Yes, technically it’s May 1st, but I started on April 30th, so it counts. 😛 As you know, I’m still not quitting. Not until this book is completely done. Even if I have to write at 2:30 A.M. like I am right now.
I had almost forgotten about the scrapes from falling down the path. “I don’t think those count as battle wounds,” I chuckle. Still, the warmth of the magic flowing from Oliver’s hands to mine eases my frayed nerves and makes me think I might be able to sleep. The memory of him shooting down his sister’s attempt at flirting with me makes me laugh.
“Fighting ancient evils and watching faerie royals argue over me wasn’t how I saw this semester going,” I sigh.
“I apologize for my sister,” Oliver mutters. “She has some nerve.”
“It’s okay. I’m not worth fighting over.”
Oliver’s gaze shoots up from our joined hands to my eyes. “Of course you are.” He sighs and looks around the car for a moment. “You baffle me. You believe you can help a team of faeries free your people, despite the very real odds, yet you can’t see yourself worthy of love and admiration, despite what others might say.”
“I’d hardly call Zoe and a bunch of Grand Harbor residents ‘my people.’”
“That’s not the point, Gia.”
“And ‘love’ is a pretty strong word, don’t you think?”
Just by the car headlights I can make out the way Oliver turns red as he drops his gaze back to our hands. “I meant love for yourself. That’s all.”
The flow of magic fades, but Oliver still holds my hands and I can’t bring myself to let him go. He’s the only solid thing in a world that feels like it just might fall apart. When I look to him to ask what we should do, his lips find mine before I can form the words.
He pulls back before I can react and slaps one hand against his forehead. “Gods! I’m sorry, Gia. I swore I wouldn’t make a single move until you indicated you’d made up your mind, but the second adrenaline hits me, I—”
I shut him up with another kiss. Tension melts from his muscles as I hold his face in my hands and his mouth molds to mind, calm and still. It’s so different from last time, like we just need a second to rest against one another to catch our breath.
When I break away this time, I only go far enough to touch my forehead to his. Now that I have him so close, I don’t him to leave. Not until the hungry shadows of night leave. “Worst. Timing. Ever.”
Oliver laughs. “I’m sure the extreme stress and exhaustion have to something to do with it.”
“Don’t go then. Park your car down the street and stay.”
My words have a mind of their own tonight.
Oliver leans away with his eyebrows pulled together. “Are you sure?”
“Not really, but I’m tired of needing to be sure right now. Just stay. At least for a little while.”
Like I would really have to beg a teenage boy to stay.
My parents and Ethan are still fast asleep and stay that way while Oliver and I sneak upstairs. Once I find him an over sized pair of sweats to sleep in, I go change in the bathroom. All the while, I try to tell myself the hammering in my chest is from the risk of being caught, not from convincing Oliver to stay. I was never even brave enough to try and get my ex-girlfriend to stay the night, let alone a guy I’m supposed to only be friends with.
I sneak a sleeping bag out of the hallway closet, but once I’m in my room I see it’s not getting any use. Oliver’s already made himself comfortable on the far side of my bed, under the covers and everything.
He props his head up with one hand. “If you honestly thought I was sleeping on the floor, I’ve clearly misled you into thinking I’m a proper gentleman. My apologies.”
I sigh and dump the sleeping bag on the floor. “I thought you wanted to be a gentleman.”
“A gentleman, yes. A proper one, no.”
I snuggle into bed as close to the edge as I can manage comfortably and do my best to keep my eyes off Oliver. I don’t trust myself to look up at him in such a close space, even if he is in giant sweats. I don’t need to heap any more confusion on my plate right now. “All right, not-proper gentleman, go to sleep. We have to be up in a few hours.”
Oliver smirks and finally lays down, letting red curls fall in his face. I know I won’t be able to resit brushing them away, and given what that led to last time, I squeeze my eyes shut. That doesn’t bring sleep, though. Sleep doesn’t come until I feel Oliver’s hand brush against mine and I take it. Even as I teeter on the edge of my dreams, I can still feel his fingers perfectly intertwined with mine.
Thank you so much for sticking with me the entire month of April. It’s been a lot of fun and I’m excited to see what this story turns into. I hope you’ll stick around until the end. 🙂
If you want full stories from the Faerie Court, feel free to take a second to click on my “Home” page to subscribe to my newsletter. First email goes out Sunday, May 7th with a free short story and book updates. I look forward to seeing you there!