By Jenna Calloway
Lily peeked by a spot in her blindfold on the squirming pail of frogs positioned by her ft. It was her mistake. She couldn’t fault Jake—he’d been making misguided makes an attempt to please her since their first assembly on the stagecoach platform weeks in the past. All she mentioned, in a disingenuous Parisian accent, was that she missed the French delicacy. One easy remark made whereas crossing the marshy creek, a small element to intensify her fiction of a international damsel in misery…Then, this.
To her chagrin, Jake should have taken their respite within the adjoining canola fields to catch the vile amphibians. Lily shuddered in revulsion, nauseous from the mixture of wooden smoke, cooking oil, and the data of what her beloved deliberate.
Targeted on the pail, Lily jumped as Jake’s calloused fingers launched the blindfold, sending nice warmth coursing by her physique. He bent down, turning her head in the direction of him, and frivolously kissed her. She pulled away briefly earlier than returning the gesture with significantly extra drive. Her head swum. By no means as an grownup, and positively by no means round males, had Lily ever been near swooning.
“Shock!” Jake beamed, grabbing a squirming frog, then slamming the lid shut. The creature wriggled towards Jake’s grasp, croaking out its protestations. Jake kissed her once more and walked to the campfire. Oil sizzled within the forged iron pan, the greasy scent mingling with canola flowers and wild onion.
“Smells good, don’t it,” he mentioned. “Nearly able to drop in these little guys. They’s kinda small so, simply gunna fry’em entire. They do this in France…proper?”
Lily swallowed again her bile, transferring nearer to the fireplace. She had no concept whether or not they did this in France or not. Upon escaping her date with the gallows seven months in the past, she discovered that adopting an accent—irrespective of how bastardized—made farm boys greater than keen to help her. Their doe-eyed romanticism meshed properly together with her faux exoticism, and she or he moved additional away from Canyon Metropolis and her court-ordered demise.
She met his fiery emerald gaze and managed a smile. “Oui…mon chere,” she uttered.
Jake dropped the frog into the pan, splattering oil on his forearm. “Rattling!” he swore, then bit his lip to cease one other expletive, face flushed. “Shoot, Lily. Sorry ‘bout the language. Forgive me?”
“After all, my love,” Lily giggled. She gazed towards the fields, letting her personal blush soften. It was a ridiculous crush. Jake was by no means meant to be part of her journey for this lengthy, however his gentleness and adamant refusal to depart her alone in a harsh world softened her resolve. The reality of it was that these had been the happiest weeks of her life, and she or he didn’t thoughts relinquishing management at instances. He was tender and attentive in methods she had by no means skilled, far totally different from all the opposite males.
Those she’d bludgeoned to loss of life.
Sure, the jury referred to as her unnatural—a assassin and a monster, however what else may they do? They couldn’t perceive that she responded to a better calling, eradicating drinkers, abusers, and the unclean. She shuddered towards visions of them PICKING THE DIRT UNDER THEIR FINGERNAILS WITH THEIR TEETH! They deserved to die for that alone…properly, not less than the primary one did. However Jake was distinctive. He didn’t do any of that. She would possibly even inform him the reality, and all could be…
Lily jumped, startled by Jake’s contact, and felt a quick flare of anger.
With a flourish and slight bow, he pulled a plate from behind his again. “Slightly style of residence,” he mentioned.
Lily seemed on the pleasure on his face and relaxed. Tentatively, she reached for the dish. “Complete frogs…for moi,” she gulped, “I’m…honored.”
She eased herself to the bottom as a lop-sided grin crossed his face, adopted swiftly by consternation. “Don’t eat ‘em simply but. Forgot somethin’!”
He reappeared, carrying bowls of gravy. “Can’t have ‘em getting chilly,” he mentioned.
Hesitantly, Lily grabbed a crispy amphibian and dipped it.
“Cheers!” Jake bumped his delicacy into hers.
Barring the acidic squirt of intestinal juice—Jake had been severe about cooking them entire—they weren’t so dangerous. Slightly swampy however edible. Lily sighed, relieved. She dug into her plate, smiling at her thoughtful boy, and determined. She would inform him the reality. Not proper at this second, however quickly.
Dinner over, Lily leaned towards Jake’s chest, feeling the power of his arms wrapped round her. She traced her fingertips alongside the curve of his chin. “Merci, my love.”
“Joyful to oblige.” Jake delicately brushed her lips along with his. “I received ‘nother particular shock for tomorrow night time.”
Lily glanced at him questioningly.
Jake reached inside his pocket, extricating a set of gooey snails and slugs. He tossed them into the pail, grinning. “Escargot!” He positioned one slimy hand on her face, delivering a fast kiss, earlier than bringing the hand as much as his mouth. Lily recoiled, watching him work the filth and slime from beneath his nails.
She seemed on the floor and let one tear fall down her cheek.