Aha! I thought of the perfect short story with Natalie and Alex. I put it from Alex’s perspective. He tries to get Natalie to gush for several months. This would be the point he decides he’ll never succeed.
But he can still watch her savor and devour his food options. He’ll only get better as a chef.
They are the cutest couple.
This takes place during Dragon Rider 10th Grade. Natalie would’ve just turned 15. Alex would be 19. They’re both at the school. He’s headmaster of PINC. Natalie’s in 10th grade. Brooke and Ceres are both having a semester of classes that fall.
The Perfect Gift
“Nat.” This time it’ll work. I have plans. She’ll be gushing in no time. Guarantee. “Nat, I have something for you?”
Her eyes light up at least. She always agrees to whatever I offer. Especially food. “What is it?” But it’s the same light you can get out of showing a present to a child. She’s not that five year old anymore. At fifteen, she should be more excited about me than a gift.
“Come with me.” I wave her into the cottage. Every other day Brooke is gushing over Ceres’s action. They are marked the cutest couple on grounds.
Why aren’t I? Why isn’t Natalie even making it clear we’re together…?
Okay everyone knows we’re together. But no one ever… We aren’t marked cutest couple. No one would think that.
“So… What is it?” Natalie looks about the cottage’s main room. She doesn’t up go to her room or into mine. She’s expecting it to be here.
“Sit.” I motion to the table. Then I move to the stove. Coffee. She loves coffee. And I found a new fancier coffee than anything she’s ever had.
I have a few recipes even. I can try them, too… But based on her preferences… Mocha Latte sounds to be her cup of tea.
I mean cup of coffee. It’s coffee. She likes tea, but I haven’t found…
“This is a special coffee. Chocolatiar Grandmaster Luanne Starlight taught me when I last visited her.” I double check to make sure I did it right. Yes. This should be… I hope. I move the coffee over to the table and sit down watching her.
Natalie grins at me taking the cup in her hands. The heat shouldn’t be a problem. She’s a proud dragon. “Looking to make me gush.”
I cover my face. She read me. Ugh. It’s not like I haven’t tried a bunch of things. Nothing seems to work.
“Oh! Chocolate! In coffee!” She sips savoring the drink. I lean on my elbow watching her. She’s savoring my food. There is nothing like watching a green dragon in love with your food. I guess this will have to do. Even if we aren’t the cutest couple. Or she doesn’t gush about me to everyone. I can still watch her savor and devour my offerings. She’ll always be interested here. “I love it.” Her eyes are bright. She’ll probably let someone know, but it won’t be gushing about it. Just information to pass around.
I’ll never… I sigh getting up. “Should I make you another?”
“Alex?” Natalie watches as I create another cup. She didn’t turn it down. She’ll probably drink it. “Is something wrong?”
“No. It’s nothing.”
The knock on the door isn’t strange. Someone always have some reason to visit one of us. “Come in!” The words open the door for them. Unless they aren’t marked with allowance. I keep lists.
As the door opens, Natalie wraps arms around me. “Nat?” I look at her as she squeezes me.
“Sorry!” Autumn yells and slams the door on us.
That’s annoying. I sigh spinning to see Natalie better. “It’s okay. I’m fine.”
Natalie scans me. “It’s cause I don’t gush.” She motions to the coffee. “You keep finding things. And I…” She frowns. “I’m sorry… I don’t know how. It doesn’t easy to me. I… It’s not that I don’t bring it up ever, but…”
“You aren’t gushing over it. And Brooke is always gushing over Ceres. She’s head over heels and…”
“I’m not.” Natalie ducks her head.
I tug it up. “I don’t need gushing. I should stop trying. I can still watch you devour and savor my offerings. I can’t expect you to gush.” Natalie nods. We both look to the door. “And I’ll handle Autumn. I’ll bring her to you if she was seeking you instead.”
“She prefers you.” Natalie takes up the coffee I made. She savors while sitting down. “I do love this.”
“It’s a Mocha Latte.”
I teleport to Autumn directly. She jumps upon seeing.
“You scared me!” Autumn covers her chest in fright. That’s normal for her. It’s not because I’m Black or because I’m a scary Black Dragon. She’s easily scared. I saw her ask for assistance, and it was her shadow. Some mages can have trouble with their shadow. Not her. Not at this level. She’s going to need a lot more time studying.
“You wanted to see me?”
“It’s nothing important. I shouldn’t get between the two of you when you’re…”
“Tum…” The name unnerves her. Everything unnerves her though. I’m waiting for a complaint about the name. There’s a reason Charles never gets called Char. I do revert back to full name at request. She can’t request the Black Dragon though. “What is the trouble?”
“Nothing.” She ducks her head and backs off. “I just wanted to send a letter to Lord Verde directly and…”
“Sure.” I hold out my hand. That’s easy enough. “Why’d you flee anyway? You’ve seen more than that.”
Autumn hands over the letter with doodled hearts all over it. She doesn’t want anyone to see her crush on Verde. I get it. Autumn fidgets twisting her hands before her her eyes not picking a spot to stare at. “The other students keep talking about the cutest couple and…”
I sigh. I’ve heard the rumors.
“And it reminded me they see the two of you as the cutest couple. I mean Brooke is trying for the title, but she hasn’t… How could anyone surpass the two of you? I forgot about the fact the two of you are… Together… And I didn’t want to get involved… And…”
“Stop Autumn.” I reach out to grip her shoulder. “Relax. Nat and I are together, but not in a way you should be worried about entering in on. Even if we were going to do something, I wouldn’t tell you to come in. I’d lock the doors and deny even the strongest teleporters.”
Autumn’s eyes widen as she finally looks at me. “You would?”
“Of course. Why would I let anyone watch as I fool around with Nat?” Not that Nat wants much more than hugs and cuddles. At least she doesn’t mind anything I’ve tried. Can’t press there. “There’s no way I’d say come in.”
Autumn nods. “I’m going to tell them you’re the cutest couple, though. Everyone who sees you in the cafeteria at meals agrees. We’ve had years of watching the two fo you come together. This new person with Brooke.” She frowns looking to me. “I don’t know if I trust him.”
I smile. That’s because he’s hiding everything about him. He’s lying with a good cover. “That’s okay. I’ll keep a good eye on my cousins.”
Autumn nods. “Thank you for giving Lord Verde my letter.”
“If you need any help with any class…” I leave it open. She only nods before walking off.
I return to the cottage to see Natalie savoring the coffee. She’s completely focused on it. I smile. Cutest couple. ‘Anyone who sees you in the cafeteria would think that.’ ‘We’ve watched you for years.’ “What do you want to eat? Can’t keep the dragon hungry.”
Natalie spins to face me her eyes widening again with excitement. “Don’t make me choose!”