Rowan didn’t act all weird about my BFFAE kiss, so it probably wasn’t a big deal to him at all.
Everything was normal. Really normal, like we’d never stopped being BFFAEs–not that you could stop. I loved how my hands fit right above his cute little fluffy tail when I hugged him.
“It’s so good to see you up close,” he whispered.
“Same. Especially since I got laser eye surgery so I can see you without glasses. The mossy smell gives you away, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only vampiress with allergies on account of the curse and all, so if it’s the wrong season I might not be able to smell you.” I could smell him now, thanks to eternal autumn.
Rowan offered to give me a tour of the orchard, even though it was just a bunch of trees and apples and all. I agreed, of course, since he was my BFFAE–and who knew when I’d get to spend time with him again?
Would it be weird if I held his hand? BFFAEs didn’t do that…or did they? Who made the rules? Was there a BFFAE rulebook? Maybe Papa would know, since he was a professor and knew a lot.
“Or maybe I should just make my own rules,” I muttered. Wasn’t that what I’d always done?
“Is something bothering you?” Rowan’s soft words were so comforting, like a blanket made of moss. Could you make a blanket out of moss or would it fall apart?
“…How did we let so many years go by, Rowan? Without seeing each other, I mean. I know you must’ve been really busy with Rosaline–if you’re still together and all…”
“We aren’t.” His voice was so quiet I thought I might’ve heard wrong, but for once I was paying really close attention when somebody else was speaking. “I don’t have a girlfriend…”
I clapped a hand on his back to comfort him. His bark was so rough and sturdy–and familiar. His arm slid around my shoulders in response.
My fingers wrapped around his. Maybe some things didn’t change–like hands. It was like I was a teenager again, except without the braces–or the curse. “But you have such a fluffy tail,” I said, “and the biggest antlers. You should have a million girlfriends.”
“I only want one.”
“Yeah, it’s not like you’re the kind of guy who’d want a harem or anything. Not like X–a demon king or prince or something.”
He looked over the orchard. “I’m more of a one-tree man…”
I wasn’t a tree–I was a vampiress. Not that it mattered. And I could buy antlers or a leafy hat or something if I wanted to—not that I was saying I was, because that was a weird thing to think about when hanging out with your BFFAE.
“I’m really, really glad I came here today,” he whispered.
“Me too.” Even if I didn’t get any new Insta followers at all, I didn’t care. Hearing Rowan talk for the first time–okay, whisper–was worth more than a million followers. To finally know what he was really thinking…
I made him tell me everything. All about running back and forth on a field or catching and blocking soccer balls with his antlers. It wasn’t usually the kind of stuff I cared about, but I just…really liked listening.
We talked until it got dark. I didn’t want to leave, but… He had other stuff to do, right? Like catch balls and stuff.
But going home felt lonelier than ever.
Should I have invited him over to hang out more? Maybe during the day, so he wouldn’t get the wrong idea…
Why did I feel so weird? Happy but like…something was missing. Like I was thirsty even though I had a plasma fruit smoothie before bed…
I wasn’t in the mood to stream that night–I had a better idea. One that involved GoatBallz’s help, if he wasn’t busy…
Of course he wasn’t too busy for sleepyyswan; he was my number one fan, after all.
“Okay,” I said to my laptop, “I want to decide what I should wear on my private Snap–before I get mostly naked, I mean. Is this too much? My boobs are so big it feels like they’ll pop out any second.”
“I…” GoatBallz was speechless. Was that a good thing? It was weird that he could see me but I couldn’t see him, since his webcam was broken and all, but I guess I was used to that with my fans.
“Hold on, let me try something different.” Luckily I was an expert at changing in and out of lingerie so it didn’t take long.
“Do you think people would pay for this?” I asked, my words ending on a weird note. “Would you pay for this?”
He didn’t say anything for the longest time. Was that a no? “Cosette…”
His voice made me shiver. Why did it sound so familiar?
I hurried to change again. “Maybe if I make it sexier…”
“You look beautiful no matter what you wear.”
“But…” What did I want from him? What was I hoping he’d say? “I’m tired–maybe I’ll try stuff another day. Thanks for the help and all. …Good night, GoatBallz.”
“Good night, sleepyyswan.”
Maybe I just didn’t want to feel so alone…
I just had to see Rowan again–my BFFAE. Then everything would be fine…