Red Dragon Inn
The Marketplace => The Fountain => Arcadia => Topic started by: LadyAjaBird on June 03, 2009, 07:03:10 AM
Padriq Kidd blew into town around the same time as the Benefit for the Riverview Clinic. Another Kidd brother. Aja had already learned that Stephen and Robert were quite the handful, Padriq was a little different. Quieter in some aspects, same sense of humor as the rest of the family. Little bawdy, little naughty which Aja found herself liking just fine. But while she found Padriq himself quite attractive, her involvement with Nikthanas kept her from thinking much more than ?Hey. He?s cute.?
The night of the auction, after it was over, Aja and company went to the inn for a couple drinks, when she saw Padriq again. Panicked and carrying his wounded sister, Bridget, in his arms. Aja did her best to calm Padriq while she removed the bullet from Bridget?s arm. No easy task. But she managed to convince the man that he was doing her no good by running all over town looking for Ashe, that he should be at the hospital when she woke up.
Days had gone by. Bridget was fine. Aja got to know Padriq a little more every time she saw him. Even through the nightmarish detour he took when he took up with Priscilla, Aja still found the Kidd sibling to be fascinating. In the clutches of a demon, he still showed great character and loyalty to his family.
And then the day on Twilight Isle. She had been there, hanging out with friends when he appeared again. He asked her to come to him, not knowing what it was that he wanted, Aja got up and went over. To her surprise and Nikki?s great displeasure, Padriq kissed her.
That kiss sparked the beginning of two things. The start of the end to her and Nikki and the beginning to her and Padriq.
~How Your Enemies Can Be Beneficial~
Priscilla, it seemed was to be a theme for a bit. Her and her keepers were doing all they could to cause trouble. Sending a monster under Priscilla?s control to try and kill members of her family. Aja had by some stroke of fates whims missed the first two attacks, but she would not miss the third and almost fatal one. The one that would lead the BCU to strike back.
A night of dueling seems so innocent doesn?t it? Hanging out with friends, catching up with ones you haven?t seen in a while. That?s what Aja was doing when Padriq came down the old oak stairs of the arena, and spent a little time admiring her from afar. Something her friends noticed and razzed him about. He seemed to be observing her, hesitate to come near.
The night started out so good, friends hanging out having fun. Little did any of them realize the confluence of events that would lead them to a very different place than they seemed to be headed. The gift of roses between friends, a delicate glass one given as an apology that was never necessary, camaraderie and laughter. Right until the world exploded from a snarling, chain carrying monster that was sent to take of her family from her.
The activity level rose in the inn, guns, spells and alcohol bottles were flying as Aja and Padriq fought side by side with the rest of her family to chase the beast off. When the beast was gone, it was learned how much damage was done. One of her family, Anya had been taken to the hospital seriously wounded, other members went off to make sure the rest of the family was protected and Aja stood with who remained making sure they were all in one piece.
The attack was over. The smoke had cleared, but Aja?s nerves had been frayed. A couple shots to try to regain control had the world going a little wobbly on her, and Padriq insisted that she come with him for just a moment so he could talk to her. That led them to the Great Hall.
Padriq picked her up and set her on a table top, holding her face in his calloused hands that seemed so very gentle to her at that moment. His voice was just as soft.
?If she 'arms a 'air on yer 'ead I will nae ever forgive meself fer it.? Aja heard the words and looked at him concerned still not catching on completely.
?Ya don't worry 'bout me. Her designs seems to be on my friends.? She sighed then. ?I just don't know why.? She saw his eyes turn worried then, his thumb traced down her cheek.
?It be me fault. Me actions the other day. I should 'ave left 'er be after ye told me t'.? she looked at him then, seeing how much he was taking on his shoulders and no one could have predicted this.
?You couldn't have known she'd go over the edge like she has.? Aja started and as was true to her, aimed to make him smile. ?I thought once she was human her biggest issue would be lipstick color.? That didn?t seem to cheer him up or detract him from his current course self flagellation.
?She be a monster Aja. N' if ye get 'urt.....? he trailed off, Aja could see there was more he wanted to say but nothing came to him. Her hand laid over his making him look at her.
?You can't hold yourself responsible, Padriq. You just can't.?
?I will Aja. Can ye fergive this damned pirate fer bein' so con..? she knew he was going to keep blaming himself so she did the only thing she knew that was silence him for a moment. She leaned in and kissed him.
?I will be fine. I swear it.?
?I know ye be fine. But I cunnae 'andle it iffin ye be the one goin' in fer care next lass. I just could nae 'andle it.? His confession made her smile softly.
?Padriq, I simply adore you.? Her hand stayed on his cheek gently, while she thought what to say next. ?You and I.. we know hard lives. I maybe don't talk like one, but I still be a pirate at heart.? Those words she hoped would help him see she wasn?t some helpless tenderfoot land lubber. ?We don't quit, and we don't run. So.. we'll take her on together. Aye??
?Aye lass. Together we will do it.? He agreed, and then the look in his eyes changed from worried to one she had seen a few times, but usually never directed to her. ?Ye really are amazin' lass. Simply amazin'.? He said causing her to become flustered now.
?Ya've had too much rum.? She tried to joke it off, but it seemed Padriq Kidd could be a stubborn man when he deemed the quarry worth the chase. And apparently, he had decided that Aja was worth chasing.
?Nae, not enoug' lass. Could never be more than enough' t' nae see that ye be stunnin' n' beautiful.? Another compliment had the blush creeping into her cheeks even more than before.
?Padriq, yer a sweetheart.?
?N' ye deserve everythin' this world 'as t' offer lass.? He was smiling at her then. ?N' yer blush be beautiful.? She tried to laugh it off, this was Aja?s default position when she didn?t know what to do.
?Oh.. don't tell Anya I blushed. I'll never live it down.?
?Me tell Anya ye be even more beautiful than ye usually are??
?Are you embarrassed, Padriq? For telling me?? she asked hoping to distract him from the compliments as she didn?t know what to say to them.
?Wut? That ye 'ave me under yer spell lass? Ye always 'ave. I found out ye were wit tha' man n' I did nae know 'ow t' react. I wus kickin' meself.? He didn?t mince any words and held her eyes as he continued. ?Since the day we met, ye 'ave been the most beautiful thin' I 'ave ever seen in me life.?
?Nikki's ....gone for now.? Aja said, the reminder of the current mess in her life, the things she kept from others, she slid off the table, moving to go past Padriq. ?And it's not yer fault that you didn't know about him till that day. He's rarely around. He likes his solitude.? She might not be happy with the man, but she didn?t need to say that out loud, not yet. Padriq didn?t let her get far, he pulled her to him and held her tightly to him.
?I be sorry lass. I should 'ave nae said those thin's. I jus' want ye t' be 'appy.? Aja smiled and held him just as tight.
?You have nothing to be sorry for.? She said and stood silently holding Padriq. ?It's my mess. An old mess. I should've taken care of it years ago.? She felt his hand stroke her hair gently as he spoke softly in her ear.
?Ye be fine lass. Ye jus', ye jus' 'ave t' be 'appy lass. Please.? The way he said it made her wonder if he thought her an unhappy person. She pulled back and looked at him with a soft smile.
?I usually am. And you.. saying those sweet things to me, shall have me smiling for days, Captain Kidd.?
?N' ye Captain of the Breeze will see that ye 'appy will make this Captain very 'appy.? His smile touched off a broader one of her own till she remembered the night, and that her friends were now alone.
?Sivanna, Neo.. we left them alone...if that thing comes back...? the thought was truly horrifying.
?Aja lass...? he kissed her then, his hands wound up in her hair and for another moment, she let him steal her thoughts as she kissed him back. When he leaned back, his soft voice soothed the worry that the words reminded her. ?Let's go see t' yer friends.?
?You have fabulous ideas, Captain Kidd of the Prometheus.?
?I wish thin's be different tween us Aja. I really do.?
?And they may be, someday soon.? She thought of her situation at home for a moment her look turning serious. ?But I make no promises about the future as it changes on the whim of the gods.?
?Nor would I even thin' about temptin' the gods lass. I just wish I could 'old ye a bit longer tha's all. N' 'old ye tigh'.? His voiced wish set her back on the path of being annoyed with what had come before and the floor took the brunt of her glare, as the anger touched her voice.
?Frackin Kita and Priscilla.? She took a deep breath calming herself and she gripped his arms tightly. ?We shall lay the blame for tonight?s circumstances on them, where it belongs. But fer now, we should get back. That thing was a handful for us all, if it catches Neo and Sivanna unaware, they stand no chance.?
?Then let's be off.? He let her go and she probably looked like she was trying to outrun the devil as she hit the door, where she stopped and looked back at him with a grin.
?By the way, Padriq.? He looked at her curiously. ?Yer pretty damn sexy.? She gave him a sassy wink and ducked out the door.
Where do Padriq and Aja go next? You?ll just have to check back and see.
~Walking Aja Home: The Scenic Route~
Aja and Padriq stepped out of the portal, to the sand, he?s humming to himself as they walk along, her bag over his shoulder. The arena battle for the moment is put behind them and they are enjoying a nice walk home, or rather, a scenic one since they are now on the Isle.
?You look happy.? Aja said smiling at him, his happy humming soothing tattered nerves and worries.
?I be wit' ye lass.? Was his simple reply complete with charming smile. She looked around and chuckled a little.
?The isle is a touch off the beaten path to my home, Padriq.?
?Be tha' so?? he tried to come off innocent, and she laughed.
?Yes.. Arcadia is the other way. West side of RhyDin.? She informed him smiling.
?I be damned... This nae be the west end then?? again he tried his best innocent act but his smirk ruined the effect and she laughed as she looked around the Isle.
?But it's pretty here.? She said quietly feeling at somewhat at peace for the first time tonight.
?Aye. It be pretty 'ere.?
Aja settled on a bench and put her roses down next to her. Seemed to her like it had been another lifetime since she got them, but it had been at the beginning of the night. Before Kita came and shredded the peace and quiet. Before her best friend had been taken to the hospital. Aja stared out at the lagoon, the breezes coming off the water bringing with it the salty air that seemed like home to her.
?I never get tired of that.? She said looking out at the water with a smile.
?I miss it. Sailin' like I did.? Padriq?s look at the water was a little sad.
?Me too sometimes. But I've learned adventure can be found in the most ordinary of days.? The breeze picked up tendrils of her hair, blowing them back. She noticed that Padriq was still standing next to the bench, looking out at the water, he set her bag down and sat next to her. A moment or two ticked by before he looked over and almost whispered too quietly for her to hear.
?Come away with me Aja, at least fer a nigh' or two. Get away fer a few.? Aja?s eyes widened in surprise at the request.
?Padriq.. my children. I can't just leave them.? She took a picture out of the inside pocket of her jacket and showed it to him. Picture of a young man, and a teenage girl standing in front of a ship, smiling at the camera. ?Trevor and Mara.?
?They cun come.? He looked at the picture for a moment and then smiled up at Aja. ?They may enjoy time wit ye on the sea.?
?Mara grew up on a ship.? She smiled remembering. ?I sailed for many years, she learned to walk on the deck.? She took a moment to smile at the picture and then tuck it back into her jacket, thinking of everything else that was going on lately. ?And it's not just the children. I don't know if just leaving for a day or two is a good idea with all the trouble my friends are in.?
?Then we get em out o' trouble lass. We do nae leave until they be safe.? Padriq said with a nod, then gave a fond smile nodding towards her jacket. ?She looks jus' as beautiful as 'er mum, by the way.?
Aja blushed again but this time, it came with a proud smile.
?She is truly a beautiful girl. I have been blessed by Hera with these two.? Her hand went to her jacket, gently laying over the pocket where the picture was.
?Ye simply be blessed Aja, by a lot o' thin's.? he said with a warm smile. Aja glanced over, shaking her head softly at that. She was unaccustomed to such compliments. So she decided that a simple thank you may be the best response.
?Thank you, Padriq. I do not know what to say when you say such things, you know.?
?Would ye like me t' stop?? he asked with a smile, one that she knew he had no intentions of doing that.
?I don't know.. my whole life.. I've never been that girl.. always one of the boys. A pirate, a thief.? She looked at him seriously. ?And ya know how women are generally viewed out there.? She waved a hand at the water. ?Had to learn to ignore the words...? she looked at Padriq with a smile. ?but you say them and they ring true in my ears.?
?I would nae ever thin' ye be a wench lass. Ye be a genuine woman. A beautiful one a tha'. Rober may call 'is lass a squeeze, but I nae ever be callin' ye tha'. Ye deserve everythin' ye could ever wan'. Everythin'.? Padriq stood up then while he looked at her. ?I wud go t' any length t' see tha' ye 'ave all ye wished fer n' more.? Aja watched him standing up, considering what he had said.
?That sounds so beautiful, Padriq.? She started then reconsidered what she was going to say next. ?How do I say this without sounding like I don't wish for your company?? she shifted and looked at him with a soft smile. ?I have all I need. I have provided for myself and my children well enough that they will never want for anything. Would it sound wrong to say my only wish would be to know you? To be yer friend and possibly more one day?? Aja looked at him curiously to see how he would respond to that. Some men liked the idea of being the one providing for their women, Aja didn?t need that, she just needed an equal.
Padriq seemed to understand this and wrapped his arms around her, holding her close.
?T' know ye as a friend n' possibly more one day sounds like 'eaven lass. I would luv it.?
?Well, then we have an accord.? Aja smiled softly and leaned against him. He, ran his hands through her hair and he gave a little moan before responding.
Aja leaned against Padriq, happily watching the sea and the surf, the sound of a heartbeat blending into nature's symphony. She felt at home near the water and being in Padriq?s arms, she felt at home too.
?Tis very beautiful here.? She said her amber eyes watching the gentle rise and fall of the waves.
?Aye, so very beautiful. N' much better wit' ye 'ere.? Padriq agreed, his fingers lightly playing with her hair. ?Anythin' ye ever wan' t' know. Jus' tell me.?
?As long as I have yer friendship and respect, I shall require nothing more.? She said, then thoughts of Nikki crept back into her head. ?Till I settle things that need to be settled. Then I may ask for one more thing.
?Anythin' lass.? He looked down at her, his brows raising a little. A silent request for her to name it.
?I cannot ask for it now, Padriq. Would be unfair.? She responded with a small sigh, he gently raised her face to look at him, his thumb caressing her cheek gently.
?N' wut is unfair tween friends lass?? his gentle voice asked, and she sighed, looking at him with a little apprehension in her eyes. This wasn?t a fair thing to ask.
?I cannot ask you now for your heart, Padriq. Not with the disaster that my life is now.? He nodded with a soft smile
?All the time ye need lass.? He whispered and kissed her on the forehead, Aja closed her eyes feeling that kiss warm her from the inside.
?Yer a good man, Padriq Kidd.?
?Ye be a wonderful lass Aja Bird.? Padriq held her close to him. Aja didn?t want the night to end, but she knew she had people that worried for her.
?I should be heading home. Maria will be waking me early for breakfast.? She gave a chuckle about that. ?Damn woman's afraid I will waste away to nothing if she doesn't feed me every chance she gets.? Padriq laughed at that.
?N' we do nae want ye wastin' away.?
?Can't happen.? She leaned up and kissed him then. When she pulled back, she smiled a bit embarrassed for being so forward. ?Sorry.. had to one more time.?
?Yer a good man, but dangerous.? She gave him a soft smile, hoping to hide how very true that was.
?'ow be I dangerous lass?? he asked raising one brow, that small gesture endeared him to her further. He didn?t know how truly wonderful he was.
?To my heart, Padriq.? She gave a brave bright smile hoping to cover how terrified she was of that.
?Oh lass ye 'ave no idea jus 'ow dangerous ye be t' me 'eart.? He whispered to her, she could see the smile growing as he thought before asking her. ?Ye nae ever asked me why I kissed ye tha' nigh'.?
?Should I have?? she grinned a little. ?I figured it was a Kidd thing. Yer brothers certainly love to kiss all the ladies. Yer sister too, come to think of it.? Aja laughed a bit about the last part, so did Padriq.
?'ow many lasses 'ave ye seen me kiss?? Padriq asked her seriously.
?Not...? she thought about that for a long moment and realized the answer to some surprise. ?Not any.?
?See lass.? He nodded as if that proved his point. That just gave her more questions.
?Why me, Padriq? There are many beautiful women in RhyDin.? She thought of all the women that she?d seen in the inn. RhyDin had no shortage of gorgeous women. ?Ones with far less complications than me I'm sure of it.? It wasn?t that she was fishing for compliments, but seriously, there had to be at least one out there with no problems like Aja came with. He only smiled and caressed her cheek gently.
?Ye be somethin' else lass. Somethin' else. It be wonderful, smart, funny, outgoin', n' beautiful. N' so much more lass.? The more he said, the more she was surprised, and flattered beyond belief.
?Padriq.? Was all she could get out at the moment, and even that was a shocked whisper.
?Yes?? he smiled back at her.
?That's...? she put her hand to her heart as she looked at him. ?Amazing. And sweet..and..? Aja just stared at him as she ran out of words to say.
?Nae as amazin' n' sweet as ye be lass.?
?You're going to overload me with compliments. Swell my head so I can't fit through my door.? Aja joked again, comfortable ground as he had her pretty much blown away by what he thought of her.
?Then I'll make the door bigger.? He chuckled and she laughed. ?N' bigger n' bigger until tha' smile o' yers nae ever leaves ye.?
?Somethin' tells me ye like tha' lass.?
?Who me?? she tried for an innocent smile, but he had her number now, as he laughed and kissed her.
?I'll admit it.? She smiled brightly, figuring that she might as well admit to her goofy habits now. ?I usually can find some trouble of some sort. Or create some ruckus when I get bored.? She grinned thinking about things she had started just to have a bit of fun. ?I've been known to start things. Like the peanut wars that happen from time to time.?
?Ye know tha' be jus' fine by me lass.? He laughed, the smile to her never fading.
?You've just seen bits of my insanity.? Aja gave him a wink. ?Can you handle the rest?
?I think if given the chance... I could go through 'ell fer ye lass.? He gave her a wink at that and she just laughed.
?I won't ask you to go through hell.? She grinned. ?That's just rude.?
?Then wut would ye 'ave me go through?? he dropped a light kiss on her nose then. She was enjoying their light teasing immensely, it was fun.
?Jello and whip cream?? she gave a waggle of her brows as the teasing turned sly, Padriq winked as he grinned back.
?N' chocolate n' strawberries?? he asked and Aja closed her eyes and moaned a little at the image it created. Padriq and her, somewhere quiet with sinful foods. Chocolate and strawberries being on that list, then her brain immediately related that to her friends.
?Oh.. that sounds good.? She said then though of her friends again. ?One day I shall have to beg Tru to make Tru-berries. You simply must try one when he does. They are amazing.?
?Sounds like a plan lass.? He seemed a touch confused with the way her mind jumped from where they were to what they were talking about now, but he went with it with a smile.
?I don't know how, but he fills the strawberry with chocolate, then dips it in more chocolate. Or he puts some sort of other kind of chocolate in the inside. They are delicious.? She gave Padriq a smile that was just a touch sly. ?And a little sinful.? She saw his interest in where she seemed to going now.
?Sinful eh? Sounds like ye 'ave enjoyed yeself quite a bit wit em.?
?I conjured a naughty thought or two about ways they could be enjoyed.?
?Oh? Did ye lass..? I 'ave t' admit I wus thinkin' about tha' too.?
?I'll just bet you were. You are a Kidd after all. You have to have one or two of the naughtier qualities stashed in there somewhere.?
?Lass ye 'ave no idea 'ow 'ard it be to repress tha' nature around ye, n' be a good man.?
?I hear ya.? She said thinking of all her habits that her brothers staff had beat out of her. And that though led to the cringe worthy one that she should tell him who her family was. Just in case it ever came up, he wouldn't be shocked. ?I have a tiny confession. Yer sister seemed pretty surprised when she learned of it.. so I think it's best to tell you.?
?N' wut tha' be?? he gave a tilt of his head as his brows went up.
?I'm a princess.? She said it and got ready for any bad feelings that may come from it.
?N' tha' be changin' me opinion of ye 'ow lass? Ye were always one in me eyes lass.? Padriq?s easy smile made Aja relax considerably.
?Bridget's reaction was a little less calm. I believe the saying was. ?Yer one of them bloody royals?? ?
?We nae be used t' royals. But Robert be nae seem t' 'ave a problem wit it. 'is lass be a queen.? He said
?Ajay Bird is my brother. He is now the king of Ballentine. I was taken...kidnapped when I was a baby.. by our eldest brother Serm. He wanted to be rid of us both to have the throne to himself.? She stared off thinking about her brother?s actions and how they shaped her life. ?He gave me to a gypsy clan. Turned Ajay into a half man half bird.?
?Ye nae 'ave t' worry 'bout bein' betrayed lass.? Padriq moved to hold her to him.
?I am not worried about that. Serm is dead. Ajay saw to that after he caused me to lose a child.? She looked out at the sea then with sad eyes then shook the thought from her head to continue on her earlier point. ?But.. once in a while, the lessons my brothers staff were pounding into my head on my visit there, get overridden by my pirate tendencies. And I am more than a little naughty.?
?Naughty?? Padriq focused on the last part, seeming to understand that the pain of the past was best left alone for the moment.
?Yeah.? Looks at him with a smile. ?Ya know. Naughty, sly, wicked, a temptress even.? She gave him a sassy wink that had him kissing her head.
?Aye, ye be the best kind of temptress there be lass.? He whispered to her before he tilted his head to look her in the eyes. ?N' I be glad ye 'ave tempted me lass.?
?I hope I never disappoint you.? She smiled having a sinking feeling that she would somehow.
?Ye thin' tha' even be possible lass?? he asked with a smile.
?It could be.? She admitted with a small sigh. ?I am impulsive at times. Jump first, look later.? She shrugged then, it was the truth. She often was impulsive. Padriq kissed her head.
?As lon' as ye wish t' jump wit' me from time t' time...? Padriq stood up then, pulling her with him, then put her over his shoulder and turned for the waves.
?What are you doing?? she asked laughing as she saw the water below her as he was walking into the waves.
?Jumpin'.? She couldn?t see his face but could hear the grin in his voice.
?This is insane! I love it!? Aja laughed.
?Good, ye better lass!? Padriq laughed as Aja watched the water get higher and higher. When it was up to his stomach, he stopped, grabbed her tight and tossed her forward. Aja gave a shriek and went under the water. She came up and laughed as she leaned back, getting her hair out of her face, then stood up, wiping water out of her eyes.
?Yer crazy.? She called and splashed him as she laughed, he laughed and sent a wave of water back to her.
?Ye enjoy it. Admit it.? She smiled at him brightly, no one had ever dared do this. Padriq it seemed was a little different.
?Oh of course I do.? She caught a glimpse of the way her sleeve clung to her skin now that it was wet, and laughed as she looked down at her shirt, which was clinging to her as well. ?Man, it's a good thing I started wearing a tank top under this.? She pulled at the now see through material and grinned slyly at him. ?Or ya'd get a show.? He gave her a mock pout.
?Damn, n' 'ere I wus, feelin' like a perv.? He laughed as he wading over and scooped her up out of the water.
Aja could feel the heat from his body through the wet clothes. He was so intent of carrying her up to shore, that she could look at him for a moment. The laughter lines around his eyes, the tan from hours spent in the sun. A small scar that she was sure he probably had a tale about. Little things about the man that she was fast learning was a gentleman and possibly crazy for chasing her. He caught her observing him, and smiled at her as he carried her to where they had been sitting, and set her down. Ever the gentleman, he picked up his jacket from the bench and draped it over her.
Aja smiled at him while she moved it a little, as she leaned to the side to squeeze excess water from her long hair. She saw the way the light on the Isle caught his eyes, giving them an extra twinkle.
?After tonight? that was welcome.? She said thinking of how for a moment she forgot all things bad. Which made her feel quilt too. Anya had been badly hurt. But Aja didn?t know where Diana had taken her, so she couldn?t go sit with her friend. Not that it made it any better to forget for a moment.
?Wut be welcome lass?? his hand moved up to graze her neck gently, before she moved again, trying to fluff some of the water from her hair. She stopped a moment to nod to the water.
?A bit of silly fun like that.? Aja tried again to shake the water from her hair, then decided she had done all she could.
?Ye looked like ye needed it lass.? He looked at her, his voice serious.
?One moment, I'm listening to Tru reveal his plans, which are very good, and the next the room just erupted into chaos and blood.? She stared at him. ?I've had too much blood on my hands lately. Bridget?s, Sivanna's... now Anya's in a sense.? It took all she had not to let the tears she?d been fighting come then. She shook her head. ?I don't know what to do to protect them.? Padriq hugged her to him, sighing as he tried to comfort her.
?It will be alrigh' lass.? He stroked her head gently as he whispered. ?I did nae know wut t' do when me sister wus shot affore me eyes. Kept thinkin' it wus gonna 'appen t' ye tonigh'... Scared the 'ell outta me.? Aja captured his other hand in hers.
?I can't imagine what that was like for you. I'm sorry I couldn't do more that night to help.?
?Lass ye saved me sister's life...? he gave her a smile.
?I did what I could.? She gave a small smile then. ?I'm no medic.. but ya know pirates, always getting themselves inta scrapes.? She reached up and touched his nose. ?And she's fine now.?
?Aye, n' gettin' married from wut I 'ear.? He smiled at her and leaned in kissing her nose playfully. She just gave a broad smile then, already knowing that, but not knowing Bridget had told him yet.
?Yes and that. I couldn't say that cause I didn't know if she had told you yet. she asked me to be her maid of honor.? He smiled at that.
?See lass, me family already luvs ye.?
?I adore them.? Aja gave a small laugh. ?They're fun, bawdy, a little rowdy but all of ya have absolute hearts of gold.? It was Padriq?s turn to blush a bit then.
?Tell tha' t' tha' Franco bloke.? He said making Aja scoff with a grin.
?Pinky's jealous. He doesn't have friends so he has to come after other people.?
?N' wut about us lass? We be friends righ?? he looked at her curiously. She had to smile at that, cause he was making sure he knew which ground they stood now after the kisses and teasing.
?We are indeed, Captain Kidd.? She gave him her brightest smile. ?Let Pinky wear his tongue out waggin. Won't harm me none.? He pulled her into a tight hug kissing the side of her neck.
?N' 'e cun talk all 'e likes. Ye be far too amazin' t' be special someone t' jus' one person.? This turned the blushing back to Aja as she gave him a smile.
?I believe yer biased, Padriq.?
?Can ye blame me? Ye be jus' as wonderful as ye were tossin' 151 out at some beast n' lettin' me ligh' the fuze.? His voice was teasing reminding her of their teamwork in the arena earlier that night.
?I didn't have another nifty gun.? She said simply with a grin. ?And we managed to be helpful with that.?
?See... We be doin' good after all.? He winked, making her smile and wink back for a moment longer before a horrible thought occurred to her.
?I'm worried about that thing coming back.?
?I'll protect ye lass. Promise. Take the wounds fer ye n' such.? She could see he meant that.
?It's not me I worry for, Padriq.? She said looking back at him just as seriously. ?It's Anya, Neo, Sivanna...you. If it is Priscilla behind this. Then I fear she'll come for you.?
?Aja, do nae worry fer me. If she comes, n' fer me, then I'll take wut I deserve...? he glanced away, then back at her, his voice still serious. ?Just keep yer pretty 'ead safe lass. Please. I be mighty worried bout ye lass. More than ye thin'.? He was looking at her in such a way, she feared he go and do something foolish the moment he thought she was in danger. Men could be awful foolish when they really took to a woman, Aja knew that. And Padriq was just that sort of romantic man.
?She thought she had a hold over you, she's gonna be mighty unhappy when she discovers that isn't true.? Aja knew about women like that. She?s seen a lot over the years. ?It won't be me she comes for if she goes for what will hurt you.? She gave him a serious look, taking his hand in hers. ?Bridget, Stephen and Robert. Maybe Donal if she can find him. She'll go for your family, Padriq.? He narrowed his eyes a little, pulling her closer.
?N ye know they be ready. Stephan 'as made sure o' tha.? He looked at her seriously then. ?N' when she learns tha' ye be who I wan'? She'll use ye t' get t' me lass. N' I do nae wan' tha'. I will nae 'ave tha'.? His voice matched the look in his eyes as he held hers. Aja knew that there would be no talking him out of it, not as determined as he was. She tilted her head to the side, slightly and gave him a bright smile.
?I can look after myself, Kidd.?
?Aye, I be well aware o' tha!? he was laughing now. Aja didn?t know if was just trying to humor her. ?Ye 'ave t' tell me where ye got tha' weapon o' yers.? He referred to the plasma gun that she handed him in the arena.
?Was a gift from Caine. Or at least I think it was from Caine.? Aja considered that for a moment. ?The twins gave them to us. So I assumed it was from Caine.?
?Do ye seriously get gifts from every bloke in this world?? he asked with a puzzled expression, Aja just smiled brightly. ?He's the Lethal Weapon Brat.? She said like explained everything.
"Caine is very protective of his friends." Michiko?s voice interjected into the conversation then. Aja looked up and smiled brightly at her friend as she walked to them.
?Hey Cutie!? Aja?s greeting to her friend was bright and cheery. ?Padriq, you've met Michiko, haven't you?? she asked remembering that Sivanna said she needed to work on her manners.
"Briefly, He was carrying his sister in from an injury." Michiko said and looked at Padriq.
?Nae lass. I 'ave not.? Padriq answered at the same time. Aja used to chaos, simply went with the flow.
?Michiko, please meet Captain Padriq Kidd of the Promethus.?
?Hello Padriq.? Michiko said, glancing at Aja curiously. The look was either about Padriq holding her in his lap the way he was or the fact that Aja was still wet from being tossed in the water.
?Went for a little dip.? Aja gave a grin. Michiko merely smiled and looked around.
"Would you believe I am going to be working here?"
?Do nae lie lass, ye were dipped.? Padriq nudged her. ?Lass it be t' far t' get ye t' ye ship. Ye be stayin' where I be stayin' tonigh'.? He suggested, and Aja knew it was due to too much company for his comfort. ?I will nae take nae fer n' answer either lass!?
?Topaz mentioned you were going to be a caller.? Aja said to Mich grinning at Padriq?s insistence, it was then she noticed Ariahn on the Isle as well and called out to her. ?Good Morning, Sexy Lady!? Aja called and waved.
"Also applied for the assistant Coordinator position." Michiko continued making Aja smile and jump up.
?Lass, grab yer roses n' bag.? Padriq was trying to rush her along.
?That's fantastic! Oh I'd hug you, but I'd get you all wet.? Aja looked at her clothes then Mich with a grin. The she looked at Padriq, as it occurred to her that he was insisting that she go with him to his place. ?You'll stay at my place, Padriq. I have a spare guest room and all. But if I ain't there when Maria comes in to wake me, she sends the boys from the yards to look for me.. and I hate to inconvenience them.? And she wasn?t kidding about that. One night she stayed out drinking with an old friend all night till the next day, she got a lecture from Maria and several complaints from her men about her crazy, rolling pin wielding housekeeper.
?Alrigh' alrigh' alrigh.? Padriq agreed hastily, nodding towards her bag and her roses. ?Grab em lass.?
"You'll be needing more fingers soon enough, Aja." Ariahn teased making Aja chuckle.
?Oh heavens no. Just givin Pinky something to waggle about.? Aja deflected for now, not sure what was really going to happen with her and Padriq just yet. She looked at Padriq laying on the sand looking up at her with a goofy smile. ?You coming or going to nap on the sand?? that made him get up quickly and scoop her up in his arms, the roses becoming jostled and hitting him in the chin.
?Poin' in the direction lass.?
"Anything to fuel The Pink thing." Mich cracked.
?Later girls.? Aja grinned then pointed towards the portal. ?That way.?
"Oh of course." Ariahn said, Aja could hear that she didn?t quite buy the deflection. "Till later."
?Need t' get this lassy t' bed. 'ighly important tha' she keep up 'er beauty rest n' all!? Padriq called out, fuelling the thoughts that Aja was definitely up to something with him.
"Uh huh." Ariahn said, Michiko just snickered.
?I don't think that would help. Even if I pulled a rip van winkle.? Aja tried to distract him, and was definitely not sure she wanted to look back at Mich and Ariahn just now.
?Nae tha' ye need it lass.? Padriq smiled as he carried her away. ?Ye look jus' fine withou' it.?
"Sly devil she is. Maddening skills." Aja heard Ariahn say. "Wonder if the men have figured it yet" Aja sighed to herself. She wasn?t sure if that was a compliment or not. But it almost didn?t sound good.
And from some distance away, they smelled smoke. Not knowing at that moment that it was Padriq?s ship burning up as Priscilla stood and watched.
~Outback and Outdoors~
The sound of the waves hitting the hull and the sound of seabirds made Aja smile as she started to wake up. She stretched lazily when her foot came in contact with someone?s leg. A male someone. Her eyes fluttered open, catching sight of the red music box sitting on her night stand, and last night came back to her making her smile softly.
Mondays for Aja mean the Outback. Cheering on her friends and hanging out. After the last couple days, they needed a night with no drama, no fighting, no attempts on their lives. She was attempting to keep everyone?s mood up when Nikki came in after being gone from home for weeks. She had heard him come in the night before but had not been in the mood to speak with him. Figuring that since he?d likely hear something sitting at the bar as he was, she told him that Padriq was now staying in the guest house due to Priscilla burning down his ship. Nikki?s reaction was a simple whatever that sparked Aja?s ire and Padriq?s. Pleading with Padriq to leave it alone, she went out and discussed with Nikki the things that needed to be dealt with.
Between Aja?s temper and Nikki?s possessiveness, that discussion didn't go to well. It ended with him storming off one direction and Aja slamming her way back into the Outback. Her friends, bless them, were kind not to ask too many questions. Through Sivanna having a couple shots with her, while Padriq dueled in the ring, Aja managed to regain hold of her temper and set back to her original mission for the night which was cheering up her friends.
They slowly started coming around to their normal style of connection and laughter. Near the end of the night, Padriq?s patience with waiting for Aja to be away from them seemed to give out and he tossed her over his shoulder, spiriting her away to the Southern Glen. As he walked down the path to the clearing, Aja laughed.
?We're here, can I be put down now??
?Aja, lass close yer eyes.?
?Close my eyes? I can't see where we're going!? which was truth, although she did have a fairly good view of his backside, not that she was complaining about that.
?Close yer eyes lassy.? He said while swatting her on the behind for the third time that night, something Aja wasn?t all that amused with. ?I been wantin' t' take ye 'ere all day.?
?They're closed! And if you smack me one more time, yer gonna have a hard time walking back.? Her voice took on that Captain?s tone that usually made her men snap to and do what they were suppose to do, Padriq merely laughed at that as she slowly set her on her feet.
Aja slowly opened her eyes and a slow smile took over as she took in the clearing of cherry trees. The cherry blossoms in full bloom, almost glowing in the moonlight and Padriq stood silently smiling at her. Aja looked at the trees, around the bases of the trees are roses that climb up, around the base. In the middle of the clearing was a rock with a small red box upon a rock.
?This is beautiful.? Her voice in a whisper as she reached up to touch the blossoms on the tree. Padriq took a step back, clapped his hands and the clearing was suddenly a glow in lights from the fairies circled overhead and in the trees lighting them up like Christmas. Aja looked all around her and then back at Padriq. ?I stand corrected. This. Is beautiful.? Her attention was still on the fairies, her eyes following on who seemed to swoop down past the red box on the rock, that sight stopped her observations of the glen and her eyes snapped to Padriq then the box. ?Padriq? that isn?t?? she couldn?t even say the words that she thought the glen and the box might be some elaborate proposal.
Padriq merely smiled and shook his head slightly.
?I would nae do that t' ye. Nae with Nikki around lass.? His soft teasing voice made her smile in spite of the mention of Nikki. She swatted his shoulder playfully, laughing almost a bit nervously.
?Gods, ya scared me for a moment. Don't do that.? Aja shook her head and put a hand to her chest to calm her heart that had been racing ever since she had opened her eyes.
?Pshhh... Tha' I be pullin' out all the stops with.? He gave her a playful wink and that easy smile that always distracted her.
?This isn't all of them?? she quipped trying to put herself back on balance.
?Nae, but it be close lass. If ye want t' I can go further.? Another wink made her look at him sideways.
?What are you up too, Kidd?? her voice was playfully wary. Surprises had never really gone well for Aja in the past. Usually something happened to turn the mood all wrong, so she thought with this, maybe something was going to explode.
?Nae a thin' lass. I just want ye t' know that I do care.? He said with a soft half smile pulling his lips and she heard no deception in his voice, so she smiled at him as she stepped closer.
?So if I pick that up, there's no curse or something attached to it??
?Nae lass. I plan t' earn wut I cun 'ave wit ye by meself.? He nodded. ?Like it should be.? She smiled at him softly then bent to pick up the box gently, glancing back at Padriq curiously, who was still standing patiently waiting for her to open the box with the same calm smile on his face.
She opened the box slowly, looking at Padriq seriously, then looking at what was inside. A small miniature of Aja was dancing in the middle of the pretty jewelry box, the soft, elegant tune played filling the air with its soothing melody. She looked at Padriq with had to be a slightly shocked smile.
?It be the song I 'ear when I look at ye.? He said with a warm wide smile, and Aja looked back at the box for a moment before returning her eyes to his and giving him a soft smile.
?Padriq, this is beautiful.?
?Nae a thin' but the best fer ye lass.? The smile hadn?t faded from his handsome face as he bowed his head slightly.
Aja couldn?t resist the roguish Captain Padriq Kidd. That smile, and his romantic nature were proving to be difficult for Aja to deny that they got to her. She leaned over to him and kissed him gently, his hand came up to caress her cheek as he kissed her back in the twinkling light of that cherry blossomed glen. Aja held on to the box with one arm, while the other moved to hold Padriq closer to her not wanting to end that kiss just then.
When she did pull back, she realized she had no idea what to say to him right then. The thought of her friends gave her something to say, whether it was the right thing to do at the moment, Aja didn?t know but it was all she had.
?We should get back.?
?Aye lass.? He gave a gentle smile and a nod. Aja reached out and took his hand as they started up the path, he gave it a gentle squeeze as he walked silently beside her.
They arrived at the Outback to discover that everyone had gone. It was quiet and empty now, all that remained were tables with empty bottles and glasses. Aja set the jewelry box on the bar carefully and sank down on a barstool looking around.
?I be sorry lass. I kept ye too long.? He said with a soft sigh.
?It's alright.? She gave him a smile. ?Everyone has been really worn out, what with the attacks and the nexus acting weird.? Aja didn?t want him thinking that it was his fault her friends had called it a night early.
?I understand.? He gave her a smile and sat next to her, she reached out and touched his knee gently.
?But you really have to stop dragging me off.? The smile was genuine, but she was serious.
?Alrigh' lass.? He agreed but she felt she owed him some explanation as to why she couldn?t run off on a moment?s whim. She gave him a grin.
?I'll tell ya a little secret. But ya have ta swear it doesn?t go anywhere.?
?Cross me 'eart n' 'ope t' die.? He said as he nodded, Aja smiled at that and toyed with one her nails, never liking to admit that she was important in any way.
?I may be a weaker link when it comes to fighting or whatever cause I'm not magical, not really.? She skated around that particular subject for now. ?But I keep them together. Involve them in crazy games, get them to talk when they need to.? She smiled softly thinking of her friends and ways that she looked after them. ?I didn't set out to the be the Head Brat.. but they call me that. I like to believe that I at least connect them altogether. Keep them invested.?
?I understand tha' lass.? He started with a smile. ?They need ye around t' keep 'im strong. They showed it today when ye left.?
?Little bit, yeah.? She had thought that they all went home early just being worn out, but he might have been right. She wouldn?t even know the real answer to that. ?Anya and I usually sit together after a really long day, and we talk about whatever is in her head.? Aja smiled and added in her head. ?And my own.? Padriq nodded at that and she reached up to touch his cheek gently. ?My family is gone. Ajay and Sher.. I don't know where they are. So all I have are my kids, and the BCU.?
?Ye 'ave me lass. I nae be goin' anywhere.?
?I know.. I don't believe you would.? She gave him a soft smile at that. It was the truth, she didn?t think that Padriq Kidd would be going anywhere anytime soon. She just smiled a little more at the thought and continued with her original thought. ?But what seems like wasted time to some people,? she sighed heavily thinking of a recent argument with Nikki about the way she spent her time at night. ?Is really the most important thing I do.? Padriq seemed to understand that she was drifting away in an unpleasant thought and pulled her into him, hugging her tightly, she hugged him back just as tight and he kissed her on the forehead making her feel like she was back in the here and now. Which of course, brought up other worries. Priscilla, Mr. E. What if the apology letter wasn?t the end? What if they were merely playing along with Bob, biding their time with intent to finish what they started. Aja sighed a little at that. ?I'm worried.? The statement was as clear as she could get for the moment.
?Wut about?? Padriq asked quietly playing with her hair. Something she loved, but now was not the time to be distracted, she scolded herself and pulled back to look at him.
?They gave up too easy. I fear they will try for something more covert.? Her thoughts were many about the ways they might do just that.
?I will nae ever let them 'arm ye or me friends.? She looked in his eyes and found no lie. Only fierce determination. He more than anyone, understood just how heinous these people could be. He had, after all been a victim of Priscilla many times over in the past few weeks.
?Looking after this group is going to be a 24/7 job.? She was serious and then thought of how much work would have to be done to ensure their safety. He pulled her back to him and held her close, she nuzzled her face against his neck, taking in the scent of him. The calming smell of the sea and that special scent that was him alone. The combination was soothing to her. ?It has been a couple of long days, Padriq. Very long days.? Aja felt bone weary but knew she couldn?t give up and by the looks of it, she wouldn?t be alone should she ask for the assistance in her endeavor.
?Worth it or nae?? she felt the rumble of his voice in his chest against her cheek and she smiled softly.
?Protecting my family is always worth it.? Aja looked up at him then. ?But the strain of doing it?.? She trailed off then, not being able to bring herself to admit the weakness.
?Ye need a massage... N' a hot tub.? He said softly, the timber of his voice seeming to find all the tense spots and coax them to relax. His hands toyed with her long hair, sending chills down her spine. She was glad he couldn?t see her face just then, he?d know for sure just how much he got to her. So she took the familiar route of humor as a defense.
?I need my head checked.? She gave a small chuckle and looked up at him again as she thought about the Twilight Island battle. ?What were we thinking even talking to them? Should've shot to kill.?
?Tha' wud 'ave been more fun t'.? he agreed and gave a smile.
?Yes it would've been. And my stress over keeping all of them safe would be done.? She got up abruptly, probably startling him at the sudden change. She paced around, the problem had been banging around in her head and she couldn?t make it stop for long. Even Padriq, for all his wonderful qualities couldn?t get her brain to shut down for long. She thought of ways to keep her family safe. ?I have half a mind to tell them we're going for a cruise around the harbor and just taking off for Goom Bay.? She shot a grin to Padriq, pretty sure he knew what she was talking about but just in case he hadn?t been. ?Pirate cove. Place is wild.?
?Ye know it lass.? His wide smile told Aja that he had been there and had a great time.
?They'd never forgive me, though. But they'd have fun for a while.? She thought of her friends at Goom Bay and chuckled at the thought of Sivanna sending Cerberus after a too randy pirate, or Anya possibly getting in a fists match with some of the crew. The wide eyed expression of Neo, Jin?s enthusiasm, Tru going on a trip of epic proportions due to the way most pirates spoke and Mira hiding under a table or behind Tru due the pirates being a little less then gentlemanly.
?Lass... ye be amazin'.? Padriq said with a smirk and a whistle, pulling her from her thoughts and making her smile at him.
?So?? he was unrepentant about his observation.
?Just saying.? She grinned at him not having anything else to combat that. She leaned on the bar, rubbing at her face a little. ?Ahh...Padriq.. I'm so tired.? She was looking at him, she didn?t want to leave his company, but also couldn?t hold her eyes open for much longer. He pulled her towards him gently with a soft smile.
?Then lets be t' bed lass..? he started to say as the thought struck her and she stood up quickly.
?Would you want to stay with me on the Breeze tonight?? Aja said it fast but clear before she could lose the nerve to do so. She stared at him, wondering what he would say to that. She gave him a nervous smile.
?Wit ye on the Breeze?? he repeated, she wondered if he was checking whether or not he heard her right. ?Where wud I sleep?? the nerves faded some as she stroked his hair gently and gave him a sly grin.
?With the Captain.? She then stopped stroking his hair to look at him solemnly. ?But seriously. To sleep.?
? T' sleep eh?? he was caressing her cheek, giving a mischievous smile.
?Yes.? She grinned at him. ?I love my house. But things always seem better in the morning when I sleep on the ship.? Aja?s thought of how it felt to be aboard the Breeze made her smile go wistful.
?Then wut we be waitin' fer?? Padriq asked with a bright smile she couldn?t help herself, she reached out and touched his nose gently with her own bright smile.
?Nothing. Lets' go.? She took the music box off the bar, still treating it as if it were glass, and smiled at him sassily. ?And you behave, or I'll make ya walk the plank.?
?I do nae know wut ye be talkin' abou.? He said giving her his best innocent expression that just made her smile wryly.
?Sure ya don't.? she chuckled as she laced her arm through his. He took her hand in his giving it a squeeze.
?Can I at least snuggle wit ye?? the question was firm, but looking at him, she saw he was nervous about the answer.
?Of course.? She smiled brightly. ?Just keep the hands from wandering.? The smile turned sly as her voice then. As she added. ?Too much.?
?I'll do me best lass.? He grinned at her as they went through the doors heading back for Arcadia and the Breeze.
No matter what had happened, suddenly, she didn?t feel like the entire world was resting on her shoulders. As they made their way to her ship. She glanced at him, looking rather pleased with himself and the world around him. He would catch her looking at him and simply smile as he squeezed her hand gently.
The closer they got to her ship, the more she worried that she was asking too much, or expecting too much of him. She knew by those spine melting kisses of his, that he wanted to go much farther, but for now, he was giving her time and space to breathe. She scolded herself and shook the thoughts from her head as they boarded her ship and entered the Captain?s quarters. The dim lights streaming in the window from the harbor lights were perfect cover for the worried look she was sure she couldn't have hid in brighter light.
Aja disappeared into the bathroom to change giving him time to undress and slip into bed. She looked at herself in the mirror and scolded herself again for acting like a silly girl rather than a woman who commanded the respect of a crew and ran a business. She changed into her night shirt and quietly made her way to bed, slipping in beside Padriq. Neither of them spoke or even moved for a long moment. She knew he was respecting her wishes, so she moved closer, laying her head on his shoulder and wrapping an arm around his chest as her other hand slipped up his back and curled around his shoulder. Padriq took a deep breath then, his arms wrapped around her, pulling her tighter against him. She felt his lips gently kiss her forehead and smiled softly giving him a kiss on his chest before closing her eyes and letting the calm that she always felt in his embrace take her off to dreamland.
~A Southern Glen Dinner Date~
Aja felt uncomfortable as she walked through town towards the Glen. Aside from having to watch her step due to the heels she was wearing, every little gust of air that blew, seemed to knock open the trench coat, revealing the blue knee length halter dress. For the hundredth time, she thought about how she wound up in such a predicament.
Padriq had asked her on the date, which she had no trouble accepting, then he wanted to duel for what her attire would be that evening. If she lost, she wore a dress. He wouldn?t take no for an answer on the bet, so they dueled and she lost. Aja was no welsher. She made the bet, she?d honor it. So here she was, walking out to the Southern Glen in a dress and silver heels that made her feel like anyone who passed her was staring.
As she made her way down the path to the Glen, she made one quick stop to stash her bag that held a change of clothes, hopefully Padriq would grant her a reprieve and allow her to change back into her normal clothes. She straightened, and then started down the path again. She held in her hand, the note that had arrived by carrier dove that morning. She smiled as she read it once more time.
?Whenever you are ready, please meet me where your ballerina first took a dance.? She smiled at the note, then tucked it back in the pocket of her coat.
When she came into the clearing, she saw Padriq standing there, and she could see that he too was definitely nervous. He was in his best outfit. He looked positively stunning in his deep blue jacket, proper pants, white top, and even his best feathered black hat. He was sporting the get up of a noble navy man, not a pirate. Oh and he had even shaved and combed his hair. Even smelled nice too. He was just waiting, eagerly for Miss Aja Bird of the Breeze. When she appeared he felt his jaw drop. He was speechless it seemed. Whether that had anything to do with the fact that Maria had done her hair in ringlets and curls, and done her makeup, Aja didn?t know, but she gave him her best smile. Trying not to fidget like Maria had reminded her over and over, she stood still and looked at him.
?Hi.? A simple word, but it took her a bit to get her mouth to say it as she rather liked standing there gazing at him looking so dashingly handsome. He stood looking at her with the oddest expression on his face for a moment, then his mouth moved slightly. She saw him take a breath then.
?Wow....? was all that Padriq had managed to say, but it was enough to make the blush creep into her cheeks. A reaction he seemed to gather from her so easily. She aimed for a laugh that didn?t relay how nervous she was.
?If I was gonna get a wow with just having my hair done and wearing makeup, I could've skipped the dress.? She fidgeted with the trench coat belt and knew she had to. It was the bet, after all. ?You have to swear you won?t laugh.? She said looking at him seriously. He gave a nod with a broad smile on his lips.
?Ye 'ave me word lass. I do nae see the point in laughin' when ye look so damned stunnin'.? He said still giving her that same smile, the held his hand out from behind his back, where he held sunburst yellow lilies. The expression in his eyes, Aja could sympathize with, it was nervous.
?Those are beautiful, Padriq.? She took the lilies, her fingers brushing along his hand as she did.
?Ye wud nae 'ave t' wear all the dresses in the world t' nae be any more beautiful than ye always are lass. T' me ye be the most stunnin' thin' I 'ave ever seen.? He said as she set the flowers down and she undid the tie on the trench coat, then shrugged out of it, letting it slide down her arms, catching it in her hand as she stood waiting for his appraisal of the dress.
Another long moment passed as he simply stared at her, she waited for a snicker or chuckle at the sight of her in a dress, cause to Aja, girly things like dresses all came out dork on her. She retrieved the flowers, and toyed slightly with the coat while waiting.
?Bless me Lass, ye 'ave me speechless. Ye...? he finally managed a few words, but they seemed to fail him again. Aja saw the fairies start to come to life as the sun went down, turning the Glen into a magical place once more.
?Speechless is good.? She replied while, shifting from one foot to the other nervously. Padriq seem to shake himself from his reverie and reached out his hand to her, she reached out and took it gently always loving the way his hand felt holding hers. What he did next would make the blush reappear on her cheeks. He raised her hand up, and kissed it tenderly, then he pulled her to him in a warm embrace, whispering to her.
?Ye look like n' angel lass.? The blush got brighter, she was sure of that as he pulled back, and gently guided her to a table had been set. Music started to fill the air.
?Padriq.. this is...? Aja looked around, at the table that was set with candles, silver and crystal. The music was soft, lending an even more magical quality to the night. Aja was completely stunned by the efforts he went to. ?this is amazing.?
?Thank ye lass.? Padriq pulled out a chair and waited for her. ?'ina 'elped me a bit. She wanted t' make the place perfect fer me... N' fer ye. Me brother n' 'er made up I suppose or she would nae be so nice t' me.?
?Hina's a lovely woman.? Aja said as she settled in the chair, laying the flowers on the table. ?I hope Robert knows what a treasure she is.? Padriq was being the perfect gentleman, Aja just didn?t really remember how she was supposed to act during situations like this.
?I think 'e does.? Padriq replied then pulled the lid off the plate in front of her. Steak, potato, greens a roll and a red rose sat before her and she smiled. The man knew her well. She smiled watching him light the candles on the table and filled the wine glass with rum. Bless the man, he knew what a pirate liked. She smiled softly, the expression of awe hadn?t left her just yet, and looked across the table at him as she settled in his own chair.
?Ya know,? she started with a smile. ?if anyone else had done all this, I would believe they were out to kill me.? She joked, trying to find a safer place to operate from. The man always kept her off balance with his compliments and shower of affection.
?Nae Aja, nae kill ye. I jus' want t' show ye luv.?
?You know I don't need grand gestures to show me that.? Aja smiled at him looking around at all he had pulled off to impress her. Perhaps he didn?t know that he already had impressed her. ?You were willing to step between me and a creature to protect me. That said more than anything else ever could.? She watched that sweet smile and the blush that crept to his cheeks at that, with a soft smile.
?I will always be willin' t' do that fer ye lass. I do nae want t' see anythin' 'appen t' ye. Ye be very important t' me.? His eyes never left hers when he spoke, Aja reached across the table then, taking her hand in hers.
?I never know what to say when you say things like that.? She smiled warmly at him. ?You're very important to me too.?
?Ye 'ave made me a smitten lost fool lass.? He kissed her hand again, and smiled. ?N' I enjoy every moment o' it.
?Smitten, eh?? Aja grinned at that, getting that butterfly feeling in her stomach.
?Nae... I be full blown in luv wit ye.? His sheepish smile almost distracted her from what he said, when it clicked in, she almost forgot to breathe. She was still smiling at him, but there was a stunned quality to it.
? I.. did..? Aja stammered for a bit, swallowing hard. She had to have heard him wrong about that. ?Did you just say...?? she watched his smile drop as he lowered his gaze. She sat up a little straighter looking at him seriously. ?Padriq, did you just say you were in love with me?? she had to clarify. She had to be sure she hadn?t imagined that. Padriq drew a deep breath before answering.
?Aye lass. I did.? He looked at her then away as if he believed that he had said the wrong thing to her. Aja took a slow deep breath then quietly let it out, before smiling at him.
?That's ....amazing and ...flattering and ...makes me wanna do that girly giggle thing..? she stood up slowly then, thinking of all the things that kept them apart for now. ?But things are so frackin complicated on my side of things, Padriq. It's not even fair to you.? She stood for a moment wishing for just a moment that her world wasn?t so comlicated.
?N' I told ye I understand n' I wud wait fer ye forever iffin' I 'ad t. I would go through 'ell fer ye lass.?
?It's not fair. Cause yer a wonderful man. I mean look at all this. My god. No one has ever done anything like it for me..? she sank then to the chair, feeling woefully undeserving of such attentions. Padriq got up and came around to kneel before her, taking her hands in his and kissed each one before looking at her.
?A lass such as yerself deserves everythin' the world 'as t' offer lass. Ye deserve it all given t' ye on a golden plate lass. I want t' be able t' do tha' wit ye lass. N' I'll wait as lon' as it takes.?
?Padriq.. I swear if things weren't what they were.. I would've run away when you asked.? She was serious about that. She had been so tempted by his request to board a ship and hit the high seas for a couple days. The ocean had always made her feel free.
?Aye lass... But ye 'ad understandable reasons.? He looked at her seriously, his eyes patient and full of love. Aja couldn?t resist him. She took his face gently in her hands.
?I don't know how I caught the attention of such a wonderful man.?
?Ye did the first nigh' we met.? He kissed her hands again. ?N' I was foolish. I should 'ave nae ever let Priss get t' me. Ye even warned me.?
?Not as much as I should have.? Aja thought about that for a moment, she warned him and Bridget, but they were mild at best. But she had no way of knowing that the girl would go off her rocker. ?At the time, I never knew how truly awful she could be.? He nodded at that then smiled at her.
?Ye be a lass o' yer own choosing Aja. I jus' want ye t' be 'appy.?
?You have found me a whole new level of happiness that I never knew was there.? Aja answered back honestly, looking at him. She had known love in her life, but this was a whole other level.
They ate then, small talk and comfortable silences. He had thought of everything with the meal, which was truly delicious. Even as the nexus snagged up Padriq, and Priscilla came to try Aja?s patience one more time, the night was not to end in such utter frustration.
Padriq returned to take her to the next part of the date. She retrieved her bag, and they proceeded to next destination.
The Isle, and his new ship. Lit up with candles, the fairies, the deck was covered in flower petals and soft music was playing here too. Aja was again stunned by how much effort he put into the date.
Padriq put her on her feet gently.
?Padriq... this is..? she spun slowly, looking everywhere. ?This is beautiful.?
?Ye can change in the captians Quarters.? He smiled at her, gesturing to the doors. She smiled brightly then and kissed him.
?You just became my favorite person.? She resisted the urge to run quickly to get back into her normal clothes.
?Only the best fer ye.? He kissed her back with a smile, then Aja motioned to the dress.
?I feel naked in this thing.?
?Ye do nae look naked. Do ye need a reminder?? he gave her a sly smile making her chuckle a little.
?Hey.. we've been good kids.? She put a hand on his chest then. ?Even though I know you would like more between us.?
?Aye. We 'ave.? his hand covered hers then.
?And you've been very patient.? Aja smiled up at him softly. ?I won't be forgetting that.? She gave a soft kiss to his lips.
?I wud wait fer ye fer n' eturnity lass.? He said kissing her again, she winked and then turned for the Captain?s quarters.
?You don't have any peek holes out here do ya?? she teased and turned to see him grin at her.
?If I did do ye thin' I wud tell ye??
?No. Don't suppose you would? she gave him a wink. ?Enjoy the show then.? She went in and shut the door behind her, taking a moment to smile to herself and try to tell the butterflies in her stomach to calm down. As she changed she noted things around the cabin. Little things she could see was completely Padriq. The room even smelled like him. She dressed fast, having had to do it many times before and opened the door coming back out to Padriq, leaving her bag near the door. Her normal attire intact, her leather pants, blue tank top, white shirt and her thigh high boots. She saw him mutter something to himself but didn?t ask what he said, instead she smiled brightly.
?You're 'air is still amazin' though.? He smiled sweetly.
?Ye be most welcome lass.? He stood watching her as she sauntered across the flower petal deck with a grin.
?Now I feel like myself.? She said stopping very close to him, and giving him a quick swat to the rear. ?Sassy.. free.? He gave a little grunt at her swat then muttered to her.
?I though' ye were always sassy??
?I am less sassy when I feel naked.? She smiled brightly, seeing his brow go up at that and she knew he was probably wondering how that translated to them. She touched his cheek with a finger as she grinned. ?How sassy I am when I'm actually naked, behind closed doors, you shall find out in time.? He blused about that then asked.
?Ye mean it luv??
?I do.? She leaned against the railing with a smile. ?You are quite sexy, Captain Kidd.?
?Ye be quite sexy as well Captian Bird.? He reached out a hand for her to take, which she did.
?You're not the only one taking cold showers, Kidd.? She smiled coming to rest against his chest.
?Is tha' so?? he looked at her curiously smiling.
?Yep. That is so.? She nodded and grinned up at him. ?Sleeping next to you...and I want...? she inhaled deeply at the thought then continued. ?but know that I have to settle things with Nikki.? His hand brushed her cheek gently.
?I understand luv.? He smiled softly.
?I know that you do.? She said looking at him, trying to concentrate with his touch against her skin. ?Believe me. I know just how patient you've been.? He gave her a forehead a kiss.
?I said I wud wait fer ye lass. N' I entend t'.?
?So..? she took a deep breath and looked around. ?Whose pretty, pretty ship??
?It be mine lass.? He smiled proudly.
?You had to have had a thousand men on the job.? She said thinking about the ship and what it took to make one this grand. ?And she's functional??
?Aye lass she be functional.? He smiled at her question. ?N' it took months t' build on 'ina's end. She 'ad it made back 'ome.? Aja pulled from his arms to look more carefully then, her hand ran along the wood and metal gently admiring the craftwork.
?She's beautiful, Padriq.?
?I'd trade 'er fer ye lass. Any day.? He watched her as she moved around the ship.
?Trade her?? she looked at him like he had lost his mind. ?She's gorgeous.?
?Nae as gorgeous as ye be lass.?
?I won't argue with you.? Aja said grinning knowing that the compliments would just keep coming swelling around insider her head. He chuckled then, pulling her to him and kissing her. She kissed him back, running her hands through his hair gently. When she pulled away gently, she laid her head on his shoulder.
Padriq started to move them across the deck in a graceful dance, Aja just smiled happy to move along with him, and be wrapped up in his arms.
?It's a very beautiful night.? She sighed happily.
?Aye, tha' it is.?
?I'm sorry. I never know what to say. One on one.? She admitted quietly. ?The quieter moments in life leave me feeling lost.?
?Do ye wan' t' go t' the Inn then lass?? his fingers played with her hair idly, she held him tightly.
?Not just yet. I am enjoying the quiet, even though I don't know what to say.. or do.?
?Wut does yer 'eart say lass?? he asked her, Aja could hear the smile in his voice.
?You looking for compliments, Captain?? she grinned up at him, feeling so lucky he seemed to understand her joking around made her feel comfortable. He laughed.
?Nae lass, I jus' want ye t' follow yer gut, tha's all.?
?Well... I know I like it here. With you.? She thought about things for a moment. ?I feel...free of having to please anyone or protect anyone.. I mean.. I love my family. Make no mistake. But the constant thinking and trying to protect them.. I have been feeling very drained. Very worn out.? Admitting that made her feel weak, and he seemed to understand that and held her tighter to him.
?Ye can nae say ye wan' t' do tha' alone lass? Do ye??
?I don't want to do it alone. And I don't for the most part.? She listened to his heartbeat and smiled softly at that for a moment while she thought about her family. ?But.. I want to spare them all the headaches and trauma caused by other people.? She heard him sigh and then kiss her head.
?Lass, ye cun nae always protect... Sometimes ye jus' 'ave t' let them learn fer their own. N' sometimes ye 'ave t' understand they cun do jus' fine keepin' themselves safe.?
?I know they don't *need* me to protect them.? She admitted. ?But when it comes down to it, I am the weak link in the group. Not the weakest, but I don't have magic skills or any of that.? She snuggled into him, not for the warmth but for the comfort of his arms. ?So I do what I can.?
?N fer that lass ye be one of the strongest people on this world.? He said making her smile softly. ?Ye think wit yer 'eart always. Ye fight wit yer 'eart, n' ye are always yerself. Ye are amazin', wonderful, funny, n' one 'ell of a pirate Captian.
Fer tha' ye be one mighty powerful lass.?
?And you are biased.? She grinned falling back on to familiar ground of joking around.
?I do nae 'ave t' be biased t' know the truth lass.? Padriq said simply. ?I do luv ye Aja. I do nae wan' t' 'urt ye ever.?
?I don't think you would, Padriq. Not on purpose.? She reached up and touched his nose gently.
?N' iffin' I ever do on accident, jus' smack me n' tell me I did so I cun grovel??
?I won't smack ya.? She leaned up and kissed him. ?Unless it's like that.?
?Aye... I cun live wit tha'.? He gave her a kiss back that smile still in place and making her weak in the knees.
?I thought you'd see it that way.? She grinned brightly. The breeze kicked up a little, blowing her hair in her face, Padriq brushed it aside gently.
?N' I always will lass.?
?This is a nice date.? Aja smiled softly leaning against his hand as it cupped her cheek.
?N' it be just the beginnin' lass.? He whispered in her ear softly. She looked at him then with a bright smile.
?Oh? You have more super secret plans in that handsome head of yours??
?Aye lass. Plenty o' them.? He laid a kiss on her nose making her laugh and then lean her head back on his chest.
?I look forward to finding out what they are.? She sighed softly. ?Although, my friends shall tease me for being all sort of girly.?
?I have nutty friends. But I adore them.?
?Aye, but they do luv ye lass. That be obvious.?
?I love them.? She said proudly, then she looked at Padriq, her voice dropping a little. ?And you.?
?Really?? he seemed surprised by the confession.
?Not in love... but.. it's a definite possibility.?
?N' tha' lass be enough fer me righ' now.?
?You're definitely becoming someone I don't want to go a day without seeing.? She gave him a soft smile and he grinned at that.
?I be sorry fer nae bein' 'ere yesterday then.? He was smiling so much, that Aja couldn?t resist joking around. She put an arm across her eyes, and said dramatically.
?I don't know how I got through the day!? he laughed at that and she joined in.
?I'm sure ye were a sour puss all day.? Padriq smiled down at her amused with her antics.
?Yes. I barely managed to dress and feed myself.? He smirked at that.
?N' I'm sure ye were a nervous wreck.? She grinned and kissed his nose.
?You have no idea.? Aja just chuckled and nodded to the portal. ?Want to go see how the rest of RhyDin fared this fine eve??
?Aye lass lets.? He escorted her down the gang plank.
?So..? Aja thought where Padriq had been staying the last couple nights and sighed a little. ?I guess now that you have this fine ship...you won't be needing to stay with me anymore.?
?One nigh' here, one nigh' there... Ye will always be by me side.? He assured her making her smile at him happily.
?Sounds like a doable plan.? She glanced back at the ship as their feet touched the sand. ?Does she have a name??
?Nae no' yet.? He smiled a bit, looking back as well.
?Have to find a fitting name. Tis a fine ship.? She linked her arm with his smiling brightly.
?Me brother will make suggestions until he be blue in the face.? He smiled with a small eye roll.
?All of them raunchy, no doubt.? She joked.
?Nae, 'e takes ship namin' seriously.? Aja nodded a bit then smiled.
?Good to know he takes something seriously.? She said and he paused, holding her to him.
?Aye, jus' like I take us seriously.? Then leaned down kissing her lightly at first then it grew deeper making Aja forget for a moment what they were just doing. When he pulled back, she took a moment to remember what they were talking about.
?I know that you do.? She leaned on his arm with a warm smile. ?Shall we go? If the rest of RhyDin is in a foul mood we shall just come back to our little hideaway here.? He nodded at that and they went on to the inn.
~Marketplace Heart Stopper~
Aja followed Padriq along to the Marketplace. Street vendors, merchants and shoppers made the place hum with activity, but the way he moved through the crowd, you?ve thought they were the only two there.
"You know you really should tell me where we're going sometimes.? She said, following behind him, Peanut, her new little spider monkey chattering away on her shoulder as they moved along quickly dodging people.
?Sit righ' there lass.? Padriq motioned to a bench, and waited till she got settled.
?Ok.? Aja said looking at him curious what today?s adventure was about.
?Now lass I do nae wan' ye to freak out on me...? he said then sank down to one knee before her, making her look at him warily.
?And what about you being on one knee right now could possibly freak me out?? she asked wryly making him smile as he dug into his pocket pulling out a small velvet ring box.
?This...? he opened the box slowly revealing a small ring, with a small rose shaped diamond, with two rubies on either side. Even Peanut stopped chattering when his new owner inhaled sharply. Aja looked from the ring to Padriq and back a couple of times, her mouth opening to speak by no words coming out.
?Padriq?? Aja started as soon as she regained the power of speech. ?*What* is that for??
?It nae be a proposal, I 'ave a ring fer tha'. This be a promise t' ye. Tha' as lon' as ye wan' it... Ye 'ave me 'eart.? Padriq smiled at her nervously, she had heard the first part, completely missing he had a ring for an actual proposal in her relief. She exhaled slowly the breath that she hadn?t completely been aware she?d been holding and whacked him on the arm.
?I told you to stop scaring me like that!? she said finally.
?I wan't' do this on our date, but tha' be a little bit t' soon fer me.?
?Gods, Padriq.? She put a hand to her chest. ?You're trying to kill me.? She laughed nervously. Then thought about what he said. Her eyes looked into those green eyes that looked at her with such look of care and concern, it almost brought tears to her eyes. ?You know I've never needed anything but your word for that, right??
?I know lass.? He set the ring box on her lap, which she picked up after a moment and looked at the ring for a minute, quietly observing the sparkle as the diamond caught the lights.
?This is beautiful, Padriq.? She said and then sighed as it seemed to be a phrase she repeated often around him. His romantic nature while being the thing most women dreamed about, was something Aja had no working knowledge of, and found herself feeling like she was at the helm of a ship with no sails. ?Gods, I feel like I never know what to say when you do this stuff.? He leaned up and kissed her at that.
?Aja luv, I do nae care iffin ye were nae able to say a word, ye only need t' smile t' me fer me to know ye be 'appy.? She looked at him, shaking her head slightly, setting the ring box down and taking his face in her hands gently.
?Padriq Kidd. I am always happy seeing you. I don't need grand gestures or flowery words. Just you.?
?And ye 'ave me lass.? He answered immediately, making Aja smile at him. He was relentless in his pursuits, she?d give him that.
The air between them takes on that heated quality always found in close moments. Aja smiled about the thought and tilts her head slightly to the side and kisses him gently at first, Padriq kissed her in return. His hand cupping her cheek while his thumb caresses it. The other hand settled besides her upon the bench. Aja felt the heart palpitations caused from seeing the box fade to heart thumping thrill as the kiss is deepened.
Padriq brought his free arm about her waist and pulled her in closer to him. The kiss deepened and he would let it, let her take her time if need be. He was just happy that it was her.
Aja pulled him up by his jacket, onto the bench with her, completely unaware of Peanut's chattering or the street performers going by. And bless the man, he never broke the kiss as he moved to be sitting next to her. It was a fear of ruining the moment. Embracing her in his arms he held her close, his fingers trailing through her hair.
When Aja pulled back she smiled at him simply amazed by the things that man would do for her, for the simplest of reasons. She looked at the ring again, then at Padriq who as usual was smiling at her like he?d just won the lottery, the look never failed to make her blush. She shook her head.
?You're so sweet to me.. and I haven't a clue what I've done to deserve that.?
?Ye were ye lass.? Came the simple answer, and he caressed her cheek.
?Padriq, this is...? she leaned into his hand for a moment, then spoke her concerns. ?too much.. I mean it's beautiful... but it's too much...? she treasured the gift, but like with anything valuable, she feared it?s loss. ?What if I lose it or something knocks one of the stones loose?? he shook his head at her, with that smile.
?Put it on yer bed stand, in a lock box, it be yours lass, just value it where ye cun.?
?Ok.? She looked at him for a long moment, enjoying the time spent in silence with him as much as she enjoyed the other moments. ?Thank you.?
?Ye be most welcome lass.?
?We should head back to the others. You stealing me away all the time is going to make them wonder if you're up to something.? She gave him a bright grin, which he returned.
?Aren't I always lass??
?Yes. Always.? She touched his nose and kissed him. ?But I like that.?
?Good lass. Good.? He kissed her back and watched as Aja looked down at the bench and tapped her shoulder.
?Come on, Peanut.? Peanut who had been chatting at a mime, gave a little screech and hopped up on Aja?s shoulder and toyed with her hair. ?I like this little guy. He's funny.? Padriq merely looked at Peanut curiously and the spider monkey chattered at him. Aja laughed and smiled at Padriq. ?Back to the isle??
?Aye lass.? He linked their arms and they headed down the street and back to the isle together.
~Twilight Island Conversation~
Aja stepped out onto the sand at the Isle. A little quiet time was tonight?s quest for her. A busy day and a family to look after had her head spun around and quiet time at her house was almost null and void with the kids and Maria always asking after her. She knew they were concerned, and would never turn them away but every now and again, even the hurricane known as Aja needed to rest.
She sat down at the bar, accepting a beer from one of the goblins, who seemed to appear and disappear on a whim. She looked out at the lagoon and was getting lost in the simple beauty of it when she heard her name being called.
?Aja Bird lass.? Padriq?s voice, and she looked to see him dragging one of the guards she had sent to look after him, being dragged along behind him. She bolted over and knelt down in the sand near the man.
?Padriq Kidd! What did you do??
?Wut be this?? he shook Ryan by the shirt, not quite ready to let him go.
?He's a guard I sent to look after you!? Aja yelled back, startling Padriq enough to released the man. Aja looked him over and held him to her. ?Ryan? You in there?? when she got no response from Ryan, she looked up at Padriq then. ?Did ya have to almost kill him?? she asked before turning her attention back to Ryan.
?I though' 'e wus gonna kill me. 'e wus followin' me.? Padriq defended, and Aja sighed moving to put one of Ryan?s arms over her shoulder and hers around his back.
?Help me get him to the couch.? She directed, but fully prepared to move the man herself if she had to. Padriq moved to help her while he muttered.
?'ow wus I suppose 'e wus there fer me protection?? They moved Ryan to the couch, where the goblins took to caring for Ryan?s wounds. ?Bridget n' I saw 'im n' 'e tried t' run.? Aja stood there watching the goblins work, and then glanced at Padriq.
?I told him if you saw him, to get gone. I didn't want you knowin I was having you watched.?
?Why ye watchin' me lass? Wut I do?? Padriq asking like he thought he had done something wrong, but wasn?t aware of it. Aja saw the goblins were caring for Ryan just fine without her observations and looked at Padriq then.
?Not you.. Priscilla.? She sighed. ?I thought that she might totally go over the edge and try to actually kill you.? She closed her eyes waiting for him to yell, cause men in her experience rarely liked being looked after in such manners.
?I though' tha' wus whut the watch wus fer.? He pointed to his wrist, his voice being questioning instead of angry made Aja peek with his words. She saw where he was pointing, and looked at him curiously.
?Yer not mad??
?Nae lass, I culd nae be mad at ye n' ye know it.? He shook his head and smiled, Aja grinned a bit then looked back at Ryan, sighing then.
?Ya know I'm gonna have to pay him a huge bonus now, don't you?? she ran a hand through her hair thinking about what she?d have to do to smooth the young man?s feathers.
?I'll get tha.? Padriq said making Aja shake her head.
?He's my responsibility. I'm the one who told him to follow you. I'm the one that didn't tell you.? She looked at him then, seriously. ?Just so you don't go makin mince meat of anyone else. I also have guards on yer new ship.?
?Ye 'ave guards on me ship?? he gave her the most perplexed look at that making her smiling broadly. She put her hands on her hips, giving him a sassy smile.
?I am quite persuasive when I need to be.? She winked. ?Four of your current crew, actually work for me.? She watched him run a hand through his hair at that, and then smile at her.
?Iffin' I did nae thin' so lass I wud say ye loved me more than just as much as ye said ye did.? She scrunched her nose as her brain kept reminding her that it was way too soon for that particular sentiment, and she gave him her best smirk and sassy voice.
?Now, don't go gettin all crazy with the cheese whiz or nuffin. I just didn't wanna see Stephen, Robert, Donal and Bridget cry into their rum.? She tilted her head still grinning. ?Don't want you thinking I can't go a day without you or something.? Aja knew that he was starting to be able to read her pretty well, and turned before he could see just how close to the truth that statement was. She heard him laugh.
?Ye cun nae do tha' lass, now cun ye?? she heard him moving behind her, and turned to look at him.
?What? Go a day without you? I can.? She held her chin high and smiled.
?Lieesss.? He was stalking towards her, grinning as well.
?Not lies. I can so go a day without you, Padriq Kidd.? She turned then to mutter to herself. ?Just don't want to.?
?Wut wus tha' luv??
?What was what?? Aja glanced over her shoulder giving her best innocent smile. She went to grab onto the bar, but Padriq had caught up to her by then, and spun her around to back her up against the bar and look at him.
?Ye wud miss me iffin I went a day without makin' my way to fill my ache fer yer company.? Ambers locked with greens as she looked at him trying to hold the same innocent smile.
?Ya think I can't spend a day without you, Captain Kidd?? he leaned in, putting their face mere scant inches apart.
?I know so Captian Bird.? He challenged.
?Well na, it seems that I have komm here at quite the moment in time, ja?? they heard Shy rather than saw her, as they were still locked in a staring contest, neither willing to back down.
?Jus a mo Shy luv.? He called out, still not looking away from Aja, who dropped her voice down to a whisper, she wouldn?t concede, just change the rules, she thought.
?It's the nights I wouldn't want to go without, Padriq.? She still held his eyes, unwilling to back down completely.
?N' I promise ye, I will nae go withou' ever sleepin' by yer side lass. Even iffin I nae see ye through the day.? He said with a smile and kissed her.
?Be there a wedding in the future for you Aja and Padriq?? Shy asked, Aja could only imagine what it had to have looked like from someone else?s point of view.
?That be iffin she'd 'ave me Shy luv.? Padriq answered her, his eyes not leaving Aja?s.
?Wedding?? Aja adopted her joking style to deflect for now. ?Enough of those in RhyDin.?
?I shall leave you two to your privacy. Until we cross path's again, farvel for na.? Shy said and Aja never even looked over, just waved.
?Good nigh' lass.? Padriq leaned back to glance over his shoulder at Shy, giving Aja the space to turn in his arms and reclaim her beer from the bar taking a long drink.
?Ya don't know what yer saying, Padriq.? She said as soon as she sensed they were alone again.
?Aja?? Padriq said at that, as he brushed her hair aside, she could feel his breath on it and her neck, making a shiver run down her spine. ?Luv?? and then he leaned in. ?I know exactly wut I be sayin' lass n' I mean it.?
?It's far too soon... there's barely been any space to breathe between all these things that happen. And while I seem all sunshine and light.. I can be a handful, Mr.? Aja argued with him, trying to combat what it did to her with him standing so close behind her.
?I welcome wutever ye 'ave t' offer lass. I understand there be good n' there be bad. It nae be like I be askin' ye to give up yer life n' everythin'. I do nae even know iffin ye wud 'ave me ask ye one more time tonigh'. I do nae wan' t' push ye lass. I jus' wan' t' luv ye lass. Wit' all me 'eart. Ferever.? She heard the truth in his voice, and she leaned back to lean against him, turning her head slightly, placing her forehead against his cheek.
?There will be a moment.. a space of a heartbeat where I'll know.. that this.. us.. is the right thing..? she said quietly to him. ?but that moment.. hasn't come yet.. I do not want to seem coy.. or lead you on.. but we've been through so much in so little time. I feel like someone tied us to a rocket sled... and I fear the crash, Padriq.? She admitted things that had been in her head, now she?d see how he?d react to that. It came in two parts, first was the kiss to her head, the second his words spoken back.
?N' I understand... I be prayin' we do nae ever come t' the crash lass.?
I don't want it to either. I truly do not want to go a night without you there.? She looked up at him then. ?And you've been so patient..waiting.. I know that's not easy.? He gave her an easy smile.
?I wud wait fer ye forever.? She blew out a soft puff of air to that.
?Gods, I would hope I'd have everything settled before that happened.? Then a sly grin up at him. ?I think I'd die from wanting you.?
?Aye lass.? He laughed and kissed her head. ?I understand. I feel the same.?
?You don't know how much I want to just say ta hell with it sometimes.? She reached up and touched his cheek. ?Like last night. I crawled into bed and I knew you were sleeping.. but you called my name and pulled me in tight to you.? She gave a sly smile then as she remembered last night vividly. ?You must have been having some fairly naughty dreams last night, Captain Kidd.?
?Lass.? He let out a sigh with a grin, as he pulled her to him. ?Ye 'ave nae idea.? His lips kissed along her neck and he whispered in a passion laced voice. ?Nae idea.?
Whatever she had in mind to say left her head as his lips kisses along her neck, hitting spots that had her clinging to him just to stay upright. Aja drew in a sharp intake of breath and breathlessly whispered his name.
?Padriq..? she barely believed it was her voice just then.
?Aye lass?? he paused in kissing her neck to ask.
?Mmm...you make me crazy when you do that.? She took a deep breath moving back a little, shaking her head to clear the thoughts that conjured up. ?Ya did that to me last night too.? She half heartedly complained while she looked at the sand to get herself back under control.
?Let's go 'ome n' snuggle luv.? He kissed her neck again, making her shudder just a little, and judging by his smile, she knew he knew exactly what he was doing.
?Snuggle, huh? You gonna be kissing me like that?? she grinned as she asked.
?Only iffin ye ask me nae t' stop.? He kissed her neck along the same path before and she had to hold onto him, to keep from sinking to her knees in the sand, as his kisses seemed to find all the right spots.
?Behave till we are home, or we'll not even make it half way.?
?As ye wish lass. ? Padriq picked her up. Aja glanced over as the goblins had Ryan?s care well in hand, they waved her off as if they knew she was about to ask something, and probably did since the Isle was their home. She knew he?d be alright, and the rest of the world could wait for a little while longer.
Aja walked along the docks in the early afternoon sun, dress swaying in the breeze, carrying a picnic basket and a bright smile on her face. Today she was going to have a whole afternoon to herself with Padriq. Them, the sea and some good food courtesy of Maria. She danced around fishing crates and rigging lines that lay along the dock, not minding the yappy little dog some guy had on his ship, or the smell of fish. Nothing today could ruin the mood she was in. She rethought that in her head, not wanting to tempt fate. Almost nothing could ruin her mood.
The Highbringer was waiting with crimson and white sails. He was upon the netting and fixing a few riggings, no shirt upon his frame. His deep sailing tan continued to grow darker under the sun, but for now he was working on making sure his ship was ready for its first voyage with Aja.
Aja stopped seeing Padriq up on the netting. She was smiling brightly, admiring the view for a few moments before allowing her presence to be known. She loved watching him when he was unaware of her observations. She could view him in a way that would make her blush if he was looking at her.
His form moved with ease upon his ship. He had a blade between his teeth and his hands were busy tying. Shoulder muscles moved with his arms and his back even tensed a bit while he worked.
Someone passed her on the dock, but she barely noticed as focused on Padriq as she was. A step towards the gang plank was taken as she watched him working above her head. She smiled at the thought of those arms holding her close to him, she wondered what he would do the moment she told him what had transpired at her home this morning. She decided that she should let him know she was there now. With a wave, she called out.
?Lookin mighty sexy up there, Captain Kidd!?
He jumped a bit at the call and flushed for a moment or two as if he had been caught with his pants down in the bathroom. Aja thought the expression was adorable, making her smile broadly as she walked up the gang plank to the ship and waited for him to get down.
Quickly enough he was climbing down the rigging and stowing the blade in its home before rushing to her and swooping her up into a tight hug. He spun her around for a moment, gave her a kiss, and then realized once again he was half dressed. Clearing his throat he turned about and sought out his shirt as he spoke.
?N' ye look stunnin' lass." More worried about wearing a shirt before her, he would stare as soon as he was 'decent'.
Aja smiled happily as he spun her around, half forgetting that Maria had made her wear the knee length sundress. When he set her down, she smiled as he searched for a shirt and set the basket down by her feet.
?Yer gonna swell my head with all those compliments, Kidd.? A hand went to her hip then, the tone of her voice was sassy.
"Swell yer 'ead lass?" He smirked to that and glanced back to her, his hand snagging up his shirt. He slid it over his frame and shifted to finally admire her. His jaw dropped and he gawked for the longest of time. ?Wow.?
?Yeah. Swell my head..? she laughed. ?With stuff like that.? She just shook her head a little then and nudged the basket with her foot. ?Maria made lunch for us. And I am all yours for the whole afternoon.? He grinned a bit and nodded softly.
?Oh? The whole afternoon eh?" Padriq gave her another kiss and spoke. ?Are ye well today? After this mornin?? that made her raise a brow.
?Either you saw Nikki come to the house, or one of my children spoke to you about it.? She wasn?t angry, she was curious as to how he found out. She leaned against the railing watching him. He stepped over and wrapped his arms around her waist, looking at her.
?Aye I saw 'im. N' I wus nae sure wut t' do.? Aja nodded at that, looking at him for a moment wanting to explain this right cause everything rode on it.
?Nikki's gone. Prince Tyrion called for him, and with how distant we'd been ..we both decided it was best he go. He'll keep in touch with the kids, but for now.. we won't be speaking at all.? She pulled away a little, to pace some. It was a lot to tell him, and she didn?t hate the man. ?He's been in my life for thirty years on and off.. It's a lot of history there.?
He let her slip away and nodded softly. Padriq wasn't sure what to say. He simply waited for her to either continue or say something else. She brushed the hair out of her face, and smiled at him then.
?I thought it would bother me more, if he left. If I let him go. Truth be told. I feel fine. So.. basically what I'm saying is...? she started fidgeting with her dress slightly, this was the moment she would find out if it had all been a game for him or if he meant what he had said. ?If you want me still... I am yours.?
Padriq felt as if the very breath from him had been stolen by her words. His heart skipped a beat and he spoke up lightly. ?Lass cun ye say tha' again?? Aja gave a soft laugh and stepped closer to him.
?I said. I'm all yours if you still want me.?
At this he reached out and swooped her up in his arms. A passionate kiss was delivered and he whispered to her.
?Lass ye be makin' this man feel like 'e be walkin' in 'eaven." She gave a happily laugh and held him tightly.
?So I take it that's a yes??
"Tha' be a yes.. a 'ell yes." He smiled down at her softly, which she returned.
?Good.? Aja gave him a sly grin then. ?And perhaps we can both stop taking cold showers now?? His brow rose and a grin formed upon his lips.
?Ye thin' so? I wus startin' t' get used t' them in the mornin'.? Aja laughed at that and her voice got airy.
?If you'd rather continue them....?
?Nae lass, I think not.? Giving her forehead a soft kiss and she gave him a wink.
?I didn't think so. So. Are we ready to shove off??
"Aye." He turned and shouted out to his crew. They went to work instantly, even a man took the helm. Once the wind was in the sails and the ship was freed they were off.
Aja smiled, a ship was a safe place that felt like home to her, she loved the sight of the water moving along below them.
?This is more like it.? She smiled brightly as she leaned against the rail looking at the sea below.
He smirked as he watched her for a long time. Soon he spoke to her as he joined her side.
Did ye brin' clothes t' change int'?" she looked up from her observations on the water with a nod and a smile at him.
?Of course. I sort of thought after you found out that Nikki was gone.. that you'd try keeping me hostage.? She gave him a wink then. ?I even brought something special.? His brows rose higher as his grin formed.
?N' wut did ye brin'?? Aja grinned, tracing his cheek with a gentle fingertip and a sly grin gracing her lips.
?Something black, lacy and completely designed to raise yer blood pressure.? There was a soft gasp from him at that as he leaned into her hand. He casted a glance towards his cabin and then back to her.
?Lass ye keep this up n' our afternoon will be spent in quarters.? Aja kissed him and smiled brightly.
?Not until we eat. Once we go in there...? she kissed his neck, then nodded to the Captain?s quarters. ?I don't plan on letting you come back out for quite a while.? That got him to grunt before he nodded. He took the basket from her before he spoke," Then wut be we waitin fer?"
?Anywhere you'd like, Captain.? Padriq simply nodded and started for his quarters. It would be the best place to be eat, there was a table in there after all. Winking back to her he held open the door for her to enter. Aja looked at him with a raised brow and grinned.
?You were warned.? Was all she said as she winked and walked into the quarters. Brows rise up, he grins and follows after her. He couldn't help but glance over her curves. When he was inside he shut the door and it was locked shut. First, as she wished, they would eat.
Once inside, she glanced around the cabin, which was tastefully decorated and smiled at him.
?Very nice, Captain Kidd.? She pulled a table cloth out of the basket and spread it out on the table then starts unloading all the containers with pasta salads, one with sandwiches, one with ambrosia salad. She looked back at Padriq with a grin as she saw him looking her over. ?Like the view??
?Aye lass, I always 'ave." He smirked for a moment before she would be joined. Taking up the sandwich closest container and taking a healthy bite out of it. Aja merely chuckled at that and opened the container with the grapes, plucking one out with a smile.
?Always, huh?? she thought about that and nodded. ?Good to know. Cause that's a huge likewise there.? She popped the grape in her mouth with a happy smile. Watching her eat the grape for a moment before taking another strong bite of the sandwich. His brow perked up, a grin forming upon his lips.
?Lass ye be makin' it 'ard fer me t' concentrate today.? Aja gave a small chuckle to that too, and stepped closer to him.
?I can make it a lot harder, Padriq.? She gave a sly grin. ?I'm free to explore any little whim I wish now.? Padriq?s brow rose up and he tilted his head.
?Oh? Now I be up fer tha' challenge." He was grinning more than a little bit. Aja raised a hand up to his neck, her fingers touching lightly as she slowly walked around him, completely at home on a moving vessel, her voice was sultry. ?Remember when I said I am just as sassy behind closed doors, Padriq?? There were goose bumps forming upon his neck. A light shiver rushed along his spine and he watched her move around him.
?Aye lass. Tha' I do." His grin was getting broader. Aja leaned in close and whispered in his ear.
"I wasn't lying about that.? She settled back on her feet, then went back to the table, plucking another grape from the dish. ?I've been thinking about what I might do once I had things clear at home.? He was watching her, but as she plucked up the grape he snatched it away and popped it inside of his mouth. He grinned to her as he spoke.
?N' wut wud ye do lass?? she gave a small laugh and selected another grape, wandering to the bed and flopping down on it. She leaned back on her elbows, looking at him with a grin.
?Ooh.. lots of things.? She popped the grape into her mouth, smiling as she chewed. She looked at him standing there, giving a sly little smile as she swallows the grape. ?Tell me you haven't been laying next to me at night thinking all sorts of things, and I'll say yer lyin, Kidd.?
"I 'ave been thinkin' all sorts lass." She had him pegged right. He shifted on his feet and soon was moving to crawl over her. His lips pressing to her neck softly, then giving it a soft nip while she lay there. ?Mmm... I thought nice n' 'ard lass."
Aja laughed softly at that, as she looked at him.
?I have wanted so many times to reach over, just touch you all over.. but I thought it was cruel when we were waiting till things were settled. I never wanted to tease that way.? He looked down at her as he smiled.
?I wud 'ave waited ferever fer ye lass. But the ach wus so large. I did nae know 'ow much more I could take.? Aja reached up and touched his face gently.
?I'm sorry about that, Padriq.. but I am so grateful that we did wait.. I wanted to be with you free and clear. No guilt. I couldn't take that.? He simply nodded to her and kissed her nose.
?I understood then luv n' I understand now.? Aja pulled him down closer to her, not wanting that much space between them right now.
?I know. And you are the most amazing man I've ever met, Padriq Kidd.? She kissed him then, nothing was held back with that kiss. She had no obligations anymore, she was completely free to be here in this moment with him.
With that he wrapped his arms around her frame and pulled her flush against him. Her lips would be given no mercy. He kissed her with full abandon, nothing held back such as her own. Deep passionate bliss falling from his lips to flood over her frame.
One of her hands was wrapped up in his hair, the other is sliding down his back, in efforts to pull him closer against her as she returns those kisses with just as much passionate intensity as she could manage.
Fierce passion flared up while he lifted her by the small of her back against him. His lips left hers and traveled along her jaw line to her neck. Soft trails would be left as he showered her with heated passion and every emotion rushing through him.
?Padriq...? she called in a whisper followed by a moan, as she clutched at his shirt, trying to remove the things between them.
He shifted and pulled his shirt off for her. He was busy, nipping at her neck and then kissing under her chin," Aja." Was whispered out softly.
Somewhere in her haze she remembered that she had a plan, and she was determined not to let him have the upper hand in everything involving them. So she moved quickly, straddling him and pinning his hands to the bed.
?You are in so much trouble, Mr.? she couldn?t help the sly smile as she leaned down and kissed his neck.
A groan fell from his lips when he found himself straddled. His body quaked to the kiss to his neck and he managed to speak.
? 'ow be I in trouble lass when this be 'eaven?? He closed his eyes to slits. She smiled softly at that, then whispered in his ear.
?Cause I am not going to let you ruin my surprise for you, Kidd.? She slid down his body slowly, her feet touching the floor. Before raising up off him, she smiled. ?I have plans.? Then she gave a bright grin and stood up, looking at him. His brow rose up, he shifted up on his elbows and drew in a deep breath. He eyed his discarded shirt and then eyed her. ?Wut be tha?"
?The special outfit.? She gave him a wink then took a seat the table, while desperately trying to appear calm and cool, when her insides were twisting up in nerves. He simply turned on his side on the bed and smirked.
?Are we nae done eatin' lass?"
?I want you well fed.? She leaned back in the chair, kicking one sandaled foot up on the edge of the bed, and slowly crosses her other leg over, the dress sliding up ever so slightly, showing a long expanse of smooth skin. ?So you can keep up.?
Eyeing that silk he shifted to trace his fingers along her leg before smiling as he reached over and snatching the sandwich. It would be gone in three or four bites.
?As ye wish luv.? He conceded.
Aja ate a couple grapes watching him idly, the nerves in her stomach letting her know that they were still working. And as much as she hated it, she was a girl at heart, no matter how she tries to be one of the boys. The doubts crept in a little and she looks at him seriously for a long moment before deciding to pose the question.
?Sure ya won't be sailing off into the sunset looking for another port in the morning??
At that question he shifted and pulled her up into his lap. He kissed along her jaw line and to her ear. A soft whisper left his lips as he spoke to her.
?I nae be goin' anywhere lass. I told ye affore... I do nae plan t' leave ye lass, nae now... nae ever." She felt the relief wash over her, but still had a small piece of lingering hesitation. For now, it would be pushed down, and she gave a soft laugh at being pulled into his lap.
?Ya know, the caveman thing is fine for when we're alone. But you've really gotta stop doing that.? She grinned and kissed his cheek. ?I'm supposed to be some tough captain and you toss me around like a sack of potatoes.? She leant against him with a happy smile. He kissed at her neck before he whispered.
?Ye nae be a sack o' potatoes, ye be me lass. Me girl. N' I do nae ever plan on lettin' ye go."
?Yer girl.? She smiled softly. ?I like the sound of that.?
?I do t' lass." He smirked a bit and whispered. ?I 'ad enough' t' eat lass. Do nae make me take one more cold shower lass.? Aja gave a soft smile to that, then slipped from his lap.
?Alright, Kidd. But you asked for it.? She took a smaller bag from the basket and went into the bathroom. ?You just get comfortable.?
?Aye lass. I will.? He was smirking as he leaned back and kicked off his boots. Leaning back a bit in the bed. For now he was free of his shirt and very comfortable.
?You sure yer heart can take it?? she called out.
?I be sure lass." He called out to her with a grin. Aja leaned against the wall in the bathroom, collecting herself to walk out in the skimpy bits of lace, then smiles as she heard him answer.
?Ok then.? She stepped out into the room slowly, wearing a black lace teddy, that has garters and stockings, tiny black slippers on her feet and stands waiting for him to say something.
His jaw dropped at the sight of her. His breath was stone away. All he could do was stare at her for the longest of moments, speechless. Padriq shifted up a bit, gulped, and then spoke lightly.
?Lass... Iffin ye always stole me breath away jus' imagine wut ye be doin' t' me now." She was stunning as always in his eyes. Aja smiled at that, not knowing what else to say.
?I figured the figure was fine...? she took a small step towards him then. ?I just fear you seeing the scars. Been a few battles in my time on the sea.?
?Nae a scar could 'inder yer beauty lass. Ye be the mos' stunnin' women in the world." He smiled happily and sat up a bit, his eyes scanning over her figure. She gave a small blush, but she never backed down from a challenge and she stepped closer still, being as bold as day.
?So you like it, Captain Kidd??
?I luv it Captain Bird.? He grinned, looking up in her eyes and sitting up a bit more in his spot. He smirked softly to her and winked lightly. ?Ye in black... Is amazin'.?
There was more teasing words, along with the love making that afternoon. They took their time, as that was all they had between them now. She would learn in time if he was what he appeared to be, but for now, she?d take the gamble. Happily.
Aja and Padriq walked along the quiet streets, arm in arm. The wind blew lightly, and Aja could smell the rain. There was a storm blowing in, but it wouldn?t be hitting for hours. She glanced up at Padriq who had been quiet since leaving the Outback. She knew seeing Sari Wolf scared as she was bothered him, she saw that in his eyes there. It seemed to still be on his mind now.
?You got quiet. Everything alright?? she asked in case it wasn?t what she thought it was.
?I just do nae want ye t' be upset is all lass. I also do nae want t' see ye 'urt. Like tha' lass back there.? Padriq looked down at her, his lips in a frown about what he was relating. ?I do nae want t' loose ye.? She smiled softly up at him and leaned against his arm.
?I?m too big to misplace. And as far as I know, no one is looking to kidnap me for anything.? She gave a small chuckle then trying to lighten his mood. ?Unless it's you for nefarious naughty reasons.? She watched as the smile came back to his face. He kissed her then.
?Aye lass. I believe tha' wud be a wonderful idea. ? she smiled up at him brightly.
?I love that grin of yers.? She sighed happily, and thought of something. ?So.. tell me about you and Robert. I believe you owe me a story.?
He nodded and spoke softly," I believe I 'ave t' tell ye 'ow me brother 'ated me." Aja looked up at him concerned she'd asked too much.
?If it pains you..you don't have to tell me. I should think before saying things.? She looked down, watching the ground move beneath her feet. Damn her mouth anyway. ?I always speak first.. then think. I'm sorry.? Padriq pulled her to him then, giving her a soft smile.
?Lass, 'e luved Jamie. Jus' luved 'er. N' it wus me who was luved back by 'er.? Aja looked up at him and nodded a little. ?You know you can always tell me to shut up.? She gave him her best bright smile. ?I am completely capable of being quiet sometimes.?
"Nae lass. Nae. I wus merely statin' tha' Robert n' I luved the same woman." He sighed lightly," N' tha' alone wus 'ard, she luved me n' tha' 'urt Robby enough." She squeezed his arm as they walked along the street to her house. The light wind blowing her hair back and bringing the smell of rain. She thought about other things he said and glanced up at him.
?How long did you and Robert not talk??
"Fer eigh' years." He sighed, his glance casted towards her," 'e wud nae ever fergive me fer wut I did. I took Jamie away lass, selfish n' such." Aja looked at him silently as they drew nearer to her house. The sound of the waves crashing along the shore were a soothing balm, and helped her think. She drew in a deep breath of sea air relaxing a moment, then a question came to mind.
?But if Jamie didn't love Robert...? Aja cursed inwardly, she hadn?t thought that one all the way through to the end but went with the one she had. ?I mean, did you know he was in love with her and go after her for spite??
"I did..." He nodded lightly and lowered his head," I made 'er luv me." He looked as guilty as he sounded, and she wondered if he thought she?d think less of him for it.
?Little sibling rivalry going on there? And the poor girl never stood a chance against you.? She gave him a smile. ?Yer a hard man to resist. I should know.?
"Lass, I 'ated me brother fer the longest time. Ye seen 'im n' the women 'e gets. I mean 'e acts like a jackass n' they still swoon after 'im. Fer a while I could nae 'ave wut 'e 'ad. Then I saw Jamie n' I gre jelous. I could nae 'elp me self." He smiled to her," But now lass, I 'ave ye. N' ye are so beautiful, amazin, n' somethin' me 'eart could 'ave nae ever wished fer." She smiled at his reasons.
?Robert is the bad boy. All the ladies love the bad boys. But they never stay with them.? Aja moved quickly to stand in front of him, stopping them both near the path leading to the water, and looked up at him with a smile. ?Yer not a bad boy. You have....? her smile turned sly then. ?A few of the qualities, as I can attest to after last night, but for the most part, yer the guy those girls look to settle down with.? He smiled then.
"N' lass I 'ope ye see tha' always in me."
?I see the man you are.? She gave him a warm smile. ?The one you show me.. and the part you keep hidden will reveal itself in time.? She resumed her place by his side, and start moving slowly forward. ?I hope that I never disappoint you.?
"Ye nae ever could lass. Ye nae ever could." Squeezing her hand tightly he pulled her along the path to the sea, until they got to the edge of the water. When their ankles were covered by the water he started to dance with her.
Aja was still going over his last statement in her head.
?Never say never, Padriq. It has a way of coming around to bite you in the arse when you least expect it to.? She leaned against his chest then staring out at the water, the way the surf crashed upon the shore, following its motion as it carried the sea foam to surround their feet. Padriq spun her around, his hands playing with her long hair and then he kissed her head.
Aja didn?t know how much time was passing, as thoughts of all sorts ran through her head as they danced on the beach. She saw a light on for her hallway and knew Maria had gone off to bed, leaving a way for Aja to make it through the house without running into things. She smiled. Her family, her friends and this man. She needed nothing else in the world. This man in particular was trying very hard to ruin any notions she had about what romance was and show it what it could be. A happy sigh escaped her lips and she leaned up to kiss his cheek.
?Thank you.? She said simply causing his brow to go up as he spun her around.
? Ye nae need t' than' me lass. I do nae even know wut fer." He whispered in her ear, she thought that after all the little things he?s done for her, it was the very least she could do.
?For being you. For being patient.. for a million other little things that are just part of who you are.? She was smiling as she heard the words coming from her lips and she laughed. ?Although this new streak of romantic notions going through my head is debatable if I like it or not.?
"Wud ye rather I act like me brothers?" Grinning at her and dipping her back, the tips of her hair getting wet. She laughed and looked at him with a twinkle of mischief in her eyes.
?In the bedroom, absolutely I would!? this made him grin and he pulled her back to him, kissing along her neck.
?'ow wud ye know about me brother's bed like ways?" he asked curiously making her laugh.
?I've heard tales.? She chuckled a little. ?Ladies talk like hounds too, ya know.?
"Then let me give ye a tale t' tell." He winked to her and swooped her up in his arms. With a grin upon his lips he started towards a bit of the sand more hidden by the rocks around it. This did nothing to combat Aja?s sense of propriety, years of never doing things like that because Tanner?s warnings stuck in her head so well.
?Right out here in the sand? Have you taken leave of yer senses?? she smiled at him, hoping to not dash his spirit on the subject, but she just couldn't toss her whole rule book out the window. Not yet.
"We wud nae be seen lass. Nae at all." He grinned a bit and soon he was laying her down upon the sands. He kissed along her neck once more as his hand slid along her side.
?Yer incorrigible!? she laughed, but then found that a little hard to do as he had no trouble at all finding all the right spots on her neck to kiss, making her head go foggy. ?Mm Padriq.. that's cheating.? She said as she clung to him.
He pressed down against her. His lips fell along her neck and into the crook of his neck. He was more aggressive tonight as he spoke,
"Aja lass. Iffin' ye do nae wan' the sand... Then 'ow about the wall or over the rail o' me ship?"
?Yer ship is a long ways away.? She nodded to her house then. ?Can't wait till we hit my bedroom to have me?? He grinned and stood, pulling her up a moment later.
" Iffin' tha' wud make ye 'appy lass." She smiled at the adorable expression he had, kissed him and tugged his hand as she started up the path her her house.
?Come on lover. I wouldn't want you to have ta take a cold shower.?
"Lass I do nae want ye t' thin' this be all I be wantin' from ye either." He nodded, following after her eagerly. She tossed a grin over her shoulder then.
?I know that it isn't. You would've have taken the time to know my friends if it was.? As she reached the back door, Aja unlocked it continuing her train of thought. ?If I thought for a moment that sex was all you wanted, I may not have wasted the time with you.? He smiled at that and pushed open the door for her to step through.
"Lass I do nae use those I luv. I will nae ever use ye." She watched him close the door as she started up the stairs and grinned.
?Who says I'm not using you for sex?? her cheeky grin made his brows go up then.
?Cus ye would 'ave put ou' on the firs' nigh.? That made her laugh and she turned putting her back to the bedroom door.
?Curse you and yer logic.? She grinned then opened the door, spinning into the room. Aja kicked her boots off towards the chair in the corner.
Her bedroom was large with a four post bed in the center of the large windows to the left side. Straight ahead from the bedroom door is a set of french doors that lead out to the balcony and over look the ocean. And to the right was the bathroom. It was her favorite room, but she didn?t spend much time here.
Padriq followed along behind her, not giving her much time to react. As he slipped in after her, he shrugged off his jacket, tossing it near the bed. He shifted upon his feet, kicked the door shut along with his shoes. He was far too eager to have her. He had her up and spun around in the air before he had her pinned against the wall, making her squeal with laughter. His shirtless chest was pressed against her frame, holding her into place.
?Now ye nae be uncomfortable lass?? he asked, his breath hot on her skin.
?Have yer way with me, Captain Kidd.? At those words he managed a groan.
?Aja, ye know the words t' say.? His kisses against her chest made her want so much more, but she was wearing far too many clothes at the moment, she started to undo the buttons on her shirt and smiled at him.
?But if you put me down, I could at least make it a little more interesting.? He kissed her a few more times before setting down upon her feet.
?'ow do ye plan t' make it interestin'?? he asked, Aja merely grinned, stripping off her shirt and letting it fall to the floor.
?Oh.. figured if I got some of these clothes out of the way fer ya, ya'd be able to have full access to me without bothersome items getting in the way.? She gave a slight curtsey and a grin. ?If that pleases the Captain, of course.?
He smirked to that and lifted her up once more. He shifted, the his arms and tugged at his leathers for a moment. They fell down and he kicked the away with a firm grin.
?Allow me luv.? There was a simple jerk of her pants and they were torn from her frame, literally. Any garment she had been wearing was taken off in seconds. He was far too eager to be with her.
Aja was stunned to breathless silence as he makes fast work of her clothes, and a smile lifts the corners of her mouth, as his strong arms hold her against him, she had been thinking all day about the way it felt to be skin to skin with him, which left her turned on, he take charge actions just raised that bar a little more.
?As you wish Captain.? Was the last coherent thing she would say for a while.
The pairing was animalistic desire. Raw passion set free to take them over. Breathless moans, whimpers and pleas lost to the night air and the sound of the sea outside. They clung to each other for a few moments, breaths being caught, the slow cool down after heated passion but not wanting to be apart.
Are you alright, luv? Came the still breathless question. A soft kiss fell over her shoulder and he looked up at her. Panting lightly for breath, his fingers traced at her cheek and up through her hair.
?I 'ave nae ever been 'appier in me life.? She smiled then and glanced to the bed.
?Maybe next time we should try to make it to the bed.? Her hand ran through his hair then. ?And one of these times, I shall have my exploration, Kidd.? She kissed him, feeling more free with a lover than she could remember. Sometimes, in these moments, she didn?t worry about saying or doing the wrong thing. The easy banter between them was the thing she loved most about their times spent together and it didn?t seem to matter when or where they were.
He pulled her from the wall and turned, all the while with her snug against his frame, He slid up along her neck with his lips and whispered to her.
?Who said I be done yet luv?" Teasingly before he fell over her upon her bed. He looked down at her, giving her a soft wink. She gave a sly grin looking up at him.
?Touche Captain.? She hoped he didn?t mind her using his title in such a way, she rather enjoyed doing it. Her fingers ran along his arms lightly, up to his shoulders, down his back. ?Not bored of me just yet?? she teased lightly.
?Nae lass. Nae. I luv ye.? He kissed at her lips. ?'ow could I be bored o' ye?" what he said made her think a little.
?Does it bother you...that I don't say that?? Aja toyed with his hair, nervously as one hand continued to caressing his back gently. ?I mean.. you tell me.. and I know it's true... but does it bother you that I don't say it to you yet?? she dared a look to those green eyes which held nothing but the same warmth and love she had always seen there. He shook his head at her a little.
?Nae... I know tha' when ye be ready.... Ye will say it.?
Aja?s smile got wider for a moment and she leaned up drawing him into a passionate kiss. That kiss, led to her kissing along his jaw, then whispering in his ear.
?I will tell you some day... you are an amazing man... I can't see not loving you.? That made him smile and shower her with kisses.
He felt his heart skip a beat before he whispered to her.
?Lass... I 'ope I nae ever dissappoint ye." Aja looked completely perplexed by that comment.
?How could you ever disappoint me, Padriq? My god, all the things you do.? She smiled at him softly, tracing along his jaw with a gentle finger. ?I swear you sit for hours thinking of new ways to either scare me with some completely romantic gesture or a new way to make me blush.? She thought of all the things he had done for her with a soft smile. Padriq merely smirked then shifted slightly to get inside his jacket. Plucking a small, golden rose from within its depths he softly placed it to her upper chest.
?Everythin' fer ye lass.? A single ruby glittered from within the center of the rose. Aja gave a slight twitch at the chilled metal on her heated skin, it made her laugh a little.
?Cold.? She protested with a grin as she picked it up and looked at it, and a look of awe graced her features. ?See?? Aja smiled softly at him in the dim light of the moon cascading through the windows. ?This is what I mean. Little things.. little grand gestures.. and I'll bet you've thought of a million others.? she looked at the rose with a smile before reaching over and placing it on the night stand carefully. When she looked back at him her hand cupped his cheek. ?I feel undeserving of such adoration, Padriq.?
?Ye are worth every bit o' it lass.? He kissed her hand and shifted to pull her tight within his arms. His fingers traced along her sides as he nuzzled into her neck and kissed it tenderly. ?I wish t' show ye more, t' give ye more.?
?By the Gods, Padriq. Yer gonna spoil me.? She grinned then gave a slight twitch when his fingers hit a ticklish spot, she grinned thinking of something and decided to play. ?Aha! That's yer plan!? Aja moved quickly, pinning him to the bed with a bright grin. ?You plan to spoil me so much no other man could ever out romance you, there by, making sure I'd never leave.? She was clearly playing around as she straddled him smiling broadly. ?Quite dastardly, Captain Kidd.? He gave a mocked shocked look. His innocent smile had grown and grew bigger with every moment.
?Lass... wut will I ever do now tha' ye 'ave me figgured out? I shall nae 'ave ye all t' me self.?
Aja?s nose wrinkled as she grinned and leaned down to whisper in his ear.
?I think yer gonna have to let me show you how much I appreciate you.? She flipped her hair to one side and started kissing his neck. ?At least for a little while, let me have my way with you.? Aja kissed along his neck, looking for the little things that would make him just as crazy as he made her.
?As ye wish lass.? He said, allowing her free reign to touch him as she liked. Aja took her time reveling in the freedom to explore him the way she wanted. Her explorations revealed several spots that would make him inhale sharply and groan. This pleased her tremendously, make her heart race knowing he would willing put aside his desires for her to get pleasure from her own. She slid up his body slowly, settling alongside him, and whispering in his ear.
?Does that please the Captain?? she teased lightly making him smirk.
?Aye lass, it does.? He gave her a wink, then shifted his body as he gave her a deep kiss. He seemed intent of returning the favor as his hands caressed her, and she happily let him.
Another round of love making, this time, he took it slow and gentle, treating her like a precious porcelain doll that may shatter if held too tightly. They were swept away in the crescendo of sensations, the whimpering cries of want and need and the sweet release that followed.
Aja caught her breath under his weight, not finding it unpleasant, but comforting in an odd sort of way. She knew he?d soon start to worry about hurting her, so she stretched and moved slightly till they were laying side by side. Aja ran her fingers along his skin, smiling softly in the moonlit room.
?Yer evil plot is working, Captain Kidd. Yer spoiling me.? He kissed along her neck and pulled her into a tight embrace. At the caress of her fingers he smiled. Her words got him to chuckle before he pressed a kiss to her shoulder.
?Good lass. Good.? She smiled and settled herself to lay on his shoulder, her hand reaching blindly behind her for some of the blankets to cover them as they slept.
?I don't want to move to get under them.? She muttered, pulling as much of them over them as she could. ?I'm comfortable right here with you.? Padriq shifted and gathered up his coat. He draped it over her frame and whispered to her.
?I'll keep ye warm luv.? She smiled softly, snuggling in closer.
?I know you will.? She murmured quietly. Slipping a hand under to curl around his shoulder and the other laying on his chest, fingers idly tracing patterns. She drifted off to the sound of the waves outside and Padriq?s heartbeat.
?Sleep sweet me luv.? Padriq whispered as he kissed her forehead and played with her hair.
~Serious Conversations and Walking Home~
It was a delightful party to be sure. Anya?s trial was over, she could once again practice medicine. Sivanna and Alec announced they had moved in, Mira would be released from the hospital the next day, Guill and Mich both were callers and Neo was going to teach future duelers. It was a marvelous party. She had even worn a dress for the occasion. Deep blue silk that moved so easy when she did, just cause she knew her friends like to tease her a bit about it. A small thing, but small things mattered. Padriq even took a long moment to appreciate it, but then the serious matters in her head took back over causing him to look concerned.
Aja asked, but Padriq didn?t want to disturb the party, Aja couldn?t stand the troubled look on his face and suggested the relocation. So, they left the Isle celebration and entered the Outback.
She pushed the heavy oak doors open and looked around. Turning back to him, she looked at him seriously.
?We're alone here.? Padriq walked in behind her and stopped. Without preamble, he laid out what was in his head.
?Jamie's grave wus destroyed two weeks ago...? he took a deep breath then. ?'er body be missin...? he trailed off and she couldn?t fault him for that. He was talking about the woman he married and it was bound to unsettle him more than a little.
So many questions came to mind. Who would do that? Why would they do it? Was he ok? The third was the most pressing one for her at the moment and reached out to take his hand in hers.
?Are you ok?? She watched him as a myriad of emotions crossed his face. He stood there silently, the long deep breaths the only thing disturbing the quiet.
?I be fine lass. Promise.? He gave a soft nod with that, but the look on his face betrayed him to her.
?But this information has to be unsettling.? She reaches up and touched his face gently, he only sighed and looked at her calmly.
?'as there been anyone followin' ye lass?? Padriq?s eyes searched hers. ?Anyone around ye tha' looks like they should nae be??
?Ya know..? the question took her by surprise. ?I haven't been looking.? She gave a shrug with a soft smile to him. ?You needn't worry for me, luv.? She tried to ease the look of concern from his face, but was having little success at it. ?I have defended myself for years. I shall be just fine.? He gave a small nod, his hand ran through his hair then.
?Lass. Ye need t' be careful.? His voice was barely a whisper. ?They took 'er body.? Aja thought about that again.
?What do you think they plan to do with it?? Necromancers and reanimators existed in the realm, but if she remembered correctly, Jamie would have been dead far too long for them to take an interest. But the users of dark arts often did things Aja would never understand.
?Lass... I do nae want t' know.? He replied pulling her close to him. She thought of the few times she had run into the undead, and had a involuntary shudder from the memory.
?Undead are icky icky things.? She muttered, and felt his gentle kiss on her forehead.
?Jus' be safe lass, I beg ye...? he held her so tightly, she could feel the worry seeping from his body. His lips lingered her on her forehead.
?Padriq. Do not worry.? She tried to reassure him. ?I spend my days surrounded by the men at the yards. Parker constantly hounding me to eat right, Rico needing things signed and what not.? She looked up at him then. ?I'm never alone for more than a moment or two.? She kissed him again and looked at him seriously. ?I shall be fine.? She kissed his cheek giving him her best smile.
?Lass. Good. I luv ye n' I jus' wanted ye t' know.? He touched her face with a soft smile now. ?Now let's get ye back t' yer friends affore I go check on me ship.? She could still see a little worry in his features, she slipped her arm through his and gave her best sly grin.
?Maybe tonight,? she started in a sly whisper. ?I can do that thing you like, make you forget all about it for a while.? Aja saw the smile start to turn his lips upward. She had succeeded in distracting him for a moment. He gave a sly grin of his own and kissed her, whispering in her ear.
?Lass ye 'ave nae idea jus' wut I want t' do t' ye tonigh'.? The timber of his voice sent shivers down her spine and she smiled up at him.
?I look forward to it.? She went to open the door, he gave her a playful swat on her rear. ?Let's get back to the party.? Padriq put a hand at her hip, stopping her and then moved as he pulled something from his pocket and put it around her neck.
?Lass 'ere... Fer yer dress.? He said as he worked the clasp. The chain of silver and gold charms slightly chilled against her skin and her hand went up to touch them.
?A gift?? she looked at him and his smile. ?Ah, yes. Yer evil plot to spoil me again.? She grinned at him as he smiled.
?I 'ave many other gifts fer ye lass.? He smiled and kissed her lips gently making her smile soft at first which turned sly.
?As long as some of them are in the bedroom, yer gonna be making me a very happy woman.?
?Good lass. Good. Ye deserve t' be 'appy.? He gave her a wink before kissing her again. She kissed him back enjoying a playful moment with him, before she turned, making the dress twirl around her legs again. The whisper of silk against flesh, combined with the thoughts she was just having about him, make her smile even broader as they made their way back to the Isle.
Padriq took her back to the Isle, and then returned to his ship to check on things. He returned to find a quite tipsy Aja. She was sitting at the bar, staring at a glass of some blue drink quite intently but grinning like mad when she looked at Neo.
?Neo, let?s get the ring drunk.? She was saying with a giggle. ?Drunken blinking.?
?You want to get this thing drunk?? he pointed at the ring that gave a flash.
?Sure. Why not?? Aja was grinning brightly at Neo, then she caught sight of Padriq standing there. ?Padriq! How?s the ship?? she called merrily in that drunken tipsy way.
?I'm not sure if that's possible.? Neo said, giving a wave to Padriq. Ring of Klytus piped in then. ?[I can't wait to find out!]? Aja took the ring and without ceremony, dropped it into her walk me down then intently stared at the glass to see if the level would drop. She giggled at the experiment being easily amused sometimes, could lead to silly silly things.
?It be fine lass. Jus' found a grimlin in the workin'.? Padriq related to her after a short pause. Aja drunk was a new experience, one that surprised him for a moment.
?What's a grimlin?? she repeated the word still staring at the glass intently.
?A gremlin?? Anya helpfully translate Padriq?s pirate speak and Aja went about her little adventure with the ring. She considered how to get it out now, then spied a straw and stuck it in the glass, proceeding to reduce the amount in it.
?[Why are you asking me? ...this isn't working.]? RoK said sounding a little disappointed.
?Yeah... Sabotage ...? Padriq said sighing some. ?Someun be tryin' t' mess wit' me ship.? He looked towards Aja who had stopped drinking and looked at him, her attention gotten with the word sabotage in relation to his ship. ?But we got it so nae need to worry.? He looked at her trying to reassure her,
?Huh?? she turned from the drink, forgetting for a moment that RoK was in there.
?[I should have known. I have no blood to be tainted by alcohol.]? RoK said now. Aja wasn?t really listening as her brain chewed over the info it just took in.
?You know, Kol'tso...? Anya started as she pondered RoK?s predicament. ?I could change a little of your metal to hemoglobin...?
?Aja, luv, do nae worry. I fixed it. It be alrigh'.? He tried to reassure her, but the look on her face told him that telling her while she was drunk was probably not the best of ideas.
?But I put guards on that ship! I am gonna go have a chat with mah boys.? Aja slide off the bar stool, fully intent to march down and kick her boys in the arse, but Padriq wouldn?t let her get that far. She heard the part about fixing it and she stopped, swaying a bit and looked at him.
?You fixed it? You didn't beat them up too did you?? she thought he?d already kicked her boys for her.
?Aye luv, n' yer boys found 'im, so do nae worry.? He gave her a smile then, she narrowed her eyes for a split second and then gave a drunken nod heading back to her drink and the current discussion about why RoK couldn?t get drunk.
?[Yet I have no actual brain to be tainted by alcohol-poisoned blood. My consciousness is completely magical.]? RoK mused about his being.
?Mm. That is a quandary.? Anya looked thoughtfully at the glass, that a dim flash every time RoK spoke.
?[As is my speech. Me talking to you here and now. This is magic. I have no mouth with which to form words. No larynx, either. And the way my pretty gem flashes with each syllable? Magic. I knew it. I'm immune to alcohol.]?
Aja stopped seeing her drink have a glow that went on and off.
?Aja?Is yer drink talkin?? Padriq asked her looking at her and the drink warily. She didn?t answer as she started to drink the rest while they discussed the nature of being drunk.
?Then cast a spell on yourself to taint said consciousness.? Neo offered.
?Then again, you are bragging a bit more than usual, Kol'tso. That sounds like alcohol is affecting you, if a little...? Anya grinned at the glass, talking to the ring. Aja seemed unconcerned with the why he wasn?t getting drunk. She drank the rest of the drink and tipped the glass to cause RoK to tumble to the bar.
?Sorry, Rockie. We tried.? She grinned at the ring then looked at Padriq. ?Neo?s ring, Koltso. We tried getting it drunkened.? Tipsy made Aja make up words it seemed, Padriq smiled at her then eyed the ring.
?[It would seem I am not immune to... what do you call it? Contact high? Not from contact with the alcohol, but contact with you people.]? RoK hypothesized.
?Did ye give it the 'ard stuff? Wut about Moonshine or somein?? Padriq asked looking at the ring, Aja laughed and shook her head.
?Walk me?? her head shaking got her off balance and she grabbed for the edge of the bar, along with Padriq catching her, she righted herself. ?Whoa..downs.? she grinned at him happily.
?Ye be 'avin' quite the party withou' me?? he surmised as he set her on the bar stool.
?Yep. And I be tipsy.? She announced, then looked at him. ?Yer cute too.?
? [No blood to be poisoned! Hello!]?
?Be nice, Ring!? Neo scolded RoK.
?[Right, right. That is an idea, though. Cast a spell on my own consciousness to taint it, to simulate inebriation. A time-out parameter could be included, and to automatically trigger a hangover spell the next morning where I get to whine incessantly at you, my dear Keeper, about how my head hurts.]? RoK snarked and Neo made a face at that.
Aja was less concerned as she thought about what she said to Padriq, and started looking at her friends.
?I'm surrounded...by pretty people.? She remarked in a sort of awe.
?N' ye did nae wait t' 'ave me be tipsy wit' ye lass?? he grinned at Aja looking around at them still pondering her pretty people statement.
?It's a celebration, Padriq.? Anya supplied helpfully as Aja slid the pitcher of Walk Me Downs over to him with a grin.
?Wut be it?? he looked at the pitcher warily.
?Walk Me Down!? Aja was exuberant as most tipsy people were, and grabbed the pitcher refilling the glass she just emptied.
?It's blue. Like Aja's pretty blue dress.? Anya said about the same time, never knowing what Aja had mixed up, but the sing song voice about her dress made Aja smile.
?I like blue. It's nice.? Aja said softly.
?Thin' I should stay sober fer this?? Padriq looked at Aja with a smile at her antics then at Anya, figuring better answers were to be found with the doctor than Aja right now.
?So do I, so does Papa Dn?avol.? Anya answered Aja and then nodded to Padriq. ?Mm, one of you should, to get home safely.?
?I like you too.? Aja looked at Padriq, grinning. ?Yer nice.?
?Seems I wus already voted fer it. Next time be me turn...? he mused at the answer Anya gave then looked at Aja as she declared she liked him. ?Aja luv I know ye like me.?
?And not a pud.? Anya?s triumphant declaration made Aja giggle and shake her head.
?No.? Aja shook her head again. ?Stephanie's a pud.? She used Bridget?s pet name for Stephen then giggled as she added on to the list. ?Robert be a pud too.?
?Me brother be nae a pud lass... Me brothers fer tha'. They jus' do nae like me.? Padriq, ever the loyal brother defended. ?They nae ever will let me live down Priss.? The last part was muttered, but heard. Aja poked him.
?They be puds.? She declared with a sharp nod.
?Alrigh' lass I will nae argue wit ye.? He snickered at this new side to Aja.
?Priss is gone.. ding dong...? Aja sing songed then giggled. ?Too bad we not land a house on her.?
?Why abuse a poor innocent house?? Anya mused.
?Wut she said...? Padriq pointed at Anya and then Aja got distracted by Neo tossing his soda can in the bin.
?Alright, time for me to go.?
?Night Neo Babes!? she called brightly throwing her arms out, bouncing on her bar stool till he came and hugged her, which he did with a grin at her antics. She kissed his cheek and smiled at him. ?Love ya, Neo Babes.? Always the fond nickname to her Neo, who she had come to love and admire.
?You too.? Neo replied with a kiss to the cheek. Then went to give his hug goodnight to Anya.
?Anya lass, I think it be time t' cut 'er off....? he pointed at Aja and her bouncing around.
?I would, but I value my life, Padriq.? She smiled then hugged Neo and kissed both cheek. Neo who no longer blushed at such affection from his friends, returned the kiss and then looked at Padriq for a moment. Padriq just grinned.
?I wud 'ug ye but tha' may be too soon fer ye.? He quipped and offered his hand. Neo nodded and shook his hand.
?Next time we can do one of those man-hugs. If you know what I'm talking about.?
?Aye, man'ug works.? Padriq grinned, Aja might have said something about it but was interrupted by Azathal who was standing behind the bar idly watching the group.
"This coming from the man who wouldn't kiss Lilli,"
?She's not his type maybe?? Aja giggled.
?She's not, really...? Neo said rubbing the back of his head as he usually did when thinking or got a bit embarrassed.
?Neo will find the perfect girl. Just give him time.? Aja sat up straight as she said that, like that made the statement more profound in her head. She sipped her drink with a happy smile.
?Exactly so. Bet he beats me to the altar.? Anya agreed.
?And he is?? Azathal quipped nodding to Padriq. That made Aja look where he nodded, and look back confused.
?He is what?? she asked confused. Neo didn?t appear as confused, he shook Azathal?s hand.
?Night Neo.? Azathal grinned at him. Padriq decided to introduce himself to Azathal then.
?Padriq Kidd... Captain o' the 'ighbringer.?
?He is what?? Aja asked again having not gotten an answer yet.
"Azathal Aleanurdrenn, Paladin of the Earth Mother Moira."
?He is what?? Aja?s demand was much louder and more intense making Padriq chuckle at her and kiss her cheek as Azathal answered her finally.
?No silly.? Aja giggled now that she knew no one was picking on her pirate. ?He be my type.?
?Your snuggle puppy, Aja.? Anya interjected teasingly. ?And my guess is Neo's type is his own business.?
"Isn't it always?" Azathal said with a smile.
?My type is... ? Neo was saying, but a tipsy Aja barreled right ahead.
?Neo's type is cute. About so tall.? she held her hand out to indicate a height. ?Peppy and pretty.?
?Bubbly. Energetic. Pretty, of course.? He said at the same time Aja was giving her description of Neo?s girl. ?Exactly!? Neo exclaimed and pointed to Aja. ?She gets me.?
?With a good sense of humor..? Aja continued seemingly unaware of what Neo said. ?So she can put up with us.?
"Aren't you already taken though, Aja?" Azathal asked with a grin making Aja wave a hand at him.
?That's my Neo Babes.? She said with a grin as if that explained everything to the man.
?She'd be able to more than put up with us. She'd be one of us.? Neo interjected.
?Yes she would.? Aja agreed with Neo smiling broadly. Neo turned for the lagoon heading for the tower of water.
After a moment, Aja slipped off her stool and started for the water.
?Where ye be goin' luv?? Padriq grabbed her, pulling her back towards him. She giggled at the sudden halt to her destination and grinned at him as he held her close.
?I was gonna walk in the water.? She grinned up at him.
?Take care, Water Brat.? Anya called after Neo as he wandered away.
?'ow about ye jus' settle fer me arms lass?? Padriq worried about a tipsy Aja, he feared something would happen to her.
?Ok I stay.? Aja gave another wave to Neo then grinned at Padriq.
?Good night, everyone!? Neo gave a final call and wave then disappeared to the water and his tower.
?Thank ye luv.? He gave a kiss to her forehead.
?I'll stay and drink.? She giggled.
?Tha' be fine...? he smirked while setting her back on her bar stool.
?You want me to drink more?? she leaned against the bar and grinned at him. ?Tryin ta take advantage of me Captain Kidd??
?Can't do that with the willing.? Anya piped in which made Aja snicker then.
?No. That is very true.?
?Nae luv... Ye know ye be the one t' take advantage o' me lass.? He couldn?t even keep a straight face on that one.
?That applies to you too.? Anya said sagely making Aja giggle and point at him.
?She got you pegged.? He smiled at Anya, giving Aja a wink.
For a moment, things were quiet. Each lost in their own thoughts.
?I still feel like I could float.? Anya mused.
Just then, the sound of bawdy singing broke the quiet and Aja looked up to see Bridget heading towards them.
?Bridget!? Aja yelled, then slid off the bar stool, making her way over to her.
?Aaaaajjjjjaaa!? Bridget yelled back chuckling at the obviously drunk Aja heading her way.
?Tell Padriq that Stephanie's a pud.? Aja said as she hugged Bridget.
?A pud be puttin' it nicely lass.? Bridget agreed making Aja turn to grin at Padriq.
? Iffin' ye say lass.? Padriq grinned. Then greeted his sister. ?n'... Midget.? The nickname made Aja looked at Bridget then at Padriq confused.
?She not be midget size.? This made Bridget blink at her.
?Ye be drunk.?
?Yes I be.?
Stas Ryan showed up then, Bridget headed to the beach and laid down. Aja made her way back to the bar stool.
?Aja luv. Ye up fer some sugar??
?Sugar?? Aja perked thinking about pixie sticks. He kissed the air and she pouted. ?Tease with the pixie stick.?
?And I bet it's bigger than that, Aja.? Anya cracked teasing Padriq then.
?I still do nae know wut Pixie sticks be.? Padriq was confused.
?I say nothing.? Aja said to Anya and pulled a stick from her bag, holding it out to Padriq. ?Pixie Stick.?
?.... Uh....? Padriq watched as she ripped it open and downed the sugar then smile at him. He merely shook his head at her and she leaned on the bar now, thoughtful.
Again she slipped off the bar stool and headed to the water. About the time Padriq was going to catch her, Azathal broke from his silence.
"I think I'm going to head out." This made Aja stop and wave, she also caught Stas?s news to Anya.
?And don't you be telling Amelia. I think she'd have my head, especially since she kind of agreed to marry me.?
?Marry? More happy news!? this seemed to distract her from whatever she had thought up.
?Your guilty secret is safe with me.? Anya said to Stas. ?Take care, Azathal. And Aja Bird, you cannot walk on water.?
?I know.. but I wanna see where Neo went.? Aja half pouted.
?Nae lass ye be gettin sugar from me.? Padriq tried distracting her.
?You are not a Keeper of Water. You will drown. Drowned Aja means unhappy me, among others.? Anya reminded Aja who nodded.
?Ok. No seeing where Neo went.? She sighed then looked around before adding. ?Gonna be awful hard to raid his dresser to see what underwear he wears though.? At that, Aja picked up her drink and took a sip as if there was nothing off about what she said. Padriq looked at her confused, blinking at the statement.
?Aja, you dirty bird.? Anya scolded making Aja look up at them confused.
?Well if we see a girl that likes Neo.. gotta make sure she likes what he wears.? Her simple explanation was given with the most innocent of expressions. She honestly thought that line of thinking made perfect sense. Padriq smirked at her, amused with his lass and the way her mind seemed to work. She jerked a thumb to Padriq then. ?He doesn?t wear any.? She pondered that for a moment. ?I think Neo probably wears underwear.?
?Well,? Anya started musing about that. ?I could always depants him.?
?Boxers, silk and black, for the record.? Stas piped up.
?Very sexy.? Aja grinned.
?Amelia thinks so.? Stas grinned. Padriq was still grinning watching Aja.
?I have black ones today.? She said kicking her foot back and forth, then looked puzzled. ?I think.? This made Padriq?s eyebrows go up some, and he tried not to laugh.
?Boxers, Aja?? Stas asked grinning, Aja was looking at Padriq.
?You watched me get dressed this morning.? She said then looked at Stas. ?No boxers. French cut.? She didn?t see a reason to include the word underwear on that since that?s what they had been talking about. She looked back at Padriq expectantly.
?All o' it be righ. Even though it wus a shame t' see ye clothed.? He gave her a wink.
?Some things I do not need to know about the Head Brat, Aja. That...? Anya trailed off with a groan. Aja realized she must have ventured into too much information land and gave a soft snicker.
?Black what?? Stas asked confused at the way Aja jumped around. But he got what Padriq watching her get dressed meant, and dug some aluminum packets from his pocket and put them on the bar by Padriq. ?French cut what? Green beans?? Aja looked at Stas like he had lost his mind when he asked that. Anya was laughing about the packets on the counter and Padriq decided to be helpful.
?Nae, it be like this.? He said to Stas and outlined her panties through Aja?s dress. Then Stas got it.
?Oh. Amelia just wears g-strings.? Then the man realized he may have said too much.
?Butt floss.? Anya said with a nose wrinkle. Padriq snickered as Aja repeated it and kissed her shoulder.
?Ahem. Yes. Uh..butt floss.? Stas said looking a little pink.
?But you like it.? Aja grinned broadly.
?Well, yeah. Have you seen my fianc???
?I have and congratulations.? Anya smiled.
?Thank you.? Stas grinned and sat back in his chair.
?Me girl be amazin.. N' stunnin...? Padriq piped up proudly gesturing to Aja who had been kicking her foot back and forth, but stopped and turned an interesting shade of pink.
"Yes she is, sir." Stas gave Aja a fond smile. "Treat her well."
?I plan t' mate. Plan t'.? Padriq caressed her arm, Aja tried to hide then as the blush got brighter. He kissed her head then.
?And wear the nillies." He nodded to the packets on the bar. "Unless Aja wants to be my next patient??
?I wonder if I should have red as one of the colors for my wedding, eventually... since one of my maids of honor looks so good in it.? Anya teased Aja seeing her blush, who glanced up at her and blushed again.
?Huh?? Padriq asked Stas not realizing the man was an obstetrician at the clinic.
?Aja doesn't have ta worry about that particular problem.? This seemed to confused Padriq further.
?Stas here is our new obstetrician on staff at Riverview, Padriq.? Anya offered helpfully.
"Nillies for your willy, sir." Stas said again nodding to the packets on the bar.
?Obsterywuty?? Padriq just looked lost, Aja smiled at him.
?Baby doctor.? Aja simply said, then corrected herself. ?Baby mama doctor rather.?
?Oh.... ? Padriq got that, but he was looking at Aja now curiously.
"Lady doctor." Stas corrected then went on talking to Anya about work things.
?I do not have to worry about seeing Stas professionally.? Aja said then took a sip of her drink staring off into space. She looked at Padriq after a moment. ?Yer quiet.?
?Jus' tryin' t' know why ye say tha' luv.?
?The baby thing?? she asked and he nodded.
?Aye.? Aja nodded a little, the thought being a slightly sobering one.
?After Mara... there was a ship we were ferrying across.. the cargo precious..? she fidgeted with the edge of her dress as she related the tale. ?We were boarded... one hell of a fight.. but I took a blade.? She took a deep breath then. ?Parker saved me.. but as for any more children..? she just shook her head slightly. Padriq wrapped his arm around her.
?Shhh... It be alrigh' lass.? He didn?t know what to say to her, she knew.
?Oh.. I'm fine.. Just.. ::shrugs:: Way of the world for us. Hence why I didn't want you to see...? she trailed off thinking of her reasons for being nervous being naked in front of Padriq that afternoon on the ship. The scars from the battles, that told tales of very close calls. ?Just .. was a long time ago.?
?I 'ave seen it lass, ye ferget tha' lass?? she nodded a bit at that, not looking at him, taking another sip of her drink. He leaned in and whispered in her ear. ?Let?s be goin ?ome lass.? Aja nodded to that and slide off the bar stool.
?Wonderful idea.? She went over to Anya and hugged her. ?Good night my sweet sister. I am very happy for you.?
?And I am happy for you, sister mine.? Anya hugged her back.
?I shall see you lovely people tomorrow.? Aja shouldered her bag. Anya waved to Padriq.
?Take care of her, Hugging Brat.? He gave her a nod, then guided Aja through the portal.
On the way home, Aja looped her arm through his, to walk straight cause on her own, it seemed impossible. He smiled at her, thinking it was good that she was having a string of good nights. She was quiet now, Padriq would learn that quiet meant thinking.
?My boys shall be talked to.. they are suppose to be watching that ship, damn it.? Apparently, Aja hadn?t forgotten when he first came onto the isle.
?Lass.? He stopped them, turning her to look at him as he held her close. ?Do nae worry about it fer now. Alrigh? Let's just be ye n' me for tonigh.? He held her to him and kissed her head.
?Fine.? Aja said, not liking to be derailed from any course of action that had her thinking. ?I'll kick their arse tomorrow.? Padriq nodded thinking that would be the end of it. He picked her up to make the journey home quicker. And it was, but Aja now could focus solely on what her brain was turning over. She nuzzled her face into his neck, breathing in his scent and loving how safe he made her feel, and the thought that it could be taken away ticked away in her head. ?Is someone after you, Padriq?? she asked quietly fearing the answer.
?I do nae know lass, but ye do nae 'ave t' worry.? He tried to reassure her as he opened the door to her house, and kicked it shut behind them. As he walked up the stairs with her, he gave a gentle pat with his fingers. ?We'll deal with it n' time.?
?Time.? She muttered softly thinking about that, the alcohol making her tired. ?Ok.? It seemed to dawn on her that they were no longer outside. She looked around recognizing her house and looking at him surprised. ?We're home?? he laid her on the bed, her bag falling then to the floor next to the bed. He caressed her cheek gently.
?Yes luv we be 'ome. It be time t' sleep alrigh?? Aja kicked her shoes off and sat up suddenly, sliding off the bed. ?Gotta take dress off.? She turned her back to him and looked over her shoulder at him. ?Unzip it please?? Padriq nodded, unzipping the dress semi slow, enjoying the simple task and running his knuckle along her spine as he did.
The silk dress floated down, Aja grabbed the strap, stepped out of the dress without wobbling and tossed it to the chair.
?Padriq..I?? she trailed off then, a moment passed as she turned to look at him. ?I?m glad yer here. With me.? He tossed his shirt to the chair and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her down to the bed with him.
?N' I be glad ye be 'ere wit me lass.? He covered them up with the blankets. She snuggled against him.
?And we'll worry about other stuff tomorrow?? she asked her voice sort of small sounding to her own ears.
?Aye lass...? Aja was going to close her eyes to that, but caught sight of moving light.
A crystal he put in the window, caught the light and made it look like stars were dancing along the walls.
?What did you do?? Aja asked indicating the little lights on wall and then looked at him curiously.
?Jus' wanted ye t' feel like ye were back on the sea n' under the stars lass.? He nestled into the bed with her and she kissed his head gently seeing how tired he was.
?You know I'm gonna read them the riot act tomorrow, right?? Aja asked not able to let go of the thoughts in her head.
?Tomorrow ye cun do wut ye wish luv. Fer now sleep.?
?Ok, luv. You sleep. I'm not going anywhere.? She held his head against her breast and stroked his hair, he pulled her tighter to him and drifted off. Aja kept stroking his hair until she was sure he was asleep then joined him.
Livid. Yeah. That was a good word for her present mood. She had told those boys to guard that ship, and drunk as she was, she distinctly remembered Padriq saying someone had messed with his ship. So intent on her current objective, she didn?t notice the way the fishermen and other occupants of the docks scurried to get out of her way when they saw her coming. Getting to the Harbinger she looked around at the crew till she saw one of her guys.
?You.? Aja pointed at her guy who just stood waiting for her as she walked up the gangplank, the other crew members completely stunned by her presence, as they knew who she was from the afternoon they took a sail. The captain?s lady and she looked pissed off at one of them. They looked at Simon curious as to what the Captain?s woman would want with him.
?Simple order, right?? she demanded, her hand on her hip and fire in her eyes. ?Watch the ship. Don?t let anyone mess with it.? She stood looking at Simon who looked like he?d rather have a rabid weasel put in his pants than be in trouble with her right now.
?Then tell me why he found something wrong?? she asked staring at him hard.
?Don?t know maam.? Simon said stiffly and she rubbed at her head.
?Damn it, Simon.? Aja cursed and she swore he cringed. ?Get the boys.? She snapped and he took off like his feet were on fire. Good lad, really, she just annoyed her that her orders weren?t followed to the letter.
It was then she noticed the lack of activity from Padriq?s men. If they didn?t do what he asked, it may put him in a foul mood, not that Aja would have much trouble finding a way to cure that, but still, him unhappy wasn?t something she wanted for a moment.
?What you be staring at? Get yer arse?s back ta work.? They moved, but she wasn?t sure why exactly. Wasn?t her crew. She wondered what sort of scuttlebutt would be passed after she left, but that would be a different problem. She just hoped none of them were dumb enough to say something negative in front of Padriq, she was fairly sure he?d lose his mind over it.
She took to pacing while waiting for Simon to return with the rest of the lads. Someone was messing with someone she had come to care a great deal for. If she was honest with herself, she was starting to more than care for.. No. Now was not the time for that thought. There would be time for mushy thoughts about the man she shared her bed with. That thought led to all the delightfully naughty things they did together and she almost smiled.
No. she mentally scolded herself. No thinking about that now.
Damn the man had her all distracted. And he wasn?t even there with her to distract her. ?Damn it, Aja.? She sighed to herself. ?What the hell happened to you? Before Padriq, you didn?t even bother to think about love, and all those little romantic gestures. You were absolute hell on two legs, and not a single one of yer boys would dare let you down. Now look at ya. Mush in front of another crew no less.? The internal scolding wasn?t helping her mood, made her twice as cranky.
When all four were back, she looked at them sternly.
?When I say look after the ship, what the hell do you think that means?? they stood at attention while she paced in front of them. ?You will inspect this ship from top to bottom. And I do mean, inspect every inch.? She stopped in front of one of the boys who seemed to be holding his breath now. ?You will make sure it is in perfect shape. Or I swear I will drop ya from the crow?s nest with piano wire around yer family jewels!? that made some of the men behind her cringe, she could hear it. ?Do I make myself perfectly clear now??
?Yes, Ma?am.? They yelled in unison.
?Get ta work.? she snapped and they moved. She?d give them bonuses later, right now there was something more pressing.
Protecting Padriq from who or whatever looked to harm him. She turned on her heel and walked back towards the gangplank, noticing Padriq?s men scattering out of her way. Great. She thought. They all think I?m the witch from hell. Well? there were worse things.
They walked home from the inn at brisk pace. She smiled over at him.
?This fast enough fer ya??
?Nae.? He grinned just a second before swooping in and tossing her over his shoulder, sprinting the distance to home. She laughed at this as she hung on to him.
?Padriq! Yer gonna hurt yerself!? she called, but he didn?t seem to heed that, he was still running as fast as he could and snickering.
?Lass I will be fine.?
?Padriq Kidd! Put me down you lunatic!?
He wouldn't put her down. He rushed into the door of the home, up the stairs and then into their room. Shutting the door behind him he grinned and tossed her on the bed before jumping in after her.
Aja bounced slightly, laughing, then squealed as she is pounced on.
?My god, what's gotten into you tonight?? she looked up at him with a wide smile, not minding the new behavior just wondering what he was thinking right now. He kissed her for a moment, then pulled back enough to whisper.
?Luv I had a epiphany.? He announced quietly.
?An epiphany, eh?? she was looking at him curiously with a smile. ?Care to share this new thinking with me, or are you just going to ravage me first?? that made him grin.
?I luv ye lass, ye captured me from 'ello. I wus crazy about ye, n' crazy jealous.? Another kiss granted to her lips. ?I 'ave nae ever felt this way.?
?Crazy jealous?? That one caught her attention, Why would he have been jealous? The question pings around in her head, then she leaned up on her elbows to get a better look at him in the dim lighting from the bathroom hall. She ponders what he is saying. ?Surely, ya have at some point. I mean.. Ya married Jamie.? He gave her a smile at her question.
?I luved Jamie. Do nae get me wron'. But I feel like I 'ave been waitin' fer ye.? He was simple in his explanation, which just took her by surprise.
Her mouth opened to say something, but nothing came out. She closed it again. ?Think, damn it.? She scolded herself. The man was distracting, she looked at him helplessly still unable to say a word. She pushed him to his back and slipped away before he could reach out to grab her. She stood at the end of the bed, leaning on one of the posts, looking at him.
?Yer telling me that ....? she rubbed at her head cause it refused to focus. ?Yer saying that you... Damn it, I can't think when I'm around you.? She looked at him helplessly. ?I can't think.. I can barely breathe, Padriq.. you're the guy a girl like me doesn't get to have.? She kicked the bed post irritated with herself. ?And I just keep waiting for you to say it was all a mistake.. Then tonight... you say that...and I want..? again she trailed off, unable to keep that thought coherent. She sank down to the end of the bed slowly, fidgeting with her hands.
He shifted up after listening to her. His hand moved to touch her back softly.
?Luv... Ye 'ave me. N' nae a force in this world will take me away from ye? he gave her a fond smile. ?Ye be amazin' lass. I could nae be 'appier. Wut ever ye wan' I will go t' the ends o' the Earth t' get ye, jus' t' see ye smile.?
Aja looked over at him, silent for a long moment. Did he not know how he made her feel? Had she not told him what he meant?
?You have no idea, Padriq. How happy I have been lately since you came into my life. Since that day you walked into the inn. And I teased you about being like yer brothers.. Since I saw you the night Bridget was hurt.. since that kiss on the isle... and I knew I shouldn't even be thinking it cause Nikki was here.. but I couldn't have stopped it.? There had to be more eloquent people in the world, Aja just wasn?t one of them right now. ?You're like a summer squall... came up outta nowhere. I wasn't ready. I had no defense against you.? She sighed then. ?I still don't.? She stared at the floor feeling like she wasn?t making a whole lot of sense. She probably wasn?t. ?I've never known anyone like you. Even with the mistakes ya made along the way.. you still showed great loyalty to yer family.. that is the quality I admire most about you.?
He caressed her back and then ran his fingers through her hair as she spoke. He smiled softly at her words.
?N' tha' loyalty be yers now.? She looked back at him and nodded a little.
?That moment.. that space of a heartbeat..? she touched back to Isle when she told him there would be a moment where she knew. ?I've been fighting cause I feared the crash.? She reached out then, touching his face, gently. ?But you're making that fight so much harder.? He leaned into her touch and kissed her palm.
?Lass iffin ye crashed... I'd be there t' catch ye.? Her eyes closed at that kiss, she listened to what he said and decided to lay out another fear.
?I would be devastated if you left, Padriq. Yer in my head. All day. Every other moment. I can't even yell at my guys without somehow you popping into my head.?
?Ye are a constan' though' in me 'ead Aja.. N' I nae ever wan' ye t' leave me mind fer a moment.? He answered back immediately as he wrapped his arms about her waist and rested his chin on her shoulder. And at that, she knew she was lost. He had her, the smallest gesture broke the will to fight anymore.
?You break my heart and I'll hunt you down.? Again she touched his face. ?I swear I will. Cause I just can't fight you anymore.? She moved slowly so he didn't fall, and turned to stand looking at him. ?I can't.. and I don't want to.. Tonight.. ya won.?
Padriq shifted and slid to the edge of the bed. He pulled her in and kisses her stomach before resting his head there.
?I wan' ye t' be able t' say so freely. Nae let me win lass. Jus' luv me.?
She stroked his hair and kissed the top of his head.
?I don't have a choice in that matter, Padriq.? Then added quietly. ?I do love you.?
That made him look up at her and whisper softly.
?Truly?? it was like he feared the answer. ?Or are ye jus' sayin' tha' cus ye feel forced t'??
?I do love you. It's getting stronger.. and I find myself really quite lost. Don't know what to do, or how to behave. No one has ever .. there's never been anyone like you.. not in my world.? Padriq stood up, brushing her hair back from her face, kissing her for a long minute before pulling back to smile at her.
?Ye 'ad me luv. I wus jus' t' stupid t' 'ear me 'eart's call.? He looked in her eyes. ?But ye 'ave me now luv. I be yers. Nae one elses.?
She gave a soft smile up at him when he said it.
?Yer in love with a complete dork, by the way.? She laughed softly. ?I haven't a clue how to be romantic.? Aja leaned against his chest. ?I feel like I'm going to say the wrong things.?
He smiled to her, his fingers tracing over her cheek.
?Ye may be a dork, but ye be me dork... N' I've tha' covered lass. I be willin' t' be the romantic one fer us.? Aja could only laugh at that.
?I could very well burst right now.? She looked up at him. ?So much happy news coming in. And.? She pressed her lips together for a moment. ?Finally admitting to you that..? she took a deep breath and stood straight up, holding his eyes bravely. ?I love you.? A small pause then. ?It's a lot to take in.?
He kissed her lips and smirked.
?I promise I will nae propose tomorrow lass.? At those words, Aja let out a sigh of relief.
?Oh thank god. Cause that might just kill me.?
He laughed to that and swooped her up. He spun her about for a moment before laying her down on the bed.
? Jus' one more thin' lass?? she looked up at him, holding her breath for just a moment.
?What one more thing?? he leaned down, laying tender kisses along her neck.
?Jus' say it one more time lass.? Came the soft request making her give a slow exhale and a soft smile.
?I love you, Padriq Donald Kidd.? For a moment, she closed her eyes and smiled to herself before turning her head to looking at him. ?Happy now??
?N' I luv ye Aja DaMaris Bird. Captain o' the Breeze n' keeper o' me 'eart.? Padriq?s whisper made her heart flutter, a soft laugh was swallowed up by his heated kiss swept her away again as his fingers trailed through her hair.
She swore that if he wasn't laying on top of her, she could've floated away right then. The giddy heady feeling of hearing him say it and having returned the sentiment. She was most amazed that the world hadn't crashed down in flames just yet. Her arms wrapped around him, returning that kiss with just as much emotion as she could put into it.
~Lessons In Love~
Aja was practically skipping down the stairs. Not that it was a new thing for Aja to be doing it, just lately, she?d been practically floating on a cloud. All the happy news her friends had combined with all the things Padriq did, she swore she might actually be able to fly. As she jumped the last two stairs, she felt the plasma pistols at her hips move and grinned again. Her gifts from Padriq. And the gun belt that he got for her, held them nicely.
She still treasured her BCU plasma gun, but for now, she was going to carry the guns Padriq had given her. The ones that had ?Captain Bird? engraved on them. She gave a hop skip and went into the kitchen, finding Maria and Mara. Maria was baking as she usually did on Sundays, and it seemed she was teaching Mara, the things Aja never took an interest in.
She took a moment to view the scene, Maria showing Mara how to mix, measure and all the things that went with baking. Mara was listening intently with an eager smile on her face.
?Good morning!? Aja called out happily and grabbed the coffee pot and filled the mug Maria always left for her. ?How is my favorite daughter and my favorite warden doing this morning?? she teased Maria and scooted for the other side of the counter.
?I am not your warden, young lady.?
?And I?m your only daughter.? Mara piped in.
?Details, my love.. Details.? Aja smiled at Mara giving her a wink. Then smiled at Maria. ?And you keep me outta trouble, make sure I eat and other various things. You have some other name in mind?? a bright grin doused in a coffee cup as she settled on a chair at the island watching them roll dough on the counter. ?Sounds like she?s a mother.? Mara piped up and Aja caught Maria?s eyes who was now looking at her with a soft smile.
?She?s the closest thing I have to that, love.? Aja said softly making Maria blink rapidly and turn for the sink to putter with something.
Mara looked up and between the two ladies for a moment, not knowing what had just transpired.
?Mama?? Mara started slowly, and Aja knew a question of some delicate nature was coming. She knew her daughters look.
?Ask.? Aja said setting down the cup and giving her full attention to Mara, who was now fidgeting with a towel. The girl hadn?t been lucky enough to escape all her mother?s little habits.
?You can call him dad, love. That fact hasn?t changed.?
?Ok.? She nodded a bit at that. ?Since dad is gone..you seem ..happier.?
Mara?s question about made Aja?s heart stop for a second. She knew the kids were disappointed by Nikki?s departure, but she thought they had dealt with that.
?Mara..? Aja started having not considered what her recent happiness would look like to anyone else. ?It?s a very long and complicated story with your dad and I.? Aja herself was now toying with something on the counter, a kitchen utensil that she didn?t know the name of. ?For thirty years, he?s been in and out of my life. We fought side by side in some of the fiercest battles, we?ve traveled together, seen things.. been friends and more.?
?But you didn?t love him??
?Gods, Mara.. Don?t ever think that.? Aja stopped her fidgeting to look at Mara, was it possible that this new version of herself made people believe she didn?t care for him? ?I did love him. Part of me still does and always will.?
?You just seem so much happier since you met this new guy.?
?Padriq is a special man, indeed.? Aja nodded with a smile. ?I?ve never met anyone like him.?
?Special indeed.? Maria muttered slightly, making Aja laugh.
?Now I know you?re quite used to no one being here after I leave, but it may be wise to knock first, Maria.? Aja leaned back in the chair and kicked her feet up on the chair next to her with a bright smile. Maria sent the dish rag to hit her boot smiling at her.
?Maybe you tell your gentleman to wear something to bed.? Aja glanced at Mara who was blushing and shook her head at that.
?Nope. I find that I rather like when he doesn?t.? Maria scoffed and Aja sipped her coffee watching Mara. ?Why are you blushing? Unless you were in my room too, but he would?ve mentioned that.?
?No!? she looked horrified making Aja laugh again. She set her cup down and propped her foot up, leaning on her knee a little as she looked at her daughter for a long moment.
?I know we?ve had a few talks about sex..well,? Aja paused grinning. ?Me talking.. you blushing like mad and looking for somewhere to hide.?
?Mother.? Mara exclaimed turning a brighter shade of pink.
?And there?s the tone.? She laughed. ?Listen.. ? she waited for Mara to look at her. ?Yer getting older, and yer beautiful.?
?You have to say that cause yer my mom.? Mara protested.
?I don?t have to, and I see the boys looking at you.? Aja sighed a little. Trevor was a little easier in this department. The conversation was blessedly taken over by Parker, but this, was on her. She saw Maria looking at her curiously and gave a shrug. ?Like I know what to tell her here.?
?Aja DaMaris..? Maria?s tone was motherly like always. ?You know more than enough having been out there on the sea most of your life. You can give her all the tricks you use to get yourself out of the situations I know you have found yourself in.? Maria knew of a few, and only a few. The woman would?ve had a heart attack if she knew the rest.
?True.? Aja nodded. ?But there?s more to this whole love bit than the sex.. and I still don?t have that figured out.?
?And what of Padriq?? Maria asked as she worked on things.
?He?s ?romantic and grand. He?s overwhelming. All encompassing. I can?t go through a day anymore without the man in my head.? Aja rubbed at her head, something she did when thinking and couldn?t pace. ?I always feel so lost for words when he tells me I?m beautiful and stunning and the eighty other things he says that make my insides go all butterfly and weird.? Aja sighed and laughed. ?If I can?t figure that out, how am I suppose to tell her how to??
?Sounds like the man is quite in love with you.? Maria said, Mara was listening in, interested in learning about the way her mother thought about things.
Most of Mara?s life, Aja was alone. She seemed to go along fine without a man in her life. Well, romantically speaking anyway, she always had a whole crew of men around, that did whatever she said. But Mara would watch people in the ports they went to, walking along hand in hand, snuggling on a bench, kissing along the pier and she often wondered why her mother didn?t seek out a companion like other women seemed to.
?Says he is.? Aja said spinning her cup around slowly.
?Aja. I?ve seen the bedroom floor.? Maria said making Aja giggle a little.
?What about the bedroom floor?? Mara asked not making a habit of checking her mother?s bedroom.
?No man goes through the trouble of sprinkling rose petals everywhere without being in love with the woman he?s doing it for.?
?Rose petals?? Mara looked between the two, then raced out of the kitchen to run upstairs. This she had to see.
She paused at her mother?s door, she didn?t come in here very often, cause her mother rarely spent any great amount of time in her bedroom, not unless she was sick and Maria made her stay there.
Mara opened the slowly. Maria was right. There were red rose petals all over the floor, the bed and the night stand. Also small dishes of cherries and strawberries. Candles that had burned down in the crystal holders that usually sat empty there. A piece of paper caught Mara?s attention, and she slowly walked into her mother?s room and picked it up.
Sinking down to the edge of the bed, she unfolded it and read the words written aloud.
?For Aja Bird, keeper of my heart. May she who hold it also protect it as I will protect the keeper.? Mara smiled softly at that.
She knew her mother had new pistols, she?d seen them when her mother came down, she had to imagine that this was the note that came with them. It was a sweet note, that she gave a soft chuckle at as she folded it back and set it back on the nightstand.
?I had a similar reaction.? Aja said from the doorway, Mara looked up and smiled.
?It is at that.? Aja nodded and walked into the room, she sat on the bed by her daughter and put an arm around her, pulling her in a hug. ?I know I?m suppose to know everything for you.? She sighed. ?But kiddo, this one..? she motioned to the floor slightly. ?I am just getting a handle on. I haven?t a clue to tell you how to proceed in a similar situation.?
?I think Maria?s right.. I think he really loves you.?
?I think he does.? Aja nodded. ?Time will tell, I suppose.?
?How do you feel about him?? her voice was quiet, not sure is she was allowed to ask such questions of her mother. Aja merely smiled softly at that.
?I love him kid.? She said dropping a kiss on Mara?s head. ?I am?? Aja searched for a word. ?Absolute crazy about that man.? Mara smiled at her mother?s bright smile. ?He?s always doing something, or saying something that knocks me completely off balance.?
?And that?s ok?? Mara asked trying to figure out things as her mother spoke. Aja looked over at the question and nodded slowly.
?Yeah. I think it might just be ok.? She hadn?t stopped smiling since she started talking about the man.
Even when her dad had been there, Mara never saw her mom looking so happy and she took a chance at saying so.
?When dad was here, you never smiled this way.?
?Yer dad and I?? Aja sighed a little. ?Just a lot of history which might have been the only thing that ever held us together.? Aja ran her hand over Mara?s head. ?Back when we started, I think I believed I loved him simply mistaking the respect as something more. I?ll never know really. I do not want you thinking that we hate each other. We don?t, honey. I?ll always hold a place in my heart for him. But we just..?
?Can?t live in each other?s worlds.? Mara quoted her father.
?Yeah. That.? Aja gave a soft smile. ?It?s what he said, huh?? Aja knew they had a long talk before he left the house completely. She would never ask the kids what was said, that was for them. But she had been curious.
?Yes. He said he loved you but that where you were happiest was here. And he couldn?t stay.? Mara gave a small smile.
?Very true.? Mara watched her mom nod a bit and smile to the floor for a moment. ?He taught me a lot.. I?ll always be grateful for that.?
?But you?re happier now?? Mara asked curiously.
?Yeah.. in between the moments of being completely lost, and being somewhat terrified at him breaking my heart. I feel like I could absolutely fly. It?s crazy and heart thumping and thrilling. All those things that I never knew before Padriq came along.?
?Think I?ll find that??
?I think?. that if the guy in your life doesn?t make your heart flutter in the slightest bit, then you shouldn?t waste your time on him.? Aja smiled at that. ?And for that lesson, I have to thank him.?
?He?d like to meet ya, kiddo.?
?You mentioned dinner?? Mara asked hopefully.
?I did. He looks forward to it.? Aja leaned over and kissed Mara?s head gently. ?So do I. You and Trevor are the most important people in my life, Mara. I would very much like it if you met him.?
?And liked him?? Mara asked curiously.
?That is up to you.? Aja brushed a stray stand of hair behind Mara?s ear gently. ?I?ll never tell you how to feel about things.?
?You never have.? Mara laughed.
?You have a mind of your own, you can make that up how you need to. I?ll only ever nudge you to the right choices.? Aja gave her a smile and Mara hugged her.
?Love you, mom.? ?Love you too, kid.? She kissed Mara?s head.
?Love ya around the universe and back.?
?That?s a lot.?
?Yes it is.? Aja agreed then noticed Mara looking around the room curiously. ?Something wrong??
?No.. just thinking this will take a while to clean up.?
?Ah..? Aja laughed. ?I suspect that I will do a lot of it. So Maria doesn?t have to.? Aja patted Mara?s shoulder. ?Go grab my coffee for me, and get back to the baking lesson. I have things to do.?
?Ok.? Mara laughed and left the room.
Aja sat for a long moment, she spied a ribbon on the floor and smiled a secret smile about it as she bent down to retrieve it from the floor. The man might keep her off balance, but she found she was very much liking the journey.
~Ways To Scare A Gypsy Pirate~
They walked up to the front door to the house silently. Aja glanced over her shoulder at him as she opened the door. He had never answered her on the wager if they raced their two ships against one another on the sailing trip.
?So.. about that wager, Captain Kidd??
?Nae luv, we take one ship n' spend time together as a family. It wud be nae fun iffin we wen' on two ships.? She heard him say ?as a family? and her heart skipped a little. But that thought would simmer later, for now. She was looking forward to spending time alone with him. He had told her he had another surprise for her, and she had to admit that the little surprises were fun.
?Yer right. I know you are.? They walked into the house which was silent. She looked around for signs of life but saw none, not even the cat. ?Everyone's asleep I think.?
?I wonder iffin Mara found 'er gift yet.? He mused about the locket that he left in her bedroom and that made Aja smile again.
?Yer a good man. I'm sure if she did, you'll find a note or perhaps be hugged upon sight.? That image made her smile softly. ?Like mother, like daughter.
?Best be gettin' t' me 'ug then... I still need one from ye fer wut be waitin.? He nodded to the stairs, that Aja started walking up backwards.
?Getting *so* demanding, Captain.? She smiled brightly at him. ?Impatient to see if yer latest trick will make my heart stop??
?I do nae know luv... It may...? he gave a smirk but it didn?t quite reach his eyes. In her nervousness of what he had planned, she missed it. As she got up the stairs, she eyed her bedroom door warily.
?Nothing?s going to jump out at me, right?
?Nae luv...? he said with a grin as he watched her reach the door. She gave a small chuckle and slowly opened the door to see what tonight?s surprise was all about.
There was nothing there, all was well. He looked to her and turned her around.
?Aja luv, sit down please...? Padriq asked her, and Aja looked at him curiously as she sank to the edge of the bed slowly just watching him. Padriq did the unthinkable, he slid down on one knee before her and kissed her hands. Slowly he places a box upon her knee. ?It nae but wut ye be thinkin, but it be jus' as important t' me luv.?
Aja took slow deep breathes trying desperately to not freak out, she relaxed when he said it wasn?t what she was thinking, cause of the previous heart attack he had about given her at the Marketplace that day. She reached down taking the box, and slowly opening it.
Inside was none other than an engagement ring. He was going to make this effort as calm as possible.
?I know we nae 'ave known each other fer very long luv... I know tha' more than anyone... ::He shifted, his eyes turning up to look at her.:: But I give ye tha' as a promise.... I luv ye, n' some day, yer gonna get this question again, but properly. I will nae ask ye t' marry me 'ere n' today, but I be promisin' ye wit tha' rin'... ::Motions to the sapphire ring with diamonds around it.:: Tha' I will ask ye, because I do nae wan no one else but ye fer the rest o' me life. Good n' bad... I'll take it all fer ye Aja, I know it.?
It takes a moment, but Aja?s body remembers it needs air and she inhales staring at the ring for a long moment before managing to look at him.
?I... you...? Aja slowly stood, the ring box still clutched in one hand and she moves to pace at the end of the bed. She stopped once in a while to look at him, the ring and then paces again. The thoughts in her head whirling by too fast to make any sense out of them.
He would watch her. His eyes settled on her as he scratched at his scruff. He would listen to her words and nod softly. Padriq was very much afraid he had done something wrong, but he was only following his heart.
When she comes to a stop, she looked at him and as calmly as she could said.
?You have to *stop* scaring the hell out of me, Padriq.?
?Aye luv.? He nodded at that looking at her, she was so wrapped up in her panic, she couldn?t decipher the look. Putting a hand to her chest, she sank to the end of the bed.
?Gods... I don't know what to say to this Padriq.? She tried coming up with something to say that wouldn?t make her sound completely off her rocker, but came up blank. ?I .. it's all a mess in here on a good day.. this is ... this is... panic attack inducing... cause I do not deserve it.?
He rose up and sat next to her. His arm folded around her and he pulled her in as he whispered.
?Lass, ye deserve everythin' the world cud give ye... Ye know tha' luv. I wan' t' give ye everythin' I cun... I will give ye everythin'.? She heard those words and sighed a little, the man was so sweet and so good to her. He needed to know why she was flipping out where some other girl might be thrilled beyond belief.
?I'm terrified, Padriq.. simply terrified.? She took a few shaky deep breathes to calm herself, then tried to explain herself to the man she had come to love very much. ?I married Tristan.. and he died... little over a year later.? Another deep breath remembering how it had knocked her back when she learned of Tristan?s death. ?And I swore I was done.. with marriage..? she looked at him and continued her explanation which she was sure she was blowing. ?But then Huma.. and it was all fine.. but then his jealousy and possessiveness.... I couldn't take it.. and again.. I swore I was done with it...? She looked at him, the fear and heartbreak seen clearly in the amber. ?I am a mess from top to bottom. You deserve so much. And I..? she couldn?t keep the tears from escaping then, to hide she turned her head. ?I don't ever want you to regret being with me.?
He spoke softly, as his hand moving to cup her chin and turn her to face him.
?I cun nae promiss ye tha' there nae be days tha' I will nae wan' t' be angry at ye.? He wiped away the tears from her cheeks with a gentle hand as he spoke. ?There may be days tha' I may be so mad tha' I will nae want t' talk t' ye fer a bit, but luv...? he kissed her forehead, picking up her hand and placing it to his chest. ?I luv ye... Luv ye so damn much I sometimes cun nae breathe. Yer stuck wit me Captain Bird. Fer as lon' as ye'll 'ave me.?
Aja simply stared at him for a long moment, thinking about what he said. All of it spinning around in her head and then her mind clicked on one he said near the beginning that got buried by the panic of the implications of that ring. She looked at him cautiously.
?Yer not asking me now?? he shook his head.
?Unless ye wan' me t'...? He whispered as he caressed her cheek, before leaning forward and kissed at her nose softly.
he would notice her visibly relaxing at that. She took a slow steady breath, then looked at him.
?I can put that in the jewelry box for now? Take some time. To think about it?? He nodded to her softly and murmured.
?As ye wish luv.?
Aja let a slow smile grace her lips then and she reached out, touching his face gently, wanting him to know that these were her fears and not him.
?It's just ... all so fast..? she smiled at him. ?You make me feel so off balance. Like the world never quite settles before spin me around again. And I love that about you, but it also scares me.? He looked at her, letting her say what she needed to. ?I have no doubt in my head that you mean every word of it... now.? She thought of things that may drive the man crazy when dealing with her. ?But what about after we spend two weeks at sea together? What about when I get so into my work that you have to drag me away from it just to sleep?? She grinned then, not being able to resist tossing one reason that she might have. ?What if I don't wanna listen to you snore?? she was teasing him, trying to put them back on normal terms, settle the world again.
He snickers softly at the last one, and managed to murmur to her softly.
?Luv, two weeks wit ye be the test... The test, then there be ye bein' so involved in yer work, I luv tha' idea, draggin ye away t' jus 'ave ye sleep...? his grin got broader then as he continued. ?I cun nae 'elp it iffin I wus snorin' las' nigh' ye wore me ou'. ? she laughed at that and leaned into him, hugging him tightly. She took advantage of him not being able to see her just then, to take a quick glance at that ring again, giving it a tiny smile, before she closed her eyes and buried her face into his neck.
?I love you, Padriq. I swear that.? She whispered loud enough for him to hear then smiled about her crazy behavior and thought about their upcoming sail. ?Promise you won't throw me overboard if I drive you nuts at sea??
?Iffin I threw ye over board I'd come get ye on the way 'ome...? he too was grinning, then he kissed her head with a soft laugh, she was sure he thought her completely nutty. His voice was gentle when he spoke again. ?I luv ye too Aja. I swear it on me name as a Kidd. Whatever weight tha' 'olds t' ye.?
?It holds a lot.? She smiled at him. ?Yer a rowdy bunch, but hearts of gold. Every last one of ya, even the pud.? She snickered at her favorite new nickname for Robert, then hoped he understood how much she truly did treasure him. Cause she did, he was amazing to her, but his intensity outdid her own, especially in love. ?This is one of those times.. that you're just gonna have to let me breathe for a moment. And hopefully when you really do ask me, I'll be able to answer you without losing my damn mind.?
He laughs softly to those words and kisses her forehead. If they had hearts of gold, Aja had a diamond for a heart. Priceless and unbreakable. He brought his fingers through her hair and murmured.
?But ye be so cute when ye loose yer mind, lass.? She gave an unladylike snort at that.
?Cute like hull scum.? She grinned at him. ?I'm nutty and Poseidon help you, cause I am so in love with you.?
?Poseidon blessed me when 'e let me meet ye, lass.? He whispered, his eyes locked on hers. ?N' ye will nae believe it... But when I kissed ye tha' day I wanted t' tell ye jus' 'ow much I luved ye.? That made the world spin again. The damn man always threw her for loops. She blinked at that completely flabbergasted by the confession.
?How? How could you know that?? she looked simply perplexed and amazed. ?I mean.. I knew it the moment I met you that you were different, but the rest of what you were snuck up on me, overwhelmed me.?
?Cus I knew then n' there that nae matter 'ow lon' it took... I wud, someday, be able t' at least be close t' ye fer one small moment like I be now.?
?I ..wow..? she kissed him gently with nothing else to say, she needed a moment to think. ?I wish I had that.. but you completely blindsided me, Kidd. Never saw you coming, and never stood a chance.? She was dead serious about that. She had always found Padriq interesting, but had never considered it would ever go here. ?Yer a hard man to resist.? That made him grin softly as he squeezed her a little.
?Ye be a 'ard woman t' resist t' Bird.? She could hear the smile in his voice, that smile she loved so much. ?From the moment I laid eyes on ye it was 'ard nae t' wonder wut kind of woman ye wud be.? That made her laugh and she again tried to balance the world out with her usual style of joking.
?If you guessed insane, you win the cookie.?
?I did, but it only made me wan' ye even more. lass.? He kissed her forehead then.
?I'll give ya this.. yer a persistent one.? She gave him a bright smile. ?Kept chippin away till ya got me.?
?N' ye 'ave nade idea wut ye mean t' me lass. Ye were worth waitin' fer n' more. Much more.? Another kiss to her head was given and she again found the world spinning on her. Several expressions crossed her face in rapid succession and she shook her head quickly giving him a smile.
?I don't know if I'll ever get used to you saying things like that.? She took his hands in hers then. ?But I'd like to find out. Ya know,? she gave a one shoulder shrug with a head tilt. ?If you think you can put up with that long.?
?I wud too lass. I wud too.?
They stayed close together for a long moment before Aja felt the need to get up and move around.
?So, where we planning to sail to, Captain Kidd?? She snapped the ring box closed, as if it was judgment on the conversation, and it was deemed put on hold without prejudice. She gave a soft smile while getting up, crossing to the night stand to open the music box, the tune filling the room as she places the ring inside with a secret little smile.
Padriq watched her as he lay back on the bed and gave a smirk to the question she asked.
?I 'ave nae thought tha' far.? He said making her give a small nod as she gently closed the lid on the music box, making her brain focus on the upcoming trip.
?Ok.? She turned slowly to look at him with a smile. ?Mara's gonna be thrilled. She loves sailin as much as her mother. Yer gonna be a flippin hero in her book.:
?N' in yer book lass?? He wanted to make right by the kids. As any man should. When a woman had children, the children were a part of her. If they didn't like him, he could consider himself nixed. But he still loved kids. Wanted some of his own someday, but he was enjoying Aja's all the same. A little girl to spoil and a boy to go fishin with. It worked for him. He watched her settle on the edge of the bed, and start taking off her boot.
?In my book? I already think yer an amazing man.? She tossed the boots by the chair, and rose up going to the french doors leading to the patio, opening them, letting ocean air drift into the room. ?And aside from scaring Maria, even she believes yer a good man.? She turned chuckling a little. ?Although, she suggested you wearing boxers to bed.? She gave him a grin. ?Told her I rather like you sleeping naked.?
?I rather like meself sleepin' naked too luv.? They were getting ready for bed, their easy banter running along like always. It was comforting and fun for her.
?I like the way you feel next to me. Since we've started sleeping together, I rather like being naked right beside you.? She continued undressing, and thought of being a sea with the kids could be like. ?Something we probably shouldn't do on the ship, however.? He glanced over his shoulder at her then.
?Aye, wit the kids aroun'... I understand luv.?
?And if someone is foolish enough to try to board us.? She said slipping into bed, looking at him. ?But as much as I like full frontal Kidd, I doubt my children would be as thrilled.? He laughed out loud at that and shook his head for a moment.
?Ye know ye luv the way I be lass. Do nae denie tha' ye nae 'ave 'ad the thought of me naked while ye be on yer ship.? She laughed at that and went along with the playful teasing.
?Ya got me. Ok. I admit it. I have thought about you naked. Before I actually got to see it.? He did an arm flex for her making her reach out for him. ?I have to say, that I like the reality so much better than the fantasy.?
?N' I did ye as well luv.? He said stepping out her reach making her give him a mock pout.
?Mean.? She couldn?t hold in the grin and laid on her side, propping her head up with her hand. ?I love watching you.? She said softly. He got into bed with her, smiling about that.
?I luv feelin yer eyes on me luv.?
?Yeah? Good. Cause I have a tiny confession.? She gave a soft smile then, making him raise a brow at her, tilting his head slightly.
?Sometimes... when I wake up at night, I lay here and watch you sleep. You look so peaceful.?
?Why wud I nae be at peace unless ye be by me side luv.?
?I don't know... just most of the time ya got that grin on yer face like yer about ta tell a really good joke.? She kissed his chest then. ?Which is great and I love it. Sometimes, I just like to look at you, think about stuff.. when yer sleeping, I don't feel so ...silly for doing it.?
?I luv t' look at ye as much as I cun luv.? His hands were playing with her hair, something she loved dearly. ?Ye always look so wonderful luv.? She thanked the gods for the dim lighting in the room, cause she blushed then, but she was pretty sure he could feel the heat coming off her cheeks. She snuggled up to him.
?I don't know if I'll ever get used to you saying those things.? He laughed softly, tracing her cheek tenderly, drawing in a breath looking out at the sky.
?Lass ye keep tellin' me tha'... N' guess wut... Tha' be fine by me.?
More banter followed till they had run out of words. They didn?t make love, instead, Padriq found a new way of showing her how much he loved her. Aja found herself being overwhelmed in her own body by the feelings he stirred up with a simple touch of his hand. His kisses as good as brand. He wove a special kind of magic, she thought, every night that passed made it hard for her to imagine any without him there with her.
~Family Matters In A Freak Out~ Part one
For Aja, it was a night of hanging with her pals. Those fun times where they did something completely nutty just for the hell of it. Tonight?s shenanigans included hanging out at the inn, still wearing their togas from Guill?s party, and a shirtless Neo with Anya and Aja making quite a show of Neo being sexy.
Aja wondered if Neo would ever go back to normal color, cause the man was blushing so much, but he seemed to be handling things better a fact in which was proven with both Darcy and Bridget laid kisses on him.
Aja was having fun, but wondered what Bridget made of the whole thing. She put an arm around Bridget as she sat at the bar and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
?It's all in fun, luv. I'm crazy about Padriq.? Bridget glanced at Aja then and nodded.
?N' 'e be crazy about ye lass. Do nae 'urt 'im or I will kill ye.? Aja knew Bridget was quite serious about that, she left Neo?s side to give her full attention to Bridget then.
?I'd rather be keel hauled than hurt him, Bridge. I love him.? She hoped Bridget knew that above all else. Bridget looked at her then, giving a simple nod.
?Good then lass, ye will be apart o' the family in nae time. Now if Robby would just do the same for Hina we'd be a growin' family.?
Oh dear heaven, no one had told Bridget about Robert?s proposal. Aja tilted her head at that. But there was no way she was telling tales that weren?t hers to tell. Well, not this one anyway. She decided to switch to something else that was on her mind.
?Padriq's told me that ya knocked the crap outta him last night.? She gave Bridget a grin and then noticed Neo looking at her, she slid back over to Neo?s side, continuing the game they had going while Bridget seemed to think about that.
?Aye. I wooped the crap outta 'im fer bein' a git.? Bridget proudly proclaimed with made Aja laugh just a bit.
?Ya wanna watch the pops ta the mouth next time, luv?? she grinned at Bridget then. ?Was hell kissin the man with his lip cut up.? Bridget just blinked at that, then shifted on her chair.
?Nae lass... I wan' t' make 'im learn nae t' be a git.? It was a simple statement and Aja knew as his sister, she was going to have a different opinion of things, but she gave it a whirl anyway.
?He's not a git.. just..? she gave a slight shake of the head. ?Impulsive.. more than me, if that's possible.?
?'e sees wut he wants and does wut it takes t' get it.? Bridget nodded like that was everything there, and maybe it was.
?Maybe.. he's just a bit to adjust to for me.? Aja gave a shrug, trying not to let what Bridget was saying bother her.
?'e be a Kidd, there nae be adjustin' with tha.? Bridget said simply, taking a drink of her rum, that statement not calming Aja?s sense of being overwhelmed again, she kept a hand on Neo, her friend being near was keeping her somewhat calm but it was a loose calm.
?I love him, gods, Bridget, I swear that. But a whirlwind.?
?N' I be a Banshee..? Bridget?s blunt statement made it seem that she either didn?t understand what Aja was saying or that she didn?t care, and that was nudging Aja closer to the edge of thinly held control.
?Yeah... The whole family seems to be full tilt.?
?Aye.? Was Bridget?s simple answer, Aja turned in and snuggled into Neo?s shoulder, thinking, and trying to hold on to her senses. Bridget had reintroduced the heart stopping panic about Padriq and his full speed ahead mentality. Seems that it was a family trait, and maybe not so easily undone. And then, like her brother, Bridget went about sending Aja?s world into a spin.
?Paddy got some info on Jamie's grave 'e be lookin' over. He sends 'is luv by the by.? It was nonchalant, like something she just remembered, but Aja looked back at Bridget nodding a bit knowing how serious that was to him.
?Good. Maybe if he knows what happened.. he'll feel better.? She didn?t like him to worry.
?Nae, tha' nae be wut I 'eard.? Bridget moved on her chair again, making a face. Pirate speak was maddening sometimes to Aja, who was used to it, but once in a while, she just wanted the facts.
?Not be what you heard, what, Bridget?? Aja prompted wondering if Padriq was alright, if she needed to leave the bar and go to him.
?They tried t' return 'er t' the sea... Lass... She nae be wut she seemed.? The mysterious they wasn?t the concerning part of the story, it was the returning her to the sea part. Bridget tapped the bar. ?She 'ad a voice the men would cry luv fer, a son' tha' made men's 'earts turn t' only 'er... Do ye nae see?? word by word, Aja?s view of Jamie, the ill wife that left Padriq a widower wasn?t so pure anymore. Word by word, Bridget flipped the world upside down on Aja who felt like the air had gotten very tight. She simply stared at Bridget, the only word that was able to slip from her lips was what Bridget was talking about.
?Siren.? Her hand slipped from Neo?s shoulder in shock, who looked over at her concerned, not that she noticed at that moment.
?Bleedin' wench 'ad me brother under 'er spell the entire time.? Bridget scoffed, and Aja might have laughed or commiserated with the statement, but she could barely breathe.
All of what he said, he meant. The mantra ran around in her head, the panic she?d been fighting propelled past the controls, sending Aja?s head spinning around with the implications of the just how much he felt for her. She could only give a slow nod, feeling like the bottom had dropped out from under her, the dance of butterflies in her stomach had turned to a flurry and her hand went to cover it as if to settle them.
?So when he said?.? It was all that came out. A sudden turn and her feet carried her out to the porch away from those that may bear witness to her completely coming unspooled. That wasn?t something she exactly wanted, some part of her brain was still operational and knew that she wouldn?t want to worry her friends that way.
?When ?e said wut?? Bridget asked loudly as she followed Aja to the porch, which beyond Aja?s abrupt departure, now alerted the rest to something going on.
Neo watched her go, Anya also watched with concern, and decided that perhaps finding out might be best.
?Did I miss something?? Mira looked at Neo and Anya for answers as they usually knew what was going on.
?Looks that way.? Anya said giving Neo a little tug, not the it was necessary as he was already heading that way.
?I think we did too.? Neo answered Mira on his way to the door to follow Aja out. As was Alec who didn?t know what was going on, but he was a friend and also concerned.
Not that Aja had noticed any of the commotion in the inn, she was pacing the length of the porch, muttering to herself now while Bridget stood and watched her. She stopped and looked at Bridget.
?It wasn't a betrayal of Jamie.. not by him.. but hers for making him...? the words trail off, her lips still parted as if the words were still on them. Bridget just watched her, this being the first time she?d seen Aja lose it in any fashion.
?It means 'e luvs ye more than any way he felt fer Jamie lass...? Bridget nodded then. ?Ye 'ave yerself a man tha' knows 'ow t' luv. When 'e found out about Jamie's grave, 'e did nae rush off t' it... It was almost as if a 'aze wus lifted from 'is eyes. N' 'e saw ye more clearly.?
Aja noted her friends coming out and sighed a little, she hadn?t wanted to alarm them. Anya came nearer, this was somewhat comforting to Aja, the thought seeped into her panic driven haze that she had good friends. She stood, looking shocked and attempted some form of speech, hopefully as a way for them to understand why she was freaking out. But the words were halting, fragmented at best.
?He said.. and I felt bad.. for her.. in some ways. cause that was his wife.. and to learn she was a siren.. ...and that he meant it.. saying that he never felt that way for anyone.. and the grand gestures...? again she trailed off the words probably not making sense to them, they almost didn?t to her. She reached for the porch rail, her world felt precarious at the moment, like a storm at sea, and leaned against it once she was sure she wouldn?t tumble over. ?I don't know if that makes me wanna panic more or less to be honest.? She paused then and focused on the feeling. ?Feels like panic.?
Anya, bless her, came closer and Aja leaned into her friend accepting the comforting presence gratefully. ?Padriq's wife.. Jamie.. was a siren.? She explained so they would further understand the current situation Aja found herself woefully inadequate to deal with.
?Bozhe moi.? Anya exclaimed at this information. Aja knew the term was close to oh god, or something of that nature, but fully understood that she had managed to relate what was going on to some extent.
She looked up at Anya, feeling her sister deserved to know why Aja was out there looking like a lunatic.
?He said to me that he had never loved anyone like he did me.. and I thought it was sort of rude to her memory.. That's an awful thing to think. And I felt horrible for days.? There was an odd calm that came as she told Anya, her friend had amazing gifts to be sure. At the moment, Aja was appreciating a couple of those gifts more than the others Anya had. One was that she always seemed to be able to put things in better perspective, and two, that Anya?s very presence was calming.
?It's not, Aja.? That wonderfully comforting voice said. ?I wonder it sometimes myself. With 'Tonio. I'd be his third wife, you know.? Then the perspective. Aja nodded a little finally feeling like the world was slowing down, with that came the irritation at herself.
?I .. he ...? she started then sighed at her inability to think yet. ?Damn it.. the man gets me all off balance.? It was a half hearted complaint really, but she knew that Anya would understand that. She always did. Somewhere in the background she heard Mira?s voice too. Great, she worried her injured friend too.
?I have two who do that.? Anya?s voice had a tinge of a smile. Aja nodded and when Neo came over she hugged him too. He too had a calming sort of presence. Someday, she was going to have to tell them that.. but for the moment her focus was on Padriq and his singular ability to throw her into a tailspin.
?I can't think.. he makes me crazy..? Aja hung onto her friends cause she thought they might be the only things in the world to keep her from losing it completely. ?He's in my head all the time.. And now to learn that there's no way in hell he didn't mean every single word that he said.. I think .. yeah.. I think I might just panic.?
?May be ye should sleep somewhere else tonigh' Aja. Breathe a bit.? Bridget suggested making Aja look at her like she just suggested cutting off her own arm. The man might be overwhelming, but she had gotten used to him being there at night. She wasn?t sure how she?d sleep without him.
"Yeah... love will do that to a person." Alec piped in his two sense at that moment, and he too wandered closer to the rest of them. Alec too was calming, Aja would have smiled at that, but then realized just how crazy she sounded.
?Deep, slow breaths.? Anya instructed Aja then agreed with Alec. ?Mm, it does.?
?It did that to me before. It was worth it while it lasted.? Neo added helpfully. Sweet Neo. Back to thinking she?d lost her mind. She looked at Anya then.
?Gods.. when did I become this girl? This ...wimpy thing?? she rubbed at her head then. ?You guys should smack me.. Right in the head.?
?Aja Bird.? Anya started. Ut-oh, Aja had hit the mother button in Anya, she knew that tone. ?Love does not make you wimpy. If you think that way, I will smack you.?
?What happened?? Mira inquired having missed everything else.
?Just me freakin out, Mira.. being ... tripped in the head. Maybe I should see a shrink.?
?Wimpy? Hey, Algie! Out!? Neo proclaimed then making Aja laugh.
?Aw, Algie likes Neo too!?
?What about Aja?? Mira asked, Aja heard her, but it would take a moment to answer, but then Anya stepped in thankfully.
?Love happened, Mira.? Anya supplied and then looks at Neo. ?Hey, does he leave jellybeans in your head too??
?No, he still likes Doc Mo. I noticed-- never mind.? it was chuckle worthy moment, except that Bridget decided to take Aja literally and stomped over to help her out there.
?Aja..? Bridget started, then gave her smack upside Aja?s head. ?Ye be in luv ye crazy woman, embrace it or ye will be fightin' it t' yer early grave!? Aja just grinned at Bridget. And crooked a finger.
?Come here. Ima gonna kiss you right on the mouth.? Bridget laughed and puckered up, Aja kissed her, who kissed her back. Then Aja sighed. ?Yer right. I?m just freakin out.?
?You're in love. Take it and run with it.? Neo offered helpfully.
?Now are ye gonna be a puss abou' it all nigh?? Bridget asked in that sassy tone of hers.
?But yer brother started it.? Aja grinned, then crossed her arms over her chest and scoffed. ?Damn romantic whirlwind.?
?They are all right. Time for crying and sadness is when love breaks apart.? Mira offered trying to be helpful. ?But isn't love happening something to be happy about?? Aja glanced at Mira, but it was Anya to the rescue on that.
?It is but it can be terrifying, too, Mira. Different facets of it. Like me meeting Alper's Papa. I was so nervous I don't know how he didn't hear my knees knocking together when we met.? Bless Anya, Aja thought and leaned on her with a grin.
?Well.. hope my freak out was at least somewhat amusing.. cause hey. Ya know I like to make people smile.?
?You are a nutburger with extra zany sauce, Aja.? Anya?s amused voice made Aja smile broadly.
?Good..cause I was startin to worry there for a second that I'd lost my talent.? She decided to answer Mira?s first question about her being sad. ?I'm not sad, Mira.. just taken completely by surprise. Padriq's a whirlwind of romantic notions. Seems to like making me panic a little.?
?And not a wimp? Anya reminded her in that knowing motherly tone. Aja would?ve answered but Bridget decided to start sing songing on her way off to parts unknown.
?Aja's a pud, Aja's a pud... Aja's a pud.? Aja grimaced at that and shouted after her.
?Robert?s the pud!? and Anya sent a peanut winged it way after Bridget making Aja chuckle. Alec took that a sign that all was right in the world again and finished his coffee. He stood up and announced his departure.
"I think that I'm going to call it a night. You folks take care."
?You are not a pud, Aja. Just enjoy the good feelings.? Anya reminded her then waved to Alec. ?Take care, Alec.?
?Night Alec.? Aja gave him a wave and bright smile. ?Thanks for viewing the freak out.?
?Good night Alec.? Mira joined in the goodbyes.
"Anytime, Hummingbird." Alec was grinning, perhaps there would be razzing the in the future, and she found that she didn?t mind that thought so much. Not with her family. Neo gave Alec a wave, having returned to normal coloring from earlier antics.
?Does that mean you're okay again and happy?? Mira asked her with a smile.
?Yeah.? Aja smiled a bit. ?I think .. I was just sort of taken off guard..? She thought about it for moment. ?I mean. Padriq's ..he's a little too much sometimes. But I love that crazy arse pirate.?
?That is so obvious, like the moons in the sky, Aja.? Anya teased with a wink making Aja laugh.
?Yeah.. Ok. I'm a big ol moon eye puppy about the man..? not even a blush with that confession. ?This is new stuff for me.. Even Nikki never ..? Aja trailed off not wanting to speak ill of her former lover. ?We.. weren?t like this.?
?New for me, too... and I've had ten and eight months to get used to it.? Anya commiserated with her on that feeling of it all being new.
?I think you and Pad go well together, you're both a little.... oh, exuberant.? Mira observed with a smile. ?At times.?
?Yeah.. ? Aja had to agree with that. ?He's more on the romantic side of that.. mine is zany antics.? Aja smiled noticing Neo sitting along the railing with a smile. Bless the Keeper of the Water for being there, something Anya said boomeranged in Aja?s head and she looked at Anya curiously.
?Ya mean at some point, I won't feel like the world is always spinning?? that followed by a hopeful smile.
?It never really goes away. The trick is to spin the way you feel the world is.?
?Don't spin against it, spin with it.? Neo offered helpfully.
?Or as Neo does in our dances on the Isle, go with the flow.?
?The flow was interrupted quite a bit for me tonight. Not to mention that Anya's getting really good at magic duels.?
?Yes, but his is a very swift tradewind..? she smiled speaking about Padriq. ?I'm still bobbin around in the harbor debating whether or not to pull anchor.?
?Can't have all that many adventures in the harbor, Aja.? Mira offered helpfully.
?True story. Suppose I could go with that.? Aja sort of shook her head about the sea related advice coming from a landlubber.
They hung out on the porch, and talked of random things. The man in the fedora and trench coat that they often saw around town, the city guard and tossing Pinky in a dungeon. They grew quiet for a moment, and Aja gave them a smile then.
?Guys.... Thanks.? She caught their eyes as she looked around at the three left on the porch. ?I know I've been a bit nutty than usual.. Probably scaring ya all.?
?Just a little, Aja.? Mira gave a grin.
?I was a bit skew orbit until... well, all the good news last week.? Anya added.
?Scarin myself, truth be told.? Aja rubbed at her head.
?You're very welcome.? Neo gave her a warm smile.
?We're going on a family trip. Padriq, me and the kids. Guess I'll see how that goes.? Aja thought of that trip with a smile. ?He got Trevor to agree to go sailing.? She still looked amused by that.
?That sounds great.? Anya offered then.
?I wanted to race, but he said it wouldn't be any fun girls on one ship and boys on the other.? Then Aja thought of something else. ?Hey, when ya all set a date, Anya. Let me know so I can get yer honeymoon spot set up.?
?One day, I will go sailing. Mm? Tentative is sometime between now and the next millenium. Though Papa Dn'avol wants grandchildren... and... hissonwantsthemtoo.? Aja knew that run on sentence was a way to hide things that worried her a little, and would get back to it eventually, but Neo chose that moment to go.
?Alright, it's getting a bit late for me. I'd better head back to the tower.? Neo announced and Aja came off the swing to hug him.
?Nighters Neo Babes. Ya big stud.? She gave him a smooch on the cheek.
?Take care, Water Brat.? Anya said offering her hugs and kisses.
?Good night, Neo.? Mira chimed in.
?That act we did was crazy.? Neo was a little nervous yet. His shyness shell not totally broken.
?Crazy fun.? Anya proclaimed.
?Way crazy fun.? Aja agreed resettling on the swing.
?Crazy heart attack.? Neo laughed. He looked at Anya who had been twirling for him all night. ?Now I'm pushing my luck... one more for the road?? Anya gave him a happy twirl and Neo laughed happily. As Neo faded away in the dark, Skid came out to the porch, and Aja gave him a wave.
?Aja.? He said amused. ?Having a splendid evening??
?Was in need of mental tidy.? She gave Skid a grin. ?Don't wanna go bat poo crazy.?
?You really don't. Trust me. Just makes things go bad. Like bread. Old bread.? Her was completely serious as he joined her on the swing. ?But it's nice to see that you're mentally stable and Doc's *almost* showing some undies with a simultaneously elegant move and Mira's getting out tomorrow, all in one go.? Aja smiled at that.
?For me, freakin out is like a fish with a bicycle. Not needed.? Aja nodded and gave another nudge of the porch floor to make the swing go.
?Skid!? Anya protested with a blush and a grin.
?If only we were all so lucky.? Skid?s words were wistful and then he looked at Anya innocently. ?What?? he crossed his legs casually. ?It's not like they're not gonna match your outfit and look silly, or anything.?
?You freak out in an amusing way, Aja. Me, I'm a kitten on a ferris wheel.? Anya supplied making Aja laugh.
?I'm supposed to be a bad arse pirate captain. The freakin out has been far from bad arse.? With that came a wry grin. ?Lord if my crew saw that.? Aja sighed. ?I'd never live it down.?