Cracked Open: book 3

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There are moments in our lives when we have to step back. We have to look at the reality that has changed who we see ourselves as. Ciro’s coming death is my reality. The future that I wanted, that I thought I was given, after the hardship I went through with Seraphina. But I had no future. Nothing with Ciro. These...these markings that represented our bond meant nothing so long as he left me for death.

I took a deep breath of Ciro’s warm, sappy scent, and truly looked at him. He was still unmoving and seemed closer to death than

I’ve ever seen before. I could no longer help him, be there for him. He was on his own. I wanted to believe that I could save him. They say love is what heals, love is what saves. But all of this...all of my begging and pleading...seemed one-sided. Wasn’t it?

I paused. Then moved back into the crevice of Ciro’s neck and shoulder. I whispered brokenly, “It’s your turn now.”

Pulling away further, I finally felt the cold air around me. I could feel reality set in. The world has been moving on without us, and there’s a point when I will have to decide whether I should move on as well.

Here, in this bed, was not the right place to think. I couldn’t make the right decisions with Ciro’s soul so near ñ begging me to come back to him. It was his turn now to choose. I hoped that he would choose us ñ our future.

I was almost heartbroken at the thought that he would give us up. With all the work we put into us. Nothing was clear right now.

I sat there, not really looking at the flowers in my garden, but instead looking at what kind of future I had been dreaming of. A future where Ciro confessed his love to me and I to him. I pictured us having a kid. I pictured us making love and falling in love over and over again. I saw happiness surrounding my family. And those nights when we just talked like a couple that knew each other so well. I've wanted that for so long, and when I realized who Ciro was, my mate, it was too late. It’s always too late.

My hands had been deep in the slightly damp soil; spring was coming, and my hands clinched around multiple roots. Before I could stop myself, I tore them from the ground, and flowers were thrown everywhere. Tears streamed down my pink cheeks, and I gasped at the emotional pain that bubbled up my throat. The ground around me gave off little trembles, and I fell back from my kneeling position so my backside rested on the dirt. I then wrapped my arms around my legs and let everything go, all of the emotions that I had tried to keep in – to stay strong for Ciro.

“Why does this always happen to me?” I voiced, looking up at the sky, which held streaks of blue. “Why!”

I wept some more, feeling hopeless as my mountain trembled with the underlying anger that began to build. What kind of life was it when I couldn’t find someone to love, someone who vowed that they would stay with me forever? Isn’t that what life was about? Sharing a life full of love and happiness?

Ciro was supposed to be my forever.

“Do you hear me?! He was supposed to be mine! My forever!” I gasped in more breaths before I finished my short but emotional rant. “Now he can’t even wake up,” I mumbled.

I glanced down at my crushed flowers, and decided someone needed to clean up the mess. I guess I was the only one who could fix my mess. No one was here for me, with me.

I was alone, again. Always alone.

Halfway through cleaning up the pallid pink, purple, and blue flowers, I still couldn’t take it. My sorrow and anger was just too great. My hands shook of their own accord...and I let them. My lips trembled, and I tasted another round of salty tears. Leaning over my trampled garden, I wrapped my arms around my stomach, and folded over. My face was probably a few inches away from the ruptured soil, based on the strong smell of wet dirt. With more great heaves, I realized I was never going to find true happiness. That kind of life just wasn’t for me. I shouldn’t have ever believed it could be.


My sobs quieted as I listened. Who had called my name?

“Oh man, Sis, Kaia.”

The body of the woman’s voice knelt down and pulled me into her arms. My stomach clinched in pain from crying so hard and long.
“Shhh, it’s all going to work out. Shhh,” the voice tried to hush me.

For a while it didn’t seem to be working, but then, just like a child, her rocking motion comforted me. I clutched on for dear life. I didn’t know what else to do, and her soothing voice calmed me enough so I could breathe normally again. There was the occasional hiccup, but other than that my soul seemed to scab over enough to live past my mate’s fate.

Leaning away, I looked into the eyes of my red-headed sister. “Kenna.”

“Hey there.” She wore a hesitant smile.

My lip trembled.

“Oh, sis, come here.” She pulled me back into a hug so fierce that I felt instant warmth and comfort from the sister I could never connect with.

I breathed out a cleansing breath. Then after a few more minutes I asked, “When did you get so good at hugging?” My voice held simple curiosity, and the waves of emotion that wanted to stick to my throat.

“Honestly? I’m not sure. Calder said I’ve always been a good hugger.”

I giggled, still trying to release heartache, and pulled away to look into her fiery eyes. “Thank you. I, uh, needed that.”

Kenna’s fingers found pieces of my brunette hair stuck to my cheek, and folded them behind my ear. “That’s what I’m here for.”

I smiled at her show of sisterly love. “Why are you here?”

She sighed. “I wanted to come check on you. We should have never left you alone and afraid like that.” There was a pause while she tried to work through the guilt. Then she whispered with a smirk, “I never told Calder I was coming up here.” There was a spark of excitement in her eyes.

My face contorted. It was bad to be far apart for so long. Soon a bonded pair feels the pain of separation, most times physically, and it hurts...bad.

Kenna nodded. “Yeah, he’s on his way. My mate’s a few minutes out, and he’ll probably kill me when he finds me.” She laughed like she couldn’t wait.

Through her explanation she had turned her body in the direction that she came from ñ feeling him near. Then she turned back to me, suddenly understanding something. “Kaia, why are you out here? With a messy garden at your feet?”

I shook my head, not knowing where to start...or how. But with Kenna’s hands squeezing mine, like she was trying to keep me grounded, I found a way to answer. “Ciro never really loved me the way I finally loved him.”

What! That is the stupidest B.S. I have ever heard.”

I jumped at her exclamation, and gawked at her in shock.

“Kaia, listen to me. I didn’t get to see you guys together very often, but it was as clear as a mountain stream that he loved you. If I didn’t have Calder I would have been swooning over your mate. He always stared at you. His eyes were very calculating ñ trying to read you. He was always ready to touch you, the way we all wish to be touched, tenderly. And when you guys talked, I loved that he was able to get you to talk by the way. He was the first one you talked with in a long time. But when you spoke with him, he truly listened. Ciro always wanted to make you feel happy. Ciro lit up when you were joyous enough to smile. Gods, we were so happy for you Kaia. He loves you. Ciro, he loves you.”

Kenna took a breath and finished even though my eyes were damp and I finally understood. “Ciro is your everything, your forever, your happily ever after. Kaia, you can’t just sit out here and give up. You have to go to him and help him through all his fear of not having a future with you. Kaia, because he loves you as much as you love him then that means love always wins.” Kenna finally had tears in her eyes as well. “Yeah that last part is such a cliché and it’s cheesy as hell, but it’s true if you work hard enough to want a love like you’ve got.”

“Oh my Gods, Kenna -”

“Stop sitting here and go back inside. He needs you, maybe more than you needed him.”

Before I returned back inside I heard a deep voice growl across the wind. “Kenna!”

I smiled slightly and thought, have fun with that sis.

On the other hand, I’ve been such an idiot. Ciro loves me, he’s declared it multiple times, and still I ignored something so life changing. He loves me, and we are finally bonded as mates – soul mates.

As I rounded the corner and came into the room we had been held prisoners to, I skidded to a halt.

Ciro was sitting up in bed, looking at me in a panic.

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