Tey held the book open as Avra snuggled closer. He still didn’t quite understand her insistence on noticing him only when they were alone, but he didn’t mind. Maybe it was better that she saved this...energetic side of herself for private moments. It certainly wouldn’t do for her to ruin her tough reputation by being cuddly in public.
She reached across the book and played with the gold marriage bracelet on his left wrist, listening to it chime musically against her own. Resting her head against his chest, she glanced up at him.
He pointedly looked down at the book, and used his free hand to point out the first word. She pouted and followed his finger with her eyes.
“Water,” he said, pronouncing the word carefully. “W—ahh—t—err. Water.”
“Water,” she repeated dutifully, sounding out the letters as she pointed to them.
“Silver. Ss—ill—v—err. Silver.”
He pointed to the next word. “Can you sound that one out? You know the letters.”
She frowned, a line creasing her beautiful brow, her expressive face puckering up into an almost comical expression. It was all he could do not to laugh.
“Sss—oooo—ng. Soong?”
He suppressed a chuckle. “Close. Song.”
“Oh, song.” She didn’t sound enthusiastic.
He pointed to the next few words, sounding each out carefully so she could see how the letters interacted with each other. “Care. Love. Hug.”
She smiled. “I know that one.” To prove it, she gripped him tightly around the chest. He tried to ignore her as he pointed to the next word.
“What’s this one, Avra?”
She reluctantly looked back at the book. “K—eye—sss?”
He shook his head. “You know the letters. There’s no character to change the sound of the ‘i.’ Try again.”
“K...k....” She frowned fiercely, that determined expression he’d seen so many times in battle, the expression she’d given him the day they’d met, when she had freed him. The word was doomed. He chuckled a bit.
“K...k—ih—ss? Kiss!” She grinned up at him.
He smiled back. “Very good.”
“I like that word,” she said softly, staring at him.
“Me too,” he replied, entranced by the look in her beautiful brown eyes.
“Kiss,” she whispered, sitting up straighter.
“Kiss,” he repeated softly, leaning closer, drawn in by her fiery charm.
“Kiss.” Slowly, softly, they met lips and kissed as firmly as either could’ve wished....