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The Proposal

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“You know, I pictured our reunion under more … comfortable circumstances.” Evelyn rolled from her side and onto her stomach, her breasts pressed into Rylen’s bare chest. His lips met the corner of her mouth, peppering kisses up her jaw as she adjusted against him. Outside the door to his office, the sound of metal boots echoed through the halls. A shiver raced along her spine as her naked leg skimmed the hard, cold floor where the two laid on a makeshift bed of their clothing. “Something involving your quarters, possibly a bath.”

“You jumped me, remember?” He grinned, his hand reaching to tuck the curtain of her red hair behind one ear before coming to rest on the back of her neck. “We never would’ve made it that far with the way you kept pawing at me.” With his other hand, he gave a light slap to her backside. “Besides, walls can be found anywhere. Though I could’ve brought you to a closet for old time’s sake,” he chuckled against her ear, his tongue curling around the edge.

That earned him a pinch to his shoulder. She feigned annoyance at his words and overly-affectionate displays while her hands ruffled through his shaggy hair. “And you call me the brat.”

“That’s what you are, no denying it.” He rested his head against the clothes to grin at her.

“I did come here with a mission, you know. This isn’t only a pleasure visit,” she murmured, leaning down for a kiss.  

“Who’s to say it can’t be both?” His lowered voice and roll of his hips sent a different set of shivers up her back.

Though after the year of near-celibacy, it was no surprise at all that she and Rylen were now happily sated before getting around to the actual reason Evelyn was here. She hummed, feeling quite lazy, but the subject matter was important and did need discussing. Best to get it out of the way sooner rather than later.

She wound a few strands of his lush dark hair around her fingers, giving it a slight tug. “Cullen expects a response right away,” she warned, a bit of amusement lacing her voice.

“Cullen,” he said, fingers combing through her hair, “knows better, which is why he sent you in the first place: to ensure I said yes. Manipulative bastard.”

She huffed, annoyed at needing to explain her reason for being there. “I volunteered for this, actually. I wanted to see you, offer the position personally.”

He fell quiet, blue eyes scanning her face for an answer to his unasked question. When he found it, a sigh passed his lips. “I haven’t heard an offer yet, if you’re intent to discuss this now.”

Evelyn cleared her throat and straightened her posture. “Knight-Captain Rylen Clachair of the Starkhaven Circle, on behalf of Knight-Commander Cullen Rutherford of the Kirkwall Circle, I’ve come to present you the position to serve as his right hand in service to the Inquisition.”

He didn’t hesitate to ask, “Shouldn’t that position go to you? You know him better than I.”

She thought Rylen would have given it a bit more thought, let her enjoy the quietness between them. No, instead he went right for the throat, as was his way. Evelyn wriggled against him, torn between letting the feel of his skin against hers help her relax or shifting away from him as she yearned to draw back behind her defenses in her mind. But Rylen knew her better than that, and would see through any excuse she gave in reply.

With a heavy sigh, she replied, “I, uh … he did, offer it to me that is, but I turned him down.” She bit into the corner of her bottom lip, silently praying that he wouldn’t pry into the why of it.

But she knew him too well for any real hope. “You don’t want it? I thought you liked power, Evie.” Another slap to her backside, this one louder than the last as mischief sparkled in his crystal blue eyes.  

“It’s … complicated.” Before he could inquire further, she added, “But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it. I think you’d be great as his second-in-command.” Rylen would do better than her, Evelyn knew it in her bones. The fact that she couldn’t trust herself right now had nothing to do with her faith in him and offering up the position. A smile twitched back to life as she said, “And I’d be serving just beneath you.”

“Mmm, seems like I’m the one who’s serving beneath you at the moment,” he grinned, this time his hand digging into her rear.

She whimpered at the feel of his fingers in her backside, but tugged his hair a bit harder in an attempt to make them both focus. “Can’t you take this seriously?”

His smile faltered, as did his grip on her. “And you believe in the Inquisition?”

Evelyn hesitated at the question asked of her. Did she truly believe in it? Or was it just that she was wanted to make up for her past mistakes? With a mental shake, she collected her thoughts and put them as orderly as she could.

“Maker, I want to,” she started, slow, still processing her own feelings. “Everything is just so … broken right now. This seems like the best chance at fixing the world.” She unwound her fingers from his curls to trace over the shell of his ears. “But after what happened in Kirkwall … I don’t know if this is another mistake.”

Rylen’s hand on the back of her head tilted her forehead down, allowing his lips to graze it. “If it is a mistake,” he said, pressing another kiss into her skin, “then it’ll be one we make together.”

She raised her head, her heart fluttering to match the pink tinge to her cheeks. With her eyes downcast, she caught the edge of the armband tattoo close to his elbow, its twin marking the same place on her arm. A promise, for their future.

But the Inquisition provided them that path to the future; she’d be remiss if the thought of having Rylen around again didn’t factor into her joining. “I like the sound of that. Together.”

She leaned in for a kiss, gave him a small peck before pulling back as his fingers brushed over her hair. When she dipped back down, his hand cupping the back of her head, she stuck her tongue out to lick his lips. He must’ve foreseen the action, because he stuck his tongue out all the same, his other hand moving back to its place on her rear. She giggled as their tongues connected, drawing back with a smile on her face. Yes, together sounded like a fine place to be.