Cecily let her cheek fall to Leta’s shoulder and hugged her back. It felt so nice to be loved by someone in the world. Since her mother’s death, she’d had no one of her own. It was a lonely life, despite the excitement and adventure her work held for her. She wasn’t openly affectionate at all, except with Leta. “For God’s sake, next you’ll be rocking her to sleep at night!” came a deep, disgusted voice at Cecily’s back, and Cecily stiffened because she recognized it immediately. “She’s my baby girl,” Leta told her tall, handsome son with a grin. “Shut up.” Cecily turned a little awkwardly. She hadn’t expected this. Tate Winthrop towered over both of them. His jet-black hair was loose as he never wore it in the city, falling thick and straight almost to his waist. He was wearing a breastplate with buckskin leggings and high-topped mocassins. There were two feathers straight up in his hair with notches that had meaning among his people, marks of bravery. Cecily tried not to stare at him. He was the most beautiful man she’d ever known. Since her seventeenth birthday, Tate had been her world. Fortunately he didn’t realize that her mad flirting hid a true emotion. In fact, he treated her exactly as he had when she came to him for comfort after her mother had died suddenly; as he had when she came to him again with bruises all over her thin, young body from her drunken stepfather’s violent attack. Although she dated, she’d never had a serious boyfriend. She had secret terrors of intimacy that had never really gone away, except when she thought of Tate that way. She loved him… “Why aren’t you dressed properly?” Tate asked, scowling at her skirt and blouse. “I bought you buckskins for your birthday, didn’t I?” “Three years ago,” she said without meeting his probing eyes. She didn’t like remembering that he’d forgotten her birthday this year. “I gained weight since then.” “Oh. Well, find something you like here…” She held up a hand. “I don’t want you to buy me anything else,” she said flatly, and didn’t back down from the sudden menace in his dark eyes. “I’m not dressing up like a Lakota woman. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m blond. I don’t want to be mistaken for some sort of overstimulated Native American groupie buying up artificial artifacts and enthusing over citified Native American flute music, trying to act like a member of the tribe.” “You belong to it,” he returned. “We adopted you years ago.” “So you did,” she said. That was how he thought of her-a sister. That wasn’t the way she wanted him to think of her. She smiled faintly. “But I won’t pass for a Lakota, whatever I wear.” “You could take your hair down,” he continued thoughtfully. She shook her head. She only let her hair loose at night, when she went to bed. Perhaps she kept it tightly coiled for pure spite, because he loved long hair and she knew it. “How old are you?” he asked, trying to remember. “Twenty, isn’t it?” “I was, give years ago,” she said, exasperated. “You used to work for the CIA. I seem to remember that you went to college, too, and got a law degree. Didn’t they teach you how to count?” He looked surprised. Where had the years gone? She hadn’t aged, not visibly.
Topics : Paper Rose Quotes