Her greatest curse.
“Hey,” Rey had to squint her eyes to get a better look at him. “Is everything okay?” No wonder she was curious. Last time they saw each other here, the village was attacked by hunters.
Talon answered with: “Everything is fine.”
Rey guessed he wanted to sound reassuring, but it came out more like a sigh. Before she had a chance to pry, he asked: “Can I join you?”
Rey almost blurted out a no. If someone were to find them lying next to each other ... But why should she always care what other people thought about them? They weren’t doing anything bad or illegal by simply talking to each other.
Instead, she said: “Sure.”
Talon’s long limbs stretched way further than Rey’s entire boy as he occupied the spot next to her. He lay down facing the heavens and not Rey. It gave her enough time to compose herself.
It had been years since they were so close to each other. Yet they were still miles apart.
While Talon paid his full attention to the clouds above them, Rey paid hers entirely to him. She never thought she would say this, but he looked almost as bad as she felt. Dark circles lined his eyes and there were visible traces of stubble on his face.
It was expected from Alpha’s to always be at the top of their game. Mentally and physically. But all the signs led Rey to believe, something was making him lose his sleep.
“What are you thinking about?” Rey whispered gently.
He turned his head around to face her and as their eyes met, he answered with a simple word: “Butterflies.”
Rey’s heart skipped a beat as she fully comprehended the meaning behind his answer. It was her turn to avert her gaze.
When she was a little girl butterflies symbolised something beautiful to her. Something to get out of the bed for. But every time she saw one now, she was reminded only about all the things she lost.
Rey chuckled as the more pleasant memories of her past filled her mind: “We were such foolish kids. We thought we could catch them.”
It didn’t take long for the little girl to long for her forbidden fruit, and she broke her promise again. And again. And again.
Each of their earlier secret meetings were filled with their laughter as both the little girl and the little boy chased the butterflies around in a desperate attempt to catch at least one.
They weren’t successful on their first try, not even on their second, but they managed to catch one on the third one. They trapped its small body in a glass bottle, the little boy sneaked in from somewhere and the little girl practically glowed. She could finally admire its beauty without only catching a glimpse of it as it flew around.
They left the poor butterfly inside its cage with a silent promise that they would come back the next day. But as the sun set and rose again, the butterfly breathed its last breath.
The little girl was so distraught from what they both did, she cried for days and they never tried to catch another butterfly again. She learned a valuable lesson then to only admire the beautiful things from afar. That way no one got hurt.
“You have seen quite a lot of the world. I imagine.” Talon’s voice dragged her out of her memories. “Did you find anything more beautiful?”
Rey contemplated her answer for a bit and then answered with a no. Butterflies still held that title in her eyes. At least, that is what she wanted to desperately believe in. She couldn’t exactly tell him, she found the most beautiful thing years ago. Hidden in his eyes.
“Me neither,” Talon admitted.
“But you will. Soon enough.” The words escaped Rey before she had a chance to stop them.
“What do you mean?” Talon asked. She refused to look anywhere but at the clouds, but she was sure he was frowning at her.
“Your child,” Rey said simply. “Once they become parents, people always claim their child is the most beautiful thing in their life.”
Rey wished she didn’t twist their conversation this way, but it was already too late. The void between them grew larger.
“Guess, we will find out soon,” Talon mumbled.
Rey had no idea Elaine was already a few months pregnant when they first saw each other. The time of birth was actually a lot closer than any of them expected.
Brynn was making daily visits to ensure everything with the baby was fine. Especiall after all the stress Elaine went through.
The first time they asked her for this favour, Brynn refused, but Rey managed to convince her. Mostly because she feared she would be the next in line if Brynn remained stubborn. And that was too big of a piece to swallow. Even for her.
As Rey feared, their conversation died out. There were many things Rey could ask. Do you already have names picked? Do you think it is going to be a girl or a boy? Which one would you like? But call her selfish, she didn’t want to hear answers to any of these questions. Not when the two of them could answer them together. If fate played a different set of cards ...
But it didn’t and being next to him suddenly brought way too much pain inside Rey’s heart. She quickly sat up and said half in apology, half in anguish: “I have to go now.”
She started to stand up, but his firm grip pulled her back down: “Please, wait for a little longer. I have something to tell you.”
He moved his body up as well, and their stares met once more. His eyes looked at her so pleadingly, Rey knew she wouldn’t be able to say no to him.
She was too much of a goner to do that. Because as vehemently as she tried to deny it when anyone as much as implied something, the truth was, Rey was still deeply in love with the man in front of her.
It was her greatest curse, and it became her greatest sin.