So just a quick little introduction to set the mood: Having at last been granted the freedom to reveal himself to Eve, Thor is beginning all over again with the courting. And he's pulling out all the stops. Including clearing her out a bedroom of her very own in Asgard. Should she choose to ever wish to spend the night...
“If you desire to spend so much time in Asgard, it seemed only right that you should have a space of your own in Bilskirnir.” He nodded to the bed. “You can sleep here, undisturbed, if you wish it.”
She considered the bed again, and Thor swallowed against the absent thought that rose in her mind, of how much more easily they might share it than the bed in her dorm. And then her gaze caught on the table beside it, and Thor smiled, watching the play of emotion as it spilled into her aura. Surprise so intense it bordered upon shock, and then, as her fingers closed upon the ivory bracelet he had left there, wonder and delight. He allowed himself to enter the room, then, and stand at her side. The better to see her face.
“You kept this,” she said, looking up. “All this time?”
“It was what I had of you, of our marriage and the life we shared.”
“It looks exactly the same,” she said, her fingers tracing the vines he had carved and filled with gold so carefully. The blisters had been worth it, to see the way her eyes had lit. A bridal gift fit for a chieftain’s daughter. Fit for a goddess.
“As it should,” he said. “While it was here, it did not age. And I kept it safe.”
“Thor, this is…” She shook her head, her gaze falling back to the bracelet, and he smiled. Wordlessly, he took it from her, then slipped it over her hand and onto her wrist.
When she lifted her face, her eyes searching his, he tucked a soft curl behind her ear.
“It is still my gift to you.”
She caught his hand, pressing it to her cheek. “Thank you.”
He searched her eyes, drinking in this moment. She was his Tora, his Eve in a way she hadn’t been in centuries, and this time, he would not make the same mistakes. “So many times, I’ve wondered what our lives would have been if I had trusted you in that life with my secrets, as you trusted me with yours. I wish I had told you everything. I wish I had truly stolen you away, as you asked, taken you all the way to Asgard when we left that beach. But I was too afraid you would turn from me if you knew me for a god. And I was too selfish to risk the truth, to risk losing you.
“I am so sorry, Eve. If I had known how long we would be parted, how much pain you would suffer between that life and this…”
She pressed a finger to his lips, stopping him. “If you had told me then, asked me to follow you to Asgard, I’m not certain that I would have agreed. We would have lost that lifetime together, completely, and I cannot see how we would be standing here, now.”
He lowered his head, resting his forehead against hers. She made a soft sound, pleasure and desire mixed together, and her eyes closed. Their noses brushed, her breath against his lips, making him ache, and the scent of sunlight on her skin, of summer and cream, filling his head. He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to do more than kiss her. He wanted to remind her, body and soul, of everything they had shared together, every gift of love they had given to one another.
But he did not dare. She was still so fragile, and when she was ready, when she knew her own mind, she would come to him.
She would ask it of him.
He let his hand fall from beneath hers, rubbing the memory of her skin, rose-petal soft, from his fingertips, and stepped back.
“I should leave you to your reading.”
Eve let out a breath, her cheeks flushed and her eyes half-dazed with need, naked and hungry. When she looked at him that way—he clenched his jaw against his own desire and left her, before he changed his mind.
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