chocolate laced

Almonds

DARK CHOCOLATE ALMOND MOLTEN LAVA CAKE SUNDAES

PALEO STRAWBERRY ALMOND GALETTE

ALMOND CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE-COCONUT FROSTING

Almond Lace Cookies

Mandelhoernchen: Chocolate-Dipped Almond Horns

cinnamon sugar almonds

Salted Caramel Almond Bars

Paleo Almond & Raspberry Cookies

ALMOND-CRUSTED CHICKEN NUGGETS

CHOCOLATE COVERED ALMOND TOFFEE

Chocolate Almond Blondies

How to blanch almonds


More recipes here

Really nice recipes. Every hour.

Show me what you cooked!

limerence: clumsy → 1

pairing: zach dempsey / reader

genre: part one in a drabble series called ‘limerence’ about boyfriend!zach 

about: not only did you literally stumble into zach, but into his heart as well. 


Your first day at a brand new school couldn’t be going better. You had single-handedly managed to rip your brand new silk dress, lose your class schedule, and make 0 friends in a span of less than 4 hours. 

“What kind of shit is this?” You thought to yourself as you searched the sea of students in the crowded hall for a friendly face, finding none. You needed to ask someone to show you where the science hall was and help you open your locker, but no one seemed to want to give you the time of day. 

There was a tedious familiarity of standing alone in a crowded space, watching people pass you by and feeling like you were merely an object strategically placed to display teenage normalcy. 

The end of lunch was fast approaching and standing feeling sorry for yourself was getting old. With newfound determination you bobby pinned the strap of your dress back on, put the loose tendrils of your hair behind your ear, and murmured a soft, “you got this, kid,” under your breath. 

You had spotted a girl dressed in a vivid daffodil colored sundress and you made a beeline straight towards her. Consumed by your sudden sense of purpose and thoughts of how she looked like a beacon of light in the cold murky waters that was the student body, you hadn’t noticed a certain tall basketball player was about to cross your path. 

With a small gasp of surprise you butted straight into his side, swaying backwards and tripping over your feet. A small groan of defeat left your lips as a small ache developed on the bridge of your nose. 

“Hey are you okay?” 

His voice was like deep, rich, smooth chocolate and laced with such genuine concern that it almost seemed to quell the dull twinge of pain on your face. Wanting to see if such an alluring voice had an equally alluring face you looked up and damn it did. 

You could feel your eyes involuntarily widening and the once leisure pace of your beating heart turn rapid. You swept over the gorgeous expanse of his face, committing the slope of his nose and the smooth flesh of his pout to memory in case you never had another chance to be at such close proximity to him. 

“Not trying to be rude, but i’m pretty sure we lost this staring contest a long time ago.” His words brought you back to reality and an uncontrollable blush coated your cheeks, you were sure he could feel the burning heat of them. 

“Actually you lost, i’ve been staring for how long?” Is all you could muster, trying to mask your embarrassment with humor. The beautiful stranger let out a small chuckle, a sound so lovely it brought a smile to your face.

“So long I think you broke a record just now,” he responds playing along. “The dudes from guinness world records should be here any minute now.” 

You pretend to look around the halls in search for them. “Good. They’re not here yet, I still have time to prepare my acceptance speech.” You both laugh at your comment and you can’t help the bubbling giddiness you feel from the silly exchange of words with him. “You’re funny, whats your name?” 

“Y/n.”

“Nice. I’m Zach.” You had never thought a name could be this hot until now. Wanting to prolong your time with him, get your stupid locker open, and get to at least one class without being late you asked, “Well Zach, besides helping me break world records would you mind helping me with the glorious task of opening my locker and taking me to the science hall? You will be rewarded generously.” 

His coffee brown eyes look off into the distance, pretending to ponder over your offer. “Lead the way.”

Your lips turn up in a content smile, walking over to your locker with a spring in your step. “My combination is 0-8-24.” 

You watch as his lithe fingers spin over the lock, opening it on the first time with a satisfying click. “There you go.”

You try not to gape at how quickly and simply he opened it, you had stood there before for a good 10 minutes without any luck. “I swear I know how to open lockers, this one just didn’t like me.” 

He smiles amused at how adorably your eyebrows furrowed, expressing your distaste at the rusty blue locker. “Well now that this is opened, whats my reward?”

He takes a flirtatious tone, insinuating that he has a certain something in mind. 

“Well that depends, what do you want?” Your words come out breathy as he steps closer to you. He laughs lightly at the sudden change in your tone, the once ringing voice now soft-spoken. 

“A date,” he responds in an indifferent tone that is more suited to say just buying some stuff or gonna go out for a walk. You raise your eyebrow at his request, faking your cool composure. 

“Take me to the science hall and submit a one page essay about why I should and I might just consider it.” 


hello! this is the first time i’ve ever put one of my works out there and i’d really appreciate any feedback anyone has :-) 

Aesthetics & Color Palettes

Aries: volcano, fireplace, red lipstick/nails, grapefruits, canyon, leather, campfire, lava lamp, melted chocolate, roasted/toasted marshmallows.

Taurus: trees, coffee/hot chocolate, Christmas sweaters, water lilies, pink roses, presents, autumn leaves, pancakes/crepes, paved streets, comfy blanket. 

Gemini: tornado, yellow cabs, crowded citiy, lemons, joker card, sand clock, clouds, roller coaster ride/funfair, ice cream, trains. 

Cancer: pearls, old books, woollen scarfs, pocket watch/clock, dried flowers, the Moon, ocean, tearful eyes, babies, lip balms. 

Leo: the Sun, champagne, theaters, gold watch/jewelry, crown, lions/felines, sunflowers, fireworks, candies, glitter clothes. 

Virgo: libraries, bathrooms, anatomy/medical books, mountains, ice/snow, grey sky, organized desk, forest, cactuses.  

Libra; cotton candy, marshmallows, flowers, swans, fans, sculptures, peace sign, macarons/pastries, tutus/ballerinas, sunglasses.

Scorpio: red apples, blood stains, satin sheets, dark streets, abandoned mansion, dark sky/thunderstorm, dark chocolate/coffee grounds, lace, candy canes, potion bottles.

Sagittarius: airplanes, tropical jungle, arrows, cinnamon/spices, dark blue starry sky, haunted house, vinyls, mountains, road signs, cars.

Capricorn: suits, black eyeliner and eyeshadow, wine bottles, pillows, guitar, notebooks and office supplies, coffee, newspapers, boats, blackboard. 

Aquarius: dreamcatchers, butterflies, smartphones/technology items, jellyfishes, rings, feathers and birds, neon lights, dark lipstick, tattoos, quotes/pictures about freedom. 

Pisces: mermaids, ocean/lake/water, shells, tears, paintings, fog, mosaic, bed and sheets, dolphins, poetry books. 

blog aesthetics! 💋

i’m taking advantage of being on holiday since i haven’t done anything for you guys in a while – thank you for following, ily all so much and hope you’re having a wonderful day. xx

  • please be following me
  • reblog this post
  • send me your favourite emoji
  • i’ll answer privately so i can do more of these
sun / moon / stars / comet / planet
summer / autumn / winter / spring
tea / coffee / hot chocolate / champagne / rosé / cocktail
lace / silk / satin / chiffon / cashmere
bronze / silver / gold / rose gold / iron / steel / platinum
art / poetry / music / literature / mythology / history / astronomy
art gallery / museum / library / café / beach
mermaid / elf / centaur / dragon / fairy / unicorn
athena / aphrodite / artemis / demeter / hera / hestia
apollo / ares / hades / hephaestus / hermes / poseidon / zeus
Potions & Chocolate (Carry On Valentine’s Celebration Day 2)

Idk if this is what was meant by the Valentine’s Chocolate prompt, but I had fun with it! Hope you enjoy @carryon-valentines

Simon

Gareth seemed pretty pleased to be helping the Chosen One out with a prank. Simon had to admit he too was pretty pleased with himself. Valentine’s Day was on the horizon and he’d come up with the perfect trick to play on Baz.
Penny glared at the two of them from across the table, her arms crossed.
“What you’re planning is despicable,” She said.
Simon looked at her in disbelief.
“What I’m doing? This is nothing compared to what he did to me last week!”
Baz had tripped Simon as he had been carrying a love potion precariously down the hall. It had spilled all over him, causing him to moon over anyone he came into contact with that day.
Penny’s glare intensified.
“What he did was terrible, yes, but this is worse. The potion he spilled on you just made you like everybody you saw. This potion will make him go after who he’s actually in love with. You’re going to expose his feelings for someone. Against his will.”
Simon huffed.
“Look I’m not going to force him to eat them. I’m just going to leave them out. With my name on the box. But knowing him he’ll be a thieving prat and eat at least some of them.”
She shook her head and got up to leave.
“Penny are you seriously siding with him?
She looked at Simon tiredly.
“This is going to backfire Simon, badly.”
With that she left Simon with Gareth and exited the dining hall. He felt a twinge of guilt as he thought about Penny’s point. This was technically worse than what Baz had done. But wasn’t that the point of revenge?
“Don’t listen to her,” Gareth said excitedly, “This is the best plan ever.”
Simon glanced at their weapon. A heart shaped box filled with mint chocolate candies, laced with a powerful love potion. It enhanced a person’s feelings for the one they loved and removed inhibitions. Couples often gave each other this potion to spice up their love lives.
Agatha, his ex-girlfriend, raised a blonde eyebrow in amusement.
“Wow. I never even received a love potion like that from you. Baz must be special, huh?”
Simon ignored the jab and left to go set up his plan.

Baz

Baz was suspicious. Snow had been acting strange all afternoon and he had a feeling it was about the prank he’d played on him last week. It had been sadistically amusing to help Snow up after he had just tripped him and find Snow swooning over him instead of cursing. He hadn’t realized Snow had been carrying a love potion when he’d tripped him, but it had made the event all the more enjoyable.
He watched warily as Snow entered their room and carelessly threw a heart shaped box on his desk. Without a word Snow grabbed his shower things and locked himself in the bathroom.
When Baz heard the water running he walked over to the chocolate box, curious to see who had given him the clichéd romantic candy. The tag simply said Simon in handwriting that eerily resembled Gareth’s. Baz smirked. He seriously doubted Gareth had confessed his secret love for Snow. No, this was a half-assed attempt at revenge.
When Snow left the bathroom Baz put on his best innocent expression. Snow eyed him, which was understandable considering Baz was standing next to Snow’s desk. Baz gestured to the candy box.
“May I?”
Snow looked flustered, as if he hadn’t planned for Baz to ask politely.
“Um, sure.”
Baz picked one up, drew the candy to his mouth, and then paused. He enjoyed the hopeful look in Snow’s eyes before he pulled the candy away.
“I’m sorry Snow. I’m being rude. This is your candy after all. Let’s share a piece. I’m not in the mood to eat a whole one anyways.”
The color drained from Snow’s face.
“I-I…don’t mind. Just have it.”
“Oh I insist.”
Baz set the chocolate on the desk and pulled out his wand.
“Sharing is caring.”
The chocolate split into two equal halves. Containing his cruel enjoyment, Baz handed one of the halves to Snow, who looked as if he wanted to bolt. No matter what happened Baz would win. Because either Snow would sacrifice his pride and confess or he’d damn himself to the same prank he wanted to inflict on Baz. Whatever was in the chocolate, Baz was sure he could handle it if it meant seeing Snow lose.
“Cheers,” Baz said.
He kept his eyes on Snow the whole time, making sure he put the chocolate in his mouth and didn’t cheek it. He watched in amusement as Snow swallowed. The chocolate was minty and very overly sweet. So a love potion then. This didn’t shock Baz that much.
He felt the caution he so strictly implemented around Snow slip away. Suddenly he realized exactly what love potion Snow had used, the Love Is Blind serum. He couldn’t summon the proper outrage that he knew he would normally feel. Instead he felt affectionate amusement towards Snow for the cleverness of it.
Snow on the other hand looked severely confused, as if the potion had revealed something inconceivable. For a moment Baz wondered if Snow had found out he had feelings for Penny. Or, Baz thought humorously, maybe Snow did have feelings for Gareth after all.
Instead of running out of the room however, Snow paused. Baz watched as the confusion melted away. Snow looked up at him and gave him the sappiest grin he had ever seen.
“Hi,” Snow said admiringly.

Simon

Simon studied Baz as he had never allowed himself to before. Baz’s grey eyes were warm for once instead of harsh. And his posture was relaxed instead of arrogantly stiff. The overall effect was softening on Baz’s features, making him the tiniest bit accessible to Simon.
“You seem happy,” Baz commented.
“I am,” Simon said.
With an unselfconscious step forward Simon wrapped his arms around Baz, enjoying the cool feel of his skin.
Baz made a startled noise but didn’t move away. Instead he chuckled warmly and hugged him back.
“So the truth reveals itself,” Simon said.
“I thought you knew. That you’d done this specifically to humiliate me,” Baz murmured.
“I did want to humiliate you. I just didn’t know it was me you liked.”
“You never suspected?”
Simon pushed his face into the crook of Baz’s neck and shivered at the cold temperature of his skin.
“No. I didn’t consider myself in your league I guess.”
Baz nudged Simon’s temple with his nose.
“You’re right. You outrank me considerably.”
Simon laughed freely at that and then pressed his lips against Baz’s. Baz kissed him back awkwardly, as if the activity was unfamiliar to him. Simon didn’t care; in fact he enjoyed the experimental way Baz kissed him. It felt like Simon was a whole new experience for Baz to explore and he was more than willing to help him in his discoveries. After a few minutes Baz opened his mouth, letting Simon deepen the kiss. It was amazing and somehow familiar. Simon realized, surprising himself, that he had fantasized about this before. About kissing Baz, in a dream maybe?
Before they could go much further the door to their room flew open. Penny stood there, looking as if she were about to start a lecture, and then froze. She glanced at the two of them, twined around one another and put a hand to cover her mouth. She started to laugh uncontrollably.
“Oh merlin, you two…of course…”
Then she straightened and pointed her ring at them.
“As you were.”
Simon felt the effects of the potion snap out of him. It was shocking and felt like Penny had splashed ice water on him. Baz flinched away, obviously experiencing the same unpleasant sensation.
Then they simply stared at each other, awestruck.
“So you two are in love with each other?” Penny asked. 
“Yes,” Baz said at the same time Simon said, “I guess.”
She smirked.
“I told you this would back fire,” She said.
And then Penny left the room.
“Um,” Simon started awkwardly, “So…Happy Valentine’s Day?”
Baz stared at him for a moment and then burst out laughing. After he got it out of his system he pulled Simon to him and kissed him enthusiastically.
“You are an absolute git, you know that right?” Baz said.
“For once I am not going to argue with you on that,” Simon replied.
“I didn’t imagine it happening this way…” Baz trailed off.
“But?”
Baz grinned.
“But I’m glad it did.”
Simon smiled, agreeing with Baz for a second time. Then he pulled him forward and kissed him as if he were under a spell, Baz’s spell.

I Need Your Love

A sequel to “Everyone Needs Some Love”. 
I’m in a fluffy Dark mood again. Sorry not sorry. It also went a bit off what the you requests. Again, sorry….but sorta not sorry :)

Fic Request: 
“ Can I get a seduction attempt from Dark that’s kinda a sequel to Everyone Needs Some Love?”

Originally posted by sassiestpeach

Four weeks. Four weeks of silence and peace. 
Ever since your encounter with Dark, Mark has become more cheerful. 
Every morning you were greeted with a smiling man, energized and ready for the day.
Where you were grumpy and tired, glaring at Mark as he raced around the house.
When you had asked him why the sudden mood-swing, Mark shrugged.
“It’s like a fog lifted from my head,” He told you. “I feel clearer, lighter. I don’t know what you did, but I haven’t heard or felt anything from him in a while.”
You don’t know why, but it troubled you Mark said this. You should feel happy that Dark had calmed, but for some reason, there was a nagging feeling at the back of your mind. Telling you Mark was a ticking time-bomb. 

One morning, while you were sipping on your morning beverage, Mark appeared looking pale and twitchy.
“Wow,” You said, grimacing at his expression. “For once I actually want to see you jumping around early in the morning. Are you ok?” 
Mark didn’t answer, he swayed slightly, gripping onto the kitchen bench and leaning against it. 
“I…I should apologize,” He said. 
“For what?” You asked, utterly confused.
His eyes turned upwards, chocolate brown laced with black. “I don’t think I can hold him back much longer.” 
You rushed to his side, taking his hand and cupping the side of his face. 
He felt hot, as if taken by some fever. 
“Mark, hey! Come on now, you’ve done so well.” You told him, gripping his hand tightly. “You can’t lose after all this time.” 
“He’s…stronger,” Mark grunted. “He’s been holding back. Deliberately staying away…” Mark winced. The coal black taking over his smooth brown eyes. “(Y/N) you need to go. He’ll be able to…stay in control for longer.” 
You shook your head, holding his head in your hands and forcing him to look at you. 
“Mark, hang in there!” You ordered. “Don’t go. Please, stay with me!”
He blinked and Dark sighed, lifting his hand to coil his fingers with yours. 
“It’s been a while, dear. Miss me?” 

You tried to move back, but Dark’s hand latched onto your waist, holding you close to him. 
“Easy now,” He said softly. “I’m not going to hurt you.” 
You swallowed thickly, lowering your free hand on Dark’s face to his chest. 
“So, you’ve been gaining strength, huh?” You asked coldly. “I thought I had soothed you into a slumber or something.” 
Dark chuckled, moving your hand to his lips and lightly kissing the back of your palm.
“For a while you did,” He murmured into your skin. “But our little session was too short for my liking. So I stayed away, enough to attain some power over Mark. Now he’ll stay in his little corner till I say otherwise. ” 
Dark ran his lips over your hand, his eyes falling shut as he lightly pecked your fingers with kisses. 
You withdrew your hand, ignoring the small growl that ripped from his chest. 
“What do you want?” You asked. “Another cuddle?Sorry, but that was a one-time thing.”
Dark hummed quietly. His fingers kneading your waist as he bit his lip.
“I’m sure I can change your mind.”
You scoffed, “Dream on, big boy. I doubt it.”
Dark grinned. A wicked, sharp smile that caused goose-bumps to rise on your arms.
“Really? Because, I can be very persuasive.” Moving both hands over your hips, Dark moved closer, holding you still as he lowered his head so his lips brushed your ear.
“And, my dear, I’ve got all day to persuade you.” He whispered, his moving lips fluttering over your neck.
You shivered, your hands gripping his shirt as he trailed the tip of his nose against your skin. 
The scruff on his cheeks tickled as he nuzzled you. You whimpered softly as he drew you closer, he breath washing over you. 

It had felt like an eternity during his time in the void. 
He drank in your scent. The fragrance renewing his memories of your touch. 
He wanted it so badly. To feel you against him. To have your fingers trailing his body. 
But you were defiant. When his fingers lowered, you drew back, wincing as he tightened his grip. 
He had to tread carefully. He had injured you before, your trust in him was nothing but a sliver. 
If Dark wanted you, he would have to be patient. 

Dark’s hands rose up your back. Massaging the tender spots on your shoulders, pressing lightly on your spine as his mouth lingered on your throat. 
You felt him breathe under your hands. His chest rising and falling, quickening when you arched into him. 
That same rumble echoed out of him. Vibrating through him and into you.
You rested your head on his shoulder, allowing him to enclose his arms around you. 
His heart-beat was steady, a deep throb under the trembling base of his growl.
It was…nice. Had Dark felt this way when you had touched him? 
His head dipped lower, his lips grazing over your shoulder. His voice low as he spoke.  “When we were on that couch, I was lost, I felt like I was floating away into nothing.” His fingers stroked your arms, circling your wrists and twisting with your hands. “I was in a hole. Something I will try not to fall into again, but, you were the rope that pulled me out.” 
You whimpered when Dark pressed a kiss on your shoulder.
“I thank you for that.” He said, “And I want to return what you did for me.” 
You lifted your head to meet his gaze. That same warmth from four weeks ago had returned, and a small smile stretched his lips. 
“Dark, I..I shouldn’t-”
“I don’t want you to do anything,” Dark said. “Just…stay still for me.” 
You nodded and Dark lowered his lips to yours. He paused for a moment. A hairs breadth away from meeting you. His eyes searched your own. 
Permission? Denial? Acceptance? 
He only saw curiosity, and with a gentle smile, he leaned into you. 
The kiss was slow, both of you uncertain. But Dark continued on, tasting you with as much patience as he could muster. 
I’ve hurt her. She won’t accept me. Not yet.
Your eyes closed and you felt one hand leave yours to cup your face. His thumb brushed your cheek, fingers tangling in your hair. 

Suddenly, Dark drew back with a quiet hiss. 
“Dammit,” He growled, holding his head. 
“Dark?” Your voice was distant. Like you were shouting from the end of a tunnel. 
Get back in your cage! Mark yelled. You don’t belong here!
Dark stumbled backwards. His back striking a wall as he fought with his body to stay in control. He felt you grip his hand, begging him to talk to you. He growled and Mark shoved her back. 
“Stay away,” Mark warned. But Dark snarled at him. 
“I’m not done with her,” He said through clenched teeth. 
“You are done.” Mark yelled. “I’m not letting you toy with her.” 
Dark looked up at you, eyes wide and confused. Conflicted. 
How should you help? Who should you help? 
Dark chuckled, “See, love. It didn’t take long, you’re almost on my side now.” 
Your eyes sharpened, anger flaring in those sparkling gems. 
“So that’s what this was about?” You asked, “You just wanted me to keep Mark back.” 
What? No? He hadn’t meant it that way!
Before he could mend what he did, Mark threw back his head, slamming his skull into the wall. 
Dark howled and Mark pulled him back. He fell into the abyss, your name flying from his lips. 


(Sorry if this went a bit off the fluff.)

detail shot ! <3  =^.^=

Here’s a great detail shot of my Sakizou Chocolate cosplay featuring ruffles, corset, biscuit necklace, and lace!  The beads on the skirt were hand made, too. I loved wearing this :) 

Sakizou’s “Chocolate” Original design by Sakizou 

Photo by Cozpho 

Cosplay made entirely by me, Effy Sews Cosplay 

See more at facebook.com/kirakirashimai IG @effysewscosplay

Toffee Time

“Here you go, Karma-kun.” Okuda handed a red heart-shaped box to the red head, a bright smile plastered on her face. Karma smiled back, accepting it with no hesitation or whatsoever. “There’s nothing inside the chocolate, but I laced them with cyanide. Good enough?”

Karma grinned upon hearing the latter part. “Yeah. Thank you, Okuda-san.”

Keep reading

OQ Smut Week, First Curse Sex

A day late and more than a few dollars short.

Thanks so much to Allison ( @somewhereapart ), Brooke ( @brookeap3 ), Hollie, ( @outlawqueenbey ) ,  Hannah ( @the-alpha-incipiens ) and now bea ( @repellomuggletum15  )I would be nothing without you guys. <3



She’s five years older today.

She’s five years older today, yet her body has not aged. The people around her have not changed.  Seasons change, the budget meetings vary from day to day, but everything’s all the same.  People let her win every argument.  She always wins.  

She’s lonely.  

She has Graham, but he doesn’t notice that time passes.  He doesn’t remember the secrets she tells him, and in some ways that’s comforting.  She can open up to him and cry, cry about her vindictive mother, her cowardly, stupid, loving, too-trusting father.  She can avoid the details that are damning and just open her soul up to him, and he’ll hold her and cradle her head and tell her that she’s not alone, that he’s with her.

And she can sometimes believe it, but within days the memory of what they shared fades.  That’s part of the curse.  It erases his mind.  Resets him.

And the distance grows.

She’s calculated it. It’s five days before the clock in Graham’s head resets, five days until his memories slip away, lost to the curse forever.  

There is no relationship that can be formed in this curse.  Nothing can grow when the lifespan is only five days.  Oh, it’s a dark curse, and she paid a dark price, all for the dark sense of loneliness she is doomed to live for…all eternity?  Is this her own special version of hell?

Her only consolation is that as miserable as she is, Snow White is even more miserable.  Miserable and alone, and pathetic.  

But it’s been five years.  Five years of seeing Snow sad and alone.

And it really isn’t that satisfying after all.

Today she takes the afternoon off, leaves her elegant office in favor of her favorite place in the woods, where a fallen log makes the perfect bench.  It’s beautiful here, just the beginning of autumn; crisp, radiant leaves surround her, frame the beautiful view of the sunset in front of her.  She has her travel coffee mug - a coffee mug she’s filled with hot chocolate and laced with a generous pour of whiskey.  Oh hell, who is she kidding.  It’s whiskey with a generous pour of hot chocolate.  Still, it’s warm, and delicious, and it dulls the pain a bit.  The pain of knowing this is an anniversary not only of the curse’s birth, but of her father’s death.  

God, she misses him.  But if there’s one thing she knows, she knows a man as kindly as him is in a place far better than this hell. Better than the life of a man who was married to an evil woman and fathered an even more evil, ungrateful daughter.

Five years he’s been free.

“To five years,” she says, toasting to the setting sun before taking a long sip and swallowing hard, fighting the tears in her eyes and willing them to settle, not to fall.

“Five years of what?” says a voice behind her, and she jumps, her mug dropping to the ground, spilling the contents.

She curses and scowls at the stealthy intruder.  Locksley. God, he is insufferable.  It seems every time she wanted to be alone he’d show up.  

“Apologies, m’lady.  I didn’t expect to find anyone here.”

“Yes, well, this log is occupied,” she says tightly.  “Be on your way.”

“Well, I can’t do that,” he says, sitting down next to her. “You see, I am the park ranger.”

“I’m aware,” she says, before adding, “I hired you.”

That’s not… exactly true.  She did cast The Dark Curse and she had a say over the lives of many over whom it was cast but… the curse itself filled in where she had not set up a specific plan.  She did not know this man from the Land of Magic.  Didn’t know his past, who he was before…this.  But the curse had made him a park ranger, so he must have had some connection to the woods.

So technically, The Dark Curse hired him.  But he doesn’t need to know that.

“Indeed you did,” Locksley agrees, taking out a flask and helping himself to a generous sip.  “And I believe I am to enforce rules.  And one very important one” —he points to her coffee mug, a devilish smile on his face— “is no alcoholic beverages on park grounds.”

Why that little—!

She could just—

But it’s a joke, he’s made that clear, especially with the flask he’s holding now.  He’s playing with her.  Trying to engage her.  And for what purpose?

He’s so… He makes her so mad, has this way of pressing her buttons and bothering her.  That’s not supposed to happen in the curse, she’s always supposed to win, and yet…

She should just get up from this log and leave, make a comment about drinking on the job being a fireable offense, and let that be that.

But the sunset is beautiful, and it’s unseasonably warm, and he’s holding out a flask to her, and he’s sitting right next to her, their legs are touching, and the physical contact is just… oddly soothing.

Keep reading