Bloodlines, p.29
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       Bloodlines, p.29

           Trisha Lynn

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Adeila stepped off the last step and was greeted by the ever exuberant Kami.

  “Hi!” Kami smiled brightly, but said nothing else as Loki gestured to them, his eyes lighting on the small Fae girl.

  “So I'm having Sorryn and Kami come with us so it doesn't seem so odd for me to be showing someone around alone. Usually when we bring someone here my team would be involved; so to give no ideas of question, they will walk with us, if that is okay with you?”

  Adeila shrugged and nodded; glad that she'd not be alone with Loki.

  As they stepped outside, Sorryn gestured to Loki. “A word.”

  The men stepped aside a ways, and Kami walked down the walkway a little, Adeila was struck with curiosity for a moment but walked along with Kami. They stood awkwardly for a moment; it was easy to see that Kami was trying to be respectful but really wanted to fill the void with chatter. Instead Adeila decided she'd try tuning her hearing into the guys’ conversation.

  She caught the tail end of the conversation. Sorryn's voice, “She’s been asking about you. Just thought it would be best to avoid that area, you know?”

  Loki's very audible sigh of exasperation. “Thank you, Sorryn. I appreciate that. If only she would take the hint.”

  Then Sorryn's very deep male laughter, some grumbling from Loki and the conversation was done. Adeila smiled to Kami and decided it would be best not to look like she was listening in.

  “So, Kami, how do you like living in the Fae after the human realm?”

  Kami's eyes lit up at the question. “Oh my goodness, it's so different! In a good way. There's so much less noise for one! We lived in Tulsa - Mom and I - and it was just so noisy... and smelly. You couldn't even smell the forest!”

  Adeila crinkled her nose appropriately, as Loki and Sorryn approached. She tried to hide any kind of guilt she had at listening to their, obviously private, conversation about some random girl that Loki was seeing, or had been seeing. At least that's the gist she was gathering from the snippets of conversation. She tried not to think of it. No wonder you shouldn't eavesdrop. Sheesh.

  Once they left the castle's large stone main gate, she got a good view of the village below. It was stunning. Small cottages dotted the lower lands, with meadows, fields, gardens, stables, forest, brooks and waterfalls scattered for miles. She could physically feel the magic from the land and the Fae touch her skin, caress the pulse of energy within her. They walked straight down the main road, many people stopped to talk to Loki and his team, or waved in the very least. They were clearly well liked and respected here.

  Adeila couldn't help but notice behind the cottages; the large trees appeared to have homes built within them. Either in the huge trunks, or within the very branches of the trees.

  Sorryn piped up when he saw her bewildered look. “Many Fae choose to live within the trees. If the tree is large enough, many make a home within it, which spirals up into the tree tops. Some, as you can see, are built like human tree houses.”

  He gestured to one in particular that was a huge log like home within the giant branches. It had railings, with small Faerie bulbs of light strung along them, and even a rocking chair by the door. The spiral staircase went from the porch area to the ground. All made from rough looking branches and rough ax cut wood. It was literally something out of a humanized Fairy tale. Oh wait; she was living a Faerie tale, for real.

  She was mesmerized by the way the Fae lived. Rope bridges spanned above them, allowing tree top access to the tree homes. Even shop fronts began dotting up. A Cafe, a bookstore, a smith, a jewelry store. Market stalls were set up here and there with different fruits and vegetables. She assumed they must barter with each other for things, as Loki had said they do not really have the use of currency.

  “We live just as comfortably as humans.” Loki's voice was very close to her ear, and pulled her out of her spellbound trance.

  “I can see that.” She couldn't keep the wonder out of her voice. He smiled down at her, pointed out a few Fae, and told her their names and what they did for the realm. Putting faces to tasks was interesting.

  Ujich was the jeweler. He made some of the finest Fae jewelry in the entire realm. He used magic to infuse leaves, flowers, moss, and other things within their forest to make colorful, stunning beaded jewelry, and encased them from glass that was found in the Northern coastline. Which she soon noticed when they passed by the shop. She had to resist the urge to stop and gawk.

  Magistra, was the towns herb and remedy healer, and also Sorryn and Saibol's mother. She was a stunning woman with long auburn hair, and very lovely green eyes, identical to her daughters. They stopped and spoke with her for several moments. It was clear that she knew exactly who Adeila was, but kept up the facade for them. It was nice that at least someone knew who she really was. Adeila felt a bit like a fake with the falsely colored hair and eyes. She felt like hiding whom she truly was, was wrong, but she did believe it may be best for her and her family at this moment. And she knew she'd essentially be doing the same thing when she returned to the human realm.

  They rounded a corner, heading away from the village, when a female voice stopped their small party cold.

  “Why Loki, there you are.” They all turned around. The sultry voice matched the face and body of the woman speaking. The instant Adeila's eyes registered her, the reaction was instantaneous. Recognition. This was the woman from the Cafe, the one across from the bookstore. The one she'd gotten the weird vibes from. Her hair was longer, curlier and more shades of honey and wheat color then it had been in the human realm. Her eyes were no longer just mossy green, but shades of moss and sage. She was tall, with a well-muscled frame. She wasn't petite like Marissa or willowy, like Adeila herself, or tiny and compact like Kami. This woman was built like a, well, woman. Curves and muscles in all right places. She looked like she could kick major ass and look incredibly hot while doing so. Like one of those video game heroines.

  Adeila had to stifle the reaction of recognition and try hard to look normal, if not a little wonder struck by her beauty. This was an obvious, general first reaction to this woman. The conversation at the Cafe that she had overheard came flooding back to her.

  So that's the thing that's got him tied up? The King's little delivery boy has his hands full with this little girl?

  We'll just see how this pans out with him, and then we'll step in. No need to make this little rabbit spook. Let him do his job for now.

  Adeila swallowed down the nausea she felt. She still had no idea what that conversation meant, but there was little doubt as to who she spoke of now.

  Loki's apprehension was obvious. His golden eyes turned dark. “Marla.”

  “Oh, and who's your new friend? New part of the dream team?”

  Kami stepped quickly in front of Adeila. “No, this is actually my cousin Coral. She's only visiting. Coral. Marla.” Kami gestured to each of them, and for Adeila she sent her a wink. The cover story had sounded perfect to everyone else, to this woman the absurdity of it came off in waves. Or maybe that was just how Adeila saw it, since it was clear that she and this woman knew the story was absurd. Adeila tried to hold the woman's knowing gaze, but then Loki touched her arm briefly and her focus was completely lost.

  “Marla, is there something we can do for you? If not we have work to complete here.”

  Marla's eyes turned quickly from Adeila to Loki, and something in them switched. To Adeila she'd given that knowing, almost malevolent grin. To Loki it was feral, predatory, and sensual. It was a look filled with longing and desire. It was almost too much for public consumption.

  “Actually there is. May I speak with you in private?”

  Again Loki's apprehension came off him in full oceanic-like waves. It was so obvious to Adeila that there had been something between them. Maybe even still was. It was also obvious by everything Loki was giving off that he had moved on. It was also obvious that crazy pants, Marla, had not.

  “I rea
lly don't -”

  Marla moved closer. “It will only take a moment. Promise.” Her tone dripped of sex and promise. It was nauseating.

  Loki sighed dramatically, turned to Sorryn, then to Kami, then to Adeila. When he turned to her, his eyes were dark, not a stitch of golden in them, they were deep gray, brown, green, tinged with flame. It was something she'd yet to see in him, and it was a little scary. He mouthed I'm sorry, and then turned to Marla.

  “Seriously, Marla, one minute!” Then they moved off together.

  “She gives me the hee-bee-jeebies!” Kami whispered when they were out of earshot.

  Sorryn nodded. “Yeah, he's told her to back off so many times and she just doesn't get it.”

  Adeila watched Loki's very rigid back as Marla tried unsuccessfully to touch his chest. She tuned in her unpredictable hearing but only heard snippets.

  “I told you this is over between us, Marla.”

  “But I never thought you were actually serious about that. We only see each other a few months out of the year; we have some fun than go our separate ways. It's worked out for the past two years perfectly.”

  “Well, I want something different now, Marla. I no longer want what we had.”

  “I just don't believe it. Is there someone else?”

  There was a pause where Adeila couldn't see what the woman was trying to do, only Loki trying to move her hands away, and his stop spoken numerous times.

  “I promise you I can give you so much more than anyone else can.”

  “No, Marla. Just... No. I told you this was through. I meant it.”

  She managed to run a hand down his arm, before he pulled it away and began to turn.

  “You'll be back, Loki. You know you will. What we had was amazing. You won't forget it. I promise you that.”

  The last words seemed like a promise. A threat. A shiver ran down Adeila's spine. She felt genuine fear for Loki and wasn't sure why. He could easily protect himself against this woman, even if she did look incredibly strong. It was the threat and promise behind her words of, “you won't forget it. I promise you that”. It was the magic that brushed against her at the words, like the woman intended something threatening towards him. Adeila tried to brush it off, as the woman stalked away, hips swaying.

  When he reached them, he said, “I'm so sorry about that guys.”

  It was directed towards all of them, but his eyes were on hers. The darkness in them was still there, but it was lightening as they were fastened on hers.

  “Crazy bitch.” Was Sorryn's response, followed closely by Kami's. “If you want me to kick her ass, I'd be delighted to do so.”

  Loki grinned and shook his head, his eyes remaining on Adeila's. As if looking at her brought back his light, his eyes softened and turned golden again, but the flames of dark gray and dismal green remained around the edges. It was clear that Marla's appearance had affected him, but he was going to try not to worry or dwell upon it.

  He took up his place beside her. “Shall we continue?”

  She couldn't help but arch a brow at him. He sighed. “Marla and I have been seeing each other on and off, when she comes to visit her Aunt and cousins, for the past few summers. She is from Ravenswood. We've used her for intelligence a few times for different missions involving Ravenswood Fae in the human world. Over this past summer I saw a strange, cold side of her that I no longer cared for. I told her I wished for us to no longer see each other, and as you can see she is not taking it well.”

  “Because she's a psycho. We all tried telling you.” Kami said grimly.

  “Yes, well, some of us need to see things on their own.”

  Kami hit him on the arm. “Well, hope you’re seeing it now, bucko! Because she's about as crazy as they come!”

  Loki grumbled and turned to Adeila again. “Satisfied?”

  Her lips thinned. “It is none of my business.” But she still felt threatened for him. The strange zinging of malicious power when those words were uttered unsettled her, but he was a big boy. He could handle it. So she shrugged and moved forward beside Kami, who smiled and bumped her shoulder with hers. “At least we're normal right?”

  Adeila couldn't help but laugh. “I'm not entirely sure that's the words I'd use, but sure.”

  Kami laughed and the remainder of the day went just about as good as it could after such a weird interaction.

  Kami and Sorryn were incredibly easy to get along with and she enjoyed their company more then she'd ever dreamed possible. Loki was withdrawn and quiet the remainder of the day, even more so then his usual stoic self. He had a psycho ex-lover to worry about, so she tried not to engage him in conversation. And she tried even harder not to worry about him.

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