Stories, Writing

Crazy

“I told you, I need your help.” Lenci stood and walked past Beck. She made her way to the kitchen and looked in the fridge until he joined her.

“Right,” he looked over the fridge door at her, “with demons.”

“Not demons plural. Demon singular. Just one.” Lenci took the milk from the fridge. She gathered a few other ingredients on the counter and got a pan out.

“Because that makes it sound less crazy.” Beck rolled his eyes and leaned against the counter she was using.

“Oh no,” Lenci reached around Beck to grab the milk, “nothing makes it sound less crazy. But it is more accurate, which I think is important.” She poured the milk in the pan and put it back in the fridge. She continued reaching around Beck to get to her ingredients, paying him no mind as she cooked. Chocolate chips, salt, and peanut butter followed into the pan.

“You’re crazy,” he commented.

“I know.” She stirred her ingredients as he watched her. “Mind putting those back in the cupboard?”

Beck shook his head in disbelief and turned to put her ingredients away. She reached into another cupboard for two white mugs and poured the contents of the pan into them. She topped the drinks with whipped cream and mini Reese’s candies.

“So where’s this demon?”

Lenci stood close to him, handed him a mug, looked him right in the eye, and said, “You’re looking at her.”

Beck stared at her silently as his hands warmed around the mug. He looked at her curled red hair, her brown eyes, her coral lips, her freckle dusted cheeks and nose. She didn’t look like a demon to him. But he could tell she was serious. She meant it. She backed away a little and clinked her cup to his before taking a big gulp of her drink.

“You?” He asked with noticeable skepticism.

“No, not me, silly.” She continued drinking as she walked away.

Stories, Writing

New Story Intro

NaNo is going really well so far! I’ve started a whole new story I’ve had brewing in my head for a long time now. Here’s a little snippet for you. It’s very rough as I’m not doing any revising/editing until the whole story is down. This will get changed. But it’s exciting to get it all down. Let me know what you think!

Lenci looked down at her blood stained hands. That was never a good sign. She looked around for her Keeper. She found him lying on the ground a few feet away. Her chains rattled as she ran over. She slid on her knees but didn’t bother checking for a pulse when she saw the hole in his chest.

“No!” She cried as she grabbed the man’s shirt. “Why?! I warned you!”

“There’s no time for mourning,” a voice sounded from a dark corner. A man strode powerfully to her.

“What do you mean?” She took his hand and let him help her to her feet.

“Keepers.” He touched her wrists and her cuffs and chains fell away. “They’re disappearing. Someone is taking them.”

“Taking them? Could this have been someone else?”

“No. This is exactly what it appears to be. The others weren’t murdered, only taken.” He shook his head. “This is as you thought.”

“I was afraid of that. Fredrick, you idiot.” She wiped a tear away, leaving smeared blood in its place on her cheek. She turned away. “What are we going to do about the Keepers? Are there enough left for everyone?”

“Everyone but you has a trained Keeper. They’ve all been moved into hiding. But there are no more.” He looked at her sadly. “You’ll need to find your new Keeper out in the world. And you need to do it fast. Time, as you very well know, is not on your side.”

Stories, Writing

Balloons

“Come on!” Jett took her hand and led her to the fence in front of the station. It was the only thing between them and the train. “This is going to be great,” he whispered to her as he helped her hop down the last bit of chain link. He swirled his hand around and a bucket appeared. He pulled something out of it and held it out for her to see.

“Water balloons?” Avery looked at Jett in confusion.

“Water balloons.” Jett nodded and handed her one. “Go ahead. Toss it!”

Avery didn’t know what he was so excited about. She shrugged and lobbed the balloon at the train car. It exploded and splattered bright purple onto the wall. She gasped and giggled. “I love it!”

“I thought you might.” Jett laughed and threw a balloon of his own.

Soon the side of the train was covered in colorful splashes that dripped down. It was a beautiful sight to see. They climbed back over the fence and stood back, admiring their work.

“It’s great!” Avery said.

“It is. Only one thing could be greater covered in paint tonight.”

“What?” Avery turned to look at him and found a balloon hurtling toward her. She tried to turn away but wasn’t quick enough. It thudded against her chest and sprayed blue all over her. She squealed at the impact.

Jett laughed as Avery wiped at her face. Then she swirled her hand and the bucket of balloons disappeared and reappeared in her hand. She returned fire and splattered Jett’s torso with yellow. He grunted and stumbled backward.

“Oh, it’s on, A!” He held his hands out and balloons appeared in them.

Avery screamed and ran as she threw balloons behind her. Jett threw them at her back. She reached the end of the platform and jumped to the grass. He pelted her with a few more colors as she ran to a tree for cover.

“Hey! You there! Freeze!” A voice sounded, interrupting their fun.

They instantly knew who it was. A police officer. Jett bolted to Avery and grabbed her waist. He transported them out before Avery could even think. They turned up in Avery’s room, which was empty. He slammed her into the wall with the momentum he’d built up. They both grunted.

“Phew!” Avery breathed out, holding onto his waist. “Good thing you’re fast.”

Jett laughed. “I don’t think we’d get any jail time for painting an already tagged train car. But I didn’t want to deal with the paperwork of it. Better to make a quick getaway.”

“And quick you were!” Avery looked up at him. “Thank you. That was fun. I had an amazing time.”

“Me too.” Jett moved her painted hair from her face and kissed her forehead.

Stories, Writing

Cake Tasting

Tucian watched Amara carefully, enjoying her charming expressions as she tasted each piece of cake. She took her time and mulled over how much she liked it compared to the last. Her expressions always started with delight and surprise, then went into serious thought as she bit her lip and tried to decide. One particularly fudgy cake left her petite lips smeared in brown. He smiled and leaned over, putting his lips to hers.

Amara reveled in the surprise of their sweet frosting kiss. She couldn’t ask for a more perfect moment. But it was brief, Tucian pulling away after a second.

“What was that for?” Amara laughed, licking her lips.

“Being too adorable.” Tucian dragged his finger across some chocolate and dabbed it onto her nose. He laughed as her nose scrunched. “Far too adorable!”

Amara giggled a little and blushed. Then she wiped the frosting from her nose and licked it off her finger with a “Mmm…”

“You really need to stop doing things that make me want to kiss you.” He put a hand on her cheek.

“Like what?”

“Everything.” He kissed her cheek and whispered, “Everything you do is enchanting. Everything you do makes me want to kiss you.”

Amara’s heart danced around in her chest and swelled with love. Tucian kissed her cheek and sat back in his chair.

“Do you have a favorite, my favorite?” Tucian asked flirtingly.

“Tucian!” Amara laughed. He was so smooth. “You’re too suave for my own good.”

“Is that a bad thing?” He took her hand and kissed it, the same way he did when he first introduced himself to her. He held her hand close to his mouth and ran his lips softly back and forth over her knuckles.

“Oh, no. It’s wonderful.” She looked at him in awe, wondering how she had ever been so lucky for him to fall in love with her. She felt his soft lips brush her somewhat ragged knuckles. Throwing punches and training with her hands a lot left them that way, no matter the amount of creams or lotions she used.

“Excellent.” He let her hand go and smiled at her.

“I liked the dark, milk, white chocolate one from the very first round. You?”

“I absolutely agree.”

“And I absolutely love you.” Amara leaned in and pulled the back of his neck to bring him closer. She kissed him increasingly more intensely until Rosie walked back in for their decision.

Stories, Writing

Sugar

“I’ll go grab the eggs and butter, you get the sugar and I’ll find you in a minute,” Tucian told her with a kiss on her cheek.

Amara headed for the sugar. As she was about to grab a bag she heard a familiar voice behind her. It was a man, but not Tucian.

“You look so sweet, what do you need sugar for?” He asked.

Amara laughed at the bad pickup line and turned around. A friendly face smiled down at her. She smiled back at the familiar freckles dusting the brown skin of an old friend.

“It’s nice to see you again, Amara. Remember me?”

“Of course I remember you! It’s nice to see you too, Madden. It’s been a long time,” Amara replied, throwing her arms around Madden’s neck.

“How have you been? Ready to give me another try after all this time?” Madden took her hand.

“Madden,” Amara pulled her hand back, “my feelings for you haven’t changed. And I know you had to have noticed the gentleman I came here with.”

“Your boyfriend?”

“More. My fiancé.” Amara held her hand up to show the ruby ring on her finger.

“Well, that’s a problem.” Madden chuckled. Amara laughed with him. “I guess I’ll finally have to accept that you and I will never happen then.” He made a pretend sad face.

“Yes, you will. I’m sorry Madden.”

“That’s okay. You may have been the prettiest girl in town, but you’re not the only girl. My girl is out there somewhere. I’ll find her someday.”

“You certainly will. It should be easy with your charms.” She laughed again as Tucian came up and put his arm around her shoulders.

“And who might this be, Amara?” Tucian asked with a hint of concern.

“This is an old friend.” Amara put a hand on Tucian’s. “Tucian, meet Madden Gunderson.”

“Old friend?” Tucian asked, not taking his eyes off of Madden.

“Yeah,” Madden agreed. “I tried to steal her heart, like many other guys in this town. But I guess she was saving it for you. She’s a real heartbreaker around here. You’re a lucky man.” Madden extended his hand to Tucian.

“I definitely am.” Tucian shook his hand reluctantly. “And now, we have to go.” He turned Amara under his arm and led her away to pay for their things before she could say bye.

“It was nice to see you!” Madden called behind them.

“Why were you in such a hurry to leave?” Amara asked on the walk home.

“Who was that guy?” Tucian asked without answering her.

“I told you, he’s an old friend.”

“He said he tried to steal your heart.” Tucian struggled to hide the anger in his voice at the thought of another man trying to take Amara.

She laughed. “Yeah, he kind of did. But I didn’t ever like him like that. We went out a few times and he moved on easily to the next girl. But he always liked to tease me about it afterward. We stayed close friends for a long time. I hadn’t seen him in almost a year before today though.”

“Wherever he was, he should go back and leave you alone,” Tucian said in a low voice.

“Wait. You’re not jealous, are you?” Amara stopped and grabbed Tucian’s arm to turn him to her.

“Jealous? Never. It’s just that I never realized how small this town is. He said that many of the guys here tried to win you over. Was that true?”

“I don’t know. I guess if I think about it, I am a little bit of a heartbreaker. Between Avery and I, I think we’ve gone out at least once with every available guy here. For some reason, they all liked one of us. Maybe it’s a sister thing. Like they get to pick one.” She laughed at the thought.

Tucian didn’t laugh. “How many hearts did you break?”

“Tucian,” Amara set her bag down and brought her hand to his cheek, “I never liked a single one of them. I definitely didn’t like any of them the way I like you. The way I love you. None of them made me feel the way I feel about you. I’ve felt this way from the first time I saw you. No man in this town can compare. I promise. You have nothing to worry about.”

“Promise? No one is going to win your heart away from me?” Tucian looked at her sadly.

“I promise you. Isn’t that what this ring is for?” She held out her hand.

“It is.” Tucian took her hand and kissed it. “But all the same, I would appreciate if you steer clear of all those broken hearts you left behind.” He stared down at her with his stormy grey eyes that always melted her heart.

“I’ll do my best,” Amara agreed.

They walked hand in hand the rest of the way home.

Stories, Writing

Baking

Jett and Tucian arrived in the afternoon. “I heard someone needs a baking assistant?” Jett called, closing the door behind him.

“In here!” Avery called back from the kitchen. “Help!”

Jett and Tucian ran to the kitchen. There was white powder everywhere. The boys waved their hands around, tried not to inhale the dust, and walked in.

“Amara!” Tucian called. “You in here? Oof!” He grunted as something hit into him. He grabbed hold of familiar arms and pulled what he assumed was Amara into his own arms.

“Sorry!” Amara cried.

The powder started to settle to the floor and Jett saw Avery. “There you are!” Jett cried, reaching his hand out to her. She took his hand with a frown. They were all thoroughly covered in white powder.

“What happened?” Tucian looked down at the frosty woman in his arms.

“Amara happened!” Avery yelled. “This is why she isn’t allowed to cook!”

Amara thought she might have been mad at her, then Avery broke out laughing. She let out a long sigh of relief and smiled, her pink gums showing bright against the white.

“What?” Jett looked at Avery. “What is this stuff?”

“It’s flour,” Amara answered. “I was trying to help with Mom’s cake for tonight. I failed.”

“Epically,” Avery confirmed. “You are now, officially banned from any kitchen activity.”

“Yeah, that seems fair,” Amara agreed.

“How are we going to clean all this up? And is there any flour left for the cake?” Jett worried.

“There will be plenty left, don’t you worry. And leave the cleanup to me. I got skills.” Avery smiled and began waving her hands in circles.

Purple sparks swirled around the kitchen, sweeping the flour in breezy loops. It whisked the flour from every surface and person. It pulled Amara and Avery’s hair, stripping every last bit of flour, then poured their hair back down around their shoulders. Amara giggled as her hair was pulled and dropped. Tucian watched her in delight as the purple sparks swept over her and she twisted and turned with them.

After a few minutes, all the flour had been cleaned up.

“Sorry again, Avery,” Amara said shyly. “I really was trying to help.”

“That’s alright. But I think you better find something else to do while Jett and I make Mom’s cake now.”

“Will do.” Amara laughed and led Tucian out of the kitchen.

Stories, Writing

Glowy

“What do you want to do tonight?” Avery asked Jett.

“I don’t care. Anything but be home.”

“Did Tucian take Amara there? Is it going to be a little too romantic for your taste?” Avery teased.

“Yes, actually. Blegh.” Jett sat at the vanity and rummaged through the containers curiously. “She’ll love it. He’s full of emotions and love. All that stuff you girls like. The stuff Tucian is good at but I’ve never been interested in. He’s always been full of feelings and fluff.”

“Ha ha I bet she will love it. I’m sure she’ll tell me all about it later.”

“Lucky you. What’s all this stuff for?” Jett held up a glass container. “Why do girls need all this?”

“That,” Avery took the jar from him, “is a moisturizer. It keeps our skin soft and glowy.” She set it back in its place and sat on the vanity next to him.

“To impress us boys?”

“You wish!” Avery scoffed. “For ourselves. Dry skin hurts and breaks easily when you get hit. I don’t know why other girls have so many containers of products. Most of those have magical purposes. Healing ones, mostly: for cuts, burns from power blasts, sprains. You know, for training injuries. Some are for external use, others need to be downed. You’ll have to ask a normal girl why her vanity is cluttered.” She laughed.

“I should have known better than to assume you would be a normal girl.” Jett laughed.

Stories, Writing

Art Show

Amara walked into a bright room. Sunlight streamed in through a large window on one wall and a skylight window overhead. The walls were filled with sketches and paintings. There were a few easels set up with works on them as well. There were piles of old art in corners and strands of rope with art hanging from them. There were paint stains on the floor and jars of paint, water, and paintbrushes around a sink near the window. There were many landscapes and famous landmarks from places she had never been. There were women she didn’t recognize, each of them beautiful in their own way. But those were all older and faded.

“Who are they?” Amara asked without looking away from one particularly lovely face.

“That one happens to be my mother. I can’t seem to put it away.”

“She’s beautiful,” Amara remarked, then moved on to another. She knew Tucian didn’t like talking about his mom or dad. He didn’t like thinking about whatever happened to them. She hoped someday he would tell her. But she wouldn’t push it. He would tell her when he was ready.

“She would have liked you. The others are women I’ve known. Some romantically, some not.”

She was amazed at how beautiful it all was. She took her time looking at everything. She made her way around the edges of the room first, then looked at the ones hanging on the rope. Tucian watched her intently, trying to gauge what she might be thinking. He couldn’t tell so he stood by the door, watching and waiting. Each of his works were a piece of his heart. It was hard to let people see those pieces for their judgement. It was as though they were judging his soul. He hoped Amara would like what she saw in his work.

“Tucian, they’re…” Amara trailed off as she became distracted by each new piece of art.

“Yes?” He pressed.

“Spectacular…” she whispered. She came to one she recognized on the rope, a lake in a clearing. “Is this our lake?” She pointed and turned to look at Tucian.

“It is.” He stayed where he was, waiting for her to find his most recent ones.

She meandered her way to one of the easels. She gasped at the face on the canvas. It was her. The painting was filled with light. Her own green eyes gazed back at her. She looked amazing, flawless. She stared at the portrait. He had captured her slightly small eyes and mouth well and they fit perfectly on her beaming face.

Tucian walked up behind her. “Do you like it?” He whispered into her ear.

“I love it,” Amara whispered back. “I think you might have overdone it though.”

“Why?”

“It’s so radiant, so…” Amara tried to find the word to describe the painting. “Exquisite.” She stayed staring at her own face. It was so familiar and yet too beautiful to be herself.

Tucian slowly turned her around and lifted her face to his. “So are you,” he whispered, leaning in to kiss her.

Stories, Writing

Reading Time

Tucian strode into the library. Amara sat in a large chair with her knees pulled up, reading intently, lost in a story, and biting her bottom lip. She sipped on some orange soda and set it on the side table. He thought she looked like a child looking at a picture book. Adorable. He made his way over to her.

“Hello, darling.” He knelt in front of her chair.

“Oh, hey.” Amara tilted her book toward herself to look at him. “When did you get here?”

“A few minutes ago. What are you reading?”

“Grimm’s Fairytales,” she answered. “Not the happiest of tales, but interesting.”

“But you can’t learn anything from that nonsense.” He gave her a curious look.

“Says you,” Amara teased. “I happen to learn a lot from them.”

Tucian laughed. “You do need to keep progressing in your combat skills though. It’s important.”

“Not to me. Not right now.” She smiled down at him. “Other things are occupying my attention.” She leaned down and kissed him.

Tucian pulled away. “It is important. To me.” He pushed her hair from her face and combed his fingers through the length of it, over her shoulder.

“You’re very persuasive, you know.” Amara looked into his serious eyes. “Fine. I promise we can do some training. For you.” She kissed him again.

“Good girl.” Tucian smiled.

“After this last tale!” She stole her book back and giggled.

Tucian shook his head. “You’re lucky you’re so cute.”

“You’re lucky I love you so much. Giving up my reading time is serious business.”

“I am lucky.” He kissed her. “My Amara.” Tucian held her in his arms, cuddling her tightly in the chair as she read. He rested his head on hers with a happy grin until she was done.

Stories, Writing

Rain

He watched Amara in wonder as she walked out into the shower. She didn’t bow her head to the rain like most people. Instead, she lifted her face to the sky and let the water kiss her eyelids. She stood still for a moment then, with eyes closed, proceeded to remove all her training gear. Items dropped to the ground until she was down to her shirt, pants, and shoes. She basked in the refreshing rain splattering over her. Rain always made her happy. It restored her, made her whole. She totally forgot anyone was with her. Her hair became drenched and stuck to her. Her clothes began clinging to her body. She was absolutely captivating.