Christina watched the tiny blond elf as he climbed out of his bedroom window onto the small ledge of the windowsill. She held her breath as he tottered before he steadied himself against the brick wall. It was hard to determine in the semi-darkness whether he could see where he was going.
His knuckles whitened as he gripped the wall behind him. His black baggy sweater and jeans hid his thin frame as he slithered down the wall before shimmying down the drainpipe like a professional trapeze artist. He swung from the drain to the tree bordering the two-storey brick house.
Her breath whooshed past her tight lips as he finally hit the ground. The light thud had her moving forward when he disappeared into the sea of trees at the speed of lightning.
She floated behind him, making sure to cloak herself so he wouldn’t inadvertently catch sight of her. She moved silently on the warm, muggy night air. The scent of dry earth spoke of how dry the summer had been. The night not much cooler than the day had her questioning why Nick dressed in such heavy, dark clothing.
She shrugged off the thought when Nick veered away from the path. Intrigued, she sped up, matching Nick’s pace. The only sound on the still summer night was the rustle of the leaves as his clothes caught on the low-hanging branches as he moved swiftly.
The canopy of thick foliage stopped the muggy heat from descending. The cooler air had a shiver run across her exposed bare forearms. Nick’s choice of clothing now seemed more understandable. He wasn’t as silly as she’d first thought.
Her deep green kyrtill blended with the leaves as they went deeper into the forest. Her long auburn curls barely moved around her shapely figure as she kept pace.
Her brows rose. Her interest piqued further by the look of total concentration pinching Nick’s face. It was past midnight, and he usually would be tucked up in bed. So, what the Goddesses is he up to?
She couldn’t recall him going out at night without his parents, and she’d spent weeks watching him after she’d first heard him.
It was after she’d been evicted from the last body when the soul upped and died far quicker than she’d planned on. She’d then inadvertently discovered that Max, her previous charge, had finally found the one that could honour the promise he’d made so long ago. Max, the king of the guardian cats, messed with fate and condemned them both. No one knew she’d followed Max’s path on and off over the years. Always watching and waiting for when things could go back to the way they were before he’d stupidly decided to mess with the fates. As the decades turned into centuries and the world evolved, she’d known deep down there was no going back. And okay, she’d been given a gift from the king of the otherworld, Manannán, to be able to pick and choose whose body she could inhabit and take over their soul, as long as they were female. She had learnt the hard way not to blend her soul with the body she inhabited as it cost her nothing but pain.
Heck, I’d only been trying to warn those fishermen not to go out to sea because of what I’d seen in my vision. And what had it earned her? A bloody, torturous death in a barrel embedded with spikes tearing at her. A death so painful it had ripped at her soul that she stupidly combined with the women whose body she’d taken over. She’d learnt her lesson that day. Sticking to her guns for years, she’d never repeated her mistake.
A little voice inside her told her that she wanted that connection again, regardless of what had happened to her in the past. Christina shuddered as she rubbed at her arms, trying to shake off the memories.
Oh, she’d tried to kid herself that they could go back to the way they were with Max, but it saddened her to acknowledge it was never going to happen the way she wanted it to. And somehow with this knowledge, her world had tilted on its axis, leaving her feeling entirely out of sorts. She’d been contemplating what she was going to do next, and okay, maybe I’ve been sulking, but who cared? Then the sound of tinkling laughter, so free and happy, pulled her from her moody thoughts and contemplations while she sat in a large oak tree on the edge of the Dartmoor woods.
Her gaze moved until she found the source of the sound. It lingered on the child as he chatted, giggled, and acted carefree, unaware of her presence. There was something pure about the child that drew her as he spoke to the woman walking with him in the forest. She craved that innocent beauty, the brightness that emanated from his soul lighting the space around him. Pulling her towards him, she moved without thought. Like never before, the need to be one with him, take over his soul, was shocking and left her breathless. But there was one major drawback: he was male. The king had been particular she could only take over a willing female soul, and there was to be no coercion.
She hummed, shrugging her tiny shoulders.
What the eye doesn’t see, the heart won’t grieve, right?
The boy’s name was Nick, and hadn’t it been a kicker when she had found that Max, her kitty cat, was bonded with Nick’s brother, Aaden. It had given her pause, but she now felt the fates had somehow put Nick in her path for a reason. And as far as she was concerned, that reason was to give her what she wanted: a life near her previous charge, Max.
So, she had followed him and the woman while her mind had worked through her options. Now weeks later, she was still undecided as to how to make her wish come to reality. Her eyes narrowed on Nick as her mind travelled back to the present.
The child was so slight; his body as yet had not developed fully. His silver-blond hair gleamed under the moonlight as it flowed behind him. It lit the darkness like a bright star guiding the way to wherever he was going. His beautiful, delicate features tensed in thought. Under the moonlight, his pale blue eyes resembled the ocean, deep and fathomless, as he ran through the forest. His little chest heaved, and his breath came in panting gasps as his feet thudded on the dry earth, causing little puffs of dirt to lift.
She was convinced he was unaware of anything going on around him. His mind seemed wholly occupied with getting somewhere and getting there as quickly as possible.
Christina tilted her head, pausing as Nick’s footsteps slowed and he crouched behind a large old cedar tree.
The slight sound of voices in the distance caught her attention.
Her lips twitched.
She’d overheard earlier Nick’s brother asking his friend Brody if he wanted to go camping in the forest. It would seem the little bugger didn’t want to be left out. She chuckled silently as she moved closer to Nick so that she could observe the others.
Her chuckle died as the light from the moon caught Nick’s face, illuminating the want in his eyes. His nostrils flared, reminding her of an animal who’d scented their mate.
Her tiny hand moved to her stomach as it rocked and rolled. A shiver ran up her spine. Her hazel eyes searched the forest, for what she wasn’t sure. But the sense of unease that was sliding up her back wouldn’t leave, even when she could see nothing alarming.
She twisted slightly to keep Nick in her line of vision as she perched on a branch. His face now shadowed by night made it hard for her to determine what he was thinking. Swapping branches, she edged closer to watch Nick.
The small campfire spat noisily as it glowed eerily under the vast canopy of trees sheltering the boys from the night. The sweet scent of burnt marshmallow mingled with the smell of burning wood. The boys’ scruffy ripped shorts and T-shirts hugged their developing teenage muscles as they wrestled on the two green sleeping bags that lay on the hard ground.
Christina sniffed the air again when she spotted the half-empty bottle of alcohol lying in the dirt, forgotten. Unconcerned that she was intruding, she listened in on their conversation.
“Come on, Aaden, why’d you always have to win? I know you’re bigger, but why do you always have to be on top?”
The gruff huffy frustration in Brody’s voice had Christina smother a chuckle. Oh, she knew precisely why Aaden wanted Brody on the bottom, only she wasn’t sure Brody did. This was confirmed when Brody bucked his hips, causing a low groan to escape from Aaden’s heaving chest as he struggled to keep Brody under him.
“What’s with you and the cow eyes you were throwing at my brother the other day? Don’t think I didn’t notice. What’s up with that?”
The breathless question from Aaden caused Brody to still, and his cheeks darkened.
Christina’s brow arched. Holding her breath, she waited for his response. She glanced back at Nick. She could tell he’d heard the question by the stillness in his body and the air of expectation as he waited for Brody to respond.
“What the fuck do you mean cow eyes? I ain’t got a clue what the fuck you’re talking about, man.” Brody pushed at Aaden’s chest, struggling to get out from under his heavy weight.
The frustration was evident in the hard lines of his face, but Christina heard the unease in Brody’s voice as he swiped the bottle off the ground, chugging from it as if his life depended upon it. He handed the bottle to Aaden. “Here, put that in your mouth and stop talking shit.”
The feeling Brody was lying had the unease she’d felt moments ago rise like an angry sea thrashing off the rocks. Only instead of a smooth surface that the water could create, she felt just a roughness fraying her nerves that left her antsy.
She looked back at Nick, catching sight of his drooping shoulders.
Oh, Goddess Freyja, this is not good.
Did Brody have feelings for Nick and vice versa?
The moonlight offered her a glimpse of Nick’s features again when he inched a little closer to the camp. He looked to strain to hear what Brody was saying when he dropped his voice.
She heard the muttering. Not sure how to proceed, her eyes flicked back to Nick, and the light of determination that flashed across his face sparked her anger.
Without thinking, she cast a spell. She wanted to stop the silly childish feelings or whatever it was that Brody and possibly Nick felt.
Saklauss varDHa sja/Ifvili, hata hold hugr, elska. Heyra, halda. Saklauss varDHa sja/Ifvili, hata hold hugr, elska. Heyra, halda. Saklauss varDHa sja/Ifvili, hata hold hugr, elska. Heyra, halda.
The words rose on the air times three. “Innocent guard against free will, destroy flesh desire, love. Hear of, hold fast.” The magic aimed at Brody splinted the night.
The sky above darkened as Brody found himself wrapped in the sleeping bag with Aaden somehow sprawled across his body. His body hummed, his skin electrified. The tiny hairs rose on his bare skin, making him shiver as their lips met in a wet, sloppy kiss Brody was unsure who had initiated. When he felt Aaden’s dick push into his thigh, his mind blanked. All previous thoughts of a small blond imp who teased his senses and caused his body to ache beyond reason, disappeared.
Brody pulled back, his chest heaving from the lack of air. He gulped several times, wiping at his spit-laden lips, not sure what had just happened. Aaden’s dark eyes pinned him in place for a second with the arousal he could see written over his friend’s flushed cheeks and swollen, wet lips. Aaden’s erratic breathing matched Brody’s.
He wasn’t sure if it was the alcohol that made him feel off balance. Brody got a nagging suspicion something had just shifted inside him and not for the better. Struggling to get out of the sleeping bag, he avoided making eye contact with Aaden.
Brody ignored the hardness pushing to escape his shorts, trying to fathom what spooked him. He’d known for some time he was gay, having spoken extensively to his father about it. He’d come to terms with who he was, though it had been difficult at first. Now he was comfortable in his own skin. Then why is this sudden attraction to Aaden unsettling me?
He usually was drawn to smaller boys with a more feminine look, like Aaden’s brother. And okay, Aaden’s question had thrown him when he thought he’d kept his interest to himself. Nick was way too young for him to be thinking about him in that way. But right this minute, it was like someone had flipped a switch and all he could think about was big, large muscles, and that was so not him.
The more he thought about it, the harder his brain hurt as if someone was putting a clamp on his head and was squeezing it tightly. He lifted his hands and rubbed at his temples, feeling the weight of Aaden’s stare.
Aaden’s slurred words had him finally meeting his gaze.
The loaded question somehow eased the tension in his head, and Brody laughed. “You trying to turn me gay, man? Well, you’re too late, ‘cause I am.”
Brody continued to giggle at the wide-eyed expression on Aaden’s face. Then Aaden started laughing hard, tears leaking down his dirt-smeared face.
Brody collapsed back onto the sleeping bag, his mind foggy. He snuggled into Aaden’s side, talking shit as they often did about everything.
Brody rubbed at his tired eyes, blinking twice. He sat up, shaking the cobwebs out of his head. His eyes narrowed, searching the trees thinking he’d seen Nick’s blond head bobbing behind a tree. He narrowed his eyes and kept his gaze riveted to the trees until his eyes ached.
Seeing nothing, he shook his head at Aaden. He relaxed back, thinking he was mistaken. He laid his head on Aaden’s solid chest, nestling in. He enjoyed the large solid muscles as they flexed and moved under his cheek. His dick twitched at the musky scent of sweat mixed with Aaden’s masculine odour. Settling, he dropped his arm over Aaden’s waist. His mind shut down; he drifted to sleep.
Christina let out a relieved breath as she focused on Brody’s thoughts. She repeated the spell while he slept. She wanted to make sure it held and wouldn’t be broken inadvertently by something she’d missed by being so angry. Her family had warned her making spells with anger had a rebound effect and that the consequences could be profound. She ignored the little voice that said never mind about the anger; she’d be in more trouble because of her interfering with fate.
Her shoulders hunched against her will, but she acted unconcerned when she searched out Nick, only to find he’d disappeared into the night. Her face lit up with a smile as she realised her plan had worked. That by throwing Brody and Aaden together it would dampen any feelings Nick had. Floating on the warm night air back along the path, she hummed in satisfaction, rubbing her hands together and formulating her plan of attack on Nick and how she was going to get what she wanted. Grinning at the moonlight, she faded into the darkness.