The Heartless Dead: Chapter Three

Chapter Three
Ghosts

Bree stood on Trevvis’ doorstep with her hand raised to knock. A few empty bottles lay scattered about his flower beds. She sighed deeply. She couldn’t stand to see Trevvis trying to drown himself in drink. Not again. She lowered her hand. She couldn’t do this.

The door swung open. Trevvis stepped out of the doorway and stopped. His eyes widened in shock. A bottle of liquor slipped out of his grip and shattered on the ground.

“Star Flower?”

“Hey, Trevvis.”

Trevvis threw himself at Bree and folded her tightly into his arms. “Is it really you?”

She felt safe wrapped in his embrace. Happy. She smiled. “Who else would it be?”

“A ghost,” he rasped. “A dream.” He sighed deeply. “Whatever it is I don’t want it to end.”

“It’s me, Trevvis.” She patted him on the back. “Truly.”

“You’re home.”

His hold on her loosened and he pulled back from her, holding her at arms length. He looked at her slowly, from boots to hair, as if he still didn’t believe she was real. As if it was his last chance to look at her. He reached out and touched her face. Stroked her cheek.

Bree sighed.

He smiled. “Oh, Star Flower. I missed you.”

“I missed you, too. Now are you going to invite me in?”

Trevvis laughed and gestured for her to come inside. It was as messy as she had imagined. Messier, perhaps. Empty bottles lay everywhere, dirty clothes were piled on the floor and scraps of parchment covered with crude drawings of Bree littered the bed.

She frowned.

Trevvis pushed the papers onto the floor and beckoned for her to sit beside him upon the bed. “I missed you,” he repeated.

Bree found herself smiling despite their surroundings. She couldn’t help it. Trevvis always made her giddy.

“Every day since you’ve been gone I’ve dreamt of what I would do when I held you again.”

Bree blushed. “Oh? And what did you decide?”

He smiled. “I’d marry you. Have kids. Tie you to the bed so you never leave…”

Bree frowned. “Trevvis, I – “

He sighed. “I know none of that is part of your plan, Star Flower. I just miss you so much and… I love you.”

Bree’s protests melted upon her tongue. She smiled shyly.

Trevvis continued. “You just make it so hard to – “

Bree frowned. “So do you. It looks like you drank Kelmarane dry.”

“I thought you were dead,” Trevvis rasped.

“I told you I’d come back.”

“You told me you’d come back in three weeks. It’s been thirty-seven days.”

“You were counting?”

“You weren’t?”

Bree frowned.

Trevvis sighed. “I managed to hold off until day twenty-nine before I… turned to the drink.”

“You should have waited longer to – “

“And you should have come back sooner!”

Bree scowled. “Well maybe I’ll leave sooner!”

Trevvis sighed in defeat. “Star Flower, just… Stay with me. Please,” he pleaded. “I know a family and a life with me isn’t what you want but – “

“It’s what I want it’s just… not possible. Not right now.”

“Right, right. Your god’s quest.”

“It’s very important, Trevvis. For everyone. Why can’t you see that?”

“Of course I see that! It brought you to me! But it’s also taking you away from me.”

“Don’t make me choose between you and my god.”

“Just… Give me thirty-seven days.”

Bree gaped. “Thirty-seven days? That’s over a month!”

“An equal trade for every day I waited for you to come home to me.”

“You’re ridiculous!”

“Thirty-seven hours then! Just me and you. No errands. No quests. No gods. Just a man and his woman.”

Bree frowned. But she had so much to do! So much needed to be done before –

“Stop thinking, Star Flower!” Trevvis grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her close. “Let me pretend for a day and a half that you’re mine.”

“I am yours.”

Trevvis tilted her chin up to his own. “Really mine.” He placed a kiss gently upon her lips.

Her resolve wilted like a flower in the sun.

“I need to make up for lost time,” he pouted, punctuating each word with a kiss. “Get my fill of you before you leave again.”

Bree moaned and returned his kisses passionately. “Are you going to make love to me like there’s no tomorrow?”

He pulled back and looked at her deeply. His eyes were clear. Serious. “As far as I’m concerned, Star Flower, there is no tomorrow. Not when you’re gone.”

Froth and foam, he could make her feel so guilty! “I’ll give you two days,” Bree replied.

“Without errands!”

Bree nodded. “Yes, without errands.”

“Deal.”

“But then there’s things I have to do.”

“You’re leaving, then?”

“Not until the end of the week.”

Trevvis reeled back as if he had been hit. “I get two out of seven days?!”

Bree frowned. “Two for just you. Five for you and errands.”

“How generous of you,” Trevvis spat.

“Cayden’s codpiece! Stop complaining and kiss me!”

Trevvis smiled. He lunged at Bree, pinned her to the bed and pressed his lips roughly against her own. A shiver ran up her spine. Her whole body yearned for him. She moaned. She could stay here forever.

That was the trouble with Trevvis. He made it all too easy.

Stay with him. Settle down. Get married. Have kids. Retire.

She could have the perfect life.

Only she couldn’t. It wasn’t her fate. Cayden Cailean had other plans for her.

Trevvis kissed a line from her ear to her collarbone. She groaned. All thoughts of her god vanished like smoke on the wind. It was just him and her and nothing else mattered. Not the booze, not the gods, not holy vendettas. Nothing.

“I love you, Star Flower.”

Bree’s heart fluttered and her cheeks flushed. How could so few words could hold such power over her?

She smiled. “I missed you, too.”

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