I feel the single drop of warm water fall onto my forehead and begin its descent down my face. I look up confused to see Max’s eyes closed. I kiss away the other tear falling down his cheek.
“Hey what’s wrong? I thought you wanted to explore my mind?” I ask him in a whispered concern. I’m afraid the darkness he found in there may be too much for him. His arms tighten around me securing me to him as he inhales deeply. His misted eyes open and the emotion pouring out of their deep blue depths is like an instant replay of my entire life and I feel the sting behind my own eyes.
“I wish I had known.” He breathes out before shaking his head. He looks away seeming angry with himself about something as he shakes his head. I reach up to caress his jaw lightly.
“Known what?” I ask worriedly. His eyes lock with mine.
“I wish I’d known you before I….” His voice trails off in a choke. He swallows. “I never would’ve...” his head shakes as his words dissolve in the air. His breathing is ragged as I wrap my arms around him and coo softly in his ear to try to soothe him. He seems so angry. Most people wouldn’t be trying to soothe a daemon in an angry mood.
“That’s why you’re different.” He whispers adoringly in my ear and the tone causes something deep inside me to come alive. I tamp it down quickly before it causes more damage than I already have. “I wish I had known about you before I fell. If I had known you’d would exist one day I never would’ve fallen.” He confesses softly.
I let go of him and shoot back to the other side of the bed pushing off him with force. “Don’t say things like that.” I scold him. He looks confused. I get up out of the bed to get dressed, quickly moving around my bedroom. The darkness clouding my mind starts to rain like a hurricane. I stand facing the open cupboard wishing it would swallow me and protect me all at the same time.
I bury my face in my hands as I try to calm myself back down and take deep breaths. Fingertips caressing my upper arms alert me to his presence at my back. I let myself have one last moment of weakness as I fall back into his arms letting his muscled chest blanket my back as hi arms wrap securely around me. We just stand there breathing for the longest time.
“I can’t do this.” I break our silent bliss as I step away from him. I pull my jacket out of the cupboard and put my arms into it. It feels like a sheet of ice compared to the warm hearth that was just encircling me a moment ago. I steel my resolve as I turn around to face him.
“What can’t you do?” He asks as his brow furrows in confusion. I just shake my head at him.
“This.” I reply weakly. “We had a great night, a stolen happiness. But now it’s time to get back to reality.” He looks stung and I want to reach out but I stay my hands. My heart on the other hand is breaking into a million pieces inside my chest. I turn and walk from the room and flee to the safety of the outside world.
I take in a deep breath of the cool air as it fills every cell in my body with a cold calm. I look back up to the bedroom window and see a pair of solid black eyes looking back down at me. I shiver involuntarily at the distant coldness of Max’s eyes before jumping into my car and backing out of the driveway.
As I drive I almost hope that he’s following me. As much as I hope that he isn’t at the same time. The definition of a conundrum is pounding inside my skull. My heart pulling me one way and my head pulling me the other. This is why I never wanted to get serious with anyone. It’s unfair at best and cruel at worst. Nothing can happen except heartache, and I will not inflict that on someone I care about.
When I arrive in the hospice car park I kick myself for not stopping for a coffee somewhere. I walk into my father’s room and nearly fall to pieces at the sight of him hooked up to a breathing machine. I fall into a chair by his bedside.
“Bonjour Papa.” I barely manage to get the words out before the tears start. I let my head fall on the bed beside his arm as I hold his hand tightly. The doctor comes in to explain to me that he had another stroke during the night and now the machine has to breathe for him. He’s in a coma and they don’t expect him to wake up.
Apparently they had to resuscitate him after his stroke before they put the machine on to help him breathe. I see the familiar looks and I know what’s coming. I start to wave them away but my favorite nurse joins us placing her hand comfortingly on my shoulder. “It’s time love. He’s held on for so long, you need to let him go.” She whispers kindly. My eyes flood with tears as I try to shake my head.
My protests stop as I think about him instead of me. I start to nod in agreement. I look up at the doctor through my tear rimmed eyes. “Tomorrow.” I choke out. “Not today. I can only take one heart break per day.” I explain sadly as my head falls back to the bed beside him. The nurse rubs my back gently as she leans to kiss the top of my head lightly. Silence fills the room as I try to tune out the sounds of the breathing machine and beeping monitors.
I cry my heart out as I lose all strength to hold myself up. “Oh Papa.” I cry. “I’ve done something really stupid.” I confess. I start to tell him all about Max and the close calls I’ve had with death lately. I tell him nothing but the truth about my life and how it really is as I explain my breaking heart.
I buck up at the end of my confession as I wipe my face to hide my weakness from the rest of the world. A weakness only three people have ever seen, and the daemon I left standing alone in my bedroom this morning was one of them. I take a deep breath as I try not to think about him. The storm of emotion raging through my weak human body at the moment is just too much. How can anyone feel all of this and survive it?
“This is why I never wanted to feel this way Papa.” I explain as I clutch the area over my chest where physical pain has manifested in sympathy with my breaking heart. “Because I knew it would tear me apart from the inside out.” I hiss as the pain becomes a little sharper. I stand up refusing to wallow like this in front of my father. I lean over him to plant a sweet kiss on his cheek before telling him that I’ll see him tomorrow.
I pull into my driveway after a quick trip to the market. I can’t help but look up to see if those cold distant eyes are still looking down angrily from my bedroom window. I breathe out a sigh of relief when I don’t see any sign of him and find my door locked. I turn the key and step into the sanctuary of my house.
I close the door behind me turning to lock the deadbolts. Then the world crashes down over me like a tsunami and I drop the brown paper bags to the floor beside me as random fruit and food roll away trying to escape the devastation about to overcome me. I flip my body around as my back finds the door for support.
I ball my fists and scream out with all the emotion of the injustice I feel at the world. My scream of pain and torment echoes through my home as I collapse against the door and fall to the floor, unable to stand against the sheer weight of it all. I bring my knees to my chest as my head falls against the top of them. Deep racking sobs travel up my throat from my chest.
I try to breathe but I can’t get the air past the anguish choking my throat. A shadow appears in my peripheral blurred vision and I cry harder as my head starts to shake. No. I think. I’m not ready. I don’t want to die feeling like this, as much as it hurts at least I’m still alive.
“McKenna.” His voice croons as he takes a knee beside me. His voice travels down into my very core as I try to calm myself down enough to breathe normally. His hands take a hold of my face and I let my eyes find his. Even through the tears I can see the black shards still decorating his iris’, I feel a sharp pang of guilt that I caused that.
Every emotion crashes over me like an unrelenting storm. Anguish. Guilt. Sorrow. Each wave crashing harder than the last. Fear of the consequences of my actions last night. Loss at knowing that I have to say goodbye. I’m drowning in them and all I can feel is that I deserve it.
“No.” A powerfully commanding voice pierces through the storm. I feel myself lifted from the floor into a strong warm embrace. It’s like the sun itself piercing through the storm of emotion. Chasing away each wave until it recedes into the deepest parts of the ocean. Leaving behind nothing but clear skies.
I take a deep breath as I open my eyes to see pure glowing blue eyes. I smile a small grateful smile at him. I take another deep breath as I lean my head against his shoulder and close my eyes to gather myself up. Once I’m calm I begin to assess my surroundings as I notice that I’m sitting on the lap of the man I already said goodbye to this morning.
His arms are securely wrapped around me and I try to wiggle out of them. But no such luck.
“You can let go of me now. I’m fine.” I tell him evenly as I try to push again. His dark eyes find mine with a serious malice seeping out of them.
“Not a chance.” He seethes darkly. I get my back up and start to get angry. As grateful as I am for his help this is not on.
“What are you even still doing here?” I spit out hoping to anger him into leaving. “I’m sure I told you last night was just a one-time thing.” I add trying to sound callous. His teeth grind together in annoyance as he fixes me with a withering stare.
“That was a conversation for two people, not just one.” He protests angrily. “But that’s not what we’re going to talk about right now. Right now you’re going to tell me what made you feel like that.” I turn my head away from him defiantly as I continue to struggle against him. He laughs menacingly.
“Or you can continue to try to pit your feeble human strength against mine.” He hisses. His arms tighten their grip to the point of actual pain and I wince involuntarily at the action. He flinches at his actions but doesn’t back down. I stare back at him angrily, determined to not give into to him again.
Despite the way my body is reacting to his, or the way my heart hasn’t stopped racing since he first touched me. This can’t be. I will not bring him suffering after all he has endured. I refuse to endanger him by putting him in Lucifer’s crosshairs alongside me. I don’t care how he makes me feel. His blood on my hands would be worse than any torment Lucifer could out me through.
His eyes suddenly turn a bright raging blue as I feel the tangible energy of him in my mind again. I try to shut him out but it feels like a gentle caress of my very soul and all I want to do is succumb to it. I snap my eyes shut as I try with all my strength to hide my true feelings from him. If he knew how I’ve felt more alive since our first touch than I’ve been all my life, he’d never let me go.
I open my eyes in surrender to see the look of pure fascination on his face. His grip releases me as I lose a single tear of desperation from my eye. His eyes turn a brilliant blue as all traces of obsidian is chased from them completely. I start to move away from him but a strong hand yanks me back down to his lap and his mouth claims mine in possessively passionate declaration.
I submit to it utterly unable or unwilling to fight him off. My arms snake around his neck and his hands pull my hips against his. We fall down together onto the couch as he takes away all my pain by taking me to new heights of bliss and ecstasy. We lay there together wrapped intricately around each other’s bodies as the sun sets over the city by the bay.
We haven’t said a word all afternoon. I’m too afraid that my brain will try to take control of the conversation again and send him packing, despite my hearts screaming protests for him to stay. Not just in my house but right here, like this wrapped securely around my body.