Loading... Chapter Twenty
Owen had ignored this quest. He had forgotten about the bet he had made with Amilia for a while, and after that, well, he was afraid to complete it. Amilia had been acting flighty, and this mission felt like the only tie he had to her. But tonight, he finally felt ready to return to the archery range. Amilia was already there when he showed up. She shot Daniel a quick glance before focusing on her aim. If she could hit two moving targets on demand he'd promised to take her anywhere.
He gave it a moment, watching her arrow fly before she turned to let him speak with a raised brow. "I think I've given you more than enough time to practice. How about we finish the bet of ours?"
He couldn't read Amilia's expression until a slow smile built up, outweighing whatever else had been going on in her head. "Now works," Amilia said.
She looked at the field in front of her, then took her stance, and breathed in deeply. She poured her full concentration into the task at hand. A disc flew through the air, and she sprang into action. She tracked it for a moment before taking the shot, the string of her bow still vibrating as she spotted the second target. Panic graced her face as she quickly aimed again. But the disc hit the ground first, and broke on its own merit.
"Oh." Amilia stared at the pieces in disbelief. She hadn't really expected Daniel to take her to Santiago, but now that offer seemed even further in the past than it had only seconds ago. She forced a smile as she turned to Daniel.
"Well then, if your reward hasn't changed." She cleared her throat. "Is this still a case where the gentleman..."
Daniel stared, maybe in greater disbelief than even she felt. He'd never expected her to miss. Maybe if the challenge had been right away, but not now. Amilia set her bow on the ground, and seemed to steel herself, as if this kiss was just part of a mission.
"I—you've been doing great," Daniel said. He'd seen her hit moving targets when it mattered. It seemed unfair to fail her just because she didn't on his demand.
"Maybe," she said, "but you did win."
"I'll still take you to Santiago, if you wish."
The surprise hit her so hard that she didn't even move. It looked like she blinked, then froze for a few seconds. Amilia shook her head like she couldn't believe what she heard. "You'd really make that trek with me? After the cold shoulder I've been giving you lately? After...everything?"
"Yes," Daniel said. There was something about being pulled multiple directions, wordlessly even, that made him empathize, made him want to understand better. "It's obviously important to you."
Too overwhelmed for words, Amilia threw her arms around his neck to seize a hug. "Thank you so much, Daniel." A real smile came to her as she closed her eyes. There was a temptation in the pit of her stomach, and warmth she wished would wash over her completely.
Amilia rose onto the tips of her toes so her lips could reach his. They were past the point of second guessing this. Her lips raised enough to meet his, and every nerve felt alive and ready.
Daniel held perfectly still, afraid that the moment would be ruined if he so much as breathed. He had carefully kept his eyes open so he could be awake for this, until he lost himself to it as his hands reached up to touch the sides of her face.
Death in people's lives made them rash, and as a thief he knew that better than most, but this felt different. This felt like they finally stopped fighting each other.
After seconds locked between his lips, Amilia pulled away. Her only regret was that this moment had taken so long to arrive. Amilia waited for him to say or do something as she gazed up at him, but any words were lost, his mind trailing behind to relive the past few seconds before it clicked that he didn't have to. Daniel chuckled softly. She was right here; there was no need to wait any longer. His kiss found her quicker this time, as if drawn towards her by an invisible force.
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Bone Diggers (Paperback out now!)Science Fiction
When everyone IRL lies, the only person you can trust is an NPC. Dirty little secrets can't be hidden behind player avatars, because Bone Diggers like Owen expose the lives behind the code. When his two worlds blur, he must decide which is more impo...