My fingers comb through her hair, intensifying the scent of campfire I smell as I press my lips to hers, pushing her back against the door. This morning was too stressful without her and then she disappeared on me. I can’t stand it when she’s away, especially when I don’t know about it. To make up for the time apart, I make sure she feels my passion for her, my longing. How can someone make me feel like this?
I break the kiss only long enough to breathe, not giving her the chance to speak. A million questions swirl through my head but I’m not sure which to ask first. I’d rather just think of her – no, feel her. I push her lips apart, tasting her sweet tongue. How long has it been since the last time? Too long I’d say.
As we stand there, silently kissing in our room, a pressing sense of inquiry takes over and I slow my efforts to love her in order to refocus myself. I pull my lips away with a smile as I lean my brow against hers, gazing into her gorgeous amber eyes. I savor the taste of her lips that still lingers on mine before I speak. I find it hard to put the words in order. Her scent, her everything, it’s overwhelmingly strong and makes it hard for me to concentrate.
“Kat…” I breathe, holding her gaze.
“Yes?” she whispers curiously.
“I… I was so… I missed you so much,” I settle on the words.
“I’m sorry,” her fingers tug on my shirt, clutching the fabric. When she’s around it’s so warm, I feel like I don’t need the shirt.
I blink, trying to keep my words straight. “I was scared, I think. I was so worried about what might happen, and how I wasn’t there for you.”
“I was scared too… but I’m relieved it ended okay,” she kisses my neck.
I shiver at her touch, closing my eyes. She makes it hard to not give in. “Is it really ok? This… stuff with the Master, it never seems to… end,” I swallow a moan.
“I wonder if it ever will…” she sighs.
“I wish it would. I want him to leave us alone,” I frown, opening my eyes to look at her again. Her lips look sad. I want to kiss them again to make them happy. It takes every effort in my body not to.
“I wish they all would leave us alone,” she leans her head back on the door.
“Do you really think someone else, or something else was causing those dreams? I find it hard to believe. He’s been our enemy from the start, I… I don’t think we should change our minds just because he says it wasn’t him,” I say full of doubt.
“I don’t know, but I think it’s possible,” she shrugs. “The way he put it, he said ‘why would I want to torment a person I want to win over?’”
“Yes, but… It could be wordplay. He could be trying to trick us into trusting him. Do you forget? He had Logan kidnap those students, he had him trying to win you over from the start! You play some role in his schemes… but… I don’t think it’s wise to give him any lead on you.” It’s hard to hold back the concern and strain in my voice. I’m seriously concerned as to why he’d try to contact her now, and the way he went about doing it… I just don’t like it.
“I know,” she frowns. “But still, what if Markus is just as crooked? How do we know?”
“What reason does he have to be crooked? The Master locked him away in the Veil for a century. If anything, he’s a threat to the Master and his plans. Besides, he started this school to protect mages like ourselves, although, my doubt in the security of this place is constantly reinforced. What is this, the fifth time someone has been able to walk in despite the barriers in place? It’s just wrong.”
“Think about it, though. Markus spent centuries in the Veil. He wants me to hate Mortecai, he would benefit more than Mortecai if I was afraid and angry,” she argues.
“We already hated him. Why would he need to try so hard?” I push back. “Don’t forget, you have a key,” I press a finger to her chest. “A key he wanted so bad he broke into the Guild to take it. The Master wants you to trust him. But you can’t. Regardless of if someone else, even Markus is making you think he’s much worse than he is.”
“But what if Markus made the nightmares? What if that was his doing? Would you be so quick to trust him?” she tried to turn it around.
“We already do! This is not a bad place, Kat. The people here are not bad people. They have not hurt anyone to gain anything,” I remind her. “I mean… Markus did contact you through dreams before to get you to see him down in the crypt and find the book and the key and all. But… What reason does he have to be crooked? He built this place to keep us safe. Why would he want to hurt you? He created you – as you put it, although I hate that way of phrasing it,” I frown. “Why are you so intent to hate Markus?” I can’t help but notice that she’s always angry with him, even when he hasn’t even said anything, yet she seems so willing to listen to the Master. Something’s not adding up. I just can’t figure out what.
“I don’t know,” she drops her gaze. “I can’t help it.”
“You can’t help hating him? But you’re ready to jump on the Master’s train? How is that any better?” I try to keep my voice steady. I know how getting angry just makes her shut down, but I need to understand, I need her to answer.
“I don’t know. I don’t know what to think. That’s why I need you,” she looks up, her eyes sparkle in the dim light. “You make things make sense.”
“I… I do?” I’m shocked to hear her say this. I feel as confused about things as ever, and yet… I make it make sense? How? I run my hand down her shoulder, along her arm and take her hand in mine, lacing my fingers between hers and rubbing my thumb against her skin softly. Her hands, they’re warm and inviting. But, I have more questions. I wait for her answer, encouraging her with my hands.
“Yeah,” her lips curl at the corner. “I’m not good at telling if people are lying or anything. That’s your area of expertise.”
“Really? I mean… I guess I have more experience in that area,” I sigh heavily, leaning against her. “I don’t think we should trust him, perse, but I don’t want to rule out your thought that someone else is responsible for the dreams. I guess it warrants looking into. But… if you do go and talk to him… promise me you’ll take me?” I ask, wrapping my hand around her waist and pulling her into me as I lean into her. “Don’t leave me like that again?” I whisper into her ear.
“I never wanted to leave you,” she replies without hesitation.
“I… got so worried. I nearly lost it. I think I’d go bald if something happened to you, if I wasn’t there to help you,” I say, unlacing my fingers from hers and brushing the hair away from her ear. I lean in, kissing it softly, exhaling through my nose.
“Well, we can’t let that happen,” she giggles.
“No, we… can’t,” I breathe. I struggle to stop. “Is there anything else? Anything bothering you that I can help with now?” I ask her, pulling away just enough to look into her eyes.
“Yes, there is,” she smirks, tugging at my belt. “We’re wearing far too much clothing.”
“We are?” I ask, moving as she tugs my jeans. I look down between us, watching her hands make quick work of my belt. She’s absolutely right.
“It’s a problem,” she unbuttons my jeans, leaning forward to kiss my neck again.
“It is,” I agree, feeling tingles down my spine. My hand around her waist slips under her shirt, gently brushing my fingertips up the small of her back. “How are you… going to fix it?” I breathe in her ear.
“I guess I could burn them…” she snickers, sliding her hands under the front of my shirt and up my stomach.
“I wonder how that would feel…” I shiver under her touch, muscles convulsing. I bite her ear, gently, pulling it softly between my teeth.
“Shall I try?” her voice rises in question.
“You can do want you want with me,” I smirk against her cheek, cupping the back of her neck with my hand and hugging her tightly. She’s so warm.
“Are you sure?” she asks with her lips on my neck. I feel her temperature rise ever so slightly, and the bottom edge of my shirt starts to smolder.
I’m compelled, I can’t restrain my curiosity, so I hum my agreement as I lean down and take her lips in mine passionately. There’s something sexy about getting ones clothes burnt off.
The flames move slowly, never more than a smolder. She keeps her hands between the burning cloth and my skin. Her kisses slow, distracted with the effort it must take to control the burning.
I twitch as they climb higher, reaching my collar. I try to remain calm, focusing on the taste of her lips as the heat touches my skin. I feel a drop of sweat slide down my face and drop onto my bare chest. Then another, and another.
“You okay?” she gasps between kisses. “Is it too hot?”
“You’re never too hot,” I speak quickly through my kiss. Even if it was, I don’t know if I’d say anything. Her touch, it’s too spellbinding.
“Maybe, but you have to tell me if it is. I can’t hurt you…” she whispers desperately.
I sense the urgency in her voice and I pull back, looking into her face with a smile. “Your heat, it couldn’t hurt me. I love it so.”
“It could hurt you. We have to be careful,” she pouts.
“Ok, fine. What’s the temperature now?” I ask. Maybe we can set a meter of what’s tolerable and what’s not.
“Um…” she blushes. “I don’t know… low?”
“You don’t know? Isn’t that something, as a fire elementalist, you should be able to gauge? Like I can the time?” I ask, perplexed as sweat drips from my face.
“Not really… The fire doesn’t speak much. I don’t think it knows what numbers are let alone how to gauge its heat,” she blushes guiltily.
“Ookay… What about… picturing a burning setting on a stove? If you set it to the lowest, what does it… feel like?” I ask instead. Maybe imagining a dial will help.
Her brows come together, thinking. “I don’t really know how a stove works that well. Usually, when I try to use one the fire gets excited and makes it hotter. That’s why I never do that part…”
“Uhh…” she’s making this difficult. “You’ve seen a thermometer right?” I’m grasping at straws.
She laughs. “Okay, you try explaining a thermometer to an animal, like a monkey. It’s not that intelligent, Andrei. It’s primal. If you want a reading, we’ll need a real thermometer.”
“Fine, I was just hoping to give you a ballpark. Guess it’ll be trial and error. You try going hotter and I’ll tell you when it’s too hot, ok?” I shrug my shoulders.
“It doesn’t take that much heat to burn clothing,” she rolls her eyes. “See? Your shirt is already gone.”
I look down, surprised. “Oh?”
Her hands rest on my bare chest. “I don’t think I’m willing to risk the pants,” she snickers.
I raise an eyebrow. “Why not?”
She blushes faintly. “Cause… I like you fully functional.”
“Oh… I could put on another shirt…” I suggest playfully.
Her eyes narrow and lips purse. “That’s no fun.”
“It isn’t?” I raise both my brows. “Then what is fun?” I ask her.
She hums, chewing her bottom lip. I can almost see her mind spinning as she thinks. “I think, the other day when we made all that food, you were very… irresistible.”
“I was? Why?” I narrow my eyes, not making the connection.
Her cheeks darken in colour as she glances away. “I think being in charge suits you.”
“In charge? Like making decisions and directing you?” I ask, still a little confused. What could she be implying?
She nods with a shy smile. “Yeah… I guess you could put it that way.”
“I like doing what you like to do though, too. But… I have to admit, I don’t have all that much imagination it seems.”
She shrugs slightly. “That comes with experience, I think.”
I smirk. “Will you give me some then? Some… experience?” I lean in, rubbing my forehead against hers. “Let’s heat things up.”
“Yes sir,” she giggles, allowing her warmth to spread just a little bit more.
I feel it all over my chest, everywhere she touches. I feel the sweat beading on my chest as I gently peck her lips. “More,” I whisper.
She leans back, pulling her shirt off before pressing herself against my chest.
I cup her face in my hands, closing my eyes. She’s just… she’s too much. She’s too good. “More,” I whisper again.
Her palms rest on my hips, just above my jeans, as her nails dig into my skin. It gets a little warmer again, barely. Her hands tremble as she tries to be careful.
I’m surprised when I hear a small growl come from my throat. Why is this so exciting? My chest is slick with sweat now, and the jeans are becoming uncomfortable. Was it always so humid in here? “More,” I repeat.
“You could get heat stroke if I make it any hotter…” she gulps, worried.
“I don’t care,” I mumble between kisses. “I asked for more,” I try to sound in charge, it feels weird to me. She lets the temperature rise again without further argument.
Her hands slip on my waist and I feel my breaths getting shorter and shallower. I lean into her, one hand on the wall to hold myself up. I wish these pants weren’t so heavy.
“Are you alright?” she pauses, trying to twist enough to see my face. Panic rises in her voice. “Should I stop? I should stop…”
I lean closer, kissing her cheek so she can’t see my face. “No, don’t stop. Take… them off,” I pant.
Her breath quivers and her fingers slip under the elastic of my boxers, pushing them down with my jeans all at once. Halfway down my thighs, the material succumbs to gravity and falls to the floor on its own.
With my free hand, I slip my fingers between her skin and the band of her pants, tugging them down. I struggle with the motion, one-handed. This action takes two hands, so I try to support myself with my legs, taking a short breath. The air feels thick and no matter how deep I breathe I can’t get a full breath in. I slide my other hand down, trying to complete the task but my head starts to spin. Maybe it’s too hot now. Maybe. I’m finding it hard to think.
I feel my weight buckle as one hand hugs her waist and I feel the ground under one knee. I lean my head against her hip, trying to catch enough air to speak.
“Andrei?” she squeaks. “Hold on. I’ll open the window,” she moves to slip around me, further into the room. I let her go, unable to protest as I lean against the wall for support. The edges of my vision start to turn black and I have a fleeting thought that she isn’t fast enough as I pass out.
“Andrei? Andrei!” I hear a voice calling me. My shoulders move as hands grip me. The voice sounds panicked. I squeeze my eyes and then open them. Staring back at me are a pair of frightened amber eyes, brows pinched together with worry.
“Kat?” I ask, taking in a fresh breath of cold air. “What? Why am I on the floor?” I ask her, confused.
Her eyes shimmer as liquid spills over and down her cheeks. “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I shouldn’t have… Are you okay? Does anything hurt?”
“What? No! Please don’t cry!” Suddenly, it comes back to me. It was really hot and I couldn’t breathe. “I kept asking for more. It’s not your fault. We were experimenting,” I prop myself up on my elbows, reaching for her cheek with my hand. “Please, don’t cry. I’m fine. I just needed air,” I assure her.
“But, I… I should’ve known better. I should have stopped. Why didn’t I stop?” her teeth chatter as her whole body shakes. “I don’t ever want to hurt you, I can’t.”
“You didn’t hurt me! I’m ok! I asked you not to. It’s ok, Kat. It’s ok.” I tug her face into mine, feeling her warm tears on my face as I kiss her trembling lips. I crawl onto my knees, gripping her shoulder gently with my other hand. I caress her shoulder, soothing her fears.
Her arms wrap around my chest, pulling herself closer. “You have to tell me when to stop,” she begs quietly when I break away.
“I will, I promise. I couldn’t before but now I know. I will,” I repeat. “I will.”
She looks back at me, skeptical. I guess that’s to be expected. “Sorry. I’m a bad leader. I know. I told you, I have no experience,” I say as she leans against me. I feel her heart racing against my skin. “The only thing I know you like is…” I take her hands in mine, looking at them tenderly. I work my fingers so I’m holding both of hers with one hand, then I lift them above her head, pushing her back gently till her back’s on the floor.
I lean overtop of her, one hand holding her hands, the other, sneaking under her back to unclip her bra. I lower my face till it hovers above hers, nose to nose. “You showed me this once,” I whisper, pulling the straps away and trailing my fingers over her collar bone.
Her breath hitches and she stares back at me with wide eyes. “Uh huh…” she mumbles with a nod as her face flushes pink again. I grin, trailing my fingers lower, roaming over her breasts. I press my lips to hers, drinking in her flavour. My body shivers with excitement.
I swing my leg over her hip, pinning her down as I hold her hands so she can’t move. My own body longs for her touch, but I shove that desire aside, for now. “I want to hear your voice,” I whisper along her cheek as my lips brush the peachy soft skin. “Moan for me.”
Her body shivers and she makes a most satisfying sound, just as I instructed. That’s strangely erotic and disturbing to me. Does she really like it as much she sounds like she does? I pull my lips away, a question ready on them. “What do you want?” I try.
She looks confused. “You.”
“Me what? What do you want me to do?” I try rephrasing it.
She blinks. “Y-you’re experimenting, right? So… whatever you want to do. I like being your first of everything. It’s like it’s new for me too.”
I grind my back teeth together in slight frustration. I told her, I don’t know enough. I have little experience… Why would she say whatever I want to do? Surely there are limitations. Everyone has limitations. Don’t they? She should tell me what they are. I need to know.
I grip her hands still, trying to think of a way to find her limits. “Close your eyes,” I command. I have a sinking feeling in my gut as I say it. I don’t much enjoy this. She does so without hesitation.
I watch her face intently as I lean down, kissing her collarbone. I brush my lips over her smooth skin as my free hand trembles. I curl my lips back and give her a gentle bite. She gasps quietly, more from surprise than anything else. Her eyes remain closed. As I pull away I see a small mark. I hate it. I need her to tell me if she doesn’t like it.
“Tell me when you want me to stop. If you don’t like it, tell me,” I say in a grave tone, unable to hold my concern back. She nods once, keeping her eyes shut as she waits patiently.
I gulp nervously, roaming lower, lips over her nipple. I bite again, aware that this is a more sensitive area, so I go lightly, afraid. She moans in response and her back arches. I recall what she taught me about hickies, so I move up to her neck, placing a soft kiss there as I suck on her skin. She moans again, louder this time.
I fear she enjoys this more than me. “Open your eyes,” I tell her as I sit up. I release her hands.
They flutter open and look up at me, innocently confused.
“Touch me, make your hands warm, and touch me,” I tell her.
She blinks, processing the request. Her hands reach up, palms press against my stomach with her fingers fanned out. Her skin is hot, much warmer than usual. If I didn’t know better, I’d think she had a bad fever.
“Is this warm enough?” she asks.
“No,” I tell her simply. “Embrace me, and make your hands warmer,” I feel my throat constrict and I try to hide the fact that I hate saying what I’m saying. I have a strange feeling she’ll do as I say anyway.
Without fail, she sits up, her hands slide around to my back, and they feel considerably warmer. Almost uncomfortable. She rests her head on my chest and waits.
I lift my chin, wrapping my arms around her and placing my fingers on her back, pressing my tips into her skin, hard. I can’t bring myself to use my nails. I don’t want to leave a mark. “Make your hands hot, and kiss me,” I tell her.
She looks up at me, eyes wide as she stares into mine for a moment. She seems torn for a split second before her eyes close and her lips press against mine. I can feel the distinct outline of her hands as the heat becomes almost unbearable on my back. Her hands tremble as I flinch under her touch, but she doesn’t move.
I feel wetness on my cheeks as she kisses me. I don’t like this. I pull away, taking her hands in mine and pulling her arms off of me. “Stop. No… I can’t. I don’t want this,” I choke.
Her gaze fixates on our hands. The heat fades and her brows crease. “What do you mean? I thought…” she stutters, shaking her head. “You said…”
“I know. It’s not that. You’ll do whatever I ask you to, and that’s… it’s just not right, Kat. Everyone has limits – things they won’t do, things they can’t. I can’t tell you how to love me. I… it hurts, telling you what to do. I love you, Kat. I love you so much.”
Her amber eyes meet mine. “I don’t understand. Why is it wrong? I want you to be happy, and to experiment with whatever you think you might enjoy.”
“I only want to do what you also enjoy. Things you like. Nothing that hurts you. I hate hurting you,” I look down, feeling stupid for taking it so far. My back stings a little where her hands held me. I didn’t want to leave a mark on her, so I made her do it to me. I’m pathetic. My jaw trembles as I think about it.
“You didn’t. You don’t have to hurt me, I don’t expect you to,” she frowns, tilting her head. “Why would you think that?”
“You didn’t say no to anything I asked you to do. You moaned louder when I bite you. Would you have really told me if you didn’t like something?” I ask her, confused.
Her mouth opens, but she doesn’t speak for a moment, staring into space. Slowly, her jaw closes and she looks down at her lap. The silence is deafening. The look of guilt on her face confirms my fears.
“You wouldn’t. You’d let me do anything to you. I don’t like that. Why? Why don’t you have limits? You should have limits! Things you are comfortable with. Things you enjoy,” I press.
“I don’t know. I just… I guess I got used to a lot of things… the things I’m not comfortable with… those are things you would never do. I know that,” she mumbles. “So… I’m not afraid of what you might do.”
“I took things too far. I’m sorry,” I say, pulling her into my chest. “I like being gentle with you. You’re special to me and I don’t want to be responsible for hurting you in any way,” I say, her head pressed up against my throat. I run my hand through her hair, my chest heaving in the scent of it as I calm myself down.
I stay there for a moment, hoping my words make sense to her. She hugs me tightly, her skin is warm as always.
“I’m okay with that,” she says, to my relief. “I told you, whatever you’re comfortable with. I’m happy when you’re happy,” I smile, relieved.
I climb off her, pulling her to her feet and leading her to the bed. I gently direct her to lay on her back as I resume my place on top of her. I let my body rest on hers, propping my weight up with my elbows as I gaze into her eyes. “Love me, Kat. Love me like only you can love me,” I say between kisses to her lips. I curl a lock of hair between my fingers, happily.
“As you wish, Mr. Hero,” she giggles, her hands slide around my shoulders, fingers twine in my hair.
By Kayla West