Series: Truth and Lies #2
Also in this series:
Rounding the corner onto a street with modest houses that had yards and fences, the lower tier of nobility wasn’t about flashing their wealth, she shuffled along until she reached the fourth one, painted a faint blue with a white fence … and a brown dog sitting at the gate looking sad.
“Lady?” she called.
The dog’s ears perked up, and she rose to her feet, taking a step toward the gate, sniffing the air. The dog treats were in a metal tin, sealed tightly so the scent couldn’t get out, and they stayed fresh; it was a sweat potato, cheese, and peanut butter cookie, and Shade assured her that they were Lady’s favorite but he could only get them from one vender in the city, and he’d never told anyone else about them. He wanted Lady to know they were from him, he wanted her to smell him on his jacket, the jacket on her, and to associate her with her favorite treats.
It was really important to him that his dog accept her, more than his sister.
Acacia reached out her hand over the top of the gate to let her sniff her fingers. Lady braced her front paws on the gate, and stood almost chest height, sniffing at the jacket she wore.
She whined at the scent, looking around.
The door to the house opened and Acacia blinked back tears as she saw Shade storm out with an angry look on his face … but no, it wasn’t Shade. It was a woman.
“Who are you? Lady get away from there.”
The angry tone even sounded like him.
The brown dog didn’t back away, she just sniffed at the jacket, rubbing the side of her head against Acacia’s outstretched palm.
The tall, blonde woman who had Shade’s face stopped her forward march three steps away. “How did you get that?” she asked in a breathless tone.
Acacia felt her eyebrows bunch together, but was overcome with a wave of nausea that she had to squeeze her eyes against.
“Is—is he?” She covered her mouth with her hand before crossing the last of the distance to the fence. “You’re going to tell me what’s going on, right now.”
Acacia looked up at the too-familiar face and felt her heart cracking. The storm in her eyes was unsettling because they were too much like his. With a shaking hand she reached up to pull the key from around her neck, showing it to her.
Cedlynn gasped, her hands reaching out to snatch it from her. “Where did you get this?”
“He never said you were twins,” Acacia whispered, wavering a little where she stood.
“Who are you? What trouble has my brother gotten himself into this time?”
“No trouble.” Acacia closed her eyes again as the world started spinning around her. It felt like she was falling. “My trouble.” The skin around her mouth went cold, and her cheeks flushed. The dog whined, nudging her side with her head. She was suddenly hot and cold at the same time, the opposing forces clamping around her stomach and squeezing until she was gasping for breath and doubling over from the pain, stars flashing behind her eyes.
Status: First draft finished in 2011, 79, 219 words. Second draft in progress.