Nelly woke , lifting her head up off the window she had been resting against. She was still on the this train with a terrible feeling in her stomach that nobody but her seemed to get. The first day she had woken confused but one of her fellow passengers explained they were all going home. The explanation had settled her at the time. It wasnâ€™t until this morning, four days later that it hit her â€śgoing home from where?â€ť She decided to ask â€śWhere have we been?â€ť another question hit her and she asked it right away â€śand where is home?â€ť The question seemed to perplex the man she asked.
He couldnâ€™t believe it, she was really pregnant â€śand you think itâ€™s been two months?â€ť
â€śYeah andâ€¦Iâ€™ve been suspicious for about a month now so Iâ€™ve had a lot of time to think. I really want to seek out my parents. Iâ€™ve wanted so badly to introduce them to you, Pretoria and Brynmor anyway and now that theyâ€™ll have, well, sort of their first grandchild itâ€™s time. I know youâ€™re scared for me to leave but you three will be right with me Reesâ€ť She had returned to him almost three years ago and as frightening as it truly was she was right so he fought down his protective instincts and agreed they should journey to find her parents. â€śHow will we find them thoughâ€ť she walked over to a nearby drawer and pulled out a necklace.
Lievon stood outside the all to familiar castle, his heart hammering in his chest, a knot forming in his throat. He couldnâ€™t even remember how long it had been since he had been here last, but he remembered the day he had been cast out. His betrayal of his friend still twisted in his heart and he knew he had no right to be here, but he needed Chthonâ€™s help. He forced himself to walk up to the front door and bang on it. He wasnâ€™t expecting the beautiful young woman who answered, but he could see both Ruth and Chthon in her.
Noxx woke from his nap to the sound of his phone going off and he sat up from where he was resting in the grass and fished it out of his pocket. His heart jumped when he saw Rubyâ€™s name. He quickly answered, worried she had had a panic attack or nightmare. He was generally pretty vigilant when it came to her. â€śIs everything alright?â€ť He asked as he got up.
â€śDo you think they had trouble on the road?â€ť Antia asked as she and Andrej waited at the front door of their home for her brothers.
â€śIâ€™m sure theyâ€™re fine my love.â€ť Andrej couldnâ€™t help but chuckle at how excited and worried she was. He could feel it. He pulled her into him and tipped her head back, adoring the blush that tinted her cheeks. â€śTheyâ€™re grown men and I am sure capable.â€ť
Wolfric and Merle had been happily married twenty four years now and had their winery for fourteen. It had taken a long time to pick the perfect location, find a good staff, get equipment and a long list of other things they hadnâ€™t known about when they decided they wanted to do this. They hadnâ€™t stressed along the way though. Getting it going was part of their enjoyment. Merle already had more money than they could spend and even though they moved to live on location Wolfric had easily gotten his business going in the area, due in no small part to Merle practically over advertising his dentist office. The winery was just fun, something for them to do as a couple so accomplishing things took however long it took.
Late one night a knock sounded at the door of their home while Wolfric was cooking dinner and his mate, Merle was in their library reading. Wolfric turned the bruners all down to low then went to answer the door, knowing his mate would be too into the book to hear the sounds of knocking. They hadnâ€™t been expected company so he simply thought it was some sort of rush delivery Merle had ordered. Just the fact it was a nicely dressed young man with no package in his hadn startled Wolfric but then when he realized the young man had a strong resemblance to him his heart began racing with confusion â€śUmâ€¦helloâ€ť the man started nervously. He was the exact same height as wolfric at 5â€™11, he had his blue eyes and blond hair but at the same time he was starting to see Merle stance, his gaze.
Keoki could see the realization and panic start to set in â€śplease, let me speak. Iâ€™m Keoki and by the look on your face I can tell you notice I look a lot like you and your husband. Iâ€™m actually kind of glad because I need you to believe me. Iâ€™m in a hurry and when my technical mother finds out Iâ€™m goneâ€¦especially where I am sheâ€™s going to lock me up so listen, please, I had to meet you.â€ť Merle didnâ€™t hear much when he was reading but his mates heart going wild was something he would never miss. Just as Keoki realized Merle was there he was being hauled inside roughly â€śmerleâ€ť Wolfric started as Merle shoved him onto the couch â€śwhatâ€™re you doing at our home so late at nightâ€ť he growled but realization was starting to hit him too. â€ślisten to him Merleâ€ť Wolfirc said and Keoki began nervously speaking again.
â€śIâ€™mâ€¦Iâ€™m sure you heard my name is Keokiâ€¦Iâ€™m your kid and I know that doesnâ€™t make any sense. You see my creator has always wanted to make a breakthrough in the scientific community by making gay couples able to have their true own children, nobody else involved besides scientists. Youâ€¦youâ€™d have to question her to know how she made me because she wont even tell me all the details but I do know Iâ€™m her first truly successful experiment. All her other ones wont grow or die before tenâ€¦thereâ€™s a five and nine year old still there but Iâ€¦I didnâ€™t want to be slowed down. I wanted to meet my parents and tell anybody about usâ€¦sheâ€™s doing what sheâ€™s doing in secret because wellâ€¦I wasnâ€™t made in the traditional senseâ€¦I dont know what to say I am besides I was made from yours and Wolfircs DNA sirâ€ť
Merle was suddenly uncomfortably close, it caused Keoki to shake. Even as he asked â€ścan you shift?â€ť
â€śbecause youâ€™re an Amarok?â€ť Keoki asked, hoping he believed him. Last time he escaped she had convinced the people that found him he was crazy and managed to get him back into her care. â€śyesâ€ť
â€śNo, Iâ€™m sorry but please still believe meâ€¦she considers that her one failure with meâ€¦I cantâ€¦sheâ€™sâ€¦sheâ€™s tried different things to try and get me to be able toâ€¦donâ€™t make me go back. I know I look nice but sheâ€™sâ€¦â€ť Merle backed up and looked at Wolfric who said â€śI think I believe him Merleâ€ť Merle nodded â€śMe too, heâ€™s ours somehowâ€ť He looked back at Keoki who was still trembling a little. â€śIâ€™m glad you made it to us. Do you know how she got her hands on our DNA?â€ť
â€śWould you know how to get back where you came from?â€ť
â€śYes but she has strong magic. You wont believe me once we go. I didnâ€™t make it here last time and the people that found meâ€ť Merle interrupted him â€śshe isnâ€™t fooling anybody anymore. Weâ€™re getting the two other children. We wont leave them to be hurt or leave her to experiment any longer. Technically what shes doing could make a lot of beings happy but the way sheâ€™s doing it sounds cruel. I can tell sheâ€™s hurt you, I believe you, we both believe you Keokiâ€ť
â€śI just donâ€™t want either of you to get hurt.â€ť He looked down. â€śYou didnâ€™t ask for any of this, but I didnâ€™t know what else to do, who else to go to.â€ť
Wolfric sat down next to him and rested a hand on his shoulder. â€śItâ€™s going to be okay.â€ť He looked up at Merle. â€śMaybe we should call my parents.â€ť
Keoki raised his head. â€śYou mean Lombard and Fatima?â€ť
â€śYou know about them?â€ť Merle asked.
â€śYeah, the woman who made me, she said I was lucky to have their genes. She said it made meâ€¦special.â€ť
â€śI think youâ€™d be special regardless.â€ť Wolfric replied.
Keoki gave them a small smile. It looked so sad. â€śThanks.â€ť
â€śWhy donâ€™t you go and call them love while I talk toâ€¦well to our son.â€ť Merle suggested.
â€śAlright.â€ť He gave Keokiâ€™s shoulder a pat then got up, letting Merle take his spot.
â€śYou donâ€™t have to call me your son.â€ť Keoki said. â€śYou didnâ€™t technically have me or anything and Iâ€™m nineteen so, itâ€™s okay.â€ť
â€śIt doesnâ€™t matter. The wolf wouldnâ€™t have it any other way. Your ours, no matter the circumstances of your birth.â€ť
Merle could see how much those words meant to Keoki even before he spoke â€śIâ€™ve always wanted something normalâ€¦to not just be a means to make future experiments successfulâ€ť
â€śshe wont have you back, I promise.â€ť
â€śdo you think Iâ€™m a coward for leaving the younger ones?â€ť
â€śYou did what you had to to make it and theyâ€™ll be helped as well. Do you know if they are ours as well Keoki?â€ť
â€śThe five year old butâ€¦Iâ€¦I dont want to get your hopes up too high. She hasnâ€™t been doing too well. My creator is expecting her to die, she doesnâ€™t even teach her anymore. I think itâ€™s because sheâ€™s so frustrated. She used the last bit of DNA she had of you two on that girl. The nine year old is from a couple in another world. My creator is a traveler. Their names are Alvah and Daray. Heâ€™s a straightforward vampire and heâ€™s still doing well. She thinks he might be the second to actually live past ten. Sheâ€™s apparently been doing this an incredibly long time though I donâ€™t know precisely how long before I was her first success.â€ť
â€śdoes sh eonly try with male couples?â€ť
â€śNo, sheâ€™s taken some female DNA too but those creations tend to not live past four. If she knows why she hasnâ€™t said but shes determined to be successful in both arenasâ€ť
â€śwhats our little girls name?â€ť Keokis expression grew a little more sad again â€śNomaâ€ť
â€śwhat does she do with you guys when youâ€¦â€ť Merle couldnâ€™t say it. He had never met this little girl but his heart still hung heavy thinking she might die before he met her. Keoki gathered what he was asking â€śsheâ€™ll burn her body. She says she cant have people finding out until she has a strong success rate with making childrenâ€ť His voice cracked a little. â€śweâ€™re just experiments. She doesnâ€™t careâ€ť Guilt was starting to overwhelm Keoki â€śI shouldnâ€™t have left them.â€ť
Merle hugged his son â€śI bet you tried to take them last timeâ€ť
â€śso you didnâ€™t this time in better hopes of making itâ€ť
â€śwe love you Keoki, for me, donâ€™t guilt yourself. Youâ€™re not responsible for how your creator treats you all. You did what you had to to get hereâ€ť Wolfric walked by on the phone, going into the kitchen to continue the meal he had just remembered. He talked to his parents until the meal was ready then rejoined Merle and Keoki in the living room â€śthey should be here soon. Why donâ€™t you come eat Keoki. I was making dinner when you came to the doorâ€ť Keoki stood â€śthank youâ€ť
~ Back where Keoki came from ~
Mauli angrily handed Nephi his dinner â€śwait, what about Nomaâ€ť
â€śLook at her, its a waste of my food at this pointâ€ť
â€śbut you have to feed her. You donâ€™t know sheâ€™s going to die! Please momma!â€ť
â€śshe hasnâ€™t gotten up all dayâ€ť
â€śbecause shes hurtâ€ť
â€śshe comes from some of the best dna Iâ€™ve ever had. If she was going to live sheâ€™d be up and about by now. Sheâ€™s a failure, maybe Iâ€™d consider feeding her if you little shits hadnâ€™t let Keoki run out of here without telling me.â€ť
â€śsheâ€™s going to die. Its time you accept that. I was still taking care of her to keep Keoki cooperative but hes gone now. Maybe heâ€™ll think twice about leaving once I get him back when he learns the consequences. I let him off too easy last timeâ€ť Mauli walked away without another word, the familiar sound of multiple locks following. Nephi walked over to Noma and shook her â€śwake up Noma, pleaseâ€ť she opened her eyes â€śwhats upâ€ť
â€śshare this food with meâ€ť she glanced at the plate â€śtheres hardly anything there. You eatâ€ť
â€śNoma, I wont eat anything if you wont share this with meâ€ť
â€śsheâ€™s probably not going to give you the old portions for awhile. Youâ€™re going to be starving as it is and momma saysâ€ť
â€śNo, she doesnt just get to decide youâ€™re going to die. I need you to try, pleaseâ€¦I donâ€™t want to be aloneâ€ť he started to sob and it gave Noma the motivation she needed to sit up â€śokayâ€¦okay Nephi Iâ€™ll eatâ€ť Nephi hugged her and Noma hugged back as best she could. She ate enough to satisfy him, feeling guilty for taking his food since she wasnâ€™t sure she was going to make it. She felt tired all the time and she knew what that meant, Mauli said that was the first sign when there were signs she was going to lose one.
When they were done Nephi stood, holding out his hand to her â€śNephi Iâ€ť
â€ślets play, lets play anything you can manage. Iâ€¦I cant watch her take you to the burn pile Noma. If she doesnâ€™t see you moveâ€¦â€ť tears were falling again so she accepted his hand â€śOkay Nephiâ€ť
â€śDo you think Keokiâ€™s going to come back this time?â€ť Nephi asked. â€śI wouldnâ€™t blame him if he didnâ€™t.â€ť
â€śHe will, you know he wanted to take us.â€ť She was so exhausted. â€śHe wonâ€™t leave us here.â€ť She gave Nephi her best smile. â€śMauli said that our parents and grandparents were special, so theyâ€™ll definitely save us.â€ť
At Wolfric and Merleâ€™s:
â€śOh my god.â€ť Fatima said when she saw Keoki. â€śLombard look at him.â€ť
â€śMom, dad, this is our son.â€ť Wolfric said. â€śKeoki, these are your grandparents.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s nice to meet you.â€ť Keoki said nervously.
â€śWould it be alright if I hugged you?â€ť Fatima asked.
Fatima wrapped her arms around him and Keoki felt himself start to tear up, but he wouldnâ€™t cry, not in front of them. â€śWeâ€™re so happy to have you.â€ť
â€śThank you.â€ť Lombard too a turn giving him a hug then they all went to sit down.
â€śwhat do you guys want to do? We need to handle this quickly if the woman who created Keoki has other children there and is mistreating themâ€ť Lombard said seriously, becoming instantly protective. â€śhe says he can find his way back if weâ€™re all ready to go. I donâ€™t think we should get the law involved just yet. Keoki says she has strong magic to not only cover up what shes doing but to make beings think Keoki is making all this upâ€ť Fatima looked at Keoki â€śhe is definitely yours and Merles, there is absolutely no denying thatâ€ť
â€śLast time I hadnâ€™t made it to these two yet so there was nobody to compare me to but stillâ€¦Iâ€™m scared Iâ€ť he couldnâ€™t shake the worry theyâ€™d just give him back once she worked her spells. â€śYouâ€™re staying with us, I promiseâ€ť Wolfric assured him. Keoki nodded â€śwell lets go get Nephi and Nomaâ€ť They were soon all in his grandparents car, Lombard and Fatima in the front seat and him with his dads in the back. His thoughts were now with Noma. He hoped even if she wasnâ€™t going to make it sheâ€™d live long enough to know freedom, even if for a few hours. Merle was struggling with how sad keoki looked â€śwhatâ€™re you thinking aboutâ€ť he asked â€śNomaâ€ť
â€śsheâ€™s that bad offâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m just hoping she will be okay long enough to meet you all. Sheâ€™s at the point of lethargy Iâ€™ve never seen her creations get pastâ€ť
â€śthere has to be some way to help her. This woman is doing all this in the dark without other professionals to help her.â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t think she fears anything more than someone else finding out about her work and getting it right faster than she can. If she told someone they might beat her to all the money this could bring the being who perfects itâ€ť
â€śJust have faith in your sister Keoki. Have faith in her and this family because we will get her the help she needs, we wont lose herâ€ť Merle said with such surprising confidence. Keoki didnâ€™t know how he could think he could promise that. Fatima had a familiar question â€śso can you become a wolf?â€ť
â€śNo, she stills considers me a success though. Sheâ€™s hoping to find a way to make me able. She doesnâ€™t think customers will buy her creations if they cant do everything true biological children could doâ€ť
â€śhow does she know an Amarok could have a mixed child with a vampire and zombie and be able to shift. I mean, sometimes mixed breeding doesnâ€™t work out as well as others.â€ť
â€śEven if you never shift Keoki youâ€™re perfect to usâ€ť Merle said and Keoki had to fight off tears again. “Is she a shifter? Lombard asked â€śI donâ€™t think so, she doesnâ€™t talk about herself much thoughâ€ť
â€śif sheâ€™s not a shifter it might be her. Maybe if Merle tried to help you you couldâ€ť
â€śIâ€™d be happy to try to help youâ€ť Merle said and Keoki answered â€śokayâ€ť When it was obvious keoki was struggling to stay awake they found a hotel and checked in. He hadnâ€™t complained but they knew he had just been through a long journey.
~ Back with Nephi and Noma~
Nephi woke the next day by himself â€śNomaâ€ť he said softly then got up with a panic. he banged on the door â€śwhere is she? Please, just tell me shesâ€™ okay. She played yesterday! You had to have seen that!â€ť Maulis voice sounded irritated as she answered over the intercom in their living area â€śsheâ€™s with me, behaveâ€ť
â€śis she okayâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m a little busy, shut your mouth and let me work Nephiâ€ť Nephi walked over to the table and sat down â€śgood boy Nephi. I won be able to hear you for awhile so donâ€™t waste your breath. You caught me just in timeâ€ť
â€śplease be easy with her. Donâ€™t you want her to liveâ€ť Mauli didnâ€™t answer and he knew she was probably annoyed but Nephi didnâ€™t care. Noma was tried not to cry as she was fitted once again with an all too familiar training collar. â€śdont be a baby Noma.â€ť Mauli pulled her off the table and walked her out of the room they had been in. â€śwhatâ€™re we going to do?â€ť
â€śyouâ€™re going to shiftâ€ť
â€śBut even Keoki canâ€™tâ€ť
â€śno he cant but I can push you farther than I can push Keoki since you arenâ€™t going to last anyway. Youâ€™ll be part of history Noma. Youâ€™ll be another break through I need. Once I figure out how my future creations wont have to go through so much misery so not only will you be a part of something magnificent youâ€™ll save others pain. It can be the one thing you do for this world, itâ€™ll make you not so much of a wasteâ€ť
â€śI”mâ€¦Iâ€™m not going back to Nephi am Iâ€ť she was crying now â€śprobably not but hopefully. I donâ€™t want you to die Noma. Youâ€™ll either shift or youâ€™ll die with us tryingâ€ť
â€śYou could ahve let me say byeâ€ť
â€śNo because who knows what Nephi may have gotten up to. Besides, even if you die heâ€™ll be much easier to control if he thinks youâ€™re alive somewhere and his behavior effects youâ€ť she had never hated Mauli until today. She finally realized how much of a manipulative liar she really was. It scared Noma how little face Mauli was trying to keep right now. It made her feel like she definitely wasnâ€™t going to get to go back to Nephi. It made her glad Nephi had forced her to play yesterday because it may have been the last time.
Wolfric and Merle:
â€śWhat are you thinking love?â€ť Merle asked and Wolfric looked up from their son.
â€śI just donâ€™t understand how someone could do something so terrible. Heâ€™s so sweet and innocent, I just canâ€™t wrap my head around it.â€ť
Merle pulled Wolfric into his arms. â€śI know, but heâ€™s with us now and we will be able to give him, Noma, and Nephi a real life.â€ť
â€śWe have to find Nephiâ€™s parents too, they should know.â€ť
â€śWe will, I promise.â€ť
Nephi and Noma:
Noma was so exhausted she couldnâ€™t even scream anymore. She just laid there curled in a ball and shaking, trying to block out the sound of Mauliâ€™s angry, disappointed voice. â€śIf you would just shift, I would stop.â€ť Mauli snapped.
â€śI canâ€™t.â€ť Noma whimpered. â€śPlease, I canâ€™t.â€ť
Nephi paced back and forth in their room. He knew something bad was happening, he could feel it. He went over to the door and pressed his ear against it. He couldnâ€™t hear anything even with his superior senses, but he just knew Mauli was torturing Noma. He needed to get out and save her. He knew how Keoki had done it, but he wasnâ€™t sure if it would work again.
Wolfric and Merle:
Keoki jerking awake startled both of them into wakefulness and him jumping out of bed and suddenly running for the room door had Merle jumping up and grabbing his sonâ€™s arm. â€śWhere are you going?â€ť
â€śSomething happened, something bad.â€ť Keoki said, sounding panicked.
â€śWhat do you mean?â€ť Wolfric asked.
â€śWith one of the kids.â€ť
â€śHow do you know?â€ť
Keoki shook his head. â€śI donâ€™t know, itâ€™s like intuition, I just know.â€ť
â€śwell all go right now. Please donâ€™t try to go anywhere without us. We want to help and we definitely donâ€™t want to lose you now that we know you existâ€ť
â€śsorryâ€ť They were all back in the car in a manner of moments, only stopping now when they had to start going off road. Lombard and Fatima didnâ€™t care about ditching their car, like Merle and Wolfric they just cared about finding those kids.
Nephi and Noma:
A strong current from her collar finally woke Noma who sat up with a whine â€śIâ€™m sorryâ€ť
â€śeatâ€ť she wanted to argue her stomach felt too bad to eat but she knew Mauli didnâ€™t care. She ate slow, wanting the break anyway. Mauli was pacing, obviously thinking. Next thing Noma knew Mauli had brought in an IV â€śwhats going on now?â€ť
â€śIâ€™m clearing out your systemâ€ť she whined but didnâ€™t say anything. That meant more drugs, more misery. She hoped maybe the clearing of her system would help her feel better. Noma still took her time eating but she had to finish eventually. Once Noma was done Mauli pulled out syringe and injected her before dragging her back into a room and shutting the door. Noma didnâ€™t question being alone, she was grateful for it. Soon however Mauli came back with growling wolves â€śMauli?â€ť
â€śI told you Noma, youâ€™ll shift or die trying. I think you lack the proper motivation, you think and hold onto hope Iâ€™ll stop and you can rest. These wolves are going to kill you if you donâ€™t shift and fight back. You canâ€™t rely on any of your other powers Noma. You wont be able to use them. You have only the wolf to turn to nowâ€ť
â€śMauliâ€ť Mauli walked out and the wolves began walking toward her. She looked one of them in the eyes, hoping if there was a wolf in there it would help her â€śPlease, you donâ€™t want to be on her side. Please donâ€™t hurt meâ€ť She felt a connection but they still looked like they were considering hurting her â€śPleaseâ€ť her body began to tremble and she felt something rushing through her. She started pleading with herself to shift. Mauli watched on eagerly, desperate to get further with her work.
Noma tried to focus, focus on herself as a wolf like them. Just when she was expecting to be bitten one of the wolves licked her. The other nuzzled her â€śThank youâ€ť Mauli rushed in, completely outraged â€śyouâ€™re holding out on me!â€ť
â€śThey listened to you! You just want me to be a failure donâ€™t you Noma! I bet you can shift and youâ€™re just being a little shit. Youâ€™re faking it! I know it! You and Keoki!â€ť
â€śI promise, I was just trying. I didnâ€™t know theyâ€™d listenâ€ť suddenly the wolves were growling again but not at Noma, they were looking at Mauli who somehow looked even madder â€śwhatâ€™re you doing Nomaâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m not doing anythingâ€ť suddenly Noma felt the strongest surge she had felt in her life from the collar. She fell to the floor, screaming at the top of her lungs from the pain. Noma didnâ€™t know what was happening, she couldnâ€™t see or think. The only thing she could sense at all was pain until she felt adrenaline start to pump hard through her. Somehow in this moment she felt more alive than she ever had. She wanted to thank Nephi for never giving up on her, she wanted to see Keoki again one day, she wanted to be free of this place and this horrible woman, she wanted to shift. Next thing she knew she was a wolf and she howled in triumph.
She heard another howl and realized there was only one wolf left. Mauli had killed the one that had licked her face. Noma growled but Mauli just looked at her with wonder â€śyou finally did itâ€ť Maulis face became smug as she instructed â€śdonâ€™t even think of attacking me little girl. Youâ€™re still wearing that collar and youâ€™re not as big as you think you are.â€ť Noma took another angry step and Mauli pulled out a gun, shooting the other wolf in the shoulder. Noma wasnâ€™t sure if she missed or was just aiming to hurt it. â€śNoma, sitâ€ť the other wolf tried to bite Mauli and with a wave of her hand the wolf was sent flying into a nearby wall, knocked unconscious and bleeding badly.
Wolfric and Merle:
â€śWe have to hurry.â€ť Keoki said. â€śIt has to be Noma, sheâ€™s sick and Mauli wonâ€™t care to lose her.â€ť
â€śMerle, you should shift and run ahead, your paws are better for the terrain.â€ť Wolfric said.
â€śAre you sure?â€ť
â€śYes, weâ€™ll be right behind you.â€ť
â€śAlright my love.â€ť He came to a stop, quickly stripping down and shifting. Keokiâ€™s eyes widened at the sight of the big wolf. His father was truly amazing.
â€śCome on, Keoki.â€ť Wolfric said and they followed Merle who was moving quickly over the rough terrain.
Nephi and Noma:
Nephi gripped the edge of the ventilation cover, his fingers hurting as he pulled at it. He knew he could get out, even after Mauli had reinforced it. He had to get out. He had been told his fatherâ€™s were amazing, especially Alvah, he had been told that man was a terrifying force of nature. He gritted his teeth, letting out a growl of frustration. â€śOpen.â€ť He yelled. â€śOpen you stupid thing.â€ť He focused every ounce of strength he had on it and was so surprised when it actually bent that he let go and fell to the floor.
He crawled through and pleaded â€śPlease still be alive Nomaâ€ť Nephi used his senses like heâ€™d been taught to track Noma and Mauli, calling for Maulis attention when he was finally right behind them. Mauli turned with Noma in her arms. She was in human form again and the hell she had been through with their creator was evident all over her body. â€śwhat did you doâ€ť he was too angry to cry though his heart ached â€śI did what had to be done, she did it, she shifted but once she became a girl again she was goneâ€ť
â€śsheâ€™s not deadâ€ť
â€śshe may as well be but Iâ€™m happy to see your senses are that good. I didnâ€™t realize, I thought I could bluff. Iâ€™m so proud of you Nephi. I know how to make my creations shift now. It just has to be their only choice. Because of Noma I wont have to be so cruel againâ€ť
â€śYouâ€™re a monster Mauliâ€ť
â€śwhat happened to momma?â€ť
â€śI hate youâ€ť
â€śYour negotiation skills need work if sheâ€™s what youâ€™re after Nephiâ€ť
â€śwhy canâ€™t you just try harder.â€ť
â€śIâ€™ve long since learned its a waste of time and resources. Sheâ€™s been dead a long time Nephi. I just accepted it, I donâ€™t understand why you and Keoki refuse toâ€ť
â€śBecause sheâ€™s our sisterâ€ť
â€śshe isnâ€™t yours, sheâ€™s Keokiâ€™s but sheâ€™s never been yours.â€ť
â€śweâ€™ve grown up together. Iâ€™ve known her since I was four. I may not be that old butâ€¦sheâ€™s my sister. I love her Mauli and I donâ€™t understand how you can be so indifferentâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m done with her Nephi and done trying to deal with your attitude. When Keoki gets back you two will learn obedienceâ€ť
It was the first time Nephi felt his rage start to bubble over. After everything that had happened, it was unexpected, but it pushed his fear down. All that matter was Noma, it didnâ€™t matter what Mauli did to him, as long as she never touched Nephi again. He was surprised to find his legs carrying him forward, surprised to feel any sort of power moving through him after being so powerless. He wondered if this is what had helped Keoki escape. He knew he wasnâ€™t a strong fighter, but he would try and keep faith that Keoki was coming back.
Wolfric & Merle:
The scent Merle had picked up from his son became stronger and he let out a loud howl when the building came into view. He raced toward the front door, picking up speed when he saw it was made of metal. He twisted, letting out a loud grunt when slammed into it, nearly caving it in. He pulled back letting out a loud growl as he slammed into it again. Wolfric, Keoki, Lombard, and Fatima caught up with him and he shifted. Wolfric handed him his pants and he quickly pulled them on.
â€śHoly shit.â€ť Keoki said as he looked at the damage his father had done to the door. He couldnâ€™t believe it.
â€śHelp me break this thing down.â€ť Merle said and both Lombard and Fatima joined him in pushing at the door. They could feel the magic reinforcing it, but they werenâ€™t going to stop until they were inside.
Nephi & Noma:
Nephis fingernails had inexplicably extended into long, sharp points. He hadnâ€™t known he could do that so either the rage summoned an ability or it was just something that happened when he got mad. This was the first time he had felt like this so he didnâ€™t know. He knew Mauli was way out of his league and could easily get the upper hand so he did the only thing he thought would matter. He tightly held his fingers together and jumped, shoving them as hard as he could into her eyeballs. She dropped Noma as she screeched and Nephi wished he had been quick enough to catch her. She was so barely alive, so obviously frail and clinging to life that the last thing she needed was to slam into the ground like she did.
Nephi picked her up and ran, unsure of what else to do beyond keeping Noma out of Maulis grasp. He was sure the jostling wasnâ€™t helping Noma either but this was the only way he could protect her. Maulies eyes would regenerate and sheâ€™d be coming soon. Nephi thought about hiding as he ran â€śYou idiot, sheâ€™ll smell usâ€ť he grew slightly hopeful as a room came into view he knew locked from the inside. She didnâ€™t carry keys on her so it might not buy them much of it but it would buy them time. Nephi ran in, shut then locked the door before carefully laying Noma down.
â€śNomaâ€ť he said emotionally. If she could hear him she made no indication. Nephi decided to hide anyway, willing to do anything that might buy them even one more second. Mauli eyes were already mending as she walked angrily down the hall. Just as her eyes were fully working again she heard the alarm sound, the main door has been forced open. She groaned and with a wave of her hand she looked like a clean, well dressed human woman, would smell like one too. She had carefully crafted this face to be as innocent as possible. She abandoned searching for her rouge vampire and worthless pup for now, she needed to deal with whomever Keoki had brought back to her home.
She checked her pockets, happy to find the vials she had slipped into them the second she knew Keoki was missing. All she had to do was open them and her magic would waft through the air. Keoki would look like a liar yet again and she would be sure this time he wasnâ€™t going anywhere. It actually threw her off when she saw the beings he had brought back, how the hell had he figured out where they lived. She just hoped she was stronger than them as she reached into her pocket â€śdonâ€™t you dareâ€ť Merle seethed â€śdonâ€™t I what?â€ť she opened them and Merle chuckled, already knowing what it was â€śyou really think thats going to work, weâ€™re not going to be open to your suggestions on whats going on here. This is without a doubt my son and Iâ€™m here for the other twoâ€ť
â€śsir I donâ€™t know what heâ€™s told you but he hasnâ€™t been on hisâ€ť Merle didnâ€™t let her finish and tried to lunge at her but she was quick to counter, shifting right back into her true form â€śdamn it Iâ€ť she started again but he didnâ€™t care nor did he want to waste time. His daughter could be dieing. Every second it took to get to Noma was one less seconds the doctors he trusted could be helping her.
Wolfric & Merle:
Merle jumped at Mauli again, his sharp nails barely missing her and he let out a savage growl when she managed to evade him again. â€śKeoki, take your father and find the children, your grandparents and I will deal with this one.â€ť
â€śIs nothing, donâ€™t be afraid, take him okay?â€ť
â€śOkay.â€ť Keoki and Wolfric started the way Mauli had come from and when she tried to stop them, Merle shifted and snapped at her, driving her away from them.
She glared at him. â€śIâ€™m going to kill all of you and the harvest every last bit of you. You have such perfect DNA Merle, all of you do, if only you understood.â€ť
Keoki could smell blood and his heart hammered in his chest as he followed the scent to one of the rooms Mauli used for experiments. His fear only increased when he saw the two dead wolves and neither Noma or Nephi. They had both been in here, but not anymore. â€śCome on, they may be hiding Keoki.â€ť Wolfric said as he pulled his son out of the room.
â€śSheâ€¦she could haveâ€¦â€ť
â€śWe have to believe theyâ€™re okay.â€ť
They rushed on, eager when blood droplets lead them to another room, one she barely used but was still all too familiar to Keoki. He tried the door â€śthey have to be in there. Itâ€™s lockedâ€ť Keoki knocked gently on the door, his voice wouldnâ€™t carry through but he knew Nephi would realize such a soft knock wouldnâ€™t come from Mauli. Everything she did was demanding even when she was trying to put on a show. The sound initially made Nephi gasp and hold Noma tighter but then he realized it must be Keoki. Just incase he was wrong he left Noma where she was and cautiously approached the door, opening it slowly, relief flooding him when he was Keoki.
Keoki hugged him, relieved he was safe â€śwhereâ€™s Noma?â€ť Keoki asked with pain in his voice. Nephi moved to allow them in then pointed to where he had left her. Keoki went over, knowing he should rather than Wolfric. Keoki carefully picked her up and once Wolfric could really see her his heart trembled with emotion â€śwhat happened?â€ť He asked in disbelief as he took in his little girl. Nephi wiped at his face â€śI donâ€™t know but whatever Mauli put her through she shifted. I mean I didnâ€™t see her shift but Mauli says she did. Sheâ€™s ready to burn her, Noma gave her what she wanted so sheâ€™s ready to throw her awayâ€¦She tried to tell me she was already dead but she isnâ€™tâ€¦I can hear itâ€¦only a little but her hearts beatingâ€ť
â€ścan I hold her Keoki?â€ť Wolfric asked, trying not to cry too hard. She was so little, how could anybody leave her looking like that. Nephi looked a little concerned and Keoki assured him â€śthis is one of my dads. They want to help her. They wont let anybody hurt us again. We need to trust them Nephi. Noma doesnâ€™t stand a chance of growing up without themâ€ť Nephi nodded and Keoki carefully handed her over. â€śshould we wait here for Merle dad?â€ť Keoki asked and Wolfric shook his head â€śweâ€™re getting Noma out of here. Once Merle sees we have her heâ€™ll subdue Mauli and weâ€™ll leave, if he hasnâ€™t subdued her alreadyâ€ť
Wolfric had Mauli cornered. Lombard was guarding the exit and Fatima had her gun drawn and was ready to shoot in case she even thought of heading back down the hall. Merle stalked slowly towards her, teeth bared. â€śGive up.â€ť Fatima said. â€śYou canâ€™t force us to forget, especially Merle, the wolf wonâ€™t let him, so just give up or we will kill you.â€ť
â€śWhy canâ€™t you understand? Iâ€™ve given them children, Iâ€™ve done something no one else has done.â€ť
â€śIt doesnâ€™t matter if youâ€™ve cured some deadly disease, murdering innocent children is wrong.â€ť
Merle growled as he jumped on her and he clamped down on her arm as she brought it up to defend herself, angrily shaking his head and ripping her skin open so blood splattered all over the place. She pulled her hand away and his mouth was at her throat, his teeth pressing threateningly. It was a warning for her not to move or he would kill her. He could hear and smell Wolfric coming back and Fatima looked over her shoulder as her son came out cradling a small, beaten little girl.
â€śWe have her baby, you just get them out of here.â€ť She said.
â€śWhat are you going to do with all of herâ€¦research?â€ť Keoki asked.
â€śTurn it over to someone who will actually use it for good.â€ť
Keoki nodded and Lombard gave him the keys to the car. â€śGet her to the hospital, weâ€™ll call Rick for transportation.â€ť
â€śYou guys be careful.â€ť Wolfric said. â€śIâ€™ll see you at the hospital
It felt like an eternity to get back to their vehicle. Wolfric and the boys were terrified sheâ€™d quit clinging to life before they got her somewhere. When they finally arrived at the car Wolfric had Keoki get in the passenger seat then handed him Noma. Nephi had settled in the back and they were on the road again as quickly as possible. â€śfor future reference son do you know how to drive?â€ť
â€śshe taught me but you know the outside world better than I do so Iâ€™m glad youâ€™re drivingâ€ť It comforted Keoki how distressed Wolfric looked over Nomas state. It gave him more confidence his parents really did care about them and would let them live a real life. He hugged Noma to him as he hoped she would be a part of that life. â€śyouâ€™re so close Noma. Hang onâ€ť he whispered to her. Wolfric would have loved to take Noma back home but they were too many hours away, it was too risky so they drove to the nearest hospital. Once she was stable they could get picky about who was taking care of her.
They parked and rushed inside, Keoki holding tight to Noma while Wolfric hastily filled the woman at the desk in about the situation. There was a lot of beings there waiting to be seen but Noma was taken back quickly, Wolfric, Nephi and Keoki following since Wolfric had already told her theyâ€™d be coming. He knew Keoki and Nephi wouldnâ€™t have been able to handle letting strangers take her out of sight. He thought a lot of the fact they were able to trust anybody at all just based on what little he knew about them and their life.
The medical staff wanted to see if Keoki and Noma were truly Wolfrics since the story sounded so crazy. Even in todays world it was a bit mind blowing to think that you might not need two genders to create a baby. They drew blood from Wolfric and the kids, telling him theyâ€™d give him an answer for sure as soon as they could. â€śI know you two are ours Keokiâ€ť He looked over at Nephi â€śMerle and I are going to find your parents but youâ€™re welcome with us and even if you do end up being with them weâ€™ll make sure you see Noma and Keokiâ€ť
â€śHowâ€™re you going to find them. I know for a fact they arenâ€™t in this worldâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m sure somewhere in that building we took you from thereâ€™s information about whereâ€ť
â€śdo youâ€¦do you think theyâ€™ll want meâ€¦â€ť
â€śYes, Merle and I are overjoyed. I canâ€™t even imagine them not wanting youâ€ť
Merle moved back and let Lombard haul Mauli to her feet when Rick finally arrived. He had a shotgun slung over his shoulder and gave Fatima a smile. â€śWell dang, I missed a party.â€ť
â€śDid you bring the big truck?â€ť
â€śYes maâ€™am.â€ť He pulled a set of cuffs of his belt and some very special restraints.” He tossed them to her and Fatima locked them around Mauliâ€™s wrists. â€śI couldnâ€™t get it all the way up here, but itâ€™s close enough.â€ť
â€śThatâ€™s fine.â€ť Fatima patted Mauli down, pulling out a set of keys.
â€śMust be to her research.â€ť Lombard said.
â€śWeâ€™ll send people back, letâ€™s just get her locked up so we can check on the kids.â€ť
When Merle, Lombard and Fatima were done handling Mauli they went straight to the hospital Wolfric had told them he was at with her. They found Keoki alone with her and Noma still barely holding on to life. She had been cleaned up and bandaged so she looked better but her heartbeat was still so faint. While Merle asked Keoki where Wolfric was Fatima couldnâ€™t resist walking over to their new grandchild and gently caressing her face â€śWolfric is getting Nephi something to eat. Apparently when he woke Mauli already had taken Noma away and whatever she was doing with her caused her to not think about feeding Nephi todayâ€ť
â€śyou poor babiesâ€ť Fatima was still looking at Noma. Lombard asked â€śwhatâ€™re they saying about Noma?â€ť
â€śNot a lot yet beyond but they did confirm our DNA is from Merle and Wolfric. I mean they confirmed hisâ€ť
â€śI know youâ€™re both mine without any tests done hereâ€ť
â€śThats what Wolfric said but he humored themâ€ť
â€śHowâ€™s Nephi doing, emotionally, do you know?â€ť Fatima was now looking at Keoki â€śI think heâ€™s going to be okay. Wolfric assured him that even if he ends up living with his parents that heâ€™ll still see usâ€ť
â€śOf course, you all have to feel like siblingsâ€ť
â€śyeahâ€ť Fatima walked over and hugged Keoki who was slow to hug back but he did. He had just been surprised. â€śyou looked like you needed itâ€ť
â€śI just wish sheâ€™d wake up. Iâ€™ve seen her creations just shut down too many times andâ€¦I just love Noma so much and it will be especially cruel if she dies now, before she knows she was freed from Mauliâ€ť
When Wolfric finally returned, Merle immediately pulled him into a tight hug. Wolfric let out a sigh and relaxed into his mate. â€śIâ€™m so glad youâ€™re all safe.â€ť He pulled back. â€śDid you get her locked up?â€ť
â€śYeah, the kids are safe and sheâ€™ll never hurt anyone again.â€ť
â€śThank goodness.â€ť They went over and stood next to the bed. â€śSheâ€™s so weak, she has to make it Merle.â€ť
â€śShe will, Iâ€™ll spend every last penny I have before I let her slip away. Sheâ€™s our baby,â€ť he reached over and rested his hand on Keokiâ€™s shoulder, â€śyou both are.â€ť
â€śWhen do you think we could go look for my parents?â€ť Nephi asked.
â€śWhen youâ€™re ready.â€ť Wolfric answered.
â€śWeâ€™re going to have someone go through all of Mauliâ€™s research and see if they can find their exact location.â€ť Fatima added.
Noma was completely healed of her wounds two days later and the doctors there decided she could now be flown to any hospital Wolfric and Merle wanted so they had her moved close to their home. It was there Merle got into contact with the professionals he wanted working with Noma. He was willing to pay for anything to have her cared for and looked at by the best so whatever they wanted of him, weather it be an expensive hotel to stay at our ridiculous amounts of money he paid it and got her set up. They waited another seventeen days for one of her doctors to enter with a means of waking her up. â€śMerle, Wolfric, I canâ€™t promise this will do what Iâ€™m hoping it will but Iâ€™m very very sure. As sure as someone can be working in uncharted waters. I just need your permission to tryâ€ť he had the needle ready and as much as it scared them they allowed him to inject her. They watched eagerly and their hearts sank again when she still laid there.
It was a few hours later when she opened her eyes, first seeing Lombard who had come to visit again. She gasped and moved her head to look for Nephi or Keoki. They were there, Wolfric had gotten them from home just incase the doctors idea had worked. Nephi hurried over to her, climbing up on her bed â€śitâ€™s okay Noma. Keoki found your family.â€ť he pointed at Lombard â€śthatâ€™s your grandpaâ€ť he then showed her Fatima and then her parents. She seemed more taken in by Wolfric at first who just smiled gently at her. â€śhe does look a lot like Keoki huh?â€ť Nephi said and Noma nodded â€śso you know he found the right guys. This family loves you, us. Weâ€™re going to be safe now. You donâ€™t have to be scaredâ€ť
She lifted her hand â€śwhats this?â€ť
â€śitsâ€™ something theyâ€™ve been using to keep you healthy. Itâ€™s an IVâ€ť
â€śI donâ€™t like how it feels in my handâ€ť
â€śwell maybe they can take it out nowâ€ť she looked over at Merle who was already moving to the door. The same doctor came back â€śIâ€™m so happy to see you awake Noma. You have really pretty green eyesâ€ť
â€śdoes she still need this?â€ť Nephi pointed to the IV â€śI think we can do without it as long as sheâ€™s awakeâ€ť
â€śdoes this mean she can be home with us now?â€ť Wolfric asked and the doctor said â€śIâ€™d feel more comfortable with her being here atleast through tomorrow. Then she can go home but weâ€™ll still need to see her. I more treated a symptom, not the cause. Weâ€™re still reading through all of Maulis research and coming to understand Keoki, Nephi and Nomas bodies. I need time to figure out why some shut down while others, like Nephi and Keoki thrive.â€ť
â€śWe understand, thank you.â€ť
Wolfric turned back to Noma. â€śIâ€™m sorry you have to go through more treatments, but know we only want you better.â€ť
â€śI know, thank you.â€ť She snuggled into Nephi, her eyes filling with tears. â€śNephi, weâ€™re free, weâ€™re really free and they want us.â€ť
â€śOh baby, of course we do.â€ť Wolfric couldnâ€™t help but move to sit by her and Merle stood at his side, his hands resting gently on his shoulders. Wolfric took her hand and she squeezed it.
â€śYouâ€™re all going to have a real life now.â€ť Merle said.
Noma spent the rest of that day and the next in the hospital and everyone was happy that her color and energy had improved. They made sure to make another appointment for her and promised to make note of any changes in her. Wolfric and Merle got the kids moved in and Fatima and Lombard volunteered to locate Nephiâ€™s parents for him so Wolfric and Merle wouldnâ€™t have to leave them.
Their first night at home Wolfric woke in the night to find Merle gone. Wolfric got up and quietly walking to Nomas room, guessing he was there. Sure enough he was standing outside the door of her room. Wolfric smiled at him and Merle moved to hug Wolfric â€śIâ€™m just a little worried about herâ€ť
â€śsheâ€™s going to be okay, you were more sure of that than me when we were searching for herâ€ť
â€śI know, I just needed to check on her. I need the doctors to tell me I donâ€™t have to worry about her anymoreâ€ť
â€śLove is an amazing thing Merle. Maybe all she needed was parents who love her. Sheâ€™ll be okayâ€ť Merle held Wolfric a little tighter then kissed his head â€śwell lets get back to bed so we arenâ€™t tired when they wake upâ€ť
~ The End
She hobbled as she ran but she went as fast as she could away from her attackers. As far as she knew she had killed them but she couldnâ€™t be sure enough not to run. Two human men had tried to rape her, probably thinking she was a human woman since only her ears would give away she was an elf. It had still been difficult to get away, they had been so crazed and hungry to take her. She wondered while she ran if they had been on some type of drugs. Thunder crashed and rain poured, making it hard to know where she was going but she kept on until she saw a castle. She ran to the door, desperate for help.
Aurelia pounded and begged for help despite knowing the loud storm outside probably hid her wails. She choked on blood that was begging to pool in her mouth, her vision growing faint just as the door opened. She couldnâ€™t make the being out at all but she could have sworn she heard the girl exclaim â€śmom!?â€ť Rees Practically knocked over the table as he got up to rush to the door. His dates heart stuttered, it couldnâ€™t be, his mate was dead, had been dead for a few hundred years. Brynmor has come running too, having heard his sister Pretoria yell.
He had already picked Aurelia off the ground when his father arrived at the door â€śItâ€™sâ€¦â€ť he looked like he might cry â€śItâ€™s obviously not actually mom dad but we need to help her. Sheâ€™s hurt really badâ€ť Brynmor took her to the nearest bed while Pretoria grabbed a few things. Rees and even his date began helping her and a few hours later they knew she was going to make it through her injuries. It was then the woman that had been with Rees pulled him out the room and said â€śThatâ€™s your wifes reincarnation. She looks just like her and I may have just been her friend but even I can feel that that IS Ameliaâ€ť Emotion played through his eyes â€śI know, I knew from the second I saw her in my sons armsâ€ť
She crossed her arms, not knowing what to do with them â€śItâ€™s okay Rees, thats your soulmate in thereâ€¦even before she showed up tonight I knew we were not that serious. I mean weâ€™ve been dating a few years and I stay a night at most with you three. I mean, you were sweet and I when we began dating by taking down the family pictures with her in it and putting them in the basement but I know about that one in your nightstand. Iâ€™ve caught you staring at it with tears running down your face many times. Sheâ€™s your soulmate, not me and Iâ€™m going to bow out gracefully okay. You two were so happy together, you had the kind of happiness you can only have with a soulmate and maybe this frees me back up to find mine.â€ť
Rees hugged her â€śIâ€™m sorryâ€ť
â€śItâ€™s okay, I hurt right now but Iâ€™ll be fine. Even if we had been anything near serious I would have bowed out tonight. I always wanted what you two had. You need to focus on her, you need to help her remember you or atleast get her to fall in love again. Sheâ€™s an elf this time, she wont have that intuition that tells some beings your soulmates but her soul has already found you once. Itâ€™ll know, even if its deep down, some part of her will know you guysâ€ť As she left Rees cried but not over the ex that was leaving It was over how emotionally charged he was and grateful to the universe it saw fit to give Amelia back to him.
Aurelia woke slowly, her body thrumming with pain as she blinked her eyes open. She could feel she was laying in a bed in a dimly lit room, that she was covered and warm. It took a moment for her ears to focus, but when they did, she picked up the sound of soft, rhythmic breathing. She wasnâ€™t alone. She turned her head, groaning as she did and it woke the person sitting in the chair next to the bed. â€śYouâ€™re awake.â€ť He said as he moved to sit next to her, his hand taking hers gently. She watched a myriad of emotions play across his face; sadness and joy, but mostly relief.
â€śWhere am I?â€ť She asked softly.
â€śIn my home.â€ť He let his fingers brush over her forehead, pushing some strands of her hair back. She felt herself warm at his tenderness and wondered if it was because he seemed to be the exact opposite of her attackers.
â€śYou heard me.â€ť She felt herself tearing up and he gently shushed her.
â€śMy daughter did.â€ť
â€śThank goodness, I was so scared.â€ť
Rees started to pull his hand away, wondering if him touching her was making everything worse, but she actually held onto him. â€śYouâ€™re safe here, I promise.â€ť
She felt safe here, especially now that she was holding his hand in return. It was odd to her since she didnâ€™t really know these beings but she felt in her heart she truly was safe as long as she was here in this castle. Reesâ€™s heart was racing and it made him grateful she had come back as an elf. If she could sense how she effected him it would probably be scary, especially after being attacked since she had no idea she was a reincarnation. It was near impossible to resist the urge to lean down and kiss her but he fought it, telling himself he had one chance to do this right. If he scared her and she ran out of his castle he may never find her again. Elves were smart and incredibly resourceful. If she decided she wanted to hide from him she just might be successful at that. She was smart in her past life too and he wondered if that had effected what the gods chose for her to be in this life.
When she let him go he forced himself to pull his hand away, she probably needed to eat anyway. â€śI can make you a salad if youâ€™re hungry. You were in rough shape and will still need to rest a day or two more. I think it would be smart to take it easy on your stomachâ€ť
â€śThat sounds really nice. Thank you so much. Thank you for helping me. I promise, Iâ€™ll figure out something to do to thank you when Iâ€™m betterâ€ť He stood â€śIâ€™m going to call my daughter to sit in here while Iâ€™m gone.â€ť he couldnâ€™t risk her being alone so injured, he couldnâ€™t lose her again. His heart barely made it through the first time. If they didnâ€™t have two children he probably wouldnâ€™t have. He had muddled through his pain for them, knowing sheâ€™d have wanted him to.
When Pretoria entered the room Aurelia was sitting up causing Pretoria to gasp â€śyou should be laying down, your injuriesâ€ť she seemed embarrassed â€śI just wanted less work for you when you came in hereâ€¦Iâ€¦well I have to pee and I wanted to ask you instead of one of the men here. I could barely force myself to run when I got here. Iâ€™m not sure how well Iâ€™m going to be able to walkâ€ť
â€śJust let me help you up next time okay. Youâ€™re no trouble, Iâ€™m a vampire. I can lift you and much more without struggleâ€ť Elves didnâ€™t tend to hold any racial grudges so Pretoria felt it was safe to let her mother know what they were, even if she couldnâ€™t quite tell her yet she used to be a vampire. Pretoria helped her mother to the nearest bathroom â€śthere wouldnâ€™t be any shame in it if you wanted me to come in with youâ€ť
â€śI donâ€™t think I could go with anybody in thereâ€ť
â€śalright then, Iâ€™ll be right outside the doorâ€ť She couldnâ€™t believe what good vampires she had stumbled upon. This woman had looked near panicked for a total stranger when she went in the room and her deep worry right now was obvious on her face. Aurelia went into the bathroom and shut the door. She realized it was a good choice to ask for help because she felt even more pain now than when she was laying down. It was hard not to make any sounds indicating how much she hurt but she managed, not wanting the female vampire to burst in here to help her. When she came out Pretoria looked just about as relieved as the male vampire had when she woke up.
Once back in bed she decided to ask your names â€śwhatâ€™s your name?â€ť
â€śThats so beautifulâ€ť
â€śMy mother picked it, it was her absolute favorite girls nameâ€ť
â€śI think itâ€™s mine tooâ€ť Pretoria grinned with both amusement and sadness. â€śMy fathers name is Rees and my brothers name is Brynmorâ€ť she felt emotion tug at her heart. She was about to speak again but a massive headache cut her off â€śare you okay?â€ť
â€śMy headâ€ť Pretorias mind was going a million miles a second with panic but she hoped maybe her soul was trying to tell her something, to remind her of who she once was. She had picked the name for her brother too. He was named after one of her mothers Uncles. He had raised her and died a few years before Brynmor was born so she had wanted to honor her Uncle by naming her son after him.
â€śHow is she?â€ť Brynmor asked his father as he helped him chop vegetables.
â€śGood, I think.â€ť
â€śIs it really her?â€ť Brynmor was hopeful that this wasnâ€™t some fluke.
Rees nodded. â€śYeah, it really is, I can feel it. Even if she didnâ€™t look like her, I would know, itâ€™s your mother.â€ť
Brynmor swallowed and Rees put his knife down to hug his son. â€śIâ€™m sorry, itâ€™s just, sheâ€™s really back.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s okay, I feel the same.â€ť He let him go and patted his shoulder. â€śWe have to remember to be patient with her and give her time.â€ť
â€śI know.â€ť Rees wanted desperately for her to remember, but he knew he couldnâ€™t push her to hard to fast or she might run. They put everything is a big bowl then he made one for Aurelia while Brynmor covered the bowl and put it away.
When he returned to the room Rees could see Aurelia was in pain â€śwhat happened?â€ť
â€śwe were just talking, I think shes okayâ€ť
â€śIâ€™ll be fine, its getting better. My head just really hurt for a momentâ€ť
â€śmaybe we need someone more skilled at medical care to come hereâ€ť
â€śNo, please donâ€™t do that. I couldnâ€™t put you all through more trouble. It passed, Iâ€™m alrightâ€ť They were talking, Rees too thought that pain might be her soul trying to tell her brain something so he didnâ€™t push it further. Brynmor came in a few moments after his father, just wanting to see her â€śHey. Brynmor right?â€ť Aurelia asked, setting her fork down â€śyeah, umâ€¦whatâ€™s your name?â€ť
â€śwhere did you come from?â€ť Now he just wanted to hear her voice. It was slightly different but it was still his mothers voice. â€śson, sheâ€™s recovering. We need to let her eatâ€ť Rees said, trying not to sound too stern and make her uncomfortable.
â€śOhâ€¦Iâ€™m sorry, yeah, Iâ€™m being rude sorryâ€ť he walked out too quickly for her to stop him. Aurelia looked at Rees â€śhe was alrightâ€ť
â€śYou really should finish eating. Iâ€™ll go get him back when youâ€™re doneâ€ť Pretoria said. Aurelia picked her fork back up and finished her salad. Just as she said she would Pretoria took the dishâ€™s, promising sheâ€™d get her brother as soon as they were in the sink. Meanwhile, Aurelia laid back down. â€śso whose room is this? Iâ€™m not taking one of theirs am I?â€ť she asked Rees.
â€śNo, this room actually hasnâ€™t been used in an incredibly long time. The kids motherâ€¦wellâ€¦she was very close to her an Uncle of hers. She even named our son after him which was fine with me. I didnâ€™t care what we called our children and the names she picked meant a lot to her. He would come to see us so much we gave him his own room, which is this one. We didnâ€™t put anybody else in it after he died, youâ€™re the firstâ€ť
She was curious about the kids mother. The way he said was had so much pain in it so she knew she had passed, not left. She wouldnâ€™t hurt him by asking, it would be selfish. â€śwhat made her so close to him? What was he like?â€ť
â€śHe raised her. Ameliaâ€™s father didnâ€™t treat her very well. When Brynmor realized she was being abused he took her in and told her father if he so much as looked at you everâ€ť He noticed her weird expression and he realized he had said you â€śsorry, I meant her obviously. Iâ€™m tiredâ€ť
â€śOh my gosh yeah, you were sleeping when I woke. Iâ€™m sorry, we can talk later. Go to bed. Your son wanted to talk to me anywayâ€ť
â€śNo, I feel so bad keeping you all upâ€¦youâ€™ve done so much for meâ€ť The thought of leaving her side mangled in his heart â€śIâ€™ll go to bed when Pretoria fetches my son.â€ť
â€śare you sure?â€ť
â€śyesâ€¦anywayâ€¦he told Amelias father heâ€™d kill him if he looked at her again. He let her mother see her from time to time but when she finally left Amelias father she quit coming to see Amelia too. She was only seven when her mother completely left her life so Amelia didnâ€™t remember muchâ€ť
â€śThat was really sweet of her Uncle, to protect herâ€ť
â€śHe was a good vampire. I wouldnâ€™t say he had lived a perfect life, before raising Amelia anyway but he had a good heartâ€ť
â€śdifferent creatures have their own struggles.â€ť Pretoria and Brymor entered the room and Rees stood, leaving as he said he would. Brynmor sat on the bed and Pretoria took the chair. â€śso, where are you fromâ€ť
â€śMy parents are nomads, Iâ€™m not really from anywhere.â€ť
â€śwhy werenâ€™t they with you when you were attacked?â€ť
“well, you might think Iâ€™m crazy but one morning, a few years ago I woke up before my parents and saw a couple standing beside me. I jumped up and was about to yell but the woman shushed me. I donâ€™t know, she looked so kind I just stood up, deciding not to wake my parents. She touched my heart, well, my chest above where it is and said â€śyou need to listen to your heart sweetheart. You should go, see where it leads you. Itâ€™s been trying to take you somwhere a very long time but your parents always get you offtrack. Leave your parents and follow your heart. Youâ€™ll be so happy you didâ€ť
She sighed â€śI donâ€™t know, my heart raced and all of me was ready to go. I know itâ€™s nuts, they were two complete strangers but I felt like I had been ignoring my heart as soon as she said that to me. I made my parents breakfast then while they ate I told them I needed to have my own adventure for awhile. They werenâ€™t for it at first, especially my dad. He was so worried about me traveling alone but they eventually saw I needed to do thisâ€¦you know, because two strangers told me toâ€ť she sighed â€śand look where it got me, hurt and bothering you kind people. I was probably being dumb but Iâ€™ve had a great adventure coming here.â€ť
â€śThat doesnâ€™t sound dumb at all.â€ť Brynmor said. â€śThey always say the heart wants what the heart wants.â€ť
â€śBrynmorâ€™s right.â€ť Pretoria said with a warm smile.
Aurelia smiled back. â€śI guess youâ€™re right. Iâ€™m just sorry we had to meet like this.â€ť
â€śWeâ€™re just glad youâ€™re alright and as soon as youâ€™re feeling up to it, Iâ€™m sure our father would love to show you around.â€ť
â€śIâ€™d really like that, thank you.â€ť
They continued to talk to her for awhile longer, doing their best not to give away who she was. They told her a couple more stories from their childhood then decided she needed to rest. She had been through a lot and they didnâ€™t want to exhaust her. They both jumped a little when Rees opened his door and he called them over. â€śHow is she?â€ť He asked.
â€śYouâ€™re supposed to be sleeping dad and sheâ€™s good.â€ť Pretoria answered.
â€śI know, but I wanted to talk to both of you first. Brynmor, tomorrow you and I are going out to try and find the men who did that to her. I want to make sure they canâ€™t attack anyone else.â€ť He then looked to Pretoria. â€śI want you to spend time with your mother,â€ť he sighed, â€świth Aurelia I mean.â€ť They both nodded. â€śYou two get some rest, okay?â€ť
â€śYou too dad.â€ť Brynmor said.
Rees was eager to get out and start hunting the men that hurt Aurelia so he barely waited for the sun to come up before waking his son. Brynmor didnâ€™t have to be urged awake long before he was up and ready to go out with his father. Rees was an incredibly old vampire but he had long since went through grueling trial and error to make his body able to roam around in sunlight. Amelia had been able to do it and loved being out during the day so they hadnâ€™t been together long before he wanted to be able to do the same thing. He wasnâ€™t sure what happened but evolution seemed to still be taking place since the younger vampires were almost all born able to be in the sun.
â€śI think itâ€™s important after what you did to the group that killed mom in her past life to ask what we intend to do with them? I mean I want to scare these guys butâ€¦you may have taken things a little too far in the past dadâ€ť
â€śI wont be burning any homes or anything like that. Even I know I went too far, had too many casualties of my anger. I turned into a monster when I lost your motherâ€¦Iâ€™m just glad Pretoria talked sense into me. I was still a father and I needed to get a hold of myself. I havenâ€™t lost your mother this time so no, I wont be be turning back into that monster I regret you and Pretoria sawâ€¦Iâ€™m more thankful than ever she got me to stopâ€¦going down that path I would have ended up with every vampire hunter in existence after meâ€¦I may have died too then I wouldnâ€™t still be here for your mothers rebirth.â€ť
Brynmor made a face and his father sighed â€śdonâ€™t you think for a second Iâ€™m also not still around because of you two. Now that sheâ€™s back I know it wont alarm you to say this but you and Pretoria are the only reasons I raged instead of killing myself. I need you three, I mean itâ€ť Brynmor decided to tell his father what Aurelia had told them about her journey here then added â€śI think sheâ€™ll stay too. Her soul remembers enough it guided her back to usâ€ť
It was the smell of blood that brought them to where one of the men lay dead. This is where it had happened. They could smell Aureliaâ€™s scent all over and around him. â€śShe killed him.â€ť Brynmor said.
â€śThe other left him to die.â€ť Rees replied as he followed more drops of blood into the forest. â€śHe was wounded though, your mother made sure of that.â€ť
â€śWhat should we do with this one?â€ť
â€śLeave him, after what he did, just leave him. I want to find the other one.â€ť
â€śAlright.â€ť They continued on, leaving the first manâ€™s body for the animals and the earth.
â€śAurelia?â€ť Pretoria said softly as she opened her motherâ€™s door.
â€śHmm?â€ť Aurelia jerked away, disoriented and confused for a moment until she remembered where she was. She let her eyes move to Pretoria and for a moment, seeing the young womanâ€™s smiling face, had her heart aching.
â€śSorry, I just thought maybe you were hungry.â€ť Pretoria said as she nudged the door all the way open and stepped in with a breakfast tray.
â€śOh, sure.â€ť She started pushing herself up and Pretoria quickly sat the tray on top of the chest of drawers and went over to help her. â€śThank you.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m happy to helpâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m feeling better this morningâ€ť
â€śThatâ€™s good to hear, please eat. I know it will help you even moreâ€ť Aurelia slowly ate her breakfast, enjoying it. â€śHave you already eaten?â€ť
â€śHopefully it doesnâ€™t make you uncomfortable but I had blood this morning so Iâ€™ll be fine for awhileâ€ť
â€śanimal or do you have someone to feed off of?â€ť
â€śa friend of mine allows me to feed on him from time to time but I had animal this morning. Just to put it out there since some of our kind makes it so it has to be said but my father, brother and I donâ€™t feed on anybody unwillinglyâ€ť
â€śI wasnâ€™t worriedâ€¦Iâ€™m so thankful for you three. I would have died if not for you. Jeez if you wanted blood it would be the least I could doâ€ť Pretoria smiled â€śwe truly expect nothing in return but getting to know you. You seem so interesting. Once youâ€™re better are you going to stay a bitâ€ť
â€śIf Iâ€™m welcome, your father would like me here?â€ť
â€śHe wants to get to know you tooâ€ť
â€śwhere is he nowâ€ť she felt this tug on her heart, like she needed to know. â€śHeâ€™s out making sure those men that hurt you are really dead or not going to do such a thing againâ€ť
â€śThey were so crazed, especially for human men.â€ť
â€śwell my father and brother will see to it no other woman has to worry about them.â€ť Aurelia finished her breakfast and Pretoria took her plate. When Pretoria came back she asked â€śwhy did you pick your tattoos?â€ť
â€śI adore bees and I just thought it would be pretty to have the flowers going up my sides.â€ť
â€śI didnâ€™t get a good look at the flowers but I love the beeâ€ť
â€śwell there arenâ€™t any men here if youâ€™d like to see themâ€ť Pretoria helped Aurelia with her shirt â€śwow, they are really pretty. You must have paid a lot to have them doneâ€ť
â€śI didnâ€™t pay with anything but my time. This particular tattoo artist needed help with his children. You see as I was wandering I ended up staying in this town awhile just because I thought it was beautiful. I became friends with him and learned, like your father, he was raising kids on his own. He wanted to go study under an artist a few towns away but he couldnâ€™t take his children. He asked me to watch over them and that heâ€™d pay me whatever I wanted when he returned. He also had more than enough money in his basement for me to take care of them so it truly only took my time. They were sweet girls. When he returned I asked he put that skill to work and give me flowers up my sides. I hung around a few more weeks then went on my wayâ€ť
â€śwhatâ€™s his name, I might want some one day. Iâ€™ve never thought about tattoos before but these are so pretty. It was well worth it for him to go study with someoneâ€ť
â€śyeah, his name is Jolduc Khiz. His girls, should they still be at home when you go are Esmeralda and Primâ€ť
â€ścute, did he tell you why he was alone?â€ť
â€śshe left him and the girls for another man.â€ť
â€śyeah, the biggest shame about it is she doesnt want to see her girlsâ€¦I donâ€™t have children so maybe I cant judge but how can anybody just leave their childrenâ€ť
â€śI know my mom would have never left us if she hadnâ€™t been taken awayâ€ť
â€śwould it hurt too much to tell me what happened to her Pretoria?â€ť Pretoria took a long breath in then let it go, looking uncomfortable. â€śIâ€™m sorry, that was so rudeâ€ť
â€śNo, no its fine. Itâ€™s just still hard to talk about it. Youâ€™d think time would make it easier butâ€¦â€ť There was a long, sorrow filled pause from Pretoria before she began her story â€śWe were all always together besides my moms walks. She had been taking long walks alone since she was little. She needed that peaceful time to herself. I mean we would all go sometimes but every now and then she still wanted to go alone. It would always be a few hours but that day she had left right after breakfast and we still hadnâ€™t seen her after lunch. Dad got worried, he told us to stay incase she came back but he was going to look for her for awhile.â€ť
Pretoria tried to discreetly brush a tear away â€śthen dad didnâ€™t come home so Brynmor and I leftâ€¦I wish we hadnâ€™tâ€ť Pretoria couldnâ€™t talk anymore as she could once again envision her dead mother”
â€śIâ€™m so sorry, you donâ€™t have to tell meâ€ť Pretoria clung to Aurelia, happy that they had atleast saved her in this life. She was back and she knew her dad would probably never let her out of at least one of their sights ever again if he could help it. â€śTheres this particularly nasty group of vampire hunters that arenâ€™t just happy with killing vampires. They often humiliate and torture them. We donâ€™t know what she went through but by the time we had went looking for her she was cut up. They had hung her body parts from different treesâ€ť
â€śOh jesusâ€¦where was your fatherâ€ť
â€śHe was on a murder spree. My dad, as most of the original vampires, have states similar to demons where they lose their mind to rage. Every man that had touched my mother died and sadly, so did their families. It was all Brynmor and I could do to get him back to normalâ€¦he did a lot of things I know he regretsâ€ť Pretoria could see a bit of concern on Aurelias face â€śdonâ€™t worry, only the men that hurt you will answer to my father today, Youâ€™re alive and I think it was pure grief and sorrow that drove him into that stateâ€¦he did and still does love my mother immensely. They were together thousands of years and they were a pretty sweet couple. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve ever seen two beings near that happy with eachotherâ€ť
The man panicked the moment he looked over his shoulder and spotted Rees and Brynmor. Both of them could see and smell it and Rees directed Brynmor forward. His son put on a burst of speed that had him suddenly standing in front of the man and as he skidded to a halt, Rees grabbed him from behind and slammed him to the ground. â€śPlease.â€ť He screamed. â€śPlease, please, Iâ€™m sorry.â€ť He was covering his head and crying his entire body shaking.
â€śDo you have any idea what youâ€™ve done?â€ť Rees snapped.
â€śNo, please, I just woke up andâ€¦and Eli wasâ€¦he was and I was covered in blood. Please, Iâ€™m sorry.â€ť
â€śDad?â€ť Brynmor grabbed his shoulder. â€śI donâ€™t think heâ€™s lying.â€ť
Rees let out a sigh as he pulled the man up. â€śLook at me.â€ť He ordered and the man forced himself to look into Reesâ€™s eyes. â€śWhatâ€™s the last thing you remember?â€ť
â€śIâ€¦weâ€¦â€ť he swallowed. â€śWalking through the woods with Eli, weâ€¦we took a shortcut and thenâ€¦nothing. Eliâ€¦did I kill him?â€ť
Rees stood in thoughtful silence for a moment before saying â€śmy wife killed your friend. You two tried to rape her. Maybe you walked into an enchantment and didnâ€™t realize or any number of things but I can tell you arenâ€™t lieing. Youâ€™re going to take me to the last spot you rememberâ€ť
â€śwhat if something happens againâ€ť
â€śMy son and I would never fall into something like that. Iâ€™ve trained him well and only the smart live as long as I haveâ€ť
â€śIâ€™mâ€¦Iâ€™m sorry for what we did to herâ€¦normally weâ€™re nothing like thatâ€ť
â€śyou two didnâ€™t get anywhere with her. Sheâ€™s toughâ€ť Rees let the human man go â€śshow meâ€ť
â€śIâ€™mâ€¦Iâ€™m hurt badly too. Could I get tended to first?â€ť
â€śso you can tell the other humans vampires are bullying you?â€ť
â€śNo, no I swearâ€¦we obviously hurt someone you loveâ€¦I wont try anything funnyâ€¦I justâ€¦Iâ€ť
â€śdadâ€ť Brynmor said and Rees sighed â€śMy son will go with you and Iâ€™ll wait hereâ€ť He could tell the human wanted to ask why but held his tongue. It suited Rees, telling him honestly why might scare him into not cooperating and he didnâ€™t want something else losing its senses and trying to hurt Aurelia or anybody else again. Brynmore wasnâ€™t sure why his dad didnâ€™t want to go into the humans village. Surely nobody was alive anymore who would remember him.
Rees decided to lay down and think up as many possibilities as he could. He wanted to go home, he wanted to be near Aurelia again. He was so lost in his head it seemed like no time atall had passed when Brynmor returned with the human male. Rees stood, staring the man down until the human moved to show them where to go. He took them to the last point he remembered â€śthis is it. I hope Iâ€™m remembering rightâ€¦I cant imagine what would make us dumb enough to mess with a vampire womanâ€ť
â€śSheâ€™s an elfâ€ť Brynmor said and the man said â€śIâ€™m sorryâ€ť
â€śdonâ€™t be so scared. Iâ€™m sure sheâ€™ll even feel sad for your friend once she learns you two werenâ€™t in control. A lot of mistakes were madeâ€¦weâ€™re just glad she found her way homeâ€ť The man glanced over at Rees who wasnâ€™t paying attention to them. He was absorbed in the environment as he careful studied his surroundings.
Rees could see where the two men had passed through and he squatted down, picking up the crushed cap of a mushroom. He sighed as he stood and held it out. â€śDo you know what this is?â€ť He asked the man.
â€śNo, Iâ€™ve never seen it before.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s an otrova mushroom.â€ť
â€śThe spot where you and your friend walked is covered in them. Theyâ€™re an invasive species and incredibly dangerous.â€ť He tossed the broken mushroom. â€śWhen they feel threatened, they release spores into the air and cause a temporary insanity in anyone who inhales it.â€ť
â€śWe didnâ€™t know.â€ť He dropped his head into his hands. â€śWe always go out together, we have been since we were kids, but we didnâ€™t know.â€ť He swallowed then took a deep breath. â€śI have to bury Eli, I canâ€™t leave him in the woods.â€ť
â€śI will be able to get rid of these but it will take time. Brynmor, you may help the human while I do thisâ€ť
â€śHeâ€¦he doesnâ€™t have toâ€ť The mans voice trembled. Brynmor said â€śIâ€™d be happy to, we know it wasnâ€™t his fault and my mother isnt a murderous monster either just so you know. She was terrified and just trying toâ€ť The man shook his head â€śI understand, really, I wont go telling anybody anything negative. Weâ€¦we tried to rape herâ€¦I understandâ€¦Iâ€™m not sure what Iâ€™m going to say about his death to his family but I donâ€™t blame herâ€ť Brynmor walked away with the human, hoping to get the burial done quickly so he could help his father.
When they were out of earshot the man asked â€śhow can your father be sure he wont go mad with themâ€ť
â€śIf he says he knows what heâ€™s doing he knows.â€ť
Rees had to burn them, all while being careful with the rest of the forest. He couldnâ€™t risk anyone else happening upon them, not even one. He wanted to take the time to scour the rest of the forest, but he knew that would take ages and he wanted to get back to Aurelia and explain what had happened. He would have Brynmor accompany him of regular trips to scour the woods once everything was settled. He found his anger dissipating as he watched the fire burn out and when he finally caught up with his son and the man, he was calmer than he had been. They had just finished burying Eli and Brynmor was doing his best to comfort him.
â€śSo what now?â€ť He wiped at his face.
â€śFirst, can I have your name?â€ť
â€śOh, itâ€™s Oliver, sorry.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s fine.â€ť Rees sighed. â€śI cannot hold what happened against you, Oliver, it wasnâ€™t yourâ€™s or Eliâ€™s fault.â€ť
â€śWhat do I do?â€ť
Rees looked to Brynmor who answered, â€śCome back with us, talk to the woman you attacked, weâ€™ll explain everything.â€ť
â€śwont I just upset herâ€¦Iâ€ť he didnâ€™t know what to add, he seemed to be having an internal struggle so Brnymor spoke again â€śyou didnâ€™t manage to rape her. Sheâ€™s hurt and might be a bit startled when she sees you but I have a feeling that once she knows your side of things sheâ€™d want to see you again anyway to tell you herself not to feel guiltyâ€ť Oliver swallowed â€śalright, I will come. I still donâ€™t know what Iâ€™m going to say to everybody anyway. I donâ€™t want to give you three any more problems. Iâ€™ve seen in my village before the fact we tried to rape her which caused her reaction will mean littleâ€ť
Rees and Brynmor took Oliver to their home where they found Pretoria and Aurelia in the living room, sitting down and talking. â€śsheâ€™s doing so much betterâ€ť Pretoria said excitedly but her expression changed when she noticed the man â€śthat scentâ€ť she said softly. â€śallow me to explainâ€ť Rees started then explained to them why the men had attacked Aurelia. Aureliaâ€™s eyes dampened â€śoh myâ€¦Iâ€™m so sorry. I was so scared and you two wouldnâ€™t let me get awayâ€¦I killed him because I felt I had to in the moment. Iâ€™m sorryâ€ť
â€śI understand, Iâ€™m horrified about what we tried to doâ€¦that that could be in me at all, weird mushrooms or notâ€ť
â€śsome things have great power. The mushrooms turned you two into something you werenâ€™t. Donâ€™t feel guiltyâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m just glad youâ€™re okayâ€ť
â€śI know you donâ€™t feel I have anything to make up for but I feel bad about your friend. I owe you, anytime you need something, please come back to us so I can repent for his death. I mean it, I really want toâ€ť
He held up his hands. â€śPlease donâ€™t, no one would ever blame you, truly. You were alone, against two of us, it was justified. Eli wouldnâ€™t blame you, he wasnâ€™t like that, he was a good man, kind and honest, he would want you to know it wasnâ€™t your fault. You didnâ€™t know, we didnâ€™t know. So please.â€ť
Rees could see how heartbroken Aurelia was for him and he gently placed a hand on Oliverâ€™s shoulder. â€śHow about you at least come by then, as often as you like, weâ€™ll get to know each other and move past this.â€ť
â€śIâ€™d like that, thank you.â€ť Oliver took a deep breath. â€śI just donâ€™t know what to tell everyone back home.â€ť
â€śIâ€™ll go with you and explain.â€ť Brynmor volunteered. â€śIâ€™m sure I can hide the fact Iâ€™m a vampire.â€ť
â€śYou donâ€™t have to hide, no one would bother you, they know better than that.â€ť He nodded. â€śI would appreciate your help, I just donâ€™t want them to think Eli was a monster.â€ť
â€śYou should rest.â€ť Aurelia said. â€śYou spent all night in the woods and youâ€™re wounded.â€ť She looked to Rees whose heart jumped in his chest. â€śHe can stay right? He shouldnâ€™t travel until heâ€™s better.â€ť
â€śOf course.â€ť He sat down next to her, gently taking her hand.
He wanted to tell her anything she wanted was his command but he knew how weird that would sound. â€śdonâ€™t scare herâ€ť he thought to himself. â€śitâ€™s the right thing to doâ€ť He held her hand a few more moments before getting up â€ślet me show him to a roomâ€ť Rees knew he needed to speak to Oliver about their situation with her. Not only to let him know he had helped guide his mate back to him but so he didnâ€™t say something he shouldnt since Brynmor had repeatedly refereed to Aurelia as his mother.
Rees walked the man to a room in another hall then said â€śthis is where you can stay but we need to talk about something important if youâ€™re going to be interacting with herâ€ť
â€śsheâ€™s a reincarnationâ€¦my wifeâ€¦Aurelia has no idea about her past with us and it shouldnâ€™t come from you. If we as a family decide to tell her it should come from usâ€ť
â€śOhâ€¦that must be hardâ€ť
â€śmaybe if you told her it would help her rememberâ€¦I mean thereâ€™s things that can be doneâ€ť
â€śwhat if I scare her, she might not believe me and think me crazyâ€ť
â€śthat woman in there? Sheâ€™s no coward, she just invited a man who tried to rape her to stay in the same castle as her. I mean, I think sheâ€™d face the possibility head onâ€ť Rees gave him a long look that semi frightened Oliver. He finally said â€śthanks for the input, will you be needing anything?â€ť
â€śI just want a bathâ€ť Rees pointed a few rooms away â€śtheres a bath in there. Iâ€™ll tell Brynmor to bring you clothingâ€ť
â€śThank youâ€ť Rees left the man without another word, pondering what he had said. HIs Ameliaâ€¦his Aurelia had never been a coward a moment in her life. Maybe he was over worrying but with something as important as having her in his life again he wasnâ€™t sure that was possible. He wanted her back, in any way he could have her and he knew the kids felt the same. If he handled this wrong, if he made the wrong choices heâ€™d be breaking their hearts all over again as well. He had more than just his own heart to consider in all this.
When he came back to the room Aurelia was happily talking with her two kids â€śHey Reesâ€ť his heart stuttered at the sound of his name coming from her. â€śHeâ€™s settledâ€¦what did you and my daughter do today?â€ť
â€śtalked mostly, Iâ€™m eager to be shown around thoughâ€¦would you mind doing that tomorrow? She said it would be best if you didâ€ť he smiled gently â€śif you still feel up to it yesâ€ť
â€śI want to know everything about this place. Iâ€™ve never been in a castle before. How did you build this or did you find it?â€ť
â€śI built this, most vampires lived in castles in my time. It was the thing to doâ€ť She smiled ‘you do look like a classic” she said it with so much affection it even surprised her. â€śIâ€™m sorry, was thatâ€¦weirdâ€ť he nervously chuckled â€śnever be sorry, I know I havenâ€™t updated my styleâ€¦everâ€¦my wife didnâ€™t mind thoughâ€ť
â€śYou all seem so wonderful, Iâ€™m sure she just felt luckyâ€ť
â€śI have something to take care ofâ€ť Pretoria said to excuse herself and her brother followed suit, leaving their parents alone. â€śyou donâ€™t have to stay with me if you want to rest or something. Youâ€™ve done so much for me. I mean, you were out all this time because of meâ€ť he gently smiled again â€śI want to get to know you. Thank me by telling me more about your life Aureliaâ€ť
â€śwhen do you want me to start?â€ť
â€śYour first memories if you so wishâ€ť
â€śalrightâ€¦â€ť she paused for a time, obviously thinking â€śmy very first memory is one with my dad. We were just running and laughing, I think maybe we were playing tag. Most of my early memories are of my dad. He was always playing around with me. My moms wonderful too but Iâ€™m extra close with him.â€ť She had been treated well in this life and loved by her parents, he was glad to hear it. She had deserved much better from her birth parents in her past life. â€śso it wasnâ€™t hard growing up as a nomad?â€ť
â€śI loved every second of itâ€ť
â€śsoâ€¦do you think youâ€™d ever be happy staying in one placeâ€ť she shrugged â€śI never say never, if the right situation arose Iâ€™m sure I could be happy settling somewhereâ€ť
â€śwhats your first memory of your mom?â€ť
â€śWe found this bow and arrow in a shop that was made for little kids. She bought it right there and took me to a practicing arena for it. It was funâ€ť he nearly chuckled â€śthey sound funâ€ť
â€śyeah, Iâ€™ll have to find them again one day but not soon. I mean. I donâ€™t feel like Iâ€™ve found what I left them to look forâ€¦I think I just told Pretoria about this butâ€ť she proceeded to tell him how she came to leave her parents side.
Reesâ€™s heart was skipping in his chest. Someone had sent her to him, he had to believe that. â€śThatâ€™s amazing, Aurelia, truly.â€ť He sat down next to her. â€śAurelia Iâ€¦â€ť he let out a sigh.
â€śWhat?â€ť She could tell something was troubling him and she couldnâ€™t stop herself from taking his hand in hopes of comforting him. â€śIs everything alright?â€ť
â€śYes, sorry, itâ€™s just Iâ€™m really happy to have you here. I hope itâ€™s okay to say that, after everything thatâ€™s happened.â€ť
She smiled and his entire being warmed. â€śIâ€™m happy too.â€ť She said.
â€śYeah, you and your children have been so sweet, itâ€™s more than I expected.â€ť
He burned to tell her everything, but he couldnâ€™t, not yet. He could wait until tomorrow at least. â€śIâ€™m glad.â€ť He gave her a smile. â€śWould you like me to get you anything? Food? Something to drink? We could have dinner together or if you havenâ€™t eaten.â€ť
â€śI imagine you must be starving, eating together would be nice. Iâ€™m feeling well enough to come to the kitchen with youâ€ť she could see the concern on his face even before he answered â€śyou were bleeding internally from fighting those men when you arrivedâ€ť
â€śand since then you and your children have done an amazing job of taking care of me. I really donâ€™t want to keep you in this room. Besides, Iâ€™m dieing to even just see a little more tonightâ€ť
â€śwellâ€¦if you start to feel weak, just let me knowâ€ť
â€śalrightâ€ť She couldnâ€™t believe how sweet this vampire and his children were. They were constantly tugging at her heart. Rees helped her out of bed which was cute even though not needed. They walked to his kitchen where she saw they had leftovers from the salad she had been made â€śa salad is just fine with me againâ€ť
â€śI can make you something, I donâ€™t mind. Weâ€¦could even cook togetherâ€ť
â€śalright, but really let me helpâ€ť Rees pulled out the last of the rabbit they had and decided to make Aurelias favorite soup in her past life. If what some people said were true and you really could make an old soul remember a past life then he wanted to try everything he could to help her soul tell her new mind what it remembered. He began, having her do the easiest steps possible. This would take awhile to cook but he wasnâ€™t interested in resting anyway. He had lived without his wife so long, he needed to be with her as much as he could.
â€śI suppose as a traveler you eat rabbit a lotâ€ť he said, just wanting to hear her speak again. â€śyeah but I like it. This already seems so good. Where did you learn to make it?â€ť
â€śMy late wifeâ€ť he said gently â€śOh, gosh, I end up bringing her up a lot with you three. Iâ€™m sorryâ€ť
â€śItâ€™s alright, sheâ€™s an incredibly pleasant memory for us allâ€ť
â€śIt sounded from Pretoria itâ€™s been a long time. Iâ€™m surprised youâ€™re still singleâ€ť he felt uncomfortable with what he was about to say but he wouldnâ€™t lie to her â€śI ended up with someone eventually, a friend of hersâ€¦it was a bit selfish of me because most of why I was able to with her is she felt like a piece of Amelia. They hungout so muchâ€¦Iâ€¦I think she always knew but she just wanted affection as I did.â€ť She didnâ€™t ask why they parted, she supposed they just both realized they werenâ€™t really helping eachother in being together. â€śwellâ€¦I hope you find someone you can actually love againâ€ť his smile held so many emotions, mostly sad which made her feel bad so she changed the subject â€śso um, are you close to your kidsâ€¦like do you do a lot together normally?â€ť
â€śweâ€™re pretty close, itâ€™s why they still live with me even though theyâ€™ve been adults a long timeâ€ť
â€śI wouldnâ€™t be here without them, they saved me, even afterâ€¦I donâ€™t deserve them.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m glad youâ€™re still here, for what thatâ€™s worth. I mean if you werenâ€™t, we never would have met.â€ť
Rees smiled. â€śI feel the same, truly.â€ť
They continued talking, him getting to know more about her life, about her family and about her journey to him. He told her stories about his life, about their life, hoping maybe one of his fondest memories would help spark hers. Aurelia loved the smell of the soup as it boiled and when Rees finally made her a bowl and she took her first bite, she paused at the taste. She felt herself tear up and jumped when Rees touched her shoulder, a look of concern on his face. â€śSorry.â€ť She said.
â€śAre you alright?â€ť
â€śYeah, of course, this is really good.â€ť
â€śMaybe we should go back to your room.â€ť
â€śNo, itâ€™s fine, really.â€ť
â€śAlright, but after, you should rest.â€ť
She nodded, wondering why she suddenly felt so emotional. A lot of her emotional responses were seeming to become odd and she wondered if it was just because of her ordeal before meeting these people. She took another spoon fool and held the flavorful soup in her mouth a few moments, emotion hitting her again. It was like her soul was aching. She swallowed and looked back at Rees, her eyes meeting his for a few long moments â€śIâ€™m sorryâ€ť she couldnâ€™t help but say again, seeing how concerned she was making him. â€śwhatâ€™re you thinking about?â€ť
â€śnothing really in particular. I probably do just need more rest after thisâ€ť
â€śWould it be alright for me to carry you backâ€¦youâ€™re worrying meâ€ť
â€śthat would be really kind, thank you Reesâ€ť something flashed in her mind, of hugging him and thanking him as they sat down at the table with young children, his children. At least they had looked so similar to them she thought it was. She quickly finished her soup and began to wash it â€śhey, youâ€™re still getting better. Myself or the kids will get thatâ€ť she was so thrown off by everything that had been happening in her mind and emotionally since eating with him she didnâ€™t protest â€śalright, will you take me back to my room thenâ€ť
Rees lifted her into his arms, happy to have her close, however briefly it would be. They were nearly to the room she was staying in when she asked him â€śdo you have any pictures of your kids when they were children?â€ť
â€śIâ€™m sure I do, most of what I have are paintings. My late wife loved to have us painted. Youâ€™d like to see?â€ť
â€śIf I wouldnâ€™t be bothering youâ€ť
‘not at all. Iâ€™ll go get one after I have you settled in”
â€śyou canâ€™t just take me to itâ€ť he couldnâ€™t, they would be with all the pictures that had her in them. â€śyou need to restâ€ť she did so it wasnâ€™t a lie. He tucked her into bed so lovingly, she couldnâ€™t resist hugging him. It surprised Rees but his body instantly responded. He had her close once more and demanded himself not to cry. He didnâ€™t know what to say about it so he didnâ€™t and she didnâ€™t say anything more as he walked out the door.It hit him once he was out he never told his son to bring Oliver clothes but knowing his children one of them had checked on the human.
He went to retrieve one of the paintings of his children, promising himself he would check on Oliver before he went to bed. He had been so wrapped up in Aurelia and everything that had happened, that he had been being a bad host. His eyes caught hers when he came back into her room and he couldnâ€™t help but pause there for a moment. His heart thumped in his chest when she smiled and he had to force himself to move again. â€śSorry.â€ť He said as he crossed over to her.
â€śI shouldnâ€™t stare, itâ€™s rude.â€ť
â€śThen weâ€™re both in trouble.â€ť She teased and he couldnâ€™t help but smile.
â€śI was going to bring one of the bigger ones, but I decided against it. This one though, is one of my favorites.â€ť He sat down next to her and turned the painting so she could see it. He remembered that day very vividly because it had been so hard to get Brynmor to sit still.
She tried not to let her expression change too much as she looked at this painting. She had seen those two as children. Could she have really guessed so accurately? It was weird but maybe that was all it was. Her mind just had shrunk the two down incredibly well. â€śthey were so adorableâ€ť her eyes grew a little damp but she didnâ€™t cry. â€śYeah, Brynmor would not sit still for this picture. We almost gave upâ€¦my wife and I I meanâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m glad you two got to capture it. Heâ€™s as adorable then as he is handsome now. Pretoria grew up beautiful herself.â€ť
â€śThey had a gorgeous mother, I guess that helped Brynmor aswell because he certainly didnâ€™t get it from me. I just tend to scare people. I think one of the things I loved most about my late wife was that she never feared me for a momentâ€ť He noticed her gaze go from the children to him â€śI think youâ€™re incredibly handsome Rees,donâ€™t call yourself scaryâ€ť she blushed, quickly looking away from him and wondering why she had said that out loud. â€śUmâ€¦you should get rest too Rees. You ran around all that time solving what happened and taking care of Oliver. Iâ€™mâ€¦getting tiredâ€ť she felt awkward and was a bit overwhelmed with herself and thoughts in general.
â€śPlease call me if you need anything alrightâ€ť
â€śI willâ€ť he almost leaned down to kiss her head but managed not to â€śgoodnight Aureliaâ€ť His voice was so loving and sad. He was such a sweet vampire, she could definitely see how someone could fall in love with him. When he shut the door she looked down at the picture again and whispered to herself â€śwhat did that couple want me to findâ€¦could it beâ€¦you three?â€ť she almost felt stupid saying it. Amelia sounded so perfect, she could probably never fill her shoes here. She laid back against the headboard and prayed softly â€śGods and goddessâ€™s, please help me. If you can, give me some sort of sign. Is this where I was supposed to end up or am I just enamored with this family and want to think my heart was leading me hereâ€ť
She looked at the picture awhile longer then settled down for the night, hoping everyone else slept well. Another violent storm woke her late in the night, just like the one she had found herself in the night she came to this castle. She gasped when she saw a figure in her room but relaxed when she saw the man who had come to her. She looked around and asked â€śwhere is the woman?â€ť
â€śHumble is busyâ€ť
â€śare you a god, is that why youâ€™re here againâ€ť he chuckled â€śNo but I have a few assisting me now with my workâ€ť
â€śthats not what Iâ€™m here to explain. You asked for more guidanceâ€¦well, get out of bed.â€ť she got up, hoping a head injury didnâ€™t have her going insane. Those men had hit her quite a few times. Once they stepped out of the room he held a finger up to his mouth to tell her to keep quite so she did, following him all the way down to the final floor of the castle”why are we here?” she asked in a whisper. He started rumaging and pulled out a painting that made her legs so weak she almost fell â€śwhaâ€¦whatâ€ť
â€śI think you know what Iâ€™m telling you Aureliaâ€¦or should I sayâ€¦Ameliaâ€ť
â€śdonâ€™t hyperventilate on me, sit, pleaseâ€ť
â€śin your past life. You are the wife and mother they keep speaking ofâ€ť
â€śtheyâ€¦do they actually knowâ€ť
â€śThey felt it, you feel it too, I know you do. That soul of yours was begging to come back. Even I felt it desperate desire to find Rees and your children as my wife and I were passing you by that night. Youâ€™ve wanted to run back to him from the moment you were born. Didnâ€™t you used to draw a lot of vampire art Aurelia, didnâ€™t you always make up games where you lived in a castle and wasnâ€™t your very first make believe friend named Reesâ€ť she felt light headed as it all came rushing back. Childhood felt like so long ago but as she stood there she realized his words were true â€śwhat are youâ€ť
â€śwhat I am and the gods that help me arenâ€™t important right now unless you donâ€™t believe youâ€™re Ameliaâ€ť Tears started tumbling down her face â€śIâ€¦I think I believe youâ€ť
â€śGood, Humble, my wife loves a good romance story. I understand yours was particularly beautiful. You two meant the world to eachother and those kids have missed you immensely. You left a hole in their hearts and I think even if we hadnâ€™t woken up your soul you would have never felt complete without them. The bond you all had in your previous life was much too strongâ€ť
â€śwhen she touched meâ€¦â€ť
â€śshe just helped you hearâ€ť
â€śit really lead me back hereâ€ť
â€śYou and Rees are meant for one another.â€ť
â€śwhy didnâ€™t they show me thisâ€ť
â€śI dont think they want to lose you all over again. Not everyone believes souls are reincarnated. You might have thought them crazy even with these pictures. Go to Rees and Iâ€™ll return to my Humbleâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m gratefulâ€ť she wiped her face before continuing â€śbut you cant cliffhanger me like this. Will you two come back when you have time. I have to know moreâ€ť he chuckled â€śwell you are an elf this time, your kind is notorious for being hungry for information. Lucky for you Humble loves romances like the one you have with Rees. Iâ€™m sure sheâ€™ll lunge at the opportunity to see you two back together. She would have come now but she couldnâ€™tâ€ť
â€śwhats your name, I dont think youâ€™ve told meâ€ť
â€śJaseâ€ť she had almost forgot about the storm until it scared her â€śeasy now, hurt yourself again and youâ€™ll break three heartsâ€ť Jase said in an amused voice. Aurelia ran up the stairs and Jase smiled, setting the painting back down and used the magic that brought him to return him to Humble. Suddenly Brynmor was infront of her, looking disheveled. â€śare you okay? I heard running. Did something happen?â€ť he started looking her over for wounds. She hugged him â€śYouâ€™re my sonâ€¦I cant believe itâ€ť His heart nearly stopped â€śMomâ€¦do you rememberâ€ť
â€śNot completely butâ€¦I saw that picture down stairs andâ€¦andâ€¦I dont know I feel its true. Iâ€™m your mom arenâ€™t Iâ€ť He held her crushingly tight â€śmomâ€ť his voice broke a little â€śEven without you knowing its been so good having you back. Life just hansâ€™t been the same without you. You need to see dad.â€ť
â€śI doâ€ť she was bawling and wished she wasnâ€™t. She had always been such an ugly crier and that was the last thing she wanted to be when she made it to his room. Her emotions were just so strong right now she couldnâ€™t help it. He was crying too adn that wasnâ€™t helping. She felt this was her son and no loving mother wanted to see their son cry. He hugged her one more time â€śweâ€™ll help you remember fully mom and even if you cantâ€¦Iâ€™m just so happy you know. We can make new memoriesâ€ť she nodded and he knocked on the door before leaving her.
Aurelia hastily wiped at her face, praying that she didnâ€™t look horrible. He opened the door with confusion and concern on his face â€śwhats happened? Why are you cryingâ€ť Looking into his eyes she didnâ€™t know what words to use so she grabbed his shirt, pulling him down to kiss her.
Rees was surprised by the sudden press of her lips and it took him a moment for his brain to register what was happening. He grabbed her shoulders and gently pushed her back. â€śAurelia, what are you doing?â€ť He wanted to keep kissing her, to pull her into him and into his bed.
Aurelia held his face in her hands, tears springing back into her eyes. â€śI know everything, I know why Iâ€™m here.â€ť
His heart stuttered. â€śWhatâ€¦what are you saying?â€ť
â€śIâ€™m Amelia, Iâ€™m your wife.â€ť
Rees swallowed, feeling a knot forming in his throat. â€śYou remember.â€ť
She shook her head. â€śI saw a picture of her and I know itâ€™s me, I know Iâ€™m your wife, I can feel it, Iâ€™ve always felt it, I just didnâ€™t know until I was pushed to leave.â€ť She pulled him back down, giving him another kiss. â€śIâ€™m your wife.â€ť
His tears spilled over and he pulled her tightly against him. â€śAurelia, Iâ€™ve missed you, you have no idea how much Iâ€™ve missed you.â€ť
â€śJust the way you three talk about meâ€¦I can tell. I canâ€™t believe how lucky I am, to not only have had you three before but that I was brought back in this life.â€ť
â€śI know, I could have never met you again. I wish I could thank who sent you my wayâ€ť
â€śYou can, I saw one of the beings that told me to follow my heart tonight.â€ť she went through every detail up until this moment â€śso I think he and Humble are coming backâ€ť
â€śGoodâ€¦â€ť he pulled her into his room and shut the door â€śeven though you donâ€™t have your memoriesâ€¦youâ€™ll lay with me right?â€ť she smiled as she wiped her face. Aurelia thought it was an adorable question given she had just kissed him â€śyeah, Id like to cuddle with you tonightâ€ť he made almost a squeaking sound due to how emotional and eager he was to keep her close. The sound and how he held her once they were laying down touched her heart again â€śyou three are going to keep me crying constantly, in a good wayâ€ť she whispered. He kissed her forehead â€śas long as they are good tears Aureliaâ€¦I. my heart has ached constantly for you. So has the childrens but theyâ€™ve always handled it better than meâ€ť
â€śwell Iâ€™m here now and I wont leave you guys againâ€ť He held her a little tighter â€śIt may be too much to ask but please, let at least one of us always be with youâ€ť
â€śPretoria told me how I diedâ€¦I think that need from you is understandableâ€ť he felt a little shame at the thought she might know just how insane he became for a few years. He had allowed himself to become a monster when he saw her body parts hanging from the trees and he wished he could go back and handle things more like she would have wanted him to. â€śdid you make me that soup because it was my favorite?â€ť
â€śI was trying to help you rememberâ€ť
â€śIt did stir something in me, as you heard from my storyâ€ť
â€śis there anything you want me to tell you about Aureliaâ€ť his voice was so emotional â€śYou can just hold me for tonight. It sounds like you need itâ€ť He gave her a long kiss to the head â€śthank youâ€¦Iâ€™ve missed this so muchâ€¦even when I had someone elseâ€¦it was never even near the sameâ€ť
â€ścan I knowâ€¦if she ever lived here or anything?â€ť
â€śNo, she only stayed over once or twice a month for a nightâ€ť
â€śI love you Aureliaâ€ť
â€śI love you too. She was my friend though right? Are you going to let me meet herâ€ť
â€śYouâ€™d want to?â€ť
â€śshe was my friend. I mean you two had a sort of relationship but Iâ€™m not upset at her or you. You were lonely and it sounds like she was too. I definitely donâ€™t think if she came around youâ€™d be doing anything with her on the side so Iâ€™d like to meet her at some pointâ€ť
â€śOkay, but I want to be selfish with you for awhile. Iâ€™m sure the kids feel the sameâ€ť she smiled â€śthats okay with meâ€ť The room fell silent besides a few sniffles here and there. Aurelia wasnâ€™t sure when she fell asleep but she woke still in his arms the next morning. He had fallen asleep hard so she was able to get up without disturbing him. She wanted to see her daughter now, to embrace her as she had her son and husband. She wasnâ€™t hard to find, it looked like she had been waiting in the hall for her to come out â€śBrynmor saysâ€¦heâ€ť
â€śI know who I am, come hereâ€ť Pretoria ran into her arms â€śMom, its so good to have you homeâ€ť
â€śItâ€™s good to be home honeyâ€ť
~ The End ~
Fiora confirmed it one more time before actually believing she was pregnant with Kalebs child. â€śOh my goshâ€ť she said excitedly, her entire being warming with happiness. They hadnâ€™t been trying for this to happen but she couldnâ€™t be happier. She just hoped Kaleb would be happy. They hadnâ€™t been practicing safe sex but they hadnâ€™t discussed children either so she didnâ€™t know how he would feel. She wasnâ€™t going to overthink it though, she was just going to march into their library and tell him. This wasnâ€™t news she could keep to herself, she could barely wait to confirm it before talking to him. She had only managed because she didnâ€™t see the point of getting his hopes up or upsetting him without being sure.
She cleaned washed her hands then practically ran to the library where Kaleb was reading a new book he had found and brought home. Upon her entering he immedietly put it down â€śHey baby, whatâ€™s up?â€ť She only briefly paused before saying â€śIâ€™m pregnant, I did multiple tests so Iâ€™m sure. Iâ€™m really happy about it and I hope you are too. I donâ€™tâ€ť a half startled half amused gasp interrupted her sentence as she was suddenly in his arms, her feet off the ground as he hugged her to him â€śof course Iâ€™m happy Fiora. This is the best thing you could have come in here and told me.â€ť he kissed her then asked â€śhow far do you think you are?â€ť
â€śabout two months. I noticed when I missed my period last month but weird things happen but when I missed this month I knew I should get some things together to see if Iâ€™m pregnant. I did every one I know and they all came up with me pregnantâ€ť He kissed her again in his elation â€ścan we go tell my parents? This will be their first grandchild. I know they will be excited tooâ€ť
â€śIâ€™d love to do thatâ€ť she said in a touched tone. He was happy and seemingly abundantly so. His reaction touched her and made her even more glad she was with child. They left right away, going straight to his parents home to tell them the good news. They were both just as happy as Kaleb had been and it almost made her cry that her baby, her first little one would be brought into a world where it would be so wholly loved.
do you know how to tell if its a boy or a girl?â€ť
â€śIts so early?â€ť
â€śwe angels have a trick that can tell on the very day the little one is conceived what gender they will be?â€ť
â€śOh please let me know thenâ€ť Kalebs mother tugged her into another room and Fain chuckled â€śnext thing you know your mother is going to want another baby.â€ť Kaleb chuckled â€śwell, hopefully her baby fever will be quelled when our little one comesâ€ť
â€śEh, if she insists I wont mind. I am just selfish, I like to have your mother to myself. Though I loved raising you, Iâ€™m not saying anything like that. I was just a one and done kind of manâ€ť
â€śI can tell, being a dad is a wonderful thing. Youâ€™ll love it, probably even more than I did. I was just plain scared when your mother told me we were expectingâ€ť
â€śwe have a good home, amazing family and a stable life. Iâ€™m not worriedâ€ť When the girls came back Samira happily announced â€śyouâ€™ll be having a little boy! So start coming up with boy names while I take your wife out shoppingâ€ť Fain chuckled â€śshopping for the kid alreadyâ€ť
â€śIâ€™ve been seeing so much adorable baby stuff. Yes, weâ€™re going right now. You boys just sit here and think. This is mother in law and daughter bonding timeâ€ť Samira didnâ€™t let the men say much else, she just tugged Fiora out. Kaleb chuckled â€śOkay so maybe youâ€™re right. You two might end up having another kid.â€ť They didnâ€™t pay much attention to the time until it was well into the night â€śthe shops are closed by now boy, we need to hunt for our wivesâ€ť Kaleb had been trying not to worry, Fiora had left with his mother, one of the strongest women he had ever known, they were fine, they had to be fine. His fathers nudging was all he needed to be out the door though.
Earlier, right after Fiora and Samira left
The two were flying to town when Fiora heard a growl like voice in her ear despite the fact there was nobody beside her â€śYour baby will be mineâ€ť Fiora stopped in her tracks â€śSamiraâ€ť
â€śsomeone whispered in my ear about the babyâ€ť Samira closed the distance between them, grabbing her daughter in laws hand â€śwhat did the voice sayâ€ť
â€śit wants my babyâ€ť
â€śwe need to get back home, We cant be too carefulâ€ť They went to turn around and the world began swirling around them. Samira took off, straight up, bringing Fiora along with her in the air.
Fiora felt something grip her ankle, bringing them up short and Samira held on then moved down to wrap her arms around her daughter in laws waist. Fiora looked down as she kicked and struggled, her eyes meeting those of the creature who had her. Everything was spinning so fast that she could barely make out its face, but it was clear it had glowing eyes and sharps teeth. â€śHang on Fiora.â€ť Samira commanded and Fiora clung to her.
â€śIf you wonâ€™t give her to me,â€ť the creature grabbed Samira too, â€śthen you can come as well.â€ť
Kaleb flew as fast as possible, his heart hammering in fear. Where were they? They had checked at the stores where his mother had taken Fiora and also any cafe close by, but no one had seen them after they had left. Even Kalebâ€™s father was beginning to worry and that was saying something. His mother was more than capable and would not have been easy to take down, if thatâ€™s what had happened. It was terrifying to think they had been hurt and Kaleb had to force is mind away from the, or worse.
Samira was covered in blood, bearing a livid expression that previously Fiora would have never believed she could make. The angel was pinning the final demon that had been in that room by the throat against the wall. â€śI donâ€™t know what you fuckers want with my grandchild but you wont have him. This place reeks of babies and deathâ€¦unless youâ€™re ready to die Iâ€™d show us the doorâ€ť
â€śYou you youâ€ť She threw him across the room as she yelled â€śstop stuttering!â€ť The demon let them out and Fiora took his life anyway. Fiora ran to her side â€śIâ€™m sorry you have to see me like this Fiora but we must hurry.â€ť They walked through the door the demon opened only to find more. Samira sighed in annoyance â€śYou really donâ€™t want to mess with me. If you have any questions look in the previous roomâ€ť
â€śbut howâ€ť one started and she held up a hand to silence him â€śIâ€™ve had enough, this stress alone could cause my daughter to miscarry and if she loses this baby you will all beg for deathâ€ť Fiora could still not see a single trace of fear in her mother in law. Most of this time she spoke and acted as if she was dealing with petulant children.
Samira moved faster than Fiora could blink, her hand around the demons throat and she slammed him to the ground. â€śYou will take me to the one in charge and I will take it up with him.â€ť
Fiora could actually see the demon shaking. â€śYesâ€¦yes of course.â€ť It said.
â€śDo you feel that?â€ť Fain asked as he came to hover in the sky. He turned, looking around. â€śMagic?â€ť
â€śThereâ€™s a strange distortion here.â€ť Kaleb said. They both inhaled, catching the remnants of Fiora and Samiraâ€™s scents as well as that of demons. â€śDad, Fiora and the baby.â€ť
â€śWe have to stay calm, your mother is with her and you know she wonâ€™t let anything happen to them.â€ť
His sons expression didnâ€™t improve much so Fain added â€śsheâ€™s just as fierce as sheâ€™s always beenâ€ť
â€śit was foolish not to worry about her becoming pregnant. I neglected to think about all the terrible things that can happen to pregnant women, all the things babies can be used forâ€ť
â€śTheyâ€™d have to kill your mother and your mate to get that baby and I doubt anything could manage son. Donâ€™t stress, it wont help anything. We both married strong womenâ€ť
Samaria glared at the demon who merely looked amused â€śYou two are the most unruly house guests Iâ€™ve ever hadâ€ť
â€śwell we donâ€™t want to be here. I smell babies and death everywhere I goâ€ť
â€śbut you donâ€™t know why I wanted your daughter in laws babyâ€ť
â€śI donâ€™t careâ€ť
â€śYou must care, everyone has curiosity within them. You could really leave never knowing why?â€ť
â€śYes now if you like breathing I suggest you tell me where I am and how to get my daughter and grandchild safely out of hereâ€ť He grinned and Samira scoffed before adding seriously â€śIâ€™ve said nothing funnyâ€ť
â€śI like youâ€ť
â€śgood for you, Iâ€™m growing impatientâ€ť
â€śwould you settle for me letting her and the baby go. Iâ€™m far more interested in you now. Samira right?â€ť
â€śI have a mate, you must smell himâ€ť
â€śI do, it tells me you would swing for a demonâ€ť
â€śNot one like you, my mate is nothing like youâ€ť
â€śbut you donâ€™t know meâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m taken and so is my daughter and my grandchild belongs to this familyâ€ť
He chuckled. â€śHow delicious you are, my dear. Come now, you stay and she goes, thatâ€™s only fair.â€ť He shrugged. â€śOr we could keep her here until the little one is born.â€ť
â€śI will kill all of you before that happens.â€ť She held out her hand and Fiora was surprised by the whip that appeared there. The end was covered in razor sharp barbs and she knew that her mother in law meant to tear them all apart should they try anything.
The demon stood with a sigh. â€śYou know, I would have preferred not having to break you, pets and slaves are so boring, but if I must then I will.â€ť He snapped his fingers and two of the demons moved behind Fiora and grabbed her. When Samira turned to defend her, their leader rushed her, knocking her away from Fiora. â€śYour focus should be on me, my dear.â€ť
It was then Fiora knew she couldnâ€™t hide behind her mother in laws bravery any longer. She had to summon all her courage too. Samira was strong but she needed her to be more than dead weight she had to defend. It was as if two blue dust bombs exploded in the room, shocking even Samira who instinctively held her breath as she beat her wings hard to push it away from her. The demons, even their leader began screaming. It distracted the other two but it only angered the leader worse. He lunged for Samira who quickly used the opportunity to wrap her whip around his throat. He growled, grabbing the whip and ripping it apart with his claws. His hands and neck were bloody but he wasnâ€™t done yet. Sores appeared on the three demons bodies but it didnâ€™t effect Fiora, nor did it hurt Samira who had been smart and quick to react to her daughter in law.
Fiora, run.â€ť Samira said as she blocked the demonâ€™s blows, getting cuts and torn clothing any time he managed to get past her guard.
Fiora turned and ran, heading back the way they had come and pushing through the door. The demon grabbed Samira as she turned and slammed her down on the ground. Fiora slid to a stop and started to go back, but Samira yelled at her to keep going. Fiora couldnâ€™t just leave her and she knew Samira could see she wouldnâ€™t so used all her strength to launch herself into the air and slam the demon against the ceiling. â€śFiora hit him again.â€ť She yelled and Fiora made another dust bomb appear. Samira wrapped her wings around herself as it exploded.
Kaleb and his father hovered where the distortion was, both of their hands outstretched. They wanted to try and recreate whatever doorway the demons had used to capture Fiora and his mother. He forced himself to focus, blocking out his fear. He had to believe in his mother, had to have faith in her ability to protect Fiora and their unborn child.
They were both incredibly skilled demons so managed to force open the door. Kaleb might not have much experience but his fathers more than made up for it. They found themselves in a basement and despite the bodies and blood Kalebs father smiled â€śI love my wifeâ€ť he sounded so impressed â€ślets find themâ€ť Kaleb urged. The two hurried, happy to have such strong scents to follow now. Despite the many combined scents here there was no scent either of them knew quite like their mates. When they caught up to them Fiora was stumbling, having just been punched in the face by some back up the master had managed to call in to help him with these two women.
Kaleb caught her in his arms, spinning to kick the demon in the abdomen. Fiora struggled with him for a moment and he held her tighter. â€śCalm down, love, itâ€™s me.â€ť He said and she looked up at him, looking relieved and near tears.
â€śYour mom.â€ť She said.
Fain was already past them, catching one of the demons by the throat and crushing his windpipe. Kaleb wasnâ€™t worried about his parents, he knew they could handle themselves. Instead, he moved Fiora behind him to face the demon he had kicked. â€śStay behind me.â€ť He commanded gently.
â€śI can help.â€ť She said.
â€śI know, but from behind me.â€ť Fiora hit the demon with a dust bomb, causing him to scream and Kaleb attacked him while he was blinded, not giving him a chance to recuperate.
With the four of them they had the demons overwhelmed. Samara would love to be the one with her hands around the demons neck but she allowed her husband to do the honors. â€śjust in case this is going to be something I need to worry about why did you mess with mine and my sonâ€™s mates?â€ť The demon apparently had some fighting him still. It took they knock him around a bit more for him to answer. â€śWe are always on the lookout for fairy babies. In fairy cities itâ€™s damn near impossible to collect them so we lookout for mothers who arenâ€™t with their kind. One fairy child to the right buyer can fetch more than 10 other children combined. Vampires have found it easier to keep their treats if they raise them without knowing what any other kind of life is like. The mother would have sold for quite a bit herself and your mate, well I ended up wanting her for meâ€ť
â€śEven though her baby will be demon and Angel as wellâ€ť
â€śEven as a demon, have you ever tried fairy blood? Even when itâ€™s watered down by other creatures? itâ€™s not addictive to us like it is to vampires but it still incredible.â€ť
â€śdo your buyers come to you or do you meet them?â€ť
â€śDo what you will, I know youâ€™re going to kill me. I wonâ€™t sell out my clients.â€ť
â€śSon, please take your mother and wife home. I made sure that passage would stay open so donâ€™t worry about being able to do it by yourselfâ€ť Fain spoke to Caleb then looked at his wife. â€śPlease go, youâ€™re hurt and this may take awhileâ€ť
â€śI love youâ€ť for a brief moment he smiled ” I love you to Samira. Iâ€™ll be with you soon.” Samira and Fiora went with Kaleb who took them both back to his parents house.
â€śIâ€™m going to go bathe with Fiora, mom.â€ť Kaleb said as they passed through the front door.
â€śOf course sweetie, she doesnâ€™t need the scent of that place on her anyway. Iâ€™ll make us some tea and wait for your father.â€ť
He hugged her tightly. â€śThank you for watching over her.â€ť
â€śYou know I could do no less and besides, she made them regret taking us. Sheâ€™s strong, Kaleb.â€ť
â€śI know, but still, thank you. I love you, mom.â€ť
â€śI love you too.â€ť
He let her go and lifted Fiora, carrying her to the guest bathroom and shutting the door. He sat her on the counter and took her face in his hands. â€śAre you okay my love? Youâ€™ve hardly said a word.â€ť
â€śI was so scared, Kaleb.â€ť She wrapped her arms around her stomach. â€śI canâ€™t believe why he wanted the baby.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m going to be glued to you until the baby comes so you donâ€™t have to worryâ€ť
â€śI hope your dad gets information about the vampires that would actually buy from that demonâ€ť
â€śMe too, that demon may take his secrets to the grave. My dad can beâ€¦well persuasive though. My parents are both forces to be reckoned withâ€ť
â€śYour mom was amazingâ€ť
â€śand we will make sure this child can use all of his abilities properly. Heâ€™ll be safeâ€ť
“Is there any name youâ€™ve always wanted for a boy?
â€śNot really, what about you?â€ť
â€śI really like the name Jimocâ€ť
â€śThen that will be his nameâ€ť
â€śYou sure?â€ť He kissed her forehead â€śIâ€™m just so relieved to still have you bothâ€ť she put a hand on her stomach â€śI think heâ€™s fine in there. I tried to stay calm. I think being blown away by your mother helped.â€ť
â€śare you ready for me to get you cleaned up?â€ť
â€śYeah, your moms making tea so we should hurryâ€ť Once Fiora was clean Kaleb grabbed somehting of his mothers to put on her. They had a bit of a height difference but it still worked. When they came out Samira was tending to her wings â€ścan I help?â€ť Fiora asked and Samira said â€śJust relax for me. Youâ€™ve been through a lot today. Youâ€™re so early on in your pregnancy the best thing you can do for me is to think of your baby. Iâ€™m so excited to be a grandmaâ€ť
â€śweâ€™re naming him Jimocâ€ť Fiora said as she sat down â€śI like thatâ€ť Kaleb sat with his mother, helping her. The more Fiora relaxed the more exhautsed she felt. She was fighting off sleep so hard it almost startled her when the tea pot whistled â€śKaleb, take her to your old room to napâ€ť Kaleb didnâ€™t have to be asked twice. He scooped Fiora back up and took her to his old room â€śI want us to stay here until my dad gets back. Weâ€™re safer inside and who knows if any bastard vampires are lurkingâ€ť
â€śI donâ€™t care where I sleep.â€ť He tucked her in â€śrest as much as you canâ€ť
Fain arrived home a few hours later, relieved to see his son and Fiora were not in the living room. Samira greeted him and even though he was covered in blood, she hugged him. â€śHow are they?â€ť He asked.
â€śGood, resting.â€ť She pulled back to look at him. â€śDid you get him to talk?â€ť
â€śI did, sorry it took so long. He was tougher than I thought. I had to get meaner than I would have liked.â€ť
She rested a hand on his cheek. â€śWhy donâ€™t you go get clean my love and Iâ€™ll get you something to eat and drink. Weâ€™ll talk when you get out.â€ť
He kissed her and they parted, him heading to the bathroom and her to the kitchen. Kaleb woke as his father walked by and looked down at Fiora, relieved to see she was still sleeping. He managed to get out of bed without waking her. He found his mother in the kitchen making a sandwich for his father. â€śIs he alright?â€ť Kaleb asked.
â€śOf course, just a little messy.â€ť
When his father came out he sat down with a relieved, tired sigh â€śI still have my work cut out for me but my blessings are I can rid the world of some vile, selfish creatures and they werenâ€™t supposed to meet until the day after tomorrow. I have where and I confirmed he was telling me the truth in some gruesome ways. Its been so long since I had to be one of the monsters. I intend to get a few of my old friends to help me. Kaleb, youâ€™re only job now is your mate in there. Samira, I know youâ€™ll be helping meâ€ť
â€śIt sounds like just enough recoup time for me to be able to.â€ť Samira replied then Kaleb answered â€śgood, I trust you guys. I want to keep Fiora as near me as possible the rest of this pregnancyâ€ť
â€śare you two staying in our home?â€ť
â€śyou need to get up with your friends and Iâ€™m sure you want some time with mom.â€ť
â€śweâ€™ll take you three home in the morning thenâ€ť Samira now spoke again when Fain stopped talking â€śthey named their son.â€ť
â€śJimocâ€ť Kaleb said and Fain nodded â€śI like itâ€ť Fiora slept through the night, not waking until Kaleb roused her for breakfast. â€śare you feeling okay?â€ť he asked softly as she sat up â€śyeah, why?â€ť
â€śOh, wow, well I guess my body got what it needed. I really do feel perfectly fine.â€ť
â€śMy parents are going to escort us home today then they are going to get ready to confront that demons buyersâ€ť
â€śthey are going to make sure they donâ€™t already have any babies right?â€ť
â€śI know they will. They wont rest until theyâ€™ve stopped as many beings as possible that would be involved in something like thatâ€ť
Fiora got a hug from both Samira and Fain, the latter looking her over. â€śAre you doing alright?â€ť
â€śYeah, thank both of you.â€ť
â€śThere is no way we were going to let our sonâ€™s mate be taken, nor our grandchild.â€ť Samira said as everyone got seated.
They avoided the topic of what had happened as they ate, instead talking about Jimoc and how spoiled he would be. Samira and Fain told her stories about when Kaleb was little and by the time they were finished eating and ready to go, both Fiora and Kaleb were in high spirits. Kaleb held Fiora in his arms as they flew home, unwilling to let her be taken again. If it hadnâ€™t been for his motherâ€™s strength, he could have lost her. They gave each other hugs and they told his parents to stay safe.
â€śYou donâ€™t worry about us, weâ€™ll be back before you know it.â€ť Fain said. â€śJust take care of Fiora and that little baby.â€ť
â€śI will dad.â€ť
Once they were gone a little guilt washed over Fiora â€śI hate we arenâ€™t helpingâ€ť
â€śtruly, they just want their granbaby safe honey. Youâ€™re doing precisely what they want, what I want as wellâ€ť Fiora held a hand on her stomach and he knelt down, kissing her belly â€śI cant believe thereâ€™s really a baby in thereâ€ť Fiora whispered. Kaleb looked up, his face bearing a loving expression â€śthere is and I canâ€™t wait to meet the little one. Fairy, demon and angel. Heâ€™s going to be interestingâ€ť
â€śI hope heâ€™s lucky enough to be as handsome as his daddyâ€ť Kaleb chuckled â€ścome, lets play one of our board games. I donâ€™t want you worrying, even for a second.â€ť Fiora decided to do hat everyone around her wanted, she would relax, for the health of her baby. It was made abundantly clear what this baby meant to Kaleb and his family and she didnâ€™t want them hurt by a miscarriage caused by stress.
~ The End
Marit couldnâ€™t believe her eyes, her very own laptop. She had thought her backpack was heavier when she grabbed it from her locker. She didnâ€™t need it in her last two classes of the day so often stashed it there so she wouldnâ€™t have to lug it around for no reason. She had no idea where it came from, all it had was a sticky note on it that said â€śour little secretâ€ť. She didnâ€™t even care, a million possibilities began rushing through her head. Her parents were so nosy about what she did online and wouldnâ€™t allow her a Facebook because it was too dangerous ,dangerous? Really? She wasnâ€™t stupid. She could handle herself with a Facebook.
They always told her to just wait until she was sixteen but that was three years away. Her friends had always told her she could make one and just block them right away so they wouldnâ€™t find it but her dad was so good with computers she just knew heâ€™d figure it out on the family desktop. Plus it was in the living room so hiding doing anything on that was laughable. Finally, her own laptop and she couldnâ€™t care less who gave it to her. She opened it up to find a picture of her as the background. She was hanging out with her friends. She paused, trying to figure out when this was.
She couldnâ€™t think of it but excitement took her again and she opened the browser. Her mothers voice caught her ears which brought her a little back to reality. She rushed to her bedroom door and locked it for possibly the first time in her life. She as close to her parents, they were kind and very fun people but all her friends were allowed on the internet and to have Facebooks and she was tired of being left out. One of her friends had obviously gone above and beyond for her and she wouldnâ€™t screw it up. Undoubtedly her father could figure out who gave this to her and she didnâ€™t want them getting in trouble.
She went to Facebook to find it already logged into one, hers. Had one of her friends really gone this far to get her into the virtual world? She went to the blocking settings like one of her friends had explained to find all of her family members already blocked. â€śwoahâ€ť she couldnâ€™t help but whisper.
She messed around on her Facebook, going through the pictures. Some of them she had never seen before and she wondered where they had come from. Maybe one of her friends had taken them without her knowing? She then went to her friends list. There was only one person on there right now and she had no idea who it was. â€śMarit, come on sweetie, weâ€™re going to the store.â€ť Her mother said from downstairs, making her heart jump.
â€śComing.â€ť She quickly yelled back. She had to hide the laptop. Her mother sometimes came in to empty out her hamper and she didnâ€™t want her to find it.
She needed to find somewhere fast before her mother came up here so she went into her closet, pulled down her suitcase and stashed it inside. There would be no reason for her parents to bother with it and it was good enough for now. Marit put the suitcase back just as it was then hurried to her mother â€śsorry, I know we just got home but I have nothing to make us for dinnerâ€ť
â€śItâ€™s no problem momâ€ť They went out to the car and soon were on the road â€śso how was school today baby?â€ť Maureen asked. â€śsame old same old, this year has been really easy for me so farâ€ť
â€śyouâ€™ve always been so smart. What would you like for dinner?â€ť
â€śsure, we will need a side tooâ€ť
â€śPotatoes Anna with Apples and Sage?â€ť
â€śOh my gosh Iâ€™m glad I asked youâ€ť Marit laughed â€śI want more poptarts too while weâ€™re at the storeâ€ť
â€śokay, maybe we can look at some clothes before we buy food, you know, just spend a little time together. If things should fall into the cart then over the scanner at checkoutâ€¦wellâ€¦thats just happensâ€ť
â€śyeah, itâ€™s been awhile since we went to the store for fun. I mean we still need stuff but we have time to have fun first. You donâ€™t have a lot of homework do you?â€ť
â€śI have a paper to write so once we get home Iâ€™ll have to stay up on my room but besides that Iâ€™m good. I have time to hangoutâ€ť Marit felt a tug of guilt. She never lied to her mother and it didnâ€™t feel good to do it for the first time. She didnâ€™t have any homework at all but she had wanted to take the opportunity to grab at an excuse to really get into her Facebook account. She had so many people to add and things to do on it.
Her guilty conscious only grew as they looked at clothes. She almost didnâ€™t want her mother buying her anything but knew it would look weird if she didnâ€™t pick some things out. By the time they arrived home Marit was near confessing to her parents she found a laptop in her bag but as she set her clothes down she wanted to share them with everyone right now and she could finally do that. She just reminded herself all of her friends had Facebook â€śmy parents are just being over protectiveâ€ť she thought to herself.
Marit put on her new pair of jeans then set up her camera to take pictures of herself. She loved having a real camera that she could use a self timer on. She wanted to upload them but it was too close to dinner, too risky. Sheâ€™d wait until she was in here for the night because of her paper
She decided to go help her mom finish up, hoping it might ease the guilt tugging at her. â€śhey sweetie, donâ€™t you have a paper?â€ť
â€ścouldnâ€™t concentrate. Iâ€™m too hungryâ€ť Another lie, another tug at her heart doing something she wasnâ€™t used to. She helped her mother with dinner and they managed to get it on the table just as her dad returned from work. Joey came in happily, ready to hug both his girls. â€śwhatever that is it smells amazingâ€ť he remarked and Maureen kissed him ‘dinner was Marits idea. Weâ€™re having Potatoes Anna and Chicken Fricassee”
His mouth was practically already watering as they went to their table and sat down. Her guilt vanished for awhile as she hungout with them. Her dad had another story about the new guy at work that had the three of them laughing. â€śThat man is the biggest mess Iâ€™ve ever met but its funny and heâ€™s a good guyâ€ť Laughing her mother Maureen said â€śwell lets allow our daughter to finish her meal. Between me taking her shopping and your stories sheâ€™s never going to be able to work on her paper for schoolâ€ť
â€śYou have a paper due?â€ť
â€śyeah, I was planning to lock myself in my room after dinnerâ€ť
â€śyouâ€™re going to hand write it?â€ť Thats right, she normally typed her papers up and printed them in the living room, think fast, think fast. â€śyeah, our English teacher wants us to work more on our penmanship and she thought a paper would do that best. We have to write it ourselvesâ€ť Oh my god, how much was she going to have to lie to have this laptop.
â€śso I guess you have to take your time writing so it looks goodâ€ť
â€śYeah, thats a big part of the gradeâ€ť she looked away from her trusting parents â€ścould I eat in my room please?â€ť she wasnâ€™t even in a rush to get online. In fact she was concerned she was going to cry now that guilt had crept back into her full force. â€śOf course babyâ€ť
Both Maureen and Joey watched her leave and then Maureen asked, â€śDid she seem off to you?â€ť
â€śSchoolâ€™s stressful.â€ť He took her hand when she just frowned. â€śWe can talk to her tomorrow, okay?â€ť
â€śAlright. I know Iâ€™m probably being ridiculous.â€ť
â€śBeing a good mom is never ridiculous.â€ť
Marit sat down on her bed with her plate in her hands, feeling horrible. She didnâ€™t want to eat, her appetite gone after lying to her parents, but she knew she had to eat or they would realize there was something wrong. She ate slowly, sighing and trying not to cry until she was finished. She sat her plate on top of her chest of drawers and then went and retrieved the laptop, actually glaring at it a little as she sat down and flipped it open. She decided she would come clean later and hoped they wouldnâ€™t be too upset. She just wanted to play with it for a little while.
Marit just wished they could understand her desire to have one like her friends. It seemed so fun and she always felt out of the loop. People tended to assume she knew about stuff because everybody else had read about it on Facebook but her so she was always playing catch up to know anything about her friends or what was going on. Events would happen and there were times she didnâ€™t end up getting invited because everyone thought someone else was going to tell her in person or call her about it. It sucked, majorly so sheâ€™d get all she could out of this for even a short time. Marit uploaded the pictures she took and changed her profile picture to her favorite one before she began adding all her friends.
She was elated when some accepted right away and she could begin browsing their profiles. She didnâ€™t realize how many pictures of herself were already online. She knew her friends took pictures all the time but she hardly got to see them since people didnâ€™t tend to print pictures anymore. What was the point unless you were making something since everybody you know can see them online, everybody but her that is. She tried not to type too excitedly as she responded to friends excited messages about her finally being on.
She knew if she typed back too fast her parents might here. She decided for safety to turn on the tv in her room. It wasnâ€™t uncommon for her to have tv as background noise, even for homework so they wouldnâ€™t think anything of it. Marit started tagging herself in photos so sheâ€™d have them on her own profile. Sure her dad was probably going to delete this thing but she wanted to live her short facebook life to the fullest.
She was surprised when another message popped up and it was the person whose name she hadnâ€™t known. â€śMarit, are you there?â€ť It asked.
She clicked over to it, typing in, â€śYes.â€ť She could see the dots in the box indicating this person was typing.
â€śGood, Iâ€™m glad. Do you like your gift?â€ť
She swallowed. â€śWho is this?â€ť She sat there waiting, not knowing why her heart was beating so hard.
â€śA friend.â€ť She looked at the name at the top of the box. It just said Tannin. What kind of name was Tannin? Was it real or made up?
â€śHow do you know me?â€ť She asked.
â€śIâ€™ve seen you around and I wanted to talk to you. Iâ€™m so glad we can now.â€ť
She wondered if maybe it was a boy at school and if that were the case then maybe they had been to nervous to talk to her face to face. â€śDo I know you?â€ť
â€śYou will soon, Marit, just not yet.â€ť
She wondered if she should tell her parents, but then that would mean losing the laptop and she had only just started using it. Besides, what if it was just some boy? She didnâ€™t want him getting humiliated. â€śOkay, thank you then.â€ť
â€śI had a spare and Iâ€™ve over heard quite a few conversations about how badly you wanted a Facebook. I had a spare laptop so I made it happen for you and for me. I really have wanted to talk to you so very badly.â€ť The little light by the built in camera came on, not bright but noticeable â€śa light just came on on the laptop? Did I do something to it?â€ť She typed back and he soon answered â€śJust a quirk of an old laptop. Sorry I didnâ€™t have anything better to give youâ€ť Anything better? She thought. This thing looked better than her fathers laptop. â€śItâ€™s not going to bother meâ€ť she typed back but decided to google what that meant. Before she could see the results the laptop turned off â€śwhat?â€ť she said softly.
It was plugged in, the battery was still firmly inside. As much as she wanted to deny something was wrong here it didnâ€™t sit well with her that a light came on and as soon as she went to look up why it shut down. Maybe this friend had remote access to her computer. You didnâ€™t live with a father as computer smart as hers without picking up a few things. Especially when he talked to his friends. Honestly you didnâ€™t live in this decade without knowing all the ways laptops actually were dangerous. Something was wrong and she had to come clean in the morning no matter how embarrassed or sad that made her.
If that light hadnâ€™t come on, if whomever hadnâ€™t shut down her computer so she wouldnâ€™t know why she might have kept this going but she wasnâ€™t that stupid.
Marit couldnâ€™t sleep at all, her eyes jumping to where she had put the laptop every time she turned that way. She knew it was closed, but it still freaked her out. She thought about the pictures and wondered if the person who had taken them was watching her right now. Her heart hammered in her chest at the thought. Could he still hear her through the microphone? She curled up, clinging to her pillow, a tingle of fear running up her spine when she realized her back was to her window. What if he was out there? She held her breath, swallowed and slowly turned over, making it look as natural as possible. She was relieved when she didnâ€™t see a silhouette or anything. She took a quiet breath. It was okay, everything was going to be okay.
She buried her face in her pillow and closed her eyes, knowing she needed to rest. All the doors and windows were locked, her father always double checked before bed. She had always thought it was weird, even after what had happened to her mother as a child, but now she couldnâ€™t be more grateful. She also told herself that all she had to do was scream and they would come running.
Marit woke up several times throughout the night, decided to try to turn it back on around four am. She had a bunch of notifications, some were from her friends but she noticed that Tannin had now given a heart on all of her pictures. In their chat he acted like he didnâ€™t know what happened to her but she worried he did know, that he had some sort of remote access to this thing and that she did need to be afraid of it. She decided to try google again now that he didnâ€™t seem to be on. She gasped once she read that meant the camera was on. He had turned it on while they were talking.
She couldnâ€™t wait until morning, she ran to her parents bedroom and pounded on the door â€śMom! Dad!â€ť Her dad answered â€śwhat? Is everything okay honey?â€ť he looked so scared and she spilled her guts. She could handle her parents anger and disappointment, she couldnâ€™t handle some creep spying on her and taking her away from her parents. Facebook acess wasnâ€™t worth that. She held up the laptop and his concerned face turned puzzled â€śwhere did you get that?â€ť
â€śIâ€¦I found it in my backpack after school dadâ€ť
â€śyou found it in your backpack?â€ť
â€śyeah and it had a Facebook already made for me andâ€¦I justâ€¦Iâ€™ve wanted to have a Facebook so badâ€¦Iâ€™m so sorryâ€ť she was already bawling and her mother popped out of the room â€śI think you need to make some coffee honeyâ€ť Joey walked past and Marit could tell by the way he walked he was angry â€śIâ€™m sorry momâ€ť
â€śwhy are you confessing atthis hour baby? What happened?â€ť
â€śI think whoever gave this to me was watching me the times I used itâ€ť
â€ślets follow your dad into the kitchen, explain to him why you think that and tell us both what youâ€™ve been doing on thereâ€ť Marit nodded, shame making her body feel heavy.
Maureen could tell Joey was still mad when they entered the dining room. He was sitting there, his hand setting on top of the laptop, his fingers tapping it. â€śCome sit down, Marit.â€ť He said.
â€śIâ€™m sorry dad.â€ť She replied as she crossed over to the table and sat down.
Maureen sat down next to him and took his hand. He gave her a brief smile. â€śFirst, I want to say that I am disappointed that you decided to sneak behind our backs and not bring this to our attention right away. You broke the rules and your mother and I will discuss your punishment later.â€ť
â€śI know, I justâ€¦â€ť
â€śYou wanted to be like your friends, but Marit, you are our daughter and we have these rules for a reason.â€ť Maureen said.
Joey sighed. â€śWho gave this to you?â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t know, his name is just Tannin on Facebook.â€ť She swallowed down the lump in her throat. â€śI think he was watching me last night.â€ť
â€śWhat exactly happened?â€ť
â€śWell, while we were talking the light on the front came on. When I asked him what it was, he basically told me it was nothing. Then when I went to google what it was, the computer just shut off.â€ť
â€śHe probably was Marit. Laptops are dangerous. Anything with a camera on it is dangerous because its far too easy to tap into someones built in camera. Remote access isnâ€™t as easy but I guarantee you he has it installed on here. Just please tell me you did not hook up your cellphone to the laptopâ€ť
â€śgood, so at least we donâ€™t have to worry about him having put anything on there. Iâ€™d be taking that away anyway if I wasnâ€™t so worried now. You need to be able to call us if something happens and we arent right thereâ€ť
â€śI know about people being able to look at your computer from theres but how much could he seeâ€ť
â€śIâ€™ll go get my laptop and show you, Maureen, tart doing whatever on the desktop. Come with me Maritâ€ť As they sat back down in her parents bedroom Marit asked â€śso you already have stuff installed on our computer?â€ť
â€śNot to watch you and your mother. Sometimes I need stuff from the computer at work. This way I dont have to carry a flashdrive with me if I need to bring something into work thats on thereâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m really sorry dadâ€ť
â€śI love you honey, I do and thats why Iâ€™m so upset.â€ť Soon she could see everypage her mother had open, could even watch her type â€śOh my god, he was seeing what I was talking about with my friends?â€ť
â€śeven as you wrote itâ€ť
â€śOh my godâ€ť
â€śI havenâ€™t forbidden you from Facebook to be mean Marit. Its dangerous and I dont understand any parent that would let their child use a site like that. I just wanted you to be a little olderâ€¦there are monsters out there Marit. Terrible people who would take you away from us and hurt you. This man has given a child a laptop. It wasnâ€™t going to come without strings attached honeyâ€ť She started crying again and he set his laptop down to hug her â€śIâ€™m just glad you told me now Marit, that you couldnâ€™t even go twenty four hours lieing to us but it still hurts you would.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re a good kid Marit, you always have been. Youâ€™ve made a mistake but you came to us and I cant stress enough how glad I am you did. Some kids would have stayed in the hug they already dugâ€¦you could have been gone before we knew anythingâ€ť When she could pull it together again he took her back into the living room where Maureen had made Joey and herself coffee â€śYou need to get some rest Marit. Your dad and I will deal with this laptop nowâ€ť She hugged her mom and went to her bedroom. Joey spoke â€śIâ€™m going to go to work. Iâ€™ll be right backâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m going to get something to block him from accessing it. Heâ€™ll wipe out everything if he sees me on thereâ€ť
â€śI canâ€™t help you anyway if you just want to take it into work. Iâ€™ll put your coffee in a to go cupâ€ť
â€śwhat if theres some creep lurking around our home?â€ť
â€śwe have a gun and I know where it is and the combination to it hasnâ€™t changed right?â€ť
â€śI will be fine and Iâ€™ll keep an eye on Maritâ€ť
â€ś’lll have my key so theres no reason to answer the doorâ€ť She gave him a brief kiss â€śI knowâ€ť he looked like he wanted to say so many things but he was a mess of stress, fear and hurt. â€śI knew something was wrong, we know our girl Joey. Iâ€™m sure this is the first time shes lied to us. I could tell as soon as she came out of that room to go shopping with me. I just didnâ€™t know it was about something so seriousâ€ť
â€śwhat do we do about this?â€ť
â€śMarit is obviously riddled with guilt. I donâ€™t think we need to punish her all that much. If we come down too hard she might be too scared to talk to us next time. Just like I heard you saying to her in the bedroom itâ€™s a blessing she told us. This creep could have taken her from us if she had waited too long. Maybe we just dont let her online atall for a month or twoâ€ť
Joey nodded â€śwell I better go, please, do not answer the door and dont talk to any of our friends or extended family about this yet. Weâ€¦we donâ€™t know who it is Maureenâ€ť As hard as that was to think about she understood his concern â€śOkay babyâ€ť Maureen poured his coffee into a travel cup and he finally left with the laptop to take it to work.
Marit laid curled up in her bed under the covers, hugging her pillow and crying. She hated that her parents were so disappointed and she hated she had hurt them. She cried until she couldnâ€™t anymore and was exhausted. She fell asleep hoping she would be able to make it up to them and thinking of how grateful she was to have parents like them. Maureen entered her room quietly a few minutes later and gently pulled back the blankets, relieved to see she was actually sleeping, but hating that her daughter had been crying. She pressed a soft kiss to her forehead and decided to bake some cookies in hopes that it would help everyone feel better.
Joey forced himself not to look upset when he got to work. He nodded at the security guard as he passed and headed straight for his office. He knew he was going to have to be careful opening it up and hooking anything up to it. If the guy was on, he might notice and if he noticed then he knew he would have to work fast to make sure he couldnâ€™t delete anything. He knew he would have to take it into the police, but he wanted to preserve as much evidence as possible.
Joey was glad when he found what he needed to prevent the remote access from working. He quickly turned it on and got it running before whoever this predator was noticed what was happening. Joey decided to look at the history first but was saddened to find the man had been smart enough to clear the history before putting the laptop in Marits bag. He looked through everything looking for any evidence of the previous owner but nothing was turning up. He then went on his daughters facebook and clicked on the mans page but that turned up nothing as well. He hated he would have to turn this over to the cops with nothing but they could probably look up where this was bought and by who among many other things he couldnâ€™t so he decided to take it to the police station.
He let them know right away he already made it so the man or woman couldnâ€™t access the computer any longer. They asked him how then went on to further question him about Marit. They told him theyâ€™d check with the school when it opened to see if the camera in the halls still functioned. They had them but due to funding issues many public schools face they could possibly not be functioning. Joey hoped with all he was that they would at least be able to see this creep on video.
â€śMarit.â€ť Her voice being whispered startled her awake. â€śMarit.â€ť It took her sleepy brain a moment to process the unfamiliar voice, but when she did, she froze, her heart thumping in her chest. She was afraid to move, but she couldnâ€™t just lay there. She gripped the blankets and quickly pulled them down. There was no one there. She looked around the room in confusion. It was completely lit by the sun so there was no way anyone could be hiding in it.
â€śMom?â€ť She called.
â€śIn the living room.â€ť Marit swallowed. â€śIs everything alright?â€ť
â€śYeah, just a weird dream.â€ť It had to have been. There was no way someone could have just walked into the house and her window was closed and locked.
Joey called Maureen to let her know he was on his way home and that the police had the laptop. That part was out of their hands, even though he wished he could do more. â€śDo you want me to pick anything up?â€ť
â€śStuff for frito pie?â€ť
â€śSounds good. Everything okay there?â€ť
â€śAlright, Iâ€™ll be home soon, love you.â€ť
â€śLove you too.â€ť
Marit didnâ€™t want to change in her room, she was too scared now. She picked a comfortable dress then hurried to the bathroom to put it on. She was nervous even in there but managed to change before brushing her teeth and hair. She was nervous going to the living room as well but for a different reason. â€śHey momâ€ť Maureen hugged her daughter â€śHey babyâ€ť She could tell Marit was waiting to know how sheâ€™d be punished â€śwe just dont want you online for a few months. We will let you know when youâ€™re allowed again.â€ť
â€śDo you guysâ€¦I meanâ€ť
â€śNext time you decide to lie to us there will be much harsher consequences but this is the first timeâ€¦that along with how bad you obviously feel is why its not so bad this timeâ€ť
â€śI wont ever lie again. I promise. Am I going to school today?â€ť
â€śNo, I donâ€™t want you at school until we figure this out since thats where the laptop ended up in your backpack. He could come there and hurt youâ€ť
â€śI donâ€™t want to go but I dont want to fall behindâ€ť
â€śIf we cant figure this out quickly Iâ€™m sure the school can send some work home. I can go ahead and call if you wantâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m just already struggling to keep a b in historyâ€ť
â€śIâ€™ll call today then honeyâ€ť
Marit stayed paranoid while her mom was on the phone and even though she didnâ€™t want to go alone, she ventured back to her room to grab her backpack. She still had homework to do and she knew she might as well get it out of the way. There was a sense of foreboding as she stepped through her bedroom door and she had to force herself to cross over the threshold and go over to her backpack. She paused when she felt fear tingle up her spine and before she could turn, a hand clamped over her mouth and an arm wrapped around her, pinning one of her arms to her side.
â€śHello Marit.â€ť She started fighting, screaming even though it was muffled. He pulled her over to her bed and slammed her onto the mattress, pinning her face down. â€śIf you donâ€™t stop, Iâ€™ll have to hurt your mother, do you understand?â€ť She froze, tears stinging her eyes. â€śShh, itâ€™s okay, Iâ€™m not here to hurt you, I promise. Now, are you going to be good?â€ť She nodded. â€śGood.â€ť He pulled his hand away from her mouth.
â€śHow did you get in here?â€ť She asked.
â€śLast night while you were sleeping.â€ť
â€śMarit?â€ť They both looked to the door. â€śMarit, honey, everything alright?â€ť
â€śTell her youâ€™re fine.â€ť His voice was so aggressive.
She swallowed. â€śFine mom, just getting my homework.â€ť She had to get away from him, had to signal her mother that he was in the house. â€śIf I donâ€™t go down, sheâ€™ll come up.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™ll tell her.â€ť
â€śI wonâ€™t I promise, but if I donâ€™t go down then you wonâ€™t be able to see me, right?â€ť She didnâ€™t dare look over her shoulder, too afraid. He finally pulled her back up.
â€śFine, but if you say anything, Iâ€™ll know and Iâ€™ll hurt her, you know I will.â€ť
â€śI promise.â€ť He let her go and she moved away, finally turning around and looking him over. â€śI need my bag.â€ť He grabbed it and held it out to her. â€śThâ€¦thanks.â€ť
â€śYou come back to me soon, okay?â€ť
â€śI will.â€ť She slipped out of the room and as she started away, she could see him watching her. She went to the living room where her mother was watching TV. She quickly unzipped her back and took out her notebook and a pen.
â€śYou okay baby?â€ť
â€śYeah, fine.â€ť She quickly scribbled a message and tapped the page.
Maureen leaned over and read : Heâ€™s upstairs. She looked at Maritâ€™s face and she slightly nodded. â€śThatâ€™s good, maybe later we can make cookies.â€ť
â€śSounds good.â€ť She wrote another message: Iâ€™m scared. I want to leave.
They were near the door, much nearer than this pedophile was. If he didnâ€™t trust Marit to keep quite he wouldnâ€™t have let her out. He would have forced her out the window. Plus if he was intelligent at all he would have attacked her first instead of waiting in Marits bedroom so Maureen took the gamble. She grabbed Marit tightly by the arm, snatched up her keys from the living room table and bolted out the door. Marit screamed and almost panicked when he came bolting out the door as she was still trying to get into the car. She manged to get in and her mother hit the gas hard to get out of their driveway.
She called her husband who thankfully answered right away â€śHe was in Marits room. Heâ€™s apparently not very intelligent thank god but I was too scared to try to get the gun and go back into her room myself so heâ€™s probably gone again nowâ€ť
â€śwhat exactly happened?â€ť
â€śyouâ€™ll need to ask Maritâ€ť Maureen handed the phone over. She explained the events to her father who said â€śalright, I love you, please give the phone back to your motherâ€ť Maureen was still going way too fast but tried to slow down as she took the phone back. â€śgo to the police station and tell them whats happened. Donâ€™t leave, Iâ€™m coming back thereâ€ť
Marit was sitting next to Maureen and crying when Joey finally got to them. His daughter looked terrified and ashamed and he hugged both of them tightly. He didnâ€™t even want to imagine what that man could have done to them. He obviously had had more on his mind than just talking to Marit and he was grateful that the idiot seemed so trusting of Marit. An extra chair was brought in for him and he sat on the other side of his daughter. â€śWhy do you think he let her go?â€ť He asked the officer who had been questioning them.
â€śHe may have wanted to stay in her good graces or he though she would be too scared to try anything since sheâ€™s a child.â€ť He pushed a piece of paper across the table. â€śDo you recognize him?â€ť
Joey looked at the sketch of the man who had broken into his home. There was something familiar about him, but Joey couldnâ€™t place him. â€śI mean he looks maybe a little familiar, but I donâ€™t know.â€ť
â€śYou could have just walked past him at some point while you were out, while he was following your daughter.â€ť
â€śMaybe.â€ť He studied the face again. â€śIf I remember anything, Iâ€™ll let you know.â€ť He gave the sketch back. â€śWhat if he comes back?â€ť
â€śWeâ€™ve already discussed posting an officer in front of and behind your house with your wife.â€ť
Joey rubbed his face â€śweâ€™re supposed to go home?â€ť
â€śtheyâ€™ll be watching sir. Your family will be safeâ€ť Joey looked at Marit â€świll you be able to go home honey?â€ť
â€ścan I sleep with you and mom?â€ť
â€śthen I think I can. Heâ€¦he had to have been under my bedâ€ť Joey looked back at the cops â€śyou had to have found somthing on that computer? Right?â€ť
â€śwe donâ€™t give out incomplete information sir, Iâ€™m sorry. Why dont you just take your family home with officer Hartly and officer Gareâ€ť Joey didnâ€™t like the idea of going home but sitting in the police department wasnâ€™t going to help so he did what he was told. He wished he found more relief in the officers but he could so easily lose his little girl to this monster and that terrified him.
Both of the officers swept the house when they got there, thankfully checking both the basement and the attic. They gave the all clear, but Joey still went in first, just in case. â€śWhy donâ€™t you come and help me make frito pie.â€ť Maureen said to Marit, wanting to get her mind off of the man who had broken in.
â€śIâ€™m going to go get the gun, okay?â€ť Joey said as he kissed Maureenâ€™s cheek. She nodded and he went to their room to pull it out of the safe. He didnâ€™t want to have to shoot someone, but if the police missed the man coming back, he wanted to be able to defend his wife and child.
â€śYou alright, honey?â€ť Maureen asked as she rubbed Maritâ€™s back.
â€śNo, not really. Iâ€™m sorry.â€ť She swallowed down the lump forming in her throat. â€śItâ€™s my fault he came here.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s not, baby.â€ť
â€śThe truth is, he might have come here regardless of giving you that computer and we would have had no warning that someone was stalking you.â€ť
It took a few days but he showed up again, actually trying to slip past officers. The commotion in the yard drew Marit out and his eyes lit up â€śOh Marit, Marit I love you. Come see me in prison. Please, I love you so muchâ€ť Maureen who had come out behind Marit tugged her, wanting her to come back inside â€śMarit!â€ť he yelled her name again as they forced her stalker into the cop car. â€śare you okay Marit?â€ť Her mother asked softly â€śI dont knowâ€¦I never worried about anything before butâ€¦mom he was so crazy. He loves meâ€¦what the hellâ€ť
â€śI dont want you to spend your life afraid babyâ€ť
â€śbut you were kidnapped when you were a baby and now thisâ€¦Iâ€™m not sure I ever want to go anywhere againâ€ť she began to cry â€śOh Maritâ€ť Maureen hugged her daughter, hating this man even more. Her daughter was so outgoing and carefree and that was all taken away now. She just hoped she could one day get her daughter over this horrible event in her life.
~ The End
He was tired, especially after tonight, after he had found something far worse than he had imagined. The lamp in the living room switching on startled him and he was surprised to see Diya yawning and rubbing the sleep from her eyes. â€śDiya?â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re home.â€ť She gave him a sleepy smile. She stood, stretching. â€śAre you hungry?â€ť
â€śWhy are you sleeping on the couch?â€ť He asked. Had something happened?
â€śHmm? Oh, just waiting up for you. I was worried.â€ť
She stopped in front of him, studying his face. â€śIt was a hard one, wasnâ€™t it? Harder than usual I mean.â€ť He nodded. How could she tell? â€śCould I give you a hug?â€ť
â€śIâ€¦I think I should shower first.â€ť
â€śAlright, Iâ€™ll get you something to eat.â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t think I can eat. I will later, just not right now. Maybe we could watch something, if youâ€™re not too tired.â€ť
Diya hated seeing such a distressed look on his face, like he was reliving everything he had ever been subjected to and she wished she knew what to say. She went into the living room and switched the TV on then clicked on Netflix. She went through the comedy section, wanting to find something to help calm him down.
Romanus wanted to hurry to Diya, to her warmth but he couldnâ€™t do anything at first but stand under the hot spray of water. Sometimes when cases ended up this horrible he was tempted to quit, especially now that he had such a wonderful life with Diya and her now seven year old daughter. He wanted to drown himself in their warmth and forget his childhood ever happened to him. He wanted to forget such horrendous things were still going on in the worlds but he couldnâ€™t. He remembered all too well what it felt like to be one of those helpless children, scared and willing to do anything to make them stop. He had to save them, he had to save as many children as he possibly could.
One of the best things to him about Diya was that she understood his need to do this and she was always here, ready to comfort him when he needed it. Finally his desire to be out there with her got him moving. He washed himself thoroughly, dried and put on something comfortable. Diya had settled on a movie and had made them both hot tea, knowing it helped. He sat down, taking a long swig of it before thanking her. â€śItâ€™s no trouble Romanus. What else can I do for you? Want to lay your head in my lap while we watch the movie and I can rub your back?â€ť
â€śHonestlyâ€¦I think I feel like having you in my lap and just clinging to youâ€ť
â€śOkayâ€ť she crawled into his lap and he wrapped his arms tightly around her, kissing her shoulder â€śthank youâ€ť She had told him countless times he didnâ€™t need to thank her so much so she just relaxed into him and pressed play on their movie.
Between the movie and Diya, he was able let go of some of the tension in his body. He never realized just how much he was holding until he was with her. â€śFeeling any better?â€ť She asked as she ran her fingers through his hair.
â€śYeah, thanks to you.â€ť
She let out a soft laugh, her breath tickling over his skin. â€śIâ€™m not doing anything.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re doing everything. Just being near you makes me feel better. I donâ€™t know what Iâ€™d do without you and Melody.â€ť He moved his head so he could press his forehead into her neck. â€śYouâ€™ve been such a gift, both of you have.â€ť
â€śWe wouldnâ€™t trade you for the world, Romanus.â€ť She kiss the top of his head. â€śI know you donâ€™t like to, but why donâ€™t you take a short break. Itâ€™s the weekend so Melody doesnâ€™t have to go to school. We could all go somewhere.â€ť
He took in her scent then breathed out â€śI think I really need one. Besides, you two are always so patient with how busy I am. You deserve my full attention for at least the weekendâ€ť
â€śYou do plenty with usâ€ť
â€śwhere would you like to take her?â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t know, I didnâ€™t think that far aheadâ€ť
â€śwe could ask her I suppose. Iâ€™m happy anywhere as long as Iâ€™m with you twoâ€ť
â€śare you ready to head to bed then? She gets up early, even on weekendsâ€ť
â€śYeahâ€ť he stood, still holding Diya. He carried her to their room and didnâ€™t even take the time to get undressed before settling into bed with her. She didnâ€™t mind, she preferred pajamas but she knew he had dealt with something absolutely stomach churning tonight and she was willing to do whatever he needed to heal from it. They both fell asleep fast and woke to an excited little girl â€śMom! Dad! Iâ€™m hungry! Can I help you make pancakes mom?â€ť Sleepily her mother answered â€śsure babyâ€ť
Romanus couldnâ€™t help but actually feel whole and normal in these moments with Diya and Melody. He felt love and affection warm him as he followed them and still found it hard to believe how lucky he was. â€śIâ€™ll make coffee.â€ť He said as they started pulling things out of the pantry and fridge. â€śOrange juice for the princess?â€ť He asked and Melody giggled.
â€śSo what do you think baby? Chocolate chips or blueberries?â€ť
â€śCan we do both?â€ť
Once Romanus had the coffee started and had a glass of juice on the table for Melody, he stepped up behind Diya and wrapped his arms around her. â€śI love you.â€ť He said and pressed a kiss to her temple.
â€śI love you too.â€ť She turned just enough to kiss his cheek then went back to helping make batter. â€śSo, Melody, daddy and I want to take you out somewhere this weekend, do you have anywhere youâ€™d like to go or something youâ€™d really like to do?â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t knowâ€ť
â€śThink about it over breakfast.â€ť Romanus said and Melody nodded. Their seven year old happily made breakfast with her mother as she thought about something for them all to do. Meanwhile Romanus just enjoyed watching them, the only beings who had ever brought true happiness into his life. The two made far too many pancakes but Melody liked to have them as snacks anyway. Theyâ€™d just put the leftover ones in a ziplock in the fridge. They were just eating and talking when Melody said â€ścould we go to a beach?â€ť
â€śI know the perfect oneâ€ť Melody squeaked with excitement â€śwhen can we go?â€ť
â€śLets eat and then we can make a bag of things we will needâ€ť Melody began to eat just a little quicker causing her mother to laugh before she said â€śwell we might have to stop by a store. I donâ€™t know if she has a swim suit that fits herâ€ť
â€śThat can just be a part of the fun. We can let her pick oneâ€ť Romanus responded then Diya spoke again, an idea dawning on her â€śwe can have a picnic there too for lunch. You can help me decide what at the store Melodyâ€ť
Romanus helped Diya clean up and then gather things for the beach. Diya picked out an outfit for Melody and sent her to her room to get changed. They then went to get ready. He didnâ€™t know why he still found himself getting nervous when they changed together. He knew she wouldnâ€™t hurt him or force him into anything, but his heart still stuttered in his chest and he found himself looking away when she pulled her shirt off. â€śRomanus?â€ť
â€śDo you need me to change in the bathroom?â€ť
â€śNo, sorry, I want to look, but I feelâ€¦guilty I guess.â€ť And scared.
â€śRomanus, Iâ€™m gonna come closer, okay?â€ť
She moved over, one arm across her chest and gently lifted his head. â€śYou donâ€™t have to rush yourself, Iâ€™m not going anywhere, so please donâ€™t worry.â€ť
â€śOkay, I love you and youâ€™re very beautiful Diya, truly.â€ť She gave him a quick kiss then turned away from him and grabbed clean clothes out of her chest of drawers. He changed quickly and they left the room together, both of them smiling when they saw Melody waiting excitedly on the couch.
â€ścan we go now?â€ť
â€śYes baby, weâ€™re all readyâ€ť
When they arrived at the store Melody easily picked out a swim suit so picking out stuff for lunch was the only thing that took a lot of time. They ended up settling on different fruits they could keep in the small cooler they bought. â€śseems like weâ€™re readyâ€ť Melody made that excited little noise again, bouncing even as they checked out. Melody put the swim suit on under her clothes in the store bathroom since there may not be a place to change at the beach Romanus was taking them to. They didnâ€™t ask if it was in their world or another, both loving surprises.
There was one place Romanus had found after he had escaped from his father and the depraved people who had used him. It had been one of the most peaceful moments of his life until he met Diya and Melody. It was actually connected to the vortex near the actual beach and was the reason why reality sometimes seemed distorted there to the regular human. Melody gave a little squeal of delight when she saw the water, but looked at them in confusion when Romanus kept driving. â€śWeâ€™re not going here?â€ť She asked.
â€śWeâ€™re going somewhere better.â€ť Romanus said. â€śSomewhere kind of special to me.â€ť
Diya reached over and grabbed his hand when she saw the look on his face. She could always tell when he was thinking of his childhood. Even if there had been any sort of good memory after what had happened, it always came back to his childhood. â€śWhatâ€™s it like?â€ť She asked.
â€śItâ€™s peaceful and beautiful.â€ť He turned onto a side road and pulled over after a few more minutes. They all got out, grabbing things and he lead them over to the center of the vortex.
He picked them both up, not wanting to risk anything happening to them as they went through. He carried them out onto the sand then carefully put them down. The two of them were amazed at the beach they were seeing. It was a thousand times prettier here than back in their world. Diya kissed him on the cheek â€śthank youâ€ť he gave her a small smile â€śIâ€™m happy to have a family to bring hereâ€¦as a childâ€¦I didnâ€™t think Iâ€™d ever have happinessâ€ť Melody tugged on him â€ścan I run into the water? Is it safe?â€ť
â€śyes, just dont go as depe as your waste until your mother and I set up the blanket and picnic stuffâ€ť
â€śYes sirâ€ť she said excitedly then ran to the water. Diya started setting things up where they stood, glancing over at her daughter every now and then to make sure she was listening to Romanus. Once their picnic was set Diya said â€ślets go play with herâ€ť He pulled Diya into his arms â€śjust give me a few moments to hold you firstâ€ť She glanced over at her daughter again then relaxed into the hug, wondering what he must be thinking about.
â€śDiya?â€ť Romanus finally said.
â€śIâ€™m sorry Iâ€™m still so uncomfortable and nervous doing certain things. I donâ€™t deserve your patience.â€ť
â€śHush, you have every right to be and you know you didnâ€™t hurt my feelings right?â€ť
â€śI know, itâ€™s justâ€¦I mean what if you want another child or something.â€ť
Diya pulled back enough to see his face. â€śWeâ€™ll cross that bridge when we get to it, but right now you need to just take your time. It just makes me happy hearing you say you might even want to try.â€ť She gave him a kiss. â€śYouâ€™re making really good progress, you really are, so donâ€™t rush. Iâ€™m perfectly happy.â€ť
â€śI just want to give you everything, but I donâ€™t know if Iâ€™ll be able to.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™ve given me more than you know, you saved Melody and youâ€™ve been so amazing to us. I love you, so donâ€™t worry.â€ť
Diya looked back at Melody. â€śShe looks so happy and thatâ€™s all thanks to you, baby.â€ť
She could see how much emotion that stirred up in him â€ślets go play with herâ€ť She gave Romanus another kiss and the two got up to play with Melody â€śYes!â€ť she said excitedly, instantly starting to go deeper. Diya laughed, seeing how eager her daughter had been. She went under and Diya instantly noticed how worried Romanus looked. When she popped back up Melody splashed him, he looked surprised a moment then she encouraged with a giggle â€ścome on dadâ€ť He splashed back, taking awhile to really give her a good one. It was always sweet and sad to see him interact with her.
It showed all the time he hadnâ€™t had any sort of a normal childhood. While playing at one point Romanus pulled Diya under, holding her against him then coming uip quickly â€śthrow her throw her!â€ť Melody said excitedly. Romanus looked at Diya who giggled â€śitâ€™s okayâ€ť He threw her and Melody laughed. Diya came up laughing as well and Romanus smiled. He wished he could play with them more normally but he was still learning how to play.
They splashed and played until Melody asked for a snack. Romanus made sure she was out safely before following Diya over to their stuff. They sat down together and enjoyed the warm weather as they ate. â€śWe should explore a little.â€ť Diya said. â€śIf thatâ€™s okay with you.â€ť She added.
â€śAlright, but please stay close to me. Itâ€™s not really dangerous here, but just in case.â€ť Romanus knew he probably sounded paranoid. â€śI mean feel free to explore, just donâ€™t got to far.â€ť
â€śRomanus,â€ť Diya took his hand, â€śitâ€™s okay.â€ť
â€śSorry, I know at some point Iâ€™m going to have to learn to let loose, especially as our little Melody gets older.â€ť He didnâ€™t want his little girl to hate him.
She leaned over and kissed his cheek. â€śYouâ€™re an amazing father, she wonâ€™t hold it against you.â€ť
â€śYou two never hold anything against meâ€¦â€ť
â€śI cant think of anything we should. Weâ€™re happy with you. I mean itâ€ť The couple cleaned up their picnic then walked hand in hand as they followed little Melody. He would guide since he knew the area but he wanted them to see everything they wanted to see. Melody gasped as she drew near the water again, going in just to her ankles and collecting the shells that had grabbed her attention â€śthese are so pretty. Can I take them home? Pleaseâ€ť Romanus answered â€śyes, there are many gorgeous shells in that waterâ€ť
Melody ran over to her mother â€świll you carry them please?â€ť
Romanus found himself able to relax near completely as they walked and watched Melody. It wasnâ€™t until he saw his little girl freeze that the tension came back. â€śMelody, whatâ€™s wrong?â€ť He asked as he moved up to stand behind her.
She pointed. â€śThereâ€™s a dog over there.â€ť She said and he followed her gaze.
It wasnâ€™t a dog, but a wolf, and he was surprised she had been able to see it with how well its fur allowed it to blend into the tall grass. He could tell it was young and skinnier than normal. He moved in front of her and it seemed to startle the young wolf who hadnâ€™t noticed him. â€śDiya, take Melody please.â€ť
Diya gently pulled her daughter closer, watching the wolf. â€śWhat does it want?â€ť
â€śHe and I think heâ€™s starving.â€ť Had the wolf been watching Melody because she was the weaker target?
â€śWhat should we do?â€ť Diya asked. â€śShould we feed him?â€ť
Romanus wasnâ€™t so sure, but he couldnâ€™t tell Diya no, not when he knew the creature before them was still a child, twelve at most. â€śIâ€™ll do it, you two stay back.â€ť They had plenty of snacks so he went through the bag, pulling a couple of granola bars out and and taking their wrappers off. The wolfâ€™s eyes watched the food.
It started to shift and Melody held a little tighter to her mother. They were aware of other beings but Melody had never seen an actual wolf shifter before. The young boy then cautiously came over and took the food. Melody was embarrassed looking at the naked boy so buried her face into her mother. â€śwhy are you so thin and why are you alone?â€ť Romanus asked and the boy looked up into Romanusâ€™s eyes, swallowing down his food before saying softly â€śIâ€™ve been alone as long as I can rememberâ€¦I justâ€¦I just felt like coming to the beach today and thenâ€ť he looked over at Melody again. He fell silent so Romanus gently grabbed his face, turning it back to him â€śPlease stop staring at my daughterâ€ť
â€śHer mother is my mate now so yes she is mineâ€ť The boy looked uncomfortable and Diya said â€śRomanus, we canâ€™t just leave this boy alone.â€ť
â€śwhat do you suggest we do with him?â€ť
â€śwellâ€¦our house is plenty bigâ€ť
Romanus didnâ€™t know how he felt about allowing a stranger into their home, but if he turned the boy away, then it would be a betrayal of everything he had worked for. Not only that, but he knew Diya would be disappointed. He turned his gaze back to the boy who had once again been looking at Melody. â€śSorry.â€ť The boy said.
â€śWhatâ€™s your name?â€ť
â€śTormod, do you remember how you came to be alone?â€ť
He shook his head. â€śI donâ€™t, just that I was running and then it was just me.â€ť
Romanus nodded. â€śMy mate believes that you should come home with us, would you like that?â€ť
Tormod glanced at Melody. â€śYes.â€ť
Romanus leaned closer to the boy, hearing his heart skip in his chest. â€śI am only going to ask you this once child, was it my daughter who brought you here?â€ť
â€śIâ€¦I could smell her and Iâ€¦I donâ€™t want to hurt her or anything, I just found her scent and followed it from the beach. The wolfâ€¦the wolf wanted me to.â€ť
Romanus nodded as he straightened up and released Tormod. â€śYou do know that my mate and daughter are important to me and if anything were to happen to themâ€¦â€ť
â€śI wont hurt themâ€¦I promiseâ€ť the boy seemed harmless and had a healthy fear of him so Romanus decided they could take him home. Besides, he knew about wolves.It sounded as if his daughter might very well be this boys mate. If that ended up being so he knew weather she returned the feelings or not heâ€™d be a protector for her and he still worried about Melody, about another pervert setting his sights on her. Once he got this boy healthy it would be nice to know a wolf was protecting his family and would do so even if it meant his life since he knew how serious wolves were once they found their mate.
â€ślets go ahead and get home home. Iâ€™ll bring you guys back here once heâ€™s healthyâ€ť Tormond looked at Melody again â€śIâ€™ll shift. Iâ€™m making her uncomfortable like thisâ€ť
â€śalright, first thing weâ€™ll do is get you some clothes for this formâ€ť Tormond nodded and shifted back into a wolf, following the family once they began heading back the way they came. Unsurprisingly he ended up by Melodys side but she seemed happy now. Once home Roamus mulled over how he wanted to do this trip. He couldnâ€™t take this boy to the store naked and he couldnâ€™t take a wolf into a store. He also wasnâ€™t so sure he wanted to leave him alone with his family right away despite the fact Romanus was guessing Melody would come to mean to the world to this wolf.
â€śare you trying to think about what to do when it comes to shopping?â€ť
â€śI can measure him and look up online what sizes heâ€™ll need. Then you can just go. Weâ€™ll be fine alone with him. Heâ€™s a kid, a starved child who was just given a home. I donâ€™t feel like heâ€™s going to hurt anybodyâ€ť
â€ścould you just order him clothes online?â€ť
â€śsame day shipping is expensive but yeah. I really want him to be able to shifts back into a boy when he wantsâ€ť He was curled up beside Melody who was petting him. Diya whispered â€śso scary, he totally cant be trusted if you go to the storeâ€ť
Romanus looked at Tormod and then back at Diya. She was teasing him. He let out a little sigh and she hugged him. â€śDiya.â€ť
â€śAt least get him a pair of sweats and a shirt. He needs something and it wonâ€™t take you long.â€ť
â€śAlright, alright, Iâ€™ll go.â€ť He leaned back and kissed her. â€śJust, if anything happens, call me.â€ť
â€śI will, now go, weâ€™ll be fine.â€ť
Diya got Melody to cover her eyes so Tormod could shift back long enough to be measured. The boy apologized and Diya did he rbest to reassure him it was alright. He shifted back quickly and went back to Melody, which caused Diya to let out a little laugh. She looked up his sizes and then gave them to Romanus so he could get something for him. Romanus left, knowing he shouldnâ€™t be worried, but unable to keep his mind from wandering. Logically, he knew young Tormod was practically harmless. The boy was starved, but after everything he couldnâ€™t help himself. Once he was at the store, he quickly found the right clothing and grabbed them.
He felt relieved when he finally got home and Diya gave him a hug once he was inside. â€śSorry.â€ť He said softly.
â€śHush, you know itâ€™s okay.â€ť She took the bag from him and went to Tormod. â€śHere sweetie, why donâ€™t you go put these on.â€ť
He picked up the bag with his mouth and walked off to a room. He wasnâ€™t going to shift infront of Melody any more unless he had to. When he came back he was a boy and seemed to fit perfectly in what Romanus had bought him â€śthank youâ€ť
“whatever you need will be taken care of for now on. Youâ€™re a part of this family now. Tormond walked back over to Melody who asked â€śdo you like to color?â€ť he seemed confused a few moments then said â€ścreate art?â€ť Diya smiled â€śsort of, lets go get her coloring booksâ€ť Diya quickly pulled the box she kept it all in and handed it to Tormod â€śI have to finish cooking dinner but sheâ€™ll show you what she meansâ€ť He walked back to Melody and set the box down. She grabbed a coloring book then said â€śyou pick oneâ€ť he just grabbed the top one and she pulled out the crayons. Romanus watched them a few minuets before joining his wife in the kitchen.
â€śis he taking to coloring?â€ť she asked in an amused tone and he said â€śheâ€™ll probably take to anything she wants to do with himâ€ť
â€śhe said his wolf wanted him to come to her. Most likely sheâ€™s his mate. You know about wolves right?â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t know what you meanâ€ť
â€śThey are one of the very few beings that know when theyâ€™ve found their soulmate. The wolf inside them guides them to whomever they are meant for. I mean I might think the wolf just knew Iâ€™d take him in because they have instincts for more than just that but the way he keeps looking at her, I just feel like itâ€™s a mate thingâ€ť
â€śHe knows sheâ€™s seven right?â€ť a small bit of her momma bear was peeking out. â€śI wouldnâ€™t have brought him home for a second if I thought he might hurt her. Heâ€™ll protect her with his life, honestly if he does anything that hurts her itâ€™ll crush him. Their mates are everything to them. Heâ€™ll protect her, always. Iâ€™m going to stay home awhile to be absolutely sure about him but if Iâ€™m right Iâ€™ll feel a lot better with him here to protect you twoâ€ť
â€śis it going to be a problem though when sheâ€™s older? I mean, will he become aggressive about it?â€ť
â€śNo, like I said, the only thing at risk with those two if sheâ€™s his mate is her breaking his heart. He wouldnâ€™t hurt her or anybody she lovesâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m really happy youâ€™re taking a break with usâ€ť he could tell any concerns were eased. He could understand how that chat at first could be alarming since he was in his early teens and their daughter hadnâ€™t even made it to double digits yet.
He set the table for her while she cooked, then looked in on Melody and Tormod. They were still coloring, Tormod going much slower than Melody and focusing much harder. He went back to Diya and wrapped his arms around her and pressed a kiss to her cheek. â€śWhat should we do for the rest of the weekend?â€ť
â€śGet Tormod completely settled in, help him get used to living a normal life.â€ť
â€śNormal, I wish I could truly give you all that.â€ť
â€śYou do just fine.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m sure Tormod can smell death on me, heâ€™ll want to know why at some point.â€ť
â€śTell him when youâ€™re ready, Iâ€™m sure heâ€™ll understand.â€ť She let out a little laugh as she switched off the stove. â€śLooks like we donâ€™t have to worry about having a baby.â€ť
â€śDiya.â€ť She turned in his arms, smiling up at him. â€śI do want to give you children, Iâ€¦I love you.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s okay, really and I love you too.â€ť
He tucked some hair behind her ear â€śIâ€¦we should tryâ€¦to at least have sexâ€ť
â€śbut are you ready for that because I dont care. Iâ€™m happy to never have sex if you find you canâ€™tâ€ť
â€ślets try tonight okayâ€ť
â€śPlease donâ€™t do this just for meâ€ť
â€śI want to, I want to experience what enjoyableâ€¦consensual sex is likeâ€ť
â€śalright but weâ€™re taking it slow and you need to tell me right away if youâ€™re getting scared or uncomfortableâ€ť He held her tightly to him a few moments, both nervous and eager for the evening. They served the food then called Melody and Tormod in. They both came quickly, Melody holding a picture for each of her parents â€śthank you honeyâ€ť Melody sat down in her normal spot, cheerful as ever and Tormod joined her. His eyes widened a bit when he saw all the food on the table and Diya felt bad for him all over again â€śtry to take it slow Tormodâ€ť He nodded but seemed to struggle with actually following through with it as he ate.
Tormod let out a little whine after dinner and Diya realized his stomach hurt. â€śIâ€™m sorry.â€ť He said.
â€śItâ€™s okay honey, but next time try to eat slow, okay? Youâ€™ll never have to go without and no one is going to take your food from you.â€ť
She patted his back. â€śLetâ€™s get you to your room.â€ť He looked back at Melody, who was taking her plate to the sink, not wanting to leave her. â€śTormod, how about we give you the room next to Melodyâ€™s.â€ť
â€śReally?â€ť She could see him light up at the thought.
â€śOf course, that way, you know where she is.â€ť
Romanus sent Melody off to follow them and started cleaning up. As he rinsed dishes and stuck them in the dishwasher, he began to over think things. What if he hurt Diya? What if he got scared? She said it was okay, but was it? He hated he was so scared, it was ridiculous when it was Diya. He heard a cracking sound and looked down to see he had squeezed one of their glasses too hard. He took a deep breath, sighed, then threw it away.
She was still reading to Melody when he was done in the kitchen but he had heard her read this one before and knew it was nearly over so he leaned against the wall and listened. When Diya came out she smiled up at him, easing some of his nerves. She took his hand and guided him into their bedroom. Diya shut then locked the door before saying softly â€śtheres no expectation of you Romanus. Weâ€™ll do what you can handle tonight, thats it. You can even still back out if you need toâ€ť
â€śI want to tryâ€ť
â€śHow do you want to start? You can undress me or I can undress myselfâ€ť Roamnus nervously answered â€śIâ€™m too nervous to be able to undress youâ€¦could you do it slowlyâ€ť
â€śmhmâ€ť She took off her shirt first, happy when he didnâ€™t turn away from her as he often did. She then took off her pants, now standing in just her bra and underwear â€śeverything Roamnus or do you maybe want to touch me like this firstâ€ť Saying Roamnus was traumatized from being a constant sex toy in his childhood was an understatement so Diya felt she needed to be incredibly careful about this, especially since this was their first attempt at doing anything sexual.
It took him awhile but he managed to finally actually touch her bare skin. He tuned his senses into her, feeling a bit of emotion tug at his heart that she obviously like him touching her. He knew she wanted him, logically anyway. All he had known this far was rapists and it made all this hard emotionally. He was mostly touching her arms, back and stomach, seeming careful to avoid her breasts so she tried to help him â€śRoamnus, you can touch me anywhereâ€ť He blushed, seeming a little shaky as he slowly moved his hands to her breasts. She smiled at him, her expression filled with so much love and patience he had to take a moment to hold her against him which she still viewed as progress. He was actually holding her while she was nearly naked. She wondered for a moment if he realized that.
â€śAre you okay?â€ť She asked softly as she rubbed his back.
â€śYeah, sorry, I justâ€¦â€ť
â€śItâ€™s alright.â€ť He pulled back and she gently pulled him down to kiss him, her fingers running through his hair and over his neck to help calm him. â€śWould you like me to take my bra and underwear off?â€ť
â€śIâ€¦â€ť he took a deep breath to steady himself, â€śyes.â€ť
She moved back enough to remove them, going slow, watching him as he watched her. He was scared and worried, but he wasnâ€™t turning away. He reached out to her and she stepped into him, letting out a breathy moan when his hands moved over her. â€śRomanus.â€ť She slid her arms around his neck and he pressed his lips into hers, parting them so he could deepen the kiss.
His hands slid over her warm skin, his fingers moving up her spine, causing her to shiver. He was surprised to feel desire tingling over him, slowly filling him. He wanted to be brave and made himself back her onto the bed. He pulled back and she smiled up at him, so loving and trusting, so patient as she waited for him. â€śYouâ€™re so beautiful.â€ť He whispered, his voice shaking a little.
â€śand youâ€™re so handsome Romanus. I love youâ€ť His heart trembled again and he kissed her. Diya tried not to look as surprised as she was when he began taking off his own clothes, worried surprise might be mistranslated by him right now and he was doing far better than she had expected this evening. They were skin to skin and while they were now not doing anything this progress meant the world to her. Not because she wanted sex, she did but what mattered to her was what this meant for him as far as healing went. On top of that she knew how much trust it took for him to be naked and exposed like this. He didnâ€™t end up being able to do more that evening but he took her under the covers and held her skin to skin all night.
~ The End ~