Betsy giggles as she pulls the pink plastic baby from its cakey cocoon.
“Well! Look at dat, chere,” Julien chuckles to the feral girl as she pulls the treasure from her slice of king cake. “And wit’ your firs’ King Cake, too.”
She sets the baby down on the side of her plate and licks her fingers.
“Now you know dat findin’ de bebe comes wit’ a whole host of responsibilities as well as the luck, righ’?”
“Oh, like what?” Betsy ripostes smilingly.
“Ohhh, well!” The Guild Prince sidles up to his feline-esque companion, close but not touching her yet. “Some people say dat whoever finds it will end up with a little’un by end o’ year, especially if you a woman.”
Betsy fairly screws up her face at that. “Yeahhhh….no litters for this feral, thanks. Even if they would turn out as beautiful as you.”
“Oh, Lor’, no!” Jules agrees, still smiling, and those ebony and ruby eyes glimmer in the lights that glimmer off the French Quarter. “There are other responsibilities, tho’.”
Betsy looks up at him, her own eyes melding to a shimmery gold. “Tell me.”
“In our househol’, the finder owes the baker a kiss,” he says with a completely straight face.
“Oh, so I should go find Henri then?” the feral girl quips mischievously.
“He would be righ’ surprised at you, I’d say. Especially since he didn’ make dis one,” Jules assures her with that self-confident smile. “I did.”
Betsy arches an eyebrow in surprise. “You?”
“Well, I couldn’ let my lovely Elizabet’s first Mardi Gras be anytin’ but the most’ special, could I?” Julien Boudreaux smiles fit to be tied at his girlfriend’s surprise.
Betsy’s cheeks pinken deeply at that and her eyes become molten, like gold heated in a forge. Stepping towards the tall Cajun, she rises up on her tiptoes, even in six-inch heels, slender hands reaching up to draw his face down towards hers. “It’s been amazing, Nawlins,” she purrs through wine-dark lips. “The parties, the parades, the food…but you…you are by far the best thing about tonight.”
Julien meets Betsy more than willingly, hands reaching out to grasp her waist and pull her close to him, lips meeting lips and a contented (and simultaneously hungry) sigh rumbling in his strong chest. That rumble lights a warmth in Betsy’s belly that sits low and heavy, her form flushing in his grasp in the warm New Orleans evening.
The music and ruckus of the French Quarter float up to meet them, the party going strong down in the streets. But here on this little rooftop oasis that Julien has concocted, they are as alone as they could possibly wish to be. Betsy has felt no silent, hidden presence watching them; Belladonna has in fact warned her people off the two teenagers for the night. Let them have their fun. Tomorrow the streets will be quiet, the church bells ringing in Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. But, for now…
Leaving the cake behind, Betsy draws Julien under an ivy, flower, and curtain strewn bower, letting the gossamer and heady scents envelope and hide them from the world for a while. After all, why go into Lent with no “sins” to confess?