Yeah! What better way to kick off 2014 than with a blogfest?
|Laccindy & Jarend|
This year, I'm getting a little ... non-human with a piece from A Game of Cat and Horse. Basically the whole 1100 word, first-drafted chapter. It's not like there's a word limit and it is practically the only no-kissing scene in the whole novella.
So, explanations ... to keep it simple:
She has no clue about his feelings. In the previous chapter, he hauled her from the initiation she willingly participated in where most people in the community all ... get it on ... in one big group.
Laccindy rubbed furiously at her hair, grumbling as the towel seemed to grow damper with each scrub while her hair got no drier. Her fur was now stripped of all traces of sand and sweat. The warm water had drawn the aches from her body. All she wished to do now was seek her bed and sleep until the following afternoon.
But first, she had to get her darn hair to dry. The stuff was like a sponge.
Jarend watched her battle from the entrance, no doubt believing himself to be casually guarding her privacy. He needn't bother. No man — well, at least, no Rogue — would venture down here with the ceremony above still playing itself out. They would come later, like a mindless herd, to wash away the sand and sweat, but she would be long gone by then.
What worried her more was how he'd been silent, so heartachingly different, the whole time she bathed. Yet, she was certain he hadn't taken his eyes off her since she entered the water. Had his opinion of her diminished now she was a Roguess? If only he would say something. Anything.
Abandoning her hair, she instead turned to the task of clothing herself. Roguess or no, it wouldn't do for her to wander about naked. Yet her robe was somewhere on the mound and certainly not in one piece, while all her other clothes resided in her room.
She rummaged in the pile of freshly-washed clothing, unearthing a loincloth and a thin strip of linen she could use to bind her breasts. Such items required no more effort to don than the tying of a few knots which were completed in seconds. Clothed, or at least covered in the most basic sense, she returned to attacking her hair with a fresh towel.
Jarend stirred. His hoof-falls echoed sharply across the cavern's wide expanse as he marched into the depths of the laundry. "Come here." He rolled an empty barrel into the light, upended it and patted the base. "Sit."
Puzzled, Laccindy plonked herself on the barrel. Hot, dry air engulfed her head and he ran his fingers through her hair, carefully untangling each knot he came across. The heat rolling off his fingers ran across her ears, drying and smoothing out the ruffled fur. She closed her eyes, warmth pooling in her stomach as he continued. Such a simple, innocent pleasure should not feel this good.
He eventually stopped, leaving her strangely bereft. "There we go," he whispered. "Now you don't look as if you got caught out in the rain."
Smiling, she scooted around atop the barrel to face him and found herself speechless. There was something about his eyes which pulled at her. Their smoky-golden depths seemed to burn with an unquenchable inner fire.
An unexpected flush of longing hit her as she continued to stare into those molten pools held fast by a desire to be one of the few who had lain with him, the need growing stronger with each passing second. Her hand lifted from her thigh, itching to touch him. Heat radiated off his skin. His chest heaved with each rasping breath.
Jarend grew still. His gaze dropped to her hand, then flicked back up.
She licked her lips, unable to take her eyes off his face, framed as it was by his mostly white hair. Much of his shoulders and head were swathed in red fur, the only exception being a tiny patch of white adorning his left cheek, which encroached upon his lips, not quite touching the corner. Laccindy shuffled to the edge of the barrel. Such a spot begged to be kissed. Perhaps if she was quick enough she could—
You could ... what? a part of her grumbled. Her hand fell back to grip the barrel's rim. Do you really think he'd let you just because you want to try? He was more likely to be appalled at the thought rather than flattered. The notion was unlikely to have crossed his mind. Jarend probably still saw her as a child. Except he knows I'm anything but.
It was possible he hadn't been ready to see her go through such a change as the step she'd taken tonight. Or even her choice to lie with Buven in the week prior to her initiation. That would explain why he'd suddenly grown so distant and irritable. She didn't want to hurt him, to lose his company just because she was no longer a little girl.
Then why did the thought of him being bothered by her new status seem so wickedly delightful?
Desperately trying to quell the rising heat in her face that threatened to singe all the fur from her skin, she sought to stand. "I—" Believing the ground to be nearer, she misjudged her footing and fell into his arms. Laccindy clung to him, her chest close to bursting. Her legs were going to give out entirely, she was certain of it.
One corner of his mouth twitched into a smile. His breath danced upon her throat. The hands holding her upright tightened about her waist, drawing her closer. "Yes?" The husky way he spoke tingled along her spine.
She cleared her throat. What was wrong with her? She'd been with four other men since Buven, not including the three who'd taken her tonight. Being in Jarend's arms — his strong and deliciously sure arms — should not have this effect on her. She was a katess, not some dainty equinean woman who could be swayed by a powerful man. They should be on equal footing.
With great reluctance, Laccindy relinquished her hold on him. He was not her equal. Had her mother not said that a woman, any woman, was stronger than a man? Then why do I feel so weak? If she didn't regain her senses soon, she was going to require being carried to her chambers. By him. Like how he'd cradled her back on the initiation mound, acting as if she weighed nothing to him. "I ... I am going back to my room now."
He nodded slowly and she was certain his smile had taken on a smug edge. Could he sense her weakening? "I'll escort you there. Just in case you chance upon a Rogue."
Laccindy stiffened. She'd walked these tunnels many times without being accosted. Should it not be easier now she was a Roguess? But Jarend had forcefully withdrawn her from the festivities outside. By rights, she should still be out on the sand being ... taken. Those men who'd pounced on her after Buven had not been gentle. Had they known of her relative inexperience? As if they would care.
She shuddered, doing her best to banish the chill lifting her fur, and smiled up at Jarend. "Escort away." At least she could trust him. Even in her weakest moments.
If you haven't already, be sure to drop by Amalia Dillin's blog to check out the scenes from the other participants (I know I am).