Epilogue: A Happy Ending To A Very Strange Story
The hothouse air was warm and comfortable to Jane as she lay atop Lukan who was stretched out on the large stone bench that Lukan had placed there after he had first encountered her there. Her cheek rested against his chest as his left arm encircled her waist possessively. His other hand was occupied with stroking her hair, which he insisted remain loose as it was so much easier to run his fingers through it that way.
They had been that way for hours but it seemed only moments to Jane.
“Jane?” Lukan said tentatively.
“Hmm?” Jane asked lazily.
When he took too long in answering, Jane opened her eyes and lifted her head to look at him, resting her chin on her interwoven fingers.
“What’s wrong?” she asked softly. “Am I too heavy?”
Concerned that she was crushing him, she began to move off of him.
“No!” Lukan said, crushing her back to his chest as though the thought of her leaving him was unbearable.
“It’s alright, Lukan,” Jane said soothingly, stroking his cheek with the back of her fingers. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Lukan took her face gently but firmly in his hand and brought her lips to his for a kiss. It was gentle but possessive, as though every fiber of him was trying to tell her that she belonged to him and no one else. She returned his kiss eagerly despite her inexperience, desperate to tell him that she never wanted to belong to anyone else.
The kiss finally broke with a gasp, their breathing heavy and ragged.
“I love you,” Lukan blurted out uncharacteristically.
Jane’s reaction was slow. The barest hint of her lips curving as the information processed.
He loves me, and he actually said it when he was awake…
A wide grin, and then a laugh. Her heart seemed to bubble over with joy. Lukan unfortunately didn’t read her reaction right and thought that she was laughing at him. Hurt and angry, he rose to a sitting position with the obvious intention of leaving the hothouse to go brood in his room, but she pushed her mouth against his, kissing him for all she was worth.
Lukan was so taken aback by her passion that he didn’t react right away, and when he did he simply kissed her back. He couldn’t seem to help it when she kissed his like that, clinging to him like he were the only thing keeping her sane, much like she had that rainy day in the car.
When they broke for air, Jane pressed her forehead to his, closing her eyes. Lukan did the same, holding her tightly against him as she straddled his outstretched legs on the stone bench.
“And I love you, Lukan Masters,” Jane whispered fiercely.
Lukan’s eyes snapped open. He grabbed Jane’s shoulders, hard enough that bruises would likely form there later, and pushed her back so that he could look into her face.
“Don’t say it unless you mean it, Jane,” he ground out, as though the thought that she might not was so painful that he had to force the words out of his mouth.
“I do mean it, Lukan,” Jane said, cupping his face as tears of happiness began forming in her eyes.
Lukan crushed Jane to his chest again, but she didn’t mind. He rested his chin on her shoulder and stroked her hair, shaking with his relief. All he could do was think: She loves me. Thank God, she loves me…
“Lukan, you’re shaking,” Jane said, concern filling her voice.
“I… I thought…”
He couldn’t even finish the thought of her not loving him, let alone bear to say it.
She seemed to understand though, because she stroked his hair lovingly and said soothing words of comfort.
“I love you so much,” Jane said softly, pulling back from him to kiss his forehead, then his eyelids, then his chin. “So very much.”
She finally kissed his mouth, so softly that it felt like the slight brush of a butterfly’s wings.
Lukan captured her mouth more firmly with his own, no longer able to bear the half touches that seemed like heavenly torture. The full feeling of his love for her was so great that it physically hurt, right where his heart was. The spot seemed to contract at the slightest brush of her skin as though calling out to its mate, and somehow he knew she felt it too. The way she seemed just as desperate for him as he was for her might’ve been how he knew but it wasn’t.
It wasn’t anything quite so physical. But it was there, and he knew. They both did.
Jane certainly knew. She felt it in the way his arms wrapped around her, holding her tightly. And she knew one other thing without a doubt in her mind.
She was finally home.
The balcony doors were open and the drapes fluttered and whipped in the late autumn wind.
The doors shouldn’t have been open. They weren’t when Jane had left earlier that morning.
Other things were out of place in the room as well – the dresser for instance. That pendant hadn’t been there that morning, nor the note beneath it with its elegant scrawl so beautifully penned across its surface.
The pendant was unlike any other that had ever lain on the dresser. It was of a silver wolf with opalescent eyes, onyx wings protruding from its back.
The note beneath it had only one line:
“We will meet again, Janet. We will meet again.”
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