Rebecca woke up the next morning lying next to Brian who had one warm, leathery wing wrapped over her. She made no attempt to move, she had never felt so safe and at peace as she did with his wing wrapped around her. After a little while she lightly started to run her fingers over the leathery skin of .his wings and the slightly rougher skin that covered the bone at the top of it until he shifted slightly.
“Are you enjoying yourself?” he asked lifting his head to look at her.
“Oh yes, very much,” she replied, “Unfortunately I should be getting up.”
“Why do you have to get up right away?” he asked.
Rebecca had to take a second before she responded to keep herself from smiling as she said, “I ran into the sweetest, most handsome man I have ever met yesterday and he’s supposed to be coming over this morning. I should be up when he gets here and you probably shouldn’t be where he might see you.”
“He’s really that handsome?” he asked, the corners of his mouth twitching as he tried not to smile.
“Yes, probably the handsomest man in the world, even better looking than any movie star I’ve ever seen,” she told him, wondering how much longer she could keep it up before she started smiling or laughing.
“You sound like you really like him,” Brian said.
“I do, I think I could very easily fall in love with him and I think he liked me too,” she said.
“I’m sure he does. Well I’ll get going so I don’t scare him off, but I’ll be back this evening. Good luck with your courtship,” he told her as he stood up.
Rebecca smiled, “Thanks, I’ll let you know how things go tonight.”
Once he was out of the room she couldn’t keep her smile from spreading into a full grin. As long as he was so determined to keep from telling her he was Brian she was going to have as much fun as possible with her knowledge that they were both the same person.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
About half an hour later Brian, now in his human form, knocked at the door, “So you made it through another night?” he said when she answered the door.
“Of course, those ghosts never stood a chance against me, I don’t think they’ll be a problem anymore,” Rebecca told him, “So were you just here to check on me or do you want to stay for a while?”
“Well if you’re going to be staying here and since I am supposed to be something of a caretaker for this place, I thought we could start deciding what you want done with the place. All of these roses are beautiful, but I don’t think they’ve been pruned in centuries, there are a lot that have died off and I do believe that somewhere under the roses is a stone path leading to the other buildings in the courtyard. I think that’s actually a stable over there,” he said pointing to the left, then pointing to the right, “and in those buildings over there, there should be a bakery and a few houses for the castle servants. I have everything with me that we should need,” he added holding up a large bucket full of gardening supplies.
“That sounds like a wonderful idea,” Rebecca said.
“Shall we take a tour of the grounds then my lady?” Briand asked, offering Rebecca his arm.
“Yes, let’s,” Rebecca replied smiling as she took his arm before they started to walk around the parts of the courtyard they could get to and discussed what to do first.
By noon they had trimmed back almost enough of the roses to reach the stable and had spent the entire time they were working talking. Brian was still doing quite well at avoiding saying anything to hint at the fact that he was really the dragon from the night before and Rebecca was already plotting ways she could let him know that she already knew.
“Should we stop for lunch? I have some bread, sliced turkey and cheese in the castle,” Rebecca said.
“That sounds wonderful. Would you mind if I finish up here while you get it? I should be able to have the stable door cleared by the time you get back with the food,” he told her.
“That would be fine, I’ll be back shortly,” Rebecca told him before she headed into the castle.
As soon as she had shut the castle door behind her, Rebecca was grabbed, spun around and pinned back against the door with a strong hand at her neck.
She gasped in shock, but as soon as she realized who it was she relaxed and pulled his hand away from her neck, “What do you want now?” she asked.
“Do you have any idea who that is out there that you’ve been chatting and flirting with all morning?” the old man asked.
“I have not been flirting with him,” Rebecca insisted, then after thinking about for a moment she admitted, “Well maybe a little. And of course I know who he is,” she smiled, “he’s your very handsome grandson and the dragon I spent half the night talking to last night. I take it you never told him that I know that you guys can make yourselves look human?”
“I tried to tell him, he just never gave me a chance so I gave up, then he made me promise not to tell you,” he replied.
“Why is he so determined to keep me from finding out?” Rebecca asked.
“Because he likes you, he seems to think that if you were to get to know him as a human and fall in love with him that you’d be more willing to accept him when he tells you he’s really a dragon. So just tell him now you’re not interested in him that way and don’t keep letting him think he has a chance with you, because if you break his heart I swear I don’t care what it takes I’ll make sure you never come near this castle again,” he threatened.
“No, I won’t tell him anything of the sort,” Rebecca replied defiantly.
“Why not?” he demanded.
“Because I’m not going to lie to him,” Rebecca replied.
“What?” he asked, sounding a little confused.
“He’s sweet and charming, kind and intelligent, from what I’ve seen so far I like him. Do you really think that the fact that he’s a dragon would make me not want a chance with him? I mean technically I am part dragon myself,” she pointed out.
“The last dragon to marry into your family was almost a thousand years ago, the blood line is so thinned you can hardly be considered part dragon,” he told her.
“I don’t care, I like Brian, and I believe we could be quite happy together. If things don’t work out between us it will have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he’s a dragon,” she smiled, “and if it doesn’t work out for us I’ll just have to find another dragon to marry because after waking up this morning with his wing wrapped around me I don’t think I could ever be happy with a man who didn’t have wings. Now if you’ll excuse me, I promised Brian I would be right back out with lunch,” she told him before heading to the kitchen before he could say anything more.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
The rest of the day Rebecca and Brian spent cleaning out and making a few minor repairs to the stable. Brian seemed quite determined to finish the stable before they quit for the day and they only stopped briefly to eat dinner before they continued until it was starting to get dark out.
“There, I think that’s it, now all you need are some horses,” Brian said as he finished nailing a loose board back into place on one of the stalls.
“That would be nice, although they’ll probably have to wait until I’m more settled in and not trying to get things cleaned up,” Rebecca said stifling a yawn as she leaned back against the doorframe, “You certainly don’t like to leave a job half done, do you?”
“No, especially here, I’ve wanted to get in here and fix the castle grounds up ever since I started helping my grandfather look after the place, but he always said we were just supposed to keep it from falling apart, not make any changes or do any major cleaning or repair jobs. I do love bring old abandoned places like this back to life though,” Brian told her.
“Does that mean you’ll be back tomorrow?” Rebecca asked as they closed the stable.
“If you want me to,” he replied.
“Of course I do, I think it would take me ten times as long to get this place cleaned up without your help,” she told him then blushing slightly she added, “And I quite enjoy your company as well.”
Brian smiled, “Well then I will return in the morning. Good night my lady,” he said taking her hand in his and kissing it.
“Good night,” Rebecca replied unable to keep from smiling as she watched him head down the road before she shut the castle gate and headed inside.
- - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - -
Rebecca was in the bathroom, in front of the mirror muttering about there being no bathtub and making failed attempts to get the cobwebs and dust out of her hair when there was a knock at the open bathroom door.
“You don’t look like you’re having much luck with that,” Brian said. He was now in dragon form although small enough to stand about the same height as Rebecca so he could move around the castle more easily.
“Of course I’m not. It’s too dark to bathe in the lake, so all I have to clean up with is a washcloth and a tiny sink. Who ever scared the guy off who was putting the bathroom in could have at least waited until he got a bathtub and water heater put in before they scared him off,” she complained.
“I know just what you need, come with me,” he said offering her his arm.
Rebecca took his arm and he led her upstairs, “So you can walk just as well on two legs as four?” she asked.
“Yes, it mostly depends on where we are, what size we are and how much room there is. Oh and they’re arms and hands,” he said raising his other hand, “There are some dragons who get a little offended if you say they have four legs or feet,” he said then in a voice that was a near perfect replica of his grandfather’s he said, “They’re arms and hands, we’re not some mindless animal crawling around on four legs, how could anyone consider this a foot? It looks nothing like our feet,” Brian smiled, “That was the speech I got from my grandfather when I was about five. If I remember correctly he had hurt his hand and I made the mistake of telling my mom he had hurt his front foot.”
“He seems to be a bit grouchy,” Rebecca said.
“At times he can be, but most of what you’re seeing is because he just doesn’t like strangers or humans, so you’ve got your work cut out for you being a stranger and a human. I’m sure he’ll get better once you get to know him and he gets to know you, we just have to convince him to give you a chance,” he told her as they came to the door to one of the bedrooms and he opened it.
“What are we doing here?” she asked, noticing a large old metal bath tub in front of the fireplace she added, “It would take forever to carry enough water up here to fill that thing.”
“Who said anything about carrying the water?” Brian asked as the fireplace suddenly lit, as well as several candles around the room, then the dust and cobwebs disappeared. A large soft looking towel appeared hanging next to the tub, shampoo and soap appeared on a stool next to it and the tub was filled with steaming hot water.
Rebecca grinned as she breathed, “A real hot bath, I haven’t had a hot bath since I got here,” she quickly hugged him, “Thank you, so much,” she said kissing his cheek, earning a rather shocked look from him before she started to push him towards the door, “Now get out so I can enjoy this.”
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
After a long relaxing bath Rebecca got out, dried off and realized she hadn’t brought a change of clothes up with her. The clothes she had had on were far too dirty from all the work she’d done that day to even consider putting them back on, so she decided to make a run for the down stairs bathroom where she had left a change of clothes. She just hoped Brian was in the library and that his grandfather wasn’t hanging around the castle anywhere. She tightened the towel around her then opened the door just far enough that she could make sure no one was out there. She was just about to step out of the room when she realized the change of clothes she had left in the bathroom was lying outside the door.
- - - - - - - - - - -
“You are such a gentleman,” Rebecca said as she climbed up onto the cushion in the library with Brian who was now at his full size.
“No I’m not; I would have quite enjoyed leaving you to run around the castle naked, unfortunately my conscience simply wouldn’t allow it,” he told her as he shifted to one side to make more room for her.
“Well whatever the reason, thank you for bringing me my clothes,” Rebecca told him as she sat down, nestling herself in at his side just behind his arm.
“Are you comfortable?” he asked.
Rebecca reached over and grabbed the edge of his wing, gently tugging on it until he let her pull it over herself, “Yes, quite comfortable,” she told him “and very tired,” she added leaning her head against his arm.
“You know your blankets are right over there?” he asked pointing to the side of the cushion.
“I know, but I like your wing better,” Rebecca replied running her hand over the leathery part of his wing.
“Do you realize you are quite insane? Most people would be too terrified to get this close to a dragon, let alone treating one like they were their own personal bed.”
“That’s only because they probably never realized what a wonderful blanket dragon wings make and you’re too big of a sweetheart to ever scare me,” Rebecca told him.
“And if I told you to stop?” he asked.
“Then I’d tell you to find somewhere else to sleep, because as long as you’re here, your wing will be my blanket,” Rebecca replied then added, “Unless I really believed it bothered you, but so far I don’t think it does,”.
“Well if you insist on using me as a bed you might as well not be using my hard scales for a pillow,” he said then suddenly scooped her into his hands and rolled onto his back and placed her on the somewhat softer and smoother skin of his chest.
Rebecca smiled, “I think you’re right, this will be much more comfortable,” she said as she lay down on her stomach and propped her chin up in her hands, then smiled and looked expectantly at him, “Now my blanket,”
“You know I’m starting to worry that if you ever leave you’ll cut my wings off and take them with you,” he said as he wrapped his wings over her.
“Of course not, I don’t think your wings would be as warm and comfy if they weren’t attached to the rest of you. I feel so safe and relaxed with them around me that they’re rather addictive, so I’d just have to take you with me, if I ever left,” she told him.
“Are you sure that wouldn’t make your boyfriend jealous?” he asked.
Rebecca leaned her forehead against his chest for a second to hide her smile. He really was trying too hard to keep her from realizing he was Brian and it was becoming harder and harder for her not to let him know she already knew. Then she got an evil idea of a way to tell him she knew and it might only take a little effort to set the plan in motion.
Once she was sure she had control of her face, she lifted her head, then giving him a sad look she said, “He’s not my boyfriend, I’m not even sure he really likes me that much.”
“Why would you think that?” he asked.
“We spent all day working together and talking. We probably got to know each other better than most people get to know each other in half a dozen regular dates, but he never actually asked me to start dating him or make anything official that we’re a couple. Maybe he realized there was something about me that he just didn’t like. I wouldn’t blame, I am rather old fashioned and have never really had a man show much interest in me before. I should have known better than to get my hopes up that he might be different,” she said sadly before leaning her forehead against his chest again when she couldn’t keep a straight face any longer.
“I’m sure that’s not it at all. Did you tell him you had never really had a boyfriend before?” he asked.
“Yes, it did come up,” Rebecca replied raising her head again.
“Well then, I’ll bet he’s already falling madly in love with you, but was just worried about moving too fast and scaring you off. He probably just wanted to be absolutely sure that you liked him before he asked to make it official that you two are a couple,” he told her.
“Do you really believe that? That he could be madly in love with me, even though we’ve only known each other a couple of days?” she asked, her heart racing and a million butterflies fluttering in her stomach at the thought that he was already as much in love her as she was with him.
“I’m absolutely certain of it. Now, you look exhausted and should get some sleep so you’re not half asleep all day tomorrow when he comes back,” he told her.
“Alright, good night,” she said laying her head on his chest and wondering if he’d realize that she had never mentioned to him that Brian was coming back the next day.