In the previous chapter, Leana has just killed Teo and rushing out she is sick. Now read on…
Gentle hands touch my shoulder, hold my forehead even as I finish puking. I don’t know who it is, don’t even care. All I know is Teo is gone. I killed him, and now my life has changed forever. Tears run down my cheeks, as I wipe my mouth. I don’t resist when Rohan pulls me to my feet.
I am still gripping my sword, my fingers as if attached to it unable to let go, as he leads me away from the orphanage building. Walking across the children’s playground, I shudder as we pass the fallen vampires that Aki and I had battled earlier. Seeing their broken bodies, the purple red blood splattered on the grass around them, I feel the sickness rise up again. Breaking away from Rohan, I jump over the low wall and onto the beach. Then run across the sand towards the waves. Dropping my sword, I barely pause to take off my shoes; then tear off my shirt, my jeans, before running into the water.
I want to be rid of the smell of the vampires, wipe myself clean of their blood, of Teo’s blood.
Inside my wolf stirs, restless, unsure of what it wants.
I hear the sound of my name being called, then those words too are torn away by the breeze.
Clad only in my underwear I dive into the sea and swim out. Battling the next wave, and the next. It feels good to have something to fight, to vent my anger against. This time I let the tears flow, so they mingle with the sea water. Another wave crashes over me, I go down only to come up again, choking. The taste of the salt surrounds me: it’s on my lips, in my mouth, on my tongue, even as the water pulling at me, inviting me into the depths.
This time when I go down I don’t fight.
I just let myself sink. When I open my eyes underwater, its to a world gone green. The sunshine filters down through the waves, pouring golden rays around me. A seahorse ambles past, the sunlight picking out the green and silver of its skin. I follow its progress as it swims slowly staying upright.
There’s something not quite right about it and I stare at it, forgetting to cry. Look at it trying to understand why it’s bulging in the middle. Its stomach ballooned out like a white sac. And then I realize the sea-horse is pregnant.
I watch it fascinated as it undulates forward, slowly, gracefully navigating the waters. It doesn’t fight the current just swims with it. Taking care to protect the ones who are not yet born.
As I must.
Sometimes when you hit a wall you have to back up and look for ways to overcome it.
Teo is gone but I must stay strong. I must live. He’d want me to live, stay on and take care of the orphans.
He’d want me to see life in all its colors, to immerse myself in its emotions. Too had always told me to take the good with the bad, and if he’d been in my place, he’d have done the same thing too. If I had been turned he’d not have hesitated to kill me and set me free.
By letting him go, I’d allowed his soul to soar; to find the peace he’d always thirsted for.
By letting him go, I’d done the most selfless thing possible.
I’d set him free; set myself free.
I turn, entranced as the seahorse continues to swim, struck with this absurd need to follow it; when I am caught from behind and pulled up. And then I am rising, rising, through the blue-green depths. I break the surface gasping for breath and don’t resist when Rohan tows me to the shore.
Reaching the beach, he half carries, half pulls me ashore, collapsing when we reach the beach.
I lie there panting, sweat running down my forehead, my eyes stinging from the sea. Next to me I hear Rohan’s breath coming out in short bursts too. His arm still around my waist as if he’s worried I’d run back into the water.
“What were you thinking?” he gasps out, his voice low a thread of anger running through it.
When I don’t reply he turns me around. “Dammit Leana, you’d kill yourself, give up just like that?” He asks, his voice harsh.
I keep my eyes shut and refuse to look at him. But I still feel that mix of anger and fear from him, and something else. I sense guilt… Gone before I can place it. But it’s enough to disturb me, enough to make my eyes fly open.
Indigo eyes stare down at me and all I see in them now is concern. He’d really been convinced that I was going to drown myself. Hell, for a few minutes there, I myself wasn’t sure what I wanted. Perhaps I’d even wanted to kill myself, anything to get rid of that sadness that had been dragging me down.
But now…I feel inside myself and find the wolf silent, calmer. Those emotions churning inside as if swallowed up by the sea. Instead I feel hope. The seahorse as if a harbinger of things to come. A reminder that life goes on and I had much to live for. Much to love.
The orphans, Aki even my cousin Rohan. A smile pulls at my lips. Seeing it, Rohan’s muscles relax, his breath whooshes out in a sigh, grazing my forehead.
His eyes fix on my lips, and then it’s as if he notices my state of undress for the first time. The violet sparks in them catch fire as he moves his gaze down my neck; over the rise-fall-rise of my breasts, to where my stomach is bared to the sun.
He’s close enough for the heat from his body to reach out to me now and I become aware that he’s aroused.
Abruptly I pull out of his grasp and stagger to my feet. Water, and sand raining down my legs. His gaze sears up my thighs pausing at the triangle which I am sure is visible between my legs. Before swiveling back to captures my eyes.
In them I see desire. And a plea. And something more, an understanding of sorts. I know then he cares for me deeply. But I am not ready for this. Not even sure I know what to do about it.
When I hold out my hand he grasps it, and rises to his feet. He doesn’t let go of me, and I let him pull me to him.
Let him embrace me, let him run his hands over my dripping wet hair as he tries to comfort me. I lay my head against his chest and say, “Friends Rohan?”
He hesitates, then I sense him nod. “Friends.” He says, “If that’s what you want Leana, that’s what I will be.” He swallows then adds in a soft voice, “I love you Leana, and I’ll be here when you are ready.”
I nod, accepting what he’s offering. For now.
I lean back, then push back in the circle of his arms, till he lets me go.
“Meanwhile we have vampires to kill,” I say, and am rewarded by a slight smile.
Slipping into the shirt I had dropped earlier, I pick up my sword. Rohan picks up my shoes and jeans.
Then, sword in one hand, the other in my cousin’s grasp, we walk back to the orphanage.
-The epilogue comes after this showing Leana training with Aki to be a fighter…