“Are you sure?” The look from the medic annoyed Marcelina. Annoyance made her blush. Embarrassment had her demand he run the test again.

“This was the third time. I don’t think even I could mess things up so badly as to make a mistake that many times in a row.”

She didn’t know this medic, but she knew that tone of voice. So, she mumbled an apology and left. As agitated as she was there was no way to keep her wings still. Scarlet feathers fluttered and she reached out to grab a wing tip as it brushed against the concrete wall. Somedays she hated them more than others. Whenever she was upset it was impossible to control them.

Jory thought it amusing and had declared himself satisfied he could provide others with a list of warning signs for when to avoid her. Thinking of him changed her path. She wanted to see him, but he was working.

Not that it mattered in the end. Marcelina had told him, in the early days of his recovery, that she was selfish. A fact she’d never voiced aloud before. As he’d laid in bed, only half aware sometimes, she’d unburdened her soul to him. None of it was lies, but perhaps he’d been right when he’d told her one day she looked at herself through a skewed lens.

Either way, selfish or not, she couldn’t stop herself from going to his lab. He hadn’t let his injuries slow him down. She stood in the door and watched him work at first. With no idea what he was doing, science had never been her strong suit, she could only admire the way he moved. Which she did. All the time.

A cane rested against the wall, but he didn’t use it. Not this early in the day. By evening he would use it to help steady himself. His left leg was gone from above the knee and the prosthetic was old school. They managed to save his right leg, but not his foot. Marcelina, only thankful he was alive, had made it clear she did not care. Not, he’d assured her, that he’d ever doubted.

A smile curved her lips upwards as he finally noticed her.

His grin made her stomach do somersaults.

No. It wasn’t the grin.

Marcelina made it to the wastebasket in time to lose her breakfast.

“Marcelina! Are you ok?”

He could move quite fast when he needed to and Jory was by her side with a towel and a glass of water before she was done being sick.

“I’m fine,” she croaked before another wave of nausea hit her. Head bent over the basket she waited with an agitated impatience for it to end. Jory’s fingers stroked down the feathers that ran down her neck. A flash of lust crept into her nausea. Damn him. Now her body pulled her in two directions.

“Marcelina, what’s the matter?”

Lifting her head didn’t make her feel ill so she did. He handed her the glass and she rinsed her mouth out before drinking. A grin bordered on a smirk so she used his sleeve to wipe her mouth. Jory wrinkled his nose, but his fingers continued to stroke her feathers.

“That got me in this situation in the first place.”

Not that it mattered. She scooted closer and laid her head on his shoulder. The scarlet wings on her back extended with a ruffle before they closed around the two of them.

“Do you want me to stop?”

“The door is open.”

“Which is not you saying no.”

“When was the last time I told you no, Jory Couch?”


“Which is why we’re in this situation.”

Jory’s hand moved, swept under her wing, and rested against her stomach. Not once did she think the medic had spilled the beans. Jory always knew what was going on with her. She’d never doubted him. Except that once, but that was Charlotte. Stupid Charlotte.

“It’ll be ok, Marcelina Couch. I have you.”

And he did. So, it would be.