Sealed With a Kiss
The story she loved to tell, but never thought to live.
The wind howled around her as she adjusted her grip on the ticking device, counting down the moments left until she could return home.
A roar sounded in the distance, echoing off the surrounding mountains. He was awake. Already? How?
Holding the device closer to her face to see through the heavy snow and rain pelting her hands, it showed at least another two minutes until powered completely for use. Looking furtively around for a place to hide before that…monster…found her; and he would, she knew that much about him.
Running as fast as her wet fur boots would allow in the slushy snow, she hid under a large evergreen, with branches touching the ground while the heavy snow floated down around it. Underneath was surprisingly dry, old brown needles making a soft bed to wait while her device powered up.
Josephine Daman sat as still as she could, her breath coming out in white puffs of air, and wondered where her very organized and well-executed (although slightly delayed) plan had gone awry. Hearing footfalls nearby, she pushed herself up against the hard bark of the tree, hiding her face inside her coat to muffle the panicked breaths.
“Josephine!” he bellowed, making her jump.
She could barely see his outline through the thick branches, and as the snow came down, she hoped her tracks were no longer visible. Snow crunched as he circled around the tree, throwing his head left and right, scanning the area for any sign of her. Just then, her device whirred loudly, pinging to signal full power mode but she wasn’t fast enough in stuffing it inside her heavy cloak.
A big hand shot through the tree branches and grasped her hood, she screamed, and was pulled out into the snow once again. Still holding her hood with one hand, he grasped the front of the fur cloak and lifted her slowly until they were on the same level.
Glacial blue eyes, hard and as cold as the ice in these mountains met her own green eyes, huge with fear.
“Garrick,” Josephine whispered, teeth chattering as she barely managed to get the word out while her feet dangled a foot off the ground, “I can ex- “
The man actually growled, showing even white teeth, and shoved his face closer to hers.
Josephine cleared her throat to try again, stalling for time as her hand discretely felt inside her coat pockets for the device. Garrick’s eyes caught the slight movements, and immediately removed one of the hands holding her to discover what she was hiding by pinning her arms behind her body as he held her against him. His other arm was working its way inside her coat, almost to her secret pocket holding the device. Struggling, Josephine tried to get free, even tried to use the self-defense moves she’d paid for last summer, but to no avail.
With no other option left to distract him, she leaned in, and kissed him.
Garrick froze, too stunned to react. Of all the possible outcomes for this situation, a kiss from the little woman with too many secrets was not what he’d envisioned. Well, he had envisioned kissing her, just not her being the one to initiate it since their last conversation – if you could call it that – ended in her drawing blood with his sword, and then drugging his wine in order to escape to wherever it was she was going. Not to mention she spoke down to him, from her short height, as though he were a lowborn boy instead of the hidden leader of the Lykir royal bloodline.
Feeling her lips move against his brought him back to the present, and he reacted with instinct. Just as his head tilted, taking over and deepening the kiss, Garrick felt Josephine’s body tense. She clearly hadn’t expected this reaction from him.
He let Josephine slide down his body until she stood before him, then framed her face with his big hands to look into her eyes and leaned down to inhale that sweet spot between her neck and ear. As it had the first time he’d come across her scent in the woods, it made his chest swell, his heart thump faster, and again the thought came from deep within, She is mine.
The decision made, Garrick held the cold metal object he’d secretly taken during the kiss and watched her face pale when he placed it inside his own cloak. His curiosity was one of his weaknesses and deciding it best to keep the object if it was something she wanted, only added to the appeal of keeping it for himself.
Josephine screamed words he’d never heard before as he wrapped her cloak firmly closed, trapping her flailing limbs, and lifted her into his arms. By all the gods, she was full of fire.
She reared back her head and slammed it into his nose. Crack.
Blood pouring from his nose now, Garrick dropped her in the snow and reached inside his own cloak for the metal device. Her angry foreign words stopped, and her eyes locked on to what was in his hand.
She attacked. All claws, screams, and fury coming from a little woman whose size reminded him more of a large child. Unphased, Gavin glanced again at the object and wondered what was so special about it? It made a chiming sound just then, and the woman doubled her efforts, and slammed her knee into his groin.
That got his attention, Josephine thought. His icy blue eyes shot to her face, as he pulled his arm back preparing to throw her device into the snowstorm.
“NO!” she screamed, watching it arch high into the snow and disappearing far in the distance. She looked back at him at a loss for words, tears gathering in her eyes.
Gavin the Fierce, heir and leader of the Lykir, wrapped her once again in the cloak and carried her down the mountain. Josephine looked over his shoulder in the direction of where she last saw the device. All that remained of her way home was the little black book in her hidden pack sewn to her cloak. It was a diary that came with the device her family had passed down for generations, sharing their own adventures and stories from each use. Maybe it contained details on how to make a new device. Maybe she could come up here again once the snow melted in the spring, that was just a few weeks away. Looking up at Gavin’s clenched jaw, she dismissed the second option…for now.