Strings of Fate

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cHP 10

She reappeared near Shayla’s home and walked the four steps to the house. She rang the bell. The door opened and curious grey eyes looked at her. I guess it doesn’t matter if Shayla is there or not. Michael is my homing beacon.

“Hey, Michael is my sister in?”

“Yeah, she’s taking a bath.”

“Oh. Tell her I stopped by ok?” Aisha said as she turned to step off the front porch. A hand on her shoulder stopped her.

“Aisha, why don’t you come in?” Michael said.

She faced him. The bond was reacting and drawing them closer. She stepped backward forgetting there was a step there. Michael wrapped his arms around her falling form and she grabbed onto his shirt collar. She took in a deep breath her face buried in his neck. He smells like winter storms and frost!

She pulled her head back to stare into his eyes. His grip tightened on her waist.

“Aisha,” he whispered. She held her breath as he held her closer.

“Aisha? What are you doing here?” Her sister asked from behind them. She was towel drying her black hair and was smiling dressed in her PJs. Aisha stepped out of Michael’s hold and smiled. “I slipped on your steps again. I came to see you but you’re getting ready for bed. I forgot it was late. I’ll come back some other time. Bye, sis!” Aisha waved at the two and ignored the way Michael’s eyes trailed after her. As soon as she was out of sight she took a deep breath.

Jeremiah blinked in smirking. “Why didn’t you kiss him?”

“My sister was there!”

“Is that all that was stopping you? Her presence?” he smirked and grabbed her hand. They both blinked back to her apartment.

Aisha didn’t have contact with Michael at all in the next week. She was tempted but she remained steadfast. Jeremiah for his part showed her other neat tricks like the one where she could use a place as a teleport beacon instead of a person.

She managed to stay on top of her classes and practice constantly. The day of Saturday dawned bright and rainy and she remembered she still had one last outing with Michael. It was enough to put a damper on her mood. Nothing is going to happen! You’ve evaded him so far. Just one more day!

She got up and fixed herself a good-sized breakfast. Then she showered and dressed in leggings and a long-sleeved sweater. Extra warm so he doesn’t have to touch me today.

She placed her favorite lip gloss and eyeliner on and grabbed her new jacket and purse just as a knock sounded. She opened her door and midnight blue met grey once more.

“Ready to go,” he asked, arms crossed.

She nodded and they left the apartment and got into his car. They drove to the mall and entered through the south entrance where their final store was. CJ Jewels.

It was a large store full of displays of jewelry but try as they might nothing called to him and he knew why. Holding Aisha last Monday solidified it. He couldn’t get her out of his head. Her smell of vanilla and peaches, and deeper still of some late moonlit glen laden with lilies that he loved to hide away in.

He loved that clean scent of night and lilies. It intoxicated him like nothing else. It was a battle to keep his hands to himself! He dreamed of her constantly. He had always known how to make her smile and when she needed him most...how could he have been so stupid as to fall for two sisters! How!

He didn’t want to let either go but he didn’t have Aisha... He frowned and turned his eyes to the display he was supposed to be looking at. I have Shayla! This longing will disappear… right?

His eyes slid back to Aisha as she pointed to a ring and asked the clerk about it before nodding and walking his way shaking her head. He nodded and they left the store. It was time for lunch and Aisha chose a seat in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the lunch crowd.

“Well, I know you hate Franko’s but it’s our only choice other than Boston.” She said after swallowing a bite of her burger.

“Guess so,” he said sipping his Pepsi.

They got through lunch with no problem and headed for the car heading into town. The clouds were rolling in and Aisha was worried about an early winter storm. They arrived at Franko’s and Michael wrinkled his nose at it.

“It looks like a tattoo parlor.”

Aisha smirked. “It’s partly that but it sells great jewelry. The first place we should have checked.”

“I’m not so sure,” muttered Michael as they walked into Franko’s. There were counters of jewelry but on the walls hung pictures of tattoos. And through the hallway in the back, he heard the tattoo machinery whirling away. Aisha walked to the farthest corner and stared at something before heading off. He took a look at it and a man with more tattoos than he could count came around to him.

“She always looks to see if I still have it. I told her I would til the love of her life bought her the ring.”

Aisha blushed from her corner and caught the man’s eye shaking her head.

Michael looked at the ring. It was silver with encrusted diamonds and topaz on it in the shape of stars. A band of gold stretched through it from one side to the other bisecting the ring.

“It resembles Starry Night from Van Gogh at least that was the inspiration,” the guy said.

Michael was about to say something when a squeal from Aisha alerted both men.

“Richard! Let me see that ring!” She pointed to a glowing diamond ring. Richard nodded and took the ring out for Aisha to see.

“Michael! I found it!” She said, showing him the simple but beautiful ring. The diamond was in the shape of a marquise cut, with two accentuating smaller diamonds blending in on the sides on a band of rose gold. It glittered up at him and he could imagine this ring on Shayla’s finger. Except I won’t be the one putting it there.

His eyes met Aisha’s expectant gaze and he smiled. “Aisha I’ve got this. Why don’t you wait by the car,” he said.

Aisha nodded and left a sad grin on her face.

She wouldn’t be sad for long. He turned to the store owner the minute she left. “Can you show me that ring Aisha admires so much?”

The man grinned. “Sure!”

Michael couldn’t help his own smile as he left the store. It began to rain hard and both rushed to the car. They got in and drove to her apartment. It was still raining.

“It’s coming down really hard now,” Aisha said, staring at the cold rain coming down in sheets of ice almost.

Michael turned off the car. “Can I come up for a sec?

Aisha turned to him surprised. She squirmed in her chair. “I don’t know, you’re going to get wet.”

“I’ll just dry at your place. Besides we can use my umbrella.”

“Uh hehe. Yeah, ok, fine.”

They both got out of the car and hurried to the stairwell. They managed to be drenched in less than a minute even with an umbrella, due to the wind. Aisha opened her apartment door shivering and went to turn up the heat and get some towels. She left him in her living room and he stood freezing. She came back with the towels and handed one to him. Their fingers touched and his hand slowly entangled itself with hers grasping hers and pulling her closer to him.

“Thank you, Aisha.”

She smiled and patted him slightly with her free hand. “No problem. She’s my sister. You better make her happy.”

“That’s the funny thing. I don’t think I can anymore,” he muttered gazing into her eyes with a piercing glance.

Aisha sighed and pulled back alarmed. “Of course, you can, you love her.”

“Not exclusively, not anymore,” he whispered coming closer.

“Michael…”

He took a round object from his pocket and passed it to her.

“Go on it’s yours.”

Aisha took the small case and opened it and nearly fell to her knees. “Michael, this is…”

“The ring you so desperately wanted. It called to me more than Shayla’s ring did. Why?” He asked bringing her closer still. “Why would your ring call to me but not Shayla’s?” Their bodies touched and Aisha looked into grey eyes entranced.

“I-I don’t know,” she answered, shivering for another reason entirely.

“I do,” he whispered tilting his head.

Their lips met and the bond wrapped around them in sparks of color. Aisha lost all sense of where she was and with who. She only felt the rightness of it. The completeness she felt at being kissed by her soulmate. It was earth-shattering, moving. Fireworks were going off in her mind. She never wanted to stop but a lack of air and a nagging thought made her separate.

“Shayla!” She exclaimed breathlessly moving from his arms.” You love Shayla.”

“I love you too!”

“You can’t!”

“I do. Tell me you don’t love me!”

“I-I don...mph!” She was kissed again and she felt the bond wrap around them. She opened her mouth and he dove in tasting her.

His hands weren’t subtle. They moved into her hair, on her face, down her neck holding her to him. He poured all his frustration and longing into that kiss. Now he knew what he longed for. Her.

She tangled one hand in his hair and the other went around his neck. She took his fervent kiss and gave back, and it was just as Jeremiah warned her. She didn’t think of Shayla. She didn’t think of anything except the kiss.

.

He pinned her to the wall and his lips left her lips to trail down her neck. Her home phone rang insistently. It was within sight on her kitchen counter. The caller ID flashed brightly one name. Shayla. Her mind hazy from his kisses finally remembered her sister and her eyes widened.

She struggled against him and the bond and finally gained his attention. His eyes were passion drunk. The bond was working double time on him. She ran her hands through his hair.

“Do you still love my sister?”

He sighed. “I don’t know anymore”

Tears filled her eyes. “You can’t have us both.”

“I know.”

She turned from him. “Your umbrella is over there by the couch. Go. Before you do something you’ll regret.”

“I wouldn’t regret you,” he said as he threaded his hand into her hair and turned her face to his. Their noses bumped. “You are the one thing I wouldn’t regret.”

“I would regret it. Shayla is my sister, my blood! She has always stood up for me and I’m ruining the single best thing to happen to her! Go!”

“Do you love me?”

“It’s because I love you that you have to go!”

His eyes brightened and he managed to kiss her cheek and mutter a “No. We have to talk, Aisha.”

Aisha squirmed as her phone rang again. She felt full of guilt. Shayla didn’t deserve this. She went to grab the phone but voicemail came on.

“Aisha! You ingrate child! Pick up! Your sister has been in an accident. Please pick up!” came her mother’s frantic voice.

Aisha’s eyes widened and Michael let her go as she dashed for the phone.

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