I was taking a smoke right outside Allorah’s office.
I watch the winter breeze scatter the last leaves away. The temperature was low.
It was feeling chilly. Taking a deep breath, I look forward. It was eerily quiet but in a good way. Leaning against the rail, I close my eyes. I needed to get a grip. For the past days, I’ve been behaving like a jerk. I know that what I needed to do right now was to look for Allorah, but we had no clues.
When Karl said Allorah might be dead, I felt like I was dying. The oppressed feeling in my chest was making me sick to the point of not wanting to see food. The strange thing was that the night Allorah got hurt, I felt it.
Lowering my gaze, I lift my hand where the tattoo was. It still throbbed. I didn’t know why but it did.
A slight burning sensation spread across my entire hand. For a second that night, I thought it was even glowing.
For me, all this was odd. When the tattoo appeared the first time, I felt different. There was something in me that change, even the way I see the world. Was it because Allorah was a goddess?
Intrigued, I started searching for it—any detail I could find. Old myths said a red thread destined partners.
But this was no red thread. It was an unmistakable mark on the hand. And now that Allorah got captured, it was feeling stranger than the past days. It throbbed, like telling me something.
Sitting on the ground, I let a puff of smoke out of my mouth. I had so much on my mind that sometimes I felt I was going to go crazy. Sighing, I look up again. Allorah exchanges herself to save Faith. But would Faith be able to help?
So far, Farah hasn’t been able to wake him up. His being unresponsive. I haven’t visited him. Even though Raphael asked me to, it felt strange having someone that Allorah loved here. He was my rival.
Standing up, I head back inside. Sitting back on the desk, I go back to work. I had my men searching for Stefan.
The little bastard seems to hide well. A sudden knock has me looking up.
“Dominique?” Farah said as she opens the door.
“Yes?” I said, turning my attention back to the computer.
“Could we talk for a moment?” Farah asked with nervousness.
I know I had mistreated her this past day. And it isn’t her fault. Even mother had heard my anger this day. I’ve been venting everything I was feeling on them, and it was unfair.
Nodding, Farah takes a seat. Playing with her hands, she waits for me to ask her something.
“Did you need something, Farah?” I asked as I sighed and stopped working.
“Well, yes, but only if you want to,” Farah said, not meeting my eyes.
“Ok, I’m all ears,” I said as I lean on the desk.
Farah, surprised, raised her head and looked at me.
“So here is the thing. Faith cannot wake up because his mind is denying it. His is a sort of coma. But I had thought that maybe well, just maybe your presence can wake him up,” Farah said hurriedly.
“Why do you think so?” I frowned at her.
“Because of that,” Farah said, pointing my hand.
Following her gaze, I see she’s pointing at my tattoo.
“This?” I asked, confused.
“Yes, but listen for the reason,” Farah said, standing up, “You see that connects you and Allorah, right? So maybe your touch will wake him up. I know it may sound strange, even stupid, but I have this feeling it will help.”
Sighing, I massage my temple. Was she serious right now?
“No, just please try!” Farah said, interrupting me, “Please, Dom.”
I can see the desperation in her eyes. She looked conflicted.
I hated when Farah looked conflicted and stressed. She was my sister, and I adored her.
“Fine,” I said as I get up and grab my blazer, “Let’s go.”
I frown as I stand near the door. Why was everyone here?
“And this is?” I asked, pointing at everyone present.
“We are here to help,” Erick said as he smirked at me.
Everyone, including Karl, was here. Groaning in frustration, I walk in.
“Where is he?” I asked.
Farah motioned me to follow her. We walk to the end of the lab room where Faith was being kept. Turning, Farah moves a curtain away, revealing Faith on a white bed. His long black hair splayed all over the bedsheets. I frowned as I notice his skin. How pale it was. He was not white but pale as if he was dead, but faintly you could see him breathing. His chest was rising and falling softly.
Farah stood next to him and held his hand.
“Dominique, this is Faith,” Farah said with a soft smile.
Lifting my eyebrow, I look at her. What was this I was seeing?
Clearing my throat, I walk over to his bed. I watch this getting laid on the bed. His face looked so at peace. Frowning, I ask Farah what was that on his neck.
“It seems it was an injury. If my guess is not wrong, this is where they slit his throat,” Farah said, showing me the wound as she moves his head, “But it’s healed just the scar is left. And his body also, there no scars, just this one.”
Nodding, I look once again at his face. Gritting my teeth, I turn back to Farah.
“So what should I do?” I asked her.
“Just come over and hold his hand. You will need to stay with him for a while. Here,” Farah said as she offered me a chair.
Taking a seat, I sighed. Would this work?
Feeling the awkwardness, Farah excused herself and put the curtain back in its place. Giving Faith and me some privacy.
I crossed my legs and my arms, observing him on the bed.
“You know, if it were not for Allorah being in trouble, I wouldn’t be helping you,” I mutter.
Grabbing his hand, I look at it. He had long and thin hands. It was cold.
His slender fingers were making me envy him. Honestly, he seems ethereal. You could see he wasn’t from this world.
“You know,” I mumble as I look at our hands, “Farah has been blaming herself all along. But still, she gave herself in exchange just to save you. She… the moment she knew you were alive, she was determined to save you.”
I looked stupid speaking to the air, but maybe it worked. Also, I didn’t know why I was speaking about Allorah with him.
“We need to find Allorah,” I whispered.
Opening my eyes, I stretch. It seems I doze off. The lights were off, and by the looks, no one was around. Farah must have had seen me resting and didn’t wake me up. Yawning, I lift my gaze and look at the bed.
“What the fuck?” I said, standing up making the chair screeched.
The bed was empty. Where was Faith?
The only light we had was coming from a lamp floor in a corner. I looked around me. Where did he go? Did Farah take him away to run a test?
The window close to the bed was half open. Walking over, I peek. Did he escape or something? There was this strange feeling lingering in the air. It was more of a deadly sense staying on it.
“Where’s Faith?” I mumble as I turn around. But a sudden grip on my throat has me struggling. My back hit the window glass, hearing it crack.
“Who are you?” a soft voice said. There was a hint of a warning on it.
Grabbing his hands, I look up. An imposing figure stood before me. An expressionless face meets my eyes. The more I struggled, the more his grip got tighter. He wasn’t even showing the faintest need to use strength as he chokes me.
“I asked who are you?” the voice said once again as he leans closer.
“A-Are y-y-you Faith?” I struggle to say.
Hearing his name, he backs away. I couldn’t see him very well. A small shadow covered half his pale face, but his grey eyes gave him away. This was Faith.
“Who are you?” Faith asked again.
“I-I’m Allorah’s p-partner,” I stutter. Patting his arms, I see his gaze stop on my hand.
With a surprised face, Faith finally let’s go. Coughing for air, I kneeled on the floor.
“So you are HIM…” Faith said with hate in his voice. Looking up, I see him stand straight. He was looking down at me like I was an ant.
“Faith, you are awake,” I said as I finally regain my voice and feel better.
“No shit,” Faith spat.
Standing up, I hold myself from the wall. Faith eyes followed every movement I made.
“We need you, Faith,” I said, turning serious.
“Me? For what?” Faith asked with an imposing tone.
If he were a CEO, he would own the world. His imposing aura was one even I respected.
Clearing my throat, I stand straight.
“We need your help. No,” I said, looking deeply into his eyes, “I need your help!”
Faith looked at me and frowned.
“Very well, tell me first where am I?” Faith said, turning his back on me.
Taking a seat, he waits for me to answer.
“We save you. No, Allorah saved you. But by doing so, they captured her. She exchanges herself for you,” I explained.
Faith stayed quiet. Taking a deep breath, I continued.
“You see, I saved Allorah almost two years ago. Neither of us knew you were alive until recently. Allorah tricked me and went with her people to get you, but it was a trap, and before they could capture both of you, Allorah saved you.” I explained.
Why wasn’t Faith saying anything? I stood straight, waiting for him, but his eyes study me.
“Allorah…” Faith said with disgust.
What was his deal? Was he mad with Allorah?
Hearing a commotion outside, I turn to Faith. He looked unbothered. As the lights turn on, Farah opens the curtains. Staying frozen on the spot, she looks at us. Erick, Raphael, and Karl were behind her. Out of the blue, Sebastian showed his head.
“Sebastian?” I said, surprised to see him here.
“He’s awake?” Farah asked as she looks at Faith.
He had his back on everyone. Looking at Faith, I see his gaze on me still.
“Yes…” I sighed.
“Oh my! We have to check him!” Farah said as she moves and grabs his hand, making Faith turn his attention to her.
When Faith met Farah’s eyes, it was like time stopped. There was this odd tension in the air. For a second, I thought I saw Faith’s eyes go wide as he looks at Farah. Farah seemed surprised but ignored him and did her work.
“How are you feeling?” Farah asked as she takes his pulse and starts checking him quickly. “Any dizziness? Feeling strange from somewhere?”
Faith frowned as he looked at Farah. Hearing someone clear his throat, I turn my attention to them.
“We need to talk urgently,” Erick suddenly said as he glances at Sebastian.
“Something the matter?” I asked, moving towards them.
“Whoa, what happened to your neck?” Erick suddenly asked as he grabs me from my shoulders, “Was it him?”
“Ignore it,” I said, moving his hands away, “What’s the matter, Sebastian?”
“I think it would be best if we all gather. Including your men,” Sebastian said with a stern look, “It’s about Allorah.”
Hearing a chair screech, I look over my shoulder. Faith stood looking at our group.
“Fine, Raphael, bring me some extra clothes for his size, and Karl, can you and Erick gathered everyone in the conference room in ten?” I asked.
“Yes, no problem,” Karl said as he glances at Faith and turns away.
“I shall see you there,” Sebastian said as he turned away.
Checking my phone, I peek and see Farah helping Faith change.
“Is it me or theirs this imposing aura about him?” Raphael asked as he stood next to me.
“No, you’re not wrong,” I said.
“Ok, all done,” Farah said as she backs away, “You can take him.”
“Very well. Please follow us,” Raphael said.
Faith looked at us and nodded. Taking a last glance at Farah, he whispers a thank you. Farah blushed at his gesture. Why was there something odd between those two?
As he headed towards the conference room, everyone in the building, for a reason, started bowing. What was all this about? Faith walked ahead of us, and it was irritating me. His imposing way of acting was making me pissed. Did everyone fear him? Or what?
Opening the door, we walk in.
Everyone stood and salute. Judging eyes looked at Faith. Offering a seat to Faith, I walk towards my seat.
“Thank you for everyone coming on brief notice. I’m aware theirs something CEO Sebastian which to discuss,” I started, making everyone turn their attention to the front.
“Before I start, I have to shut every communication here,” Sebastian said.
Pulling out a device from his pocket and setting it on the table, he presses it—a slight static sound and then silence.
“Now that we are in total isolation. What I’m about to tell you will make some of you confused, others angry. But I need you to hear me and then judge,” Sebastian explained with an edgy look.
“If you’re going to mention how you work with the enemy, there’s no need,” Faith suddenly said, making me snap my head his way.
“What?” I asked.
“You humans like to play with fire,” Faith with a stern look. You could feel the suffocating tension in the air. “And you like to play the bad guy, right?”
Sebastian turns pale as he hears Faith’s words.
“You…” Sebastian mumbled.
“I know everything about you, or have you forgotten who I am?” Faith’s words hit hard on everyone, like a slap.
He was right, most of us knew who he was, and the ones who didn’t; didn’t dare to ask.
“Look, I will keep this meeting short. You are here because you want to tell everyone you’ve been working with Stefan, right?” Faith said, standing up, “And you saw Allorah also, right? So you want them to help you, but you want to lure Dominique to Stefan, is it that? Or am I wrong?” Faith hissed as he leans closer to Sebastian’s ear.
Sebastian gasped and back away. Was Faith telling the truth?
“Is he telling the truth?” my grandfather asked as he glared at Sebastian.
Sebastian looked at everyone stopping on mine.
“Sebastian?” I asked, standing up.
“Yes, yes!” Sebastian said, panicking, “He is right. I came here because I wanted to be honest and tell everyone I’ve been working as a fake partner with Stefan. It’s been years since I joined hands with him. All the information you get is because of my men and I and also,” Sebastian mumble as he looked at Faith, “I know where Allorah is. That’s why I came.”
Standing with his hands on his back, Faith moves away from Sebastian.
“I offered Stefan a way to get you for an exchange for Allorah. I told him you wouldn’t deny my offer and all that. So I came because he hasn’t agreed, still, but I know he will say yes,” Sebastian said with a sigh, “After all, he knows you are desperate for Allorah.”
“And then what?” Erick asked.
“While Dominique deals with him and some of you guys help him. I would have Karl and some of my men taking Allorah out. I know my way on the compound,” Sebastian said, “Not only that, he is planning to kill her, Dominique.”
“So she isn’t dead?” Karl asked as he stands up.
“No, she is hurt but healing. She was lucky because the shot graces her heart,” Sebastian said as he leans on the table, “And she did it for you.”
Sebastian glance at Faith, but this indifference on him was disturbing.
Walking towards the window, Faith turns his back at us.
“That’s why I came here! I’m not on Stefan’s side. I’ve always been on yours, and I owned it to Allorah!” Sebastian said, slamming his hand on the table, “I can’t let her die.”
“Why?” Faith asked, making me groan.
“What’s your deal?” I snap at him, “Could you tell us!”
Faith scoffed and kept his eyes outside.
“I don’t need to answer to any of you if you excuse me,” Faith said, leaving the conference room.
“Fucker,” I mumble, “Continue Sebastian,” I said, taking a seat.
I was walking down to the lab with some test tubes. I stop as my phone vibrates. Pulling it out, I check it’s my mother.
“Mom, is everything alright?” I asked, worried.
“Hi dear, yes, just checking on you,” my mother mumbled.
She has been feeling down after Dominique vents his anger on her.
“Yes, we are doing good. Everyone is working hard to find Allorah,” I said smiling, “As you know, we all care for her.”
“I know, but please make sure you guys are safe,” my mother said with nervousness.
“Yes, we will, and we will keep you informed. Right now, they are in a meeting. It seems Allorah will get saved soon.” I explained to her.
Mother sighed as she says a thank you and hangs up.
“Let’s see. I have to check this blood and then do a checkup on the injured soldiers,” I mumble.
I was waiting for the elevator. I keep checking my phone. I didn’t notice a presence behind me until I felt my back bump with his chest.
“Oh, sorry,” I said, turning around but stopping once I know who it is.
Faith stood right behind me. He was looking down at me with a softness in his eyes. I had to admit he was tall. I had to raise my head well to look at him.
“Sorry, is everything alright?” I asked as I study his face.
He looked pale but delicate at the same time.
“Who were you talking to?” Faith asked.
“Oh, my mother. She called asking how we were doing,” I said as I smiled. “I haven’t asked you, but are you hungry?”
Faith frowned at me.
“No,” Faith mumble.
“You sure?” I said as I smiled, “Come, I will take you somewhere.”
Grabbing his arm, I drag him with me. Faith didn’t stop me, so I pulled. His arm was slim but firm, making me blush. Making sure he doesn’t see it. I keep my head low.
Reaching the restaurant, I take him to a table near the windows. Faith eyes wander outside to the vast forest.
“Quite pleasant, right?” I said, smiling at him.
Faith kept his eyes outside. Most of the trees had no leaves, and the first snow would fall soon.
“It’s getting cold, but Allorah loved it here,” I said as I look outside and remember how she said she liked the snow. It matched her white hair.
“Allorah liked it?” Faith whispered, sounding unsure of his question.
“Yes,” I breathed, “She liked it a lot.”
“It matches her hair,” Faith whispered as he looks lost in his thoughts.
I stayed silent, watching him, giving him privacy. I scroll down my phone. It felt wrong to stare at him for so long.
“Was Allorah happy?” Faith suddenly asked.
Looking up from my phone, I frown. Eyes downcast. I grip my phone.
“To tell you the truth, Allorah wanted to die. Everything has her suffering, especially the pain and guilt after what happened,” I explained with a sigh, “She’s been blaming herself.”
“And that’s how it should be,” Faith said, making me feel angry.
“Excuse me?” I asked, offended by his remark, “How could you say that?”
Faith’s stern eyes looked at me.
“Because I warned her so many times, she heeds no warning now she has to bear the consequences,” Faith said with arms crossed, “As a goddess, she knew everything leads to consequences. But her stubbornness and greediness earn her what? Death? Pain? Blame? Guilt? She should have thought things before.”
Faith’s words sting. For some reason made me angry. Wasn’t he supposed to be someone who loved her? So why was he so judgmental?
“Sorry for what I’m about to say, but I think she was free to choose,” I retorted. Faith frowned as he noticed my anger, “Everyone has a choice. Yes, she was wrong when she involved everyone, but she chooses.”
“A wrong choice that made innocents pay,” Faith spat.
Deciding to ignore him, I sighed and started checking my messages.
“I think Allorah would be displeased if she saw you,” I spat without looking at him. “If only you knew how she yearned to see you again. That it even made my brother feel hurt.”
When they brought the food, we started eating in silence. Neither Faith nor I mumble a word. Once I finished, I took a sip of my wine and stared at the window. I was so engrossed watching that I didn’t notice when Faith left.
“Huh?” I said, confused. When did he leave? I didn’t even hear him?
It was nighttime, and I was heading back to my office. I felt tired. It was a long and weird day. Opening the doors, I walk in. Pressing a button, I ask my secretary to call for my driver.
Taking a seat, I sighed.
“What a day…” I mumble.
“Who is this?” a voice suddenly asked, making me yelp in surprise.
“On the name of the lord!” I screeched as I look at the person, “Can you make some noise at least!”
Faith stood right in front of my desk. He was staring at a picture frame where my mother, Allorah, and I were smiling.
“Gosh! That’s Allorah, my mom, and I,” I groan as I snatch the picture frame from his hands. “Why are you here?”
“You said that’s Allorah?” Faith said as he held my wrist.
“Y-yes…” I mumbled.
Faith was so close to me. It was nerve-racking. Pulling my arm away from his touch, I clear my throat and put the picture back down. “Yes, she might look different to you.”
Faith grabbed the frame once again. His eyes wide as he looks at Allorah.
“Look, if you have nowhere to stay, come and stay at the mansion,” I said as I grabbed my purse and coat, “It’s best than staying here.”
Walking away, I hear footsteps following. A smile crept my face. Faith was a strange one.