When Gareth awoke, he saw Jasmine sitting on the couch, looking at him with her arms crossed over her chest. Her peridot eyes glared and he knew she was angry. Neither of them spoke for a moment.
“How are you feeling?” He ventured cautiously. He was afraid of an outburst of energy, because he thought she must have figured out that he had been keeping things from her and he felt a twinge of guilt.
“I have a headache and my entire body hurts,” she replied curtly. “Who owns this cottage?”
Gareth sighed and was about to reply, when Marianna appeared in front of them.
“I do,” she replied, her hands clasped in front of her as they normally were. “I’m sure you have a lot of questions, so why don’t I just tell you some things, and then you can ask questions if you have them, hmm?” Marianna started telling Jasmine about her visions and why she had created so much chaos and Gareth let her. Hopefully she changed the direction of her irritation. When Marianna finished, Jasmine asked, “So, did you know I had this power? The whole time?” Her eyes pierced his, shrewd. Obviously, she was still mad at him.
Gareth didn’t answer for a moment. “Yes,” he finally sighed. He didn’t get a chance to say another word when a burst of energy knocked the wind out of him.
“How could you?!” She shouted, as she kept attacking and she ran out the door. When he was finally able to breathe, he started chasing after her. She didn’t know how dangerous it was to have this power and he had to stop her. He had to protect her at all costs, and he hoped her body was sore enough from the energy work earlier that she couldn’t run so fast. His heart panged when he realized she might never forgive him for keeping these secrets from her, but it had been for the best. Or, so he had thought.
Jasmine ran as fast as her aching legs could take her. Her lungs burned as her arms pumped at her sides. She had made a promise to him, she knew, but she was angry at him. For some reason, she was hurt that he had kept this from her. How could he? She had thought they might have had some kind of connection, but she had been wrong. He had only been using her, for whatever reason. She felt betrayed by this, especially since he had shown interest in her. She berated herself for being so stupid and trusting a halfling. She pushed her legs harder through the trees, some dead and some alive. It was all a blur to her as she raced past them.
Besides, she could protect herself now that she had her magic back, and the fact that she could use energy from the universe was even more of a reason to run from him. She feared the queen, and would do anything to not have to be in her presence. She jumped over logs and dodged branches in her haste. She reached a large meadow and stopped a moment to glance over her shoulder. She saw Gareth running behind her and she started running across the meadow, the tall grass catching at her skirts, slowing her down. He tackled her and they landed hard on the ground.
She struggled underneath him as he rolled her over so she was facing him. Both of them breathless, Jasmine tried getting out from under him but couldn’t. She pounded at him with her fists until he grabbed them and pinned them on the ground. Her chest heaved as she stopped struggling, knowing she just could not physically beat him. She stared up at him balefully, wanting to scratch his eyes out. All the times she had asked, and he never mentioned that she could do the same as him in magic. Although she had been his prisoner, she felt betrayal within her heart. The intensity of it somewhat surprised her. Had her feelings for him been that deep, without her knowing?
“Will you listen to me!” Gareth exclaimed. “There’s a lot you don’t know, and I didn’t tell you to protect you. Yes, I was going to bring you to the queen, but we were going to get you out. I don’t have time to explain it to you right now, we have to leave this place, and we have to get you to safety.”
“Anywhere away from you is a safe place,” Jasmine spit out.
“I don’t think you believe that. Would you rather be captured and brought to the queen?” The question frightened her, but that still didn’t make her want to be anywhere in his presence.
“You were going to bring me to the queen anyway! And, I can protect myself!” Jasmine was finally able to catch her breath, and realized that he was still pinning her wrists down.
“Well, I can’t do that anymore. I didn’t want you to be aware that you could use the energy from the universe when you were with Awen. It would be too dangerous. She would use you is ways you don’t even want to imagine. Besides that, you need training on how to control it and use it. You can’t protect yourself until you can safely spindle the power, and I am the only one that can help you with that,” Gareth said, gazing down at her.
The anger slowly drained from her as she realized that he was telling her the truth; she could see it in his eyes. They stayed as they were for a while, Jasmine thinking about everything she could do with this awesome power. Now that it had been awakened, she could feel the universe in her spirit. She could feel the violence of stars creating from gases in the galaxies and the peace of empty space. Her awareness had so increased that it was a little overwhelming. She couldn’t wait to be able to manipulate it, but did she really have to receive the training from him? His betrayal still stung, and she didn’t even know why.
She really just wanted to get away from Gareth, away from this place, and away from the queen. Why couldn’t they have left her alone? She was in such a mess, as she comprehended the fact that he was right. What she had felt, it was so incredibly powerful, and she had felt near death throughout the entire ordeal. The atoms from the stars had wanted to rip her body apart and she had nearly died trying to rearrange and release that magic. She sighed. How many others were there that had this power? Maybe she could find someone else to help her with it, someone who would be more honest with her. But, she knew that he was being honest with her know, earnest showing on his face. Maybe he cared about her, she wasn’t sure. He had seemed so adamant when he’d said that he had a plan to get her away from Awen, that he truly wanted to protect her.
Gareth stayed on top of her, watching her think. Her brows were ever so slightly creased in the middle, tiny wrinkles appearing on her forehead. He could feel her relax underneath him, and he never wanted to move. He hoped that it was a sign that she was acquiescing, yielding to the thought that he truly wanted to help her. After watching her so long in secret, he knew her every mannerism, even crinkling her brows toward each other and down when she was thinking. The way she unconsciously touched her hair when she was content, running her fingers through it. How many times had he wanted to be the one running his fingers through the shocking red waves?
His gaze fixated on her mouth, lips full and no longer pursed now that she wasn’t quite so mad at him. He looked to her eyes and they were wide and bright as she became aware of his attentions. Her lips parted slightly and he could feel her welcoming him, even though she may not have even been conscious that she was. He leaned down slowly, not wanting to frighten her. He knew he shouldn’t, that they had to leave this place, but all reason abandoned him, and all he wanted was to touch her soft skin, to make her his. He had wanted this for so long, and the moment seemed so perfect, surrounded in a beautiful meadow. His heart thrummed with the possibilities of the moment, enrapturing him and holding him hostage.
Jasmine knew that something had shifted, but she wasn’t exactly sure what it was. She only knew that he had a certain look in his eyes that made her breath hitch in her chest and her insides danced around, something knocking around inside her creating a stir. Just that look was enough to undo her, and she didn’t even know what the look meant. It was full of things she didn’t know, but excited her. The feeling started in her stomach, and reached ever lower until her womanhood pulsed with a need she had never known existed. She suddenly wanted things she didn’t have names for. She wasn’t sure what exactly she wanted, but she just…wanted.
Gareth started leaning down, and she knew he was going to kiss her. She had some feelings for him, but she had tried to bury them as soon as they had developed. It wasn’t right for a fae to mate with a halfling. But, at this very moment, she wasn’t sure that she cared. She was losing control of her thoughts as he leaned closer and closer to her and only felt this very moment. When his lips finally touched hers, it was like an explosion in space. His kiss was gentle, but the intensity of his skin on hers felt like the collision of matter and antimatter, which was fitting as she was light and he was dark. After a few moments, he lifted his lips from hers.
“What was that?” He asked hoarsely, looking down at her with his hazel eyes glowing.
“I don’t know, but I think we should try it again,” Jasmine replied breathlessly, ecstatic that he had felt it too.
Gareth dipped his head down to hers and kissed her a little more firmly, the same feeling capturing them both once again. He slid his hands up a little from around her wrists to her hands, intertwining their fingers in the soft grass. Jasmine clasped onto his hands as he shifted from sitting on her to lying on top of her. She felt his tongue running along her lips and she obediently opened her own lips at the prodding. His tongue claimed her mouth, pushing against hers. Her pulse sped up and she could no longer think, only feel.
He broke the kiss to press his lips to her jawline, kissing his way down to her neck. He licked it and then softly grazed his teeth over Jasmine’s sensitive skin. She gasped and shivered, the feeling of teeth on her such a new sensation that felt absolutely wonderful. Her insides pulled tight and longing and need dominated any other thought she might have had. He kissed his way down to her cleavage, alternating his tongue and teeth, leaving a wet trail that felt cool in the breeze, making her shiver again.
Gareth’s hands left hers as he worked on removing her dress, his fingers unzipping the tiny zipper on the side. She slid her arms out of the sleeves and he slowly pushed the soft, violet fabric down, revealing her creamy mounds and she heard his intake of breath at the fullness of her breasts, seeing the rosy buds at the center, hardening in the breeze. He pushed the rest of the dress down, removing it and her panties, tossing the garments aside. He stood to remove his own clothing and Jasmine felt shy, lying there with nothing on. She blushed and looked away at his appreciative scrutiny of her body.
He finally came back to her and the feeling of more contact of his skin on hers made her gasp, currents running through her body like electric shocks, not at all unpleasant. She felt his hardness against her, and suddenly she knew what it was she had been wanting. She wanted him inside of her, filling, stretching, making her his. He bent his head at her breast, taking it inside his mouth, his hand kneading the other, his thumb softly caressing her nipple. She placed one hand at the back of his head, keeping him there, and placed the other on his back as his tongue played with the nipple in her mouth. She moaned at the vibrations she felt inside her body and on the surface of her skin, created by his attention to her breasts. He gently tugged at her nipple with his teeth before moving his mouth to the other breast, making her moan and squirm under him.
Gareth moved one hand down between her legs, caressing her soft inner thighs. His fingertips so close to her womanhood made her gasp and quiver, aching for him. He made his way to her warm center, his thumb gently pressing the swollen bud of her clit, exerting pressure. Jasmine threw her head back, moaning his name. Over and over his thumb softly caressed, pressing a bit harder, and her breath came in pants. Her arms wrapped around him as the orgasm shook her, her cries endless in the moment. He slipped a couple of fingers inside of her wetness at the crest of her orgasm.
“I want you,” she whispered hoarsely, “please.” He removed his fingers and she shivered as he replaced them with his hardness, slowly sliding in to the tightness of her womanhood. The feeling was exquisite and she sucked breath though her teeth as she arched her hips up to meet his and he pushed downward. She wrapped her arms and legs around him and gravity pushed them closer as he thrust in and out of her. The first thrusts found pain and she bit her lip, crying out at the mixture of pain and pleasure, until it was only pleasure, a fullness inside of her that made her feel complete. Gareth buried his head in her hair, allowing hers to be at his neck. She licked and bit his neck, making him cry out.
“I want to try something with you,” he whispered in her ear, nipping at her lobe.
“Okay,” she whispered back, thinking that this moment couldn’t get any more perfect than it already was. With a thrust into her, she felt him pulling energy down from the universe. She gasped at the power she felt from him, as he balanced his chi with the incoming energy. He drew a little away from her, and she could see into his glowing eyes. His entire body was glowing with magic and she ran a hand across his bare chest. As she did, he shifted the universe from himself to her, still gathering from the galaxies and stars to fill his own chi.
The power he gave her filled her up inside and he kept thrusting. She knew she was glowing, and he said, “Keep your balance with me.” She felt the strange power swirling inside of her as he kept transferring more and more energy to her. Jasmine thought she was going to explode, both from the universal energy and from his thrusts. She moaned and closed her eyes, focusing on both feelings, overwhelming as worlds collided inside. He shoved himself into her a bit harder and she cried out, grasping his hair with her hands.
“Look at me,” he ordered, and she opened her eyes again, shocked at what she saw. She gazed in wonderment into his eyes, seeing the vast galaxies in them, stars swirling in the depths. She saw planets and stardust, colors brilliant as gases exploded out into the universe in brilliant nebulas. She could see everything in his eyes, everything that was, everything that had been, and everything that could ever be. She could see infinity. She knew he could see the same in hers, when he touched her face with amazement, softly running his fingertips along her cheek, cupping her face, and she leaned her face into his hand, closing her eyes. The power they shared grew in intensity until Jasmine couldn’t take it anymore. With a loud moan, she clenched down around him as pure ecstasy tore through her body, shaking her to the very core, and he came inside her. She held onto him as waves of pleasure claimed her, and together they released the stored energy they had shared, throwing it back with such force she could barely breathe.
Breathless, Gareth collapsed on top of her, his head again buried in her hair. He rolled off her but stayed close, and she rested her head on his chest, listening to his wildly beating heart. They were both still glowing with magic as they stared into each other’s bright eyes, neither knowing what the future brought, but completely content in the moment.
They stayed that way for a while before they got up to dress and continue on their journey. Jasmine rose first and looked around the meadow in which they had come to rest, her jaw dropping open in shock. “Gareth? What happened here?” When he didn’t answer, she looked down at him to see him openly staring at her body. Her eyebrows creased in admonishment. “Will you look at this?” He stood and looked around him, and he had no words for what lay before them.