Something for Across the Hall. And yes, you can consider this canon for the AtH time line. :p
box of balloons is your ammo. The battlefield is the garden. The loser does
whatever the winner wants for a whole day.
I will show you no mercy.
Love you. N. xx’
Her note had given him no rules and no reason for the
water fight. Only that if he won she would be at his mercy the whole day.
They had both started with twenty water balloons. He was
now down to his final one and soaked through. His jeans heavy on his legs, his
t-shirt clinging to his torso. The
natural curl of his hair was loose and littered his forehead while he crept
through the bushes and hedges of Ineria’s garden listening for sounds of
Occasionally he heard a soft giggle and the rustle of
grass or of leaves. She moved too quickly and every time he turned a corner she
was gone. He couldn’t lose. It was a
matter of principle. He had to win. He had been in the military for God’s sake.
He had that pride to cling on to.
His chance came when Maggie barked and he caught sight
of Nevena racing around one the corner of the house towards the swimming pool.
Giving up his sneaking, Cullen scrabbled to his feet to pursue her.
Nevena left a path of drips and wet foot prints on the
warm patio stones which he followed. She had left herself open and vulnerable,
armed with only one water balloon and her wits.
Her denim shorts hugged her thighs and her hips. Her
tank top was form fitting and tight on her body, the water made it cling just
that much more. Like him, she was drenched through.
“We appear to be at an impasse.” Cullen
remarked, steadily walking towards her, balloon primed to throw. She stood
ready too, armed and watching him with alert amber eyes. She turned on the
spot, following the path of his walking. When he took a step towards her, she
took a step back.
“Surrender.” Asked Cullen.
“You surrender to me?” Nevena queried,
beaming, “very well, I accept!”
“You can’t win.” Sighed Cullen prowling
towards her. She inched backwards. “You’re out of ammunition.”
“So are you.”
“Am I?” He bluffed, tossing his water balloon
up and down like a ball, nonchalant and casual. “You don’t know that. I
could have balloons waiting in the wings.”
“You’ll have to run and get them.” Nevena
reasoned, narrowing her eyes. Cullen saw her tighten her fingers around her
balloon. “And I’ll disappear when you have to go and reload.”
Pausing in his steps, Cullen chewed the inside of his
cheek in thought for a moment. “You make a good point.” He turned his
water balloon over, “but you’ll still be out of ammo and I’ll be the
winner by default.”
“I never stipulated the conditions for
winning.” She crowed, lifting her chin in triumph. “Maybe I’m the
winner anyway because it was my game
and this is my sister’s house!” She poked her tongue out, reveling in her
Cullen shrugged. “Then I have nothing to
lose.” He admitted before letting the balloon fly from his hand.
Nevena shrieked as it burst on impact with her head. She
dropped her own balloon to the floor where it sprayed cold water over her bare
feet. Cullen strode towards her purposefully and grabbed her around the waist
while she shook her hair out of her eyes.
She yelped in surprise and grabbed his t-shirt. He
lifted her from the ground, carried on walking without pause until the patio
was no longer beneath his feet and they plummeted into the deep end of the
He held Nevena’s body tight so she didn’t panic in the
water and kicked his own feet until they broke the surface. His heavy jeans
weighed him down, so Cullen swam them both to a shallower part of the pool
where he could touch the bottom.
Spluttering and snorting, Nevena coughed water out of her
mouth and nose. “That’s cheating!” She complained, glaring
half-heartedly through her hair. “You cheated!”
Slipping one arm around her waist to keep her afloat,
Cullen helped in clearing locks of soaking hair from her face, kissing the end
of her nose and her cheeks when his fingers grazed her skin. Her glare quickly
disappeared, replaced with a small grin and her arms found their way around his
neck and shoulders.
“Do I win?” Asked Cullen, smirking to the
flash of annoyance that marred her features. “You dropped your last
balloon and I did hit you with
mine.” He reasoned, “I think that means I win.”
Sighing dramatically, she huffed. “Fine.
Fine.” She relinquished, “but next time, no cheating.”
“Alright.” Agreed Cullen, quickly capturing
her lips to kiss her. Nevena hummed with approval, winding her fingers back
through his hair at his nape. Cullen’s chest constricted, his stomach turned
with a wave of nerves. “So, according to your note, as the loser you’ll do
whatever I want?”
“Mhm-hm.” She nodded, eyes half-hooded. She
bit her bottom lip, “anything.”
Swallowing hard, gulping down air and an uncomfortable
tightness in his throat, Cullen took a deep breath, attempting to settle the
swirl of his stomach, the rising panic tearing at his brain and his nerves.
“Marry me.” He said, locking eyes with her and releasing a shaking
breath. Her expression froze. “For real.” Cullen clarified. “Not
for twenty-four hours, for good. I’m asking you to marry me.”
For a few seconds there was nothing but the sound of the
filter system, of water lapping around their bodies, of birds singing and the
wind making the leaves of the bushes rustle. The tightness in Cullen’s chest
grew, the longer Nevena stayed silent. He watched her expression trying to read
what she was thinking. He could feel her fingers in his hair, turning and
twisting curled strands around her fingers like wheels or cogs as she thought
over his request.
Moving against him, she trailed one hand across
his face to cup his jaw. Her lips were shaking when she kissed him, and Cullen held
his breath. When she pulled away, he met her gaze and gulped again, trying to
deafen the sound of his heart thudding in his head.
“Okay,” she smiled against his mouth, “yes.”
Reblogs and comments appreciated and encouraged! <3