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Cracked Open: book 3

By Madison DiMercurio All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Fantasy

Ten

Kaia

It’s been a week now, and I haven’t moved from Kallan’s side. I’m exhausted, as you might guess, because I haven’t considered my own health. I didn’t have time for myself. Kallan needed me. Or I think she did. Maybe she’s the distraction from the messed up situation between Ciro and I. He hasn’t come to me in that sneaky way he usually did. He was always uninvited but very welcome. While I tried to give Kallan – who’s in a coma by the way ñ my time, my thoughts were scattered.

In the past month, maybe a few weeks more ñ who the hell’s keeping count ñ Kallan has slowly given up on this life with us. First, she started having all these dreams that were actually visions. Visions are even more dangerous because they’re real. Whatever that means. It got so bad I took Kallan to Myra, a witch who knows many things. Apparently she knew enough to say Kallan must go without sleep in order to forget about her mate. Oh, I forgot to mention these dreams, yeah, they’re all about her mate. After the visit with the witch Kallan had a panic attack. I knew it was about the visions, but I couldn’t figure out if the visions scared her or the lack of sleep scared her.

Going to Ciro after all that shit exploded in my face, because I’m the one taking care of Kallan here, was probably not what I should have done. I needed his comfort though, and the distraction he offered. He made me feel whole. Ciro was what really took me so long to fetch Kenna. And I don’t plan on telling Kallan about that if she ever wakes. She will wake up; it’s just a matter of when, not if.

Sometimes I have to mentally slap myself, because I can be very negative. The only way to get through shit like this is to stay positive. I’ve been told that more than once in my life. The first time was by my mother, who no longer exists in my life.

After dragging Kenna and Calder back, they told us they were pregnant. I know, very exciting. Maybe their baby won’t be like Seraphina. Okay, so I always seem to fall into that negative mindset, but I couldn’t help it. I was happy for them and maybe jealous. It’s still hard to think about Seraphina when the topic of babies comes up.

My sisters reacted on their own scale of excitement. Kallan seemed to react the least. And here I am thinking I was going to be the cold one. First, we had to get Kallan’s attention; she’s been zoning out and in pain I think. Then Kenna told us with hesitant excitement. Camira reacted first: “Kenna! Finally! Oh my gods, we’re all going to be aunts!” Then me with Sera on my mind: “That’s great Kenna, we’re all happy for you.” Then Kallan...she just walked off and went to bed.

She never woke up after that.


I had to leave, walk away from it all. The house was too hot with emotion. After Kallan fell under, the emotions were thick. All of us needed a breather. I realize we all had our own way of breaking down. I don’t think I’m in the right position to tell you how my sisters reacted so I won’t.

I was infuriated with the situation and myself. While my sisters all had a shoulder to cry on I was left to cry over my comatose sister. My messy details don’t need to be shared by any means. But while I cried, the only person I thought of was Ciro. Maybe he could have comforted me. Maybe he could have called me Blossom again. I still don’t know why he calls me that. I know I’ve gotten used to it. I could hear his deep voice right now as crisp as the winter air.

But right now it doesn’t matter because I was in my garden. My garden, even half frozen over, comforted me and calmed me. It was absolutely nothing like Ciro’s touch, but you take what you can get. I know, all of this sucks and it's kind of sad. But right now, I think my garden is the best companion I have.

During the winter there isn’t much I can do with my garden. But sometimes even the sleeping flowers need company. As I stroked the shrunken flower petals lightly, I could almost feel the vibrations of sleep moving through them. When I placed my fingers under the first layer of loose dirt, the numb feeling felt good and appeased my racing mind.

The last thing I needed was more conflict, more drama, and someone who thinks I need help.

Ciro

I needed to go to her. I haven’t heard anything from her end, but I could feel it all. My chest was tight, my head pounded, and I couldn’t think for the life of me. I felt like my head was stuffed with cotton. Something was bothering her, and she needed her mate. I knew all too well that she would refuse me, but I was going.

Marching through the trees, I knew for the first time in my life that I had a purpose. I remembered the first time I met her, and the first time we slow danced. The very first time she needed me instead of used me. I remember the first time I felt love for her and understood the way she loved me back. She loved me enough to tell me about her daughter, and she pushed me away to protect me. I think she was the one who needed protection.

The struggle between us was worth it all.

My mate was just a woman with walls around her heart. She needed the right person to bring those walls down. Kaia knows that person was me. I’ve been there with her through most of it. Through her sister’s visions, through the memories of Seraphina, and maybe even the intimacy she forgot how to have. I wanted to crack her walls, and I wanted to show her who I truly was.


Kaia

I know it sounds horrible but I was talking to a tree. No, I’m not a nut. I just have the ability to talk to trees and understand them so that’s what I do. You know that; I’ve mentioned it before. I needed to vent about my worries. What would the future hold for Kallan, or Ciro and I? After a long while of playing in the dirt, my hands started to cramp. Sometime later my shoulders stiffened and my back clenched with a stab of pain up my spine.

That’s pretty much how I got myself here, sitting as straight as possible against the tree. I was feeling achy and sick to my stomach.

“Blossom?”

I was almost relieved when I heard his voice. I wanted to cry ñ or my heart wanted to. I’m not allowed to cry. I’m supposed to be strong. I’ve been strong through everything, why not now? But in the next moment I was worried about what he would see when he looked into my eyes. Ciro was talented at seeing straight into my soul like my eyes were open doors. I’m pretty sure he could, and would, see everything.

“Hmm?” I hummed, pushing my spine further up the tree. Did I look and sound confident?

Ciro’s hands were hot, good hot, as he squatted in front of my stretched-out, weak legs and placed his hands on my thighs. I wanted to touch him too, but my hands were still cramped into deformed claws.

“Where have you been?”

I smiled, but it felt weak. “Here, the entire time.”

Ciro looked at me in that way that he does ñ with intensity. Soul searching. “I don’t believe you.”

“Why not?” my voice cracked, trying to hold back a whimper. My tight throat gave everything away, and I hated myself for it. I couldn’t be strong anymore.

“Because you're in pain, my lovely Blossom. I can feel it inside myself and can see it all over your face.”

He cupped my cheeks in both of his palms, and a single tear ran its track down my chin.

“Kaia, please. You’re hurting us both. I need to make this right.” Ciro whispered, “Your mate needs to make this right.”

As he spoke I silently cried, because he made me love him even more in that moment. My heart was breaking, though.

“You can’t make it right. Kallan gave up on us. She gave up on me.”

“Wait, what?”

I could tell I’d confused him. “Kallan is in a coma. She was having visions of her mate.”

Ciro nodded and watched me for a long time. Then: “Kaia, you can’t blame yourself.” He gently brushed a tear off my cheekbone. “She’s going to come back, and no one can save Kallan but her mate. We have to be patient. You have to be patient.”

“But Ciro -”

His thumb covered my lips and I froze in momentary shock. I think I was shocked more at how comforting his touch felt than from the gesture. Ciro’s thumb on my lips was the most intimate move he’s made so far tonight. Besides brushing my tears away.

“Blossom, you have to believe me.”

I nodded, not sure what else I should do. The only logical move was to believe him.

He jerked his head down once. The topic was changed. “Okay. I want to show you my tree.”

“Wait, what?” That definitely brought me out of my mood.

“You heard me. And I know you have a question or two.” He picked me up from the forest floor as if I were a delicate leaf. “I’ll answer them there,” he finished, kissing me on the forehead, as I wrapped my arms around his shoulders more for stability than anything else.

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