Marissa & Nick

Here’s a story we’ve been working on with Breanna Vincent the past two months 🙂 Started March 15th and it ended on May 19th

Chapter One

She slowly raised the hose up her calf, over her knee, and up her thigh. She repeated the motion with the other foot, moving mechanically, lost in thought. She focused on the way her fingers felt on her flesh and wished they were another’s. She closed her eyes and envisioned the perfect body before her. He was lean, with his skin tight over his muscles. His skin was naturally tanned, his hair course and dark. As he towered over her, slowly leaning in she could feel the heat from his body coming closer and closer. All she wanted was to feel his touch.
Beep Beep Beep!

Shit. She had lost track of time dreaming of the impossible and was now behind. She quickly pulled up her skirt and tucked her shirt in. She looked in the mirror at her plain face and her long plain hair. There was nothing special about her, she thought. Nothing for daydreams and fantasies. She pulled her hair up in a quick bun and ran out the door, hopping on one foot as she fixed her heel. She wasn’t looking forward to the wrath her boss was going to impose on her for being late. He was such a prick, but her boss nonetheless. Her mind flitted back to that hot blooded fantasy that she desperately craved which only led her to drop her keys.

“I swear Marissa, pull yourself together!” she scolded herself. It was only 7:30AM and already a hell of a day.
She pulled out into the New York traffic, already swearing at her untimeliness this morning. She was bumper to bumper and wasn’t going anywhere fast. She turned the radio up and the AC on and looked over to her right. A couple was swooning, locked in a passionate kiss that never seemed to end. Marissa watched in envy, wishing someone would grab her like that, laugh with her, look into her eyes the way the couple was looking at each other. The woman looked over and caught Marissa’s eyes. Marissa turned away, red and embarrassed at being caught witnessing their intimacy. The worse part was she couldn’t even get away from the couple, so she focused on the radio and let her mind drift off once more to Mr.Right.

This habit of daydreaming had been getting worse and worse in the past weeks but she had been single for quiet awhile at this point. She just wasn’t made for being single. She loved herself and could live a fulfilling life on her own as well as take care of herself but there just wasn’t anything like having a partner at your side to face the days with. There was just something about having a special someone to wrap you in passion that made life better. Sure she could go to a bar and pick up somebody, getting someone in bed for a night was nothing. She didn’t often do that but it’s basic knowledge that getting someone, if you’re not too picky, to sleep with you wasn’t too big of a challenge. Keeping someone meant something though, having someone choose to be at your side day in and day out was amazing, having someone who was invested in you was amazing and she hoped she’d find that soon.

After her last relationship crashed and burned so horribly she was surprised that she even wanted another so soon. Granted it had been two years already but the pain was still there. Coming home to find who you thought to be the love of you life cheating on you in your own bed was, well, to say the least, irrevocable. Not to mention it was with another man, there wasn’t even a more beautiful woman with long legs and big tits to make it feel like it wasn’t her. She sighed and brought herself back to the task at hand. She needed to get this portfolio done before 5:30 and time was running out. She worked tirelessly, as she always did, and finished it by her deadline. The only great part of the day was handing her boss the finished product as he arrived at her desk to yell at her for not finishing it. He hated it when she bested him but nothing made her day better.

Marissa’s phone rang and she saw it was her best friend Ashley. She had already text her three times today, urging her to get her homebody self out for a drink. God knew she needed it. Marissa always avoided crowds, she found people awkward and looking like bumbling idiots during their mating calls. On the other hand, maybe she could spruce herself up to the best of her ability and go home with a buzz and a couple of compliments to make her feel better. She answered the phone and solidified their plans. Ashley was ecstatic that she was finally getting her out of the house and Marissa could barely get her off the phone.

She stood there, looking through her closet, depressed at her selection. She settled for a little black dress that always made her feel confident. She slid the dress on and put on a little more makeup than usual. As she looked at herself she decided she wasn’t half bad with the right makeup on and her hair laying loose with curls around her shoulders. She wasn’t looking for anyone tonight but she still wanted to feel sexy. She knew there was no such thing as a mister right, at least not the type she has imagined in her mind. Mr.Tall Dark and Handsome didn’t exist and if he did she had no shot. “Speaking of shots” she thought to herself. She walked to the kitchen and pulled down her stash of tequila. Might as well get a head start and calm her nerves before Ashley arrives to pick her up.

Marissa took two shots before just sitting down in front of her television to wait. Thankfully Ashley didn’t keep her waiting too long so she wouldn’t have to go for the third shot to keep her nerves in check. Inside her head she reminded herself she was strong, beautiful and intelligent and she deserved love. She didn’t want to go out down on herself and end up doing something she regretted. Marissa slid into the passenger seat and hugged her friend “hey girl’ Ashley said cheerfully “Hey” they let go and Ashley started pulling out of the driveway “you ready to let loose?”

“Oh yeah, I need it”

“You look really pretty tonight”

“Thank you, don’t think less of me but I just really want to be flirted with” Ashley laughed “girl you know I’m the least judgmental person you know” It was true, part of what made things comfortable with Ashley is she loved you for you. She felt your life was your own and she didn’t have the right to judge. “Yeah, thanks for bugging me to come out”

“I knew you just needed a push or two”

Do you have to work tomorrow?”

“Nope, I’m all yours as long as you want to be out”

Ashley turned up one of their favorite songs and started singing along. Marissa could tell that she was ready to go out and didn’t have any inhibitions. No reason for her to have any. She was beautiful and full of life. People always flocked to her, brought in by her personality. Marissa always wished she was more like Ashley but there was no point in wishing for the impossible. She had to admit though, after a few drinks and hanging around Ashley, she always started to let loose more than normal and her smiles always seemed to come easier. That was another one of the reason’s that she loved her, she always found the best versions of herself around her.

Marissa smiled to herself and admitted she was really looking forward to tonight, man or no man. The next thought on her mind was the impending hangover but she quickly shoved those thoughts aside and decided to let nothing stop her from having a good time. They found a parking deck a few blocks from the bar they were planning on trying first and snapped a picture of it’s location on their phones in case they got too drunk and couldn’t remember where they parked the next day. They had already decided on a taxi home and Ashley was fine with leaving her car. Marissa’s nerves started to climb the closer they got to the bar. She felt her chest tightening and it became steadily harder to breathe. Ashley noticed and stopped.

“Hey, let it all go! There’s no reason to be nervous, we are just here for a good time, right? You’re beautiful and I’m sure you’ll get those compliments you want.” She winked at Marissa and Marissa cracked a smile. She always knew how to calm her down and make her feel better. They got to the door and Marissa took a deep breath. “Shot’s?” asked Ashley. “You know it.” replied Marissa.

They downed their first one and ordered another, Marissa now taking time to scan the crowd of people there. There were quite a few attractive faces, both men and women. That could be good and bad, good because it would feel even better being hit on by someone incredibly hot but maybe bad because the hotties might flock to fellow hotties instead of her. She mentally kicked herself for what she just did. She struggled not to put herself down after being cheated on and she needed to stop. Cheaters were cheaters and thats all there was to it. Sure some people liked to say people cheated because they werent happy in bed at home but the truth was someone who would cheat tended to cheat on most the people they ever dated, it had nothing to do with satisfaction, some just struggled to commit to one person in bed.

She couldn’t always keep that in mind but she tried to because it was true. It really wasn’t her fault her husband cheated. She repeated that to herself a few more times as they took their next shot. “wooo!” Ashley already yelled making Marissa giggle, she really was an incredible light in her life. “Oh I’m so glad you got me out here”

“what should we do girl?”

“The only thing left to do! Let’s dance!”
Marissa grabbed Ashley’s hand and led her to the dance floor. She had enough shots in her to hardly care what anyone thought. She just wanted to let herself get caught up in the dancing bodies around her, all of them blissful and free of thought. She closed her eyes and let herself feel the music surrounding her. She started to dance to the rhythm, letting herself get carried away. She didn’t notice the man behind her at first. When she felt someone dancing with her she had assumed that it was Ashley. When she was grabbed by the waist she knew it wasn’t her friend. She spun around to see who her assailant was. He was handsome, but had that drunken smug smirk on his face that made her turn back around. She would let him dance with her for entertainment but she definitely wasn’t interested. Ashley came up from her own dancing and get in between them. She could tell Marissa wasn’t 100% in to the dance and came to save the day.
“There’s plenty of hot guys in here! No need to waste your time on him!” Ashley shouted above the music. Marissa smiled at her and started dancing again. She couldn’t care less about men anymore, she was too drunk to care. The hours passed and before they knew it, it was closing time, their feet were killing them, they couldn’t stop laughing, and they had to ask for the taxi number three times before they remembered it. The two girls walked outside to wait for their cab and enjoy the fresh air. Suddenly, two drunk men were arguing loudly at each other in front of Marissa and she strained to get a better view. One of them must have swung because before she knew it the other drunk had been knocked into the guy standing in front of Marissa. He fell backwards, barely turning in time to stop the majority of his fall, which would have seriously crushed the much smaller Marissa.

“Are you alright?” he asked, still on top of her and out of breath. Marissa opened her eyes and almost choked on her words. Mr.Tall Dark and Handsome was real and he laying right on top of her. She barely even heard the words coming out of his mouth she was so surprised. Suddenly Ashley was pulling him off of her trying desperately to make sure she wasn’t injured. “OMG Marissa! Are you ok? Are you hurt?”
“No, no I’m fine.” she responded. The man looked genuinely concerned for her well-being, which made since because he was a hell of a man who had to weigh no less than 230lbs. Marissa found herself staring and unable to look away. They both just stood there for what felt like an hour’s time, looking at each other. The man’s friend came up to him asking if he was alright about the same time that their taxi arrived and Ashley practically hauled her into the car. Marissa didn’t know if it was the booze or her imagination but she felt like she was just torn away from her soulmate, which was silly seeing as how she had never even met the man before. Now she didn’t even know if she would ever see him again and there was no way of finding him. There was only one option, she would have to come back to that bar until she saw him again, no matter how long it took.

Chapter Two

When they arrived at Marissa’s Ashley paid the cab driver then began helping her friend out of the car “I’m going to stay the night okay?”

“yeah, that sounds good”

“You sound distant, you sure you are alright?”

“Yeah…I just…”

“what is it?” Ashley urged, really concerned about her “Its stupid and I’m drunk” Ashley cracked a small smile “come on, lets get you in something comfortable”

“I don’t want pajamas, lets just take our clothes off and relax in our underwear: Marissa suggested so once inside they made sure the windows were closed then flopped down on Marissa’s couch in their bra and panty sets. This was another amazing thing about their friendship, they were comfortable no matter what with eachother. They didn’t stay up too much longer that night, just long enough to get some food in their system and talk about the nights events. Ashley set herself up on the fold out couch while Marissa went to her room.

In the morning Marissas head ached so she went straight for her coffee pot then began a pot of cream of white for them to eat. Ashley groaned on the couch at all the noise Marissa made getting the pot out so she yelled “come on, it’s time to get up. Coffee will be ready soon” Ashley wordlessly got off the couch but she wasn’t coming to the kitchen, she was going to get in Marissa’s bed to sleep a bit longer.

“Hey, if I have to be miserable you do too.”

“No way, too tired, just ten more minutes.”

“Fine, but if you don’t get up I’m dumping ice water on you.”

“So cruel.”

It didn’t stop her from going into Marissa’s room and flopping down on the bed though and Marissa let out a small laugh. Her mind drifted back to him as she finished making breakfast, She tried to remember what he had said, had he been surprised or was he simply apologizing. The way his eyes had stared into hers, the recognition. She shook her head. It had to have been her imagination, but it pulled at her, tugged at her entire being, drew her in like a moth to a flame. She sighed. She had been burned before. She ate slowly, her stomach grumbling the entire time in protest, but she knew it would make her feel better. She went and made Ashley get up ten minutes later and had her eat. She protested, saying she would puke if she tried, but wound up doing it anyway.

“Oh, are you sure you’re okay after last night? That guy looked heavy.” Ashley said.

“Yeah, I think he actually managed to keep some of his weight off of me so nothing broke. He was all muscle, it was like someone dropped a bunch of rocks on top of me.”

“You probably liked it” teased Ashley.
“Yeah, you’re right” Marissa laughed, “did you see him! There was something about him.” Marissa’s mind started to wander and Ashley had to snap her back to reality.
“Hellloo?” Ashley smiled “I agree there was something about him, he was smoking hot!”
Marissa laughed and decided to keep their eye contact just between them. She didn’t want Ashley to think she was crazy or love sick even though she knew she wouldn’t judge her.
“What do you want to do today? It needs to be quiet to save my head and maybe a mimosa is in order” said Ashley.
“You just said you were going to puke before you ate. How in the world can you think about drinking” Marissa laughed.
“Hair of the dog!” replied Ashley. It was going to be an interesting day.

Everything was dark. It was warm and everything seemed to feel amazing. Marissa opened her eyes and there he was, staring at her. His body was surrounded by a soft glow, making him look almost as if he was from Heaven itself. She reached her arm out, wanting nothing more than to touch him.The more she reached the farther he seemed to get. “No! Come back!” she shouted, hoping he would hear. The harder she strained to see him the more he seemed to fade away in the background. She had to find him.
Beep Beep Beep
Shit, back to Monday.

Traffic, why did traffic always have to pull her out of her fantasies? Yesterday she didn’t think her dream man was real but last night she had actually seen him, he had fallen right on top of her with that perfect, sculpted body. She was practically wet just thinking about him, just remembering their brief interaction. She sighed, wishing Ashley hadn’t rushed her away like that. She knew Ashley had only been worried but it could take months for her mystery man to return to that bar, if he ever did. With her luck he might decide to quit drinking and she’d lose her chance forever.

He was on her mind more than ever at work today but she still managed to get everything she needed to done. After work she picked up some fast food so she could go straight home and dress for returning to that bar. Looking at her disappointing wardrobe again she decided if she was going to hunt him she needed much better clothes. She was over due to spoil herself anyway so she sat down at her computer and browsed a few of her favorite online shops for some nice, new clothes. She spent a little too much, knowing she’d have to dip into her savings to get to next check but she felt her future happiness was at stake with this man, as ridiculous as she knew that sounded. She had paid for next day shipping on everything so she was less worried about finding him tonight. If she didn’t that meant he’d see her in something incredibly cute tomorrow night. She would still try the bar this evening anyway though, she wanted to see him again far more badly than she wanted to see him again in pretty clothing.

She knew her legs were her best chance at getting noticed so she pulled out a tight skirt and a long sleeve off the shoulder floral print. She decided to put more effort into her hair and makeup and even watched youtube video’s for desperate help. She wanted to look her absolute best and couldn’t imagine being caught dead by this mystery man any way else. He deserved the very best. She almost hated him for being so perfect, not even having to try. He probably just woke up and smiled and was ready to go.” Lucky sexy bastard” Marissa thought to herself. She paused a moment and remembered the way his skin felt hot against hers. He was so much warmer than she would’ve imagined. “God, those eyes. What I would give to just look into them one more time.” Marissa then began to get very nervous. “What if he has a girlfriend?” she thought. She hadn’t seen him with anyone but it was a possibility.

One that she would rather not think about. “Will he even be out on a Monday?” the chances were slim but they were chances she was willing to take. Her body started to heat up the more she thought of him and she noticed she was blushing. How was she going to talk to him if she was blushing before she even saw him? What would she even say? “Hey, so I felt we had a deep connection because you stared at me and I think we are soul mates”? Probably wouldn’t go over very well. She would sound like a nut. She could play hard to get, but if he wasn’t hunting then it would be pointless. She decided to stop thinking about it and just to do it and see what happens. She was going to go alone this time, she didn’t want to admit to Ashley why she was uncharacteristically going out on a Monday. As soon as she even told her she was going Ashley would figure it out. She is as smart as she is beautiful.

After she was done getting ready she took a mental toll of herself in the mirror. The youtube video’s on her makeup had done her justice and for once she didn’t feel so plain. She actually felt beautiful, which made her even more anxious to see him. All she wanted to do was to go up to him, grab him by the back of the neck and pull his lips to hers. She wanted to taste him so bad, to feel him against her one more time. She was getting turned on already so snapped herself back to reality. She decided to drive since she hadn’t planned on drinking that much. She wasn’t going to get drunk but just to find her mystery man. She stepped into her car and prayed he was there.

Ashley ended up calling and con-ing the information out of her anyways and stated she was coming. Even though Marissa hadn’t wanted Ashley to go, she decided it was probably better that she was going. She wouldn’t look so awkward sitting at a bar alone barely drinking. She hadn’t really thought her plan through and was thankful that, once again, Ashley had saved the day. They met in front of the bar and walked in. There was a decent crowd for it being Monday so Marissa didn’t feel so different. She decided that one shot wouldn’t hurt and ordered her usual as Ashley joined in on the festivities. Ashley was ready any night of the week and could make any night fun. At least if Mr.Right didn’t show she would still have a good time. An hour or two passed and there was still no sight of him. Marissa began to become discouraged and told herself to stop searching. It only made the night go by so much slower.

It was tormenting her at this point and she was having a hard time enjoying herself. Ashley kept noticing her less than enthusiastic mood and continued to bring her shots. Marissa hadn’t planned on getting drunk but her mood was pushing her towards the inevitable. She told Ashley she was heading to the ladies room to touch up her makeup. She was still surprised when she walked in and looked in the mirror that it was her staring back. Oh, the wonders of makeup. It was a shame that she had spent so much time on getting ready all for him not to show up. She scolded herself for getting her hopes up. It was Monday for God sake. She walked out of the bathroom and looked up just as someone knocked into her. She was so caught up in her thoughts she hadn’t even bothered to pay attention to where she was going. “Could this night get any worse?” she thought to herself. She looked up and froze. She didn’t know if it was the tequila or real life but he seemed even more beautiful than yesterday. At some point she remembered to breath in the midst of her apologies but he just looked at her and smiled. His smile was radiant and he had the perfect dimples to match. She had thought his eyes were brown but they were a dark hazel that she hadn’t noticed before. She caught herself staring again and quickly looked away.

“I’m sorry” she said again.

“It’s alright, we seemed to be meant to run into each other like this” he chuckled. “Can I buy you a drink?”
Marissa’s heart thudded in her chest, she couldn’t believe this was actually happening. For the moment she forgot how to speak. She wished Ashley was here to save her and come up with something charming and witty to say like always.
“I’d love that” was all she could muster. Her dream man was real and he was buying her a drink. She silently pinched herself to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. The indication of pain under her arm let her know that she was in fact about to have a drink with him. Hallelujah.

Chapter Three

She followed him back over to the bartender where he spoke again “what would you like?”

“a happy colada” he ordered two, she wondered if he liked it or if he was just trying it because she liked it. Though she might not admit it to most others than Ashley she mostly liked it’s color. It was such a pretty drink and it of course tasted amazing. Truly anything with coconut rum was amazing to her. For a few seconds Marissa had completely forgotten Ashley was there but her thinking about the drink reminded her. Marissa blushed, feeling like an ass. She waved Ashley over “My friends here too” Marissa said bashfully and he gave her a charming smile before ordering one more for her friend. Marissa thought that was incredibly sweet, how many men bought drinks for the friend too?

“so this is Ashley, Ashley this is?”

“Nick”

“Nick” oh god she had just repeated his name dreamily like some sort of school girl. She wanted to die right there, especially when he obviously suppressed a chuckle. Atleast he had been kind and tried to keep it down completely. “Nice to meet you” Ashley said, offering her hand. She planned to stay just long enough to see if he was cool or not, if he was she was going to go home before she cock blocked her bestie.

“So, what do you do, Nick?” Ashley asked.

“Why don’t you guess.” He replied with a big smile. “If you can guess right within three tries, I will pay for every drink you and Marissa want.”

“Football star.” He shook his head. “Bodyguard for a mob boss.”

“As interesting as that sounds, no.”

“Lawyer?”

He chuckled. “That’s three strikes.” He turned his gaze back to Marissa and she swallowed. “How about you?”

“Um…well, I mean you’re really muscular and strong, so I’m going to say cage fighting? I mean you look like you could knock someone’s head clean off.” Their drinks showed up and she picked hers up, taking a nervous sip. His eyes twinkled with amusement and she asked, “Well was I right or are you going to leave me hanging?”

He smiled at her and shook his head.
“Not a cage fighter either” he laughed “I actually own this bar, opened it up a couple of years ago. I didn’t need the income but it helps fund my interests.”
His answer only aroused more questions in Marissa. It was definitely a popular bar so his interests had to be pricey. She also wondered what he meant about not needing the income. She felt it would be too rude to pry on such things so decided to choose the topic of his interests to talk about instead.
“What exactly are your interests that have you opening bars to support it?” she smiled coyly at him. The drinks were making her feel brave and the shyness was slowly seeping away.

“If I told you, I’d have to kill you” he looked at her very solemnly, then busted out with laughter. For a moment she had believed him and hadn’t known what to say. She playfully hit him in the arm. “Actually, I collect art. This city is full of such wonderful artists, it’s practically a gold mine for collectors. It does come at it’s price though.”

Handsome, sweet, and tasteful. Marissa wondered how he could be any more perfect. Ashley lightly nudged her and she realized she was daydreaming again. There was no need to daydream when the dream was standing right in front of you.
“It’s getting late” said Ashley, “I think i’m going to head in so I’m not shot for work tomorrow.” Ashley hugged Marissa and gave her a sly smile and a wink. Marissa could’ve kicked her for being so obvious. At least she knew that Ashley approved and was giving her the go ahead. The only question left was the go ahead for what. Was he really interested or was he just being polite for their continuous run-ins? Doubts started to flood her mind so she finished off her drink to help with her nerves. She wasn’t in to random hook ups but Nick felt anything but random. She felt like she had known him for years and that this wasn’t their first official night meeting each other. She decided she would keep up the conversation and the drinks and just see where the night took her. She did look marvelous tonight and the look in his eye told her that he was interested in more than just an apology.

“I forgot to ask, but I didn’t hurt you or anything last night did I?”

“Hmm, oh no, I mean it hurt, but you didn’t break anything.”

“Good.” He looked and sounded relieved and took her hand gently in his to guide her away from the bar and to a quiet little corner where they could be alone. “May I also say that you look incredibly beautiful tonight. I mean you did last night as well, but wow.”

She giggled, a blush creeping up her neck. “Thank you, you don’t look to bad yourself.”

He smiled and her heart nearly stopped. His fingers slid up, gently running across her wrist so goosebumps formed on her skin then back down over her palm and along her ring finger. A light shiver ran up her spine and he gave her an amused, yet pleased grin. He was teasing her.

It was weird, even he acted like they knew eachother. It could be a major amount of confidence but would somebody really be this bold? “so are you here a lot of nights?” she asked, wanting to keep talking. “Yeah but if you ever want to do anything I don’t have to be here”

“maybe i want to see your art collection”

“sure, tonight?”

“wow, really?” he chuckled “you don’t seem like the type of woman I should waste any time wooing. I’d happily show you my art collection tonight”

“Um, I’ve had a bit to drink”

“I wont take advantage” she might be being stupid because she was so lovestruck but she allowed him to lead her out of the bar. He proved to be a gentleman when he held the car door open for her “thank you”

“You’re a lady, I’ll treat you as such” she smiled, feeling completely secure in the choice she was making. He was obviously a nice man and truly would be a gentleman this evening. It was a bit of a drive but he took her to a beautiful home that took her breath away “this is where you live?”

“yes”

The house was so intricate and beautiful. It was also bold, it reminded Marissa of Nick. It fit him well. She was a little nervous but he had said he wouldn’t take advantage. To be honest, she was more worried about her taking advantage than him. It had been a while now and everything about Nick aroused her constantly. The more she talked to him and the closer they got the more heightened her senses became. With every touch she felt chills run up her spine but felt her flesh on fire at the same time, leaving her emotions smoldering. They walked inside, up the stairs and into an open room. The art was exquisite, so beautiful it took her breath away. She couldn’t believe this man collected such magnificent pieces.
“Do you like them?” he asked her.

“They are wonderful, Nick. It’s some of the most beautiful art I think I’ve ever seen!” She was being genuine and he knew that she meant it. As he watched her admire his collection he couldn’t help but feel himself getting closer to her. His arm was around her waist before either one of them realized it. She turned to him, startled.

“I am a man of my word and would never take advantage of you, but I can’t help but want to kiss you. May I?”
She nodded her head yes but couldn’t manage to make the words come out of her mouth. Her mind went blank as he bend down to her lips. While one hand held her waist the other came up softly to tilt her chin towards him. He kissed her softly, as to not alarm her. He wanted to take her furiously and madly but maintained his restraint. He wanted to keep his word to her. He wanted her to trust him more than anything, this beautiful stranger. Marissa was in complete bliss. She couldn’t imagine a better moment than the one she was having right now. His kiss was everything she thought it would be and more. He was gentle and kind and she couldn’t wait to know more of him, body and mind. She pulled away as to save her virtue and smiled at him. He smiled back at her and they once again locked eyes and stared at each other, as if looking deeper into each other’s souls. She didn’t want this moment to end but it was getting late and she knew if she stayed any longer she wouldn’t be able to control herself around him. It was already maddening keeping herself off of him. Everything about him screamed sex and it drove her crazy.

“It’s getting late, I should probably go.”

“When can I see you again?” she was pleased he had asked because she didn’t want to be the one who did.”Can I pick you up for dinner this weekend?”

“I would love that” Marissa responded. She looked down at her feet as she felt her cheeks flush, this was really happening.

Chapter Four

He brushed his fingers over her cheek, giving her goosebumps. “Let me call you a cab then.”

“My car.”

“I’ll have someone drop it off if you give me your address. I promise it’ll arrive there safely.”

“Okay.”

He smiled, leaning down to brush another kiss across her lips. It was barely a ghost of a touch, but it sent little shocks of pleasure dancing over her skin. He kept her pressed against him as he fished his cell out of his pocket and called the cab company and she rested her head against his chest, enjoying the sound of his voice and the steady beat of his heart. “Are you falling asleep on me beautiful?” He asked and she looked up at him, another blush crawling up her neck.

“No, I um…I just feel surprisingly comfortable in your arms” The smile that stretched across his face was endearing and made him all the more kissable but she knew if they kissed any more things would end up going much further tonight and she didn’t want to seem easy. When the cab came she felt the slightest tug of sadness but left with a smile. They had plans for next weekend and she could wait until then. She seemed to need a cold shower anyway with how quickly such innocent contact had heated her up. Once home she started stripping then laid on the bed to call Ashley.

“How did it go?” were the first words out of her mouth “His house is beautiful”

“ohhhhh his house” she said suggestively, causing Marissa to laugh “we didn’t have sex but we did kiss”

“is he a good kisser?”

“Oh yes, I wanted him right then and there but I didn’t want to be easy. Most men like to work for it even though they wont admit it”

“I’m really glad you found him”

“we’re going for dinner this weekend”

“did he ask or did you”

“he did”

“damn girl, got him around your finger”

“hardly”

“still, I think it looks good for you.”

“me too, I’m going to get some sleep though”

“alright, goodnight girl”

“goodnight” They hungup and Marissa took that much needed shower before settling into bed so she could be well rested for work. The week droned by but she made it to the weekend, happy when he arrived at her house she was slightly embarrassed because his was so much nicer but he didn’t seem like the type to look down on her for it so she decided not to worry too much.

She smoothed her skirt against her body and tucked her hair behind her ear. She had bought another brand new outfit for tonight and even new jewelry. He made her feel like a new woman so she didn’t feel she had any other choice. Plus, he was always dressed so nicely. she didn’t want to feel like a slob next to him.
“You look lovely, Marissa” his voice was husky yet smooth as he said her name.
“Thank you” she looked down at her feet but he tilted her chin so her eyes would meet his.
“You don’t have to do that you know, you don’t have to look down every time I compliment you. I admit, it’s adorable but you should take more pride in yourself. You are beautiful, you have to know that, right?”

Instead of answering him she took his hand and started walking towards his car. She was eager for the night to begin, she had waited all week to see him again and it had almost been her defeat. He opened the car door for her and she slid into the passenger seat. She caught him looking at her legs once she was settled in and he quickly looked away. She felt the blood rush to her cheeks and let her hair down from behind her ear to hide it.

“Where to first?” she inquired.

“It’s a surprise” he answered with a sly smile. She loved surprises and was glad that he was taking the chance. The drove for about 20 minutes, traffic being light for the weekend in the city. They arrived at a elegant restaurant and he pulled up to the front of the building. He walked to her door and opened it, offering her his hand. He handed the keys to the valet and took her hand. The staff opened the doors for them and told them to follow. Marissa was quite confused as they walked in and instead of being seated, they were walked up a beautiful winding staircase.

“Close your eyes” he said. She laughed nervously and did as he requested.

“What could he possibly have in mind?” she wondered.

He placed his hands on her shoulders, the feel of them causing goosebumps to cover her skin as he gently guided her. She could hear a door being opened, the smell of food hitting her nose. Soft music played around her and she couldn’t help but get lost in the lilting tune. She heard him thank someone and then the door closed. “Can I look now?” She asked.

“Yeah, go ahead and open your eyes.”

She slowly opened them, gasping when she saw the beautifully decorated room. There was a lot of art on the walls, old and expensive looking that she knew she could admire for days if given the chance. All artificial light had been turned off and was replaced by the soft glow of candles positioned around the room for the best effect. A table stood in the middle, recently plated food still steaming and a bottle of champagne chilling next to it. “Wow.” She finally managed to say.

“I was hoping you would like it.” He guided her over to the table and pulled out her chair. Once she was settled he went over to the far wall and pulled back a pair of large curtains. “The view is pretty spectacular too, though it’s much better now that you’re here.”

“You’re so sweet” she said with a ridiculous smile she was trying to force down. Nobody had ever done anything remotely like this for her before so she felt incredibly happy but she definitely didn’t want to be wearing a smile so big it looked ridiculous. He sat down, grinning confidently, not seeming to have a single worry in the world. She would do anything for a life like his. So far he seemed like he had everything a man could want, good looks, money, any girl he wanted, surrounded by things he enjoyed and she thought once more about the good looks part. He opened the bottle with ease and soon poured them each a glass of wine “I have others if you hate it. This one is my favorite.”

“I’m yet to find a wine I dont like” she answered then took a sip to try it. “wow, that is really good” he smiled happily “good, I can tell you mean that.”

“worried I’d lie?”

“I take you for the type who worries about being rude. Normally people like that will say they like something just because it was served to them, to spare feeling”

“I’ll be honest, don’t worry”

“good, I’d prefer that. You’re sweet but I’d rather know if you don’t like something” she noticed the candles were scented “wow, what is that smell coming off them?”

“try and guess, I’ll give you the answer but it’s fun to have people guess”

She was surrounded by scents of lavender and spice but couldn’t quite get it right. They decided to eat and she was nervous to eat in front of him.
“Please stop looking down Marissa, I love looking into your eyes.”
Marissa looked up at him and could tell he was being sincere. She couldn’t for the life of her figure out why he was so intrigued by her. She didn’t feel exceptionally special yet he made her feel so. She giggled as she felt the champagne lift her spirits up. She felt unusually open and free to be herself.
“What is it about me that you find so interesting Nick? I cannot figure out why a man of your stature would be interested in someone as simple as me.”
Nick looked at her, he seemed troubled as clouds rumbled in his eyes. She had upset him and quickly regretted asking.
“You do not give yourself enough credit. You are a beautiful, sweet and sincere person and I need you to see that. I cannot bare you to think so little of yourself. It upsets me that you do not see why I need you.”

“Need me?” Marissa asked, becoming confused. Nick stood up from his chair and walked to her. He knelt down to eye level and wouldn’t take his gaze away.

“Marissa, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you the truth but yes. I need you. I know that you just met me but we have belonged together since the beginning of time. I’m asking you to just trust me, be with me. You are so beautiful, I cannot bare the thought of not having you in my life.”
Marissa drew in a sharp breath. Her head was spinning trying to comprehend what was happening. She had just met this man. Yes, she could agree that she instantly felt connected to him but she wondered what his words meant.

“I don’t understand Nick, but I trust you.” She felt that she had to. She had to find out more, find out everything. There was so much going on and she couldn’t wrap her head around it but she knew that she belonged here. She had never felt something so strongly. He rose up, placing his hands on her face, reaching down and kissing her. It was different than before. Before it had been soft, inviting, but now there was passion, a need for her. She couldn’t help but be sucked in and her body followed.

“Shall we take our night else where?” Nick asked.

“I would like that very much” Marissa blushed. She knew what was meant by his invitation. He wanted to take her to bed and she couldn’t deny that she wanted to go with him. Her body was already screaming at her, blood hot and rushing throughout her entire body. She knew she was wet and was embarrassed for being so ready. She couldn’t help it, there was something about him that she wanted so badly. Nick’s car was brought around and he opened the door for her, as always. He got in and kissed her once more before starting the drive to his home. As he drove his hand rested on her leg, stroking her soft skin. His fingers trailed unknown marks and she could feel the immense heat coming from him. All she wanted was for him to touch her, for his fingers to rise up her thigh slowly, feeling his way to her. She kept her desires at bay, not wanting to seem to eager. She wanted to play it right with him, she wanted everything to be perfect.

She didn’t remember the drive to his place, too focused on him, she only knew that they were there and he was getting out to come around and open her door. He handed her out and guided her through the front door. The moment it was closed his lips were against hers, his hands sliding down to her bottom and lifting her so she wrapped her legs around his waist. Her back being pressed against the wall brought her back to her senses and she gently pushed him back. “Too fast.” She managed to say. “Slower, please, just a little slower.”

He chuckled. “Sorry, I can’t help myself.” He brushed more kisses onto her lips, making her shiver. “I can go as slow as you need me too.” He teased as he turned away from the wall and carried her upstairs. His lips worked their way over her chin to her neck, his teeth nipping, his tongue caressing until a little moan slipped out of her mouth.

Chapter Five

This only fueled his desire more. He gripped her tighter into his body, he could feel himself getting hard against her. He wanted her so badly, he had to have her, at any cost. He just couldn’t afford to let her into his secret just yet. He didn’t want to frighten her away. He knew that if he could just get her to feel the same way about him as he felt for her then his secret won’t seem so daunting. He knew he was being selfish by including her into his world but he couldn’t resist. She was the spitting image of Adeline, his one true love. He hadn’t seen or touched her in more years than he cared to count. He would make sure that the same thing that happened to Adeline wouldn’t happen to Marissa. He would protect her no matter what. She was his now and he was hers. He laid her gently on the bed, his hands running down her side, down her thigh, slowly lifting up her tight skirt.

She started to unbutton his shirt, kissing his neck and trailing her soft lips down his chest. He had the perfect body, he was lean and strong and she could feel his muscles rippling under her lips. Her skirt was off now and he was kissing her stomach as she lifted her shirt above her head. She closed her eyes and reveled in the feel of his hot kiss on her body. His kisses trailed up from her stomach to her breasts. She reached back and unclasped her bra, letting her breasts lay thick and heavy on her chest. He nuzzled between them, kissing more passionately the closer he got to her breasts. She threw her head back and let out a moan. She had been waiting for this for so long, just to feel his body against hers.

As he suckled her breasts he slid her panties down her legs, off her ankles. He lifted her up onto him, easing her as he went slow. She had never felt such bliss and pure ecstasy. He was like nothing she had ever experienced before, every nerve in her body was igniting like electricity. He filled her completely and it wasn’t long before she was exploding in pleasure, screaming out. They were completely in sync, their rhythm their breath. Everything they did, they did it together. They thrashed in passion, exploring each other’s bodies completely, Marissa had never felt so vulnerable. She shared every inch of herself with him, feeling no shame, only pure joy. They came together, clutching each other’s bodies as close as they could possibly be without becoming one. They moaned together, climaxing together at the same time. Everything in this moment was perfect. There was nothing that could ruin this breathtaking moment.

When they both were spent he held her tightly, raining kisses over her cheek and across her shoulder, hoping this wasn’t too much. Not all woman enjoyed an affectionate man, especially if they barely knew him but he just couldn’t help himself. He knew this, no matter what happened between them would be a memory he held on to for eternity.Her breath slowly returned to normal as she laid there. He was making her feel so cared about with his affectionate kisses. She felt like this was more than a hookup to him, like he felt this amazing connection she did somehow. She wanted to say something but no words could do this moment or what just happened any justice.

“are you satisfied?” He rolled his eyes inwardly “are you satisfied? what sort of stupid question was that? Now she probably really would think he was weird.

“Absolutely, that was…well it was magical. What about you?”

He smiled as he pressed another kiss to those soft lips. “More than satisfied, I’m in absolute bliss.”

Marissa felt a blush creep up her neck and into her face which she quickly hid behind her hands. “You’re so unfair, everything about you is just so, so unfair.”

He moved to lay beside her, his arms pulling her close. “Come on now, look at me.” She shook her head and he kissed her fingers. “Please?”

She slowly moved them and the way his eyes seemed to shimmer with love took her breath away. Her heart ached for him. She didn’t understand this, this intense need for him. She felt so safe in his arms, her entire body relaxing completely against the heat of his. She felt a little sadness start to creep in and he gently stroked her cheek, seeming to read her. His eyes questioned and she took a deep breath and asked, “Could I stay?”

“I would love nothing more, in fact it would make me very happy.”

She laid there, so happy. She couldn’t wait to tell Ashley everything that had happened. Marissa knew you shouldn’t kiss and tell but who could resist when the story is this good? She snuggled in tighter against him, feeling his heat started to make her throb but she didn’t want to go again quite yet. She just wanted to lay next to him and enjoy his presence. She took a deep breath in a smelled his scent, it was intoxicating. She closed her eyes and slowly drifted to sleep.

Marissa opens her eyes, not recognizing where she is. She seems to be in an old cabin somewhere. She rolls over and see’s Nick sleeping soundly, only he looks different. His hair is longer and his beard is grown out but he is still as handsome as ever. Pulling off the covers she stands up, looking around. “Everything looks so, , out of date” she thinks to herself. Peering out a window she see’s a beautiful field of lavender surrounded by dense woodlands. She had no idea where she was but for some reason she felt at peace, at home.

“Adeline, come lay with me for just a while longer. I can never have enough of your love.” Nick chuckles and pats playfully on the bed.

“Adeline?” she wonders to herself. She finds herself walking over to him but she doesn’t know why. She crawls into bed, locking eyes with her lover as he kisses her gently.

“I love you Adeline. I love you and our unborn child.” He gazes at her lovingly, full of admiration.
Marissa looks down quickly and is stunned by what she see’s. She is pregnant, carrying child and has to be at least 7 months along.

“I don’t understand” she says to him, still confused. He looks at her puzzled, and grabs her hand.

“It will be alright, I will protect you for all of eternity.”

“Hey”

“Hey”

“HEY!” Marissa’s eye’s fly open. She collects her bearings, trying to figure out where she was. She didn’t recognize the ceiling but the voice next to her set her fears to bed.

“I didn’t think you would ever wake up, I started to worry.” Nick says to her, “It’s nearly noon.”

“I’m so sorry, I was having the strangest dream.”

“Was I in it?” he plays coyly.

Marissa smiles and blushes nodding yes. She didn’t want to go into details with him, embarrassed about having family dreams with him when they only just met. Nick grabs her waist and pulls her on top of him. She leans down to kiss him, her hair cascading around his face. They stay locked in that embrace for what feels like an eternity.

“I do not want to leave you but I must be getting home.” She feels disappointed that she has to leave but knows she shouldn’t lurk around too much. She didn’t want it to get awkward and loved how things are coming together.

“I’ll call you a cab then. When will I see you again?” She notices a hint of desperation in her voice and finds it strange.

“I’d love to have you over for dinner tomorrow night, although my house is nothing compared to yours.”

“I would love to come for dinner Marissa.” She smiled, knowing that she would see him soon.

He felt sadness flowing through him as he watched her get ready to leave. When the cab came they pressed their lips into one another one more time before he let her leave. He remarked to himself again how similar he was to his Adeline. Having this woman, having Marissa was like having a second chance. He didn’t know if that was an insult to Adelines memory or if it was unfair to Marissa but he needed this, he needed her. He couldn’t be alone any longer, he couldn’t mourn the rest of his life. He had already been mourning so many years.

He didnt’ know what to do with himself while he waited to see her again so he decided to take advantage of an open invitation he always had to one of his friends houses. He didn’t get out much but Nick didn’t care. It was nice to have somewhere he could go at the drop of a hat. He called to be sure then went over to waste with a good friend. Marissa was texting Ashley all that morning, giving her what might be too much detail to most but between them nothing was really too much information.

When Marissa wasn’t working she went to the store in hopes something would inspire her. She had no idea what to cook and she often found her best inspiration for meals while walking around the store. It was a half hour later when she finally started throwing things in the buggy and walking around with purpose. She had the perfect idea and hoped he’d love it. When she made it to check out she had a huge smile, a slight tint in her cheeks since their night of passion was never far from her mind.

Nick called when she started cooking and her heart did a little flip as she answered and cradled the phone between her shoulder and head. “Hey.” She said, unable to keep the smile out of her voice.

“Hello gorgeous, I was heading over and wanted to know if I should grab anything.”

“Maybe some wine?”

“What kind?”

“Surprise me, you have such good taste.”

He chuckled. “I’ll be there soon then.” Nick hung up before he told her he loved her. He didn’t want to push to hard, not after the wonderful night he had had with her. He didn’t even know if she felt the same in this life. He wanted to give her time to say it first.

He arrived with a dated Cabernet and a smile. Marissa opened the door, still slightly embarrassed by her, in comparison, much smaller home. He saw the look in her eyes.
“You have a beautiful home” he said to her, genuinely meaning every word.
“Thank you Nick, you don’t have to be so kind.”
“Of course I do” and he planted a kiss on her forehead. Their relationship felt much like months rather than days and Marissa didn’t know if she should be anxious about this fact or thankful. She thought about the last time she saw him and the blood rushed to her cheeks. He noticed her blushing and chuckled. Grabbing her waist, he playfully lifted her to wrap her legs around him.
“Thinking about this?” he teased. She kissed him long and hard with no shame and then suddenly smelled smoke.
“Shit!” she shrieked frantically. She ran to the oven and pulled out her white wine roast which was a little too crisp.
“Well, do you like Chinese?”
Nick started laughing. “You never could cook Adeline.”
They both froze. He realized what he had just done and was kicking himself as hard as he mentally could. She probably thought Adeline was his last girlfriend and he had just ruined everything. He didn’t know about the dream.
Her mind was whirling. He had called her Adeline. Something about that name sounded so familiar. “Wait!” she thought. Adeline was the name he called her in her dream. “But how could that be?” she wondered frantically.
“Why did you call me Adeline?” she asked cautiously. She was more scared than she was upset. How had he known, after all? He was at a lose for words.

“Please say something, I need you to explain to me why you called me that? H..how did you know about my dream?”

“your dream” the fact she had a dream about it made him able to speak “Isn’t that why you called me that? I had a dream…your hair was longer and your beard, we were obviously together. It was set back a long time ago though I’m not really sure when” He took a shaky inhale at the realization, at the knowing this really was Adeline. Marissa was without a doubt now her reincarnation. It explained everything to him, how he was finally able to love again, how he felt such strong emotion for her so quickly “Adeline” he said more emotionally “that may have been a dream but it was a memory”

“a memory?”

“yes, we were together in your past life. We were married and happy. I’ve been so broken without you.” everything was just spilling out, he had no control or even a desire to stop. She had to know everything, she had to be with him again now that he knew without a doubt who she was. “You are just like you were baby, down to how adorably inept you are at cooking. I haven’t stopped loving you” He may as well say it now, now that everything else had spilled from him.

He couldn’t tell what she was thinking, especially now that she was shocked into silence, obviously mulling over everything he said and possibly the dream she had. He couldn’t be lieing, how could he have really known about her dream and she felt it too, this connection like they were meant for one another. She had a soulmate, one so meant for her that they found each other in her next life but that meant something else entirely. He looked the same age as her. If this was her second life and he was still in the previous one, how in the hell did he look so young.

Chapter Six

” I don’t understand, if it was a memory, how are you still here? Are you reincarnated also?”
Nick thought for a moment on how to answer her without setting alarm. He started slowly, cautiously, telling her the tale of how he came to be who he is.
” It all started long ago, back in 1885. We were together, we were happy. You were with child and our lives couldn’t have been more perfect if we had planned it ourselves. We were nestled on the edge of town, away from everyone, far from harms way. It couldn’t stop it though, the plague. You went to town for toys for the baby, not knowing that would be the last trip you would ever take. You contracted the plague and grew deathly ill.”
Marissa slowly sat down, listening incredulously to everything Nick was telling her. You couldn’t make this up.

“I searched far and wide for a cure for you and was told of a witch. It was my only option to save you and the baby. I was desperate. I left you in our home to find her. When I reached her I begged her to save you. She agreed but told me there would be a price. I told her I would pay anything and everything that I had. She accepted without naming what the price exactly was and we were on our way back to you. I was overcome with joy that I was successful at finding a cure. Our family could finally be whole again. I wouldn’t have to lose you, I couldn’t bare the thought. But I was too late. When we reached the cabin you were already gone, if only just for minutes. I was distraught but pleaded with her to save the child and so she did. She held the child in her arms and I knew that I could survive this tragic lose. When she turned to go, still clutching our child, I was confused.

I shouted, demanded she explain herself. She told me there was a price and that my first born was it. I was enraged and fought her to claim our precious daughter back. She was infuriated and put a curse on me to live the rest of my life left to watch everything that I love grow old and die before me. She escaped with the child and I was left alone and broken. I never found her again, when I went to her cabin, it was bare, she stole our baby girl and disappeared. I have searched for her ever since and to this day. I have followed rumor after rumor only to be lead to dead ends. When I first saw you I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought I had finally died and passed over into your arms. You are my Adeline and I cannot bare to lose you again.”
Nick stared at Marissa, begging her to say something, to express what she was thinking or feeling. She looked up to him and was only able to mutter two words.
“Holy shit.”

“Marissa, you must believe me. I know it’s a lot to take in, but it’s true.” She really looked terrified as she stood there, one hand pressed tightly to her stomach, seemingly remembering the child that had been there. “Marissa would you look at me please?” He reached for her slowly, his fingers gently tipping her head back. A myriad of emotions played across her face, fear, confusion, recognition and he couldn’t blame her, he knew how this sounded. “I’m sorry to put all of this on you, but I love you.”

“Me or Adeline?”

“You, always you, no matter where you go you are the other half of my heart.” He lifted her hand and pressed her palm against his chest. “It beats only because of you. It’s like the missing parts of my soul have been put back and I am whole once again.”

She still wasn’t saying much so he said “let me order that food. What would you like?”

“shrimp lo mein” an answer, it was so good to hear her voice again. He got on the phone and ordered two of that since food wasn’t what he cared about right now. This was a pivotal moment. How she reacted would decide his entire future. Would he have to continue suffering alone or would he get to be with her. He just wanted to hold her. He wanted to protect her this time around. They ate in relative silence but she did eventually say “I believe you”

“you do?”

“yes, I feel it’s true. I’m sure now that I know it will all come back to me. I mean, that dream”

“even if it doesn’t it doesn;t matter to me”

“but you want her”

“I told you sweetheart, I want you”

“would you kiss me again?” she wanted to feel that connection now that she knew. She wondered if it would help more memories flood in. He was more than happy to oblige and met their lips. They both let out a small moan and just as she hoped her mind started filling with memory after memory. Her eyes grew damp and he stopped kissing her to wipe away the tears “Marissa” he said softly “are you okay?”

“Yeah, sorry, this is just all so overwhelming.” Her hands framed his face and he closed his eyes as he relaxed into her touch. “You’re really real, you’re not just a dream.”

He smiled as he pressed their foreheads together. “You too, I’m glad I found you again. I’m going to find a way to keep you forever or break this spell. I can’t watch you grow old, I won’t.” He pulled back and smiled at her, the look in his eyes so warm and loving it nearly overwhelmed her. “Would you consider marrying me again?”

“Marrying you?”

“You don’t have to answer now, just consider it. I want you to be sure. I love you immensely and if you want to keep things as they are, I won’t argue with you. Just having you here and your willingness to believe me are enough. So please think about it, about us.”

“This is all so much to take in Nick. I don’t think I can answer that right now. Please, I’m not saying no, I just need time to think. I just found out that you are immortal and I’m reincarnate of your one true love. I need to wrap my head around what that means. It explains so much about you and about our connection, even why I never felt close to anyone until I met you.”
Nick’s face grew solom but he understood. He felt foolish for asking her during all of this mess. He wanted to hold her but didn’t know if it was what she wanted. He decided it was worth the risk. He walked next to her, pushing the Chinese out of the way, and just held her. He never wanted to let go.
“Nick?”
“Yes dear, anything.”
“Make love to me.”
Without another word he picked her up and carried her upstairs. He found her room and laid her gently on the bed. This wasn’t like before, it was softer, more compassionate. She was the one who was desperate for his touch this time. She wanted to feel their connection and know that what he told her was true.
They laid together after they made love, holding each other without a word. She took this time to take everything in, to comprehend what he had told her. Even though she knew it to be true she still had a hard time believing everything. “Witches, immortal men, curses?” she thought to herself. Everything she expected in a fairy tale was true. It was incredulous.
“Tell me the story of our love Nick, I want to hear everything.” and so he did.

As he told her everything so much emotion tore through her that it strengthened her belief this is all true, everything he said. What he was saying inspired strong feelings, the kind of feelings you’d only have if they were your own memories. She listened intently, eager for every sentence he said to her. She not only wanted to know more, her very soul begged for more knowledge of them, of their happy life before it was all torn away by illness and that wretched witch. He was still talking to her late in the night, there was so much to tell after all. He finally decided to suggest rest “you need sleep” he kissed her cheek “I’ll tell you more tomorrow’

She knew he was right and she wanted toi be fully awake so she wouldn’t miss a single detail. It was easy to fall asleep, his stories had been so comforting and uplifting. They seemed to truly have an amazing and healthy relationship last time around. Sure he could just be making it all up, how perfect it was but her could felt it was true. He wasn’t exaggerating anything, it was all really that wonderful.

She fell asleep and the last thought running through her mind were “Maybe I will marry him”.
When she woke up, Nick wasn’t by her side. She was alarmed at first but told herself that was silly, he was probably in the kitchen getting something to eat. She stood and got dressed, eager to see him. She wanted to know more about their past. She wandered downstairs and heard Nick speaking with someone on the phone. He sounded upset and she didn’t want to disturb him.
“Just find out if it’s her!” he raised his voice but she could tell he was trying to be quiet so that she wouldn’t here. He must be talking about the witch! Could he really have found her after 132 years? She didn’t want to get her hope up. He had told her that every time he found a lead it ended up being false or she was already gone. Suddenly he came around the corner and bumped right into Marissa.
“I’m sorry” she stammered “I didn’t mean to listen in. I didn’t want to interrupt you. Is it true? Do you have a lead on the witch?”
“I do, but my heart refuses to have hope. I have failed so many times before. I will look for her with this lead but I’m not expecting anything, she always seems to know when I am coming. I don’t understand how but it seems true. They say she isn’t alone, that there is a woman with her. I have heard this before but one hundred years ago. Is this the same woman or is she trapping other helpless souls. I have to admit Marissa, if this is the same woman, I wonder if it is our daughter, forced to wander the Earth with her doing her bidding.”
“Oh Nick! It can’t be! Do you really think that our daughter is still alive? Could it be?”
“It could be Marissa, she has the power. She must have spelled her the same as me, but it may not be her. We mustn’t get our hopes up.”
Marissa couldn’t help but get her hopes up. She had always wanted a child, never knowing that she had already had one in a past life. Nick’s lead was in Germany so he booked his flight right away. Marissa begged to come with but he forced her to stay. He knew it wasn’t safe and could never bear losing her again. He would go on this lead alone, in hopes of finding not only the witch but the daughter that was so cruelly taken away from him and Adeline.

Marissa paced in her home, struggling with the fact he had made her stay behind. If that witch did have their daughter what might their daughter think? How would she feel about the fact her mother didn’t come for her aswell but waited a safe distance away. She didn’t want to start their relationship out on the wrong foot and she was starting to regret allowing a man, even one she loved to force her into anything. What was being safe here if anything happened to Nick or their daughter. What was being safe here if her daughter felt Nick loved her more because he braved the witch. She was starting to feel tempted to book tickets and just follow him.

If they were going to be together he wouldn’t be her boss anyway so if he over reacted to her coming, even out of concern for her safety should she even be with him again. She sighed, hating feeling this conflicted and this unsure about her choice to allow Nick to make her stay. She ended up booking a ticket, the consequences would be the consequences. There wasn’t another flight available until the next day but at least she was going, at least she could look her daughter in the eye and say she was willing to come and risk it all too because she loved her.

Chapter Seven

Even though Marissa carried fear in her heart, she knew she was doing the right thing. She didn’t care if Nick yelled at her or hated her for it, she had to do this. She packed light, not knowing what the future held for her. She arrived at the airport early, her anxiety taking over. Even when she got there ,she had no idea where to go next. She had a few clues from evesdropping on Nick’s phone calls but that was it. It was a start though and a start was all that she needed. She had over heard Nick talking about the Hotel Torbraeu in Munich. It was pricey and almost out of her range but she scrounged up her last few dollars in her oh crap fund and hoped she could find him before having to book a room. Her thoughts were racing and her stomach felt like there was a thousand wings fluttering at the same time. At one point she thought she might get sick but she sat down and focused on her breathing to calm herself down. She had never actually been on a plane before for the sole reason of being too afraid to board one. She didn’t see any way around it this time though if she wanted to be there for her daughter, if it even was her daughter. Even though they weren’t sure, she felt as if it was true in her heart. She heard the load booming voice over the intercom calling her flight number and allowing passengers to board. She boarded her flight, buckled herself in, and closed her eyes. She hoped she could sleep the whole trip, for fear that she might not be able to keep from getting sick the next time. Before she knew it, they were landing in Munich and a flight attendant was gently nudging her shoulder to wake her. She breathed a sigh of relief for making it without any trouble. She exited the airport and went to flag a taxi. She suddenly panicked. She never considered the fact that they might not speak English and she didn’t know a single word of German. She flagged down a taxi anyways and crossed her fingers. She quickly pulled out her phone and pulled up the quickest translator. She was slightly embarrassed, knowing that she was butchering the language but she tried anyways.
“Wohin sehen sie?” the taxi driver asked.
Marissa cleared her throat and read from her phone. “Spechen sie Englisch?
The taxi driver laughed. “Yes ma’am, the majority of us do speak English.”
She sighed a breath of relief, at least things were going right so far.
“Can you take me to Hotel Torbraeu?”
“Of course Madame.”
They arrived at the hotel about 15 minutes later and she had taxi driver help her with converting the money. She had gotten Euros at the airport but couldn’t remember the conversion rate. He was a kind man though and helped her through it. She grabbed her bag and walked up to the counter.
“How can I help you Miss?” the nice attendant asked her. Marissa realized at that point that she had been holding her breath and suddenly felt light headed.
“I’m here to join Nick Abrams please.” She made sure to speak confidently so that there was no suspicion. She didn’t know the rules in Germany and wasn’t so sure they would give her the information.
“I’m sorry, Mr.Abrams didn’t mention he had another guest joining him. His room only fits two.”
“Two?” She thought to herself. “Who else is with him?”
“Can you please provide me his room number so that I can unload my things. I’ve had a long flight and would like to rest.”
The attendant looked at her apprehensively and picked up the phone.
“Excuse me Mr. Abrams, I do not mean to disturb you. There is a, ” She paused, “What was your name Miss?”
“Marissa Knowles” she responded.
“There’s a Miss Marissa Knowles at the desk stating that she is joining you? Ok, I understand. Will you be needing another bed? Ok, sir. Right away sir. ” She hung up the phone and smiled at Marissa. “He stated that he must have forgot to mention your arrival. I am truly sorry Miss. Here is your room key and the information you requested.”
Marissa was relieved but was still nervous of Nick’s reaction. She knew he must be furious with her but she didn’t care. She boarded the elevator and pushed the number 3 for their floor. She arrived at the door numbered 348 which matched her hotel key, and hesitated. She prayed that he would understand. Before she even knocked, Nick opened the door. Marissa was ready for a full on fight but the first thing he did was swoop her into his arms and kiss the side of her head. Marissa was surprised as this was not the reaction that she suspected.
“What in the world are you doing here Marissa?”
“I had to be here Nick, I wanted our daughter to know that I fought for her too and that I didn’t abandon her.”
There were tears in her eyes begging to flow over but she quickly wiped them away. Nick’s face softened and he pulled her into his arms once more. She hugged him, feeling relieved that he wasn’t going to yell at her. She caught movement out of the corner of her eye and that’s when she spotted Nick’s other guest. Marissa froze, she was absolutely beautiful. Magnificent even. Marissa was so confused. Nick noticed the sudden change in mood and followed her gaze.
“Oh, Marissa this is Natalia. She is the woman who had been helping me track the witch for the past 5 years. We met in Prague and she has been helping me ever since.”
Marissa could tell that Nick was nervous and there was a slight tint to his cheeks. What was their relationship? Marissa started to wonder if Nick was cheating on her but then remembered that there were already two beds. She quickly threw those thoughts away and shunned herself for letting past relationships affect new.
“It’s, It’s nice to meet you Natalia.” She stammered. She couldn’t help it, she was so stunning. Let the adventure begin.

“It’s nice to meet you too.” reading teh feeling in the room easily she assured Marissa “there has never been anything romantic between us and he’s been telling me about you since he arrived, I promise you that. Men are stupid as I’m sure you’ve already learned. He just didn’t have the brain to tell you I’d be here”

“Oh” came stammering out and they both blushed more. Natalia ndged him “tell her you’re sorry Nick, damn, she should have known I’d be here, especially since you insisted she not come. You look like a dog right now and I know you love her so apologize like you should”

“sorry Marissa” he said, looking worried he might have messed things up already after missing her for so long.

“It’s alright, I’m sorry I worried. How stupid of me.”

“Not stupid at all, if you like I can slap him for being inconsiderate.” Natalia said.

“No, it’s fine really.”

“I was in such a hurry to get here, I didn’t think my love.” Nick brought her fingers to his lips and pressed a gentle kiss to them.

“You should get you two your own room, we really don’t need the staff talking.” Natalia said. “Afterwards come back and we’ll explain things more thoroughly.”

“Of course, I’ll only be a moment, would you like to come with me Marissa or stay here with Natalia?”

“I’ll stay, I’d like to get to know her.”

“Alright.” He kissed her lips then left the two women alone.

Natalia sighed. “So inconsiderate. I am truly sorry, he’s nice but can be a real meat head sometimes. I’m truly happy he finally found you.”

“It’s truly a miracle” Natalia said. “Who would have thought that he would get another chance?”
Marissa smiled, looking down. She was still processing everything that was going on, even though it felt natural to her.

“Please, Natalia, tell me how you two met.”

Natalia thought about where to begin for a moment and then started.

“I was only 18 when we met. It was by chance really. My family has been tracking the witch for generations, never able to keep up. She wronged a family member of mine over one hundred years ago and my family has never let it go. It’s almost our life mission, I guess you could say. We have a gift in our family that she took from one of my ancestors for fear that it would be her undoing. She failed to know about his kin. We are able to sense magic. We know when it is near, we dream about it, premonitions if you will. If have been so close, but her magic is ancient and magnificent. She is the strongest witch in existence and we must find her. She is here, I can feel it. I have seen her in my dreams with another woman. To be honest, she looks a lot like you, I just never realized it until I saw you. This may actually be your daughter, tragically taken from you so many years ago. I’m so happy that Nick found you. I hope you can forgive him, he may be extraordinary, but in the end, he is still just a man, and men are very forgetful.”

They chuckled together and Marissa’s heart was set at ease. She knew she already loved Nick, even though it had been such a short amount of time. She was born to love him and she knew he loved her as well. Her heart was almost exploding in her chest of the realization that the woman with the witch was probably her daughter that she never knew she had. What an interesting world she lived in.

When Nick returned Marissa hugged him to make sure he knew they were okay, especially since he still looked incredibly embarrassed and worried. He relaxed in her arms, placing a gentle kiss on her head. He had wanted her safely back in her home but he had to admit to himself it was nice to have her close. He started missing her from teh second he left her home. It hadn’t been that long but it felt to him he hadn’t seen her in weeks. He knew one thing for sure now. On any future trip Marissa was coming no matter the danger, especially since she would just follow anyway, “How much have you explained?” He asked “all the basics. Want to know more Marissa?”

“anything you want to tell me but I understand how you came to work together”

“good” he couldn’t help but run his knuckles softly down her soft cheek.She smiled at him and Natalie laughed, thinking they were adorable.

They ate a great meal and rested up for the trials ahead. Marissa didn’t know what to expect and felt a little behind since Nick and Natalia had done these hunts many times.

“Natalia, we will follow your senses, you will be our guide. Marissa, please stay in the middle while we hunt. I want protection all around you. I will not let anything happen to you again. ” He stroked her cheek and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead.

They packed light and headed out to the last place that Natalia felt the witches magic the strongest. Natalia knew that she hadn’t been here long and left hours ago. She cursed herself for not going out at night but knew at the same time that going out alone would have been suicide.

“She was here not too long ago Nick. I can feel her. ” She felt confident that she could track her but knew she would need all of her strength. She closed her eyes and felt for the magic. It wasn’t like normal magic that Natalia could feel on occasions, it was dark, heavy and full of dismay. She opened her eyes and started walking, without saying a word. Nick and Marissa followed without disturbing her concentration. They walked for what seemed like hours and Marissa didn’t know how much longer she could keep going. She was too embarrassed to say anything so she just kept walking, keeping her eyes out for anything strange even though she didn’t even know who or what she was looking for. Suddenly Natalia stopped. She was concentrating harder than ever and almost seemed to be shaking.

“She is close Nick, I can feel her. It’s almost as if she is watching us. She knows we are here yet does nothing. I don’t understand.”

“We have to keep our eyes open and our guards up” said Nick. “She could be anywhere”

They continued to walk, but slower this time. Natalia’s face was distorted and she seemed confused as she came to a halt.

“Nick” she spoke softly, ” we are not following her”.

“What do you mean Natalia, what do you mean we are not following her? I thought that was what we have been doing for the last five hours!”

Natalia turned around and looked straight into Nick’s eyes. Marissa froze as she didn’t know what else to do.

“We are not following her. … She is following us Nick.”

Marissa’s skin covered in goosebumps from fear and she could see Nick was equally terrified. “what…how” was all he could say. Was this all just more torment, was she following them, making them feel like they were hunting her only to continue to torture and toy with him. Could this witch really be so evil? He wondered if her game all along was to wait for him to finally find Marissa again, maybe her game was to take her to hurt him further.. he wouldn’t allow that. Marissa was too precious to him to lose, no other woman could replace her.

Suddenly that evil cackle he remembered all too well filled the room. He instinctively grabbed Marissa while Natalia readied herself for her own revenge and to help her now close friend Nick. She came into view, almost making Marissa nauseous. The witch looked as ugly as she undoubtedly was inside but when she saw who came besides her, all the nausea fled. That beautiful young woman at her side, that was her daughter and nobody could tell her different now that she could see her.

Tears filled her eyes “my baby” Marissa said softly.

The young woman looked oddly at Marissa. The look on her face was confusion and hatred. She didn’t know that Nick and Marissa were her parents, she had been taken at birth and never knew anything other than the sound of her mother’s voice in the womb. Marissa suddenly worried that the evil witch had turned her evil. Her chest swelled with sorrow at the thought. She didn’t believe it was possible. The witch took a step forward towards Nick and Nick instinctively stepped backwards.

“I have been waiting for you Nicholas. You have been hunting me for many years, I grow weary of the trouble and wish to end it. I would suggest you say your goodbye’s to your precious as I order your own daughter to kill you!” She cackled and laughed with joy as she told the young woman to kill them all.

The young woman didn’t move. “Kill them now Julissa! Do not disobey me!”

Julissa looked at the group, and then back at the witch. “You just said I was their daughter. What do you mean? How can this be?” She looked lost and afraid.

Marissa knew then in her heart that her daughter was not evil. If she was she would have killed them all already. Marissa wondered how the witch expected this girl to kill three adults. “Had the evil witch taught her magic? Was that even possible?” Marissa pondered.

“Julissa, you don’t have to listen to her anymore” Marissa shouted. “You can come with us, come home. She stole you as a baby and we never got to know you. We never gave up on you Julissa, you must know that. ”

“Stop this nonsense!” yelled the witch. “If you won’t kill them, I will!”

The witch came forward and Marissa saw panic on Julissa’s face “No! NO!” Julissa yelled and moments later it became apparent the witch had taught their daughter magic. Julissa attacked the cruel woman who had raised her, feeling deep within her Marissa really was her mother. She would give anything for the chance at a loving home, even her life. Either way she would be done with the long, miserable life she had lead so far. “You little brat!” the witch practically growled out. The woman truly seemed more demon or animal than a human who ended up dabbling in magic. Evil had taken over her heart, changing her forever. Natalia and Nick went for the witch at the same time, one hungry for revenge while the other just wanted to protect his family and get his daughter back.

The witch surged what simply looked like blue energy into Julissa until Nicks weight knocked her down. Julissa fell to the floor, blood pouring from her ears and mouth. Marissa felt anger and sorrow swirl within her, her baby couldn’t be dead. She couldn’t have come all this way just to see her beloved daughter die. “Julissa!” Marissa sobbed, running to her before her mind even knew what she was doing. It was her instinct as a mother kicking in, that need to tend to her baby. “Julissa” she said weakly from the heartache. The witch’s attention was solely on Natalia and Nick now. They weren’t giving her the option to go after Marissa and Julissa again.

To Marissa’s surprise her daughter slowly began moving when just moments ago she looked like she was dead “fuck…you” Julissa said slowly, each word filled with heated anger. “Julissa” Marissa said her name again as her daughter slowly stood. Their daughter cast something back, her magic royal purple as it collided on teh witch. Natalia and Nick jumped back, not sure what Julissa was doing. When it came to magic if you weren’t sure good rule of thumb was to back away.

The witch shrieked and the whole building began to shake and crumble. Nicks heart went into panic, something could fall and hit Marissa or his daughter. He tried to get back over to Marissa but debris landed on him, sending him straight to the floor. The noise he made was a mixture of a yell and a groan as he got right back up, nothing was going to stop him from protecting them, absolutely nothing.

He stumbled to the rubble, determined to find them. He saw no sign of the witch. He felt a sharp pain in his side but paid it no mind, knowing that soon enough, he would heal. He heard soft groans and ran to the noise. There was a rock on Marissa’s leg that kept her from moving. Without even seeing the damage he knew it wasn’t good. He sighed a breath of relief though as he knew she wasn’t fatally injured. He tried to find Julissa but worried less, knowing that she would have the same healing ability as he. He used all of his might to lift the fallen debris off of Marissa’s thigh and pushed it successfully aside. It was bloody but he felt it wasn’t broken, thank God. All of a sudden to his left he saw debris start to move and he readied himself for battle with the witch again. To his surprise and joy it was Julissa that came from the rubble. Underneath her, shielded, was Natalia. He was so relieved to see her face that he ran to her and hugged her. She was stiff and of course didn’t know what to do, this was so new to her. How, after all this time, could she still have a father. He hugged Natalia next and thanked Julissa for shielding her from the fallen rocks.

“Where is the witch?” Nick said to her.

“I don’t know, it’s hard to say. She could be caught underneath the rubble or she could be gone. If we have the ability to heal I’m sure that she does too. It would take strong magic to destroy her and I have no idea if my magic was that strong. I don’t even know the spell that I cast, it just came out in my panic and rage.” Julissa looked concerned and ready to run.

“Please, help us, stay with us. We will make sure that she is gone for good. We need to start by searching through this rubble.”

“Okay but stay alert. I can’t imagine she has gone far and if she has gone away, she’ll be back. She is not capable of giving up, she’s too vindictive” Marissa’s heart sank a little, thinking again about the horrible life her daughter must have been living all this time. She almost felt guilty for being reborn, for living such an amazing, ignorant life of all this misery. It wasn’t fair, to Julissa or Nick that she had gotten to be happy while they continued on suffering. She put on a brave face and got up, standing though it was incredibly painful. She wouldn’t mope and she wouldn’t become a burden, she was going to help. Nick rushed back over to her, feeling stupid for leaving her but he had simply had to hug his daughter.

“Be careful” he said and she shook her head “I’m going to help look”

“you’re human Marissa, please, I don’t want you to over do it” Julissa came over, healing her mothers leg “there, now she’s fine”

Marissa was in awe of the magic that her daughter possessed. A month prior, she didn’t even know such things existed!. Now she was completely healed. She stood up and looked at Nick. She knew that he wanted her behind but she hated the thought of not helping. She knew that if she stayed she would just be another person they had to account for so resolved to go back to the hotel.
“Natalia, will you take me back while Nick and Julissa search for the witch. I don’t want to be a burden any more. ”

“Marissa, you are far from a burden, but I agree, you should go back with Natalia and wait for us there.” Nick responded. He grabbed her and kissed her with more love than she’d ever experienced.

Natalia gave her a nod and she followed behind. Nick and Julissa started through the ruble. Stone by stone they searched for the witch until every last stone was turned and she was no where in sight.

“How can this be?” shouted Nick angrily.

“She has her ways Nick, she is very powerful and you would be a fool to underestimate her. We have not seen the last of her yet, I can promise you that. She will be back as soon as she heals and it will be for the last time. Either we take her down or she will kill us all.”

Nick studied the somber expression on Julissa’s face and knew that what she said was true. He had no idea where to start and felt hopeless but then realized that Julissa had lived with her for a better part of 100 years. She would be quite knowledgeable in the witches patterns and behaviors.

“Tell me Julissa, where would she go? A secret lair or location?”

“She has many places and can hide in plain sight but i feel that i know where she has returned to. She has no idea that I know the location so she will never predict our appearance.”

That was it. They now had a plan but Nick knew that he would need Natalia to be with them. That meant leaving Marissa alone. Unfortunately, it was a risk he would have to take.

They went back to the room, surprising Natalia and Marissa. “what’s going on?” Marissa asked and he said “I’m sorry baby but our daughter has an idea. I need Natalia to come with us”

“and leave her alone?” Natalias question stung a bit, he could hear how confused she was and how much she didn’t understand his choices. “yeah, she could get hurt if she came with us’

“alright” she looked at Marissa “Please don’t chase after us this time. I know you want to help your daughter hands on but this is getting really dangerous okay” Marissa nodded and Nick hugged her “I love you, I can’t wait for this all to be over so we can just be a happy couple’ Julissa came over too “thank you for coming. It’s nice to know both my parents care”

“I’d come for this too if I were stronger”

“I know” They left and Natalia said “I know we have to think of her safety but you better hope you still have her when this is all over. I mean first you come here without telling her about me WHILE insisting she stay home and now you take every opportunity to leave her behind and take me. I know it’s because you want her safe but it can be taken another way. If you had started better and told her everything it would be fine now but I know what she means to you and I worry you’re screwing things up”

“I can’t let her get hurt. I know she understands”

“Okay” was the last thing Natalia said on the subject. They let Julissa guide them, staying close and clearing their minds. They couldn’t think about anything else now but this, their lives depended on that with such a hateful witch.

Julissa led them for what seemed like hours on end in no direction. Nick was growing weary but trusted in his daughters knowledge and abilities. They had abandoned the car three miles ago and where now drudging the dense forest.

“We are getting close” Natalia claimed “I can feel her presence. It is weak but it is there.”

“We are almost to our destination so if the link you feel is weak then I believe she must have been wounded in our last battle.” Julissa stopped and turned to each of them. “I need you to be prepared, in body and in mind. This is our one and only chance at ridding the world of this wicked once and for all. I’m afraid that if we are not successful and triumph today that we will have lost our chance forever. We will never again gain the upper hand. She has no idea that I am aware of this location but she is sure to feel us the closer that we get. She will be ready but we will still have a momentary advantage so we must be swift in action. ”

Julissa bent down and started tearing at the earth.

“What are you doing Julissa?” Nick asked.

“Ssshhhh.” she replied.

The then uncovered an oak chest, unearthed it and opened to reveal it’s treasures. There was a single blade and nothing more hidden inside.

“This and only this can kill her for sure. I knew in our previous battle that she would not be killed but I feared if you knew you wouldn’t have the reserve to weaken her the way that you have. We will rush her as quickly as we can and I will try to immobilize her with all of my might. That will be your one and only shot. You must go for her heart and her heart alone. Anywhere else will not be effective. This is the only blade spelled strong enough to defeat her. I hid this here years ago in the hope that one day I would be strong enough to use it but that day never came. I am thankful for your arrival for many reasons and this day will be the greatest day of my life. Are you ready?”

He was more than ready “lets go” They walked at a determined pace, all three of them wanting this over with once and for all. Nick just kept thinking of the wonderful life he could now live with Marissa and his daughter if he could just get rid of this wretched woman. Just as Julissa warned the witch was ready when they broke into the building she was in. She had long since sensed their presence drawing near and had been waiting with a weapon of her own. It gashed into Julissa, the witch was obviously angry at her for joining their side and was attacking with emotion rather than her brain. Nick jerked the witch off, slamming her to the floor. He went for her but the witch was much too fast and moved away. Julissa tried to offer her aide again but her magic wasn’t anywhere near the witch they now fought.

Nick feared for Julissa because he knew the witch was the only one who could take her immortal life. He senses his opportunity though as the wicked witch was so focused on Julissa that she barely gave him any thought. She surely didn’t realize that he alone wielded the only weapon that could be his downfall. Natalia had been knocked out cold but he could see her steady breathing so focused on his final move. At a particularly powerful spell cast at Julissa she seemed weakened by the amount of energy put forth. He knew this was the time. He lunged behind the witch and thrust the blade with all of his might into her back, praying that it hit it’s target and didn’t fail him. He knew that if this didn’t work that they were all dead and Marissa would be alone to deal with the witch herself. A piercing shriek shot through the rotting house louder than anyone could imagine. Nick knew he had been on point. He expected to watch her writhe in pain and see the fear in her eyes but before him erupted a tremendous amount of ash bursting into the air and slowly floating down to the Earth. She was gone. It was just like that, in a blink of an eye. He couldn’t believe that they had won, that they had defeated her once and for all. He suddenly felt his body tingling all over as if a spell had been cast upon him, but it was not a spell cast but a spell released. He knew in that moment that the magic that had cursed him had died with the witch and he would now live a normal, human life, and so would his daughter. He rushed to Natalia as she stirred and cradled her head.

“Are you hurt?” he spoke softly.

“No, I think I’m fine. I’m so sorry Nick.”

“It’s fine, she’s gone, we did it.” the incredulous amount of awe in his voice reassured her that it was true.

He couldn’t wait to tell Marissa it was all over. He could finally live a normal life with her without the fear of watching her grow old by his side. He suddenly felt the impatient urge to get to her as quickly as he possibly could.

The three of them returned to Marissa as quickly as they could, finding her sleeping safely in their hotel room. The fact it was over was almost too good to be true so he had been half worried he’d find Marissa in the witch’s clutches but no, there she was, beautiful as ever and all his. Julissa and Natalia were in another room. He had told his daughter she was welcome but she had felt it was best if her father checked on her alone. Nick didn’t push it, he knew it might be nerves. She didn’t know them at all and on top of that she had been raised by a truly terrible being. Nick laid down with Marissa, pulling her close and kissing her. They had a long way to go when it came to connecting to their little girl but the witch was gone, they had their daughter and they had all pulled through alive. That was all he needed, a peaceful life with his little family, the one he should have had all those years ago.

~ The End

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