It was pre dawn, and Ruby was still reeling from their attack in the woods, and slightly rattled from being nearly speared to a tree. Cole had apologized numerous times for her near death experience. She shrugged it off knowing it wasn't his fault that he had been deceived. Cole gave her a wide berth as they ascended the stair case to their bed chambers.
Ruby rubbed her arms to keep the ever pressing chill at Bay, all the while knowing she shouldn't be cold. It was a warm night. No, the chill had little to do with the atmosphere and more to do with the night she had. Unnerved as she was, Ruby reached out towards Cole before they parted ways. Only then, did she register the effect Avelen was already having on him. He stood taller - with more purpose. His muscles were becoming more pronounced, his face more weathered, and his eyes slightly narrowed and guarded. Ruby moistened her bottom lip subconsciously. Her best friend was gorgeous, stunning and even rugged. Though he hadn't ' adopted a regal persona in full, he was turning into someone she didn't recognize. A warrior of his fate.
After a moment, Cole's eyes softened and he held her gaze. Suddenly, the boy she loved and remembered was back again. Perhaps it was exhaustion playing tricks on her perception.She had been truthfully frightened and was not in her right mind. She shook her heard needlessly, aware that she was still staring at him. "Sleep with me tonight."
"I mean like when we were kids. Its been a long night. Im a little spooked."Ruby rushed.
He hesitated a moment and scratched his chin. "Okay," he said uncertainty.
Minutes later they were settled on Ruby's bed, separated by blankets only. Where Cole had easily found sleep, Ruby found herself wide awake and tense. She glanced over at Cole. An arm lay over his head, covering his eyes and causing his shirt to ride up some. It was just enough for Ruby to catch an eyeful of newly shaped abs. Her fingers ached to reach out and brush the smooth skin that covered them.
Quickly, deciding to turn over onto her other side, she reprimanded herself for letting her mind wander. She cherished her friendship with Cole above all else. Why should she start questioning a sure thing?
Shortly before sunrise, Ruby found ample sleep. She woke to a calloused hand stroking her cheek. "Cole?"
"No, I'm not your mortal Lover."A familiar voice whispered into her ear. "But I can pretend."
Ruby's eyes darted open and she shook away remnants of provocative dreams. Facing Jace, her arm shot under her pillow for her dagger. He merely rolled his eyes as she turned her back on the sleeping King and brandished the sharp knife.
He plucked the dagger out of her hand effortlessly, leaving her defenseless. His gaze shifted towards Cole. "Threes a crowd, don't you think?"
She answered him with a glare, which he pointedly ignored. "I'm almost salivating at just the thought of piercing my blade through his greedy mortal heart."
Ruby sprung from the bed and in a swift movement reached back towards one of its four posts. She yanked the solid gold cylinder shaped end cap off of one and threw it at Jace. It only made him stagger as it hit him square in the chest, but bought her enough time.
Cole stirred in his sleep as she climbed upon the bed to retrieve the lightweight rapier she had stored within the hollow of the post. She jumped towards Jace and backed him into a wall, with the sword poised over his heart. He dropped her dagger and put his hands up in surrender. "Stop that this instant. You are acting barbaric!"
Ruby scoffed. "Did you not just jump through my window, and threaten to kill my friend?"
"Let me at least explain myself before you attempt to slaughter me," he said defensivley.
Ruby lowered her sword. "You have one minute. You better talk fast."
Jace relaxed and lowered his hands. He broke off into a breathless speech. "You have me all wrong. I'm not here to harm either of you -much to my displeasure. I followed my sister here yesterday. She seems sympathetic to your cause. Though i know theres things she hasn't told me, she's sure and hopeful about you. I suppose that hope has brought her more happiness then I've seen in years. That being said, I'll cut to the chase. Im here to warn you."
He nodded. "Conceal yourself well. Your life is in my hands, as is mine in yours. If the other fae suspect that you are alive, they'll hang me. Too much hate and misplaced trust has passed between our kind. The council have me under a watchful eye, as they assumed I killed you, but failed to bring back the tome. My sister could be imprisoned for her actions. But I... I trust her judgement."
Ruby mulled it over in her head, depicting his rushed words. "So just like that, you're letting me off the hook?
He set her knife on the nightstand besides the bed. "I trust my sister's intuition. That and I might have ulterior motives for you."
He shot a glare at Cole Without warning, he bent his head and placed a quick kiss on her mouth. Ruby was quick to push him away.
"Bring me the head of the Dragon King and you can come out of hiding. My people will celebrate victoriously, and eventually I will have be forgiven for my lies to the elders."
Making a show of her disgust, Ruby wiped the back of her hand over her lips. The gesture made him frown. Before Ruby could agree to Jace's terms, her mind wandered back to the sycamore. The sycamore tree had also demanded physical proof of the dragon's demise, but the thought of killing and beheading someone made her feel ill.
Jace pulled a face in the same instant Cole's eyes began to flutter open.