Element (Book 3)

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Ch 6 - Marked

I’d be lying if I said I knew what I was doing, but in that moment, I honestly didn’t care. I just needed to be with her, just the two of us. She was choosing to trust me, and I was choosing to trust fate to lead me in the right way here.

“Are you guys leaving?” Jason asked me. I’d already signalled the twins and Aziel.

“Yeah, we are,” I replied.

“Does she, does she remember you?” Ross asked lowly enough for Jason and I to hear him.

“Not yet, but I’m pretty sure she remembers our connection,” I replied just as lowly.

“Alright man! We’ll see you later,” Jason said.

I nodded before walking out with blossom’s hand in mine. Winter had told me that they’d be coming, and I already guessed that it would be too much for her. She generally doesn’t like parties, even when she’s hosting them.

We got outside and I had to rein in all my patience since Jessie was heading our way with her pet. They were only in town because our match was against Oliver’s new college team, and he wasn’t impressed to be beaten by a team I’m on.

Once again.

I was confused when blossom pulled my hand back, making us stop. “That girl is about to attack me, and I have no clue who she is.”

“Then how do you know that she’s going to attack you?” I asked.

“She confronted me earlier. Sunny and Bridgette seem to know who she is, and she seems to know who I am. Six, I suffer from amnesia and I think she’s in my lost memories,” she said, panicked.

“Calm down. I’ll handle her,” I promised as the couple and their friends reached us.

“Well what do you know, he didn’t leave you after all,” Jessie told her.

“Why would you think that I did?” I asked her.

“Rumour has it the two of you have basically been strangers to each other in the past couple of weeks. She’s not wearing her ring, so people were getting curious. What happened Six? Did you see her for the true snake she is?” she asked.

“Oliver, I told you to keep her on a leash,” I warned.

“Don’t talk about my girlfriend like she’s a dog when you’re the one who’s engaged to a beast,” Oliver spat.

“D, you’re cutting off my blood circulation.”

I did a double take, looking down at my fiancée.

She did just call me D, right?

She took a step forward as I loosened my grip on her hand. “Jessie is it? Look, you’re coming off as real petty right now. In fact, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think you have nothing better to do with your life than stalk us.”

“I have better things to do with my life!” Jessie snapped.

“Then you wouldn’t mind moving out of our way so that we can leave. We were on our way out to make raw, passionate love to each other like two people who love each other do, so unless if you intend to come and record the whole thing to feed to your gossip sources like the bored creep that you are, I would suggest that you move,” blossom told her icily.

I could see the shock on everyone’s faces, and I would’ve probably looked the same if my agency training hadn’t helped me to instead look chuffed. Blossom pushed the stunned girl out of the way and we walked out of the yard. I was surprised when she walked straight to my car.

“How did you know that this is my car?” I asked her.

“Hand me the keys Xander,” she demanded.

“Xander?” I said unsurely.

Did she have her memory back?

“I’m about two seconds from knocking you out. Give me the keys and get into the car,” she instructed.

“Alright, alright, but where are we going?” I asked as I handed the keys over.

“Is there somewhere where we can talk?” she asked as we got into the car.

I nodded. “I’ll put the address in the GPS.”

“Good. Please don’t say anything until we get there?” she requested.

“I promise,” I agreed.

I kept my promise and said nothing. The address I’d put in is for our apartment. I figured that it doesn’t get as private as that for us, especially since the twins debugged the place for me. While Cypher gifted it to me, I didn’t want them keeping any tabs on me.

I kept an eye on her, and it was clear that she was agitated. She was travelling at a speed that she would probably scold me for, but I could tell that she was just desperate to get to our destination. We arrived in ten minutes and she parked where I told her to before we left the car.

I was staggered when she actually took my hand in hers as we headed into the elevator. For the first time since I first spoke to Winter and Carter, I saw the fear that they were talking about, and it terrified me a little to see her like this.

What terrified me even more was her hugging me tightly as soon as we were in the apartment. I managed to lock the door before wrapping my arms around her. I panicked slightly when I realized that my chest felt wet. I pulled away to look at her.

“Blossom, what’s going on?” I asked.

“Blossom! I didn’t imagine yesterday!” she shouted.

I sighed. “Winter played clueless?”

“So did Sunny and Bridgette! Everyone knows each other. I’m right. I just know that I am!” she said as she started pacing.

“Blossom calm down,” I pleaded with her.

“I just knew that I wasn’t going insane. Wait! How the hell do you know Winter?” she asked me with narrowed eyes.

“Carter and Winter came to me for help,” I informed.

“Help with what?” she asked.

“Unlocking your memories,” I replied.

There’s just no use in lying to her really.

She looked at me unsurely. “I wasn’t kidnapped before I went back to the agency, was I?”

“No, you weren’t. You were actually kidnapped into going back,” I responded.

She looked at the floor, clearly in thought. “Nothing makes sense.”

“How about we sit down and I’ll make you a cup of tea?” I suggested.

That’s supposed to calm her down right?

“That sounds disgusting. Can I have coffee?” she requested.

I laughed, shaking my head. “You still hate tea, even after your memory got tampered with.”

“It just tastes weird ok?” she said with a little smile.

“Coffee it is,” I said as I walked to the kitchen.

“Where’s Sparkles?” she asked from the lounge.

“Probably downstairs with our neighbour Mrs Potts,” I replied.

Ourneighbour?” she asked from the doorway. She’d taken off her heels and jacket.

“This is our apartment,” I informed.

She nodded in what I assume was understanding. “How long have we had it?”

“Not long. You arranged it for us before we left high school but I’m rarely here. It just doesn’t feel right without you,” I replied.

“How long, how long have we been apart for?” she asked.

“Three months,” I admitted.

She looked confused. “Did I leave willingly?”

I shook my head. “You were taken.”

“You’re my fiancé, right?” she asked.

I nodded. “Do you want proof?”

“No. I feel it just by looking at you. I know in my heart that it’s true, and now I sound like a fucking love song,” she said with a scowl, making me laugh.

“Well, there’s a video if you want to see it?” I offered as I handed her the cup of coffee.

“Did you get someone to take a video of the whole thing?” she asked as we sat on the couch. I smiled when she sat right next to me.

“You could say so,” I said, hinting at nothing. Instead, I found the video on the TV (my laptop is linked to the TV) before clicking play.

The video starts with me taking the ring off of my dog tag before grabbing her hand.

“I didn’t really think about where it is I would end up proposing to you. Hell, I didn’t even think I’d be proposing to you any time soon, but if there is one thing I’m sure of, it is that you’re the only person I will ever propose to. There’s no other person I see myself ever having a future with. I’ve told you before, and I’ll tell you again; you’re it for me Noelle Solano. I know that at this very moment, our lives couldn’t get any crazier, but I am sure that I can face anything for as long as you’re alive and you’re with me. I want you to not only carry my last name, but our six little blossoms as well. The thought of having more of you in my life motivates me to fight for that. I want us to have our dream house; to have you waddling like a sexy blossom whale with our beautiful babies, while Sparkles yips away, becoming a best friend to every one of our little ones. You have given me hope of that, of such a life. You have shown me that not only am I capable of being genuinely and purely loved, but that I can reciprocate that same love. You are my light, my happiness and the reason I will myself to carry on with what I once deemed a dark life. There are many things I still have to share with you, and there are still many things we have to discover together, but I believe in us. I believe that we can make it through anything. I believe that this is the most that most people have ever heard me say, so I’ll get to the point. Noelle Serena Solano, would you do me the honour of making an honest man of me and agree to one day marry me?”

I watched her carefully throughout the entire thing. She looked absolutely fascinated by what she was seeing, to the point where she’d even forgotten about her coffee. She didn’t even register me taking it from her since she was about to tip the cup over.

“You proposed in a stadium full of people?” she asked lowly once the video was over.

“It was very spur of the moment,” I confessed.

“I look so happy,” she whispered, wiping away her tears.

“I’d like to think that you were,” I agreed.

She turned to me, a gleam in her eyes. “I have so many questions! Who took the video?”

“Bridgette,” I said amusedly.

“Oh my God! I had long hair; long, blonde hair. Who the hell agreed to me having red hair?” she asked.

I laughed. “What colour was it before you changed it?”

“When I woke up at the agency, it was brown and this short. I hated the brown, and for whatever reason, I wanted it to be red. I have a strange obsession with the colour,” she said with a frown.

“They probably figured that it would be a risk for you to have blonde and long hair since it would possibly jog your memory. As for your obsession with the colour red, I can only think of it being a link back to me,” I replied.

She raised an eyebrow. “How come?”

“Red is my favourite colour,” I informed with a smirk.

She actually blushed.

“I have so many questions Xander. I don’t even know where to begin,” she divulged.

I gave her a starting point. “What do you want to know most?”

“Why have I been sent to kill you?” she asked nervously.

“I can’t really answer that question, and only because I didn’t even know that you were an agent until Winter and Carter came to me for help. I’m guessing you’ve been sent to kill me because of who I am, and I clearly pose a threat to whoever you’re working for by being alive,” I told her honestly.

“But why would they send meto do it if I’m in love with you?” she asked in confusion.

I probably had a silly smile on my face. “You’re in love with me?”

She giggled, rolling her eyes. “Would you focus? We have a lot to figure out here!”

“Ok, ok. Look, there are a million things I don’t understand either, and things were already confusing even before you were taken. Winter and Carter told us, us being my team from Cypher, that I not only need to make you remember me, but that we need to keep you safe. I’m going to guess that you probably remember nothing about your time at your agency save for the last three months. Winter and Carter told us that you’d actually managed to run away from the agency three years ago. They suspect that you had the help of your handler Milly. We’re not sure why your agency took so long before coming to grab you, but Malachi guessed that they probably didn’t think you’d get so close to Cypher. When they took you, you were basically one of us,” I started off.

“And how long had I known you before I was taken?” she asked.

“Almost a year,” I replied.

“And how long were we officially together for?” she continued.

“A little passed ten months,” I said.

“Ok, I need your help with something. I have bits and pieces of my memories. I haven’t told anyone about this, and only because for the most part I didn’t really know who was in my memories since the people were faceless. However, now that I’ve met you, I know that it was you in most of them because of your voice and the fact that you call me blossom. For instance, I think I had a memory earlier involving a box that I’d taken with wedding stuff in it,” she said with a scowl.

“You found the box on the shelf, and since you hadn’t seen it before, you knew that there was something about it,” I confirmed the memory.

“Did we ever go to the sea together?” she asked.

“Twice, so I need you to be more specific about that memory,” I replied.

“There were little fish swimming around my feet,” she elaborated.

“That would be the first time we went to the sea and vacationed together for that matter. It’s when I asked you to be my girlfriend,” I explained.

She nodded. “I have a million other questions, but I first need to know who Nick and Jayme are. I can never see their faces, but I always hear their names and from how many times I do, I’m going to guess that they’re really important,” she said in confusion.

“Nick is your stepbrother and Jayme is your best friend, who happens to be Nick’s boyfriend,” I replied as clearly as I could.

I didn’t want to tell her about the whole Nick is possibly a wanted criminal thing yet.

She frowned. “My stepbrother? On who’s side?”

“Your dad’s,” I responded.

“My father’s dead,” she said unsurely.

It was my turn to be confused, but I knew the right question to ask at that moment. “Who are your parents?”

“James and Michaela Solano,” she said.

I grabbed the TV remote, searching for the photos. “I have no idea who those people are, but as far as I know, they’re not your parents. Your parents are Sergio and Margaux Solano. Your aunt is Silver Solano, your stepmother is Viola Solano and Nicholas Solano is your stepbrother.”

“Is this them?” she asked, visibly horrified.

“Yes why?” I asked.

“Because there’s a mark on every single one of them back at the agency,” she said grimly.

I was stunned. “Absolutely every one of them?”

“Every single one of them. Xander, the agency is out to wipe not only my entire family, but everyone who means anything to me,” she panicked.

Which means they’re possibly coming after all of us.

“Blossom, do you know who you work for?” I asked.

She shook her head. “We refer to the place as ‘the agency’ but it has no name, or at least we don’t know if it does. We don’t know who our boss is, though I think I’ve met him before and I just don’t remember the encounter. All we know is each other and that we work for the same place.”

“That’s why no one knows anything about you,” I realized.

She nodded. “It’s effective because even if you were searching for them, you wouldn’t know where to begin without a name.”

“You said them and not us,” I pointed out.

She sighed, cuddling into my side. “I don’t know what the hell is going on, but I do know that I’m not a part of that agency. There’s a reason why I ran before, and the fact that they’re coming after everyone who’s important to me means I want nothing to do with them once again.”

“As much as I love hearing those words, I don’t think it’s going to be that easy, something I didn’t tell Winter and Carter,” I said.

She sat up to look at me. “What do you mean?”

“Blossom, before they took you, you weren’t only a part of Cypher. There’s a whole lot of stuff that went down, and long story short, you have a Super Soldier Formula in your genes. Now, your agency is good, so they probably vetted you thoroughly and picked up on this. With the right tech and minds, they can find a way to control you, which means you could end up doing things you don’t want to do,” I explained.

“How would that work? Isn’t the formula in my genes? How do you control someone’s genes?” she asked.

I opened a different folder on the TV and showed her the images. “While it was injected into you as a serum, the actual formula contains traces of nanotech. The whole point of the serum was to make sure that it enters your bloodstream and allows the nanotech to disperse and attach onto your DNA.”

“Is that what my DNA looked like before and after?” she asked, to which I nodded.

“Ok, but why me? Who thought it would be a brilliant idea to inject it into me of all people?” she questioned.

I pulled up my DNA records. “The why you part of the story is a bit complicated, but I’ll explain the part that isn’t. As you can see, my DNA contains a strand that your DNA also does, but that isn’t a common strand amongst people. According to our records, there are only a record of seven people who have this particular strand, including you and I. Three others also work for Cypher, while the other two work for Genesis. We were exposed to it through our mothers.”

“I thought Genesis was dead,” she said in confusion.

“What do you mean dead?” I asked.

“Back at the agency, according to their rival board, Genesis is dead. If I remember correctly, it was a wipe-out mission led by Carter,” she said, looking lost in thought.

“We’ll have to ask him about it because our intel has the opposite to say about Genesis. They are very much still going, but have just gone dark since their founder came back,” I informed.

“Gerhard is alive?” she asked in surprise.

I nodded. “It would seem so.”

“But that’s impossible,” she said with a frown.

“What makes you say that?” I asked.

“I’m the one who killed him in the first place,” she informed.

My eyes widened. “You did what now?”

“I killed Gerhard Nolan, so unless if he’s been resurrected, then I don’t know how he could still be alive,” she replied.

I sighed, rubbing my temples. “I think I’m the one who’s getting a headache now.”

“I’m sorry,” she said lowly.

I pulled her back into my side. “It’s not your fault blossom. We just grew up in this mess of a world. We’ll find our way out.”

“You promise?” she asked.

I nodded before kissing her forehead. “I promise.”

We sat in silence for a while before her light snores filled the room. I could tell that she was exhausted, but she also wanted to get some answers. I guess now that she had a little bit to go on, it made her feel at little bit at ease.

I carried her to the bedroom and lay her on the bed before covering her with a blanket. I needed to make a phone call, but I wasn’t particularly sure about who I was calling, especially given the fact that it was two in the morning.

“These are ungodly hours that you’re calling,” he said.

“She’s here with me,” I informed.

I was met by silence. “Is she ok?”

“She’s had her memory tampered with for who knows how many times. She’s as confused as they come and I’m sick and tired of everyone thinking that it’s ok to play around with her life like this. You need to tell me what the hell is going on,” I replied.

“Watch your tone,” he warned.

“With all due respect Sir, I’m done watching my tone. Your family has some dangerous secrets, and it would seem that blossom is the only person who’s suffering from these secrets, so excuse me if I’m not all too keen on watching my tone,” I snapped.

“Look Xander, I understand your frustration. She’s my daughter and the last thing I want is for her to suffer. The only reason why I took this job was so that I could have more access to some information I know nothing about,” he argued.

“They told her that her father is dead, and that her parents are James and Michaela Solano,” I informed.

“I wonder why they would tell her that her parents are my parents,” he said in confusion.

“It probably has everything to do with the fact that everyone special to her in any kind of way has a mark,” I replied.

“All of us?” he asked incredulously.

I sighed. “Every single one of us. I think they’re probably going to send out a person to kill every mark, but it’s her mission that’s the worst.”

“Don’t tell me they sent her on a mission to kill you?” he asked unsurely.

“They did exactly that, except their memory tech didn’t work all that well this time I guess because she’s remembering me. I’m not stupid enough to think that I’m off the hook for that since with someone like her, they probably have a failsafe in place, but for now I’m going to watch over her as more of her memories come back,” I responded.

“I can’t thank you enough son. It’s a mission enough as it is trying to find her mother, so knowing that you’re at least watching over her helps,” he said.

“Have you heard from your sons?” I bothered to ask.

“The last I heard from them was when they called to tell me that both Noelle and Margaux had been taken by different people,” he replied.

“And what of your wife?” I asked.

“What about Viola?” he asked, sounding confused.

He either didn’t know about his wife’s dealings, or he was hiding something.

“Has she heard anything from Nick?” I diverted.

“Nicholas is visiting his dying grandmother in Australia,” he informed.

I would have to look into Nick being in Australia.

“Alright, thanks Sir. I just wanted to give you an update,” I lied.

“Thank you once again Xander. Please keep me posted,” he said.

“Will do Sir,” I replied before hanging up.

You see, there’s a lot that confuses me about this whole thing, and Mr Solano’s involvement in everything is one of those things. He’s a smart man, so there’s no way he didn’t know that his ex-wife is an agent, and that she got their kids to be a part of this life either.

Which leads me to wonder how the hell blossom ended up in this mysterious agency.

I decided to call it a night and head to bed. Blossom was officially deep in her sleep considering the star formation she was in. I laughed to myself before changing her out of her clothes and into comfortable clothing. I did the same before finally sleeping.

I would deal with everything else when I woke up, and hopefully I wouldn’t be waking up to any surprises.

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