Cinder Girl: Reluctant

Willow leaves her home after being fed up with the emotional abuse of her unstable mother, who has remarried since her father's death. In search of a job and livable circumstances, but a bit too proud and untrusting for her own good. She has difficulty seeing kindness for the sake of kindness itself. So, how will she react when she meets a young man who seems too quick to trust others.
A twist on the classic fairytale.


9. a night with the fool

She had said yes.

He couldn't believe it, she had actually said yes. He was so excited, he swept her off her feet and kissed her sweetly as he spun them around the room.

She didn't want to stop kissing him. The moment his mouth would separate from hers, she pulled him right back. Their breathing grew ragged.

He stumbled backwards a bit before falling to sit on the sofa. She curled up on his lap and pulled at the collar of his sweater as she continued to kiss him wildly.

He was overwhelmed by her. He was puddy. He was shocked that she was this forward with him when she'd been so reserved most of their relationship. He was concerned and curious.

"Wait," he said as she kissed along his neck.

He swallowed, trying to ignore the feeling of her lips against his jugular.

"This is unlike you," he smiled, despite himself. "Not that I'm not enjoying it, I'm just wondering why."

She sat up straight, still curled up on his knees. She looked him dead in the eye. There was conviction there.

"You treat me like I'm important," she said. "I trust you. And, we're in love. I want to enjoy being in love with you. I'm tired of being cautious all the time. Being cautious with you has never paid off. If anything, it's held me back from experiencing things to the full."

Perfectly rational rationale. He smiled and cupped his hand against her cheek.

"I really do love you so much, Willow," he said and she kissed the inside of his palm.

She grabbed him by the shirt collar again.

"I love you too," she smiled devilishly and pulled him into a long and searing kiss.

It was good, feeling so relaxed with him without a bottle of champagne split between them. That's how she really knew she loved and trusted him. Her guard was completely down. She was never scared with him at her side. She never felt the need to protect herself. She'd taken care of herself for so long, it was wonderful to know that he wanted to care for her, too. But, he still trusted her to work hard for herself and in their business. She would try her whole life to convey her love and gratitude to him.

She fell asleep in his arms that night, her bare legs entangled with his under the blankets on her bed. He kissed her forehead, his heart still racing. Still just so happy to have found her. Still so angry she had ever been neglected by anyone. He instinctively hugged her shoulders tighter and she stirred against him.

He woke to the smell of bacon and coffee. She was wearing nothing but his sweater and a pair of socks as she cooked. He got out of bed and put on his pants, then joined her at the stove.

"Smells good," he kissed her shoulder. "Need any help?"

She shook her head and smiled.

"Since we're engaged," he said as he turned to the coffee maker and poured a cup for himself, "should we reach out to your family?"

She froze for just a second, then said decidedly, "You and the Chan's are my family. I do have a few friends I'd like to invite to the wedding, though."

He nodded. That was all the answer he needed. She was either orphaned or she wanted nothing to do with them. She'd tell him someday, but today was not the day.

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