Fire and Ice: book 1

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Ten

Calder

When the women, known as Kenna’s sisters, came into my room and explained what had happened I could barely focus. It was like a fog had moved through my brain, and it made my senses dull to nearly everything.

After touching Kenna for the first time intentionally, I was like a nervous dog, adrenaline racing through me. I could practically feel it on my skin. The hair on my arms stood tall and my spine tingled while I looked this way and that, in front of Kenna and her sisters, on the way back to the room. There was no way I was going to do that again. It freaked the living hell out of me. I was afraid I was gonna puke in her lap, to be honest.

I could hear all three women talking to Kenna, and reassuring her...or maybe that was the quiet one, I haven’t gotten all their names memorized yet. Every time I heard Kenna respond I cringed. She talked in a broken voice like she just got punched in the throat, and it hurt my ears. It made me want to help her. Talk for her...or something. I just...there was this feeling in the pit of my stomach and I wasn’t sure if it was longing; longing to be near her again, longing to make her feel better, longing to...I dug deep down and studied that feeling until we reached the bedroom doorway. Longing to kiss her.

Wait, wait, wait. That can’t be right. How can that be? I wanted to gag when I touched her not one minute ago. Now I want to kiss her? I shake my head like that would clear the thought from my mind, pushing it back. But as I stepped aside to let the sisters bring still-weak Kenna into the room, my eyes sought out her lips. Obviously I didn’t push very well. The thought was right there in the forefront of my mind, as my eyes gazed her full lower lip. A lip I could nibble on. Oh my God! I had to try and keep my guts from coming up on that thought.

“Calder.”

I snapped out of it, realizing my eyes had glazed over, staring off into space...or in this case the opaque cave wall. My eyes broke contact with the wall, and connected to the sound of Kenna’s voice, and I saw her now siting crisscrossed in the middle of our king sized bed. Aside from her looking very comfortable, I could tell by the way her eyes were at half-mast that she was drained of energy...still.

I didn’t like that one bit. I didn’t like that she could hardly keep her head up but she continuously wants to be strong. Finally answering, after studying the way she looked I responded, “Kenna, you can sit back.” I finished raising my eyebrows.

She shook her head, and it almost looked like her eyes rolled back with exhaustion.

Okay fine. New tactic. I crossed my arms standing a foot away from the end of the bed. “Kenna lay back before you pass out again.” Knowing that she didn’t have it in her, I figured I could win this time. Not that we’ve ever had a fight yet. I know it’s bound to come, knowing Kenna.

She sat up taller and looked me straight in the eye. “No.”

I huffed. “You know I’m not gonna touch you any time soon. Now lay down, Kenna.” I haven’t raised my voice yet, although I was never known to when I got mad.

This time her brows made a little V, unconnected at its point in the middle of her forehead. She looked cute when she was confused. I almost smiled at that, but I kept my face straight. I was trying to be serious here after all.

Kenna still sat there looking at me with a determined look about her, but she was starting to get weak. I could see it in the way her shoulders slumped. Or the way her hands started to fist in her lap. Kenna was trying so hard to act strong. But this time it was her who needed the rest, not me. This time I get to take care of her... but without the touching. Actually I’m not really sure how that was gonna work, but I’d figure it out.

Before I knew it her strength to fight me snapped and she fell back against the pillows, propped into a sitting position. She rocked herself a little so she was half laying, half sitting against the pillows, and then she gave me another one of her looks.

I stared back not quiet sure what she wanted, and afraid she was giving me the expectant look because something was wrong, and I should know it.

Wait a sec. I looked back at her with a different air. “Your sister, the one with the blue eyes -”

“Kallan.”

“Yeah, Kallan...She said something. Something about me dying if you did.” I was thinking as I said this. What did she, Kallan with the blue eyes, mean by this.

“Yeah, we’re mates.” She said coolly, watching for my reaction.

And oh did I have one. I raised my eyebrows and my arms dropped from my hips to my sides, hanging there. That’s right. Oh crap. “What do you mean we’re mates? Like soul mates?” I asked, starting to pace back and forth at the end of the bed.

Kenna was sitting with her legs outstretched in the middle of the bed, biting her lip. The bed was so soft that her weight made the bed rise up around her, and her legs were hardly visible. I turned to her for a second waiting for the answer, and then I started pacing again. Back and forth, back and forth.

“Can you stop pacing? You’re making me dizzy.” Kenna said first and I turned away from the doorway to watch her. “Okay,” taking in a deep breath she continued, “you may need to sit down for this.”

I turned to her, feeling like I was going to explode if she didn’t hurry up and tell me; the anticipation was a killer. I shifted in my place, almost bouncing from one foot to the next.

I thought about it. But it took only a second. “No. I’m good. Tell me Kenna. Now.” I said, almost demanded, but I was afraid of what she might have to say.

“Okay,” She paused, and the next thing that came out sounded all like one word. “I’m-a-nymph.” Then Kenna’s lips sealed shut.

“Say that again?” I stopped shifting my weight ñ a nervous habit ñ and tilted my head like a dog trying to hear clearer. I lowered my eyebrows in concentration.

“I’m not gonna say it again.” She stated strongly, and then she repeated it, going against her word. “I’m a nymph.” This time it was fast, but clear enough to understand.

I don’t think my eyebrows could have gone any lower than they already were. Once they reached their point of lowering over my eyes, and my muscles between my eyes started to hurt, they shot up into my hairline and I responded. “W-what? You’re a...a nymph?”

She was biting at her nails and not responding. She wasn’t lying. I looked at her for a moment before I could really wrap my head around it, like I was going to find physical evidence of what she claimed to be. I found none of course, besides her majorly curvy form, planes of skin showing, even as she lie there – an invitation – on the bed.

I stepped closer as my eyes saw her flat stomach and bare legs. She wore a crop top that cut low between her breasts and shorts that never reached her thighs. Was she always this revealing? Did my mind just black it out because of what I’ve gone through? I gazed at her in a new light now. Even as she chewed on a nail it stayed perfectly formed, and her body gleamed with confidence. How could I be so blind not to have seen this?

Kenna was watching my reaction...calculating it.

“So you’re a creature who walks around nude, making men drool all over you?” I asked firmly.

Kenna crossed her arms now, and firmly tucked them up under her breasts so to push them up further. I looked away before I drooled all over her, and scolded myself for noticing such a thing so quickly.

“Well?” I practically yelled...But not quiet, wanting to know what kind of lie she told me for the past two weeks.

“Yes, I’m a nymph, and yes I used to have fun seducing the weak men and creatures that roamed near by.”

I stepped back all of a sudden almost tripping over myself. I couldn’t trust her any more. I couldn’t let her touch me. I couldn’t look at her. I couldn’t...Oh God! I let her sleep next to me! This...this slut of a women. No, this whore of a creature.

I could feel the disgusted look on my face as I looked back at her.

Kenna sat up quickly, her breasts bouncing as she released them. “Now, don’t go there, Calder. I haven’t had someone since you came.” She paused, and then like she was embarrassed, “I couldn’t bring myself to do it.”

“Why?” I spat out, like I was disgusted with the thought of her not having sex. Maybe its because I expected her to. She is a nymph after all.

Kenna had just enough strength to glare at me. “Oh I don’t know! Maybe because you’re my mate?” She answered, being sarcastic.

“Wait what?”

She almost rolled her eyes, too. It seemed like she had just enough energy to give me half of what she’s feeling. “Do I have to repeat everything to you!?” Kenna’s voice was so weak that it wasn’t much of a yell, but the way she glared at me made my hands shake.

“Don’t yell, Kenna.” I said almost weakly.

“Why?” She spat the word out this time. And she did it with such force that I jumped.

I stood there at the end of the bed feeling like I wanted to flee. She looked back, her eyes softening in small degrees the more she watched my posture. Feeling the tense pressure in between my shoulder blades and the shaking of my hands, I could only associate this to the fear back when my father used to yell, and I was too weak to stand in his towering shadow.

I try to be strong, but every once in a while I hear the gruffness in the person who raised their voice, and I feel this shaky tense feeling. I want to run from the situation every time I feel it. “I’m sorry.” I looked down at my feet then, like I used to in my fathers shadow right before I got beaten.

“Calder, look at me.” Kenna’s voice sang out smoothly. It calmed my fear and agitation just enough to look up in the face of my father, a monster. No! I mean Kenna, a woman with a strong soul.

“Calder.”

I must not be truly looking at her because she sounded worried. What was wrong with me? I tried though. I really did. I tried to look through the past that keeps pushing itself in front of my eyes, covering them like a thick wool blanket. I couldn’t see Kenna, and the fear that had subsided seconds ago came back full force, and I backed away. I backed away far enough to touch the cold rock wall, even though I didn’t register all of my actions.

I shrunk into myself hearing my father's voice on repeat. You will never be like me. And you son of a bitch, you’re just as weak as your whore of a mother. Or what do ya think you’re doing? Get out of the way. And then he would shove me hard enough so that I would fall back and injure myself.

In the distance I could hear my name being called by a woman. My mother? “Calder. Calder, look at me. Calder, it’ll be okay.” And then the one that hurts the most. “Calder, don’t leave me.”

The line came out of my mouth like it was rehearsed. “I’ll come back for you Mamma. I promise.” But that’s just it. I never came back. I never went back to save my mother from that bastard. I never had the guts to save the only woman who knew the truth of what hell we lived through, and who protected her only son through it all.

“What?” There was a pause and I was confused, because there was never a response after what I promised. “Calder, look at me. Concentrate. I’m right here.” Then a warm hand was placed on my cheek.

I flinched away on natural instinct, but I could feel my eyelids blink, clearing my vision of the retched memories. Then I saw the woman in front of me who saved my life. Not my mother, but Kenna. A nymph who happened to be my mate who hasn’t touched me...ever, and now she is, and I’m not flinching away. I’m not gagging and my stomach isn’t pinched or twisting. Kenna’s hand was rested on my right cheek and her thumb moved slowly back and forth under my cheekbone as a tear slowly descended.

“I’m sorry.” I said, on a tight voice.

She looked up into my eyes, and for once Kenna looked like she understood. “What for?” Saying it like a mother made my chest tighten up, and a manly squeak was produced from my throat. I was not going to cry I was not going to cry. Don’t cry you asshole.

But that’s just what I did. Silently at first, and then as my shoulders started to shake, I let out tight breathless sounds, like I’ve been holding it in all this time. All these years. The years I tried to be strong, strong for my mother, strong for society. I let it go...all of it, in this tiny cave room. I let go in front of the woman I’ve come to have feelings for without really recognizing it. A nymph nonetheless. “Oh God. Oh no, it’ll be fine. There’s no

need to cry.” Kenna sounded shocked for a moment, and then she started to reassure me. “Shhh, Calder,” Then she came closer, wrapping her arms around my shoulders. “Shhh.”

Before I leaned into her, resting my chin on her slender shoulder I shook my head, silently telling her that I couldn’t stop, and wouldn’t because this was bound to happen. The rage was pent up for so long, the only way to let it out now was through salty tears.

I could feel her breath against my cheek and her heartbeat against my chest. When I tried to feel mine I noticed the beating was erratic. It didn’t match hers and it was beating double time, beating to a different emotion.

Soon my heart started to slow its pace, and I breathed in every time I could feel Kenna’s chest contract away from mine, just by a few inches. My heart soon matched hers and we untangled our arms, and I straightened up from the wall.

I looked down at Kenna almost embarrassed. But I didn’t look away. I didn’t need to. Kenna was there for me when it all poured out. Even when she had no idea where it was coming from. Instead I looked into her eyes and then at her pale face. She’s used up too much energy by comforting me. I studied her long enough, even though we were inches apart, to see her knees quake and her slack determined look.

I had to do it for her. I had to be her mate. Even though I found this new idea scary, deep down I wanted to be with her.

Leaning down I took in a short breath and watched as she leaned forward. Kenna hesitated only the slightest as the promise she gave me earlier ran through my mind. I would never do what they did to you. I would never force you. Well this wasn’t forcing...it was a feeling. One that felt right.

Our thoughts were one. One mind, one body. In that moment I realized we were one, connected. Her feelings mirrored mine depending on the strength behind them.

Our lips locked. I intended to give her a quick strong one. But I found myself inching forward. I found myself reaching for her as she was reaching for me. My fingers threaded their way through Kenna’s red, curly hair, and her hands reached down the back collar of my shirt with splayed fingers.

I found myself not caring that she touched me so intimately; instead I pushed at the itchy feeling that ran through me every time skin contact was possible. I felt free again. Free from the caged off feeling of no touch from another. Free enough to give Kenna more. More passion, more power...more feeling.

In return she became stronger and nipped at my lips, and I responded by swiping my tongue across her bottom lip. Not a question to come inside, but enough for her to open her mouth a little more. She gave me the possibility of exploring her, but as my kisses softened she realized I wasn’t ready. So instead she bit down and we both moaned at the same time.

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