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She looked up, a bit afraid, a bit in awe. She’d never let anyone see this part of her before, and there was no guarantee of a happy ending. What would he say?
Her back bare, she tried not to shiver in the cool of the early summer morning. Perhaps now wasn’t the best time, but there was no waiting anymore. Her secret was revealed to him, and she’d let Fate decide.
His eyes flickered briefly, blankly, to her face and then back to the two soft, feathery wings that protruded from beneath her shoulder blades. No emotion could be read from his eyes, a troubling omen. But she did not regret this action: inviting him over and letting him see her as she truly was.
She remembered how her hand shook, dialing his number on the house phone. How her breath had come in short gasps, and how he’d asked if she was all right. This boy – her boy – was so kind and sweet, caring and gentle. To reveal herself and risk losing him was the idea of a fool.
But hiding from him was painful, heart-wrenching. Those loving smiles cut into her, lacerating her conscious and soul, making it almost impossible to fake a smile in return. How could she, when the most important secret in her world had been kept under lock and key, slowly suffocating her?
No longer would she lie to him, averting her gaze and avoiding his. No longer would she feel guilty for hiding her true nature from him. Her soul was beared, secrets laid out on the table for him to see – to accept or reject.
There was no noise or sound in the meadow except for her increasingly labored breathing. Despite all the promises she’d made to herself, tears sprang to her eyes. It had been so easy to swear that she’d stay detached if everything ended badly, but a different matter entirely now that she was here. It was terrible, this silence. It ripped and snarled at her, like a wild animal. She imagined it was getting ready to attack, to destroy everything that she held most dear.
He stepped closer to her, and she automatically recoiled. His mouth opened as if to say something, but another something in her eyes made him stop, pressing those beautiful, blood red lips of his into a thin line. She remembered her other promise to herself: that no matter what, she would not run. If she couldn’t stand being her true self with the one she most loved, then who could she relax with? Who could make her feel protected and adored, even knowing what she was. No. There would be no running. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes.
She could hear his tentative steps forward, closer to those amazing and yet terrible . . . things. A hand upon her wings made her jump ever so slightly, but his voice quietly reassured her. “Shh.” She could hardly breathe as his hands explored each single solitary feather. At times he murmured – or at least she thought he did – but there was no definite statement to be seen yet.
The sun was beginning to rise higher in the sky, chasing the soft mist and fog away and drying the dew that dripped from the millions of grass blades that made up the meadow. Her parents would be waking soon, and she wished he’d hurry up and reject her – she really didn’t want to explain her tears.
He ran his fingers through her feathers, and she had to admit that it felt good. But then they were gone, and she knew that the end would be coming soon. She’d thank him for being with her, even for such a brief amount of time. It had been a happy period in her life, and it would always be cherished. She was so caught up in preparing her speech that she almost didn’t hear his breathed words, barely audible.
And suddenly, as he spoke her name, she knew: he would not leave. For her name had been uttered with such love and devotion that she couldn’t believe it, couldn’t believe any of it.
She spun around – mind racing to catch up – and there he was, waiting patiently for her with that beautiful grin of his. He wrapped his arms around her without hesitation, wings and all. “My wonderful girl,” he whispered. “My strange and wonderful girl.”
She laughed, tears in her eyes, but now for a completely different reason. “How can you still love me?” she asked, looking up into his eyes. “You’ve seen my real self, and still stay?” But he just shook his head, drawing her closer. “No matter what you are, there is nothing that will keep me from loving you.”
And for years to come, far into the future, she still remembered that perfect, unique moment. Nothing material lasts forever, but she knew those loving words would be eternal.