2. One Way Out – by Emberend
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The boy reflected on Kiera’s story.  Despite feeling like he had no regrets, a feeling of envy filled him.  If only he was Kiera.  He started to get comfortable and noticed a stray hair fell into his eyes.  “Maybe it might be time for a haircut,” the boy thought.

One Way Out - by Emberend

“Sha-sha, sha-sha!” I shouted as I playfully slashed through thick tangles and vine with my short, trusty machete.

“Do you really need to act like a child, Danny? We’re miles deep in the Amazon and you still find a way to embarrass me,” a deep, irritated voice commented.

“Oh shut up, Noah, it’s exactly because we’re miles deep in the Amazon that I’m doing this. I’m bored as hell. Can you really blame me?” I rebutted.

“Yes, I can, actually. You do realize that this is not for fun, right? I mean, when I invited you to come along, I figured we could help pay off your student debt,” he said before slicing through a dense patch of vines far easier than I could with his own, larger machete. “But here you are masquerading as Indiana Jones.”

“Hrmph,” I pouted. “All I remember you saying is that your grandparents used to tell stories of some dumb temple in the middle of this stupid jungle. We’ve been searching for hours and we haven’t found anything!”

“Oh, forgive me. I completely forgot you were too busy daydreaming the moment you heard treasure in my proposal,” he said, making sure to put extra emphasis on treasure. “Guess you missed the part where I said it would be both dangerous and boring.”

“Whatever. Sha-sha, sha-sha!” I stubbornly shouted as I continued to hack and slash at the fiendish overgrowth blocking our path.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew Noah was just looking out for me, he has ever since he saved me from some bullies that tore up my teddy bear in 5th grade, and, yes, I had a teddy bear in 5th grade. I simply loved messing with him once in a while… maybe more than once in a while. It’s just entertaining to see him of all people lose his cool.

Noah stopped and sighed his usual, annoyed sigh. Heh.

“What?” I teasingly asked as I looked behind. “Tired?”

Wordless, he stepped intimidatingly close, his chest pressing against the back of my head. Did I mention he was really tall? Or that I was really short?

“N-Noah, what are you-?”

“If you want to swing the machete like a child,” he said, his arms aligning against mine as his hands gripped around my own, “then at least swing it like a child with some sense.”

“I-I can swing the thing just fine, l-let me go,” I quietly demanded.

He remained silent and squeezed tighter, bringing our hands with the machete up and down in a slashing pattern.

“P-Please…? This is embarrassing…” I admitted.

“That’s funny, I distinctly recall being embarrassed myself earlier. Now shush and remember the motion.”

After a few minutes of forcefully being taught how to properly swing a machete, I was finally released from his iron hold.

“Was that necessary, jackass?” I complained, still feeling the remnants of his heat against my back.

“You’re less likely to hurt yourself, or me, so yes,” he soundly reasoned.

I rolled my eyes as we continued to make our way through the dense vegetation, and after bickering back and forth for yet another hour, I had just about gotten fed up.

“Ughhhhhh,” I groaned. “Noaaaaaaahhhhhhh, are we there yet?”

“Danny,” he said pinching the bridge of his nose, “you’ve asked that ten times in the past five minutes, could you please just-”

“Look!” I excitedly interrupted. “That’s it, right?! The temple!”

Rending a final barrier of thick greens in two the non-childish way, an ancient, fantastical temple stood before us in what seemed like the only clearing in this whole freaking jungle.

“Ohhh, finallyyyy,” I moaned as I began staggering towards the temple’s entrance.

“Wait,” Noah said as he grabbed me by the arm.

“What? Stone floors await me, my feet are aching, lemme goooo~”

“It could be booby trapped. We have to be careful,” he calmly explained.

“Dude, who knows how many thousands of years old this place is, as if there’s any traps still working,” I said as I jerked my hand out of his grasp. “Sweet, flat, human flooring here I come!”

“Dan! Wait, damnit!” I heard Noah shout as I rushed headlong into our destination and my resting area.

Passing great, stone columns that seemed to be in oddly good condition, I dashed inside the main opening and was greeted with slightly cool air as I collapsed on the stone floor. I nuzzled my face against it, practically making out with smooth rock as my feet appreciated the relief.

“Damnit Dan! Could you please not do something so reckless?” Noah scolded me after catching up.

“Shut up,” I said as my cheeks were cooled by the stone’s touch. “And don’t call me Dan, you know I hate that.”

“Yeah, and I hate it when you try and get yourself killed.”

I sat up crisscross and spread my arms wide, motioning around to the room we found ourselves in.

“Do I look almost dead to you? And, no traps, see?”

Noah sighed his usual, irritated sigh. Heh.

“Just be careful, please, there could still be danger lurking about,” he warned.

“Yeah, yeah…” I responded before laying on my back and sprawling out. “I’m gonna take a nap. Lemme know when you find the treasure room.”

“Are you serious?” Noah angrily questioned. Heh.

“Maaaaaybe,” I teased, feigning the action of shutting my eyes so I could get a good look at him. Boy does he look pissed! Just a little more and I’ll actually help search…

“Get up,” he commanded, “or I’m reducing your cut.”

I had to prevent myself from cracking a smile. As if he’d do that, though I still felt a sliver of doubt in that belief.

“Dan, get your lazy ass up already before-”

I jerked back up into my crisscrossed position.

“I said stop calling me that, asshole!” I complained as I started to lose my own cool. He’d always start saying that just to piss me off when he knows I’m winning.

“Fine, I will once you get on your feet and start searching,” he bargained. “Carefully.”

I sighed. He won this time.

“Fine, deal. But I want a larger cut and-”

The blood in my veins froze and my face drained of color.

“Yeah, no, I don’t think so. You’ll get enough to pay off your student debt and that’s it,” he continued to argue before noticing my expression. “What is it? I mean, if you really need more…”

“B-Behind you,” I shakily whispered as drops of sweat poured down my forehead.

“Oh, not this shit again, you’ve already pulled that stunt twice today and I am not-”

“SNAKE!” I screamed in horror as I watched it slither under Noah’s legs, towards me.

Noah finally noticed it beneath him.

“Oh, this? It’s so tiny, it must still be a baby,” he calmly, and absolutely irrationally claimed.

“Oh no, no, no, NO!” I squealed as its tiny tongue hissed mere feet away from me.

Panicked, I began crawling backwards, slipping and struggling as fear tugged at my core.

“Pfft, Danny, it’s not going to hurt you,” he said, chuckling at me. “Just stand up and let it pass.”

Screaming incoherently and beginning to cry, I failed to heed his words, not that I would listen even if I heard him.

He started laughing. Can you believe it? Laughing. All while this monster is about to have its way with me.

“Danny, please, the worst it will do is tickle your ankles with little snake kisses…” he said, fighting through the bouts of laughter. “Just- wait, Danny, stop!”

He rushed past the slithering fiend and lunged at me.

At the same moment, however, I bumped into the wall behind me and heard an unsettling click. Uh oh.

Realizing the incoming danger, he arched his body over mine, cradling me with his protection.

Before I could react in any way, I felt the floor give way as we plummeted downwards into the darkness.


“Ugh…” I grimaced. My head and back are killing me… but what the hell is pressing against my face-

“N-Noah?!” I scrambled to say as my vision filled with his face pressing against mine, our lips definitely touching just a moment ago.

The realization made my cheeks grow a soft red.

“W-What the hell are you-?!” I started to say before halting myself.

He wasn’t conscious.

He wasn’t conscious, and yet the first thing that I just had to think of after he risked his life to protect me was that of all things. I’m such an idiot.

As I struggled to slide out from under him, I could feel his hot, minty breath against my face… so I knew he was still alive, at least… but damnit, why does he have to be so much bigger than me?! I can’t get him off!

After a bit more struggling, and failing, I gave up and his head slid past mine, his chin resting on my shoulder.

“You better wake up soon, jackass…” I mumbled under my breath.

My eyes darted around the room we had fallen into, but honestly I couldn’t see much from the angle, so I gave up in that regard. I could see that our bulky backpacks had fallen close by, at least.

Minutes passed and, honestly, I was starting to fall asleep. It kind of felt nice. I-I mean, he’s basically a radiator, plus I love weighted blankets, so cuddling- err, I mean having him rest on top of me? I don’t know what to call this, but it’s not the most uncomfortable thing in the world, I’ll admit that.

Suddenly, he moved, both startling me out of my almost-napping state and terrifying my heart.

“Good, you’re awake, could you maybe please get off of-! N-Noah?!”

Instead of relieving me from this awkward position, he instead opted to… t-to hold me tightly and nuzzle his nose against my ear?!

“N-Noah! Wake up! T-This isn’t a dream…” I pleaded.

“Mmmm… five more minutes mom, there’s this adorable girl and…” he groggily said before falling back to sleep.

W-What?! A cute girl? Was he seeing someone without telling me? Or maybe just interested in someone? Not that I care, he’s always had the girls falling for him, unlike me. It’s just that, usually, he’d tell me whenever he turned one down, but if he’s hiding one from me… bastard…

“Wake up, Noah!” I yelled. “And I’m not your mom!”

After a few light smacks to his sturdy face, he finally woke the hell up.

“Ugh…” he groaned. “What happened…?”

“Took you long enough, jerk.”

“Why are we…?” he started before snapping out of it. “Danny! Are you ok?!”

“Yeah, just a bit of a headache and-”

Feeling déjà vu, he was suddenly squeezing me tightly again.

“W-What are you doing?!” I quickly asked.

“I’m so glad you’re ok…” he said, the words warming my heart. “I told you to be careful, you could have gotten hurt.”

“I… sorry… you know I’m afraid of snakes.”

“It’s ok, I shouldn’t have laughed,” he admitted. “But you need to be more careful. Ok?”

“Yeah…” I agreed. We’re lucky we’re both alive and in one piece. “But I would have laughed at me too,” I smiled.

An awkward moment of silence passed as he held me.

“But can you please get off me now?” I kindly asked.

“Ah, right, sorry,” he said before getting off me and standing up.

I stretched, enjoying my newfound freedom, though the room was ominously cold. Maybe it just felt that way since I was getting used to him up against me… probably not.

“Here,” Noah said, offering his hand.

“Thanks,” I replied, accepting and getting back on my feet.

“So… where the hell are we?” I bluntly asked.

“I’m not sure, but you’re seeing what I’m seeing, right?” he asked.

“Yeah, I think I am.”

The room was square and distinctly modern, and while it clearly hasn’t seen use in a long time, it’s completely different from the outside. The whole room was dimly lit from… something, I don’t know, I couldn’t see a source of light. I think the cool air could be explained with air conditioning, too, actually, wherever and however that’s happening.

The walls were made of a modern, chiseled stone that gave off prison cell vibes. Not a good sign… at all.

Looking above where we should have fallen from was nothing but ceiling. How the hell…?

“There’s not much here, is there?” Noah said, taking the words out of my mouth.

“Doesn’t seem like it, but, well, there’s that,” I said, pointing towards a short stand displaying some kind of simple-looking, black choker.

“Well, the door is over here, let’s check the whole place out before collecting anything,” he suggested.

I happily agreed and, as we attempted to push the door open, our hearts sank at the reality.

“It’s locked,” we both said, glancing at each other.

“Oh shit,” I began to panic. “Oh god. We’re going to die, Noah! We’re going to die here!!”

“Hey, calm down,” he attempted to reassure me. “There has to be a way out.”

“What way out?!” I argued. “Like, this door? The one way out? It’s shut tight and we’re completely screwed!”

“Well, it doesn’t seem like a normal door. It has a weird socket to the side, right here,” he pointed out.

“Oh, great. We’re stuck in a weird room with a locked door that just also happens to be weird in its own way. I’m relieved, truly,” I whined.

“Complain all you want, I’m going to figure this out,” he bravely claimed.

“Yeah… well, you can probably start with whatever that weird, tight necklace is supposed to be,” I jokingly suggested before laying down to rest my head on one of our supply-filled packs. We can probably live a good month if we ration properly…

Noah headed towards the stand and sighed his typical sigh, but I was too depressed to “heh” at it, though I was sorely tempted to.

“Huh,” he started. “There’s some ancient text accompanying this choker. Looks like a manual. Think you can decipher it?”

“I guess I can try…” I weakly agreed. I suppose it’s my time to shine, I mean, it’s not like I have student debt for no reason.

I pathetically walked towards him, all my energy clearly having been spent on the acceptance of death by starvation.

“Let me see…”

Taking the old, dusty pages out of his hands, I was surprised they didn’t crumble to pieces. The pages were clearly ancient, but the ink, if that even is ink, seemed impossibly fresh in comparison. I could recognize it as Latin, which, fortunately, I could indeed translate.

“Well, what does it say?” Noah asked.

“Hold on, still reading…” I half-responded. “It says… it says we can open the door!”

Energy filled my body once again as my life was renewed. We won’t be dying today or anytime soon! Now, how do we open it…

“Really?! That’s wonderful! How?!” Noah asked as excitedly as I would.

“Let’s see… it says that the door and all other technology in the temple is powered by… wait, what the hell? That can’t be right…”

“Ah, it’s probably solar powered isn’t it? We probably just have to wait a bit before-”

“No, it’s not that,” I interrupted. “It’s powered by… masculinity.”

Noah sighed.

“Damnit, Dan, isn’t it a bit early to start making jokes?”

“I’m not joking, I swear I translated this as close as possible…” I responded dead-serious. “And stop calling me Dan…”

“Ok, well, let’s say you’re being honest. How does this help us?” he understandably questioned.

“Well… it says here that… that wearing the choker will transfer the wearer’s masculinity into it. And… once it’s charged, it can be placed inside that socket by the door,” I explained, disbelieving the very words coming out of my mouth.

“That’s ridiculous,” he said, stealing my thoughts.

“Yeah, but… what else are we gonna do? There’s only one way out and brute force sure isn’t going to work,” I reasoned.

“Well,” he started, “if we play along, then which one of us is going to wear it?”

We stared at each other, both sparing a few glances back and forth at the choker.

“Rock-paper-scissors,” we naturally suggested at the same time. Huh, even in life-or-death situations, we still think alike.

Placing the ancient manual back beside the choker, we made ourselves ready to cast our futures into fate’s hand.





My hand was shut tight, forming rock, and his hand was straightened flat, the palm bare and forming paper

“Damnit,” I complained. “Two out of three?”

“I suppose,” he accepted.

And so we went again.





My middle and index fingers extended outwards, forming a V-shape and indicating scissors. His hand formed a large first, indicating a firm rock.

“God damnit,” I whined. “…Three out of five?”

“Danny…” Noah responded.

“Fine, fine!” I reluctantly gave up. Once I started losing, I usually couldn’t stop. “I’ll wear the stupid choker, but I doubt it’ll even do anything.”

“Honestly, I don’t either,” he agreed. “But I’m still worried. If you really don’t want to wear it, I can-”

“Oh, shut up,” I said, grabbing the choker. I’m getting tired of him trying to protect me, I mean, even if it actually hurts me in any way, then I’ll have been the one to protect him for once.

Raising it up to my neck, I noticed a tiny symbol on the inside of it. Though it was difficult to see, it appeared to be an eye with some lines sticking out from it. Curious. Just as I made the observation, though, Noah gave me a final warning.

“We can always just wait for help, you know. I’m sure my grandparents will begin to worry after we don’t come back…”

I saw him reach a hesitant hand towards me just as I wrapped the choker around my neck, causing it to make an audible snap as it locked in place.

A moment passed.

“…Well? Are you ok?” Noah worriedly asked.

I took a few seconds to consider my response…

“Yeah, I think so. Doesn’t seem like it’s going to-”

Suddenly, I was grasping and scratching at my throat, choking on the air.

“H-Help,” I begged. “I-It hurts… N-Noah…”

He rushed to my side. Heh.

“Danny! I’ll get it off, just hold on a moment-”

I busted out laughing.

“Pfft! Hahaha! Oh my god, you should have seen your reaction, you really thought I was dying or something!”

“…Danny,” he solemnly said as I dropped to the floor.

“Oh, oh my god, that’s too funny!” I wheezed and snickered uncontrollably.

“Danny,” he repeated.

“Seriously, I’ll never forget that face, it was priceless!” I continued to brag through tears of joy.

“Dan!” he said, snapping me out of my hysteria.

I stood back up and looked straight at him.

“…What?” I said in a soft, cute, high-pitched voice.

My eyes went wide, and my hand instinctively covered my mouth, shocked at hearing my own voice.

“N-Noah…?” I asked, testing my speech and once again hearing that same, unfamiliar yet unmistakably girly voice.

“Danny, don’t panic…” he said, attempting to calm me.

“W-What happened to my voice?!” I asked with great worry before noticing his eyes weren’t looking at my face. “What are you looking at…?”

I tilted my head down, realizing the vision of my feet were blocked by…

“Oh my god!” I screamed, reminding me of my little sister. “I-I have boobs?! Why do I-”

A curly lock of blonde hair slid down my face, resting gently on top of my new pair of breasts.

“Noah…” I said, my face frozen with a nervous smile. “I cut my hair short back in middle school… right?”

He was silent.

“And… I just don’t remember wasps stinging my chest earlier, right? And, and, I just have a bad cold affecting my voice, right..? Right?!”

“…Danny,” he said, unsure what to think.

“Oh my god…” I said, no longer denying reality. “It turned me into a girl…”

I collapsed to my knees.

“I’m sure it’s temporary,” he tried to reassure me.

“M-Maybe…” I said just before feeling something really weird down below.

My shoulders drooped.

“Oh no,” I whispered.

“What is it?” he asked, his voice laced with concern.

“It’s… it’s gone, Noah.”

“It’s gone…?”

“It’s gone,” I repeated.

“Oh,” he said. “Are you… okay?”

I laughed, though it came out more as an adorable giggle.

“No, I’m not okay,” I said as I stood back up and pathetically walked towards the door once again, slipping the choker off my neck and slotting into the charger. “Let’s just get out of here and figure out what to do next…”

Noah remained speechless as I waited for the door to open, but, suddenly, an electronic voice started speaking in Latin, startling both of us.

“What did it say? I couldn’t understand…” he said, confused.

I, however, was not confused. In fact, my heart sank deeper than I imagined possible.

“It… it said that… that there’s not enough masculinity… Please try again.”

“Oh,” Noah said.

“What?” I harshly asked, digging into his reaction. “Why don’t you seem surprised?”

“I- well…” he failed to defend himself.

“Seriously? You didn’t think I was manly at all? Even after all the times I was beat up for being ‘girly’ back in school…?”

“It doesn’t matter why those assholes did it,” he reasoned. “I defended you until they stopped and-”

“Why do you think they stopped?!” I interrupted, causing him to go silent. “Because I cut my hair and did my best to ‘man’ up! I… I hate being seen as girly… but…clearly my best friend thinks just that.”

He took a moment to process my words, memories seeming to flash by in his mind. He seemed hurt.

“…Sorry, Danny,” he said, bashfully rubbing the back of his neck.

“…It’s fine,” I said, feeling a guilty pit in my stomach. That… wasn’t the whole truth, but it’s not like it matters…

“Well, seems like we’re actually screwed now,” I said, leaning against the wall. “I’m going to starve to death as a girl now. Great.”

“What do you mean?” Noah asked. “I can still charge the choker.”

“What?!” I responded. “It’ll just turn you into a girl and we’ll still be stuck here!”

“And it might work this time,” he reasoned. “I have to try; I refuse to sit and do nothing.”

“No, absolutely not,” I argued, snatching the choker out of the door’s socket and clutching it tightly. “I’m not letting you risk it.”

“I wasn’t asking,” he said, his full height suddenly close to me.

“Well, I don’t care, I’m not giving it to-”

Suddenly, his palm slammed into the wall just above my left shoulder, my heart skipping a beat as his body heat trickled over my petite, feminine form.

“I-I told you I’m not-”

“Shhh,” he said with a finger against my lips, sending pleasurable shivers down my spine.

His hand reached towards the choker I was clutching ever so tightly, my hand instinctively raising up and away from him until it extended against the wall as far as my arm allowed.

From my shoulder, his hand traced a firm line along my arm until it reached past my wrist, his fingers forcing my fist open and interlocking with my own, our hands sharing the grip on the choker.

“Don’t risk it…” I whimpered, my heart racing.

He leaned in close, his deep voice resonating in my ear.

“What kind of friend would I be if I let you die in this place when I had the opportunity to save you?”

My muscles went limp, and his hand retreated from mine, choker included.

“…Fine,” I pouted. “Do what you want.”

He stepped back and fastened the choker around his neck, causing it to make the same clicking sound as when I put it on.

I can’t believe he’s actually doing this…

I wanted to look away, but my curiosity got the better of me, so I ended up staring. Within seconds, however, I noticed a light blue heart forming on the front of the choker as if it had an LED display all of a sudden.

“What the…” I mouthed.

“What is it?” he asked, his voice still as handsomely masculine as ever.

“There’s a blue heart glowing on the front of it…” I explained. “It didn’t do that before, did it?”

“Blue? No… it was pink when it was on you,” he decided to reveal.

“And you tell me this now?!” I responded.

“Oh, sorry, I was too busy being worried about your health when you decided now was a good time to pull a prank,” he justified.

“Look, I was just trying to lighten the mood and-”


“…Did the choker just ding like a microwave?” I asked, dumbfounded.

“…I think it did,” Noah responded, just as dumbfounded.

Then, it suddenly disconnected itself from Noah’s neck, falling to the ground.

“Do you think it’s charged?” Noah asked.

“I mean… only one way to find out,” I replied.

Bending down, he picked it back up and placed it into the door’s charger and it suddenly spoke in Latin again.

“What did it say?” he asked.

“It… it said: High levels of masculinity detected. Charging process initiated. Estimated time is five hours,” I relayed.

“That’s great! We’ll be out of here in no time,” he happily said, his voice still that of a confident man.

“Yeah, I guess I won’t be starving to death anytime soon,” I said rather monotone.

“Are you ok?” he worriedly asked. “You don’t seem as happy to get out as I thought you would be.”

“I’m excited to get out, it’s just… I mean… I’m still stuck as a girl, and to be honest, I’m kind of annoyed it did nothing to you,” I admittedly explained.

“I thought you were worried it would do something?”

“I mean, yeah, I was. But the fact it didn’t do anything to you is just testament to your… your masculinity. I mean, what does that mean for me?”

“Well… is there anything else you haven’t read yet in that ancient text?” he questioned, bringing up a good point.

“I haven’t, actually. I may have skimmed through most of it…” I admitted.

“You skimmed through the manual for the thing that just turned you into a girl? Why am I not surprised?” he facepalmed.

“L-Look, I was antsy to get out…” I hopelessly reasoned. “Just hand me the paper, maybe it’ll tell me how I can turn back.”

Gently swiping the texts from his hand, I began to skim, err no, carefully analyze it from beginning to end. Minutes pass until I eventually strike gold.

“Noah!” I shouted in a needlessly girly voice. “It says the choker has a twin contained in a room symmetrical to this one! Which means…”

“You can use that one to turn back?” He finished for me.

“Exactly!” I excitedly responded. “We just have to find that room once this door unlocks, so I’ll only be a girl for… about five more hours.”

“That’s great!” He cheerfully responded. “Just five hours and you can go back to normal.”

“…Yeah. Normal,” I said, feeling diminishing returns on the joy. “Well, until then, I guess we just have to sit around doing nothing, huh?”

“Pretty much,” he agreed before taking a seat beside his backpack.

I followed his example and laid down to rest on my own backpack, twiddling my thumbs as a half-hour of boredom gnawed away at me, until…


“Oh! Are you hungry?” I asked.

“…No,” he responded.

“Dude. You’re hungry. I heard your stomach growl,” I pressingly said.

“I’m not hungry,” he reaffirmed.

Grumble grumble.

“You totally are! I heard it again! Here, I packed some sandwiches for us to eat,” I said as I began scrounging through my backpack.

“But I’m not-”

“Oh, shut up!” I interrupted, still digging for the sandwiches. “Why are you being so stubborn about this? Isn’t that my job?”

“Because- Well… I’m worried the door might stay locked,” he explained.

“Then all the more reason to eat!” I counter-explained.

“I’d rather save them for you. I’m the reason we’re even-”

A turkey sandwich landed straight in his face, smacking some sense into him.

“Shut up. I’m the reason we’re in this mess, not you. Now eat, I don’t want my rest disturbed by your annoying tummy rumbling…”

“I…” he started to defensively reason again before caving in with a light, warm smile. “Alright.”

“Dummy…” I muttered under my breath as I hid my smile.

As he raised the sandwich to his mouth, however, he paused.

“What is this?” he chuckled. “You trimmed the crust and cut it into a heart…?”

“W-What?!” I said, blushing. “I-I know you don’t like the crust and the heart was the only cookie cutter shape I could find… g-got a problem with that?!”

“No,” he said, still lightly chuckling as he took his first bite. “It’s adorable. Delicious, too”

“A-Adorable?! It’s not adorable! It’s… it’s cool!” I argued while feeling an embarrassingly pleasant warmth in my belly.

“Mhmm, sure,” he nonchalantly replied with a mouthful.

Feeling irritated, I dug out a second sandwich for myself and we ate our cool meals in silence.

As yet another half-hour passed, I was bored out of my mind and still irritated at his mockery of my food! I felt the urge to get back at him, but how…? I mean, there’s not much I can do at the moment, being stuck as a girl in a room with him and all.

…Wait. Maybe I can take advantage of this… Oh! I have a devious idea, I do…

I let my breathing become ragged, slumping over onto the floor.

“Danny…? Danny! Are you ok?” he said, rushing to my side. Heh.

“N-Noah…” I started to act. “I feel weird… I think the choker did something else to me…”

“What?! What is it? Are you in pain?” He asked with his worry on his sleeve. Heh.

“No, but it’s… it’s…!” I said, making an effort to make my voice softer and cuter.

“Danny?!” He said, placing a gentle hand on my shoulders. Hook, line, and sinker. Heh.

“Nyaaaa~” I meowed, pawing at his arm. “It turned me into a catgirl, Nyaa!”

“W-What?!” He said, completely caught up in my blatant lie, a visible blush forming on his face. “You-! You’re lying!”

“Meow? I would nyever do that!” I teasingly said, a wicked, satisfied smirk forming on my lips. “You believe me, don’t you… Nyoah?”

All worry completely evaporated from his face. Heh.

“You’re lying…” he realized, standing up and walking a few steps away in shame. “You looked at my internet history, didn’t you…?”

“W-What?!” I feigned surprise, getting up to follow him. “Like I said, I would nyever do that!”

“Danny… I’m warning you. Stop.”

I pawed at his arm again.

“Nyah, I don’t think so. After all, what are you going to-”

Suddenly, he had me pressed tight against the wall, my heart jumping in both fear and excitement.

“Pfft,” I said, rolling my eyes and deflecting his attempts to turn this around on me. “Really? T-This again? I-It won’t work twice…”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” he seductively whispered into my ear.

Squeezing my eyes shut for whatever punishment he was about to inflict, I felt myself being swept off my feet.

“N-Noah, what are you doing?!” I said, stunned at his display of strength.

His right arm was firmly under my knees, his hand against my thigh. His left arm cradled my back, his hand squeezing my upper arm.

“Holding the princess the way she clearly wants to be held,” he nonchalantly explained.

“P-Princess?! I am not a princess! Put me down!” I demanded.

“You sure sound like one to me with how quick you are to make commands…” he said.

“S-Shut up! Just put me down, this is weird!” I demanded for a second time.

“Oh and pretending to be a catgirl isn’t?” he flawlessly reasoned.

“That was just-! I was just getting back at you for making fun of my sandwiches!” I admitted.

“I thought I complimented them…?” he asked.

“They were not cute! They were… they were cool! Okay?!” I clarified. “Just put me down already, Noah!”

“Hmmm, no, I don’t think I will,” he said, chilling me to the bone. Oh god, he has the arm strength to hold me like this until the door is charged, too…

“B-But…” I began to whine.

“Well, on one condition,” he explained, giving me a glimmer of hope.

“W-What is it? I’ll do anything, j-just put me down! This feels really weird…” I begged.

“Say: I’m your cute maid. Please let me down, Master,”

“W-WHAT?! D-Did you look at my history…? No! I am never saying that!” I angrily denied.

“Suit yourself,” he casually replied.

“Fine! Carry me as long as you want then…” I said, pouting and accepting defeat.

There is no world in which I say those words to him, I’d much rather bear the humiliation of being held up by him like a feather than stoop that low! Besides, what else could he possibly do to make this situation even worse for me? I would say this is as bad as it could possibly-

“Ah!!!” I squeaked in a girly moan. “W-What the hell did you do?!”

“Just massaging her royal thighs with my thumb, what else?” he teased all the while remaining inhumanly composed.

“Well, stop it! It tickles and feels really- ahhh!” I tried to plead before he began caressing my upper arm with his other thumb.

“Your skin is really soft now, you know,” he commented.

“I don’t need to hear that right now! Just put me down, please!” I begged again.

“You know what to say…” he taunted.

He’s actually going to make me say it. There’s no way I can bear being… handled like this for several more hours! I really don’t have a choice…

“Fine!” I said, caving in. “I-I’m your cute maid. P-Please let me-”

“Ah, ah, ah,” he interrupted. “Look me in the eyes and mean it when you say it.”

“B-But.. that’s…”

“No buts,” he explained.

“…Fine,” I said, my eyes slowly creeping towards his. “You better not remind me about this later…”

He patiently smiled and stared at my face, waiting for my eyes to meet his.

I calmed myself as best I could and drew my eyes upon his, my heartrate beginning to rapidly increase as a stupid, fluttery warmth spread throughout my body.

I felt my muscles go weak and was suddenly thankful to be in his arms knowing I’d likely have fallen to my knees by now…

“I-I… I’m your c-cute maid,” I shakily stated, the words becoming increasingly difficult to say. “P-Please let me down… Master.”

His movement wasn’t sudden, it was gentle and smooth, but it still sent my heart into a beating frenzy.

He set me down on my feet, though I could barely stand. Then, he placed a single, large hand on my head, lightly ruffling my hair…

My face went completely red.

“Good girl.”

…I just stood there, completely speechless as I stared off into a distance much farther away than the closed walls should have allowed. In spite of how ice solid my body was or how still my face rested, my heart was thundering.

I turned away from him, almost robotically, and sat back down near my bags.

I had no words.

I had no thoughts.

All I had was a heart beating faster than I knew what to do with and an explosive mixture of euphoric emotions that refused to stop combusting over and over and over.

“…Danny?” my assailant asked, a wall of silence being the only thing to meet him.

“…Danny…” he repeated, his voice dripping with a modicum of worry.

“Danny, look… I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have taken it that far…” he said, the words laced with an emotion I could only label as regret.

About thirty minutes later, his unease made him visibly squirm.

“…Just… please talk to me? I was just so fed up with how often you embarrass me or turn something into a joke, and… I just got carried away…” he begged.

I remained silent, my eyes still aimlessly staring at the wall.

He moved closer to me and took a seat just a foot or so away.

“I mean it, I didn’t mean to take it that far, Dan, I just-”

“Shut up!” I squealed, my face bursting with a fresh shade of red ever since he sat close to me. “Stop apologizing, but more importantly, stop calling me Dan! I’m so sick of hearing you say that, you know I hate that more than anything!”

“I- Well… I’m sorry, I just use your real name instead of your nickname when I’m trying to be serious and-”

“Well I hate my real name, why do you think I constantly remind you to use my nickname?! I mean, even then, I’m not crazy happy with Danny!” I furiously interrupted.

“I… well… alright, I’ll make sure I only call you Danny from now on…” He finally, finally agreed to after years of complaining.

“…Thank you,” I said, sighing a bit of relief.

“But,” he continued, “do you really not like being called Danny either…?”

I blinked.

“What? I admitted that…? I-I mean, did I say that?”

“…You did,” he affirmed. “I mean, if you’d prefer a new nickname or something…”

“N-No, no…” I said, shaking my head and hands. “I’m fine with Danny, really.”

He raised a brow at that. Uh oh.

“Really? Well, I’m not fine with it. Doing something I should have always been doing isn’t enough to make up for how I treated you just a bit ago. If you’re uncomfortable with it, then let’s come up with something else to call you. How about, like, I don’t know, Danster?”

“W-What? No! That’s awful… and, like I said, Danny is ok enough…”

“Then, how about Dane? Or maybe Da-”

“Annie!” I shouted before he could suggest something actually worse than anything he’s already come up with.

“…Isn’t Danny what I’ve been calling you, though…?” he questioned.

“I didn’t say Danny, I said-”

I slammed my hand over my mouth. Oh my god. I didn’t actually say that name out loud, did I?

“Well, I didn’t think you said Danny, but I couldn’t have heard it right the first time…” He said, sending a shiver of panic through my soul. “Did you say-”

I pounced at him, covering his mouth with my hands before he had a chance to say it out loud, and, though I successfully muffled him, I knew it was already too late. He knew what I said.

With surprising ease, he gently squeezed my wrist and lifted my hand off his mouth.

“You said Annie, didn’t you?”

I let out a shrill squeak.

“N-No! I-I uh… I-It was j-just a joke! C-Cause I’m a girl a-at the moment… y-you know?!”

“…Yeah,” he said, actually somewhat convinced. “Well, in that case, how about Da-”

“Ok fine! I-It wasn’t a joke… J-Just don’t suggest anything that has Dan in it, please…”

It was his turn to blink.

“Really? I mean, I don’t mind calling you Annie if you want me to… But, well, why?”

“B-Because… well… It’s what my mom said she would have named me if I was born a girl. I-I mean, she was rather happy that I was born a boy since she wanted one, but… I-I don’t know! I just- Ah!”

A dull pain suddenly ran across my back, eliciting a yelp from me.

“Da- Err, what’s wrong?!” Noah instantly reacted, his hand placed supportively over mine.

“I-It’s my back, I think…” I explained.

“Let me see,” he said as I turned away and allowed him to lift the back of my shirt up.

“What is it…?” I asked, worried.

“It’s nothing much, you probably just hit your back somewhere during the fall. It’s likely that it’s bruised,” he explained, much to my relief.

“Oh… I was afraid the snake bit me or something…” I mumbled.

“No,” he chuckled in an oddly cute way. “There’s no snake bites, I promise.”

“Good… I hate sn- Ah!” I began to say before I felt that dull pain return. “I-It still hurts, though…”

I shivered, hugging my arms.

“And I’m kind of cold… We didn’t bring a thermos and some hot chocolate, did we, Noah? …N-Noah? Noah?! Why are you-”

Before I could speak anymore, he had already draped his shirt over my body’s small frame.

“You can’t just give me your shirt, you’ll freeze!” I complained.

“But you’re cold,” he nonchalantly reasoned, drawing a blush from me. “It wouldn’t be good if you caught a fever, especially if you’re more injured than we think.”

I opened my mouth to speak and shut it. Several times.

“…Fine,” I reluctantly agreed as I hugged the loose, warm shirt to my body. “But…”

“What?” He asked.

I was looking at his bare torso. Heat practically radiated from it, making me awkwardly squirm.

“How long have you had abs…? I don’t remember that,” I embarrassingly questioned.

“A few months. Why?” he asked as if it was something unusual to point out.

“I- No reason,” I answered with a slight grimace as my hand failed to reach around and rub and dull the pain on my back.

“Does it still hurt?” he gently whispered as if tending to a little, lost lamb.

“Yeah…” I admitted. “Damn spot hurts right where I can’t reach it, I wish I could at least-”

I felt a light pressure against my back through the two layers of shirts.

“A-Are you…?” I said, slightly wincing at his touch.

“I am,” he said, still whispering. His shirtless body was adjacent to mine. It was rather close, too. “Tell me if you want me to stop, or if it hurts.”

“…Okay,” I said, deciding I would just accept the embarrassment from the fact that my best friend was caressing my back through his shirt. I mean, it was helping to numb the pain… and I guess it was kind of pleasant…

Pleasant enough that I let a whimper escape through my lips.

“Are you okay?” he asked, his hand suddenly lifting from my back.

“Y-Yeah,” I said as I subconsciously leaned against his shoulder. “You can, um… keep going…”

“Oh,” he said before flashing a winsome smile. “Alright.”

He let his hand return to the tender, circular motion against my back. I found myself relaxing greatly, though I made sure not to let another whimper slip like before. That was… awkward.

Staying silent, I felt… comfortable. Really comfortable. Being so close to him like this with his arm around me, I… I don’t know.

“So,” he started all of a sudden, my heart picking up in speed, “…Annie?”

Shocked, I turned my head to look up at him. A light blush was on my confused face.


His expression was oddly… shy. It was kind of cute.

“Um,” he said, scratching the back of his neck with his free hand. “The name you suggested for yourself…?”

“O-Oh!” I said after collecting myself. I nearly forgot I actually suggested that name, I-I thought he called me by it, for a moment. “I… that name is…”

“Cute,” he said, filling the silence. My blush deepened and my heart skipped multiple beats.

“I-It’s not cute!” I squeaked. “I just… f-forget about it.”

“Well, if you say so. It really is a cute name though. You smiled at it, too,” he responded.

I didn’t smile at it, did I? Oh. Yeah. I was. I still am.

“I-It’s, I mean… but, it’s a… a girl’s name,” I tried to reason.

“I don’t mind. I mean, even if you have that name, you can still be a guy,” he counter reasoned, sending an unsettling emotion to twist my guts. “And, um… even with that body, I still consider you a guy…”

“I…” I didn’t know what to say. I appreciated that he was trying to make me comfortable, I really did. I’ve been the one adamantly claiming that I’m a guy and I’m the one that got upset when he didn’t seem remotely surprised at what happened to me. But, hearing him say that directly… it just… it made me not comfortable. It showed on my face too, especially after smiling just a moment ago.

“…Sorry,” he said, still tenderly stroking the pain away, “I’m not really sure what to say, I mean… I can’t imagine what it’s like to suddenly have your body change like that, especially when the choker, well… didn’t do anything to me.”

I paused for a moment, holding a breath in as I bit down on my lip.

“…It makes sense, though…” I admitted.

“It does? What does?” he confusedly asked.

“The fact it affected me and not you…” I said.

“…Why?” he hesitantly questioned.

“Because… I mean… If I’m being honest… I’m not masculine at all. I got upset at you for not being surprised, but the fact is that I wasn’t surprised either. I think that, once it drained all of my masculinity… if I even had any… then the opposite, femininity, took over. I mean… what other explanation is there?” I explained.

“Well, that sounds reasonable enough, but…” he began to say, his words sounding unsure. “…You are masculine. Even if the choker worked in that way then maybe-”

“I’m not!” I shouted to his surprise. “I’m not… I never was… I-I never wanted to be…”

“But,” he interrupted, his voice dipped in worry, “I thought you hated being seen as girly?”

“I did!” I honestly responded, my voice shaky and near tears. “I hated it because… b-because you always ended up getting hurt while trying to protect me. I… I hated myself for being the cause of that…”

“What?!” he said, completely drenched in guilt. “You never had to… You didn’t have to change for me!”


He wrapped an arm around my waist and pulled me close, squeezing me gently. I let out a delicate meep in surprise, my heart starting to pound as he began to whisper.

“You can act however you want and be whatever you want. I’ll always protect you; I don’t care if some jerks give me a bruise or two in the process, you’re precious to me.”

Hearing those words, I felt like a weight was lifted. Looking up at him and his confident, reassuring smile, tears began to flow.

I squeezed him back, sobbing as I rubbed my wet face against his bare chest.

“…Thank you, Noah…”

He began gently stroking my silky, golden hair.

“Of course,” he said with a relieved chuckle. “Um… Annie.”

“…Huh?” I gasped, my head jolting upwards to face his. “D-Did you call me…?”

“Annie? Yes, if you’re ok with that,” he said with his own adorable blush. His eyes were darting between me and the wall. Heh, I like seeing him like this, too…

“U-Um… Yeah, I think I would… I-I think I’d like that…” I confessed.

He locked his eyes with mine and smiled a handsome smile.

“Nice to meet you then, Annie. Your name is very cute.”

My heart skipped another beat and I felt drawn into his eyes.

“T-Thank you,” I said, barely able to maintain eye contact.

A moment passed as we just… stared at each other. He was so, so close. I felt fuzzy and warm, and safe, too… I became aware of just how… handsome he looks. The way his short, dirty blonde hair was begging to be ruffled… the way the light bounced off his chocolate-tinted eyes as they gazed into mine… the way his lips curled into a faint smile as they moved closer to mine…

Or were mine moving closer to his…?

What… What is this feeling? Do I… Are we going to…?

We did.

For a few brief, passionate seconds, we kissed.

My face was pulsing a deep, scarlet heat.

“…Noah…?” I said as my heart beat like a jackhammer.

His face was flushed red, too. He seemed surprised, yet remorseful.

“I’m sorry, I… I shouldn’t have done that.”

I felt an urge to kiss him again and, quickly and embarrassingly, I did.

He was shocked, of course.

“D-Don’t be, you dummy… I-I liked it…”

His eyes flashed wide open for a moment before he pulled me in tighter, gently kissing me on the forehead and drawing an “Eep!” from me.

I couldn’t help but happily giggle as he cuddled against me.

“Hehe! N-Noah, stop! T-That tickles!” I said as the stubble on his chin lightly grazed the soft skin on my face.

“This had better not be one of your jokes again, Annie, I really won’t forgive you this time…” he warned as I continued to giggle and nuzzle against him.

I felt a rush of euphoria as he casually called me Annie. It was like, a sense of right.

“I’m not joking, I really like this…” I wholeheartedly admitted. “Do you…?”

“I do,” he firmly said as he showered me with kisses, each one deepening my blush and making me squirm in a pleasant fervor.

I pressed myself tightly against him. How long have I felt this way about him? How long have I felt this way about… myself?

I hardly wanted to admit it, but I think the answers to both were: since forever.


“How long have you…?”

“Since forever,” he said without hesitating.

I chuckled in disbelief.

“Forever? Really?” I asked.

“Ever since I first met you.”

I quirked my head up at him, my mouth slightly agape.

“But, when you first met me, you thought I was-”

“A girl, I know, but that never mattered. I never cared if you were a guy or a girl.”

I felt speechless, but before I knew it, the words simply flew out of my mouth.

“But I care! I… I want to be a girl!”

I said it. I actually said it, didn’t I? I can’t take it back either. And, well… I don’t want to.

If he was surprised, his gentle, welcoming smile didn’t show it.

“Then, you’re a girl,” he proudly claimed.

I forced out a nervous, shaky breath.

“I-I am, aren’t I? Oh my god, N-Noah! I’m a girl!”

I didn’t think it was possible for us to be physically closer than we already were, but I proved myself wrong when I lunged and pressed against him in an excited glee.

“I-I can’t believe it! I’m a girl, I’m really a girl, I’m, I-I…”

I started to break down sobbing into his shoulder.

“There there…” he said as he held me snuggly against him. I could feel his face pressed against the golden strands of silk on the top of my head, his breath hot against me…

We held that blissfully comfortable position for… a long time. We eventually ended up lying closely together as his hand continued to gently caress my back. The pain I had felt there simply melted away at his touch, much like my heart. The moment I began to drift off to sleep, completely forgetting time and space, an electronic voice suddenly spoke up, startling us both.

“Was that the door?” Noah questioned, his arm protectively around my waist. “That was Latin, right? What did it say?”

“It…It said it’s unlocked!” I shouted in excitement. We were free to leave, finally!

Reluctantly breaking our loving union apart, we stood up and I was the first to skip to the door in an attempt to open it, and…

It opened.

“Just like that?” Noah justifiably asked.

“Yeah… just like that,” I responded, almost expecting the unforeseen to trap us once again.

“Well, ladies first,” he gestured, somehow forcing a fresh blush onto my cheeks.

“Actually, before we go…” I said, his brow lifting slightly.

I removed the choker from the door’s charging socket, holding it in the palm of my hand.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Well… We came here for treasure, didn’t we? It’s probably worth a fortune considering it literally transformed me into a girl, I mean, I still don’t understand how it’s even possible…”

“Magic?” Noah shrugged.

“Maybe? I don’t know. Anyway, let’s finish exploring this temple and head back before it gets dark,” I suggested.

“Mmmm, yeah, let’s,” he agreed. “Just, please be careful this time, ok?”

“Okay,” I giggled. As much as I wanted to goof around and crack that face of his, I think we’ve both had enough surprises for today.

Once we exited the room, we were greeted with an open door right in front of us, a door to our left, and a stairway leading back up on our right.

Entering the room in front of us, we discovered the symmetrical room that was suggested to be here and it, in fact, contained a choker quite similar to the one I was now holding.

Thankfully, the door did not shut on us and we were able to retrieve the masculinity draining choker’s twin, which, according to the texts, was able to drain femininity. I happily decided not to even attempt wearing it, though to be honest, I doubt it would have done anything to me in the same way the other did nothing to Noah.

For safety reasons, Noah held onto that choker as we entered the third room. What greeted us was…

“Treasure!!!” I screamed, barely able to restrain myself from leaping into the literal piles of gold coins.

“There’s so much here!” Noah said, completely astonished.

There weren’t just gold coins, there were all kinds of beautiful gemstones in all colors of the rainbow, mesmerizingly beautiful jewelry, silver chalices… and there were even massive diamonds!

“H-Holy crap Noah! W-We can’t take all of this back at once…” I said in slow realization.

“Yeah, we’ll have to make several trips. For now, let’s just take a bit of each so we can examine their general worth before collecting the rest,” he reasoned fairly well.

And so we did. I filled my backpack to the brim with as much loot as possible while Noah did the same.

Slowly and carefully, I led the way up the stairs. Ok, maybe not that slowly or carefully, I was excited, ok?

“I thought you said you would be careful,” Noah sighed from behind.

“I am! I-I mean, alright, I could slow down a bit I guess, but-!”

In my haste to defend myself, I tripped on the final step, falling forward and making full use of my new, feminine voice by letting out a delicate yelp. Thankfully the loot in my backpack was contained within, but the choker had slipped out of my hand, landing a few inches away from me.

“Annie!’ He shouted, rushing up to assist me. “Are you ok?”

“Yeah,” I said, opening my eyes to see- OH SHIT!

I completely froze in terror.

“Here, let me help you- Oh!” He noticed the same nightmarish creature mere inches away from my face. “It’s the little danger noodle from before! Err, I-I mean, don’t panic, Annie, he’s just a baby, he shouldn’t hurt you…”

It was too close and too late to panic. My instincts were telling me not to make any sudden movements.

It just… stood there… or, I mean, it doesn’t have legs, so… I-I don’t know! It’s existing there very menacingly! Right inside the loop of the… of the choker…?

A pink heart suddenly glowed on the front of the choker, just like how Noah described it when I wore it, but… that couldn’t mean this snake just…

“Oh, I think our tiny snake friend might be a she now,” Noah said, the words taken from my mind.

Staring at this creature, I felt… less afraid. I felt like I had connected with it on some kind of level you just couldn’t know existed until you’re there. She slithered up to me, gave my nose a teensy snake kiss, and slithered off into the distance.

I stood back up, reclaiming the choker once more.

“Wow…” I said, looking back at Noah.

“Wow indeed,” he added.

Before it got any later, we shelved those speculative thoughts and departed.

As we entered the forest of the Amazon once again, I resisted the urge to “sha-sha” my way through, though I did shout it out loud once to make Noah think I was doing that. It gave me a good laugh, heh.

Before long, the temple was far, far behind us…


6 Months Later.

“N-No! Absolutely not, Noah! Not again!” I screamed in refusal.

“Well, suit yourself, Annie,” he shrugged.

“…Fine,” I admitted in embarrassed defeat.

I looked down at the outfit he had prepared for me on our king-sized bed. It was a maid outfit. Tailor-made just for me, too. It was laced with countless frills and ribbons, practically spelling “cute, submissive girl.” Willingly wearing it would be nothing more than a sign of acceptance of exactly that, so…

“Step outside of the room while I change, at least…” I requested.

“No, I think I’d much rather watch my adorable girlfriend change,” he instantly responded.

“W-What?! B-But-”

“No buts. You watch me change all the time, after all,” he elegantly reasoned.

I felt my face burning up. Damnit! He had noticed me taking peeks?!

“Fine!” I shouted.

I slipped out of my Friday afternoon casual wear, which included skinny jeans and a cute, pale blue top, and I slipped into the maid outfit as my boyfriend so humbly requested.

“W-Wait, does this thing have a tail in the back of-”

While my back was turned, I was startled by the feeling of a headband sliding into my hair and nestling itself behind my ears.

“N-Noah, what the hell did you-?”

I twisted around, the skirt of the outfit twirling with me and sending shivers of euphoria down my spine (it never gets old). I found myself face to face with an ornate mirror held in Noah’s hands. He had a cocky smile as I gazed into my reflection.

A beautiful girl with long, golden hair was peering straight at me. Her alluring, sky blue eyes contrasted well with the pastel pink heart glowing on the choker around her neck. The maid outfit snugged her body perfectly in all the right curves. The only thing out of place were the generous additions gifted by Noah…

“D-Did you put cat ears on me?! And this is a tail, isn’t it?!” I endearingly squeaked.

“Yes, but they were in your shopping cart, not mine,” he explained.

Damnit! I-I just looked at them as a joke! I mean, I thought it’d be funny to surprise him with it again, but… b-but he’s beaten me to all the punches this time!

Before I could argue any further, he had me pinned against the bed as his body arched over mine.

My heart began to sing in excitement and thrill.

“I can’t believe this is one of the first things you spent our newfound wealth on,” I whispered. “At least I paid off my student debts…”

“Hey, I got us a nice house to live in,” he argued with a romantically deadly whisper into my ear. “Just for the two of us…”

I couldn’t help but giggle as I pulled him in closer for a deep, passionate kiss.

“I love you, Noah.”

His smile was surprisingly bashful, but was as warm as sunlight, nonetheless.

“I love you too, Annie.”

Emberend is the author of one (for now!) other story, Blood Lily, which can be found on ScribbleHub and TGStoryTime.