THIS CHAPTER IS NOW DEPRECATED AND IS NOT CANON.
In Which They Stop Kissing Long Enough to Talk is the last canon chapter before the rewrite begins.
See the rewrite beginning here – http://www.lynthornealder.com/2020/06/26/beekeeper-in-which-they-go-to-bed/
She lay in her bed staring at the ceiling. As far as she could tell, Amrit was still asleep. His breathing was even and he made little noises, sometimes, that did not quite sound like speech.
He was warm next to her. It was a petty concern, but she liked it. He was warm — and it was stupid, but she was coming to trust him.
Not stupid, she argued with herself. He’d made promises. Oaths. He hadn’t had to do that. And here they were…
Here they were, in bed together. Warm together, although it would be months before that was a real necessity.
She shouldn’t let herself get attached.
She shouldn’t let herself trust him. He might be wearing a collar, still – he hadn’t said a word about that, and maybe he understood that it helped her relax – but he wasn’t Kept and he was far too fae to accept slavery without Keeping.
She found herself thinking with his help, maybe I could sell some food at the market and not just honey, and wouldn’t it be nice to have fresh meat more often? and even hot baths. Hot water and what he’d said the night before,
If everyone could heat things up like I can, they wouldn’t need firewood.
He’d be useful. That was why she’d bought him, wasn’t it? Because she wanted someone useful around the place. Because she wanted someone to keep her company and it was hard to get a cat to do enough work to balance out their keep, and besides, cats weren’t great conversationalists.
He rolled over and looked at her, eyes still half-lidded with sleep. “You’re thinking very loudly,” he commented, his voice a soft rumble, like there was someone he didn’t want to wake up.
“Don’t tell me you’re a telepath, too.” She smiled a bit, even though he had no Keeping bond pressing on him to think that might be an order, no reason for her to need to soften it.
He smirked back at her. “Ha. No, it’s just something about your body language. Something’s saying ‘deep thoughts’. It’s kinda early in the morning for those, isn’t it?”
“Best time for ‘em,” she countered. “Before it’s light enough to get anything done, when it’s still a little chilly even most of the summer and I don’t feel like I have to start moving yet.”
“I suppose you have a point. Me, I never woke up before I had to until — well, I suppose even here I woke up when I had to.” He smirked and waved his far arm around demonstratively. “Nice to not be tied down. Nicer to be here with you.”
“Glad you approve.” She hesitated and then, because it was honest if not kind, “I’m glad you made the promises. I’m not sure how long it would have taken me to trust you, otherwise.”
“I’m not sure you would’ve. I’m not sure I would’ve trusted me,” he admitted. “I was pretty nasty when you brought me here.”
“You were pretty angry when I brought you here. You haven’t told me to fuck off in days.”
He smirked at her. “Well, I was pretty sure you’d gotten the point. So… I’ve still got almost three weeks on that set of promises. What do you want me to do with that time?”
“Oh, do I have to plan three weeks ahead?” She smiled lazily at him. “I was thinking more about the next ten minutes.”
His eyebrows lifted and he grinned widely at her. “You don’t say? Only ten minutes, though? I think I could fill at least the next hour.”
“I suppose the woodpile will still be there in an hour.”
“And the bees, and the garden. Yeah.” He leaned towards her to kiss her – and froze as he was suddenly half-over her.
Mieve froze as he did. Was he – no, he was frowning. She caught the back of his neck, above the collar (the collar, they’d have to talk about that sometime) and pulled him down. “You were saying?”
He grunted, startled, his lips barely an inch from hers. “I was saying that the chores would wait.”
“You know, I think you’re right.” She held on to the back of his neck and kissed him, long and hard and not at all scared.
He didn’t move when she released him, just stared at her for a moment. Then his tongue darted out and he licked his lips, letting a short laugh escape him. “You’re something else. And you know what? I like it.” He rolled onto his back and held his arms out for her. “Come here, boss. Chores can wait, right?”
She could kiss him for that. She should kiss him for that. Mieve straddled him and did just that, one hand on his shoulder and the other behind his neck.
He ought to be swearing at her and trying to get away. He ought to be worried, or nervous, or angry or…
No. He wasn’t the least bit submissive. She didn’t think he’d ever be. But he was under her, and he was moving under her and…
And for a while, she wasn’t worried at all.
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