Chapter 52 - Epilogue
The day has finally arrived.
I wake up this morning to soft murmurings outside in the hallway as people pass by our door, everyone slowly rousing from their slumber. Vulcan is currently spooning me from behind, his face nestled into the crook of my neck with his chin resting on my shoulder, letting his warm breath expel onto my heated skin in small puffs.
Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I turn to face him, cuddling up to him further which causes him to stir slightly. Hazy emeralds meet my grey ones, looking down at me with tenderness and love. Raising my hand, I trail the back of my knuckles across his cheek, his stubble tickling my skin, and he hums in content with a sleepy smile.
“Hi, good morning.” I whisper softly, cupping his cheek in my small hand.
“Good morning, sweetheart.” He greets in return, his husky and deep baritone still laden with sleep, making me swoon instantly.
His arms tighten around me before he dips down and presses his lips to mine gently. I sigh in utter bliss, our bodies molding perfectly against each other and my hand slips from his cheek to rest on his chest. His soft lips move against mine, creating tingles on my skin. I moan softly but pout when he pulls away, immediately curling into his side. There is a slight pause and I can feel hesitation rolling off him in waves and through our mate bond. He takes a slight intake of air before asking the question on his mind.
“Are you okay?”
I gaze at him quizzically, brows furrowing. “What do you mean? I’m perfectly okay.”
He sighs, fingertips trailing over my bare arm soothingly. “I heard you crying in the bathroom before you came to bed last night. Don’t lie to me, Aurora.”
I still in his arms before relaxing when he presses a gentle kiss to my temple. Shrugging halfheartedly, I avoid his eyes and instead focus on our intertwined hands. “I just miss my parents that’s all. It’s going to be my first Christmas without them, just the first of many. I’m finding it hard.”
“It’s okay to talk about it you know? I’m always here.” He murmurs, tipping my chin up so that I look directly into his eyes as he speaks.
I nod, sending him a weak smile. I let out a shuddering breath, feeling my throat tighten and my vision blur with tears. “Does it ever get easier? Missing them?”
He smiles painfully before nodding. “I promise you that it will, baby girl. But, it will take some time before I hear or find you crying by yourself.”
He sits up and I let him wipe my traitorous tears away before he picks me up and settles me in his lap, winding his arms around my waist. “You miss them? Come to me. You want to talk about them? Come to me. You want to cry your eyes out. Come to me. Because I will always be here for you, Aurora. Never forget that.”
I smile gratefully, turning to face him slightly and kissing him sweetly. Pulling away, I cup his face in both hands before pressing our foreheads together. “Thank you, Vulcan.”
“Anything for you, my light. Now, let’s go shower and join everybody downstairs okay?” He grins boyishly at my loud squeal of surprise as he gets off the bed with me still in his arms, carrying me to the bathroom.
I shake my head playfully when his eyes sparkle with mischief and lust, already knowing that we are both going to be more than a little late.
I set the last dish down on the table before stepping back and admiring the beautiful Christmas dinner spread Natasha, Caia and I have made. The decorations are red and gold, including the tablecloth and napkins with gold crackers placed on every plate. Candles are lit in the center with dark green wreaths, red berries and pine cones around them, enhancing the festive vibe. It has a homey feel to it and is perfection in my eyes.
The dinner is traditional and the smell of all the various dishes has my stomach growling in hunger. In the middle is a big turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and different vegetables in small bowls. For dessert, we have made apple pie and Christmas pudding, as per my request.
I cannot wait to get started and rush to call the boys for dinner as soon as Natasha gives me the go ahead. They are watching a game of basketball when I interrupt them, making their heads turn slightly. “Guys, dinner’s ready!”
“Oh my god, I’ve been waiting forever!" Nikolai immediately jumps up and rushes over to me, whining about how long we took to make dinner before he halts at the entrance of the kitchen, muttering out a “holy shit.”
Vulcan and Nero stare at him in confusion before pushing him into the room, stilling at the sight before them. Wide smiles break out onto their faces before they praise us on the dinner setup. I grin when Vulcan walks over to my side and pecks my lips as we all seat ourselves.
“Seriously girls, this looks incredible! Thank you.” Nero states as he wraps his arm around Natasha’s shoulders and presses a kiss to her temple.
“Agreed, everything looks delicious.” Vulcan adds, smiling at his sisters as they thank him.
As we start to dig in and pile food onto our plate, Nikolai and I are the fastest. We grin at each other since he is right in front of me on the opposite side of the table, eyeing each other’s plate as if it’s a competition. Natasha smacks her little brother on the back of his head when he says, “let’s see who finishes first.” I laugh as he protests loudly, glaring at his sister and huffing in defeat. Caia nudges my elbow from beside me, snickering at him with me joining soon after before we are full on laughing. Conversation flows around me about this past year, all the memories the Romanov family made in this lodge, upcoming college applications and all sorts of discussions.
I’m constantly getting distracted my Vulcan’s hand moving over my body, erupting tingles. Either he is wrapping his arm around me, grasping my thigh or knee, or holding my hand but overall, he is messing with my train of thought. I send him a warning look to not repeat the pack dinner all over again, making him chuckle under his breath before nodding when I glare.
Relaxing, I sip at my drink and take another bite of my mashed potatoes and turkey, experiencing the burst of flavors in my mouth. Nikolai is already helping himself to another plate, followed by Vulcan and Nero. Natasha joins in soon after, claiming that she is eating for two now whilst Caia and I smirk before helping ourselves to another plate because really, who doesn’t want to stuff themselves on Christmas day?
Soon, the plates are cleared and we move to the sitting room where dessert is served. The fire burns brightly in the fireplace, creating warmth and making the room incredibly cozy as we settle around on the couches with presents of our names beside us. Taking a small spoonful of the pudding from Vulcan’s plate while he takes a spoonful of apple pie from mine, the sound of wrapping paper ripping echoes in the room as everyone opens their gifts. We had decided to wait until after lunch since everyone woke up late this morning.
Nikolai receives the latest model of a skateboard he has been wanting for months now from Natasha and Nero, a new phone from Vulcan, video games from me and an expensive looking bracelet from Caia. Caia receives a new laptop from Natasha and Nero, new lace-up boots she had hinted for Vulcan to get her, jewelry from Nikolai and a burgundy leather jacket from me to add to her collection.
Vulcan, Caia, Nikolai and I bought Natasha the handbag and shoes she had been wanting, and a watch with a camera for Nero. Natasha is over the moon as she beams down at the gifts in delight, enthusiastically showing them off to Nero. I receive two bestselling books from Caia who had somehow figured out that they have been on my list for a good while now, a bracelet and earrings from Natasha and Nero, and a watch from Nikolai. At the end of my pile lies a rectangular box, wrapped in white with neat black ribbon tied into a bow on the top.
Smiling when I see that it’s from Vulcan, I unwrap it with care, revealing a velvet black box with ‘Bvlgari’ engraved onto it in cursive gold writing. I gasp quietly when I open it to see a diamond necklace laying inside with purple, pink and green gemstones embedded into the design. It’s exquisite and just by the recognition of the brand name, I also know it must have been very expensive.
I look over to Vulcan who is already staring down at me in affection, smiling slightly as he leans forward to press a chaste kiss to my lips before pulling away. “Do you like it?”
“Oh my god, this is too much.” I start to protest but am cut off by the shake of his head, his eyes burning in refusal.
“Only the best for my mate, please accept it.” His bright green eyes take on an almost pleading look, making me sigh in defeat and nod.
I press my lips to his cheek, lingering of their own accord and creating delightful sensations on my skin. I intertwine our hands, my thumb rubbing across his skin in an affectionate manner. Green to grey, our eyes connect and remain fixated at each other, staring into each other’s souls, not wanting to let go just yet.
“You spoil me too much.” I whisper, placing the box on the coffee table carefully.
A slow, easy going smile spreads across his lips making my heart race uncontrollably. “You love it.”
I roll my eyes as a light chuckle escapes my lips before I nod at the presents in his lap, gesturing for him to open them. Nervousness rises within me as he starts unwrapping his presents, leaving mine for last. Nikolai has bought him a new diary for the upcoming year with an engraved gold pen and new shoes, Caia went for a sleek looking turntable to accompany all the vinyl’s he has stocked in his office. Natasha and Nero have bought him a Giorgio Armani perfume with an accessories box that includes a watch, sunglasses, a belt and a bracelet in a black and silver color theme.
The others leave to stand by the front door when Caia notices snow beginning to fall. Now, it’s just Vulcan and I sitting on the couches with the blanket wrapped around us, although the heat he provides is more than enough.
All too soon, he is unwrapping the last presents which are from me. I bite my lip when he opens the first one, which is a professional camera. The reason I had bought it is because Vulcan loves photography and has about a million amazing pictures on his phone of those perfect shots that I can never take. He makes simple views seem wonderful!
I smile shyly and shrug when he glances at me with raised brows, his expression of pure shock. Moving onto the next one, it’s a framed picture of him and I in Anchorage, Alaska, having one of those moments where you forget your surroundings and just focus on the person you love. Natasha managed to capture the perfect moment of us staring deeply into each other’s eyes, our noses and cheeks red from the cold and wrapped up in warm clothing.
The last frame is of two family pictures, one of my parents and I and the other of him and his family that I had found in the drawer of his office’s desk, taken two years prior to when tragedy struck in the Romanov household. He has been wanting to put it on his desk in his office but something always stopped him, almost as if it hurt him to see the picture.
I want to remind him that it’s okay to miss your parents; that nobody walking on this earth can ever be constantly strong; that we must let ourselves break to become stronger. Vulcan masks the pain of losing his parents and eventually, it will only end up hurting him. So, in a way, I’m helping the both of us to heal and move on with the memory of our parents. I sense longing and sadness through our bond which makes me curl up into his side and intertwine our hands, squeezing it slightly to offer some support. My head falls onto his broad shoulder and his cheek meets the top of mine as we stare at the pictures in front of us.
“You will never be alone again, Vulcan. I’m always here for you, even if it means feeling your pain...we’ll get through this together. You and I.”
I feel him press a gentle kiss to my hair before his arms encircle my waist and tug me onto his lap. His forest colored eyes have dulled in sadness, making my heart ache at the sight of him. Green eyes stare directly into the windows of my grey ones, as if picking apart my entire being, leaving me raw and vulnerable. My eyes flutter shut of their own accord when his fingers trail across my cheek before they tuck my hair behind my ear. His hand find the back of my neck and pulls me down so that our foreheads press together, eyes shut, breathing even, hearts racing.
“I fucking love you.” He finally states, voice thick with emotion. “I love you so much that it - it hurts sometimes but, it’s so good."
“I love you too...so much that my heart seems like it might burst any minute but, I love that feeling when I’m around you. I crave it all the time.” I whisper, caressing his jawline before pecking it, making a husky growl emit from his lips.
“You’re so pure, so innocent...so good. And I’m the complete opposite, I don’t deserve an angel like you.”
“We are what the other deserves, Vulcan. I wouldn’t want it any other way.” I reply, wrapping my arms around his neck as his hands rest on my hips. I push up to press my forehead against his, staring into his eyes and hoping he can see just how much I love him. “I’m so glad you found me.”
A breath-taking smile spreads across his lips ever so slowly. “I’m happy that I was given a second-chance.”
His eyes grow soft and hazy, as if he is a content man right now just by staring at me. I shiver when his fingertips trail up and down my bare arm, a slow smile spreading across his lips, loving my reaction to his tempting touch.
I smile gently, leaning forward until our lips are just brushing against each other; a breath away from meeting and I whisper, “Forever and always.”
So, this was my story.
A tale of how I, a human, found love in another realm.
A history of loss, new beginnings, love, pain and eternity.
I hope you enjoyed the ride.
- Aurora Maxwell.