After getting out of the lake and drying off, they sat on the grass quietly and ate some more of their rations.
Violet couldn’t wipe the goofy grin off her face. What they had done in the water had been magical for her.
Keel had said that he’d pleasured himself daily, and Violet was no stranger to the self obtained orgasm. But it was nothing like what she felt with Keel. Having his hands on her, his mouth kissing hers, his long, thick cock rubbing against her most sensitive place had thrown her over the edge so hard that she still felt little aftershocks. She was incredibly thankful to Keel for not pushing her any further. Not once did he try to lift her bra or slip his fingers into her panties. He was such a respectful man.
“Do you know how much further we need to go?” Keel asked.
She swallowed the dry, tasteless food and said, “Not far. I think we should find this place by tomorrow. It’s gonna get dark soon, right?”
He nodded, “Yes. We will hike for another few hours, but we will need to start looking for a place to camp for the night.”
“I wish we didn’t have to stop at all. I keep getting these flashes of what Spot can see. They’re not hurting him right now, but I can feel how scared he is. Whatever is happening to him, it’s bad, Keel.”
“I swear to you, I will do everything I can to save him. But my main task right now is keeping you safe. Are you finished?” He asked, gesturing to her meal. She nodded and handed him the bag.
Once they were packed up and ready to go, Keel pulled out his daggers and began hacking away at the vines.
They walked for a couple more hours, chatting about everything and nothing important.
Keel told her stories of when he and Tark were little, about their father, and growing up in the lake house. Violet spoke about her childhood and what it was like to have three older sisters.
Finally, Keel stopped under a huge red and blue tree. There was a fallen tree trunk lying next to the towering tree and plenty of the glowing plants he’d shown her the night before.
Dropping his backpack on the ground, Keel went up to the fallen trunk and looked inside.
Nodding, he stood straight and lifted his nose to the air. Taking in long breaths, he nodded again and turned to her.
“We should be alright here for the night. This trunk was a den for some creature, but it has been abandoned for some time now. It’s big enough for both of us to fit inside. It should protect us while we rest.”
“Okay, so tonight’s five star accommodation is… rustic, natural, fun sized room with an open air bathroom, and nature views. I like it.”
Chuckling, Keel knelt by the bag and began pulling out some of his medical supplies. That was when she noticed his hands.
Keel’s knuckles were a bloody mess from the thick vines and bushes he’d been hacking away all day.
“Keel, your hands!” She cried, rushing over to him. She took them in her own hands and studied them closely.
“It’s alright. It’s just a few shallow cuts. Nothing the healing gel won’t fix by morning.”
Anger flooded Violet at the sight of the man she loved hurt.
“This shouldn’t have happened to you. To either of us. Why would someone take Spot just to hurt him? He hasn’t done anything wrong. He’s attended every single test Bor and his scientists wanted from him, without so much as a hiss. He’s sweet, playful, and protective,” She had to blink back tears as she spoke, “Why would someone want to hurt him?”
Keel pulled his hands free and cupped her face. He stared intently into her eyes for a moment, then said, “As much as us Torian’s like to believe we are all honorable people, there are still those among us that are vile and cruel. Those that do not care about who or what they hurt in the pursuit of their own gains.”
Violet blinked, allowing the tears to slip down her cheek.
“I’m so scared for him. I don’t want to lose him… But I hate the idea of you in danger even more. I’m so sorry I got us into this.”
“Hush, my little mate,” He pulled her into his arms as sobs began to wrack her body, “It’s alright. I would rather be here with you than anywhere else in the universe.”
“What if we die out here, Keel?”
“Shh… If we do, then I will have died at my mates side, fighting for her. There is nothing more honorable than that to me.”
She glared up at him, “What! You’re supposed to tell me that we won’t die. That we will find Spot and make it home.”
He grinned. “Would you believe me if I had said such things? You are a smart female, Violet. You know what we are facing. The fact that we have survived this long is a mercy from the Great God.”
“Great!” She sobbed, “Now we’re going to die in this stupid jungle and I’m still a virgin!”
She could have slapped him when she felt his whole body shake with his chuckle.
Sniffing, she wiped away her tears and smiled.
“I’m sorry,” She said, shifting to look up at him. She took his hands into hers and gently began applying the healing gel.
“Why are you sorry?”
“For that little meltdown. I don’t usually lose my shit like that.”
“Violet,” He pulled a hand free and lifted her chin so she would look at him. “You have nothing to be sorry for. I know that you are tough, strong and fierce, but you are also a person who is entitled to have feelings. If you want my opinion, I think you should show more of them. Let them out.”
“I can’t. I’m the tough sister. The fighter. Lilly is the healer, Tulip is the smart one, and Rose is the beautiful one. Being tough means I can’t do things like cry.”
“You are so wrong in that. Even the strongest of warriors cries. Me, Tark, even Bor have wept at times because of overwhelming emotions. One of the lessons taught to each warrior is that emotions are never a weakness. Please, little fighter, never be ashamed to show your true emotions around me.”
“Thanks, hot stuff. But I’m okay with my role most of the time. And my sisters know that when I need to, I will go to them and let it all out. It’s just… Living here, on Toria, it’s hard, you know. I begged Bor to let me join the warrior training program, and I love it, but… But it’s hard to keep up some days. Then there are the kids at school who think us humans are polluting the perfect Torian blood and should be put down like rabid animals-”
“What?” Keel growled.
Her eyes flew up to his, “Uh, yeah. You and the others never see or hear about it, because no one would dare say something like that around Bor. Not now that Lilly is about to pop out one of his babies.”
“Who said this to you?”
“It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it’s the opinion of some people.”
“It does matter, Violet. Threatening of the Lady of Toria and possibly the future king growing inside her in such a way is terrorism. It cannot be allowed to go unpunished.”
She sighed. She hadn’t meant to rat Arlim out to Keel like that. Not that he knew who she was talking about, but it wouldn’t take him long to find out. All he would have to do is ask Tamna or Golva, and they would spill everything to him.
“Look,” She said, reaching for his other hand to apply the gel, “I don’t want to get into all that right now, okay. All I’m saying is that us humans are not the most popular of races on this planet. And it’s not always easy for us to show weakness.”
Keel pulled his hand out of hers and took the tub of healing gel from her. He placed it on the grass next to him, before he pulled out their food packs.
“I understand,” He said, handing her a pouch, “I do. And I wish there was a way to protect you from that-”
“Let me finish,” He smiled at her. “But… I know that wanting to protect you from everything or every person that says something hurtful is foolish. You are strong enough to take care of yourself. But I do want you to be able to come to me when the emotions get too much. I will never think less of you if all you want to do is lay in my arms and cry all night. It’s one of the most vital parts of being a good mate.”
She nodded. “Deal. And the same goes for you. If you have stuff you want to get off your chest, then I’m always here for you.”
“Very well. For now, we need to get some rest. You look exhausted.”
She frowned, crossing her arms over her chest. “How can you not be tired? You’ve been hacking at vines all day, walking for miles and you didn’t sleep last night. You should be dead on your feet.”
He chuckled, “The longest I have ever gone without sleep was five days. I thought I would go mad by the last night, but I managed to survive it. So yes, I do feel worn out, but I can still go for a few more days without sleep.”
Violet just shook her head at him. Tough guy through and through.
“Okay then. This trunk looks big enough for both of us. How do you want to do this?”
“You go in first and I will stay by the opening to keep watch.”
“I am not going into that dark hole first. I can’t even imagine the creepy crawlies that live there.”
Keel stood and reached out a hand to help her to her feet. Moving towards the trunk, he peered inside for a moment, then said, “It looks clear. If there is anything in there, I doubt it’s dangerous to us.”
Violet shivered, her imagination showing her images of her covered in weird alien spiders or other nasty bugs. But it was all they had for the night. And it was better than being out in the open. Even though she didn’t know this jungle at all, she still had the sense to realize that sitting unprotected all night in the open was a stupid idea.
With a long sigh, Violet bent down and slowly entered the hollowed out trunk. It smelled earthy and wet, like the forest after it rained.
A moment later, Keel climbed in, pulling his bag in behind him. They both found a comfortable place to settle, with Violet laying against Keel’s side and his arm over her shoulders.
They were quiet for a long time before Violet finally said, “I don’t think the others noticed we’re missing.”
“But they haven’t come looking for us.”
“Not yet. But I can assure you, Tark noticed that I was not at the meeting this morning. And by now, he will be looking for me. Even if he wanted to give you and I a day to… well, to spend together, he would want to speak to me to know how it went. I know my brother, he will want to know everything.”
She chuckled, “Gossip much?”
“You did the exact same thing with all of your sisters. In fact, I can remember the first night at my mothers house.”
She laughed, “Yeah, yeah. But that’s because we could hear them going at it like bunnies all night and I knew I wasn’t gonna get any.”
Keel stayed quiet for a moment. His body tensed and his voice lost the smile it had before.
“I’m sorry, Violet.”
“For taking so long. For denying us both what we wanted.”
Violet cuddled closer to his solid warm chest, loving how it felt to be in his arms. “My dad always used to say that everything happens in its own time. When we first met, I was too young for you. We had to be friends and really get to know each other before we could move forward. It sucked, but it was necessary.”
“Yes. I agree with that.”
A huge yawn broke from Violet’s lips, and she tucked her head into him more, closing her eyes.
It wasn’t the best position to sleep in, and she would be stiff again in the morning, but being so close to him, being held by Keel was the best feeling in the world.
It didn’t take her long to drift off into a light, dreamless sleep.