The Kingdom of Archer Book I: Bloom

By J.Rose All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Scifi

Giving In

(Lyric)

The night was young as they say; though I was in no mood to go out. I was tired from practice with Oliver and I was never much of a going out type of girl. Everything about my life consisted of the indoors.

“Would you quit fidgeting Lyric,” Crystal spoke up, her voice calm yet firm.

“I don’t like to wear too much makeup,” I said to her while she applied this and that to my face.

“It’s not a lot. I know you like to be subtle. Besides, you’ll look beautiful,” She spoke, a smile on her face.

“Not like you.” I thought to myself when I looked at her. Crystal was in a wine red strapless chiffon dress that flowed down her body perfectly accentuating her hourglass figure. The skirt falling just above her knees. Her heels matching the color of her dress perfectly. Her lips painted a wine red, and her cat eyeliner accentuating her giant blue eyes, her hair flowed down in a soft cascade of blonde waves.

“Come on. Go put on your dress,” She spoke to me offering a smile.

“You want to dress to impress tonight trust me,” She spoke.

“But-”
“Come on. You’ll be fine,” Crystal spoke, handing me a box that she had placed on the bed for me.

“Just go change,” She spoke, pushing me towards the bathroom.

“Oh wait, the heels,” She said handing me a smaller box which no doubt contained shoes.

There was not much to say about it and I knew not to argue with Crystal. Getting dressed was the easy part for me, it always was. The hardest part was looking in the mirror. There were good days and there were bad days, but I also knew that I had to accept myself.

My hair was done similar to Crystals, curled in soft wavy curls that I thought were not possible for me to achieve. My makeup light, consisting of the usual foundation, mascara, and just a bit of top liner. My lips were painted with the softest pink nude color and my cheeks the softest of pinks. For a moment, I was unsure if I was looking at myself in the mirror. There was never really a time where I truly felt beautiful. I could never blame anyone for this, simply because this was something I had always struggled with. The dress, however, was beautiful. A two shoulder soft brown dress that flowed just above my knees. The most beautiful part of the dress was the top half. It contained a black floral mesh fabric that covered like a soft veil on top of the brown, fitting perfectly against it. My heels matching the brown of my dress perfectly. I was never one for fashion but today, today I felt fashion worthy. Turning slightly, I could still partially see the burn from the fire and I tried to hide it with my hair succeeding in the process. I was uncomfortable with showing the burn but would try to brush it off for the rest of the night.

“Baby steps,” I whispered to myself.

“Lyric,” Crystal called out, knocking on the door.

“It’s time to go. Our car is here.” She called out.

“I’m coming,” I said to her trying to relax, though I had no time, and simply opened the door.

“You look great,” Crystal spoke smiling. With a forced smile of my own, I nodded.

“Believe it. Okay. Trust me,” She spoke.

“Come on we have to head outside to the car. You’ll meet the rest of my friends later, they’re great,” She spoke. It was hard to smile after that. I wasn’t a very social person as it was. Before I could protest or think any further, I was pushed into a town car with Crystal and taken to a large bar inside of town.

“Aren’t we a little too dressed up for a bar?” I questioned her while we entered.

“Relax. This is exclusive just for us. Perks of being with the Nova Prince’s,” She spoke. Though I really didn’t know how exclusive it actually was.

The tables around the bar were filled, and I realized it was mostly women around our age all laughing and talking. There were so many people that I recognized and some that I didn’t. The moment that Crystal and I walked in, however, all the girls turned and ran toward her, immediately they placed a sash that read Bachelorette across her shoulder. They all greeted and congratulated her telling her how lucky she was, and it wasn’tuntil they seemed to notice me that Crystal introduced me.

“This is Lyric. She’s my best friend and Parker’s mate,” She spoke. It was then that a chorus of nice to meet you happened. Though they were all very friendly and welcoming I couldn’t stand attention on me. They stuck around for a while talking and laughing with Crystal. Though I could only force a smile. We had been there for a good half hour before Jane walked in.

She, like every other girl in the bar, was in an elegant dress. Her dress was an elegant portrait scoop black dress with long sheer sleeves. The dress was tight around her slim body falling down just below her knees. Her hair as always, was in her short-haired bob falling down in a V like shape at the front and shortening in the back. Her makeup like my own, was very light, consisting of remotely nothing. Her green eyes shining as she wavedat me.

“Hey. Lyric,” She spoke cheerfully.

“You look great,” She spoke, before throwing an arm over my shoulder.It was then that I smelled it. Alcohol.

“Jane. Have you been drinking?” I questioned causing her to laugh lightly.

“It’s a bar Lyric.”
“But you just got here,” I spoke to her in concern.

“Yeah. I have to go congratulate Crystal on her engagement,” She spoke trying to evade the subject, something I dutifully noted she had been trying to do whenever we met.

“Jane-”
“Drop it please!” She spoke pain flashing into her eyes.

“Jane.”
“No.” She spoke shaking her head and then turning to the bartender.

“A shot of tequila please,” Jane spoke before the man handed her a drink which she quickly drank wincing.

The night continued to proceed in this way. Everyone seemed to be having a good time dancing and drinking. Crystal and Jane had convinced me to dance with them and I found myself having fun. The music blared loudly and every single girl around us seemed to be smiling, including myself. I was never one to be out but Crystal’s happiness seemed to be infectious and I was glad for her. Jane on the other hand… I could see hersmiling, dancing, laughing, she continued to drink throughout the night, gulping down as much alcohol as she possibly could.

“Another one,” She spoke up, stopping one of the many servers that carried trays filled with drinks and thrusting a glass of scotch toward Crystal and I.
“No thanks I’m good,” I spoke to her offering her a strained smile. Something that she did not seem to notice.

“Come on don’t be such a downer Lyric. Have some fun,” Jane spoke slurring just a bit.

“I don’t drink,” I said to her.
“It’s just one. It’s not going to kill you to loosen up for one night,” Jane said.

“Fine,” I spoke to her.

“Alright then ladies,” Jane shouted out through the music.

“This one’s for Crystal. Cheers to finding true love!” She shouted out.

“Cheers!” Everyone else chanted back before throwing their drinks back. Crystal doing the same smiling.
“I think I need some air I’ll catch up with you guys in a bit,” I spoke to both of them before exiting the bar. The drink still in hand.

***

The night sky lit up with the stars outside, cars no longer passed and the only noise heard was the music which came from inside the bar. Placing the drink on the rail that was in front I rested against it, looking up at the stars that seemed to glow beautifully against the dark night.

“Tough night?” Turning I could see Parker standing by the door, his hair gelled back in perfect style while he wore a black suit. His tie a shiny red color and a white shirt to fit perfectly. He looked very handsome his hazel eyes penetrating deep into my own. He offered his usual charming smile, and I found my heart racing once again, giving away my true feelings.

“Something like that,” I found myself saying to him before he went to stand next to me leaning against the rail himself.

“I didn’t know you guys were coming here too,” I whispered.

“The bar has two entrances. We’re on the other side,” He spoke.

“Oh,” I managed to say letting the silence linger between us.

“This isn’t really your thing is it?” Parker questioned after a few moments and I couldn’t help but smile at the irony.

“Contrasts,” I thought to myself.

“You mean fun?” I questioned him.

“That’s not what I meant-”
“I know,” I spoke to him.

Somehow the events of the previous days had somehow allowed me to relax around Parker and speak my mind to him. Even joke just a bit.

“Don’t get me wrong. I can have fun just. Not in big crowds,” I pointed out to him.

“Then how about... Just the two of us?” Parker questioned.

“Take a ride with me.”

“A ride?” I questioned, turning to look at him as he smiled.

“Not in my Nova form. I didn’t really bring extra clothes tonight. And I really don’t want to hang out with the guys tonight. I’m just-”
“Not really in the mood,” I finished for him. Once again we both smiled at each other, the soft breeze of the night gently caressing our skin.

“Come on,” Parker spoke, taking my hand and leading me away from the bar towards the empty road where a black Harley awaited us.

“Parker.”
“It’s fine. It belongs to Brad,” He spoke shrugging.

“Won’t he mind if we take it?” I questioned him.

“Doubtful,” He spoke, though he didn’t elaborate much. Handing me a helmet Parker got on the motorcycle, starting the engine which let out a roar throughout the night. Had the loud music not been playing behind us maybe the noise would have been much louder and alerted our friends of our leave. Because I was in a dress, I knew I couldn’t sit properly on the motorcycle, instead, I sat with both of my legs on the same side.

“Hold on,” Parker spoke after I put the helmet on my head. I didn’t think much of it or at least I tried to ignore the feeling of my heart that seemed to flutter just as fast as the motorcycle moved.

There was no need to speak. All that was needed was to enjoy the night sky that lit our way and the empty road that paved a path for us. This was the way we had begun to pave our own lives together. This moment had so many mixed emotions but none negative if anything they carried excitement and hope for a new tomorrow that we both wanted.

For what felt like minutes, but must have been hours, we drove against the night sky and down the open road until we reached nothingness once more. The land free of anything that was not green grass. Accompanying the night sky were hundreds of fireflies only this time along with the beautiful night there was true peace for that moment. The owls around the beautiful trees that seemed to surround us began to hoot. They appeared a melody along with crickets that could only be described as the song of the earth singing.

“This place is beautiful,” I found myself saying to him, untangling my arms from his waist and getting off the motorcycle. taking the helmet off and placing it on the motorcycle seat.

“What is this place?” I asked him taking the helmet off and placing it on the motorcycle seat.

“This is the Nova Plane,” Parker spoke, his voice soft and a smile on his face. He took my hand in his giving it a soft squeeze and offering me a smile that seemed to melt my already concaving walls. His eyes flickered with so much that it only made my heart continue to race the way it had been since the moment we met.

“The Nova Plane?” I questioned.

“It is said that these stars carry all the connections in the world. This is where it all begins. Where everything began, this is the place where all our ancestors first appeared,” He explained.

The Nova Plane was something everyone learns about in our world from the moment you attend school. It was sacred ground. Where the world became what it was today. I’d never seen this place, not because I had not wanted to but because this was where soulmates came together. Standing in the middle of the empty field was the biggest and most beautiful tree that glowed in a beautiful blue hue.

“This is Catherine Archer’s tree,” He spoke.

“Catherine. The first Nova Queen,”.

“The most powerful, fair, and most beautiful queen there has ever been, until you,” He spoke. Though I realized his words should have been comforting to some extent they weren’t. Not when I did not feel adequate to be queen, and certainly not when I didn’t feel beautiful.

“Don’t,” Parker spoke, pain in his voice, his eyes portraying sadness. I had not noticed, but I’d unconsciously shifted away from him. I tried to hide what we both knew was that burn from the fire that had partially been hidden away by my long hair.

“I-”
“You’ll be a great queen Lyric. Your kind. You think of others. My father always says that people who have suffered in this world are always the ones that seem to understand the most. The ones that truly listen to the people,” Parker said before reaching to caress my cheek the way he had done so many times before. It was almost impossible not to close my eyes at the feel of his touch. It felt as though I was suddenly overwhelmed by too many butterfly like emotions.

“You are beautiful. So beautiful every single inch of you. Every part of you. Nothing and no one in this world that exists or will exist will be more beautiful to me than you are.”
“But I’m-”
“I don’t see it. And you shouldn’t either. Don’t live confined to the ideals of others. You are so beautiful and I think it’s time you realized that too,” He whispered.

“Parker I-”
Pressing his forehead against my own before reaching to caress my cheek gently with his thumb softly grazing against my skin. There would be no interruptions I could feel it now. My heart thumping wildly in my ears. The peace that surrounded us, perfect. Looking into his eyes became difficult and my eyes began to close on their own accord waiting for what I knew was to come.

“Lyric,” He whispered my name almost chiming out in his velvet like voice that only caused my breath to hitch and my heart to race. Soft… His lips were soft against my own and I could feel every single fiber of my heart, body, and soul burst with that one kiss. Part of me felt so breathless, so beautiful and soft that I wished to stay like this.

When his lips left my own, there was such a feeling of loss and cold on my lips but at the same time, there was warmth covering my body. I couldn’t open my eyes not when this had happened so beautifully. Would I have ever thought such perfection would happen to someone like me? Much less with Parker Archer? No.

“Lyric,” He spoke again his thumb gently grazing my bottom lip, his touch feeling so warm. Opening my eyes to meet his hazel ones I could see something different in his eyes. Something I had not discovered yet, but his hazel pools invited me into such warmth that I wanted to embrace it.

For the longest and the shortest of times, we stayed like this. His arms wrapping around my waist bringing me close while I myself felt the need to press myself to his chest for warmth. The peaceful silence lingering between us until I could no longer stand to be without words, mostly due to my own shyness and my racing hear.

“Catherine’s tree,” I found myself saying afraid he would hear my racing heart once more. Instead, he offered me a smile and once again took hold of my hand before he turned back to explain. Though there was a certain air of love which now lingered between us.

“Alexander Archer planted this tree here for her after Lazarus Cray tried to kill her,” Parker explained.

“After the war, though things were far from perfect there was peace for some time. Even though Alexander was plagued by the division of the Kingdom, he was still a blessed man and King.”
“How so?” I asked causing Parker to smile.

“Alexander saved his people. His son was safe and his wife who he had thought lost was still with him. He brought Catherine here after she recovered and planted this tree for her. This tree represented the beginning of our world but also the beginning to soulmates. Finding love. Finding her. That was what this tree represented to him. After both Catherine and Alexander passed of old age Noel their son spread their ashes here. The tree then began to glow blue inexplicably after that. It is said they guide souls together now.”
“That’s a beautiful notion,” I found myself thinking.

“Though does it apply to us?” I wondered out loud to which he smiled.

“I’d like to think so. It might not be one hundred percent perfect but I wouldn’t change you for anyone else,” He spoke.

“This place. It’s where every Nova in Archer takes their mate for their first run,” He spoke.

“I made a promise to Spencer that I wouldn’t take my mate here without him bringing his mate and I’ll still keep my promise,” Parker said.

“But-”
“As I said. I’m not going to be in my Nova form. But riding the motorcycle with you won’t technically be a real run.” His answer causing both of us to smile. Hopping back onto the motorcycle we let the wind, the earth, the stars and the night above us lead the way for us.

(Parker)

The sound of the music pounded through my head like a loud blast, drumming through my ears over and over, the tempo maintaining its usual rhythm. The smell of alcohol clear in the air. Around me, there were around two dozen other men if not more. All of them drinking and playing pool while they laughed.

“This bachelor party sucks,” Brad spoke up, walking over to sit next to me at the bar.

“It’s not bad. Everyone’s having fun,” Spencer spoke up, his answer causing Brad to laugh wholeheartedly.

“Really man?” He questioned.

“If this were a real bachelor party, there would be women and said women wouldn’t be on the other side of the bar,” Brad spoke.

“Plus there would be strippers, lots of them. Right man?” Brad spoke to Oliver, who didn’t say a word to him. Not that it wasn’t normal for Oliver to still keep his professional demeanor, though I realized this time, he simply didn’t want to answer Brad’s immature comment.

“I’m getting married to my soulmate, the woman I have been in love with since I was a kid.”
“It’s called ruining your life,” Brad spoke swinging back his shot of tequila, before placing his empty shot glass on the counter.

“Not everyone sees it that way. In fact, I think you might be the only one,” Spencer spoke up.
“I don’t think so. What guy wants to commit to a relationship? I sure as hell don’t,”
“And that’s why Jane hate’s you,” Andrew spoke up coming to stand next to us at the bar. Though the moment he did, Brad seemed to glare as if something Andrew did had greatly pissed him off. Part of me was glad I wasn’t the only one that felt that way about the guy, but then again, what reason could Brad possibly have to hate him?

“Who invited the cat?” Brad questioned.

“I did,” Spencer spoke up. Although I knew my brother and realized it was more of a formality than anything having to do with Green being a guest in our home.

“Why so hostile Jacobs?” Green asks Brad, though there is something in his eyes that tells me there’s something more going on between them. Confirming my notion when Green throws an arm casually around Brad’s shoulders and Brad glares at him pushing him off.

“Tell me Green. Is it really your duty to mess with things that don’t belong to you?” Brad snapped his eyes furious the way I had never seen him act before. This was supposed to be my goofy friend, the one who never took anything seriously, the one that was always joking and laughing and now he was pissed off.

“That’s funny coming from you Jacobs. When was the last time you followed that rule? Green questioned.

“Scotch please,” Green told the bartender who served him his drink and then he proceeded to smirk and face Spencer, Brad and I again.

“Gentlemen,” Green spoke before walking away with his drink in hand towards a table of Nova council kids.

“I’m going to pummel him,” Brad spoke.

“Dude! Calm down,” Spencer spoke surprised at Brads’ outburst.

“What’s up with you?” I asked, both Spencer and I holding him back giving him time to calm before he settled back on to the barstool and sighed.

“Nothing,” Brad spoke though he was visibly stressed out.

“Seriously man. That wasn’t nothing,” I said to him.

“Three words,” Brad spoke.

“Women. Are. Crazy,” He said before he threw back another shot of tequila, wincing slightly. Exchanging a look with Spencer I realized that even if we wanted to pressure him into talking there really wasn’t much to say. Although I realized why I had my own issues when it came to soulmates I could never understand Brads’. He had his parents together. In fact, from what I gathered his parents had been happily married for over thirty years. Still, I realized no one really knew what went on in someone’s head but their own.

“I’m going to get some air,” I spoke to Spencer patting him on the back before heading outside. It wasn’t a surprise to see Lyric standing outside either. The moonlight sky shining down on her, making her look even more beautiful than she already was.

***

Being with Lyric could only ever be described as peaceful and beautiful, much like herself. There was no need for words between us at the moment. The night sky brought peace to the two of us while the wind brought racing hearts in sync. I could feel her holding on to me while we road through the Nova plane. Everything around us quiet and peaceful. With as much speed as we could, we raced through the empty pastures enclosed by trees. Part of me was glad that we had this moment to ourselves. This moment, allowed us to breathe and finally allowed us to be together in a way that I realized we had both wanted for quite a while now.

*Screech*

It was the sound of what I realized was Oliver that brought both of us back to our reality. Lyric gasped softly her hold tightening around my waist and I myself had to hit the break of the motorcycle which peddled us forward slightly.

“What’s going on?” Lyric questioned, and I could see the fear in her eyes. Not only was she afraid for her safety but for my own.

“It’s alright,” I answered her, trying to reassure her.

“Oliver is just upset. I didn’t let anyone know we were going off on our own,” I explained to her.

“We should probably go back.”

“Okay,” She whispered back. Feeling the need to be close to her and kiss her once more at the moment all I could do was press my forehead against hers.

*Screech*

“Alright we’re going damn it”, I shouted causing Lyric to shake her head and smile softly. Although I realized being guarded was for her safety, it was not fun. Being followed by Nova guards and being interrupted by your friends and family still felt invasive.

“Let’s head back then. And don’t say a word to Crystal about this. She’d tell Spencer,” I said to her, causing her to laugh lightly before we took off once again back on the road. This time Oliver is flying above us. I could feel her holding on to me and at the same time pulling me. Turning my head slightly I found myself smiling. Her body was slightly shifted away from me while she threw her head back. The wind carried her hair that seemed to fly wildly along with it with the way she was positioned on the motorcycle seated to one side only. Her eyes were closed though there was a prominent smile on her lips. She looked so beautiful this way.

*Screech*

Oliver’s eagle cry lets me know we were safe when I turned back to the road. It seemed like Oliver’s eagle cry was a happy one because each time he called out Lyric seemed to laugh. She raised her left hand up while Oliver himself seemed to fly lower letting her touch his feathers and causing her to laugh once more. For the first time, I realized Lyric had been truly happy with me. The smile she carried on her lips and the spark her eyes showed was that of someone who was happy.

By the time we arrived back to the bar, Oliver simply flew passed us while Lyric and I headed back to the starting point. The bar was still rambunctious with noise and I realized upon looking inside that everyone was now on the same side of the bar dancing, drinking. Spencer and Crystal seemed to have blurred everything and everyone around them slow dancing together in the middle of the bar looking at each other with love.

“We should probably head back inside,” I said to Lyric who smiled but otherwise nodded.

“I had fun Parker. Thank you,” She whispered looking down at the ground, a small smile on her lips before she looked back up to me shyly. There really was no need for me to say anything else or for her to speak anymore. There was no need to even think too much about it. Reaching to pull her close I simply kissed her. Like before, she let out a soft little gasp from her lips. This time, however, her arms slowly entangled around my neck. My own hands went to her waist as we moved out lips in sync. She meant so many things to me. Kissing her felt like thousands of needles prickling at my palms and hundreds of shocks that ran through my body that made me nervous and happy

“No Brad! You don’t just get to play this game with me I-” It was Lyric’s friend that caused us to pull apart. Lyric herself letting go of me; though I simply kept my hands where they had previously been.

“Jane,” Lyric spoke to her friend, who simply shook her head tears forming in her eyes almost as if she’d seen the worst thing possible. Behind her, Brad was standing with a surprised expression on his face.

“You fell for it,” Jane spoke up, slurring her words out.

“I can’t believe you fell for this guy’s bullshit,” She spoke to Lyric harshly. Even so, Lyric removed herself from my hold and went over to her friend in order to calm her.

“Jane. What’s wrong? Why?-”
“No!” Her friend shouted, pushing past Lyric and stumbling her way toward me. I really wasn’t expecting what she did next to happen. If anything I was expecting for her to fall which was why I didn’t move if I needed to catch her. Instead, she raised her hand up and managed to land a slap on my face.

“Jane,” Lyric gasped, out trying to pull her friend away from me though, she had already fallen on to me.


“You are all the same,” Her friend cried out slurring her words out.

“All of you!” She shouted.

“They all hurt us. They all don’t care. They all don’t”- She sobbed hitting at my chest and I realized this had nothing to do with me or Lyric.

“That’s enough. Come on,” Brad spoke up. As Brad tried to get to Jane, however, Lyric stood in front of her friend.

“No. I think she’s had enough,” Lyric spoke protectively. There was anger in Lyric’s voice as she spoke and defended her friend, it was a side of Lyric I had never seen before.

“Come on Jane,” Lyric spoke to her friend, gently prying her away from me, causing the girl to lean close to her and begin to sob into her.

“Parker. Is it alright if Jane comes home with us?” She questioned quietly.

“But she’s-”
“No. She’s had enough!” Lyric snapped at Brad angrily.

“Parker,” She spoke again. Though I could see Brad silently pleading for me not to agree it was my own mate’s pleading for the contrary that got me to cave in.

“Alight,” I said to her.

“I don’t want Crystal and Spencer’s night to be ruined. I’ll go get Andrew,” She spoke to me, before pushing her friend gently back to me, while she continued to cry silently.

“Lyric. Don’t leave,” Jane cried.

“It’s alright. I’m just going to go get Andrew,” Lyric told her softly.

“Andrew I need Andrew,” Her friend cried to Lyric who walked back inside the bar, glaring at Brad as she pushed past him.

“Parker,” Brad spoke up. There was pain in his eyes as he looked at me and I was surprised. Mainly because he’d spent all night spewing nonsense about wanting to stay single. At that moment I realized that was all it was, nonsense.

“Andrew. I need Andrew,” Jane continued to slur out.

In the distance, I could see Lyric walking back with Green while her friend continued to call out to the guy. It was abrupt, but I heard a gagging noise and then… she threw up on me. The mush of her vomit hitting me first, followed by the disgusting smell of alcohol and her dinner.

“Jane,” Lyric and Green both spoke up walking over to her quickly, Green making sure to push Brad out of the way.

“It’s okay Jane,” Lyric spoke up, trying to soothe her friend who had now begun to vomit all over the side of the street.

“Parker. I’m sorry,” Lyric whispered. Though the stench of her friend’s. vomit was repulsive and made me want to gag, it had only gotten on my suit jacket which I took off.

“Andrew. Lyric,” Their friend called out in tears.

“It’s okay. We’re going home,” Green spoke up before picking up the girl in his arms bridal style.

“Call your town car Archer. I gave my driver the night off,” Green spoke up.

“You can’t just take her,” Brad spoke up once again.

“Watch us,” Lyric and Green both spoke up glaring at him.

“Parker,” Lyric spoke turning to look at me, her eyes filled with worry.

“I’ll call Neil” I found myself saying. Though all I had to do was call to tell him to bring the car around both Green and Lyric walked out into the empty road to wait with Jane.

Though the night had ended this way for Lyric and I it had meant giving in. For Jane and Brad? I realized it meant that the girl had given up. The car pulled up in the distance and I couldn’t really turn to look at my friend knowing well the look he had on his face. More so when I realized I’d worn that same look for the past five years and I hoped that whatever this was between them it wouldn’t take five years of pain to fix.

(Lyric)

The night had not ended the way I expected. Things seemed to crash just when we reached reality and I realized how ironic it was to have wanted a perfect night with Parker Archer.

“I want to go back home,” Jane slurred out while Andrew carried her upstairs to my bedroom.

“It’ll be alright Jane I promise,” I spoke to her, trying to offer some sort of comfort. I had no idea what she had been through with Brad but I realized it wasn’t good. The way she had been acting lately attested to that. I felt guilty realizing that I’d been too caught up in my own problems to realize this.

“Come on Jane. Settle down,” Andrew spoke to her gently. Opening the door to my room, I led them in and Andrew proceeded to deposit her on my bed.

“I need to leave,” She cried out to both of us.

“Jane. You can’t leave like this. You need to get some rest. We’ll talk in the morning,” I whispered to her. Andrew and I going to lay beside her, Andrew to her left while I laid to her right.

“I can’t,” Jane spoke up in tears, though the slur to her voice was still there.

“What happened?” Andrew questioned her.

“Does it matter? He hates me,” She cried.

“And I hate him too,” Jane slurred out trying to stand back up, only to have Andrew and I push her back down gently.

“Jane.”
“Why can’t we be back home,” She interrupted Andrew and I, taking hold of both our hands.

“Remember the lake?” She asked Andrew and I, causing both of us to smile at her.

“Of course we do,” Andrew spoke up.

“We rented a car and drove it up to the lake two years ago,” Andrew said to her.

“We tried to fish, but you weren’t patient enough for that,” I spoke to her.

“I wanted to swim and just have fun. You guys were always the quiet ones,” Jane spoke softly, already starting to fall asleep.

“Hardly,” Andrew spoke and at the memory I found myself laughing.

“I agree. You ended up getting frustrated after the first 30 minutes and tried to throw the fishing rod. The fish hook got caught on your back,” I reminded Andrew causing him to chuckle.

“You were always the more patient of the three of us Lyric,” Andrew corrected.

“She deserves it more. A soulmate,” Jane spoke up again.

“Everyone deserves a soulmate,” Andrew chimed in trying to comfort her.

“Then why do I feel like I’m the unluckiest person in the world?” Jane whispered. Pain so evident in her voice that both Andrew and I turned to hug her while Jane clung to us, sobbing her heart out until she fell asleep.

For the longest of times, Andrew and I both laid in the quiet looking up at the ceiling. The events of the night fresh imprinted in our minds.

“What are we going to do about her?” I questioned him.

“We can’t do much if she’s not willing to share anything. That’s what you two have in common,” Andrew whispered.

“What do you mean?” I asked and to my question, Andrew chuckled.

“You remember what happened that day don’t you?” Andrew questioned.

“Sure. The hook,”
“No I mean the fact that Jane had been feverish that day, and she didn’t say anything all night. We only realized she was sick because she ended up fainting. That’s where you contrast again I guess,”
“I don’t-”
“I mean,” He spoke cutting me off.

“You wear your heart on your sleeve. Even if you want to hide your emotions, it’s not that hard to guess what you’re thinking. But Jane…. She doesn’t budge unless she’s ready to explode. And tonight was that night I guess,” Andrew spoke, looking at Jane who was well settled and comfortably flipped to one side, resting her head on Andrews’ chest.

“Brad-”
“Jacobs has no say in this,” Andrew snapped.

“But-”
“I get it Lyric. Really. But right now what Jane needs is to get her mind right. Jacobs is just hurting her.” Andrew spoke.

“So what do you suggest?” I questioned.

“Maybe talk to your wolf boy. Ask if she can stay here,” Andrew suggested.

“Would she want that?” I asked him.

“No. But she can’t stay at my house at the moment. Not if I’m here too,” He said before once again silence ensued.

***

It was well past two in the morning and I found myself still awake. I’d showered and changed into a pair of white pajama pants and a t-shirt. Andrew by then was also asleep, snoring softly and hugging Jane. They looked pretty comfortable in the position they were in. I’d forgotten how close they always were. Andrew had always been our protector but where he cared about me one way, he cared about Jane another. Jane and Andrew had grown up together, Jane was like his little sister and Andrew was overprotective when it came to her. Sighing, I covered them up with fresh bed sheets I’d gotten out of the closet and then headed outside of the bedroom.

Parker was standing outside the bedroom door pacing, stopping only when he saw me standing there.

“Hi,” I found myself speaking first, closing the door behind me.

“You’re still up I figured. You’d be asleep,” He spoke awkwardly. I realized it had more to do with the kiss we’d shared hours ago.

“How is your friend… and Green,” Parker added.

“They’re both asleep. I. Couldn’t really sleep,” I whispered.

“About tonight I-”
“It was perfect,” I said to him quietly feeling my cheeks redden at my own boldness.

I didn’t want him to believe I had not wanted what happened tonight because I did. I wanted him to kiss me. It was ironic really, how long I had been so afraid of the unknown. But now, I needed and wanted, to embrace whatever this was because I wanted those feelings that came with being with him.

“Yeah. It kind of was.” Parker spoke up, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly, and giving that half smile that now seemed to make my heart pitter patter.

“I’m sorry about Jane. She can be a little-”
“I get it. It’s not your fault,” He spoke quietly.

“Though it does make me wonder a bit,” He whispered.

“About what?” I found myself asking.

“You,” He spoke.

“Me… Why?” I questioned feeling my heart race.

“I just… I feel guilty when I realize I wasted so much time and-”
“You weren’t the only one who made mistakes Parker. I did too,” I reminded him.

“But it’s fair to say it was mostly my fault,” He spoke, moving closer to me and cupping my face in his hands, caressing my cheek once more. A habit of his I realized I liked a little too much.

“No. It isn’t.”

“Can we not talk about it anymore,” I added to him quietly

“I just-” Parker began pressing his forehead against my own.

“I don’t want this to keep affecting us anymore,” I found myself saying.

“Neither do I,” Parker whispered back.

“I want us to start over but the past shapes us and our relationship,” he continued.

“Maybe it does in many ways. But I like where we are now,” I found myself saying.

“Me too,” He whispered, pressing a chaste kiss to my lips, that only caused my breath to hitch and my knees to feel weak. Had he not been holding on to me I would have fallen.

“Lyric,” He spoke. My name on his lips sounding like the sweetest of songs on his lips. His thumb grazed my bottom lip gently, and I found myself looking down unable to contain my own blush.

It was hard to keep my blush in check much less my heart. Chuckling to himself he pressed another kiss to my forehead.

“You should get some sleep,” He spoke quietly.

“Maybe,” I spoke to him quietly.

“You should too,” I found myself saying.
“I’ll be fine,” He shrugged.

“Parker,” I spoke reaching up to caress his cheek.

“You should sleep too. I’ll be fine.”
“It’s Oliver’s day off,” He spoke up.

“I’ll be fine. Andrew and Jane are there,”
“That house cat is asleep,” He pointed out.
“I was going to sleep in the guest bedroom tonight,” I whispered.

“Oh,”

“I. You can sleep there too if you want,” I found myself saying. feeling myself blush again and wanting to change the subject.

“Jane. I. I was hoping she could stay a few days until she sorts out her life with Brad. I know it’s asking a lot with Andrew here and-”
“It’s fine Lyric. She’s your friend.” Parker spoke.

“I don’t know what’s going on between them but. Sometimes we do need this to realize what we’ve done,” He whispered not elaborating. Still, I knew what he meant. Taking my hand Parker led me to the guest bedroom which was right next to what should be our bedroom.

The guest bedroom was simple. Right as you entered much like our own bedroom, there was a large window that exposed the large beautiful night sky. The bed placed against the window letting the night sky light the room. To the right side of the room, there was a small nightstand, a few paces after that placed on the wall was a small mirror. To the left side of the bed was another nightstand and of course a lamp to light the room. Further in, there was a small closet which was open with a pile of dirty laundry toppling its way out of the closet.

“Sorry,” Parker spoke sheepishly, and I found myself smiling at his antics. The bedroom was nice; though nothing like I pictured Parker Archer to have. Then again, I was the one sleeping in his room. He was stuffing his clothes back in the closet when I found a large sketchbook sitting on the nightstand.

The book was open to a sketch of someone. I had not noticed I was looking back at my own eyes until I took in the entire picture. My hair seemed to be flowing against the wind perfectly. Around me there were fireflies, there was one in my hand while I smiled. My eyes, though I knew what they looked like, I’d never particularly seen this expression in my eyes. I looked… different, happy…, beautiful. Parker had not noticed until he closed the closet, freezing in place when he saw the sketchbook in my hand.

“I-”
“You drew this. You drew me,” I found myself saying.

“Yes,” He spoke, walking over to me and gently prying the sketchbook out of my hands.

“You weren’t supposed to see that,” Parker spoke his tone embarrassed.

“It’s nice,” I found myself saying. Part of me wondering if this was how Parker saw me.
“Yes,” He answered again, and I realized I had spoken out loud. Taking my hand in his he once more reached to caress my cheek with the other hand.

“When I say you’re beautiful. I mean it.” Parker whispered. Looking back into his eyes it was hard to breathe. Though I hoped he’d kiss me again he didn’t. Instead, he let go of me, taking a few bed sheets that were neatly folded on the bed.

“We should get some sleep.” He said.

“Alright,” I found myself saying. Making my way to the bed quietly, I laid on my side, while Parker himself laid out blankets on the floor and faced my way as well.

“Good night Lyric.”
“Good night Parker.”

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