Authors: Bonnie Lamer
It is very difficult to have a conversation with her like this. “Xandra, will you please look at me?”
“Which one of you?” she mumbles into her arms.
“The one that is sorry that I am always underestimating you.”
“Talk to me about it later.” She lifts her head up far enough to point it away from me and places it back on her arms.
I suppose I must take a hint. With a small chuckle, I say, “Alright.”
Her mother sounds greatly amused when she says to me, “I think she needs to sleep it off. Why don’t you help her to her room?”
Xandra’s response is almost unintelligible. “I d’wanna go troom.”
“You will be much more comfortable lying down,” I say gently.
Extreme measures are called for, I see. Ignoring my blisters, I rise to my feet with a chuckle and scoop her up off the chair. She complains loudly in my ear. Again, her words are unintelligible and I believe that is for the best. I am not sure I want to know exactly what she just called me; I have the general idea.
I think the motion may have been too much for her because she has clamped her hand over her mouth in the universal ‘I am going to throw up soon’ pose. The sudden green hue of her skin is another good indicator. I am hoping it will not be on me, though I suspect I do deserve it as I am the one who put her in this state. “I hate you right now,” she says between her fingers.
“Would it help if I told you that I now agree with you about going to the Fae realm?”
“How about if I tell you I love you?”
I am stopped from asking her more questions by the urgent motions she has begun making. If I do not want to wear her stomach contents, I need to shut up and get her to the toilet. As soon as I wriggle us into the fairly tight space of the bathroom, she kneels down in front of the bowl and loses her breakfast. My own gag reflex is trying hard to imitate hers. It is only massive self-control that keeps me from scooting her aside and losing my own.
The only thing I can think to do at the moment is hold her long black hair. Granted, it is already pulled back into a ponytail, but at least I feel somewhat useful. “I am so sorry I made you feel this way,” I say quietly when I think she is done retching.
She barely turns her head and shoots a glance of pure loathing in my direction. “So am I,” she growls and then heaves again. Self-control. I am not going to throw up. I will convince my throat to stop spasming.
“Can’t you be useful and find me something to take this feeling away? Or are you enjoying the show?” she growls. Definitely not the latter.
I probably loathe myself more than she does at the moment. I cannot believe I did this to her. “I truly thought I was doing this for your own good. As I said, I once again underestimated you.”
She turns her head in my direction and her pallor takes on a decidedly more green hue with the movement. “Always great to have a boyfriend who doesn’t have faith in me. It’s the romance I’ve dreamed about since I was a little girl.”
I deserved that. I am such an idiot. I am pretty sure poisoning your girlfriend until she is retching uncontrollably is not in the ‘how to keep your girlfriend in love with you’ handbook. “I guess I deserved that.” Still, I latch onto a glimmer of hope. After all, she has not kicked me out yet or told me to never speak to her again. “From your statement, does that mean that I still hold the status of boyfriend?”
With a glower, she says, “For now.”
I cannot hold back a chuckle. “I am relieved to hear that.”
“Great. Can you go make me a cure now?”
Oh god, I have not told her the worst part yet. I may have been too premature in asking her if I am still her boyfriend. Reluctantly, I say, “The unique combination of elements, flora and magic that goes into the making of a Fairy dart creates a poison that has no antidote. I am afraid it has to work its way out of your system.”
Instead of being angry, she looks confused. “Then how was I able to pull it out of you when you were shot with them?”
“You were able to do that because you are an enigma, my beautiful Witch Fairy. I fear there is no antidote to be found for you, either,” I tease. She glares me. Too soon for joking about it I see.
Apparently deciding to take matters into her own hands, she sits down on the floor and closes her eyes. I feel her pull a massive amount of magic, as usual, and sits completely still. After a few minutes, I start to get concerned. What is she doing? I did not think meditating was her thing. She is not exactly an inner peace, clear your mind from all thoughts kind of person. “Xandra?”
She holds a hand up in a distinct ‘shut up’ kind of way. Not wanting her to make me shut up by taking my voice away, I sit quietly until she is ready to talk to me.
After an agonizing five minutes, Xandra finally opens her eyes. “What was that?” I ask.
“Out,” she says pointing at the door.
Okay, I am not an idiot. Now is not the time for questions, I guess. I stand up and walk out of the bathroom closing the door softly behind me.
Twenty minutes later, a clean and refreshed Xandra walks back into the kitchen without rage on her face or fire shooting from her eyes. Actually, she smiles at me. I smile in return, relieved by the fact that she does not seem angry at all anymore. Then my eyes move lower and my tongue wants desperately to escape my mouth so I can start panting like a puppy. She is a dream in form fitting jeans and a scoop neck shirt that shows so much cleavage, the only thing I can think about is how I can get her to let me see the rest of her body as soon as possible. Finally forcing my eyes upward again, I see that her cheeks have turned a bright red. Having been caught leering at her cleavage, my own are now turning red as well.
“What’s for dinner?” Xandra asks to no one in particular. I believe she is trying to fill the void of silence that engulfed the room when she entered.
“Your grandmother is making my childhood favorite - creamy tortellini and chicken.” I have no idea what that is. I really hope it does not come from a can.
“That sounds good,” Xandra says and then she sits down at the table next to me. Now I just need to figure out if she is so close so it will be easier to kill me with her magic or if she has forgiven me. Reaching out, I lay my hand on top of hers. She gives me a small smile and my heart sighs in relief. “Are we okay?” I ask quietly.
The same heart that just sighed in relief stutters when she shakes her head. “Sorry, not until I get my revenge.”
I may have misread her when I thought she was not angry anymore. My brows slam together in concern. “And how will you be doing that?”
I am not fooled by her sweet smile. “If I told you that, it would spoil the surprise. Take a walk with me?”
My mind instantly starts thinking of ways she can torture me in the woods. At least in the house someone might talk her into taking pity on me. In the woods, it will only be squirrels and wolves watching my demise. But, I suppose I have to take my licks for what I did. I stand up from the table and dress myself in black winter attire. Appropriate in case this ends up leading to my funeral. “Alright.” In an effort to hurry things along, I create the same for her. I choose red for her coat, hoping that will earn me a few brownie points as I know it is one of her favorite colors.
“Mom, how long until dinner? Kallen and I want to take a walk.”
“It’ll be at least another forty-five minutes, but don’t go too far.” Even her mother looks uneasy for me.
Taking my hand, Xandra leads me through the house to the front door and then out into the bitter cold. The clouds are dark against the gray sky. A nasty storm is definitely heading this way. “About this revenge you plan to…” I start to say but she cuts me off.
“Nope, still not going to tell you what it’ll be.”
I bet she is still running through her options. I also bet it ends up with me having frostbite on top of whatever else she is planning. We trudge through the snow for a good ten minutes before she stops. Pointing up to a tree house, she says, “I used to come here when I was younger and Zac was driving me crazy. Dad called it my ‘escape from my little brother’ house. It’s been a long time since I came out here.”
From the looks of it, no one has been here in a long time. The rope hanging from the doorway is starting to fray. “Is it still safe to enter?”
Xandra nods. “Yeah, Dad built it to last. He wanted Zac to be able to use it when I grew out of it. Do you want to go up?”
I have no idea what she has up her sleeve. “You are not planning to lock me inside and leave me out here all night are you?”
She rolls her eyes as she grabs the ladder. “You’re too paranoid.”
“It is only considered paranoia if there is no reason to expect it to be true. In this instance, you have told me you will be exacting revenge.”
Shrugging, she begins to climb up to the tree house. “You can either risk it and spend some quality time alone with me, or you can go back to the house.” She disappears into the tree house.
I certainly like the time alone part. If it does not involve pain of any sort being inflicted upon me by her wild magic. I guess I will take my chances. With a sigh, I follow her up the ladder.
The inside is cramped for a person my size but it is nice being out of the wind. I move away from the door and lean my back against the wall so I am facing Xandra. Looking at me with a teasing smile, she says, “Afraid I’m going to push you out?”
The thought did cross my mind. “I think it best I not take any chances at the moment.”
She laughs and starts to crawl over to my side of the tree house. “I’ve decided what I’m going to do to you.”
Here it comes. I wonder what it feels like to be blown out of a tree house. I might find out in a moment. “And that would be?”
I refrain from flinching as she kneels in front of me and places her cold hands on my cheeks. And then her lips are on mine. I am caught by surprise and it takes a second for me to respond. Wrapping my arms around her now, I pull her closer and deepen the kiss. Reaching under her legs, I move her so she is sitting on my lap which gives my hands plenty of places to roam as I revel in the feel of her tongue dancing with mine. The soft moans coming from her throat let me know she is enjoying this as much as I am.
It is the need for oxygen that causes us to finally break the kiss. With a shaky, breathless voice, Xandra whispers in my ear, “You’re still a jerk.”
I cannot help but chuckle. “You must not mind because you have not sent me home yet.” That elicits a groan from her. That cannot be a good thing. “Unless I have spoken too soon.”
She shakes her head and repositions herself so that she is sitting with her back against my chest. As much as I enjoy the feeling of her body against mine, I do not like the fact that I cannot see her face. I am somewhat pacified when she pulls my arms around her. “No, it’s not that. When you go home, I’ll be going with you. But I have a condition.”
“That sounds ominous.”
She laughs. “I’m not trying to be. But I was thinking about what you said this morning. You said that I won’t instill fear in someone else if I cower in fear myself.”
I wrap my arms tighter around her and say into her ear, “I was teasing you.”
“But you were right. That’s why you need to teach me to fight. I need to learn offensive magic, not just defensive.”
Flashes of uncontrollable natural disasters flash through my mind. “Sometimes, defense
the best offense. With the amount of magic you can wield, there is a much greater danger of collateral damage if you are on the offensive.”
She sighs in frustration. “You mean I’m more likely to blow up the wrong people.”
I know my answer to this question is going to go far in her confidence in her power. And determining her faith in our relationship. As much as I do not want her to be overconfident, I do not want her to fear her magic, either. And I do not want her to hate me. I believe stalling for time is the best answer. “Possibly, with Grandmother’s help, we could work out what magic would be best for you to learn.”
That must have been the right thing to say because she snuggles closer to me. “You really must love me if you give in that easily.”
I rest my chin on her head as I ponder that. “You do seem to be able to talk me into the most unwise things.” Moving my mouth to her ear I nip at it playfully, “Have I mentioned recently how beautiful you are?”
“I think you just like my shirt.”
I chuckle softly. “You are beautiful regardless of what you are wearing, but yes, I do happen to find your choice of clothing tonight to be sexier than other outfits you have worn.”
To prove that, I kiss my way down her neck. She tilts her head to give me better access. It is not long before things explode between us. Xandra has turned around and our lips are crushed against each other as I maneuver us so that she is lying on her back and my body is covering hers. She moans as I rub my hand down along her curves and then back up again, giving special attention to several delicious places. Unzipping her coat, I slide my hand under her shirt cupping her breast in my hand. Her fingers are working at my zipper so I make my coat disappear. I certainly do not need its warmth at the moment. Following the trail of my hands, I kiss my way down her neck to her breast, pushing aside the barely there shirt and her bra.
Oh god, what are we doing? As much as I want to continue, things are starting to get out of control. At least, I know I am almost to the point of no return. I close my eyes for a moment and when I open them, Xandra is looking up at me with a surprisingly annoyed look.
“What’s wrong?” she asks.
I laugh in disbelief which I does not help her annoyance level. “Wrong? Nothing is wrong. The problem is that everything is right.”
She has deep frown lines on her forehead now. “What does that mean?”
I return to my position of a moment ago, my body pressed against hers. Her shirt is still askew so I can feel the heat of her bare skin even through my clothes. “It means that I would love nothing more than to strip every last bit of clothing from you and do what I have thus far only imagined.”
“Oh.” Color rushes into her cheeks as understanding sinks in. “We can’t do that.”
Oh, how I wish we could. Instead of trying to talk her into it, I smile down at her, moving a stray lock of hair behind her ear and say, “No, we cannot. But you tempt me to my very limits, and it gets harder each time we kiss to leave it at that – just kissing.” I lean my forehead against hers and close my eyes, hating every single part of what I just said. “But we must.”
We are both startled when a radio in the corner begins to squawk. “Xandra?”
Xandra moves her arm so she can see her watch and then she groans. Rolling out from under me and fixing her shirt, she crawls to the radio and presses a button. “Hi Dad, sorry we’ve been gone so long. We’re on our way back.”
“You better hurry, the storm is moving in quickly.”
“Alright, we’ll be right there. And Dad, how did you know we’d be here?” Xandra asks.
“Because I was a teenager in love once myself.” Apparently several people around him find that to be hilarious. Needless to say, neither Xandra nor I do. The evidence is the bright red every bit of exposed skin on Xandra has turned.
“Hurry,” he says before disconnecting.
Despite the brilliant color of our skin, Xandra is not getting out of this tree house without kissing me again. I pull her back to me and give her one last, lingering kiss that only serves to make me want more. Perhaps this was not the best thought out plan. Ignoring the urgings of my body, I back away and climb back down to the snowy ground. Xandra follows and I use the ruse of helping her down as an excuse for running my hands over her curves again. She does not seem to mind. Grasping her hand in mine, we start the ten minute walk back to her home.