Updated: Apr 13
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Chapter 13: By the time they made it to Argyle Street, the place was already swarming with a long line of club-goers in shiny tops and short skirts, polo shirts and khakis. Apparently immune to the chilly night air, they snaked around the block, though only far enough to make the wait annoying instead of undoable.
Sabrina and Deanda shared a look before paying their taxi fare and stepping out. It seemed as if Jack hadn’t been lying; it was indeed the place to be.
Trailed by said bodyguard and his teammate, the girls followed the creeping line to the doors. Even outside, they could hear the DJ turning some very European mix that had Sabrina’s hips moving in sync well before she made it to the dance floor. Inside, pulsating lights flashed around the large main room, which was packed with several hundred bodies swaying and teasing. And since the bars were layered with people waiting for their drinks, the girls edged their way through the crowd until they found a decent spot to dance.
Sabrina completely forgot about her problems within minutes, letting the night pass by in a blur of neon beams and pounding beats. It wasn’t until after one thirty that both she and Deanda were ready to call it quits and staggered out the door.
Their promises to limit each other hadn’t taken into account two very persistent French tourists, who had pressed them with repeated cocktails. When a slew of polite dismissals didn’t work, the girls had given in, knowing they had two very capable faerie bodyguards lurking nearby in case of trouble.
The result was that they were both in high spirits by the time they told Algernon and Chandler that they needed to visit the little girl’s rooms, then laughingly stumbled outside instead.
“His name was Algernon,” Sabrina giggled drunkenly while she tried to keep an eye out for a taxi rank. The rest of her attention was on the ground so she wouldn’t trip and fall. “Why in the world would anyone want to name their child that?”
“What’s so bad about Algernon,” Deanda asked with only a smidgen more seriousness, and that much for the sole reason that someone had knocked into her and she was busy glaring at the offender’s back.
“It’s a book,” Sabrina explained, accentuating every word like each was a matter of high importance. She glanced back to make sure that Jack and James were keeping up. “It’s a very, very sad book. And the mouse dies.”
“That is sad.” Deanda shook her head somberly, then squawked in a very unladylike manner when she turned her heel and almost fell down as a result.
“Mademoiselles!” A familiar accented voice called out from behind them with an exaggerated air of injury. “Are you running out on us?”
“Of course not,” Sabrina laughed, not protesting when the admittedly attractive mouse took her arm. “We’re just going back to our place. We’re tired.”
With another look back, she could see her bodyguards’ entire postures stiffen. She supposed they were ready to move in at her slightest signal. While she thought that protectiveness was sweet, she also found it ridiculous. She was more than capable of handling the situation.
“What if we accompany you back?” Chandler pressed, snaking a supporting hand around Deanda’s waist. “Just to make sure you get there safe.”
Sabrina found the offer highly amusing and decided to say so. Though her snort probably clued them in just as well. “You don’t want us to get back safe. You want to have sex with us.”
Algernon grinned at her bluntness, his hand already stroking her back, toying with her bra strap through the fabric of her shirt. She supposed he thought it was supposed to be a soothing or even sensual motion, but it did little more than make her sleepy. Even if she was so inclined as to take strange Frenchmen to bed, she’d trade him for a pillow and comforter in a heartbeat right then and there.
Deanda turned toward him, ignoring her own human attachment in the process. “She isn’t going to give you any. She doesn’t give anyone any.”
It was apparently Chandler’s turn to talk. But while he opened his mouth and some small sound came out, he didn’t actually say anything intelligent. Not that Sabrina had thought he would; she just hadn’t expected it to be because of someone else interrupting.
“Sabrina. Deanda. I was looking all over for you two birds,” yet another familiar person chastised cheerfully. Coming right up behind them, he laid a dismissive hand on Algernon’s shoulder without giving him more than a glance. “Where the bloody hell do you think you’re going? You promised me a good time tonight.”
Sabrina glared her opinion of him and his statement, regarding Dallas with an upturned nose. “I wouldn’t sleep with you if you were the last man on the world.”
She realized how ineloquent her statement had come out and considered correcting it, but figured that might ruin the point she was trying to make.
Completely unperturbed either about her sentiment or her poor vocabulary choices, Dallas winked at Deanda before turning back to her. “Aw, love, you know I didn’t mean it. Deanda’s fit and all, but you’re all the woman I’ll ever need.”
She rolled her eyes while he pulled her and Deanda away from their thwarted companions. Calling back to the Frenchman with the honesty she reserved for those evenings she’d drunk her fill, she waved with her one free hand.
“Bye, Algernon. I wouldn’t have slept with you, but thanks very much for the drinks.”
Dallas got a good chuckle out of that, but kept just as firm a grip on her waist as she was sure he had on Deanda. She tried to wrench away but he only stopped, planted his feet and stood his ground. She gave up after a few seconds, and they continued down the road like that, Sabrina sulking with every step and entertaining the idea of telling her bodyguards to trounce him.
Since those two individuals weren’t doing anything to save her from Dallas, she grudgingly assumed they all knew each other. That left her to conclude that the whole thing was a conspiracy.
“If you’re here to protect our virtue, you didn’t have to bother,” she informed him firmly. “We weren’t going to go home with them.”
“Aye, well they had different plans,” he replied in a matter-of-fact masculine way that didn’t fail to get under her skin.
“We told them no, didn’t we, Deanda?”
Her friend nodded enthusiastically in agreement, then let out a low moan and stopped walking. “I don’t feel very good.”
Dallas turned to Deanda, which gave Sabrina a chance to check out his backside without him knowing. It was so very covert and clever that she found herself restraining a giggle.
“I don’t feel good at all.”
That reminded Sabrina of her best-friend duties, and she slid away from their mostly undesirable escort. “What’s the matter, Dee?”
“She had a few too many drinkies,” Dallas stated with an abysmal lack of sympathy, though his condemnation seemed to be directed at her. “Just like you did. You’re just not feeling the effects quite yet.”
“I never get hangovers,” she informed him haughtily, stumbling over to her friend. “Dee, honey. What’s the matter?”
“I want to go to bed. Are we close?”
Dallas stooped down to scoop Deanda into his arms with a grunt. “We’ll be there soon. Just hold on to me, and please try not to be sick.”
They managed to make it to the taxi rank without anyone falling down or throwing up, but the ride back wasn’t quite as pleasant. Deanda ended up emptying her stomach’s liquid contents all over Dallas, somehow missing everyone else in the van.
Back at the house, Sabrina proceeded to clean Deanda up, then helped her into bed while Dallas utilized the only shower available, which was in the bathroom right next to their room. That detail didn’t escape her notice; but figuring he would leave by the other door into the hallway, Sabrina collapsed onto her mattress and closed her eyes.
“You do know how stupid that all was, right?” She heard him say just when she was drifting off into a blissful sleep.
“You do know how annoying you are, right?” She snapped back, then ruined the acidic tone with a very wide yawn.
“You’re just saying that because you’re drunk,” he teased, though she was sure he really did think that well of himself. “If you had any hold on your senses, you’d see how charming and helpful I am.”
“You’re vain too.” Sabrina opened her eyes to tell him that and immediately had to admit he had every reason to be vain.
Dallas had a fluffy white towel wrapped around his waist. It was more than long enough to cover everything it should for modesty’s sake, but his state of undress still had her mentally drooling. Sabrina slid a finger over her lips to make sure she wasn’t physically doing the same.
Yet as hot as he was and how much his closeness was affecting her nervous system, she was more intrigued about something else. Now that he had his shirt off, she figured she might as well indulge that curiosity. It seemed like a safer topic of conversation than her other interest anyway.
“Can I touch your wings?”
One of his eyebrows arched up. Despite a lack of any real smile, he looked amused. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a girl ask me that question before. Most of them just have a go at it without permission.”
Sabrina blushed but persisted anyway with as much dignity as she could muster. “For educational purposes only, of course.”
“Of course,” he agreed with mock solemnity.
She glared at him. “Just shut up and turn around.”
With a quiet laugh and a glance over at the sleeping Deanda, he obeyed. Sabrina stood up on the bed for a more clinical view, wobbling a little from the effort.
Despite the way her head spun from the height and her movements, what she found was infinitely worth the small amount of discomfort. While from even a small distance, his wings had looked like one solid attachment to his body, up so close she could see they were actually composed of a billion tiny little scales that looked soft enough to be classified as feathers. She found herself wondering how such a fragile looking genetic apparatus could support such a perfectly muscular body. He had to weigh a hundred and ninety pounds easy, if not in the low two hundreds.
She pushed one of his wings to the side and ran her fingers down the bony ridge on the left of his back. It started where his scapula should have been apparent and ran down his torso to just above his waist.
He tensed a bit at her touch but otherwise didn’t react.
Sabrina took his silence as permission to continue.
The actual place where skin met wing was rather ugly, and she found herself wondering if hers would be any more attractive. Or maybe, once she was all faerified too, she’d develop a different perspective. In any case, she turned her attention back to the far more beautiful expanses sprouting from those points. Without asking first, she reached well over his head to wrap one hand around the very tip of his left wing, running it the entire inviting length down, her fingers spanning out as she did.
It was soft as anything, and she wondered whether the other one felt as nice.
Dallas shuddered when she moved her hand away to test out that theory. It wasn’t a very obvious gesture. Just enough of one for her to notice.
She peered down at him from her elevated vantage point. “Did I hurt you?”
“But you did feel that?”
“Hmm,” she mused out loud, a much more intelligible and one-sided conversation going on in her head. For some reason, she hadn’t really thought of them as having any nerve endings. She supposed in that case, she had better stop for decency’s sake.
Sabrina settled back onto the bed, cross-legged with a martyr’s air.
“Finished with your inspection then?” He asked with exaggerated nonchalance, turning his head to peer at her over his shoulder.
He brought his wings together with a gentle clap in order to do so, and she stared at them in fascination for a minute before returning her attention to the rest of him. “Not at all, but I’ll stop anyway. I didn’t realize you had any feeling in them. Sorry if I was rude.”
“Rude isn’t the word I’d use. Don’t worry.”
She raised her eyebrows at that. Knowing she never would have verbalized what she was thinking had she not still been inebriated, she asked for clarification.
“What word would you use?”
He just regarded her, his eyebrows raised too and his lips tilted.
She had figured that’s what he’d meant anyway.
A silence ensued from there. Sabrina was sure she’d find it awkward if she hadn’t temporarily destroyed a large portion of her sense of decorum. As it was, she decided to close her eyes and rest her head on one of the pillows.
“Are you going to stay here until your clothes dry off?”
The look on his face was nothing short of nonchalant when he replied. “I was going to wait until they weren’t quite so soaked. You can go to sleep though: I’ll go downstairs with the boys like a gentleman. No snooping through your knickers.”
“For real? You know how to be a gentleman?” She asked skeptically, not even bothering to lift her lashes. It felt so nice to keep them closed.
“Only when I have no other choice,” he responded gravely.
That reminded her of something, and she did peer up at him this time. “Why didn’t you use the hallway door anyway?”
He shrugged like it was no big deal. “Just wanted to make sure you were okay. Now do yourself a favor and go to sleep.”
“You can sleep here tonight if you want.” She patted the bed twice. “I promise I won’t molest you again.”
He laughed. “That’s a very nice offer, but I think it’d be better for both of us if I just say no.”
“Coward,” she teased, snuggling further into the bed and closing her eyes again.
Another low chuckle that sounded particularly nice to her ears. “Go to sleep, Princess,” he repeated. “I’m sure I’ll see you later.”
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