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The fragrance of roses enveloped me as I stood, eyes closed and facing the sun. Becoming antsy, I shift back and forth on my feet and my fingers fight amongst themselves. Somewhere I hear the brush of feet against grass, hands on bark. But that’s miles away. The sound that really sets my senses alive is the breath of the person somewhere around me. I can’t pinpoint his exact location, but he’s close and as long as he is, the beating of my heart won’t cease. Amongst us, it’s a phenomenon. Unexplainable in science.
He glides closer, his heart evidence of the rare occurrence happening between us. I fight the urge to surrender my eyes to his figure, even though it’s a close battle. I freeze, the smell of him growing closer. A woodsy scent intertwines with the aroma of roses. I can feel him, lingering somewhere inches maybe a foot around me. My heart rate spikes and a heavy chuckle in my right ear tell me just how close he is. I feel myself tense, suddenly defensive; the animal instinct locking into place.
“Natalie? Isn’t this what you want?” he whispers in my ear, his arms snaking around my waist and holding me tight. The sigh that falls from my lips should be enough for me to turn to him and walk into my destiny. But it’s not.
“Damien, you know under any other circumstances, this would be more than what I want. But the war is still raging. How can we do this, when we are needed?” I ask, stepping away from his grasp. My eyes remain closed, the very sight of him enough to change my mind. He lets me slide away, knowing that it’s no good fighting against me. Even in this state, I am stronger.
“We’ve been given a gift, Natalie. One we should use. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve felt so…,” he trails off. Felt so human was his unfinished question. How could he want this, and not care for the rest of them?
“What about Sophia? Frankie? Your mom? Damien, you’d leave them behind. We couldn’t be a part of this world anymore. Could you live without them? Or worse, could they go on without you?” my questions filled the air, as if drifting away to a much more desirable time. I feel the sting as tears flow through the cracks of my eyelids. A hand cups my cheek, the thumb brushing the tears away. How can I want this and want nothing to change.
“Don’t cry Natalie. We may not understand this, whatever this is but we never will if we don’t explore it. Come with me, be with me. We can do this together,” the words spill into the silence. His thumb brushes my bottom lip and I tilt my head upwards, knowing exactly where his eyes are. My lids flutter, but the world comes out as a blur as I snap them closed.
Suddenly his warm breath overwhelms my face, and even though I can’t see him, I know he’s hovering right in front of my face. The tip of his nose brushes against mine and I sigh.
“Open your eyes,” his heavy breath blows out over my face. My eyes flick open and I have no doubt in my mind that going with him, being with him his perfectly right. He pulls my hands up to his shoulders and I don’t fight him. He wraps his hands back around me and pulls me close into him. He smiles, and then his lips feather against mine.
The kiss is short and sweet, nothing compared to others but it still takes my breath away. I risk another look up into his eyes, smooth chocolate brown eyes that can read every thought, feel every emotion deep within me. I’m torn, if ever a time I needed a flat line, I sure as hell needed it now. All of these emotions, since being dulled a hundred years ago, ripped my heart in two. I give humans credit, they go through a lot of emotional distress, unnecessary anguish, but still I give them credit.
For the first time in a hundred years, tears spring up into my eyes. Then an overpowering feeling of rage overcame me. Rage at his asking me to choose him over my family; for this stupid curse, or “gift”; and pure, raw rage at myself, here crying like a stupid emotional human. I pull away, half expecting him to pull me closer, unwilling to let me be alone. But he doesn’t. I look at him and see so many emotions flick through his eyes, his face. He nods, and looks away from me towards the warmth of the sun.
And suddenly I am flying.