Level 27 ~ Vixie cont’d

Well, no reason to worry about Cen blowing her family’s cover! Vixie took a deep breath of the crisp evening air to clear her head. But when she absently brushed her fingertips over her lips the giddy feeling came rushing back. That scrawny kid she always used to go on adventures with had grown up into a scrawny man she could still go on adventures with… Why was her heart beating so fast? It was just Cen, she’d known him all her life… But she’d never seen that look in his eyes before, smelled his nervous but excited sweat when he leaned in to kiss her… And now she could still taste the mint of his kiss on her lips.

Vixie caught herself licking her lips and laughed. Wow. But her focus was pulled back when the wind brought her the hard scent of steel, iron and musky-sweat. Andrew was waiting at the ledge over the hidden trail down to the pass. Vixie adjusted her clothes, then upon further consideration pulled her cloak about herself more modestly. She needed to talk to Andrew, but suddenly she wasn’t so sure what she was going to say or how things would go.

“Hey…” She stopped a few feet back from him.

“The evil has been vanquished here.” Andrew continued to look out over the pass. “It’s time to move on.”

“Come on!” Vixie was only half engaged with the conversation at this point, not sure if she was ready to dive into the deeper issue they were both so aware of, “At least let’s stay the night!”

Andrew shook his head, “Just the night? Or do you want to stay longer?”

“Well, I mean a couple nights would be nice. But at least one.” Vixie shrugged. This was awkward, Andrew seemed to be headed for the heart of the matter between them and suddenly Vixie had this urge to run. She wasn’t ready to figure out how she felt about Andrew. How he felt about her.

“I’m never going to stop hunting evil. I can’t.” Andrew turned back to Vixie with this sad look in his eyes that tore her heart out. “I’m no good with words, so I can’t explain how much it’s meant to travel with you… How much it meant to me when you stayed by my side after Feanthar and Sheya had to leave…”

Vixie caught a whiff of hot-wet-tears. Hers? Or Andrew’s. She didn’t feel tears on her face or see them on his yet. Damn it! She loved him… She’d grown to love him over their travels together, everything they’d been through. Why was this so hard? She could commit to one man if it was Andrew, she knew that now. She didn’t want to see him look so sad anymore or ever again. Cen was her best friend, but Andrew genuinely needed her. He’d lost so much before they ever met, but she could be the one thing he’d never lose. She knew she could.

“And then that night in Pender,” Andrew continued, “was the best night in my entire life.”

Vixie’s jaw clenched. Damn it, Andrew! Why did he have to bring that up now? Now she had that pathetic wench Patricia in her head, and that made it hard to want to be with Andrew.

Andrew sighed; did he even notice how she was feeling? “But you seemed to regret it already the very next morning. I know you love adventure, but spending the rest of your life hunting demons isn’t what you want, is it?”

“Why?!” Vixie snarled, more fiercely than she’d intended, “Why would you bring up Pender now?! Look, I don’t care what you did with Patricia! I just don’t want to hear about it!”

Andrew’s eyes widened, “What? Who…?” Vixie was the one crying, and Andrew could see it. He lowered his head. “I see… So, it wasn’t you who came to my room that night?”

Vixie’s shoulders slumped. Patricia had been practicing magic. Changing appearance, according to Naomi, was one of the easiest spells to learn and cast. “I… I was going to… But…”

Andrew spun with a frustrated yell and slammed his fist into a nearby tree. He’d thought it was her that night. He’d thought it was Vixie.


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