When I awoke to a sunny morning, the cold winter sky shining down on the world, I immediately thought of him.
Everything came rushing back to me with alarming clarity. I felt my heart in my ears, a quiet wonder about me as I slowly came to. My room was bright. Overwhelmingly so. I didn’t know when I had fallen asleep. My last memories of the night before were of Sam. His watchful dark eyes, his startling presence that was so familiar yet so unfamiliar at the same time.
I got up. A part of me feared facing him, facing the unknown implications of what had happened the night before. But I knew that it had to be done. I couldn’t be afraid.
Padding out into the hallway of the safe house, I heard kitchen sounds. Dishes clanging together. Soft voices in conversation. Quietly, I made my way into the living room.
“Hi Jane.” Hunter said, his eyes soft as I ventured into the room. He was sitting on the couch. He had no shirt on. His ebony hair was mussed from sleep. “Hi.” I said quietly, looking around the room. Adonis occupied the kitchen. He was cooking what looked like eggs on the stove.
“Where’s Sam?” I asked.
Adonis didn’t look up. “He has Changed.” He sloshed around the yellow egg mixture in the pan, a sizzling sound coming from the heat. I stood there stunned. The room felt so…empty. Everyone had gone. It was just Adonis, Hunter, and me. The feeling was unnerving. I felt strangely claustrophobic.
“When?” My voice was quiet. “Last night.” Hunter answered for Adonis. I looked to Adonis with a question in my eyes. If he knew anything about what had happened between Sam and me the night before, he didn’t let on. I thought of the communication between the two of them. My cheeks colored incessantly. What had he heard of the night before? What had he seen? What had he felt?
I shook it off, coming to the bar area to sit down in front of the counter. “It’s just us now, then.” I said, brushing off the Sam thing. I knew that I couldn’t let them in on too much. That was also partly due to the fact that I wasn’t even sure exactly what I wasn’t leading them on to. What had gone on between Sam and I was something of a mystery to me.
I wished that I had been able to talk to him. To ask him about what had gone on between us.
I remembered the sheen of sweat along his skin the night before. The quiet look of pain in his eyes. Of slow burning. How had I not known? I shuddered to think of him going through the pain of the Change. There was nothing worse that I could imagine.
Why hadn’t his screams woken me up? My head spun at the thought, and I banished it completely.
“You want eggs?” Adonis asked. I nodded, having snapped out of my thoughts. “Yes please.” I gave him a small smile. He looked at me in his silent way. Again, I wondered what he had caught on to.
Looking in the direction of the window, the autumn trees blew around in the chilly morning. The sun shone coldly down on the world. Staring out at the vastness of the forest outside, I thought of the others. Damon. Max. Les. Rick.
They were out there with only themselves. I thought of them in these different forms, creatures that were them but weren’t all the same. It was eerie. Uncanny. I didn’t want to think about it. Hunting something unknown, on the trail of something unfathomable…
“Ready.” Adonis said, and he handed me a plate from across the counter. He had on a tank top that accentuated his sculpted form. It was times like those when I realized his utter strength. The power in him that radiated like a quietly burning ember. Constant. His muscles gleamed from his tanned skin, his dark ponytail hanging low along the nape of his neck.
He looked at me with his golden gaze. “You alright, Jane?”
I nodded my head, our eyes meeting. I paused. Something flashed in his eyes that I couldn’t decipher. I looked away.
“I think I’ll go for a run.” Hunter said, coming near the kitchen with his arms above his head, stretching and straining his muscles.
“I’ll come.” I said the words before I could think too much. I was feeling antsy. I needed to get out of the house. Hunter looked surprised. His caramel eyes flashed with amusement. “Yeah? You think you can keep up?” I laughed a little. Leave it to Hunter to make everything lighthearted. I nearly collapsed with relief.
“We’ll have to see.” I said, spooning a mouthful of fluffy yellow eggs into my mouth. I was starving. I could feel my body’s need for strength, the slow draining that the Change entailed. I felt a familiar humming beneath my skin, an agitation. Yes. I needed to get out of the house.
Adonis just shook his head with mild amusement. He leaned against the counter, plate piled high with food. “You know where the boundary is.” He looked straight at Hunter, a sternness about him that contrasted with Hunter’s mood. Hunter took on the same seriousness, and I looked on curiously. “Boundaries?” I asked.
“You’ll see.” Hunter said. He gestured to me. “Come on, Jane. We’ve got adrenaline to burn.” I laughed, scarfing down my last mouthful of egg before setting the dish in the sink, following closely after Hunter. I wondered again about all of the things that they had yet to tell me. All that I hadn’t discovered, and wouldn’t, until I had experienced it.
I was ready.