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The Griffon and the Raven, Chapter 20

Prompt: Jealousy


“I have to ask,” Blackwall started, his eyes intent on the piece of tack he was repairing. He shook his head and gave a dismissive tug to the leather. “No, never mind. It isn’t any of my business.”

Ravena shifted from her perch on the nearby table and looked up from the book she was annotating. “What is it?”

“Like I said, it isn’t any of my business. Besides, it was daft.”

“It isn’t daft if you thought it was important enough to ask. What’s on your mind?”

He set the bridle down and took his time organizing the tools he had set beside him. “Cullen. The two of you seem close.”

She nodded. “He’s one of my advisors and I trust him. I’d like to consider him a friend – something tells me that friends have been in short supply for him lately.”

“So, friendship is all that you’re after with him?”

“Of course. Why would you…” she stopped and braced her hands on her knees. “You’re jealous, aren’t you?”

“No.” He sighed and rubbed at the back of his neck. “Perhaps a little.”

“If you wanted to play chess with me so badly, all you had to do was ask.” There was a teasing lilt to her voice, but the smirk on her lips faltered when she caught the look in his eye.

“Ravena, trust me. Playing chess is the last thing on my mind when it comes to spending time with you.” He moved to stand in front of her, his hands planted on the table on either side of her body. “I know I haven’t given you much cause to believe this, but I do care for you.”

“Good, because the feeling is entirely mutual.” She leaned in and gave him a brief kiss. “Besides, I’ve grown incredibly fond of bearded men recently. While he has the stubble down, I don’t think Cullen could grow one quite as magnificent as yours.”

“Ah, so that would be the deal-breaker then?” He rubbed the side of his nose affectionately against hers.

“Absolutely.” She leaned back enough to look him in the eye. “I’ve no talent for juggling men’s affections like apples. I’m not looking for anything else from another man besides their friendship.”

“Good to know. Although now I have a problem.”

“Oh?”

The gleam in his eye was absolutely devilish. “Yes. Now I have no excuse to press you up against a wall and kiss you senseless, just to remind you of what you have here with me.”

Ravena walked her fingers across his chest and smoothed her palm over his heart. “You know, you don’t really need to have an excuse to do that. You can…” Whatever she was going to say next was muffled when he dove in with a kiss that curled her toes in her boots. She moaned against his mouth and twined her legs around his waist when he tipped her backwards onto the table, his hand cushioning the back of her head.

“Also good to know,” he murmured huskily, his mouth moving down the column of her throat. Her laughter buzzed against his lips and he couldn’t remember a time when he had been this happy.

“Thom,” she murmured, her hands tangled in his hair.

“Hm?”

“As much as I like my current position, perhaps we could take this elsewhere?” She dropped her legs and attempted to sit up. “The last thing we need is to hear Dennet give one of the stable boys The Talk after they accidentally walk in on us.”

He smirked and helped her off the table. “So, when a Warden and an Inquisitor love each other very much…” He froze, thinking how easily the word love had tripped off his tongue. She stared up at him with wide eyes before giving him the biggest beaming smile that warmed him all the way down to his bones.

“When they love each other very much?” she prompted, slipping her hand into his as they walked out of the stable.

He couldn’t find words to express what he felt for her. Instead, he carefully held her face in his hand and kissed her. “Yes,” he breathed, feeling her pulse pound at his fingers.

“Yes,” she whispered back, rocking up on the tips of her toes to kiss him again. The world seemed to dissolve around them and it wasn’t until Blackwall let them up for air that they acknowledged the rounds of applause coming from several of the nearby merchant booths. Ravena hid her face against the side of Blackwall’s neck, her shoulders shaking with laughter even as she felt her cheeks flare red.

“What, can’t a man kiss a beautiful woman without comments from the peanut gallery?” Blackwall shouted, grinning down at her. “Can’t a man hold the woman he loves in peace?” The last was asked quietly, for her ears alone.

Her arms tightened around his waist. “He can indeed,” she told him, not caring one bit if they had an audience. “He can indeed.”

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