Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Still working away at my het romance, still don't have a title for it...

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Her hair hung loose over her pale gown, falling over her shoulders to hide the shadows of her nipples from his sight. She'd scrubbed her face clean of the artifice she didn't require to be beautiful, and her wide eyes tilted up at him, made even wider by the shadows hollowing below them. In some ways, she appeared a child caught in the aftermath of a nightmare. In need of comfort. In search of aid.

His initial instinct was to take her into his arms and soothe it all away. He actually took a step toward her before he realized what he was doing.

"Mistress." He bowed his head, holding the pose in hopes that would help him regain some control. His effort was in vain. The vision of her standing there was already burned onto his consciousness.

"Since you're here, I would guess you had no luck tonight." She spoke softly, though nobody was around to hear her. "Did you learn anything at all?"

"No." To admit it aloud hurt more than he'd imagined. "But I will not give up until you're safe."

"I know."

He didn't dare lift his head yet. "You should be asleep."

"So should you."

"It's my duty to watch you through the night. Jae will return at dawn to relieve me."

"And you'll sleep then?"

"Yes." For a few hours, at least. Only what he absolutely needed to function before resuming the hunt.

"I can't." Her confession was a whisper, and yet it boomed within his soul. He glanced up at her through his lashes to see her lower lip quivering a split second before she sucked it between her teeth. Even now, she fought to maintain her dignity, to prove to him she was strong, but the simple gesture undid every resolution he'd made for himself. "I've been trying. My thoughts won't settle."

"I could call for Physic Ragan. He can give you something to help."

"No, I've been enough trouble as it is. I don't want to disrupt everyone even more than I have."

Not a single person within the canton would ever begrudge her for this kind of disruption, but he had the sneaking feeling she wasn't fully aware of how warmly she was regarded by everyone. Even if it was his place, he couldn't argue with her on this one point, either. She would never agree unless dire straits required it, and a little insomnia hardly counted.

"What about Shani?" he offered. "She would be more than--"

"Would you come in?" she said, too quickly, as if afraid she'd lose the nerve. Considering the events of the past couple days, he thought that might actually be the case. He was seeing more of the true Klea than he ever had before, and she was far more vulnerable--and infinitely braver--than he would've guessed. "You could just stand by the door. Perhaps knowing you're so close will help me relax."

Such a move was dangerous. Too dangerous. "You'll know I'm close if I stand on this side of the door as well," he said gently.

She looked crestfallen. "I'm not asking for another lesson." The first sign of color was returning to her face, twin spots of bright pink blooming high upon her cheeks. "I just want some company."

"You can have Shani."

"I don't want Shani. I want you, Garen."

The fierceness in her voice surprised both of them. Klea caught her breath, while Garen finally straightened. He'd witnessed hints of the depths of her passions, both the morning she'd first made her proposal and then when he'd come to her chambers, but this surmounted it all. How much did she hold back because of her station in life? What kind of powerhouse could she truly be if she wasn't restrained by this region's stringent social codes? The more Garen discovered, the more convinced he became she was too good for all of it, not just a union with Rey Bonsu.

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