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wild hearts

"Be patient where you sit in the dark. The dawn is coming." Rumi


The darkness had its claws sunk deep into this cold and foggy morning. The streets of the neighborhood looked abandoned and empty of life. I stepped off the stoop of my parent's house and carefully walked around the puddles as I strolled from my house to the family store down the block like I did every day.

It was a morning like countless others. I'd been working at the shop almost my entire life and I always opened. I was the natural choice because I was a morning person and I also loved the quiet time before the neighborhood came to life.

Except this morning felt different and I couldn't quite put my finger on why. There was a marked restlessness in the air and it seemed as if the shadows were shifting and changing positions. I glanced at the alleys between buildings where the thick shadows dwelled in the predawn darkness and I had the insane thought that they were watching me. I fought off a shiver and pulled my jacket tighter around me Something compelled me to look closer. But no. Nothing good could be concealing itself in the dark. I shook off my fanciful notions and I hurried to the shop. I went through my morning opening routine just like any ordinary day, I put out the magazine rack, filled the outside cooler with drinks and set out the fresh flowers. Our store was known for having fresh flowers all year round and people came from all over for them.

The side of the store was a garden in bloom and the sight never failed to lift my spirits. I smiled to myself as I hummed to the pretty blossoms. I picked several daisies and quickly threaded them into a crown. I placed it on my head uncaring of the looks I'd get from some of the customers later. I was used to the looks and the whispering.





That was me. My reputation as the bizarre girl in the neighborhood was well earned. I'd sort of come to terms with it. I could change their minds but that would be...wrong.

Regardless, the flower crown made me happy so it would stay. I felt a shiver work itself up my spine and that feeling of being watched returned. I pivoted slowly and looked closely at the shadowed doorway across the way. Nothing there, I told myself firmly.

I went inside and sat down behind the register with my notebook trying to shake off the weird impressions I had this morning. The first customers wouldn't be in for a while in this weather and I relished the opportunity to have undisturbed writing time.

After a few minutes, I lost myself in worlds away from my own, in forming sentences and paragraphs that carried me away from my reality and placed me in another one where all of my dreams came true. One where I was loved and accepted unconditionally. One where I wasn't so alone.

The tinkling of bells at the door announcing a customer shook me out of my trance. The shadow of a very large person fell across the floor. Somehow, I knew that this was no regular customer but curiously I felt no fear. My hand went motionless, the very air around me quieted, and I took a shaky breath.

Forest, trees, nature. The scent in the air was like a siren call. Irresistible.

I stared at the page unable to move, the words I'd just written floating around in a senseless cloud. A pair of hands slammed down on the counter in front of me making me jump. They were large, masculine and very beautiful. I never thought of hands as beautiful before but these were and more interestingly they were bedecked with numerous rings, some of which had stones that seemed to glow. I stared at his hands fascinated and had the ridiculous premonition that as soon as I raised my eyes, my fate would be sealed.

I lifted my lashes slowly, my eyes went past very big arms, past a tanned throat, past a bearded jaw and sensual lips, past a perfect nose. I finally reached his eyes.

His intense brown gaze crashed into mine making me jolt in my seat. It was an electric shock that shimmered down my spine and made me tremble, not in fear but in excitement. My heart stopped beating for one weighted moment and then recommenced at a furious pace.

As we stared into each other's eyes, time stood still. The world stopped turning. The entire universe paused and then began to gradually rearrange itself.

I had never seen anyone so beautiful. I could have never imagined, even in my wildest dreams that anyone could be so perfect. He was tall and broad-shouldered, dressed all in black, in a long duster coat with a wild mane of hair that gave him a disreputable, piratical look. He was inhumanly stunning and his unflinching stare unsettled me in a way that was inexplicable and familiar all at once. He leaned on his hands further and brought his face even closer to mine, our lips only a whisper away from each other. I was startled out of my stupor when he unexpectedly took a deep inhale like he was breathing me in. His lips parted slightly, I felt his breath stirring the wisps of hair that fell around my neck. His nose barely brushed my cheek but I felt the slight movement down to the soles of my feet. I shivered and closed my eyes. My body was drowning in a sea of unfamiliar sensations.

He pulled back a little and his eyes met mine again. "What's your name?" he asked in an almost growl.

"Sanem," I managed to murmur, my eyes falling to his mouth. His lips were so near to mine and the compulsion to touch my lips to his was almost more than I could bear.

My blood was rushing in my ears and in total disbelief, I watched my hand rise and touch his bearded jaw for one shimmering second.

His dark expressive eyes flashed a bright honey gold and it startled me so much, I yanked my hand back. He shook his head slowly, disbelievingly.

He's afraid.

The thought drifted through my mind. Of what? Of me? I blinked in confusion.

I didn't have time to ponder that bizarre thought because at that instant the stranger straightened abruptly and took a stumbling step back. Eyes wide, he staggered and hit the shelf of canned goods behind him. Some things tumbled to the ground as he pressed himself back against it.

I stared at him, befuddled at his inexplicable reaction. His intense gaze pinned me to my seat. Suddenly, I felt defenseless and small and I had the fleeting and disconcerting impression that I was in the presence of a large and very dangerous predator. If he wanted to hurt me there would be no one around to stop him.

I won't hurt you. I'd never hurt you.

He looked as startled as I did. His voice flowed into my mind like a shiny, sparkling, clear stream. The path it traveled on felt like a worn and familiar one.

He closed his eyes and his hands clenched into fists.

"Impossible," he whispered. And between one breath and the next, he was gone.

The tension left my body all at once and I deflated like a balloon. When sensation flowed back into my limbs, I shot out of my chair and ran around the counter. My foot hit something and made me stop. A polished stone winked among the cans littering the floor. I leaned down and picked it up marveling at the warmth it emitted. It glowed brightly for one incredible moment and I stared at it stupefied. It must belong to him. I pushed through the door and peered into the hazy gloom up and down the street.

But he was gone. Swallowed by the darkness as if he had never been.

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