Chapter One. Ripple of Shock
A spread of panic crawled through the room, as my father returned with troubling news; he stood before us as the strong king he was, but his face was troubled, which concerned me greatly. My eyes met with Damon’s in a joined nod.
The sun was setting, and the civil twilight was slowly settling over the land. At the horizon, clouds were forming and building up like glorious mountains. The Moon was beginning to show over the cloudy mountain. The car was driving fast on the highway. I gazed over at Damon, he ripped his eyes from the road to me, then back. I could sense the anger build within him, as we were drawing closer to Marblehead, we were holding our breaths, unaware what to expect.
An evil grin spread on Evaline’s face entering the cave; her eyes turned to Damon, who squinted back at her.
“They’re coming for you!”
Her laughter echoed in the cave ceiling, sending a cold chill through me, she leaned forward in her seat, as her black hair framed her pale face, she was staring straight at him.
“They will be here all of them… …You should never have changed my son…” She started shaking her head at him, leaning back in her seat, satisfied. Damon narrowed his eyes, as the fury built inside him.
“There’s no power on Earth, that can stop me from protecting my family…” He drew in a deep and heavy breath, stepping closer as he spoke.
“…I finally have everything, and there’s no way in hell that anybody is gonna take that away!” He added strongly, squatting down in front of her, his eyes lifted to hers, with a wondering stare.
“Where is he?” He wondered, her laugh grew more vicious, shaking her head.
Damon glanced at me over his shoulder, standing up. He reached me, dragging me outside. He stepped a few feet away from me, placing his hands at his sides, viewing over the horizon, shaking his head. With careful steps, I came closer, placing a calming hand on his shoulder; in a quick move, he turned to face me with another sigh.
“We’re not gonna get anything out of her; we have no leverage… …let’s go back!” He scoffed, sending me an apologetic look. He blamed himself for losing the leverage when he turned Donovan, she had nothing to lose anymore.
My father drew in a deep breath, almost holding it seeing Damon and I in his presence again, Damon shook his head, and my father let out a deep sigh. He turned his eyes to my mother, nodding to her.
She stepped outside, holding out her arms with eyes closed, whispering; Lovem, ego invocabo te.
A thunderbolt flashed across the sky and vibrations were slightly shaking the ground. Three bright beams of light flashed down; Zeus, Perseus, and Theseus raised before her; standing strongly with one hand behind their back and one on the chest, bowing their heads humbly, to the Queen before them. Zeus reached his arms toward his long-lost daughter, pulling her closer as his lips touched her forehead in a fatherly love; he held out his arm, she wrapped hers around it; guiding them inside.
Everybody was gathered as they appeared in The Heart; creating a light in the room. My father stepped humbly in front of Zeus, bowing his head in a nod, which Zeus returned with an equally respectful nod. Theseus and Perseus stood loyally beside him with hands behind their back.
“Almighty Zeus, we seek your guidance… a way to defeat this darkness upon us…” Zeus stood in silence for a while. The halo-ish light from his aura seemed brighter now. My eyes sneaked to Perseus and Theseus, two heroes; their Roman Armor gave them a frightening appearance, their aura light wasn’t as bright as Zeus’, but their skin was shining like gold. Zeus’ eyes turned to me, then back to my father.
“There might be something you can do… …do you still have the ability syringe?” He wondered, my father answered with a nod.
Ryan and Hayden went to the vault in the basement to retrieve the syringe, coming back Ryan was holding a black wooden box. My eyes traveled from him to Hayden, then Damon sharing a nod, we joined hands, closing our eyes. In a rush, we appeared in front of the caves at Marblehead.
My heart was beating faster, and a gasp left my mouth, as blood left my head, spinning the room. Coming into the cave… The ropes were lying on the floor… Evaline was gone!
Disbelief crawled to Hayden and Ryan’s faces. Damon’s breath became heavy, as angry grunts left him. He bolted to the chair, throwing it across the room, it hit the wall in a loud crash, splintering into pieces. Ryan went to him, placing a hand on his shoulder, his breathing lowered. That incredible ability Charlie had amplified within his father was now visible to us. Hayden stepped closer to the two of them, wondering what the hell to do now. The leader Ryan was, tried to calm both, as we joined hands again, rushing back to The Heart.
As we appeared in the middle of the room, it went quiet; everybody turned their attention to us. Ryan lifted the box toward my father, who moved his eyes to the box, then quickly back to Ryan, who lowered his head for a while, before lifting his eyes humbly, revealing what we had discovered in the caves.
Shocking gasps flooded through the room, and my heart sunk a little. Everything was spiraling out of control, with Donovan and Evaline released my fears about her plans were confirmed.
Whisper spread in The Heart; concerned chattering was exchanged, as my father, Zeus and the SPF was figuring out what to do. They were standing by the stage, whispering in arguments. My eyes turned to Captain Stevens by one of the columns; he leaned against it with his arms crossed over his chest. His eyes turned to me as I approached him, he had a suspicious look, coming all the way to him, my arms crossed over my chest too, standing by his side. I viewed the room, and my entire family gathered; this room would always bring us together for happy occasions, but tonight the room was filled with worry and concern. My eyes flashed back to him; this certain look remained on his face like he knew something he wouldn’t want to share. His hypnotic blue eyes flashed to me, faking a smile. What the hell did he know?
“You know something!” I hinted, surprising him.
“What… no…!” He exclaimed, narrowing his eyes, lifting his shoulders almost to his ears, he was hiding something, but he didn’t seem concerned about me wanting to know, he seemed concerned by what he was hiding… I tilted my head at him, not quitting so easily. As his eyes met with mine. He sighed; knowing all too well, when I put my mind on something I wouldn’t let it go.
“God, sometimes I hate you for your goddamn stubbornness!” He whispered to me, his arms fell to his sides as he observed the group by the stage, then moved his eyes back to me, stepping closer, holding his head close to mine, with his hands on my arms.
“I’m concerned about Mel!” He confessed, flashing his eyes at her; my eyes followed his to Melissa standing among Katie, Jill, and Lexi. In a quick move, my eyes returned to him frowning my eyebrows with wonder.
“She has been acting strange lately, she seemed so happy a few months ago when we started going out, but now…” He paused trying to find the words to explain, leaving out a sigh. “…She’s sneaking out at night… …always talking on the phone, when I question her about it, she always pushes it off or says it’s work….” He moved his eyes to Mel and the group of girls. “…A few weeks ago, I tried to reach her… …I called her work….” He went quiet again; I squinted at Melissa. “…. She wasn’t there.”
My eyes quickly turned to him again with a wondering look. “…She hadn’t been to work for months.” It seemed like the shock of that phone call rushed over him all over again, leaving me concerned.
“Please don’t tell anybody… not yet at least, I wanna know more about it first.” His eyes were serious as they gazed at me, I simply nodded.
Suddenly Ryan appeared by our side, telling Jake they were about to take off, to see if they could find anything from the air.
Jake nodded, putting his hand on my arm, gently giving it a squeeze before taking off. Ryan seemed to wonder about his behavior, as his eyes followed Jake. When he was out of sight, his eyes turned back to me. My concerned face troubled him, as he pulled me into his embrace; he didn’t speak, because he knew that no words could take away that concern. Placing my head on his chest, I could hear his steady heartbeat; he was always so cool. He was the leader; he didn’t show his weakness. His soft lips kissed my hair, his upper body pulled away from mine, telling me that he and the guys would be alright. Our lips met in a tender kiss; then he took off.
Jake’s statement about Mel, remained in my mind, troubling me. My eyes turned to her and the girls again; they were standing with arms crossed over their chests, chatting concerned. I strolled to them; Jill seemed relieved to see me. Katie and my eyes met in a faked smile, before I squinted at Melissa, then back at Jillian, who waited for me to tell her what was going on. I tried to assure her that the guys would be fine and that we would find Evaline and Donovan. I knew she wasn’t satisfied with that answer, but at that point, I didn’t know what else to tell them. I wasn’t even sure myself if the words I was telling them were true. I faked a smile, strolling to the bar, where Bobby stood by his favorite spot. He too faked a smile, pulling his shoulders.
A strange sensation had mixed with the concern in the room; my father and Zeus were still contemplating what to do, Theseus and Perseus had taken off with the guys.
My mother had left the room, to keep an eye on the kids with Emily and Candice. My siblings were sitting by the small tables contemplating too. Even the Covenant Brothers had appeared standing by the stair, viewing around at everybody. Observing the room, I noticed Kevin sitting by the piano, gazing up at the portrait of Nic.
Oh god Nic, he was the one who would know what to do in a situation like this.
Turning my eyes back to the girls, Melissa was gone… I searched the room surprised to see her disappearing through the double doors, I rushed to the girls, asking them about it. They had no idea where she had gone; she was turning before our eyes, from a loving friend to a stranger. I kindly asked the girls to join me in the kitchen, to make some coffee for everybody. As I was filling the coffee and the girls were staking cups on a tray, I glanced at them over my shoulder.
“Tell me something, Lexi… is it the first time Mel is acting strange like this?” My question remained unanswered for a while, leaving them quiet, they viewed around at each other with concerned looks, Alexis shook her head. I turned on the coffee maker, turning toward them, leaning against the counter, observing them. Of the three of them, Jill seemed the most concerned; she started breathing a bit heavier, getting tears in her eyes, concerning all of us. The girls helped her get seated, and I quickly handed her a glass of water, her hand was shaking as she was drinking it, tears rolled down her cheeks.
In slow movements she put the glass down, revealing a shocking revelation.
Two days prior Jillian had overheard Melissa talking, coming to Mel’s room she had stopped hearing the words; blood and kill. Frozen she remained by the door, as the cruel words continued; Their blood will be spilled. She had sounded like a mad person, scaring Jilly greatly, she quickly rushed to her own room. Hayden had embraced her in his arms as she cried, reluctant on telling him what was wrong.
A single tear slid down Jillian’s cheek, as I placed my hand on top of hers, asking if she thought Melissa knew, that she had heard her. She shook her head, my eyes lifted to Lexi and Katie. I explained to them that they were not to tell anyone, I would deal with this, with the guys when they got back.
Anger was building inside me, from the revelations that Melissa was betraying us.
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Chapter Two. Enchantment of The Moon
A timeless bond had formed between Damon and me, his love for me was strong, and with that, the only way to return it; was to find his True Love.
A spicy scent spread in the kitchen, as Damon was stirring in a pot, he had kindly offered to sit down with me, over dinner.
“So, you’re cooking?” My voice seemed surprised; he glanced at me over his shoulder; pulling a smile.
“Yeah, something wrong with that?” He pulled his shoulders, considering my eyes, I shook my head, jumping up on the kitchen counter, he moved to the counter, cutting vegetables.
“So, do tell me; how does it feel to be a vampire?”
He squinted at me, stopped cutting, surprised by the question like he hadn’t been asked that before, ever.
His eyes narrowed with a stare of remembrance; then he shared the story with me;
He had been abandoned, left along with an excruciating thirst for blood; lingering in the shadows of the day since he wasn’t provided with a Day Light ring. In the darkness of the night, he prayed on the vulnerable and innocent.
His head bowed down for a silent moment, his guilt troubled him, he was merely a shadow of his former self, a person he would do anything in the world, not to get back too, he lifted his eyes to me.
My eyes frowned, and a worried expression appeared on my face, he nodded to me, making sure he would be fine, before continuing the story;
Left in the shadows, he was battling this thirst and control;
he was a wild animal, turning from a kind person to a cruel and vicious beast.
Our connection seemed to grow closer, the lack of control was all too familiar to me, a smile spread on his lips, and the incredible light in his eyes appeared. He shoved the vegetables into the pot, putting the lid on it, then he stepped a few steps closer to me, leaning against the table with his back, crossing his arms, exhaling deeply, going on with his story;
Times had luckily changed, everything was great now. His senses were heightened, he could see clearer, smell better, hear strongly, and he felt everything so intense, a feeling of being indestructible had filled him, leaving him confident.
A couple of silent stares were exchanged between us, as we got seated, sharing a smile, the food smelled incredible, and my mouth started watering, suddenly Damon looked up, listening to something.
“Well, well, well… cooking for my wife, huh Damon?!” Ryan’s mocking voice came from behind us, where he appeared, followed by the guys. Immediately a tension was created. I narrowed my eyes at him, getting instantly furious about his statement, my breath became heavy, as Damon stared back at Ryan.
“Yeah, some of us can actually cook for her!” Damon said harshly, I broke their cross-fire, standing up from my seat, taking the guys into the living room; slamming the door behind me, staring them down.
A deep sigh left me, turning my eyes to them.
“What the hell is your problem with him?” The words left my mouth in a loud rage; leaving me waiting for an explanation, my arms crossed in front of my chest.
“He’s looking at you like he wanna eat you!” Hayden told me suspiciously, making me tilt my head, frowning my eyebrows.
“Are you kidding me! You should be ashamed of yourself! Give him a fucking chance, already!” My eyes narrowed, squinting at him with a head shake, my eyes glanced over all of them, turning on my heels, storming past the kitchen, pacing into the forest.
Damon had followed me, going carefully behind me with hands in his pockets. In a sudden turn, my eyes met his; my hands remained at my side, – scoffing.
He gently moved closer, his hands slid over my arms, and his eyes told me; that everything would be okay, the strength of his arms, pulled me into his embrace. His cheek touched mine, in a low whisper;
“You can’t blame them for looking out for you….”
“They shouldn’t treat you like this!” I sighed, his eyes met mine again, as he realized something.
A clear double terminated quartz crystal, glistened in his hand; enchanting me with its beauty, turning my eyes up at him, in a deep exhale he shared with me, that he had found it in the Love Cave, it had been glowing, and as he picked it up, it had stopped. He explained a bit curious himself. Nic would always know about something like this, so we strolled to his room, slightly knocking on the door, pushing it open, in a creak. Nic looked up from his work as we entered, pulling a smile as his glasses were resting at the tip of his nose, he pressed them up.
“What can I do, for the two of you, this evening?” Nicolas wondered with a glimmer in his eyes.
The grey silver in his hair was shining a bit as he tilted his head at us. Damon stepped toward him, holding the crystal out in his hand, Nic glanced at the stone and then at Damon, as he explained to him where he had found it.
Amazement spread on Nic’s face, and an unwilling smile made his eyes shine, telling us; it was a rare occurrence coming across this magical stone; that when he touched it, the energy rushed into him.
He seemed a bit skeptic by Nic’s story but listened. Nic assured him that this was a gift, bestowed upon him; it would help find his True Love, as the words left Nic’s mouth. Damon’s eyes widened; the crystal would start to glow when he held it toward the girl of his dreams. Nic glanced down at the stone in a nod, lifting his eyebrows. Damon closed his hand around it, nodding thankfully. He pulled a wide smile, as we retrieved from the room, creaking the door closed; leaving Nic to tend to his beloved work.
We started down the stairs, abruptly he stopped me, making me turn, his eyes were shining like a child on Christmas Eve; moving the crystal toward me, nothing happened.
An unwilling smile spread, making me smile wider then I wanted too. The blue in his eyes was brighter in this light, gleaming at me.
“You really think I was your true love?”
He pulled his shoulders, joining me in my laughter, realizing that perhaps; I wasn’t his true love. I shook my head slightly at him, we shared a smile, continuing down the steps; coming to the lake, he glanced up at the great sky above; many pings of lights had appeared. Lifting my eyes to the spread of stars, a hypnotic state filled me; caught in a breath-taking moment, we shared a sigh of amazement, moving our eyes to each other, in a joined smile.
As one journey ended with the Love Cave, another began; Damon was to sit before numerous girls of the kingdom to find his mysterious One True Love. Honestly, I didn’t think he was so keen on the idea, to begin with, but since I agreed to play the piano, he thought it would be a good night after all.
A high and mighty throne was placed in front of the stage; Ryan, Richard, Dean, Hayden and Jake Stevens was standing on a line behind it, making sure some of the desperate girls, wouldn’t get to close. Everything was ready, taking my seat at the piano, placing my hands on the keys and glancing over at Damon, then at my father and Kevin, who was opening the doors, as my eyes turned to the keys, my fingers pressed down, in beautiful tunes.
Many girls passed by the crystal, yet no glowing light to see. The hopefulness that had been glued to Damon’s face earlier was fading as he came to me and sat down, having a short break, the tunes stopped, and my eyes turned to him.
“Shouldn’t you be over there?” I teased him with a smile, noticing the guys in the background, gathering around for a talk, my eyes glanced back at Damon.
“I would rather stay here with you….” He smiled, nudging my shoulder a bit, then he bowed his head for a few seconds, then turned his eyes back on me. “…this is hopeless!” He sighed, dragging a hand over his face. He stepped up from the piano-bench, shoved his hands into his pockets, turning around, heading back to the throne. A new crowd of girls, flooded into the room. As Damon sat down, the crystal fell out of his pocket, landing on the floor, and for a moment it seemed to shed a slight glow.
He bent down; picking it up, as he glanced back at me, he shook his head; he was done looking for girls, my reply was simply a nod, understanding his despair.
My father, Nicolas, and Kevin declared the search to be over, Damon strolled to me, having a resigned expression on his face, the girls retrieved from The Heart, and the guys strolled on with the other three gentlemen; leaving Damon and me, as the only ones left.
Gazing upon him again, his eyes had turned from the illuminating blue light to red and bloodshed vicious eyes, unrecognizable. It troubled me, nothing like this had happened around me; what was happening to him?
“What’s going on?” There was a pleading in my voice, as he grabbed hold of me, dragging me to the lake; his back was turned against me.
“What is with you?” My question was left in the air, unanswered, he was keeping his ground, not moving a muscle. He was quiet for another five minutes before he made a sigh, his breathing was steady, yet heavy. His hands had tightened into fists, trembling.
“My thirst for your blood is growing…” As the word left his mouth, a chill went down my back.
He slowly turned toward me, looking straight at me; his eyes now normal, he stepped closer as a breeze brushed against my face. The water was burbling around us, and he gazed intensely, as he reached me, taking hold of my hand, his behavior concerned me. He had that look to his eyes, a look I couldn’t place.
“…There’s something I have to tell you, something I should have told you a long time ago!” He confessed, sending a troubled sensation through me. He stepped closer, holding his cheek against mine, it was cold and rough on my skin, his breath was at my ear.
“I was the vampire, who was supposed to kill Daniel!”
A cold shiver went through my body; I couldn’t believe it. I moved my head from him, observing him, not believing what I was hearing. A questioning look appeared on my face as he exhaled another sigh.
“I was in position to attack, but then something happened…. Something in me was screaming for blood. I ran as fast as my legs could carry, coming to the Memory Forest, I saw you…” He stopped in his words, looking down in the ground, then lifted his head a little, considering me.
“I don’t know why, but ever since I came here; I have been craving your blood…. I couldn’t allow myself to take one single drop; I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop!” His exclaim troubled me a bit; he continued speaking in a brittle voice. “…the scent of your blood is intoxicating.” He confessed in a hypnotic state.
“I haven’t been feeding for weeks; I haven’t been able to keep anything down, blood bags, blood from the vain, nothing!” The resigned expression returned upon his face, seeing him this way concerned me.
My compassion for him reached deep; he shouldn’t be facing this all by himself. My fingers touched his cheek, gazing deeply into his eyes; they were shining like he was about to break down, – crying.
“Let me help you!”
His eyes turned quickly to me, instantly shaking his head, turning his eyes to the ground again.
“I can’t ask that of you!” His eyes glued to the ground.
“You don’t have to!” My hand was squeezing his, dragging him behind a tree so that we couldn’t be seen from either of the houses; the guys would freak out if they knew what was going on. My sleeve was pulled up; a concerned expression spread across his face, his hands carefully held under my arm, a nod assured him, that it was okay to continue; his eyes turned red, and bloodshed. My heart was pacing up it’s beating, as his fangs appeared, moving closer toward my arm.
In a pinching and burning, his teeth pierced through my flesh; the blood was flooding through me, rushing into his mouth, dizziness hit me; making the ground sway and everything was blurry. My arm became numb, as he kept drinking. A prickling jolt appeared inside me; suddenly a flash crossed my mind.
Seeing myself sitting at the piano with Damon, who softly pressed his lips against mine. I could sense the softness of his lips like he was kissing me at this moment.
Until that day, there was no recollection in my mind of that memory. Abruptly, his head moved from my arm; he dried the blood off his mouth with the back of his hand, his eyes slowly returned to his familiar gorgeous sky-blue. My wound quickly healed, as he nodded thankfully to me.
“I know you compelled and kissed me!”
I blurted, surprising myself, he apologized, expressing that he still had deep feelings for me and that he had great doubts about the crystal.
The Waning Gibbous Moon was casting a dimmed light over the surroundings at the lake, reflecting itself on the crystal water, burbling calmly.
My eyes glanced down at the journal in my hands, leafing through it, my fingers moved over the page, over the words.
Throughout my travels, I’ve never seen anything so beautiful and breath-taking as the Blue Shining Moon Stone. The energy it possesses is a whole new world of wondrous opportunities.
This is the time when mother moon’s energies are ripening and spilling over in such abundance, that with intention, you can use them like pure watery magic… to soothe, cleanse, heal and make new again.
Connect with her lunar magic through your heart… and she will hear your prayers, wash away your tears, purify and rejuvenate your soul. It is only found Once in a Blue Moon.
The next blue moon would occur on the last night of August.
In four days, where am I going, Madelin?
Like pure watery magic, the magical Water Caves in Main.
In a thump the book was closed, with an uplifted sensation I returned to The Pearl, asking Damon to join me on my trip to Main, he gladly accepted, and Ryan kindly offered to take the children.
A satisfying rumble appeared from Damon’s shining baby-blue Camaro, as we drove through the gate, the following evening. I leaned back in my seat, lifting my eyes to the sky; the moon was shining down through the window. He glanced at me, and back at the road. Uplifting music was streaming out through the radio; as he put his hand on mine, focusing on the road.
Trees flashed by outside, my eyes moved to The Full Moon; and a persistent wonder rushed over me; making me squint at him, taking a deep breath.
“Dam, there are so many stories about vampires, which ones are real?” I questioned, he squinted at me with a smile, then at the road, he scoffed and spoke;
“The sunlight is true; we are wearing our daylight rings, made by good Expressurs.” He looked down at his hand on the wheel; on his middle finger, around Lapis Lazuli stone in a silver ring was wrapping around it.
“…The transition, happens if I feed you my blood and you die with it in your system, if that happens you will wake up being very weak and hungry… after that, you have two hours to feed on human blood or die.” He explained, giving me a better idea of why he was the way he had been when I met him. He suddenly squinted at me; I glanced at him before he turned his eyes back on the road, he scoffed again, laughing a bit.
“…and you know what I hate, that Twilight bullshit theory with vampires glimpsing as diamonds in the sunlight.” He blurted, which made me laugh at him, I couldn’t agree more. Great laughter was shared between us, making me happy, he agreed to come.
After a long drive, we were standing in front of the caves as he lit a flashlight, following me into the cave; we continued down a small and narrow passageway. The walls were glimpsing with diamonds and crystals, as the light flashed around, lighting our way. A rippling waterfall was coming up ahead, as we came to a wider passageway, leading toward a cave room. Looking up; there was a hole in the ceiling, but no light was passing through it, yet.
Little by little a faded blue light entered the cave through the hole, spreading in the room. A bright blue glow appeared from a puddle in front of us; a blue round stone was glowing. I squatted down, pulling up my sleeve, reaching into the cold water, grabbing it. Damon handed me a bag; I placed the stone inside it.
A brighter light appeared from the other cave room, further away from us. We shared a wondering stare, heading toward the light. Like in a trance state, we moved toward the light, entering the other cave room filled with thousands of Blue Moonstones, the waterfall was rippling down in a pond, the stones were in the water, in the cave wall, everywhere.
This was the breath-taking moment Madelin had been describing in the journal.
The blue light surrounded us, giving me a rush of life. My hands were tingling as Damon gazed amazingly at me, I returned his stare with wonder.
“Believe it or not, even in this glow of all this treasure, you outshine it all!” He expressed, not believing his own eyes. I tilted my head, not believing him.
His eyebrows lifted, and his eyes became more serious. “…see for yourself!”
He pulled his shoulders, squinting down, my eyes followed his; seeing my own reflection in a puddle, a slight gasp left me amazed.
In the mix of the blue light, there was a bright white light shining, not around me, but from me; in a halo-ish glow. My aura was beaming with energy and life. My eyes quickly lifted to him, who pulled a satisfied smile with a light in his eyes.
“There… now you finally see you; through our eyes.” Relief was rushing through his words. Squinting down, disbelief rushed through me, it couldn’t be me shining like that, but it was.
Our eyes met, thankfulness was shining on me.
Suddenly the light went out in the cave, leaving us with the dimmed light from the flashlight.
My heart was uplifted as The Blue Moon Stone was placed into the glass cabinet in The Heart, along with The Family Crowns and The True Love Crystal. Damon and I were admiring the treasures, he put his arm around my shoulders, squeezing me.
Celebrating this treasure, my father had asked Ryan, Richard, Dean, and Hayden to stand before him with their loved ones, being honored for the bravery they put into their jobs.
Among my brothers and Damon and Stefan, we observed my guys, proudly. My father was standing before the brave men, looking from the first to the last in line. Pride was streaming from his eyes since they had moved into our home, he had been like a father to them, guiding and leading them to a better and brighter future. He shaped them into the men they were, and they all considered him as the father they had lost or never known; he ordered them to kneel. They all simultaneously knelled, glancing up at their leader, who asked them to repeat after him and in joined speech they spoke the words after my father.
Grand me courage, oh lord. For I am your servant and provide me with strength onto battle. That I may crush my enemies. As dust before the wind.
They all finished the words with such honor, pride, and passion. My father turned to Kevin, who handed him a silver sword with a white marble handle.
He gently placed it on each of their shoulders.
A bright light appeared on my father’s face as he gazed upon them. “Rise A Knight!”
Pride was gleaming from them, as they stood up, sharing proud expressions. Everybody started clapping at them.
A bubbling rush of love and joy filled me; tightening in my stomach, creating a lump in my throat as joyful tears were pressing in my eyes, and my hands were clapping along with the crowd. A proud and wide smile spread on my lips, seeing them pushing a little at each other’s shoulders, sharing joyful laughter. Ryan ambled to me, grabbing onto me, passionately pressing his lips against mine, as I wrapped my arms around him, feeling all his love surround me.
The guys grabbed a beer in the bar, cheering with each other as Ryan came to me, asking to speak with me, he took my hand, bringing me out onto the beauty of the night. Holding his arms around me, a warmth spread from him to me. I smiled at him; a happy sensation went through me.
“I’m sorry, I have been spending so much time with Dam….” He interrupted me with a kiss, his stubbles were pricking on my skin, and the smell of shaving lotion went through my nose, then he glanced at me, with loving eyes.
“Baby, I love you, nothing else matters!” He assured me, as his chestnut-brown eyes, which had a little glimmer in the moonlight, gazed into mine.
“God, why didn’t I choose you in the beginning?” The question was directed more to myself, then him, a euphoric sensation went through me, as a shooting star crossed the night sky.
“I’ve been asking myself that for a long time.”
Clucking laughter left him, putting his forehead against mine. Kissing my nose, then my forehead.
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?
Chapter Two. The Story of Balthazar
My head was pounding as I came to myself again, enormous pressure was all over my forehead. Voices were speaking from a distance. I lifted my head from the bed, from a crack in the door I could see Kevin standing in the waiting room area, in front of Ryan who was looking down in the ground, Nicolas who was standing next to Ryan and my father who was standing on the right of Kevin.
“……You have simply no idea!” I heard my father saying frustrated to Kevin; I could recognize his English accent. Nicolas was looking suspiciously at Hugh, who looked back at Nicolas with a furious look.
“Hugh, we cannot discuss this here!” Nicolas pointed out to him, simply. My father was clearly worried and furious.
“It is your niece in there, both of you need to come up with something better than that!” Hugh scolded them, pacing into the room I was lying in. I quickly laid my head back down and closed my eyes, before he noticed that I was awake.
His soft hand gracefully stroke my cheek as Nicolas and Kevin came into the room, standing over the bed too. Hugh squinted at them; his hand was now touching my hand, my heart was pounding in fear of them noticing that I was awake, my palm was sweaty.
“You need to fix this!” Hugh scolded furiously at them. His hand squeezed mine, and then I heard him stepping out of the room. Fix it! What the hell were they going to fix, what had they done to me? What were they hiding?
Tangled thoughts were rushing through my mind; the pounding was not decreasing. I slowly started opening my eyes, Nicolas and Kevin were whispering something to each other, Kevin noticed my eyes opening, he immediately began examining me.
I somehow convinced him that I was fine, even though my head was about to explode. I needed some air. A rush went through my body, and then I found myself at the water edge by the Swan Lake. My legs caved underneath me, and I fell to my knees, supporting myself with my hands on the damp and soft grass. I took a few heavy breaths. Finally, the pounding stopped, the pressured was relieved. I stumbled on my feet again, looking over the lake. A breeze went through my hair as a thought crossed my mind. Should I confront Kevin, Nic, and Dad with what I had heard? Was I extremely paranoid? I couldn’t place exactly what I felt.
Then I made a decision, I needed to speak to somebody, but not just anybody. Hayden. I could always count on him, and since he was leaving in a few days, I had to spend some time with him. Hayden, I need to see you!
I closed my eyes, breathing in the fresh air. The light wind was carefully touching my skin. I opened my eyes again and gazed over the lake. I loved being down here; it was always so quiet and calming. I admired the nature around the lake; the rippling waterfall was relaxing. The wind was gently shaking the multicolored hydrangeas at the right side of the waterfall; they were moving in a life-moving painting,
“At your service, my sweet princess.” I heard Hayden from a distant; I looked over my shoulder. He was pacing toward me. I hated when he used that word. Princess. It was so awfully old fashion. Yes, my father was the king, but our house wasn’t swarming with servants. We were raised to be independent, not to be waited on. My father found pride in being equal with everybody else. He was a humble king, not just sitting on a throne all day as all the old stories go. He was the commanding leader of Serendia Protection Force. The entire family just wanted to blend in; I guess our family was different like that.
Hayden was now on my side, smiling at me. I glanced at him and couldn’t help but smile at his charm. He reached his hand to me, I accepted it and held it tightly. A rush went through us, and we appeared at Brokeback Mountain. Our eyes met, and we smiled at each other. He was still holding my hand as he was strolling toward the Brokeback Lake, it wasn’t as big as our lake, but it was wonderful. Dean had built a bench by the great old oak tree, overlooking the lake. Hayden sat down on the bench, I admired it, and the sign Dean had put up. Maria’s Point. That’s what he decided to name it. It was my favorite spot; I sat down.
“What the hell happened to you in the bar earlier?” Hayden wondered I could tell that he was concerned about me, well I was concerned about me too, I pulled my shoulders.
“I have no idea! That’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about….” I admitted, he threw a worried look at me, listening. “I have no control over myself lately, Hayd. I have no idea what is going on and this morning, um… I kissed Ryan, or he kissed me…”
“You what!” He exclaimed shocked as his eyes widened. “What the hell were you guys thinking….” He blurted, which surprised me.
“I’m losing control of everything, Hayd!” I answered with a brittle voice. “I have no control of my feelings or my abilities! I don’t know what the hell to do!” I insisted. My heart was raising, and I started breathing heavily. He instantly regretted his outburst. He put his arms around me and pulled me to him, embracing me. It was comforting, but I was still very concerned.
“I heard Nic and Dad talking about me, something about me being more powerful then I knew I was, why wouldn’t they tell me about that… I can’t help but feel that they are hiding something.” I muttered, trying not to break down. “I have all these thoughts running wild in my mind, what is going on and how do I tell Daniel that I kissed Ryan….” I was freaking out, losing my grip again. He held me tighter, holding a hand on my hair.
“Everything is going to be okay, Sugar. Calm down. Calm down.” He whispered, trying to calm me down. I put one hand on his chest, taking a few deep breaths, trying to lower my breathing. My chest was heavy as I was breathing. His lips softly touched my forehead. Tears of sadness and frustration were filling up my eyes. A single tear rushed down my cheek and landed on Hayden’s leg. I was staring blankly into the air.
“I don’t know what to do,” I whispered, so low that I wasn’t even sure if he heard it.
The tingling sensation appeared, spreading like wildfire inside me. I just wanted it to go away, I grabbed Hayden’s shirt, squeezing my eyes tighter, willing the feeling to go away, but with no luck, it was remaining, grabbing on to me. I was on fire, every inch of me was instantly burning. I wanted to crawl out of my body, just ripping off my skin to relieve the burning.
“Su-sugar.” He stuttered. “How are you doing this?” He said with disbelief in his voice. I opened my eyes. I inhaled loudly. I was shocked by the sight that met me. Drops of water were falling in the lake, but it wasn’t raining. An enormous cloud of water from the lake was floating a few feet over the massive hole, where the water was supposed to be. The water from the waterfall was floating up toward the water cloud that was hanging in mid-air. A chill went through my body. Was I doing this!? How was it even possible? How could I lift so much water without even knowing it? We were both frozen by the occurrence that was happening in front of us. It seemed as the water was paused, my right hand was burning even more now.
Suddenly the water fell, in one loud roar it flushed down in the hole, creating vibrations in the ground. The burning stopped in my hand but left me with a pinching instead. I had no idea how I had gotten the water up in the air, nor how I had gotten it back down again. Maybe it was about time to see Kevin and tell him about everything. I sighed, hoping that he would have some explanation for this. I turned my head toward Hayden, who was still staring in disbelief. He slowly turned his head to me, looking at me with a shocked expression on his face.
He carefully took my hand, and with a rush, we were standing in the Medic Room. I was glancing into Kevin’s office through the glass window in the door; he was sitting at his desk working. Still holding Hayden’s hand, I gazed at him with a wondering look. He nodded to me as a reply, then I opened the door and glanced at Kevin, who was now lifting his head from his work. He smiled when he saw me in the doorway, but when he saw my worry, the smile vanished leaving a questioning look on his face.
“Something is wrong with me!” I exclaimed with a brittle voice, squeezing Hayden’s hand. He quickly stood up from his chair and paced to me, gazing into my eyes.
“I think it’s time we talked, go down to the dining room, I will meet you in a few minutes.” He insisted and nodded to me. He pushed his black-framed Rayban glasses into place, observing me for a while. I had a feeling that this required all my guys with me, so Hayden and I gathered Ryan and Dean in the dining room waiting for Kevin to come. I was sitting between Hayden and Ryan. I stared at the chair across from me; my palms were becoming sweatier. Kevin and Nicolas entered the room, paced to the table, Nicolas had an ancient book under his arm, they sat down at the table across from us.
Everything was tense; I knew that there was something they were hiding from me. I knew that it had something to do with my abilities.
Ryan’s hand suddenly touched mine, Nicolas and Kevin were observing the four of us for a while before any of them spoke. I glanced at both of them, awaiting what they would tell me. I couldn’t wait to find out what degree my abilities possessed. Nicolas put the book down on the table in front of him.
The tension consumed me; I was so anxious, why weren’t they saying anything. What were they waiting for? I was about to burst, but then….
“Sweetie, Kevin tells me that you have been feeling strange lately, I think I can answer why” Nicolas explained with a calm voice. I sighed in relief and squeezed Ryan’s hand. It was liberating having him, and the others at my side. Nicolas held out his right arm and pulled up his sleeve, revealing a symbol at his underarm. My heart started beating a bit faster. I had the exact same symbol on my shoulder blade. I looked up at Nic with wide eyes.
“Sweetie, you are a Balthazar,” Nicolas told me in the calmest voice he could. It didn’t really make more sense to me, I inhaled and sighed, looking at Nicolas, observing him, his half long hair was in a ponytail, and his electric-blue eyes were shining. The guys and I were eager to find out what it was.
“A Balthazar is a powerful Expressur. Expression is a powerful energy that manifests your will and makes you able to do anything you set your mind to. You have the Balthazar Gene.” Nicolas explained to us, looking me in the eyes. My heart was still pounding; I was biting my top lip. I still wasn’t making any sense of it.
“What does that have to do with me?” I sighed as I gazed at Kevin, who was sitting silently, I moved my eyes to Nicolas again waiting for his reply, he sighed too.
“I know it doesn’t make any sense to you, but this will help you.” He declared, pushing the book to me. I squinted down at the book and then up at Nicolas, who nodded to me.
I couldn’t shake the feeling of Nicolas not being completely honest with me, as I was sitting on my bed a few hours later. The book was lying in my lap. The Book of Shadows. I was hesitant to be opening it. Did I really want to know what it contained? I took a deep breath and opened the book. The first page was filled with handwritten scribbles.
A Balthazar is a powerful Expressur. Balthazar Blake was the most powerful expressur; his powers were descended from Merlin. Unfortunate circumstances caused him to change his name, so the family would remain safe. In ancient times, a Balthazar needed an object to use the Expression, but in time the most powerful could use the power without any help. A Balthazar can control any kind of spell without reading or learn about it.
Our story begins with a single star. Zeus allowed a single star to fall on Earth, it landed on a field and instantly created a golden flower. A young man discovered this flower and cared for it. The flower quickly grew into an Apple Tree. One single Golden Delicious Apple had grown. The young man picked the apple and took one single bite. A rush of energy and power flooded through him. The man who we later came to know as Merlin Blake shared his powers with his only brother, Balthazar.
I quickly glanced up from the book, staring into the air. A brother. A flash crossed my mind; Nicolas was standing with a man, who cut his hand with a knife and poured the blood into a goblet, Nicolas drank the blood. Then I knew…
Within a few minutes, I was standing in front of Nicolas’ room. I was holding the book to my chest. I took a deep breath and knocked. The floor seemed to sway underneath me. The door was ripped open; my hand was trembling. Nic seemed surprised to see me there, he gazed down at the book and then into my eyes. I returned his stare; he knew that there was something I needed to speak to him about, so he moved aside and waved his arm in a gesture for me to come in. I strolled to his window and gazed outside.
“I know who you are!” I raged at him, looking over my shoulder at him. He had a resigned look on his face. I held out my hand, forcing his chair over the floor to me. I sat down.
“You need to tell me the truth Nic, or should I say, Balthazar,” I demanded as he sat down on the bed. “How powerful am I?” I leaned forward in my seat gazing at him.
“Very!” He admitted. “You are powerful now, but you can access so much more of your powers then you realize.” He explained followed by a sigh.
“How do you fit into this?” I wondered and stared him down. “I am Merlin’s brother, but I needed to disappear, I reappeared as your father and Kevin’s brother, they cannot know, that it isn’t true. Your great-grandfather was a Blake, but the name ended with his daughter, your grandmother Nanzi, who married Charles Jackman.” He explained to me softly. I tilted my head at him, wondering about a whole lot of things. He had told me some truths now, but what was he still hiding.
“There’s something extraordinary about you, sweetie…. I know that you don’t understand much right now, but I promise I will help you learn and control your abilities.” He promised with a silvery voice.
As I left Nicolas’ room, I still had that strange feeling. He wasn’t completely honest. I headed back to my room, closed the door behind me and threw the book on the bed. I paced to the window and gazed out; the wind was shaking the trees.
Oh God… Daniel would be home in a few days, how would I tell him about Ryan.
I sighed and looked at the door over my shoulder.
“Maria, it’s me!” Dean’s voice was muffled through the door, I turned around, paced with heavy steps to the door and opened it. Revealing a smiling Dean outside, he strolled past me and turned toward me.
“She packed her things and left!” He announced with a wide smile on his face.
“That’s great Dean,” I answered with a small and tired voice as I closed the door. He reached his hand out to me, grabbed my hand and pulled me to the bed, where we both sat down.
“What is going on with you, sweetie?” Dean asked me worried, sending me a concerned look. My hands were tingling again; he took both my hands, his hands were soft and rough at the same time, then his hand carefully touched my cheek, his ocean-blue eyes gazed deeply into mine.
“Are you sure you are up for tonight?” Dean asked me gently, stroking my cheek with his thumb, I gazed into his eyes and nodded. Oh god, I hadn’t even been thinking about tonight before now and the fact that Hayden was leaving in the morning.
“I need too, we are doing it for Hayden, God knows how long he’s gonna be away,” I answered back, he leaned his head against mine and gently kissed my forehead, then he put his arm around me and pulled me closer to him.
“Dean,” I whispered to him, he glanced down at me. “Mm.” He answered back. “Tell me something….” I asked him, becoming warm and comfortable, the tingling had stopped, and my body was back to normal. “Anything!” Dean replied and kissed my hair. “What the hell did you see in Cady?!” I exclaimed jokingly to him, which made him laugh. “You know what, my girl. At this moment I have absolutely no idea.” I laughed at him and felt ready for dinner and drinks. My mood was lifted completely, thanks to Dean.
The door was ripped open, Hayden and Ryan bolted in, laughing. Dean and I looked at them wondering. They jumped on the bed and sat down on each side of Dean and I. I observed the two of them, smiling.
“You are needed in the kitchen, Elijah would like some help,” Ryan told me with a smile on his face, I tilted my head at him.
“Then, why didn’t you help him?” I hinted back at him as I sat up straight, his eyebrows lifted. “Because…” He started looking directly into my eyes. “…he wanted you to help him.” He replied with a clucking laugh, which brought a smile to my face again. Our eyes met in a joined smile. It was an incredible gift the three of them possessed, always bringing my mood up.
Within a few minutes, we were pushing the double doors to the kitchen open, revealing a hard-working Elijah, sweating over the stove. The guys; Dean, Hayden, and Ryan sat down at the kitchen table in their usual seats, talking about the night’s event. I strolled to Elijah, he squinted at me from the pot he was stirring something in, his ocean-blue eyes lit, and I placed my hand on his shoulder, kissing his cheek as he kissed mine.
“Hi, when are the others getting here?” I asked him with a smile on my face, excited to be seeing him. He held the whisk toward me, I took over the stirring, and he moved past me to the kitchen counter, cutting bread. “Elisha and Chad should be here any minute, setting the table.” He replied as he filled the bread into a basket. “Mom and Dad are picking someone up before they get here.” I quickly gazed at him, being curious about who they were picking up. “Who?” I asked him more curious then I wanted to seem. He pulled his shoulders and brushed the crumbs off the cutting board. Then he glanced at the guys over his shoulder.
“It’s nice that somebody is helping with their own going away party.” Elijah raised his voice ironically, so the guys could hear him.
The doors were pushed open, I gazed back over my shoulder, seeing Chad and Elisha entering, smiling at us. Which made me smile a bit too, Elijah observed them.
“Great you are here!” Elijah exclaimed at them both. “Maybe you could get these three lazy boys to help you set the table.” The guys made funny faces at Elijah as they got up from their seat and picked out plates. Chad strolled to the kitchen table, took a piece of bread and winked at me; then he took a bite. Elijah rolled his eyes at him; he was always the first to dig into the food. Elisha took some glasses and followed the guys to the dining room. I stirred in the pot and squinted at Chad, who was leaning against the cabinet.
“Do you know who Mom and Dad are picking up to join us?” I asked Chad in a curious tone, as he chewed on the bread and pulled his shoulders. “I didn’t even know they left the house.” He babbled through the food in his mouth; I shook my head at him. It was amazing that he and Elisha were twins they were so enormously different.
I caught him staring at me; I gazed back at him. He wasn’t saying anything at first, but he had an asking look.
“Is he working again?” His voice now more lowered and caring. A rush of loneliness went through me, I glanced into his sky-blue eyes, observing him. His light blond hair was perfectly framing his face. I nodded to him and was eased to be having all my family and friends with me tonight. Maybe I was missing Daniel, but there was so much more than he was missing out on. Chad overlooked the room; it was only the two of us in the kitchen. He moved his eyes back to me.
“Honestly, if you ask my opinion, which I know you don’t… but, he doesn’t deserve you!” He sighed, he was clearly feeling sorry for me. I couldn’t help but think that somehow, he was right, but I loved him, didn’t I? He faked a smile at me, trying to push away the tension that had appeared. I knew he was only looking out for me.
The guys, Elijah and Elisha, came back to the kitchen, she smiled at me, picked up forks and knives and handed them to the guys. I turned off the stove and glanced at Chad who was chewing on another piece of bread, I tilted my head at him and handed him some napkins, he grabbed them and headed for the dining room. Elijah took out the meat from the oven, getting ready to carve it.
The doors were pushed open again; I almost couldn’t believe what I saw at that moment, I was barely able to recognize him. His brown hair had grown shoulder long since I last saw him. He had left six months earlier to go travel the world, but now he was home. I bolted to him, he took me into his arms and squeezed me tight, as I put my arms around him too. He smelled like fresh air and cleaned laundry. Still being in his embrace, I gazed into his honey-brown eyes, and then I noticed his round beard. His eyes glinted as he kissed my cheek, then he loosened his grip, and I gently moved away from him.
As one person currently left my life, another one had returned. Josh. Seeing him embracing Elijah in a hug, made me realize how much I had been missing him. Mom and Dad came to the kitchen; Dad was wearing a black suit. He smiled at me with his hazel-brown eyes. He had an arm around Mom; I admired her dark-brown curly hair, intense honey-brown eyes, sharp cheekbones and gorgeous white smile.
“Hello, my dear.” She said to me with a soft and gentle voice. I glanced at her and then back at Dad.
“Aren’t you a little too formal for a family dinner?” I giggled at him, he pulled a smile and raised his head. Josh came to my side and put a hand on my back; Mom threw a proud look toward both of us.
I rubbed my forehead as we were walking to the ballroom, the wine went straight to my head. Josh held my arm, guiding me to the bar. I glanced up at the bottles on the glass shelf behind Bobby, remembering what happened the last time I was here. Bobby put a Mojito down in front of me.
“Your favorite, Mrs. Perez.” His statement was a knife to my heart; everything was a reminder of Daniel’s absence. I took a big mouthful, trying to push my thoughts away. Elisha was sitting next to me, sending me a concerned look. I threw a smile at her, trying to seem alright.
“Four Bourbons!” Ryan commanded Bobby, who poured them, Hayden, Dean, and Ryan were standing on a line next to me, looking at me and then the glasses. Ryan pushed a glass to me, I picked it up and held it toward them.
“To Hayden and his everlasting thirst for adventure.” I cheered, the guys raised the glasses and cheered, in one mechanic move we poured it down, it was burning all the way down my throat, and we put the glasses down in one joined clink. Hayden grabbed my hand and pulled me out on the dance floor.
Quiet Jazz music was playing in the background as he moved my body closer to his. I put my hands on his shoulders, his hand carefully pressed on my back, holding me close to him and gently moving over the floor, leading me. I gazed deep into his eyes, with no idea of how long it would be before I could be doing this again.
“What are you going to do about Daniel…” He began, I shook my head at him.
“Not now, Hayd. Please let me just enjoy this moment with you.” I begged him with a brittle voice; it seemed impossible to cope with the fact that he was leaving, he was my steady rock. He moved his head to mine; his lips touched my cheek, he admired my eyes and nodded.
“Sugar, I am not gone forever, remember that.” He assured me with a wide smile on his face. “Everything will be okay.” I always believed him when he was telling me that like I could defeat anything.
“You know you are leaving me alone with these two?” I glanced over at Ryan and Dean in the bar, then back at Hayden, who started laughing. I pulled a smile and glanced at them again. Ryan was pouring drinks down, and Dean was telling him something he couldn’t care less about.
“I guess they are better than nothing.” I giggled and pulled my shoulders; our eyes met in laughter.
“You know what…” He started, looking into my eyes. “The most beautiful star I could ever find is right here in front of me.” I instantly smiled at his loving words; a warmth lit inside my heart, I rolled my eyes at his charm.
“How did I get so lucky to have such incredible friends?” I asked him with joy in my voice, his hand softly touched my cheek and he gazed into my eyes, I couldn’t help but smile.
“We are the lucky ones!” Hayden stated with gleaming eyes. He wrapped his arms around me, embracing me. He loosened his grip and pulled me back to the bar, where Ryan had lined up four new glasses of Bourbon.
We poured the drinks down, the same burning went through my throat, leaving me with a warmth in my cheek and I took a swift look around the room. Elisha was out on the dance floor with Josh. Mom and Dad had settled down on the couch near the grand piano. Elijah and Chad were talking by the columns, both standing with a drink in their hands.
My head was a roller-coaster, the drinks were kicking in. I took a sip of my drink and observed the guys, who were laughing and nudging each other. Ryan stood in front of me with his hand toward me, I accepted it, and he gently moved to the dance floor. Everything You Want started playing. Ryan started to sing along. “I am everything you want; I am everything you need, I am everything inside of you, that you wish you could be, I say all the right things at exactly the right time, but I mean nothing to you, and I don’t know why…. I don’t know why.” My heart sunk a little, as I was becoming more and more upset, seeing him like this; if that was really what he was going through.
“Ryan….” I sighed, glanced down and then moved my eyes up to his again. “You mean the world to me; you know that,” I assured him and pulled a little smile. He grabbed my hand.
A rush went through us, and we were standing at the lake. The air was fresh, and the stars were shining above us. I gazed into his eyes. He put his hands on my back, pulling me closer and closer to him. I stared deeply into his eyes, being hypnotized by him. He moved one hand to my cheek; his touch was warm and wonderful on my skin, his hand carefully moved to my jaw, holding a hand under my ear he gracefully moved his head to mine. The wet and softness of his lips, gently pressed against mine and for some reason, I let him again. Ryan was ripped violently from me. Dean was standing in front of us.
“What the hell are you doing man!?” Dean yelled at Ryan, with an instant they were pushing at each other. I tried to come between them, I got in front of Ryan, pushing at his chest.
“Stop it both of you!” I blurted, turning toward Dean. He just stared at me for a while, then he bolted to me and pressed his lips against mine. I was taken aback and pushing him demandingly away from me.
“Dean!” I exclaimed at him, Ryan paced to Dean and started pushing him again. I got between them again, pushing at Ryan. Screaming at him to stop it, but he wasn’t listening. I put my arms around his neck and pressed my lips against his, instantly calming him down. I moved my lips from his, he put his hands on my hip and pulled me closer to him again.
“Give me those sweet lips.” He commanded me, kissing me again. I pulled myself away from him.
“Ryan, you need to stop!” I yelled at him, turning around and looking at Dean, who gazed at me and then at Ryan.
“What the hell is gotten into you, man!” Dean scolded at Ryan, he squeezed his eyes together and stared Dean down.
“Have you ever been in love with someone you can’t possibly get!” Ryan exclaimed at Dean, who stared back at Ryan with his mouth half open. He shook his head a little, gazing at me and then at Ryan. “In love?” The words silently left Dean’s mouth, almost in a whisper. Ryan nodded, lowered his head and held his hands on his sides. I gazed at Ryan who was looking down at his feet. Dean shoved his hands into his pockets, lowered his head and then gazed back up at Ryan.
“Look, I didn’t know…. Ryan, I’m sorry.” Ryan squinted at Dean, nodding his head at him, accepting his apology.
“Listen, you guys, this is Hayden’s night, we cannot do this. Let’s go back and this never happened, alright!” I declared, glancing at both of them. Their eyes met, they nodded to each other and then to me.
My heart was longing already when I was standing at Hayden’s car the next day. Dean and Hayden had their arms around each other, such sensitive guys, I loved it. That was a rare thing, finding so sensitive guys. They padded each other on the back and then let go of each other. They were like brothers, and I could tell that they were gonna miss each other, even though they denied it blankly, but I knew them too well.
Ryan strolled to Hayden, fist-bumping him and they put their arms around each other. Ryan loosened his grip, squeezing his shoulders. Ordering him to be safe. What could go wrong? I asked myself; they were collecting fallen stars, not going to war.
Ryan stepped aside, and Hayden ambled to me. We were smiling at each other; his smile warmed my heart, I took a mental image of him, for safe keeping. He held his arms out, and I fell into his embrace. Fading away in this everlasting moment with him. Our daily life wouldn’t be the same with him gone; I comforted myself with the thought that he would return to us again. He gazed into my eyes, smiling. His rough hand stroke my cheek.
“Remember sugar; I am only gone for a moment of your life, then I will return. You have these two guys….” He lifted his head, glancing at the guys behind us, then he moved his eyes to me again. “You can always call me, alright?” He assured me, I just nodded at him. He embraced me again, holding me tighter than before. His lips kissed my cheek. He smelled like shaving lotion. His grip left me, and he was gently moving toward the car, getting in and rolling down the window.
“You guys, better take care of her while I’m gone!” Hayden ordered them teasingly.
“Of course, we will!” Ryan assured him, putting an arm around my back. The car engine started, and the car slowly rolled out through the gold and black metal gate. Ryan pulled me a bit closer to him, kissing my hair. I admired the sunny day and the nature that surrounded our property. The wind was rustling the willow, crabapple and cherry trees that were separating the lake from the house.
Dean smiled at me. I had a feeling that time alone with these guys would be great. Besides, there would probably be a whole lot of things to tell Hayden when he returned. Ryan squinted down at me, a smile spread on his face.
“Let’s go to Brokeback.” He suggested. Dean’s mouth curved into a smile. He and I nodded, synchronously.