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54.64% The Tiger Within / Chapter 382: The Brush

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Chapter 382: The Brush

The soft sound of porcelain under his feet caused Verone to stop and look down. Under his feet, he saw something that caught his eye. A hair brush.

He leaned down slowly and picked the brush up, drawn to it. The handle was rather pretty, though now it was cracked. He had a small twinge of guilt as though… he had caused that crack. There was a twinge of pain in his head, as though it was the ghost of pain long past. Slowly he turned the brush over in his hands. The prongs were carved from wood and the edges and tips were rounded and smooth so not to damage the hair. The porcelain was carefully painted with butterflies. "Pretty little butterflies… just like you…"  he whispered and contusion and unease seemed to twist his expression to that of a lost puppy.

A throbbing pain in his head caused him to growl as images appeared in his mind. Her, the girl he had fought at the wedding, Kyera being younger. Maybe? He wasnt sure, but she smiled at him, bright, lovely. He felt a warmth in his chest, his own hands giving her a gift.

"Give me a hint, Verone! Please? I want to guess my present!" a different voice. Female. Hers? His brain throbbed with pain again.

"Pretty little butterflies, just like you." his own voice replied sounding happy. What was this? As he tried to explore the memory more the face changed to the blond behind him, but… the body did not match the face…

"Verone, what's that?" The blond asked, her heartbeat quickening as he shook his head to clear it. She was behind him, draped against his back, her arms around his neck so she looked over his shoulder. Her eyes locked on the brush as though it threatened her very existence.

"loot. I like it." he replied putting the brush into the bag on his hip. She nodded, satisfied with his answer, but not at ease.

"Let's get out of here, lover. I feel dirty here. We should go bathe in the stream." she offered purring in his ear gently. That soft sound wiped the memory from his mind and his uncertainties disappeared.

He turned and stood in one fluid motion, sweeping her up in his arms. She squealed and wrapped her arms around his neck.  Again he felt like he had done this before, but something wasn't right. He just couldn't put his finger on it. Instead, he took her to the river's edge, just a few minutes away.

Get in with me?" she purred at him, nibbling lightly on his neck. There was a sweet smile on her lips, sultry and teasing, but he didn't really feel attracted right now. Instead, he set her down gently at the water's edge.

"Not right now, my kitten. I don't feel well." he replied, for a moment he had the urge to kiss her. The problem was it conflicted with the fact he didn't want to… not this time.

"Letting yourself be ill is weakness. Come on, swim." she demanded pouting as she grabbed his hand to pull him toward the water. He stood still looking back at her.

"The only true weakness is ignoring your limits when your body warns you it needs rest." he replied instantly, though the words didn't feel like his own. She frowned instantly, unable to hide her displeasure at his words.

Tears welled in her eyes as she turned away as though she was hurt. He frowned realizing how harsh his tone had been. Verone reached for her, twirling her back into his arms. She hid her face in his chest so he wouldn't see her smile as the tears fell.

"I am sorry. I just feel so helpless, I wanted to spend time with you." she whimpered through the tears. He sighed hugging her close and focusing on the moment. He felt bad, though he knew part of this was theatrics. The girl had a flare for taking mole hills and making mountains.

"I understand. I was being selfish. I just have a headache and didn't feel like playing in the water." he replied, scooping her up again and climbing down into the water with her.

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