BOOK OF IMMORTALS

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SEBASTIAN - She Meets Quandary

WaterRose, Meadow Mountain, Grier Country

SEBASTIAN

Sebastian stood atop the steps, staring down. Deciding.

He heard Teverius’ voice in his mind. As he had for several weeks. ‘If the girl has a weakness for cats and you have a weakness for she…Perhaps were you a kitty you’d have more opportunities to be close to her…’

Nothing else has worked…He shrugged.

Hesitating only a moment, he took the first step and his feet turned to smooth black paws as he quietly strode down. Relieved to find his pain lessened as he switched shapes. His body automatically healing what was damaged every time he changed form.

He rounded the doorway and his suspicions were confirmed.

There was his chair, high backed with ornate gilded trim and rich red and gold embroidery, wrapping around her like a hug.

Can she smell my scent when she sits there? He wondered. He always caught her aroma when he slumped into the plush cushions. A lovely floral scent, making it very hard to concentrate when he came here.

Dancing firelight played over her porcelain face making her eyes very dark in contrast. Though he could not feel the heat, he enjoyed the bliss on her face as she savored it. But despite her relaxed pose, elbow on the table and cheek resting on a small fist, he heard her rapid breathing and the slight speeding of her heart indicating whatever she considered now bothered her.

He debated entering her mind but thought better, deciding she’d earned enough trust to warrant her that small modicum of privacy. But he still wondered. What thoughts are going through your pretty little mind?

Lifting her head, she cracked her neck and unfurled her wings from the skin between her shoulder blades. The thin blue fabric of her dress moved as they reached out from beneath it. Her shoulder blade jutted with a slight scraping sound. The brown flesh-covered wing emerged. Unfolding like an accordion. Flexing her shoulder blades caused the ten-foot span to straighten, whispering over the furniture before relaxing.

Utterly silent he took a step back and ducked to evade one flexing wing.

Tightening her wings back against her body made them rest along her back and down over the arms of the chair and fall to the floor. She rose smoothly from the table and went to the open space in the library where the curling staircase lead to a higher level of books. She stretched them again and he heard the increase in her heart rate.

Exhilaration.

Arching her back with the movement she looked very much like a dark angel with her jutting curves outlined by the firelight in her pale blue dress. Enjoying the movement of her body, she made a purring sound in her throat.

He reflexively groaned.

Her eyes shot to the fireplace where the panther strode on soundless paws. Back rippling as his tongue slicked out to lick his mouth.

Eying the creature warily she crouched, eyes reddening as she hissed a threat.

I’m no threat to you.

The panther circled her with intent gold eyes before laying down on the thick oval fur, relaxing before the fire, he crossed his paws and rested his chin.

Mesmerized by the vivid gold orbs she straightened. Still watching it warily she approached on bare feet to better study the animal.

Yes, that a girl. Come closer. He stopped moving. Showing he didn’t fear her.

“Where have you been hiding?”

Here. Always here.

“I think I’ve glimpsed you afore…” She murmured.

She’s remembering the night she found me in my chamber.

Nearing slowly, she ceased breathing. Finally lowering to a knee, she reached out a hand for him to scent.

Wildflowers. Ducking his head, he craned it toward her. Smelling her before nuzzling her palm.

She giggled softly in response and scratched the softness of its cheeks and chin. Pressing into her hand it turned its head to be closer to her.

He was stunned at the foreign sound of her laughter. Pleasant. Soft and lilting.

I’d never tire of hearing that sound.

Dropping to her knees she stroked the panther’s back. Feeling the satin fur warm under her hand, she was comforted by the beast.

As he’d suspected. She’s more comfortable with animals then people.

It was interesting to see this side of her. Warm and smiling. Greeting someone with a friendliness he so rarely saw.

I understand. Animals ask for so little whereas people always need a lot. Rumbling softly, he placed a massive head in her lap.

Contentedly rubbing between his ears, she slipped to the floor and edged closer. “I could use a companion.” She whispered softly.

His huge gold eyes watched her impassively.

“Do you belong to Sebastian?” It plopped its head back to her lap in answer.

Better question is: Do you belong to Sebastian? He blinked huge soul-seeing eyes at her.

“Fair enough. You’re mine now.” Rubbing its muscled back, she was surprised at the stiff feel of the hair there.

“I’ll call you Quandary.”

Quandary isn’t that a fitting term for me trying to garner her attention in whatever form she’ll give it to me. He nudged its head against her belly in approval.

At least she didn’t decide on something like Blackberry. He grimaced at the thought.

At length Elsabet rose to leave, her red, purple, and blue tunic flowed around her, belted round her tiny waist. Characteristic blue jewels dangled over her forehead and from her ears. Clinking as she moved. She glanced down surprised to find Quandary moving in step with her. Her brows lifted. She knelt to pat its back and peer under its belly.

What are you doing?

“A male.” She murmured with an eye roll.

Would that you were that interested any other time!

“First of your gender I’ve appreciated in a long time.” She laughed ruefully and rose again.

Fantastic. Grand news. Just grand.

In her chamber she went to the bed and opened the tunic. Letting it fall before she eased under the coverlet.

Ack. Were he a man he’d have tossed his hands in frustration. As the cat he could only look up at the ceiling, praying for patience.

She sighed comfortably when Quandary joined her, over the blankets, to snuggle warmly into her back. She was fast asleep in moments.

Utterly unaware of his agony in knowing she lay right next to him. Warm and soft and currently, yielding. Completely absent any clothing under the coverlet.

He drew a quaking breath. I’m leaving this room as soon as she falls asleep.

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