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the potential between you and me

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Something electric sparks inside of him when he’s around her.  

She watches him like she’s assessing him; her eyes are constantly on him even when she thinks she looks away fast enough.  He regards her coolly, carefully, almost detached.

What gives him away is that he can’t look away either. She purrs in content as she steals glances through the days, using the loose strands of her as barely there curtains that hide those glances.

He makes her leopard want to play and pounce, something that isn’t rare so much that the instant reaction the leopard had to him is intriguing enough.  

One day, she’ll go to him and ask him to kiss her harder than she ever been. But for the time being, her time is spent being wrecked on whether or not he’d reciprocate her affections.

+++

It’s honestly been weeks since he’s arrived and normally she can sense when he’s around. It’s part of the perks of her leopard being incredibly into Aden’s presence.  Normally, he stands by the trees, watching silently as she and Kit spar. They don’t do it because they need the practice, but because Kit is her brother and she adores him and loves getting the chance to kick his ass even though they know that she’s a DarkRiver sentinel for a reason.

Kit snickers at her when he catches her staring at Aden after she blocked him and she’s lucky they’re sparring right now; her blood is pumping and her leopard is itching to scratch at someone. Like this, she can kick his ass much more quickly.

“You know, I can be your wing man,” he says as he falls to the floor, swiping at her boot as she neatly sidesteps.

“Baby brother, I love you, but absolutely not. You fight me when I try to help you out and really, which one of us needs to hurry up and find a mate soon?” She smirks at him as she helps him stand.

“Yeah and it still doesn’t stop you from butting into my life,” he says as he pulls an arm around her neck close to him. “Do you want to die as an actual cat lady spinster?”

“Do you want to die right now?” Rina says as she twists his arm away from her, and barely easing up until she heard Kit go “Ow Jesus, fuck, message received.”

She grins as she lets up, gently pushing him away as they finish when she looks up to catch Aden’s eye. There’s something like a smile catching and she struts leisurely towards him, smiling the whole way.

“That was impressive,” Aden says as she goes to stand beside him. The clearing is empty, just the two of them surrounded by lush forestry and blue skies.

“Thanks,” she says proudly; there are butterflies in her stomach and words itch in her throat, trying to talk, wanting to ask him “can I kiss you?”  “would you kiss me?” “how often do you smile?” “do you like me?”

She dreaded the last question. While her beauty was something she wasn’t boastful of, it did get her into situation with men who only wanted to fuck and while she was down to fuck in some cases, she really didn’t want to fuck every jackass who thought that she would sleep with just anyone. It was hard for a pretty girl in California. Alternatively, Aden seemed … not oblivious but not quite intrigued by her.

“I’m… it was lovely seeing you here Aden,” she said to him as she began to walk away. She cursed to herself, wanting to go back and drag their conversation out longer, get him to smile or something. Instead, she kept on her pace, shifting her head just subtly so that she could see his reaction. He nodded, clearing his throat as he replied to her retreating back.  

“I guess I should go too.”

+++

They left, the space between them stretching expansively as they had words they wanted to say, but not the resolve.

She was liquid electricity, he thought as he watched her movements through the fight. It was done so effortlessly. Nothing about her was calculated; she went with how she felt and her moves were graceful, like one of the ballerinas that Sahara worked with that he got to see when Kaleb made him or one of his Arrows go with her.

“You guys should interact more, I don’t want you all cooped up in the pack without getting to know things for yourselves,” Sahara’s voice echoed in his mind. He didn’t mind being cooped up in the pack, since Rina was there and he enjoyed being around Rina, even if it wasn’t direct.

There were so many words he wanted to say, which was shocking. He was never a man of many words to begin with while coming into DarkRiver and being around all these changelings who were affectionate and loyal and passionate and dangerous and especially talkative, he found that it didn’t affect him as much as it did the others. But she did affect him.

It was why he made it a point to take walks around the field when he knew their sparring would happen, so he could see Rina in motion.

It was like watching lightning dance.

He wanted to go up to her and ask her to dance with him, but settled for simply moving closer. He knew that she would sense him and flash him a smile because she was Rina and she seemed to be especially attuned to whenever he was around.

“You fight gracefully,” he wanted to say, but found that the words didn’t want to come out.  He settles for “That was impressive,” and reacts just barely when she beams at him; the sun was nothing compared to a Rina smile, he thought. He wants to say more but it won’t come out but he knows that the words will come in time.

Her chest rises a bit too steadily, as if she’s forcing herself to inhale and exhale and he thinks it almost falls when she says “I should go,” and he doesn’t respond.

In time, the words he wants to say will come.  He just hopes they’re not too late.

+++

Rina was pissed at herself and at the universe for dropping someone as ridiculously handsome and unobtainable as Aden Kai in front of her as well as not even dropping some opportunities. She knew very little about him besides that he was an Arrow; he was protective of the other Arrows but especially Vasic; that he had some medical skills.

It was maddening knowing that he was literally within her territory but couldn't because she was a chickenshit.

Kit would probably laugh at the fact that she was chicken and she went for the vodka she hid in one of the cabinets because her little brother was infuriating.

Nearly half of the bottle drowned as she sat on her settee, she was possessed with a wave of determination to ask him out. This shit was easy. It’s basically girl likes boy. Boy maybe like girl? She didn’t really have an accurate assessment but she knew that it wasn't Aden’s first time hanging around the clearing to watch her, but it was the first when he was in the sunlight, looking like some fucking Adonis. Anyway,  girl doesn’t fucking know if boy does like her back and girl would really like to find out soon before the sexual tension became too unbearable because God she knew there was something between them, that was like a string tied between the two, tugging them towards each other.  Luckily, girl is very good at making first moves.

A knocking at the door caused her to screw up her face as she looked at her phone. It was eight thirty. What the hell? She stumbled off the settee towards the door, ready to yell at Kit because did he really forget his keys when she was trying to plan her Great Seduction/Wooing of a certain Arrow when she opened the door and saw that her certain Arrow stood in front of the door.

“Rina?” He stood there speechless and Rina almost pouted because did the dude ever speak more than a few words?

“It is I, Rina, the more gorgeous Monahan,” she slurred the words in her mouth, annoyed that the word ‘Monahan’ was stopping her from talking to Aden, “than my brother despite what he tries to tell you,” she bowed quickly and brought her head back up, head swimming as she gripped the door.

“Are you intoxicated?” he asked, following it up with a “May I come in?”

“Mi casa es su casa,” Rina saluted as she let him in, gleeful that he cut half of her plan. The Seduction and Wooing Plan was going pretty damn well if she said so herself. “And yes, I am mucho intoxicated.”

She shut the door behind her, pressed up against it as she watched him.

“I came here because … I don't know? It’s funny, this feeling of not knowing.”

“Because everything you do is precise,” Rina nodded, eyes widening as she lead him to the settee.

“Yes and more that I have never been confronted with something that fills me with fear,” Rina cut in. “Oh my god, do I scare you? Do you not want to date me?” Her eyes filling with sadness was evident and he quickly held a hand up. “It fills me with fear and hope at the same time. I have never met someone who is like you, who does the things you do. Who manages to make me want to anticipate the future and our interactions?”

“Holy shit,” Rina said as she leaned forward, her face dangerously close to his, close enough that if she were to lean forward, her lips would brush against his.

“I have a question, and I would really like an answer. Do you like me? But like beyond fucking because I really like you and I have no idea if you’re into me or if you’re even into girls because if you’re not that’s totally cool but like this question has been eating at me and I might actually die?” The words tumbled out of her mouth without any prompting, the space between them practically nonexistent. She had gripped his hands while she was speaking and he wasn't reacting negatively.

And then she dropped his hands.

“Shit, I'm so sorry,” she said as she moved herself a bit back. “I know you guys don’t like touch.”

“That was alright,” he said, curiously searching her face as she looked to the side quickly.  While she was fairly certain probably half of what she said was able to be comprehended, she wasn't sure how Aden’s would react.

Something like light filled up his eyes and he smiled and Rina wanted to jump onto him and hug her because holy shit she made him smile and if that wasn't the best thing drunk Rina accomplished besides that one time she and Kylie managed to successfully die the other girl’s hair a bright pink drunk off their asses.

“I would love to Rina, but when you're sober,” Aden smiled as he leaned down to her and pressed a chaste kiss to the edge of her mouth.

“Wait, what?” Something like a buzzer went through her.

“Tomorrow,” he said as he reached out to hold her hand and she was certain she actually did see stars at the moment. Major score for drunk Rina even though she was certain those bottled up feelings were going to explode even worse. After he left, she had passed out and woken up with a cotton mouth.

 +++

When she opened her eyes, she blinked rapidly groaning a bit as she realized he slept on the settee. It was pretty comfortable to sit on but wasn't the best choice if someone were to sleep on it since it wasn't all that big. She barely managed to get off the couch before she turned her head to see Kit standing in front of her, a huge almost maniacal grin on his face as he held a water bottle towards her and a bottle of aspirin.

“What the fuck?” she spat out, her mouth feeling gross and dry as she remembered last night. Shit, that's right , Aden had showed up and she accosted him with her insecurities of what could or couldn't happen between him. Double shit, she thought as she silently cursed her past drunken actions. However, it did save sober her the agony of wanting to go to him and staying where she normally stood. 

“You did it sis,” he grinned as he stood up, offering her a hand.

“Did what?” She asked as she got up, downing half of the water bottle.

“Ask Aden out, duh,” he said as he watched her face, eager for her. She fished out aspirin in one hand as she finished the rest of the water.

“Nice, drunk me,” she nodded.

“Major kudos to you for successfully asking him out too, if I get drunk and go around some pretty girl, I'm certain it doesn’t end as well as yours did.” She swatted him from her way as she made her way to her room to change her clothes to hear a knocking.

“Kit! Get the door,” she called out from her room, switching from one top to another. She heard a male voice that sounded like Aden’s along with Kit’s and sprinted out the room.

“Hello,” Aden told her, a small smile on her face as he held a bouquet of flowers to her.

“Hi,” she said breathlessly, taking it, forgetting momentarily that Kit was standing by with a stupid grin. She smacked him with the bouquet.

“Kit, get lost,” she said as she surged forward, Aden gripping her waist as they met in a kiss.

“Oh gross,” Kit said as she outstretched her arm to punch him in the gut.

“You’re funny when you're tipsy,” Aden mutters against her lips as she all but climbs onto him; they were a strange sight, in the middle of her cabin with her legs wrapped up his waist as he held her there. “And even more endearing than you normally are.”

“Sweetie, I'm pretty certain I was well past the point of tipsiness and into smashed but I'm glad,” she breathed against him as she heard the door shut before she kissed him again, running her hands over his back as he responded eagerly.

"I'm just glad you said something," he said as they broke away, her hands holding his face close. 

"Why's that?"

"I don't think I had it in me to be forward when I'm around you," he said, holding her gaze. She shivered a bit as she gripped him tighter. 

"We're going to have to change that," she said as she grinned, leaning back down to kiss him.