"You'd probably be giving me a piece of your mind right now, if you weren't so tiny… Probably afraid I'll squish you or something, right?" He tried to joke, but it came out more of a sigh.
In the absence of a reply, the dulled thrum of the tires rolling across asphalt- both of his and other cars whizzing passing in the opposite direction on the highway- filled the air between the two. He kept an eye out for his exit.
Exit 54. After checking his blind-spot, Chris stepped on the gas and merged into the right lane. The speed limit dropped upon the exit turn; the engine quieted to a hum as a result. At a red light, Chris finally turned to see the fairy's expression.
A beautiful everyday thing…While the giant sitting next to me explains my usual angry faces as if he’s…seen them a thousand times. The small fae kept her eyes on the sky, her teeth worrying her bottom lip absently. As Chris had tried to pry her out of her annoyed silence, she had glanced up at Chris’ face from her awkward position, and the look on his face had been…happy..wistful…even as he had been lost in thought. When his hazel eyes had turned down to look at her, the full force of his expression now so much easier to see, her heart missed a beat.
She hadn’t been sure how to respond and had instantly looked away, shifting around in hopes that the folds of the huge hoodie would hide her. What was the right reply to bad, though rather perceptive joke? And there was yet again the things he could describe to her about…herself. It was a fact that her left eye did twitch. No matter how much I tried to deny to Nathaniel, he’d just grin like an idiot. Three months into my new life, and the man was laughing at my general frustration at a REALLY frustrating day. …He had trying to make me see that I was overreacting at the time..but I just chucked a book at his face and stormed off. With Chris though…
The scenery quickly changed outside the window. Sky, trees, and rooftops were replaced by immensely tall buildings. Her eyes widened slightly as she took in the unbelievable size of the red brick and grey concrete buildings. Groaning slightly, she closed her eyes and rubbed at them. Now I feel so…freakin’ small again.
Cadence’s blue eyes looked back up at Chris, and she guiltily realized that she had been quiet for longer than she probably should have. His attempt at reaching a middle ground deserved better. And for some reason, the sight of his towering form, strong shoulders and arms, and the odd angle of his now slightly stubbled profile, it all made her feel…safe..calm…content. It was the same feeling she had in the dream…when her head had been resting on his chest.
“Any chance that…your wife couldn’t stay mad at you either?” She said with a small, half smile. Cadence had a feeling that even though he was so big and so far away, that he would see the look in her eyes…A look she couldn’t quite name even though it made her feel rather warm inside.
A short time later the car came to a stop for a final time. Crickets chirping became audible when he shot off the car. "We're here," he unbuckled and turned to face her. Glancing at the passing tenants, no one seemed to look him way yet.
"I hope you understand I can't just waltz in with a fairy in my hands." He chuckled. "I need to think of a way to..." Christian eyes the hoodie she was seated atop. He met her eyes: wide with realization of what this large man had in mind.
"Don't worry." He was swaying seven minutes later, outside wearing his sweatshirt. He held her up in front of his honest face before inserting the fairy carefully into the hoodie joint pocket. Chris let her get settled while he walked around to the truck.
The small fae became lost in thought for the last few minutes of the car ride. She did her best to shift through what memories and other small pieces of what she hoped was her past; there was always a chance that she would finally be able to put some of them into a kind better order. Her heart clenched oddly when she realized that she was really looking for Christian’s face. even when she had remembered the….The what? Crap, how do I say..”The time I first met Chris”, when I’m not even sure its really MY memory? I shouldve thought “The first time SHE”-….Oh crap…he’s talking. Trying not to blush again, she looked at Chris and started to listen to what he was trying to say.Wait….is he…, the thought paused as her eyes fell to huge expanse of hoodie around her,……Oh…I think he is.
Mintues later, Cadence was doing her best to cling to what she hoped was the back corner of the jacket pocket. The motion of Chris’s gait was made worse in the unsteady fabric, and the small fae knew that it was a very good thing that she hadn’t eaten too much during their last meal. Suddenly, the motion became worse. Oh God…He’s on the stairs. It’s only for a flight of stairs…Its only for one flight of stairs…
When Chris had suggested the idea, a million ideas of why it was a horrible, dangerous, crazy, weird, and out of the question idea popped into her head. She had gotten through listing around five of them, before Chris almost puppy dog look and statement of “It’s the only way! You’ll be fine, I promise!”, had finally wore her down enough to comply. Although with a pointedly flat look on her face.
Breathing deep, Cadence tried to relax into the fuzzy material. She had been worried it would’ve wrapped around her like a constrictive cocoon, but as she let her muscles release their tension, the rocking motion became much more bearable. Geez, I'm such an idiot. I should’ve guessed it would’ve been like flying. Sometimes you just have to glide and fly with the wind to get anywhere. She leaned into the back of the pocket, mentally telling herself that it wasn’t as weird as the other times when she had found herself pressed up against Chris’ body; mostly the motion of Chris’ walking distracted her from it more than anything.
There was minimal light in the pocket and the opening had been pressed down, but she could tell from the changes in motion and the sound of metallic clinking, that Chris was pausing just long enough to get the key in the lock. The loud sound of a huge door closing confirmed her guess.
Chris’ voice, which she could actually feel as a physical rumbling, barely announced that they were “home” before she practically threw herself at the pocket’s opening. “Please get me out! I think I’m going to be sick.”
The loft was sparsely but tastefully decorated. He hadn't touched any of the layout since she died, save for storage closet in which he reorganized his pottery supplies. There was a bit of a mess left- smudges of wet clay left carelessly on the countertop, the edges of the coffee table, and most noticeably in the corner of the high-ceiling room where a stainless steel worktable was sullied. The couch pillows were still rumpled from the last time he had crashed here. Christian grimaced, feeling the need to tidy up. It was more than just the 'having a guest' type of guilt; Renee had always nagged him about these things, and he suddenly felt like it would be a dishonor to her memory to just leave if like this... Even if, currently, she didn't know that she used to live here.
"Your wing wasn't hurt more, was it?" Cupping Cadence in both hands, he brought her up his face to receive his full attention.
“Oh thank you good Lord,” she muttered. Feeling slightly over dramatic, she laid back into the almost room wide hand, but the queasy feeling settled down faster as she let herself relax into the flesh of the palm. “Enh. It kinda tweaked it,” she replied.
Her left wing started to ache again, and she shifted her shoulders back and forth while she cautiously extended them just enough to get the weight off of it. The sore wing settled, and Cadence had to admit that Chris’ hand proved to be…oddly comfortable. She let the thought go for now, wondering if she’d ever be ready to fully delve into that can of really weird worms. Opening her eyes, she turned her face towards Chris’ voice. She almost stopped breathing for a moment when she realized how close she was to his face; his hazel eyes almost entirely filled her vision with only just enough room to see his light colored eyebrows. She could see her own reflection in his eyes, but she quickly was drawn into the depths of his multi-toned irises, where she could see some amusement, a good amount of worry, and almost as much awe and wonder as she felt gazing back at him. Trying to break her oddly breathless stare, she swallowed back the lump in her throat.
“Mos-..Mostly it was just..kinda bumpy and rough. Lets-…lets just not have to do it again soon yah?” She continued with a weak chuckle.
Hoping that the motion-sickness was gone, she carefully sat up and looked away from the giant face. The tiny woman looked around at the loft, noting the messy state and clay residue that popped up here and there…..and there and there…and over there.
She chuckled again. “Seems that you’ve been busy recently. Good for you,…bad for the furniture hunh?” Looking over her shoulder, she grinned at the giant that still held her close. “Well, as long as there’s hopefully a little bit of clean space, could I have my clothes and have a few moments to change in the bathroom?” Cadence hoped that he had brought up her pants, shirt, and jacket; having to wear the makeshift dress while being picked up and carried was becoming a pain. For some reason though…spending time just..being in his hand was a lot less…weird and uncomfortable than it had been. If anything, the contact felt…right…somehow. And theres another thought that Im gonna have to store away for now.
"Okay." He agreed softly.
Taking the hint from her wide-eyed stare, Chris lowered her to a more comfortable distance from his face.
"Yeah." Christian scratched the back of his neck. "I have been meaning to wipe the counters down..." He started to defend himself, as if she would scold him for leaving a muddy handprint of the stainless steel sink.
Needless to say, the subject change was appreciated. Chris raised his eyebrows and shifted his weight to reach deep into his pants pocket.
He was worried for a split second that he had left the bathroom in disarray, but was relieved to find it in good shape. He laid his hand flat to the countertop to let her scoot off. Her tiny hands and feet pushing against his hand elicited a shiver of what he couldn't tell was in the realm of pleasure or the heebie-jeebies.
"I'll close the door." He said, assuring her privacy as he laid out the tiny clothes in a semi-neat stack next to her. "Will ten minutes be long enough?"
He gave her a friendly smile- one of the first devoid of any wistfulness of romanticism.
With a sigh that was pointedly resigned, she looked up into Chris’ face and smiled. It was hard not to when he grinned at her like that.
“It shouldn’t take me long at all. Just..come back in and check on me when youre done bringing up youre next load of stuff…I guess.” She shrugged lightly, her smile slightly sheepish. She didn’t know if he felt the same, but it was just slightly awkward talking about the situation when she considered how the last similar one went.
But Chris agreed quickly enough and left her alone in the bathroom. This time, he still left the door open just slightly behind him. The small woman’s smile widened. Well…now that was nice of him to still do that. Seems that The Whirlwind isn’t as unconsciously inconsiderate as I was starting to believe. A song popped into Cadence’s head, and not thinking about it, she started to quietly hum as she turned to look around the small bathroom, pulling on her pants as she did. She was exceptionally relieved to see that it was cleaner than she had worried, the subway tile that covered all the walls actually white, the cold stone counter only littered with a few bathroom supplies, and…. Wait…how do I know what ‘subway tiles’ are? Tightening her belt buckle, her eyebrows furrowed at the thought. Fae didn’t usually tile much in their buildings, so it was unlikely she had heard the term at home. She slipped her arm into a sleeve and looked around her again. Maybe I picked it up while watching some of those… humans building or fix, or whatever your home shows Nathaniel would occasionally watch. I was starting to get interested in those before I….Well before I up and ran away to come explore the lovely pieces of my mixed up and freakin’ confused memory…All in the human world. With a snort, she shook her head and let the thought go. Even though it still confused her; the tile, and the term just…struck a cord in her brain…Maybe…maybe it is the loft. It just..it just feels like home.
Grabbing her boots and carelessly throwing her patterned square of cloth around her neck like a long scarf, she studied the room around her, becoming lost in thought as she compared it and the loft to the scraps of memory. She lost sense of time and didn’t hear Chris’ footsteps as he approached the bathroom door.
“Cadence? You ready?” The man’s deep and smooth voice rumbled through the door.
Cadence jumped and dropped her boots. “Hunh? Oh..Yah! Com’in!” She bent to pick up her boots, but her ears twitched at the sounds of the mammoth door opening and the sounds of Chris walking up to the counter. As she straightened and tilted her head back to look up into Chris’ face, she felt part of her brain still register the sheer craziness of their situation. When she stood up the first thing that was level with her eyeline was…Chris’ waist. Probably below his waist actually considering how lean and tall the man was. his form stretched to the side and upwards so much that she should still be thinking that he…wasn’t anything like her…was a thing that she should be afraid of. But when her eyes met his again, all the feelings of safety and…Many other things that I’m not sure about…Yep still there.
“So…what's…next? Got any plans?” Cadence said, hoping that her oddly conflicted thoughts didn’t come through her tone. “Oh..you probably got to work on your…unh…customer’s order yah?”
He silently observed her size him up for the umpteenth time. Whether she was trying to be subtle or not, Chris couldn't tell. He considered calling her out on it, but realized the hypocrisy of the move. He was continually checking her out, marveling that this amazing woman was so impossibly small.
"Well...yeah." His head swayed to the side in admission. "But sculpting a statue doesn't involve dropping off the face of the earth." A lopsided grin lit up his face as he rested his hand palm-up on the counter. He scooted it an inch closer when she didn't climb on immediately. The contrast between her delicate fingers and his own was insane, and Christian couldn't help but feel like his hand was far too rough, too unrefined to transport such a dainty creature.
Every move she made was fascinating to him. Visual poetry. Every touch of her hand on his was a spark of life re-ignited within him. She looked up at him from her seat upon his palm, and those blue eyes threatened to take his breath away. Somehow, he managed to smile and carry her with him through the loft.
"I haven't done much with the place, but I keep up with it." He sat down at his workbench and let her off onto the metal tabletop. Yet, he didnt even look towards the clay yet.
"Sorry for staring. I'm trying to figure out if that skirt is actually made of plants of not." He said casually, still looking at her. "Cadence... Do you think you could handle it if I got close? Like, really close."
And now…He’s smiling, but..…He just seems so…intense..studying. Like he could take my measurements, look right through me to see what im actually thinking, and then… Cadence felt realization hit her like someone had splashed icy water in her face. …Just as if he’s about to draw me, or even..sculpt me. Though…I kinda doubt that most artists look at whatever their subject is with..with enough intensity to make the person melt inside. A heated flush flooded her cheeks, but she was able to casually look away from him as she slipped off his hand and onto his worktable. The flush threatened to stay on her face this time; as she had slipped off his palm, she could’ve sworn that she felt something like tiny, static shocks when the skin of her palms met and slid over the almost leather like skin of his.
It’s just the metal table. Just the metal table. The small woman said to herself. She glance around her, trying to find a spot to sit that wasn’t covered in some kind of residue, tools, and other material that Chris wanted close at hand. At least it's an organized mess. Can’t judge him too much on that actually, seeing how bad my own place is. She finally chose a book to sit on that was bent and worn from reading, but actually free of anything that looked like it would stain her clothing.
Walking over to it, she hoisted herself onto it, the binding of the massive paperback saying that it was a book of human forms, but when her wing gave an aggravated twitch at her movement, she hissed in pain and forgot about everything else for a moment.
“Hunh?” Cadence asked Chris, a wince still on her face as she shifted her seat ontop of the book. His voice was so deep that it was impossible to miss it when he spoke, but she had missed what the thunder like voice had actually been articulating. Sometimes being around Christian was more like being around a humanoid force of nature. She was able to hide her smile as she considered how she actually liked to listen to thunderstorms.
Rolling her shoulder, she let the muscle movement travel up to the end of her left wing and hoped it was relieve some of the ache. “Oh,” she said a moment later when his words had finally registered in her brain, “No. It’s not made up of plants. It's more like a soft cotton.” She chuckled wryly, wondering where Christian had gotten that idea.
Half a heartbeat later, the fae stopped working her wing and sat still.
"I realize this is... uncomfortable for you." Chris admitted quietly. "I promise it will be quick."
He leaned forward on his folded arms, lessening the space between their faces to mere inches.
The remaining breath exited his lungs when Renee's face came into full focus.
My memory didn't even begin to do her justice...
With his eyes, Christian grazed her up and down. The texture of her skin became visible- that delightful smattering of freckles on her cheeks, and down her shoulders. She was blushing, probably out of fear or extreme discomfort. Every detail, more crisp and beautiful than photographs or mental images could ever represent.
Her body was so familiar to him. Looking at her was like reading a favorite novel that had been lost for far too long; opening it up again, and re-discovering the story in fresh detail. The smell of the pages would make all the difference in triggering the nostalgia. Just so, the proximity of his lost love created a tightness in his chest that refused to dissipate.
The contour of her arms- she had once wrapped them around his neck when they danced on their wedding night. And around his waist from behind, burying her face in his back while he cooked dinner.
Cadence's lips were currently parted, and Chris couldn't help but feel ghosts of past kisses on his own lips.
Doll-sized hands clenched and unclenched anxiously as he drank her in. He wanted so much to wind his fingers through hers. Like they had countless times. Before…
But the way she looked at him…
He swallowed, blinking back tears.
"Thank you." He uttered, abruptly sitting back in his chair and clearing his throat.
But most of all, Chris’ presence hit her harder than a heartattack. She gasped at the feeling. Her eyes opened, confusedly blinking as she suddenly felt beyond overwhelmed. And Christian’s lips filled her vision.
Cadence’s heart skipped a beat, slamming to a stop in her chest, and a flush turned her cheeks a deep red. They're…theyre so big. I cant believe that I might have once…kissed those lips. …That…those could be the..lips of my..husband. I…
It was only moments after she had opened her eyes, but the tiny woman felt like she had flown a four day race through a headwind. Taking deep, though unsteady breaths, Cadence looked up into Christian’s eyes. And she saw longing in them. What he saw, he remembered and…longed to…keep…to always know. Tears leaked out of Cadence’s big eyes as she stared, transfixed into Christian’s. Her hand started to slowly raise...
The next moment, the look in Chris’s eyes changed, the emotion suddenly hidden behind blinking lids. The massive face pulled away and Cadence looked away too. She kept raising her hand, and used her shirtsleeve to rub the tears from her eyes.
“No, yah…” She replied. Biting her lip, she continued to stare at the things around her on the table, though her eyes barely noticed the things that loomed above her. Instead, her brain replayed through the…idea..that had popped into her mind. She tried not to think about how she had been so close to actually trying it.
Cadence took in a deep breath, burying all the confusion and “ideas” for right now, and looked up. Christian’s face was now so far from her that he seemed like a looming statue himself, sitting off somewhere on the other side of a large gulf.
“So..I guess youre gonna have to..start working now. I should…I should probably move somewhere else so Im not in the way then…” She said, not sure of what else to say but rather sure that she wanted some more…space. Maybe try to think…Maybe try to sleep it away. If it’d go away like a bad hangover, then I'd start drinking right now, she thought with a snort.
How could you possibly be in the way?
"Sounds to me like you just don't want me staring at you for two hours." Christian said, a teasing grin warming the air between them . He exited the room and came back holding an angel sculpture in each hand. Setting them down next to Cadence, she saw they were hardly larger than herself, and more simple than some of his more intricate pieces back at the home.
"These are the other two figurines I'm going to sell. So if you want to pose, let's say a relaxed seated pos- Don't move!" Chris suddenly held up his hands. "That's perfect." He breathed. "Actually...if you could tilt your head just a bit towards me.."
With a delicate touch belonging more to a crystal figurine master than a sculptor, he tilted her head just a little to the left. He leaned down more, the fingertip lingering on her cheek moving down to straighten her left leg. "..There."
She gasped softly. Suddenly she realized that their similarities came from how much they looked like…Me! They actually do look like me!...Well…kinda at least-… Her thought was cut off by Christian’s excited voice. As excited as the massive man was, Chris’ voice rang out much louder than it usually did and Cadence ears started to ring. The small fae froze instantly, even though she wanted to cover her ears and scowl up at the eager sculptor.
Feeling awkward and like she wanted to hide behind something, her eyes rolled upwards to look up at Christian. The pose she had froze in felt stiff and tense, and she hopped that it wasn’t the exact one that he wanted her to keep up for the next…however long he needed her there. But as her eyes slipped around, she immediately saw his finger coming towards her. Cadence’s heart missed a few beats as adrenaline shot through her. but even before she could think of a reaction, the huge finger was lightly touching her right cheek, softly nudging her head into the position he wanted. The skin of her cheek instantly felt warm under the touch of the pad of Chris’ fingertip, and the heat only intensified when it traveled down to her leg. His finger lightly grazed her side before it had reached her leg, and a mass of tingling shivers shot through her. The small woman felt a little light headed until Chris finger left her leg. His finger...It was longer than my leg..and almost wider than it too!
Cadence found herself breathing more heavily as she watched Chris’ finger retract. She didn’t say anything to Christian, yet again finding herself completely unsure of what to say. She just quietly relaxed into the position Chris had wanted, immensely grateful that it was a rather natural position, and watched as his hazel eyes became distracted with the pencil and paper he had infront of him.
His eyes would flick back to her every now and then, and each time he would smile at her. The third time, she looked away, focusing her attention on the angel figurines off to the side. Quietly, her mind wondered how each of his smiles had looked so…happy. Truly,...deeply,…quietly, happy. He was focused on the work he was doing, but…she knew that the gigantic man was having a moment of complete contentment as he worked. And part of that look…that’s got to do with me. I…I know it cause I remember it. Oh God…I think I almost remember it. Some of the pieces of all those freaking memories...theyre of...THAT look. I…I remember the eyes..the look that they get when…Not just when he’s working but…Like those other memories!…From when “he” was sketching me…That look is when…when I know he’s looking at…me..his wife. I..I still cant see his face. there's still...holes. too many of them! But...I can still see his eyes.
Cadence was glad that part of her face was turned away from him at the moment, because a small tear fell out of one of her eyes. Trying not to move too much, she lifted a shoulder and tilted her head to rub it away before he saw it. “Sorry. Just…Just my eye’s getting dry or something. H-..How much longer do you think?”
"You're doing great." His voice sounded behind her, intended to be assuring.
Drawing helped him objectify the situation. This was just a job; another figure to draw.
But those curves! That face! It all belongs to her. Cadence, how can you not see me?
His hand recognized the model, the proportion and quirks of the body before him. It was like hopping back on an abandoned bicycle.
He looked up from a quick contour of her profile.
"You can relax, Renee." He walked around to the front of the table again. "Cadence! I'm sorry." He corrected himself, setting down the pad again. "I might need to have you take up that pose again, but for now, I have enough information to go on." He smiled kindly at the fairy before taking his seat again, jotting quick measuremnts down next to the sketches.
He wanted to spend more time with her, but he figured if he got this out of the way... He had the rest of the night with her. He wasted no time in cutting off edges of the slab of moist clay. Slowly but surely, the skin of his hands became almost completely masked by the sediment.
His eyes became focused, lost in discovrring the figure beneath the exterior clay. Fingers expertly crafted and sculpted, slowly revealing a humanoid figure.
With a groan, she rolled her head to stretch her neck. The muscles in her back that attached to her wings were still stiff and after sitting in the same position after several minutes, they were stiffening up a lot of the other muscles. She reached up and rubbed the back of her head, her eyes slowly traveling up Chris’ gigantic figure as he sat down. Her eyes rested on his face and she gave him a small smile in return.He used HER name. I’ve never even heard that name before yesterday and yet he’s called me that several times since then. It…it just feels like he isn’t trying to..talk to me. Be with ME. He’s just…thinking he’s with her. Oh good Lord. I guess I’m jealous.
The small fae had been staring at Chris since he had sat down, but the distracted human hadn’t noticed how her blue eyes stayed on him. Absently, she bit the inside of her lip as she watched him start to work, his long fingered hands working the clay. It was fascinating to watch. She pulled up her legs to sit crossed legged on the book and let her wings settle loosely around her; for some reason she felt completely relaxed and fine with just sitting there in the quiet room and watch Chris work.
Probably because, this time around, I’m watching him without having him turn his…platter sized eyes back on me. Or even be aware of me….Oh, like I get to study him instead of him me. She mused absently.
But even as the thought went through her head, she continued to lightly worry her lip between her teeth as her thoughts kept moving back to something else that wouldn’t go away or settle. She had wanted to kiss him earlier. Badlywanted it. And when he had called her “Renee”, Cadence had felt an undeniable blow of jealousy at the other woman. A woman who had been his wife and was now dead. I…Ok, so I COULD be her. But…Dear Lord, I am jealous. I…I really really wish that he would…Look at me and…see me without…Thinking of her. And this jealousy…somehow it’s both keeping the memory pieces away and…..Its making me almost want to remember more. To see if there is any way that I can..actually have him.
A grumpy and tired pout scowled across her face, and with a sigh she planted an elbow on her knee and then rested her head on her palm. Hoping that Chris’ eyes didn’t turn back to her, she let her eyes wander over him again, taking in how his lean, though muscular form filled his clothes. How his broad shoulders pulled at his tshirt. How the dark blond stubble on his face highlighted the structure in his face, and how the longer pieces of his hair had fallen into his face. She noticed how the small laugh lines around his hazel eyes became visible while he concentrated on his work. If I could write a song about this guy…It would be…calm…steady…But it would kind of have this…quiet laugh in it.
A small blush lit her cheeks and she looked away from him. Cadence still wasn’t convinced that she was actually this man’s wife, but she knew that she really wished that he was right. Every part of her brain and now her body wished that…that there could be more between them. Keeping her eyes lowered, she laid down on her side and shifted around slightly till she found a comfortable position. Happily surprised that the cool cover of the book was actually nice to lay down on and supported her sore wings without hurting them. She hadn’t intended to fall asleep, but her eyes slowly started to close.
"So, what do y-" Chris stopped mid-sentence, spotting the sleeping fairy on the table. Two footfalls sounded on the unpolished floor. He reached for her, but thought better of it.
Taking one last look at her, he strode Into the kitchen to thoroughly scrub his hands of the caked clay. Better clean up first...
45 minutes later (and after a whole lot of soap), The work table was as good as new, the statue in progress was in refrigerated storage, and his hands were as clean as he could get them.
With an air of reverence and slowness contrasting to his rushing around, he pushed the tiny woman off the book into his waiting palm. Fingers curled around her instinctively and he carried her to the living room.
Looking at her peaceful countenance, he brought her close. She did not shy away from him or curl away in discomfort. If anything, she looked happier to he held than to be lying on the
"God, you're so small." A bittersweet chuckle escaped him as he ran the back of his index finger down her upper arm. Sitting alone with her, Christian suddenly felt overwhelmed by a wave of emotions.
This is real. I've been given a second chance.
Words that needed to be said were finalky whispered to his former loved. Words that burned and soothed him daily.
"I love you so much, Renee." Chris pressed his lips long to her forehead. He gazed upon her sadly, noting the wings.
"I'm so sorry I let you go, Renee." He whispered. "Not a day goes by where I don't regret what I did. I should have made you stay in that night... I should've-" his voice choked.
Her consciousness was still mostly held close by sleep, and only a small part of her brain was awake enough to actually hear Christian. In the haziness that filtered and clogged her thoughts, the world was simple. Specifically, she was neither Renee nor Cadence at the moment, but just a young woman who had happened to hear her husband say something to her. And he had kissed her on the forehead. A kiss that had sent a happy warmth all the way to her toes.
She was still more than halfway asleep as she unconsciously shifted and stretched her legs, feeling the soothing warmth from her husbands kiss relax her even more. A small smirking grin slowly played across her features.
“Sorry for what babe? I’m still here…,” the thought was cut off by a large yawn and she buried her face into the bed under her. The leathery texture of the bed just barely registered with her. She didn’t find it odd at all and snuggled in closer. It was so comfortably warm tonight. Time to stop Christian from babbling. The man always picked the oddest times to be overly verbal. “Okay CrazyMan. I’ll forgive you if-…” Another ear-popping yawn made her almost fall back asleep before she finished her thought. “…If you kiss me again. Then…then sleep. You…you must be working…You always get…so……emotional on me when….”
The small fae was back in the depths of sleep before she could finish the thought. Her breathing became deep and regular, the smile still lingering on her mouth for a while longer.
But as Cadence fell deeper into her dreams, she found herself back at Christian’s home. Slowly, she turned around and looked around her with wide eyes. The house around her was the right size, everything looking normal and in proportion. Or she was at the right size somehow and it made it all look normal. She bit her lip as she looked around in confusion. Tentatively, she reached out and touched the green table she had been standing on earlier. Somehow…somehow it seemed…right. Even though it wasn’t. She could remember standing there earlier, looking around at a gigantically scaled house. Now…Now she could just as easily remember it looking like…This. Well…almost like this. Those pictures weren’t there before…there was a vase here by the window…and the door…
Cadence’s heart almost stopped dead for several beats when her eyes came back to the front door. The light that had been shining in through the windows suddenly turned grey, making everything in the room look drained of it’s vibrancy, and the light, crocheted curtains fluttered madly from a silent, twisting wind. The front door was different. It didn’t look like anything she had ever seen before; her solid memories from several hours ago and the shockingly clear fragments both told her that it should’ve been an antiqued cream color. Now, it was several times its original size, looking more solid and imposing as it took up an unnaturally large part of the wall. And it was painted red, the paint weathered and peeling away; underneath the missing pieces and chunks of paint dully shined some kind of solid, and cold metal.
Cadence felt her breath passing in and out of her throat in ragged, jolting breaths. The door terrified her. She didn’t know why, or what she would even find on the other side…But she was too damn scared to even look. Silently she stared at the door, her heart twisting in fearful beats that danced in rhythm with the curtains.
Slowly, her blue eyes looked down at the doorknob. She felt a small amount of relief when she noticed that the deadbolt was still locked, and her heart began to slow down.
Suddenly the doorknob started to franticly twist, and something pounded on the other side. Cadence felt fear claw at her throat and she staggered backwards, her wings knocking into things until she fell into the back of the couch. She stared in terror, the doorknob still wildly twisting back and forth, and the door itself shaking from the pounding and knocking on the other side.
Terror and adrenaline rushed through her, making her knees weak and she fell to the floor. Her hands reached up and desperately grasped the hazel jewel that hung around her neck. Wordlessly, her mouth tried to form a yell…A call…….A name. The name…She almost could say it…
The sound of a doorbell broke through the dream and Cadence’s eyes snapped open. Her whole body trembled and her eyes darted around, memories from last night almost pushing the dream away. The doorbell rang again, and was followed by a louder knock.
Cadence squeezed her eyes shut and moaned. No more Twilight Zone! NO more! That’s it! That was almost like…Self imposed torture damnit! She reached up and wiped tears out of her eyes. Wait a second…where am I laying?
“Heelllo? Chris? You awake yet?! I called your cell but you didn’t answer! Come open the flippin’ door so I can put the coffee down!” A woman’s laughing voice called through the door.
Jewel toned, blue eyes looked over at the loft’s door with blankly, wide eyes. Questions of where she had spent the night, and even the horrible dream suddenly dissolved.
“So-Someone’s at….Someone’s at the door! Christian!” She whispered harshly, twisting around to try and see where the human was. “Some…Someone’s at the door! It’s…it’s a woman at the door!!”
"One minute!" he hollered. Chris stood, frozen in place for a moment as he frantically racked his brain for how to hide the fairy. Actually, she's probably safe where she is.
He wrenched the door open to reveal a tall, shapely woman wearing a stylish business suit and Ray Bands. She bore two coffees and a Dunkin' Doughnuts bag. She arched an amused eyebrow at the sight of him: shirtless, mussed hair, and slower movements than normal.
The spitting image of someone who just rolled out of bed.
"Someone's been burning the candle at both ends." Her ruby lips curved in a smile, entering once he had stepped aside.
"When you said 'first thing in the morning' I didn't think you meant eight-thirty sharp." He retorted, his voice still working its way out of groggy-tonality.
Natasha took off her sunglasses to scan the room briefly while he locked up again.
"Place hasn't changed much." She commented.
"I like it that way." Chris walked up beside her, missing the way she scanned him up and down in her peripherals. She glanced around toward the kitchen. "Let me, uh, put a shirt on… I'll be right with you."
Quietly and quickly as possible, Christian crept into the bedroom to retrieve a clean shirt from his dresser. He felt like he had to rush, since she was a customer after all. But at the same time, he got a very relaxed vibe from her. She had always been one of the most understanding people to work with. After pulling his shirt over his head, he was drawn like a magnet to the bedside. Renee's miniature form barely made a dent in the comforter. She was snoozing peacefully with an endearing expression on her face.
Without waking her, he left the door open a crack and went back out to Natasha.
"Okay…" He announced his presence as he re-entered wearing a plain cotton shirt. The woman turned from inspecting a framed photograph of Christian and his late wife playing with their niece.
"Got you some joe."
He smiled and accepted the offered cup.
"That was thoughtful of you." He popped the lid off and took a sip. His face lit up unexpectedly. "How did you know I like it with one creamer and two sugars?"
Natasha shrugged and ambled over to the bag on the kitchen table. "Lucky guess?" She laughed. "It's how I drink mine."
His defensive attitude was melting away under her charisma.
"Nice…. Well, uh, Do you want to look at the statues now? You look like you're on your way somewhere.
With an annoyed moan, she finally threw off the sheets and violently pushed them back till they were far away from her. She scowled at the sheet, feeling only slightly satisfied at having taken her embarrassment out on it.
“Thank God Christian really wasn’t around,” Cadence murmured to herself and buried her face in her palms. Her long, wavy hair had fallen out of its braid during the night and now cascaded down around, covering her face and palms.
She sat there for a moment to let her head clear of the dream and the clinging fog of sleep. But as they drifted off, Cadence started to wonder what had actually woken her up. Pushing her hair back out of her face, the small woman looked up and glanced around the general mess that covered the bedroom. A bleary eyed squint scrunched her features. Her remembrances of the dream and the things she had thought she had been hearing separated enough for her to guess that she had either dreamed the voice or…Or there was actually someone at the door.
Cadence’s blue eyes had stopped at the door and she quietly studied it. Christian had left it barely open, leaving only enough room to let in a sliver of light. But after another heartbeat, the fae’s ears finally picked up the sound of voices.
So….There really was someone at the door. And it was a woman. Cadence’s face lost its emotion, becoming blank. But as her blue eyes watched the door, her ears straining to make out their words, an intense and dark emotion started to shine in their clear depths. Unknowingly to her, it made them seem both withdrawn and lonely at the same time. Her thin hand reached up and lightly grabbed the hazel jewel that had slipped out of her shirt. He closed the door. I don’t want anyone to know about me but…Why hasn’t he kicked her out yet? Maybe talking with this…woman is…is making him think differently about….Oh geez..What? Me? All this time Ive been trying to make him think that I’m not his wife, and now I’m almost desperately jealous.
Cadence sat there several moments longer, still quietly looking at the door, and her ears strained to understand the conversation going on in the other room. It mostly sounded thick and mumbled; except for the woman’s voice. Hers was light enough to just seem faint. Ok. So what am I going to do about this?
In the other room, Natasha was turning back to face the kitchen table. The butcher-block top was scattered with several takeout menus and a stack of unused paper plates. She grinned and shook her head at the sight of them. Only a year without a woman in his life and he’s more than back to bachelor living. Why wash a dish when you can just throw them away. She reached out and grabbed a plate off the top, setting it down by the bag of doughnuts.
“Actually, I’m coming back from somewhere. I had a 6:45 meeting with my client this morning. Thus the professional get up today.” Natasha said nonchalantly. Grabbing the bag, she turned it over the plate and let the glazed pastries fall out onto it. “I have some time before everyone else is at the office. I saw your car outside and decided to drop by now. Can’t hate me though,” she said with a grin and turned around to look at Chris, “ ‘cause I brought caffeine and sugar as a peace offering.”
Still grinning, she popped a doughnut hole into her mouth. Suddenly, a thought shot into her head and she had to fight off an embarrassed blush. Okay…Crap! So that could’ve just come off as being rrreeaallly suggestive! Any other guy, and I might not of cared if he saw something into it. I’d probably actually of done it JUST to get has attention. Christian though…I want him to know that I’m worth getting over his wife for. I never knew her and God rest her soul…but it’s time for this poor man to move on. Actually BE happy again.Pushing her sunglasses back farther onto her head, she peered through her light brown bangs and looked at Christian again. Just the sight of his scruffy face, still disheveled blond hair, hazel eyes, and strong features made her something in her stomach clench all over again. From the inside to his handsome outside, the man was an artist; his looks and personality were something that a Renaissance artist would’ve loved to paint.
Trying to hide her sudden nervousness, she picked up her coffee again. Natasha had easily picked up on his body language. His shifting eyes wouldn’t meet hers for long, and he was a complete mix of distracted and engaged with his body occasionally twisting away from looking at her straight on. But she knew that he was happier today. There was some kind of deep vibrancy in him that had him holding his head higher and his lovely lips almost turned up in a smile. Natasha’s smile came back. This seems promising. He’s always seemed interested and today I think I might actually be able to get even farther than that.
“But yah, let’s go see what you’ve got for me.” She took a step or two closer and grinned widely up at Chris. “I showed this client all the pictures I have of the previous times I’ve used your work, and she fell absolutely in love with your stuff. Just like I told her she would too. She’s dying to have these pieces in her parlor. Oh! And, you owe me. Big time. I quoted her a price that’s DOUBLE last time, and she didn’t even bat an eyelash. SO…I’m thinking you can buy me that dinner we seem to keep talking about, but have yet to actually go and…well eat.” Natasha said with an airy, and genuinely charming laugh.
Across the room and standing roughly four inches above the floor, another woman quietly walked towards the leg of a table that stood next to the couch. Unable to take her eyes off of the towering pair, she quietly leaned against the table leg. After a couple of muttered spells, Cadence had found herself standing outside the bedroom and hidden from other eyes by a concealment spell. Now she watched them from somewhere in the middle of the room, and she was likely to be able to see them no matter where they went in the apartment. But as she watched the human woman, the human woman that was actually pretty and seemed to have some kind of brain in her, move closer and smile up at Chris, Cadence felt her insides twisting up and like something like a sledgehammer hit her heart. Christian hadn’t stepped away from her yet. And he was smiling back at her. The sledgehammer hit her again and her fingers dug into the table leg. Just kick her out Chris……Just kick her out.