Hi there. Let me guess: you, like so many before you, are wondering how I got so massive in just a few years, aren’t you? Don’t look so surprised. A little mind-reading is a parlor trick for even the most novice of actual magicians. Of course, I didn’t need to take a peek, not when you’re wearing that familiar, gawking expression. You know, that look of utter disbelief that that wisp of a girl you knew suddenly reappearing at two, maybe three times her size deserves. It’s not a look to be embarrassed about. Honestly, my size is one of the easiest of the changes I’ve experienced to get used to. But back to the question on your mind. How did I get so fat?
Well, I suppose that you already know that unlike some “magicians” out there who only perform with optical illusions, sleight of hand and other gimmicks, I’m one of the few individuals in the show business that’s the real deal. I remember seeing you at one of my shows before I mysteriously disappeared. I could see the dazzled wonder in your eyes along with everyone else’s at the tricks I displayed for you. But that show wasn’t what was important. What was, was the fact that despite the enjoyment of the audience, I wanted to look for new ways to wow everyone. So, without going into the technical workings and jargon of magical society, I called in a few favors with certain questionable acquaintances to get my hands on some rather experimental studies.
But what exactly did I do, you ask? Come now, dear, that’s a silly question. After all, you know as well as I that as a magician, I can’t simply tell you my secrets. Just take my word that after many a long hour of arduous study, I made a breakthrough. In more than one sense. The most basic way I can describe what I did was poking a roughly room-sized hole in planes of reality. Honestly, for all the warnings the books suggested, the results, as you have obviously noticed, weren’t particularly catastrophic. Well, except to my chances of wearing any of my old wardrobe ever again. I’m actually a bit impressed I’ve held your attention this long. A number of visitors before you only bothered hearing what I had to say until it sounded absurd enough for them to get judgmental. I’m quite happy to see that you only seem to have had your interest piqued, and a craving for that curiosity to be satisfied.
The curious keening sound was just sharp enough to threaten Kayla with a splitting earache in the few seconds that it lasted. As its shrill pitch faded, she opened her sky-blue eyes from the wince they’d closed into. A soft exhale of relief and awe escaped her lightly glossed, plush lips, parting them into a small, open smile at the fantastic sight before her. Gone were the meticulous shelves and boxes packed with arcane books of so many subjects. In their place was the shimmering edge of a clearing, like the room in front of her had been torn free from her house to reveal a sparse forest that wavered in a way that reminded her of a mirage. She could’ve mistaken it for a random patch of woods anywhere in the world, had a few key details not been present. For starters, the hues were all wrong, the light filtering through the branches holding what could’ve best been described as a peculiar violet, mixing with over-saturated greens of leaves to produce a cold luminescence. Where one could expect an earthy scent in the middle of a grove, Kayla thought that the sight held a vaguely minty scent, a notion made much sharper as she stepped across the blurring between her reality and this new one she’d mistakenly tapped into.
Entranced though she was by this strange, new world, she cleared her thoughts and stepped back across the border into her domicile. Enchanting as the prospect of an unexplored world may have been, it wouldn’t do for her to have gotten lost or to be at a loss for necessities. With half an hour taken, a few spell books with snacks and water were secured into a travel pack, her admittedly plain jeans and halter-top exchanged for cargo shorts, hiking boots and a practical blouse with some pockets up front for extra holding space. Securing the wavy mess of bleached hair into a slightly less wavy ponytail, the magician stepped back through into her brave new world. From the way the purplish light filtered across the far horizon, she gathered that dusk was setting, encouraging her to conjure a fist-sized orb of light, casting gentle shadows into the arbor. Rustling followed Kayla as she trudged through the leaves scattered over grass, the occasional branch or twig cracking underfoot. Discolored and olfactory oddities aside, the world didn’t seem all too different from her own, the quiet chirps of unseen wildlife echoing through the wood, yet staying clear of sight, aware that a creature bigger and more dangerous than they was about.
Kayla blended into the growing darkness well as she broke from the tree-line, her dusky skin only set apart by the small luminous sphere at her shoulder. Dwindling the flow of her magic into it, the clarity and brightness began to fade, letting the young woman’s eyes adjust and confirm what she had thought she’d seen. It might’ve been a mile away, maybe more. But from her grounded position, she could see faintly illuminated silhouettes of buildings in the distance. Civilization wasn’t something Kayla had expected to find in another world. But with the presence of civilization, the wandering magician could infer that there were means of surviving in this place. While a few years of working a stage show had ensured that Kayla maintained a slim, fit physique, cardio was not her favorite. But if she wanted to see any of these natives to this world without getting too close, she would need to get much closer before it was later than anyone might be out and about for.
“Step one, observe.” Panting from her quick jog over, Kayla crouched in the tall grass on the opposite side of the road from the rather average-looking structures, strikingly resembling of houses in her world. A great deal of the buildings actually looked familiar in form, if not palette, which she found a bit odd, but not to be questioned at the moment. Her first concern was whether or not she could even hope to blend in, or if the creatures that lived here were of such vastly different biological structure that attempting to pass for one would be silly. But she needed to see, and so she waited.
God, her legs were starting to cramp from not changing position for so long.
Finally, after what felt like hours, in reality just short of half of one according to her watch, Kayla got her first sighting of one of this new world’s inhabitants. For a moment, she was taken aback, believing that what she saw was a perfectly ordinary human. Several blinks to reestablish her vision let her catch a couple minor details that spoke of enough difference to reassure her. The immediate draw was a sizable, fluffy tail wagging energetically behind them. The pitch hue matched the shaggy, unkempt hair that settled just shy of his shoulders, atop which a pair of sharply angular ears stuck up. He seemed to be on an evening jog, gray sweatpants and a dark, sleeveless shirt showing off an enviably fit body. It was clear that he got out often enough, sweat shining over a deep tan that in Kayla’s own world would’ve suggested traces of a mixed heritage. The half hour of crouching in the grass seemed awfully worth it to her, if her first potential encounter in this world was going to be with someone as handsome as he. Her eyes remained firmly on him as he passed, pausing for a moment to take a drink of water before resuming his jog.
Creeping cautiously out of the grass, the magician kept her eyes fixed on her objective, stepping onto the same sidewalk that he had at a pace she hoped would be enough to keep up with him. Her first regret was her choice of boots over sneakers. While she’d certainly expected peculiar terrain and difficult traversal, running had not been in her original plan. The half hour she’d spent crouched did no favors for the tension in her muscles, her legs screaming at her minutes into her pursuit. It seemed fortunate, then, that he took a moment to stop by what she could infer to be a convenience store, leaving with a fresh bottle of water before beginning to walk back her way at a truly impressive speed for walking. At first, Kayla made nothing of it, stopping and catching her breath while positioning herself in such a way that she could hope nobody would notice the probable differences between her and the average citizen out on a late-night run. Still breathing heavily, she turned about to continue after her person of interest. The fact that he’d stopped and was looking back in her direction was deeply unsettling. Being compromised in unfamiliar territory so early on wasn’t something she felt entirely comfortable with. Harboring some regret, Kayla sighed as she took it upon herself to forego following the enticing man she’d been set on initially, instead making a point of taking a turn on the nearest street with a mind to explore, and maybe understand more before interacting with the natives.
If she had to give a thought to the structure and form of the alternate world, it felt strangely similar to her own, albeit simpler. The streets seemed less winding, the buildings less diverse. It almost seemed like someone had taken her hometown and made a rough mimicry of it. And honestly, that was alright by Kayla. It gave her a sense of where she was, which meant she could probably have an easier time than initially expected of finding her way around. There was a certain comfort to be had in knowing that even away from her world, she didn’t feel all too far from home.
“But how much is really similar?” The sorceress wondered, keeping an even pace, glancing every now and then off to each side. A few leaves rustled as she trudged through them, hints of the coming autumn making their presence known. “I mean, sure, that charming specimen looked mostly human. Hell, he was wearing things that I’d expect to see back home. So fashion must not be terribly different. Maybe. The buildings seem a lot more drab, though. Like they’re built for convenience of location, rather than out of a desire to have an aesthetically pleasing shelter. But why? Could be a difference of mindset, I suppose. They aren’t human, after all. But if that’s true, then what makes them so close? And how? I’d have an easier time believing that the sense of style would be outlandish and utterly garish to me, but perfectly normal otherwise. Instead, so much of it feels like a foggy mirror. It couldn’t be deliberate, somehow, could it? Magicians of this world visiting mine and borrowing what they like? Well, whatever the case, I’ll be able to learn more if I find another subj-“
“You know, that donut shop not too far from here stays open extra late. You have worked so hard recently; why not take a quick break for a snack?”
Nearly jumping out of her skin at the sudden shock of being snuck upon, Kayla wheeled about rather swiftly, her ponytail gaining enough speed to fan across her cheek. The source of the words, immediately behind her, and a bit above, was the same boy she’d been tailing. Without getting directly next to him, she hadn’t realized that he stood almost a full head above her. Argent eyes looked at her dispassionately, though the faint smile on his handsome face made Kayla think all too much of someone looking at a particularly delectable meal. He seemed calm enough for witnessing someone obviously from elsewhere, pleased, even, given how his tail seemed to wag back and forth like the world’s fluffiest metronome. Taking a quick look in every direction, Kayla confirmed that there was nobody he could be talking to except for her. It begged the question of how this man was speaking English, given the dimensional separation, but she could consider that after more immediate questions.
“I beg your pardon?” The magician’s unwavering gaze held on the boy’s, making it quite clear who she intended to address. His eyes widened in surprise, now his turn to look around in confusion. “While I’ve certainly been putting in my own efforts, I’ve not been so fixated that I’ve refused myself proper nutrition.”
“Yo- Wait, you can see me? You are not supposed to be able to do that!” The moment that Kayla’s impact on him wore off, his expression seemed petulant, bringing new meaning to the notion of ‘puppy-dog eyes’.
“Why wouldn’t I be able to see you? You’re standing right in front me.” Picking up the slack while the boy was busy gawking, Kayla folded her arms in front of her, hoping just a little to keep him off-balance with a more aggressive posture. Despite the urge to let out a little squeal of excitement at both the clearer charm of her interest and his incidentally smooth, almost sonorous voice, she held firm. She needed to remain professional, no matter how much she wanted to vent her glee. “And more importantly, why were you telling me to go to the coffee shop in my world? I don’t even like their coffee, and the pastries are kind of expensive.”
“You are… human, yes?” Kayla nodded in response, the question seemingly asked slower than when he’d made his suggestion. Her gesture seemed to take a moment to process with the wolfish boy, his hands clasping over his mouth at first in thought, the shifting of his eyebrows and way his cheeks pulled back suggesting that the thoughts had turned overly eager, like a child waiting to open his Christmas presents. “How did you get here? Others of your kind we can see often, but we have never had one appear so vividly that they could see us as well as we could see them. I can practically feel desires just radiating off of you. I would quite love to be the one to help satisfy you.”
“I got here through a portal that I opened.” The simplest answer should’ve sufficed, even if it made his ears flop slightly with a puzzled tilt of his head. The look of intrigue quickly corrected itself as he took a deep inhale and nodded for her to continue. “And I don’t know what you mean by appearing. I’m here, physically as I think I would be in any ordinary circumstance. As for desires, I might not have a boyfriend, but my standards aren’t so low that I’d just shack up with a guy whose name I don’t even know.”
“My apologies. That was quite rude of me. My name is… ah, I believe you would say it as Rah-No-Lek? It sounds a little different when it is said faster.” It was Kayla’s turn to execute a quizzical head-tilt, trying to grasp the oddity of R’Nolc’s name, not even daring to think of how it must’ve been spelled. She was about to ask before he began to speak again, “And you humans typically appear as… specters, I think you would call them. The clarity we see them with is a measure of how much repressed urges they harbor. My kind prefer to… consume the excess of those urges when they are fulfilled.”
“So you, what, eat desire?” The information was bizarre to Kayla, though in some way it made sense. Everything had to go somewhere, so where did an impulse go if it was met? R’Nolc nodded in response, allowing her to continue her train of thought as one of his hands settled around her shoulder, bringing the magician warmly close to his body as he turned about and began walking them back in the direction they’d come from. “So you saw me and just figured I must’ve been really damn hungry because I looked solid?”
“Well, you are hungry. Part of how we feed off desires is by encouraging you humans to partake of them. We would not be very good at it if we could not understand what you wanted.” His silvery eyes glanced down at Kayla’s middle as her stomach gave a quiet grumble in agreement to his claim. The disinterest had been replaced by a certain mirth, much to the magician’s chagrin. Though with a little pondering, certain notions clicked within her mind, a better understanding, or facsimile of one, taking shape.
“A light telepathic bond. You can sense what someone wants, but that’s not all you do with it. It’s why we’re even able to talk right now, isn’t it?” Kayla watched one dark eyebrow lift in appreciation of her quick understanding. She felt rather pleased with herself for putting things together so quickly once she had enough pieces. “That explains why your name was difficult to say, and why you slow down your speech here and there. You’re reading me to try and get a solid attempt at saying the right words, because you’re trying to work with a foreign language. It’s quite clever, really. And if I had to guess, I’d say that when someone satisfies themselves at your kind’s encouragement, you feel a pleasure like they do.”
“We do. Or at least I do. I should not speak for the rest of my species. That would require making many possibly unfair assumptions.” Their path continued past where Kayla had first observed him, something which he acknowledged with a knowing look at where she had been hiding in the grass. “I must ask, why were you in hiding when I first noticed you? I do not believe my kind are particularly fearsome by human standards.”
“I, um, hadn’t seen you or any others yet. I thought it would be best to see if blending in would’ve been possible, or if I would have to simply observe at a distance.” Now that she’d said it, Kayla was rather sheepish with her admission that she had thought that anyone would be immediately hostile towards her presence. Uncomfortable with the notion of suggesting that R’Nolc could’ve been frightening her, a change of topic seemed to be in order, however transparent. “So where exactly are we going?”
“To my home, if you are alright with that. I would not wish to sound selfish, but there are matters of curiosity that your presence raises. I would appreciate being able to find answers to some of them.” A slight chill took to the air as the evening settled further, driving Kayla to hold closer to R’Nolc, the proximity both warming and pleasant to her nose. Odd though it seemed, the dog-boy had a sweet scent of spices about him, with a hint of earthy tone behind it. She couldn’t explain why, but that, too, warmed her a bit inside. The way she pressed against him had him oddly unperturbed, much like the cold on the air, despite his light clothing. When next he spoke, however, there was a touch of concern in his otherwise stoic voice. “I do not wish to be rude, but I can feel some of your urges, um… growing. I hope that my presence is not in some way making you hungrier.”
Kayla could’ve exaggerated her sigh. She didn’t bother, realizing that she should have seen it coming and instead briefly closed her eyes in frustration.
“Of course he wouldn’t get it, Kayla.” She told herself as she continued to be led along with only R’Nolc’s warmth to ward away the chill. “He’s not human, however much he can look and act like one. Shouldn’t just think that he’d react like you’d think a guy would. Hell, he might not even have anything down there. His species could be completely incompatible with humans. But you just had to find a guy who you could see yourself with. And who can potentially read your thoughts. Wait. Okay, if you’re listening in, please stop, and ignore any of the number of things I might be imagining doing to you or having you do to me. Thank you. Now, where was I? Right. Okay. So, sure, he probably knows that you’re feeling a thing for him. If not, just go slowly. He just met you, and he’s already willing to bring you to his place. This could go well, if you play things right. So just roll with whatever he has in mind, unless it gets too weird, and try getting suggestive now and then.”
“Um, human?” R’Nolc waved a tanned hand in front of Kayla’s face, snapping her out of her introspection. He’d stopped for a moment, while she had kept moving forward absentmindedly.
“I never did give my name, did I?” Truth was, she hadn’t had to introduce herself to anyone personally in long enough that she’d forgotten for a while that there would be people who didn’t know her. “It’s Kayla. Kayla Ross.”
“Ka-la. Ky-la. Kla.” His jaw tried moving to grasp the sounds and syllables for several seconds. Finally, he seemed to throw in the towel with a defeated shrug and humbled grin. “I must apologize. Your name is strange to me, and the word does not seem to wish to cooperate. I hope it would not frustrate you too greatly if I simply call you K’La until I can better grasp your name.”
A pet name, to an extent. Nothing so generic as “honey”, “darling” or any other of the numerous contrived terms couples used. Her heart fluttered just a little at the sincerity in the wolf-boy’s request. How could she say no to that slight slump of embarrassment, or the way his ears flattened just a little in tandem with his surrender?
“If we’re going with easier names, I hope you’d be fine with me calling you Ren, then.” A single, strong push from R’Nolc opened the door to his home, sparse decorations giving it a quaint feel. Leaving her boots in the entryway, Kayla followed her new friend’s lead as he took her past an open room with both a large, well-padded chair and equally plush couch placed near shelves lined with books. The notion that he was possibly as avid a reader as she was only further cemented her liking of him as she trailed past a hall leading into three rooms and pursued her host up the stairs. Waiting at the top was quite clearly a dining room with a kitchen offset to the far and right sides. A grand, oaken table sat in the center, holding spaces for half a dozen chairs, though it could quite obviously easily fit more. A trace scent seemed to linger on the air, reminding the sorceress of garlic cloves being added to bread. Even though it couldn’t have been more than a couple hours since she’d last eaten, the smell was mouthwatering; a fact which didn’t go unnoticed by R’Nolc.
“I can feel that, K’la. Had I known I would have a guest who could bring both such a question and provide an answer to it, I would have prepared something for you in advance so you would not be kept waiting.” Sliding a chair out from the table, Kayla’s raven-haired host set his hands upon her shoulders, guiding her into the open seat before offering a light squeeze of encouragement. “And do not worry; I have no intention of leaving you wanting. So long as you wish for more, I will provide as best as I am able.”
With a small grumble from her stomach, Kayla remained seated while her new friend scurried back down the stairs, returning within minutes with and assortment of what appeared to be some kind of meats and vegetation. It all looked like nothing she had seen before in both shape and color. And yet, even as separate ingredients, much of it looked rather appetizing. R’Nolc set about the kitchen with a purpose that spoke clearly of his practice in culinary arts, though whether they were by hobby or profession, Kayla would have to ask when she wasn’t too busy being torn between admiring the way R’Nolc moved and the sight of his preparations. The orange-ish meat that he’d carried up sat on a cutting board as he ground what appeared to be a type of nut with a pestle, throwing in peelings of what Kayla could only best describe as a cross between a mango and an apple, the shape much like the latter, but the inside holding a far more translucent look and revealing the outer skin to be thicker than any apple could grow. Pausing a moment after several minutes, the wolfish man nodded to himself and grabbed a brush, dipping the tip in the homemade mixture before coating the mystery meat, giving it a more normal, reddish hue. Striking a number of matches, a brick oven flared to life, quickly busied with grilling the apparent main course. It wasn’t left alone for terribly long, water drawn from a tap as several of the strange fruits or vegetables were diced, minced and otherwise readied, deposited with quiet little splashes for each piece that fell in before the pot was placed next to the meat.R’Nolc eyed Kayla every so often as he waited on his creations. Each time she caught him at it, he’d flash a little smile, his cheeks seeming to darken just a bit when he did.
“Maybe he’ll get the picture sooner rather than later.” Kayla thought, perfectly aware of the fact that the prospect was at least a little bit selfish on her part. All of twenty, maybe thirty minutes of having known each other, and she was already entertaining idle fantasies in the back of her mind. And it wasn’t just because he was attractive physically, though she certainly wouldn’t bother to deny that the slight tone to his arms and what definition she could make out at the top of his shirt were tantalizing to her imagination and fueling towards the feeling of want. What really seemed to draw her in was the sense of earnestness that he conveyed. Every word and action felt sincere, even if his phrasing was a bit odd. But Kayla could ignore the evidence of a linguistic barrier in favor of his otherwise open nature. It was a refreshing change from her own world, where it felt all too often the only reason guys took interest in her was in efforts to get in her pants. With R’Nolc, it felt like if he wanted to sleep with her, he would just say as much. No games, no beating around the bush. Just an honest admission that he felt something for her, too.
Turning back to admire her artist at work, Kayla practically salivated at the sight of her first course, steaming and glistening as a few final seasonings were sprinkled atop it and the platter it sat on brought before her. The smell was heavenly, the scent reminiscent of a honeyed barbecue, with a vague splash of citrus and something earthier, like the aroma of green tea. A pair of knives with a slight curve and more serration than any steak would ever warrant were placed before her, a spoon just a bit too concave to be normal joining them for the pot of soup. The steamy fragrance reminded Kayla of cinnamon and cherry, which was a bit puzzling to equate to the pale green tinge. With the final touch of a glass topped with water, R’Nolc took a seat opposite to her.
“I hope that my offering is pleasing to you,” His hands folded together on the table, a slight lean forward and a peculiar look to his eyes giving him the look of a man ready to enjoy a meal, even though as far as Kayla could see, he hadn’t prepared anything for himself. His charming smile was disarming, though, and she thought little of why he would go through the trouble of using his own food for her benefit.
It felt a bit odd to Kayla to both hold the meat in place with a knife while using the other to cut it, but the complaint of how strange it was that no forks were available died before it had a chance to be spoken, the first bite being taken with care not to cut anything on the tip of the utensil. Steak was the first impression it gave her, the taste and texture quite similar, and the juice contained in a single bite was simply exquisite, leaving an aftertaste of garlic and lemon seasoning. A sip of water eased its passage, and she quite quickly found another bite being taken, just as savory as the first, making her crave more. And more she had, breezing through the first half with astonishing speed, R’Nolc periodically leaving the table to replenish her glass of water.
“This really is delicious, Ren.” A rather unladylike burp had to be stifled quickly, Kayla sighing and smiling with embarrassment in its wake. She was already pushing the limits of how full she could stand to be, even with a little bit of the non-steak to go and the soup entirely untouched as yet. As a guest, though, it wouldn’t do for her to decline what R’Nolc had taken such care to make for her. “I didn’t think this world would have cows of some sort, but I must say, I love what you can make of them.”
“I… do not know what a cow is, K’La.” R’Nolc scratched to the side of one fluffy ear in confusion at what his guest referred to. The confusion was secondary to his satisfaction at the moment, however. Kayla had certainly satisfied her hunger, more than she’d meant to already, it seemed. From where he sat, R’Nolc could feel it radiating off of her, a comfortable warmth settling in his middle as he basked in her content glow. “If you focus on what one is, I might be able understand.”
“Aside from how I’m probably going to feel tomorrow.” The sarcastic thought didn’t make it to speech as Kayla closed her eyes, picturing the tiny horns, ropy tail and spotted hide characteristic of bovines. The pastures they grazed in all day, providing a number of good things for humanity. R’Nolc barked out a laugh, startling Kayla with the most he’d expression he’d used since they met.
“No, we have no cows here. That is a small slice from the flank of a mighty naresh. Your cow would be a small dinner to one.” Shifting his seat next to her, R’Nolc set a hand upon Kayla’s midriff, his fingers tracing light, incomprehensible patterns while pressing inward every now and then. As full as she felt, Kayla expected the slight pressure to be uncomfortable rather than soothing, as if creating a void that would allow her to keep going. All the while, that damnably friendly smile refused to leave R’Nolc’s lips. As Kayla began once more to dig in, she found the wolf-boy’s hand continuing its path of sparing her the normal result of gorging.
With the naresh meat, whatever the proper name for it was, consumed, the soup became the next focus of Kayla’s attention. It sat, still wafting a thin steam, in a bowl that would’ve provided room for a hefty breakfast of cereal. R’Nolc’s hand withdrew from her as the first spoonful went down, in which the sorceress found that whatever was in the broth was light enough to her that it didn’t seem to trouble the slab she’d eaten. It tasted much as it smelled, a sweet and sour tang interspersed with a hint of spice, with what she assumed to be berries hidden within as she found little orbs that released a fruity flavor when chewed. It took far less time for her to finish the second course than it had for the first, so much so that Kayla didn’t realize when she had finished the entire pot. The moment that revelation hit, though, it gave her pause. It was no small amount that she must’ve eaten, and she knew that it wouldn’t have just disappeared.
A glance downward confirmed her concern. Her shirt was pulled far tighter than it had been when she had put it on, her normally flat middle stretched outward slightly to hold her abundant dinner. Sitting back carefully, so as not to disturb her meal, Kayla breathed heavily, both in the weight of the realization of what she’d done, and with the exertion she had felt earlier coming back to bite her. And R’Nolc was just beaming at her like a fool. That look of innocent satisfaction was enough to keep her from chastising him, though it certainly didn’t stop her from giving herself the same scolding. She knew it was too much before she’d even finished half the meal, but she’d gone ahead and had the rest anyway. She’d practically made a pig of herself in front of a boy that she was interested in without a thought for it.
And then it clicked.
“He said that his kind feed off of satisfaction.” Kayla groaned internally, almost joining it with an outward one thanks to the heaviness settled in her belly. “Of course he’s pleased. I just gave him his dinner by going overboard with mine.”
Steeling herself against the possible consequence for such an action, Kayla shifted in her seat, adjusting for the additional weight, and stood up. It was an honest surprise to her that her dinner sat as well as it did, the only discomfort from her movement in the way she had to compensate for the excess mass. If anything, that was good for her, as she was fairly certain that had the meal been anything from her won world, it wouldn't have been nearly so forgiving. In its own way, that was a rather pleasant discovery. Here she didn't need to control herself quite so strictly as she would at any other time. The freedom it brought was palpable, but not her biggest concern for the moment. What was, was dealing with the drowsiness she could feel setting in.
"Um, Ren, I don't suppose you have a bed to spare, do you? I think I need to lay down." R'Nolc seemed to already be one step ahead of the magician, one hand on her shoulder to steady her, the other once again working its own form of magic on her skin, helping ease the sense of fullness. The look on his face was a mixture of sympathy and delight as he led her through his home, quiet words of appreciation, encouragement and compliment lost on Kayla in her growing stupor.
Finally, R'Nolc seemed to settle on a specific room, livened up with more trinkets and decorations than Kayla had observed in the others. It felt much more like a room from her won world than the rest had, a sizable bed resting against one wall while bookshelves and a desk occupied most everywhere else. With a care that felt almost practiced, Kayla was sat down on the bed, the native boy's hands leaving her for a moment to darken the candles flickering nearby. Under the shroud broken only by the light of the window, he sat next to her, following suit as she scooted over to lie down, a thick comforter drawn over her as she rested her head on the softest pillow she'd ever felt. The last vestiges of consciousness led her to think that this must've been R'Nolc's room, his bed that she was sleeping on. It wasn't nearly enough to make her protest, to galvanize her to get up and insist that she couldn't impose in such a way. She could, and kind of wanted to at the moment, if for no other reason than because it felt so very comfortable. Had that not been adequate to still any objection, the feeling of her host lying down next to her and pulling a blanket over himself certainly was. He took care not to disturb her, doing little more than brushing lightly against her as he adjusted his position, before she was out, still radiating the contentedness that he craved. Her dreams wouldn't be of the events of the day, nor of the trace embarrassment of her behavior in front of R'Nolc. No, all that her subconscious would remind her of was how nice it felt to fall asleep next to someone.