Samantha Lee’s Picture Choice: 2
I was going on vacation. Well, Dumitru and I were going on vacation. My wraiths were probably going to tag along. My brother was probably going to insist on coming to ensure matters of state didn't slip in my absence. My Omega would undoubtedly pop up several times to report in. I'd probably be called away at least three times a day. But it was a vacation.
Oh, who was I kidding? "We can't do this," I declared, flopping back onto my bed. "The minute we snuggle up in front of the fire or set up the picnic in the meadow or whatever you've got planned, someone or something is going to interrupt us."
Dumitru didn't even look up from his book. "Where we're going, we can't be interrupted."
"No such place exists," I bemoaned, "I'm like an elephant in the Sahara or a firefly in the dark; I can't hide no matter how hard I try. Not anymore."
"Lumina mea, you are neither an insect nor a pachyderm; I would not love you nearly so much if you were."
I lifted my head high enough to glare at Dumitru. "You would love me just as much whether I had big ears and a trunk or six legs and antennae and you know it."
The little fink laughed. Rising from his chair, he tossed his book onto the side table and tossed himself down beside me. "Lumina mea, no one will interrupt, nothing will interfere. I guarantee it."
"The eruption was averted."
"That mermaid has lived happily ever after."
"The pack's thriving."
"The spirits were laid to rest."
"The dragon passed back into Faerie."
"The kitsune are adjusting to their freedom."
"Looks better in green."
"The mummies have been great for tourism."
"Enjoying the chance to redecorate."
"At least we met new people."
"We survived and were mostly unharmed."
"Can you name a single vacation of ours that didn't feature some sort of crisis?"
I gave up. I groped around with one hand above my head until my fingers found a pillow and promptly dropped it over my face.
Dumitru, caring and understanding man that he was, laughed again. "You have not asked where we are going, lumina mea."
I sprung up like the bed had shocked me, tossing the pillow back to gently smack Dumitru in the face. "What could it matter? No matter where we go, there'll be a natural disaster or a magical mishap or a Fae concern or...or SOMETHING and then it's so long romance and hello misadventure. There isn't a single place on Earth we could go and not be...imposed upon!"
"You are right."
"There's no denying it, not getting around it; we are just doomed when it comes to vaca-" I froze. "Wait, what did you just say?"
Dumitru chuckled and got to his feet, coming over to slip his arms loosely around my waist. "I said you are right, lumina mea. There is no place on this earth we could go and be truly alone. Always your wraiths, your servants, your family, your cats will seek us out. Always your presence will awaken some long dormant power or draw some wrathful beast's attention or bring forth some forgotten tribe's resurgence."
Confused, I bit down on my lower lip and shook my head. "I don't understand, Tru; where are we going?"
Dumitru grinned. "Do you recall the film we watched last weekend?"
"The Wizard of Oz?"
"Yes. I thought perhaps it would be fun to - how do you say? - play at being the wizard."
I frowned. "You want us to hide behind the curtain?"
I felt horrible when his smile wilted. "No."
"Oh, um, we're going to bestow brains, hearts, and courage on scarecrows, tin men, and lions?"
He sighed, exasperated, and shook his head. "No."
"We're going to-" The light bulb went on. "Oh my gods, you didn't?"
"I might have."
"Of course. It is one of those patchwork numbers."
"And just the two of us?"
"Not even an operator?"
"I believe they are called pilots and no, no one but the two of us will be there."
Happiness unfurled through me, warm and light. Wrapping my arms around Dumitru's neck, I lifted myself off my feet and kissed him, my lips curling into a smile even as they pressed against his. "Darling," I murmured, "that's ingenious."
"I know,” he murmured, stepping back until we fell back onto the bed. “And at present, another idea strikes me.”
“Oh? And what’s that?”
“That I love you, lumina mea. Even as a firefly or a pachyderm.”
I laughed. “I love you too, Tru. I love you too.”
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