#rowan x aelin
Queen of Shadows page 536
Thinking about: Chaol and Aelin entering the glass castle for the last time with her escorting him by manacles and chains and how theyve come such a far way from the loyal Captain of the Guard and the Assassian with no loyalty in a lightless prison
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Dialogue Directly From Ch 45 of Heir of Fire
Aelin: Yeah, you're my centuries-old fae mentor and I'm getting over a breakup, but I'd fuck you if you asked
Valg Prince Hiding Behind Tree: She said she'd fuck you if you asked
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A Little Braver - ch. 5
So, here is ch. 5 for you all.
We finally get to meet the mysterious man that Aelin was kissing.
Also, the firehouse gets a great news
Ten days had passed. Aelin had been discharged from the hospital and allowed to move around in crutches providing she took it easy, a concept totally alien to her. She had gone back to the station as soon as she could do it.
The deadline for the performance review was fast approaching and she had spent the last few days at the station. They only got a week extension so she had offered to help but all she could do was sit and direct the show. Also, working kept her mind off… things… and as in things she meant a certain arsehole who had gone completely awol. She had texted him and never got a reply. Lately every time she tried to phone him she was told that the phone was not available. So she had stopped. He clearly was offended by what she had said. She just wished he had spoken to her, explained why her confession had terrified him so much. Just as she had finally found the resolve to try again after losing Sam, he had gone and ruined everything.
A glove hit her face “planet Earth calls Aelin.”
She refocused for a second and noticed Ansel’s red mane of hair in front of her.
“Dorian is looking for you. He is in your office and Aedion is there already.”
Aelin groaned “can they come to the couch? I am so comfy here.”
“Fine.” She dropped the documents she was revising and grabbed her crutches and pulled herself up.
At snail pace she made her way to her office and once she got there she saw Aedion standing in front of her desk while Dorian had his feet up on it and was sitting relaxed on her comfortable chair.
“I don’t care if you are the chief. First, feet off my desk, second, arse off my chair.”
Dorian moved away and let her sit down and grabbed her crutches.
“So, what is so important that I had to leave my spot on the couch?”
Dorian passed her the documents he was holding, with a grin. He was positive this was going to cheer her up.
“No fucking way. You did it.”
He smiled at her smugly “Not entirely my merit.” He confessed “As you remember, the community protested in front of the government in the aftermath of the embankment accident. They did it just before the budget review was due. The government could not ignore them and what you all did that night. And I guess that the statement from your cheerleader had helped a lot as well.”
“Someone I am not allowed to mention in your presence.”
Aelin stare darkened all of a sudden.
“We are getting a second engine, but that engine needs staff.” She pointed out, her excitement taking a hit “I was just getting to that” added Dorian quite quickly, “Thomas has offered to give you a few men to help staff the second engine. It will have a mixed crew of newbies and experienced staff for a while. Aedion and I thought it was the best way to go.”
Aelin nodded “I want to help interview the candidates. Aedion is busy with drills. I, on the other hand, I have plenty of time.”
“As if I can sideline you. You are the captain after all.” Added Dorian knowing full well that if Aelin had her mind set on a task it was almost impossible to dissuade her.
“I want a bigger female presence. I can’t believe that from all the candidates that graduate from the academy there are no good female firefighters.”
“I can spread the news at the academy and see who applies and go from there.”
“Good.” Aelin relaxed on the chair.
“We have also have been invited to a party thrown by the mayor.”
“You are joking.” Aelin hated that kind of party. She had been to a few and it had been a nightmare.
“There is no escaping it. We have all the be present and dress mess is required.”
“My leg is in a protective support, if I wear dress mess I need to wear the skirt which means heels and can you see where I am going with this?” Aelin protested.
“I guess we can do an exception for you. Wear your regular blue trousers, make sure your boots are shining and wear your uniform shirt with the tie, not the t-shirt. And don’t forget the hat.”
“I can live with that.”
“When is the dreadful event?” Asked Aedion who hated those ceremonies just as much as Aelin.
“We are on night shift, you genius.”
Dorian smiled dangerously “Not anymore. Second team is taking the night shift. Let me remind you that attendance is compulsory and pass the info to the team.”
“Yes, Chief.” And Aelin was very tempted to flip him off, but he was still her boss.
“Lys and Elide are to come as well. They are part of the team.”
“Oh so, no one is immune to this horrible shenanigans. Lovely.” Aelin sat back, still annoyed at the invitation.
“No darling, if I have to suffer, you will all go down with me.” And with that Dorian disappeared behind the door.
“Come on Aedion, let’s go and ruin the team’s day.”
Slowly the two made their way back in the common area where the squad was relaxing. Aedion had put them through a gruelling session of drills in the morning and now they needed time to unwind. No one had taken nicely the fact that the review has been postponed only by a week, but at least they hadn’t asked Aelin to attend as well with a destroyed knee. She would be there of course but on the sidelines.
“Ok, people,” Aelin shouted as she slowly made her way to her team “Brullo, switch off the tv for a minute.”
“That doesn’t sound promising,” complained Ren.
“Where are Lys and Elide?”
“In the ambulance doing inventory.” Replied Nox.
“Ok, can you please go and get them?” She asked him.
He nodded and ran away and got back a few moments later with the two ladies in tow.
“Uh oh.” Said Lysandra, sitting on Aedion’s lap.
“Now that everyone is here, I have an announcement.” She smiled wickedly and the team shivered. That was her scary smile “Our esteemed mayor has decided to throw a party this Saturday. Bad news is… we are all invited so that he can show us how he appreciates what we do for the community.”
“Fuck no,” shouted Ansel, while finishing the bowl of cereals she was eating.
“We are on night shift.” Added Brullo.
“No we are not. Dorian gave the shift to second team. We are all free.”
A chorus of very rude words erupted from the team. Yeah, everyone hated those parties.
“Oh and by the way… it has to be dress mess.”
The protests grew louder. Aelin let them vent for a moment before putting an end to it.
“Guys!” She shouted, and the room went quiet “I know none of us like those parties, but my hands are tied. Dorian made it pretty clear that this is mandatory. So, protest how you want but there is no getting out of it.”
The team went back to their protest when Aelin raised her voice again “Did I say I was done?”
The group went silent again.
“The second piece of information is hopefully a bit more welcome.” And she really hoped so “we are getting our second engine.”
The cheers that erupted from the team were of pure joy.
“How did you do it?”
“You have to thank Dorian. He is the one who pulled the trick.” And Rowan apparently. No, she was not going there.
“He really is better than his old man. We have been pleading the old bastard for ages and nothing. A few months in charge and Dorian gives us the second engine. If it wasn’t that I am I straight I’d kiss the guy.” Said Ren happily and everyone laughed.
Good, Aelin thought, they needed the good spirits.
“How will we do for crew?” Asked Ansel.
“Thomas is willing to give us some of his experienced men from one of his engines and take a few newbies. We’ll man the engine with a hybrid crew. Half experienced and half newbies. I need everyone to help with training. Aedion and I will do the main stuff but you guys are involved in this as well. I am out of commission for a while so I can only do classroom training.”
“We’ll help you, cap.” Chimed Nox happily.
Aelin turned to Ansel “I have asked to have a few more ladies in the team.”
“Thanks for that. Far too much testosterone in here.”
Aelin sat back down on the sofa, her knee started to get sore again “We are going to have other women hopefully, just don’t break their hearts.” She told Ansel.
Two of the guys sprayed what they were drinking, Aelin laughed “Oh come on, don’t tell me you had no idea Ansel was swinging on both sides.” Joked Aelin smiling at the woman.
“Both…” asked Brullo still quite shocked.
Ansel drank her coffee very calmly “Men, women, on a few occasion both at the same time.”
Aelin laughed at the expression of the guys.
“Ansel, I think you broke our boys.”
Aelin mobile went off and for a moment she hoped. But that hope had been short lived.
“Give me two minutes,” she said at the person at the phone. She stood and very slowly she made her way back to her office.
Once she got off the phone she stayed in her office to work. Then the dispatch siren went off and she heard the team depart and staying behind broke her heart.
She worked a bit longer but her mind could never fully concentrate. So she decided to do something stupid while the team was out on a call. She booked a taxi and not long after she was in front of the station waiting for her ride.
The driver got her at the airbase pretty quickly. She took out her pass and she hoped it worked even without him about. The man at the main gate let her through after checking her badge. So apparently he had told people she was allowed on the premises. That was a start. Painfully she reached the second check point and a guard approached her. Ok, her luck had already ran out.
“Can I help you, miss?”
“Yes, I am here to see captain Whitethorn.”
The man looked at her with curiosity for a second.
Did she got to the right airbase? As far as she knew there was only one and the first guy let her in.
“I am sorry miss but the captain and his team left a week ago.”
“Left?” Her voice trembled.
“Yes ma’am. They have been recalled and deployed a week ago.”
“Oh.” Was all Aelin managed “Th— thank you.” She turned and made her way back to the exit. Her heart slowly breaking. She sat down on a cement wall and let the sobs come. She took the phone and dialled his number and it went to voicemail “You could have told me. Instead you left. You just left me. Do you really hate me that much?” She sobbed and brushed her hand against her eyes “I hate you and I wish I never met you. Don’t ever bother look for me when you come back… I don’t want to see your face anywhere near my station. I am done with you, captain.” She hung up the phone and lowered her head and kept crying. She was done with men. She was done with pain and a broken heart. It was not worth it.
Eventually she pulled herself upright again and started walking. She had no idea to where, which she then realised that with crutches was a really bad idea. She had to stop a few times, exhaustion taking root. But the pain in her leg was keeping away the pain in her soul. It was much later when she realised she ended up in the west of Orynth and decided to go to west station, perhaps she could bribe the guys to give her a lift back to her firehouse.
Once outside the station, Thomas was the first one who noticed her. He ran to her and Aelin collapsed in his arm.
“Aelin, what are you doing here?’
“I need to sit” was all she managed. He lifted her in his arms and carried her to the section with all the bunk beds. He placed the crutches on the floor and sat on the bed at her side.
“What happened?” He asked when he noticed her puffy eyes “Why are you over here? On your own?”
“I was at the airbase.”
Thomas looked at her in shock “are you telling me that you walked in your condition from the airbase to here?”
Aelin nodded. “Can you give me a lift back?”
“Of course,” he patted her leg “let me go and tell the guys.”
He came back not long after, and lifted her in his arms “Let’s go.”
Once in the car Aelin relaxed and leaned her head against the window.
“Excited about the big night with the Mayor?”
Aelin groaned and Thomas laughed.
“Exactly the reaction my whole team had as well.”
She sighed “Dorian said it’s mandatory and I think for the very first time I have been this close to hit him. But he still is my superior.”
Thomas chuckled “If there is someone who can hit the chief without repercussions is you.”
Aelin turned and looked at him with a questioning stare.
“I mean because you are close. It’s not news that the man is madly in love with you. He might let you off if you beat him. Actually he might even like it.”
This time it was Aelin’s turn to laugh “Dorian and I… nothing ever happened. We are just really good friends. Not even a kiss.”
“So now the news is that you have your eyes set on a certain airforce captain.”
Aelin tensed at those words “You all are a bunch of crazy gossiper, you know that?”
Thomas shrugged “What did he do?”
“I don’t want to talk about him.” Her tone hard and the man at her side realised it was time to shut up. They were at her station anyway.
Aelin noticed the engine was back and she knew she was in trouble. They clearly had noticed her absence. When she decided to look at her phone again she saw a lot of message and missed phone calls from Aedion. Damn, she was screwed.
“Here you are, my lady.”
Aelin leaned over and kissed him on the cheek “thank you so much for the ride.”
“Anytime.” He opened his mouth as if to speak, then stopped and tried again “if you need to talk, I am here. I know you have your friends, but if you prefer to talk with someone who is not around you all day, I am here.”
“You are wonderful.”
He helped her get out of the car, they said goodbye and he drove away again.
Aedion came marching on as soon as he noticed she was back “where the hell have you been? Why don’t you answer your bloody phone? We came back and you were not here, where you were supposed to be.” She felt bad for making them all worry but she did not feel like explaining herself so she just moved past him and in silence she dragged herself to her office and slammed the door shut.
She sat down at her desk and plopped her leg on the spare chair the guys had placed at her side so she could stretch her injured leg, hoping for the pain to subside. She took a few minutes for herself, then texted Lysandra telling her she needed her and Elide.
The two women arrived a few minutes later. They sat on the chair in front of her desk and Aelin knew that Lys was just as mad as Aedion had been.
“Where were you? We came back and you were gone.”
“I went to the airbase.” She confessed, looking outside the window, the sky looked heavy grey and she was positive snow was coming.
“As in the airbase. His airbase.”
Aelin nodded “I needed answers. I needed to know why he left that way. I had to ask him why all this hate.”
Aelin felt tears sting her eyes again “he was gone.” She paused “the whole team has been recalled and left for a mission a week ago. No goodbyes. Nothing. He just took off.”
Lysandra stood and ran to hug her friend “what an arsehole.”
Aelin started sobbing again “all I could do was leave him an angry voicemail telling to get away from me forever.”
“I am seriously going to kick his arse.”
Aelin pulled back from the hug “Not worth it remember?”
“We all go to that stupid party and we’ll find you a man there. Perhaps a hot wealthy man.”
Aelin chuckled “You know what, screw it. I’ll remain single all my life and if I want a good time I might ask Ansel.”
The two women laughed “she might take you up on that, you know, right?” Added Lysandra.
“Can we just stop talking about it? Fine he is hot but is he not a nice man. I want to forget that I even contemplated the fact that I had feelings for the bastard.”
“Copy that. I will pass the message along.”
“Have you considered that he might not be able to reply to you because of where he is? Perhaps he is on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the sea.”
Lysandra and Aelin stared at Elide.
“What?” She said shrugging “Lorcan gave me his number, he told me to text him. But he added as well that in the case he was going to leave for a mission not to worry if he did not reply because sometimes their phones don’t work.”
“So you knew they were away?”
“No,” replied the woman lifting her hands “I haven’t heard from him in a while. He is not the greatest of texter and I haven’t spoken to him in a while. I had no idea he was away until now when you told us.”
“Basically airforce boys do not know how to communicate. Got it.” Sarcasm dripping from Aelin’s voice.
Aelin shifted uncomfortably in her chair and Lysandra noticed that.
“Are you okay.”
“Just my leg, bothering me like hell today.”
“Sure, if you only just didn’t walk from the airbase to west station…”
Dispatch alarm went off and the two ladies ran out as the ambulance was needed.
Aelin tried going back to work but her brain was not there.
Out of boredom and curiosity and probably a deep desire for punishment she looked up the captain online. The search engine brought up a page about him. He was only two years older than her. Native of Wendlyn but moved to Terrasen when he was quite young for his father’s job. According to the article he climbed the ranks quite quickly and was thought to be one of the most promising captain in the TAF in a very long time.
“Nerd.” She joked.
Then she scrolled down to personal life and she got even more curious but froze when she read the paragraph.
The man had been married. His pregnant wife had died in a car accident over a year and a half before. She opened the link to the newspaper article about the accident and noticed the picture of the accident site. Her eyes fell on one detail of the image and swore.
She stood and wobbling she went to the file cabinet where she kept the reports for the old cases. She found the one she needed and sat back down. Lyria Whitethorn, that was the name of the woman. She had a look through the case file. She did remember it. It had snowed heavily and the road and had been icy and pretty bad in some areas of town. That accident had been horrendous and it had involved quite a few cars. Lyria’s car had been stuck under a lorry. According to the police it seemed like it had lost control and smashed under the lorry that had crashed against the barriers at the side of the road. She died on impact. It had been an horrendous night. They spent hours working under the snow and only one person had come out alive from that disaster.
She leaned back and felt tears running down her face. They had one big thing in common. They both had lost someone they loved. And all of a sudden it hit her. His reaction. His fear. And for a moment contemplated that he was just as scared as her to get involved again. She closed the file and grabbed her head in her hands. How badly had she fucked up?
She took her phone and dialled his number. The number was not available and she left him a voicemail message again “Hey it’s me again. I know you are away and probably can’t get this message. If you listen to the old one as well, just ignore it. I was mad. I did not mean it. I… just… let’s just talk when you get back. Please. Be safe, okay?”
She leaned back in her chair, closed her eyes and cried for both of them, for what they had lost and for the fear of committing again.
Saturday eventually arrived and Aelin was at home getting ready for the party. Lysandra and Elide had joined her since Lys was going to drive them all.
Aelin had been in a bad mood since her discovery about Rowan but had not told anyone about it. To do so would mean reveal his secret and she could not to do that. It was far too personal.
“You’d think that being barely able to walk would excuse me from such horrible events.” She growled while tying her tie.
“You have been in a funk for a few days. Are you okay?” Lysandra had noticed her bad mood.
“Fine.” She snapped. “I am sorry…”
“Just don’t piss off any politicians, okay? We need them.”
Aelin sighed “I will behave.”
They arrived at the venue not long after and they noticed the already high number of cars present.
“Are we too late to bail?” Asked Elide who had been uncomfortable as well at the idea.
“Unless you want Dorian to rip you a new one, I would leave aside that plan for now.”
The three women made their way to the main entrance where someone checked their names against a list. Aelin for a moment hoped that someone had messed up and forgot to add them.
But that hope died quickly when the man greeted them a bit too happily.
“Ok, are we ready?” Said Aelin gathering the courage she needed to face such a horrible night.
They entered the venue and the notes of classical music hit them.
“At least they have great taste in music.” Commented Aelin staring at the great hall.
Dorian spotted them from the distance and walked to them with a brisk pace “Ladies, you made it. wonderful. Go, mingle, have fun. There’s plenty of food.” He grabbed Aelin’s hand “You come with me. The mayor wants to meet you.”
“What?” Blurted Aelin, sweating cold all of a sudden.
“The mayor would like to speak with you. He met Thomas already. Now it’s your turn.”
“I am not speaking to the mayor.”
“Aelin… this is an order from your superior.”
The woman growled back “Oh, so pulling rank, now?”
“Come,” he repeated.
Aelin turned to Lysandra and Elide “if I don’t come back soon, please come and get me. I love you both.”
Dorian rolled his eyes and he started walking and Aelin followed behind.
Eventually they arrived where the mayor was entertaining some guest and Aelin wanted to turn away, but Dorian sensed her intentions and placed a hand on her lower back in warning.
“Ah, Dorian, I see you have captain Galathynius with you. Wonderful.”
Aelin leaned on one crutch and extended her hand to the man “please to meet you sir.”
“The honour is mine captain. And thank you for coming even in your conditions.”
As if I had a choice and she looked at Dorian glaring at him.
“I just wanted to offer my thank you in person for what you do in the community and what you did the night of the embankment accident.”
“The community comes first.” She commented and Dorian gently nudged her sides at her comment.
“You are absolutely correct, captain. I am aware that you will be getting a second engine at east station, I hope this is a welcomed news.”
Aelin smiled “Very much sir. It has been a long time coming and we are very excited.”
“This is my email,” he gave her a business card “email me. Any idea, concerns or anything else related to your job. I will do my best to make it happen.”
Aelin took the card and was speechless.
“Now unfortunately being the host forces me to go around and be pleasant with all these strangers. I don’t think there is alcohol enough to survive such an evening.”
He gave her a huge grin, waved at Dorian and walked away.
“Are we sure that was the mayor?”
Dorian nodded dumbfounded.
“Do you think he was drunk?”
Dorian shrugged, just as confused as her “Just don’t loose that card.” The man then left her and she had a moment alone to look around and enjoy the music. She hadn’t been at a classical concert in a lifetime and missed it. Or at the opera. She wanted to go to the opera again.
She had her eyes closed when she perceived a figure at her side. She opened her eyes again and noticed it was Thomas, looking at her in a curious way “Hey you.”
She looked at him and froze. The man in front of her was gorgeous. She was used to see him in his everyday uniform or the fire gear, and his hair tied and under an helmet. She almost did not recognise him. He had his dress mess uniform on, and his hair was free and she discovered it reached his shoulders.
“I almost did not recognise you there.”
He grinned “I know, without soot and dirt on me it must be a challenge.”
She smiled back at him.
“How is your night going?” He asked, moving closer to her.
“Counting the minutes until Dorian tells me it’s okay to go home.”
She shuffled in her position and he placed a hand on her back “you should sit down.”
“Does this place have a balcony?”
Thomas grinned “Follow me, m’lady.”
“Did you meet the mayor?” She asked as they started walking.
“He gave me his business card and told me to tell me if there was anything we needed.” He made his way through the crowd.
“Me too. I am going to email him and ask a bucket load of expensive equipment.”
“I have my wish-list ready.” Thomas commented smiling wickedly.
They arrived at the balcony and once there Aelin leaned heavily against the wall.
“Are you okay?” Suddenly Aelin noticed their proximity. Thomas was right in front of her.
“I am fine.”
“Want something to drink?”
“Please. Wine if they have it.”
He smiled and she noticed his dimples appear “I’ll be right back.” And she felt her face flush hot.
What was happening to her? Why all of a sudden she was attracted to him?
She saw Lys walking by and waved at her.
“What are doing here?”
“Hiding.” She said hurriedly “I have a problem.”
“What did you do?”
“I want to do something stupid.”
“Thomas.” She explained.
Lysandra looked at her friend with a puzzled face.
“As in he is the one one I want to … do”
“Holy fuck,” she exclaimed almost spilling all her wine on her uniform.
Aelin looked up “I don’t know. He was here, he was nice, he smiled and I just… have you seen him tonight?”
“No I was with Aedion and the guys.”
“I don’t know what to do.”
“Don’t do… anything.” Then she moved away “he is coming back.”
Thomas came back with the drinks and placed them on the ledge beside them.
She had known and worked with the other captain for a very long time. They had gone through the academy together. And never, not once she had ever felt a smidge of attraction for him.
He leaned against the wall just beside her, shoulders brushing gently “is your team ready for the performance review?”
Aelin nodded “Yes, Aedion and I are going through as many different scenarios as possible. They are ready. But I hate that I will have to stare from the sidelines.” She told him “How did yours go?”
Thomas drank some wine “We had a few bad moments. My newbie fucked up a couple of things and threw the whole team off track for a moment but they did recover splendidly. Manon was the best in our individual challenge.”
“Ohh I like her. Can I please get her and Asterin for my new engine?”
“We’ll see.” The man gave her a wide smile that made his dimples come back.
She pinched his side and he grabbed her hands to block her. She stopped and stared at him for a moment and then they both moved at the same time. Their lips met and he pushed her against the wall and she left her crutches fall on the ground. His hand behind her back to hold her up. The kiss deepened and Aelin opened for him and a small moan escaped her.
“Oh shit.” Said a voice at her side and Aelin recognised Lysandra and Aedion at her side.
She and Thomas broke apart quickly. Thomas coughed embarrassed, looked at Aelin and excused himself.
“What the fuck was that?”
Aelin’s hand went to her mouth, her lips still swollen by the kiss.
Aedion kneeled to pick up her crutches and passed them to her.
In that instant the rest of the team arrived.
“Why is everyone out here? It’s cold.”
“Aedion and I just discovered Aelin making out with Thomas.”
“Do you mean captain Hamilton?” Asked Brullo.
“I thought you liked the silver haired fox.” Added Ansel.
“Are you and Thomas a thing now?” This time it was Ren.
“I don’t know okay?” Aelin shouted, frustration rising “It happened.”
“You… happened to trip on his lips?” Nox gave her a smug smile and Aelin would have stormed out if she hadn’t been on crutches.
Aelin placed the glass back on the ledge and started to walk away. Lysandra caught up with her “I am sorry. It just came out.”
“Lys, I don’t care.”
The woman grabbed her arm “Aelin, please…”
“What? I don’t know what I was doing okay? We kissed. And I don’t understand my feelings anymore.” She leaned against the wall, her knee throbbing with pain “I haven’t known my feelings since Sam died.” She sniffled “I work. I throw myself into work because that it’s when I do not think that he is gone from my life.” She closed her eyes and tried to put all her pain back “it just felt nice for a moment to have that again. And I know I am sounding like a pathetic mess… I don’t know why I did it.” Aelin sobbed “I am so tired of hurting.” A tear appeared at the corner of her eyes “you have Aedion. I don’t have anyone.”
Lysandra hugged her friend “I am so sorry.”
Aelin leaned into her friend “we are fine.” She pulled back “but I am going home. I am in a ton of pain and I really want to lie down.”
“I’ll tell Dorian if he starts looking for you.”
“We are off tomorrow. Fancy a girls day? We can invite Elide and Ansel.”
“Yeah. Yeah, please.”
“Good,” Lys patted her shoulder “now go home and relax.”
She was outside ready to call a taxi when she heard a voice calling her. She turned and saw Thomas running to her.
“Aelin,” he stopped in front of her “I am sorry. I have no idea what got into me. I was there and all of a sudden I wanted to kiss you.”
She turned to him and moved closer enough to kiss him. His hand slipped to her waist and pulled her closer. She melted in his arms and felt his hand caressing her back.
“I was going home.” She said against his lips.
“I can’t let you piss off Havilliard on your own.”
She kissed him again and then detached so he could call a taxi.
Their ride home arrived not long after and the journey to Aelin’s flat was not too long.
They made it to her flat and he lifted her in his arms and walked to the bedroom. He dropped her on the bed and leaned on top of her and kissed her deeply, his hands trailing on the sides of her body and Aelin leaned into the touch. Her hand trailed up to his face and then fisted into his golden hair and pulled him down for another kiss. Maybe it was a mistake but she could not care.
Slowly he started to unbutton her shirt and Aelin did the same for him and not long after they were both naked and Aelin stared at his body and realised the man was so incredibly well built.
“You will have to lead the dances, captain.” He lowered himself again over her and kissed her in a way that made her forget all the pain and hurt.
It was later, after their adventure in bed.
Aelin smiled at him satisfied. The man had skills and for a while he made her forget the real reason why that night she had searched for comfort in him.
They were now sitting in bed, their back against the headboard and the blanket covering them up.
“Did we just mess up our friendship?” He asked turning to her “I am not complaining I just…”
She sighed at his side “I think we did it for the wrong reasons.”
He agreed “Epically awesome rebound sex?”
Aelin nodded and Thomas turned to her “you are stunning though, and if the captain can’t see it, well, it’s his loss.”
“You are a sweet man” and she caressed his face “and your ex is a bitch.” She grabbed his arm and pulled him down, “fancy watching stupid movies? We can also order in. There’s a place round the corner that stays open till late. I had no food at that stupid party.”
“I’ll get the beers.” He said getting off the bed and putting his briefs back on.
Aelin grabbed a discarded t-shirt “I’ll order the food.”
He came back with the beers and offered one to her “to our own party.”
They clinked the bottles and went to camp on the sofa.
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MANON: i get something in my gut whenever i look at dorian.
ELIDE: yeah those are butterflies. i get them when i look at lorcan.
MANON(touching her stomach): i didnt know we had butterflies living in our guts.STRANGE.
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Aelin : sarcasm is not an emotion.
Rowan : no, in your case it's a way of life.
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Back to my Side
Based on the Taylor swift song Dorothea, because I can’t seem to write anything else but stuff inspired by her songs
They used to be inseparable, they used to know each other like the back of their hands, but time and distance and bad decisions split them apart. But when Rowan, now a lawyer, gets assigned a case by his firm for the client Aelin Galathynius, now an unwilling movie star, does he ever admit that he loved her? Or do they once again go their separate ways?
CW: mentions of sexual assault, mentions of drugging
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Back to my Side part 3
I’ll have to make a Masterlist for this 😂 I wasn’t expecting it to be this complicated
Part 1 / part 2
- 2k words
CW: mentions of sexual assault, mentions of drugging
It took only a few minutes for her to stop crying, a few minutes for them to descend back into an awkward silence, characterized by her sniffles and him clearing his throat. Aelin pulled back almost immediately after that, seemingly realizing the strangeness of their situation.
“Sorry,” she murmured weakly, looking away and wiping her face with her hands.
“It’s fine,” Rowan said, with an awkward shrug of his shoulders, given the fact that it wasn’t fine.
She fidgeted before stepping back more and gesturing behind her. “Do you like your room?” She asked, wariness in her blue eyes.
“It’s… expensive,” was all he said, earning a chuckle from her. A chuckle that made his heart soar before it devolved back into silence.
“Yes it is,” she shrugged, “but I figured I’d go all out, you know. I - haven’t seen you in a while.” She looked down, wringing her hands together, her french manicure contrasting her tan skin, and making the diamond ring on her finger stand out more.
Apparently his stare was noticeable, because she looked at it, a flicker of panic in her eyes as she looked back up at him, chewing her lip as she waited for his reaction.
“Congratulations,” he said, his voice a bit strangled. He hadn’t heard anything about that in the media. Although to be fair, he tended to avoid all mention of her. For this reason exactly.
“Thank you,” Aelin said really quietly, her brows downturned.
“Does he treat you well?” Rowan asked equally as quietly, and she met his green eyes with a forlorn expression that she quickly covered up.
“Yes,” she murmured, “very well.” He nodded, clenching his jaw. That’s all he needed to know, all he had a right to know. He wasn’t part of her life anymore, he had no right to pry.
She opened her mouth like she wanted to say more, but shut it, walking stiltedly back to her chair, like she was a puppet being controlled. He followed her, staying standing as she sat down and rested her face on her arm against the arm of the chair, her hand covering her eyes. He could see the conflict in her mind, the things she wanted to say but just couldn’t bring herself too.
“Aelin,” he whispered, and she looked up, tears in her eyes once again. “What happened?” She took a deep shuddering breath, looking out at the late afternoon sky, the day quickly turning into evening. Here was the root of everything, the reason why he was here, the thing that was eating at her brain.
“There’s a reason I want to keep it quiet,” she murmured, “at least for now. At some point I’ll have to share, I’ll need to share, if only to keep it from happening to anyone else.”
Ice filled his veins, and he sank down across from her, keeping his eyes steady on her. A bad feeling was swirling in his gut, but he stayed quiet, waiting for her to talk.
“You know that I never wanted to be in this world,” she said quietly, “I never wanted the fame.” Rowan nodded, confirming her statement. He’d known that the moment he met her. “The money is nice I suppose,” she smiled weakly, “but I don’t think it’s worth everything else, everyone else.” She took another deep breath, finally turning and looking at him. “I was at the afterparty of a premier for my last movie,” her lip trembled, “I wasn’t being careful because the only one I was really hanging around was my costar, and I thought I could trust him.” Rowan reached a hand out and she clutched it tightly, her knuckles white. “I don’t remember much, but I do remember feeling really groggy and not in control of my movements.” She let out a small sob. “He acted helpful at first, so I let him guide me out of the party, heading toward my hotel room upstairs. I thought he was just helping me get to bed.” She shook her head, and horror settled in his gut. “I was an easy catch I guess,” she shrugged, her voice small. “I couldn’t stop it from happening.”
“Gods,” he said, his voice thick with unshed tears. “I’m so so sorry, Aelin. I’m so sorry you had to go through that.” She blinked back her tears, taking a breath.
“Me too,” was all she said, looking away from him again, but keeping her grip on his hand.
“Who else knows?” Rowan asked quietly, not even thinking of the case, just wanting to be there to support her. “Did you report it to the police?” Aelin just shook her head. “You didn’t? Did anyone else?” She shook her head again. “Did you tell anyone at all?” She pursed her lips and shook her head a final time.
“You’re the only one I trusted enough to tell.” He hated that the words sent a bit of satisfaction through him.
“What about your fiance?” Aelin just shrugged, not elaborating, and Rowan sighed. “Okay, well, if you want to take him to trial, which I’m assuming is what your goal is?” She nodded slowly. “Then it’s going to be hard to pin him down without evidence from that night,” he admitted.
“I kept the dress,” she said, her voice a little less shaky, “and I didn’t get drug tested but I know a few people who can corroborate that I was acting off.” Rowan nodded.
“That’s a good place to start,” he said, trying to sound confident for her sake. But he had to know. “Can you tell me who it was? If not yet that’s fine, I just need to know at some point for the case.” He should know from what she’d told him, but like he said, he didn’t watch her movies or pay attention to news about her, on purpose. So he was at a loss.
Aelin loosed a breath, clutching her skirt tightly with her ringed hand. “It was Archer Finn.”
Archer Finn. He recognized the name, could picture his sleazy face, with his sleazy smile. And he didn’t think he’d ever hated a man more.
Rowan was about to say something else, opening his mouth, when her phone rang. Aelin sniffled again, wiping at her face before picking it up quickly and answering it.
“Hello?” She said. “This is Aelin Galathynius.” A pause. “Oh shit, I’m sorry mom, I completely forgot. I’ll be at the restaurant in ten minutes.” Another pause. “Okay, I already said I’m sorry, can you give me a break for once?” A heavy sigh. “I’ve been busy, it’s not like I forgot on purpose.” A frown. “Okay, okay, can I go now? I have to leave otherwise I’ll be even later.” Her brows raised. “Okay bye mom,” she said incredulously before hanging up and throwing the phone down with a huff. “I’m late for dinner,” she told him, shoving herself to a stand, her heels clicking against the floor as she walked toward the elevator. “I’m sorry I can’t stay, but I’ll call you later okay?”
“Okay,” he confirmed, standing up as well. Aelin smiled at him softly before turning and pressing the button. But then she turned and looked at him, her brows furrowed.
“How would you like to come with?” She proposed, tilting her head. “I’m sure my mom would love to see you.”
“Would she?” Rowan asked incredulously. “She hated me.” She snorted, but the words were true. Evalin Galathynius never approved of him, didn’t like that he encouraged her daughter to think for herself instead of following whatever she said. He was sure that hadn’t changed over the years.
“Come on,” Aelin laughed, “it’ll be fine.” Gone was the grieving woman from a few minutes before, replaced by the teasing version of her he knew well.
“Okay fine,” he conceded, walking toward her, “it’s not like I have much else to do here.” She laughed again and he smiled softly. The awkwardness was still there, the years apart and the way those years had started still lingering between them, but in that moment he didn’t care. Because gods, he’d missed her.
Turns out, dinner was much worse than he’d expected. Aelin’s mom had frowned at him the moment he stepped foot inside the restaurant, wide eyes as he realized the whole place had been rented out. Precautions, Aelin had told him, it makes security easier. And she was right. There were bodyguards still there, but it was nowhere near the chaos it would’ve been if there were other people.
She’d explained his presence away, saying he was in town and they’d met up, glossing over the elephant in the room. They all knew she’d cut him out, had stopped talking to him. Even if he didn’t know why, it made it a lot harder to pretend like this was just a casual visit.
But he’d smiled and postured, putting up with Evalin’s prying questions, the tension in the room clear. Especially when Aelin’s phone rang again, and she snapped it up just the same way, a weak smile on her face as she greeted the person with a “hey baby.”
“Yeah I’m at dinner right now, but I’ll be home soon.” A pause, and then Aelin laughed, and his heart clenched at the sound. He was happy to hear her laugh, but it hurt to hear it come from her lips because of someone else. Especially when that someone else was apparently someone she didn’t trust enough to tell him about what happened to her. “Well tell her to shove off, you’ve already turned down the role once, you shouldn’t need to do it again.” Faint murmuring on the other side of the phone. “Ugh fine. I’ll come help you, you useless lump, give me a few minutes to finish up here.” She laughed again and then hung up, looking back at the table with an apologetic smile. “I have to go,” she said, her teasing tone clear, “the fiance requires some assistance.”
Evalin smiled warmly, and he almost scowled at the sight. Rowan made sure to watch Aelin carefully as she stood up, watching the way her expression stayed guarded even as she said a bright goodbye, like it had been throughout the whole meal. He didn’t want her to leave. He didn’t want her out of his sight, only because he wasn’t sure if she’d ever come back.
And with the knowledge he had now, he just wanted to be there for her. Even if he knew she would make that difficult. Because he also knew that she liked to keep her problems to herself, keep her burdens to herself instead of sharing the load. She’d only begun to share things with him after almost a year of being friends, and something this monumental, something this traumatic… well, it shouldn’t be something she had to work through alone.
He had the perfect opportunity to help. And even if he couldn’t be in her heart anymore, he would hold her hand while she got a grip back on her life, while she found a way to keep everything steady.
Aelin looked at him, pausing her journey toward the limo waiting for her at the entrance. “I’ll call you tomorrow okay?” She asked, and he murmured a sure back. “We can continue our earlier conversation.”
He smiled and nodded, and then she was leaving, her hips swaying as she waltzed out the door, like a woman on a mission. It sent a wave of nostalgia through him, an image of her walking down the hall toward math like that, attitude with every single step. It was nice to see some things hadn’t changed.
Rowan quickly made his excuses to Evalin after that, heading back to the hotel with his hands in his pockets, his mind whirling. Should he call his boss and tell her about what he’d found out? No. He would wait for Aelin’s approval before doing that. Instead, his first steps would be researching Archer Finn, finding out about any past accusations or history of harassment, and then asking Aelin for the evidence she had, beginning to gather the pieces that he could glue together into a coherent case.
After all, that’s all he was here for. So he might as well make sure he did his job well.
@lexflame @in-love-with-caramel-macchiato @camilamartinezdunne @rolltide7 @sleeping-and-books @tottenhamboys20 @firestarsandseneschals @yesdreamblog @jlinez @superspiritfestival al @courtofjurdan n @booknerdproblems @1islessthan3books ooks @ireallyshouldsleeprn n @imaginedhaven n @fangirlprincess09 @lauraisfae @claralady @sassys-world d @booksbqueen @aelinashryvergalathynius18 @more-espresso-less-depresso-xx @http-itsrebecca @perseusannabeth @throneofmak @emilyoftheshadows @poisonous00 @thegoddessofyou @highqueenofelfhame e @chieflemming @thesurielships @annejulianneh111 @tomtenadia @aflickeringsoul @woollycat22 @empire-of-wildfire @jesstargaryenqueen @gracie-rosee @wanderingjpg @cicada-bones @shyvioletcat t @thewayshedreamed @rowaelinismyotp @miserablesmusings s @grandma-noob-lord @myworldofbooks @danibutterr @wordsafterhours @vanzetanze @dangerouscherryblossompenguin @sailorsassley @rainbowcheetah512 @live-the-fangirl-life
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I am re reading HoF again because... Why not.
Am I the only one whose heart just flutters when Rowan says her name for the first time?
"just wait, Aelin"
And I know that at that point they are at each other's throat but still... It always gives me fuzzy feelings.
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Quotes and Cherries
~ “Celaena walked and walked, until she found herself by the tree-lined shore of a lake, glaringly bright in the midday sun. She figured it was as good a spot as any as she crumpled to the mossy bank, as her arms wrapped tight around herself and she bowed over her knees.
There was nothing that could be done to fix her. And she was...she was...
A whimpering noise came out of her, lips trembling to hard she had to clamp down to keep the sound inside.
She vaguely felt the light shifting on the lake. Vaguely felt the sighing wind, warm as it brushed against her damp cheeks. And heard, so soft it was as if she dreamed it, a woman's voice whispering, Why are you crying, Fireheart?...
Because I am lost, she whispered onto the earth. And I do not know the way.”
― Sarah J. Maas, Heir of Fire
~ “Even when this world is a forgotten whisper of dust between the stars, I will always love you.”
― Sarah J. Maas, Empire of Storms
“What does that mean? he demanded.
She smiled sadly. You'll figure it out. And when you do... She shook her head, knowing she shouldn't say it, but doing it anyway. When you do, I want you to remember that it wouldn't have made any difference to me. It's never made any difference to me when it came to you. I’d still pick you. I’ll always pick you.”
― Sarah J. Maas, Crown of Midnight
~“Only promise me one thing, if I do go, give us a happy ending, will you? In your book?”
“I don’t believe in endings”
― Cassandra Clare, Chain of Iron
~“If this were The Beautiful Cordelia, a mad but handsome duke would come staggering across the heath, but nothing ever happened as it did in books.”
― Cassandra Clare, Chain of Iron
~“Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel
~“Ah,” said a voice from the doorway, “having your annual ‘everyone thinks Will is a lunatic’ meeting, are you?
“It’s biannual,” said Jem. “And no, this is not that meeting.”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince
~“Anyone who says women are weak is afraid they're too strong.”
― Cassandra Clare, Ghosts of the Shadow Market
~“And there in front of her was Julian, his eyes and ears closed to anything but Livvy, her body cradled against his. She seemed a drift of fragile ash or snow, something impermanent that had blown into his arms accidentally: the petal of a faerie flower, the white feather of an angel's wing. The dream of a little girl, the memory of a sister reaching up her arms: Julian, Julian, carry me.”
― Cassandra Clare, Lord of Shadows😥
“But death was her curse and her gift, and death had been her good friend these long, long years.”
― Sarah J. Maas, Crown of Midnight
“It is not such a hard thing, is it - to die for your friends.”
― Sarah J. Maas, Empire of Storms
“She had lied to him. She had wanted to save lives, yes. But she had gone out there with no intention of saving her own.”
― Sarah J. Maas, Heir of Fire
“Before I die, I want to...be the person I’m meant to be and have that be enough.”
― Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places
“You have to live your life like you’ll never be sorry. It’s easier just to do the right thing from the start so there’s nothing to apologize for.”
― Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places
“By the time we’re done, their guests have gathered outside to see the boy who must have flowers to give to the girl he loves.”
― Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places
“I said, I prefer the ocean when it's gray. Or not really gray. A pale, in-between color. It reminds me of waiting for something good to happen.”
― Lauren Oliver, Delirium
“Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you - sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in its tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever.”
― Lauren Oliver, Pandemonium
“That is the rule of the Wilds: You must be bigger and stronger and tougher. You must hurt or be hurt.”
― Lauren Oliver, Requiem
“I run for I don't know how long. Hours, maybe, or days. Alex told me to run. So I run. You have to understand. I am no one special. I am just a single girl. I am five feet two inches tall and I am in-between in every way. But I have a secret. You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to earth. People who love in a world without walls, people who love into hate, into refusal, against hope,and without fear. I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.”
― Lauren Oliver, Delirium
“One of the strangest things about life is that it will chug on, blind and oblivious, even as your private world - your little carved-out sphere - is twisting and morphing, even breaking apart. One day you have parents; the next day you're an orphan. One day you have a place and a path. The next day you're lost in the wilderness.
And still the sun rises and clouds mass and drift and people shop for groceries and toilets flush and blinds go up and down. That's when you realize that most of it - life, the relentless mechanism of existing - isn't about you. It doesn't include you at all. It will thrust onward even after you've jumped the edge. Even after you're dead.”
― Lauren Oliver, Delirium
“Now I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.”
― Lauren Oliver, Delirium
“His eyes are blazing with light, more light than all the lights in every city in the whole world, more light than we could ever invent if we had ten thousand billion years.”
― Lauren Oliver, Delirium
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Not quite as long as after hours, but significantly less plot. Based off of the one word prompt, Polaroid.
CW: NSFW, not suitable for readers under eighteen
If there was anything Aelin hated more than moving, she hadn’t encountered it yet. No boring task or useless instruction compared to the hell that was packing up all of her shit into boxes and lugging it out of her tiny apartment.
Because despite the size of her apartment, she had a lot of stuff, too much stuff as Rowan put it, so she was forced to cut down before she could move in with him. Simply because neither of them wanted to live in a house that resembled a landfill.
So here she was, sitting on the floor of her closet, digging through piles of stuff and boxes that she hadn’t looked at in many many months. And it was exhausting.
Aelin huffed and leaned against the wall, cursing her boyfriend. It made sense that she was the one moving, as his actual house was much nicer, but he could’ve at least been there to help her. Although she knew he was at work, and couldn’t help her, but it gave her a nice outlet for her frustration to blame him instead.
She angrily blew back a piece of her hair, slumping as she pulled another box toward her, grabbing an empty box to transfer stuff to. She reached into the box, yanking out an old purse that she hadn’t used in years. She chuckled incredulously and tossed it to the side, where her trash pile was slowly growing. Then she pulled out a random folder of old schoolwork, from back in college. She scoffed and threw that too.
All of this was crap she didn’t need anymore, crap she wasn’t sure why she had still. But she supposed that was the point of this, purging her overflowing closet of junk.
It was still annoying.
Aelin closed her eyes in frustration, blindly reaching into the box to grab something else. Her hand hit something hard, and she wrapped her fingers around it, opening her eyes to find herself looking at a Polaroid camera. A Polaroid camera that she completely forgot she had.
It had been probably since college that she’d even looked at it, but after a quick check, she found that there was still some film left in it, about five pictures worth.
A small devious smile curled onto her lips as an idea crossed her mind. A way to get back at Rowan.
She pushed herself to a stand quickly, walking over to her dresser and grabbing her brush, combing through her tangled hair and smoothing it out. She hurried to her bathroom, snapping up her bag of makeup.
Chuckling to herself, Aelin refreshed her mascara, brushing dark eyeshadow on her eyelids and sharp eyeliner on top. And for the final touch, she painted her lips a dark red color, pursing them for the full effect.
When she was satisfied, she went back into her room, digging into her underwear drawer. She was wearing a boring sports bra and boyshorts set, but she had something a bit more exciting.
She changed quickly, a pool of heat forming in her core at the thought of Rowan’s reaction. She hadn’t shown him this particular item of clothing yet, so this was perfect timing. Grabbing her polaroid, she flipped her hair, giving it a bit of volume as she climbed onto her bed, relaxing against the comforter. She tossed her hair so it was flowing against the pillow, stretching out her legs but keeping them bent slightly, wide enough apart to insinuate what she wanted.
One hand was holding the polaroid out over body while the other was resting on her stomach, casually fingering the lace of the golden bodysuit she was wearing. She couldn’t see what she looked like in the camera, but she knew what she looked like.
The bodysuit was thin strapped and low cut, with sheer lace in an intricate pattern that made her breasts completely visible even through the fabric, her nipples clearly showing, especially with the chill in the room and the heat in her body. Aelin parted her lips slightly, teeth sliding over her bottom one as she looked at the camera from beneath her lashes.
And then she took the picture.
As it whirred, the film developing, she grinned, her plan taking form in her head. All she needed to do was get it into Rowan’s wallet. His wallet was always extremely disorganized, and she always laughed when it took him an awkwardly long time at stores to fumble for his card. With all luck, he’d pull this out next time instead.
It took a few days for him to find the picture, and by then she was fully moved into his house, her stuff in his room, her Polaroid placed in the bottom drawer of his nightstand. Well, their nightstand.
She’d been lounging in their bed, scrolling through her phone when she’d gotten his text.
> Very funny
Aelin snorted, smirking as she typed back.
< I take it you got my present
Rowan was at the store, picking up some food for dinner, and just like she’d predicted, his fumble for his credit card ended just the way she wanted. She was waiting for his text back when she got a call, her boyfriend’s handsome face, a soft smile gracing it, popping on the screen. It was a picture she’d barely managed to get, having to sneakily pull out her phone while he wasn’t paying attention.
Aelin chuckled and answered it, lifting the phone to her ear.
“You almost made me embarrass myself in front of the whole store,” Rowan complained, his voice crackling as he likely drove home. She cackled, trying to catch her breath. “I was trying to pay and I pulled that out and dropped my whole wallet. I had to keep adjusting myself to make sure everyone didn’t think I was a creep.”
“Well I’m glad you enjoyed it,” she answered finally, tilting her head against the pillow.
“I’m sure,” he muttered, huffing, “I didn’t even know you had a polaroid.”
“I found it while cleaning out my closet,” she clarified, a soft teasing smile on her face. “I figured I’d put it to use.”
“What am I going to do with you,” he said, exasperation in his tone, mixed with something else that had her crossing her legs to fight the throbbing threatening to start.
“I don’t know,” she teased, making her voice a little heavier than normal, “but I’m here waiting when you figure it out.”
He cursed, and the rough sound made heat rush through her. “You better be wearing that thing when I get home, baby.”
Aelin let out a breath. “And what if I don’t?” She grinned. “Are you going to punish me?” She rolled over onto her side, murmuring the words into the phone.
Rowan let out a laugh. “You’d like that wouldn’t you?” She made a noncommittal noise, not giving him the satisfaction of agreeing.
“Just get home soon,” she said, overly breathily to mess with him, “I miss you,” she smirked, “My fingers aren’t nearly as good as yours.”
He cursed again. “I’ll be back soon, and then I’m going to rip that damn thing off and have my way with you.” She tried to hide her moan, the sound escaping her at his words, but from the way he laughed darkly, she wasn’t successful.
“Hurry up,” she managed to say, her voice losing its strength.
“I’m only at the store, you can’t wait that long?” He teased darkly, and she could imagine his face, the lust in his green eyes, his brows furrowed in frustration and desire, the curve of his lips that were likely in a smirk. “I’m only ten minutes from you.”
“That’s ten minutes too far,” she said, the words turning a bit tender, and she knew he could tell, if the soft silence meant anything, the lack of noise comforting, not awkward. Aelin sighed and grinned again. “Just speed, you can cut that ten minutes down to five.”
“Don’t you need those ten minutes to change?” Rowan asked, and she hummed noncommittal.
“I guess you’ll have to figure that out,” was all she said before laughing and hanging up, pleased by his likely disgruntled expression. She’d pay for that later, but… her toes curled, she’d be fine with whatever that payment entailed.
She rolled out of bed, yanking off the hoodie that she’d stolen from Rowan, reaching for her underwear drawer that she’d claimed when she moved in. She smirked as she dug through it though, choosing not the gold bodysuit he liked so much, but yet another set of lingerie.
Aelin swung the pieces of it on quickly, fluffing out her hair before waltzing out to the kitchen and sitting on a stool at the breakfast bar, scrolling through her phone casually, like she wasn’t just in her bra and underwear.
She hummed nonchalantly, looking but not really looking through Instagram as she waited for her boyfriend to appear. And despite his insistence that ten minutes wasn’t that long, he got home in six, obviously speeding like she’d told him to.
She smirked as the sound of the lock turning and the door opening met her ears, the sound of grocery bags crinkling as Rowan walked in, his face calm as he locked the door behind him, heading to the kitchen without looking up. Aelin kept her eyes on her phone, noting the exact moment he saw her, a sharp intake of breath marking it.
“Shit,” he said, a dark expression forming in his eyes. She grinned and spun on the stool, leaning back on her elbows on the counter.
“Is there a problem?” She tilted her head, raising a brow at him teasingly. Rowan just prowled over to her, dropping the groceries on a side table on the way. He placed both his hands on the counter, trapping her between them and practically pinning her against the cool granite. They were close, but not close enough.
“I don’t know, is there?” He murmured, leaning in. Aelin smiled, ghosting a breath across his lips. And then she was ducking out from under his arms, darting away quickly and chuckling at his confused expression.
“We better put away these groceries,” she teased, walking over to the discarded bag, “before they go bad.” She pulled out a carton of milk and fruit from the bag, swaying her hips as she walked over to the fridge. Knowing his eyes were on her, she opened the fridge and leaned forward, sticking out her ass as she put away the food.
Without turning around, she stretched upward, lifting her arms and craning her neck so her back arched delicately. She heard Rowan’s heavy footsteps behind her and she smirked as his arms came to wrap around her waist, pulling her back into him. She dropped her arms around his neck as he ghosted his fingertips across her bare stomach, closing her eyes and humming as his touch skirted up toward the bralette she wore, dipping under the hem slightly.
She’d donned a dark red lace lingerie set, with thin straps on the top and straps above the waist of the practically thong-like bottoms that led to garter straps around her upper thighs. Garters that Rowan was now inching toward, a finger sliding under the material and grazing across her skin.
“You really love messing with me, don’t you?” He murmured into the junction of her shoulder and neck, before grazing his nose up the length of her neck toward her jaw, where he pressed a biting kiss. “I thought I told you to wear the gold one?”
“Are you complaining?” Aelin asked breathlessly, leaning back into him as his other hand brushed lightly over her breast, making goosebumps appear all over her skin.
“I never said that.” He chuckled darkly against her skin. “But you did disobey me, hm?” She opened her mouth to respond, but he paired his words with a rough squeeze to the same breast he’d just caressed, making a gasp leave her instead, heat rushing through her electrified nerves.
“I just thought you’d like to see this one too,” Aelin managed to say, every sense consumed by him. “See if you had the same reaction as you did at the store.” She could already feel that reaction pressing against her, a hard line against her ass that she couldn’t help but grind against.
“I always have that reaction to you,” Rowan said, a hint of a groan in his voice, “you’re so godsdamn sexy.” Aelin’s breath left her as the hand on her thigh crept upward, dipping to trail across her soaked panties.
“You’re not too bad yourself,” she breathed, rubbing back into him as he stroked the fabric with two fingers before dipping under the fabric and sliding across her folds. Her eyes rolled back into her head. He didn’t enter her fully, just sliding across her wetness and hitting her clit, repeating the motion until she was panting with anticipation. He chuckled then and removed his fingers, ignoring her whine of protest as he brought them to her lips. Aelin followed suit, taking them into her mouth and cleaning off the taste of herself, wrapping her tongue around them and biting gently in an imitation of what she’d do somewhere else.
Rowan groaned and removed his hand, moving it to join the other one on her waist, gripping tightly before flipping her around to face him, diving in to roughly claim her lips. Aelin moaned into the motion, clutching his hair as his tongue slid across her bottom lip before coaxing her mouth open and sliding that tongue inside.
He teased her with small movements of his tongue, leaving her begging for more as he removed it, using his teeth to pull at her lip instead. He pushed her against the door of the fridge and she used the leverage to wrap a leg around his waist, pulling him even closer and feeling the length of him pressed against where she needed him the most.
He trailed kisses across her jawline, going down her neck and taking her earlobe between his teeth and tugging before dropping down to her shoulder, sucking at the junction of her shoulder and neck as his hands clutched her waist tightly.
Aelin groaned and dropped her head against the fridge, leaving more of her neck exposed for him and his ministrations. But then he lifted a hand from her waist to her hair, cradling the back of her head and roughly pulling it back up to devour her mouth once more, making her breath escape her.
“Rowan,” she managed to moan between kisses, grinding against him. He groaned and grabbed her thigh, sliding a thumb under the garter and holding it hard enough to bruise. He pushed her against the fridge even more, getting closer than she thought was possible until every inch of them were pressed together.
Aelin jumped slightly to wrap her other leg around him, letting him hold her completely as she surrendered to the feeling of his touch. And it wasn’t long before Rowan was moving, carrying her toward their bedroom quickly.
She pressed kisses on his neck and jawline, biting slightly and nibbling, making him groan before he dumped her on the bed, smiling wickedly down at her. Aelin smirked and began to pull off the lingerie, reaching for the clasp of her top, but Rowan leaned down and stayed her hands, pushing them to the side of her head, her heart beating rapidly as she stared at his lust-filled green eyes.
“Don’t move,” he murmured sternly, and she managed to nod, overcome with arousal. She watched as he pushed off from the bed, disappearing around to the front before returning with something that made heat pool in her core, a breathy moan escaping her.
He stood at the foot of the bed and lifted the camera to his face, hand on the button.
“Can you pose for me, love?” He asked, voice heavy with desire. Aelin shifted on the bed, one hand clutching at her hair as the other slid up her stomach, fiddling with the lace of her bralette. She twisted so her right leg was slightly over the left, and she looked up at him with dark eyes, parting her lips still swollen from his kisses.
The room fell into silence, the tension thick until he pressed the button, the click of the camera and the whirring of the picture developing the only sounds.
“You’re so beautiful,” he muttered roughly. “So godsdamn beautiful.” He took the developed picture and stared at it with so much heat it made her squeeze her legs together to try and ease the ache between them. “Do you even know what you look like right now?”
“I’m assuming pretty damn good,” she said, with a weak bit of snark. Rowan chuckled and set the picture and the camera to the side, before pulling off his shirt in one smooth motion, leaving her with miles of smooth tan muscle to enjoy, the black tattoo she loved so much creeping up his arm.
“You always look good baby,” he groaned, climbing on the bed and over her in one smooth motion, caging her in beneath him, her favorite place to be. Rowan pressed his face to her neck, nipping at it in a series of motions she knew would leave bruises. Not that she cared, she loved being marked by him. “I’m so fucking lucky you’re mine,” he murmured into her skin, “that you’re my baby, my girl.” She didn’t think she’d ever been this turned on, the heat in her threatening to make her combust. Aelin closed her eyes, moaning his name as he whispered “my good girl”, and arousal shot through her core at the praise, a small moan escaping her that didn’t escape him.
He chuckled darkly and brought one hand to hold himself up while using the other to slip under the lace of her bralette, squeezing at her breast and rubbing her nipple roughly, the sensations sending fire throughout her body. She couldn’t even bring herself to talk, to say anything or make any noise besides the pants and sighs of pleasure as he worked her body.
“Let me show you how beautiful I think you are,” he said, and he didn’t wait for a reply before moving down her body, unclipping and pulling her bralette off quickly, keeping one hand working at her left breast while his mouth dived toward the other, swiping his tongue around her peak before pulling at it with his teeth, biting gently at the same time he pinched the other one between his fingers.
She was going to explode, she was going to disappear off of that cliff of pleasure, so far gone she didn’t think she’d ever come back.
Aelin clutched at his hair, keeping him at her chest and digging her fingers in, pulling slightly like she knew he liked. But he didn’t stay there for too long, pressing warm kisses to her stomach as he traveled down, pulling her legs open.
She leaned up on her elbows, expression dark as he smirked up at her from between her legs, but she was too weak to keep herself there as he leaned in and licked a long stripe up the fabric of her panties, making a deep moan come out of her. He laughed, the vibrations making more heat spike through her, and then his hands were joining him, ripping the garters off with a loud snap as his tongue slid over her panties again, his hands lightly caressing the sensitive skin below her navel, making her shiver, before sliding under the hem. He pulled back as he slowly and teasingly pulled them all the way off, pressing kisses to her leg as he followed the fabric, before throwing it to the side roughly and leaning back in, devouring her in such a contrast to the slow motion of before.
“Rowan,” she moaned, gasping as his tongue slid between her folds, his hands holding her hips down so she couldn’t thrust up toward his mouth like her body was longing to. Then his teeth scraped lightly over her clit, making her clench around nothing but air. His tongue swirled around it as he brought a hand down, stroking her folds teasingly with a finger before slipping one just inside her. Not nearly enough.
“Please, Rowan,” she begged, closing her eyes. “Please,” she groaned, and he groaned too before shoving his hand all the way inside her entrance, fingering her roughly. She made noises with every single thrust, panting as he added another finger, curling them just right to hit that sensitive patch that made her eyes roll back in her head.
He continued without hesitation, and pretty soon she was falling off of that cliff, her climax overtaking her. She shuddered and clenched around his fingers, overwhelmed by the sensations.
She clutched the sheets of the bed, wringing them with her fingers as she came down, panting as he pulled out his fingers, crawling up her body to swallow her breaths. Aelin wrapped her arms and legs around him, holding him close to her as he devoured her mouth.
She pushed at his shoulders to roll them over, and began to slide down his body before he could complain, yanking at his jeans and boxers to free his length from its confinement.
She sighed before leaning down and licking up the underside of his cock, relishing in the way it twitched before taking him in her mouth, as deep as she could without gagging.
Rowan groaned and kicked off the rest of his pants, but instead of letting her continue her swirling motions around him, he tugged on her hair, yanking her off of him and back up to straddle him. His cock was pressing against her still sensitive core, but she frowned at him, petulant at not being allowed to return the favor.
Her boyfriend just smirked, laying all the way back against the pillow, hands resting lazily on her thighs.
“I’m supposed to be making you feel beautiful,” he teased, “that can be saved for later.”
Aelin rolled her eyes, but didn’t complain as he nudged her forward, tugging at her hips with his hands until she was perched over his face, her own face heating. It wasn’t like she didn’t like this position, because she absolutely did, but something about how exposed she felt made a blush spread across her cheeks and all down her chest.
And Rowan knew that too, because he held her hips and ass tight to make sure she couldn’t shy away like he knew she’d try to.
“Grab the headboard,” he ordered, murmuring against her core, and she shivered as she complied, clutching it tightly as she sank down onto him, jerking away from his tongue as it stroked against her sensitive flesh.
“Rowan I don’t think I can do -“ she started saying, every motion feeling like it was lighting her on fire, every nerve on high alert, almost too much stimulation.
But he interrupted her, praising her with “you can, baby, you’re always so good for me.” His breath ghosted across her folds, and he didn’t give her another moment to think before he was pulling her down more, devouring her once again.
Aelin’s eyes rolled back into her head as he worked, every brush against her clit making her moan. Using her hold on the headboard, she began to swish her hips, rocking forward and backward in time with the push of his hands against her ass and the lick of his tongue across her folds, every sensation setting off fireworks inside her.
He massaged her ass as he leaned up and nipped at her clit, setting off her building climax yet again. She shook as she came down, heat rushing through her, until she collapsed against him, sliding back down and panting against his chest, tears pricking at her eyes from the pleasure. Rowan tucked a piece of her ratty hair behind her ear, the gesture disarmingly sweet after what they’d just done.
But she could still feel him hard against her, and she smirked as she slid a hand down to pump his cock, alternating between sharp pulls and delicate touches, the pattern making him groan. So much so that he pulled her hand away, taking her body and flipping them so he was once again on top.
Aelin raised her brows, a small teasing smile gracing her lips. “You know, I shouldn’t have taken a picture for you if you aren’t even going to let me do anything.”
Rowan chuckled and nipped at her neck before pulling back and stretching her legs out wide.
“Don’t pretend like you don’t like me in control,” he said with a smirk, and her core clenched at his tone, which he noted. So much for that. Aelin tried to scoff, but the defense was of no use. Not as his cock nudged against her, making a heated sigh slip out of her.
She closed her eyes, wrapping her arms around his neck and tugging her down to kiss her as he slipped inside of her, letting her adjust as he slowly slid all the way in. Rowan obliged, pressing kisses all over face until she nodded, and then he pulled almost all the way back out before slamming back in, making her back arch and her mouth open in a loud moan.
“Gods,” she barely managed to say as he thrusted again, hands clutching his hair as her legs came up to wrap around his waist, keeping him as close as possible.
One of his hands stayed on her thigh, pushing it up to her shoulder to stretch her out even more, and the other hand crept up her stomach, squeezing at her breasts before landing lightly on her throat, his thumb brushing over the hollow of it. A breathy sigh escaped her and she nodded eagerly, giving him confirmation to tighten his hold. Rowan groaned as he thrusted, matching the motion with the tightening of his grip on her neck, the pressure from both sources making heat build up inside her.
His speed increased until her breasts were bouncing with every sharp thrust, the sound of skin slapping together making her climb that cliff once again, her cut off pants matching the sharp noises escaping him as he squeezed his hand again, making her clench around him.
Her leg lost its strength, sliding down to hook around his knee as he let go of the other one, using that hand to travel down and rub at her clit, the sensation adding more fire to her core.
She was so close. So so close. And so was he.
Aelin furrowed her brows as Rowan leaned away, removing his hand from her throat to reach for something she couldn’t see. But she ignored it as she felt her incoming climax peak, about to fall into the grip of pure pleasure, until he returned to her view, the object in his hand sending her straight off the edge, shaking and shuddering and moaning and clenching around him as he spilled into her, the feeling so perfect she felt she could stay there forever, especially as the click of the Polaroid reached her ears, the sound of it developing the only thing filling the room besides them catching their breaths.
Rowan collapsed onto her chest, basically nuzzling her breasts as they both came down, relishing in the other’s presence. When the picture was done, he grabbed it out of the camera without pulling out of her, lifting it out of her view.
Whatever it was had him letting out a deep curse, and she felt him hardening inside of her again already.
“What is it?” Aelin asked, frowning at him until he moved the picture so she could see it, his finger lightly trailing over her curves as she took in the image. It was of her, her face specifically, mid climax, her hair spread out over the pillow with her eyes clenched shut and brows furrowed, her mouth open in an obvious moan.
She let out a small laugh, glancing up at him warmly.
“I bet you love that one,” she teased, making him snort.
“You’d be betting right then.” He pulled the picture back, tucking it to the side with the Polaroid before leaning in again, nipping at her earlobe. “I’ll keep that one in my wallet instead.”
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A little about me:
I’m @ acourtofvalkyriesandshadows on Instagram. If you would like to repost my original content to Instagram, please credit me! I’m also the creator and one of the moderators for r/ACOTARHulu on Reddit.
I’m a stan account for all SJM characters. I prefer to appreciate and understand characters than dislike or hate them. I always have a feeling there’s more to them than we might know at the time.
Here for redemption arcs, the morally grey, not being perfect, empathy and understanding, amazing character growth and characters finding the happiness they deserve.
Oh, and soup and PB&J sandwiches are pretty cool.
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When We First Met - Masterlist
Rowan can't imagine a world without Aelin. She’s the one person that’s been there for him throught thick and thin since he moved to Orynth with his parents – just as he has. Their bond is unshakeable.
But in the summer of their junior year, Rowan realises that he has real feelings for her – feelings that aren't within the bounds of friendship.
He finds himself wishing that were his only problem when cancer makes an unwarranted entrance. Through it all, Aelin is right by his side.
The question is: when will he tell her? And will time run out for them?
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When We First Met - 2
a/n: this fic is so self-indulgent, it's ridiculous. i've always wanted to do this trope, and this fic ticked the required boxes. so, here we go — another multi-chapter. i hope y'all enjoy this short one.
TW: swearing, hints at a chronic illness. if i missed anything, let me know!
Chapter 1 // Chapter 3
Two Years Later
Rowan couldn't believe his best friend was haunting his dreams now. He really needed to get over this stupid crush, or he wouldn't be sleeping a wink all summer. He couldn't afford that - not with that file lying on his mother's bedside table.
Her voice was so close. He could almost see her grinning face and arresting eyes. Grumbling, he pushed his blanket off, twisting to see what time it was. And then he opened his eyes.
“What the fuck—” Aelin clapped a hasty hand over his mouth, resting the other on her own to contain her laugh. She was right there. In his bed. At—he squinted at the clock on the opposite wall—three in the morning.
“Rowan. You need to keep it down or you'll wake your parents,” she hissed, hand retreating from his mouth to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. Rowan may or may not have been slightly put out about it.
“What're you doing here, Ae?” he whispered, standing. He snatched a shirt from the back of his desk chair and pulled it on, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. She tucked her feet under the comforter.
“I couldn't sleep, Ro,” her smile had vanished sometime between him asking the question and settling on the bed, and her eyes were brimming with worry – for him, he realized with a jolt. “I can't even sit still. I keep praying that the reports come back negative, because if they don't, I don't know what I would do.”
“And I know this is terribly selfish of me because if that happens, you'll be suffering the most, but I just”—she took a shuddering breath, tears spilling over her cheeks—“I can't stop thinking about it. I can't.”
Rowan was gathering her into a hug in a moment, tracing circles on her back as her emotions came tumbling out of her mouth. The tight knot of guilt in his chest threatened to cut off his breathing with each sob that shook her frame. I have to tell her.
“Aelin,” he began. “We, uh...we got the reports last evening.”
She immediately pulled away from him, holding him at arm's length as her eyes bored into his. She's beautiful, Rowan thought disconnectedly. Even with tear-tracks down her face and puffy eyes, she's beautiful.
“No,” she said, searching his eyes for the answer she wished he had. But he just let her see the truth in the set of his jaw and downturned lips. “Rowan. No.”
Rowan nodded, eyebrows drawing together. He wished he didn't have to tell her. He wished this weren't his body. He wished someone would drain the blood from him and let him die, and then remembered it was killing him already.
He wished he wasn't dying.
And he saw her absorb the truth of the situation, saw the devastation crash down on her, and watched as she tried and failed to pull herself together. He felt his own eyes brimming, the world blurring as they couldn't contain the sadness within him.
He was in her arms in seconds, shuddering, tears soaking each others' clothes as they cried. Rowan sat, long after their sobs had ebbed and their breathing had calmed, holding tight to her as she held to him for the rest of the night and well into the morning.
They didn't let go once.
a/n: i’m so sorry for the late update. i hope this chapter makes up for it. let me know what you think!
if you want to be added to / removed from my taglist, or if i missed you, let me know!
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Back to my Side
Based on the T Swift song Dorothea
- 1300 words
It always happened the same way. The questions with the same redundant repetition, the sudden perk of the expression at the exact right time. The moment that people knew he went to high school with Aelin Galathynius was the moment they ceased to care about him, and only cared about that.
Rowan didn’t mind, it wasn’t like he wanted much attention himself, but the reminder of her always sent a pang through his heart. It wasn’t like it was their fault for latching on to that detail and asking more about it, just like it wasn’t her fault that he felt that way in the first place.
They’d never been anything more than friends, even if he’d longed to be more. From the moment they’d met, running into her under the bleachers at the football field, she’d enthralled him, pulling him in with her captivating eyes and her fiery personality, waltzing in freshman year and stealing his heart.
She enthralled the world the same way, becoming a star on the silver screen within five years of graduating high school, within five years of leaving him. And she’d maintained that fame for three years so far after that. But Rowan had known she’d never wanted to be in the spotlight, she’d never wanted to be known for who she knew, for who she was connected to, for who her mother was. Because her mother had been a star just like her, and Aelin had been determined to not follow in her footsteps.
Evalin Galathynius had had another plan though, sticking her daughter in pageants from a young age, getting her more exposure in the film world by throwing her into commercials and acting roles from a young age. Aelin had hated it, had ranted to Rowan about it many many times, even if her mother always got her way. He’d always listened to her willingly, holed up in the back of his car while they skipped the prom that her mother had forced her to go to, or at the beach after a spontaneous trip that she’d dragged him on.
They’d been inseparable, knowing everything about each other, but he’d never crossed that line, letting her go too easily when she left.
Gods, how he regretted that now.
Rowan sighed, dragging a hand down his face as he threw down the magazine at his office, tired of seeing yet another picture of her on its pages, modeling for some sort of makeup line, her stunning features filling his heart with pain. She’d only gotten more beautiful with time, but whenever he looked at her, he still saw the smiley teenager she’d been, the version he’d fallen in love with, so much different than the painted and guarded face he saw now.
He hadn’t seen her in person since the day she’d left Orynth, moving to Rifthold, the film capital of the world, at the behest of her mother. He’d tried to stay in touch, but she quickly pulled away, leaving him cold and stranded, an ache in his heart that hadn’t faded. He wondered if she ever even thought of him, if he was lingering in the back of his mind or if he was just a passing memory. Even if it didn’t really matter either way.
But he wanted to check in with her, almost thought about trying to call her every so often before deciding she wouldn’t answer. He just wanted to know if she was okay. If she was satisfied living someone else’s dream, even if he knew she likely wasn’t. He could see the change in her the few times he’d seen her on screen, at the dentist or on a plane or when he was just flipping through channels and happened to land on her. He could see the emptiness in her eyes, the shallowness of her smile that she hid so well. He could only tell because she used to give him real ones all the time.
He missed the warmth of it, so much different than the coldness of that magazine page, the coldness of his heart, the coldness of the room he was in, waiting in the lobby of his office building for his boss to call him in for their meeting. That’s why he’d picked up the magazine in the first place, needing something to fill his time with besides fidgeting and letting his imagination run wild. He didn’t know what he was being talked to about, and he didn’t really want to find out.
Rowan was also trying to ignore the receptionist, who was shooting furtive glances his way. She’d just found out that he knew Aelin, and he knew she was trying to find the perfect time to ask him about her. Was she just as pretty back in school? Did she always want to be an actress? What is she like?
Just like always.
He looked up, meeting the face of his boss, Maeve, as she stuck her head out of her office door.
“You can come in now,” she continued, before retreating back into the room, leaving him to stand up and follow awkwardly, clenching his slightly shaking fists as he made his way into the space, sitting down in the leather chair across from her desk.
“Rowan,” she said, linking her hands together on the wood. “I have an opportunity for you.”
He raised his brows, trying to look intrigued instead of nervous. He hadn’t had this job very long, starting at the law firm right after he graduated from law school, passing his bar exam and taking the first offer that came his way. And he was lucky it was an offer from one of the most prestigious firms in the country. So he was eager to prove himself.
Without waiting for him to speak, Maeve kept going. “There’s a client in Rifthold who requested our services, but she wants to keep the case as private as possible right now.” He nodded, not sure where this was going. “She hasn’t told us much about it yet, so I don’t want to send out too many high ranking people in the company in case it turns out to be nothing. Do you understand what I’m saying?” She was staring at him, her dark eyes calculating, and he hesitated.
“I’m not quite sure, no,” he said truthfully, shaking his head slightly. He understood her words, but not how he related to it. Maeve just sighed.
“I’m sending you to Rifthold, Rowan,” she said simply. “I think you have potential and this could be a good place to show it.” His heart stopped, disbelief flowing through his veins instead of blood. “Of course, if the case turns out to be big then I’ll send down someone more experienced, but this is just the starting point.”
“Of course,” he agreed with a nod. “I very much appreciate this chance.”
“Good.” Her tone was firm, and she was about to start talking again when his phone rang. Rowan cursed under his breath, and nodded at her to continue, letting it ring out and go to voicemail. “We’re going to keep this quiet for now,” she continued, “the client is eager to keep out of the press’ hands for…”
He zoned out as his phone rang again, right after their last one stopped. He huffed and squeezed his eyes shut, before opening them to see his boss’ unamused face, waiting for him.
“I’m so sorry,” he said, “if you’ll give me one second.” The call must be important if they were trying again. So Rowan pulled his phone out of his suit jacket pocket, answering the call without looking at the number out of habit.
“Hello?” He asked, his tone full of impatience.
“Rowan?” A very familiar voice asked, still so recognizable to him despite the sadness and meekness that coated it.
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camp staghorn - 4
it’s finally here - been a second ik. updates may be a tad slow these coming two weeks because so much stuff is about to be going on but hang tight. i might extend the story and just have the parts be a little shorter so it’s more manageable because right now it’s suppose to be around 9 parts. anyway, enjoy!
masterlist, AO3, main masterlist
Hours later the memory of Rowan’s face as he wrapped the towel around her was still drifting around Aelin’s mind like a feather in the wind.
He looked so unguarded, his features soft and his perpetual frown absent. Aelin wished she could have paused time right there. She wished she could’ve taken a moment to study him. It made her want to pick up a pencil and sketch him though the most she could draw would be a lopsided stick figure. If she were an artist she would’ve made him her muse.
Her campers, however, demanded revenge, an eye for an eye. As far as they were concerned, Rowan had made a direct attack on Aelin. A punishable offense. They’d been eagerly chattering all afternoon, developing plan after plan of intricate ways to right Rowan’s wrong. Aelin, though, was a little preoccupied.
She desperately needed to snap out of it, she needed to splash some cold water on her face and come back to reality. Rowan had trespassed into their camp site and outwardly tampered with their plumbing, she couldn’t let it go now.
No, Aelin Galathynius wasn’t really the kind of girl who let things go. It didn’t matter how attractive the perpetrator was.
Aelin and her girls now found themselves roaming aimlessly through the main camp. Technically it was their rest time when they were supposed to cool down and get out of the sun for a while. They were on a different mission though, they needed to scope out Rowan’s camp.
Luckily, it wasn’t long before they were found. His boys were loud and rambunctious their voices led Aelin’s group right to them like a bread trail in the woods. They were on the rock wall, taking turns racing each other up while the others cheered from below.
Each boy was suited up in harnesses and helmets. Aelin might’ve spent a little too long checking out Rowan. He was at the bottom of the wall with a rope attached to his harness, acting as one of the counselors managing the boys as they climbed up and then propelled down.
Aelin deduced it was the perfect time to strike, they were distracted and unsuspecting. He likely didn’t intend for her to have a new plan up her sleeve so soon.
Aelin and her girls kept their distance, crouched behind a line of tall pine trees that acted as the perfect cover.
“Well, ladies, what’s the plan?” Aelin inquired.
The girls gave each other a few affirming nods, silently agreeing upon a plan.
“We think we should put a butt load of salt into their water jugs back at camp,” Ansel finally spoke up.
“Yeah, they’ll have to be thirsty now and drink all their water. Then they’ll have to fill them up when they get to camp,” Borte declared.
Aelin decided to let her girls take the lead on this one and agreed. “Well, let’s go grab all the salt shakers from the dining hall.”
The girls nodded their heads in excitement, racing back down the path. Aelin followed behind, making sure none of their commotion drew unwanted attention.
After conjuring up at least 14 salt shakers and even an extra container of salt they found in a cabinet they trekked to cabin 1E as denoted on the map in the front of the dining hall.
That map has turned out to be quite convenient indeed.
They went to work quickly, splitting up and unscrewing the lids of the three multi-gallon water dispensers around the boys’ camp. Their hour of rest was quickly coming to a close and they needed to execute their plan quickly.
Aelin and the girls dumped generous amounts of salt into each jug. Ansel even made rounds stirring each one with a stick.
“Where did you get that stick?” Aelin asked.
“The ground,” Ansel replied simply, continuing to stir in the white granules.
“And you're stirring their water with it?” Aelin clarified.
“They’ll survive,” Ansel said earnestly as she removed the stick from one water jug and started on another. Aelin only shrugged, she probably wasn’t wrong.
The girls heard laughter from afar and perked up.
“Put the lids back on!” Aelin commanded quietly. The girls scrambled to cover the water again and camouflage themselves in the forest.
Aelin tightened the lid on the remaining jug and raced to join her girls concealed behind the trees and undergrowth.
The laughing got louder as the group got closer and closer, making their way up the rough dirt path. When they came into view Aelin could tell with their sweaty, flushed faces that they were definitely in need of water.
Much to Aelin’s luck as soon as Rowan came over the slight incline he started filling his empty water bottle with the dispenser situated just outside his camp’s cabin. The other boys also lined up at the various water stations, taking turns.
“Rowan,” one of the boys spoke up. “This water tastes funny.”
“Camp water always tastes funny,” another boy replied. “I’m sure it’s okay,” Rowan insisted. He squirted some water over his face in an attempt to cool off after being in the hot sun for hours. His cheeks were red, heated by the sun, it made his green eyes impossibly greener to the point they resembled the bright green of the surrounding foliage. He ran a hand down his face and through his hair.
Immediately, as soon as the water hit the boys’ tongues, they started spitting it out, Rowan included. A few yucks and why is it so salty could be heard, but the best part was definitely the boys’ faces. Even Rowan’s was morphed into an expression of pure repulse.
Aelin’s girls struggled to contain their giggles, clamping their hands over their mouths in a futile attempt to stifle them. Rowan seemed to be the only boy to clue into the muffled noises coming from the forest that definitely weren’t the chatter of songbirds. Aelin could tell his eyes were searching the surrounding greenery, on the lookout for anything amiss.
“Alright, I’ll go get us some fresh water, okay guys?” Rowan decided.
The boys nodded their agreement, a few still wiping at their mouths. Rowan turned around, starting down the path back to the main camp once again. A few of the girls around Aelin gave each other silent high fives, celebrating their successful prank. One more point for Aelin.
Aelin was about to suggest that they move out and get ready to feign innocence back at lunch when a pair of thick arms wrapped around her waist and hoisted her up.
“Thought you were sneaky, huh?” Rowan spoke directly into Aelin’s ear, his breath ruffling the golden blonde hair that had escaped from her ponytail.
Rowan spun her around and exclaimed to his boys, “I’ve caught the offender!”
Her campers were playing along, pulling at Rowan’s shirt, trying to save their counselor. Even Aelin was laughing as she was trying to wiggle out of Rowan’s strong embrace but he kept her back pressed firmly to his chest.
“What should we do with her boys?” Rowan asked.
“Make her walk the plank!” A boy with curly brown hair shouted, punching his fist in the air.
“Alright,” Rowan conceded and began dramatically leading Aelin towards the dock down by the lake.
“No! Rowan, no, please!” Aelin began struggling but she couldn’t keep the smile off of her face.
“What else do you suggest, princess? I can’t just let you go free after committing such a crime.”
Aelin shifted just enough so she could face Rowan better, “I’ll do anything,” she breathed in such a way that she knew it would catch Rowan off guard. Just as she predicted, Rowan’s arms loosened for a second. Men were just too easy.
Aelin took the moment of reprieve gratefully and tore out of Rowan’s grasp, dashing back into the forest for cover. Rowan chased her, twigs snapping close behind. She bolted, swatting low hanging branches out of her way and gritting her teeth as thorns tore at her shins but she couldn’t afford to be caught again. She could hear Rowan following but losing ground as the forest grew denser.
Aelin took the moment of reprieve gratefully and tore out of Rowan’s grasp, dashing back into the forest for cover. She knew Rowan was chasing after her by the sound of twigs snapping close behind. She increased her speed, swatting at low hanging branches and gritting her teeth as thorns tore at her shins, but she couldn’t afford to be caught again. Rowan began to lose ground as the forest grew denser while Aelin was able to maneuver through from years of experience playing hide and seek in the woods with Aedion.
The forest suddenly opened up into a small meadow, long grass and bright wildflowers swayed back and forth with the breeze. Aelin looked back to determine Rowan’s position for only a moment when he was on her, pulling her down into the delicate green grass that spread across the field like a blanket.
They were both panting and could still hear the shouting of their campers through the trees. Aelin and Rowan were both on their backs, gulping down air.
“You know I’ll have to get you back for that now.”
Aelin pinched his side, “I know.”
Rowan only swatted her hand away before pushing himself back up to his feet. He held a hand out for Aelin, an offer. Aelin decided to take it, allowing him to effortlessly pull her to her own feet. He held onto her hand for a beat longer than necessary before letting it return back to her side.
Rowan was studying Aelin, making her suddenly feel self-conscious. Was there grass in her hair?
“What are you staring at?” Aelin finally caved.
Rowan smirked. “Nothing, just thinking about how I should repay you for that salt water fiasco.”
“Do your worst, Whitethorn.”
“I intend to, Galathynius.”
hope y’all like it so far & you’ll get some more rowan’s part of the story & his revenge in the next part. very fun. xoxo. let me know if you wanna be added to my rowaelin taglist!
taglist: @live-the-fangirl-life // @rowaelinismyotp // @gosuckadickghostman // @camilamartinezdunne //
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Listen....I love Sarah J Maas, I really do but if I have to read her describe another p3n!s as “velvet wrapped steel” I am going to commit crimes!!
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Rowaelin reunion in queen of shadow was SO CUTE
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100% convinced that Aelin asked Rowan to do a bird mating dance for her
Also 100% convinced that he did
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A Little Braver - Chapter 4
So, chapter 4 is finally here.
It has a few funny moments but it also has angst.
This fic has so much more angst that i originally planned.
Anyway... enjoy it.
The drive to the hospital did not take long but once inside they noticed the waiting room was swamped.
“Whitethorn, this is pointless,” she said when he placed her on an empty chair “we’ll be here for hours.”
“I don’t care, we are getting that knee checked.” His tone did not admit any protest from her.
Aelin grunted “I hate you.”
“Is that news? Tell me something I don’t know.” Rowan took a seat on the empty seat beside her then took her injured leg and lifted it on his lap. Aelin winced.
It was three hours later when Rowan started to loose his patience “that woman came after us and she went in already.” He protested a bit too loudly for Aelin’s taste. Why was he caring about her wellbeing all of a sudden?
“Maybe she is worse than a busted knee.” She shrugged but he glared at her.
“She walked into the A&E on her own two feet. You just dealt with that damn inferno with that busted knee.” He protested and the hint of pride in his voice moved something inside her.
“I don’t need the red carpet.”
“Some fucking attention for people who bust their asses to save other people lives would be appreciated.” His tone got a bit louder still. Rowan did not seem the type to cause a scene but he seemed a bit too annoyed and to be honest she did not know much about the guy. She just hoped his military training would kick in and restrain himself.
“Doctor save lives too.”
He grunted and stood and Aelin braced for the worst. She saw him walk with purpose to the reception desk with perfect military stride. She would have laughed if it wasn’t that she was scared of what he would do.
She saw him talk to one of the nurses behind the nurses station. A few times his arm pointed at her and she made herself small and invisible.
Then she went back spying on him and studied his posture and gasped. The man was flirting with the nurse. Stick up in the arse captain was flirting with the nurse to get her in early. She was dumbfounded. She could not believe that he had it in him.
He came back five minutes later with a smug face “Someone will come for you soon.”
Aelin’s mouth fell open “Did you just flirt with the nurse to have me seen earlier?”
“I did not such thing,” and he looked away, scanning the waiting room.
“She is looking over here. I think she is interested in you and is now wondering how it would feel to bag an airforce captain.”
Rowan huffed “not interested.”
“She is pretty.”
“Not my type…”
“Oh come on grampa, she could even play sexy nurse with you.”
Rowan rolled his eyes “you really are a menace.”
She was about to add a snarky remark when a doctor stopped in front of them “Aelin Galathynius?”
Aelin’s head snapped up “I am here.”
“I am doctor Yrene Westfall. Follow me.”
Westfall? Was she Chaol’s wife?
“Did you say Westfall? Is Chaol your husband?”
“Yes. Do you know him?”
Aelin nodded “I am a firefighter, we work a lot with the police. He was at the embankment fire tonight.”
“He told me, apparently it was hell. His own words.”
“It was bad.” Aelin stood and swore as sharp pain shoot from her knee up her leg.
“Why did you do that?” Rowan protested and lifted her again in his arms.
“You are making the nurse jealous.”
“Shut up and let’s follow the nice doctor.”
“Put her down here,” Yrene pointed at an empty bed.
Rowan placed her gently on the bed and stepped at the bottom of it. His hands behind his back.
Yrene lifted the leg of her trousers and had a look at her knee “This look quite bad, why did you wait this long to come to the hospital?”
“I was going to… but then city emergency and all and it slipped my mind.”
Rowan snorted and Aelin glared at him.
“And you walked all day on it?”
“You might have made things much worse.”
Aelin leaned back on the pillow and sighed. She knew and with the performance review on its way it had been very stupid of her.
“How did it happen?”
“We were in the middle of a drill this morning. The explosion happened, the shockwave made me loose my balance and I fell down the ladder face first and my left knee took the impact.”
“You might have broken your kneecap. I need to send you for an x-ray and see what is the situation.” She went away and came back five minutes later “Someone will come and get you soon. You captain, can wait here until she is back.”
Rowan nodded and pinched her big toe when he noticed her worried expression “Do you want me to come in and hold your hand?”
“Screw you, Whitethorn.”
He pinched the toe again and his lip quirked up in a tight attempt at a smile.
Aelin wondered if she’ll ever see him smile or even laugh.
The porter came and rolled her bed away. She snatched a last look at Rowan and saw him standing where her bed had been I’ll be here. She saw him mouth to her.
Rowan began pacing back and forth in a very nervous state. His phone pinged and saw a text from Lorcan asking for an update on behalf of her squad. He texted back saying she was getting an x-ray.
He sat down on the chair near where the bed was and took out his phone to scroll through the news of the fire at the warehouses. In one of the articles he saw a great picture of her. She was staring at the inferno in front of her and with her hand she was pointing at something, maybe giving an order. He saved the picture on his phone then went on reading the article flushing with pride at how the journalist had praised her for handling such an emergency with professionalism and doing a great jobs at keeping the victims to a very low level. Turned out they only had lost two workers. Considering what he had seen he was impressed because it could have been far, far worse. He read a few more articles and almost seethed with rage when a journalist had the courage to criticise the TFD for having a young girl in charge of such an emergency.
It was an hour later when Aelin and Yrene came back. Aelin’s face told him that the news was bad.
“Her kneecap is badly fractured. She will need surgery. I have contacted the orthopaedic surgeon to see if he can squeeze her in tomorrow. Then she will have to stay in the hospital for a few days. Once she gets home she can move around with crutches but it might take up to a month before she will be able to do rehab. The whole thing should last around three months if she cooperates.”
Rowan stared at Aelin and he saw her heartbroken expression.
Once Yrene excused herself saying she was going to get her a room, Rowan moved closer to her.
“Don’t. Don’t you even try and say what you are about to say. I do not need your pity.”
He knew that the idea of not being able to participate in the performance review was killing her. Gods he wanted to hug her again like in her office and offer comfort. But that was a skill he had always been bad at.
“Do you need anything?”
“Yes, being less fucking stupid.” She growled through gritted teeth “I knew that explosion was coming. I knew we had fucked up the exercise and let it run longer than meant to. Aedion and I had planned that explosion. I knew it and I still let it knock me off like a blasted newbie.”
She breathed deeply “I am too stupid to be a captain.”
No, he was not having that.
“Now you are talking shite.” He snarled back. He was not having her accusing herself os something like that. He took out his phone and opened the first article he read. The one with the great picture.
“Captain Galathynius has showed nerves of steel while handling a double fire that could have had catastrophic consequences. She masterfully deployed two teams to tackle emergency after emergency without ever backing down from the constant challenge. And when it seemed that the situation was taking a turn for the worst, she pulled a rabbit out of the hat and convinced the stiff necked airforce posh boys to join and help tackle a raging fire, far too big for three fire engines. Captain Galathynius and the two teams deserve more recognition for their incredible job. Far more than a pat on the back.
All the firefighters involved tonight had showed great heroism and excellent skills. Every day these men and women place their lives on the line to keep our city safe. The government should keep it in mind at his next budget review and find in itself to invest in money in services the city deeply deserves like firefighters, the police and the health services instead of flushing it down the drain to fund fancy planes built for destruction.”
“Uh…. He really does not like you guys.”
“I don’t care,” said Rowan quickly “What matters is what she said about you. She doesn’t think you are stupid. And I don’t think it either. This stiff necked posh boy thinks you are amazing.”
“I am not lying. Why would I? I agree with this woman. You were fucking amazing tonight. All of you. And yes, you deserve far more credit than what you will get.”
His eyes glistened with pride and his words had helped a bit ease her anger.
“So you think I am amazing?”
“I do.” His voice much softer all of a sudden.
Yrene came back in that moment and broke the spell. She had a feeling she and the captain were about to have a moment but the magic had passed.
“I have a room for you.” And she had a wheelchair with her.
Rowan grabbed Aelin again and lifted her into the wheelchair and offered to push her.
“Chaol was my saviour tonight,” she giggled while Rowan rolled the wheelchair along the corridor following the doctor.
“He knows I hate reporters. So as soon as he saw a few coming at me he came and saved me before I could punch them. Plus, he and his men did an outstanding job at crowd control. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you have people running terrified from a building on fire it can end badly. And they also kept an eye to all the curious monster who come and have a peek and film it to post it social media for a five minutes of glory. Police let us concentrate on the emergency without worrying about what’s happening in the background.”
“Thank you for telling me.” The woman smiled at her.
“Make sure you give him an extra cuddle tonight.”
Both Aelin and Yrene burst out laughing.
“I will reward him accordingly, captain.”
They finally reached the elevator and the three got in. Not long after they were in the room and Rowan lifted her in bed. Yrene left them to get her settled in.
“You need clothes, damn it.” He looked around him as if to find an answer in an hospital room.
“My house keys are at the station.”
“Fine I’ll go and get them and grab some clothes for you from your house. Give me the address.”
His face turned confused “why? You can’t stay in your uniform.”
“I am not having you in my house, going through my drawers and my clothes.”
Rowan sighed “tell me where you keep t-shirts and shorts and I will just go straight to that one. I am not a creep I swear.”
“Fine.” She texted him the address “my keys are in the black messenger bag in my locker. There is a small pocket at the front. They are attached to the hook. Actually take the whole bag with you. I have a charger and other stuff in there that I might need.”
“Ok, I’ll be back as soon as possible.”
He nodded and before leaving he turned once more “you could start calling me Rowan, by the way.”
“Thank you, Rowan.”
He left thinking that his name on her lips was the most beautiful sound ever.
He reached the fire station not long after. He met Ress in the corridor.
“Ress, isn’t it?”
The man nodded.
“She will need surgery. She is not happy as you could imagine.”
A tall man joined them a moment later. His uniform was white.
“This is chief Havilliard.” Said Ress.
So that was the young Havilliard.
“You must be captain Whitethorn.”
“Thank you for your assistance tonight.”
Rowan shook his head “it was Aelin’s idea. The credit goes to her. I just follow orders.”
“How is she by the way?” And Rowan could see concern in the man’s eyes.
“She will need surgery. Her knee is busted pretty badly. They are trying to book her for tomorrow. I am heading to her place to get her some clothes.”
“I will update the squad.” Dorian said “I will also try and beg the board to postpone the review. Aedion will be home tomorrow but he will be off for a week and Aelin looks like she will be out of commission for a while. And I need them to train the team. They are my golden duo.”
Rowan took an immediate liking to the chief.
Once Dorian took his leave, Ress took Rowan to their changing rooms and pointed to Aelin’s locker.
“Tell her that the team is behind her and that she was awesome tonight. Also let us know where she is in the hospital so we can come and visit.”
“Room 252 in the orthopaedic ward.”
“Thank you sir.”
Ress left him. He grabbed Aelin’s bag and his eyes spotted the pictures attached to the door and the walls. He saw some pictures with a man and he had a feeling his face was familiar. The photos portrayed a couple in love and for a very brief instant a very strange emotion he could not decipher set into him and then it quickly went away with the same speed it came.
He ignored it. Slammed the locker shut and left the station.
Fifteen minutes later he reached her house and let himself in. The house was gorgeous and very modern. He stepped into the living room and noticed the wall were painted a light yellow giving the room much more brightness. He smiled at the insane number of bookcases bursting with books. So, she was a book worm. Good, something to talk about if they had a chance to have a conversation that contained less insults and vitriol.
He walked to the door she had indicated and reached her bedroom and froze for a moment. He knew he had her permission but for an instant he felt as if he was invading her privacy.
The room was painted a pastel blue and a huge bed was was in the middle. At one end he noticed the drawer and walked to it and froze when he noticed there were two middle drawers.
Shit, she had said the middle drawer but which one. Damn, he had promised.
He opened the top one and slammed it shut when he saw the content. That was her underwear drawer. He turned and leaned against the piece of furniture. Bras… 38A she had said and now his treacherous brain was picturing the piece of clothing filled by…
He opened the other one and breathed relieved when he noticed t-shirts and shorts. Good. He grabbed a few of her TFD t-shirts and placed them in the duffel bag at the bottom of her bed.
His phone went off. It was Aelin.
“Gee, you sound grumpy.”
“What do you need m’lady?” His voice dripping with fake pleasantness.
“I am giving you permission to open the second drawer from the top and grab me some underwear as well, please.”
“You are kidding me.” Aelin could clearly hear the panic in his voice.
“Ro, I am not. I have an emergency and I will soon need new knickers. So yes, get in that drawer and grab me my underwear.”
His hand ran through his hair in a nervous gesture.
“Also, there is a small convenience store around the corner, could you please buy me tampons?”
Rowan almost choked.
“I am sorry what?”
“You heard me. I assume you had been with other women before. You know we get periods, right?”
“Fine, I will phone you back once I am in the shop. I have no idea what to buy.”
“Just don’t blush too much.”
And he could hear the grin in her voice.
He hung up and breathed deeply and opened the drawer. The selection was… incredible.
He picked a few sports bra thinking that for an hospital stay they would be the better option. Definitely the lacy one were not proper. He rummaged a bit and looked again for something more sober when all of a sudden he found in his hands something that had little or no use as underwear but his treacherous mind painted some very sexy pictures.
Damn, that was torture. He grabbed a nice selection of the sober pieces and closed the drawer from hell in relief. He stuffed everything in the bag and walked out, in desperate need of fresh air.
Next stop he drove to the convenience store and braced himself for the next task. He walked in and sneaked to the correct section feeling like a perv for lingering in a section where he clearly did not belong to. He looked at the boxes and he had no idea that there were so many choices. He phoned her.
“Oh, you are still alive.”
“I am in the shop. Which one do you need?” He almost growled.
“Tampons.” She said matter of factly.
“I am a bloke, Fireheart. I have no idea of what you are talking about.”
He heard her sigh “the ones that looks like bullets.”
“Ok, which type?”
“At the bottom they have guidelines with drops. One with two drops and one with three. Actually make it two each.”
“Does the brand matter?”
“I am not fussed.”
“Okay. I got it.”
“I owe you another one.”
“That’s two now.”
“Fine, fine, Buzzard.”
“I’ll tell you later, get your arse back here.”
He hang up and had a look at the brands. She had said she was not fussed but he had decided to get her the expensive ones, hoping it meant they were of a better quality as well.
He walked to the counter to pay “For my wife,” he muttered embarrassed, paid and got out quickly.
She owed him big time. Not for the water drop but for this.
When he got back to the hospital he went to her room and dumped the bag on her bed and moved away from her.
“Gee someone is on edge. Did my underwear scare you? The fearless pilot got frightened by lace.”
He scoffed an ignored her.
“Seriously man, never had a girlfriend or a date wearing sexy lingerie for you?”
“Well, so what’s problem?”
He sat heavily on the chair “I was probably dating the person at the time, which implies other things.” She could still see the embarrassment in his features “you and I are just work partners. It was very weird.”
“Well, at least now you know how big is a 38A.”
The top of his ears turned red. She loved so much to rile him up.
She had look at what he had brought her and was very happy when she noticed he had picked sports bra. He had actually put some thought in it. Then her eyes caught the boxes of tampons “Rowan, these are very expensive.”
“I just thought… you know… better quality, perhaps? More comfortable? I don’t know. Again, I am a bloke.”
She wished she could stand and kiss him. He had been amazing. She never had put Sam through such torture. He would have probably died at the idea of buying her feminine products.
“I am very grateful. For everything.”
He gave her a smile. It never reached his eyes but the effort was there her heart fluttered at the precious little show of emotion.
He stood “I’ll let you change.” He made to walk away but stopped when he noticed her face.
“You need to use the facilities I guess.”
He lifted her in his arms and walked into the bathroom and deposited her on the loo.
“Let me know when you are done.” He left the room and walked to the corridor and sat on a chair. He took his phone and started browsing some old news about firefighters. He was still thinking about the man he saw in the picture in her locker. He had seen that face in the news.
He searched for a while until he found an article about a fireman called Sam Cortland. He opened and began to read. Shit. Sam and Aelin had been an item for five years and according to the article they had been engaged. He had been a captain at west station. He got killed while fighting a fire in a warehouse. Shit. His hands shook. They had in common more than just books. He pocketed the phone and walked back to the room.
“Are you okay?” He called through the door.
He leaned against the wall and tried to calm down. It had been just over a year. Was she okay?
“I am ready.” He shoot off the wall and opened the door of the bathroom and saw her in her TFD t-shirt. He lifted her in his arms and he never would have wanted to let go of her.
“Back to your bed.”
Her arms were around his neck and it felt as if she lingered like that a bit longer on purpose.
Or maybe he had just imagined.
“Do you need painkillers? Something to eat?”
Aelin shook her head “I am officially fasting. My surgery has been scheduled for tomorrow at 9.”
“I am a bit nervous.”
He sat down on the bed, just in front of her. Her hands were on her lap. He took her hand by grasping just the tip of the fingers “I can stay with you. I can be here when you wake up, or I can call someone else whose company you enjoy more.”
Aelin squeezed his hand back. She wished she had the strength to tell him that somehow she had enjoyed his company very much in the recent hours. But things were still very weird between them and she was positive he still did not like her.
Then she looked up and saw his eyes staring at her and realised that maybe she was wrong. In those beautiful green eyes of his she had noticed a spark of emotion, albeit for a fleeting moment.
“Keep me company, please.” He nodded and sat back on the chair.
They chatted amicably. She had told her about the station and her friends, then he reported that Lorcan was officially smitten by Elide and the two started making plans to set up the two of them.
At her first yawn, Rowan ordered her to go to bed. He tucked her in and went back to his seat.
When he woke up the next morning it was pretty early. He stood and stretched his back, sore from a night asleep on a chair. Aelin was still asleep so he sneaked out of the room and went in search of the cafeteria for a coffee. Then he had a look at himself in one of the doors and noticed he was still in uniform, now a mess, and a shadow of stubble on his face. His academy CO would have his head for walking around in such horrible state while in uniform. He shrugged, got his coffee and went back to the room. Jotted down a note for Aelin. He needed to go home, take a shower and get fresh clothes. He would be back by the time she returned from surgery.
On his way home he phoned Lorcan to give him an update on his whereabouts. He asked also for a few days off to help Aelin and the man agreed. Rowan snorted. Being in love was doing miracles on the old bastard.
He got home, relaxed, took quite a long shower and eventually he had breakfast and caught up with the news and saw that the big fire was still making the headlines. Then a photo caught his attention. Apparently the community had turned in support of the fire stations. They had flocked in front of the government building protesting in light of the new spending budget. Many of signs called for a cut in military spending and to give due value to corps such as firefighters and police. He realised that he would have probably been there as well if it wasn’t that his presence would guarantee him being kicked out of the force immediately. He had been disgusted when he saw how much the airforce got for the repairs. So much more than asked and then Aelin and the guys had to beg for a second engine. Yes, he was in the airforce but he did not agree with the amount of money that often got thrown at them. He eventually got dressed and headed back to the hospital but once he arrived he spotted a few reporters.
He tried to walk unnoticed, but alas, his silver hair was not the most inconspicuous of traits.
One woman blocked his path and flung the microphone at him “Captain, how does it feel to save the day?”
Rowan looked at the woman puzzled. How on earth did they know who he was? He had been on a plane the night of the fire.
“You and your team stopped the fires. Without you, the firefighters would have failed.”
Anger. Fiery anger surged through him in a savage wave.
“I think you have read the news wrong.” He tried to calm down “The real heroes are the firefighters,” he shouted for all the reporters to hear “They are the ones who put their lives in danger. They are the ones who jumped into an inferno saving as many workers as possible.” He looked at all of them “over an hour. They were at it for over an hour, with no break, no one to cover for them or take their place. Captain Galathynius supervised the whole thing while injured and barely being able to stand. And you give all the credit to us?” He roared “We showed up because the captain had the amazing idea of using us. We swooped in at the end of the game, when one of the building was almost off. We just dropped some water and you call us heroes?” His hand were now in tight fists “I flew one of those planes and I do not want glory. I do not deserve glory. East and west station do. The police do.” And he walked away furious. Bastards. He hoped that someone passed the interview live, so his real words would pass on. He did not trust reporters.
He ran upstairs and when he arrived he noticed Aelin in bed and half asleep. He gave her a big smile.
“Hey you, tight-pants.”
He chuckled and sat beside her “how do you feel?”
“My hand moves funny.” She said moving her hand in front of her face and Rowan realised she was still quite drugged up from the surgery.
She was quite funny.
“Your hair is white.”
He brushed his hair with his hand “do you like it?”
She gave him a goofy smile “you are sooooo pretty.”
“Oh thank you. No one has called me pretty in a very long time.” He took her hand in his.
“I have a secret” she said and placed a finger in front of her mouth.
“Can I hear it?”
“Yes. But don’t tell the captain.” Who did she think she was talking to?
“I won’t, I promise.” He played along.
“I think I like him. A lot.”
For a brief instant something flashed in her eyes and Rowan had a feeling she was quite lucid.
He jumped off the bed in terror.
“I like him a lot, but he hates me.”
Sadness. That was definitely sadness in her voice. He took a step back.
She turned her head to the side.
“I really, really do.” And he saw her close her eyes.
He took another step back and walked out of the room. Once outside he ran to the car and leaned against it closing his eyes. Her words kept ringing in his ears. And her voice. It had changed so much when she uttered those words. It was her. She was fully lucid when she said it. He placed a hand on his heart and found it racing. He wanted to go back to her and say that he did not hated her. That he… he had no idea what he felt. He groaned and jumped in the car and decided to go for a drive. He had to clear his head.
Lysandra found Aelin with her head turned to the window and she thought she had heard her friend crying.
“Hey you…” Lysandra sat at her side and caressed her friend’s head “what’s wrong?”
Aelin sniffled loudly “I think I have said something stupid.”
“More than usual?” But when Aelin did not laugh she realised it must have been real and bad.
“I woke up from surgery and I felt funny for a while. I think captain Whitethorn was here. I am not sure. And I think…” she stopped, sobbing a bit more “I think I told him I like him.” She finally turned her face to Lysandra “I remember his terror and then he left.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, I think the drugs were wearing off and I felt a bit more lucid. I think it was him.”
“He hates me so much that he ran away.” Aelin resumed sobbing heavily “am I such a horrible person?”
Lysandra hugged Aelin tightly and cursed the man. If she got her hands on him he would be a dead man. Or she could unleash Aedion on him. He was just as protective of Aelin.
“He is an idiot. A big tall idiot.” Lys brushed Aelin’s cheek “you need to rest now. You just had surgery.”
“At home. Sore and bored already. The doctor gave him a week off but he is not happy. Well, you know him.”
“I heard Dorian mentioning that he might try to get the review postponed. It’s not fair on you guys.”
Aelin sighed “I will still be out.”
“I know, but at least Aedion will be there. One of you at least.” Lysandra reassured her.
Aelin put the tv on and gasped when the tv showed Rowan. It was just outside the hospital.
“What the fuck?”
“Put the volume up,” said Lysandra.
“They were at it for over an hour, with no break, no one to cover for them or take their place. Captain Galathynius supervised the whole thing while injured and barely being able to stand. And you give all the credit to us?” She heard him raise his voice“We showed up because the captain had the amazing idea of using us. We swooped in at the end of the game, when one of the building was almost off. We just dropped some water and you call us heroes?” His hand were not in tight fists “I flew one of those planes and I do not want glory. I do not deserve glory. East and West station do. The police do.” Aelin saw him walk away and she had a feeling that it was when he came back to her. He had normal clothes on. When he took her at the hospital he still had the uniform on.
“That is definitely not the speech of a man who hates you.”
“Lys, not helping.”
Aelin flipped through the channels to see the interview again.
“Don’t think too much about him.”
“Yeah,” Aelin stared at the tv “no worth it, right?”
Lys kissed her head “Babe I need to go home and tend to Aedion. I don’t want to leave him alone for too long. I know the guys are planning to come as soon as they are off shift, which will be tomorrow morning.”
“Go, I will be fine.” She patted her hand and gave her a tight smile “go and look after Aedion.”
Once Lysandra was out of the room she grabbed her phone and texted Rowan. She waited an hour and tried to phone and realised his phone was off.
“Fine, message received.”
Rowan had driven all the way to the coast to Ilium. It had taken him two hours but it had been worth it. He had spent the afternoon sitting on the beach, his phone switched off. He lay down in the sand and closed the eyes, enjoying the peace of the beach. He almost thought that he’d love to take Aelin there but as soon as his brain said the name he had been ignoring for the past two hours his mood was soured again.
He had fled. Like a coward. She just had surgery and he had left her on her own because he had an issue dealing with his feelings. He was the worst human being ever existed.
Was it so wrong if she was in love with him?
His mind flashed him a name. A name he had tried to bury in the depths of his mind.
He groaned in frustration and stood and started walking on the sand along the beach. The place was beautiful.
He wandered until it was late then decided to go and find a room for the night. He was not in the mood to go back to Orynth. Then he went for dinner and finally dragged himself to a pub. Alcohol. He definitely needed a drink. Something that he hadn’t enjoyed in a very long time. Damn he was so boring. How could anyone be in love with him?
He had a few whiskies in one shot and the liquor burned his throat. He was not used anymore and the booze already started spreading a welcomed numbness through his body and mind. Good, oblivion is what he wanted.
He ordered two more whiskies and chugged them down again in one single motion.
He looked at the tv behind the counter and he discovered the news were passing his interview. He lowered his head and realised straight away it was a stupid idea. His silver hair stood out like a sore thumb.
“I think you look prettier in person.” Said a voice at his side, then he felt a pair of hands on his arm.
He turned his head and there was a woman at his side. Smiling sensually at him.
“Well, you need glasses.” He turned his head again and kept watching the tv ignoring the woman.
“I am Remelle.”
“Good for you.” He ate a couple of the peanuts on the small plate on the counter.
“Why is such a good looking man all alone in a place like this, drinking whisky shots?”
“None of your business.” She moved closer and her hand traced the length of his arm. He had a t-shirt on and his tattoo was on display.
“I love your tattoo.” Her fingers traced the lines of it.
Rowan got off the chair “I am sorry, but I am not interested. Not in the mood and you are being very rude.”
“I can help you make forget about her. You look like pining about some mysterious woman”
Rowan had enough. He stormed out of the pub and ran all the way back to the beach and fell on his knees. He looked up at the dark sky and then closed his eyes.
He had feelings for Aelin. Somehow his treacherous heart had decided to play tricks on him and make him feel again. Something he had forbidden himself from doing for a while. But Aelin had struck him dumb since day one with her big mouth, her defiance. The woman had fire in her and a part of him felt irremediably pulled to her, no matter how much he tried to deny it. He confessed to himself that he had enjoyed fussing over her, looking after her and even try to cheer her up when she had been down. He had told her the truth, he was in awe of her, of what she had done and he hadn’t been in awe of anyone in a very long time.
He had feelings for her, big damn feelings and all he could do was flee instead of facing them. But he was not ready yet. That was his biggest fear. That’s why he had ran out of the room, because her admission had touched a part of him that hadn’t healed yet. Just like her he had loved and lost everything. His feelings were just budding. He had better repress them before it got worse. It was better for both of them. He was positive she deserved someone better than him.
Rowan sighed and sat in the sand in silence, staring at the sky until the fog in his mind started to clear. Eventually he dragged his pitiful arse back to his hotel and crashed in bed fully clothed.
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my psychology lecture today:
what my useless brain thinks about instead:
queen of shadows, pg. 246
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