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Maggie awoke to a tugging on her hair. Being still tired, she rolled over ignoring her pesky friend. A firm yank pried her left eyelid open, revealing a blurry form perched on her cheek. Fen’s wings beat furiously in the air about him. She blinked her eye hurling him off her eyelid. He tumbled backward down her cheek.
She stared at him as he came to a cross legged sitting position and folded his arms over his chest. His tiny purple eyes glared at her.
“Your Hue-Mon has escaped.” He yelled.
“He is not my human Fen,” she sat up forcing him to flutter up into the air. With a quick glance around she found Liam was nowhere to be seen. A panic arose in her chest. The fear he left without saying good-bye filled her and tears welled into her eyes.
So much time went by without talking to another person. Sure the wee folk cared for her, raised her in their ways. It was not the same. All of her tiny friends were grown, married and with little Fae babies. She had no one to call her own. Now her Prince had come and in the swiftness of a dream, he was gone.
The near thunderous crackling from the tree line drew her attention. Her handsome Prince strode out of the bush with one hand behind his back. A wide smile played on his lips.
“For you, my fair lady.” He pulled his arm from behind him, a lovely bouquet of wildflowers flopped about in his grip.
Several angry pixies flew from their minuscule homes within the center of the blooms. They flung nasty cuss words at him as they drew their small needles. The attack commenced. Liam batted at them with his free hand. Several of her tiny friends made their mark and the poor man hollered in pain. Fen shouted words of encouragement to the troops, egging them on.
She stared for but a moment. The towering man attempted to defend himself against the stinging barbs of the wee folk’s weapons. She bore witness before to their heroic efforts to defend their homes as well as her own self. The large brown bears, foxes and hawks in the area were more afraid of their tiny army than her brave Prince Charming appeared to be.
“Enough, please stop!” she hollered out in the Fae tongue.
The flurry of battle ended with her plea. The wee folk paused their fighting, hovering just out of Liam’s reach and stared at her wide-eyed.
“Why did you make them stop?” Fen demanded.
“He’s my friend,” she sobbed. Maggie rushed toward the towering man. She flung her arms about his neck squeezing a hold of him for dear life.
Liam was left stunned. He never thought bees would elicit such a reaction from Maggie. She squealed out something in her odd language before hurling herself about his neck. Her warm embrace caused him to smile wider; he wrapped an arm about her waist and pulled her tightly to him. The annoying insects dispersed, leaving him with a few painful stings. The woman’s tiny frame shuddered within his embrace, he gently pulled her from him and stared down into her angelic face.
Her green eyes glittered as tears lined her bottom lids. The small beads threatened to crest her lashes. His heart overflowed with a need to fix whatever hurt had caused her to cry.
“Hush now,” he murmured, “I’ll never let anything hurt you.”
“I was so afraid,” she sobbed, “Please don’t leave me.”
“I’ll never leave you my sweet Maggie,” he swore. For the first time in his life, his words of endearment held an oath to them. His mind drifted to all the women in his life.
The casual one night stands, a year’s long girlfriend here and there, and even a few ladies of the night. None of which made him want to keep them by his side. No, not like his sweet Maggie. With the gentlest touch, he reached out and swept away the lone wet trickle that slid from her eye. He never wanted to be the cause of another tear from her.
Maggie peered up into the deep sea blue eyes of the man holding her. He uttered an oath, just like the ones her mom used to read to her from her book of fairy tales. A broad smile pulled at the corners of her lips, her heartbeat rapidly beneath her breast. A warm flush rose to her cheeks as a strange, alien sensation grew within the pit of her tummy. She peered longingly at his moist lips. Her only wish was to feel them upon her own, even if just once.
No one had ever made her feel so safe. His strong muscular arms, adoring gaze, gentle caress and sweet smile, all but consumed her soul. She snuggled back into his warm embrace. Not wanting him to ever let her go.
“Shh, it was just a few bugs.” He whispered, “No need to be afraid.”
“Bugs!” Fen yelled from overhead. The disgusted tone in his voice was very clear. Maggie peered up at him. His purple and orange wings turned a darker color. She smiled at him as he huffed off into the forest foliage.
Liam pulled away and cupped her chin.
“Are you alright now?”
“Yes, very much so. Thank you,” She eyed the nasty red welts of his battle wounds, “You’re not though. Let me put some mud on those.”
“Oh no, it’ll be fine. I have some calamine lotion at the camper.”
“Silly, mud works way better than any tincture can.” She grabbed him by the hand and led him down the deer trail towards the pond. The cool slick banks held the richest dark brown mud. It worked the best for taking the sting out.
Liam walked along behind her, trying to keep an eye out for bees. His face stung in several areas. He winced a little, hoping he hadn’t appeared too much like a wimp in front of Maggie. As they walked along she hummed, again the melancholy of it pulled at his soul. Several beautiful butterflies fluttered around them as they strolled along. The unique colors of their wings unlike any he had ever seen.
“What tune is that?” he asked as they came to the edge of the pond.
“It’s just a song about the flowers, it has no name,” she told him.
“Well I like it. You have a beautiful voice,”
“Thank you, I love to sing. Sit down on that big rock, I’ll fetch some mud.”
He flopped his bottom down onto the large bolder and watched her every move. Such a whimsical woman, he thought. Everything about her was carefree and pleasantly odd. As she returned with a big leaf coated in dark wet mud, he wondered about her clothing. The reed skirt and flower petal top were peculiar enough. If she was a naturalist it made sense, he tried to convince himself.
“Here, now hold still,” she told him, “This won’t take but a minute.”
Her fingers were cool as she brushed his hair from the edge of his forehead. Her tender touch sent a pleasant tingle over him. She seemed to scrutinize his face for a moment.
“Looks like they got you good.”
“Thank you. You didn’t have to do this.”
“Of course I did, you were very brave.”
“Well I don’t know about brave. You know, you should let me fix you supper.” He asked. His words brought back his last meal. The nasty burnt taste built back in his mouth at the memory. It had been the last thing he ate and now his stomach ached from hunger.
“You can cook?” She tilted her to the side as she dotted globs of mud onto his face.
“For you I would cook every day.”