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Friday, March 24, 2017

Requited Love

A few days later CeCe was crouched next to a meandering stream refilling the canteens for the group. She had awoken early to the sound of birds chittering in the trees. She knew the rest of her party would awaken soon so she had made her way here, a moment to herself. Which seemed a thing that rarely happened anymore? She often found eyes following her no matter what she was doing. She had finally got to the point where her not being a watched constantly became normal. Now she felt like she was back in her youth, a captive of her birthright. Always followed by guards, and adored by everyone who saw her. She found she had liked living in anonymity. She missed it now.

She finished with the canteens and sat back on her heels to watch as the sun rose to filter its light through the branches of the tall trees. At the edge of the glade a mother doe and her fawn moved closer to the water edge. CeCe stayed perfectly still, so as not to frighten the timid deer. She felt his presence before he walked up behind her. She held her hand up to warn of the gracious animal across the small stream. “Don’t spook her, I want her to feel safe.” She whispered to the silent Felis behind her.

Bo glanced toward where the small family stood drinking from the crystal-clear water. He then swept his gaze toward the mountain they now stood below. Spring was making a show, with the snow melting, to run down to them. Small buds appearing on the trees. He watched as the doe stepped away but a few feet, and began foraging for the new shoots of grass carpeting the ground. “No worries, my Queen. I just wanted some time alone with you. The little family is safe from me.”

CeCe held her hand out and Bo took hold to help her to her feet. “Stop calling me that. I am the same woman you knew before. My title means little to me. I am a queen of a haunted city. With no subjects to rule.” She went to sit on a moss-covered log. The canteens abandoned for now. “It has been awhile since we could speak alone. I miss our early morning coffee chats as we prepared to start our day. What did you want to talk about?”

Bo came over and took a seat next to her. He reached out and took her hand. “Hard to believe it was such a brief time ago when we were living a peaceful life. Nothing to make us regret going on this infernal quest.” CeCe made to question why he regretted the quest, but he placed a finger to her lips. “I know what you are going to say. If we had never gone in search for answers, then I would not have learned that I was beneath your station. I’m sure you would have been married off to some prince by now, if Mithral hadn’t fallen. So how can I speak of my feelings for you now. I missed my opportunity.” He glanced away to spy on the deer family, who still foraged for grass, the doe ever vigilant to the predators seated not far from her.

He turned back to see tears in CeCe’s eyes. With a quizzical look on his handsome face, he reached to wipe them away. “Why do you cry? What did I say to cause this?” He moved closer to her wrapping his arms around her and pulling her in for a hug. “I didn’t mean to upset you. Maybe I should go and leave you in peace? I don’t ever want to be the reason for your tears.” He started to stand as he broke the embrace. He was surprised when CeCe pulled him back and even more so when she wrapped her arms around his neck. She leaned close a placed a tender kiss upon his lips.

CeCe pulled away from the kiss, her tears drying in her fur. “I wasn’t crying because I was upset, you stooge. I was crying because you finally admitted that you have feelings for me. I was beginning to despair that you would ever share my feelings. I have loved you seems forever. When I am with you I feel like a piece of myself that was missing has clicked back into place. I don’t care what your title is. I always was given a choice in who I chose to make my consort. And if I had known you then, I think my feelings would have been the same. You, big dolt, I love you.” She then leaned forward to kiss him again.

Unbeknown to the couple, they had gained a voyeur. Azereus smiled as he heard his cousin’s words. He hadn’t had a chance to tell CeCe that it had already been decided by her mother that she would be presented to Bo. That is once he had given his approval of the Lord Borjaeis, of the House Suswen.  He was preparing to bring the young lord to meet CeCe when the attack came to Mithral He stood there watching the two glad that he had chosen right by CeCe. He turned to leave the couple their privacy. He couldn’t help the huge smile from forming on his lips, as he walked away.

“Bo kissed CeCe back, liking the feel of her lips against his own. “You never said anything. I think I fell in love with you that night you found me in the alley, I was so fevered I thought you an angel sent to lead me over the bridge of life. I was too scared to speak up because I thought you would hate me for upsetting our friendship.  I am so glad we finally spoke to each other; and you will always be my queen. The queen of my heart.” He then pulled CeCe even closer and began to show her how much he loved her in a soul shattering kiss. CeCe welcomed him with a matched enthusiasm. The canteen remained forgotten, while the family of deer melted back into the forest.

Back in camp, the twins and Neko were beginning to stir. Azereus returned to find them stumbling around as they tried to wake up. When Donny went to get some coffee, he scowled to find the pot empty. A soft growl came from him when he found the canteens missing. “Damn! What does a guy got to do to get some go-go juice in his system? I need my coffee, where is CeCe and Bo. Surely, they would have brought it back by now. I am going to go get my canteen back.” He rubbed his hand over his eyes as he searched for his boots.

Az came over to the young grump. After patting him on the shoulder to let him know he felt the same way. He mentioned that Donny might want to give them a little more time. Donny glanced up to say “why should I give them time. The sooner I get water, the sooner I have coffee in my cup.” He then caught a smile on Az’s face, once the implication sank in he grinned too. “Are you saying what I think you are saying with that look? Spill old man.”

With that statement, he gained Dom and Neo’s attention. They came to stand beside Donny. “What gives, Az? What do you know? Curiosity killed the Felis.” Neko quizzed. “Come on tell us.”
Az looked at the three sets of eyes trained fully on him. He couldn’t help the smile forming as he let them in on the secret. “I too went in search of water for my coffee, when I found Bo and CeCe in a serious discussion. A discussion that ended with a very sweet kiss. I figured they might need some more time to themselves so I came back to camp. Now you know everything I do. Why don’t we get breakfast cooking, maybe the smells will bring them back?” He then went to the pack mule, and began getting the supplies needed to begin breakfast.

“Hot damn! “Neko exclaimed. As he gave each of the twins a high five. “I was beginning to think they would never tell each other how they felt. I mean it isn’t like the rest of us haven’t known forever. I guess we will all become a real family soon. Well as real as it can be.” He grabbed each of the twins, and pulled them into a hug. “Maybe now, we can get this quest over without all the unrequited feelings flying around.” That said he disappeared to go take care of some personal business of his own.

The smell of meat wafted through the air the closer Bo and CeCe came to camp. By the time the two lovebirds broke from the tree line, they were ravenous. Five sets of eyes turned toward them as they entered the camp, carrying filled canteens of water. Donny came rushing over and relieved CeCe of her load. “Thank the mother. I was beginning to think you guys fell off the planet. Give me the water and no one gets hurt.”  This was his form of greeting the two.

Bo watched his brother race towards the fire and the bag of beans. He got the pot on the fire, and sat back to await his “aquae vitae”. He looked at the others, and how they were watching him and CeCe. “What? Why are you guys acting so strange? Did you encounter more side effects of the stone? Learn something new about the prophecy? What?” He drew out the last word in a growl.

Dominic came towards them with a big smile plastered on his handsome face. He stepped between the two, before grabbing them in a big hug. “We just missed you guys SO much. We just couldn’t think what might be holding you up. That was until Az told us a secret. Bet you would love to know what that secret is?” He cracked up laughing as he finished teasing them.

Az rushed forward, scowling at the laughing Dom. He motioned for both CeCe and Bo to follow him a bit away from the crazy antics of the young ones. “Sorry guys, I was feeling so happy by what I came upon at the stream, that I kind of spilled the beans. I know I shouldn’t have said anything, but come on. You two finally expressed what we all have known for a while now.” He hung his head bashfully, before casting his cousin a wink.

When it occurred to CeCe what he was talking about her face took on a pinkish color. “Oh, my sweet mother. You heard and saw everything? And you didn’t let us know you were there? You, cousin are a terrible Felis. I’m so embarrassed.” She hid her face in Bo’s shirt. Bo scowled at his old friend while secretly enjoying the feel of CeCe in his arms.

“That was unkind, friend. You know if you kept your mouth shut, CeCe and I would have let you all know what was happening.” He felt CeCe stiffen at this statement. “Sorry, love but I am so happy I want to shout it from the mountain top.” He bent to place a kiss on her bent head. He couldn’t believe how he had missed all these years without her in his arms. It felt right for her to be there, her head so close to his heart.

Az came close and placed a kiss on his cousin’s head, and led them toward the fire and the tempting smells of a great breakfast. Donny even gave CeCe the first cup of coffee in a welcome to the family gesture. She felt truly loved by the band of miscreants that were all now her family.

Spooks sat off to the side watching the gang congratulate the lovers. He was glad they found each other, because in the coming days they would need that connection. He felt the hourglass sands shifting as time was running out to find the Triad. He didn’t even want to contemplate the alternative.
Not far away the thieves had found the abandoned cabin. They soon found the trail left by the gang. It was only a matter of time before they crossed paths. For one group, it would be the beginning of something new, for the other, only the Goddess knew.

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