Turn the Night Up

Cooper's Apartment



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Cooper Montgomery Ariel Johnson-Lowell

Ariel exits the car that Preston loaded her into, gets two steps and almost dives back into the vehicle. She doesn't know why or how she let him convince her to do this. It could have something to do with the fact that right until the moment the car arrived, she thought that Preston was coming with her.

Now, she’s standing outside Cooper’s apartment, tugging at the hem of the dress Preston picked out and wondering how long it would take a cab to arrive if she called for one. She’s also embarrassed that Preston had everything so well planned that the driver handed her a small overnight bag. The witch doesn’t know whether to find it presumptuous or comforting that he thinks she’ll need it.

Biting her lip, she raises her hand and knocks on the door. She’s partly hoping that Cooper isn’t expecting anyone and has gone out for the night.


To say that Cooper was surprised when Preston called and said that they'd be over is an understatement. He's only really back from tour, and he hasn't bothered to clean the apartment yet.

It's not exactly messy, being as he wasn't there for weeks, but he just dropped everything by the door when he came home and crashed on his bed.

Having showered, and just thrown on some comfortable clothes — a pair of black track pants and a tight wife beater — he answers the door.

"Hello, swee —"


"Mermaid. C'mon in. Pres change his mind about coming with you?"


[[Log Portion Missing]]

"Why apologize? It's not like Pres is wandering around fucking everything with boobs. He likes you, Ariel. Really likes you." They've talked about it. It's one of the reasons Cooper was willing to try to get over the witch business. Because his boyfriend actually liked a woman. One of his own choosing. Not someone who Cooper picked out and asked for.
"Why not invite her out for lunch somewhere, or pack a lunch and take it to the park. That way you two can talk without all the weirdness, and while I don't think you should apologize, maybe you could ask her how she's feeling about it."
"It was… different. I've never invited anyone on tour before, so I got a lot of ribbing about how serious I must be if I'm in a relationship where I'm willing to do that and not…" Shrug. "I normally just fooled around with whoever after a night of dancing. A guy or girl from the audience, another one of the dancers if we felt like it… so it was different."


"I know that. That he's not … that it's me, and he doesn't know why. I know that has to make her feel … I know how it would make me feel." Like for some reason, she wasn't good enough. It's not rational. But it is human.
She smiles softly at Cooper. "I should do that. It's a good idea and it'll clear the air. I really want everything to be comfortable, especially for Preston and Jenna."
Her smile morphs into something of an amused grin, "But a good different? I mean, you do have a hot boyfriend." They have a hot boyfriend, but she's not going to phrase it that way just yet. Preston might have said that he considers Ariel his girlfriend as much as he thinks of Cooper as his boyfriend, but he also emphasized that she needs to accept that Cooper is really not on the same sort of place with all things.
Siobhan has disconnected.


"So tell her that."
Cooper sets a hand to her knee, and smiles. "You'll get there. I know you will." Because she and Jenna are so very much alike personality wise that he knows the actress won't stay upset long, even if she's upset at the moment.
"Yes, yes I do. It was a good different. Don't you dare tell him that though. I do have an image to protect, after all." Winking at her, he drops his hand from her knee and grins.
"I know Pres told Siobhan too. Have you told anyone yet, or are you waiting a little while for that?"


"I will," Ariel says. The words aren't said in passing to end the conversation. Ariel means them. She will talk to Jenna so that they can clear the air. She'll simply have to catch her between now and her Europe trip.

Ariel laughs. It's light, comfortable and completely unforced. "Don't worry. Your reputation is safe with me."

"Yes, Pres told Siobhan." Ariel and her cousin talked about it a bit. Siobhan was concerned about Ariel, and she's sure Preston got the worse end of that conversation. She takes a few more bites, eating quietly as she mulls over his question.

"Not yet," Ariel admits. One, she's trying to be pragmatic. The little witch is still trying hard not to get too wrapped up in this. She's trying to take it in stride and approach it as an experience. Two, she's not at all sure how to explain it. The latter is the part she explains to Cooper.

"I don't know what I would say exactly," Ariel shrugs. Her boyfriend has a boyfriend? She has two boyfriends? Despite Coopers words earlier to the delivery girl, Ariel is trying not to read too much into that and not apply that label to him.

"I don't blame you," Cooper tells her with a little nudge from shoulder to shoulder.
"Not that I think you shouldn't tell anyone, but until you're certain this is something you want, not telling your mother the full of it might be a good idea."
Wrapping an arm around her shoulder, he gives her a friendly sort of hug.
"When the time comes, you just tell them the truth. Until then, I think it'd likely be easier not to explain that you're dating a gay guy who likes having sex with you."
Grinning at her, he adds, "Or a bisexual one who sexes you both like mad."

"It's not my mother I'm most worried about. She's a lot more open minded and liberal than my father." It's not an exaggeration. There are times when she wonders how and why he married into a witch family. "He's always thought I should just focus on my music to the exclusion of everything else."


She shrugs again. "It wasn't a bad idea. I am very good at it." It also wasn't as though she had any distractions until recently.

Ariel smiles and giggles. "There is that. It'll be hard to explain, no matter what, I think. It's just not … Conventional."

"I'll leave off the parts about sex. My parents don't need to know that." Ariel wrinkles her nose prettily. "They think I'm still a virgin and expect my sister to come home pregnant. I think I'll keep it that way for a while longer."

Reaching over she shyly tickles her fingers over his knee.


"Focusing on one thing to the exclusion of all else isn't healthy, you know." Cooper takes hold of her hand, setting the fork back down on the plate. "You are extremely talented though, and I know you're going to make it really far with your music."
"If it makes it easier for you for a while, you can tell them that we're dating. Sharing a boyfriend isn't that awful or unconventional, especially if you say you're not exclusive… which would be the complete and honest truth."
There are times when Cooper can be practical. He's never had to worry about an angry father before, and he really doesn't want to start now


"I'm not anymore," Ariel points out. She smiles brightly at him. "Thank you." It's the one area that Ariel has confidence in, but it's always good to hear it.

"I'm not worried about it," Ariel shrugs again. "Not right now. When the time comes … I may take that route. I think that my mother might just be relieved that I'm finally dating."


"Especially someone with 'good genes'." Ariel gives him a playful grin. "Meaning that you're hot." And a witch, which in her mothers eyes is not a bad thing given the rarity of male witches.


"I know you're not," Cooper tells her. His hand drifts up over her arm so that he can brush his fingers over her cheek. "Once you're finished at Juilliard, you should see about joining an orchestra, or even working score for Broadway. You've already got a lot of networking in those areas. Your aunt with the dance, Jenna or Preston's fathers with the Broadway and media side of things…"
"She won't mind that I'm… not like you? I know Siobhan's parents don't mind about Harper, but they've known him pretty much his entire life."


Ariel instinctively leans toward his touch. A tingle surges through her at that soft innocent touch, a soft sigh pushing past her lips. If she realized she did it, she'd be embarrassed, but as it is she's only operating on automatic.

"I hope to do that. Join an orchestra, I mean. First chair cello." It's been her goal and plan for as long as she can recall.


Ariel almost tells him that he's more like her than he knows and has to stop herself. "No, of course not. It isn't like that with us. My dad isn't a witch. My grandfather wasn't and none of my aunts married that way, except Aunt Dawna." And Uncle Robert isn't exactly a witch. "Besides, male witches are rare and special."

She shrugs. "The challenge is finding someone who can handle it."


Cooper always finds it interesting that she reacts to the simplest touch, as well as any of the rest. Preston does it as well, but he's a little less open with it unless they're just one on one.

"So, she'll be more upset that I freaked out?" Cooper lifts his hand so he can rub the back of his neck. Clearing his throat, he glances at her.

"Right, like Shiv's brother. It's that genetic thing, right? Preston said something about that, but I didn't really ask many questions at the time."

It is something he can ask Sera about, if she's researched any thing like that, or if she's known a 'real' witch.


A whole new world has opened up to the little witch in the past couple of months, and that contributes to her responsiveness. The only touches she's received in the past have been hugs from platonic friends; while the nature of the little touches from Cooper (and Preston) can be innocent, she has other things to associate them with. Also, she kind of has 'a thing' for the dancer. Obviously.
Ariel puts her fork down and blinks at him. "No. I mean she might be upset that I was upset, but that's a mothering thing. She's not going to hold it against you. Lots of people would probably freak out." Beat. "You're not freaking out now."
Watching him curiously, Ariel nods slowly. "Yes, that's it. It's hereditary. Witches are the majority female, and it's passed on from mother to daughter. Christian is … rare." Ariel would be happy to elaborate further, but she isn't going to push things. He asked a question, and she supplied an answer. She isn't going to give him a dissertation; he might not want it and it might make things go south.
Ariel really doesn't want things to go south tonight.


"Good. I don't meet a lot of parents," Cooper points out. It's not who he is. He's met parents of friends, but that's a hell of a lot different than meeting parents of someone he's interested in. Hell, he's never been interested enough to bother. Not even when he was younger. Too much of a hassle, and the girls tended to be clingy, while the guys preferred more secrecy.
"Or, in the instance of Christian, mother to son? So it is possible for you to have male children, just extremely rare?"
She did say she wanted conversation, so he's giving her one.

Ariel laughs, a genuine, relaxed laugh. She nudges Cooper with her shoulder. "I've never introduced a man I'm interested in to my parents, so we're even." Still smiling, she leans over and kisses his cheek. "I'm not planning on dragging you off to meet my parents any time soon, Coop. I'm not ready to deal with them yet. I'll get the 'oh my god, Ariel is finally coming out of her shell' drama and I'm so not going there yet." She shakes her head and shudders for emphasis.
Of course, her parents will be at Siobhan's wedding, but she'll worry about that closer to the wedding day.
"It's entirely possible," Ariel nods her head. "It doesn't happen often, but it can happen. Just like with Christian." And you, is the unspoken after thought. Although Cooper is a better example than Chris, because it's entirely possible that Chris might be like Shiv and hasn't come into his sorcerer magic yet. But that's another conversation she's not going to start unless Cooper starts to put the pieces together and ask.


"They'll hate me, because I'm older and a corrupting influence," Cooper states proudly. He actually does well with most people, because he can charm and flirt his way through anything.
On the flip side, he's not so great at holding back either, so there's always a good chance he'll offend someone.
"Well, let's make this easier on you then. I'll talk to Preston. Since he's standing in the wedding, I'll be 'dateless'. He'll be sitting at the head table throughout dinner, so why don't you be my 'date', and you can introduce me as a friend since we're both 'singles' for the evening? That way you can dance with both Pres and I without a whole lot of questions, and I can dance with Pres a few times just to shock some of the society biddies that will be going."
"So it's like, a less than ten percent chance? Less than one percent chance? That's got to be hard if a witch winds up marrying someone who really wants a boy."

"Hate's a strong word. I wouldn't say hate. Worry, maybe. They'll worry that you're going to lead me down a path of debauchery." Ariel takes a long swallow from her Coke, blushing as she watches him. Lowering the can, she gives him a shy smile. "They wouldn't be wrong …"
"You'd really do that? I don't want to put you and Pres out since I was supposed to be flying solo anyway." Though as long as the boys do get to dance together, Ariel supposes it's a show she can handle putting on. She almost mentions that it'll be hard to get anything past her grandmother, but decides she doesn't want to raise any alarms. Not right now.
There's another giggle. "I don't think that anyone has any cold hard statistics, but I'd say probably less than a five percent chance. Unless the father is a witch. Or a sorcerer."
Ariel takes another sip of her drink. "I would have to think that they go in knowing. It wouldn't be fair otherwise. Though it explains why a lot of women in years and centuries past ended up having only girls to the disappointment of their husbands."

"No, they wouldn't be." Even though Cooper has been fairly well behaved where Ariel is concerned, he's still liable to break her a little. He did promise Preston that he wouldn't, but they both know that'll only go so far. Eventually he'll do something that'll break her for a little while, at least.
"I'll talk to Pres. You'll likely be sitting up with family anyhow, but I'm sure Shiv'll make sure we're seated together, with the Cowboy so we won't be too bored, or stuck with people we don't know. She'll probably toss a few of the other dancers from the Company at the table too, to keep the ages similar." Honestly, he has no clue how she's going to do it, but he does figure that she's not going to see the dates of the wedding party with Aunt Bertha, or Uncle Simian the drunk.
"Sorcerer? Is that what you call a male witch?"


She bumps his shoulder with hers again. "I'm not exactly an unwilling or innocent bystander, alright?"
"I got to hear one conversation about seating arrangements and that was enough." Ariel shudders. She has no idea how her cousin is managing such a thing, and suspects that's the reason she's leaving it up to Aunt Dawna and Mr. Donovan to figure it all out in the long run. "You're right though. She and Harper pretty much declared where they want their friends and turned the rest over."
Ariel frowns when she realizes she's opened that can of worms. She recalls how he reacted to the idea of magic and witchcraft, and her magic is nothing compared to what a sorcerer has access to. "Sort of? More like sorcerers are male magic users and we're female ones. Our magic is different from theirs but both are related. Sort of." Ariel's frown deepens. "It's hard to explain."

"Except for the less than five percent of the male witches?" Cooper seems to be taking the conversation in stride, because he is trying. There's a part of him that's still a little 'ack' at the reality of there being magic users — the real kind, not the Criss Angel kind — walking around the streets of the world, but he's definitely got a different reaction this time around to things.
"Ariel, sweetie, I'm not running off. I'm not going to hide. I'm genuinely curious, because this is part of your life, and I told you I wanted to get to know you a little better. I don't want you to have to be 'Ariel the musician and perfectly normal woman' with me, and then be your complete self with Pres. That's really not fair to you, and I don't want you thinking that I'm touching you or being with you just to keep Pres happy."
"Explain it to me?"


No, he isn't running off, and Ariel wants to keep it that way. She listens to him and then gazes at him a long moment before nodding her head.
"I'll explain it how my mother explained it to me. Think of magic as a bucket of purple colored water. Witch magic is blue and sorcerer magic is red. Both types work together and can accomplish the same things, but witches are naturally attuned to witch magic and vice versa. So, if a witch dips a cup in the bucket, she comes up with blue water. A sorcerer comes up with red. It's like nature wanted a balance. The theory is that that's why we aren't all just 'magic users,' but are witches and sorcerers."
Ariel pushes her hair over one shoulder. "It's not that we can't use the other sort of magic, but we can feel the difference. It's easier for us to use witch magic." She shrugs, "Sorceres would say that witch magic is weaker, but I don't know if that's the case so much as it's … friendlier. When I cast a spell, it just comes. It's like breathing, but when sorcerers first learn to use their magic, it's hard. It can even be dangerous just because the source is more volatile, I guess?"

Cooper is quiet for a long moment. Not because he's experiencing that rush of wtf-ery and panic like he did before, but because he's trying to comprehend everything she's just said.
"Okay. Basically, you all just use magic, but from different places?" That he can understand.
"Even though you can use the same magic, it's just more difficult?"
"It's weird, to think about all those people out there who can just do things like that."
"But I'm alright with the fact that what you can do is friendlier. Even so, I've seen your cousin when she gets angry. She's got to have a lot of control."


"Yes, different places. That's a good way to think of it." She gives him a shy, sheepish smile. "Maybe I was too technical?"
"You know all those movies about witches and wizards using the four elements? Earth, air, water and fire? It's like that, really. Witches are just stronger in earth and water."
Ariel actually laughs. "Shiv has always been volatile and emotional. That's why we're taught how to control it before we are even able to use it. She had a rough patch last summer, but that was because she had another magic burst. It's what happens when our powers first develop or get stronger. She had to re-learn her control. Trust me, if she didn't have it, you'd know."
Ariel considers a moment, then continues. "Shiv is a special case, though. She's both. Uncle Robert is a sorcerer. It doesn't usually happen. If a witch and a sorcerer have a child, it's either a witch or a sorcerer. That whole nature balance thing, again."

"No, I got it," he says, giving her a grin. "I just had to put it in my own terms." Taking a swig from the beer bottle, he leans back against the couch a little, and pokes at his food.
"Right, makes sense. The softer elements for the women, the more dangerous for the men. Makes sense, at least in historical terms, I guess."
He snorts a little as she describes Shiv, and then blinks at her. "Woah. Wait. She's both? So that could be why she's got a little brother? Not just that he's a witch, but he's got more magic genetics or whatever?"
There's a slight frown of confusion for a moment, and he takes another pull of the beer.
"So how do you know someone's using magic around you? I mean, besides the obvious that you see something like floating objects?"


Ariel nods. She hesitates a beat, then continues. If he's going to be around it, he's going to learn the truth of things or figure it out. Cooper may have this 'devil may care' attitude about him, but he isn't stupid. "It's the reason she was taken. Or kept, after she was taken, I guess. Hybrids are really, really rare."
The little witch shrugs. "No one is saying. It happens sometimes, witches having boys, but it could be because Uncle Robert is a sorcerer, or Chris could be a hybrid too. They tested him when he was born, though, and said he was a witch. Then again, when he got his magic." Ariel leans back against the couch. "But, they tested Siobhan too and said the same thing. Either they didn't know when she was younger, or they lied. She's always been good with sorcerer magic, though. As far as I know, Chris really isn't."
The last question is veering into dangerous territory. The very last thing she wants to do right now is let Cooper know that he's a witch. He's being accepting and curious, but he's only human and he has limits like everyone else. "Sometimes I recognize the words or the gestures. I may not know the spell, but I know that certain combinations are spell casting. I can feel it, too."
She's done eating, so reaches for her plate, intending to carry it to the kitchen, "Are you done? I can bus our plates?"

It makes sense why the group of friends has completely rallied around Siobhan lately. Keeping her company whenever they could. It's likely less about getting her spirits up, and more about ensuring that she's not alone.
"So they won't know for sure until he has another burst of magic. Like you said Siobhan had last year?"
"That's got to be hard on him." Especially with everything else Christian has going on. Cooper has been good about keeping the young man's secret, though he's offered a few times to take Chris and his boyfriend out to places where they could just relax and not worry what everyone else might be thinking.
"It's just innate like that? You can just feel the magic? Could a regular person get to feel it too? I mean, if they were around it enough?"
He glances down at the plate, and sets his fork down. "Yeah. Just leave them on the counter, I'll take care of them later."

"Pretty much." Sighing, the witch shakes her head a bit. "That's what I've been told at any rate. It's hard to know what to believe because the Coven didn't want Shiv there in the first place. They didn't want Aunt Dawna when they found out she was having a sorcerer's kid, and definitely not after she married Uncle Robert."
"There's a lot of bad blood and screwed up politics between witches and sorcerers." Ariel is trying to keep her words and opinions toward sorcerers objective, but she knows that Uncle Robert, the sorcerer with the Priory and Chance and his father are exceptions.
"I don't know," Ariel admits sheepishly. "I haven't really talked to Chris about it. He's never really been that focused on his magic, I didn't think, not until he went off to help rescue Shiv." She is proud of her little cousin for doing that, and Ariel knows it made her cousins closer.
"Pretty much, yeah. It's helpful, if you think about it. Someone could be casting against you, and if you can sense the magic, you can defend yourself."
"It's also good for parents making sure you aren't doing things you shouldn't be," Ariel gives him an impish little grin.
Ariel pushes to her feet, momentarily forgetting that her panties are draped over the television. It's not until she bends down to pick up the plates and feels the faint breeze that her face darkens with fluster. Still, she tries to play it off, picking up the plates and stacking them neatly one atop the other with flatware on top. "It's not something that can be learned, but a few people have a bit more sensitivity, I've been told. Just like some people are sensitive to weather changes or sounds."

"The Coven?" What Cooper knows about witches is simply that it's something that runs in Siobhan's family — at least that's what Preston told him. Sera obviously said a few other things, but didn't mention large groups.
"If they're so closely linked in their magic, that doesn't make much sense."
"I can see where that would be helpful. It's too bad normal people can't really learn how to feel it. That could come in handy too."

Ariel wrinkles her nose. "Now I'm getting into history and politics, which you really probably don't want to hear about right now. The short of it is that witches historically formed covens. Mostly to share spells and pass on knowledge, and later to protect ourselves. The world's bigger now, and more modern. With all the technology at our fingertips, we're able to network with other witches, for the same reasons. There's a very traditional coven here in the city, and because witches historically hate and don't trust sorcerers, most of them aren't big fans of Aunt Dawna and Shiv. Chris is kind of borderline."
Ariel carries the plates to the kitchen and sets them where Cooper said. Returning to the living room, she carefully settles beside him again. "It goes back to the Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Sorcerers were male and men had the power. They wanted to keep the power which put them where they were as landowners and powerful figures, but the church was rooting out witchcraft. Popular beliefs at the time made it easy to point the thumb at women. The herbalist, the healers, the obvious shows of magic. Sorcerers turned over witches that taught them, that gave them spells, that they worked with to save their own asses and keep control."
Ariel tosses her hair over her shoulder, frowning a bit. "Obviously, it didn't take long for the witches to learn to protect themselves and go underground, making it harder to find them. The damage was done by then though, and would keep on with innocent women dying just for the sorcerers to keep their positions and protect themselves."
"It's a very old, long grudge." Her eyes flash darkly for a moment, and it's clear that despite her attempts at objective presentation, Ariel doesn't care overly much for sorcerers.
"I'm only going by what I've been told. I've never researched it. I wouldn't even know who to ask or where to start. I just know that some people are sensitive to it from birth, just like some people are born witches."

"There's nothing wrong with a history lesson," Cooper points out. He doesn't understand all of it, admittedly, but it's part of her heritage, so to him it'd be just like her asking him about dance.
"So beyond the traditional group of witches, which you call a Coven… you do what? Meet other witches in chat rooms? Online message boards? Dating websites?"
He watches her as she walks to the kitchen, and takes another pull from the bottle.
"That makes sense then. So the Spanish Inquisition, and things like Salem probably had more truth to them than we're led to historically believe?"

"I'm just trying not to bore you." She gives him a slight smile, reaching up to pull on a lock of hair and wrap it around a finger. Ariel giggles a little. "No. Mostly support, if you need it. Spell research and training if it's needed. Like if a daughter's skill surpasses her mother's. There's more political stuff and meetings and rules and regulations, but I don't really know anything about that. Mostly it's comforting to know that there are other women out there like you, that you can turn to if you need to."
"A lot more historically, yeah. The coven here was founded by the families of the first witches burned in Salem, I think." Ariel blushes a bit and gives him another little sheepish smile. "I grew up in North Carolina and then we moved to California. I'm not completely up on all the history." She rolls her eyes, "Which I'm sure will be contributed to being related to the Knights."


"It's not boring, Mermaid. I'm learning about you, and that's never a bad thing." Shifting so that he's sitting on the couch again, he beckons for her to come over.
"So more of an online tutoring program? That's not bad. It's always good to have resources like that, no matter what it's for."
Setting the now empty bottle on the table beside the couch, he nods.
"I'm guessing there's a lot of history, and I doubt they expect everyone to know it. Do you need to join the Coven here now that you're here?"

Ariel eyes him for a moment when he sits on the couch, then she lowers herself onto the cushions beside him. "Suppose you could call it that, yeah."
"There's no required membership. Witches don't carry secret ID cards and there's no secret handshake," Ariel winks and grins. "No, I don't have to join and I haven't really thought about it. I think I'll just defer to what Aunt Dawna thinks. They weren't complete old bigoted biddies when Shiv was taken." Though her Grams being here might have had a little to do with lighting a fire under them.

Wrapping an arm around her, he pulls her up between his legs and rests her head against his chest. It's just one of those comfortable, familiar type things. So that they can continue to talk without feeling any pressure.
It is not something that Cooper does often.
"Too bad," he teases. "It'd be a lot easier to figure out who you all were if you had secret ID cards."
Brushing her hair over one of her shoulders, he gently massages her.
"That may be a good idea. To wait. But it might not hurt to at least talk to a few people involved with the Coven to see where things stand for you, or whatever."

It is comfortable. Ariel is surprised at first, but then she leans against him, the corners of her mouth turning up in a soft smile. Lifting her hand, she hesitates a moment then tickles her fingers over his ribs. "I think we'd need magic decoder rings, like the ones that used to come in cereal boxes. Except prettier and dainty."
Another one of those little shivers goes down her spine and she sighs against him.
"They'll probably want to talk to me anyway. I'm sure Aunt Dawna has mentioned me moving out here. Even if she hasn't, I know my grandmother has probably said something. Just because she'll want me to have all the connections and protections that I can."

"Maybe we should get you and Shiv something like that," Cooper teases with another grin. "I'm sure we can find matching rings on Craigslist, or this jewelry and clothing shop not too far from here. The woman there makes all the jewelry herself. I've heard the girls talking about the place before. It's worth checking out." His thumbs press gently into the muscles at the back of her shoulders ash Cooper continues the massage.
"There's nothing wrong with having connections. Just don't go alone."

Ariel laughs and tilts her head back to look up at him. "That could be really fun. We really should go there and check it out."
"You're sweet, you know that?" She punctuates the words with a little kiss to the underside of his chin. "I promise not to spread it around and damage your reputation."
"I won't be going anywhere alone. This is the first time I've gone out alone, and Pres loaded me into the car that he called."

"I'm not sweet," he points out as his hands continue to move over her shoulders. "I'm just giving you girls something to do." There's a bit of a grumble as Cooper looks down at her, and rolls his eyes.
"Now that I'm better with the witchy stuff," he starts out, "Are you alright with who I am? I mean, I've only recently calmed down a little in my ways. I haven't slept with another guy for a long while. Since Pres and I started seeing each other as more than just a casual fuck whenever we felt like it."
Resting his chin on the top of her head, he tells her, "I don't know that I'm ready to give up other women yet, but I do promise those types of hookups will only happen during times when you and Pres want to be alone." Since he's only fooling around with Sera now, outside of everything else, that shouldn't be a problem. It's not like she's wanting to hook up every night and he does figure that Ariel and Preston will want to be alone at least once a week, or once every other week.

"Thoughtful then," Ariel suggests, lifting her brows.
"Stop that." She gives him a playful swat and kisses his chin. "You are thoughtful."
It's a good thing she's already had this conversation with Preston, so she's not completely unprepared for it. Still, Ariel waits before responding, worrying her teeth over her lip. She told Preston that she accepted it, and would be all right with it. The witch is trying very hard to not get too emotionally attached and involved here, and to just think of this as experience she's having right now.
"I'm not trying to change you, or Preston," Ariel says with full honesty. She wasn't looking for this to happen, and there's still a part of her that worries that she might be coming between the couple. "We're still getting to know each other and we're not exclusive. I get that." Cooper is cut from a different cloth than Preston, but she thinks as long as she has Preston to ground her that she can handle it.
"Just … I don't want to know about it. I know you like to share and things and … I really don't want to hear about it, okay?"
Her voice drops to a quiet whisper, "And try not to compare me?"

"Sweetie, you're not ready to hear about any of it, and as long as I can still share with Preston, that's fine." Cooper stops the massage, and leans in to place a sweet little kiss to her pulse point.
"I know you're not trying to change me, I just wanted to make sure you understood who I am." He doesn't tell her that there's only one other woman, and that they both know that it's just sex as she's involved with someone too.
"You don't get it yet, do you? There's not a woman who could compare to you. I happen to like you. I just have an extremely high sex drive, and I'd rather have sex than take care of it myself all the time."
Another kiss is dotted to her pulse point, and he suckles the area just a little.
"It took me months to get to where I am with Preston, and the three of us are still just figuring things out. I know you're half in love with Pres already, and I'm perfectly fine with that."

"You and Pres can talk … about whatever you want," Ariel's voice hitches in the middle of her sentence. The little kiss is enough to draw that tiny reaction from her and set her stomach to flip-flopping.
"How's that?" Her voice rises a bit and there's a delicate sound that catches in the back of her throat. She shifts just a bit where she's sitting. "I'm crazy inexperienced and still don't know what I'm doing half the time …" Other more experienced women have to be more fun and enjoyable to be with, right? A lot less work involved.
Ariel doesn't deny how she feels about Preston, though she doesn't comment on it either. Not talking about it is her defense mechanism right now. "Figuring things out … yes, exactly."

"You're sexy, Ariel. Incredibly so. You're extremely skilled despite your innocence. It comes naturally to you, which is just fucking hot. The way your body reacts to something like this…" Cooper nips and suckles at her pulse point again, sliding a hand up to rest on her stomach.
"And you really have no idea how it affects me or Preston, which is a large part of the draw too."
His lips move over her neck before he suckles again.
"Believe me when I say that if I compare anyone, it'll be how the other woman measures up to you."

"I am? It does?" The little nips and suckling are distracting. She instinctively tilts her neck to the side, stretching it and presenting him a larger span of canvas of which to play. As she does, that little sound comes again, a bit louder and she drops her hand to rest atop his.
Truthfully, Ariel isn't faking it. She has no idea why Preston and Cooper are interested in her, and was surprised as hell that Preston still wanted her after coming back from tour with Cooper. Just as she's surprised now.
The little witch draws another breath and her eyelashes flutter as her body temperature rises a bit and then a jolt goes straight from her pulse to her center. "Coop?" Ariel breathes out, squeezing her thighs together. "Can we stop talking now?"

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