“I’m not coming again,” I said, trying not to look at his face as I walked through into his office. I paced the room frantically. Hoping to find a reason in my head that I could say out loud to go with that statement.
I’d been coming here for the past three months, but I hadn’t really had a proper look around before. It wasn’t huge but the floor to ceiling window behind the desk, overlooking the garden and lake made it seem endless. The rest of the room was relatively sparse.
A large dark wood desk and book cases filled one side, while a couch and treatment table occupied a more secluded area.
James was my ‘healer.’
After the accident three months ago, the one where I lost my second family, the doctor said my arm was beyond help. I would do better if it were replaced with a prosthetic one. I’d been alone in my room at the private hospital when James came to see me. I’d heard of ‘healers’ being used before, but I didn’t care about losing my arm; I wished I was dead.
I remembered only brief parts of the car accident. The dominant memories were from the moment of impact, when the truck ploughed into us. Then the moment I was pulled free; by someone I never got to thank. The only reason I knew I hadn’t died along with Dave, Kristine and Ellie was the raw piercing pain that came from my arm.
They were the second family that was taken from me, the first were my real parents, Alan and Miriam. The fire investigator said a faulty gas boiler was responsible for the fire, and again I was the only one to escape alive.
I was fifteen then, still too young to live alone and with no other relatives, foster care was the only option. Dave and Kristine welcomed me into their home along with their eight year old daughter Ellie. I was only meant to be with them for a year, but the bond formed easily between us and I became a permanent member of their family.
This was the year I would leave them, though not in the way I’d planned. I’d just received my college acceptance letter to Washington State. My dream of being a Vet getting ever closer, so a dinner out in town was to be a celebration of that.
Tears always stung my eyes when I thought of them. I would have happily traded my life for theirs.
“Why? Hasn’t your arm improved?”
James’s voice broke through my thoughts and interrupted my pacing.
“What? Yes, but that’s not the point.”
I could tell he was confused by my answer; the ‘healing’ work was definitely working. I had good use of my arm now. I looked hard at his face, a face that looked far too young to have all the credentials that adorned his walls. His wavy blonde hair and piercing blue eyes stared back at me. I expect trying to figure out why I was behaving like this today.
“I just can’t.” I blurted out, pulling my eyes away from his.
I seemed to be looking at him a lot lately, taking in the color of his blue shirt that fitted his muscular frame perfectly. This was so wrong for me. Even though I was only a few months from my nineteenth birthday, I’d never got close to a boy before, and he was definitely more than a boy. He must have been in his late thirties even though he only looked a year or two older than me.
I preferred my own company, ‘a loner’ was a phrase often used to describe me by the teachers at school. How could I tell him that for the past few nights I had dreamt about him. Dreamt his hands moving over my body and his lips burning into mine. After one particular dream I was sure my lips were actually swollen. I could barely look at him without a blush burdening my cheeks.
I stopped moving around the room, and turned at the sound of my name.
He walked towards me and my heart accelerated; I was praying he couldn’t hear it. To me it drowned out every other noise in the room, compelling me to recognize its existence. Since every time I allowed myself to care or even love I lost them, I’d decided that was an emotion best left alone. I would not allow myself to love or be loved, the pain of loss was far too high a price.
He stopped directly in front of me, placing his hands on my shoulders. I could feel the heat radiating from them. They were special hands, his gift to the world. He didn’t shout this from the roof tops, the plaque on the door said ‘Therapist’, a profession I’m sure he would be very proficient at. But I never saw any other clients or patients coming or going.
The hands were so distracting, my thoughts becoming less coherent the longer I felt his touch.
“Sam, why don’t you want to see me anymore?”
The question sounded too personal and I struggled with the thoughts that clouded my mind.
I closed my eyes trying to ignore his closeness, and the truly hypnotizing smell of him.
“I just can’t, please don’t make me try and put it into words.” I opened my eyes as I spoke to him, hoping he saw the pleading in them and understood my pain.
His grip on my shoulders became more intense, the heat traveling violently to every part of my body making me almost sway under its ferocity.
I couldn’t think of any reason to give him other than the truth.
“I’m getting too close to you.” I looked into his eyes waiting for the laugh or doctor patient lecture I was sure would come, but he didn’t move his eyes from mine or lift his hands.
“And why is getting close to me bad?” his voice was low; almost a whisper and I wanted to lean in to him to hear him more clearly. I couldn’t move I was frozen to the spot, adrenalin or embarrassment kept me fixed where I was contemplating my reply. Again the truth seemed to be the only option open to me. I took a deep breath, praying that clarity came with it.
“Because every body I care for dies.” I lowered my head, unable to let my eyes fully admit to him the depth of my feelings.
His hand left my shoulder and for a moment my heart sank, but then I felt his touch under my chin, lifting my gaze to him once more. His eyes seemed bluer than they had ever looked before and the white around them looked more like silver this close.
“I won’t leave you,” he said, again so soft and low I could barely hear him,
“I can’t,” he added with a smile.
It was my turn not to understand, a look of total confusion swept across my face. He looked awkward as if he hadn’t meant to add the final words. His hand moved up to my cheek allowing his thumb to skim across my lips, sending a shudder through my body and I was sure the silver of his eyes rippled like water.
“What do you mean you can’t?”
I was barely able to speak, and wasn’t even sure the words had left my mouth until I heard his reply.
“I’m not as breakable as the others,” he said, looking less confident about his choice of words this time.
He was unbearably close now, I hadn’t noticed him move or his other hand cup the other side of my cheek. My own hands still hung limply at my side, not knowing whether this was part of the healing process, or whether I was back in the middle of one of my dreams.
“We can’t do this.” I said in the lowest of whispers, hardly recognizing the low breathless sound that left my body. The blood boiled and raged inside me has his hands slid down my cheeks to my neck, and then sliding around under my hair.
Every movement I made seemed involuntary, my hands laid flat across his chest and my head inclining to mirror his. I don’t know how I was still standing, my knees could barely take the burden of the weight of emotion that was pressing down on them, and with each breath on my face the pressure increased.
As his lips skimmed mine, it was impossible to stifle the involuntary moan that left them. It was at that moment my knees lost hold of their burden. In one swift movement he moved his hand to the small of my back, scooping me to him so that I was helpless against his body. My hand slid up around his neck as his lips moved with mine, parting them with ease.
My whole body was consumed by him, a dizziness I had only thought came with vast amounts of alcohol. The contents of the room swirled around me as we headed for the couch, not allowing any thoughts to settle long enough to wonder whether this was right or wrong.
It felt right, my body instinctively knowing how to respond to his. But there was a nagging doubt pushing its way to the front of my mind. I pushed my hands hard against his chest,
“Stop. Stop, please James.” I was so annoyed with myself for letting the doubts filter into my mind. He lifted his head from mine, confusion covering his face.
“This,” I said, looking down at the closeness of our bodies, something I really shouldn’t have done. The second I saw his body pushed so closely to mine I faltered and he knew it. The heat from his kisses on my neck burned right through to my bones, making me gasp for air.
He whispered in my ear as his teeth bit gently into the soft skin there, “we’ve gone further than this in your dreams.”
I couldn’t believe the words I’d just heard. I flung myself back from him, and stared at the perfect figure before me in total disbelief.
“How do you know about my dreams?” the full weight of my voice had returned to me, along with the crimson stain that I knew was back on my cheeks. I was shaking from my hands to my toes and suppressing the urge to run from the building and never come back. Un fortunately the urge to know how? was stronger and I stood once again frozen to the spot, just in front of the couch.
I held my hand up in a stop gesture as he moved towards me.
“Don’t touch me just talk.” I said more calmly than I would have thought possible right now, considering I was struggling not to fall to my knees and die of embarrassment.
“Sam, when I heal you I give part of my self over to you, so when you sleep I’m there with you.”
I dropped my hand, and rubbed the front of my head in confusion. I didn’t understand anything he was saying and I didn’t stop him when I felt his hand guiding me to the couch.
I sat next to him, my head leaning forward over my knees with my hands wedged between them.
“I’m not sure how to explain this to you but I’m going to try, is that okay with you?”
He placed his hand under my chin and turned my head to face his, looking intently at me waiting for any kind of acknowledgement that I had heard him and wanted him to go on.
I nodded my head, incapable of any other means of communication.
He nodded back and pushed his hand through his hair to calm himself. I’d never seen him so nervous before and wondered what the hell he could say that could freak me out any more than he already had.
“When I began healing you I already knew you.”
I turned my head to look at him, but he was staring at the floor his head bowed over his knees like mine. I didn’t say anything. I needed to hear everything he had to say and then I would ask my questions, if I had any; or if I needed any more answers.
He took a very deep breath and then closed his eyes, as if remembering a different time.
“I first saw you when you were fifteen. The image of your face was all I thought about and then I did something that was against all the rules; I became part of your life. I pulled you from the burning house and breathed life into you before any one else arrived. Your family had already gone I couldn’t help them, but I wouldn’t let them take you.”
He was looking at me now and my eyes bulged at his words. Choking back the tears I asked him to go on, wondering at what point I would wake up and realize I was in the middle of some bizarre dream.
He looked back to the floor, holding his head in his hands.
“I’d crossed the line and unsettled the balance of things, but I didn’t care you were safe and I could deal with whatever punishment they dealt me… the punishment was worse than I’d imagined. They sent me to be near you. At first I thought it was what I wanted but then I realized the cruel intentions of the ones I had wronged. I was to keep my powers of healing and immortality which meant that every day I saw you I would have to watch death take you slowly until there would be a time when their hold on you would be greater than mine.”
He paused for a second and I was unable to keep the deal I’d made with myself to save my questions for later.
“You’re immortal?” I asked, in a voice that sounded like it belonged to a ninety year old asthmatic.
He nodded taking in every emotion now present on my face, and forcing me to ask yet another question.
“What are you?” I found the strength to look straight into his eyes and was suddenly overwhelmed by the beauty that pooled in his silvery gaze.
“I will tell you, but not just yet, I need to explain first. Are you afraid? because I can promise you I won’t hurt you.” He touched the side of my cheek and instead of pulling away I let my head rest against his hand.
“I’m not afraid,” I whispered, unsure if he’d heard me, but the smile that crossed his face told me that he had.
“I watched you closely over the years that passed and tried desperately not to get too close to you but it was almost impossible. Your life energy drew me in like a magnet and although it hurt to be near you it also hurt too much to be away.” He closed his eyes, the pain he spoke of must have been there in his mind as he tried to slow his breathing and calm himself once more.
“My whole reason for being here was so that I could be near you and witness you die of old age while I stayed young. So when I saw the accident in my head I thought for a second that if I let you go now it would be easier, less painful somehow. But I couldn’t and I searched my mind to find you. I barely managed to pull you from the car before the explosion and I knew that it was my hesitation that caused the injury to your arm so I decided to heal you. Coming to you that night in the hospital was the hardest thing I ever had to do. It was one thing to watch you from afar, but I didn’t know how I would handle being that close to you and not being able to tell you everything I was and why I was here.”
My mind was in melt down. I had so many questions that I wanted to ask but I couldn’t move my mouth, not a word spilled from my lips as I silently analyzed everything he was saying. He had saved me twice from death, and something he considered as a living entity was punishing him for this. All of it seemed too absurd to believe and yet I believed every word, without fear.
I felt the couch shift beside me as he lifted himself up and headed for the desk, leaning himself against it while he recovered his thoughts.
“I spent days arguing with myself and searching for alternatives to how I could spend time with you and not tell you how much you already meant to me. Then I spoke to someone close to me who told me that there might be a way through. I was ready to try anything, but this was something that was out of my control, you were the only one that had the power to change things and I had to abide by whatever it was you wanted.”
He rubbed his hand along his jaw as if feeling uncomfortable about what he was about to say. I tried to keep my expression calm when he looked at me so that he didn’t abandon his explanation for fear of freaking me out. Because that’s exactly what was going on inside my head right now, my calm exterior hid the screaming words that I knew a sane person would be flinging across the room by now, or even be running out of the door. I twisted my fingers in my hands, the only outward show of any unbalanced emotion.
“You’re calmer than I expected. I’m still waiting for you to run out of the door.”
I looked up at him, almost letting a smile loosen my lips at the thought that he’d just read my mind.
“Do you want me to go on?”
I nodded, and repositioned my self on the couch, leaning back into the soft leather and clutching a cushion to my chest.
“I knew that if I used my gift to heal you then I would have to pass some of my life energy to you, and that would make us connected for ever. But only I would know that. You would be able to lead a normal life. I would feel every emotion you experienced whether it was good or bad, and your body would be able to fight illness and age a little better than those around you. I was happy to do that, even if it meant that when you were fully healed you walked away and never came back. I would suffer feeling your happiness if you met someone and fell in love, but I was willing to accept that as a small price for your safety in this world. But the chemistry began to grow between us, and then a few nights ago you called my name and I woke. I let myself flow to your mind. The image of you waiting for me took my breath away and when you kissed me I couldn’t pull myself away. I should have left you to your thoughts but I didn’t have the strength to refuse you, and I let my body merge with yours. Each night I waited for you to call me and went eagerly to you, but I knew that it wasn’t real and I needed more than that. I spoke again to my friend who told me that the moment you’d let me into your dreams was a defining one, and that If you chose me there then you would choose me in your living world too. Today when you told me you couldn’t come back again, I felt pain like I had never known before, my body flamed and my heart throbbed and ached as it tried to continue beating, and I realized the punishment the lords had given me was the worst they could ever pass down. They had done their duty well.”
His head lowered and I could almost feel the moment he lost hope in what he believed could happen between us. I moved across the room, stopping only inches from him, feeling the pain radiating from his body. I placed my hand on his chest and waited for him to look at me.
“Why is it up to me? I don’t understand what I can do to change anything?”
He dropped his head again. “If you were to fall in love with me, completely without any doubts, and knowing everything about me then and only then could I be free to live a mortal life with you.”
“You didn’t answer my question from earlier.”
He looked up at me puzzled at my sudden change of direction.
“I asked you what you were.”
I stared into his eyes as I spoke desperate to tell him how much I was already in love with him but I needed to hear more, I wanted to know what I would be asking him to give up to stay in my world.
“An Angel; your Angel.”
His eyes glowed as he spoke and the nerves exploded around my body making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
“An Angel?” I said back to him sounding a bit more shocked than I intended to be. I knew it had to be something out of this world but the intensity and weight of responsibility that came with the words he uttered almost drained me of coherent thoughts.
“And you would give that up for me?” I asked, leaning close to his face.
“I already have,” he said, leaning into me.
His lips pushed hard against mine and my arms circled his neck holding him to me. Just as in my dreams his hands moved effortlessly over my body taking in every curve and hollow. When he pulled me closer, I didn’t pull away this time, and felt every movement of his body against mine.
“Are you sure?” I whispered in his ear between breathless kisses.
“Yes, I only want you nothing else matters. I would rather spend one lifetime with you than an eternity without you.”
I pulled him tight to me and said the words I knew he needed to hear right now.
“I love you.”
This and any of my other stories can be found at http://www.thenextbigwriter.com/library/index.html/read/40143