Page 48 of Daughter of Druids

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Chapter 18

Nayome watched the ripples moving outward from the point in the water where the stone had made contact with the surface. Closing her eyes, she tried to silence her racing thoughts and quiet her mind. The sounds of the city could still be heard through the thin line of trees, making tranquility seem like a distant pipe dream.

Giving up, Nayome flicked her eyes back open and tossed another stone in the pond. She had been on the subway, a few stops away from her office, when she had seen the exit for central park pop up as the next stop.

Now she was standing here, like a complete lunatic, trying to connect to nature, or whatever. Trying to see if she could spark any of that magic, that energy she had felt in Scotland. She was getting nowhere fast, though, unless you counted how late she was getting herself for work.

Recalling that the other times it had happened she had been scared, or…well, after her and Bal had kissed by that lake, she had been feeling some strong emotions as well. There were no wolves in Central Park though, and there certainly wasn’t anyone trying to kiss her.

Thinking she could recreate those feelings, Nayome tried concentrating on the moment by the lake. The picnic blanket, the warmth that had flooded her when Bal had reached for her, and pulled her in for that kiss.

Nayome felt her breath quicken as her heart rate kicked up a few beats. Shifting her weight, she became aware of the coarse material of her knit blouse as it raked against her tightening breasts. She didn’t usually bother wearing a bra, since she could get away with it without anyone noticing, but she was regretting that decision now as the material scraped her over-sensitive skin.This was never an issue before my libido went nuts.

Glancing around, she was disappointed, but not surprised to see no sign of the fireflies. This had been a shot in the dark anyway, maybe they were native to Scotland? Maybe the entire experience had been a drug induced hallucination. The more distance she put between herself and the trip, the less real everything seemed. And Bal hadn’t responded to her missed call yet either. Maybe all this had been a big fantasy she had exaggerated in her head.

Leaning down, Nayome dipped her hand in the water. It was late in the summer, so the water was warm, almost the same temperature as the air. Swirling an absent pattern, Nayome watched as the rings she created spread outward, disrupting a lily pad which began drifting slowly away from shore.

Rising, she used her other hand to steady herself on the shore, fingers sinking into the rich earth. Straightening her blouse and trousers, she shook the dirt and water from her hands, and picked up her briefcase that had been set down at the root of the large weeping willow tree that hung over the pond.

This had been crazy. Now she was going to be late for work, and she would have to scrape the dirt from her nailbeds before anyone caught a glimpse of her. Taking one final look around, Nayome smiled. It was early enough that she had the pond mostly to herself; a few ambitious joggers flying by on the path behind her were her only occasional company. Even if this had been a pointless exercise, Nayome felt rejuvenated. Even though she was still in the city, this little slice of nature had made her feel at peace for a moment.I should do this more often.

As she turned toward the subway, Nayome did a quick double take, squinting her eyes to get a better view across the pond.Had that been…no, it couldn’t be. It was just the sun glinting off the water, still disrupted from the stones she had tossed in, the soft morning light had just flashed on a small wave creating a spark of light that had caught her eye.

Shaking her head, Nayome started heading back. Maybe ithadall been a dream. Either way, this outing had left her feeling great. She was almost buzzing with energy to meet the day.

* * *


Nayome smiled, “Dani! It’s good to see you.”

“You need to tell me all about your trip, it’s been chaos here without you. I’m so glad you’re back. James is driving everyone nuts micromanaging without you here as a buffer.”

Nayome chuckled, not doubting it. “Glad I was missed.”

“You have no idea.” Dani had a tendency to speak a mile a minute, and Nayome jumped as she exclaimed out of nowhere—“Oh!’

Eyebrows raised in question, Nayome opened her mouth to ask, but Dani had already started talking again.

“Your lab results, they came in early, Carol set them in your office.” Dani started heading in that direction, so Nayome matched her quick stride. “Have you had coffee yet? Oh!” Dani switched directions suddenly, and Nayome skidded to a halt before following suit, waiting for her to finish her thought.

“You remember that old machine? The one that would randomly spray while it was brewing, and ruin outfits—it was like playing russian roulette in the morning trying to get some caffeine.”

“I sure do,” Nayome agreed, shuddering. She had taken to avoiding wearing light-colored tops, or bringing in take-out coffee to avoid ruining her shirts.

“James finally shelled out to get it replaced!” Dani flourished, as she took a turn into the coffee room. “Look at this beautiful, beautiful thing.” Dani’s voice had taken on a reverent tone, as she ran her hand over the sleek, shiny new espresso machine.

Whipping out a couple of cups, Nayome watched as Dani channeled a barista for a few moments, and prepared them each a professional looking cappuccino, milk foam and all.

“Thank you, you’re a lifesaver,” Nayome said. She had been running late after her stint in the park and hadn’t had time to stop and grab a cup on her way in. “I’ll need you to show me how to use that thing, it looks complicated.”

“It’s worth the effort to learn.” Dani quieted as she took a sip, sighed, then her eyes popped back wide open, and she was back. “So, did you find anything interesting on your trip?”

“I…well, you could say that,” Nayome hedged.

“I’m excited to see the results, it’s so rare we get to do field work these days. I miss that.” Dani looked thoughtful for a moment. “I should figure out a way to get back out there, you’ve inspired me!”

Nayome grinned, she had missed Dani. She was a petite ball of positive energy that didn’t seem to have an end point. Her quick stride had her tight, dark brown curls bouncing with every step, adding to the impression that she was literally vibrating with energy, always in motion.

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