Chapter Sixteen

“Hold ye whist, Merry!” Quinn's whisper was fierce.

Merry's dad barged through the bedroom door with an angry grunt, and Quinn clamped a hand over Merry's mouth before he could utter a sound. He cannot see ye. 

Merry watched, trembling with fright, uncertain if his dad couldn't see him, like, right freaking there in front of him!

His dad looked around before turning to the milk-crate desk, clearly having seen nothing but an empty room. He picked up the papers that lay strewn there and perused them gruffly.

They were Merry's notes for his world history paper, and he silently prayed he hadn't doodled Quinn's name on them.

His dad turned the paper sideways. "Where the hell is Quinn?"

Merry nearly fainted.

"Probably some mountain in Timbuktu," his dad grumbled.

Relieved, Merry closed his eyes and thanked his lucky stars his dad thought Quinn was nothing more than a place in the world.

Sadb hovered next to his dad's head, arms crossed over her chest, toe tapping the air angrily. Merry motioned to her to move away and she looked at him defiantly. Suddenly, she darted straight for his dad, whizzing past his ear and dragging her tiny hand through the hair on the side of his head.

Quinn grinned wide and panic filled Merry's veins.

Merry's dad brushed at his ear with a hand as if a mosquito buzzed by. Sadb covered her mouth with both hands and giggled silently.

Merry shook his head rapidly, mouthing an adamant 'no,' and motioned again for her to leave him alone. To his utter astonishment, Quinn encouraged her with a smile and an approving nod. Merry stared at him, incredulous, his mouth agape.

Sadb stuck her tongue out at Merry's dad and flitted around his head making faces at him. She stretched her mouth wide with her fingers bearing her pointed little teeth, her face becoming a miniature mask of horror, before darting at him again. This time she dragged both of her small feet through the hair on the top of his head.

Merry's dad swatted at the top of his head and searched the air around him for the offending creature. Finding nothing, he went back to riffling through the papers on Merry's desk.

Quinn gave Sadb a thumbs-up, and Merry couldn't help the smile that formed on his lips all while he nearly died on the spot. Don't! he thought hard.

Sadb became indignant. Her antennas shot straight into the air and she bugged her eyes out and waggled her long, pink tongue at Merry's dad.

Merry stifled a laugh. Ohmygod, stop it!

Sadb tiptoed on the air to the back of his head and, taking a lock of hair in both hands, she yanked on it. Hard.

Merry's dad slapped at the back of his head and turned around in search of the offending creature again. Sadb continued to annoy the crap out of Merry's dad until she had him dancing a jig and slapping at his head with both hands.

Merry doubled over in laughter, struggling with all his might to remain silent.

"Stupid kid," Merry's dad grumbled before leaving the room and slamming the door behind him.

Merry fell back on the bed dying in silent laughter and Quinn joined him. 

"I can't believe you did that!" Merry whispered, barely able to speak through his laughter.

"A gobshite in need of a good giving out, he be!" Sadb said through a giggle.

"Bí cúramach lest ye find yeself in a right fine bobbery," Quinn cautioned.

"Can my dad hear us?"

Quinn shook his head, still laughing.

"Oh my God, I so can't believe you did that, Lady Sadb," Merry said through another laugh as he sat up. Then he remembered he hadn't cleaned up the spilled milk in the kitchen from the night before. "Oh, no!" He shot to his feet and then realized he was...naked. HOLY CRAP! He sat quickly again and pulled the sheet into his lap.

"Ye look shook. What be the matter?" Quinn asked.

"Get my pajamas, please. They're under the pillow."

Quinn reached beneath the pillow and came out with his T-shirt from the day before. "Why ye have me shirt under ye pilla?"

Merry's cheeks flushed rose. "Um, I-I-I w-was saving it for you."

Quinn gave him a sidelong glance. "Be an odd place for me shirt," he teased.

Merry snatched it from his hand before reaching around Quinn to dig his pajamas from beneath the pillow and shove Quinn's shirt back beneath it.

"Why ye put it there?" Quinn asked.

"Where else am I going to put it?" Merry asked lamely as he pulled his pajama pants on, careful not to reveal his private parts.

"Where ye shirts be?"

Merry pulled his pajama shirt on. "In the closet."

Quinn stood, not a care in the world about his nudity, and it took all of Merry's might to focus on Quinn's intentions rather than, yeah, that...and that...and that.

Quinn opened the closet door.

"What are you doing?"

"Puttin' me shirt where it belong."

A smile threatened to form on Merry's lips. It was kind of nice that Quinn thought his shirt belonged in his closet with his shirts, but he wanted it under his pillow. He went to Quinn and took it from his hand. "I like it under my pillow," he said as he shoved the shirt beneath it again. "I'll be right back."

"Ye needn't clean up the milk," Quinn said as he returned to the bed and sat.

Trying with all his might to ignore Quinn's nudity, Merry said, "If I don't, it will only make things worse."

Sadb clasped her hands to her chest and nearly swooned. "We collect every precious drop!"

"What are you talking about?"

"Cream be a delicacy for we fae, Merry. The milk ye spill be enough to feed 'em for a night. They not have to return to the mound for sustenance. Ye kitchen be spit spot."

"Spit what?"

Quinn reached for Merry's hand and pulled him down to sit on the bed next to him. "Right fine. Ye kitchen be clean, Merry."

"Seriously? Everything's cleaned up?"

"Aye."

Relief flooded Merry. This was a dream come true. He hadn't wanted to face his dad after last night. His dad would act as he always did, as if nothing had happened, as if beating up your kid was just business as usual in the McDaniel household. Which it basically was.

"Time we dress ye for we rade. Sadb, what have ye in mind for me wee dote to wear?"

She tapped her chin with a tiny finger as she thought long and hard. "Flower!"

She shouted so suddenly, Merry started.

Within seconds, demi-fae appeared out of thin air and swarmed Merry. Ignoring the buttons on his shirt, they deftly pulled it over his head. Lifting him into the air, they tugged his pants down. He tugged them back up quickly. They eyed him with consternation before ten more demi-fae joined in and jerked Merry's pants from his hands, and down, and off! Moving at the speed of light, they had his private parts covered in bluebells before he could protest. With a heave-ho, they tipped him in the air, nearly upside down, and fitted his feet with soft suede shoes. As quickly as they’d upended him, they righted him and set him on his feet.

Gathering on the air, they busied furiously, and parted to reveal a wreath of thorns adorned in ivy. They hovered, holding the wreath steady for Quinn's approval.

Quinn considered it for a long moment and, suddenly, the demi-fae gasped in unison, their eyes wide with astonishment. Clearly, a silent communiqué had passed between Quinn and the fae.

The smallest demi-fae Merry had seen yet worked her way through the crowd and hovered, trembling as she faced Quinn. "Not to question ye, Sire, but I must. Ye be certain of it?"

Irritated, Quinn issued a curt, "Aye. Have it afore we proceed. Away with ye," he ordered.

Whispers and murmurs filled the air as the tiny demi-fae bowed and disappeared taking the wreath with them.

Merry turned to find Quinn dressed in the stupid little shorts made out of leaves. His thoughts immediately tangled, unsure if he was more relieved or disappointed.

"Be time we go," Quinn said as he stood and held a hand out to Merry.

The idea of leaving the house dressed in nothing but bluebells forced Merry's unbidden thoughts  of Quinn away. "I can't go out dressed in... in.... Like this!" Merry protested.

"Why not?"

"I'm almost naked!"

"Aye, and a beauty ye be."

Merry's cheeks heated as his mouth gaped. "Be serious! I can't go out like this!"

"Aye, ye can."

"No, I can't."

"Ye can."

"I can't!"

Quinn smiled. "Ye be a stubborn one."

"I'm serious! I can't go out like this! Besides, I'll freeze to death."

"I keep ye warm."

"Can I at least put a shirt on?" Merry cringed. He sounded like a whiny little kid. Pathetic.

"Ye not need ye a shirt. C'mon." Quinn wagged his hand.

Merry quickly reached under his pillow and brought out Quinn's t-shirt. "I need this."

"Me shirt? Why?"

"B-b-because it smells like, well, you."

Quinn's eyes held surprise. "Ye smell me shirt?"

Merry's cheeks flushed rose again. "Yeah," he said lamely.

"Why?"

"Just wanted to."

"Why?" Quinn pressed.

"Why are you getting all hung up on why I smelled your shirt?" Talk about a stupid sounding question.

Quinn eyed him with wonder. "Ye human side be a curious one." He took the shirt from Merry and brought it to his nose. "Ye spake true. It smell like me."

Relieved, Merry rolled his eyes. "Yeah, it does." He snatched it back and pulled it on before Quinn could object. The shirt was enormous and reached Merry's thighs. Cool.

Quinn eyed Merry from head to toe before sighing and shaking his head. "Ye ruin me vision of ye lovely self, me wee dote. C'mon." He held a hand out to Merry again.

"Where are we going?"

"Ye'll see."

"Wait. What do I tell my dad?"

"Nary a word. He sleep on ye couch for the remainder of ye day."

Merry smirked. Typical.

In the blink of an eye, he and Quinn disappeared.

Chapter Fifteen                                        Table of Contents                                    Chapter Seventeen
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