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An Invitation



“Chloe? Open up, it’s me, Pierre.”

She sighed and kissed Brokk’s chest regretfully, pushing him away. “I’d better let him in, he’ll only come round the back looking for me.”

Brokk stepped back scowling and doing his shirt up. “Who is he?” 

She had to admit to being pleased that he sounded so cross. “Oh, just a friend,” she said, slipping off the table and holding back a grin as his scowl deepened.

Brokk wached her go and listened to her let Pierre in. She didn’t bring him into the kitchen and he realised she wouldn’t. She was probably being careful unless... unless he was her boyfriend and she didn’t want him to see he was there. He stepped quietly out into the hallway watching them and didn’t like the way the boy’s eyes fell upon her.

“So will you come them?” Pierre asked her.

“Come where?”  

They both looked around, surprised, as he walked towards them, Chloe looked anxious and Pierre gave him a measuring look. Brokk was pleased to see that he wasn’t especially handsome, a nice enough face, but nothing that would cast him into the shade.

“Who’s this?” Pierre asked.

Chloe widened her eyes at Brokk as he stepped forwards putting his arm possessively around her waist and meeting Pierre’s gaze with his frank, untroubled expression. 

“Ummm, Pierre, this is Brokk.” 

Brokk held his hand out and Pierre took it, giving a firm handshake. “So where are we going?” Brokk asked, ignoring Chloe’s startled look.

“A club, near Brantôme, there’s a crowd of us going tonight. You’ll come then?” he asked Chloe once more.

Brokk nodded before she had a chance to answer, smiling easily. “Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

They said goodbye to Pierre who said he’d see them there and were left alone again. Chloe moved away from him, feeling a rather aggrieved. She didn’t want to share Brokk with other people, he was her secret, and... and she was cross that they had been interrupted if she was being honest. Well, cross and relieved, things were moving far too fast. “I don’t remember agreeing to go,” she said and he shrugged.

“I thought it might be fun.” He walked over and caught her in his arms as she went to move away again. She pushed against him, still feeling cross and he chuckled. “Don’t worry; we have plenty of time before we need to leave. Now, where were we...?” He moved to kiss her and she wriggled away, even more annoyed that he had guessed why she was cross.

“No, we don’t,” she said with a smirk, “because I need to get ready. I’m going to wash my hair.” She poked her tongue out at him, well aware she was being childish and not caring in the least as she ran up the stairs. 

Brokk shook his head; human girls were just as tricky as his own kind it would seem. He wasn’t going to be deflected though and followed her up. He found her bedroom and walked in as she rifled through her wardrobe. He looked around the room and frowned as he saw a poster of a handsome young man pinned over her bed; he was posing, displaying a lot of toned muscle and skin. Brokk flicked his fingers and the poster disintegrated, the tiny pieces flying out the open window.  Chloe looked up, seeing what he’d done and raised one eyebrow. “Jealous much?” 

“Perhaps,” he murmured running his hands over the books that were stacked in uneven piles on the shelves. 

“Which one?” He turned around to see her holding up two dresses, one red and one black. Brokk sat on the bed and shook his head and she frowned before putting them back and pulling out a yellow one. He shook his head once more and she huffed, folding her arms. “What then?” she demanded, pointing at the depths of the cupboard.

He smiled and waved his hand and held out a dress for her. She mouth fell open and it was a moment before she could move to take it from him. The material was gauzy and fine and a deep cobalt blue, with indigo coloured dragonflies embroidered around the neckline and diagonally down to one hip. She held it against herself and looked in the mirror. The blue brought out the colour of her own eyes, and looked wonderful against her golden skin. “Oh,” she sighed. “Can I keep you?”

He reached forward and grabbed her arm, pulling her down onto his lap where she landed with a squeal. “No,” he said, “but maybe I can keep you.” There was something in his eyes that made her shiver and she struggled to her feet, away from him.

“I’m going to take a shower.” She hurried to the door, draping the dress on the back of a chair as she went. “Make yourself at home.” She ran to the bathroom and locked the door behind her. She didn’t know what to make of him but she knew he was dangerous, she was playing with fire but... oh but when she had kissed him before, she had never felt so alive. She wondered what Tante Marie would make of Brokk and felt a stab of guilt for how the family had treated her. She was frail now and elderly and, well certainly a little odd but... was it someone like Brokk who had done that to her? 

Is that how she would end up if she kept on? 

Her stomach lurched at the thought and she took a deep breath and turned on the shower. 

Once she had showered and washed her hair she stepped out, wrapping herself in a towel and smiling as she realised he had figured out how to work the CD player in her room. The music drifted down the hallway and she hummed along while she toweled her hair dry. She brushed her teeth and was about to drop the towel and put her bikini and shorts back on so she could go and fetch the dress, when there was a knock on the door. 

“Can I come in?”

“No!” she said, clutching at the towel.

“I brought your dress.”

“Oh.” Damn. She wondered why the thought of opening the door alarmed her so much; she didn’t believe he would force her into anything, though how she could feel so certain of this was something she didn’t question. It occurred to her then, it wasn’t him she didn’t trust as much as herself. There was another knock and she stepped forward and undid the latch. 

She opened the door a little and he held the dress up. Putting her arm through the gap, she reached take it from him. He smiled and held the dress just out of her grasp and she sighed, opening the door further. “Just hand it over.” She stepped closer and this time he let her take it but at the same time put his arms around her, pulling her closer and stealing a kiss that made her heart thunder. One hand traced the curve of her neck and smoothed down until he reached the place where the towel was fastened and she drew in a breath as it slithered to the ground.

She wasn’t the only one.

He stood back a little, his gaze travelling over her, and she flushed as he drank her in, both embarrassed and emboldened by the desire in his eyes. 

“I can’t bear the thought that I won’t see you again.”

She was surprised by his admission, more so by the way he said it, she... believed him. 

Never trust the fae.

She met his eyes, wishing she could be sure of his words. “Surely there are lots of pretty fae girls waiting for you back home.”

He shook his head tightly and reached for her, pulling her hard against him. “No one like you.” 

She had neither the time nor the will to reply as her breath was taken by his kiss, by the feel of his hands moving over her skin. She gave up on any thoughts of resisting, swept up in emotions that she had neither the ability nor the desire to decipher. Instead she removed his shirt with hurried movements, her impatient fingers falling to wrestle with buckles and buttons that seemed designed to frustrate her. Finally she slipped her hand beneath his waistband and heard him draw in a breath. “I’m not going to let you go,” he promised; his voice rough and low.

Somehow they made it back to the bedroom and tumbled together, rumpling the sheets, and leaving her dress in a crumpled heap on the ground; careless of everything but each other. 

Outside her window the bees muttered and fussed around the roses, and the frogs sang their chorus on the lake but Chloe heard none of it. Oblivious to anything outside of that room, deaf to anything but her name on his lips and sounds of her own pleasure which tore from her mouth as he made silent promises that only she could hear. 

By the time they were ready to leave there was constraint between them. He could feel her shutter up her heart against him as clearly as if she had accused him of being cruel, of taking something he had no right to. He would leave tonight and she would stay here and she was already steeling herself it, knowing she had been foolish.

“Chloe?” She looked up as they walked outside to her car. “Are you angry with me?”

She shook her head as she opened the door of the old 2CV “No, I’m not angry with you.” 

Not angry... but judging from the hollow sound of her voice he wished she were; that would be easier to bear. 

They drove through the countryside as the sun went down and he watched her, covertly, wondering what he would do, how far he would go... to keep her.

The sweet scent of hay drifted on the evening air but for Brokk it was tainted, he could feel the stain of industry even as deep in the countryside as they were, and he longed to take her to his home. He imagined showing her his world and wondered what she would make of it. 

He wanted to know.

By the time they drew up outside the club his thoughts were tangled and he could find no escape. She got out and locked the car, walking away without waiting for him and he moved to catch her up, taking her hand. She let him, her hand warm in his but she didn’t look up, didn’t smile at him and he found he was unhappy.

The club was dark and noisy, the beat of the music heavy and insistent and he could almost taste the poisonous tang of smoke and drugs, could feel it threading through the atmosphere as it slid through the veins of the humans that moved around him. He held Chloe’s hand tighter, drawing her closer to his body. He didn’t like her being here; she seemed too vulnerable... they all did. How did they live without magic to protect them, how did they survive; filling their bodies with poisons to shorten already fleeting lives? Would she come back here when he was gone, her body pressed against another’s, her mind fogged with those poisons; with desire. 

He watched; an outsider, as she greeted her friends, introducing him cautiously, evading questions about who he was and where he had come from. He bought drinks with money that didn’t really exist and they danced together as she avoided his eyes, until he could bear it no longer and took her hand, pulling her back outside.

“What is it?” she asked as they walked outside and he drew in a lungful of air. “I thought you wanted to come.”

“I did but... I want to speak with you. I can’t do that in there.”

She sighed and shook her head. “There’s nothing to talk about, you’ll leave at midnight and you won’t come back, end of fairy tale.” The hardness of her tone was made a lie by the way her eyes glittered in the darkness and he pulled her into an embrace.

“What if I promised to come back?”

She buried her face in his shirt, breathing in the smell of him and knowing she would never forget it. “Don’t,” she pleaded. 

“Why? Why don’t you want me to?”

“Because I don’t believe you!” she cried, hitting him as the tears began to fall. 

“Here.” He held out his hand to show her a gold bracelet, fine and delicate and unlike anything she had seen before. “Take it,” he demanded and she jumped at the fierceness of his tone.


“Because I want you, you belong to me and I will come back for you. It is my promise.”

She wiped her tears away and looked up at him regretfully. “I don’t belong to you, I don’t belong to anyone and you won’t come back.”

She turned her back on him and began to walk away. 

“Then take it to remember me.” He caught her hand, pulling her towards him again. 

She looked up at him and he felt his chest tighten at the sadness in her eyes. “I don’t need any reminders, I won’t forget, not ever.”

He leaned his forehead against hers, wondering how this had happened, he had not meant for it to be like this. “Take it anyway; I want you to have it... please.”

She held out her wrist and he closed the bracelet around it with a snap. As he did so his magic released, twisting around her arm, the patterns touching her as softly as gossamer before sinking under her skin. She looked up at him, fear in her eyes. “What did you do?”

“You have caught me, Chloe, I am yours. I don’t know how but I know it is true and now... you belong to me. We can never escape each other and I will find a way back to you.”

She shook her head. “No, no... you won’t, don’t say it when I know you won’t!” She shouted at him, pulling at the bracelet but knowing before she touched it, it would never come off. She stifled a sob and ran away from him, back into the club.

He followed her in but she refused to look at him, to speak with him and he spent the next hour watching her dance with a frantic desperation that he understood only too well. He downed drink after drink, frustrated by the weakness of human alcohol that did little more than warm his blood no matter how much he consumed. Girls came up to him, some shy, some brazen, asking him for a dance, for a kiss, for anything he wanted to give... but he could not tear his eyes from the blond in the blue dress he had created for her.

He started with surprise as a thrill of power pulsed over his skin and the dim lights flickered out. There were screams and shrill laughter as the music stopped before beginning again as the lights returned. Brokk steeled himself, knowing what kind of power would do that and pushed his way through the crowds to her. “He’s here,” he said as she looked up at him.


“The Prince.”


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