Chapter 11: The Last Bridge

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At first, Rowan just stood there, frozen in place while I pressed my mouth against his and coaxed him into kissing me back. His hands trembled when he tightened his hold on me. My lips lingered on his for just a moment longer before he gently pushed me away. Confused and hurt by his rejection, I looked up at him. His eyes were dark and hazy and he clenched his jaw, his fingers digging into my waist.

"Kenna," he whispered, closing his eyes for a moment. His voice was low and hoarse, the sound of which gave me goosebumps all over my body. "You're drunk."

"So?" I had no shame left at all.

He cleared his throat. "You should go to bed."

"But I'm not tired!"

Ignoring my protests, he pushed me on the bed and crouched down to help me take off my shoes. The sudden movement made my head spin and I fell back into the pillow, unable to stay upright any longer. Despite all of my efforts to stay awake, my heavy eyelids soon drifted closed. The last thing I heard was Rowan whispering goodnight in my ear, followed by a tickling feeling when something brushed my forehead. Sleep embraced me and I fell into blackness.

***

I didn't know it could hurt so much to just open your eyes.

When Ellie opened the curtains the next morning and sunlight poured into the room, it felt as if someone had jabbed my brain with dozens of needles. I let out a loud groan and used a snippet of my magic to close the curtains again.

"Oh dear. It looks like someone's got a hangover," Ellie chuckled.

"Shut up," I croaked, hiding my head under my pillow.

The door of our room opened and I heard footsteps coming closer. "How is she?"

Rowan. Oh no. No, not him, not now.

My memories of last night slowly came back to me, and although most were rather blurry, I remembered one thing very clearly: I had kissed Rowan. The embarrassment made me curl up into a ball in an attempt to make myself as small as possible to stay out of his sight.

"She's probably suffering from a severe headache right now, but apart from that, she seems okay," Ellie answered. "At least the alcohol kept the nightmares away."

Someone laid a hand on my head, stroking my hair. "We've all been through this at some point, Kenna," Rowan said, unable to keep the amusement out of his voice. "Don't worry, you'll survive."

"Go away." I shrugged off his hand and ducked even further under the covers. I really couldn't bear to look at him right now.

Rowan chuckled as I heard him step away. "We're leaving in an hour. Can you get her out of bed by then?" he asked Ellie.

"Sure. No problem."

I waited until the door was closed to take a peek above the covers. I stifled a startled scream when I looked straight into Ellie's brown eyes, hovering over me.

"You heard the boss," she said, pulling away the sheets mercilessly. "It's time to get up. Come on!"

There was no point in arguing about it, so I let her haul me to my feet, wincing when pain shot through my head. She handed me a glass containing a reddish liquid and I squinted at it while I nursed it in my hand.

She rolled her eyes. "It's an Anti-hangover potion," she explained. "It will relieve your headache and help you function normally."

Oh. In that case ...

I gulped all of it down at once. The potion had a vaguely sweet taste, and I felt the pain lessen in an instant. "Thank you," I said, my voice so hoarse it sounded unfamiliar to my own ears.

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