Another shiver ran over Sarah’s skin, but this time, Axin noticed. “Please come back inside with me. It’s getting cold out here.”
Sarah thought about that for a moment, wondering if it was such a good idea. She was definitely attracted to him, and he was to her, but she didn’t know anything about him. He wasn’t even technically alive, so how would that work between them?
“I think I should go home, Axin. It’s been a hell of a day, and I have a lot to think about.”
His smile fell. “Yeah, okay. Sure. Come on.” He stood, reaching out a hand to help her stand. She took it, loving the way his large warm palm felt holding hers.
Once on her feet, she tugged the dress down and looked around. “So, how does this work? How do you cross the veil?”
“That’s the simple part. Nilu gave each of his warriors a gift. We all have the ability to push against the veil until we break through. That’s what you saw every time I came to check on you. That smoke, thats me pushing on the veil.”
She nodded, meeting his stunning eyes. “And you can just cross back and forth as you want?”
“Not really. We’re not supposed to go into the living world unless we hunt. If something breaks through the veil to your world, then we can cross over to get it back.”
“But you crossed over for me. Will you be in trouble for that?”
Axin chuckled. “Probably. But it’s fine, Nilu knows.”
Axin didn’t say anything, he just stared into her eyes with that burning gaze of his.
Sarah’s heart sped up, her mouth going dry and her stomach boiling with butterflies. She bit her lip, standing still only a foot away from Axin.
His gaze flicked to her lips, then back to her eyes, and Sarah saw a flash of worry on his face before he said, “Let me get you home.”
He took a step back and as his eyes burned brighter, the smoke grew around them. She shut her eyes, not wanting to feel the burn in them.
A moment later, a soft touch came onto her cheek and she opened her eyes to look into Axin’s.
“You’re home,” he said, his hand still on her cheek and his face only a few inches away from hers. Sarah had to tilt her head up to look at him.
“Do you want to stay for a while?” she asked before she realized what she had just offered.
He grinned. “I would love to, but I have to get back. I’m on patrol in Purgatory tonight. But I would like to come see you again if you will allow it?”
She nodded with a smile. “Yeah, I’d like that.”
He grinned, his face leaning in closer to her. She closed her eyes, her lips slightly parted with anticipation. But Axin placed a soft kiss on her cheek and stepped back.
“Good night, Sarah,” he said as the smoke began to build around him.
“Good night, Axin,” she called and watched him vanish into the thickness of the plumes before the smoke dissipated and disappeared entirely.
She smiled wide, her heart fluttering and her mind racing.
Oh shit! He is such a sweet guy. I think I may like him a bit more than I should.
She spun the events of earlier forgotten as her mind filled with Axin, his strange world, and the things he told her. Even though he revealed the truth about what happened to her parents, she didn’t blame him. At first, she wanted to be angry, to hate him, to have a place to focus her pain and sadness, but it didn’t take long to realize that she couldn’t. Even though it was crazy to think that dragons caused that tragedy, she still didn’t have it in her to blame Axin. If anything she blamed the one he was fighting that night.
She went to her bedroom, and stripped off the dress, tossing it into the trash can in the corner.
So done with that dress.
She made her way to the bathroom and turned on the shower. After a long hot soak in the water, she got ready for bed. Her eyes drifted to the corner of the room, but her fear was completely gone. Now it was excitement for when she would see him again. She wanted the smoke to come back. To see it in the middle of the night, like she did so many times.
She killed the light, something she hardly ever did and curled up on her side. Her mind calmed quickly, her body relaxing, and she drifted off into a dreamless sleep.
Sarah’s phone ringing woke her up the next morning. She grabbed it, seeing Lexi’s name on the screen.
She swiped to answer. “Hey,” she grumbled into the phone, her head throbbing.
“Sarah.” Lexi sounded like she was crying. “Can I come over?” She sniffed.
Sarah sat up. “Lex, what’s wrong? What happened?”
Lexi started to cry. “I just need to talk to you. I’ll be there in an hour.”
“Okay. Is everything alright?”
Lexi sobbed more. “No. That son of a bitch broke up with me.”
Sarah relaxed, thankful that it wasn’t anything serious. “Oh, Lex, I’m sorry. Come on over, I’ve got ice cream.”
“Thanks, Sarah. See you in a bit.” The call hung up and Sarah tossed her phone onto the bed, letting out a sigh. It killed her to hear how heartbroken Lexi was, but in a way, she was relieved. Lexi deserved a man that loved her, and that made her happy. Somehow, Sarah didn’t think that was Jake.
She got up, getting into her gown, and looked around the room. The sun was out, shining bright on the street outside.
She grinned, thinking back to the night before, and the time she spent with Axin. She still couldn’t believe that he was a dragon. In the light of day, it seemed so insane. She wanted to learn more about all of it, but the information on the internet was limited. There was one person she could ask, but it gave her pause.
He’s a client, I can’t go to him with this… can I?
She left that thought for later and made her way to the kitchen. She put a pot of coffee to brew and checked her freezer for ice cream. A large tub of Chocolate chip stood behind an ice tray. She nodded, closing the fridge, and proceeded to tidy up her apartment.
The buzzer by her front door rang and Sarah stood from the sofa and went to open the door for Lexi.
As soon as she came in, Sarah wrapped her arms around her friend's neck and squeezed her tight.
“I’m so sorry, Lex,” she said, letting her friend cry into her gown.
She led Lex into the lounge, and they sat down on the sofa.
“What happened?” Sarah finally asked, reaching for her coffee.
Lex wiped her nose and turned in her seat to face Sarah. “I have no idea! I woke up this morning, and he was in the kitchen making breakfast like he does every morning. We ate together and when I asked if he wanted to join me in the shower, he just said he needs to leave me. He wants to break up, and the fucker walked out without even talking about it. I tried calling him about a hundred times, but he isn’t answering.”
“Did you guys fight last night?”
Lexi shook her head, sniffing into a tissue. “No. Last night was amazing. We stayed at the club till about three, then when we got home, we made love until the sun came up. Everything was fine, until this morning.”
“Do you think he has someone else?”
Lexi’s eyes filled with tears, but it was a possibility, even if it was one Lexi didn’t want to consider.
“I don’t know. I know he loves me, Sarah. He told me that so many times, I could feel it, you know. He never so much as looked at another woman in a way that would make me jealous, and when I asked him if he had a type, he said that the only type he was ever going to be interested in was me. We spoke about our future, about having a family, and a home and growing old together. Why the hell would he do this?”
Sarah shook her head, letting it sink in just how much Lexi loved him. Sarah had her own opinion about him, but that was hers to deal with. He obviously made Lexi happy, and she cared about him a great deal. If he loved Lexi the way she said, then Sarah had no place to interfere.
“Maybe he just needs a bit of time. You know what guys are like, they have their own mood swings sometimes, and he could just be freaking out about the settling down part. He loves you, Lex, I can see it in the way he is with you. How he looks at you. Just give him a bit of time to come to his senses, then you can make him pay. But only once he is back in your life.”
Lexi nodded. “Do you think he will? I’m not that bad of a choice to settle down with, am I?”
Anger filled Sarah that her friend even had to ask such a question. Anger aimed at Jake for making her doubt the wonderful woman she is.
“Lexi, you are an amazing person. I love you with all my heart, and if he can’t see just how perfect you are, then he’s an idiot. But he will. He just needs to realize what he has, and he will come crawling back to you.”
“Thanks,” Lexi said, wiping her tears, “You said something about ice cream?”
Sarah chuckled. “You bet!”