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Aurelia
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:06 am    Post subject: Learning Reply with quote

((Contains material of an adult nature.))

Ian had promised Aurelia he'd be there by seven, and though he had good intentions and had left in plenty of time, it was half past seven by the time he actually arrived, annoyed with traffic and at himself for being late. He made a mental note to exchange phone numbers with her so that if anything like this happened again, he could call and explain what had happened. He arrived on her doorstep after parking the car, a handful of summer blooms clutched in one hand. He took a deep breath to calm his rattled nerves and knocked.

Most women would start to get antsy if their company was late by so much as ten minutes, but Aurelia just wasn't the sort to worry overly much. She knew Ian could work out a way to contact her if something momentous truly had come up, and besides, it gave her time to change her clothes. Her food preparation had taken her slightly longer than she had expected, leaving her less than five minutes before seven. Ian's later arrival gave her a fighting chance, and thus, the woman who opened the door to him was wearing a rather sweet summer dress and heels, her dark hair hanging loose down her back. "Bon soir, Ian," she greeted him warmly, stepping back to invite him inside. "Please, come in."

He was dressed very conservatively, looking very much the college professor. He was dressed all in shades of brown, a tan suitcoat overtop a matching button-down shirt that was neatly tucked into a pair of brown trousers. No tie, at least. One might wonder if this was the professor's idea of casual dress. "I'm sorry I'm late. I ran into traffic on the 26." Highway 26, to be exact, which meandered through the mountains from where he lived about forty-five minutes north of the cabin. He paused a moment to look her over, finding her even more lovely than he remembered. "Bon soir, Aurelia."

"You are here now, that is what matters," she assured him, drawing him inside and closing the door behind him. "It is such a lovely evening, I thought we might eat on the back porch. I was able to plant my garden over yesterday and today; I promise, it is a lovely view."

"I'm sure it is," he replied, though it was unclear whether or not he was referring to the same view that she was. He followed her inside, barely pausing to take a look around, almost forgetting the bunch of flowers is hand. "Oh! These are for you," he said, holding the bouquet out to her. He wondered if he should have brought a bottle of wine instead. It had been a long time since he'd been on a date.

Her eyes fell to the flowers, which she had not truly noticed until he offered them to her, touched and charmed by the old-school gentlemanly manners that must have prompted him to bring them. "Thank you, Ian, they are lovely," she smiled, taking the bouquet into her hands to smell the fragrance. "Come through while I put them in water." She led the way to the kitchen, which didn't show any sign of having had anything cooked in it, aside from a faint wavering of heat from the oven. "You look very handsome this evening."

Not as lovely as you, he thought to himself when she thanked him for the flowers, but the compliment didn't reach his lips until she remarked on his appearance. "And you look lovely, as always," he replied, as he followed her into the kitchen. As far as he could tell, there were no signs of cooking, but he was half an hour late and she said they were eating on the back porch, so he didn't think too much about it. As always? He inwardly cringed. It was only the second time he'd visited her.

"As always?" she asked teasingly, unable to let that one pass. "Seeing me twice counts as always?" She chuckled softly, half-filling a vase with water from the tap to set the bouquet into. Turning to look up at him, she considered the nervousness that seemed to be pouring from every inch of her companion. "Ian, you should try to relax," she told him gently. "I promise you, I will not attempt to seduce you. Not until after you have eaten, anyway."

"It's all I have to go by," he replied with a light shrug. Yesterday, she'd been dressed for working in the garden and had looked nearly as lovely as she looked today. He wasn't sure she was capable of not looking lovely. He snorted a chuckle at her remark. "Is that supposed to help me relax?" he asked, taking a sideways lean against the cupboard as she filled the vase with water and arranged the flowers. "I haven't been on a date in a very long time, Aurelia," he explained.

"Neither have I," she told him in her quiet way. "Perhaps you should not think of it as a date. Perhaps it will be easier if it is simply dinner with a friend." She wasn't taking herself off the table, as it were; she just wanted him to enjoy the evening, rather than spend it worrying about what might or might not happen. They were both consenting adults, after all. It wasn't like he wouldn't have a say in it, if things developed beyond a simple meal. "Would you like a drink? I have white wine, beer, fruit juice, water - do any of those appeal to you?"

Is that what we are? he thought. Friends? Certainly not yet, but time would tell. "My friends aren't usually quite as charming as you," he replied with a soft smile. "In fact, most of my friends are as boring as myself." They were, in fact, more like colleagues than friends really. There was a distinct difference, in his opinion. "Anyway, wine would be lovely, thank you."

"I do not find you boring," she informed him with a smile, opening up the refridgerator to retrieve a bottle of white wine from its depths. "I find you quite stimulating, to be perfectly honest. You intrigue me. And whatever you say, you are a handsome man. That the pretty face disguises a mind I am coming to appreciate more and more is simply a bonus." She winked at him, and handed him to bottle and corkscrew. "Go out onto the porch, I will bring dinner through."

He arched a brow at her, as she continued to surprise him not only with her compliments but her easy-going almost flirtatious manner. He had not been flirted with in a very long time. At least, not that he could recall, and he wasn't quite sure what to think of it. He smiled a little as she handed him the bottle and corkscrew. "You are trusting me to pop the cork?" he asked, a little amused.

"Ah, but you are the gentleman in this little arrangement, are you not?" she pointed out, teasing but reassuring. "It is your duty to provide access to the alcohol, to taste it, and to make sure I drink far too much, so that your wiles may work upon me and you may steal my virtue without difficulty." She laughed, the sound bright and merry, shooing him away toward the back door with one hand. "Fire the cork at the roses, I am sure they will not mind."
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Aurelia
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He laughed outright at her logic, assuming she was no more virtuous than he was, though he could not quite recall when he'd last slept with a woman. No, he could. It was... 2012 after the alumni Christmas party, but he'd rather not think about that right now. "Woman, methinks you are trying to seduce me."

"I promised, not until after dinner," she shot back at him sweetly, laying gentle hands on his shoulders to turn him around and steer him out the back door. "Dinner is a surprise, and I do not want you to watch me serving it up. So shoo."

There went that brow of his again, but he chuckled a little at her direction and started toward the door, wine bottle and corkscrew in hand. "All right, but I suggest you not join me until you hear a distinct pop."

"I shall wait with baited breath until you beckon me yonder," Aurelia informed him laughingly. "So go yonder!" She ushered him right out through the door and onto the veranda, where a table and two chairs had been set out. Two places were set in rather elegant style; a three-pronged candlestick stood in the middle of the table, waiting for its pure white candles to be lit. And she'd definitely been hard at work on the garden - freshly planted beds of herbs lined the lawn, scenting the air delicately, and in the center of the lawn stood a rose bush, buds promising blooms of orange to brighten the green.

"You are being very mysterious!" he called back from the veranda once he'd been ushered outside. "Are you planning on popping out of a cake?" he teased with an amused grin at the thought of that as he set about screwing the corkscrew into the cork. He paused a moment to look around, impressed with the progress she'd made. And that table certainly didn't look like it was set for friends having dinner.

"If you wanted cake, you should have said so yesterday," she called back to him, amid a curious rustling noise that emanated from the kitchen. "I have no time to bake one now. You will simply have to make do with chocolate and cream, and pretend that the cake is in there. But that is for dessert."

"Mmm," he replied, as he struggled with the corkscrew. Dessert certainly sounded good, but he couldn't help but wonder what was for dinner. "I shall just have to suffer through it then," he teased back. Fortunately, he was a fan of chocolate. Who in their right mind wasn't? After another moment or two, there was a distinct popping sound as the cork came free of the bottle.

In the kitchen, Aurelia paused, giggling at the sound of the pop. Then she stopped. Did I just giggle? I haven't giggled for years! It was such an absurd thought that she laughed aloud, shaking her head at her ridiculous train of thought, and turned her attention back to the plates before her. "Are you ready for me?"

"As ready as I'll ever be," he replied, as he filled the glasses that were already set on the table, a little surprised that he'd managed to pop the cork without putting anyone's eye out, including his own.

What Aurelia brought out was certainly not your typical date dinner - at least, not a date like this one was pretending to be. Yes, there were two plates, and yes, there was food on those plates, but that was where the similarity ended. What was set in front of Ian was a plate upon which rested paper wrappings and in the middle of those, a very English portion of fish and chips. Aurelia smirked impishly as she sat down. "I thought, perhaps, you might miss what passes for cuisine in your home country."

He finished filling the glasses and set the bottle on the table, along with the cork and corkscrew, turning to smile at her as she came in with the plates. She could have served him just about anything and he would have graciously accepted it, even if he didn't like it, but to find her bringing out fish and chips wrapped in paper, just like they did it back home, was a very unexpected but pleasant surprise. "What passes for cuisine?" he echoed with another chuckle. It seemed he was finally started to relax. "My dear woman, I will have you know that fish and chips is as English as the Queen."

"I know," she chuckled. "And since the Queen is German, what does that say about English cuisine?" Settling herself down at the table, she lifted her glass to him. "To good company ... and to finding a chip shop in Oxford that was open at half past one in the afternoon."

"Touche," he replied, laughing along with her and waiting until she claimed a seat before seating himself. He reached for his glass of wine and lifted it toward her, arching a brow at her statement. "I'm sorry," he said, thinking perhaps he heard her wrong. "Did you say Oxford?" She couldn't possibly have flown to Oxford and back in less than twenty-four hours, but then she was a witch.

"Oui, I said Oxford," she confirmed for him with a low chuckle. "The place I had intended to go did not open until three, so I was forced to change my plans and simply find somewhere that was already open." She shrugged. "I do not know how to fry fish in this way, and I wanted to give you something you would enjoy. I will show you how I did it later."

He understood witchcraft in theory and had a basic understanding of how it worked, but he'd never really seen it done or been the beneficiary of any spellwork - at least, as far as he knew. "That's amazing," he said, picking up a fork to poke at the piece of fish as if to make sure it was real.

"I suppose it must be, to someone who has not grown up with it," she admitted, shrugging a little. Her abilities were not so amazing to her, but she had lived with them all her life. Taking up a fork, she selected a chip from her plate and inserted it into her mouth, smiling over at him. "I take it the meal meets with your approval, professor?"

"Well, having a professor for a father and a school teacher for a mother doesn't really give one an open mind where the world of the supernatural is concerned. It's a wonder I ended up where I am," he said. He smiled at her question and skewered a chip of his own. "I'll let you know after I've tasted it," he teased back.

"If it does not please you, you could always name any place you would like to eat, and I could take you there," she teased him in return, though it was more of a threat, really. She hadn't shimmered with a passenger for several years, but she doubted it would be so hard. After all, she had managed a trans-Atlantic shimmer twice only an hour ago.
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Aurelia
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He was about to chomp on his chip when she made that claim, and his jaw dropped open a little. "Are you teasing me, madam?" he asked, that chip still skewered on the fork and hovering in the air nearby.

"Would you like me to be?" she countered, more than prepared to offer him a challenge in conversation. He was an intelligent man, and she sensed that he tended to meet women who were either highly intelligent and not interested, or those who were interested and unable to hold a conversation with a banana. Aurelia, thankfully, was neither.

Her assumption regarding women was pretty accurate. Most of the women he met were either academics like him who were mostly unavailable or uninterested, or students who were too young or too vacant. The question of Aurelia's age didn't even occur to him, though he knew she was at least a few years younger than him. "I'm not sure how to answer that," he replied honestly.

She chuckled softly, taking up her knife to cut into her fish, gesturing for him to eat while the food was still hot. "I ask, simply because you are unaccustomed to magic in everyday application," she explained gently. "Are you happier to believe that I cooked this meal, or that I made my way to England and bought it? For the same reasons, are you happier to believe I am teasing you, or that I can do what I say I can do? I do not wish you to be uncomfortable with me, Ian."

"I am happier knowing the truth," he replied, without hesitation, regardless of the question. "While it is true I am unaccustomed to magic, as you say, that does not mean I am not open to it. I am not just a scholar of myths and legends. I believe that were once based on historical fact and truths that have been lost to antiquity," he explained, finally rescuing the chip from his fork and cutting into his fish.

"I think you are probably right," she agreed, "but I do not think those facts and truths have been lost, exactly. If they still exist, they are practiced and known, and kept as a very great secret by those who do so. On my world, magic is the secret - not even a demon would risk exposure. I imagine it must be so here, however different things are." She smiled warmly, shaking her hair back from her face. "But to answer your question ... No, I am not teasing you when I say I could take you anywhere in the world you might wish to go, within seconds."

"Anywhere?" he echoed, both brows arching upwards. Anywhere was not very specific, and though he had an open mind and believed what she was telling him, it was still a little hard to wrap his head around.

"Anywhere on this world," she nodded. "Within reason - I am not going to take you to the center of an active volcano, or to the bottom of the deepest ocean, obviously." Again, she smiled, and this time that smile was touched with an odd sort of wistfulness. "I could take you to Bruges, to see the cathedral, or the basilica, to walk along the canals. To visit 't Zand on a Saturday morning, and the Jerusalemkerk. If they exist here, that is. I do not know if they do." That thought distressed her more than she wanted to admit, hiding her sudden sense of loss in a sip of wine.

"Bruges exists, though I've never been there," he told her, a thoughtful look on his face a moment as he seemed to sense her distress. "Perhaps we could go there sometime and find out together," he suggested, far more boldly than was usual for him.

She looked at him in surprise, more for his offer to accompany her at all than for his boldness. "If you would be prepared to spend a day or two reliving memories with me, I would like that very much," she nodded. "It is ... difficult ... not to know if the city I grew up in is the same here as it was on my own Earth. I would not have the courage to go alone."

"It would be an honor to accompany you there, Aurelia," he replied, quite seriously, resisting the urge to reach across the table and touch her hand, her arm, her face. Just touch her. Don't be silly, man. You just met the woman! he chided himself. Though unless he was mistaken, she seemed as attracted to him as he was to her.

She held his gaze, just as serious as he was, and smiled her soft, mysterious smile once again. "Then you should tell me when you next have a weekend free," she suggested. "And we will see what there is to see. And, perhaps, the next time, you could show me England."

"I have the entire summer free," he informed her. He was taking a sabbatical for the summer months to do some research and work on a book he was writing, but other than that, he had nothing pressing for a few months. "England is not the kind of place you see in a weekend," he added, washing down a bite of his fish with a swallow of wine. "This is really quite good. Where did you get it?" He was referring to the fish, not the wine, though he hadn't made himself clear.

"Then you should name a city you would like to see again, and we will see it in a weekend," she chuckled softly, glancing down at his plate and then to the bottle as he commented on the quality of the meal. "Ah ... the wine is a Sauvingnon from Chile, I believe, though I bought at a corner-shop in Oxford while I was there. The fish? That came from a shop that was calling itself Posh Fish. It was highly recommended by the four people I stopped to question."

Something she said brought a smile to his face once again, though it was unclear if it was the promise of visiting a favorite city or something else. "Ah, I should have known. Brilliant choice. As it so happens, it's a favorite place of my own." He lifted his glass of wine to her once again. "To new friendships."

"Ah," she chuckled once more, amused that her panicked second choice was actually a better choice than the first had been. Raising her glass, she touched the rim to his gently. "To a lasting bond."

He couldn't agree more, smiling back at her. "Cheers," he added before tipping the glass back for a sip. He had made short work of his fish and chips, proof that he'd enjoyed it. "It's said that English food is inedible, but I think we've just proved that wrong."

"I have never said that English food is inedible," she laughed, shaking her head. "Simply that English cuisine does not exist." She quickly moved on from that comment, knowing it for the tease it was, and gently cupped his chin in her hand, turning his face toward hers. "You should smile more often, Ian. It suits you."
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Aurelia
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the look on his face, he was obviously surprised to find her holding his chin and turning his head to face her, but not unpleasantly so. He made no move to pull away, letting her hand remain there as long as she wished. "Now that I've met you, perhaps I shall," he replied, his voice a little softer than he had intended.

"Perhaps," she smiled, gently brushing the pad of her thumb over the tip of his nose before drawing her hand away. "But before you make a decision ... we went to England for the entree, now we shall go to France for the dessert." She laughed softly, rising to her feet to take up their empty plates and slip back into the kitchen.

He wasn't sure what to think of the playful touch to his nose, though it seemed she was getting a little bolder. "You went to France, too?" he asked, brows arching in further surprise, following her with his eyes and wondering if he should get up to help her in some way. "We should go to France for breakfast some time. There is no place in the world for breakfast like an outdoor cafe in Paris." Unsure if she wanted or needed his help and assuming she'd ask if she did, he stayed where he was, making himself useful by refilling the wine glasses.

"Wait until you have had breakfast in Bruges," she called from the kitchen, more than happy to defend her home country's right to challenge Paris for its culinary triumphs. A moment later, she reappeared, bearing two plates upon which rested the kind of pastry one could only find in continental Europe. Two balls of light choux pastry, one atop the other, filled with confectioner's custard and cream, and smothered with chocolate and caramel. "The first time I visited France, my father told me I was going to have a religious experience," she said as she sat down once again. "These, my dear professor, are religieuse au chocolat et au caramel, and I think there is very little I would not do if offered one."

"You really are trying to seduce me, aren't you, Aurelia?" After all, everyone knows that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach - or perhaps his tastebuds. "You really have gone all out. I shall be hard put to top you." He eyed the delightfully decadent dessert as she set it on the table, his mouth watering all on its own at the sight of it. He didn't need to speak the language to know it was some sort of chocolate and caramel concoction - a delight both to the eyes and the palate. There was not one healthy item on the menu thus far, and he didn't really care.

Given the sheer amount of physical labor she had put into her garden over the past two days, it was clear that Aurelia felt she had earned this meal in some way. She chuckled at his comment on her intentions, taking up her pastry fork to cut into the delicacy with obvious delight. "You may ... top me ... any time you like, Ian. Though perhaps it would be better to kiss me first."

"Is that a request?" he asked, arching a curious brow at her remark. Things were moving along quickly, and he didn't want to make any assumptions. Was she just teasing him again, or did she really mean what she said? Perhaps it was the wine. Yes, that was probably it.

"Perhaps it is," she told him gently. "But I do not think I should be doing all the chasing, do you? It would make for a very uneven courtship, if I were doing all the courting."

"I did bring you flowers," he reminded her gently, though the truth was he just wasn't quite sure how to romance a woman. Or at least, that's what he told himself. He seemed to consider a moment before replying again. "I think I would prefer to surprise you," he said, taking up a fork to cut into his own dessert, the hint of a smirk on his lips.

"In your own time, professor," she murmured gently, easing off whatever pressure she felt she had put on him with a playful little nudge of her elbow to his. "After you take your first bite, you may wish to be alone with your religious experience."

"Am I going to moan?" he asked, that smirk growing more apparent on his face, as he took up a bit of the dessert on his fork and was getting ready to bring it to his mouth. He paused a moment, as though considering something, and then, instead of taking that bite for himself, he offered it to her.

"You may -" She stopped in surprise, startled to find him offering his loaded fork to her, wondering if he really knew what he was letting himself in for by doing that. She wasn't going to miss the opportunity, though, leaning toward him to close her lips around the mouthful he offered her, slowly drawing it from the fork with an entirely genuine moan of delight. She did like her sweets, this woman. And through all that, her eyes didn't leave his, offering as much of an invitation as a challenge with wicked confidence.

His eyes found and locked on hers, the sight of her lips closing on his fork and moaning with delight at the sinfully sweet dessert, doing things to him he would never have expected or been prepared for. On a whim, he leaned in to press a kiss against her lips, which tasted faintly of chocolate and caramel. It was a soft kiss, a sweet kiss; a gentle, undemanding kiss. The kind of kiss that sets hearts a flutter with its tenderness and warmth.

He had certainly got his wish - she was surprised by the kiss, but pleasantly so, swallowing her mouthful quickly as her heart seemed to skip in her chest. What had been playful flirtation with a man she found attractive suddenly seemed to be far more than just fun, proven by the soft cast of her gaze as she managed a shy smile in answer to his kiss. "I do not know what to say," she heard herself murmur quietly, laughing at her own sudden shyness, and an idea came to her. Cutting a small piece from her own dessert, she offered it to him, dark eyes twinkling with promise.

He couldn't remember the last time he'd kissed a woman - or been kissed. Too long, most likely. He had kissed her for one reason and one reason only - because he'd wanted to - and thankfully, she seemed to have enjoyed it. "You don't have to say anything," he replied, smiling at the sound of her laughter, which was doing strange things to his insides. Amused to find her following his lead, he opened his mouth to accept her offering, rewarding her with a quiet moan of pleasure, not because it was expected, but because the dessert really was that good. He didn't think it was such a religious experience really, so much as a seductive one.

Unbeknownst to Ian, his moan made Aurelia's toes curl as a shiver of something excitedly anticipatory rippled down her spine. Professor Ian Evans was proving to be more and more marvelous company as the minutes ticked by. She leaned close to him, and very gently laid a kiss on the tip of his nose, drawing back with a teasing smile. "A promise of something better to come, so as not to disturb your dessert."
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He smiled around that mouthful of dessert, green eyes dancing with amusement at the kiss she left on the tip of his nose. "Perhaps that is dessert," he teased back, once he'd swallowed his mouthful of chocolate and caramel mixture.

Something about the twinkle in his eyes made butterflies leap about in her stomach, sparking off a surprisingly innocent blush on her cheeks as she glanced down at her plate, almost shy. "If that is dessert, then is the chocolate a waste of our time?" she asked him with a playful cast to her smile, daring him to make the decision between kisses and chocolate.

"Chocolate is never a waste of time," he replied with a smile as he scooped up another forkful of the sweet stuff. "We can always have second dessert." Sort of how hobbits have second breakfast.

She laughed softly, taking another bite of her own dessert. "I am finding it very hard to believe that you do not have women lining up to ... sample your dessert, Ian," she warned him in a sweet voice. "But I am distracting myself as well as you, so ... What is it you are working on at the moment? Are you looking for the lost city of Atlantis, or are you studying something closer to home?"

He arched a brow at her remark as he enjoyed that second forkful of dessert. He wasn't quite sure what she was seeing in a boring college professor like himself, but he wasn't going to argue with her about it. "I don't have much time for dating, I'm afraid," he explained, though that was only partially true, since he had found time for her. "If it was not for your friend Rhys insisting I look in on you, I doubt we would have ever met." He paused before replying to her question, wondering if she sincerely wanted to know or if she was poking fun at him. "Atlantis is not really my area of expertise," he said after a moment, trying not to sound too defensive.

"Truly?" If she noticed he had become defensive, Aurelia didn't give any sign of it, simply continuing her thought with quiet assertiveness, having not meant to give any offense. "Oh, of course, this is not my Earth," she reminded herself, shaking her head with a smile. "Forgive me, I forget often. To be truthful, on my Earth, scholars believe they have found, if not Atlantis itself, then the island that inspired the story. There is no way of knowing if the people who lived there were as advanced as the Atlanteans were supposed to be, but I am inclined to believe that it has been found."

From the expression on his face, it was obvious that her response surprised him. Though he wasn't sure if her Earth was anything like his, it seemed there were some similarities. "Where is that?" he asked, curiously as he scooped up more dessert.

"It was an island called Thera, now Santorini," she explained, quite happy to fall into what amounted to an intelligent conversation while licking clinging chocolate from her fork. "Located on the ancient trade route between Africa, Asia, and the Mediterranean. In fact, many scholars think that the cataclysm on Thera directly caused the downfall of the Minoan civilization on Crete, and may have contributed to the historical inspiration for the ten plagues in Egypt."

Momentarily distracted by the licking of her fork, he refocused his attention on the subject at hand, happy to be with someone who could carry on an interesting, intelligent conversation and cook and look good. "I'm no expert on Atlantis, but I believe that is a theory shared by some scholars on this Earth, as well." Among more than a few others.

"It was something that fascinated me when it first came out," she admitted. "I have something of a weakness for proven myth, and just historical fact. I am very much of the opinion that you cannot know where you are going, if you do not know where you came from." She smiled warmly at him, adjusting the trend of the conversation. "But you did not answer my question," she pointed out teasingly. "What is it that takes you away from work for an entire summer?"

For some reason, he was frowning, wishing he could tel her about Avalon, but unfortunately, he was sworn to secrecy. The fact that she was half demon didn't help, though there were some things he could tell her that were pretty common knowledge and that she'd probably find out sooner or later anyway. "Promise you won't laugh?" he asked, looking a little uncertain about sharing his research.

She paused, curling her hand over his reassuringly as she met his uncertain gaze. "I am truly interested, Ian, or I would not ask," she promised him faithfully. "But I would not force you to tell me. If you do not feel comfortable to share your research with me, do not be afraid to say so. I will not be offended."

He shrugged. "It's not a secret. If my research is ever published, it will be available to whoever wishes to read it." Though he wasn't really sure if it would ever be finished or published. If he got too close to solving the mystery he was researching, the Knights of Avalon would more than likely make sure no proof remained that the thing ever existed to begin with. Sometimes he wasn't quite sure who he was working for exactly. "I'm doing research on the Quest for the Holy Grail, and please, no Monty Python jokes or comparisons to Indiana Jones." From the way he said that, it seemed he'd probably heard them all already.

"Oh!" Her surprise was genuine, as was the pleasure in being able to recognize what it was he was working on. "Galahad," she said, hoping she had the name right. "The, the son of Lancelot du Lac. I think." She chuckled. "I am not so very well educated in chivalric poetry."

"Yes, well, that is the theory," he replied, his gaze on his dessert at he took up the final forkful. This was the point in the conversation where most people relied on their knowledge of Arthurian fiction or film to carry the conversation. At least, she wasn't quoting Camelot. "Supposedly, yes."

"I was supposed to have studied Parzival when I was in school, but the language was too heavy for me," she confessed softly. "I have never truly been able to read any of them all the way through - what I know of the Grail and of the legends surrounding it comes from sensationalized books."

"I could help you with that, if you want, but most people find it pretty boring. The problem with the Grail is separating fact from fiction, and that is always difficult when you're researching something that has its origins so deeply rooted in legend and lore. And now, I'm boring you," he added with a frown.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Have I said you are boring me?" she asked, reaching up to smooth the frown lines from his face with a gentle hand. "I am interested, as I said, and I am not lying. However, I am far more interested in you at this moment. Tell me about yourself, Ian. And if you put yourself down, I will have to think of some way to keep you from doing it again."

She had a point there. This was usually the point in the conversation when his date's eyes started to glaze over, but he seemed to be holding Aurelia's interest somehow, and he guessed it wasn't his charming demeanor that was doing it. He shrugged again, wrapping his fingers around his wine glass, now that his dessert was finished. "There's not much to tell really. What do you want to know?"

She shrugged, wanting to leave that decision to him, but somehow sensing that he wasn't all that comfortable talking about himself. "Tell me what you enjoy doing when you are not eyebrow-deep in research," she suggested, taking a sip of her wine.

"Hobbies, you mean," he said, assuming that's what she meant. After all, even a bookworm like him couldn't have his head buried in a book all the time. He rubbed a thumb against the glass, indicating a little nervousness. "I, uh... I like movies, but I miss the theater. Stage plays and the like. I like to cook on occasion. And I paint a little." Was that enough for starters, he wondered. Though he wasn't blushing, he felt a little embarrassed to admit what interested him. "I'm not very good at sports, but I do a little fencing, and I can ride a horse. Am I sounding too stuffy yet?"

"I do not think it sounds stuffy, I think it sounds charming," she assured him. "I, too, am not so good at sport, though I have had ample practice when it comes to dodging certain things. I cannot remember when I last went to the theater, or when I saw saw a movie. And I should like to see your art, if you ever feel you can show it to me."

"Mmm," he murmured quietly, tilting his head to study her quietly a moment. "Perhaps I should try sketching you." Sketching, not painting. Painting came later, after you knew your subject better. "What about you? What do you like to do when you're not puttering in your garden or casting spells?"

She chuckled at his description of her. "To be perfectly honest, I am not entirely sure," she admitted cheerfully enough. "There is so much yet to do to this place, that I do not have time to think of spending my leisure as I wish. I like music, though you will likely think my preference there strange - I am exceedingly fond of the British Royal Marine Bands. I like to visit places, too - places that have some history to them. But what I am certain that I enjoy most is spending time with a charming professor who seems perpetually confused when I flirt with him."

He chuckled a little at her admission. He liked music, too. Who didn't? But he was expecting her to admit to liking the Rolling Stones or something, rather than the British Royal Marine Bands. He didn't think he'd met anyone else who'd ever heard of them - at least, not in the States. He nodded his head when she mentioned travel. He enjoyed that, too, but rarely was able to do so merely for the sake of pleasure. "I am enjoying myself, too," he said, gathering enough courage for once to reach across the table for her hand.

"I am glad," she smiled, and her smile was warmer, more pleased, than it had been only moments before. Her other hand covered his where he held hers, a sweetly intimate gesture of something more than companionship. "Ah, but I promised I would show you how it is we have eaten English food in America, did I not?"

His smile warmed to hers, enjoying the simple quiet of the moment. He thought this was something he could get used to. Coming home to a lovely woman at night, enjoying a quiet meal at home, a stroll in the garden - the simple pleasures in life. It almost brought tears to his eyes, but he knew he was getting too far ahead of himself. "So you did," he replied in his quiet, gravelly tone of voice.

Her mysterious smile was back as she gently slipped her hands from his, waggling a single finger in his direction. "Keep your eyes on me, professor," she told him. What happened next was difficult to describe. Her entire being seemed to shimmer, like a heat wave or a mirage, and abruptly she vanished from sight, only to reappear in the same manner behind him, her hands over his eyes as she laughed softly.

He gasped audibly, not expecting her to disappear right before his eyes and reappear behind him, her hands over his eyes as though she was playing Hide and Seek. "How did you do that?" he asked as he drew her hands away from his eyes and turned to face her.

She chuckled, stepping back to lean against the post that supported the roof of the little porch. "It is called shimmering," she explained, "and it is, technically, a purely demonic power. It is simply a method of travel. The whitelighters - beings who serve as guardian angels and guiding influences on the good - they travel in a similar way, which is called orbing. I am able to do it because my mother could, and it does not seem to tap into the demon's power. It is in my blood."

"And you can go anywhere in the world by doing that?" he asked, wondering if it was as easy to take herself halfway across the globe as it was to pop up a few feet away. "It seems to be a sort of teleportation, though I'm not quite sure how it works," he said, more to himself than to her, trying to sort out the scientific side of it.

"Anywhere in the world," she nodded. "My father and his wife saw no harm in it. We would save vast amounts of money on family holidays simply by not needing to pay for travel. We packed, I shimmered. It is the only fun thing my mother ever gave me."

"But... how do you know you'll wind up in the right place if you've never been there? Do you just think Paris, and you're in Paris?" he asked, wanting to know more. If you weren't careful, couldn't you end up in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean?

She blinked, genuinely confused by the question. "That is not something that has ever occurred to me," she admitted thoughtfully. "But I think that it does not matter whether I have been there before or not. I have tested it this evening, after all - I had never visited Oxford before tonight, and yet I was there and I returned with no ill effects. I cannot explain how. It simply happens."
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Magic often defies explanation, at least, until it is explained scientifically." He paused a moment again, considering how much to tell her - or not to tell her. "I'm not a scientist, Aurelia. I'm both a scholar and a student. I find things that cannot be explained more interesting than those that can, if that makes sense."

"It does," she assured him, relieved that he did not immediately condemn her for making use of an ability that was, essentially, demonic in nature. It was difficult to explain the difference between shimmering and, say, throwing a fireball, but the difference was there. "Ian?"

"May I ask you something?" he said, just as she was saying his name. He thought he understood what it was she was telling him, but he wanted to be sure.

Forestalled in what she had been about to ask him herself, Aurelia nodded, tucking her hands behind her back, curled to the smooth wood of the post she leaned against. "Please do," she assured him softly. "I will answer, if I can."

She looked both strangely vulnerable and undeniably attractive as she stood leaning against the post the way she was and he had to clear his thoughts a moment to try and remember what it was he'd been about to ask her. "If your mother wasn't a demon, would you still be a witch?" As he understood it, the demon blood gave her certain abilities, but there were witches in this world who were not born of demons, as far as he knew. Of course, she was not of this world, but he was curious.

Her smile returned, deep and warm, as he asked his question. "Yes, I would," she clarified for him. "My father was a witch. If he had been human, I would only be able to shimmer, and possibly not even that. But because he was innately magical himself, I inherited his family power - the energy balls, the shield - as well as the basic power of a witch- the spellcraft and potions. I inherited relatively little from my mother, for which I am grateful. I am far more proud to be my father's daughter."

"That's what I thought," he said, somewhat relieved. There were things he needed to keep secret from her, mostly because of her demon blood, but he was relieved to know her abilities came mostly from her father, rather than her mother. And as far as he could tell, she seemed to have control over her demonic side. Bristol had assured him she was in complete control, but one could never be too careful.

She seemed to guess what it was that was bothering him. Her smile turned a little sad as she drew in a slow breath. "In a few weeks, I will have some things that I have ordered," she said quietly. "After that, you need not worry about the demon taking control again. If it should ever happen, there will be a spell in place to end her, and myself. I should have done it a long time ago, but I did not. So I am taking steps this time to prevent it from ever happening again."

He looked understandably startled by this; alarmed, even, that she would consider destroying herself, along with the demon that resided inside her. "Is that really necessary? There must be another way," he mused quietly, mostly to himself, wondering if the Lady of Avalon would know a better way, but even if she did, he wasn't sure how he'd manage to ask it of her. Perhaps if he talked to her Champion again.

"There is no other way I can think of," she told him, her voice soft as she spoke of her own death. "And it is highly preferable to being trapped within my own form once more, having to watch as my hands take life from others. I did not tell Rhys, because I do not think he could handle it, but ... I was aware, the whole time. I cannot do that again."

He wasn't sure why she was so concerned about the Lady's Champion or what he thought, though he knew they were friends, so he did not question it further. "And if I could find a better way? What would you say then?" Though he couldn't promise anything, there was nothing wrong with asking.

"I would try anything, if minds greater than mine thought it might work," she agreed, a hint of desperation in her voice. "I would even submit to being stripped of all power, just to live without the constant fear of losing control of myself again."

He looked alarmed again, if only for a moment. "I'm not sure that's necessary," he said. The problem wasn't so much that she was a witch, but that she wasn't of this world. But then, Avalon wasn't really of this world either, though it was connected somehow. He wasn't entirely clear on that point. "There are... things about me you do not know, Aurelia. Things I cannot tell you, in part because of the demon. I should not even tell you this much. There are... things that connect me to your friend Rhys and his wife. It is how I came to be here, with you."

"You are a part of their secret," she said simply, smiling a little. "I will not ask you to tell me, Ian. I know the risks, better than anyone. I understand." She paused, drawing in a slow, deep breath. Behind her back, her fingers clenched on the wooden post even as her eyes wandered back to his, recalling what she had been about to ask, before they had come to this topic. "Ian?" she said his name softly, a note of hope in her tone. "If I were to ask ... would you kiss me again?"

"If I kiss you, will you stop worrying and just enjoy the moment?" he countered, not wanting worries about the demon to trouble her any longer - at least, not tonight. If she had blood on her hands, well, then, so did he, though he wasn't ready to admit it yet, as that would lead to questions he was unwilling or unable to answer. He allowed his gaze to travel the length of her body, finding her more alluring and desirable than any other woman in recent or not-so-recent memory. "A kiss may lead to something else."

She considered him for a long moment, wondering if he was warning her or himself with that last comment. "I have no objection, if you do not," she said finally, the look in her eyes more invitation than demand. She had not shifted her position at all, still leaning there, hands trapped between her back and the post. "I do not think I would be capable of worrying about anything in your arms, nor thinking of anything. Anything but you."

"That is quite the compliment," he replied, surprised yet again, though he felt the same. If he was going to be distracted from his research, he could think of no lovelier distraction then her. He pushed to his feet and went to her, pausing a moment in front of her to add, "Once we pass a certain point, there will be no turning back."
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I know," she said softly, allowing him to lead, to make the decision. He seemed to need to be the one calling the shots, at least when taking this first step, and to a certain extent, she needed the choice to be his. "We are not children, Ian. We know what we want, and how to make it happen. I want you, I know this. But I would not dream of putting you under so much pressure that you felt you had no choice."

"It is not that," he told her, even as he raised a hand to push her hair back from her face and behind a shoulder, fingers brushing her face as he did so. "I like you, Aurelia. I like you a lot, and I would like to get to know you better. I would like to see if there could be something between us. Something more than just friendship."

"As would I," she agreed, gentle in the stillness around them. "Physical attraction can get in the way of such getting to know one another. When I say I want you, Ian, it is not just lust. When I say I find you very attractive, it is your mind, your nature, your mannerisms, more than your looks, which are not inconsiderable. I like you very much, Ian, and I would like to know you better. Is this not just another step on that journey?"

"It is a very big step," he agreed, not bothering to remind her that once that step was taken, there would be no turning back. They will have crossed the boundaries from friends to lovers. "I am sorry to say I did not bring a change of clothes," he added with a somewhat crooked smirk. "Though I suppose that is not much of a worry when your lover is a witch." He touched her cheek again, leaning just that much closer.

"It is only a big step in the mind," she murmured as he leaned closer to her, still not moving apart from the gentle raising of her chin to meet him with her smile. "For the body, it is the natural way of things." A blush bloomed beneath the brush of his fingers against her cheek, but it was not a sign of shyness; it was anticipation, hope, desire. "I promise, I will not send you home naked."

It had been a very long time since he'd been with a woman - at least, it felt that way - and yet, the kiss he offered was not the kiss of a shy or inexperienced lover. It was tender and passionate, more demanding than the earlier kiss - surer, hungrier, but willing to give as much as he took.

She was no inexperienced girl who needed to be coaxed and taught - his kiss was met with her own, as sure as his, as warm and passionate as he could hope for. Finally she drew out of her lean, her arms rising to curl about his shoulders, holding him close as she offered up a kiss that was anything but cool. Words became actions only too easily, and Aurelia was more than capable of backing up her words with the passion he had seen hints of over the past two days.

He took her in his arms, deepening the kiss, tasting chocolate and caramel on her lips, along with something else that was strictly Aurelia, but just as sweet. She felt warm and soft in his arms, and he wanted to hold her there forever, a warm summer breeze stirring their hair, as passion stirred their hearts.

Whatever line had been drawn between them was already crossed. Even if nothing more came of this than kisses, he was already her lover in her heart and mind. As his arms wound about her, she found her prediction had come true - she could think of nothing but him, how he made her feel, how he felt in her arms, how much she wanted to please him. The scent of lavender and thyme brushed over them with the breeze, and she felt herself smile into those deepening kisses, taking that last half-step to press as close as she possibly could into him. Whatever he thought, whatever he felt, in that moment, Aurelia had already chosen to be his.

Though he had not said so in so many words, he had already made his choice, too. As soon as her lips had touched his for the very first time. As soon as her fingers had found his. As soon as she had asked for another kiss, he already knew he could not deny her. Whether she had bewitched him or not, he found her enchanting, intriguing, and a little bit sad, and he found himself wishing to take that sadness away. Perhaps it was the scent of lavender on the breeze, perhaps it was the taste of her lips, but he found his heart - and body - stirring to her kisses and the feel of her body close to his. "Aurelia," he whispered, breathlessly as he broke from her lips long enough to take a breath, touching his nose to hers, close enough to taste her breath and feel her heart beat close to his.

There was no spell at work, no magic but that which occurs naturally between a man and a woman. He was man, and she was all woman in his arms, no sign of the quiet power that radiated from her as a witch. She was soft and pliable, only too willing to be weak for him. As he drew back, she found herself trembling, just a little breathless, intoxicated by his warmth, his touch, his closeness. Her eyes opened to meet his gaze, feeling their heartbeats doing battle with a small smile. Her fingers stroked tenderly over his cheek. "We have all night," she whispered to him. "And many others to come. There is no reason to hurry."

"And no reason not to," he replied, resting his forehead against hers, nearly nose to nose with her. It was strange how relaxed he felt, how comfortable he felt with her suddenly, though it had only been two days. He was just about to kiss her again when the cell phone in his pants pocket went off, conveniently interrupting a romantic moment Ian wasn't sure he could duplicate. He sighed in annoyance, a frown on his face. "I should get this."

There is nothing quite like the intense stab of frustration, disappointment, and annoyance that comes when something very much wanted is interrupted by someone with appalling timing. Aurelia's entire body tensed as the insistent ringtone invaded their quiet moment, relaxing with a low sigh of resignation as she leaned back against the post once again. "Tell them to count the grains of sand on a beach before they call you back," she suggested with a smile.

Ian smirked, a low chuckle in his throat as he let her go and pulled the phone from his pocket. "That would take forever," he remarked, seeing her point. He glanced at the phone to see who the caller was and frowned further, stifling a groan. "It's Rhys," he told her, just before hitting the little green button and holding the phone up to his ear. "Yes?" he answered, pausing a moment to listen to the voice on the other end of the phone.

Her eyes narrowed as he told her who it was doing the interrupting, and for a moment, she genuinely considered casting something itchy on her friend for his terrible sense of timing. She restrained herself, however, to muttering under her breath several interesting curses in her native Dutch.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian turned his back on her as soon as she started cussing, not understanding the words so much as the tone of voice to get the gist of her meaning. "Yes, as a matter of fact, I'm with her right now. Yes, she seems to have perfect control of the demon." He paused again as the voice on the other end continued, flicking a glance at Aurelia. "We're getting along just fine."

From Dutch, Aurelia slid into a colorful array of comments on Rhys' virility in French, before slamming straight into German with a spirited - if muttered - attack on his brain and reproductive organs. She was nothing if not thorough in expressing her irritation, however quietly.

Ian smirked at Aurelia's colorful array of language, cussing the man in several different languages. "I think if you value your virility, you might want to call me back later," Ian suggested, not knowing Rhys well enough to know how stubborn the man was when he had his mind set. Ian chuckled again at something else that was said. "Perhaps you should ask her yourself," Ian replied and handed the phone to Aurelia, before Rhys had a chance to reply.

The witch took the phone and began to speak into it without giving Rhys a chance to realize he'd been handed over and change gears. "Rhys Bristol, I love you like a brother, but if you do not hang up right now and call back tomorrow, I will send you a seven year itch that will leave you with blue balls and a permanently flaccid dick, do you understand me?"

Rhys stopped short of whatever he was saying as the phone was handed to Aurelia, and he heard her threaten his manhood in no uncertain terms, but instead of an angry retort or even a plea for her to forgive him, he only laughed. "If you're getting along that well, you should be thanking me, not cursing me," he informed her, a little smugly.

"If you hang up now, I might well thank you," she retorted, refusing to be charmed by him right now. "Otherwise, I may have to disappoint your wife with your poor performance in bed for several years to come."

"You wouldn't," he replied, not quite daring her, but slightly insulted that she would even think of doing such a thing after all he'd done for her. "Nat!" he called, his voice only barely muffled on the other end. "Aurelia is threatening our future children, after all we've done for her!"

Only a little muffled came the reply, clear enough for Aurelia's ears. "Then put the phone down and let her get back to seducing her new best friend!" Despite herself, the witch laughed, rolling her eyes at how easy to read she apparently was. "Rhys, I am going to hang up. If you value your genitals, do not call again until at least noon tomorrow."

"Seducing. What do you mean seducing? Are you two, you know..." he inquired, though he really wasn't sure he wanted to know. "Oh my god, you are!" he added, with a chuckle as he at last realized exactly what it was he was interrupting. "Nat!" he called again, just as he was hanging up the phone. "Aurelia has a boyfriend!"

Despite her annoyance, Aurelia was laughing as she hung up, rolling her eyes as she added one final insult to the litany that had already passed her lips. "Onuitstaanbaar kind van een man," she sighed, sliding the phone back into Ian's pocket. "Where were we?"

Who knew what Nat was telling Rhys on the other end of the phone, but it could be assumed that his better half had enough sense not to allow him to call them again, at least until morning. Ian caught enough of the gist of Aurelia's final insult to laugh a little, despite his frustration. "Is he always like that?" he asked, having only met the man once.

"These days, yes," Aurelia told him, still laughing. It was impossible to stay annoyed with Rhys, especially when he seemed so irrepressibly pleased with the fallout of his very first introduction effort. "When I first knew him, he was very different. Very quiet, very ... broken. Natalya is very good for him."

Actually, it was his second, or so he deemed, counting Rachel and Zach as his first. Though he really had nothing to do with them getting together, he had given them his blessing, and hence, he judged himself to be at least partially responsible for their happiness. Besides, she was his sister. Ian was tempted to ask more questions regarding the man who he knew only as the Champion of Avalon, but there were more pressing matters on his mind. Talk could wait until later, unless she'd changed her mind. He closed the gap between them again, touching a hand to her bare shoulder and running his fingers down the length of her arm. "I know a place in Paris that makes the most amazing crepes," he mused aloud, though his mind was on something else.

She shivered as his fingers stroked down her arm, the touch instantly drawing her back to the cusp of that feeling so rudely interrupted by Rhys and his insistence on knowing exactly what was happening all the time. "Are you inviting me to take you to Paris for breakfast, Ian?" she asked softly, turning a little way toward him as she raised her eyes to meet his.

"I am, though if we wait until morning, it will be too late for breakfast there," he replied, his fingers sliding through her hair, enjoying the feel of its silky texture, leaning closer to inhale her scent. "What do you want, Aurelia?"

"Do you truly need to ask?" She made the last turn toward him, her hands rising to touch as the tip of her nose circled his with intimate promise. "You are close to breaking my capacity for patience," she warned him through a tender smile. "Ian ..."

"I assume you have a bedroom, unless you're like me to take you right here on the porch," he replied, knowing what she wanted because he wanted it himself, and now that Rhys had called, he could assume they'd receive no further interruptions at least until morning.

"Ah, so you would rather not bare all in the garden on this first time." She couldn't help teasing him a little, pressing close as her arms encircled his waist. In her heels, it wasn't a stretch to kiss him softly, coaxing him into something deeper, something warmer, distracting him entirely as she shimmered, taking him with her. When he next took note of their surroundings, he would find them in the bedroom she had taken for her own, with barely an effort on either side.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Distracted by the kiss, he hardly noticed that he'd been magically transported from the porch to her bedroom in the wink of an eye, until their lips parted and he realized they were no longer surrounding by the garden. While some men might have found her abilities a little intimidating, he only found her that much more intriguing because of them, not to mention convenient, if only for the ability to travel wherever you wanted in the blink of an eye. "Does it tire you to do that?" he asked, curiously, assuming popping around the world might wear her out after a while, though traveling a short distance most likely did not.

She shrugged, shaking her head. "I have never done it so much that it tired me," she admitted. "When I was learning, I developed a clumsy streak that got me sent to hospital a few times, but now I have nailed the landing."

"I can think of something else that might tire you," he teased, leaning in to let his lips leave a trail of kisses against the line of her neck, leading to her shoulder. He wasn't exactly an expert in bed, but he was experienced enough to know his way around a woman's body well enough.

He almost missed her smile, so eager to touch and kiss her neck, but must have felt it when she pressed her own lips to his jaw, smoothing her hands up his back. It had been a long time since she had been touched with any intention other than harm, but that wasn't what made her sigh softly as she leaned into him. He'd touched something much deeper than her skin, with barely any effort at all. "Perhaps we should test my stamina, then."

Though a professor, he was no means old. Judging by his appearance, he looked to be in his early to mid-30s, and though he claimed he wasn't athletic, he seemed fit enough. "Mmm," he murmured, his lips finding hers again, murmuring against her lips, "Perhaps we should." He caught her face in his hands and kissed her again, deeper than before, exploring her lips and her mouth as he delved deeper.

Their kisses were not given or taken but shared, traded back and forth with the maturity that only comes when the people sharing know themselves well. Aurelia couldn't prevent a soft moan passing from her to him as her palms smoothed down his chest and back up again, easing beneath the hang of his jacket to encourage the fabric from his shoulders. He was far too dressed for what they both had in mind, and if he didn't get a move on, he might be naked before he realized it.

He shrugged his shoulders to help her with the jacket, pulling away from her kisses just long enough to get the cumbersome thing off. His phone was in the jacket pocket somewhere, but he wasn't very worried about that right now. Though they had only just met, they were like a pair of old lovers, anticipating each other's needs and desires. It was something that came with experience and maturity, and though he was in no rush, wanting to savor every moment, his body was growing impatient, despite himself. His hands found the zipper at the back of her dress and drew it downward, anxious to explore the curve of her spine without any clothing to impede his progress.

As her zipper slid down beneath his fingers, she caught his lips once again, teasing him with smiling kisses as her own fingers followed the line of his shirt buttons, undoing each they came to. She felt that same impatience, that desire to touch and be touched, the need to share the passion he evoked in her, and yet there seemed no sign of it in the leisurely kisses, the tender stroke of her fingers inside his shirt.

There was no need for words, as they slowly undressed the other, enjoying each new discovery as they slowly revealed the carefully guarded secrets that lay hidden beneath their clothing. Before long, a pile of discarded clothing lay strewn across the floor, and he was leading or being lead to the bed to finish what they'd started on the porch. His body reacted to hers, each touch, each kiss, driving him mad with desire, even as he drove her to the brink of madness himself. What had she said? That there was no hurry; that they had all night. All night, indeed. All night to explore her and discover her, to find out what made her moan and sigh, to make love to her again and again until they both fell asleep, exhausted in each other's arms, only to start all over again. But this first time was special. It was not something that could or should be rushed, but savored.

And savor it they did, from the merest touch to that first moment of joining, to the lethargic sprawl that came with satisfaction. For the first time, Aurelia found that she was not shy of her lover seeing her naked, touching her without modesty, and she, in turn, was not afraid to look and touch for herself. And even when they were done with that first frenzy, she stayed close to him, trading kisses from love-swollen lips, teasing her fingertips in and out of his hair as she gazed into his eyes. "I would give much to see dawn in Paris with you."

He felt lazy as he laid there with her, lazier than he'd ever been. Drunk with love and lazily lethargic. No, it wasn't laziness, he decided. It was contentment. If only things could be this way forever, but then, why couldn't they? He inwardly chided himself for the thought. He was getting too far ahead of himself, and he knew it. "It will be dawn there in a few hours. You should get some sleep," he told her, his fingers softly rubbing against her bare flesh, loving the feel of her body so close to his.

"So should you," she murmured back to him, inching closer to brush her lips against his once again. Whether others would condemn her for moving too fast or not, Aurelia couldn't deny that this felt right, in a way that nothing had felt right for most of her life. And was there truly such a thing as too fast if the hearts and minds moving at that pace did not feel rushed by it? She dipped her head, pressing a kiss over his heart with a tender smile. "We shall have to fetch you a change of clothes if we are going to Paris."

The touch of her lips against his chest stirred something in him that was not quite desire - deeper than desire, stronger than simply a physical sensation. Was this what it felt like to fall in love? He'd never known such a feeling as this before. It was altogether the sweetest feeling he had ever known, and here he was sharing it with the loveliest woman he had ever met. Friendship, indeed. The most beautiful friendship he'd ever known. "Mmm," he murmured back. "Are you going to give me a makeover? Change the homely professor into a handsome prince worthy of Paris?" he asked, touching her hair, fingertips brushing her cheek.
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Aurelia
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Why would I wish to change you?" she asked him softly. "It is you I want, you I enjoy, you I look forward to knowing better. To change you would be to change what I find most appealing. I would rather change Paris to suit you than the other way around."

"Now that would take some real magic," he said, smiling softly back at her, thinking how he could wake up to her face every morning and never grow tired of seeing it. "You're really something, Aurelia," he told her, fingers gently stroking her cheek. "I've never met anyone quite like you."

"That is probably because there is no one like me on this Earth," she teased him gently, leaning close to brush the tip of her nose to his. "You are a very special man, Ian. I feel honored that you would choose to be close to me when I could so easily have been a burden on your time. Thank you."

"A burden," he echoed, chuckling a little to himself at the thought of that, remembering how he'd tried to talk Rhys out of this babysitting job - at least, that's how he'd originally described it. "The truth is, my life is pretty boring. I am the one who should feel honored."

"It is not boring if you have a passion for the way that you spend your time," she argued gently. "I have seen a little of your passion for your subject - you are judging your life through other's eyes, and that is not good. Look at your life through my eyes - I see a confident, passionate man who applies his intelligence and interest to an area of study that is fascinating. Does that sound so boring now?"

"Fascinating to the two percent of the world's population who care. You know, my father wanted me to be a doctor. Me. I can't stand the sight of blood. How could I ever be a doctor?" He quieted, seeing the irony in his own statement. Whether he could stand the sight of blood or not, he'd shed it a few times, when it had been necessary.

She chuckled softly, shaking her head. "It is never other people's ambitions for us that satisfy, it is our own," she pointed out. "You are happy in your work, and if your father cannot accept that, then it is because of his own unhappiness with his own life, and not you. Look at me. I have no ambition. I do not know what I am going to do to support myself, though there are a number of things I could do. But I am happy not knowing. I find it is best not to plan too far ahead. The most wonderful things that happen are unexpected."

"Like you," he pointed out with a warm smile. To say she was unexpected was a bit of an understatement. She came as a complete surprise, and a very pleasant one. "You said you owned a shop once. Why not try opening one again?" he suggested. Or come with me, and we'll travel the world. I'll show you all the mysteries the world has to offer, and we'll figure them out together. His heart leaped at the thought of it, but that wish did not pass his lips. It was a dream he'd had since he was a boy, but dreams didn't pay the bills, put food on the table, or a roof over one's head.

"I may," she mused with a smile. "Or perhaps I will cheat and cite discoveries made on my Earth as my own on this Earth." This was offered with a wicked glint in her eye, though she was not the sort to steal credit from anyone. "I have an idea or two, but they are not big ideas. They are just enough to keep me from having to rely on the charity of my friend."

He presumed the friend she was referring to was Bristol, not himself, since he was just barely making ends meet as a college professor. "Money doesn't buy happiness, but it does make life easier," he mused to himself, chuckling a little at her threat to cheat. "What do you know about medieval myths and legends?" he asked, a hint of teasing lighting up his green eyes. "You would have made a lovely lady."

"Ah, but I am a witch," she pointed out. "I would have been, I believe they called it a loathly lady, at best." Laughing, she rolled onto her back, inching close to stay in contact with him. "As to medieval myths and legends, well ... I do not know if they are the same here or not."

He slid an arm around her as she rolled to her back to pull her snugly against him, not yet ready to give up the closeness between them. "Most women tried for witchcraft weren't witches at all," he remarked, wondering if that was something that had happened during her Earth's history, as well. "We tend to demonize, if you pardon the expression, that which we don't understand."

"That does make perfect sense," she agreed. "No witch would allow themselves to be captured and burned, anyway. Only a human has no power to save themselves in such a position. We call the period when witch-hunts were most prevalent "the burning times" at home. It is only part of the reason that magic is kept such a close secret."

"It is here, too," he replied, though he was unsure to what extent those who claimed to be witches possessed any unusual abilities or talents. The New Age movement had made all those things common place, and it wasn't unusual to come across someone who purported to be a witch or some other sort possessing some sort of self-proclaimed abilities or one kind or another. "I'm not too terribly familiar with the occult. My interests lie more in the past than the present."

"Well, the past is a fascinating place," she agreed with a smile. As they talked, her hand rose, teasing her knuckles back and forth over his skin, unwilling to go without touching him for very long. "I confess, I have an interest myself in the ancient cultures - in Greece and Rome, in the places Homer mentions, in the people he talks of. I do not know if archaeology has taken the same route here, but at home, men followed Homer to Troy, and to ancient Sparta, to the Miceneans, and the Minoans. I would devour anything that was brought up fresh from those times."

"That is a bit older than my area of expertise," he laughed. A lot older actually, since he was mainly interested in Arthurian legend and Homer was many centuries before that. His interest was medieval and hers seemed to be ancient. "I must admit the Greeks do excel at tragedy. Nearly all their myths and legends are tragic in nature."
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Aurelia
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aurelia chuckled softly. "I do not mean to emulate them," she assured him. "But they do intrigue me - the reality drawn painstakingly from the fiction. What you do, in fact." She twisted, propping herself up on one elbow to look down at him. "Are you searching for the Grail itself, or the castle where it was housed?"

He smiled, enjoying the conversation, even if it wasn't of the pillow talk variety. He did not know many women who could carry on such a conversation without arguing academics or lecturing him on their own views. He frowned a little, wishing he could tell her that the Grail had already been found, but he was uncertain if he should chance it. "The castle, actually," he replied, studying her carefully. "You're not going to tell me that it's already been found on your Earth, are you?"

"No," she laughed, shaking her head. "On my Earth, the Grail romances have been declared nothing more than fiction for the age they were written in. There are always some who insist they must be true, but there is nothing to be found. And in truth, I do not think anyone truly wants to find anything, for fear of offending the Catholic Church."

"Oh, I can assure you it's not fiction," he replied, sounding very sure of himself. There was far too much proof to the contrary, though he was unable to show her much of it. Avalon, for example, was off limits, especially to someone who had demon blood coursing through her veins. It had been his greatest discovery - the crowning achievement of a lifetime - and one that would remain unknown. The thought made him frown a little in frustration, though he understood the necessity for secrecy.

"You sound so sure of that," she said, curious, but sensing they were skirting the edge of that secret he dared not share with her. "Of course, if such a thing as the Grail was found, it could not be announced. It would be fought over; men and women would die for no reason other than to allow one faction or another to claim it for their own and misuse it as they wished. No, if it were ever found, it would have to be kept secret, and that is not a secret I would want a part in without dire need."

"Precisely," he replied, not stating one way or the other whether the Grail was part of his secret or if it had actually been found or not, though his silence on the subject was likely all the answer she needed. "You will just have to take my word for it, I suppose." He thought she could not imagine what it felt like to be passionate about a particular subject and not be able to share it with the one person who might actually appreciate your knowledge. "I can tell you this much..." he admitted, after a moment's consideration. "It's safe and some place no one will ever find it."

"Good." She smiled, leaning down to kiss him softly. "And you discovered the place, did you not?" she guessed. "And it is that which brought you into contact with Rhys Bristol." Her smile deepened. "Oh, what a tangled web we weave," she teased, kissing him once again. "You do not need to tell me, nor do you need to worry that I will not trust you because of your secret. If you had not already known when we met, I would have kept my magic a secret from you, for the same reason. It is not my secret."

He returned her kiss, wondering what he'd done to deserve it and her, though he did not ask. "Tangled, yes, and not entirely of my own doing," he admitted, arching a brow at the mention of her own secret. "How do you mean?" he asked. After all, the magic was a part of her; unlike Avalon, which belonged to no one. He was only sworn to protect it.

"Imagine, for a moment, that you know nothing of magic," she suggested softly. "I would not tell you, not until I was certain that you would keep the secret and not hate me for being a witch. Because to admit the existence of magic is to endanger every witch in the world. If the wrong person were to learn that secret, then it would be anarchy. It is not my secret alone; it belongs to every magic user."

"Magic is not such a secret thing here, though there are those who purport themselves to be witches and seers and psychics who have no more ability than I. I do not think anyone native to this world has the ability to travel around the globe in the blink of an eye, but then, you said that is because of your demon blood, or does the demon blood just make your powers stronger?"

"It's a skill almost every demon is born with," she tried to explain. "There is no way from the Underworld to the Earth except by means of magic. It is evolutionary, rather than trained."

"So, if you were somehow able to expunge the demon side of your nature, you would lose that ability," he deduced, unsure why they were discussing such a subject at a time like this. He thought there might be better ways to make use of their time, but these were things he not only wanted to understand about her, but needed to understand if they were going to continue their relationship.

"Yes, I believe it would be," Aurelia nodded. "It would be a true loss, but I do not need it so much. The only way I have encountered to remove the demon from a half-demon is to strip all power from them and make them human, but ... I am selfish. I do not wish to lose what my father gave me."

She seemed to be contradicting herself a little from what she'd said only a few hours earlier, but then he assumed she had conflicted feelings regarding her bloodline. It was her demon side that prevented him from being completely honest with her, but who was he to ask her to change when she had accepted him just the way he was. Still, she had expressed the desire to be rid of the demon forever. If anyone would know of a way, it would be the Lady of Avalon, if only he could ask her somehow. "No, of course you don't," he replied, a little absently.

Her lips touched over his heart once again, noting how absent he had become from the conversation. Fingertips gently caressed his cheek. "Are you here with me, Ian?" she asked him softly. "Or have your thoughts flown?"

His gaze drifted back to hers, an apologetic smile on his face, touched by the tender affection she bestowed on him again and again. "Sorry, I was just thinking of something," he said, stating the obvious, though not sharing those thoughts might have been. He knew he was getting too far ahead of himself. It had only been two days. He leaned close to press a tender kiss against her temple. "If we are going to greet the dawn in Paris, we should both get some sleep."

"We should." She smiled as he kissed her temple, curling in close against his side as she laid her head down. However fast they had moved to this point, there was still a long way ahead before she would start thinking further than a year into her future. But as things stood, in this moment, she thought she would be very content to keep this special man in each and every one of those plans, from now until eternity.

He was thinking similar thoughts and though he had told her to get some sleep, it was some time before he finally drifted off, his mind too awake and alert with the possibilities of life with this amazing woman at his side. Perhaps the Fates were finally smiling on him for a change. If only he could keep Aurelia by his side, his life might be complete. With that thought on his mind, he finally surrendered to sleep, a smile on his lips and a fire burning in his heart.

((Say what you like about Aurelia, she certainly doesn't stand around when she knows what she wants! Huge thanks to Ian's player, who is awesome!))
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