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They stood together and watched the sun set over the unnaturally vibrant hills and forest and distant mountains. It was peaceful and quiet and exactly what Jester wanted. She could feel Caleb breathing next to her where he had let her lean against him. He wasn’t tense like he had been the first time she had tried to touch him without warning. His breathing was steady and he seemed relaxed and calm.

“They don’t compare to the sunsets you grew up with, do they?” he asked. Jester blinked and looked up at him. He was still staring forward, but a small smile tugged at his lips.

She smiled as well and shook her head. “Of course not! Nothing compares to the light dancing on the water, does it?”

“I suppose not. They were quite beautiful sunsets down in Nicodranas.”

Jester nodded, squeezing Caleb’s arm affectionately. He looked down at her and she looked at him and her heart hammered at the small smile on his lips. He was so handsome in the light of the sun. His hair lit up like the fire he wielded. She made up her mind. She was up here with him for a reason. It was now or never.

Jester leaned forward on her toes and kissed Caleb as confidently as an inexperienced girl like her could.

-     -

Time froze for Caleb the moment Jester’s lips touched his and his heart stopped. Everything stopped. He felt like ice burst in his chest at the same time that fire roared down his throat. They met and flared into a force that he feared would burst from his chest.

He had forgotten exactly how long it had been since he had last been kissed. Over a decade, at least. But he did not recall such sweetness or tenderness. Jester was holding onto his arm as if it were a lifeline, acting sure of her of herself when she truly was almost shaking in her nervousness. And yet her lips were soft and she was genuine and Caleb felt the ice in his chest melt away for just a moment.

He was a horrible man. He was a bad man. A murderer. A liar. A thief. And sometimes he was reminded of those things. And now he was reminded of that, as his free hand reached up to cup Jester’s cheek. He tilted her head back just a little and found that this particular thing was not something that one forgot over time. He responded to her kiss by pushing back, angling his head properly and drinking in the surprised gasp she let out.

The ice receded to a hard knot in Caleb’s throat and the warmth bloomed across his chest. Jester was melting against him and it felt so good that he couldn’t help his arm sliding out of hers and around her waist to hold her closer. She responded with what almost sounded like a purr and opened her mouth to him in a sweet, clumsy manner. But he felt like he could love her for it in this moment all the same, and took full advantage to deepen the kiss (because, after all, he was a horrible man).

A shiver ran up his spine when he felt her tail wrapping around his leg. A pleased groan left Caleb’s lips and he turned so that Jester was pressed up against the parapet. He braced his hands on either side of her and broke off the kiss with a gasp. She looked up at him with wide eyes and swollen lips that were panting and he groaned again, because she was so beautiful right now, and he didn’t know if he could stop himself when she was so willing, so here. She was pushing herself up against him in truly sinful ways and her hands reached up to cup his face.

“It’s okay, Caleb,” she said gently. She smiled. “Please. I want this.”

Caleb felt the rest of his resolve crumble and buried his face in the crook of her neck, feeling one of her hands slide around to tangle in his hair. Her dress bared her neck delightfully and he pressed an open mouthed kiss to the hollow of her collarbone. Her surprised gasp at the sensation drove him on and lightning arced from the tug on his hair all the way down to his core. He trailed kisses up her neck to her jaw and licked a hot trail to her ear. She let out the sweetest moan and he felt her arc into him, trying to get impossibly closer.

“Ca-Caleb,” she gasped. “It feels so good. Please, I need-” she cut herself off with another moan as Caleb trailed his tongue along the shell of her pointed ear and then bit down on the lobe, gently. She liked that a lot, he deduced. She probably didn’t even know that she was undulating against him, seeking out friction that she couldn’t find.

“Shush, Liebe, I’ve got you,” he murmured into her ear. His hands trailed from the parapet, one to her waist and one to lift her dress. He felt her breath hitch and her hips stutter and then a soft “Oh! ” as he slid his leg between hers and pressed up ever-so-slightly. As she ground down instinctively, Caleb leaned away to look at her.

Her eyes were blown almost into black holes and her cheeks were flushed dark blue, concealing her freckles. Her lips were parted and she was watching him like he was the most wondrous thing she’d ever seen. He pushed down the gut response that said he wasn’t and distracted himself by leaning forward and kissing her fiercely, open mouthed and softly biting.

He pressed his leg up and wished that his trousers weren’t so thick, so he could feel her as she rode down on his thigh. He wondered if she was disproportionately warm when she was aroused, and found himself desperate to know. Her gasps were growing shorter, her hips stuttering, and she seemed close. Caleb snaked his hand down under her skirts and groaned into her lips when she jolted against him.

“Jester,” he muttered. “You’re beautiful, Liebe .”

She let out a soft cry when his fingers found her, and he found he was right, sliding his fingers into her slick. She was so much warmer here. He pressed his fingers into her clitoris, desperate to hear that cry again, and she did not disappoint. She called out into mouth and he swallowed it in a fiery kiss, sucking on her lower lip. He felt her twitching against him and slid a finger into her, hooking it just slightly, and she cried out loudly and clenched around him and bit down on his lips, hips stuttering to a stop as she came. A wash of warm slick surrounded his finger and Caleb groaned into her mouth.

He pulled away just enough to allow her to lean against the parapet on her own. His hands braced him on either side of her again and he touched his forehead to hers, watching her come down from her orgasm. He was positively aching in his trousers, but he restrained himself from rutting up against her like an animal and let her come back to her senses.

When she did, it was to stare at him in wonder. “I’ve never even read about something like that ,” she said ungracefully.

Caleb snorted and smiled softly at her. “I thought you would have learned by now that life never works likes a book, blueberry.”

She blushed and he loved it. But he couldn’t love her , however much he felt like he wanted to, and he braced himself to push away from the parapet. He had to explain to her why he couldn’t do this and shouldn’t have done what he just did.

But she grabbed him by the lapels of his coat and pulled him back to her, leaning up to press a tentative kiss to his jawline. He took in a sharp breath, hands falling to her waist instinctively. Jester pulled back and tilted her head at him. “You haven’t even… you aren’t, you know,” she stumbled over her words and gestured lamely downward. “Don’t you think it’s only fair?”

Gods, but that was not fair at all, what she was doing. She kept glancing down and he knew his arousal was obvious, but he hadn’t asked her to do anything. But she looked resolute and pointed to the smattering of furniture that would look wildly out of place up here were it not already a ludicrously fantastical scene.

Then Jester leaned up again and, copying his movements from just a few minutes ago, traced the shell of his ear with her tongue and then nibbled curiously. His hands tightened at her waist and pulled her towards him almost without thinking. She hummed against his ear and then said, matter-of-fact, “I’m still aroused, Caleb. Don’t you think we could help each other?”

Caleb didn’t say yes or no, but didn’t protest when Jester tugged him over to a chaise lounge and gently pushed him down onto it. He watched, mesmerized, as she slipped out of her dress, tugging each shoulder off slowly and sensually. It pooled to the ground around her feet. Her shift followed closely behind. Caleb was aching with arousal at this point as he looked her up and down, standing naked before him and glowing with the final rays of the sun. He couldn’t say no.

“Gods, yes,” he whispered brokenly. “Gods save me, Jester, I need you right now.”

She was straddling him in an instant, her hands pushing his coat off and to the sides. He sat up to aid her in tugging his shirt off, and then dragged her down into a kiss, too impatient to wait any longer. His hands found her cool skin and he trailed them up her rib cage to cup her breasts. Jester broke the kiss off with a gasp, sitting up to allow him more room to hold her. His thumbs brushed feather-light over her nipples, already hardened from her arousal, and she flexed her hips down to grind on him. They both moaned from the sensations.

Jester kept grinding down on him as he tugged her forward for another kiss. His hands trailed down her back and traced light, sensual patterns into her lower back and around the base of her tail. He felt her shiver against him and grind down particularly hard and smirked into her lips. Even as she sat up to start untying his trousers, he kept his hands around her hips and bit his nails just slightly into the flesh around her tail. She shuddered against him again.

Together, if a bit awkwardly, they tugged Caleb’s trousers off, and he sighed in relief as his erection was released from the confines of his pants. Jester was looking at him in something akin to awe and his hips twitched up when her tail snaked around to trace a trail from his chest to his groin.

Caleb gripped Jester’s hips and stilled her, looking her in the eye. “It will be more comfortable if you are on your back for your first time,” he said gently.

She nodded, trusting him completely, and twisted around him on the chaise lounge until she was reclined against the back. She parted her legs for Caleb and he took a moment to appreciate her spread out for him. He could tell how wet she was from here and leaned forward to brace one hand by her head. The other trailed from her neck to her breast, tracing more feather touches over her nipple and making her squirm and gasp in little high pants. Then his hand continued downward until he found her slick folds and he pressed two fingers into her, watching her react with moans and the grinding of her hips. She was soaking wet and he didn’t think she even needed to be prepped, she was so ready for him.

He jolted when she unexpectedly reached forward and wrapped a hand around his erection. “Caleb,” she said impatiently. “ Please , just - ah - Please, Caleb!”

He didn’t need to be told twice. He let her guide him forward as he pulled her close to him, and finally he was aligned at her entrance. He locked eyes with her and saw nothing but arousal and love.

“Tell me if it hurts, okay, Liebe ?”

She nodded, and he pressed forward slowly but firmly. The heat that enveloped him was a sharp contrast to her colder flesh, but it sent fire racing through him as he pushed into her, letting out a low moan. When he was flush against her thighs, he looked at her to gauge her reaction.

She was letting out little breathless gasps, clenching around him periodically and already undulating her hips in small pulses. Caleb took this as a good sign and pulled back, then thrust back in. Jester cried out and lifted her legs, wrapping them around his hips and pulling him even closer. He growled low and began thrusting at a slow and rhythmic pace, revelling in the high gasps and moans that Jester let out with each thrust.

He buried his face in her neck just like he had when this all started and sucked on her collarbone, stuttering as her nails scraped down his back. Gods, but it was electrifying. He hadn’t felt anything like this in his entire life, and he never wanted to let it go. He thrust into her harder, faster, gripping her hips and pulling her toward him. She met him with each thrust and called out when he pushed into a particularly sensitive spot.

He knew he wasn’t going to last long with how tight and good she felt around him with her nails scratching his back and her tail tracing the lines she made. He snaked a hand between them to find her clitoris and was delighted when she lost the rhythm and shuddered against him.

“Ah, Caleb! Yes, yes, oh, please!” she cried in desperate little gasps and how could he not indulge her? He pressed against her clitoris in time with his thrusts and leaned down to take one of her nipples in his mouth. That was the breaking point for her, and Caleb felt Jester clench tight around him and cry out shamelessly, bucking up into him and pulsing around him as her orgasm hit her like a tidal wave.

Caleb couldn’t last through that and felt stars burst in his head as he came as well, spilling into her and shouting her name as he did it, thrusting into her as they rode out their orgasms.

Caleb gently pulled away and slid to the side so he was lying beside Jester. She twisted around so that she was sprawled halfway across him and let out a contented hum.

“I would have made a move a lot sooner if I knew it would be that good,” she said.

Caleb huffed a laugh. “I told you the books are nothing compared to real life.”

He let Jester doze in the crook of his neck and stared up at a blooming night sky that looked like it had too many stars for their plane. The Traveler must have sent them to a safe pocket of the feywild, judging by the vibrant colors that surrounded them. Something about the place made him feel like he and Jester were safe here, but he still didn’t allow himself to doze like her.

He would need to tell her why it was dangerous to commit to a man like him. He couldn’t make her any promises and he couldn’t fulfill her dreams of a perfect relationship. He was messy and broken and a terrible, terrible man. He had taken advantage of her even if she didn’t know it, even if he wanted it just as badly and wished so desperately that life were so simple that he could hold her like this every night and give her everything that she wanted. His heart ached at the thought of such a perfect dream.

He couldn’t have it, but maybe for now, he could pretend that they were going to be okay.