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Sarah didn't know when this game had begun. She traced the seam of her lips, breath tickling a long the side of her fingers. Ghosting them across her cheeks, and down the line of her jaw, she thought of another's touch. The moon illuminated her face, making her skin seem even paler in the soft light.
A 23 year-old Sarah Williams reclined in an overstuffed chaise situated in front of the window of her apartment. After graduating from college with her acting degree (with a minor in literature) she had moved to this flat in London, and began her life as an adult. She was acting off and on, which she was proud of. She was a fairly logical person, and knew that she would have to work from the bottom and move up. So far, the odd commercial and some smaller plays were satisfying her. She was working part time as a waitress and part time in a small library, both jobs offering her a flexibility to work around her acting schedule.
She had friends, enjoyed London and all it's diversions, but was still intrinsically Sarah. So, immediately upon moving in to the flat she had found the comfiest chaise lounge in existence, set it up next to the window, and created her perfect reading nook. The table to the side, lamp unlit, was stacked high with books. Not all, but a fair number of them were fantasy, and Sarah loved loosing herself in the magic, romance, and adventure found on the pages.
Some part of this game had begun only a few nights ago. She had gotten home from the library, a new book in her hands exciting her, and had promptly fallen in to her chair, soon engrossed in its pages. A passage had triggered her memories, her mind unfocused, and she found herself dwelling on her own adventures. The sun set as she dwelled on a pair of mismatched eyes and promises she had been too young to fully comprehend.
Realizing she now sat in relative darkness, she shook off her thoughts, putting the book aside. Leaning forward to pull herself up, she glimpsed something bright outside in the darkness. There was a tree in front of her window, which she loved. It's part of what had sold her on this flat, looking out at the leaves and limbs of the oak made the industrial look of London fade away.
Within the limbs of the tree, a pale form was visible, tucked back and slightly hidden by the night's shadows. Two eyes, glowing white in reflection, stood out starkly against what was obviously a white owl.
Sarah froze. Electricity seemed to run through her veins, fueled by her suddenly racing heart. It wasn't possible…
It 's just an owl, in the middle of London, staring in to my flat.
Lost in a haze of panic and doubt, Sarah perched on the edge of the lounge, and stared back. Her eyes met those of the owl, and she drank in the sight of it. It stood not 15 feet away, huddled near the trunk of the tree, white wings gracefully tucked at its sides.
Nothing happened. Neither Sarah nor the bird so much as twitched, eyes locked. After a time, the owl unfurled its wings slowly, and took off in to the night air. Sarah watched it for as long as she could, but as it receded in to the distance, it seemed to become enveloped by the darkness, vanishing quickly.
Sarah stood sharply, confused in thought, and retreated in to the depths of her flat.
Throughout the next day, she wavered back and forth. It was him… Oh my God, it was him! But, no, stop being so self-centered. Of course it wasn't him. It was just an owl. Most owls aren't fae kings, Sarah.
That afternoon, she stayed away from the window. Somehow, in her brain, whither or not it was actually the Goblin King had narrowed to if the owl was back tonight. If he was back, it was the Goblin King. If not, it was just a random owl.
She cooked, cleaned, straightened, dusted, and pretty much did anything she could think of to stay away from looking outside. The sun set, warm orange light filtering through the leaves of the tree and in to her apartment. As twilight fell, Sarah sat at the foot of her bed, trying to calm herself down. This is ridiculous, grow a backbone, girl.
Not looking, Sarah walked to and sat in her chaise, and began determinately reading her book. Time passed, and she still didn't look, the book helping distract her from the glaring expanse of window in front of her. Darkness fell, and Sarah lit her lamp, noticing out of the corner of her eye that the reflection on the glass masked the outside world. Still, stubbornly, she read.
Later and later it grew, until she knew she had no choice. With the light on she rose, setting the book down and facing the window. Staring out, she reached out with one hand and clicked off the lamp.
Shrouded in darkness, Sarah stared at the white owl that stared back, reflective eyes glowing.
Fairly quickly, the owl unfurled its wings and repeated its disappearing act from the night before.
Time seemed to change for Sarah, as if she was in the Labyrinth. Sometimes it passed slowly, as if clocks ticked away 13 hours instead of 12, and yet she also lost large swaths of time, immersed in numb thought, until she looked up and realized hours had passed. The day elapsed confusingly.
That night, Sarah had plans. It wasn't much, just a night out with a few friends, pizza and a movie. If they noticed she was unusually quiet, they didn't press her much. Laughter and voices floated around her, and she listened, but felt disconnected. Liam, a casual friend whose eyes seemed to linger on her longer than she would like, would lean to her and whisper, trying to include her in what was going on around her. She barely noticed him.
Entering her flat, leaving the lights off, tossing keys, purse, jacket, and shoes haphazardly, she moved to the window.
A snowy white owl gazed lazily, eyes half-lidded.
Sinking down, one creamy leg stretched out, the other knee bent, leg tucked tight to her body below her chin, still modest only because the length of her skirt flowed around the tops of her thighs, she looked. She was casual, belying her inner tumultuousness, and contemplated the creature looking back at her.
It was an owl. It shouldn't cause her pulse to race. It shouldn't steal her breath. It shouldn't turn her whole world upside down. It also shouldn't excite her. Her body felt like it was on fire, as if the glowing eyes looking at her could burn her skin and nerves. She absorbed it all, the knowledge that even the possibility this may be him turned on every synapse in her body, good and bad. She was electric, sitting calmly, staring at an animal that may or may not be a fae with wispy hair that caught the wind, eyes a clear sea blue, and the ruler of a land that she found in her dreams.
She wanted it to be him.
Sarah absently trailed her fingers up and down the thigh tucked against her body. The owl blinked, eyes seemingly following the path of her fingers. Suddenly, Sarah became aware of how much leg she was showing, and how slouching down to rest her chin on her knee allowed an impressive amount of cleavage to show. Still, she didn't move. She just spent an indefinable amount of time gazing in to the eyes roaming over her.
The next morning she found a feather on her doorstep. That day, it almost never left her fingers.
That night, dressed in pajamas that consisted of short shorts and a tight tank top, she didn't sit. She stood, inches away from the window, nipples hard from the cold seeping through the single pane, thighs clenched and stomach tense, and she boldly gazed at the snowy owl perched in front of her.
She wanted him to understand that she saw him, and that she wanted him there.
Which was a little crazy, she knew that. This was a faerie king. She had beaten him at his own game, boasted at him, whined at him, and denied him. She had no idea what his intentions were. He could be plotting revenge, angry with her for his defeat.
And yet, she chose the gamble. He could be planning all sorts of evil, or he could not, and she wasn't going to let fear of being hurt stop her from pursuing her fantasy. She felt this was a moment of transition. Ignore the owl as just an owl and continue her everyday life, or believe in the dream and fall down the rabbit-hole.
Wonderland, any day.
Heart pounding, Sarah took the feather in her fingers, and lifted it to her cheek. Slowly, she ran the smooth but rigid tip of it down her cheekbone, opening her mouth as it grazed along the pad of her lip. Closing her eyes, she thought of that elusive, graceful king. She pictured him sitting in that tree, one knee cockily raised, torso casually leaning against the trunk, lightning sharp gaze trained on the path of the feather. She trailed the feather down her throat, and down, down, between her breasts and stopping at her navel where her other hand rested. Trailing the feather up the other bare arm, feeling its silkiness in every nerve, shivering from the sensitivity. When it finished it path, Sarah's breath shallow, feather pressed against her open lips, she opened her eyes.
The snowy owl gazed back.
This is insane.
So wrapped in her vision, the start reality of a bird staring back at her broke her will. Unsure of everything, Sarah fled.
AN: So, this is mostly completed, and is only a few chapters long. So, expect updates soon!
Authors work for reviews... ;)