He would do everything she said – as if! She was quite tempted to see just how far Bascun would go with his blatant lie, the knowledge of it filling her belly with warmth. She couldn’t remember a single dog to be as loyal and now he, a grown up man with mind of his own was giving her such lies? Sit? Dance? Hop on one leg like the bride in that movie about a prince from Zamunda visiting America?
She was still staring, she realized, when she noticed him shifting his weight from one leg to another. Then her attention went on the old woman sleeping on the chair not far from where they stood and her libido took a dive. Veronica sighed.
“Sit.” She ordered and decided if that’s the liberty she was given over his actions, then she might as well put them in good use. She turned to search for the small basket she knew to be nearby that consisted the area maps. There had been times she and Robert had been a happy couple and they’d traveled a lot. Many of the maps from back then ended up at Isilia’s place when they came to visit and tell her all about their conquests. Except the more personal type.
Bascun stared at her, dumbfounded, but moment later he knelt and really… sat… on the floor…
She burst out laughing, seeing him there in the perfect stance she’d seen in magazines – sitting on his heels, knees bent outwards, his back straight with his wings sprawled out behind him and his hands clasped behind his back, looking up at her with a blank look, as if he was confused what exactly she wanted. As was she as she stared at his perfect posture and magnificent body which his thin shirt clung to and the thighs that stretched his cargo pants all in the right places. She gulped, when she realized her mouth had gone dry and the heat in her body wasn’t coming from an outer source.
She clutched the small basket tighter against her chest, when she took the wobbly step closer and bent to his face. God, she wanted to reward him with a kiss for offering her such gift while he had no idea, who she was. And wasn’t that just reckless? She watched his own chin rise and meet her half way, as far as he could push without leaving his position, but right before their lips met, he turned his head and she only managed a quick peck on the corner of his eye.
She straightened, confused.
“We don’t kiss on the mouth,” he whispered hoarsely, a tremor of fear breaking his words, “sorry.”
“Oh.” She frowned, but she didn’t think it was something he should be afraid to say, especially if he was in such games. Then again, maybe that’s what got him scared. “Is it your personal rule?” She asked quietly, deciding it served no purpose to hide now.
He shook his head. “We kiss nobody on the mouth unless we are committed.”
That seemed fair. Probably something related to their physiology then, she concluded, thinking on the peculiar ways some animals behaved and she realized she couldn’t be mad at him for something so trivia. She giggled – mad at him? Not mad? Hadn’t the boy offered her this in the first place, they wouldn’t even be discussing this!
“It’s too soon.” She sighed, and beckoned him to get up. With regret roaming in her body, she watched him follow her command and she pointed at the chair by the kitchen table. But she couldn’t help but feel lighter. It had uncoiled some of her problems that seemed to weight down on her since Selene disappeared and it had been too long since she felt calm and happy. She listened him getting up and decided not to focus on it.
“I thought we could check over some of the maps here, perhaps you can recognize some of the places. Or if you have a locator or something that helps you find them, then we can compare notes. Or if you tell me what we’re looking for,” she shrugged nonchalantly, but he got the message. He had to explain, what it was he exactly wanted or they would be in a dead end, was the message.
His wing ends dragged on the floor while his heavy boots made their way to the table and he leaned across it, concentrating on the maps spread across. The playfulness was gone and the warrior was back. She could feel the power pouring off him as he stood next to her and she relaxed visibly as if all she needed to feel safe was to put the boy back on the position he was meant to be in. That did not rub away the new found feeling of being in control of what she wanted, which she hadn’t got back with divorce nor the therapies that followed. She’d still felt as if it could be taken away from her every moment should somebody choose so, but Bascun somehow did it in less than fifteen minutes and she didn’t have that half baked feeling.
She woke from her thoughts on a clatter of something hitting the table. The gargoyle was emptying his pockets and brought out one gadget after another until there were four of them on top of the maps. He kept searching for something more, but that was all there was to it.
“Damn, they took my communicator.” He grumbled and turned his attention on the table, reaching for one that looked like a about half a foot long stick. He pressed on the ends of it, clicking the buttons there and after a second it let out a hologram map. He pushed his thumb into one end of the map image and circled around the stick, stretching the quadrangle into a flat circle and placed it on top of the map used for local hiking trips. It had both the trails and altitudes of the hills. It seemed such a small place to search for it.
“How many gates do you have here on Earth?” She couldn’t hide her curiosity. The map covered only ten miles and it seemed ridiculous place considering it had nothing more than few farms and forest lines mostly.
He shrugged. “I don’t know exactly. Your niece destroyed few and after the incident with Griffin, they are closing them down in faster speed.”
“Why?” She couldn’t help feeling offended for being treated like a threat. It seemed silly, though when she gave it a bit of a thought, she understood their fears of repeating the colonization of America. “Never mind.” She whispered, ashamed to be part of the rat colony they called humanity.
“The gates opened by themselves before our scientists,” he snorted on that one, “figured out how to handle them and control them. They are closing them down because you are considered a danger to our planet and coming over here is danger to most of our species there.”
“That means Selene is in danger? Ecologically?”
“Environmentally? If you petrify in sunlight here, then -”
“Oh! No! She’s been there couple of months and so far we’ve detected no health problems.”
“That’s good.” It slipped from her lips before her brain registered that she’d sounded sad.
“It was her decision to stay.” He raised his hands defensively, looking her straight in her eyes. “Thorwald would grieve, but he will send her back here if he thought she was in any danger from our nature.”
“She can keep eye on her own health too.” She wanted to defend her side too, to make him see she wasn’t just damsel in distress that needed to be looked after all the time. Which in turn made her feel miserable for treating her as one and not trusting the message she’d sent. But that did not settle her urge to talk to her again.
Instead of a witty comeback, Bascun nodded and turned back on the table, where two small beacons had began blinking.
“How would it even recognize the area?” She had hard time wrapping her brain around the alien-looking technology. Bascun took a deep breath, visibly puzzled how to explain it, and she decided it wasn’t important. “Let’s just see what you have.” Bascun grunted and made a ta-da move with his hands, again speechless. She chuckled, looking at the beacons. Stupid question.When she looked up from the map, he was ogling her with a sedated puppy face, but when he realized she’d turned, he quickly coughed and began asking questions about the distances between the objects on the map and of their place.
He sure was cute to look at, took care of his physics and was pretty to look at. Especially cute, Veronica thought with saliva running up her mouth, was the large tattoo poking her side on the wing closest to her which he hadn’t noticed to pull away. God, she wanted to touch it, but held back. He’d offered to play, but she had been the one to pull breaks on it and it felt rude to start again now. She was older, she reminded herself, by far, if there was anything to go by based on his looks. Damn, he looked so young!
“How about we call it a night?” She asked after about an hour, when the sky outside the north window had gone dark a while back and she was beginning to feel the day catching up on her body. He looked as if he could go on for couple more hours, but she had had enough and she knew he hadn’t had much sleep either in the forty eight hours she’d known him. He pulled back, stretching his muscles. “Go to bed, on the sofa there,” she quickly corrected, flashback of him sitting on the floor flushing her cheeks, “I’ll wake you in the morning.” She wished him good nigh and turned, hoping for dear life the cold bedroom on the back would cool her cheeks.