on for forever. Miss Isabella only showed her the most important rooms but the list still made her head swarm.
“Do you enjoy reading Lady Allysia?” Miss Isabella spoke.
“Oh do I ever, it’s one of my favorite things to lose myself in.” Just the thought of books brightened Allysia’s mood. The next hallway they took led to two intricate doors with angles laced throughout. Miss Isabella grabbed the two bronze handles and opened the room to Lady Allysia’s surprise. Before her was a marvelous library that she could only hope to dream of. There were rows upon rows of books as high as you could see. The ceiling spiraled upwards to magnificent clear windows, shining light on the spines of the multitude of books. She could live the rest of her life in this room. Miss Isabella saw the look on her face and smiled. “I’m glad you like it, I can bring you here anytime that you wish. Sir Michael will be very pleased that this makes you happy.”
Tears began to well up in Allysia’s eyes. Everything was so amazing so far, she couldn’t believe that this was turning into a fairy tale. Hopefully after the marriage he wouldn’t change. Everything almost seemed too good to be true, but Miss Isabella had assured her of Michael’s kind nature, so she felt she must be safe. She couldn’t wait to write to her family and tell them of her good fortune. She would see them soon enough at the wedding though, a wedding that Lady Allysia was starting to look forward to.

She couldn’t help but admire the massive collection of books until Miss Isabella informed her “it’s time for dinner my lady but maybe you two could come together after dinner”

“He wont be busy?”

“He isn’t busy now, he just didn’t think you’d want to start off with him hovering around since you just had to leave your home for a man you don’t even know yet”

“really?” her voice portraying how touched she felt by that. He was already trying to put her feelings before his own. “maybe I’ll invite him then”

“as I said mam, he is a good man” He must be to have his staff advocating for him like this. Isabella walked her to the dining room where Michael was waiting, his face actually lighting up when she walked in. It caused her heart to stutter in her chest. “Good evening Michael” she said pleasantly then took the seat next to him “Good evening, what have you been doing?”

“I took a bath then was shown around. I spent most my time in your library…I’m so happy you have one. I love reading. I read all the way here” His smile was soft and warm “I love books too”

“would you like to spend time with me in the library after dinner? If you can’t it’s okay” The question had his heart dancing “it would make me incredibly happy Allysia” She smiled back as dinner was then placed before them. They are without much more conversation since neither wanted to talk with their mouths full.

Chapter Three

All through dinner Allysia was self-conscious of how she was eating. Was she eating too much, too fast? She could feel his eyes upon her and she kept a steady blush throughout the entire meal. She was thankful when the last course was served and hoped that she was making a good impression. Honestly, she was no longer hungry but she was afraid to be rude after being shown such kindness so she slowly finished her dessert. Allysia was anxious for their trip to the library, all too aware of it being the first time they would be alone together. Her heart hammered in her chest but little did she know that Sir Michael’s heart beat faster.
“I hope that dinner was to your liking, Lady Allysia.” he looked at her warmly.
“It was delectable, thank you Sir Michael.” she replied.
“Please, just call me Michael, I urge you.”
Allysia smiled softly and nodded ever so slightly.
“Are you ready for our after dinner festivities? I would love to escort you to the library, if you would allow it.”
“I would be delighted!” she said, honestly eager.
They both rose from the the dinner table and the servants immediately went to cleaning the plates. They walked slowly, making small conversation on the way.
“So, Michael,” Allysia blushes, “how long has your family been on this land?”
“My Great-Great Grandfather sailed here from France long ago. He built his name up and in doing so bore our family. He was a kind and noble man and many admired him for the way he treated his people. We have been in this home and on this land ever since. We see no point in leaving if we are happy where we are. ”
“That is very interesting, I didn’t know you were French.”
“How are you liking the castle so far, is it to your liking?” he asked carefully, seemingly afraid of her answer.
“It is wonderful, and I thank you for such a glorious room, you are very kind.”
His shoulders seemed to relax at her words and his stance grew more comfortable.
“As long as you are happy.” he said to her, catching her gaze.
Allysia quickly looked away, nervous of the way he looked at her. They finally reached the intricately carved doors to the library and Michael went to open them for Allysia.
“What do the angels on the door represent?”
“Ah, the angels. My Great-great Grandfather believed that angels were the keeper of books and that books held the secrets to heaven. Therefore, he carved these angels with his own hands to guard his sanctuary, the library.”
Allysia could only admire the artwork even more. She followed Michael in to the library and he continued to show her his favorite pieces, some of them older than he. All of the books were neatly organized by category or author so it was very easy for her to find books of her own that she liked. She couldn’t wait for more time to explore.
“I’m afraid it is time for me to depart, my lady. Tis night and I am sure you have had a weary day on the road and exploring your new home. Please let Miss Isabella if you are to need anything. She will always be just a call away. Please do not hesitate to ask.”
“Thank you, you are very kind.”
“Miss Isabella, please escort Lady Allysia to her room. I will see you tomorrow morning, I hope you will join me for breakfast. ”
“I would love to.”

Michael deeply desired to hug her goodnight but he was still trying to consider feelings of reservation she might be having. He wanted to give her time, especially since they were still only betrothed. He instead walked out of the library, happy she even already desired time by his side at all. Once he was gone Allysia took a book for the night and returned to her room with Isabella. “will you require anything my lady?”

“water please, I cant settle without some water and I want to read a little”

“Yes mam, I’ll be right back” the maid hurried off so she changed into her night clothes and got in bed, happy when Isabella returned with a cold glass of water “you’re free to go, thank you so much”

“If you need anything there will still be staff awake. If you want me personally ask one of them to fetch me”

“thank you” Isabella left and Allysia began reading one of the books Michael had suggested to her. She wound up reading four chapters before finally settling down and allowing sleep to take her. In the morning she was awoken by the maid from yesterday “I have everything ready for your shower my lady.” Allysia rubbed her eyes “thank you” Isabella smiled, happy their new lady of the house was kind. The men in Michaels family normally went for kind women but it was a relief all the same.

Allysia flung her feet over the bed, forcing herself to leave the warmth of her incredibly comfortable bed and enter the bathroom. She took a long shower, allowing it to wake her then quickly dressed to make up for the time. She didn’t want to be late for breakfast, not when her future husband was waiting on her. When she entered the dining room she was greeted by that same smile she was growing more and more fond of “Good morning”

“Good morning Michael”

“did you have trouble sleeping?”

“I just got really into one of the books you suggested”

“which one did you end up grabbing?”

“the pirate one”

“that one will definitely keep you up at night. It’s too good, it’s hard to stop once you start it”

“are you very busy today?”

“Not especially, why Allysia?”

“well, if it’s something you’d be interested in maybe we could take turns reading it out loud to eachother in the library. We could switch off every chapter”

“That sounds like a wonderful idea”

Allysia was surprised she had had the nerve to ask. She figured they would have to get to know each other at some point though, might as well start now. Their upcoming wedding night flashed in her mind and she had to turn her head as she blushed. She knew what was expected of her and she still didn’t know if she could do it, kind husband or not. It was just so soon. It was her duty to bare him an heir and she knew this. It didn’t make it any easier to accept her fate. She finished her breakfast, engaging in small take that Sir Michael made with her. He seemed genuinely happy and she wondered if it had anything to do with their upcoming reading session in the library. She hoped so, although she barely knew this man she already desperately wanted to make him happy. Besides, he had already gone through great measures to make sure that SHE was happy, why not return the favor. They finished their breakfast and made their way to the library. She chose a spot next to the fireplace and settled in to begin reading. The words came smoothly and she was anxious to hear Sir Michael read next. When he began she was stunned. His voice was velvety and smooth. His words melded together like they were meant for each other. He made the story come alive with every syllable he spoke. She was absolutely mesmorized and barely noticed when he stopped reading.
“It’s your turn my lady.”
She quickly looked down at the book, embarrassed. They took turns for reading for what seemed like hours. Finally Miss Isabella walked into the room.
“Sir Michael, your company has arrived. Shall I escort them to you or would you rather greet them at the entrance?”
“Oh marvelous!” he exclaimed. “I have a surprise for you Lady Allysia, I hope you accept.”
He beckoned for her to follow him and as she did a million thoughts swirled through her mind. “A surprise?” she thought to herself. “What more could he possibly do for me?”
When they reached the foyer Sir Michael bowed at the petite gentleman in front of them.
“Lady Allysia, allow me to introduce you to Sir Williams III, the finest dress maker in all of the kingdom. I want you to have the wedding dress of your dreams, please tell me you accept this gift that I offer to you.”
Allysia was breath taken. She didn’t know what to say but nodded her head quickly to inform him of her acceptance. This was the nicest thing anyone had done for her and she felt hot tears well in her eyes. Embarrassed to be seen shedding a tear she quickly wiped it away.
“I am honored and extremely grateful Sir Michael. I don’t know what else to say.”
“Please, again, call me Michael.”

She wanted to hug him but still didn’t have the confidence or feel for what was acceptable and what wasn’t so she asked “May I hug you Michael or would that be too much before we are married” She was just so elated and in her home hugs were frequent. “Of course you may” he almost stuttered, at least it sounded like he did. When she embraced him she guessed he probably did because his heart was hammering against his rib cage. She kept the hug brief and was soon whisked away by the man and her maid another servant approached Michael “things seem to be going very well. You were scared she’d be upset for no reason”

“you didn’t see what a mess I was at that party. I figured she’d take one look at who here parents picked and be disappointed”

“You’re a sweet man and it shows. I knew she’d be happy, you’re more attractive than you think as well Sir Michael”

“well, I’m going to get some work done so I can be with her again if she wants me later. I wont be needing anything so make sure everybody knows her happiness is everything” He walked to his office happily, eager to be with Allysia again. If seeing the dress before the wedding wasn’t such bad luck he would have sat with her as she told the man what she wanted but he wouldn’t risk this union for anything, not when he had gotten so immensely lucky.

The days passed in a daze, one by one. Allysia was very happy but still feared that it was all a show before the wedding. Whenever she looked at Michael though it felt genuine and she couldn’t shake the feeling that came over her when their eyes met. The wedding was drawing near and all of the arrangements made. Her dress was held silently in her bedroom closet, hidden from Sir Michael’s view. She knew it was bad luck for the groom to see the dress before the wedding. Lady Allysia grew more nervous by the hour as the wedding approached. She knew that the suitors from the kingdom not chosen would be there to show them support. She hoped there wouldn’t be any ill feelings but knew there probably would be. As long as everyone stayed in line and let her have her dream day, that was all that mattered. She couldn’t wait to see her family. She had sent a letter out to her sister, letting her know that all was well so far. He sister responded eagerly with excitement lacing the letter. This really was turning into a fairy tale and Allysia believed it was all too good to be true.
Allysia woke surprisingly early the day before the wedding. She knew her family would be arriving today and was so excited to see their smiling faces. It had been too long and her heart was growing heavy. She called Miss Isabella to draw her a bath and hurried to get ready. She made sure to put extra care into her appearance though, she wanted her family to be proud of her. When she was finally ready she rushed downstairs to wait for their arrival. She brought her new book to occupy her as the time went by. Hours felt like days as she sat there awaiting them. Finally, a servant hurried in the doors announcing their arrival. Allysia jumped to her feet and hurried to the door, she wanted to be the first to greet them as they entered. She could see their carriage drawing near and anticipation coursed through her. Her family was finally here!

Chapter Four

She forgot all about being a lady when her parents and sister stepped out. She ran for them, hugging them tightly. Her fathers reprimand was only slight “Allysia”

“I’m sorry, I’m just so happy to see you”

“are you happy so far?” Her mother asked and Allysia blushed as she answered “yes, he’s been kind to me so far. He even gave me a beautiful room to stay in until, well” Her mother kissed her head “good, I’m happy we were right about him” Sir Michael now came out to greet them. Her father reached out, taking his hand and shaking it. Michael then bowed to Allysias mom who gave a slight bow in return. “welcome, are you hungry from your trip?”

“Our daughter is and if shes going to eat we may as well”

“I already have them working on something. Please, come in” They followed Michael inside where he gave them a brief tour so they would be at the table when food came out. It truly was amazing to have her family here, she hoped Michael would let them come often, especially her sister. She wondered if he would just let her come and stay every now and then. He had been so nice already she didn’t think she had to worry about him saying no but still, they weren’t married yet and typically engagement is when a man treats you the best he’s ever going to treat you.

Sir Michael was warm and welcoming to Lady Allysia’s family. Her father especially seemed to love Michael and ate up anything that he said. Allysia’s mother seemed pleased with her decision and Allysia could practically watch the stress and anxiety melt from her face the further the night went on.

Allysia’s sister kicks her foot.
“Psst.” she whispers.

“What dear sister?”

Allysia’s sister giggles, “have you kissed him yet?”

“Heavens no! How could you even ask me that, we are not even married!” Allysia blushed profusely. The thought made her blood rise and she realized she found the thought rather pleasant. She quickly dismissed the thoughts.

“A lady waits, Elizabeth, you would be wise to remember that.” Allysia tried to be serious but the laughter came through. The mood was too light for seriousness and the two girls continued to talk like school girls.

“The wedding is going to be marvelous tomorrow Allysia” said Elizabeth. “Did mother tell you about Sir James?”

“Who is Sir James?”

“He was one of your suitors, silly. He is apparently irate that he was not chosen as your betrothed and send a threatening letter to Mother and Father. He was quite rude if you ask me. He is supposed to be here tomorrow to show his respect and we are not sure what to expect. I promise that we won’t let anything get in the way of your bid day though sis, I can’t wait! You’re going to be the most beautiful bride ever!”

Elizabeth’s words rang in Allysia’s ears and worry started to build. If he was angry enough to openly defy her father, then what would he do or say at the wedding? This wasn’t good. She had to tell Michael immediately.

She felt nervous asking him to talk to her alone but he responded warmly to it, showing only concern. His concern being he had done something wrong and she wanted to reprimand him. He wasn’t sure how well his heart could take her uttering any words that indicated she was disappointed. He took her into another room and asked gently “what is it?” trying not to show his distress. He didn’t want to seem like a wimp to her. “my sister tells me Sir James is wroth he wasn’t chosen and is coming to the wedding under the guise he will support them choosing you anyway but with how ugly he was to my parents I can’t imagine that’s true. I just thought you should be made aware instead of taken by surprise on our wedding day if he tries anything”

He couldn’t feel relief he wasn’t in trouble with her since a new worry took that worries place. He wanted this wedding to be perfect, something she would think fondly of one day. He didn’t want this entitled Sir James to ruin their day or possibly hurt her. No, he wouldn’t be hurting Lady Allysia or ruining anything. He would make sure his entire guard was ready just incase a problem should arise’

“I’m glad you informed me. Already such a wise wife” He blushed at his own words, especially when he saw how red he had made her. “well, I suppose we should rejoin my family”

“yes…Allysia?”

“Yes Michael” it made his heart stutter when she’d just say his name instead of adding the sir. “could I have another hug” He would have never been so bold to ask if she hadn’t asked on a previous day. He had been longing to have her briefly in his arms again ever since. “yes” her voice shook a little and he carefully pulled her into his arms, happy for the days ahead when she’d stay there longer but for now he let her pull away and followed his soon to be wife out.

Concern followed him throughout the rest of the evening. It was enough that tomorrow was one of the biggest days of his life. Now he had to worry about angry suitors messing everything up. He felt his normal guards would be enough though, there was no need to up his protection and cause suspicion at the wedding. Michael tried to remain cordial throughout the casual conversation with Allysia’s family but there was so much going on in his mind. The one thought that continued to dart through his mind was seeing Allysia in her wedding dress. He bet it was beautiful and couldn’t wait until that moment of revelation. Before long it was time to depart to his room and get some rest for the upcoming nuptials.

“Goodnight Allysia, I hope you sleep well and I am looking forward to tomorrow day. ”

“Goodnight Michael, I will see you when the sun rises.”

With that each individual went to their separate rooms, hugging and hiding tears of joy. Not long after Allysia had settled into her bed there came a soft knock on her door.

“Who is it?” she called.

“It’s Elizabeth, let me in” she giggled.

Elated, Allysia rushed to her door and let her sister in.

“I was hoping we could have one last sleepover sister.”

The two embraced each other warmly.

“I would love that!” exclaimed Allysia.

They rushed to the bed and jumped playfully in.

“I can’t believe that tomorrow you will be wed dear sister. It seems like just yesterday we were frolicking in the lily field and now you are betrothed.”

“I miss you too Elizabeth.” Allysia had seen the words without hearing them. She knew that no matter how happy her family was for her there was still sorrow at watching her go.

“Everything is going to be alright little one and one day it will be you giggling about to be married. You will make a beautiful bride and will have a very kind husband.”

“Oh, do you really think so Allysia? That would be wonderful!”

The two girls giggled and talked and before they knew it they were both sound asleep.

They were awoken by Miss Isabella in the morning “time to get dressed my ladies. Breakfast will soon be ready and this is a very important day. Miss Elizabeth, I have already fetched your bag. I thought you’d want to dress with your sister”

“Thank you”

“you truly are amazing Isabella”

“I wouldn’t be doing Sir Michaels bidding if I didn’t keep you happy.” The girl quickly pulled on dresses then followed the maid to the breakfast table so they could eat with the family before they would be swept up in preparing for the wedding. Allysia stole a glance of Sir Michael and a bit of sadness his her. He didn’t look very happy this morning and she wondered if suddenly he wasn’t sure if he wanted to marry her. In truth Michael was still just concerned about the day and in deep thought but he knew he wouldn’t have much time with her today so eventually pulled himself out of his head and asked Allysia “How did you sleep?”

“wonderfully, my sister joined me” He smiled at her, in the forever warm way and it chased away some of the anxieties him looking so serious caused. Maybe she was just being oversensitive she thought to herself. “You two seem so close. She’s welcome anytime you know”

“truly?”

“yes”

Allysia was relieved to here the warm words from Michael. She had been concerned about whether or not her sister could visit and the thought of her being welcome anytime made Allysia giddy with glee. It had only been a week but Allysia felt she was already falling for Sir Michael. She really hoped he didn’t change after they were wed. What a tragedy that would be. As of right now, he seemed too perfect, “there must be something wrong with him,” she thought, but she couldn’t find any flaws. Breakfast went by too quickly and it seemed everyone was trying to speak to Allysia at once. She barely had time to finish one conversation when another one found its way to her. Before she knew it, it was time to prepare for the wedding. Sir Michael wished her farewell and her family bid her goodbye for now with excited words of encouragement. Miss Isabella was with Allysia ever step of the way. Her sister decided she wanted to stay and help her get ready and who was Allysia to say no? Michael had brought in the finest hair stylist and when he was done Allysia couldn’t believe her eyes. She felt like one of the princesses from her book. It was finally time to put on her dress. Miss Isabella helped her into the dress and tightened the finishing touches. When Allysia was ready she was truly a stunning bride-to-be.

“Sir Michael is going to faint” spoke Elizabeth.

“Yes ma’am young lady. You look like a dream” said Isabella.

Allysia couldn’t believe her eyes. This was really happening, and her soul was no longer in torment but relished in the idea of being wed. Everything was evolving so perfectly she was afraid of it’s end. “Maybe there won’t be one” Allysia spoke to herself.

“Are you ready my lady?” asked Miss Isabella.

“As ready as I will ever by miss.” she replied, remembering to breath before she passed out.

Chapter Five

She followed Isabella as gracefully as possible, despite the fact her husband to be couldn’t see her yet. She wanted to already have a good stride going when he saw her to truly steal the breath from his lungs. He was such a good man and she’d give anything to know precisely what he thought of her. Until then, she would do her best to make him think she was a goddess herself. She knew she was far from perfection but she’d strive to be if Sir Michael was what he seemed. “breath sister” Elizabeth whispered as they stepped outside. She had begun to concentrate so much again she forgot “thank you” she whispered back and began to breath normally again.

When the people came into view she quickly spotted her family. It touched her that even her father seemed to be struggling to keep tears at bay. The second person she noticed was Sir James, he looked positively livid and it struck fear into her heart until Sir Michael caught her attention away. He looked even more handsome today as he stood in a suit tailored perfectly for his body. It accentuated what a gorgeous man he was in her eyes and she almost completely forgot about James and his obvious wrath. She would thank her parents a million times over for choosing Michael and not the man sitting in the pews.

Allysia began slowly walking down the isle. She kept her head down, watching where she was walking. The last thing she needed was to fall headfirst in front of the whole kingdom. She finally reached Sir Michael and she braved a look up. What she saw took her away. His face was stuck in an expression of awe and wonder. He stared at her intensely, seeming to never blink. She had to look away, abashed. The minister began.

“Welcome family and friends of Sir Michael Tieranis and Lady Allysia Lushtorian. We are gathered here today to witness the joining of two souls into one. ”

Lady Allysia’s heart was pounding in her ears. She almost couldn’t hear what the minister was saying, she was so distracted by her anxiety. Before she knew it, it was time for their vows. She could feel the sweat beading on the palm of her hand. Sir Michael began.

“Lady Allysia, you may not remember the first time I saw you, but I do. You were stunning, I couldn’t believe my eyes. When we danced together it was as if time had stood still. I have honestly never felt anything like it. My surprise came when your parents accepted my marriage proposal, although countless suitors deserved your hand as much as I. I am honored that your parents trusted me to be a good husband to you and I will prove myself to you every day if I have to. You have blown me away every moment since we met and I promise to love you and protect you until the day we die.”

Lady Allysia felt the hot rush of tears coming to her eyes. It was so beautiful and it hadn’t been written in a book but was actually happening to her. She couldn’t believe her ears, he actually cared for her and thought of her the most beautiful girl in the land. She felt slightly embarrassed that her vows weren’t nearly as beautiful but she read them as she remembered and hope he heard her heart in them.

“If there is anyone who objects to this marriage say so now or forever hold your peace.”

“I object! Guards!”

Everyone’s head turns as soldiers rush in behind Sir James. They were heavily suited and armed and outnumbered their own soldiers 3 to 1.

“What are you doing?” Roared Sir Michael. “Stop this at once and I will spare your life.” he demanded.

“Ha! Why would I stop? I clearly have the advantage and besides, you have something that I want.”

With that he looked at Lady Allysia and chills shot through her body.

“This isn’t happening” she spoke out loud.

“It’s ok, I won’t let him hurt you. I will protect you!” With that Sir Michael drew his sword and nodded to his guards. Immediately swords clashed against swords and screams filled the air. Family and friends flee’d as far away as they could, desperate not to get caught in the cross hairs. Sir Michael’s men fought courageously and held them off strong but one by one the soldiers dwindled. They were just too outnumbered.

“Stop this nonsense!” shouted Sir Michael. “Please, take me, spare her life!”

“What makes you think that I’d want you in her place? Why would you think I would kill her? I wish her to be my wife and once you are out of the picture I will face no resistance and she will have no choice!”

“Bastard! You cannot do this!”

“Watch me, Sir Michael.” Sir James grinned feindishly, “Grab the girl!” he declared.

Now Lady Allysia wished she was in a book, a book where she had magic or somebody in the crowd did but no spells came to her aide as a few much larger men came at her. Men in the crowd, including her own father were trying to help the situation but this awful, cold hearted man had more men at his disposal than anybody could have thought. Next thing she knew she was hit on the head with something hard and the world around her went dark. “Allysia” Sir Michael cried out in agony as his stomach was impaled with a sword. HIs cry sounded in her head as she awoke later, startled in bed. She looked around “Sir Michael!” she called out then noticed she had a chain on her wrist. She gasped and the guard she hadn’t noticed at first walked out the room. “Please, please let me go!” she yelled but the man didn’t care.

She guessed Sir James had actually done it, he had taken her from Michael but it still left her wondering, was he wounded or dead? She could suffer a miserable life but the thought of Michael being murdered over her made it hard to breath. She’d wait and listen, she’d figure out if the man she had fallen for lived and if he didn’t she vowed to herself she’d avenge him. In the better case, if he was alive she’d fight with everything she was to get back to him.

Sir James entered the room, looking far too smug for her tastes “where is Michael?”

“You will not speak another mans name in here”

“MICHAEL MICHAEL MICHAEL!” she screamed, not caring what consequences may follow.

Hot tears streamed down her face. She couldn’t believe what her mind was telling her. There was no way that Sir Michael was dead, no man could be so cruel. But here he was, cruelty, staring into her face.

“I told you not to say that name!” he roared, “ten lashings for you, maybe this time you will listen.”

With that he walked away leaving her to her own despair.

“You coward!” she yelled behind him, willing him to turn back around and give her the opportunity to reach him from behind her bars.

“This really is happening” she told herself, as sobs heaved her chest. Right behind Sir James were two guards ready to take her for her punishment. She wouldn’t go easy, even if it killed her. She hit and fought with all of her might and took any shot she could get. These guards weren’t about to go down easy though and one swift blow to her face quieted her quickly.

Never had she received a lashing before but after the first blow took it’s toll on her delicate skin she knew she never wanted to experience this again.The pain was excruciating and hundreds of eyes watched her. People from the village threw trash and rotten food. She was humiliated and disgraced. By the time her ten lashings were up she thought she would faint. The guards picked her up by her hair ruthlessly, forcing her to her feet.

“Stay awake! I’m not carrying you!” the guard yelled at her. After what felt like a day but had only been minutes, she was thrown back into her cell.

“That will teach you to talk to Sir James like that! Stupid bitch” the guard sneered at her and spit on her tender, exposed skin.

She quickly crawled to the darkest corner she could find for herself and began to weep. She wept for herself, she wept for her family, not knowing their fate, and she wept for Sir Michael. After a hard cry she knew she had to devise a plan. This would not be quick or easy and she knew it full on, but she had to do something to escape and find out the fate of her loved ones. There was a reason why Sir James took her, he wished her to be his wife, which means he can’t keep her locked in the dungeon forever. Eventually he had to let her out and force her hand in marriage. She would have to go along with the ruse until the moment to strike was right. Although it pained her to even think for a second of being anything but revengeful towards Sir James, she knew it had to be done. She had told a white lie once or twice to her parents to get out of trouble but this was something new. She would have to put her whole life on the line to convince Sir James that she was his subservient wife. First, she had to grieve.

What remained of his knights ran after their master “Sir Michael, you need to heal, stop it and rest”

“I can’t, not when Lady Allysia is with that horrible man.”

“How can you be of any use to her so wounded?”

“How can any man truly rest when his beloved is hurting and no doubt scared” Michael found what he was looking for “I’m going to get help. You men can come or continue whining here but you wont hinder my quest to get her back” The highest ranking knight sighed “we follow you where ever you may lead my lord but at least take one of the carriages and give one of us the map so you may lay down. Your wounds are so severe”

“fine” Sir Michael showed him where he was wanting to go and the knight sighed with relief “I have a friend that way, an amazing doctor. We can pick her up and let her tend to you in the carriage on the way”

“fine but we wont waste time begging anybody if she is scared to help. I need to get to Lady Allysia, I need to save her. I can’t stand the fact I have already failed as a husband to her…it’s my job to keep her safe and now she’s in Sir James hands”

“We all did our best, none of us could have expected he’d come at us with so much over a woman.”

“It doesn’t matter….we must go…I must save her and make this up to her if she’ll still have me” They hurried, feeling blessed by god above when a carriage was still intact. Sir MIchael loaded inside as his knights got on horses and two took the reigns to drive his carriage forward. They made few stops over the following days. Sir Michael wouldn’t have normally pushed them all so hard but this was Lady Allysia, a woman who already meant so much to him. He felt even less like stopping for a doctor when they stopped but his knights insisted so they did.

Sir Michael waited in the carriage, too weak to get up and not interested enough to get out even if he could. Surprisingly fast a woman came into his carriage holding a medical bag ‘jesus, look at you, so pale”

“are you helping me?”

“you’re an incredibly good man and a dear friend of mine wants me to so I will”

“Sir James may punish you as well”

“I cower for no man, please, stop talking and let me tend to you as we go on. You probably shouldn’t be traveling but I’ve already been told that there will be no convincing you to let yourself heal first”

“Lady Allysia”

“shhh, rest”

Chapter Six

Lady Allysia was startled awake with a BANG! One of the guards laughed as she scurried to a far corner. He opened the gate and set down a plate full of food. It had been 5 days and this was the first true food she had seen. Without feeling pride she lept towards the plate of food, ravenous, devouring the food almost as quickly as it had appeared. When she was done the guard entered her cell once more.

“Rise, prisoner!”

“Wh-what for?”

” I said rise! Don’t ask questions!” and with that he harshly grabbed her arm and started dragging her up the long corridor. It was dark and she could barely see.

“Where are they taking me? Could this be the end?” she thought to herself. She decided she would die with dignity if it was time and she would show Sir James no pain on her face. Suddenly, she was flooded with light as they exited the corridor. She was drug further into the castle, not knowing where she was being taken. They finally came to a door that the guard swung open. He then threw her inside and slammed the door. Lady Allysia could taste the blood filling in her mouth after the face smashed into the hard floor of the room. Her vision swam as she tried to focus on her surroundings. What she saw, she couldn’t believe, although she had imaged it was coming eventually. It was a beautifully ornate bedroom, fit for a queen.

“Is this mine?” she wondered. She knew that Sir James had taken her to be his wife but she wasn’t at all actually sure of her fate. Even if he did intend on forcing her hand she had figured she would be enslaved in his dungeon much longer than five days. She slowly picked herself up and shakily walked to the bed that was in front of her. She sat down wearily, waiting for the door to bust open any minute and ruin this single moment of relief she felt. Before she knew it, she was sleeping soundly on the bed and dreaming of Sir Michael and the look of agony on his face in the last few moments that she saw him.

When they arrived at the land Sir Michael has been seeking he was mostly healed though he would have scars. The doctor tending him said it was mostly due to his stubbornness to keep forward but if he got Lady Allysia back she’d be worth the scars and if he didn’t he felt he deserved the punishment of them for failing her before they even said their I dos. He truly did intend to release her of the compulsion to marry him if she so desired when he saved her. It would break his heart if she went back on the marriage but he did not deserve such a bride any longer. He could only hope she still saw something worth while in him.

The men that greeted them bowed at the sight of Michael “My lord” One said reverently “I need to speak to Zareah and I need to speak with her now”

“Yes, lets make haste” The man said and they followed them to their leader, a gorgeous, thing woman standing taller than average for a girl “Sir Michael, is this about the grim news I’ve heard?”

“I require help from all that serve you, please, I will do anything in return for the safety of my beautiful Allysia”

“You care about her so already? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, you come from a good family Sir Michael. I will talk to the heads of my men and then I’ll get back to you. I never send them unwilling into anything”

“thank you for even considering helping me”

“Sir James is wicked and must be stopped. I see this as a perfect time to finally kill the man” Hours passed and she finally came to his carriage “we all ride in an hour, be prepared Sir Michael”

“what do you require of me in return for this service”

“I will hold on to the favor if you don’t mind”

“As I said, Lady Allysia is worth anything, hold it until you find a deed of great proportions I can do in return”

With an army at his side, Sir Michael felt confident in his ability to rescue Lady Allysia. He just hoped that she could hold on for just a bit longer, unknowing of her conditions. He feared the worst seeing as Sir James was a cruel and hideous monster. As dawn broke it was time to ride out. This was his one and only shot and he had to make it count.

Lady Allysia woke with a start. She was frantic, not recognizing where she was. It took her a moment for the memories to flood back to her, for the horror to return to her mind. She couldn’t understand how she had been through such a horrific incident but lay in such a comforting bed. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door and a maid hurried through.

“Tis’ time to get dressed my lady, Sir James waits for his betrothed at breakfast and you mustn’t keep him waiting. You don’t want to see him when he is angered.”

Allysia wanted to spit at the woman, to curse her and tell her that she refused, but she knew it would do not good and this woman had done nothing to her. Hatred fell into despair which broke her spirit. Slowly, she rose and began to dress in the garments that the maid handed her. The maid began to brush her hair and pin it up neat and tidy.

“Remember, you mustn’t talk to much, just sit still and look pretty, miss.”

Nausea and disgust roiled in Allysia’s stomach but there was nothing she could do but follow the motions in which she was led. She slowly walked down the hall into the dinning area where the loathsome Sir James sat at the head of the table.

“You’re late, Lady Allysia. I will not tolerate this again. You have had your warning.”

Allysia said nothing but sat down at the seat designated to her by one of the servants. She had no appetite but knew she would be in trouble if she did not attempt to eat. Besides, how was she to escape if she had no energy saved up? Her thoughts wondered to Sir Michael and tears welled in her eyes. She prayed silently to herself that he was ok but knew not to get her hopes up. She couldn’t count on a rescue but must rely on herself to get out of this mess. Just how she was going to do it was the question, and would she kill Sir James along the way? Oh, how she wished she could. If there’s a way she swore she would. She decided she would study him, study the castle, and find out everything she could to use to her advantage to escape. Her thoughts were interrupted when Sir James demanded her attention.

“My dear Lady, I understand that the circumstances may not be to your liking but you are to behave accordingly. You are my betrothed and I expect you to act as such. You will follow daily lessons and a strict regimine while you are here and will be a respectable lady of this house. The servants are at your command but the moment you rely on them for help to escape they will be killed at your expense. Do you understand what I am saying to you?”

She hated him more every moment.

“Yes” was all she could muster.

“Yes, MY LORD, is how you will respond to me when I speak to you!”

“Yes my Lord,” she spit through gritted teeth. She had no idea how she was going to pull this off.

“I expected you to be more agreeable after being locked away. I can put you back and I will put you back. I will also do MUCH worse to you if you force me Lady Allysia. You will be a good wife and I hope that’s clear so I don’t have to resort to worse measures to teach you your place” “Yes my lord” she repeated as gently as she could. His words infuriated her but arguing with him would do her no good, it certainly wouldn’t help her escape. She knew she needed to behave maybe she could earn herself enough freedom to make a run for it or better yet, access to a good, sharp knife to plunge into his chest.

She cleaned her plate of food despite the fact each bite brought her closer and closer to vomiting all over the table. When he was done he stood “come with me” she stood “where are we going”

“I don’t feel like wasting my time explaining, I never will so if I don’t just tell you don’t ask me” A thousand things ran through her mind to snap back at this callous bastard and she was proud of herself for holding her tongue instead of unleashing them.

Days melded into weeks as Sir Michael rode with his new ally. He wasn’t going to stop there, he had one more good lead on soldiers on the way to Sir James castle and wasn’t going to waste his opportunity to recruit more soldiers. They rode in in the middle of the night with the steely rain at their backs.

“Who goes there?” called out one of the guards.

“It is Sir Michael Tieranis, here to see Sir Joryn immediately.”

With that, the doors opened and their army was allowed through.

“You may take shelter at our inn until morning comes. Sir Joryn will be notified of your arrival and shall meet with you as he see’s fit.”

Although anxious to speak with Sir Joryn, Sir Michael was relieved at the notion of a good nights rest. He still hadn’t healed 100% and was hurting from the many days ride. Sleeping upon the ground hadn’t helped his recovery and he hated to admit he could use a hot meal as well.

After eating his fill and securing his room, Sir Michael set off for his room. Morning came with a swift knock at the door.

“Sir Joryn will see you in his chambers now.”

Michael was surprised that Sir Joryn was taking him into his personal chambers instead of somewhere more public and secure. There was no time to waste and debate, he had to hurry to align allies on his side against Sir James. He was lead through town to the chambers but wasn’t prepared for what he saw when he got there. Sir Joryn was laying there, in his bed, sickly and ill.

“Sir Joyrn, I have heard no word of your plight. Please forgive my intrusion.”

“It is no intrusion old friend, now what is it that I can do for you?”

“Sir James has accosted my betrothed on our wedding day, attempting to slay me in the process. I am gathering soldiers to rescue her and our honor. I came to plead for your help.”

“My dear friend. I am sorry to hear of these wrong doings. Unfortunately, I am unable to assist you. Although I have soldiers at my command I am in no position to allocate them anywhere away from here. I am very sick and in being so I am in need of all of the defense I can get. I am so sorry.”

“I understand but I have a doctor with me. If she can help you may I have your men? I need everyone I can get. Somehow Sir James has so many behind him.”

“she can try but others see no helping me, I fear she will tell me the same”

“I’ll be right back” Sir MIchael ran off, not giving a damn that it was unseemly. Every second was precious, every second was time his wife was alone with that man. He banged on the womans door until she came out “Sir Michael” she seem shocked and a little offended at his rudeness “He is sick, my friend is sick and we can only have his men if you can help him. Please” She sighed “I see, alright, show me to him but I am a lady Sir MIchael. In the future I expect to be treated like one.”

“I’m sorry” she nodded then went back to grab her bag. With it in hand they rushed back to the ill lord and she examined him “well, can you help him?” Sir MIchael asked impatiently when she seemed done checking him over. “I can but the soonest we’re looking at leaving is another two days. It will take the remedies that long to get him remotely well enough to travel”

“He is my friend and even if he wasn’t, his men are worth the wait. They are amazingly skilled”

“Then I’ll begin my treatments with his consent”

“I consent, please, I’m tired of feeling this way”

“You realize this will use up the last of our resources? I will no longer be able to heal you Sir Michael, you will have to remain with your injuries and I’m not sure if they are battle ready.”

“Just do what you have to do to see that he gets better. I can take care of myself.”

“As you wish.”

The doctor went to work right away, not wasting any time. Sir Michael went back to the Inn for a proper meal and to gather his thoughts. He had gained another significant ally. There was no way that Sir James could out battle his soldiers, their number was too great. He was feeling confident in his ability to rescue Lady Allysia.

Lady Allysia was laying awake in her bed. Tears streamed down her face and landed quietly onto her pillow. She didn’t know how much longer she could survive under Sir James rule. He was a hateful and cruel man and whipped her anytime she fell out of line. Her back still stung from her last transgression. Escape seemed impossible with every passing day. She was followed like clockwork by his men and rarely did she ever have a moment to herself to think. The only time she was alone was when she was in her bedchambers and bath. There was hardly any room for escape from these places. She didn’t even have a window in her room to see the outside world. She was completely cut off unless Sir James deemed it necessary for her to breath fresh air. She could feel her soul slowly perishing and withering away. She barely even felt like herself any more. If Sir Michael had lived, surely he would have rescued her by now. What about her family? She has heard of no one trying to save her. That must mean that they are all gone. She is all alone with no one to care for her. She wept.

Chapter Seven

As he ate once again his days with Allysia consumed his thoughts. Even the way she ate was absolutely adorable and he longed to see it again. More so he wanted to hold her, to make her forget all of this pain and give her the life he had been longing to since the moment he met her. It was torturous waiting for his new ally to get well but the second he could get out of bed and not feel like he was going to faint Sir Joryn told his men they were going to Sir Michael to help him reclaim his bride.

They went foward, Sir Michael still in pain but unwilling to relent in his efforts. If they came upon more supplies and another doctor then fate smiled on them but if they didn’t he didn’t give a damn as long as he saved her. He could die for all he cared, he just couldn’t leave this life knowing she was suffering due to his short comings. She was far too precious of a woman for that.

They rode as hard as the horses could handle, only bothering to eat when the horses required rest. They even tried not to use the bathroom unless they were already stopped for their steeds. Sir Michael was glad to have such strong men and women aiding him. They hadn’t complained about traveling like this even for a moment and he would be eternally grateful for their perseverance.

Lady Allysia laid in her bedroom, wishing she could see the stars. She was close to letting sleep take her away when there came a knock at her door.

“Lady Allysia, Sir James requires you in his bedchambers. I would suggest making haste and not allowing him to wait.”

“Wh-what? No! I cannot!”

“I’m afraid you have no choice my lady. You must come with me at once.”

Lady Allysia sat there, stunned. She didn’t believe this was happening. Maybe it wasn’t what she was thinking. Sir James couldn’t be that cruel to take her virtue, especially before she was wed. She knew she had no choice and got up, slowly.

“I am truly sorry but you must hurry my dear, you don’t want to make things worse.”

Tears fell from her eyes as she blindly followed the servant. When they arrived at Sir James room the servant knocked and announced their arrival.

“Send her in!” he proclaimed.

Lady Allysia was ushered through the door. There he stood, in only his robe, looking her up and down as if she were meat.

“What is it that you want from me?” she asked, fear resonating throughout her voice.

“I want you to lie with me. To make it clear, I am not asking.”

“I cannot! You mustn’t take my virtue. We are not even wed yet, would you not rather wait until it is proper?” She racked her brain, thinking of anything she could say to change his mind.

He walked towards her, grabbing her arm ruthlessly and throwing her onto his bed.

“No!” she screamed. She didn’t care the punishment she was going to fight with all of her might.

Sir James grabbed her by her hair and slapped her as hard as she could. Blood sprayed from her mouth as he shoved her face into the bed pillows. There was no use, he was going to take her and there was nothing she could do about it. May the angles above hear her prayers and save her. No one ever came.

Michael struggled to fall asleep once again, here they were, so close to Sir James that they knew this was the final night before they waged all out war on him and stole back Allysia. He was so eager, he wanted to go right this moment but they had a better chance if the men and horses were not only well feed and hydrated but also rested. Everyone needed to be at their very best when they challenged him so he let them sleep but when the son rose Sir Michael made sure every man and woman rose with it. They obliged once again without complaint but how were they to complain to a man so driven when he was surely in massive amounts of pain from his wounds that the doctor wasn’t able to finish fully tending to. This was a man worth following and they’d make sure they didn’t fail him.

They rode ready for battle and all felt confident when Sir James fortress came into view and a few men called down “what is the meaning of this?!” Sir Michael was the one to answer “I come to take my bride back. Let us in or we’ll force our way in and up to his home!” Arrows started flying but they had been ready and waiting for just that. As far as they were concerned they had a plan for everything that could be thrown at them in this endeavor.

“Shield wall!” Sir Michael cried out. The soldiers held up their shields in defense of the archers aim. While the wall held off most of the attack, some men were shot down, taking their final breaths for Sir Michael and Lady Allysia.

“Move!”

The army marched forward, with no fear in their hearts, ready to fight for love. Sir James men fought valiently but were no match for the shear size of Sir Michael’s army. He had fought too hard and came to far to let the thought of failure enter into his mind.

~”Sir James! There is an attack at our front, Sir Michael is here for the Lady! We must get you to safety!”

“No! I will stand and finish this fool once and for all, take Lady Allysia to the dungeon and make sure no one gets through! While you’re at it, give her a few lashings for me for her pathetic attempts of resisting me last night.”

Lady Allysia couldn’t believe her ears, Sir Michael was alive! He was here to rescue her, her love! She didn’t even fear the lashings coming her way, knowing in her heart that today it would be over, one way or another. If Sir Michael failed today she would end her life and suffer no more. She would rather be reunited with him in the afterlife than to spend another day tending to this cruel monster.

War raged on all sides of the castle. Blood was spilled and death filled the air like poison. Slowly, they fought theirselves further and further inside of the castle. There was chaos on all sides of every man, it was almost too difficult to tell friend from foe in the turmoil. Although still wounded, Sir Michael fought valiently, fighting off every man that came his way as if they were nothing. He had a mission in his heart and knew there was nothing that could get in his way from saving Lady Allysia.

Their swords clashed against each other, both men equally as strong and willed. Sir Michael knew in his heart that he must win in order to save Lady Allysia but Sir James knew that no one could defeat him. The fighting around them became obsolete as they threw every ounce of energy and muscle into winning the battle. James comes down hard on Michael, aiming for a final blow, but Michael is slightly faster than James and dodges out of the way. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quick enough and James sword slices into Michaels flesh. He can feel the blood soaking his shirt but he doesn’t have time to assess the damage. He swings high and the weight of the sword sends pain shooting through his torso. James blocks his counter attack and quickly steps back.

“You cannot defeat me Sir Michael. You should give up now and save yourself. You are foolish to think you can beat me!”

“I will never give up!” roared Sir Michael. He lunges, swinging as hard as he can, expecting to feel the reverberations of James steel meeting his but instead he hears the shocked cry of Sir James as Michael lifts his head and see’s the sword piercing through his skull. He drops to his knees and then onto his face, lifeless. Soldiers begin to realize that the battle has been won and Sir James men begin to flee in hope of saving themselves. Cheering echo’s through the halls and the men celebrate their victory. There is no victory for Sir Michael until Lady Allysia is in his arms and safe.

“We must find Lady Allysia! Gather up all of the servants left in the building and find out where she is!”

They did as they were told, eager themselves to save her from such a retched place. This whole area of their kingdom was filled with low lives, the type of people who would rob their own mothers blind or sell their daughters to whore houses for a quick silver. This wasn’t any sort of place for this woman they had heard nothing but amazing things about. A few of the men found her in the dungeon and left the men guarding her dead in front of her cell, their blood painting the already disgusting floor. “Lady Allysia, we are with Sir Michael, he’s searching the castle for you”

“truly?” Sir James would be cruel enough to kill his own men just to torment her with hope “Truly, please come my lady.” She got up from where she had been sobbing and the men soon let her out. She walked with them, her mind everywhere. She wasn’t the same woman who had been kidnapped and on top of that no longer held her virtue. She was happy yet fearful of seeing Michael again and having him know the truth of everything.

Relief over took her anxiety when she saw him “Sir Michael” she realized she was crying again as she ran into his arms “Lady Allysia, you live, thank the god above” She felt blood seeping into her clothing and pulled back, now seeing his wounds “Sir Michael” her voice now drenched in worry “I’ll be alright now that I have you safe. I’m sure there are medical supplies here”

“there are, I know where, come on”

She hurried him to the medical wing where she knew there were supplies. She didn’t know exactly what but Sir Michael had a doctor of his own accompanying him.

“I thought you were surely dead Sir Michael! I never thought I would leave this retched place. ”

“You are safe now Lady Allysia, as you should have been from the beginning. I understand if you no longer wish to hold true our marriage arrangement.”

Michael looked to the ground with shame as he spoke.

“How could you think that?” she asked. “You have risked your life more than once for me, I owe you my life. I cannot, however, offer you my virtue, for that has been stolen from me. Now that you know this you may want to reconsider our arrangement.” tears spilled down her cheeks.

He tilted her chin towards him, kissing her tears softly.

“I would never want anything but you sweet Allysia. I am yours if you will still have me.”

In that moment they shared their first true embrace. It would be years before they would truly recover but they had each other every moment of the day. Their wedding day was talked about amongst the kingdoms and all those who could attend came. Although both of her parents were killed in Sir James initial attack, her sister soley survived and was offered to join Sir Michael and Lady Allysia in their home until she was wed. She happily accepted and the two sisters never left each others sides.
~The End.

Wolfric & Merle 2

Chapter One

Their plane finally landed and Wolfric couldn’t wait to get off. They were in Rutherford, California to tour their wedding location. They both agreed they wanted this place but they wanted to tour before Merle put any money down on it. The pictures they had seen online were nothing short of stunning so Wolfric could only imagine how it would look in person. Merle smiled, his heart warm with happiness and love as he looked at his mate. Wolfric blushed “what?”

“I just enjoy seeing you so happy. I hope Beaulieu Garden is everything you’re hoping it will be. It did look gorgeous in pictures and in the videos we saw of it”

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep tonight with our appointment so early in the morning”

“theres much more enjoyable things than sleeping we can do in our suite tonight if you do not wish to sleep” Merle’s tone was suggestive and much too loud for Wolfric. Merle never seemed to care who heard them, even when talking about stuff like that. His red face made Merle chuckle. He leaned over to kiss Wolfrics forehead then said “I love you so much”

“I…I love you too.”

They sat in their seats, both of them even more excited when they were told to disembark. Wolfric was impatient as they made their way through the airport to where their car was waiting. Merle had made sure they wouldn’t have to take a taxi anywhere so they could move freely. He could easily afford them, but he wanted them to be able to take their time. As soon as they were loaded into the car, he punched the address for the Harvest Inn into the GPS and pulled out of the parking space.

“How long will it take to get there?” Wolfric asked.

“Not long baby, patience. We’ll be checked in before you know it then we can get something to eat and relax.”

“are we getting room service or going out?”

“room service, I want to eat then instantly be able to cuddle you. Then of course if you truly can’t sleep I have other plans” his eyes as he quickly glanced over to Wolfric said everything Merle wanted to do and it had Wolfrics heart pounding. Merle smiled triumphantly, happy he could still get his mates heart racing without even touching him. He hoped Wolfric didn’t change his mind about the location because he was immensely eager to marry him. They were mates but Wolfric wasn’t a wolf like him and he wanted it to be clear to everyone in their life that Wolfric was his.

Merle continued to flirt, even as they checked in, staying true to the fact nothing embarrassed Merle. Once they had their room keys he swept Wolfric off his feet and kissed him right there in the lobby before taking him to their suite. “Merle” He chuckled at his adorable mate “what? You know I can’t help it. I love you” Wolfric could only imagine how he was going to be once they were alone together. He was always affectionate but he was more so since they started planning their wedding.

They unpacked their belongings then looked over the menu in their room “Hm, I can’t decide what I want. Would you like to just order a few things with me and we’ll share it all?”

“that sounds good” Merle kissed his head, probably the hundredth time he had been kissed by Merle since they got on the plane.

Merle sat with Wolfric on his lap while they waited, kissing and nibbling at his neck, teasing him until their food arrived and Wolfric could only sit there and blush. Wolfric blushed the entire time they ate as Merle flirted with him and it was made all the more embarrassing when when Merle insisted on feeding him dessert and kissing him every other bite. “Merle, come on.” He said, his face bright red.

“But it tastes so much better from your lips. It makes me want to eat you up even more.” He dipped his finger into the semifreddo and pushed it passed Wolfric’s lips, chuckling when he heard his mate’s heart stutter.

He couldn’t resist him a second longer and wound up slipping his hands under Wolfrics shirt, feeling his sides then letting his hands explore his chest. When he could feel his once soft nipples become hard Merle began to gently tug at them, playing with his mates chest until Wolfric stuttered out “Mm Merle…do don’t you want to finish eating?”

“I need you” He pushed Wolfrics shirt over his head and tossed it to the floor, his mouth now finding his chest so his tongue could explore it. Wolfric whined, his breath shuddering every now and then, especially as Merle began to nibble at his sides, holding tightly to his hips as he did so. Wolfric slid his hands into Merles hair, locing the feel of it and knowing at this point Merle liked it. Next thing Wolfric knew Merle was eagerly undoing his pants “we just had a long plane ride..I…I shouldn’t shower first”

“You taste amazing” his hot breath and how lustful he sounded had more goosebumps forming on Wolfric. Soon Merle was licking and biting the most tender places on his legs as Wolfric laid back, already letting out little moans. When Merle moved, most likely to get lubricant Wolfric took his chance to push Merle down on the bed. Merle smiled, seeming more amused by his mate than anything else though the lust was still heavy in his eyes. Wolfric didn’t often push him down like this but it was endearing and fun when he did. His mate was still so nervous when it came to making love but slowly, over time he was getting more and more comfortable.

He of course was dominant by nature and enjoyed pinning his mate down but he hoped that it wouldn’t be long before Wolfric didn’t feel nervous about anything when they made love since he was better than he obviously thought at it. He had Merle moaning deeply even before he took his length in his mouth. Through a particularly deep moan from how amazing Wolfric was at working him with his mouth he said “sixty nine baby, I want you too”Wolfric slid Merles length out of his mouth slowly then moved so they could both take eachother at the same time.

Wolfric was the first to release, his body shaking and fingers gripping the covers as he flowed down Merle’s throat. He whimpered then jumped when Merle bit his inner thigh, letting out a growl as he drew closer to his own release. His hip bucked, his fingers tangling in Wolfric’s hair as he came. “Move forward baby.” He ordered gently and Wolfric slid himself up so he was straddling Merle’s hips and Merle could sit up. Merle retrieved the lube and dripped some on his fingers, warming it before gently pressing into Wolfric to loosen him.

“Merle, please, I can’t.” Merle rubbed more on himself then pulled Wolfric down onto him, filling him in one hard thrust. Wolfric’s loud cry excited Merle beyond reason and he held tightly to his hips as he lifted and lowered him.

“I love you Wolfric, my mate, my life, I love you.”

“Me too, I love you.”

When Merle released again he carried his mate to the shower where Merle just held him under the running water. “You truly are my life Wolfric” Merle said softly “I’m so happy we’re getting married” They soon began to wash then went to bed as they were. Merle loved cuddling at night and he preferred to be skin to skin with his mate. In the morning Merle was wearing that amused grin again when Wolfric woke to the alarm “what?”

“Your hair…” he chuckled a little. When Wolfric finally saw it in the mirror he blushed at how crazy it looked from sleeping with it wet. “why do you never have these problems?” he asked as he started trying to fix it. Merle chuckled again, now going to grab the clothes he wanted to wear today. Once they were both ready they walked out to the car and drove over to where they would be married and met with a cheerful woman in a suit. She was only a little shorter than Wolfric and her blue eyes were framed behind small, purple glasses. “Good morning, which one of you is Wolfric and which one of you is Merle?”

“I’m Merle and this is my mate Wolfric”

“It’s nice to meet you both, please, follow me”

The look of wide eyed amazement on Wolfric’s face had Merle chuckling. He was so adorable and he couldn’t help but pull him close and kiss his cheek. “Stop, I can’t help it, this place is so much more amazing in person.” Wolfric said with a blush. “I mean look at that vineyard, it’s gorgeous. I want pictures of us there.”

“Whatever you want baby.” Merle replied.

“You always say that.”

“What can I say, I love spoiling you. I’d throw my entire fortune away if it was for something that made you happy.”

“You two are just to cute.”

“Yes he is.” Merle said with a big smile.

They continued touring the place, Wolfric unable to contain his joy. “I love it so much.”

Having confirmation from his mate that this was the perfect place he arranged payment with the woman who then began talking to them about different options they had and gave them lists of the best photographers and anything else they would need for their wedding. “thank you so much”

“You’re welcome, I’d really go with these lists but of course you can have anybody. Its just these people can be counted on and have always done amazing jobs”

“I’ll look into them with Wolfric. For now I think we’ll just continue enjoying this place. Is there anything else fun I can take my fiance to while we’re here’

“Oh yeah, personally the heart shaped waterfall not too far is very romantic. My own husband took me there on one of our first dates. Then there are a few winery’s if you two would be interested in that. I’m telling you, if you ask google you will find a lot of stuff to do around here if you plan to stay a bit. I know you two had to fly in for this”

“We’ll be sure to look into a few places.” Merle said. “What do you think, Wolfric, maybe visit a few wineries, have a few drinks.”

Wolfric blushed at his change in tone. It was the way his voice was pitched. “Y…yeah, sounds good.”

“Alright, I’ll leave you two to it then, but if you have any questions at all please call me.” She said with a big, warm smile.

“Thank you.” Merle laced his fingers through Wolfric’s and gently pulled him away. “How about we check out the vineyard again then we can go act like a couple of tourists for awhile.”

“Okay, but you have to be good.”

Merle chuckled. “I’m always good.”

“I mean, at least while we’re in front of others.”

“Alright, my love, I can do that.”

Chapter Two

As they walked around Wolfrics mind kept jumping to different things for their wedding. He’d imagine where he wanted certain things and where the tables would go for their reception and where the best places were for different pictures. Merle just watched happily, loving how enthusiastic his mate was about all of this. They stayed a few more hours before heading away to eat somewhere. They picked the Simona Cafe based on reviews and weren’t disappointed in the least. The food was incredible and the staff were friendly. Merle left their waitress a good tip before they decided to rest a bit in their suite as they figured out what precisely they wanted to do next.

“Merle look, hot air balloon rides. Can we go?” Wolfric asked excitedly as he looked up tourist places on his phone.

Merle chuckled. “You don’t have to ask baby, if you want to go then we’ll go.”

Wolfric blushed. “It’s just, I don’t want to make you do something you hate.”

“Wolfric, my mate, my love, light of my life, there is nothing I could ever hate that you would want to do. You want a hot air balloon ride? Then we’ll go on one.” He leaned in and kissed him, grinning at how warm he was. “Too bad we won’t be alone up there.”

“Merle, be good.”

“You said I only had to be if we were in public.”

Wolfric grew even hotter and Merle chuckled happily again “don’t worry my love, I’ll wait until we are in our room again. I just adore seeing that red face when I tease you’ he left a meaningful silence then said “but I would gladly make love to you anywhere you’d let me” His voice had become the low, alluring tone that so easily seduced him when they were home. Merle got the number for the place from Wolfric and called to arrange a balloon ride for them. When he hungup Merle said “sadly we called a bit too late for something to be arranged today but we are scheduled for the morning. It’s pretty early so we might want to turn in before long but if there’s anything else you’d like to do today we’ll do it”

“could we just walk around and then maybe we could have dinner and then just go in our room and look over this list of people our venue trusts”

“riiight, go back to our room and look over lists” Wolfric blushed and Merle laughed again.

Wolfric was amazed at just how many wineries there really were around there, but even so he was fascinated by them. “If I wasn’t a dentist, I think I could definitely run a winery.” He said.

“Why don’t we?”

“Because I have work.”

Merle shrugged. “I don’t. You work and I’ll set everything up. Just tell me when you’re ready to begin and I’ll find the land.”

“Merle.”

“Yes my love?”

“You really don’t have to give me something just because I say I want it.”

“Why not? It makes you happy and besides, you know I love learning new things. We could learn how to make wine and create our own brand.”

Wolfric had to admit that sounded amazing and Merle seemed truly happy to start something like this with him “I guess we should start thinking of names for ourselves”

“as long as it doesn’t distract you from planning our wedding. Maybe we should actually hire one of those wedding planners to keep us on course” Wolfric softly smiled “you’re really sweet”

“I’m really happy Wolfric. I had no idea life could be this wonderful. I’m grateful every day that I found you and sometimes I still curse myself for not visiting my old friend sooner” Merle pulled him closer then gently began moving his lips against Wolfrics.

They continued exploring until they knew they needed to eat. Merle let Wolfric pick and they wound up going to a place called Rutherford Grill. Everything on the menu looked delicious and Merle couldn’t help but chuckle at how conflicted Wolfric looked. “Oh stop, I just want everything, but I wouldn’t be able to eat everything.”

“I mean we could always take it back to our room. We’ll probably need something to eat after we work it all off.”

“Merle, shush.” Wolfric glanced around, his face bright red.

“Sorry my love, I just can’t help myself.” He looked at the menu. “How about we both order something different and just share it all. I want the tri-tip and enchilada.”

“Alright, then I guess I’ll get the hickory burger with a big order of fries.”

When their alarm sounded early the next morning Wolfric was exhausted and even Merle was a tiny bit worn out from their passionate love making last night but they got up anyway and washed each other in the shower before getting dressed and heading out to the location they would begin their ride from. It baffled Merle they needed to be out here so insanely early but his mate had informed him balloons could only be flown at specific points in the day due to how they got the balloons in the air. Something about how stable the air was. If they weren’t both such resilient creatures Merle would be tempted to keep his mate safely on the ground but Wolfric seemed thrilled and he wouldn’t ruin this for him by being over protective.

“welcome, the champagne and Thai Fish Cakes are already on board”

“Merle” Wolfric sounded touched as he said his name “of course I was going to have something for our ride.” Merle said then lifted Wolfrics hand to kiss it.

Wolfric stood with his hands on the edge of the basket as takeoff started. It was slow, but he loved how things got smaller and smaller until the people and cars looked like ants and he could see the lines dividing the vineyards and farmland. “So, what do you think?” Merle asked as he wrapped his arms around his mate from behind.

“It’s extraordinary.” He pointed. “It’s like being in a dream.”

“I agree.” He rubbed his nose along the nape of Wolfric’s neck and chuckled when he blushed. It wasn’t like the man piloting could see what he had done, but Wolfric’s reaction was adorable regardless. “How about some champagne my love or maybe fish cakes.”

“I nearly forgot, sorry.”

“Never be sorry, seeing you smile is worth anything.”

The pilot smiled, always enjoying seeing happy couples. The two happily snacked, drank and enjoyed the view. Merle grew more comfortable as Wolfric grew more ebullient about the experience. This had been more than worth the money and people did this all the time, he was sure everything would be fine. Even if they fell he would make sure to somehow prevent Wolfric from getting hurt. He was a massive wolf in his true form after all and to add to that he was larger than most. There wasn’t even many places he could be himself without crushing something or destroying things in other ways, even if he was trying his best not to.

Even when their trip was coming to an end and the pilot was beginning to take them down, Wolfric was still excited. Watch the ground getting closer and closer and things starting to take shape was still amazing. He very nearly leaned too far over the edge, but Merle pulled him close, holding him a little tighter. “Careful love.” He whispered.

“Sorry.” Wolfric blushed in embarrassment and leaned into him. “I just got so distracted.”

“It’s okay, I’ve got you.”

“I know, that’s one of the reasons you’re so perfect.”

They stuck around a few more days and tried a few other things Rutherford, California had to offer before finally heading home. Wolfric needed to get back to his dental practice and Merle wanted to start studying up on how and where he should start their own winery. It was such an exciting prospect, making wines with his mate. With so much happening for them Merle went ahead and hired someone to help them plan the wedding as well now that they had a location and therefore a firm date for their marriage. Everything seemed to be falling into place but to Merle, it had been doing that ever since he laid eyes on Wolfric.

~ The End