### See Disclaimers from chapter one. I can be contacted at dreamerin2003@yahoo.com. Thanks for reading!

Part 3

Never Forget Me by Orhea the dreamer

I dreamed of hands..

With long, slender fingers stroking my naked flesh. Her warm scent washing over me…. I dreamed of hair the color of passion, blinding me to all but one thing... Her intense, unwavering, blue eyes.

She was speaking in that unusual dialect again, and whatever she said I felt an instant response. I gasped, dug my nails into her shoulders, and pulled her closer. “Oh Alice” I moaned, and like the words were summoned from somewhere deep inside of my spirit, I opened for her. “Swallow my heart and drink of my soul…”

I could hear her groan, feel her hot breath caress my neck, and she bit down just a little. She filled me, and I cried out with pure pleasure from it. She was slow but firm, I could feel the movement of her arm against my thigh, see the fire in her eyes, and feel her mouth claiming my nipples, one by one… My fingers glided through her hair, over her impossibly smooth skin... and the raging fire that ignited between my legs grew hotter and hotter, until I exploded into a thousand pieces and went sailing back to earth..

Then my eyes opened, breathing hard, it was light out, and my hand had snaked its way into my pajama pants. I stared up at the canopy of the bed, as my wildly beating heart settled itself.

I was alone…

My name is Kit Larsen, and my world was turned upside down one fateful day, when I decided to take a picture.


It is easy to get lost in a big house; especially when the hallways are filled with interesting portraits and unique pieces of art. I had showered and dressed when I woke, and also made sure all my stuff was ready so I could leave. No way in hell I was going to stay here, considering the falling out I’d had with Alice.
It was a matter of pride more than anything. It felt like she had looked down on me, for being human. I am no stranger to people criticizing me. Hell, I’m a woman of mixed race, and I’m a lesbian. I’ve been criticized my whole damn life. First by my extended family, who didn’t agree to my parents’ union, and then by my own mother, who didn’t agree by my choice of lifestyle.

My summation is that life is made of too many people passing judgment on others, instead of minding their own business and living their lives.

So, it’s not that I was judged for being human, it was the fact that it was ALICE that was judging me.. Alice, who I felt a strong connection to, Alice, who had been the first in my life to kiss me in such a way that I wanted to fall into her forever and ever and never quit… Alice…. I felt like she was the one.


My depressing thoughts were interrupted when I bumped into something solid. “Ah! Jeez!” I stumbled back ward, and caught myself by reaching out and grabbing anything I could... which happened to be a fur covered arm.

Amara reached out her other arm and grabbed me, yanking me upright. “Are you okay? Did you know you were moving so quietly, I hardly heard you?” The cat woman tilted her head, her ears twitched, setting off my nerves a bit.

“Sorry, I wasn’t thinking.”

Amara grinned, showing her thin, needle like teeth. “Yes you were. You were thinking about Alice.”

I removed myself from her grip and took a step back. “I was not.”

Amara smirked a bit and turned, gesturing to the cart she was pushing. “This was going to be breakfast... but you seem to be progressing toward the kitchen anyway. You wanna eat with me?”

I’d rather eat in silence….”Uh... yeah sure.”

Amara was quiet a moment, then she nodded and turned around, wheeling the cart behind her.

“I’m sorry for the inconvenience, I mean you already had things set up.. “

“No problem, we actually miss having guests. Odette hasn’t had any for a while… Not since her last girlfriend. It was a bad break up.”

“Oh” I replied lamely. “You know I wish I had my camera.. So many things to take pictures of here, and I’ll probably never see this place again.”

I saw Amara’s golden, bushy tail twitch. It was a bit distracting.

“Oh well” the feline said, “I think you can never say never. The moment you do, something happens to prove you wrong. In the world of the living there is no such thing as never. “

We were on the first floor, towards the back of the house. She opened up a pair of swinging doors to the right.

The kitchen was cheerful, with smooth marble flooring, honey colored wooden countertops and cabinets, and sleek metallic appliances. It was also as big as two of my bedrooms. There was a short woman at the stove; in fact she was standing on a little set of stairs so she could flip some crackling bacon on a skillet. Her hair, was reddish brown, like autumn leaves, and pinned on her head in a thick bun. Her skin looked like butter milk... a sort of yellowish white I don’t recall ever seeing on a human. She didn’t look up for a moment.

“Ama, did you disturb our guest?”

“No ma’am, she was already down the stairs when she ran into me.”

The short woman turned, having eyes literally the color of a newly minted, copper penny. “Well hi there Miss Larsen, how are you feeling?”

I closed my mouth. “Uh, fine thank you. Sorry to inconvenience you, but I’d like to eat down here if you don’t mind.”

She actually gave a little bow! Then she gestured to another pair of doors. “The breakfast room is in there, it’s much less formal than the dining hall and I think the hummingbirds are active this morning. You can view them in the window. By the way, my name is Gretchen.”

“Oh! How rude of me. “ I walked over, still a little sore, yet my stride had improved, and I held out my hand to shake. “Nice to meet you Gretchen. You can just call me Kit.” I made an effort to smile.

Gretchen looked at my hand a moment, then wiped hers and took it, shaking twice, firmly. She smiled at me, with teeth whiter than a sheet of paper, and then let my hand go. “I like you Kit... Enjoy your morning”

“Ah, thanks.” I turned and headed through the doors. Amara followed me and when I got to the cozy little room with old fashioned windows and wood lined walls, I walked over to the window and looked out. There was a hummingbird feeder in the shape of an apple, hanging down, and a humming bird suddenly shot forward, it’s tiny beak pecking at the sweet nectar, before it fluttered away.

I smiled, and turned around to the table. Amara had already opened the trays and was setting a plate at one end of the table. “This okay? Or do you want to go to the other side.”

“Oh thank you, it’s fine...“ I sat down. “Would you eat with me?”

“Amara’s tail switched happily. “I knew you’d ask, so I brought two plates this time” She plunked down next to me, and set in front of herself a bowl of oatmeal, heavy on the cream and butter.

On my plate was a stack of steaming pancakes, with a side of bacon and a bowl of fruit. There was also a tall glass of orange juice, which I grabbed first and took a long sip. “It’s really peaceful here.”

“Yeah I like it” Amara slurped some of the creamy froth at the top of the oatmeal, then set her bowl down and grabbed a spoon. “Do you really want to leave?”

I sighed, pouring syrup over my cakes. “Well, yeah I guess.. I don’t want to be a burden, and it doesn’t seem like Alice really wants me here. I think she’d just rather I not be here at all.”

The cat woman’s expression was a little surprised; she wiped at her mouth and slowly reached across the table, touching my neck. “Then, what’s that?”

It seemed my neck burned under her soft finger, so I pulled to the side, rubbing where she touched. “What? What is it?”

Ama tilted her head to the side, which I knew indicated a question, or confusion, and she reached into her pocket and pulled out a little mirror, opening the case she held it out to me. I took the case and looked at my neck.

There was a strange symbol, faint and red, branded on my neck! Like someone just took a hot iron and burned my skin! I had no memories of ever getting burnt or anything… “What the hell?” I picked up a napkin, dipped it into the glass of cool water next to my orange juice, and patted my neck. It seemed to have no effect! “What is that?”

Amara had just taken a bit, she set her spoon down, and I heard her swallow. “Well it looks like the forming of the Shennedan family crest..more importantly, this little squiggle here.. “ She pointed. “That ‘belongs to Alice’s house… Well Alice isn’t here real name so..it’s her initial.. so to speak.”

“No way!” I rose from the chair. “Why? What kind of weirdo gets up and burns a person in the middle of the night?”

“Nono it isn’t like that at all… You and her, you both… didn’t you have sex?”

“NO!” I paused, recalling that dream. “Oh that shit wasn’t real! I have one kinky dream and this happens?” I started to rant, I don’t know what I said, but I paced the room, throwing my hands which way and that, completely unsure of what just happened. My ranting was completely cut when the cat woman jumped from her position and grinned so wide I figured her mouth would break.

“Gretchen! Gretchen! See what this daupha did!” She laughed a bit and ran back into the kitchen.

I paused, watching the doors swing,. “What the hell you just call me?”

I followed her into the kitchen.

“Whats going on? I have work to do” Gretchen admonished Amara. “Ama, what’s gotten into you?”

“This daupha, she has no idea! Gretch, Gretch look, the mark is already forming! “Amara pointed at me.

I crossed my arms defensively over my chest. “What is she calling me?”

“Daupha just means human” Gretchen said dismissively. “Here child, let me see.”

Gretchen hopped off her little stool and walked over to me. I was still a bit taller than her, so she stood in front of me and gestured. “Common, let me see your neck please?”

I frowned, but sighed, pushing my hair out of the way, I leaned over her. Her fingers are actually cooling to the touch, and she traced the lines of the brand, before stepping back. “Thank you… well; I would say yes the first phase of the claiming has been fulfilled. You two were together last night? I thought you argued?”

“We did! And we weren’t.. I just went to sleep… “ I was starting to feel doubtful now.

Gretchen blinked. “Ohh… dear, sorry, sometimes I forget you’re mostly human… You see some faekin have the unique ability to astral project… that is to leave their physical bodies and go wherever they choose. A spirit warrior like Alice has such ability. I believe she paid you a visit last night.”

My hand clapped over my neck. “Astral..it was just a dream!”

“Sweetheart, I’m sure it’s allot for you to take in, but dreams aren’t always just dreams. Sometimes they are much more… Humankin used to know this, before they let the overriding desire to make everything solid blind their perceptions.”

“So you’re saying, knowing she could do this, she just came to my room and.. “

“No no, not like that. You had to have given her permission, she could not have initiated the first faze unless you submitted, and even so, I don’t think she realizes what she’s done.. She probably thought it was a dream too. I raised that child, she hasn’t astral projected since she was ten years old. She’s actually a bit of a novice but..this is quite impressive, I’ve never heard of completing a faze astraly. “

I rubbed my face with both palms. “I’m leaving. Where’s Odette? I need to talk to her.”

“She’s training, she’ll be in soon. Why don’t you just finish breakfast? It makes no sense to get all weak and sick just because you’re a bit disoriented right now. It’s really not so bad. If it helps, the mark will fade over time.. It won’t be fully initiated until the third phase.”

Joy… “get Alice’s ass on the phone, now”.

“I don’t know how to use those things, frankly I never learned.”

I made a sound of frustration and stomped my foot, much like a child. “Nobody asked me if this was something I wanted!”

Gretchen’s eyes were cool and calm. “No one asked her either. “

“What is all this shouting about?” Odette walked in, having a towel around her neck, beads of perspiration glistened on her forehead. She looked hotter than she had any damn right to be. Her hair was tied back in a low ponytail and the form fitting tank top left little to the imagination when paired with loose, almost transparent slacks.

“Your sister marked Kit last night.” Gretchen turned off the stove and she waved a finger, dishes hovered in the air and began to wash themselves. I stared at that. That ability would be pretty damned nifty in my place…

“She did what? How?” Odette’s black eyes seemed to widened with disbelief and she bent forward and lifted my chin, turning it to the side to look at my neck.

“Hey!” I stepped back.

“I apologize… It’s just a bit of a shock…”

“To you and me both.”

Odette lifted a dark brow, and then looked to Gretchen, as if she had all the answers.

Gretchen shrugged. “She did it astrally, the human thinks it was just a dream.”

“Don’t say ‘the human’ that almost sounds racist.” I grouched out.

All of the females in the room paused, and then burst out laughing.

“She has a point Gretch.” Odette took a few long strides to the refrigerator, and pulled out cold bottled water. She had it opened and downed half in 30 seconds flat.

Gretchen wiped tears from her eyes. “I’ve seen grown drow fear to talk to me like that… How fun!”

Amara’s tail swished side to side rapidly. “I say we tie her up and just keep her.”

I threw the cat woman a warning glance, and went toward the stairs. “I’m getting my things and bringing them down. You can just get me a cab or something…”

“Not at all” Odette said calmly.

I paused. “What?” I watched her sip from the water bottle, long fingers wrapped around the glass.

“Do you think you can get around with that on your neck?” She gestured. “I’d be crazy to send you somewhere else when it’s obvious that for better or worse, you’re Alice’s betrothed. Alice has plenty of enemies, all you need to do is meet the right asshole and you’re history.”

I blinked from surprise at the cursing, and then from indignation. “But you said you were going to place me! You have to!”

Odette set the bottle down and held up her hands in supplication. “Look I know I said that, and I never go back on my word, but I really hope you’ll consider just staying here. I don’t think you understand just the kind of peril you’re in, or what you’re really up against. Alice killed a ghoul, you know what that is? A creature that is dead, no heartbeat, and feeds on living flesh, be it human, animal, or otherwise. What other creatures do you think she’s killed in the past? I can tick off a few that would make your head spin, and let’s not get into the dragons…”

I opened my mouth and closed it. “DRAGONS? Now you’re just fuckin with me! What dragons? “

Odette smirked. “You still want to leave?”

“Of course I’m leaving I don’t believe you..dragons.. “ I huffed and pushed open the door.

“Before you came here yesterday, would you believe someone like Amara even exists? Gretchen’s eyes are not contacts, argh woman stop!”

I was halfway up the stairs and I glanced back. She was at the base of the steps looking at me. “You are so damned pig headed!”

“So said my folks, “ I retorted, then turned back around.


I was really starting to hurt some minutes later as I dragged my things down the steps. I needed a damn pain pill.. Fuck that a tranquilizer! I met Odette at the base of the stairs.

“That wasn’t necessary.” She said cooly. “I could have sent Amara to get your things.”

I shrugged. “Look it’s nothing personal, I’m just a little weirded out right now..and the truth is why am I here with Alice’s sister? Why did she do this bonding thing to me if she doesn’t even care for humans? I’d rather just get out of everyone’s hair and fend for myself. I’ve done it all my life, no sense in changing the pattern now.”

Odette sighed and opened the door. “She can’t help what every pore in her being is telling her to do. You don’t feel it the same because you ARE mostly human… What you are feeling for her right now is probably confusing, but just imagine all those feelings with a hundred times the magnitude, and you’ll get how she feels… If you only knew what she’s been through you would… “ She shook her head. “I told you I would find you another place, and I have.” She picked up my bags and carried them towards the sleek, black car parked in the front.

We drove in silence, and I had the privilege of seeing the neighborhood, which was nice. There were houses that spoke of old wealth, with a few newer ones erected in between. I was closing my eyes when we finally got to the freeway.


I awoke when Odette gently pressed my shoulder, and I looked up at what best could be described as a cottage. It was painted in a forest green, with older trees growing around.

“The woman that lives here is called MsUrsa… She keeps to herself, but she’ll lend you the mother in law sweet she has at the side of the house here. Be respectful to her, and you’ll be just fine…” Odette turned into a side driveway and entered through an open gate. She parked outside the side entrance. There was a woman standing by the door. She looked … Old, with withered brown wrinkles and glossy eyes. Her gray hair was loose in curls about her face, and she wore a wide brimmed sunhat with a pair of white pants and a pink sweater. For a moment, I hesitated, but then I let myself out of the car.

Odette walked around and held out a hand to MsUrsa. “Hello, this is Kit Larsen, the one I’ve told you about.”

I stood next to Odette and held my hand out. “Hello Ms. Ursa, I appreciate you doing this for me.”

Ms. Ursa shook Odette’s hand, then took mine. She had a surprisingly firm grip and hands that were rough and callused. I shook it and let go.

“Never mindnone of that. “ She said dismissively. “The FB pay me for your stay.” She shrugged. “This here, is where you will stay. It belonged to my sister..Still furnished. It is short noticed so I didn’t get to air out anything. You may take nothing from this place but what you bring in.” She produced a brass colored key and unlocked the door.

“I understand.” I said quietly.

“Yes it’s very simple.” She responded. She stepped into the hallway and Odette waited for me to enter first before following. “Living room here, small bedroom to the left, kitchen to the back left, restroom in bedroom. Small, but serviceable for one person, the hot water needs to run for thirty seconds before it really starts to heat. “ I glanced around. The living room was tiny, but it had a little fireplace, and a box tv covered in plastic. The bedroom was outdated, with yellow wallpaper that had white daisies on them. The kitchen was a weird pea green color with linoleum flooring..but, I couldn’t complain, I’d seen worse. “You may use anything here.”

“Thank you” I said.

The old woman turned around and handed me the key. “No loud noise after 9 o clock. I have a garden out back, if there are vegetables you want, you may not pick them until after 6pm. Bus runs on ClarkStreet. Just go out front, turn right, you’ll walk into it. Well... I think that is all.. “

We bid our farewell and after MsUrsa was gone, Odette turned and looked at me. “You will be okay here?”

I shrugged. “I should be fine.. “

She nodded, “Very well” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a rolled up manila envelope. I’d barely noticed she switched from her workout gear to her jeans and a clean, feminine shirt before we left the house. “These are documents you will need, alternate i.d., birth certificate, social security card.. There is also a prepaid visa card in there and some cash. “ She pushed the envelope in my hands. “I suggest you keep a low profile. “

“I will”

She stood there for a moment, like there was more she would say, but then turned on her heel. “I’ll get your bags.”

I was grateful, because I was going to pass out soon.

She went ahead and set my bags in the bedroom. She then paused, looking at me a moment, then gave me a hug. Instantly I was enveloped in her sweet, flowery scent. “Be cautious… “ She pulled back, then she reached in her pocket and produced a cell phone. “Here, it’s mine.. I have another one, it’s programmed in there. Call if you need something, or if there is an emergency.”

I took the cell phone… I was about to hand it back, but she was already through the door. With a sigh, I watched her get in the car and drive away before I shut the door behind her. For good measure, I locked it, then I went to the bedroom and flopped down on the bed. It was so soft, like sinking into a million feathers, and it smelled faintly of roses…

I don’t even remember when I fell asleep.


The days seemed to pass in such a way that I felt every day was the same day. I would think about Alice and wonder what my life would be like had I not taken that picture. When I really thought about it, I understood that I brought my whole situation onto myself…

The second day I was there I caught the bus to go get groceries. There was about a thousand dollars cash so I didn’t bother using the credit card. I just got basic necessities. There was no internet to speak of, so to figure out where the store location was a simple means of detective work. Basically, I asked MsUrsa. She told me to take the 98 to Bakers Street and there was a grocery store there that had pretty much all food necessities, she shopped there often. It was your typical grocery store, and since I wasn’t sure where my next income would be, I decided to be frugal.

By my fifth day of staying there, I was bored. So I took up my digital camera, and started taking the bus daily. I’d let it drop me off anywhere and walk around the area, snapping pictures as I went. It was a nice way to take my mind off Alice, whom I never contacted, and I was facing my fear of living out of the ordinary. For so long it had been me just going to work and making my paycheck, coming home and just hanging out… Now I had the time to really explore my surroundings, to let my mind wander and ask questions as I took in ever little nuance the world had to offer.

I took pictures of people’s legs..just as they walked down the street. I took pictures of benches, rusty bicycles on street curbs, flowers, a stray dog sniffing at a trash can, and a variety of pictures of shop windows, or a particularly sunny sky…

On Saturday, it started to rain, and I decided instead of taking the bus I would walk around a few blocks and check out my surroundings. I never had a raincoat, only a simple windbreaker jacket that slicked off moisture, and I didn’t wear the hoody attachment. Instead, I let the rain fall on my head, so I could absorb the cool moisture and feel the droplets slick off my lashes.

My walk led me to a small cemetery, which look like no one new had been entered there for quite some time.. I pushed open the rusty gates, and stepped through. One of my oddities I guess, is I never minded cemeteries, they always seemed like the most peaceful places to me. Even after I’d buried most of my family, I felt this cool sense of peace walking amongst the tombstones, glancing at the many names and dates which were significant to someone in the world. Names and dates that embodied the beginning and the end of someone’s life… Maybe it’s a little morbid, but such life is found in death, at least I think so. I snapped a few pictures of the sky. I snapped one of a bent, old willow, and pictures of different flowers there.. Out of respect I did not take pictures of the names on the tombstones, just the outlines of the slabs, nothing focused. I stayed maybe an hour, and then I headed my way back home.

Home; what an idealistic word that sparked memories of warm meals and smells like cocoa butter and baby powder. Home, were everything was safe… or should be. As I walked up the winding drive I spotted a little blue Camaro near my door…

I frowned and pulled out my key, by passing the vehicle all together. I didn’t even bother looking inside. I heard the car door open even as I managed to unlock the door and step through.

“Wow, you’re wet. Where have you been? Everything alright?”

I sucked in a breath, my heart fluttered wildly in my chest.


I had to really make myself slow down. I unzipped my jacket, and hung it on a hook by the door. “Everything is fine.” I said tightly. “Has something happened?”

Her red hair was darkening under the moisture of the rain. She wore a black leather jacket with a plain white tank top underneath, a pair of tight jeans… Oh I love tight jeans! And she also wore a pair of plain black motorcycle boots. “Well yes and no, I was going to talk to you about it, if you want to invite me in?”

I blinked, then took a step back into the house. “Yeah, come in.. I’m going to put the tea kettle on.” I started down the hall, hearing the door close behind me as I made my way toward the little kitchenette.

“It’s a..cozy place here.. “

I shrugged. “Its actually a decent size.. I’m only one person. Sit down wherever you get down” I entered the kitchen and took the kettle from the stove, moving to the sink to fill it with water. I could hear nothing from the other room until I set the teak kettle back on the stove and turned on the heat. Then I heard her shift on the little seat. I sighed, and stepped out of the kitchen. “Do you need a towel? I’m going to get one for my hair. “

“No, no thanks I didn’t get that wet.”

“Suit yourself.”
A few moments later, towel around my neck, I set down on the love seat across from the chair and observed Alice. Her long legs were open a little, and she leaned forward in her seat, arms resting on either side of the chair. She was looking at me too, and I saw her eyes rove downward, toward my chest. “Nice shirt” She lifted a bright brow.

I was wearing a black shirt, with a cartoon character plastered on front. I shrugged. “You should see what I wear to bed.”

Her mouth tightened a fraction, as if she was biting back the urge to say something, her eyes were still on the character and I shifted in my seat, breaking the spell. She looked at me. “Hmm.. anyway I just came by to check on you. I have a few leads but right now sources are thin. No one wants to rat out anybody… Seems we might have stumbled into something bigger than the bounty on our heads… Lets just say the ghoul I killed was into some heavy shit, and I think I might have put a kink in the chain of command. Word out on the streets is that certain bosses are working without a map. It’s a dangerous game if you’re trying not to get caught….”

I sighed. “I have no idea what you said.”

Alice smirked. “The ghoul I killed had connections. He was smuggling something big… Because he’s dead no one knows where he stashed the goods. So whatever bosses were in on the deal are at a loss. Everyone’s looking for it. Its all the more reason they want our heads, to make an example of us.” She shrugged and leaned back in her chair. “Idgive anything to know what it is their smuggling… “

“Or who” I said… I don’t know where that came from!

Alice paused, tilting her head. “Who?”

“Yeah….who” I responded. “I mean, I was thinking about what your sister said about dragons… it made me wonder what else is out there I thought was just a product of someone’s imagination but is actually real? Seems like possibilities are suddenly limitless.”

Alice stared at me until I began to get a little uncomfortable in my seat. Thankfully, the tea kettle went off, causing us both to jump up.

“Ah, you got a bathroom?”

“Duh..it’s in the bedroom”



Alice turned left and I turned right, into the kitchen. For me, there is no such thing as a favorite tea, I had many kinds, many blends.. I didn’t even know if Alice liked tea, I just assumed. She seemed like the strong coffee sort, so I made her some earl grey. For myself, I made a spiced chai. I grabbed a bag of cookies off the counter and both cups, then went back to the living room, where I set everying onto the coffee table. Alice didn’t return right away, so I grabbed a cookie and sipped my chai, leaning back into the loveseat.

A moment later, Alice walked in, her long strides eating up the carpet. “Well you actually might be onto something..”

“Bout what?” I said around a mouthful of cookie.

She blinked, then sat down, taking the cup of tea on the counter and sipping it. “It might not be a thing we’re looking for, but a person… “ She smirked. “You have good intuition.”

“Tch.. if I did I wouldn’t have never snapped that shot.”

Alice chuckled, and then sat down her cup. “Hey...About the other night, I’m sorry. That was wrong of me. Really the only dealings I have with humans are scum. It’s not a good example…”

“Well hatred is born of ignorance.” I quipped.

Alice stiffened. “I don’t hate humans. I just don’t understand them.”

“Did you ever try?”

“Heh... many times... but I guess I never really dug deeper than the surface.”

“Your fault”

“I know... damn can’t I just apologize?”

“That’s what you call apologizing?”

Alice shook her head, a warm smile spreading across her features. She was so gorgeous…

“Well anyway, I apologize for my offensive words. You’re not really all that bad... for a human.”

I made a face and she laughed, throwing her hands up defensively. “I was joking!”

“What about for the mark?”


“You came into my dreams and you…you left a mark.”

At her look of confusion I lifted up my hair and tilted my head to the side. Frowning, I felt her intense scrutiny as she leaned forward, her fingers barely brushing the fading mark on my neck. “I…. wow…”
She sat down, as if all the air in the room left and she slumped. “I didn’t think it was possible…”

“You mean no one told you?” I figured at least Odetta would have confronted Alice about it.

“No...They didn’t.”

“It’s been on my neck since that night.”

Something unreadable passed behind those green depths, and she adjusted herself in the seat. “I apologize for going into your dreams without permission.. I thought that ability had left me. “

“So you..had the same dream too?”

Alice put her palms together, almost like a prayer, and gazed at her nails. “For my kind… Something like that is not just a dream. It’s a vision; it’s a spiritual thing… The fact that you experienced it, that you could go through the first phase that way… I don’t know what it means only its significant… Venus has chosen you for me.”

“What in the hell does that mean?” I put my cup down and ran my fingers through damp curls. “Everyone talks in riddles. I don’t understand...”

“I know... and it’s not fair to you.. Okay look, Kit, think of it this way. You understand the concept of soul mates?”

“Yeah, frivolous drivel. “

She had a wry smile. “Not for my people...Faekin mate for life… There are so many legends around it and the tales last for eons... but needless to say there is a certain legend that states when two intended... People destined to be together come into contact; they don’t just get faestruck, which is more about instant lust than anything. “ She rolled her shoulders and put up her hands in defeat. “The goddess of love grant’s a true mate only once a lifetime. You may choose to accept the gift, or you choose to deny it. It’s really the only way we can make families, have children, and continue the line.”

I found my foot was shaking a bit so I stopped the nervous habbit and uncrossed my legs. “There is a flaw in your explanation… If you say it’s the only way to have kids..what the hell… you do realize I’m a girl don’t you? I mean I think you are….”

“Oh that… eh… “ Alice shook her head, scratching her own neck a bit nervously. “I can’t explain that one right. It’s just truth. I have no reason to lie.”

“Good point.”

The room filled with a thickly charged silence that hung in the air like a slow moving turtle in winter. Finally, I broke the silence. “So… what now?”

“The question is do we accept this gift? Or do we ignore it? The choice is yours just as much as it’s mine. To tell you the truth Kit I don’t know, ever since I saw you I’ve thought about you, I’ve become jealous of all things, which is not something I usually do. I try to watch out for you. Do you know you’ve had someone tailing you every time you’ve left this house? “

I didn’t like that much, but I decided not to get angry for now. I just felt tired, and overwhelmed. “But why me, if it’s like you say.. I’m human, and don’t your kind live like, super long or something?”

“Well that’s taken care of by the end of the ritual, the magic can only occur after phase 3. It would extend your life expectancy. You would age more slowly, like me. You’d also have increased sensitivity of hearing,vision, and perhaps even strength or speed, it varies.. This is just a theory because I’m not sure. I know it’s happened before, but just, not to anyone in my family as I remember. Look, this is nothing that has to be assigned right away. To tell you the truth having my mark puts you at greater risk than before. Anyone who wanted my ass on a platter would want you if they knew about you. You’re a bargaining chip, a weakness.”

“Gee, thanks”

She waved her hand. “It is truth, but I didn’t mean it offensively. It’s just what it is.”

“I see”

“I’m not sure you do fully, but neither do I… Look, if you tell me to get lost I will. Okay? I’ll stay out of your hair, just keep my distance and not bother you, but I have to tell you the truth is… I think I want to explore this. I like you. You’re funny, and there’s just something about you that seems to separate you from the crowd. You’ve got something, so here’s the deal. You can tell me to get lost, or maybe you can go out on a date with me? We can start off simple. Say, coffee? We’ll talk about something other than the bounty. “She stopped talking and waited for a response.

I was still feeling a bit protective. I wrapped my arms around myself and concentrated on her jean clad knees. “Seems like you’ve changed your mind about me, I just thought you weren’t having it.”

“At first I thought that way but being unable to see you this close was starting to bug me. I can’t help it. I want to be around you. It feels like a need, like a drug…” A look of insecurity crossed her face and she actually seemed to squirm in her chair.

My decision was made. “Coffee, I’m more of a tea person but I do like a good cup in the mornings.” I felt my lips twitch with a smile, and something hard and lumpy loosened in my chest.

Alice grinned, white teeth flashing like the sun and nodded. “Alright, coffee it is. I can pick you up in the morning. What time? “

I shrugged. “I’m not stepping out of bed until at least eight.”

“Then I’ll be here around nine”

She really was beautiful. I thought for a moment, maybe I should thank Venus…





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