End Game

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Chapter twenty five part1

Chapter twenty five

Four years later

Years had past since our fight against the OA. Everything fell back into it’s rightful place, the world received the message of the military and government betrayal, those they put their trust in. Once people started realising that there was nothing to fear and it all a big illusion, the curfews were broken letting people roam around anywhere they wanted at anytime. Murder rates fell back, including that of robbery. The destitute were awarded homes that they rightfully deserve. The UN was recalled again and they were doing the right job of making things fall back into what it once was. Slowly but indefinitely we were all picking up the pieces that was left. The world was turning for the better.

Seemingly, everything in my life was returning back to what it once was. Without Eaton, my mother was fully paying attention to Evan and also getting the help she needed. Zee stuck on her promise to leave the Nations and she did exactly that. Occasionally, I’d receive postcards and memoirs of her different adventures on all the four corners of the world, it was clear she was living her best life, despite not seeing her in four long years. She was happy and that’s all I could ask for. Her happiness. Elijah, stayed in spite of everything that was done to him, moving up a ranking to be on the council, taking Isaiah position. Isaiah and I lived on our vow to each other, we did exactly what we said. He moved me far away from the noise, far away from London. At twenty I got my own apartment sharing it with him. Evan more or less lived there with us. But we were also happy, getting the jobs we dreamed for and living the life we craved. No one could tell us how our future was going to be and that’s all we wanted. Our own decisions and our own choices.

As for Adrian, he was currently dressed in a fine, tailored suits with his best man standing beside him, supporting him through what would be the next milestone in his life. He looked contented. At peace. For a long time that wasn’t necessarily the case.

The hot sun beating down on my skin, the sand supple beneath my feet. The white mesh draped, crawled over two white pillars, decorated with sequined magenta rosemary flowers. Sea clashed over in the horizon drifting over the salty air that once inhaled smelled intoxicatingly beautiful.

“Have you ever been to a wedding before?” Isaiah whispered closely to my ear, a hand lingering on my bare thighs. The tight fabric of the maroon red dress, leeching to my skin. His leg spread out of the white chair, accidentally making contact with my knee. And even though it had been four years I’ve spent with him, I still always felt my breath hitch in my throat and that burning sensation that came with it.

“No. But I’m sure it will be beautiful.” And it was.

“I’m sure it will be.” His face weaved into a bright smile, lighting up his features. His blond hair caught the sunlight making it look somewhat fiery, his blue eyes glistened turning a shade darker.

Abruptly, a conductor arose quickly from his seat. “Everyone, rise for the bride.” The congregation of family and friends respected his command, Isaiah led me upwards with his hand on the small of my back. As always, his touch invariably comforted me, voluntarily, I relaxed in his arms.

In my peripheral vision, Adrian fiancée Belle ** was making her way upwards, closer towards where he stood with his back turned. It was an understatement saying that she was simply beautiful. She looked like a queen. Her princess ball gown, hugged her figure above before pouring out all the silky material, a veil covered part of her hair adorned with a crystal piece. As she walked down the aisle, alone, giving herself away she still looked like the happiest bride. Her natural makeup, brought out her true beauty. If I wasn’t mistaken, I could see tears rushing down her eyes.

Every step she took, I knew she was closer to her own eternal happiness. And thinking of it now, maybe I was. Maybe I deserved my own eternal happiness with Isaiah.

Adrian turned around, immediately as she laid a hand on his shoulder. Both of them erupted into long withheld tears. It was strange seeing him like that, so vulnerable and exposed. But it’s that vulnerability that made him the man he is today. He left the Nations and I could tell that right now he knew that was the best decision of his life.

“If we can all begin.” The priest injected in their reunion and obeying, we took our seats. “I summon you all here today, to wed these two young individuals in not only your eyes, but the eyes of the Lord. As they start the next chapter of their lives.”

The service rolled on and it was incredible to thing how people can be so involved with things like this. Couldn’t you just loved someone permanently without getting law and government into it? But then again, I guess if the truly wanted they needed to make it official to not only themselves but their loved ones. In all honesty, the whole concept of marriage is slightly unnerving but if it’s shared with someone you fully trust, I guess it makes it a little less daunting.

I glanced to Isaiah, he stared back with a grin on his face, that could be left to many interpretations but what was glowing in his eyes seemed to narrow it down quickly.

“Then in the power vested in me and the Lord. I pronounce you, husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.” A series of claps and applauds exploded, everyone sprung up from their seats as Elijah pulled her in tightly by the waist, trapping her in an even tighter kiss.

***

“Alexis?” I turned around following the voice, a large smile crept onto the face on of the bride as she realised it was in fact me. “Alexis. Thank goodness, I found you. With everyone coming up to me, congratulating us. I never thought that I’d have the chance to speak to you.” By now, the reception was in full swing, the sun hid behind the horizon casting a shadow. Lights scattered around the beach as music blaring as loud as it could possibly get. People, conversing with others or dancing along to the thumps of the beat. Yet, it was all too much for me, so I eluded to a serine space, that was more my own flow, thinking that no one could hassle or find me here. Evidently, I was wrong. “What are you doing away from the celebration? You should be dancing.” She held no animosity to her statement, but more of a way to make me happy, despite it being her special day.

That the kind of woman she was, the kind of woman Adrian was so ready to give up. The kind that made sure everyone else was happy before she was, the kind that put everyone’s need first.

“Dancing and anything remotely loud, it’s not really my scene.” She took a seat next to me, on the wooden bench. I wonder if she knew why? After everything that happened, it was still difficult being surrounded with masses of people. Even though, I had ample time for recovery, physically I did but emotionally I guess I wasn’t the same. Nightmares and pictures of mangled dead bodies would always play with my mental state. Some days, I was fine, functioning normally. But other days, I was a wreck, I only knew if Isaiah wasn’t there constantly by my side, life would be twice as hard living.

“Let me guess, you’re an introvert. You would rather cuddle up with a good book than a night club and instead of partying with friends you’d rather have a night in with them.” If only she knew.

Nevertheless, I threw my arms in mock surrender, playing along with her assumptions. If Adrian hadn’t already told her the truth, I wasn’t going to be the one to do it. “Guilty.”

She laughed. And a wave of silence washed over us. “It must be daunting, Belle. You know with this level of commitment.”

That bright smile of her, once again returned. Looking out in the distance, she began. “Yeah, in some aspects, I guess it is. But we love each other, so we’ll work out all the kinks together. I just know that if he’s by my side, there’s nothing I couldn’t possibly overcome or do.” She focused her attention back onto me. “What about you and Isaiah? Do you see yourself making that kind of obligation in the near future?”

Maybe. Though, I kept doubting if I was ready for it. There were days where I felt like he was going to propose and throw me into the deep end, but he’d take a second look at me as if already assimilating that I wasn’t ready. “Maybe. I just want to see how things carry on.” Yet, I knew they were good, extremely good. The whole four years we’d been together, arguments broke out of course but there were always so small, that we equally shared the blame and forgave each other. If I didn’t have in my life, I just don’t know how I would even cope. He was the one.

“Well, it’s always wise to take your time. You never want to rush these things, that’s how they turn sour, quickly. Your life, your pace.”

“You’re right.” And truthfully, she was.

“Listen, Alexis. I just wanted to thank you.”

I could feel my eyebrows scrunch together in confusion, in reality it should be me thanking her she’d put everything into much clearer perspective. And I was ultimately sure on my decision, if Isaiah ever wanted to ask. “What for?”

“Because, without you. I know for a fact that Adrian and I wouldn’t be here right now. Whatever you said made him change his mind about working for whatever shady company it was and you brought him back home to me. For that, I thank you and I’m forever in your debt.” I tried to wave her off, but quickly she stopped me placing a caramel coloured hand on me. “Seriously, Alexis. Thank you.”

It still didn’t make sense to me how Adrian could even think of leaving her, to fully work for the Nations. She was everything, what anyone would look for in a woman. Yet, he was willing to throw that away but I reminded him that a normal life doesn’t come again in this lifetime and he was so fixed on his decision that I didn’t think he’d heed my advice. Yet, clearly he did. “He would be a fool to leave you.”

She laughed, the deep sounded still managed to sound extremely light. “Yeah, I guess he would be.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, Belle. Did you forgive him, for what he did to you? He almost left you for work, no less.”

Her friendly demeanour, didn’t diminish as she shook her head. “Trust me, Alexis. It was hard to come to terms with at first, but it was Adrian. I knew he would never purposely hurt me. He just always been transfixed with the idea of bettering himself, reaching for something more. It’s the truth that he’s never seen him self as anything more, that’s his biggest insecurity. But like I said about the kinks, we’re working through it together.”

“Forgive me, Belle. I forgot to say. Congratulations.” Quickly, she tugged me into a side hug.

“Thank you, for everything.”

Footsteps ruffled the sand, we both looked up. Adrian stood there, one hand in his pocket with an even wider smile than his wife. “I second that, completely.” He held his arms open for me, doing so I crossed the distance wrapping him into a friendly embrace.

“Congratulations, Adrian. I’m proud of the man you’ve become.” I looked up, his eyes focused on me still holding that grin.

“Don’t cut yourself short, Alexis. You’ve come a long way too.”

I couldn’t help but laugh, I guess that was also true. I’ve never seen it, until now. My eyes skimmed past his shoulders, a shadow stood behind him and just as I was about to rise my guard up, Zee stood out of the darkness coming into the light. And as always, she looked beautiful. Her long, flowing black, jewelled dress beamed off the flickering lights, it grabbed all her curves perfectly, her dark eyeshadow complimenting her skin. It had been a long time since I’ve seen Zee in makeup and even though she didn’t need it, it clung onto her perfectly. Her pearly white teeth popped out against the red devil lipstick as she smiled open-mouthed when she saw me.

Immediately, I left Adrian, making my way up to her, crushing her in tightest hug I could muster. But, she returned it back, with an equal amount of force. God, I’ve missed her. “What are you doing here?”

She pulled away. “I couldn’t miss my friend’s wedding could I? Isaiah told me you would be here, so I just followed Adrian. And, I guess here you are.” Before she could even get all her words out, I wrapped her into another tight hold.

“I’ve missed you, Zee. ”

“I’ve missed you too, Alexis.”

“If you’ll excuse you. I want to spend time with my ravenous wife. I don’t think I could hold back any longer.” We turned to Adrian, already he had Belle scooped up into his arms, her weight seemingly had no effect on him. They both passed us, leading further away from the celebration, to the villa opposite the bustle. I guess it was clear what they wanted to do.

I dragged Zee to the bench. “Why haven’t you visited me, after all this time Zee.”

Her once luminous smile crowned into a frown. “I know. And I’m sorry for that. It was just hard to head back to England again, with everything that transpired. I don’t even think I could go back there if I tried. The memory of what I did, it’s still to painful.”

I knew what she meant, I don’t think that she’d ever get over the fact that she killed her love. But at the same time, it had to be done. Whatever brainwashing was engrained in him from Nations and OA was deep and it was clear to see that he wasn’t going to pull out of it soon. It was best to end his suffering, if he’d been caught by the Nations afterwards from the collapses of the OA, the things they’d do to him, maybe it was better for her to give him a more merciful death. But it still didn’t mean, that the reality wasn’t painful. “Have you found anyone yet? Someone to share you travels, at least, with.”

She shook her head. “No. Not yet. Everything to me, is still so raw, I just can’t simply forget.”

“But, one day?”

“Yes, maybe one day.”

“Don’t think you can escape my questions.” Her happy persona made a reappearance. “How are things with you and Isaiah, are they still going good?”

I nodded. “Perfectly.”

“So what’s he waiting for? Why doesn’t he put a ring on your finger?”

“It’s not that simple, Zee. We both have to be ready.”

“Are you?”

No. Maybe. “Yes.”

She broke into a deeper smile. “Then, all there is if for him. With the way he always looked at you, I could tell he was ready long before.”

The minutes rolled over as we were once again deep in conversion, everything flowed smoothly without any hiccups. It was like she had never left. I’ve never have the courtesy of having a best friend before, but it was being increasingly clear to me that she was indeed mine. Zee was my best friend. And I was lucky to have her.

“You need to tell me, everything that has happened when I’ve been gone-”

“Zee. May I steal Alexis, for a minute.” For the second time this night, we both looked up. Isaiah. His suit button opened, revealing some parts of his sculptured chest, a piece of hair fell onto his face crowning his features. Two champagne glasses clutched in his hands.

Zee, looked at me then Isaiah, then back to me again before dashing me a sly grin. “Of course. Please, take all the time you need.” Whatever she was planning, or had already planned I didn’t like where it was heading.

“Thank you.” Zee brushed past him, a supportive hand skimming the top of his shoulders. Isaiah took his seat next to me, holding out one of the glasses in my direction. “Here.”

Gratefully, I accepted, playing with the rim of the bottle, before pulling my head back, tasting a sip. The liquid alcohol trickled down my throat, the sweet taste filling my mouth.

I’ve been alone countless times with Isaiah before, but for some reason this time seemed to unsettle me, like there was a lot more to it.

We sat in a comfortable silence as I found myself hastily taking more sips of my drink.

“You might want to slow down on that.” I looked up, his facing holding an amused expression. He shrugged his shoulders. “Just a suggestion.”

I could feel the heat rise up my cheeks. “Right.” I put the empty glass down my feet, onto the sandy cushion below.

“Here. You can have mine.” He offered his half taken drink. I declined his offer, I didn’t need to be stumbling my way out of here, further embarrassing myself by the end of the night. The only occasion alcohol and me mixed was when I had a feeling a big ask of me was arriving. And now, I could feel it arriving. “Alexis, are you nervous? You seem nervous.”

Yes. “No. I’m not. Should I be?”

His smile incandescent. “No. For all it’s worth, I should be the one that really should be nervous.” Abruptly, he got up standing on his feet. His tall stature ascending over me, but never in a way that intimidated me. “Alexis, from the movement I met you, I knew you were the one for me. Beautiful, smart and my God such fiery personality, but that’s the reason that drew me closer. We’ve had our fair share of struggles, obstacles we had to overcome together. And we did. A big one was overcoming your walls for me and for you it was letting me in. But as time progress, we did it. And as soon as I saw the real you, not what I’ve be told or been informed. But the real, honest you. It made me fall that much further in love with you. You’re part of me, the part I couldn’t live without. I wanted to wait for the perfect time, but being here today made my realise everything I’m missing with you. So, if you’ll do me the honour.” He slipped down on one knee, a hand brewing in his pocket uncovering a box. Opening it, revealed a ring. A big diamond ring, that caught the glare of the light making it turn into kaleidoscope colours. “Of being my wife.”

I could feel my blood freezing as I stared at him and he stared back hope evident in his eyes. My breath audibly hitched, I guess I had a feeling what was coming but I never thought it would actually pan out that way. As if on cue, flashbacks entrapped my mind. Reruns and playbacks of everything we’d been through.

When we first meet, that fact that I threatened to kill him but now I could never see him hurt, at least of all by my own hands.

When he saved me. And when he saved me again. And for the other countless close encounters I’ve had with death, him always being there.

When he was shot. Multiple times, because of me. Him even jumping into to take the onslaught of the attack for me.

Every time in the past four years, I’ve woken up practically screaming myself into exhaustion. But he was always there, soothing me back to sleep, sacrificing his rest for mine.

He was the one. “Yes. Of course, I’ll be honoured too.”

“Really?” The twinkle in his eyes, removed any doubts.

I nodded. “I love you Isaiah.” Handing him the finger, carefully he slipped on the ring, it left light. But must importantly, I knew it was exactly where it was supposed to be.

“I love you.” His lips crashed onto mine, the hot sensations coursing through my veins. His tongue pressed onto mine, begging for entrance. Happily, I obliged. Immediately, he started searching the insides of my mouth. His mouth warm against mine. His hand scouring all over my body, up my thighs peeking into my dress. The another working it’s way through my kinky hair.

Gently, I pulled away forcing him to stop and look directly in my eyes. Visibly, they were hooded with desire, darkening them to a crisp shade a blue. In all our time together, we never slept with each other. I was never ready, yet he was always patient as much as I knew what he wanted to do to me. Even though it would my first time, he’d revealed to me that it wouldn’t be his. But still, I knew I was ready for it. For him. “Isaiah. I want it. I want you.”

Momentarily, he looked stunned. I guess he thought this time couldn’t arrive any sooner but as quickly as it came it disappeared under the haunting look of lust. “Are you absolutely sure? Right here?”

Frantically, I nodded slightly hazed by his look of greed and longing on his face. “Right here.” Immediately, I pulled him closer for a kiss. Feeling him firm around me.

But then felt nothing, I knew he hadn’t pull away or I’d still feel his presence. I opened my eyes, his was there but not there at the same time, his form wasn’t solid of that of a human. I ran my hand run through his face, he evaded me like pills of smoke dissipating. Before breaking into fragments, shattering onto the white shingle.

I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t think. And I couldn’t breath. An overwhelming whirring, pitched noise encompassed around me. Until all I could see was the blackness.

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