These characters are the property of Tamora Pierce. I'm borrowing them

Tammy Drabble #50 – Epic

Alanna sat at the table, glass raised, arm aching, wishing the Goddess would strike them all dumb. She didn't blame anyone in the kingdom for wanting to celebrate their victories, but she was weary and had only now returned from the northern border with Scanra, where the end of the war was not so certain, and where Ozorne's death did not impress the warlords at all. She needed to sleep for days, she needed to hold her children, she needed to kiss her husband, and she needed the banquet to end already.

She was so tired that when Gary began his speech, she nearly dozed. For that reason she didn't hear the newcomer creep across the hall. She didn't even know he was there until he'd taken his seat beside her, leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. George. She felt herself smile tiredly. Both tried to turn their attentions to the stories being shared and the heroes being recognized, but this was not the hello she longed for. She swapped her glass to her left hand and dropped her right beneath the table. George instantly took her hand, but he wasn't content simply to lace his fingers with hers. For a few moments they stroked each other's fingers – something that hardly sounded half as thrilling as it felt.

George shifted his chair closer to hers, his movements so cautious that they were almost imperceptible to the crowd around them. When at last his thigh was close enough to touch hers, their caresses became more daring – hands discreetly wandering over skin that ached for more contact. When Gary finally finished the toast and sipped, Alanna nearly missed it. Most of what he'd said had gone in one of her ears and out the other, but she had heard the part about the Immortals War being an epic that would be retold over and over to their children's children. While that was probably true, she was only interested in her epic romance at that particular moment.

"Do you think we can get out of here without being noticed," she whispered very lightly.

She saw the corners of George's mouth turn up in a smile, his hazel eyes twinkling mischievously. "Darlin', I thought you'd never ask," he returned equally softly, his breath dancing lightly over her ear and sending a shiver down her spine. She'd seen that look before. Sleep could wait.