Chapter Four

Incensed, Merry opened the back door with a flourish. “Where were you today?” he demanded without preamble.

Quinn smiled a soft, knowing smile. “Knew ye had fight in ye.”

Merry had no freakin’ idea what Quinn was talking about. “Where were you?” he demanded again.

Quinn’s brows arched at Merry’s tone as he stepped into the kitchen. “Ye needn’t open the door. I can pass through it.”

Merry stared at him, his mouth agape, and then rallied. “Rick almost drowned me in the drinking fountain! Then he threw me in the showers with my clothes on! I had to go to class soaking wet and run all the way home freezing my ass off!"

Quinn frowned. “That be so?”

Gaining momentum, Merry’s words came fast and furious. “And I fell asleep in class! And you made me forget my lunch money!”

“Did I, now?”

Quinn’s calm only served to fuel Merry’s ire. “And there’s something wrong with my cheek where y-you...k-kissed it!” 

“Stands to reason.”

“And I’m beginning to think I’m crazy!”

“Nay, Meriadoc, ye not be touched in the head. This I would know.”

“Just like you know I’m not a f-fairy!” He sounded like a petulant child. A crazy one. It wasn’t Quinn’s fault that Rick bullied him. He shut his mouth, his eyes drifting away to....

His heated anger plummeted and another kind of heat zinged up his spine slamming all thoughts of Rick into his subconscious. Quinn was...well, almost...naked. But for the stupid looking little shorts made out of leaves.... Well, they weren’t really shorts because they didn’t COVER. HIS. HIPS! OMG! But for the leaves in all the right places, Quinn would be nude! Right in front of him! Only inches away! He’d spied on Quinn in the locker room, but hadn’t seen him, well, you know, up close and personal!

He took in Quinn’s tall, sinewy figure, and the muscles that rippled beneath the surface of his creamy, white skin as he moved. He was built like a sleek racehorse.

Merry was breathless. OMG. I am so freakin' gay. His body began to do awkward things. Exciting things. Embarrassing things. Great. He had a hard enough time dealing with spontaneous erections. With the image of Quinn’s body now seared on his brain, he was all but ruined. He tore his eyes away, jerked a metal chair from beneath the card table that doubled as their kitchen table and sat, hoping to hide the traitorous bulge in his jeans. Mentally shaking his head to clear it of those kinds of thoughts, he cleared his throat and rallied again. “Where were you today?”

Quinn was immediately solemn. “Fairy business.”

Self-absorbed, Merry hadn’t noticed until then that Quinn’s emerald eyes had lost some of their luster. He looked sad. “What’s wrong?”

Quinn lifted a lean, bare hip and sat on the edge of the card table.

Merry looked away quickly as some far off part of his brain wondered why the rickety thing didn’t give way beneath him.

“Had me a donnybrook.”

Merry scratched his forehead with a thumbnail, mustered his courage to face Quinn again, determined to keep his eyes riveted to Quinn’s face. “A what?”

“Ye’d call it a fight."

Merry was immediately alarmed. “Why? With whom?”

Quinn was grave. “’Tis forbidden to tell a human I be of the Land o’Fairy. I shouldn’t have told ye. Cost me fairly, it did.”

Merry groaned inwardly. He didn’t want to be the cause of any trouble for Quinn. Ever. Quinn was the only friend he had, and he couldn’t lose him. Not to mention, he had a humongous crush on him. In spite of his anxiety, he had to ask. He just had to. “Are you really a fairy? Because, I mean, you have to know how totally insane that sounds.”

Quinn disappeared.

“Okay! All right! I believe you! Please come back!” 

Quinn reappeared.

Merry couldn’t help it. He needed empirical evidence. His hand shot out and he poked Quinn’s thigh with a fingertip. Yep. Quinn was solid. His mind wasn’t playing tricks on him.

Despite his somber mood, Quinn chuckled. “Why’d ye do that?”

Merry’s cheeks flushed pink with embarrassment. “I just... just wanted to make sure you were real.” 

Quinn chuckled again. “Ye be certain now?”

Merry nodded reluctantly. “So, who’d you have this donny-whatever with?"

“Me Queen Mother.”

His queen mother? Merry was incredulous. Knowing his nervous system had ratcheted a thousand notches since Quinn appeared, he worked to ask his question as nonchalantly as he could, “Are you, like, a prince or something?”

“After a fashion.”

Merry tried to figure out what Quinn meant as he fought not to think about Quinn’s, well, you know. “After a fashion?”

“In a manner of speakin’.”

Oh. “I won’t tell anyone you’re a fairy.” Right. Like anyone would believe me anyway.

Quinn’s face darkened. “Ye give me ye word, Merry?”

Merry’s anger tried to resurface. “Yes and, unlike you, I keep my word.” He regretted the words the moment they left his lips.

Sadness filled Quinn’s eyes. “Couldn’t be helped, Merry. I be truly sorry I was not there for ye today. Ye forgive me?”

Merry scrubbed his face with his hands and blew a long breath. What could he say? It wasn’t Quinn’s job to save him from Rick all the time. Or his fault that Rick hated him so much. “Yeah, don’t worry about it.”

“Ye must say it.”

“Say what?”

“That I be forgiven. I need ye to say it.”

It was Merry’s turn to frown as his thoughts jumbled like wild acrobats in his mind. Quinn needed him to say it? He needed him. That was kinda cool, but maybe in an all-kinds-of-wrong way. “Yeah, I forgive you, and I’m sorry you got in trouble because of me.

Now, Quinn smiled, sudden and bright, and he ruffled Merry’s hair with a gentle hand. “I feel it in ye, Meriadoc. Ye speak true.”

Speak true? Merry guessed he meant honest. Talking to Quinn, especially when he was upset, was hard. Really hard. “Why are you in high school? Or do fairies have to suffer the hell of high school just like us mere mortals?”

“I be a Watcher. Be me job to look after humans. Though, I be assigned to bantlings.” Quinn’s face darkened again. “But the Mother demote me.”


“Wee ones.”

Babies. He had to be talking about babies. Merry gritted his teeth and stifled his irritation at having to ask Quinn what he meant after every other sentence. “Babies?”

“Aye, babes.”

“You were demoted from babies to teens?” Could his question sound any more stupid? He waited, positive Quinn would ridicule him.


Merry breathed an internal sigh of relief when Quinn didn’t laugh at him. “W-why’d you get demoted?”

“’Tis unimportant. What say we work on keepin’ ye safe tomorrow?”

A tiny glimmer of hope blossomed in Merry. “You’re going to be at school tomorrow?”


Yes! Relief flooded Merry. WATCH. OUT. RICK! Merry’s cheek tingled and he rubbed it again, seriously annoyed. “What’s wrong with my cheek?”

“Nothin’. Ye be Fairy Kissed, is all.”

“What’s that mean?”

“What I said. A fairy kissed ye.”

“I know that! But what does it mean?

“It mean a fae from the Land o’Fairy kissed ye cheek.”

OMG! What in hell was a fae? Tears of frustration pricked Merry’s eyes. “What’s a fae?” He was surprised at the calm in his voice given his incredible frustration.

“A fairy.”

O.M.G! Sometimes talking to Quinn was like trying to chew the bumper off a Hummer with bare teeth. Not that he would know anything about that, but Rick had slammed his face into a car bumper once. Mustering his nearly nonexistent courage, he tried a different tack. “W-why’d you kiss me?”

gold kiss“I wished to.”

“Yeah, but why?

“I be fond of ye.”

A faint tendril of hope tried to wend its way into Merry’s heart. Fond? Did that mean Quinn liked him? Liked him in that way? “Fond?” he dared to ask.

“Aye, I be fond of ye. I must leave ye now.”

Merry’s shoulders slumped. He couldn’t help it. This was the most in-depth conversation they’d ever had, not to mention the longest, and they were finally getting to the important stuff, the things that really mattered to Merry. And he had a thousand more questions. Vital questions. “Do you have to leave?” He turned away in humiliation. He sounded weak, so damn pitiful.

“Aye. Ye be a good lad, and I see ye on the morrow.” Quinn hopped off the table and stood.

“Are you going to be at school for sure?”

“Aye, little fella. I give ye me word.” With another quick kiss to Merry’s cheek, Quinn was gone.

Merry shot from the chair and made it to the window in time to see Quinn fade into the mist.


The cursor blinked out at Merry from the empty white page on the computer screen. He hadn’t been able to concentrate on his homework because his conversation with Quinn played over and again in his mind.

Quinn had kissed him. Again. Was Quinn gay? Or was kissing just a fairy thing? Maybe they went around kissing everybody, or at least those whom they were fond of. Fond. What exactly did that mean?

He closed the vacant document, brought Google up on the screen, and typed 'define fond.' Results filled the page instantly.

Fond \fänd\ adj.
          1. Affection; 

          2. French archival term used to describe a collection of papers originating from the same source; 

          3. Background design in lace; 

          4. Residue in a pan after cooking meat usually used to make gravy. 

He clicked on number one.

                  a) To care for sincerely. As a mother, she was fond of her children.


                  b) A predisposition to like something. He had a fondness for whiskey. 

More bleh.

                  c) Absurd or silly because unlikely. Fond hopes of becoming President. 

All wrong.

                  d) A strong preference or liking for.

Strong. Now that Merry could get into. On that note, Merry went to bed and dreamed of kissing Quinn.

Chapter Three                                                Table of Contents                                              Chapter Five
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