I will never get over that Rhysand's mother made all of Feyre's gowns.
Here is an Illyrian woman, suffering in an unhappy marriage to a cruel High Lord, doing everything she can to make her future daughter-in-law feel welcome in the only way she knows how.
His eyes were star-bright. "Long ago, when I was still a boy, she made them-- all your gowns. A trousseau for my future bride." His throat bobbed. "Every piece... Every piece I have ever given you to wear, she made them. For you."
It is customary for a bridal trousseau to be prepared by the bride. Yet Rhys' mother made one for her. No wonder Rhys loves to spit on tradition; his mother threw tradition right out the window to make sure his bride would feel loved one day.
She carved out a place for Feyre before she even existed.
“A Court of Wings and Ruin” 🦇 (Swipe to see the full version)
This one took me a while, probably because of Azriel’s face. I spent five hours on it just to realize: I need to redraw it, so if you think I’m crazy with all these details, yeah, you’re probably right. 😅
This set will include five illustrations with holographic foiling.
PREORDER opens APRIL 8, at 8AM AEST on @atouchofmagicdesigns Etsy
Synopsis - Watching Azriel happy in another relationship, while knowing your mates, tugged a fine line.
Word Count - 1,326
Warnings - Drinking, yelling, light angst
Note - Part Two will be up soon! Sorry it's short but the next part will be longer! Also this is a lot of me projecting into this SO there is more internal thought than I normally put into my fics... :/
Azriel is falling in love with Gwyn.
The sight was clear enough that it wasn’t up for debate, more a guessing game (and prime betting opportunity) for the inner circle of when the bond would finally snap into place. Certainty lied in Mor's smile as she drawled out her bet, “It will happen this winter. The two of you will be out doing whatever it is you do when you’re alone, and it will fall into place.” Azriel, whose face was an unreadable mask, sat at the end of the table scowling at the words. If anyone else noticed the insecurity and discomfort that seemed to pulse from Azriel and into you, they didn't show it.
"Why must you all place your bets so far from now? Who knows, the bond could have already snapped into place, and Azriel's too blind to recognize it," Cassian countered. All eyes snapped towards the end of the table, then back towards the long-haired brute. Cassian has always been bold, and Azriel was no exception to said boldness, but the brash comment was tugging a fine line. Azriel raised an eyebrow, his face carefully still, but whatever response was going to fall from his lips never came as Rhys asked, "What about you (Y/n)? Care to place a bet."
All eyes slid to you. Silence, other than the scrapes of cutlery against plates and the obnoxiously loud hammering of your own heart, filled the room. You sighed, forcing a lazy smile to daunt your features, "I barely have time to worry about my future. What makes you think I have the time to consider Az's?" Laughter bubbled across the table, a faint smile gracing the shadowsinger's features, though his shoulders stayed tense regardless. The conversation drifted then to lighter topics. Feyre's remodel of the townhouse and the new group of soldiers Cassian has to train. Azriel slipped away when the group seemed drunk enough, they likely would not notice. Of course, he was assuming that you had been drinking the same as the others, but you started training with Cassian tomorrow, and thus, had been cut off from drinking until further notice. When Cassian had told you the order this morning, you had agreed with little complaint, but now being the only sober one at the table, you slipped away as well.
Finding Azriel, when he did not to be found, was always hard, but never impossible. Tonight he was walking along the river, hands hidden in his pockets, wings tucked in tight. Moonlight danced across his features, playing with his shadows like a fire in the wind. The bond seemed to trace itself around you. The silk elegance of its touch, vicious as it ghosted through you with a phantom wind. If only you could tell him, the blind-sided male who is yours to call mate. Perhaps you would, one day in the future get to call him mate to his face, but you had seen the way he looked at her. Had seen the way his shadows seemed to accept her in a way they never had with you. Azriel was happy with her, and who were you to take that away from him?
"Are you going to stand in the shadows all night? Or are you going to come and join me?" The words were light, playful almost, but coming from Az they sounded heavy. He hadn't turned around, but his shadows seemed to beckon you forward, as you stepped out from behind the stone wall you had been using for cover.
"What gave me away?" You asked, watching how his face softened as he turned to face you. How have you not noticed the bond?
Azriel grinned with ease, "A spymaster's secret." The use of his title so carelessly was rare enough to turn the fake grin on your face into a real one. Az was not one to joke about his title or his place in the court, but these days Az seemed to do a lot of things differently.
You feigned shock, "You can't even tell me?" Azriel shook his head. "If I ask you to train me, would you tell me?" Though you were joking, the words were more hopeful than you meant, something Azriel was sure to have not missed.
Azriel smirked, his eyebrows raised as he asked, "Are you just trying to escape training with Cassian? Because coming to me would be a grave mistake." It was no secret that Azriel was a hard trainer. After hearing what Feyre had to say about his flying instruction, you thought you'd have to be half mad to seek out training from the shadowsinger. Then again, his methods of instruction were a little more straightforward than most, and perhaps that could be seen as more fun, but you'd still have to be half mad to see it that way.
You through him an innocent smile, "No, I'm asking because every spymaster needs an apprentice." Azriel had spies, though none good enough to replace him.
Azriel leaned forward, his breath fanning your face, "Oh? And you think that would be you?" His hair grazed your forehead, his breath sweet-smelling from the honeyed wine from dinner. He was too close, and yet none of this meant anything to him, beyond a friend taunting another friend. Didn't he realize the effect he had on you?
You stepped back, with a shaky breath and said, "Well, yes, at first, and then naturally I would become the master." Azriel tipped his head back and let out an ethereal laugh at the words. He grinned then before stepping back as well and turning, once again, to face the river. The river rushed on, the sound of its rushing water nearly drowning out the sound of the echoing laughter that emerged from the house. Azriel's face was once again stone, the unreadable mask settling back into his skin. It was a shame Azriel's joy never seemed to last long.
"Can I ask you something?" His voice was steady as the sea, though his tone carried the weight of a thousand men. You nodded, tugging at the hem of your shirt, keeping your eyes on the rushing water. "Why...why won't you voice your opinion on Gwyn and I?" The question, unexpected as it was, stabbed at you, rubbing salt into an endless wound.
"I don't know what you mean," You whispered carefully. Gwyn and Azriel, what was there to think beyond the fact that they were together? That he was happy and you had to stand by and watch. Did it matter what you thought if nothing was going to change? Or if telling him how you felt would only lead to rejection? And even if you did tell him, wouldn't it be selfish? To take away this happiness from him knowing he's already been stripped of so much.
"Yes, you do." Azriel's voice cut through your thoughts with no hesitation. His gaze was fixed on you, and though anger simmered under his skin, the careful mask stayed in place.
You looked up, tearing your gaze to the moon. "No, I don't" Of course you knew, but it was too late to take it back. The words were already out there.
Azriel sucked in a breath, turned away from you, and then turned back exhaling, "I think you know exactly what I mean. Don't get me wrong you're careful, but not careful enough. You don't think I notice how it's always you who changes the conversation? Or how you always get unbearably silent when Gwyn is brought up when normally no one can get you to stop talking? What's so awful you can't bear to say it to me?"
You opened your mouth to respond, to argue his point but words failed you. It wasn't until Azriel's laughter, cold and vicious seeped into your skin that you found the words, "We're mates." Wrong choice of words. Azriel was gone before you could get anything else out.
Disclaimer: this is my first piece I’ve ever published. I’m not taking requests but would be open to ideas for new things to write! Let me know what you think. I had this idea the other day and couldn’t stop thinking about it until I wrote it down. I also originally named the main fem! character but decided to make it Y/N at the last minute, so if her name is in there then whoops! Either way, enjoy xx
Starfall. The most beautiful night in Prythian. Souls traveling to a far off place, leaving a blinding beauty in their wake. The Night Court prepared for weeks to welcome their passage.
Each member of the Inner Circle enjoyed this day, but Azriel often used this day to mourn. And to hope. Each year, he would wish upon those flying glimmers of starlight. Praying. Hoping. One day, he would find his mate.
In the past, he used the evening to drink and pray and hope that Mor would realize she was his mate. But when she and Emerie confirmed their mating bond two years prior, Azriel simply used this evening to wish upon the stars for someone of his very own.
This year was not any different, until two months before when a secret Illyrian camp was raided and a young woman was found, wingless. She was battered and bruised, terrified of any male who came near her. Cassian had brought her back to the House of Wind with Feyre’s help, to give her a place to recover and rest.
Over the coming weeks, she revealed to Mor and Amren that her name was Y/N, and that she had been sold to the foul Illyrians at a high price to help support her family. She was used for work, cleaning and cooking, and kept in a small room. She revealed her wings were taken after a visit where Rhysand and Cassian required Devlon to start training all Illyrian females. As she told the story, even Amren shed a tear.
Cassian and Azriel were introduced to Y/N, along with Nesta, to help train her. Even without wings, Feyre believed it would do her much good to know how to protect herself. And Y/N vowed she would never again let someone lay hands on her unless she asked. Over the weeks, Cassian and Azriel coached from the sidelines as Nesta and Mor demonstrated and helped, since Y/N still feared the males being too close. Each day she grew a little stronger, and became more confident. It became evident just how much the training was helping her mentally when she agreed to come out for a night at Rita’s with the Inner Circle. Much to Morrigan’s delight, as she would finally have a friend to dance with who wouldn’t make inappropriate comments like Cass.
Azriel couldn’t help but watch from across the bar as Mor and Y/N jumped and spun, without a care in the world. However, he became alarmed as he noticed two dark males approaching her from behind. Each one reached to grab her arms, and he growled as he flew from his chair. He pushed the men back, scooping Y/N into his arms and winnowing both her and Mor to the back of the bar where he knew no one would be. When he put her down, Y/N stared at him breathlessly. She couldn’t believe it, but when he came out of nowhere to rescue them, she hadn’t felt fear. In fact, she felt a strange pull in her stomach. Deep, aching. Longing. Like, she had known him before, in another time perhaps.
The mating bond.
It caused her to step back as it snapped into place.
But Azriel didn’t seem to notice a thing.
“Are you alright?” He asked, gently brushing a hand to her elbow as she stood, star struck.
“Yes. I’m fine….thank you.” She replied after a few awkward seconds.
Mor gave her a puzzling look, “Uh…okay you two let’s go home. Az…”
He grabbed their hands and winnowed them back to their home.
That night, Y/N sat alone in her room, feeling a pull towards the shadowsinger’s room. She knew she should probably stay, but she couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if she went. Her curiosity got the best of her, and all of a sudden she was stood outside his bedroom. One hand ready to knock, but unsure of what she would say. She stood there nervously until the door cracked open, and Azriel popped his head out into the hall. He was only wearing some trousers, his hair disheveled from the slumber he’d just awoken from.
“ Y/N. Is there…something wrong?” He asked nervously.
“I…I…” Y/N scrambled for a reason to be in front of his door, “I sometimes have nightmares. I can’t fall asleep because I’m afraid of having a terrible dream.”
“Oh. I see.” Azriel said.
Y/N stood there, unsure of what to do next, “I shouldn’t have come. I’m sor-“
But before she could finish her thought, he grabbed her wrist gently and brought her inside.
“You can stay for a little while if you’d like,” Azriel started, “I have nightmares too. About my hands. And my mother. We can watch out for each other. And I can take you back to your room when you’re ready. You take the bed, I can sleep here.” He gestures to the small couch at the foot of his bed.
“Azriel I don’t want to take your bed.” Y/N stated, feeling guilty about coming in the first place.
“I insist.” Azriel gestured to the bed.
She sat down on the edge, as he laid himself on the couch that was barely big enough for him and his enormous wings. Even with them all tucked in, he nearly spilled out the sides of the couch.
She laid down as well, waiting for slumber to set in, but it didn’t, because she could only focus on the tug from her to him.
Close to an hour had passed, when finally a whisper emerged from the quiet. “Az?” Y/N lay flat on the bed, staring at the ceiling.
“Yes?” Azriel replied timidly.
“Can you…can you come up here?” Y/N asked rather calmly.
Silence filled the room, before the tall and dark Illyrian stood from the couch, slowly setting himself down on the other side of the bed. He lay flat on his back as well, as if trying to avoid touching her at all costs.
She reached across the bed and found his hand, interlocking her fingers in his. She rubbed her thumb along the lines of his scars.
“Thank you. For rescuing me. Maybe I can help rescue you from your nightmares?” Y/N said.
Azriel smiled at the ceiling in the dark, “Perhaps.”
Each of the girls from the Inner Circle had gone to the seamstress weeks prior to the event to have gowns made for the celebration. Each of the girls selected a gown some shade of Night Court black, except for Y/N. Feyre and the rest of the Night Court females found a gorgeous silver silk fabric, embedded with tiny crystals. When held up to the light, the fabric twinkled like a sea of stars.
“ Y/N! Since you are our special guest for the celebration, you should have a dress made from this!” Mor shouted, shoving a pile of the fabric into Y/N’s arms.
Y/N stared, mouth wide open, “I’m not sure, I don’t want to…”
Feyre stopped her by gentle placing a hand on her shoulder. “You are not a burden, and no one will be upset if you outshine every one of us. You deserve to have a night as fabulous as you are after all you’ve endured.”
Y/N smirked and nodded. “Okay, you’ve convinced me. I’ll have a dress made from this!”
The males waited, rather impatiently, in the front hall at the bottom of the staircase.
“You all have been getting ready since 10 o’clock this morning, you can’t SERIOUSLY still be primping can you??” Cassian grumbled as he leaned back on the wall.
Morrigan exited her room where they had all been drinking, giggling, and preparing for the evening. “You clearly have no understanding of what getting ready means to females, “ she said as she rolled her eyes at the general.
One by one, each of the girls stepped out. Feyre and Y/N were the last left inside the room. “You look lovely, Y/N. I’m so glad you’ve become one of our best friends.” Feyre gave Y/N a small squeeze. Y/N smiled, still appearing somewhat nervous for this evening.
Feyre studied her face closely, “He will think you are the most magnificent creature in the room tonight,” she whispered with a wink.
All the breath left Y/N’s lungs as she thought of the spymaster.
Her heart pounded as Feyre gave her hand a quick squeeze before heading to the staircase. “Come along, Y/N. Let’s show them what you’ve got.”
His breath caught in the back of his throat at the sight of her at the top of the staircase.
The floor length gown had a deep v down the front, with two sheer straps that wrapped over her shoulders and crossed in the back. The silky fabric flowed as she took each step. She shimmered like starlight, and as the shimmering fabric moved it made it as thought Y/N herself was glowing in the night.
“Holy shit.” Cassian mumbled under his breath. Nesta elbowed him in the stomach, causing him to go into a coughing fit.
As Y/N reached the bottom of the stairs, everyone stopped what they were doing.
“Well, shall we?” Rhysand asked with a playful grin, simultaneously locking arms with his mate and nudging his spymaster brother towards the girl in the sparkling gown.
Azriel and Y/N stood for a moment. Y/N’s eyes remained focused on her feet, and Azriel watched as she tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear. In that moment, when she looked up and locked eyes with him, he felt everything. A rushing of magic, or spirit, or something, coursed through his veins.
“Mate,” he said, so softly that only she could hear.
They remained frozen in time, stood there, taking in one another. As if their souls needed time to catch up on all the time they had been apart.
Azriel extended a hand to her, and their hands intertwined as they left the front hall. As they walked, Azriel leaned in and whispered to his mate, “You know, it might be hard to keep my hands off of you tonight.” Y/N peered up at him through her thick eyelashes. “You are quick to forget, I have not accepted the bond yet,” she replied with a smirk.
“You wound me, my love,” he stated with a look of bewilderment and shock. It took everything in him not to scoop her into his arms and winnow back to his room, to have his way with her right then and there.
They danced most of the night. So much so, that Cassian made several jokes about how he’d never seen his brother dance that much in their entire lives. It didn’t bother Y/N or Azriel one bit.
The couple stopped to sit and watch as the souls began to descend across the sky, traveling to wherever they belong. Azriel couldn’t help but watch his mate as she stared into the sky, absolutely enamored with her.
Y/N could feel the sting of his stare on her cheek. She turned to him, and reached across the table, her hand closed holding an object tightly inside. “I’d like to give you something,” she smiled. Azriel gave her a perplexed look, opening her hands to find a macaron.
He looked at the pastry, then his mate, and back to the pastry. “Are…are you certain?”
“I’ve never been more certain in my life.” Y/N replied confidently.
Azriel forced himself to savor every bite of the macaron, when really he wanted to shove the whole thing into his mouth so he could whisk her away from the party. Once he was finally finished, he stood, gesturing for Y/N to take his hand.
Cassian shouted from across the dance floor, “Hey brother!! Don’t be too loud tonight, SOME of us need our beauty rest!!” Nodding his head towards Rhysand. Feyre smacked him across the back of his head and Rhysand laughed. Azriel let out a low growl, but Y/N placed her hand on his lower back and stood on her tip toes to whisper in his ear.
“Take me home, shadowsinger.”
And they winnowed away into the night, as fast as the spirits had traveled across the midnight sky.
“Fey!” Cassian’s voice boomed through the glass door as he grinned and waved to get her attention.
Looking up from her sketchbook, Feyre watched as Cassian tried to open the locked door again, shaking the wood so hard the bell hanging above it started chiming frantically.
She rolled her eyes and walked out from behind the counter she’d been working at, quickly getting to the door before his enthusiasm ripped it from its hinges. Feyre had barely flipped the lock when Cassian swung it open and immediately wrapped her in a bone crushing hug, lifting her off the ground as she laughed before setting her back down and ruffling her hair. Then he strutted through the dim lobby of her tattoo parlor taking his time to survey the walls of designs, the colorful crushed velvet couches, and the small rack of t-shirts and stickers she had for sale with the shop’s logo printed on them.
The Rainbow was Feyre’s baby. She’d saved almost every penny from the time she’d gotten her first job in order to afford her shop. After studying art in school and apprenticing for a few years, she’d finally been able to buy a small storefront in Velaris and built her business from the ground up.
It didn’t hurt that most of her friends liked tattoos and were always happy to be her canvases and subsequent advertising.
Shaking her head at Cassian who’d made himself at home near her front counter, Feyre returned to her spot with her sketchbook, now open to display a howling water wolf, and raised a brow, “Can’t you read? I’m closed.”
He scoffed, grinning, and leaned his forearms on the counter. “Not for me, Archeron.”
She rolled her eyes again but couldn’t help her smirk when she told him, “It late and I’m busy. Care to tell me why you’re here?” Feyre looked at him expectantly.
Cassian just grinned. “Do I need a reason to visit my very successful, very talented friend?”
“Wow, such flattery, Cassian. What exactly are you trying to get me to agree to?” She raised an eyebrow, trying to reign in a smirk.
He flashed her a wolfish grin. “Convince your sister to go out with me.”
“You’re hilarious, Archeron.” Cassian deadpanned and rolled his eyes, “Come on, Fey. Talk me up to Nesta.”
Feyre sighed, closing her sketchbook, and resigning herself to not getting anymore work done tonight. “Cass, I’ve done all I can on that front, believe me. You’ll have to win her over all on your own.”
“Been trying that for years.” He grumbled then ran a hand through his hair.
“I know that isn’t why you’re here,” Feyre insisted, “you ask me to do that literally every time you see me, so I know you didn’t seek me out for that. What’s up?”
He shot her a grin that made his single dimple stand out as he glanced at the door to the parlor. “Az is on his way over with Rhys and we were hoping you would do us a favor.”
“A favor?” she asked skeptically.
Cassian kept grinning. “You see, baby Arche,” Feyre snorted at the nickname. “your idiot boyfriend made a bet that he never stood a chance of winning, and he lost. Horribly.”
“Okay…” she rubbed at her face, trying to steel herself for whatever she was about to hear. Cassian’s shit-eating grin wasn’t making Feyre feel any better.
“Az and I want you to tattoo a little something special on Rhys for us.”
She paused, halting her shuffling of her sketches and furrowed her brows. “You want me to tattoo something on Rhys…because he lost a bet?”
“Does Rhys know this?”
A slow smirk spread across Cass’s face, “He knows he’s coming to see you.”
Feyre rolled her eyes. “Cassian, why would I agree to tattoo something—you haven’t even said what it is, by the way—onto my boyfriend when he obviously doesn’t even know what’s happening?”
“Well,” Cass pointed out, “I’d hope he’d realize what was happening once you sat him in the chair and got your needles and ink out.”
She snorted, “You know what I mean.”
“Because, Fey,” He sighed dramatically, “Little Rhysie is a punk and lost a bet so now he has to get a tattoo of our choice. And who better to do it, than his wonderful tattoo artist of a girlfriend?” his grin came back, wider than before.
Feyre said nothing for a moment as she stared Cassian down. Then she asked, “How drunk is he?”
Cassian chuckled, “Very.”
Feyre smiled slowly, “And how drunk are you?”
He narrowed his eyes at her but lifted his fingers to show a small space between his thumb and pointer finger. “Just a little bit.”
“So, a lot.” Feyre corrected
Cassian was silent a moment before grinning, “Rhys bet that he could outdrink me.”
Feyre blinked, then clutched the counter as she bent over laughing. She heard Cassian’s loud chortles next to her a moment later. When she stood back up, she wiped a tear from her eye and shook her head.
“Oh, my gods,” She was still chuckling, trying to picture Rhys go shot for shot with the mass of a man standing in front of her. “I love him, but sometimes he’s such an idiot.”
“I think you mean all the time.”
Just then, the bell on the door jingled again and Azriel held it open with one arm as he gripped a stumbling Rhys with the other.
“Hi, Feyre.” Azriel nodded at her as the door shut behind him.
“Hey, Az” She chuckled and walked towards the pair. “Can you lock that? Thanks.”
“Feyre, darling!” Rhys suddenly beamed and stumbled towards her, stepping close enough that she could smell every shot he’d taken on his breath. He used both hands to gently cup her face, squishing her cheeks in little and pressing a sloppy but sweet kiss to her lips. “I missed you.”
She smiled at him but stepped back to avoid his breath. “I saw you a few hours ago.”
He pouted, “That’s too long. I’ve had to look at those two ugly faces all night when I could’ve been looking at your dazzling one.”
“Why does he have to insult us when he compliments her?” Cass grumbled to Azriel who looked mildly amused.
He snorted. “Perspective.”
Feyre removed herself from Rhys’ grip only for him to wrap an arm around her shoulders and pull her into his side. She leaned into his touch, and helped keep him standing, as she rested her head on his shoulder as she faced Azriel.
“Az, can you fill me in? Cassian tried, but I don’t know how much I trust his story.”
Cassian feigned hurt and shook his head. “Fey, I am wounded that you doubt me.”
Azriel’s explanation had been essentially the same as Cassian’s with a few more details and a little less slurring of words. She’d rolled her eyes but told them to wait in the lobby while she took Rhys back to her studio.
Feyre had no intention of actually tattooing her very intoxicated boyfriend just because he and his brothers had made a stupid bet. He’d have to be completely sober before she agreed to that.
Guiding Rhys into her back room, she waited until he was sitting on the edge of her large, leather chair before moving to stand between his spread legs. His hands instantly found her waist and she rested her palms on his thighs.
Quirking a brow at her boyfriend, Feyre asked, “Did you actually think you could out drink Cassian?”
Rhys scoffed, “I’m just as big as he is, why shouldn’t I have been able to do it?”
Feyre smirked as Rhys pouted. “Babe, you may be fit,” she huffed a laugh at his raised brow, “okay, fine, extremely fit, but Cass is a tank. And he’s a bartender. There’s no possible way you could’ve won that bet.”
Rhys kept pouting, flexing his fingers over her hips, “You’re supposed to be on my side, Darling.”
She laughed and pecked him on the cheek. “I am, always.” She kissed his lips for good measure. “But I’m going to tease you when you’re being an idiot.”
He used his grip on her hips to pull her towards him for an actual kiss. Feyre stayed wrapped in his arms for as long as she could stand his horrid tequila-drenched breath. Letting her arms loop around his neck and her fingers tangle in his hair, Feyre pulled back.
Rhys let his forehead droop onto her chest and Feyre had the distinct feeling that it was less about the warm comfort of her skin and more about an excuse for Rhys to press his face into her breasts.
“I don’t hear any needles buzzing back there, Fey!” Cassian bellowed from the lobby area. She snorted at the clear sound of a hand hitting someone’s head and the following curse.
She rolled her eyes but kept playing with Rhys’ hair as he mumbled something too muffled for her to understand.
“What was that?” she asked.
Raising his face, he looked at her and winced. “Are you actually going to tattoo me?”
She snickered at the disdain on his features.
“Maybe I should,” she teased, “to teach you a lesson making ridiculous bets.”
Rhys winked. “you can teach me a lesson anytime, Darling.”
Feyre rolled her eyes and was about to retort back when Cassian yelled again, “Baby Arche! We’re not paying you to make out back there!”
She snorted and hollered, “You’re not paying me at all! I’m getting there, don’t rush me.”
Azriel’s voice came next, “We didn’t bring your intoxicated man-child here so the two of you could get it on in the back parlor.”
Rhys snorted and replied back, “You say that like it’s never happened.”
“Rhys.” She hissed, smacking his arm as he chuckled.
“Gross,” two voices audibly gagged from the other room. “You’d better sanitize back there!”
A pause, then a disgusted Cassian said, “You’ve tattooed me on that chair, I don’t want to know what you sickos have done to it.”
Feyre and Rhys snickered before she said, “You might want to avoid the front couch then, too.”
Rhys, still grinning, added, “And the check-out counter—”
“—and the bathroom sink!” Feyre finished.
“Heathens.” Azriel muttered.
Rhys and Feyre laughed at their friends’ obvious disgust.
“I don’t need to hear any more of this,” Cassian insisted. “Ever.”
Feyre rolled her eyes and turned on her machine, allowing the steady buzz of the needle to flow into the waiting area; Cassian’s loud whoop telling her the sound was loud enough.
She carefully set the device on her counter and let the buzz echo through the room as she turned towards a small drawer and pulled out a colorful packet.
Rhys raised an eyebrow at the needle she clearly wasn’t prepping to use on him and watched as she flipped through the pages of whatever she was holding.
She paused on a page and grinned, flipping it around for him to see.
“Do you want a flying bat or one that’s hanging upside down?”
Rhys blinked. Twice. He slowly grinned back at his clever girlfriend as she handed him the sheet of temporary, press-on tattoos.
They were cartoonish-looking designs; the ones made for children that you could use a wet cloth to press onto your skin. He flipped through the rest of the pages to see a variety of other animals and plants, all ready to be cut out and used.
“Is my only choice a bat?” He grinned, looking back up at Feyre to see her already grabbing a scissor and paper towel.
She snorted. “That was what your brothers insisted on.” She took back the packet and carefully cut out the two bats. “They may be drunk enough to think a press-on is a real tattoo, but I don’t know if they’d accept anything else.”
When she held up both bat options for him, he nodded towards the one with outstretched wings. Feyre wet the paper towels and pushed his sleeve up to reveal his toned forearm. After making sure his skin was clean and dry, she gently pressed the bat onto his skin and covered the design with the wet paper towel, allying pressure to keep the image steady.
Rhys reached over with his free hand and grabbed the packet again. “Why do you have these? Besides for saving your boyfriend from a stupid bet?” he finished with a wide grin.
She laughed, still pressing firmly on the tattoo. “I keep them for the kids.”
At his raised brow she rolled her eyes. “Sometimes my clients can’t help but have their kids with them, so I keep the press-ons for those who see their parents and insist they get a tattoo, too.” She snorted at some memory. “I used to have washable markers for them to use but then a few of them would walk out of here looking like some avant-garde painting, so I switched to these. It’s adorable when they hold their cartoon dragon next to their parent’s actual ink.”
Rhys chuckled and Feyre lifted her hand, slowly peeling back the sticky paper to reveal a cute, flying bat.
He flexed his arm, grinning as the movement made the bat’s wings look as if they were flying. “How do I look?”
She leaned in to inspect the bat, making a show of darting between the cartoon and his real tattoos trailing down his arm. “Hmm, I think maybe when you’re sober, I should actually ink this onto you.”
Her grin made him laugh. She leaned forward and pressed a kiss next to the bat, careful not to brush it, and he smiled as she looked back at him.
“How’s it going?” Az’s low voice carried from the front room, making Feyre chuckle and Rhys huff.
She leaned over and expertly turned off the still-buzzing needle before calling back, “Just finished!”
Rhys brought his arm up and laughed again at the small, cheery bat placed between his darker swirls of years-old markings. He locked eyes with Feyre again as she put her supplies away and moved to stand once again between his legs. “You think they’ll buy it?”
She snorted, “Probably not.” She laughed again at his sullen expression. “But I don’t think the bet ever specified the tattoo having to be real.”
Rhys’ grin returned in full force as he brought his hands to Feyre’s face and guided her lips towards his. “You, Darling, are spectacular.”
Laughing again, Feyre leaned out of his reach. “And you, babe, still have horrible breath.”
Rhys rolled his eyes but loosened his grip as she stepped out of his arms, taking her hand as she led them back towards the front lobby.
“Come on,” she said over her shoulder, winking, “let’s show them your new tattoo.”