The day with friends was amazing. It felt good pretending to be normal.
I was glad I’d bought Blake that bike. We took it for a spin and even Ty had a turn.
We went for a hike, and I got a chance to fly on Blake’s back for an hour or two. It was our favorite thing in the world to do. We loved just flying through the clouds and not having a care in the world.
We swam in the lake, had more fun on the jet-skis, and at night we lit the barbecue again.
This night we told stories. Many of them were shifter stories told from one generation to the next about the first shifters and about why they were so secluded.
Then Emily and a few of her friends showed up around eleven, and they joined in on our conversation.
Ty and Isaac were really funny too. They each pretended to sound like Blake, and when Isaac pulled out the guitar and started to woo the girls, he did sort of sound like Blake when he sang one of their songs.
Nobody was thinking about tomorrow, even Sammy. She was cuddling next to Dean and laughed at Ty’s and Isaac’s jokes.
Ever since the day we blurted out that Blake’s suit had to change, she’d worried constantly about losing one of us.
I didn’t worry about that anymore. We hadn’t found the missing ingredient and I’d promised myself she was not going to lose her brother. If there was someone that was going to die, it was going to be me.
The stars shone so brightly. I was sharing a deck chair with Blake.
When Sammy yawned, we realized it was quite late, and although I wished I could just stay here and watch the sun come up, it wasn’t a possibility.
Tomorrow I had to be fresh, had to be prepared for what we were going to face.
Sammy got up. “I think it’s time we call it a night,” she said, and held out her hand for Dean.
“Dude, you still have your balls?” Ty asked, and everyone laughed.
“Hahaha,” Dean mocked him back. “At least I have a warm girl to cuddle up to at night.”
“Too much info, Dean!” Blake joked.
“Then close your ears,” Dean peeped and everyone laughed.
Sammy kissed me on top of the head as she walked past and ruffled up her brother’s hair.
“Good night,” she sang to everyone, and we all bade her goodnight.
“Tomorrow is a big day, and whether I have balls or not, I’m calling it a night too.” George got up and reached out for Becky to take his hand.
“Don’t stay out too late, Elena. You guys need your rest too.”
“Yes, Mom,” I chirped, and she laughed as she entered the house.
I didn’t want this night to end, and Blake started to quiz me on our hand signals.
“It’s not safe,” I said.
“This one.” He showed another sign and it carried on like that until all of them were done, and I had answered all of them correctly.
“You are a fast learner.” He pulled me backward and wrapped his huge arms around me, kissing me softly in my neck.
I squirmed in his arms as it started to become too ticklish, and he laughed. Ty was having a hefty conversation with Emily, while Isaac was speaking to two of her friends. Jamie and the others had gone for an early morning swim.
The day to come lay heavy on my shoulders again. I couldn’t lose Bake, and I didn’t know if he knew how I truly felt about him. That I would give up my life to save his.
I really wanted to be with him so badly tonight, but what if he still wasn’t ready? I couldn’t go through another rejection like the last time on my birthday when he’d said I wasn’t ready.
I was, he wasn’t, and I wasn’t going to push that on him.
It hurt loving someone like this without knowing how many days you had left. I wanted to make mine count now, try to tell him and show him how much he really meant to me.
“I think we should try to get some sleep. Today was a busy day and tomorrow is even going to be even busier.”
“Okay,” I said and brought our entwined hands up to my mouth so that I could kiss him softly on his hand.
I got up first, wrapped the soft blanket around me tighter and walked into the house.
“Faders,” Ty sang.
Blake flipped him off again and they all laughed as Ty started with his disgusting remarks.
I pretended not to hear it this time.
I found Becky alone on the couch. Where is George?
“Hey,” I said, and she jumped.
“Elena?” Blake spoke softly.
“You don’t need my permission to sleep. I’ll be a minute,” I snapped playfully, which made Becky laugh as Blake just walked up the steps.
“What is up, where is George?”
“He’s speaking to his mom, saying goodbye.” Her voice broke but she pulled herself back together.
“Becky.” I went over to her and sat next to her on the couch.
“Let him. We don’t share the same beliefs, so he is just taking precautions. I know he will fight to protect me tomorrow.” Fear was lingering in her eyes, smudged together with tears. “This is so stupid,” she said as she dabbed them away.
“It’s not stupid. We are going on a dangerous mission tomorrow. Just promise me you will be fierce, that you will make it out of there alive. Sammy cannot lose you too.”
She looked at me. “Don’t you dare.”
“I’m not going to survive in a world without him. The first time was hard enough,” I was referring to the time I thought I’d killed him after one stupid kiss that should’ve never happened. “And we didn’t even like one another then.” My own tears welled up in my eyes, and I wiped away a stray one that fell over my cheek. I swallowed hard and smiled at her. “I don’t even know what the missing ingredient is.”
“You said it was Louie’s berries.”
I shook my head. “Blake doesn’t believe that it is, and after he explained it to me, neither do I.”
“So none of you know what it is?”
I shook my head. “One of us is not going to make it.”
She stared at me then she closed her eyes. I could see her body deflating then Becky pulled herself together. She opened her eyes. “You listen to me, I know you. We have been in situations like this before. You never know what anything is until the right time. I know you will discover the missing ingredient. You always discover what you must overcome, or the connection, and it will be in your reach as fate and trust have never let you down before. They wouldn’t bring you this close just to watch you die. Just don’t die. Keep on breathing, it’s all you have to do.”
She wasn’t listening to me. She wasn’t ready to say goodbye either; it was not how she was built. I was really scared this was going to hit her harder than I’d feared.
“Okay.” I smiled instead and gave her a hug.
“I love you, Elena Watkins.”
“I love you more, Becky Johnson.” I sniffed and swallowed my tears again.
“Just keep on breathing; it’s all you have to do.” She smiled as I got up.
I walked up the steps and went into the room. Blake had sounded tired this evening, and I was sure he was already fast asleep.
I opened the door softly and saw his figure on the bed. He was sleeping on his stomach.
I closed the doors, and I couldn’t hold it together anymore. I loved all the people who were here with me on this getaway – even his stupid band members who weren’t stupid at all. They were brave and fiercely talented.
What scared me the most was that they would never know how much I loved them.
Tears ran down my cheeks, but I wiped them away fast and took a huge breath.
I gathered myself and was ready to go to bed and just sleep next to Blake, not knowing if this was the last night we were going to share a bed.
I turned around, let out a yelp and jumped slightly as I saw a hulking figure standing right in front of me. Blake laughed as he pulled me into his arms. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”
“I hate it when you sneak up on me. I thought you were asleep,” I spoke into his chest. His body was warm and I soaked up his heat.
“Why the tears?” He spoke quietly.
Shit, he knows. Of course he knew. I shook my head. I didn’t want to speak about this on our last night. I didn’t want it to be sullen.
He moved away from me and lifted my chin so I could look at him. I closed my eyes and drew a huge breath before I opened my eyes. The tears were still there. “We haven’t found the missing ingredient. We both know what is going to happen without it.”
He smiled. “I know what the missing ingredient is.”
“You do?” My heartbeat increased slightly. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because I basically just figured it out.”
“What is it?”
He smiled softly and stroked the side of my face with his thumb. His touch was the most amazing thing I’d ever felt and I didn’t want to lose it.
“It’s something you can’t see, or touch. It’s something much more.” He touched my chest. “Much deeper.”
“My heart?” I asked.
“My heart is the missing ingredient?” It didn’t make much sense.
“Not literally. Mine too, this bond. The love we share. I truly believe it… No.” He stopped. “I know it’s us. Together, like you said, who we are, what we are, we will kill the Saadedine. Elena, we are the missing ingredient.”
“What about my blood?” I I didn’t feel it this time. It had to be something I could see.
“It’s not your blood; your blood won’t affect him at all.”
“He is evil.”
“He was conjured. It wasn’t a natural process. The host.”
I remembered what Master Longwei had said that last time. “His host is not. It’s why my blood won’t work.”
“It’s why your blood won’t work.”
I sighed. “Okay, then it’s us.” I smiled and looked at him. “Just promise me that you will keep breathing, please,” I said and stood on my toes so I could kiss him. He had to breathe, he just had to.
“Just promise me that you will keep breathing, please,” she said and came in for a kiss.
Our lips touched. I could kiss her forever, but a part of me feared really kissing her. I’d almost lost it that night, and I knew she wasn’t ready. What she’d gone through still lay heavy on me, and then there was the other part I feared. What her kisses did to me. She was like my own personal fix. It hadn’t disappeared since that first time I kissed her, and I feared that if I let go, I would not be able to stop.
She was like Fire Cain, the healthy kind, but also the dangerous kind. I loved this girl so much, and I doubted she would ever grasp that, but if someone was going to die tomorrow, it would be me.
This world needed her, and I wouldn’t be able to survive without her anyway.
I’d made up my mind.
I had no idea what the missing ingredient was, I was just glad she’d bought it.
The kiss deepened, and I was lingering on the edge of no return. Her heart started to beat faster, and I stopped. It was so difficult, and becoming more so every time.
I didn’t open my eyes, just moved my lips to her head. She wasn’t ready for this. She wasn’t there yet.
Still, her heartbeat and then a different emotion filled my core. It was coming from her.
I struggled to pinpoint this one. It was as if she was disappointed, but it was mixed with something else. Something similar to what I felt. A different kind of fear, that she wasn’t ready either. That she would never be ready.
It didn’t matter.
I looked down at her. She was still breathing fast then she rested with her head on my chest.
I closed my eyes and tried to connect with her mind. I remembered how easy it had been when I hadn’t given a shit, and now it was one of the hardest things in the world. Nothing worked, I’d tried everything, even the surrendering part. Nothing.
“I can’t read your mind.” My voice was quiet. “But I can feel your emotions. Why are you scared?”
She looked up at me and smiled. “You really feel that?” she asked, and I nodded. “It’s nothing. Don’t worry.” She let go and walked over to the bed.
“Don’t do that, please. Just talk to me.”
She sat on the bed and moved underneath the covers. I sat down in front of her and studied her.
“Fine, I’m scared that you are never going to want to be with me, okay.” She spoke quickly. “I know it’s stupid but you always pull away.”
What? “Elena.” I rubbed my face. How do I explain this to her?She wasn’t ready.
“You wanted to know, Blake. I’m not going to force you.” She touched my arm softly and smiled. “So let’s not fight about stupid things, okay.”
“Force me?” I chuckled. If she only knew what she was doing to me.
“I don’t want to fight,” she said again.
I looked at her again. “I don’t want to fight either. Believe me, that’s the last thing I want to do with you.” I touched her face, and my core became warm as she leaned into my hand and closed her eyes. If she was a cat, she would purr.
Have I got this wrong?
I didn’t think, just moved in and kissed her again. I could tell she hadn’t expected that at all, and I felt as if I was playing on the edge again. Of losing everything.
She took control and moved toward me. Her body slammed into mine as she shifted her legs over mine and sat on my lap. This felt so perfect, like we fit.
I held her tightly as the kiss became deeper, never wanting to let go.
Stop, Blake, just stop. I couldn’t. The feeling inside of me didn’t want to stop this time.
Her hands were tangled up in my hair and she moved closer me. She connected deeper with my body and a million ripples danced through my being as a small grunt escaped my lips.
Her legs were on either side of my waist and I couldn’t stop kissing her. My fingers pulled at the material of her track suit pants. Don’t Blake, just stop.
She kissed me faster, her pulse was increasing but the feeling was not fear of what this could lead to, it was the same I was experiencing. Fear of what would happen if it didn’t. She wanted more.
I pulled up her shirt, and her arms went above her head as our lips left each other for a few short seconds.
When they found one another again, I pulled her tighter against me and her skin was so soft as her chest connected with mine.
She kissed me hard, just like that first time when she didn’t want me kissing her. I couldn’t stop then either. It was the first time I’d tasted her, and discovered what she was to me. It was like that, but this time she wanted it too.
My lips left her and I bit onto my lower lip, trying not to kiss her. I needed to know. “Elena, are you sure about this?” I asked in a whisper. My breathing was heavy.
“Just shut up,” she sounded stern, which made me chuckle as she forced her lips on mine again.
She pushed me backward onto the bed. She’d never been this adamant before. I felt as if I could burst then her hands moved to my track pants and I knew. I’d had it all wrong.
I rolled onto Blake’s chest and gave a tired laugh. We were both breathing fast. Well, his breathing had calmed almost immediately, mine took a few seconds longer. He kissed the top of my head. My body still vibrated softly. I’d never felt anything like this in my entire life. “What the hell was that?”
“Now you know why our species loves this so much.”
“What, dragons or men?” I asked through a tired smile. I didn’t want it to end, but I was so tired.
“Dragons, men, all of the above.”
I hadn’t felt this with Lucian. It had been slightly painful, both times, and not to… I didn’t want to think about that anymore. It was as if it’d never happened. I was so happy and tired. “Will it always feel like this?”
Blake chuckled. “I hope so.”
I looked up at him. We were both naked with just a sheet covering our bodies. “I love you Blake Leaf.” There, I’d said it. I’d owned up to it, and a huge breath left me. Why did this feeling hurt so much?
I lay with my head on his chest and closed my eyes. If love could be painful, I was experiencing it.
He touched my face softly and I touched his hand.
I should never have done this. If this was going to be the first and only time… I would not survive in a world without him.
He shifted from underneath me, and I moved down so that he could see me. I kept my eyes closed.
“Elena.” He spoke quietly, sadly, and kissed me again.
I didn’t want to stop kissing him and just wanted him here with me. I wished I could use my frost to freeze time and be with him like this forever, feel this forever and not worry about the consequences later.
I would give anything for that. He broke the kiss.
“I love you more, even if it doesn’t feel that way, I promise you. The feeling inside of me is much stronger than yours, and I’m okay with it, as we love differently.” He smiled and kissed me on my nose. I used to hate that he could feel my emotions, but right now I loved it. “You can’t die.”
“Neither can you. It’s either we both die or we both live.”
He nodded. “Then let’s go with the last one, please?”
I nodded and kissed him one last time.