Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda
Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.
Ann and Alivda managed to ‘share’ their Amel for the rest of the day, but in this case, 'share' meant Ann watching Amel fuss over his little Diff. She put up with it for the rest of the day, but come nighttime Ann was tired of it.
“She has a bedtime, right?” Ann asked Amel while the dragon jumped on her furniture.
“Well,” Amel said tentatively.
“You have got to be kidding me!” Ann said. “Does she ever get tired?”
“Oh, yes,” Amel said. “But on her own time. She is only two years old, after all.” He smiled. Only Amel would think staying up with a hyper child was fun.
Then Ann realized what Amel had just said, and felt her mouth fall open as she stared at him like he had just said Rire had voted to become a monarchy.
“What?” Amel asked, sounding annoyed.
“Are you telling me the three-foot monster of a child who is destroying my furniture is only two years old?” Ann almost shrieked. This was even worse than she thought.
“Well, two and a half, really,” Amel said.
“Oh I’m sorry, six months makes that much difference, does it!” Ann said.
“When you are as Vrellish as she is it can,” Amel said. “But how old did you think she was?”
Amel giggled. “Really?”
“Yes,” Ann said.
“Well, she is very Vrellish,” Amel said.
Ann just looked flabbergasted, but when her face finally returned to normal she had just one question.
“I am not going to get laid tonight, am I?” she asked.
Amel gave her a sheepish grin.
Ann threw her arms up in the air and collapsed onto the couch.
“We can still cuddle,” Amel said, smiling.
“Oh, great!” Ann said sarcastically. “That will be such a rush.”
Amel sat down next to her on the couch and put an arm around her.
“You know it can be,” he whispered in her ear.
She felt a shiver run through her body and before she even thought about it, she was kissing him. And he was kissing her back.
The baby dragon did not appreciate this.
“No,” she said loudly and ran up to sit between them.
“Get off!” Ann yelled and pushed Alivda off the couch.
A normal toddler would have cried, but Alivda kicked Ann in the shin. Again.
Ann yelled and swore; Amel tried to cover Alivda’s ears.
“Did you have to hit the same spot!” Ann yelled at the smug looking child-sized toddler.
“Ann!” Amel said. “Be nice. She is just a baby!”
“That’s no baby,” Ann muttered under her breath, now thinking a dragon would have been offended to have his name attached to such a beast.
“Now, Diff,” Amel said. “You know you aren’t supposed to kick my friends.”
As soon as Amel looked at her, Alivda’s smug grin changed to an angelic smile.
“That’s better,” Amel said.
“Why did you call her Diff?” Ann asked.
“That is my nickname for her,” Amel said. “Only I call her that.” He grinned. It seemed the existence of a name only he used made him feel closer to the child.
“I am going to go get more ice,” Ann said and went to the kitchen.
“Diff,” Amel said when Ann had come back, “no more kicking Ann, okay?”
The baby dragon put on her most angelic face and nodded.
“That’s my girl,” Amel said and scooped her up into a huge hug.
Diff decided a hug wasn’t enough and climbed around Amel until she was clinging to his back like a koala bear.
“Are you tired?” Amel asked his back.
Alivda gave a huge fake-sounding yawn.
“Okay, let’s get ready for bed, then,” Amel said, and he carried her off to the bathroom to wash.
They took a long time in there, and eventually a wonderful thought struck Ann: maybe the little terror had actually fallen asleep. But just after Amel had returned to her and pulled her into his arms for a kiss, she heard a blood-curdling scream from the other room. Ann sighed. She felt like screaming herself.