I woke up on a soft bed, with pillows tucked nicely under my head. For the first few seconds, I was lost. I remembered the events that happened before everything went blank and it was strange that I wasn’t feeling any pain. Everything else around me felt strange. I could tell that I was in an unfamiliar bedroom.
I turned my head around to see if I could recognize anything in the room that would let me know where I was, when my eyes caught sight of him sitting in the corner.
My blood froze within my veins.
Adrenalin immediately pumped into my bloodstream, springing my muscles into action. I let out a loud shriek filled with terror as I dashed off the bed and raced towards the only door I could see.
The monster was in front of me before I reached the door, holding me and stopping me from leaving. I closed my eyes and screamed at the top of my lungs, banging repeatedly on his chest with all my might.
“Selena... Calm down, my Selena. Please. It’s me. It’s Ryan.”
I heard the words come out of his mouth and stopped screaming. I wanted to believe it was really Ryan but I couldn’t. Not after I’d been so masterfully deceived by Ros. It could very well be him again, trying to get me to believe him so he’ll put me through that horrific experience again. I couldn’t let that happen. Not for a second time in the same lifetime.
Ryan pulled my head towards his chest and tried to cuddle me but I pulled back.
“If you’re Ryan, prove it!” I demanded.
I didn’t know how he was going to prove it but he had to do it somehow. If he didn’t, I was going to run, scream and fight until he either killed me or let me go.
“Do you know how Vampire compulsion works?” He asked softly.
“No. But what...”
I was going to ask what his question had to do with proving he was really Ryan Soille, when he began speaking again.
“When a Vampire compels you to either do something or forget something, only that Vampire can uncompel you.” He replied. “There are memories you had that I compelled you to forget. I did it because it was required by the reincarnation spell your mother cast several decades ago. You might not know anything about that right now and I promise to explain everything later, but what I’m saying is that I can uncompel you to remember something only you and I know about. Will that prove I’m really me?” He asked.
I gave him a curious look and thought about what he said. Maybe he was right. When Ros was pretending to be Ryan, he told me about some things that happened in the past. I didn’t remember any of them, including marrying him. It was probably because Ros couldn’t uncompel me to remember because he didn’t compel me to forget them in the first place.
“Make me remember our wedding.” I demanded.
“You know about that?” Ryan looked at me, slightly surprised.
“Just do it if you’re Ryan!” I snapped, not bothering to answer his question.
I knew I was being really mean to him but I couldn’t stop myself. I was hurt and confused. I was sick of being deceived and I just wanted to know the truth.
Ryan grabbed my hand and pulled me close to himself. Then he looked into my eyes in a way that stopped them from blinking.
“Remember our wedding.” He said.
It felt like I woke up from a deep sleep I didn’t know I was in. The memory of our wedding came crashing down at me, getting me so emotional. Tears immediately gathered in my eyes and I crumbled to the ground in front of him.
Ryan caught me before my body hit the ground. He pulled me up and hugged me really tight.
“I know... and I’m sorry. I’m just so happy I got you this time.” He said, kissing the top of my head. “Please don’t cry, my love.”
I continued crying as I remembered everything about our wedding day. The memory was bitter sweet at the moment, but it was special nonetheless.
It was a secret wedding at the Cathedral of St. Ives. On the night when Ryan and I promised ourselves to each other against all odds, he suggested we made our promise binding...
“Do you really mean get married?” I asked him.
I looked at the face of the man I loved with curiosity. His eyes were so brightly green from happiness that they looked like someone illuminated them from within. He smiled at me and nodded. He was so convinced he wanted to spend eternity with me.
“How are we going to do that? No priest will join us. I’m engaged to their leader.” I argued, even though everything within me wanted to scream ‘I do’ and live happily ever after with him.
“I already found a priest... From the Robald clan. They are a very small clan of night-walkers that believe more in liberty than the Serafino clan. He agreed to join us because he too believes in true love.” He replied.
“You’re being serious, right?” I asked him, doing my best to suppress the glee that was already going wild inside me. “If this is one of your one of your jokes, Ryan I’m going to...”
He pulled me into his arms and kissed me.
“So what do you say about being Mrs. Soille tonight?” He grinned.
“I was always going to be Mrs. Soille.” I teased, pretending not to be excited out of my mind.
“Well, Mrs. THE OTHER Soille.” He laughed.
“Are you being serious? I’m bursting with excitement right now!” I rushed into his arms and locked my lips with his.
It was one of the things I loved most about Ryan Soille. He was so different from his brother. He found humor in pretty much everything. If I had pulled that Mrs. Soille joke on Ros, I might have earned myself a growl on a good day and a smack across my face on a bad day.
“Meet me at our secret place in the garden tonight by 11 pm. As you know, the priest isn’t a day-walker so he’ll need to get back to shelter before dawn. Besides, I can’t wait to make you mine under the law.”
Ryan kissed me again before disappearing with super speed. He did that when he was very excited or very upset. I knew the former was the case this time, and I was doing everything in my power to contain myself. My body was threatening to burst with happiness but I knew I couldn’t give it off. If Ros sensed what we were planning, things were sure to get ugly.
I met Ryan at our secret garden spot as planned, and we were in the Cathedral in less than the time it took me to blink. He took me into an empty office and pulled out a bag.
“I brought you a dress.” He said, smiling at me pleasantly. “... and a wedding present.”
I was both happy and embarrassed. In my excitement, I had completely forgotten to get him anything. I didn’t even think of a wedding dress because everything was so secret.
Ryan pulled out the most beautiful white dress I had ever seen. It looked nothing like the dresses of the time. It was different, but in a good way. The front was sheer and embellished with transparent precious stones. It exposed my midriff in the most scandalous but appealing way, and flowed to the ground effortlessly. There was a single red bow at the waist, providing a pop of color to the already breathtaking gown.
“My goodness!” I gasped. “It’s so beautiful.”
“Certainly not as beautiful as you, my lady.” Ryan smiled, bowing his head.
I felt my cheeks heat up and knew they were surely turning red. Ryan was a very sweet lover and he never failed to shower me with compliments.
He pulled something else out of the bag. It was a gold bracelet with the letters ‘RS’ inscribed in black at the front. I stretched out my hand and let him strap it on my wrist. It was so beautiful and when combined with everything else that was going on, it got me so emotional.
A few tear drops fell down my cheeks as I rubbed the bracelet on my wrist.
“Ryan and Selena…. I’ll wear this forever.” I smiled between my tears.
“... and I’ll love you forever.” He said, wiping my tears off my cheeks and kissing me softly on the lips.
He dashed off and was back in a second. This time, he was wearing a red jacket over his white shirt and black trousers.
“Shall we begin forever?” He asked.
I interlocked my arm with his and walked down the aisle at St. Ives, the happiest I had ever been in my life.
Ryan lifted me into his arms and placed me back on the bed.
I was going to ask what happened to my injuries because I couldn’t find any cuts or bruises on my body. I also couldn’t feel any pain and there was no way they could have disappeared in such a short time frame, after the horrible things Ros did to me.
“I healed them. I couldn’t bear seeing you in that much pain.” He replied.
Ryan joined me on the bed and cuddled me in his arms.
“Just rest now, my Selena. We have all the time to catch up.” He said, kissing the top of my head.
I snuggled closer to him and heaved a sigh of relief. It felt good to know that the horror was over - but then my mind went back to the night before Halloween. The night when I gave myself to the monster who pretended to be Ryan.
A tear drop fell out of my eye as the memory came back to me but I suppressed the resultant sob that wanted to make its way out of my mouth.
I didn’t know if I was ready to tell Ryan about it yet... especially since he was being so sweet to me and I could tell he was happy to be with me again.
“Will I ever be able to tell him?” I thought, as I closed my eyes and tried to get some sleep.