Waking Other Lives

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Subtle Changes

It was dark when I opened my eyes, and I freaked out thinking I was back in the land of Dragoon. It seemed that the memories of the dark days in there would haunt me forever.

I felt someone hover above, and before I could shout in panic, I heard his soothing voice. “Ssh, Sierra, it’s me. How are you feeling?” Seth asked.

“It’s too dark in here,” I commented. “What happened to me?”

“Sorry, it’s stupid of me to keep you in the dark after what happened. Let me turn on the light,” he said, getting up from the chair right beside the bed. “You fainted, the doctor said it was the power of my kisses,” he joked, and I saw a wide grin settle on his lips as bright fluorescent light illuminated his face.

“Is that so?” I flirted, my heart starting a nice flutter.

“Yep, kitten. That is, so,” he replied, the passion in his eyes burning holes in my body. But, what I expected him to do next did not happen, instead I felt the pain of disappointment, as sharp as the little bumps and bruises of life. Seth planted a small peck on my forehead, the kiss far from being the passionate, exciting kiss I’d imagined, and coolly took my hands in his, his gaze not even meeting mine. Where the hell was my kiss? Why was he acting so aloof, so cold? I moved my thumb across his palm, drawing small circles, which I hoped would trigger his passions, but he suddenly stood up, putting a distance between us, the chair making an ear-piercing screech across the floor as it slid away from the bedside.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, not understanding his reaction.

“Nothing,” he replied. “Your parents were here to see you. Travis was outside, too. He knows and remembers it all,” Seth explained. “They will be here first thing in the morning. Your mom wanted to stay here with you, but... well I was too insistent, I’m afraid,” he said, winking.

“Oh, you did, and why is that?” I asked, giving my stupid attempts at flirtation another chance.

“You know why,” he said, his voice now thick with unexpressed emotions.

The silence hung heavy in the room, with lingering passions, and unsaid words.

“Why don’t you come here, Seth and lie next to me? Please,” I urged him in a whisper. “We can replicate the night at the Land of Dragoon, the night when you finally shifted. Do you remember it? I do, so very much...it is carved in my brain, every touch, every kiss, every whisper. I need you,” I prompted.

He walked as if on command, his stride predatory, his gaze heated. I felt the moment his control snapped, and I felt his weight on the bed as he sat down, and leaned towards me, his lips only inches away from mine. My heart started beating fast, and I closed my eyes for a kiss that never came. He got up like a coiled spring, his face pained with unsatisfied yearning. His features smoothed out within seconds, and there was no trace of the lust which had changed him a few seconds ago.

“You should rest a bit, it’s still early in the morning,” he said. “There is always tomorrow for other things,” he said, his tone neutral. Other things? That was such a jargon phrase, a downplay for all the things I felt towards him, all that I wanted to do with him. I felt embarrassed, shy, uncertain.

He was acting all weird, why was he pulling back? Was he no longer interested in me? Was he afraid of our future, of where our love could take us? What had happened to the confident Drakon Prince who had made so many sacrifices for our love, for me without blinking an eye, including the ouster of his father and the dumping of his fiance. Where was he, because whoever stood before me was too brotherly, too friendly to be my mate.

Though answers evaded me on his behavior, I was exhausted and I found my eyes drooping once more. Sleep claimed me, soon enough.

When I opened my eyes again, it was morning and the sun was filtering through the half closed blinds, casting natural shadows across the walls. I got out of bed, opening the blinds completely, there was no way I was blocking the sun, I had missed it too much. Seth was not in the room, and I used the bathroom, finding a new toothbrush and paste, and bathrobe, much to my delight. After showering, and brushing my teeth, luxuries I had forgotten in such a long time, I went back to bed. It suddenly occurred to me that in my attempts to seduce Seth, I had never learned the true reason of why I was here, lying in this hospital bed. Fainting didn’t necessitate a hospital stay, so why was I really in here? The door opened and I saw Seth enter with steaming coffee and a tray with a glass of fresh orange juice, newly baked cinnamon rolls, and other assorted pastries.

“Oh, you are awake. So, I’m just in time to save you from the not so appetizing hospital breakfast,” he smiled, so charmingly. I could drown in that smile. My God, what was happening to me, I was turning into a bitch in heat, and my mate was not sharing exactly the same sentiments. Was it being on earth in here which made everything more real, sharpening my emotions, my love, or was it the sacrifices, the hardness of the path, the difficulties we faced to make it here which made me so thirsty for the reward, a life with Seth? “Thank you,” I said swallowing hard with the hope that whatever was stuck in my throat would ease away, clearing my pent up emotions and muddled brain. “Don’t I get a morning kiss?” I asked, really pushing it.

“Sure, always,” he said, approaching me.

I felt as happy as a child receiving her Christmas gift, I opened my arms, ready to open my gift. But, the feel of his body was so fleeting within my arms, the kiss a quick one on my cheek.

“Okay, what the hell is going on, can you tell me? Is this it? Are you done with me? Are we breaking up?” I said, my furious eyes hiding the pain I felt.

“Done with you? Breaking up? What are you talking about?” he asked, confused.

“I’m talking about this nonsense you call a kiss,” I said waving my finger at him. “I am talking about you keeping your distance from me, as if your feelings are poof...gone, ” I said, waggling my fingers as if casting a spell. “That’s what I’m talking about. Because, you can tell me, do you hear me, I’m not the clingy type. If what you feel is not the same with what you felt at the Rawonia, all you need to do is tell me. I’m a big girl, I can take it,” I said, raising my chin in defiance. “You certainly don’t need to play games with me.”

He was shocked, that was obvious to me, it was in the widening of his eyes, the furrowing of his eyebrows, the immediate opening and closing of his mouth before any words slipped. In the end, all he did was shake his befuddled head. He raked his hand through his hair, inhaled deeply and then started pacing impatiently in the room. “You don’t understand...how can you say that?” he said, looking at me with an agonized gaze. “How can you even think that,” he stammered. “I love you, so much, don’t you know that?”

“Then why are you acting this strange?” I asked. “As if you can’t bear to be near me physically.”

“I can’t bear to, kitten. That much is true,” he confessed. “But, it is not what you think.”

Had he just admitted what I feared? My hands started shaking uncontrollably, I was so very nervous with what those words meant.

“Sierra, I have something to tell you, and I can no longer protect you from it.”

“Yes?” I urged him on. Anything was better than thinking he was no longer in love with me, anything else I could take, even another universe, another mission, Abby, or even dying, but not that.

“You remember I told you that you’d fainted?”

I nodded.

“You fainted because of your heart condition. The doctor wanted to keep you here for another day for additional tests. Sierra, I don’t know how to put this, but the heart you have taken from the Land of Dragoon is gone.”

“Gone? What?” I asked, not really comprehending his meaning. “What do you mean gone, how do you know?”

“I know because you have only one third of Rawonia’s heart, the other one third is not there.”

“That does not make sense, Seth,” I said.

“Indeed, it does not, but that is what the doctor said.”

“I see,” I said, bowing my head in thought. “But, what does that have to do with your behavior?”

“Sierra, my joke was not completely a joke.”

“Joke?” I asked.

“You fainted because you got overly excited with the kiss. I can’t ever touch you, or kiss you, or get carried away because you may...” he said, not finishing his sentence.

“Die?” I added. He was silent, but the solemn facial expression said it all. “Wow, that is great. Now that I have finally made it to earth, I have to keep away from you. It is great, simply great,” I said. “I cannot even spend whatever time I have left with you, how is that for a reward?” I asked, muttering to myself.

He’d heard, unfortunately.

“Don’t ever say that,” he said, holding me by the shoulders, looking closely and deeply into my eyes, his gaze smoldering me with a fiery desire. “We will find a way out of this, you will live a long and happy life with me, I won’t have it otherwise, do you hear me?” he asked, shaking me slightly.

I nodded, how could I not, everything seemed possible when I was with him.

“I hate keeping myself away from you, but if it will help, I will. Until at least, we know what’s going on. Don’t ever doubt my love for you Sierra cause there is no other soul who can love you as much and as deeply as I love you. Do you believe me?” he said.

I nodded again, my heart now thundering in my chest.

“Damn it”, he said, letting me go. “I hear your heart beat. I hate hurting you like this, that’s the last thing I want to do.”

“You are not hurting me,” I denied.

“I am,” he said. “We need to find your stolen piece. Do you remember anything?” he asked.

“No, I remember taking it from the golden dragon, and then I woke up in the hospital bed. Everything else is a whole big blank.”

The door knocked, and I jumped out of bed, damn the fatigue, when I saw it was my parents, followed closely by Travis. I had missed them so much, so I put the brakes on the turmoil of my emotions, and my out of control libido, and I just hugged them tight, our tears meshing with each others’. I was so lost in this reunion that I didn’t hear the door close behind us, and Seth leave silently. I also didn’t hear him talk with a girl outside the door. A girl he once knew, and loved.

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A girl like me, who was trapped in a small four wall room like this would have hours and hours her hands, doing nothing, expecting nothing, looking forward to a huge nothing. And, hence it was no mystery that I did waste many of those idle hours by staring at, and investigating every little corner in the room, looking at the designs in the ceiling, the patterns on the dirt floor, the unevenness on the dirty walls, seeking anything out of the extraordinary, any anomaly that could get me the hell out of here.

I didn’t find it, instead all I did manage to do was discover a small crack right at the bottom of the wall. A bug disappeared right beneath it. How I wish I was that bug, leaving this wretched place forever.

I kicked the crack with my shoe which only hurt my foot. Still, I kicked it over and over again, until I fell exhausted on the floor, defeated. I crossed my legs, and rubbed my eyes in frustration. “Screw this!” I yelled, shedding any facade of calm. I opened my palms in anger, and used my light on the crack. No miracles happened, the crack did not turn into a magic door, and it did not bring down the wall, but I did see a small enlargement of the crack, barely visible to the eye. Holy crap, but that was enough for hope. I released another dosage of light, and the crack got only slightly larger. I laughed in joy as though somebody had opened the brass door of this prison for me. I was not going to belittle what had happened here. I had accomplished very little, yet it was better than what I had a minute ago, which was nothing.

I now knew what I was going to do. I was going to dig a tunnel out of this place using my fingers, my shoes, my light, anything that would help, and I would start right now.

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