Isobel finds herself walking through a dark forest. She comes upon this massive oak tree that is split in half as if it had been stuck by lightning. Only this tree wasn't dead. Somehow, it had continued to grow through the centuries as if it were two individual trees and not one large one.
Fascinated, she walks up to the tree and touches it gently. Instantly, she is surrounded by flashing images and scenes that she wasn't able to totally comprehend. All she knows is the true and deep pain associated with them. It isn't long before she is brought to her knees from the overwhelming feelings, tears sliding down her cheeks.
"He'll never love you." A haunting voice echoes through Isobel's head as she looks around, trying to find the source.
"Who's there?" She wipes her eyes, hoping that will make it easier to see.
"He'll just use you until he gets what he wants." The voice seems to somehow be coming from behind her but when she turns, the source moves with her.
Isobel's heart seems to ache from these words. "You're wrong."
"I'm not. He'll leave. Just like Andy. You should just give up and go home."
Tears begin sliding down her cheeks again, "Please..." she begs, "please stop."
A loud thud sounds behind her right as a gust of wind hits her back. She spins around and wants to scream from the vision in front of her. This woman, if you can even call her that, is staring directly at Isobel as if she can see into her soul. She can see features that slightly resemble a woman but she is grotesque, pure evil. Her hair is long and matted, her nails closer to claws as they reach up to swipe at Isobel. She screams and runs, wanting to get as far away from this creature as possible.
"You can't outrun me Isobel..."
Isobel's heart pounds in her chest as she pants, running as hard as she can to get away. The creature appears before her and Isobel screeches to a halt in front of her. The creature's hand grips Isobel's arm causing her to scream in pain as if her skin was being burned.
Isobel wakes with a start and looks around her room. "Just a dream..." She lays back down, her heart pounding still and her throat dry as if she had been screaming. She gets up, heading to the bathroom to get a drink of water. What she sees in the mirror makes her gasp. On her bicep is a red handprint.
How was this possible? It was just a dream... wasn't it?
Her hands shake as she climbs into the shower, suddenly feeling unclean. She turns the water as hot as she can handle, hoping it will get rid her of the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. When she gets out of the shower, she gets dressed and calls her parents. It's been a few days since Austin took her to the track and she had promised to go to lunch with them.
A few hours later when she is walking up to the café, she is instantly wrapped in the arms of her father. "Papa..." She hugs him tightly, this was exactly what she needed. After about an hour the mark had disappeared, but the feelings of fear and pain had not left her. Isobel talks and eats with them, telling them about Austin's racing and them getting to know each other better. When it's time to leave, she hugs and kisses her parents, promising to talk to them more often.
When she gets back to the flat she decides to make dinner for Austin to surprise him. After a few hours of working hard in the kitchen she hears the front door and Austin's voice, "I'm home!"
Isobel grins as he turns the corner, "Welcome home. I hope you don't mind, I made dinner."
The smile that takes over Austin's face makes her swoon and also sends a jolt straight to her core, making her panties wet.
Austin sits at the table as she serves their dinner, smiling up at her. "You didn't have to do this, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Thank you."
Isobel blushes deeply, sitting next to him after she makes her own plate. "You're very welcome. How was your day?"
"It was pretty normal. Renee and I had business meetings with sponsors all day."
"My business partner. She's been one of my close friends for over a decade now."
Isobel tries to swallow down the sudden jealousy she feels towards a woman she's never met. She knows that he hasn't really had a relationship with anyone since Sarah but that didn't exclude sexual relations. She feels his eyes on her and she looks up at him, smiling tightly.
The chuckle that comes from him is surprising, could he hear her thoughts? "For the record... She would be more interested in spending the night with you than with me."
Isobel blinks at him for a few seconds before it dawns on her and she dissolves into giggles. "I'll have to remember that. Well I hope I get to meet her soon."
Austin nods, "You will, I'm sure. She's been bugging me about meeting you too."
After dinner they have a few glasses of wine and find themselves on the couch, laughing and talking. Isobel looks into his twinkling eyes, feeling the sudden urge to kiss him. She bites her lip before making the decision to not let regret or fear run her life anymore.
Isobel pulls him into a kiss. It starts out slow but as he melts into her, their kiss deepens. She pulls back panting, looking into Austin's eyes, trying to see if he feels the same way as her. "I should... uh... I should go to bed... I'll talk to you in the morning..." She gets up, blushing madly as she walks to her room.