Kaia turned and I could see the indecision in her eyes. Her breath hitched as it puffed out. She didn’t know what to ask and there was something heavy on her mind.
Her eyes snapped up to mine and I saw what she wanted to ask. They were as hard as ever, and I knew now how to stare back. As Kaia pressed her fingertips against my tree, trying to glue herself there, she spoke soft but hard. “Why do you call me Blossom?”
It was an easy answer, but I still found myself looking through the branches above us.
“I’ve called you Blossom ever since we first met. Ever since you blushed for the first time, and your cheeks turned a pretty pink.” I sucked in the crisp air. “Also, you’re cold, and closed off.” This time I looked her in the eyes ñ as strongly as she looked into mine. “I intend to open you up. Or get you to invite me in.”
“What if it never happens? What if something gets in the way? What will you do then, Ciro?”
She was challenging me. “I don’t know why, but you’re willing to throw away this thing we have between us. I want you to see that I’m the best tree spirit for you and you are the best nymph for me.”
Kaia was looking up into the distance, no longer listening but feeling something else. She was closing the door on this conversation. I wasn’t done, though. I wanted her to understand.
“Kaia, look at me.” I reached for her chin and moved in closer. My skin glowed green from my veins, and Kaia shivered from my warmth. “I want you to understand what our relationship means.”
Her eyes started to water, from what I didn’t know. “Ciro, please stop. I don’t need this right now. It’s all too much.”
“No Kaia. Baby, look at me.” Kaia’s brown eyes were turning darker and her eyelashes were catching the start of snowflakes. “I need you to hear this.”
I paused to make sure she was with me. I knew moments ago she was feeling and listening to my tree. “We are mates.” Each word was pronounced like I was just starting to learn the language.
In the next moment, that very statement seemed to answer all of her questions. For the first time in years, Kaia understood that she had thrown away a fortune in feeling and now she was paying for all of it. All of what she lost. Now my Blossom was trying to figure out the next step.
For the first time ever I saw Kaia slump in defeat. “Ciro, what am I supposed to do, all these years of blocking my sisters out? I’ve become so numb to everyone. Oh my gods ñ and now Kallan.”
I placed a hand on one shoulder and tunneled my fingers under her braid with the other. Kaia inched into me and breathed in my scent. I spoke, and for the first time she heard my advice.
“I think you just need to take it all in. You need to take it slow. It’s a lot.”
She nodded against my strong shoulder.
His tree was trying to tell me something, and at the same time Ciro was telling me we were mates. I had a feeling we were, but the realization that I was being a bitch this whole time scared the crap out of me. What if Kallan never came back? She’ll never accept my apology. Well, she will, but I won’t accept saying sorry to a dead sister.
As I tried to accept all of this, Ciro’s tree was trying to make me feel what it felt. I was having major chest pains, like the trunk of my body was dying from poison.
“Blossom, what’s wrong?” Ciro saw me wince.
I shook my head, cutting him off. I couldn’t understand his tree quite yet. What was it trying to tell me?
Seconds later I watched as Ciro, my mate, rubbed his chest. His heart was on that side.
“Are you okay?” I asked him. Something was off.
“I don’t know. Come here. Jut listen to your tree for a second.”
“Just listen, Ciro.” The action of rolling my eyes was in my voice, but I was too worried. I had a really bad feeling.
“My tree.” His once emotional, green eyes dimmed severely. “It’s dying.”
“What did you say?” I could almost feel my mate's face pale. I could definitely feel Ciro’s heart start pounding faster. His lips were even redder now that his skin was pasty and his veins were dimmed dramatically.
I pushed both hands through my braid roughly until my woven hair stopped them. I let out a forced nervous huff and then faced Ciro.
“Okay, we’ll get through this. We just have to figure out what the cure is or whatever.”
Ciro’s eyes were worried and a bit on the verge of panic as he looked down into my determined yet concerned eyes. So many events had happened in the past two days. My sister permanently falling into a coma, me realizing what I’ve felt all these years, absolutely nothing, and now Ciro’s tree was dying. Two people that I love cannot die on me.
“Blossom, there is no cure for this kind of thing. My sister never found one, remember?”
I shook my head not accepting that response. “Ciro, your tree isn’t going to die. I won’t let that happen.”
I placed my hand gently on his pained tree. Ciro’s green veins lit up and his eyes sparked with warmth. We were in this together.