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She didn't see Wind Cloud until late afternoon. Octavia was sitting on a reed mat outside the lodge, sewing with his mother and sisters. With her it was more a case of trying to sew, for though she'd learned as a child to wield a needle to embroider and do other fancy-work, she certainly had never made her own clothes.
He stopped beside her, saying, "Come with me."
Octavia glanced at Mere, who nodded. She set aside her partly finished green tunic and rose. Without speaking, he led her from the village, through the orchards and along the stream into a stand of pines. Noticing how the westering sun scarcely penetrated the thick branches, leaving them in gloom, Octavia halted in alarm.
"No fear Wind Cloud," he said.
"What--what do you want of me?" she asked, her heart pounding.
He didn't answer in words but reached out until his hand touched her cheek. He brushed his fingers gently over her face, pausing to trace the contours of her lips, then his hand slipped under her chin to raise it until she was forced to look into his eyes.
Slowly he leaned toward her, closer and closer. She couldn't move, couldn't breathe. As his lips touched hers, a fire was kindled deep inside her and, involuntarily, her lips parted to taste him and draw his intoxicating, alien flavor into her mouth.
When he pulled her into his arms, she clung to him, helpless to withstand her own yearning to press herself against him as heat rose from her inner fire until it threatened to consume her.