Those soft little stones got under my fingers, I realized that I was playing with them all the time. The light spring breeze blew the hair off my face, and I kind of wished it wouldn’t have done it. I wished my hair would somehow hide my face. So his friend wouldn’t see it. The way I turned pale.
I could feel my heart start pounding. But then, as if it didn’t make sense anyway, as if it was too painful, it stopped to beat so hastily. Because yeah, something in my chest really did ache.
I breathed in the fresh spring air. It didn’t have the opportunity to warm itself since the winter died but I didn’t care. At that moment, I didn’t care at all. About anything. Those thousands, millions of thoughts that were rushing through my head, they were gone. Out of the blue, they disappeared.
Exactly at that moment when I understood the meaning of her words.
“It’s not what the demons were made for,” I heard Mia say. She suddenly spoke so carefully as if she knew how I felt inside right now. “Emotions, love, compassion, no demon is capable of feeling something. It’s not their natural part, you know.”
How could I have been so stupid?
All the time! All that time, I was wondering whether the daily crossing the boundaries of our friendship didn’t seem weird to him, and… Hell! How could it have seemed weird to him when he actually didn’t even realize it?
He told me himself he´d never been in love before, he asked me how it felt like to be in love at all!
“Lara,” Mia made me return my attention to her again. I guess she was guessing what I was thinking about. However, there was something begging in her voice. “I told you he´d changed, Eric has made a tremendous progress in this one particular thing. He cares about his family; he cares that he has a family at all. And I’m damn sure he cares a hell of a lot about you.”
Yes, I knew she was right. He told me himself and not just once that he cared about me. He treated me like I really was his princess. But…
To care and to love were two completely different words in my vocabulary.
And I was in love with him.
“Hon, please,” and she truly was pleading, “I beg you, give him time. Don’t give up on him, okay?”
I mean… My heart still ached but I would never give up on him. In the end, I didn’t do it after he´d hurt me. And even if it isn’t me whom he would love one day, I wanted to be there for him.
“I won’t,” I whispered, promising more to myself than to her.
My thoughts tangled a thousand times more than they already had been before. This really was a side of him I didn’t know. But the question was whether he would ever trust me enough to let me in.
“Thank you,” his friend smiled at me, breaking the short silence between us. I didn’t even have time to collect myself. “I´m still hoping he´s gonna figure out one day what love is. And you´re the closest he ever got to humanity.”
I had to smile at her too. Because her words… I don’t know, they somehow managed to ease the sore in my chest.
“So, tell me,” she took a deep breath, “did I help you at least somehow?”
“Sure,” I kept smiling even though she made me remember my actual problem. “I already know that I don’t have to go see psychiatrist as I´m not hallucinating. I´m having a vision, and if I want to get rid of it, I need to evoke it all. And that for I need Eric because it´s somehow related to him. Right?”
I inwardly put together everything she´d told me looking for the question I might have. And there it was, I immediately thought of one: “How do I do it? You say his kisses won´t work.”
She pressed her lips together, as if thinking but it didn’t take long, and something flashed in her eyes. “What about your fascination with the elements?”
I raised an eyebrow, I actually opened my mouth as I expected everything, but not this: “How do you know about that?”
And Mia burst out laughing. Again.
“Please,” she gasped for air quite heavily, “Whom do you think he called right after it happened?”
The girl made me follow her example, I burst into a guffaw when she started imitating Eric’s voice immediately afterwards: “Mia, what’s wrong with her? Mia, nothing’s gonna happen to her, right? Mia, should I be worried about her? Mia, will it affect her in any way? Mia, will she be okay?”
That sounded like my demon.
“You have no idea how annoying he can be when it comes to you.”
Yes, I couldn’t stop giggling. Yet, there was such a strange feeling of warmth that filled the space under my ribs. Such an amazing feeling because he cared. He always watched over me.
“C´mon, tell me all about it,” she encouraged me. “I would like to hear it from you.”
I obeyed her, I told her everything. I told her about the cliff and the wind, about the party and the fire, about my swimming experience in the lake. I told her about the quivering earth.
I even told her about the field and the unexpected storm. Well, I mean, I considered it as a trifle, but Mia suddenly became serious. Too serious after her fit of laughter.
“A storm in December?” she asked narrowing her gaze.
“Yeah,” I shrugged, “the weather was pretty weird back then.”
But the witch shook her head as her gaze fell somewhere down. She was thinking about something again, and thank heaven, she didn’t let me wait too long for an answer. “I don’t think it was the weather, Lara,” she said too pensively. “There must have been a disbalance in Nature itself. The question is what caused it.”
I raised my eyebrows. And no, I had no idea what to say. I had no idea what she was talking about. However, Mia looked at me again and smiled. “But that´s not important right now. Tell me what you felt, that´s what matters.”
It didn’t take me that long to recall how I felt as I´d never felt anything like that before.
“A wave of energy. It was entering my body from every direction, filling me completely. I could sense it with every cell, in every inch of my body. And I felt the unbearable need to let it out.”
“Perfect!” She cried, clapping her hands. And exactly, I raised my eyebrows again. “That’s absolutely perfect, my dear! If you have this ability in you, I’m not surprised that those visions came to you so easily.”
Was that supposed to be a compliment?
Or should I be scared?
“In this case, it should be simple. Just think of how you felt back then, search for the energy within yourself,” she explained. Or at least she tried to explain. And I tried not to stare at her with my mouth open. “And when you feel it again, don’t block it, let it out. As soon as you release the energy, the vision will return.”
“And don’t forget to have your demon with you. That’s pretty important, okay?”
The corners of my mouth shot up into a smile when I heard how she called him. And for a second, I badly wished it to be true. That he would be mine.
“I also should tell you that it can be pretty exhausting as you’re not used to it.”
“You better not make other plans than rendezvous with your bed.”
My bed had always returned my feelings.
Unlike other things.
“Mia, am I insane?”
I spewed the question at her without thinking. I guess, it was her rising eyebrows that imaginary slapped me.
How stupid was I?
Because she must have been dealing with such things everyday, she was a witch for heaven´s sake! And calling myself insane because I´m having a vision was exactly the same as calling her insane as she must have had like millions of visions.
My face immediately fell into my palms. I wanted to apologize, I wanted to keep apologizing until she would understand that I didn’t really mean it.
There was only one problem left.
I didn’t manage to even open my mouth.
Out of the blue, there were hands that grabbed me, I was lifted, and suddenly I was standing. I was facing my demon who literally pulled me out of the safe circle. He cupped my face with his palms making me look into his pretty frightened eyes.
“Dove, is everything okay?”
Why shouldn’t be everything okay?
“What did she tell you?”
Oh, I see.
The neural pathways in my brain must have woken up when it dawned on me. That gesture - my face in my hands - could be understood completely differently. My demon probably thought that something had happened. That Mia told me some kind of bad news.
I shot a brief glance at her to find an absolute unexcited expression on her face. As if she wasn’t surprised at all. As if she was expecting my demon to disturb us to check up on me all the time. As if she actually didn’t understand what took him so long.
And I would have laughed if there hadn’t been concern in my demon´s gaze. I had to shake my head, I had to calm him down somehow. “Everything´s alright,” I smiled at him. “Don’t worry. I just said something really stupid, and now I´m ashamed.”
He fixed his mesmerizing eyes on me as if searching whether I hadn’t told him a white lie. And all of a sudden, it was no longer possible to concentrate on convincing him. Or on anything else. Because I was able only to perceive his closeness.
Because I remembered what Mia had told me about him. And now, I saw him in thousand new ways, and I swear, I loved every single one of them.
I loved him even more.
The worry in that deep brown of his eyes completely engulfed me, and I forgot that we actually weren’t alone. I could only feel his thumbs stroking my cheeks.
“Will you kiss me?” I whispered softly, begging for the one thing I longed for the most at the moment.
He smiled at me, oh hell, he took my breath away. Only now did I understand what going insane really means when he leaned to me when he rested his forehead against mine. “I was afraid you wouldn’t ask today,” he whispered as well.
And my demon stole that moment from my mouth.
I couldn’t tell whether his gaze reflected satisfaction or frustration as he parted our lips. He exhaled heavily as he stroked me once more, leaving me with his witch friend alone again.
I sat down on my place, I sat back on the ground within the magical wooden circle. But even though I was still stunned, it immediately dawned on me: “Damn, you were right!”
“There was no vision, right?” She wiggled her eyebrows at me. “And now, back to your question.”
“Mia, I’m sorry,” I had to say it as my embarrassment overwhelmed me once more. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it as it sounded. I don’t consider your world insane. I just believed that something like that didn’t exist for seventeen years.”
“Don’t worry about it, honey,” she smiled at me, making me feel relief. A huge relief. “I totally understand you; I’ve been through it too. But unfortunately, I can’t give you a suitable answer. If there’s something supernatural in you, it will wake up. “
To say she calmed me down?
No, not really.
“Okay,” I tried to keep a cool head, I tried to think at least a little logically, “if there’s something really dormant in me, can I stop it?”
Her gaze dropped down, she readjusted her headband again, and I was wondering whether she had a slightest idea how much I tensed right now.
“You can,” she finally replied. “If you leave behind the supernatural which affects you. If you get rid of it completely.”
It didn’t take me long to realize where she was heading with those words to. I could swear, I felt my heart collapse, causing the color to disappear from my face. All I had to do was to imagine that I would never see my demon again.
The pensive tone of her voice forced me to get with my thoughts back to her. She was already staring at me, she was literally studying me, and yes, it surprised me. Her gaze, the one word she´d said to me.
I opened my mouth to ask what this was about, but she managed to overtake me, explaining her reaction: “When I told Eric about the same choice, he reacted exactly the same way. He didn’t say anything, he just turned pretty pale.”
I had a question; I had a lot of questions. And Mia must have recognized them from my face as I didn’t need to ask. She kept talking without me begging her to do so: “The night you accidentally gave him your soul, we were waiting for you to wake up after I brought you back. I told him that he had two options to choose from. To tell you the truth, to be with you but risk at the same time that the supernatural world will affect you eventually. Or to let you go, to let you live your happy human life without him and be sure that nothing would wake up in you. He didn’t answer me back then, but I can see now which option he picked.”
Holy crap! I couldn’t even describe how relieved I felt now. That he didn’t let me go, that my demon didn’t make this decision for both of us.
“He can’t be without you, Lara,” she said quietly. Still, I had the impression as if something dawned on her as if she understood something. Oh, that girl had some kind of weird ability to make me feel incredibly tense!
“Just like you can’t be without him. The bond really works.”
I was looking at her, I was watching her silently as there was nothing I could say. She was right. I mean, at least with the part that I couldn’t be without him. The rest I could…
Wait a minute!
“What bond?” Her words reached the center of understanding in my brain to make me understand that I didn’t understand her at all. “What are you talking about?”
I didn’t like her raising eyebrows. I didn’t like the deep breath she took. I seriously didn’t like the surprised expression on her face.
“Didn’t he tell you?”
But that question of hers literally terrified me.
Somehow, my heart started to pound. Perhaps only automatically, I shot a glance at my demon to find him in the same position. He was still leaning against his car; he was still watching us but there was already uneasiness in the whole posture of his body. I know, it took us with Mia quite long to talk. I still needed to hear some answers though.
“What bond?” I urged her.
“That evening,” she finally said. Finally! “You gave him your soul, your energy which meant you were dying. I had to save you somehow, but I couldn’t give you back exactly the same part you´d given him. A part of him was passed on you in the process. In other words, Lara, you have a piece of Eric in you, and he carries a piece of you in him. You’ve stayed connected, and it obviously connects you so much that you can’t walk away from each other.”
The moment when I realized when I understood it all.
Why I felt such an intense need to have him around me. Why I´d missed him so terribly when we´d decided to make a peace.
“Is that all?” I asked her. I insisted as I failed to suppress the bad premonition.
And the witch looked away. “It´s everything that should concern you,” she answered too quietly.
“What about him?” I hurried to ask the most important question at all.
Mia returned my gaze again, yes, she faced me. Yet, I found something apologetic in her expression. Something that made my heart skip a beat.
“I’m sorry, honey,” she exhaled, “this question of yours is not for me to answer. This is something that Eric has to tell you himself.”
Do you mean that demon who barely lets me in?
“I have no right to talk about it. Just as I have no right to tell him about everything you´ve asked me to be quiet about.”
I understood her point and I respected it.
“Okay,” I nodded, trying to cover up my slight disappointment. Because the chances of my demon telling me were more or less slim. “Still, thank you very much, you really helped me.”
“You’re very welcome,” she smiled at me one more time. “And don’t let your heart worry about future now, okay? Focus on presence, evoke the vision. And if you still don’t understand, or have some difficulties along, call me. We´ll work the rest.”
I admit, she could still throw me off balance with her honesty and kindness. She even hugged me as we both stood up. Actually, I didn’t regret asking her for help at all.
With the head full of ideas, plans, theories, I sat down into the car, waiting while Eric talked to Mia too. And when they said goodbye to each other, there was another hour and a half of my demon, me, and a tiny space in his Porsche ahead of me.
I didn’t want to be quiet.
And I was pretty curious as well.
“What did she tell you?” I asked him, not able to stop myself. Because… Hell, okay, I was literally burning with curiosity. “When she jumped out of the circle and ran to hug you?”
And my demon chuckled.
He shifted the gear, he stepped on a gas and speeded up as we entered the highway. But despite him focusing on driving, I saw those roguish sparks that woke up in his eyes pretty quickly.
“What was she telling you all the time you talked, Dove?”
I took a breath but not a sound came out of my throat as I didn’t feel like telling him right now. I kind of had the feeling that I needed to talk to him about it carefully so he wouldn’t blame himself for his world affecting me. I myself needed to think things through first.
I sniffed unhappily making my demon burst out laughing even more. However, to my great surprise, he spoke: “She told me she was proud of me.”
I couldn’t help but laugh too. I couldn’t help myself but enjoy the cheerfulness that shone from his whole posture. Yet, when he looked at me with the same curiosity in his stare, I had to shake my head.
“No, no,” I smiled teasingly, “I won’t tell you anything.”
Not until I know how to handle with all I knew now.
He redirected his attention back to the road, but I saw that anyway. I saw how the corner of his lips rose into a wry smile.
“Aren’t you mad at me?” I had to ask.
“No,” he exhaled heavily. “Well, it´s killing me to know that you´re hiding something from me, that´s true. But I don’t have the right to be mad at you, Dove. That would be quite hypocritical of me. There are lot of things I haven’t told you yet myself.”
Damn, there were!
For example, that whole – we´re bonded – thing! I definitely intended to get all about it out of him. But right now, there was no point in insisting. Not if it should spoil his mood.
“Yeah. One day, you´re gonna trust me enough to tell me, Eric,” I muttered, preferring to look out of the window rather than at him. Yet, I saw the magical smile that his lips spread into. “And I’ll wait for that day. I won’t give up on you.”
Because I love you.
Even though you´re not capable of loving me back.