Rowan sat staring out at the green landscape below, and she’d forgotten how bright and colorful everything was in the light of day. The sun still hurt her eyes, and she lifted her face up to the warmth, closed her eyes, and just basked in the feel of it.
She hadn’t allowed herself to remember just how glorious it was to experience the heat on her skin, see the world in all its mesmerizing beauty, and she was grateful for Belvare’s inadvertent gift. It was the one good thing that came out of all this. She couldn’t help but wonder what Alena thought of the world she’d never seen in all its splendor. She would have loved to see and hear the way Alena experienced all this.
Rowan also hadn’t allowed herself to think of Marcus when she was in Belvare’s grip. Marcus was her weakness. The baby stirred in her belly as and Rowan smiled.
Marcus would have loved to feel the way this little girl kicked. She was strong, busy, and soon she would be part of this world, and it would be a place without her daddy. Rowan’s smile faded away.
Her sorrow was always so close to the surface. Marcus left a void in her that she didn’t know how to fill. When she didn’t have nightmares about Belvare rising from the dead, she dreamt of Marcus.
Rowan never dreamt of the way Marcus touched her, kissed her, loved her, supported her, or made her feel, she always dreamt about the way he died. Rowan flinched away from the thought and then made herself face it. A chill ran down her spine despite the warmth of the sun.
She’d been close to delirium, but his last moments were engraved in her mind. She always saw him bending over Belvare, sinking his teeth into the Dark One. She knew that he didn’t do it to save the world from Belvare, he did it because he thought that Belvare killed her. That the Dark One caused her demise with his every action along with that of his best friend and both his children.
It was revenge that made him do what they could not. She could not help but wonder what went through his mind as that awful ichor poisoned, and killed him. She kept seeing his face when he let go of Belvare. He’d stared right at her, and she could still see the sorrow in his eyes. He hadn’t wanted to live without her, and instead, he doomed her to live without him.
Marcus must have been in so much pain, but he never took his eyes off her. Those dark eyes that had nothing of the man she loved in them as if a dark void had swallowed his soul. A sob escaped her as tears streamed down her face. She cried in her sleep every night. She wasn’t one for crying, but the sorrow in her could not be contained.
She missed Marcus the way she would miss a limb. It was as if half of her had been severed to leave a bleeding, open wound that would not heal. She missed his gentle touch, fierce possessiveness, love, understanding, wisdom, but most of all, his smile.
Rowan hit her fist into the hard rock, and she felt her skin break. The pain should have distracted her, but it didn’t. The wound healed almost without her notice. The baby kicked as it sensed her distress, and Rowan made herself relax.
“Shhh, baby, everything will be alright. Don’t you worry about a thing. Soon, you will meet your auntie Alena, and she will love you like her very own. She wrote me a letter yesterday, and it found its way all the way out here from another land. She’s angry at me, but it’s because she misses mommy,” Rowan said as she gently rubbed her protruding belly.
Alena would never admit it, but seeing Rowan’s pregnancy evolve would have caused her immeasurable pain, despite her love for both mother and child.
Marcus should have been here, Rowan thought. She hated Belvare for causing all this, but the brief time she had with Marcus had been more than she ever dreamed she could have. He opened a world to her that she hadn’t dared to imagine. He changed her in ways she didn’t know she could, but she affected him too. He allowed her closer to him than he did anyone in his life. They were one soul, one heart, and two minds.
It hadn’t been all roses and moonlight, but every moment with him had been extraordinary. It was all etched into her mind, and he would be part of her forever.
Even when they disagreed, she could never really be angry at him or stay mad. He would look at her with that damned half-smile, half-smirk of his and she would be putty in his hands.
Marcus could be serious or silly. Hard as stone with his enemies, and soft as butter with his loved ones. He saw her when no one else did, and she knew no one would ever measure up to him. He spoilt her for all other men, and she would never love another.
“Come, Rowan, you’ve spent enough time staring at nothing,” Ariana chided gently inside Rowan’s mind from miles away in the caverns where she spent her days.
“Just a few more minutes,” Rowan answered, and she could feel Ariana’s concern. “I’m fine,” Rowan said as she did a hundred times before, and both of them knew it wasn’t true.
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