Artemis slept much better the rest of the night. I don’t know if it was sheer exhaustion or the fact that I held her all night. The dawn crept in through her window, and I sighed, missing my sister anew. I carefully slipped my hand out of Arty’s and tiptoed to the kitchen. I started a pot of coffee and quietly looked through her cupboards in search of the ingredients for pancakes. Shaking my head, I realized she probably wasn’t home much lately and probably didn’t have a lot at the moment. I opened the fridge instead and found some eggs and bacon.
“Ah, protein,” I said to myself. Pouring a cup of coffee, I started the stovetop and fried up the bacon. Before I got the eggs on, I felt Artemis sneaking up behind me. Smiling from ear to ear at the hunter trying to stalk me, I spun on my heels and completely caught her off guard.
“Fuck, Sel!” she yelled, and we laughed together.
I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her in for a kiss. “I made coffee if you want some,” I said, turning back to the stove. “How do you like your eggs?”
“Scrambled,” she replied as she poured herself a cup, adding a single packet of Stevia to it. She refilled my cup and raised a packet in query. I shook my head while I pushed the eggs around in the hot pan. She reached around my waist and kissed my neck.
“Plates?” I responded with a smile. She reluctantly released me and got two plates down from the cupboard. We plated our breakfast and leaned against the bar.
“Where did you go last night?” she asked, her eyebrow raised in suspicion as she sipped her coffee.
“Last night?” I asked. I had hoped she had not noticed, but I had nothing to hide, so I answered her truthfully. “I went down to the lounge to do some work. I was afraid I would wake you if I stayed. Apparently, you woke up anyway.” I took a bite of my bacon and watched her reaction.
Artemis nibbled the bacon and pushed her eggs around her plate before looking back up at me and replying, “Okay, but no more sneaking.”
“I was not sneaking. I was trying to let you sleep, be that as it may. I am still unsure why Eris’s kiss bothered you so.” Thinking of her reaction last night made me smile. She was so damn cute when she was jealous.
Artemis put her still-full plate down on the counter and crossed her arms, pouting. “Why did you have to enjoy it so much?” she asked, color rising in her cheeks again at the memory.
I shrugged and took another bite. “I like kissing. And besides, you weren’t my girlfriend or anything, so I saw no harm in it.” I smiled at her mischievously before I set my plate down and walked up to her.
I uncrossed her arms and wrapped them around me, lifting her chin to look me in the eyes. “Artemis?”
She returned my embrace, tightening her grip around me. “I can be very jealous when it comes to my girl!”
“Your girl?” I asked, a twinkle in my eye and a smirk on my face. “Hmmm, what do you say, Akti? Akti Selinis? My moonbeam? May I call you that?”
Her face lit up, and she nodded a short acceptance of my pet name for her. “Akti Seleini it is, my ray of light.”
“Akti,” I said, as I leaned in and kissed Artemis softly. “You know,” I said, my forehead still on hers, “I actually thank Eris for that kiss.” I grinned.
Artemis pulled out of the embrace and pushed me aside before stomping off towards her room.
“Akti! Wait! Let me explain!” I followed behind her. I caught her hand as she rounded the corner to her room. She snatched it free again, and I let her. “If they hadn’t kissed me, would you have come around and acknowledged what was between us? If the jealousy hadn’t motivated you?”
Artemis ignored me and pulled out fresh clothes to get dressed for the day. “I didn’t know how that kiss made you feel versus ours,” she stated, dropping the top she had been looking at and turning to face me.
“As I said a moment ago, I enjoy kissing, and we had not officially hooked up yet, now had we?”
She dropped her eyes once and raised a brow. “Hooked up? Is that what this is to you? A hookup?”
“What? NO, Akti!” I closed the distance between us and took her in my arms once more, her eyes filled with confusion and pain. “Artemis, look at me.” I took her face in my hands. “Artemis, you are my HOME…my light.”
She returned my gaze. “You know I cannot go through this without knowing…” she trailed off, the memories of Ananke still fresh in her mind.
“I know what happened before…and I promise you…I am here for the long haul. I’m done running.”
She nodded and remained quiet, listening to me. Hope returned slowly to her eyes. “Are you, though? Done running from the past? Can you trust me?”
Artemis put her hand on my arm. “Sel, I’m worried about how we’ll make this work. I’m of the wild, and you’re a nomad…how will we ever make time for each other without giving ourselves up?”
“A little give and take…isn’t that what a relationship is?”
She nodded. “I have run from love most of my life because I wasn’t sure what I wanted. Now…I know. But, I’ve lived my way…being the wild one for so long, that I fear I may not be able to give our love the care it deserves.”
“Love?” I smiled at her. “Akti, did you just say love?” My heart raced in my chest, color filling my face. She beat me to say it, I thought.
Artemis gasped when she realized what she said. She looked at me, realization crossing her face.
I leaned in and kissed her again, soft, but passionately. “I love you, too, Akti…” I said as I pulled back, still close to her face but looking her in the eyes.
Artemis returned the kiss and moved closer. She took my face in her hands and caressed my cheeks with her thumbs.
“We’ll figure it out,” I said softly. “I know we will.”
Artemis smiled and wrapped her arms around me. “Oh, Seli…I love you.”
I wrapped her in my arms, not wanting to let go. “I love hearing you say that,” I said with a smile.