Chspter One. Surrounded by Love
My heart was pounding out of my chest, as I came to… I was breathing heavily, gasping for air. My vision was blurry; the bed was rocking like a sailboat under me, making me dizzy and nauseous. Four dancing shapes turned to one solid, but still blurry, almost impossible to make sense of… a muffled and distant voice resounded around me.
Suddenly sound broke through, too loud to bare.
I pressed at my nose bridge, squeezing my eyes together. A piercing noise was drilling into my ears. As soon as it had appeared, it faded again. Reopening my eyes, adjusting to the surroundings, the shape before me, turned from a blurry Salvador Dali painting to my own familiar and loving uncle; Nicolas was sitting before me; some of his hair in a ponytail, some of it resting at the shoulders, his eyes were gleaming at me. Multiple thoughts rushed through my mind, impossible to grab hold of. The dizziness remained within me as I kept focus on Nicolas. Breathe. I drew in a long breath.
My entire body was sore, adjusting my position; soft and warm fingers were slightly caressing my hand.
Kevin appeared next to Nicolas, glancing at me through his black Ray Ban glasses. Exhaustion rushed over me; struggling to focus on either of them.
“Honeypie…” Kevin’s voice seemed echoed, as my eyes turned to him, replying simply with an “Hmm.” He stepped to the bed, sitting down at the edge, taking my hand. “What’s the last thing you remember?” Kevin gazed at me, with a wondering look.
My eyes closed; everything was appearing in flashes; a flicker of speeding images, suddenly my body hit some cold water, in a gasp my eyes opened; a bit frightened for not remembering more. I stared chillingly at Nic, remembering he was the last person I had seen.
“What happened to me?” I asked not sure I wanted to know, he began telling me about the darkness that had infiltrated my heart and how Zeus saved my life.
My heart was speeding, and tears were filling up my eyes, a tightening appeared in my chest, choking up, breathing heavier. I had been on the brink of death, for the second time in my life. Sitting before these incredible uncles of mine, gratefulness filled my body and soul.
They had been taking so much from me yet giving me back so much. Tears kept pressing in my eyes, making my visions blurry, I shut my eyes together, as the wet drops of gratitude ran down my cheeks.
The door was violently pushed open, revealing Ryan. My mouth curved into a smile and a laughter spread, filling me with instant happiness. He rushed to me, with a huge smile glued to his face, placing his hands on my neck, pressing his forehead against mine in a joined laughter. The unmistakable spark lit inside me, as a joyful tear glided down my cheek. I placed my hands on his arms, and his lips pressed on mine, sending a warm sensation through me. His head pulled away, and his hand carefully touched my stomach, in a fatherly love. I placed my hand on top of his, as his eyes turned to Kevin.
“How’s the baby?” He asked excitingly, Kevin pulled a smile, suggesting that we would see for ourselves; pulling the ultrasound machine to the bed, as I laid down, pulling up my shirt. Ryan was sitting at the edge, holding my hand, kissing it a bit. Kevin placed a cold jelly on my stomach, moving the instrument over my belly. A bubbling sensation went through me, seeing the tiny person safely inside my womb. I was rejoiced seeing a little life inside, not affected by all the chaos and darkness.
There was a knocking on the door; Dean appeared with Emma in his embrace, followed by Hayden with a sleeping Jamie, and finally; Richard. Seeing my twins, made all the dizziness and exhaustion go away. Kevin turned on the sound; rapid and steady heartbeats filled the room, and all my worry and trouble was no longer present.
Ryan’s hand squeezed mine, our fingers wrapping. They were all in awe of what they were seeing and hearing, joining in on the bed. Emma was waving her arms; I reached out, holding her peachy hand.Kevin dried my stomach, throwing me a smile, handing Ryan a photo of the baby, with a smile he slid it into his pocket.
Dean handed over Emma, and I pulled her into my embrace, kissing her raspberry cheek.
My dear uncles had been running some tests, telling me that everything was fine, but they wanted me to stay in bed for a few hours, getting some rest. As my loving husband and his brother took the twins into their arms; kissing their rosy cheeks, Hayden got seated next to the bed. Dean followed the others, leaving the room, and my uncles turned to their work.
I leaned back on the bed, getting comfortable, glancing at my dearest friend by my side, his eyes observed me.
“Forget the past, forget the pain and remember what an incredible woman you are…” The shine from his magnificent Topaz-Blue eyes cast to me, as his mouth curved into a proud smile, with a hand on my cheek.
“Everything will be okay, Sugar!” Hearing those words, made me smile, leaning my head into his hand. If there was one person in the world, who could make truth to those words, it was Hayden, being with him made everything seem right in the world. A buzzing sensation spread within me; my lips were trembling, wet tears running down my cheek.
“…You are my hero.” I cried to him, sobbing happily, as his eyes were gleaming, filling with shiny tears too.
Being wrapped in a blanket of kindness and safety; His lips kissed my forehead, and he stroked my hair.
Our peaceful moment was interrupted by the guys; we glanced at them; Ryan with my cover over his shoulder, Dean with a tray with a cup of lavender tea.
Richard with his poetry book, under his arm, made me smile wider. My devoting husband placed the cover over me, wrapping me with it, kissing my forehead, sitting down and kissing my hand. As my eyes glanced at Hayd again, he was smiling. Dean placed the tray in front of me, sitting next to Ryan. With a quick gaze cast at me, Richard opened the book, reading from it.
She had stars behind each eyelid and a galaxy in her soul; that drew people to her endless heart, like the pull of a black hole. She was made of Earth and Fire, of wishes cast on shooting stars.
A brand new solar system, unlike the ones they’d known so far, with constellations ever changing. No one could memorize her skies, and they thought the thing for them to do, was bring her to their size. They shrunk the universe within her, told her, that her vast expanse was wrong that she should make her life much smaller if she wanted to belong. As they collapsed her world around her, she felt her inner stars grow old. Until her life was far too heavy, for her once strong arms to hold, you might wonder how it happened, but I guess that it makes sense, because life becomes much heavier, when it’s the universe condensed.
As Richard lifted his eyes to me, I had faded off to a peaceful sleep, beyond any sleep I had ever experienced before, he softly closed the book, smiling. They all four observed me for a few minutes, Hayden stood up from his seat, kissing my forehead. Dean stepped closer, glancing at me lovingly, stroking my cheek, kissing my hair, he moved the tray. Richard smiled, happily, taking the book under his arm, strolled to me and kissed my cheek. Ryan smiled at all three of them, who observed me one more time, before leaving the room. I was wonderfully rested, after what seemed like days of sleep, stretching my arms over my head, and rubbing my eyes. I supported myself, pushing myself up on the bed. Turning my eyes to Ryan, who was smiling at me.
There was a slight knock on the door, and he pulled a wider smile, giving me a soft kiss. I threw him a suspicious look, as he strolled to the door, opening it; Revealing my dear brothers and sister, they stormed to the bed, and a satisfied sensation filled me.
Elijah came to me, his gorgeous blue eyes staring straight at me with a glimmer on his face. He carefully kissed my forehead, sitting down in the seat Ryan had just been in, he was still standing at the door, seeing my brothers surround me, he sent a quick smile toward me and headed out. Josh leaned down kissing my cheek, giving me a warm sensation, he sat at the foot of the bed. Chad came to me with Elisha by his side. They both hugged me, kissing my cheek. They were all observing me for a few minutes before any of them spoke.
“Who would have thought, that our baby sister would turn out to be so bad ass, who could accomplish so much.” Josh hinted proudly, I tilted my head at him, rolling my eyes; shaking my head.
“I’m lying in a sick-bed, ordered to be bedridden by my two uncles… I don’t think, that counts as bad ass.” I added, not feeling particularly strong.
“Come on, sweetie, you cheated death… twice! If that’s not bad ass, I don’t know what is…” Elijah suggested, viewing around at the others.
I turned my eyes to Elisha, who was shaking her head. As the only girls, we were outnumbered, so we had to stick together, against our crazy brothers, our eyes met in a joined head shake.
They looked at us, waving their arms in the air; pulling their shoulders, we shared small laughter.
Josh turned, tilting his head, gazing into my eyes.
“Come on now; I’m serious… I’m just saying that I’m proud of you.” He added I nodded thankfully to him. They all observed me as if they knew something I didn’t, which wouldn’t surprise me. I was always the last to know; they told me that our dear father had planned a celebration, as the others left to get ready; Chad stayed back with me, getting seated in the chair next to me, taking my hand. Our eyes met, I noticed how much he had changed; his wonderful smile holes and trimmed beard. His hair was pulled away, and there was something different about his eyes; they were gleaming, I was observing him.
“Chad?” I whispered, he threw me a smile, but something seemed wrong about that smile, his behavior concerned me, he flashed his eyes around the room; before he turned his eyes back, having a far-off look in his eyes, clearly fighting tears.
His shining blue eyes gazed into mine, as he took hold of my hands.
“I guess… I’m just really sorry…” He confessed with the hint of a tear, he drew in a deep breath, getting ready to continue, as my hand was stroking his, he glanced down for a minute, before lifting his eyes.
“…about what we did to you…. …we lied to you; we caused all of this… look at you, you just barely made it. I wish I could take it all back.” A tear ran down his cheek; he dried it off.
“Sometimes memories of better times, sneak out my eyes and roll down my cheek.” He admitted with a shimmer in his eyes, which touched my soul; making me emotional, his heart was lifted as he shared these words with me, something he had wanted for a long time; in a quick move, his arms embraced me.
I sensed how badly he felt about this, but still, I couldn’t help but feel neglected; I had been through hell more than once, because of what they did.
Something moved in the corner of my eye, discovering my mother, beautifully dressed for the evening; holding a book in her hands, stepping closer; handing me the book with a smile, it had been passed down through generations of great women of our family.
She quickly glanced at the sleeping twins in their bed, before wrapping her arms around me, her motherly love flooded to me; she was one of the only persons I didn’t blame; she had been unaware of the choices the others had made. As soon as she had appeared in the room, she disappeared again. Curiosity crawled within me, holding the book, curious to know the contents, carefully the front of the book slid across my fingers, as the book was opened;
Madelin Blake. Nanzi Blake Jackman. Kimberly Ann Jackman. Maria Reynolds Jackman.
A glorious star in the Heavens saw its reflection in the ocean and fell in love; it flew down toward Earth; when it hit the water, it turned into the first Starfish. In time a magic cave of love and life formed around it. This is a special place, but only one who found True Love; can enter. – M.B.
In a small thump, the book was closed, making me pull a smile; wonderful words were spread across those ancient pages, incredible words; from the most inspiring ladies of Serendia; a slight touch of honor, and gratitude sprinkled within me.
The quietness of The Heart drew me in; everybody else had sunk into their seats, in the Dining Room, after enjoying one of Elijah’s famous meals. He was a wonderful chef; always sitting with my mother in the kitchen as a kid; helping along with the food and helping a few times a week at our local Café Cozy, taught him good.
The grand white blank piano was presenting itself beautifully at the stage. My body was light as air, as my feet carried me over the floor, my fingers traveled over the smooth keys, before gently pressing them down; in angelic tunes, flooding through me, like a gust of new life, the melody danced through the room.
“You play beautifully!” Damon’s voice appeared behind me, making me smile unwillingly.
My head turned in a glance, at him just a few feet away. The tunes went on, as my fingers continuously pressed down the keys, as he strolled to me, joining me on the piano bench, as the melody finished.
He gazed into my eyes and something changed in his; his pupils expanded and retreated.
“You will not remember any of this?”
His voice appeared hypnotic, enchantment caught me, hypnotizing me with his words.
The softness of his lips, touched mine in a glimmer of a kiss; moving his head in a gaze, the intensity of his eyes, seemed to go deeper, then I had ever seen.
“I am so in love with you.” A scoff left him, knowing this secret of his, would never see the light of day, “…but, I don’t wanna burden you with anything…
I wish you didn’t have to forget about this!” The depth of his electric eyes, considered me in one more moment before he vanished in a rush.
Confusion made me wonder what had just happened, the sounds of the piano echoed inside my head, and then suddenly, – nothing.
An acoustic buzzing, filled The Heart from floor to ceiling, as people flooded through the doors.
The unstoppable buzz made me light-headed.
My father was moving carefree through the crowd, getting up on the stage; he cleared his throat, moving his eyes over everybody.
“I stand here so relieved to have my daughter safe in my presence, we have been through so much and lost so many, but she pulled through every time… I am forever grateful that she’s still among us, let’s take a moment of peace for the lost ones.”
He bowed his head, folding his hands in front of him, as a screen behind him turned on, showing pictures of the lost ones. I was out of breath, feeling the knife in my back, seeing Daniel’s picture. A panic settled over me, tightening in my chest, my breath heavy, as I mingled through the crowd, rushing to the doors.
I drew in a breath of air, coming outside our house; the ground was swaying underneath my feet, making me dizzy and nauseous; I lifted my eyes to the sky, taking a few deeper breaths, decreasing the dizziness. An overwhelm of betrayal and heartache flooded over me; like an on-going train.
How could I forgive them for what they had done?
A couple of gasps left me before I could breathe properly again; a flash crossed the sky, leaving a bright light, it fell and landed in the woods, not far from me.
My curiosity drew me into the dense forest, where a huge clear crystal with The Olympus Golden Lightning landed; a bright light, carved writing;
The Answer You Seek, You Will Find Within – Zeus.
Gazing over the lake, a few minutes later a strange sensation spread inside me; would I ever be able to forgive them? The stars were littering the sky above me; a deep sigh left me; I couldn’t shake the betrayal.
A figure appeared, drawing closer. Ryan strolled with casual steps toward me, pulling the hint of a smile; declaring that my father was about to say a few words. Reluctance occurred, something in me didn’t wanna go back, facing the people, who once betrayed me so deeply. His eyes glanced at me, awaiting reaction. In a silent moment, his hand grabbed mine, gently pulling me toward the great illuminated house.
“There she is… my beautiful daughter.” My father waved his arms, of pure excitement of my return to his loving gathering; with shining eyes, he went on; “She’s magnificent, always protecting us… Now it’s time to protect her!” He declared with such a love in his heart, making me a bit uplifted.
Quiet music mixed with cries from the baby monitor in Ryan’s pocket, we shared a smile as he paced toward The Pearl. In a turn, I spotted my father in the crowd. Drawing in a deep breath, I paced toward him, thanking him for the wonderful words.
My body warmed a bit as his soft lips carefully touched my skin, as soon as he had retrieved from the crowd, he was pulled back in, leaving me going for The Pearl. A calming humming flooded from our room, making me carefully sneak a peek, seeing Ryan in the middle of the room, rocking his loving daughter in his arms, humming a melody.
“I’ll love you forever; I’ll like you for always as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be…”
He wrapped her in a dome of love and protection; a lump appeared in my throat, two motherly tears appeared in my eyes and a breath-taking gust of energy flooded through me; he reminded me so much of my own dear father, and maybe… …after all, there was a glimmer of hope within me; touching me from deep within, there was a way I could someday forgive them. All I had to do, was find it. I tiptoed into the room, smiling at him and kissing Emma’s hair. Our eyes met with a smile, he leaned to me, meeting his lips with mine, in a love shed kiss, his forehead leaned against mine, with a smile.
“I am so happy…” The glimmer in his eyes, seemed brighter, as he touched my stomach; he had that familiar stare about him, revealing how happy, and grateful he was; having everything he ever wanted. Happiness was bubbling within me, spreading like fireworks to every corner of my soul. His body moved closer, as his lips touched mine; we sunk into the kiss, his hand was carefully on my waist and then in my hair, sending a thrill through me.
He tucked in his little treasure, leaving to see the guys, he guided me toward the lake, where he left me with a kiss. The Waning Gibbous Moon shed its glow upon me; I sincerely wanted to forgive them.
A slightly warm tingle started in my hands, and I knew that the darkness was still inside me, just waiting to burst out. I was taking a few deep breaths, feeling a bit hopeless.
Damon can help you!
Zeus’s voice was clear in my head. A deep sigh left my mouth, holding my arms at my side, shaking my head a bit; trying to get rid of the tingle.
To get my mind off everything about darkness and tingle, I dived into the journal from my mother.
The story was playing on repeat; I was certain, that the place was real, and that we had another adventure ahead of us; curiosity and wonder, spread across the guys’ faces, the following morning, moving my eyes over them, one by one. Ryan, Richard, Dean, Hayden, Damon, and Nicolas. Their eyes kept moving from the book on the table to me, aching with curiosity.
A satisfied smile formed on my face, it thrilled me, keeping them curious with my secrets.
They were quiet, and patiently waiting; my smile grew as Damon’s eyes traveled to me; a suspicious look stared at me, his eyes followed the book as it was lifted from the table to my hands; with a cleared throat, the story began…
Reading the words with such care, they were infected with much more wonder, unwilling laughter sneaked in occasionally, between the words. Damon’s stare was consistent, his eyebrows lifted with a head-shake; he was always the one, who joined in on my crazy ideas, he simply couldn’t resist, and surely after the story, he was the first one to join me, as the guys followed. The wise and educated professor Nic was, wanted to take a closer look at the book. He read it again, and then one more time after that, searching for a hidden message.
He was whispering to himself; his eyes narrowed, then he moved his glasses from his head to his nose; he was captured in his world, he flashed his eyes around the room, whispering again, before turning his eyes to the book.
“Nic?” No word of mine broke through the wall between our world and his, calling his name one more time, made him look up, observing me.
“Huh?” He mumbled, not realizing my call to him, a wide smile spread across his lips, making us wonder; what secrets of his, made him smile.
“…I know where we are going!”
Sun flickered through the trees, passing by outside the window going toward the cave. Nic didn’t want to tell us where it was; he was driving in front of Ryan’s car; leading us toward it.
Could Damon enter, had he found his true love. Could any of us enter, was the love we all had, real?
We would all be put to the ultimate test if our soul mates belonged to us. I glanced at Ryan driving, my eyes flashed from him to Damon in the backseat, next to Dean. Then a squint at Ryan again, before turning my eyes back to the surroundings outside.
“Damon?” A smile spread across my lips as the words had left my mouth; knowing what his answer would be.
“What now?” Damon teased.
“Have you found your true love?” My mind was aching to know as my impatience kicked in.
“You will see!” He simply told me, knowing I was dying to know, laughing a bit at himself.
We were slowing down, gazing out the windshield, the mountain stretched before us; a huge cave entrance was at the bottom of the mount. Stepping out of the cars, we gathered in front of the cave.
My breath became heavy, and my hands were tingling, a bubbling sensation spread within me, filling me with amazement. Ryan’s hand grabbed onto mine, giving it a loving squeeze. My heart was beating faster as Hayden stepped closer to the cave; a blue magnetic shield guarded the cave.
“Here it goes!” Hayden told himself, taking a deep breath, ambling into the cave, turning around in awe of the fact that he had entered, which made me smile. The guys went through, too; leaving Damon and me as the last ones standing; turning my eyes, discovering a concern for him.
“What are you waiting for?” He asked nervously with a tilted head, jerking his head toward the entrance.
In a deep breath, my eyes glanced back at him; my hands were shaking a bit, trembling even.
“What are you?” I asked back, with frowned eye-brows his head turned quickly toward the entrance, then back at me with a tilted head.
“What if I can’t enter?”
I smiled at him, taking his hand; pacing toward the cave, going through the shield; rushing energy flooded through me, and an amazed expression appeared on his face, realizing he had entered.
Ryan paced to me, having a huge smile on his face, his hands softly touched my arm, pulling me closer, pressing his lips against mine in a loving kiss.
Relief settled over me; Ryan and I were truly meant to be together. We all had found our One True Love; the question was; who was Damon’s?