Later the next week, after days of a close bond that strengthened every minute, one I could feel in my gut, Camira began to act unlike herself. Her increasing distance was slow, but soon she no longer wanted to touch or caress. She never tried to sink into my touch the way I loved. Camira no longer returned my gentle kisses. She wouldn't even stand next to me.
On our journey back towards Paxton ñ during the night we would see the reflection of the cities glow ñ she would flinch for unnecessary reasons.
I couldn't help it, the slight twitch that my skin did. The way it crawled, and itched at my bones. I knew it was my mind alone, but I began to feel him. Feel the way his presence ñ there or not ñ rubbed against my already itchy skin. It was like I felt him before he came. Zane was in the forest, or at least his evilness drenched the air around me. I couldn't completely tell what was going on, but I instinctively distanced myself from Dagon, and I knew he noticed it.
It was the way he stared at my back; the way Dagon watched my shoulders, tense every time I felt Zane whisper through the trees. When Dagon started to walk with longer strides, catching up with me, he began to thread his fingers with mine. Half of my reaction was surprise but the other half was fear, fear of getting too close. I jumped away with a squeal.
Dagon looked at me warily. "Camira?" He asked gently, unsure.
I looked at him with wide, shocked eyes. Did that sound just come from my throat? Did I just seriously squeal? I shook my head, trying to dispel the vile presence that crept ever so deeper into my mind. “Please,” I asked him what I hoped he would understand, a warning that I wanted him to hear.
And of course he did the exact opposite. It only took Dagon one giant step to breath my air and I his. He took my hand, loosely so to not frighten me, and it was like he was talking through his eyes. They told me of the worry and fear that he had for me. His chocolate eyes told of the missed happiness we shared. The way he could make me smile or laugh. The way he made me feel when he whispered my name under the stars.
I whimpered, something very unlike me I might add, as I too remembered the beginning of our deep intimacy and carefree playfulness. “Dagon, please.” It was a call for help and understanding.
“I’m here.” I could tell by the broken look and the forward lean of his body that he wanted to touch me. Dagon wanted to comfort both he and I. But there was something that I was emitting that told him to do no such thing.
I shook my head again feeling dizzy, and without my realization my own mind began to turn on me. Looking away from Dagon and into the still forest I began to see it through the eyes of one who has a heart of coal. My heart was covered in a thick black icky muck making it hard to breathe the clean, refreshing air.
I started to move away from Dagon when I felt something strain in me. As I walked, I could feel a dreaded sense of purpose cover my whole being, like a heavy blanket. And without looking back to see if Dagon followed, I headed towards a place unknown to me.
Something was off about the way Camira began to act, and it put me on edge. I wanted to keep my distance, and I knew it was the right thing to do. At this point, I knew Camira would feel better if I kept my distance. Yeah, well, that wasn’t going to happen. It was like I couldn’t help myself, even when she began to change, and I knew it was because of Zane.
I watched as she stepped with purpose, and I knew the wheels were turning inside a mind that was turning against her. As we wove through the trees, Camira taking the lead while I followed ñ only because she needed my help, whether she understood that or not – I watched her lips move like she was speaking to someone. When I heard and felt the wind hug the trees and then push against her spine Camira began to speed up, like nature was trying to tell her something.
At this point, I knew without a doubt that her mind was no longer clear, and if it was her mind, than Camira was trying to fight the powerful persuasion of Zane. I also began to understand, as I studied her from a distance, that it took everything not to turn and kill me right then and there.
As we hiked along and the golden sun began to set, the sky owning many hues of yellow, orange and a pure red color, I wasn’t sure anymore if I could truly help my mate.
And yes, Camira of the wind is my mate.
I’ve had no trouble realizing this, but I just blame myself that we’ve never talked about it together. I’ve never brought the most important subject to the table, and in return neither of us will be able to accept who we are together, and what we mean to each other.
Six hours out of the day consisted of walking, and I began to sense Camira slowing.
Striding through another grove of trees, I saw a clearing with menacing shadows that wanted to grab at our heals as we walked through. I could safely say this was a place I never wanted to see again ñ or see at all for that matter. I realized that this was the place of our fate and I could do nothing to fight it.
I looked over to where Camira has slumped against a tree and I felt this deep sadness fill me. I studied her for a long time and I knew if I had one wish ñ just one ñ I would wish for another night with my mate. And just like that something changed and Camira’s eyes met mine. I saw and felt the confusion, relief and horror in her eyes, and I understood why those emotions were there, but I was relieved for a moment to know that her soul still shined through her eyes, she still lived inside.
Opening my mouth I was about to speak when a sharp, cutting wind swept across my face. I winced as I took in the uncertainty that came off of Camira and the need for my love that she was unsure I would give. Taking a step closer, I held out my hand, my fingers bent in slightly, cradling the empty space that should contain a delicate hand. “Camira, please.”
I didn’t have to ask twice. Camira stood abruptly and walked with big strides towards my open palm. We both knew there was only so much time left before that monster completely took over her mind with the persuasion he had placed upon her.
As she came closer, I wanted her to speed things up, wanted her in my arms faster, but for some reason I wanted her to come to me. I wanted Camira to make the choice of wanting to be in my arms. It killed me to think she didn’t. And as my thoughts dangerously turned in that direction of thinking, she stopped so close that I could have easily enveloped my arms around her tall but slender form. Taking my hand instead of placing her own in it, she held it from the back of my hand with the tips of her fingers locking in between each finger, bringing my palm to her cheek.
I had been watching her the entire time, but when our skin touched, after a long day distanced from each other, our eyes met, we both took in a comforting breath, and Camira practically rested her face in my hand. Taking her face in both my hands felt so good. I can't explain it, but the feel of my mate just using my hands uncoiled the tightness in my muscles I didn’t even know was there. I descended on her in the next moment, and our lips touched softly, like it was the first kiss all over again. But as I began to leave her lips, planning to come back for more, my lips lingered long enough to fill the air with passion.
I pulled away enough to watch her grey eyes begin to water, worried my fingertips tightened on her cheeks and my thumbs made tiny, reassuring circles. Something I started when we began to learn each other in the most intimate way.
Without having to ask Camira spoke with a weighted voice, as if she was trying not to cry. “I love you, Dagon.”
I could feel the surface of my eyes weigh down with emotion as well, and I kissed her on the nose. “I know,” my breath caressing her cheek as I started to pull away again.
Then what I thought was reassurance came back at me with a pulled lower lip and a chest that began to shiver. Camira talked through her unshed tears, “I - whatever h-h-happens...I want-t-ted you to knnnow.” When Camira realized she was stuttering with held back dread and sorrow she tried to start over. “I w-w-want y-y-you t-to know.’ She just sounded worse, and I hated what she was doing to herself.
I shook my head, “shhh,” and took her down, gently, to the ground by the back of her knee’s and her shoulder blades. Camira tensed on the way down, and I whispered against her wavy, blonde hair, “I’ve got you.’ And I meant it in so many ways.
Camira began to cry in quiet gasps then, as I lie on top of her, gently resting the blanket of weight she always needed above her. She told me once that she had felt safe under my weight, and I gave her more, just as I was doing now. Without waiting for her to calm down I took in her next gasp with a powerful kiss. She no longer had the air to cry.
I love you, I love you, I love you so much. I couldn’t stop repeating it. I couldn’t stop myself from trying to teleport those thoughts to Dagon as he kissed up and down my body, allowing no air to breath. Actually I could breathe, but it was just the gentle and sure way that he dragged his lips along my stomach and inner thighs taking my breath away. He had pushed up the under-shirt that I had borrowed from him and the chilly night air bit me, but when Dagon moved in above me he smothered the cold with his warm breath.
“I need you, before it’s too late.” I gasped, as my muscles shook with anticipation.
“Shhh, don’t talk like that.” Dagon responded, pushing his way up to join me and look into my eyes.
We were whispering.
“But I can’t stop thinking about -”
Dagon firmly and quickly placed his forefinger against my parted lips, and my breath immediately hitched.
“No,” was his simple response.
“Please, for me.” I was desperate to forget as well, forget the cliff of Zane’s persuasion that was only feet away. “I can’t do it alone. I need help.”
There was a change in Dagon’s eyes. They deepened with an emotion that wanted to make me cry with happiness. “That’s what I’m here for babe.” Then he rubbed his thumb along my cheekbone and I realized a single tear did fall.
Before we fell into each other, I realized what that emotion was...or what it showed. Dagon was here for me. Always was and always will be.
I loved him that night to the fullest and he in return. When we fell asleep in each other’s arms, my face nestled into his chest; it was with a hope that there would absolutely be a future we could share together.
It didn’t last very long. And I felt my bare feet desperately slapping the cool forest floor, trying to get away. Away from him.