Chris turned and crossed the hardwood floor on socked feet to stand before Darien. The smell of mint and wet dirt made Darien look at the bowl. Yep, mud. While he was still frowning at the bowl, Chris kissed his cheek then reached beside him, using a knuckle to flip on the recessed lighting that lined the ceiling along two walls. Violet-tinged shadows fled and the soft glow filled the bedroom. Giving Darien a brief smile, Chris turned and rounded their California king bed to the other window.
Darien frowned. Chris’s strange behavior caused him to disregard the sexy roll of the man’s hips in those snug jeans. “What the fuck?”
He didn’t hear Chris’s sigh but he saw it reflected in the window that had become dark enough to be a mirror. Night fell fast in these parts. “Don’t fret it, magpie.” Chris dipped his fingers in the bowl. “Did you get your pumpkins?”
“Yeah.” He propped his shoulder against the doorframe, crossing his arms over his chest. “Chris, there’s no such thing as ghosts.”
“Of course there aren’t.” But he kept painting.
“So what are you doing?”
“I’d hoped to have this done before you got home,” Chris muttered.
why you sent me out alone?”
“What’s going on?”
“I didn’t think you’d believe me.”
“So don’t fret it. Go downstairs and start the pumpkins. I’ll be down in awhile.”
“What’s going on?”
Chris closed his eyes and shook his head briefly. “I have to set wards before tomorrow night; otherwise, the ghosts will find me.”
“What? Are you serious?”
“Quite,” said his lover, voice steady.
Then Darien got it. He started laughing. Threw back his head and laughed hard. “Oh man, okay. You almost got me.”
Chris gave him a glance, but kept painting.
“Okay, okay, nice try but I’m not falling for whatever joke you’re playing.”
Chris faced him for a moment. He opened his mouth, then shut it. Light glinted on the light frames of his square glasses. Then he laughed, but it was forced. And brief. “All right, magpie. You got me.” He turned back to continue painting.
Darien’s laughter died. “Chris, quit it.”
“Everything will be fine if you let me finish.”
He pushed from the doorframe, fisting his hands at his sides. “Quit it. I’m not falling for it.”
“You mentioned that.”
“All right. Tell me why you’re warding against ghosts.”
Chris used a knuckle to push his glasses up higher on his nose before he resumed drawing patterns. “My family is descended from druids. As such, we’re rather attractive to ghosts.”
Darien fell back a step, eyes wide on his lover. “What?”
Chris shrugged, never taking his eyes off the window. He paused, fingers in the air, painting patterns.
He held up one long finger toward Darien, then resumed his air painting, muttering to himself as he stared intently at the pane of glass before him.
Darien was starting to get a bad feeling about this.
When Chris stopped muttering, he turned to force a smile at Darien. “Don’t worry about it, magpie. Nothing will happen if I can finish this.” He came back to stand before Darien. He used a knuckle to tilt Darien’s face up, bestowing a light, lingering kiss on Darien’s lips. “Why don’t you take a shower and I’ll finish, then we can carve pumpkins and you can make me watch that deplorable slasher movie you wanted to watch.”