Author's Note: Happy Monday everyone! And Happy Memorial Day to those who acknowledge it. Sorry I'm a little late, I had family visiting yesterday and forgot to post last night.
It looks like the re-release of Magebound will be end of June/first of July-ish. I don't want to rush anything and do a bad job, and it's taking a bit more time than I expected. Once school is out and I have a lot more free time, I should be able to get the rest of it finished, though.
Anyway, here's the next chapter, and I apologize in advance for the teaser ending. See you next month! :)
Izeri tilted his head back, staring up at the shark towering over him as Charias moved to his bedside. He shifted over to make room as Charias sank down on the edge of the bed, feeling his breath catch, his body tense as big, warm hands settled in the middle of back, Charias' touch light, maybe even hesitant. Izeri found it comforting to know that he wasn't the only one still adjusting to the newness of all this. He let out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding, feeling his taut muscles relax. Charias must have felt it too because his hands settled more surely on either side of Izeri's spine, gently caressing the stretch of smooth skin between Izeri's wings and butt.
"So...are you enjoying the book?" Charias asked after a moment.
Izeri picked up the ragged novel, running a hand over the creased cover. "I am, more than I thought I would."
"It's one of the better written stories," Charias said. "Still not great, but a lot better than some of the books that I've read."
"Now, don't be too harsh," Izeri said with a small smile as Charias' big hands slid down to briefly cup his butt, each rounded mound fitting perfectly in the curve of Charias' hand. "Anything that fulfills its purpose has to be considered a success."
"And the purpose here being...?" Charias asked, his hands sliding up Izeri's back, his fingertips gliding over the lower ridges of Izeri's wings, sending a shudder of pleasure echoing down through Izeri's body.
"To turn you on, of course," Izeri said, unable to stop himself from arching into Charias' touch like a cat. It felt so good, making his cock ache, pressed between his body and the mattress, but even as Charias' hands crept higher, Izeri knew he ought to put a stop to this before he wound up needing to launder his bedding.
"Then I guess it was a success," Charias said with a chuckle. "Do you want to keep reading?"
Izeri groaned, a noise of both need and regret. "Oh, I don't think that would be such a good idea," he said, his breath catching as Charias curled his fingers under the edge of one wing, stroking the sensitive underside. Damn, he knew just where to touch. Izeri arched again, his eyes sliding shut as his hands curled into fists, clutching at his comforter, his breath ragged as he struggled to maintain his composure. "In fact," he gasped, "it might be a good idea if you would...stop now."
"Stop?" Charias repeated, his hands growing still, and Izeri reluctantly nodded. Charias drew back, leaving Izeri's back and wings cold without the warmth of his touch. "Sorry; I should have asked."
"No, that's not it," Izeri said. "It's a matter of preparation, not permission. I didn't think to put a towel under me, and if you keep doing that, I'm going to come on my blanket."
Charias was silent for a long moment. "Oh," he said finally, his voice tight. "I thought...That happens in those stupid books, but I thought it would take more than that."
"Apparently not," Izeri said, allowing himself a breathless chuckle. He was still all wound up, his body humming, his wings tingling - it would be ages before he relaxed.
"Do you want a towel?" Charias asked after a moment.
That seemed like the simplest answer and Izeri started to reply, but then froze as his gaze fell upon the box of condoms on the corner of Charias' desk. "I have a better idea," he said, stiffly sitting up and swinging his legs off the edge of the bed. He was painfully aware of how aroused he was, and he could feel Charias' eyes devouring him as he rose to his feet.
"What do you...Can I...Is there...?" Charias asked, and Izeri smirked at his distraction.
"No, I got it," Izeri said, stepping over to Charias' desk and quickly opening the small box. He pulled out one of the foil packets and turned it over in his hands a few times, absently biting the edge of his lip as he considered what he was about to do. The last thing he wanted to do was make Charias mad, but his curiosity was eating him alive. Taking a bracing breath, he grabbed the edge of Charias' desk drawer and pulled it open, the dry wood giving a brief, sharp squeak. He heard Charias draw a surprised breath, the shark making a soft, strangled sound as Izeri stared down into the shallow drawer.
Izeri wasn't sure what he had expected to find, but he was unprepared for the sight that greeted him. The figure that lay spread across the paper was beautiful, elegant, slender limbs and graceful curves, a soft, dreamy look on his face as he read from a book before him, at once as familiar as looking in a mirror and as alien as a stranger. That, however, was not what made Izeri stare.
It was the wings. Charias had drawn him with wings.
Blue, silver, and black, they rose above him, fanciful as a faerie's dream, and within the delicate swirls and patterns, a school of sharks swam with silent grace. His hand trembling, Izeri reached into the drawer and carefully lifted the drawing out, the light falling across the paper and making the wings seem to shimmer and glow. He couldn't stop the tears that stung his eyes and rolled down his face. He'd never imagined anything so wonderful.
"Izeri," Charias said, his voice soft, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to draw that. I was going to fix it before I let you see-"
"Fix it?" Izeri said, setting the paper down on top of the desk before reluctantly tearing his gaze away. "It's perfect. I've never seen anything so beautiful. It just surprised me, that's all." He wiped the wetness from his face and glanced around for the condom, which had slipped from his fingers and lay upon the seat of Charias' desk chair.
"Are you sure?" Charias asked. "I was afraid it would upset you, because...you know."
"Because my real wings don't work?"
"Well, yes...and because of the sharks. I don't mean to keep reminding you, honest. Before I met you, I used to draw sharks all the time, and I-"
"Charias, it's all right, really," Izeri said. "The sharks are beautiful. I wish...I wish my wings really did look like that." He cleared his throat and took a deep breath, fighting back another wave of tears as he picked up the square foil packet from the chair. He needed to get control of himself. He had to be stronger than this, for Charias. With another lingering look at the drawing, Izeri stepped away from the desk and over to the bed, his face heating up as he held the condom out to Charias. "I've never used one of these before."
Charias stared at him, his dark eyes widening. "You- you want me to...put it on you?"