“Do you believe a word he said?” James asked as he held the door open for me, ushering me outside in front of him.
“I don’t know.” I admitted, feeling a rush of weakness spread through my body.
James gestured for me to sit on the grass as we stopped for a rest. My wings quickly disappeared into my shoulders as I slowly crouched to the ground.
“I guess,” I hung my head and motion to where my wings had been, “I don’t have as much control over this as I had hoped.”
“Still,” James spoke as he wiped the blood off of his throwing stars, “You had a pretty good bluff going on in there, especially considering you were still recovering from those drugs.”
“I have a feeling they didn’t dose me as high as you.” He added, trying to reassure me that I’d done well.
“I know.” I whispered sadly, “I had hoped…”
“It’s okay Princess, we’ll figure it out.” He shot me a little grin.
In that moment, everything felt normal. It was like we were talking about homework or a puzzle, not my cursed body.
“What are we going to do now?” I asked as I turned my wrist over a few times. It ached a bit from catching the knife.
“Depends on how much of what he said is true.” James said calmly, though I could tell he was in a bit of shock.
“What do you think?” I studied the tiny splatter of blood on his face as I waited for him to respond.
He looked up at the sky and the moonlight surrounded him, bathing him in a soft white light.
“I don’t know.” He turned his head to look at me, piercing me with his eyes.
They always took my breath away, and while it was partly because they were simply stunning, the truth was much grimmer than that. I never allowed myself the luxury of meeting them for long, because as soon as I did, I felt a transformation begin to start. The thing I never could figure out was whether it was because of what I felt, or because they were an all too familiar, bearing a striking resemblance to Silen’s, even though they were a deep shade of blue.
I looked down, trying to break away from the intensity, but his gaze remained unchanged.
“Come on.” He said, breaking the silence as he stood up, motioning me to follow.
“Where are we going?” I said, visibly perplexed. “We can’t go back to the compound.”
“I know.” He murmured as we started towards the road, concealing ourselves near the trees that lined it. “Just trust me.”
“Okay.” I replied, too tired to argue, even flirtatiously.
Suddenly he turned and placed himself in front of me, stopping just short of touching my arm.
“Titania,” He addressed me, looking into my eyes with emotion I’d never seen him show before, “I’m sorry.”
“Why?” I asked confused, “You haven’t done anything.”
“I…” He started breaking down, “I didn’t know. I’m sorry.”
“I didn’t want you to…” I said with more agitation in my voice than I meant to release.
He looked at me with pity and sorrow in his eyes as tears welled up.
“Because I didn’t want you to look at me like that.” I gestured at the tears, trying to hold back the bitterness I felt.
He stood quietly before moving aside. My shoulder felt heavy under the gravity of everything that had happened.
We walked for a long time in silence, though I was certain it didn’t seem like it to either of us. I knew his mind must have been as loud as mine was.
Crickets chirped at our feet as we watched fireflies dance around in the night. We followed their path towards a clearing as we deviated from the road and I found myself enchanted by their glow.
“This way.” James motioned as he led me into a clearing in the woods.
I looked around, surveying the open space in front of us.
“I’m sorry.” He said, “I think we will have to make camp for the night.”
“It’s too far to walk there tonight,” He spoke apologetically as he slipped the backpack we’d lifted from the compound off his shoulders, “I didn’t realize how far it’d be from that compound.”
“That’s okay.” I shrugged and prepared to set up camp, “I’ll get some wood.”
“Titania,” He spoke softly as he took a step towards me, “All the wood is going to be wet from the rain.”
“Plus,” He added, “We don’t want the folks Silen mentioned, if they are real, to find us from the smoke.”
“Oh.” I looked down at my feet, “How are we going to keep warm and ward off animals?”
“As for the animals, I’ll be staying up to keep watch,” He explained, “and for the warmth issue…”
I froze as he held his hands out, gestures for me to come to him.
“Your, eh, transformation is usually triggered by touch, right?” He reasoned as he pulled off his hoodie and extended it to me.
I nodded, growing increasingly uncomfortable by the situation.
“Touch, and strong feelings.” I corrected him quietly.
He chuckled a warm, soothing laughter that bathed my skin in an unusual calmness.
“Do you have um…some strong feelings then, Princess?” He offered his arms, open to me, to keep me warm.
“No.” I shook my head abruptly, thankful it was easy to hide my flushed face in the dark.
“I see.” He said with an amused wink, “Well if you change your mind.”
I curled myself into a ball a few feet away from him and tried to slow down my racing heart. After several deep breaths, I was certain that it would have been a bad idea to accept the offer.
The crickets chirped around us as he hummed the tune of one of his favorite songs. I drifted to sleep to the sound of his voice mixing with the darkness of the night.
Part 1: The Words Unspoken, Part 2: Secrets, Part 3: Embers, Part 4: Titanium, Part 5: Scar, Part 6: Capture , Part 8: Reflection, Part 9: Running, Part 10: The Cabin, Part 11: Macaroni and Cheese, Part 12: An Open Door and A Squeaky Floor, Part 13: Interruptions, Part 14: Origin
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