Katarina found Isabel in the crowd and pulled her aside.
“I found him,” she said. “And you’re right. I had no idea he was so enamored of me.”
Isabel laughed that tinkling laugh of hers. “Yes, my son thinks you’re the something special, Katarina.”
She made sure not to bring up little Micah’s penchant for stealing desserts. “I promised him a dance later. Oh, and I asked him to teach me archery.” She grimaced. “You don’t think that was too much, do you?”
Isabel shook her head as she set down a large bowl of gravy, spilling some on her hand. She licked her finger then wiped the excess on a nearby towel. “Not at all, Kat. He knows of your age difference. This is just a phase he’s in.” Isabel waved her hand dismissively.
“Okay, because I don’t want to hurt his feelings or make him think I’m .”
Katarina liked Micah, but he was still just a boy. He wouldn’t even reach his adult transition for another twelve to twenty years. Little Micah could still tolerate the sun, for goodness sake. Kat hadn’t been able to go out in the sun for ten years, not since she had been twenty-four years old.
Most vampires didn’t transition as early as she did. Twenty-four was considered a young transition. Most hit their crossover into full adulthood between twenty-six and thirty. Her early passage into becoming an adult could mean issues down the road for her, but she hoped she was only being paranoid, because Kat had high hopes for a family someday.
Isabel touched her wrist, catching her attention again. “Oh, and please don’t mention his short pants. He’s very self-conscious that they don’t fit.”
Kat remembered how funny his pants had looked on him, but Micah hadn’t seemed to care. “He’s really started growing, hasn’t he?”
Isabel handed her a tray of sausages. “Yes, before we know it, little Micah will be big Micah.”
“And God help us when that happens,” Yaris said, joining them. “He will be a hellion that one.”
Isabel harrumphed. “That’s our son you’re talking about.”
“I know. And I’m damn proud when I say he will be a hellion.” Yaris stole a sausage and darted away.
Kat hid her smile. Like father like son, both of them food stealers.
Isabel shook her head at her retreated mate’s back. “Ignore him,” she said, turning back to Kat.
“Oh, I don’t think he means anything by it. I think he just means that Micah will grow up to be a powerful male.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” Isabel said.
The ceremony for the newly-mated couple was lovely, and Katarina found herself longing for the day when a male would select her in that way, his biology firing to form the binding link that would forever tie them together and provide the best chance for a child through his calling phase. Couples who weren’t mated through biology struggled to conceive, while those whose biology had bound them together found the road to conception easier.
Drake and Emily danced in the center of the circle, fully embraced within each other’s arms, locked into eternity together. They had just returned from their mating fete, which had been spent miles from the village in a remote cottage where Drake’s calling couldn’t be a distraction to the rest of the village.
As she gazed around the circle surrounding the couple, she felt her cheeks heat at the sight of Nicolas. Nicolas was young and unmated, brawny and strong, with dark hair and even darker eyes. Perhaps tonight would be the night he noticed her, because she would have liked nothing better than for him to ask her to dance and perhaps take her on a walk later.
“Hi.” A soft voice drew her gaze around and down.
He lifted a tiny bouquet of wild flowers toward her. His face was as red as a tomato, and his sharp eyes flitted to the ground. “I found these for you.”
“Why, aren’t you the sweetest little thing.” She took the flowers and lifted them toward her nose.
“I saw you smelling them earlier,” he said, pointing toward a table, “so I knew you liked them.”
“So I do.” She pressed her nose into the simple white flowers and inhaled.
Micah was such a darling boy.
“Didn’t I promise you a dance?” She reached out her hand.
If the boy could blush any more than he already was, he would have no blood left in the rest of his body. His small hand trembled as he took hers, but she could tell he was trying valiantly to put on a brave, confident face.
“Come on then.” She gave him a gentle tug and bobbed her head toward the courtyard, where other couples had joined Drake and Emily as the nearby string quartet played.
Still holding the dainty bouquet of flowers, she lined herself up with Micah, who fumbled self-consciously to figure out where to put his hands before taking a fortifying breath and finally getting it right.
“This is a waltz,” she said politely, readjusting his arms ever-so-slightly. “My, you are getting tall, Micah.”
The top of his head came up to her chin, which was a remarkable height for a twelve-year-old, vampire or not.
“Yes,” he said, trying to make himself even taller as if to prove to her that he was older than he was.
He made her laugh. Micah was such an adorable child.
“I guess I can’t call you little Micah anymore, can I?”
Micah shrugged. “It’s okay.”
She got the feeling that he was just happy that she was talking to him at all.
“Okay, Micah. Dance with me.” She knew he knew how to waltz. All the young were taught how to dance.
Surprisingly, he was a good lead. It took him a bit to get his bearings, but once he found them he smoothly waltzed her around and across the floor, and it was obvious he was pleased with himself by the way he met her gaze and smiled up at her, seeming to lose his self-consciousness at least for the time being.
“You’re a good dancer, Micah,” she said as the song ended and she stepped back to clap.
“Thank you. So are you.” He bowed toward her like a well-mannered male should to his dance partner.
She curtsied in response. “Why thank you, sir. Would you like to dance with me again?”
Another song rose up from the quartet.
“Why, yes Miss, I would. But I do believe the male is supposed to ask the female that question.”
Kat fought not to laugh. He was trying to sound so mature and grown up, and she had to admit she was impressed with his boldness after faltering with shyness earlier, but his words sounded clumsy coming from such a young mouth.
“Well, would the kind sir like to ask the lady to dance?” She bowed her head at an angle, deferring to him.
For a moment, Micah looked stymied, his boyish face rouging again with embarrassment. Then he cleared his throat, held out his right hand, and said, “Would the lady like to dance?”
With a giggle, she took his hand. “How can I resist an invitation from such a handsome young man as yourself?”
That seemed to send Micah to the moon. He practically beamed as he stepped forward once more, locked his arm around her waist, and spun her in time to the music as she laughed.
Yes, little Micah Black would make some lucky female a good mate someday.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: As always, remember that this work is not edited and may (and probably does) contain errors. Feedback is welcome in the comments. Thank you. Chapter Four coming soon.