In her sleep, Ruby tossed and turned as her mind wandered and soared to new heights. Her eyelids fluttered. She clutched her bed coverings in her fists. Even in her sleep she was stubborn and reluctant to accept the reality of her dreams.
As if she had done so a thousand times. She mixed a cocktail of various liquors and set it in front of a customer whose face she avoided. She turned away quickly, but a hand clasped around her arm, causing her to turnaround and look her customer in the face. “M-mom?”
“In the flesh,” The woman said as she plucked the cherry from her drink.
“My, aren’t you the observant one.” The woman cackled.
Ruby reached for the glass she had just served her mother, but the older women was too quick. “God, you really are a control freak. A prude little bitch. Its no wonder..” The woman’s voice trailed.
“Its no wonder what?” Ruby asked in a crisp tone.
The woman simply winked. Before Ruby could probe her for more questions the room began to spin.
It was dark and Ruby was sprawled out on the floor of the tree house. She glanced around for Cole. He wasn’t in his usual hide out; instead, a strange man stood in the corner watching her with an amused expression. He was tall, with a lean frame. His hair fell in smooth blonde waves, and his dark eyes were shrouded by long lashes. He was fascinating and beautiful, in an ironic way. Ruby wasn’t sure what made her think of his outward beauty as being ironic; what made her believe he wasn’t worthy of such angelic features?
“Who are you?” She asked timidly.
Instead of answering her he walked over to her, nearly closing the distance between them. Ruby tensed. The man seemed to ignore her discomfort as he reached out to stroke her cheek. Ruby simply starred at the man. A horrible feeling settled over her like a rain cloud. She noticedthat the man wore a ring on his index finger; of a silver dragon with its mouth open, it spiraled upwards meeting the length of his finger.
Ruby fixed the man with a cold stare. “How did you get here?”
-“In your dream, you mean?”
Ruby nodded slowly. Up until now she wasn’t sure that she was dreaming.
-“That’s simple. You let you guard down when you sleep. So I slipped in.”
Ruby made a disgusted face. “You can do that?”
The man nodded. “In this land we can. Now I urge you to tell me who you are Vixen. What is a lovely creature such as your self doing walking around in the shadows’ of the Royals?”
Ruby arched an eyebrow. This man was dense if he thought he could charm knowledge out of her. She would simply keep quiet and waited for the dream to end. Maybe she would wake soon.
-“You can’t ignore me.”
Ruby glanced away from the man’s statuesque face. Of course she could ignore him, this was her dream after all.
The man grabbed her arm and forced her to give him her attention. Ruby’s breath caught in her throat. “You are friends of the new King, aren’t you?” The man’s face became distorted as he grimaced. He lost his appeal. As scared as Ruby was she didn’t want to talk about Cole, with anyone.
“Go to hell.” Ruby growled.
The man slapped her hard and she staggered backwards.
“Let’s try this again,” he said in an eerie calm.
Ruby straightened. “Okay; Go. To. Hell.” She repeated.
The man let out a feral growl but Ruby was prepared, and she ducked before he could strike out at her again. Ruby gasped as she lost her footing and nearly slipped. Behind her was the open entrance to the tree fort.
The man grinned, before he ran at her full force. Ruby screamed as they went sailing out of the tree house and into midair. A forceful wind tore them apart and Ruby was drawn into a black abyss. She shut her eyes and waited for her body to make harsh contact with the solid ground. She gasped in surprise when instead of the unforgiving ground, she landed on a plush pillow top mattress fit for a king.
She sat up and glanced around the room. The room was bigger than her’s. The grandeur was much more extensive; an elaborate candelabras chandelier hung from the high ceiling. There was a well-crafted fireplace, and valuable looking statues stood on the mantel above it. One wall was turned into a bookshelf that Ruby itched to check out. On the far wall were the same high windows that Ruby had in her room. In fact most of the architecture in the room was similar, if not the same as Ruby’s chamber. This had to be a room in the Avelen castle, Ruby concluded.
Before Ruby could come up with anymore theories, the door opened and Cole walked in. Ruby struggled for an explanation as to why she was in his room and on his bed- even best friends had their boundaries. Cole smiled. “Nice gown,” he said, approvingly.
Ruby glanced down. She was dressed in a silky sheer gown and her bodice was so tight that her breasts were all but spilling out of the garment. Embarrassed, Ruby crossed her arms to hide herself, only it made matters worse by pushing her breasts up more. All too aware of her friend’s eyes upon her. Ruby yanked the plush coverings off the bed and wrapped herself up in them.
“You look foolish,” Cole noted. “If you don’t like the garment, perhaps you should just take it off.”
Ruby studied Cole’s face to make sure his eyes weren’t dilated and that in fact he hadn’t hit his head. A warm blush spread through Ruby body upon his boldness. “I think I’ll keep it on for now, but thanks for the….suggestion.”
Cole settled himself on the bed beside her. “Tell me why you found yourself in my bedchambers.” He reached out and tucked a lose strand of hair behind her ear.
Ruby slid away from him, putting a safe distance between them. “There was a guy in the tree fort, I’m pretty sure he was controlling my dream somehow,” she said defensively.
Cole tsked. “I didn’t ask you to tell me how, I asked you to tell me why.” He moved closer to her and took her hand in his grasp. Before she could protest or make sense of her own feelings, his lips were gracing the palm of her hand, pressing soft kisses onto it while his intense eyes starred up at her. Ruby forgot how to string words together to form a sentence. “What…why, this…happening?”
Cole continued to trail his soft butterfly kisses up the length of her arm. The sensation was unbearable. She wanted to tell him to stop and ask for more at the same time. In spite of her uncertainty, Ruby found herself laying back down, enjoying his affection. This was wrong, this was Cole, her best friend since childhood. It didn’t add up.
Cole's lips slid over Ruby's skin like ribbons of silk. He took his time kissing her neck and chest, making her shiver upon each contact. His thoughtful brown eyes peered up at her. Against her skin she could feel his lips carve into a lazy grin. Ruby threw her head back in ecstasy as his tongue traced a webbed pattern over her collarbone.
What was he doing?
Why was she letting him do this?
She wasn't sure, but it felt too good to question. Ruby squirmed under his weight. He was teasing her, of that she knew. He was doing too much and not enough.
“More Cole!" The words escaped Ruby's mouth before she could do anything about it. Ruby flushed.
Cole laughed and the vibrations tickled her skin. Ruby sat up, appalled, and pushed him away. “I meant no. No, this isn’t right!”
Cole propped himself on his elbow and gazed into her face. Traces of humor tugged at the corners if his mouth. “You want me to stop this?" He lowered his mouth until it came into contact with the skin between her collarbone and bosom. Ruby's hands laced through Cole's hair. “No, I mean yes! Yes! Stop that, yes!"
Reluctantly, Cole pulled away from Ruby. He sat cross legged on the foot of her bed. Amusement illuminated his handsome face. "Not many would refuse a king."
He was right; not many would refuse him whether he was king or not. Suddenly, Ruby wasn't sure why she was fighting it. She really didn’t want to, even in her dream she had to fight for any control she could get. What could the harm be in letting Cole take the reins for once? After all he was a King now. “Fine,” Ruby positioned herself on his lap. “Its just a dream,” she assured herself.
Their lips slid over one another’s as they acquainted themselves with the taste and feel of each other. After a moment the kiss deepened and their tongues joined in exotic dance. The feeling of ecstasy was mutual. Ruby let her hands roam free on Cole’s body. They slid under his shirt, sizing up his hard muscles. She trailed her hands down lower, caressing his thighs, teasingly. “Yes, I’ve wanted this, wanted you, for so long now,” she admitted.
Ruby woke with a jolt. It took a moment for her to shake the dream. It’s not true, she told herself. None of it.
-“Who is Cole?”
Ruby gasped. Sitting in her windowsill, was the male faery from yesterday or earlier, she wasn’t sure what time it was. Ruby put a hand to her chest.
“Christ,” she whispered. The raven winged boy peered at her, as if he had every right to come into her bedroom in the middle of the night and do so. “Unless you’ve mistakenly been assigned to collect a tooth from under my pillow, you have no excuse for being here!”
The faery made a face. “Why would I take a tooth..from your pillow?”
Ruby groaned. “Never mind, what do you want?”
Jace scratched his chin thoughtfully, as he plopped himself on the foot of her bed. “Do you always arch your back like that when you sleep? Its erotic.”
Ruby couldn’t hide her horror. “Either you tell me what you are doing here, or I-“
“You what?” Jace pulled out his dagger and pointed it at her chest. If anyone should be asking the questions it was him.
“Okay, okay,” Ruby panicked. “I can reason with you,” she said in a gentler voice.
-“Where is the tome?”
Ruby concealed her emotions with expertise. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. The dagger grazed the fabric of her nightgown. “Honestly!” She added.
Jace searched her face for truth and lies. Ruby prayed her look of innocence would pass his inspection. “I don’t have it,” she repeated.
- “Do not lie to me human."
Jace’s dagger crept upwards until it was just under Ruby’s chin. He applied just enough pressure to produce a droplet of blood. It was a slight sting, Ruby blinked back tears. “It’s Ruby! And I think I liked you better when you were kissing me, but I'm not entirely sure,” she spat.
Cole snickered, "Don’t tempt me. I may be pointing a dagger at you but I’m still a man with…needs.”
Ruby glared at him.
“Where is my tome? Are you in cohorts with the former King. Tell me!" He pressed.
Ruby shook her head. “No!"
-"Perhaps the new king knows where my tome is, maybe I'll visit his chambers next."
"No!" Ruby shouted again.
"Ah, a weakness." Jace purred.
“Look, I don't know who the former King is, or where your tome is, but they have nothing to do with my Cole. I mean my king. Leave him out of this." Ruby said with conviction.
Jace set his dagger down. "Fine human, I'll take your word. But consider us even!”
Ruby shook her head. “I saved your sister’s life!"
Jace turned to leave. "And I saved yours. Ruby." He whispered. "Leave the kingdom at once."