Follow My Lead

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Almost Had Me

The proposition hung in the air between us. There was no getting around it this time. He had been pretty clear thus far. At that point, any other fluctuation on my part would be flat out disrespectful.

He didn’t come off as an awful person, I could say. The energy he gave off was soothing actually. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I felt safe, but I at least felt certain I could read his intentions.

I was also curious about why he was so distracting. I’m normally a bit of a space case, often found staring into the distance, but this was a completely different level. Looking at him made me a tiny bit dizzy, like I was slowly sinking into a warm bath. I didn’t have any romantic history really, so this was mildly overwhelming. Only a few possible explanations came to mind, but I needed to ask more questions before I could form a solid theory.

And then, I guess, I kind of got what he meant about regretting not knowing each other. His energy called to me, gently nudged at my wrists, flowed into my ears. I’d go insane trying to get the memory of this one meeting out of my head for a week, let alone a lifetime.

“Hael,” I sigh. “You can call me Hael. I don’t know about the when thing though.” The last sentence was so quiet, I felt my face start to burn.

I couldn’t believe how embarrassed I was!

My fists clenched in my pockets as I tried to calm my heart. That right there was what I needed to get to the bottom of. I didn’t do embarrassed or flustered, but I hadn’t even been able to tell right from left since whoever this is showed up.

His answering approach was slow, relaxed. The sadness of before washed away, and the airy confidence I was growing familiar with returned in its stead. With 3 feet between us, he stopped and extended his hand.

“It’s really nice to meet you, Hael. I’m Eidan.”

Eidan. It sounded like a song.

The brightness of his smile held my eyes captive as I shook his hand. His rough palm was unyielding, while his thumb skimmed the back of my hand languidly. My heartrate kicked up another notch at the intimacy of the formal gesture. Taking a step closer, I let him pull me just a little closer, the space between us becoming more and more apparent.

With about a foot of air between us, the tugging ceased. His grip loosened, but he held my hand tightly to his chest.

“What do you need from me to help choose that when?”

Eidan’s question made my eyes burn. Something heavy in my chest started to ache, and I felt the water pooling in the corners of my eyes. Ducking my head, I swiped at the tears with my free hand.

What do I need?

Why was the first person to ask me that in who knows how long an absolute stranger that wanted my phone number? I knew he wasn’t pledging his soul to me or anything, but damn. Any offer of support sounded like a dream.

“Careful with your wording there. Starting to sound like you caught feelings already,” the dryness of my laughter off-pitch. Eidan’s uncharacteristic silence caught my attention, pulling my eyes from the maroon of his shirt to his face.

The serious look had returned, and my knees felt a bit weak. His aura seemed to expand around us, darkening everything it touched. I couldn’t do anything about the shallowness of my breathing. I couldn’t stop my eyes from widening as Eidan’s stare pinned me in place either.

“I’m pretty sure I just caught the love of my life actually,” he mumbled.

Every inch of skin began to sizzle and buzz. My pulse sounded too loud in my ears, and my hand shook in his. I knew I needed to control my breathing, to stop panicking.

But I was scared. Pieces were starting to drop into place, and my mind was spinning trying to keep up. There could only be one person in the entire world that was this certain about their feelings for me, only one person that could possibly be this committed.

My Soul Mate.

I’d spent my whole life learning more about magic, our cultures and practices. Conjure Women like me were children of the Universe’s Fate with incredibly convoluted histories. We’d gone by many names: Conjurers, witches and warlocks, practitioners, magicians, you name it. The general fear of magic made it hard to tell what mythologies and folklore were recorded in good faith with truth as their source. So much time had passed since the eras of abundantly free magic, my research couldn’t guarantee what was extinct and what was pure fantasy.

I had seen enough to know Soul Mates were real though. I just had no way of knowing if I’d ever meet mine.

Even so, standing in front of Eidan, I couldn’t deny his claim. He had made me laugh and cry in our first meeting, a feat very few films could accomplish. I knew I was addicted to his presence the first time I pulled away. The density of his body had been reassuring against mine, leaving a ghost touch in its wake. His eyes were magnetic, pulling every aspect of me into his sight. He saw me.

“You’re scared?”

My nose scrunched immediately in distaste.

“How do you know that?” I didn’t even try to keep the bitterness out of my voice.

“I can smell it.”

“Excuse me?” My head jerked back faster than it should have, sending us stumbling for a second.

“Careful Hael,” he scolded.

My shoulders stiffened as soon as it rolled off his tongue. Staring at him with wide eyes, my mouth floundered for something to say.

With a sigh, Eidan’s hands came to my shoulders before kneading at the muscles. The buckling of my knees was insignificant as his chest caught me once again. I could feel my neck melting as his fingers moved, my anxiety slipping away with each second that passed.

“I’m not supposed to tell you this yet, but I feel like you already know. You’re my Mate. Or Soul Mate for humans. But I don’t think you’re a human. You smell different. Not exactly like us, but you’re definitely not human. And if you’re not human, I’m not letting you go.”

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