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“Love, give me the keys,” Tyqon urged. “I’ll take care of the car.”

Love was obviously lost in thoughts. She opened her mouth to answer, but long seconds passed and she didn’t make a sound.

“You entered my house and allowed me to take you under my protection. So let me help you till the end.”

Yorana’s heart was pounding, she stared at Love with her big owl’s eyes.

“Is it so hard to accept help from a man you have just met?”

Yorana deciphered a silent plea for help in Slavena’s gaze.

“Not at all… It’s not that.” Yorana shook her head, taking the words, “we appreciate what you did for us. It was already a big gesture, so we don’t want to burden you with other problems.”

Tyqon laughed.

“You know,” Love turned to him with a serious face, “I wish there were more men like you in the world.”She confessed to him with a sincere voice.

Tyqon took his empty cup, tilted it toward him and placed it back on the plate. He smiled mysteriously, as if she had revealed some personal secret.

“Then maybe feminism wouldn’t have to be as sharp around the edges as it is today.” Yorana laughed happily.

“And a sincere offer of selfless help from a man wouldn’t seem as unbelievable to women as a proposal to touch the moon with your finger.” Love laughed as well.

“In that case, you must know my brother, Torqat.”

Love gave him a wide smile of sincerity. “We’d love to meet him if he’s like you. Yorana, give him the keys.”

He cast a piercing gaze at Yorana, coloured like icicles against a steel sky. He held out his hand to her as she made a superhuman effort to hide what the look of his strange eyes did to her.

“I suggest you remain our guests until we fix the car. Mr. Kim will show you a room where you can sleep as many nights as you need.”

Yorana took a stunned breath.

“I hope we can repay your kindness one day.” Love seemed to be moved. And calm.

The crickets conducted their serenades under the pale moon.

A gentle warm breeze blew, lovingly serving them the intoxicating scent of a blossoming garden combined with the sweet scent of the invisible embrace of a summer night. Yorana walked slowly up the wide stairway behind Love and Mr. Kim, stroking the stone railing with her palm, her footsteps muffled by the carpet. She was thoughtfully silent, immersed in Tyqon’s bright white smile, from which she couldn’t take her eyes off until late in the evening.

The ground floor of the house hid many rooms, but she was desperate to find out where Tyqon had his refuge. Everything in the house was arranged, precisely arranged, clean and antique. Some would say aristocratic. She stopped on the top step of the top floor, behind Slavena’s back, and wondered why they were stopping. Then Love moved, revealing to Yorana’s eyes a wall full of life-sized figures. All the faces in the thick-framed pictures seemed to look at her at once. She froze. She walked hesitantly behind Love, from picture to picture, holding her breath while looking at Tyqon’s features in strange faces.

She heard Love inhale suddenly:

“Who is this, next to Tyqon Shazzar, Mr. Kim?”

“This is Mr. Tyqon’s younger brother. Torqat.“ He replied amiably.

“Those weird eyes,” Love pierced Mr. Kim with her gaze, “… everyone has in the pictures. What a unique ancestral feature! What are those eyes?”

“Have you ever seen a wolf’s eyes up close, madam?” He answered her with a question.

Yorana closed the door of the room Mr. Kim had led them to and stood behind it. Then she opened it carefully and looked out.

“What are you doing?” Love asked. The confused expression, which had crept onto her face after Mr. Kim’s strange question just as clearly as on Yorana’s, deepened.

“I’m waiting to hear his footsteps …”

“Why? Will it make you sleep better?”

“I want to know where his room is.”

“Why do you need to know?” It wasn’t a question, but a rebuke.

“Shh!” Yorana interrupted, “I can hear footsteps!” She ran out of the room and hid behind an armchair near her, which was part of the fixtures by the portraits of the Shazzar bloodline. Tyqon was walking up the stairs with Mr. Kim, and when she thought they couldn’t see her, she stuck her head out carefully. Finally, Mr. Kim turned off the light and the house was plunged into darkness.

Yorana waited until total silence spread through the house, then she stood up and tiptoed back.

Love hadn’t moved a muscle while waiting on her. She stood in the middle of the room, her hands behind her back, motionless, her dismissive and suspicious gaze fixed on Yorana’s evasive eyes.

“Don’t say a word.”

Yorana bit her tongue.

She sat down on the bed an hour later. Love seemed to be sleeping peacefully next to her.

Carefully she dropped the blanket and slid off the high mattress. She disappeared from the room like smoke and walked barefoot to the door of Tyqon’s bedroom. Her heart pounded in her ears, deafening her like ringing church bells. She grabbed the handle and inhaled. Her fingers trembled. She swallowed dryly and scolded herself in her mind not to over think what she was about to do. She frowned at her own weakness, firmly pressed the door handle and resolutely stepped over the threshold. Her heart pounded in her chest in a crazy rhythm. She carefully closed the door behind her, trying to orient herself. The first thing that caught her eyes was a light curtain that the night wind played with between the open wings of the balcony. Tyqon’s slender body, lying on a large white bed, was revealed by the faintly passing moonlight through the curtain. He didn’t even move to cover his nudity when he spoke to her:

“You came alone to me in the middle of the night. You know that I realize what that means.”

She was silent.

“Are you fully aware …?”

“Yes,” she replied simply. She walked over to his bed and unbuttoned the thin men’s shirt which Mr. Kim had prepared for them to sleep in. Tyqon stood beside her as soon as the shirt fell to the ground at her feet.

He was towering above her. She felt small and defenceless in front of him. The feeling already dazzled her.

“I can’t promise you anything,” he warned her.

“I don’t care.” She reached for him and stroked his chest. The colour of the night perfectly outlined every muscle of his athletic figure. “How could I fall asleep when my head is full of you? When I close my eyes, “ Yorana closed her eyes, “I see you stroking me, kissing my mouth and body … and I can’t resist … I want to stroke you too.”

His hand appeared behind her and pulled her brisk, tanned body to his narrow hips. She rested her breasts on his chest and her breath synced with his. Then he leaned over and kissed her. Not shyly, neither gently. He took her hungrily and wildly.

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