Never Give Up, Never Surrender
My Nano is puttering along, slowly but surely. Will I make 50,000 by midnight on Monday? Right now it's anyone's guess. But, just to show what I nice person I can be, here's another excerpt. If you missed the other two, here they are:
The first time Arianna and Simon meet, in a dream sequence
Followed by their first encounter in real life
And now, here's their second real life encounter.
* * * * * * * * * *
She was back. He could feel it in his bones. Trying to remain calm, he continued feeding the wood into the fire he’d made to cook the fish over. They were already cleaned and laying on a flat rock near the fire pit.
Finishing his task, he straightened and slowly turned. She stood several feet away, but he was heartened to see she was on his side of the stream.
“Hello,” he said quietly. “I’m glad you came back.”
Silently, she held out the basket of fruit. He approached her as he would have a wild creature, with both care and caution. The last thing he wanted to do was frighten her away again. Carefully he took the basket from her.
“Thank you,” he said. “I was just about to start cooking the fish I caught earlier. Would you care to join me for dinner?”
Those perfect red lips parted and he was so focused on them that he almost missed her quiet, “Thank you, I would like that.”
“Your voice is beautiful,” he said before he could stop himself. He flushed slightly and she smiled at him.
She lowered herself gracefully to the sand and sat with her legs curled under her. Simon tried not to swallow his tongue as he watched her and then came to himself with a start. He set the basket down beside the rock and got busy setting up a spit to hold the fish off the fire.
“I have a thousand questions,” he said, sitting down with the fire between them.
She tilted her head, smiling slightly. “A thousand is a great many questions.”
“You helped me from the ship, didn’t you?”
She helped herself to a fruit from the basket. He lost his train of thought as perfect white teeth bit sharply into the thin skin of the fruit.
"What are you doing out here alone?” he blurted.
“I am not alone, you are here.”
“I, uh, I mean on this planet. Are there more of you?”
“There is only one of me,” she said with amusement. Taking pity on him she admitted, “But there are many more of my kind. We are called the Fae.”
“The Fae,” he repeated. “Are all the Fae as beautiful as you?”
Her smile almost blinded him. “You think I’m beautiful?”
“I think you’re very beautiful,” he said sincerely.
“I think you are most beautiful as well,” she said.
She could feel the heat building between them and it was not from the fire. She wondered why he did not do something about it. From what the nymphs said, men did not usually take much encouragement.
Arianna was a dream faery, her powers came from men’s dreams and her ability to direct them. It was not often a dream took an unexpected direction, like the one last night. This man was a very strong dreamer.
“May I ask your name?”
He started, as though his mind were elsewhere, then gave her another of his bone melting smiles. “My name is Simon.”
“I believe your fish are in danger of falling into the fire, Simon.”
With a curse he jumped to save the fish from the flames. Holding the spit in his hand he looked about helplessly.
“I’m sorry, I don’t have anything to put them on. We’ll have to eat from the stick.”
Arianna smiled at him. “Allow me,” she said, and passed her hand over the sand beside her. There was a glitter of light and when it was gone there was a clear glass platter beside her. She plucked it out of the sand and handed to him.
Bemusedly he took it from her, it was still warm.
“You have no magic where you are from?” she asked.
“Not like this,” he said. “We have science and technology.”
“But is not science a form of magic, albeit a more tangible form of magic?”
He considered her question. “I never thought of it like that before, but I guess that’s true.”
By the time he’d removed the fish from the spit and placed them on the platter, she’d created two more plates. He took one from her and turned it over in his hands, examining it thoroughly.
“This is a handy skill to have, what else can you do?”
At his question, Arianna looked troubled. “I think perhaps I have already shown you too much.”
“What do you mean?” he asked in surprise.
“The making of the plates was a simple matter of transforming matter and energy. In the past we have been sought after for this ability, and suffered for it.”
“If it would make you feel better, I promise not to tell anyone about your magic.”
She searched his eyes and seemed to visibly relax. “I believe you to be a man of your word, Simon.”
“I am humbled by your trust,” he said honestly.
They ate in companionable silence, although Simon spent more time watching his companion than anything else. He couldn’t seem to keep his eyes off her. Everything she did, every movement she made, had grace and beauty to it.
Arianna noted his regard with amusement. She felt an ease with this man from the stars that she had never felt with anyone before. It gave her the patience she needed to go slowly with him, to allow him to make the first move. Although if he didn’t make the first move soon, she just might die from want.
The second time Simon dropped a piece of fish before it reached his mouth he gave up all pretence of eating. He wasn’t able to taste any of it anyway, he was too focused on the woman in front of him.
He wondered what she would do if he pulled her into his arms and kissed the stain from the fruit from her lips. Would she run from him and disappear again? Or would she kiss him back, wrapping her delicate arms around him and let him lower her to the sand where he could devour her properly.
She cocked her head as though listening to something he could not hear.
“I am being summoned, I must go.” She rose gracefully to her feet.
He scrambled to his feet as well, feeling clumsy beside her. “Will you come back?”
“Yes, I promise to return soon,” she said with a smile. To seal the bargain she stepped lightly over to him and kissed him on the cheek. “Fare thee well, Simon.”
And just like that she was gone.