She felt as if she were 17 again, under the droopy leaves of a willow tree, stomach doing flips as a pair of lips pressed against her own. A rush of heat to her face before she leaned in and returned it.
But it was Liranael then, lit up by the orange light of the campfire, her hair whipping along the leaves of the willow tree. It was a windy night, enough to chill her through her tunic, but the fuzzy warmth in her stomach and toes prevented it.
Funnily enough, it was a windy night this night too.
But it was inside, and it was candlelight that lit up the room. And for once, remembering Liranael wasn’t a heavy, bitter feeling. Her memory was a wisp, almost warm and comforting.
So Imryll looked at up the face lit up by candlelight. He was smiling, all soft and fond and it brought back all the feelings from those years ago under the tree.
But it was different.
But still good.
“I haven’t stopped thinking about it,” Cullen said, blushing at his words. He bit his lip and directed his eyes back to his papers.
The warm light shone on the planes of his face and all the chiseled edges. So unfairly handsome.
“The thing that happened?” Imryll asked, biting the tip of her nail. She felt awkward calling it so, but she couldn’t find other words to describe it.
A smile formed on Cullen’s lips again.
He looked better now. Maybe he’d actually rested after Cassandra pestered him to. Imryll could still see the bandages peeking from the neckline of his shirt, but he no longer hissed in pain with every movement.
Imryll smiled back.
“Me either,” she said.
She could still feel the warmth of his lips and the grip of his hands the day after it’d happened. She couldn’t lie, she partly wished his recovery to go faster with the thought of experiencing it again. The ghost of his touch on her skin made it hard to think of anything else.
She felt foolish hoping it’d happen again.
But maybe it would, because…
“I’m glad,” Cullen replied, his eyes meeting her’s. He read her face, looking for hesitation.
She leaned in closer and bit her lip.
He took a heavy breath and Imryll caught something flickering in his eyes. He reached out, and when she didn’t pull back, he tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.
“Maker, all I’ve wanted to do was kiss you again,” he said, low and gravelly, almost a whisper.
His voice sent a jolt down her body.
“Why don’t you then?” she managed steadily. Although she could hardly breathe.
He raised his brow, and there it was again – his lips parted in the most inviting way.
“Imryll,” he said, low and soft.
Everything stopped. The howling winds heeled and the candles stopped flickering.
Then he stood, cupped her face and kissed her.
And could he kiss.
Fuller, deeper and hungrier now that they’re away from prying eyes.
She kissed him back with all she had in her. It was almost a relief, after days of dreaming about his lips and his hands. They both gasped when they broke for air, only to find each other’s mouths again.
Imryll stood on her toes, and locked her arms around his neck, struggling to keep balance (Why was he so tall?), until she felt Cullen’s hands on her thighs, lifting her and placing her on his desk with such ease that it rendered her breathless.
He pulled away for a second.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “I should’ve asked first.”
She’d been panting so hard, she almost didn’t hear him.
“It’s okay. I liked it,” she replied, wrapping her legs around his waist.
He felt so solid – the thin fabric of his shirt not hiding what the hard muscles under there felt like.
Mythal preserve me.
“All right,” he said, “I-if I do anything you don’t like-“
“I’ll tell you.”
“Good,” he replied, smiling again before continuing the kiss.
Imryll sighed into the kiss, letting her fingers trail up the nape of his neck and into his hair. She combed through the strands, freeing them from that damned pomade.
“Mmm. It took me thirty minutes to fix that this morning,” he joked.
“I like your curly hair,” she replied, taking it to herself to muss it up further, letting his newly freed curls tangle between her fingers.
“I may have to buy better pomade,” he chuckled, pressing a kiss to her nose.
“Are you saying you don’t like curly hair?” she teased, “My hair is curly.”
His eyes softened.
“I like everything about you,” he whispered, as he peppered kissed along her jawline and the scars there.
She lost her breath again as she felt her heart skip.
“Cullen…,” she sighed, as his lips lowered to her neck.
“Can’t get enough of you,” he mumbled, kissing the down her neck before nibbling at the crook.
Imryll’s breath hitched as warmth began pooling at her stomach. She tugged softly at his hair, making him moan against her skin. His grip on her thighs tightened.
He kissed back up her neck again and met her lips, feeling him smile against them.
“I’ve wanted this for so long,” he said. She felt him softly rub circles against her thighs.
“Me too,” Imryll replied, to her surprise, without hesitation. Her eyes closed as they kissed yet again, and the warmth in her stomach melted into giddiness, pleasure, and joy – all without anxiety.
It’d been too long since she felt like this.
It was once under the droopy leaves of a willow tree, lit up by campfire, the wind flowing through her hair. Now it was in a castle room, lit up by candlelight as the wind tapped against the glass window.
She could stay like this forever, held up by Cullen, lips together and huddled in his office. Maybe there’d be more – maybe it’d be on his bed or her’s and maybe…
But not now. Too soon.
After they’d stayed there tangled up, for Creators knew how long, she’d hesitantly told him she should probably get some sleep.
He kissed her one last time at the doorway, followed by lingering pecks, his fingers playing with the end of her curls.
It was almost painful to pull away and step out of his office.
And like that, the world fell still again. As if the only sound in Skyhold was his voice saying his name. Soft and low, making that feeling rise in her stomach once more.
“Another time?” he asked, cautious, standing by the doorway.
She turned to look at him. He was a mess of curls, flushed cheeks, and hopeful eyes.
“Yes. Definitely,” she replied.
He smiled in relief, and she could see his breath in the cold air.
And many more times after, she hoped.