Not every romance is a fantasy, but ours are!

The Terms

Hue and I sat one one side of a table with Ian and Briar on the other side. Justin Kringle, the North Pole’s COO, sat at the head of the table. He had graciously offered to serve as a non-biased witness to the terms of the agreements between the Dragons and Werewolves.

Justin’s sparkling eyes were level and displayed no emotion as he read the terms of the Werewolves were offering to prevent the war. Clearing his voice he began to read:

“I Cariss, Chieftain of Clan MacGregor of the Were set forth the following terms in hopes of bringing about a peaceful resolution to the threatening war.

1.) The Dragon known as Alizeyah will face one warrior of our choosing on the battlefield.

2.) If the Dragon Champion Alizeyah loses she will forfeit herself to Clan MacGregor for punishment and dishonorment trials.

3.) If the Werewolf Champion loses he/she will forfeit herself to the Dragon’s Council for punishment and dishonorment trials.

4.) While the duel will not be to the death once a victor is named the winning clan does have dominion over the defeated.

The Rules of the Duel shall be as follows:

1.) Participants may not bring outside weapons in to the field.

2.) They may use defenses natural to their origins.”

Justin paused and looked up at the four of us. “Are there any questions?”

Hue clutched my hand under the table and looked at Ian and Briar. “I don’t see this as a fair arrangement. Alizeyah is being named as a champion but you have not revealed your champion. If your clan has the right to choose who will battle then the Dragon’s should as well.”

Ian resonded with a calm tone that didn’t match the emotions in his eyes. “Alizeyah is responsible for this war. She was the one that involved herself in the Werewolf laws; that is why she was named. This happened because she couldn’t stay out of affairs she shouldn’t have been involved with.”

Hue’s anger flared for the first time in a week. He shot to his feet, slamming a fist against the table, casing it to shake under the impact. “No, this happened because you as her lover lied to her and then didn’t keep your bitch on a leash.” Hue jabbed a finger in Briar’s direction. “I will also remind you that what she did, was done for your benefit, and finally, I was the one to inflict any damage. I will stand in as her champion.” The final words were snapped loudly.

I tugged on Hue’s arm urging him back down into the chair before looking at Ian. “Can you at least tell me who I will be facing? Name your clan’s champion?” I searched his eyes which showed how torn he was about this entire situation.

Ian nodded. “Originally, we had decided to name Briar the champion. Then we found out today she is pregnant and we do not with to endanger any pups.”

I nodded and Hue looked at me, horrified. “Agreed, I wouldn’t want to chance her miscarrying over something like this. A baby doesn’t choose who its parents are.” I turned and looked at Hue. “I’m sorry to cause so much trouble, but I will take care of it.” His brows drew together as he read my thoughts and then the shock of my next words hit him before I spoke. I stood up and looked at Ian and Briar. “So be it, Ian, I will accept the terms provided you defend your clan as champion. As she is your mate you will take responsibility for her.”

“I can’t fight you! I won’t fight you. I am a trained warrior, I could kill you,” he argued.

“Well, that’s a chance I will take. I suggest you start practicing because I will not be holding back because of my feelings.” I sat back down when Hue tugged on me.

“Do you understand what you’re asking?” Briar blurted out. “If he loses then the future of our clan will be in your hands. If he wins our clan will most likely strip you of your title and you could very well end up a slave or something horrible since you had the audacity to challenge the son of Cariss.” Her words actually sounded concerned.

“Briar, even if Ian fights with everything he has in him, I don’t plan on losing. The fate of your clan will rest in my hands. The two of you should prepare Cariss for it now.” I turned to Justin. “If Ian will accept the challenge I will accept the terms.” Hue started to argue but was cut off when Ian agreed.

“So be it. The Duel will take place next week on neutral ground.” Justin signed the bottom of the contract then handed it to myself and Ian to sign. Hue stormed out of the meeting room, and neither Ian nor Briar could meet my eyes. Justin looked at me one last time and offered a reluctant smile. “I hope this won’t interfere with business here at the Pole. Either way, good luck. Ian would be a challenge for Lord Hudraer or Lord Vallen. I’m afraid for you.”

“Don’t be.” I shook my head. “I destroyed a Dragon High Priestess with no training. It’s been months and I know ten times what I did then. I just hope I don’t accidentally kill him and make things worse.” I didn’t say anything else to reassure him, I just left to go find Hue.

 

Young lay stretched out on the riverbank. His toes dangled in the water while his arms rested leisurely behind his head. It was autumn and the air had grown cool. The icy cold water was refreshing and numbed his poor blistered feet. When his knight’s horse had injured its leg on the long ride back from a neighboring kingdom he had been forced to give up his own mount. Now he was stuck walking the mare back to the castle. A ride which would have taken three days had now been going on for five long days. Five days of hiking around in borrowed, ill-fitting boots. He sighed heavily knowing there was at least two more days ahead of him.

Young finally sat up, resigning himself to another two days of hiking along the countryside. He glared at his loaner boots with contempt while he bandaged his feet before pulling them on. Climbing to his feet he headed to the horse to check on it.

Rover was a large warhorse whose main concern was food. He never spooked, he followed commands on the battlefield without question, and was perfectly content to meander along the countryside at a very slow pace. Rover had probably recovered enough that he could have carried Young. Especially since his knight had taken all of his own gear and heavy armor. All there was to carry was   small bag of Young’s own belongings, a food bag and a second sword. As Young began to hobble along, guiding the horse, he was tempted to swing himself up into the saddle, but he wouldn’t do that until he had gotten to a town where a stable master could take a closer look.

Rover nudged at his shoulder encouraging him to feed him another treat. Just as they were about to cross the treeline that bordered the river he heard the sound of giggles from upstream. Pausing for a moment,  he figured it was water Nymphs or Fae playing nearby. Shaking his head he pushed on, ready to get back on the road and hopefully find a town before nightfall. A moment later the giggles turned to screams of terror. Young stood contemplating for just a moment what he should do. With another heavy sigh he tied Rover to a tree and trudged with his sword drawn in the direction of the screams.

“Someone had best be dead,” he mumbled to himself. With each step he cursed his brother Vallen a little more for instilling a sense of honor and duty into him. He would make sure to drink his brother’s entire private reserve when next he was home.

Just ahead of him where the river curved there was a pool it had created. As he arrived he took note that nobody was around but there had surely been a struggle. Heavy Troll footprints were deeply imprinted on the muddy banks along with the small foot and handprints of what could have only been Nymphs or Fae. Paying close attention it didn’t take long for him to find the tracks where they had been dragged off by their large Troll captors.

“I really would rather have been a bard,” he commented as he chased after the Trolls.

Ian paced back and forth across the worn wooden floors of his small Seoul apartment. Briar sat on the corner of his bed staring blankly at a black spot on the opposite wall. She had done little more than stare for the last few weeks since the incident. She never wanted this, any of it. She had pined for Ian most of her life but when she realized she could never make him love her as he had his mate she knew there was no REAL future together. Being mate to Cariss’s heir had made her a social pariah. Nobody wanted to be around her unless they wanted something. Being his castoff, however, was even worse.

Pain clutched at Briar’s heart. Sure, she had done things she wasn’t proud of but she just couldn’t take it any longer. She couldn’t stand the hatred in some of the women’s eyes, but what was worse was the pity. The clan pitied her because she had proven herself so useless.

“Ian, I’m sorry,” she said when she finally spoke up.

Ian stopped pacing and leaned against the wall, covering the black spot she had so absently been staring at. “And?”

“I thought I could make you love me. I was wrong. What I don’t understand is how you could fall for her.” She found herself fixating on the face of the Dragon Elf Changeling. Alizeyah was infuriating with her treatment of Ian. She treated him like he was common. She abandoned him during this painful time of the year so that she could go support the North Pole. Then, there was Lord Hudraer. There was something there between them. She couldn’t see Hudraer swooping in to save a woman he wasn’t involved with. Either Alizeyah and he were seeing each other or she was a lot more important than Ian or anyone else was letting on.

“Who I see is none of your concern,” he answered.

“I am your mate. Like it or not, ANYONE you become involved with is MY business. Ever since your family was killed you have shirked your responsibilities to the clan. You must take responsibility, you must produce  heirs.” Briar sprang to her feet and went to stand before Ian. “You would sacrifice everything for this woman?”

“I would gladly lay down my life or give up my claim as heir for her.” His tone was flat and it cut through Briar’s chest like a blade, causing her to gasp for air.

“But would you sacrifice the lives of your clansmen? Do you get that what’s at stake isn’t just your claim? It is the lives of your sisters, cousins and friends.” She pursed her lips.

Emotions flitted across Ian’s stoic face ranging from fear to rage then sorrow. “I can’t sentence othe’s to death for my own desires. Myself, yes, I can surrender myself.”

“Then you need to make the sacrifice and so does she if you want to keep your people safe. If you want me gone, then so be it. I will step down and face the shame but you will have to replace me with someone from the clan and produce an heir and prepare yourself to lead. Cariss is not as young as he once was. He will not bow down to the Dragons either. He has pride and meeting their terms would weaken the political position within the Darkling court.”

He nodded. “You’re right, but we need to keep our clans safe.”

“You and Lord Hudraer could duel. It would keep both clans out of the war. Name Alizeyah as one of the prizes?” Briar offered.

Ian laughed and the more startled Briar looked the harder he laughed. “That would never work.”

“Are you afraid of a Dragon Lord?” she asked, her voice edged in irritation.

Ian stopped laughing immediately in response to her accusation. “Afraid, of Hudraer? No. Afraid of Alizeyah if we told her she was the prize in a duel… VERY. I have little doubt that she would smite both Hue and myself just for thinking it. Not to mention she would put herself in harms way to try and prevent the duel.”

Briar scoffed. “I almost killed her,” she spat.

“Only because she didn’t fight back. She let you attack her. She thought I would be able to break your trance over me.” Ian’s voice had become deep and dark sounding, almost ominous.

“What if I challenged her to a duel since the fight was between she and I? Winner gets you? You would still need to produce an heir within the clan but it would at least prove her worthy enough to make Cariss back off.” Briar sank back down on the bed. “It wouldn’t even have to be to the death if you are set against me killing her.”

Ian quirked a brow, his doubt in her abilities against Alizeyah causing Briar’s hair to stand on end in annoyance. “It may be an option. I will discuss it with Hue and my father.”

“What? You’re not going to discuss it with her?”

“No, she engaged with you. It’s as much her fault. She will do what Hue tells her. Despite what she likes to tell herself, she is fiercely loyal to her nest.” Ian picked up the phone to make some needed phone calls.

“I think Sheldon is depressed. I want to get him a playmate,” I announced as I set the table while Oliver prepared dinner.

“You do know that your cat is not a typical cat, right?” he asked, quirking a brow in my direction.

“Yeah yeah, magical realm traveling and talking cat. I got it. Either way, I’m not here all day and you in theory should be getting sleep at home or doing whatever it is you do.” When I finished setting the table I went to my now always stocked fridge to grab some water. As I finished pouring us both a glass Oliver effortlessly maneuvered around me to fill the plates with pasta and veggies.

Settling into our seats we began to eat quietly. Finally, Oliver broke the silence. “So I have arranged for us to go up to see Kat and Hue walk the red carpet next weekend and kick off the Holiday Season. There is then a party after the presentation; you’ll want to bring a cocktail dress for that. Would you rather go up Friday night after work or Saturday morning early?”

“I don’t do early, so Friday night would be great.” I shoved a bite of broccoli in my mouth.

Oliver chuckled. “Indeed. You do refuse to communicate via anything other than grumbles or squeaks before ten in the morning. I’ll meet you here just after dusk Friday night.” He paused while he chewed but continued with an intense stare that told me he had something else to talk about.

“What else do you want to talk about?” I prompted.

“I think I found a way to put you in touch with Queen Mab and get an audience with her.” He seemed nervous.

“That’s great,” I told him, finishing off my dinner.

“There is a small catch, and one I need to speak with Kat and Hue about before committing to it fully,” he explained. “Until we know for sure that it’s possible I don’t want to get your hopes up but at the same time I wanted to let you know I hadn’t forgotten about it.”

I grinned evilly, batting my eyes at him. “Oh, I doubt you could forget about me so easily.”

Choking on his last bite of food  his eyes flared at me. “Yes, I’m most certain I couldn’t forget about you.”

I stood and began gathering the dishes. “Let’s just put these in the sink.”

“I’ll do them,” he said following behind me closely.

“No,” I responded, spinning around so quickly I collided with him. I wobbled on my feet, flailing my arms in an attempt to to remain standing.

Oliver immediately reached out to steady me but instead pinned me against the kitchen counter. “Oh, sorry. I forget my strength compared to yours sometimes. Are you alright?”

“Yeah, if super vamp doesn’t squash me first.” I pushed against Oliver’s chest with my hands. It was like trying to push a brick wall. He moved away quickly, once again leaving me off balance.

Sheldon stretched where he sat on the couch yawning widely. “Have you prepared my dinner yet?” he asked as his ears perked.

“If by prepared you mean opened the can? Not yet, but I will shortly.”

The cat’s tail twitched side to side in annoyance as he watched the two of us. “Why do you insist on feeding the Vampire before me? Do I not provide snuggles and purring to show my gratitude? I demand sustenance.”

Oliver rolled his eyes as I moved away to open a can of cat food for Sheldon. I had hardly set the dish down on the floor before the fuzzball all but attacked my hand, muttering words of thanks between bites. “Eat up, Sheldon. You need to stay well fed to keep my feet warm,” I teased as I petted him. “Then I will turn on the iPad fish game you are so obsessed with.”

Oliver pulled on his shoes by the door and reached for his coat. “Have a good night, I’m going to go get a bite.”

“Didn’t you just eat?” I asked, feeling a little sad that he was leaving so early.

“You told me it wasn’t nice to snack on friends.” He flashed his fangs to make a point. I knew he was a Vampire but it was so easy to forget sometimes.

“Wait,” I told him, rising to walk over to the door. Before he could question anything I grabbed the front of his jacket and with a playful tug pressed my lips against his. He resisted, shocked at at first, but quickly caught on. When I leaned back and pulled out of his grip I grinned suggestively. “Then sometime we will have to discuss who it is alright to snack on.”

He stepped forward but I held a hand up. “Another night.”

He laughed and smiled warmly at me. “I look forward to that discussion.”

“Oh, you should!” I told him as I turned to walk back into the living room. “Good night Oliver. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

He mumbled his own goodbye and then the door clicked closed behind him. I balled my hands into fists to keep from going after him. I wasn’t sure why I had kissed him or why I was suddenly so jealous at the idea of him feeding.

 

All weekend long Hue and I hustled working side by side with Helen, Justin and the rest of the North Pole team. One week from Saturday (November 1st) would kick off the beginning of the season Hue and I are supposed to be the Harbingers for. I found myself picturing Elsa from Frozen tossing snowflakes and ice into the air while she glided around slippery terrain in a sequin evening gown and heels. I couldn’t help but think my see-through white cape and strapless translucent gown were somehow inspired by Disney’s most recent princess.

You’ll look amazing. Hue’s voice caressed my thoughts, causing me to pause my paper sorting and look up at him across the desk where he sat.

This may come as a surprise but I’m not exactly a look-at-me sort of girl.

He grinned like the Cheshire Cat. You don’t have to be. Your natural uniqueness shines through no matter how much you try and hide it. I just wish you saw yourself the way I see you. The way Ian sees you.

I huffed a deep sigh and went back to my paperwork. We had one hundred and sixteen appearances to make between November 1st and January 1st. If this was Hollywood, I would feel like I was an A List celebrity.

“We sort of are,” Hue commented without looking up from his own paperwork. His voice was a little rough, showing the strain caused by the most recent conversation with Cariss.

When I reached out to his mind I felt all of his stress, pain and anger. Despite what he said or did, I knew part of that anger was directed at me. If I tried to send supportive thoughts he would push me out of his mind, and the feeling of separation was almost painful. It made me feel isolated, cold and alone. Finally I snapped. “I’m really sorry for all the trouble I’m causing.”

It was his turn to sigh heavily. He sat back in his chair and studied my face carefully. “I know your actions came from a good place and that you were trying to help someone you love. I can’t fault you for that. I wish you would have trusted me enough to let me help you with something like this.” Reaching across the desk he covered my hand with his own and squeezed it affectionately. “Our connection runs deep, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for you.”

“I know,” I whispered. “I was so angry and hurt. The last thing I wanted to do was put you in a position that would hurt you too. I know how you feel about me.”

“When you hurt, so do I,” he answered simply.

I nodded my head understanding what he said. “I know. It’s just… new. Is there anything I can do to help with the mess involving Cariss?”

“Yes – stay out of it. Let Ian and I handle it. The last thing either of us want to see is you ending up the chew toy for a ticked-off Werewolf Chieftain.”

I started to argue but Hue just shook his head. “Seriously Kat.” I froze at the sound of him using my Human name. It sounded so intimate when he said it. “If you want to help, just stay out of it. Ian and I want this resolved as quickly and quietly as possible.”

Finally I gave up with a shrug. “Okay, whatever you think is best.”

He seemed surprised. “That’s it? No argument?”

“Nope, if you want me to trust you to handle it… then I will.”

He released my hand. For a moment I felt his emotions flit through my mind. They were a mixture of awe and pride. “Are you ready for next week?” he said, quickly changing the subject.

“No, not at all.” When he laughed I felt my anger flare.

Holding up his hands in surrender he smiled. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you. I forget you still aren’t used to this much attention. It gets easier. Just the fact you are a Dragon/Elf combo means people are going to notice you. When you add in you’re a Tempest… I’m afraid it means you may never know the same type of peace again.”

“But is the parade and red carpet event really necessary? Don’t you think it just feeds into the commercialism?” I asked.

“It might, but it is also a lot of fun for everyone involved. You’re talking about and entire culture of people that do nothing but dedicate their lives to the season. You get to be a rockstar for the next two months.” He grinned. “If you want me to, I know ways to distract you” he waggled his eyebrows at me.

“I’m sure you do.” I did my best to ignore the images and feelings he shared with me. I felt my cheeks grow red as I blushed at a particularly vivid image. “Enough. Until things are sorted out with Ian, I don’t want to entertain the idea of any of those thoughts.”

“Alright, just know I’m willing to take one for the team and help with your nerves.”

Clearing my throat I tried to sound as calm as possible. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Oliver, can you take me to the North Pole?”

“I can,” he responded slowly. “But why? Kat has commitments this weekend.”

“I know, but she doesn’t have them the whole weekend. We have a ton of stuff to take care of before the book release and it’s been weeks since I saw her in person.” I flashed a smile that resulted in him rolling his eyes.

“Fine, I’ll take you up after work. While you’re at school I’ll pack. Are you taking Sheldon with you this time?”  He finished putting veggies into a plastic container. Snapping the lid shut he tucked it along with the rest of my lunch into my backpack.

“How cold is it there? Is there snow in October?” I pictured myself wrapped up in an oversized parka.

“I don’t really notice cold too much but there is already snow. I’ll pack warmly for you.” He held up my backpack to help me put it on. Without much thought I slid my arms in and struggled to stuff my feet into my shoes.

“You know, you don’t have to pack for me. You didn’t have to make me breakfast or pack my lunch either.”

Oliver shrugged. “I realize I don’t have to do any of it, but I figure if I end up keeping you awake all night watching movies the least I can do is help out while I’m here. I enjoy cooking for you. I enjoy that while I’m here I don’t have to be a Vampire, I don’t have to be a council member, an Enforcer, or anything but me. I can wear pajamas, not gel my hair, and eat whatever I want at four in the morning. When you have had to wear titles for hundreds of years sometimes it’s just nice to wear your name. It’s like walking around in your underwear or naked at home. You, Kat, Ian, Hue all of you don’t care who or what my title is. Ok, well Ian and Hue care a little, but you and Kat grew up Human.”

“I’m glad you feel comfortable, but you could just make friends with Humans,” I offered.

“I could, but then I always have to be on my guard that I or someone else I know doesn’t give it away. Vampires have an extra layer of frustration towards Humans. We consume blood, we have sun allergies, and we are the only Darkling that can actually pass along our race traits to non-mates. You’re part Pixie, and it’s because you were born that way. You could talk to some grand-master Fae and they could activate your blood so that you are full blooded. Then whoever you chose to mate with, if they were not magical, could enjoy the benefits of your blood blond and live longer, but you can’t pass that on to anyone who is not your mate. Vampires… full-blooded Vampires can be born or made. When Humans find out they have two reactions. They either run away or they want to be changed.” He fumbled washing the breakfast dishes.

“I get it. I do. Wait, my bloodline can be activated fully?”

“Yes, I thought you knew that.” He rinsed the last of the glasses.

“No, none of the texts I’ve read have said anything about that. Kat didn’t need to do that.” My mind was racing over everything I had read the last several months.

“Kat is fully magical. A bizarre combo but fully blooded. Normally a half blood would never need to be activated but when you start getting furthur out like you at a quarter or more, the Fae or Darklings need to see you as awakened before they will activate your blood. They want to know you show the genes and want to be Fae or Darkling.” Tossing the dish towel over his shoulder he took a seat at the table.

I looked at the time. Letting out a deep sigh I took off the backpack and went to sit at the table. Gleaning knowledge won over my Friday morning pre-work bubble tea. “Who would I contact?”

He thought about it for a moment. “I’m not totally sure. Marthailain would know for sure but probably someone in Queen Mab’s court.”

“The QUEEN MAB? Like from fairytales and books?” I tried to keep my voice down.

“Yeah, that one.”

My jaw almost his the table it dropped so much. “I could become full Pixie?”

“Yes.”

My mind raced at the possibilities. All the places I could go, the things I could learn and study. My vision glazed over as the daydream world took over.

“Dani? Dani?” I could hear Oliver calling to me but I wasn’t quite ready to leave the daydream. Finally I relented and blinked it away.

“Yeah, sorry. I was just thinking. How hard is it to get an appointment?”

“An appointment with the Fae court?” he asked.

“Yes, how long does it take?”

“As a Darkling and as someone in my role I’ve never had to do it. You would need someone highly respected within the Fae community to request the appointment and make a recommendation on your behalf.” He paused, considering the information he was giving me.

“Like Marthailain?”

“Yes and no. He himself is a Darkling. He would know who to ask and may even be able to set the appointment but you would need a recommendation from a member of the Fae community.”

“Kat is half Elven, would that work?”

“Maybe. Her other half is Dragon which is Darkling, but like the Dark Elves they are closely aligned with the Fae courts. It may be possible. I would talk to Marthailain, he would know more.” He glanced at the clock. “You should go. I’ll get you packed up and will meet you here this evening around eight. Email or call Kat so she knows to expect you.”

With that, I thanked Oliver and made a mad dash to get to school before the students did.

“Hold still!” Maggie snapped.

I wiggled out of her grasp again as she came at me with another pin. I stared at the full length mirror at the back of the uniform department. I was dressed in a low cut white gown that was strapless, laced down the back and slit to the hip on either side. “Why are you making me wear this?” I asked more than a little exasperated.

“Oh it will be so pretty!” she chirped happily. “You’re wearing it for a red carpet event in a few weeks kicking off the Holiday shopping season. You and Lord Hudraer are going to be dressed as the winter Prince and Princess!”

I glanced over at Hue who was being dressed a white waistcoat and tails with a red and gold sash. He looked every part of “Prince Charming” in the costume. He was holding deathly still but managed a smile for me. The bruises are fading nicely he said as his mind connected with me.

Thanks, but I feel like the holiday edition of Slave Leia.

He was unable to stop the laughter and was quickly stuck with a pin, making him hiss.

“That’s what you get for not holding still” I chastised him. His narrowed eye glare was all the thanks I needed.

“So do have to wear sparkling crowns with these get-ups?” he asked as the last of the annoyance drained from his voice.

“Yes, you will both have sparkling crowns. Her gown has a see-through Fairy silk cape that attaches at the back which will drag like a train behind her.” Maggie seemed overly pleased with herself.

“So how long is this function?”

Maggie looked up at me considering me with her dark eyes for a moment. “A couple of hours. You two will pose for pictures, talk to some reporters, have dinner and be done. Shouldn’t be too bad.”

I shrugged and immediately regretted it when the prick of a pin caught me in the back of the arm. “What happens to these costumes when we’re done with them?”

“They’ll be recycled for use. Someone will find a use for them and they will be used again. Lord Hudraer’s will be easier to reuse. It’s based off of traditional royal dress for the Dwarves,” she explained.

“It looks like every Disney Prince Charming costume,” I commented.

Hue seemed to stiffen at my words, shooting me a curious glance. “That wouldn’t surprise me. A number of Dwarves have worked for the company in the Human Realm.” Maggie finished up the pinning. “There you go. You’re both all pinned up. What do you think?”

Hue, always smiling and handsome, turned up his charm. “They’re stunning. Your team is amazing, Maggie.”

She grinned wider and looked at me for an opinion. “And what about you?”

“I’m going to freeze to death. I’m going to be a Dragon-flavored popsicle.” The small Gnomen woman’s face fell. I instantly started scrambling. “But it’s beautiful! I will look amazing.” She smiled again.

“Well I designed it to be worn indoors, so you should be alright.”

I waved away her concern as her assistant helped me carefully out of the dress.

When Hue and I finished our fitting we both headed to the cafeteria for lunch. I knew he was aching to say something. “Say it!”

“Say what?” he asked.

“Whatever it is you want to say.”

He grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me back against him and began leading me in an imaginary waltz in the hallway. “Am I your Prince Charming?”

“Ha!” was all I could get out.

You can’t hide it from me. I know how your pulse quickened when you looked at me. Admit it, I am your dreamy Prince Charming.

There was something that felt so intimate when we spoke this way, using our bond. Who needs Prince Charming when you’ve got a Dragon?

Oh, you’ve got a Dragon, do you?

I stopped dancing and looked at him. Yes, it would seem I do.

 

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