Breena closed her eyes and let the energy of the rushing water mix with the electricity of Orin’s embrace. They watched the water burst over the dam and listened to its hypnotic roar until the sun began to dip below the treetops. An owl hooted in the distance, and the mosquitoes swarmed closer. She noticed with envy that the little blood-suckers didn’t go after Orin. They were eating her alive. She swatted at a couple and finally smashed one on her arm.
He stood and offered his hand. “Time to go?”
She shooed away the pesky insects. “Uh, yeah.” Hand in hand, they headed back to Orin’s car.
At the sedan, he opened the passenger door for Breena to get in and closed it behind her.
Now you see him, now you don’t. Orin disappeared from outside her door and reappeared in the driver’s seat.
Breena gripped the door handle. This was really real. This guy wasn’t just some obscenely-cute-but-a-touch eccentric hottie. He was actually, in fact, a super-fucking-natural creature. And that meant, in all likelihood…
So am I.
Her breath came quick and heavy, on the verge of hyperventilation.
Orin reached into his pocket and pulled out the key. “What?” He stuck it in the ignition and waited, staring at her.
She gestured at the door. “You just…you just… You know. Poof.”
He looked at the door then back at Breena. “I don’t get it. I told you what I was--”
“Did you think I believed you?”
Silence hung between them, deflating what little air Breena had left in her mental balloon. “Well, I did think you were awfully calm about it,” he said.
“I thought you were just one of those crazy-in-a-totally-harmless-and-sort-of-adorable-way guys. You know, like those dungeons and dragons people and shit.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Okay.” She took a deep breath. Another. “Okay. It’s okay. It is okay.”
“Shush. Just…give me a minute here.”
She’d seen him--with her own two eyes--appear next to her in the car. She could explain away the weird feeling of sameness he gave her, his brute strength, and even the near-attack on campus. But this…this… “How’d you do that?”
“Vamps have their speed and preternaturals their apparition. I don’t know about witches. I suppose they use brooms.” He smirked.
“You know, fangs and blood-lust. Creatures of the night. I vant to suck your--”
“Har har, you’re hilarious.” She gave him the stink eye. “I know what a vampire is. I hadn’t thought about them being fast.”
Or real, she added mentally.
Until her rescue on campus, she hadn’t had a reason to think about the supernatural community at all. Hadn’t even known there was such a thing. Why the hell would she? She’d been blissfully unaware. Now she not only had to deal with having a serious itch for a member of said community, it seemed she was part of this whole mess too.
She suddenly remembered Orin telling her about her half-preternatural, half-witch status. “So can I do the apparition thing?”
“I don’t know. There are so few halflings left.”
“Where’d they go?”
“Dead?” She gulped. “Why?”
“Various reasons. If you think about it, the supernatural population isn’t much different from humanity when it comes to prejudice and social status.”
“So halflings are like supernatural freaks?”
Boy, I can’t win.