I know you don’t know all of these characters – but that’s okay! The hope is that someday you WILL know all of these characters and will enjoy each of their journeys. Until then, just enjoy the underlying love story happening like we did as we wrote this piece – just for fun. I’m breaking from the norm here and adding in a fun little bunch of posts that revolve around characters we’ve written during the Solstice Season leading into Christmas. Rose Matthews is Gabriel Kennedy’s aunt. She is having a huge celebration and has invited not only her family, but the extended family of supernatural characters Dawn and I have been writing for years. I understand that you don’t know them as well as we do, but I’m hoping you can at least enjoy them for this little series within a series. Let us know if you take a liking to any certain one or set of them. We love them all, and they each have their own stories within the Walking the Blade series.
Arkin woke to the feel of someone touching his shoulders. Instead of reacting hurriedly or quickly, he thought back over the night before. He began purring and smiled.
~ So it wasn’t a dream? ~ he asked while enjoying the attention he was getting from his boyfriend.
“No, not a dream at all.” Dressed in blue fuzzy pj bottoms with rainbows scattered on them, Alex was seated on the side of the bed rubbing his boyfriend’s shoulders. He bent down to kiss one shoulder and smiled, “I brought up hot chocolate.. and a cup of coffee. I wasn’t sure which you’d prefer to start your day. I’m a chocolate or tea person myself.” His nose wrinkled, “Not a java fan, but that’s just me.”
“Breakfast will be ready soon. There’s time for a shower before if you like.” His mother and Nathan hadn’t made an appearance yet. It seemed the entire house was awake and yet they were still closed in their room. He knew why though, being this close to their room you couldn’t help but hear what had been going on for the past several hours. If they were in a contest he had no doubt Nathan was winning by leaps and bounds.
“I’ll take that shower. But you promised me some flannel, so I’m hoping you have some.” Arkin turned and got up, stretching as he did so.
“Never fear I have tons of pj bottoms for you to choose from.” Alex started to rise to his feet only to be stopped by Arkin
“Oh, I believe we’re forgetting something that I’d like to make habit,” He put an arm around Alex and kissed him on the cheek before nuzzling him with the side of his face. “Dragon kisses for the morning. Only for my beau.”
“Mmm, good habit.” Alex spoke as he smiled in that dreamy way as he sighed softly. “I’ve never been a beau before and I’ve never had dragon kisses. Now I understand the things I’ve seen Nathan and mama do. I’m kinda liking it.” He led Arkin to the dresser and pulled out two full drawers. “Take your pick.”
Arkin found some nice black and red classic flannels. Once he had those, he made his way to the shower Alex had begun.
“So, this Christmas celebration? What else is to come?” he asked before getting into the hot water. He closed his eyes and his mind went to all of the things waiting for him both Clan wise and Council wise. Oh he didn’t want to think about that. He was really enjoying Alex’s company and this holiday with his family so far. The only worry he had was that he had gotten involved with the Kennedy family, something he had told himself he would not do.
“Big breakfast, more presents and then the next few days are just for visiting with family and friends, relaxing, and having fun. Oh and knowing mama? – presents everyday we are here.” Alex explained as he watched Arkin shower and admired the view.
“I don’t know if I can take that long away. I can try to reschedule things,” he turned and seeing his boyfriend watching him, he moved his hands, fingers splayed to send droplets of water at Alex. “How long can you handle me here before I bore you?”
“You bore me? More like the other way around handsome?” Alex laughed softly as the water droplets hit him. “And in my mama’s famous words, ‘don’t try, just do.’ You promised me the holiday and you need the break. You’re still tensed and knotted up.”
“You are an artistically-inclined, creative soul, Alex. I’m, not so much,” Arkin shrugged. “Perhaps you’ll help me learn how to relax.”
Blue eyes sparkled as he moved to get a towel for his boyfriend. “Challenge accepted.” Alex turned back to face him with it held wide. “Finish up so I can dry you off. I’d say I would be a good boy, but I’d be lying. Though, I do promise you’ll be well fed afterwards.” He caught his bottom lip between his teeth and held it while smiling at the sexy male he got to call his own.
Arkin huffed a chuckle and turned the water off to step out of the shower for Alex. He’d never really been cared for like this. It was very different for him. As Alex’s hands moved over him, Arkin found himself drifting into a place he’d not been, into a very happy comfort. He hoped that he didn’t run Alex away from him. He really felt like, maybe, he had been missing this kind of care in his life.
Humming to himself Alex dried his lover off before grabbing lotion, “Not done pampering you yet, handsome.” With a bright smile Alex rubbed the lotion into Arkins skin starting at the males shoulders and working down.
“Get your PJ’s on so we can go get fed like I promised.” He laughed softly before kissing Arkin and going in search of a shirt. It was as he turned away that his boyfriend would see the only tattoo Alex had on him. There was a heart at his lower back where females tended to get what was referred to as a tramp stamp. The two inch design was several shades of blue and looked as if it broke into blue butterflies on one side.
“Nice artwork,” Arkin commented before pulling on the clothes he had been given.
As he pulled a t-shirt from his drawer and started to pull it on, Alex glanced over his shoulder as if trying to see the design, “I got it when I was sixteen. Nathan caught me sneaking out for it and actually went with me. Of course it was our secret until I was an adult and then he confessed to mama that he’d taken me just to be sure I got it from someone safe.” Alex sighed as he looked back at his beau, “Not very rebellious when your father takes you to get it now is it?”
“Well, I believe the law here is 18 alone, so you kind of needed him anyway. Besides, he apparently knows the right people, even though I’ve not ever seen a single tattoo on his skin.” Arkin moved forward. “Maybe you didn’t need to be rebellious. Is that so bad?”
“True and no it isn’t so bad. It’s just boring, is all. Sometimes you can get caught up in the sob stories. I can’t say I ever had one.”
Arkin pulled Alex close and tight to him and placed their foreheads together so that they could stare into one another’s eyes. He just took a moment like this.
“So not ever feel less because you haven’t struggled. Just understand the truth of it. Understand your privilege and use it to help others. Be willing to listen to those who didn’t and don’t have life as well as you have been blessed. But never think to apologize for things out of your control.”
Alex nodded. The moment made him want to ask what else might’ve happened in Arkin’s long life that led him to say these things. But that could wait. That was not something that would help his boyfriend … or… beau… relax. And that was the goal.
“Well, hello there,” Largros smiled for Bryce as he came into the kitchen where the boy was sitting in his high chair at the end of the counter. “You shouldn’t be up yet. Haven’t you heard of sleeping in on holiday?” he smiled before moving his fingers through the little boy’s hair. He was jabbering on about whatever he was eating.
“Well, I’m not used to seeing you alone,” Eva pointed out as she continued scrambling the eggs.
“Nor I you. Want some help?” Largros asked. “I take it the staff was given the day off?”
“Yes. Always the day of. It’s tradition. Most of them are of the Christian faith.” Eva explained.
“That’s very kind. I do the same in the businesses I own.” He moved over to begin turning the bacon and sliced ham.
“Uh, wash those hands, sir,” Eva scolded.
“Oh, sorry! Yes…of course,” he chuckled and did just that as others came in to join them.
“Mmmm smells good mama.” Terry slipped behind his mother to hug her and kissed her cheek. “Mrs. Rose and Mr. Nathan sleepin’ in huh? They’re usually the first to the table.”
“Oh hun, give ‘em a break. They were up late last night, too. It was kind of a rough night.” Eva unloaded one big pan and started on another.
Russ was next through the door, scratching his chest and yawning, “Maybe she’s gettin’ her own Christmas present.” He chuckled and his eyebrows danced as he avoided getting swat to reach the fridge for juice.
“Boy…” Eva scolded her wild child. Then she shrugged. “Wouldn’t be a bad thing. I heard more than one howl and growl through the night and morning hours.”
“I always say ain’t no shame in yer game so get it while ya can.” Russ chuckled as he swiped a kiss and a piece of bacon.
Noki walked in still yawning. He had picked up someone along the way. One of Cody and Becca’s babies was looking around from his shoulder where he had swung him like a sack of taters. Once he was in the kitchen, Noki pulled him on over and held him at his waist. “The escape artist was banging on the door. I took him so his mama and daddy had some more time.”
“Better watch it, those things are contagious and tend to multiply.” Russ grinned and watched as Terry went to his mate.
“Don’t listen to him babe, I think it’s sweet that you snagged him before he woke his parents.” Terry ruffled the tyke’s hair and kissed his mate before grabbing another highchair for the cub.
“When Terry’s ready we’ll have ours. We’re kind of enjoying everybody else’s kids right now. I don’t see anything wrong with that, do you, Seth?” He nuzzled the toddler in the tummy and the little one cackled and grabbed hold of Noki, both fists full of dark hair. “Help! He’s got me!” he moved to the chair so Terry could help free him.
“Don’t look at me. Not happenin’” Essa pointed out to Eva before plopping on a stool across from them.
Laughing Terry helped free his mate by nipping at the little boy’s ribs until he let go.
“Russ says they’re contagious, but didn’t yall help deliver Rave and Starr’s lil one?” He whistled low and looked Essa’s way, “So when are ya due?” He grinned as he teased the pair. The redhead winked at his mama.
Essa gave Terry the middle finger.
“Hey, put that away before someone mimics you,” Largros warned before pulling another pan out to add more bacon and ham. Then he went to the side and grabbed out a bag of potatoes and tossed them on the counter. “Make yourselves useful.”
Eva smirked but when her pups looked her way she nodded. “Hop to it. I want to make some potato hash. Wash, partially peeled and cut up. And cut up some onions while you’re at it.”
“Aye, aye Capt’n.” Russ saluted his mama as he flipped both Largros and Terry off before washing his hands. He sat down beside his mate and started working the potatoes like a pro.
Eva took out the next big batch of biscuits and let them sit on the stove. She stood there, looking at them for a moment. Then, she closed her eyes. Her head was swimming and she felt a bit nauseated.
Terry was to her before the others could reach her and as their mama weaved on her feet, he steadied her.
“Oh, I’m sorry, sweetheart,” she hadn’t meant to get so caught up in everything. But she just loved having her whole family around.
“Largros can ya take over? Mama let me get ya to a seat.” He looked up at Russ, “Go get pops and uhh.. Sen maybe cause doc is day- sleepin’.”
His brother was out the kitchen door and taking the stairs two at a time. His ole man met him half way, “Mama..”
It was all Russell got out before Devon was charging down the stairs leaving Russ behind.
“Eva?” Devon was in the dining room and kneeling before his mate with concern etched all over his face. “Darlin’ what’s wrong?” He cupped her cheek and held her hand with the other.
“Nothing. I just forgot to eat and the princess is hungry.” She shrugged. “Merry Christmas?”
“Just let me have some juice and some bread toast and I’ll be fine. I promise. Maybe make them finish cooking?” She scrunched up her nose for him.
Every one of them including her kneeling mate were surprised and shocked. “Princess..” Devon immediately laid his head on her stomach and rumbled softly.
“I guess the Goddess heard my prayers,” she whispered to her mate. Her fingers were in his hair immediately. “She’s taken six from me. I told her she could spare at least one soul that wants to come and be here with us.”
“I’ll get ya some food, but then yer gonna relax and just enjoy the holidays.” Terry chastised his mama as he rushed to the kitchen.
“Congratulations,” Noki said smiling brightly.
“Stay away from me,” Essa said to Eva as she walked back into the kitchen. “I’ll help cook but if it really is contagious, I don’t want none of it, Mama Wolf!” The little dragoness was back in there unloading the biscuits and cutting the next pan full for baking.
Terry burst out laughing! So did Noki, as he made his way back into the kitchen with Seth. “Awwww… don’t de dwaggy want ta hold de baby???”
“Get that thing away from me!” Essa giggled and hopped behind Russ playfully. “Protect me! They’re everywhere!” She tucked her head into Russell’s arms as Noki sat the chubby cub on her back. “Nooooo! The drool will infect me!!!! Noooo!” She was giggling and hugging her mate while squirming. But she did her best not to move enough to cause Noki to lose balance or anything with the baby.
“Alright brother cut it out before Seth gets hurt and we have Becca and her behemoth rainin’ down on us.” Russ was chuckling while doing his best to hold on to his wiggling mate and the potatoes he’d just peeled.
When Russ made Noki back off, she turned so she could be curled up into her mate and snuggled to him. “My hero!” She was having fun with the silliness and hoped her mate was, too.
“Besides, I already have a baby. His name is Orion and I got to hold him on his birthday,” Essa smiled as she looked up at Russell.
“That’s right, darlin’. Rave and Starr will share him with us anytime we like.” Russ kissed the tip of his beauty’s nose and rumbled for her as he held her tucked close and finished with the potatoes.
“Our children are a mess, Devon. I think you should worry about them more than me.” Eva giggled and hugged her mate. Terry brought her a cooled biscuit with seltzer water and she was quite pleased.
“Good morning?” Senias called as he and Gabriel walked into the morass of trouble in the same clothes they had on the night before. After all, they hadn’t been able to make it to their bags yet.
Easing free of Eva so she could eat her biscuit and drink some of the water, Devon stood and turned to his dragon brother, “Mornin’ fellas, trust ya’ll slept well.”
Gabriel squeezed Sen’s hand and cleared his throat before answering with, “Um.. yes we slept fine thank you.” At least what sleep they got was fine. Looking at the empty chair he lifted a brow, “Did we miss breakfast?”
“Seems ya’ll ain’t the only ones sleepin’ in this mornin’.” Devon chuckled and winked at his mate. “But it means ya’ll get to be next to hear our news. Looks like I’ll be a papa again cause Eva thinks our brood needs one more.” He chuckled even as she swatted his ass for the remark.
“Told ya, I want to have a baby girl to dress in frills. I don’t care if she grows out of it, so long as I get to spoil her and dress her up while I can, I’m good. I may be askin’ for my own undoing, but I’m willing to try.” Eva took another bite of her biscuit.
“Congratulations! I suppose one more’s no trouble. She will definitely be spoilt with this many brothers, that’s for sure.” Senias chuckled. “I need a good shower and then I can help Inea with our secondary set. She said they’d get to come over today, so we’ve got to be ready for kitling wrangling duty.” Sen moved past his lycan brother to get to the stairs.
“Yes, Congratulations, I’m sure you’ll get a girl that looks just like you.. “ Then he heard the howl coming from the stream area out back of the ranch. “Who was that?” Gabriel shoved his hands into his pockets and followed Sen only to pause.
“Clinton?” Devon asked his mate as he lifted a brow at her. Somehow he knew his female had a hand in it if it was their pup.
Senias looked over to see Bryce happily playing pat-a-cake with Seth, and neither had their actual parents holding them. Clint and Lical were nowhere to be seen. The dragon sighed. “And Lical.” They’d seen it coming, but had tried to give advice. Might not have taken.
“No…” Gabriel sighed as he moved towards the direction the sound had come from.
“I know she’s your half-sister and you treat her like she’s a pretty pretty princess, but she’s a grown up. You know if you put your nose in it she might bite it off this time,” Senias warned his fiance. Lical was quite the little shit. He could not deny that creature was part of this family. She acted like fucking royalty and was stubborn as hell – even though she’d been tossed in with a bunch of vagabonds.
“Yes I know..” Gabriel paused and sighed as he turned to walk back to his fiance. “I just… want to keep her safe after all she’s been through.” He glanced at Eva and grinned, “Though I’m sure Clint will do a fine job of keeping her safe.”
“Clint’s been overly proper and polite and taking his time with Lical. At first, I didn’t even know he was interested. It’s like he was circling, waiting for his moment,” Senias chuckled. He looked at Devon. “Kids becoming adults, Kids being kids, and soon, a whole new mess of them. What have we signed on for?”
“A wonderful life?” Devon smiled at his dragon brother.