What does it mean to love someone exactly? There was never anyone around to show me what it was. I suppose Na-Na and Poppy love each other. I’m pretty sure I loved Hyler. But were Killian and I in love?
I shuddered at the thought. No, this was something else. It had to be. On the other hand, what else could it be? I’ve had this argument with myself before—whether it was love or lust that I felt for him. Lust always sounded more promising, since love is more eternal. The idea of it sounded so menacing to me, and I was so convinced that it could be a trap. I didn’t want it to be. I was scared that it was. At the same time, this could all just be disbelief. Love had never made a single appearance in my thoughts before. How was I supposed to know how to react or what to expect? All I knew was that if this really was love…I would be okay with that.
His eyes held my gaze as we lay facing each other on the bed. Looking at him now made me wonder something I had never thought of before. Where would I be now, if not with him? Would I still be in Jev City? Would I have even seen Na-Na and Poppy again? Surely, I wouldn’t have lost my purity by now—or ever, really. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how profound Killian’s existence in my life really was. As much as I loved to hate him and hated to love him, he had turned my life around in ways I never thought were possible. We had been through so much together. I didn’t even want to think about what would have happened if he hadn’t interfered with my grand heist on Abundance.
All through my mental ramblings, I had allowed my eyelids to droop shut with the warm touch of Killian’s breath on my face, but I didn’t sleep. Instead, I listened to the sound of skin on skin as he lightly ran his fingers up my arm and over my shoulder to trace patterns on my back. I sighed under his touch, letting all the sensations get to me without regret. Then, his voice gently broke me apart piece by piece.
“Do you have any idea what you’re getting yourself into?”
“No fucking clue.”
He chuckled softly, pushing his fingers into the roots of my hair, resting his palm on my forehead. Again, I closed my eyes, focusing on his words as he spoke.
“I could give you a run down if you’d like.”
“Hm,” I said softly.
“First, we need to visit the planet Nadalion. Originally, I was to flee there, starting an all-out war between the human and Nadali race, but plans changed. Obviously, to my misfortune, Admiral Hoss expected that of me.”
“And that’s the man who has your family,” I said quietly.
“Yes. He also commands Exogène—”
“Who have been searching for you all this time,” I finished. “But now that you have nowhere else to run to, they’ll know you’re going to Nadalion.”
“So why would we still go there?”
“Because, Jianna, there’s still the war. It’s what Admiral Hoss has been wanting for so long now. I’m only giving him what he wants.”
“But how do you expect to win if it’s just you?”
His eyes softened and he looked into my eyes. “What makes you think I’m alone?”
A flicker of heat ignited my cheeks, but I couldn’t tell if it was out of embarrassment or bashfulness.
“I’m nothing to you,” I muttered, tearing my gaze away from him.
“There’s no sense in trying to convince you otherwise, but I can only hope that you’ll see in the future.”
“You know, being indirect like that doesn’t exactly turn a girl on. It just confuses the hell out of them and they end up thinking about it for weeks and then it turns into this whole doubt issue and it’s just a mess, to be honest.”
He rolled his eyes at me. “All I’m saying is that you’re not exactly nothing to me.”
I groaned. “There’s no point in talking to you.”
I threw the covers off me and swung my legs over the side of the bed, making my way over to the large wardrobe across the room. As I opened the doors and leaned inside, I felt his naked body press against my backside. I froze and held my breath.
“I love it when you snap at me,” he seethed into my ear through clenched teeth. “It gives me a reason to punish you.”
A dull pain tremored inside me as he slowly entered me. I whined, still sore from last yesterday.
“Just because I had my first dalliance with you doesn’t mean I have to be your fuck toy,” I said, my throat constricted.
“Shut up and scream,” he growled, thrusting all the way up so that my feet were lifted off the ground.
I did scream, and I clawed at the wood of the wardrobe’s doorframe to keep myself from falling forward. I was eventually able to grab onto the ledge up top, but I wasn’t strong enough to lift myself away from him. It would have alleviated some of the pain had I succeeded, but he was so devastating. He had me gasping, moaning, and screaming so loud that the whole universe could probably hear.
“So tell me,” I panted. “Did you ever fuck anyone like this on Earth?”
He chuckled darkly. “My, we have a dirty mouth today, don’t we? But yes, only a few times.”
“Oh,” I said, my face falling a bit at his answer. “So I’m not that special?”
He purposely hit a sweet spot that made me squeal.
“No,” he said. “You’re definitely more special.”
“I believe I can answer that with a question.” His lips brushed against the back of my neck as he said, “Would I have stayed with someone unimportant for this long?”
There was no way of answering when my arousal overcame me as he rocked his hips into me. My body came undone all at once, but he wasn’t finished. I leaned my head back on his shoulder as he held me up with one arm. He bucked erratically, and once he was done, he gently lowered me to my feet and steadied me until I could stand on my own. I was light-headed and felt a little heavier than usual, but eventually, the feeling eased away and the wobble in my knees disappeared.
“You really should warn me,” I said hoarsely, moving away from him so that I could browse the clothes.
“That would hardly be any fun.”
I smirked, picking out a white tunic and a pair of light green pants. “At least I would have a say in it.”
“Hmm. Definitely no fun,” he murmured, grabbing some clothes as well.
We got dressed at our own pace, and for some reason, it didn’t seem real to me. Over the course of ten hours, I had had my first dalliance with Killian not once, but countless times. It was almost too good to be true. While I still wanted to play it safe, I also wanted to give in to it all, this feeling of being swept away. It was like nothing I had ever felt before, not even with Hyler, and it felt like I was willing to do anything for him, even if it meant giving up my own life. I would help him save his crew, which will undoubtedly be the most dangerous thing I do.
I followed him through the maze of corridors to the room that controlled the entire ship. I examined the levers and buttons closely, to try and guess what they all meant. There were so many. Killian, however, seemed to have no problem navigating his way through them all, as if he had done this a million times before.
“How long will it take to get to Nadalion?” I asked, watching his hands work magic.
“Your people only have half-speed,” he said without looking up. “It might take us a day or two.”
“Half-speed? What is that?”
“Not quite light-speed. If we had light-speed, we would be there within a few hours.”
“How far away is it?”
“On the other side of the galaxy.”
I fell silent as I thought for a while. Then said, “I can’t even begin to think how far that is.”
He looked up at me with a serious look on his face.
“Don’t try to,” he said. “It could drive you insane.”
“Isn’t that how humans invented light-speed?” I said with a growing smile.
He smirked and said, “Possibly.”
I bit my lip and turned on my heel to look at the large screen at the front of the room. The image was of the night sky, or outer space is what I should say. That was another surreal feeling. To think we were actually outside Acadia was…
I couldn’t even think of a word. All of this felt like such a dream.
“How many times have you traveled through space?”
“I hardly know life without it,” he replied simply.
I glanced over my shoulder at him.
He paused, then said, “I was once a part of Exogène. In fact, I was one of the best pilots they had. That said, I’ve had an extensive amount of experience with space exploration—even more than Admiral Hoss has.”
With that, he pulled a lever that was big and red and the ship lurched forward. When I looked back at the monitor, I saw that we were moving pretty fast. Fast enough so that the white dots against the black of space blurred slightly.
“There is something I must tell you before we arrive on Nadalion,” he said, moving away from the controls. “Exogène will follow us there, that is a fact. Upon arresting me, they will arrest you, too. Do not fight back. They will take us to their ship and transport us back to Earth where we will have a trial. At least, that’s what they’ll tell us. The admiral, however, simply won’t allow it, and even if he does, it won’t come to a fair consensus. Either way, we will be sentenced to death.”
“And how exactly does saving your family fit in to all of that?” I asked, arching a brow.
“It’s simple, really,” he said, taking my face in his hands. “We’ll escape before they put us on trial.”
“Hm, right. And how will we do that?”
“I have plans. Lots of plans.”
Before I could counter, he pressed his lips to mine. When he pulled away, he studied my face. “It is vital that you follow my orders. This is to be taken very seriously. There will be no laughing, no fooling around, no fighting—no nothing. You will see a side of me that you have never seen before, and you won’t like it.”
Another side of Killian? How many did he have?
“Don’t worry about me,” I said, shaking my head. “You need to focus on whatever you have in that head of yours. I’m the one who got into this. I can keep up.”
He sighed, but nodded his head.
“Alright,” he said finally. “I should stop doubting you.”
“Yeah,” I laughed. “You should.”
He smiled at me, but I sensed something else. Something hidden in his eyes that couldn’t be mistaken for anything else but sadness.