Please have a little bit of mercy with the romance. It's the first actual time the character get to express attraction. Of course, mercy doesn't mean namby-pamby. Feel free to tear through it, but with a smile on your face if you agree that it's good.
Sorry for any typos! Thought I caught them all. Also, for any non blogfesters, check out all the other participants Here.
So, without further ado, here is my piece.
I looked down at the grave with a sigh, plunging the shovel into the ground and wiping my brow. The lump of dark towels lay to my right. Where had I gone wrong? I’d checked on him before and after. He had looked perfect…
My eyes stung and I took a large breath. No one cried for dead animals in public unless it was the family dog. Fenris wasn’t even the family wolf pup.
I blinked, turning to Emelie as she passed through the dying garden to my lawn. The small lights around the yard illuminated the creamy skin along her collarbone in the darkening night. She stopped two steps away, weaving her hands behind her back.
“What are you doing?” she asked, a soft expression tugging at her full lips.
I wiped at my nose, standing tall and leaning against the shovel. “The wolf pup I talked about earlier died.” I raked my teeth against my lip. “Came home from practice and he was already gone….” I gritted my teeth, tipping my head back to the stars.
Why’d I feel so sad over this wolf? Animals died all the time. It was natural.
“I’m sorry,” she said. Her pale eyebrows slid together as her eyelashes casted shadows on her cheeks. She kneeled down, setting her knees into the moist dirt. “Maybe if I hadn’t held you up earlier…”
A breath snaked through my lips. “No,” I said, dropping the shovel and crouching next to her. “It’s not your fault, Emelie.” I searched her face—her narrow jaw, her pouting lips, her button nose. “He was fine when I got home earlier. He died after that…” I swallowed. “Probably after my mum left for her second job.”
“I’m sorry…” she repeated. “I wish I could’ve helped or something. I should’ve offered to check up on him while your mum was out until you got back…” She let her head hang, her hair falling off one of her shoulders and exposing the expanse of her neck.
“I probably would’ve told you no,” I said. “Don’t worry about it.” If she did, I’d feel worse.
She dropped her chin onto her shoulder, clear blue eyes watered with sincerity. “Why would you’ve told me no…?”
I swallowed, my throat shifting into a desert. I leaned toward her, brushing a piece of blonde hair from her face. She flinched away, a gulp running down her neck. I couldn’t move my hand away.
“Never mind,” she whispered. “You probably would’ve told me no because you wouldn’t want to burden me, right?” She smiled at me, dimples appearing and her blue eyes warm, yet sad. “I should’ve offered and I’m sorry for that.”
My stomach fluttered and my heart attempted to escape through my throat. Liam was right—she was nice. I wanted to hold her. I wanted to touch her. My hand had been right there, but I dropped it. She had a boyfriend.
“Can I help you move him into his grave?” she asked, her voice clear and crisp like the sound of a creek, swirling through my mind.
I bit back my urge to tell her no. Moving a dead animal into a grave wasn’t glamorous work. My eyes fell to the part between her lips. “Yeah, if you don’t mind getting a little dirty.”
“I like getting dirty,” she said, standing up without brushing herself off.
She followed me over to Fenris’ body and bent over, taking his head and shoulders as I grasped Fenris’ lower half. My eyes remained on the navy towel he’d used as a blanket.
“He’s a bit on the heavy side,” I said as I lifted.
She let out a small noise as we shuffled to the grave. “Yeah, I’d say so. At least he ate well?” Another smile full of grace fell onto her lips.
I tried to return it.
Kneeling on both ends, we lowered him with careful precision. His body met the reddish soil. I took a deep breath and stood, taking the shovel in hand and beginning to cover him. When I finished, I patted the ground down and dropped the shovel by the fresh soil.
“Thanks for helping,” I said, chancing another smile at her.
She sniffed. My body froze as I watched her wipe her face with a sleeve.
“No problem,” she said, her voice stifled.
“Emelie…” I closed the distance between us, but she held up her hand to stop me. I brushed it away and wrapped my arms around her, pulling her tight.
“I’m fine,” she said, voice shaking. “I just don’t like… seeing graves. Reminds me of my parents…” Her arms slipped around my torso, her head resting on my chest. The scent of cherries and elm lingering around her was intoxicating—so familiar it was almost nostalgic.
My heart leapt into my throat, too shy to make it all the way into my mouth. I held her tight and slid my fingers through the silken strands of her hair.
I wrapped my arms around her, holding her tight and hiding my face within the silken strands of her hair.
Leaning down, I rested my head against hers. “It’s okay to remember.” I clenched my teeth. “It’s better than forgetting.”
She pulled back, tears running down her pink cheeks. I wanted to comfort her. I leaned in, her breath caressing my mouth in gentle puffs. My heart ached for her, my body remembering motions from long ago. I couldn’t move away from her, even if I wanted to. The heat of her lips was nearly on mine.
“Ax,” Mum called. “Are you still outside?” I refrained from groaning and pulled away from Emelie.
I clenched my eyes shut and swallowed. “Ye—” My voice cut out. I cleared it and turned my head, seeing her silhouette in the kitchen window. “Yes, Mum.”
“Hurry up and get inside, Ax," Mum said. "It’s getting cold.”
“Okay, Mum. I’ll be in soon.” I looked at Emelie and let out a small breath. “Sorry, I wasn’t thinking.”
“Don’t be,” she said, her lips quirking into a slight smile. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Of course.” I laughed and swung my arm with false enthusiasm. “Bright and early for school.”
Her smile grew. “Okay, see you then.” She turned and walked back to her yard, disappearing into her house without a second glance.
I sighed, rubbing my face and trudging back up to the house. Why did I feel so disappointed? It was just a kiss.
Just a kiss.
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