I rolled our blankets and strapped them to the side of our horse, readying us to get back on the road. It was dusk, the hour hushed and warm and muggy for now. I could hear the occasional sound of a knife slicing through the air and thunking into a tree trunk. I rolled my eyes, feeling rather disgruntled at the budding relationship between my father and the woman I loved.
I paused packing, gazing across the green clearing, watching Emmelyne smile as she hit her target yet again. My father stood behind her, his eyes calculating and scrutinizing her technique, his arms crossed as a small smile played at his lips. She was a natural, there was no denying that. I smirked at her tenacity and willingness to learn something new, something considered unladylike. My smile faltered as I realized I should have taught her how to defend herself before she’d been attacked.
I shook the dark thoughts away, rolling my neck and shoulders. We’d make our way to a homestead and settle there for a bit. My father and I would take turns, venturing out, deciding the best course of action from there. I hoped his friends were as trustworthy as he had promised. I had my doubts, still.
Emmy and my father parted, both laughing. She made her way to me, the golden, failing sun lighting her features perfectly, making my breath catch in my throat. I wondered at how long I could wait until I was able to hold her in my arms once more, to feel her kiss me, to feel our connection. She stopped in front of me, flushed and smiling. I cleared my throat.
“Remind me to never piss ye off again. Yer aim is gettin’ better,” I said, smirking. She blushed deeper and smiled wide, ducking her head. I reached our, brushing my fingers across her cheek. Her eyes fluttered closed, and I took the opportunity to stare more at her. I was continually amazed by her strength, her perseverance, her loving and gentle heart. I wished I could give her the entire world, to lay it at her very feet.
She reached up, placing her hand upon my cheek. I was expecting the visions this time, but the content caught me rather off guard. We stood, hand in hand, in front of an ancient stone, not unlike the ones she’d found in the forest on the night of Winter Solstice. Small, white flowers adorned her hair and formed a crown upon her head as an old woman spoke in strange tongues. The trees surrounding us glowed orange and yellow in the autumn light.
Emmelyne pulled her hand away, staring up at me with her bright, wide blue eyes. Her brows pulled together in the center, tipping up. I cupped her cheek, feeling nervous excitement fill my veins.
“Are ye askin’ permission to marry me, wee one?” I teased. She rolled her eyes but smiled all the same, placing her foot in the stirrup and settling into the saddle. She turned to stare down at me as heat flashed through my veins. I placed my hand on her thigh, giving it a light squeeze. She bent down so our eyes were level.
“I’m not asking,” she said lightly. “I’m telling.” And with a wicked smirk, she snapped the reins and trotted on down the path.
By dawn the next morning, we passed through a small wooden archway and into the small homestead. A few cottages scattered the land that chickens scratched at, dogs baying and running out to greet us with a warning of teeth. Emmelyne shuddered awake in my arms, the morning mist cool and brisk upon our exposed skin. A tall, gangly man emerged from the largest of the cottages, waving to my father. I glanced about our surroundings, eyeing any possible way for escape, should we need to.
“Stick close wi’ me, ye hear?” I whispered to Emmelyne, watching as she nodded. I held tighter to her, turning Ari around so I could get a better view of the place. A few more men came forth, farmhands, their faces tanned from working the fields all their lives. Some stared unabashedly. I felt Emmy curl into herself, shying away from their stares, hiding her face in my arm. Anger flashed through me, the urge to protect what was mine stronger than any other force at the present.
“Killian,” my father called, waving me over as he slid off his horse rather lithely for an aged man. I urged Ari to where he stood, coming to a stop and jumping down as well, pulling Emmelyne after me.
“This is my son, Killian, and his…wife, Emmelyne,” he said, nodding to us. I stared up at the thin man, his face wan and tired as he wiped his hands on a rag.
“Killian, this is Dirk,” he said, nodding in his friends’ direction. I nodded to the man.
“Thank ye, for giving us shelter for the time being.” I said.
“My pleasure.” He said curtly. “Ye can have the cottage to the south, by the creek. None’s been there for some time. I’ll expect ye to work, as payment for yer lodging.” He said dryly.
“Of course.” I said, narrowing my eyes a bit. It wasn’t Dirk that unsettled me, but his rabble of misfit men. I’d not spotted a woman amongst them yet. I gave my father a questioning glance. He nodded so slightly that only I could see. I grabbed Ari’s reins, taking my leave and heading to our appointed cottage. The space was small and old, the floor creaking, the slats in the walls wide enough to see through in some spots. Emmelyne sat on the edge of the straw bed, clearly exhausted from our night’s ride.
I sighed, throwing our things onto the ancient table before making my way over to her.
“Think we can escape w’out them noticin’?” I teased. She smiled as I knelt in front of her, grasping her small, cold hands.
“I’ll steal some food.” She joked back. I reached up to brush some loose hair from her tired face.
“What is it, wee one?” I asked quietly. Her face faltered a bit, confusion crossing her features.
“I’m not sure. I just feel this….heaviness.” She admitted, looking to our clasped hands.
“Because…because of what happened?” I said. She bit her cheek, deep in thought.
“I…I feel like its coming from somewhere else. That it’s someone else’s sadness.” She explained.
“Ahh, weel,” I sighed, trying to think of a solution. “What can I do to remedy that?” I said, peering deep into her gaze. Her mood shifted then, rather quickly, as though her own thoughts and feelings were returning to her, pushing the sadness away. Her cheeks became flushed, her eyes bright with clear desire. I smirked, knowing the look all too well. I glanced to the door, making sure the bolt had been slid into place, before I gave my attention back over to Emmelyne. Her chest rose and fell quicker, her nervous breathing picking up speed. Her hands trembled in my grasp. It felt as though this were her first intimate time with me, all over again. In a sense, it was all new again. Our bond had been savagely broken and tenuously repaired. I knew it needed more time, more attention.
I knew she was having difficulties expressing her desire for me. I hadn’t known what to expect, in all reality, but I knew I could be patient with the one I loved. I reached up, my hand on the back of her neck as I pulled her lips to mine. She sighed against me, her hands moving to rest on my chest. I deepened the kiss, feeling her nails scrape along my shirt. I pulled away, winding my hand through the hair at the nape of her neck and giving a slight tug, exposing her neck to me. A blue vein pulsed rapidly, giving life to her. I kissed it tenderly, feeling the small thump of her heart pushing blood through her body beneath my lips. She moaned quietly, her hands gripping my shoulders now.
I used my other hand to trace circles on her thigh, her skin warm on mine as I continued to kiss her delicate neck. I could feel the rise in temperature as I pressed my hand between her thighs, pushing them apart. My lips found hers once more as I pulled myself straighter, forcing her to fall back onto the lumpy bed. Her eyes searched mine as mine did hers. I felt her hold her breath, waiting. I pushed my fingers into her, watching as her mouth opened slightly, feeling as her back arched, seeking more pleasure than I was providing a the moment. I smirked slightly as her legs began to writhe, knowing she wanted more.
“Killian,” she moaned, reaching down to my waist and tugging at the band of my breeches. I chuckled lightly at her.
“Patience, lass,” I whispered, feeling her grow even more hot beneath me. She groaned as I released her, lifting her skirts to expose herself to me. She watched as I kissed the inside of her thigh, falling back and moaning as I did. I chuckled again, working my way slowly to her more sensitive spot.
She gasped raggedly as my tongue danced across her womanhood. I could feel her tense immediately as I quickened the pace of my fingers. She cried out, her calves restless across my shoulders. In a flash, she ceased all noise, her whole body tensed before the waves of pleasure crashed over her. She spasmed beneath me, crying out once more.
I extracted myself from her quickly, tugging my breeches down, pressing myself to her as she continued to thrash. I pushed in, hearing her moan anew. Her hands grasped greedily for me, pulling me down so our chests were flush with one another. Her face was bright red, her eyes glazed over in ecstasy, but I knew she wanted more. I moved slowly, wanting our lovemaking to last.
“Mmm,” she said as I buried myself completely in her.
“Yer such a beaut,” I whispered, watching her ever-changing facial expressions, falling more in love with her every moment I was near her. She flashed me a smile, her hands gripping my butt, pulling me to drive harder, deeper into her as she bit her lip. I laughed.
“Yer just usin’ me now,” I said, panting. She laughed.
“I don’t think you mind all that much,” she teased back, her eyes holding mine. I drove myself faster, feeling her wrap her legs tight around me.
“I love you,” she breathed. I kissed between her brows, pulling myself free of her. She gave me a threatening glance, but I had her flipped over, exposing her backside to me.
“Wha—” she began as I gripped her hips, pulling her up onto her knees before pushing back into her. Her torso collapsed onto the bed, her hand gripping fistfuls of blankets as she cried out in pleasure. I wasted no time now, unable to control my urgency, hearing our skin slap together as I gripped her tight. She tensed again, her knuckles turning white as another wave of pleasure hit her. I quickened even more, feeling the cusp of my release, groaning and shuddering as I spilled into her, collapsing onto her.
We both laughed the instant our serious lovemaking was over. I pulled her close to me, kissing her deeply.
“I love you,” she said again with earnest, her blue eyes piercing mine with their sincerity. I sighed heavily, exhausted from our trek and our more recent pursuits.
“And I love you, wee faerie,” I said, kissing her nose.
“Can it always be this way?” She asked in all seriousness. I smirked, pulling her closer.
“Aye, ’twill always be this way, between the two o’ us, I promise ye that.” I said, giving the top of her head a kiss. She snuggled deeper into my embrace, sighing in contentment.