Kiri listened to the evening wildlife cradling her mug of coffee. Depth perception slightly off, she aimed the mug towards her mouth. Beside her lay a sledgehammer dripping chunky red bits. Ignoring the smell she lifted her head to watch the hound do his nightly ritual. As he rolled in a puddle of mud she sighed then winced. Ainmere was going to be pissed. Tonight she was supposed to meet him for a date. Some fancy restaurant downtown Austin. Looking down she grimaced at the slime on her jeans. By now she was very late. She took a sip as Iolo walked out the back door,
“Traffic is only so much of a reprieve Lady.” Iolo sat next to her.
“At least until I finish my coffee?”
The sound of slamming doors filled the air as the bond vibrated with his anger. He stalked around the corner just as Kiri put her coffee down. The closer he got to her the sooner he would see the bruises and blood. Luck was with her when he stopped just out of the light. He wore a suit that showed off his toned body.
“Four hours,” he spat, “I waited for four hours. Was humiliation your plan?”
Kiri brushed away the idea of pissing him off more so she could watch his ass.
“I was delayed. A code blue.”
“Really, I was led to believe a code blue meant death was a certainty for civilians.”
“Yup. What’s left of the bee is on the sledgehammer.”
“You used a sledgehammer to kill a bee?’
“It was a big bee.”
Ainmere look to Iolo who held up his hands arms wide as they would go.
“This, my Lord was the size of the bee.”
Kiri stuck her tongue out at him as Ainmere got the hint. He moved closer and tipped her chin up. The light from the porch blinded Kiri’s good eye. His eyes narrowed as they took in the swollen lip, stitches across her right eyebrow surrounded by swelling that made that eye useless.
“Why did you not call?”
“It broke my phone.”
“I will get you another. But that was not what I meant.”
“I didn’t have time to make sure you weren’t driving or something. Beside Ilo was with me and he carries a mean sword.”
She tried to smile as she pushed him back enough to stand. He caught her hands before she could pull them away.
Kiri stared at the larger hands that engulfed her small ones. Their warmth seeped into hers as they held hers palm against his chest. She could feel his heart beat through the fabric of his suit. Taking a deep breath she looked up into his eyes.
“I didn’t think about it. I have been alone for too long to just be able to stop relying on myself. Having Ilo around still drives me crazy sometimes.”
“You had Dei.”
“Yes, but Dei has been here since I was six.”
Pulling away from him Kiri moved towards the door.
“I’m trying Elf. I just need time.”
“Time is something we do not have Kiri. Our wedding is in three weeks.”
She twisted to look at him.
“It was what I wished to speak with you about. The king has decreed that we will be married on the eve of Whalen’s birth.”
“Eloquent my lady.”
“Ha ha Iol. Why so soon?”
She watched for the tell-tale shrug that signaled Ainmere’s thought. He was not going to gain say the man. Kiri knew he thought the sooner the deed was done the more likely she would accept the situation.
“It is what he wants. He is my king.”
“No! I have half my colleges asleep by an unknown assailant and still no clues. When exactly am I supposed to pick out a wedding dress?”
Kiri turned towards the door before an ugly thought hit her. Turning back around she waited trying hard not to raise an eyebrow. A return trip to the ER was not on her to-do list.
“She is an excellent seamstress.”
“Your mistress is not coming anywhere near me.”
“She is my ex-mistress.”
Cocking a hip she stared at him. Sometime she truly wasn’t sure how he made it passed puberty with that mindset.