I just did a bad, bad thing.

I put my face in my hands and shake my head. What did I do, I moan. And why did I do it? Well, obviously I know what I did. I made a ridiculous deal with an Angel I don’t trust, and now I owe him two favors. And yes, I know why I did it, as well. I panicked. Pure and simple. Panic is a strong motivator when it comes to doing stupid, irresponsible things. So, what I should really be asking myself is how I’m going to fix this stupid mess I got myself into without making Kallen hate me.

I made a deal with one of the Angels of Power, Ambriel. He’s the gatekeeper of the collective conscience and the record keeper of history. I have no idea what that means or what he actually does. What was I panicked enough about to make this idiotic deal? Marriage. I didn’t want to get married in the morning. Under Fairy law, Kallen and I have done…things…that will require a hand-fasting, as the Fairies call it. Now, no one will know that these…things…happened, and we won’t have to get married until we’re ready. At least, that was my plan at the time.

The problem is, now I have to tell the guy I love, and am already half married to, that instead of being thrilled about being married to him the rest of my life, I made a stupid deal with an Angel to hide what we did. Like it was something seedy or shameful. When in reality, it was truly wonderful, and something I very much want to do again with him.

I know Kallen’s not going to be happy about my little panic attack. If the situation was reversed, I don’t think I would be, either. I would think he was rejecting me. And that’s probably what he’ll think. I am so screwed.

Taking my hands from my face, I look at Kallen fast asleep on the pillow next to mine. His silky black hair is begging for me to run my fingers through it. His lips are slightly parted, as if he’s about to kiss me. The sheet is down to his waist, leaving his lean, muscular torso and arms out for me to admire. I want him so badly. Him, and no one else. Ever.

It hits me so hard, I almost can’t breathe. I want to be married to him. I know my parents think we’re too young, they think we’ll regret it later. I don’t care. I want to spend the rest of my life laughing with him, sharing everything with him, making love to him. He is all I will ever want. And I can’t wait to tell him.

Lying back against the pillows again, I turn to face him. I gently press my lips against his as my hand moves softly over his cheek. It doesn’t take him long to respond. He wakes up with fire and passion in his kisses. Pulling me closer, our bodies are pressed tightly together and I can tell he wants me as much as I want him. I find a way to slip my body under his and he groans from deep inside his throat. I wrap my legs around him, pulling him to me, wanting everything we did just a short time ago.

That’s why I’m really disappointed when he pulls away from me and rolls over onto his back. His eyes are closed, and his face has a somewhat pained expression on it. Opening one eye, he looks over at me. “As much as I appreciate waking up to your gorgeous, naked body, you are cruelly testing my will power.”

Okay, I’m puzzled. “What do you mean? You don’t want to make love to me again?

Now, he looks puzzled. “Again? Xandra, what are you talking about?” He opens both eyes and then he chuckles. Rolling onto his side so we’re face to face, he pushes a strand of hair from my cheek and then caresses my skin with his thumb. “You had a dream that we made love, right? I am assuming that is how we both ended up naked.”

I pull away from him. I’m about to say something, but he cuts me off. “I have those dreams pretty much every night. I know how powerful they are. I often wake up after them and want nothing more than to remove every bit of clothing from you. Then, make love to you for hours. But, we agreed to wait. At least until your parents are on board with the whole idea.”

Bewildered, baffled, confused, those words are too tame for what I’m feeling. “Kallen, we have to get married. We made love.”

To my great surprise, and irritation, he laughs again. “Xandra, it was just a dream. I wish it was true, though.”

Now, I’m mad. I sit up and pull the sheet tightly around me. “Why are you acting like this? Was it that bad that you want to pretend it never happened?” I’m really close to tears. That makes me even madder. Or more irrational. Yeah, probably that.

Kallen’s brows scrunch together as he sits up as well. He reaches out to touch my arm, but I pull back away from him. “Xandra, are you okay?”

Yeah, except for the fact that my boyfriend wants to forget about the fact that we made love. Yes, I made that deal, so I’m being a hypocrite, but I don’t care. “I’m fine,” I say and turn my head because one of my tears has decided to find its way to my chin.

He puts a hand under my chin and turns my face towards him again. “I can assure you that when we do make love, it will be the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. I would never want to forget a moment of it.”

Three tears and counting. Stupid, functioning tear ducts. “Then I don’t understand why you’re acting like nothing happened.”

He looks worried now. Like he’s looking at a crazy person. “Xandra, I hate to see you upset. I love you, and I want to make love to you so badly. But it was just a dream. A wonderful dream that fills my heart with pleasure that you want to be with me as much as I want to be with you.”

Was it a dream? If making love was a dream, then making a deal with Ambriel was a dream. Ambriel, the Angel who can make people believe that something never happened by simply not recording it. Realization hits me hard. I don’t think it was a dream. I think Kallen truly believes that it never happened, because in the ultimate history of things, it hasn’t been recorded. Therefore, it is like it never happened. Now, the only two who know it did are me and Ambriel. When Ambriel said no one would know, I didn’t realize that would mean that Kallen wouldn’t remember it, either. I am so screwed.

I groan and flop back down on my pillow and close my eyes. “Oh, no. This is all my fault.” Now I really want to cry. We shared something absolutely amazing, and he doesn’t even remember it. Because of what I did in a moment of panic.

Kallen’s back to looking at me like I’m a crazy person again. “What is your fault?”

I open my eyes and so much blood rushes to my face, I think you could poke a hole in my leg and it would be completely dry. “I know why you don’t remember.”

He sighs. “Xandra, I sincerely doubt that I would forget about making love to you.”

“You would if the Angel who controls the collective conscience and recorded history decided not to write it down.”

Now, he looks suspicious. He knows me all too well. “Why would said Angel not want it recorded? And how would you know that.” Okay, he looks a little mad now, too.

I want to pull the sheet over my head and pretend he can’t see me, like an ostrich. But, that would be cowardly. I have to face the consequences of my actions. I do bring the sheet up to my chin though, as if it can somehow protect me from whatever happens next. “Because I panicked about having to get married; so I kind of made a deal with him.”

I believe he is stunned into silence for a moment. Or he’s trying to figure out how to kill me. Probably that. Finally, he says, “Let me see if I understand you correctly.” There is an underlying rage in his words that is about to reach a crescendo. I’m going to need something more powerful than this sheet to protect me from my actions. I need a psychological eraser so I can rub my words out of his mind. “You hated the idea of marrying me so much, you made a deal with an Angel to make me forget about making love to you? Then, you accuse me of intentionally forgetting the whole thing?”

I believe my answer is going to go far in deciding the fate of our relationship. “Um, maybe?” I probably should have taken more time to think about what I was going to say. Kallen looks incredulous that I went with that answer. Well, it’s not like saying yes would have been any better.

“My question was pretty black or white. You either did make a deal, or you did not.”

I look up at him with my biggest doe eyes possible. “Does it count if I really, really regret it and want us to get married today?”

He gives me a hard look. “No, it does not. It all boils down to the same thing. You intended to lie to everyone we care about because you do not want to honor the oath you took with me.” Turning away from me, he pushes the sheet back and stands up, dressing himself in jeans and a black t-shirt as he does so.

“Kallen, I panicked. I want to honor our agreement. Today.” He doesn’t respond. He just walks to the door. “Where are you going?”

Without turning to look at me, he says, “I need some fresh air.” It’s implied in his tone that his quest for fresh air is to be a private journey. Opening the door, he walks through it, slamming it behind him.

Great. Now what do I do? Cry obviously, but what else? Do I go after him even though he clearly wants to be alone? I have no idea how this stuff works. We’ve argued before but we’ve never had a real fight. I’m pretty sure this counts as a real fight. A real fight that is one hundred percent my fault.

I should probably start with getting out of bed, even though all I want to do is crawl farther under the covers and cry until I fall asleep. Wrapping the sheet around me, I stand up and walk to my open suitcase on the floor near the bathroom. I don’t even pay attention to what I grab out of it. Then I step into the bathroom and turn on the water for the shower. Dropping everything to the floor, I walk under the warm stream. I miss my bathing room at Isla’s. It has a giant tub that’s always full. It would be great for wallowing in self-pity.

I don’t know how long I’ve stood here, letting the hot water try to smooth out the worry knots in my neck and back. I know it’s been quite a while. I also know that Kallen scares the crap out of me when he pulls the shower door open. I let out a little squeal and without thinking, I pull magic, which earns me a dirty look. It’s always hazardous for me to pull magic when I’m upset, so as soon as I realize it’s him I work on pushing it back out.

I feel self-conscious standing here in the steamy shower with him fully clothed standing just outside of it. I can’t read the expression on his face, which doesn’t help. I think it’s somewhere between liking the sight of me naked and wanting to tie a rock to my ankle and throw me in a deep part of the ocean. I admit, that’s a pretty broad spectrum, but his poker face is really good.

“Do you truly want to marry me?” he asks. His voice is even, almost monotone.

My stomach twists in a knot because a whole lot of people are going to be mad at us, but I’m not going to worry about that at the moment. “Yes. As soon as possible.”

Walking into the shower fully clothed, he puts his hands on my cheeks and captures my lips in a kiss that lets me feel how much he wanted that answer. Winding my arms around his neck and pressing my body close to his, I no longer care if I’m naked. I’m more than willing to continue what we started this morning.

But, he’s not. Wrenching his lips away, he leans his forehead against mine. “No.”

“No?” I am the color of confusion right now. I don’t know for sure what color that is but my skin is telling me it’s pink. Though, it could just be the hot water on my skin making me that color.

Kallen drops his hands to his side and steps back away from me. “If you truly want to marry me, I want it to be because you love me. Not because you made love to me.”

My brows scrunch together. “But, we did make love.”

He sighs. “Xandra, it doesn’t count if I can’t remember it.”

Stupid panic attack. Stupid tears. “I’m sorry.”

He shrugs more nonchalantly than I believe he’s feeling. “It is done.”

Yup, he’s still really mad at me. He’s never this Zen about things. “Did you know your clothes are all wet?” I ask, trying to lighten the mood.

He tries to smile. “That is easily remedied.” Turning, he grabs a towel off the towel rack and hands it to me.

“Kallen,” I say, laying a hand on his cheek. “It was a minute of panic about marriage, not about wanting to spend my life with you.”

His smile just doesn’t want to go past lukewarm. Instead of responding to that, he asks, “Are you planning to wear the clothes on the floor?”

I follow his eyes to the pile of clothes I threw there. There’s a light blue pair of flannel pajama pants with yellow ducks on them, a striped red and white tee and a green sweater. I giggle and look back up at him. “I’m starting a new fashion trend.”

“Then, perhaps I should reconsider wanting to marry you.”

I start to panic again, until I see the tiny little teasing glint in his eye. I drop the towel I’m holding and wrap my arms around his neck again. Murmuring against his lips, I say, “Sorry, that option is off the table. But, you can make me some clothes.”

Placing his hands on my waist, he pulls me to him again. “In a moment,” he says, pulling me even closer while our lips meet. If he keeps doing what he’s doing with his lips and hands, we are never leaving this bathroom.

All too soon, he drags his lips from mine again, and suddenly, I’m wearing a pair of jeans and a pink t-shirt with a large red heart in the middle. I smile up at him. “Give me a minute to comb my hair and we can go tell Dagda the good news.”

A real smile forms on his lips, now. “I will wait in the other room.”

I don’t think that he’s completely over the hurt or anger about this, but we’re off to a better start than I could have hoped for.

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