It was nearing lunchtime. The morning was about halfway over, and Colton was anxious to see Audra. He couldn’t seem to focus on the teaching.
This was the day that they were going to do the vow. He didn’t know what it was, or what they were supposed to do, or what else it meant. All he knew was that it was supposed to bind the two of them together for the rest of eternity. Sounded kind of like a sort of marriage.
His face reddened at the thought, and he ducked his head to keep the rest of the class from seeing. They may have only been dating for a couple months, but the thought of marriage hadn’t escaped him. Yes, he knew they hadn’t been together that long, but he’d never felt the way he felt about Audra before. He couldn’t imagine his life without her, which was why he was so thankful that Audra agreed to do the vow with him.
The ringing of the bell interrupted his train of thought and he hurriedly packed up his things and headed to the next class. On the way there, he bumped into Ersa. He glared at her.
“Get out of my way,” he nearly snapped. “Leave me and Audra alone.”
Ersa merely tilted her head to the side a little as she stared at him, a smile on her face. “But why would I do that when it’s so entertaining?”
He clenched his jaw. “And what is that supposed to mean?”
She laughed. She actually laughed. It set him on edge.
“You don’t see it, do you? The way she looks at you whenever I’m around. How her body tenses, and how she has to massage her temple whenever it’s in pain…” She shrugged. “I’m surprised you haven’t seen it, considering how much you love her.”
His face reddened and he looked away, taking a couple steps back from her. “I don’t want to talk to you ever again. I-” He thought over her words for a moment, then looked back at her, more angry than before. “What have you done to her?”
She feigned shock, placing a hand on her chest. “I’m speechless. You really think I’d harm my own sister?”
“You hate her. Don’t think I haven’t noticed that.” He pushed past her. “I’ve gotta go find her. If she’s hurt…” He let that sentence hang in the air, allowing several scenarios to run through her head as he started away.
“Oh, that’s not necessary. She’s been watching this entire time.”
Colton turned, opening his mouth to protest when he saw Audra, standing at the end of the hall she’d just come from.
Her fists were clenched at her sides, arms shaking. Her jaw was clenched as well, and her eyes were darting between Colton and Ersa.
He started towards her. “Auds-”
She grimaced and reached up to massage her temple, eyes squeezed shut.
“What was that I just saw?” she asked, her voice deadly quiet.
“What do you mean? We were just talking, and I went to go looking for you. Are you okay?” He reached up and gently tucked some of her hair behind her ear. “You’re looking really pale…”
“That’s not what I saw. You two were flirting with each other. She-” Another grimace and she started massaging the other temple as well. “You kissed. Don’t deny it. I saw you.”
His brows furrowed deeply in confusion. “What? No. We didn’t kiss. I would never-”
Audra turned to him, then, and he saw an immense amount of rage. “I’ve seen how you look at her! I see how you look at my sister! With this- this longing. You both have it when looking at each other. I saw that yesterday in the jewelry store! You-” She broke off in a terrible coughing fit. It was so bad, that she had to lean against the wall for support.
Those left in the hall turned at the outburst to look at them. At the sight of her coughing, her veins glowing silver, they started murmuring amongst themselves.
“I’ve- I’ve seen women around you! Lately they’ve- backed off, but not-” She gasped for air. “Not Ersa.” She pursed her lips to keep from saying anything else, and pushed off the wall, barely able to keep herself upright as she practically ran down the hall.
Something was terribly wrong and Colton knew it. He turned to look at Ersa, all of his hatred for her evident on his face, then started down the hall Audra went down. His friends, and what sounded like everybody else in the hall, followed him.
They started calling for Audra, as she had apparently vanished. A painful five minutes went by before Colton thought to check in the lounge. When he got there, he flung the door open and looked around the room.
Audra was there, halfway on the couch, and he barely saw her breathing.
“Audra!” He made his way over to her, carefully taking her and cradling her in his arms. Her veins were all that same silver he’d seen under her gloves, and her skin was cold. The freckles on her face were glowing gold in the pattern of the Hydra constellation, but their color was flickering.
“No, no, no, no, no. Audra?” He brushed some strands of her hair out of her face. He felt pressure building in the back of his throat. “Audra, say something. Please. Talk to me.”
His eyes scanned her face, and he noticed that her lips, now silver, were moving.
“Auds?” He used his sleeve to wipe away some of the tears that had started falling, and leaned in to hear what she was saying.
“Under this sky, your hand in mine, I give you all that I am. My heart, my soul, every aspect of my life: I give myself to you. My other half, the light of my life, my one true love. Everywhere I go, I hold you dear to my heart. I am yours forever and ever. Even in death, I will give myself to you,” she whispered, just barely audible. This she repeated again, in what sounded like French.
When she was going through the English version of it, he took her hand and repeated it after her, and the French version as well.
The corners of her silver lips tilted up in a faint smile. She whispered a brief, “I’m sorry,” and exhaled, all her color starting to fade.
He started tightening his arms around her, but was roughly pulled away by two pairs of hands. Audra dropped the rest of the way to the ground.
Colton started fighting against whoever was pulling his out of the room as a wave of tears rushed down his face. But their grip was too strong. He couldn’t break out of them.
"AUDRA! NO, please let me- LET ME GO!"
Soon he was out of the room, still being dragged by the two men. Everyone else was standing outside of the room, watching in confusion at what was happening. He would be too, if he hadn’t gotten himself mixed in with all of the star drama. He wouldn’t change anything though. Except for Ersa. He would’ve avoided her like the plague.
A couple moments later, and he couldn’t see anyone. They’d dragged him outside. He hadn’t stopped fighting and screaming for them to let him go so he could go back to Audra.
A heavy weight fell on his chest. This was all his fault. If he had just avoided Ersa, none of this would’ve happened. Not that it was his fault she was everywhere, apparently, but it still could’ve been prevented. Maybe he wouldn’t have been too late in saving her. All he could think about was Audra - her bright smile, pure voice, bright blue eyes and soft hair…
What was it that they’d said anyways? Was that the vow? Could it really have been that simple?
Why couldn’t Ersa have just left them alone? This whole mess wouldn’t have even happened if she’d left.
Speak of the devil, and it shall appear.
He glared daggers at Ersa as she casually strutted over to him, kneeling in front of him. A pair of black sunglasses sat on her face, and she smirked at him.
“Poor Colton Danvers… All alone now without his precious girlfriend. Too bad your dear mother hadn’t shared her secret. Maybe you would’ve been able to prevent all this.” She chuckled, shaking her head as she stood. “Knock him out,” she ordered the men, “and take him back to headquarters. Orion will be pleased.”
Colton opened his mouth to scream, to say anything as he fought against them. He managed to call out to Audra again, still not believing she was gone, before something hit him over the head, and the world turned black.