Broken visions, p.18
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       Broken Visions, p.18

         Part #3 of Shattered Promises series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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  "Demetrius." My breath fogs out in front of my face as it laces with the arctic air.

  "There it is," my dad mumbles, staring at something near the shoreline just in front of his feet, a blur of colors and shapes.

  I focus like I've been taught to do and the colors and shapes alter into two figures that rise up from the ground, clutching onto each other for dear life.

  "Oh my God." My heart stops at the sight I've seen before. Many times. In fact, pretty much every time I pass out.

  I throw my hand over my mouth and start to back away. This is what my father erased to create a new path for the world. This is what was going to happen? Alex and I were going to die to save the world. I painfully understand now, what this means and what it means if I choose the right path.

  I watch in torment as Alex brushes the vision form of me's hair from my face. "It'll be okay," he whispers softly.

  "How do you know?" she says, tears streaming from her eyes.

  "Because I do." Then he kisses her with so much passion that it electrifies the air. He keeps kissing her, his hands traveling all over her body as she grips onto his shoulders, fully welcoming the kiss, yet she's scared. The electricity intensifies and then finally Alex pulls back and hugs her against him tightly, whispering something in her ear that makes her skin drain of color. But then she says something else that looks like it means everything to her. And as she buries her face into his chest, a light brightening around the two of them, she appears content.

  I shield my eyes, trying to see what's happening. I've never gotten past this part in my dreams, but deep down I know why. It's the same reason why when Alex looked in the future mirror, he only saw light.

  Because it's the end for both of us.

  "This is what happens right before the portal is about to open... the two of them stop it from happening, by sacrificing their own lives?" my father whispers under his breath as the light dims away. The sun shines brightly from the sky and the snow is melted, the land soaked with the afterglow. The Death Walkers, Stephan, and Demetrius are gone and ash is scattered across the ground and floating through the air. Everything is burned except for Alex and the vision form of me sprawled on the grass, our fingers intertwined as we lay side by side, dead.

  My father shakes his head, tears rolling down his cheek. "I'm so sorry for letting this happen to you." He steps toward our bodies, crouches down, and reaches for us, preparing to erase us like I did to myself on the shore.

  I start to sob uncontrollably. "This is what I have to put back," I choke. "I have to let this happen. Let Alex and me die, so that the world doesn't freeze over and everyone dies."

  It's the most difficult decision I've ever had to make. Either I can walk away and let the world head to its frozen death or sacrifice Alex and mine's life so everyone can live. How can I do it? How can I kill Alex and myself?

  "I can't do this," I whisper through my tears.

  But as my father's hand hovers above Alex, I realize what kind of person I am, a life changing moment that will define me forever.

  My hand trembles as I reach for my father. "I'm so sorry," I whisper then place my hand on his shoulder. He vanishes with a flicker and I collapse to the grass and cry until all the energy drains out of me. Then I curl up into a ball and for once, wish I was still emotionally numb.

  Chapter 32

  I wake up at the house, slamming to the floor, but don't open my eyes, even when everyone rushes to me. I can't do it--can't face him, so instead I let him carry me to the sofa, pretending I'm unconscious, while Alex stokes my back.

  I hate to hear him worried like he is, but opening my eyes means I'll have to explain what happened. I'll have to tell Alex that we are going to die in the close future and that what I changed back was our deaths.

  I'm not sure how much time goes by, maybe hours, as I stay that motionless, listening to them worry, knowing that eventually I'll have to officially wake up and tell them what I did.

  "Gemma." Alex's breath feathers against my ear as he leans down and in desperation, whispers, "For the love of God, please just wake up."

  His plea tears at my heart and I decide it's time. Opening my eyes, I sit up and he leans back to give me room.

  "Oh, thank God." Aislin presses her hand to her heart, relief sweeping across her face as she sinks down on the coffee table. "You're okay, right?" She's been crying, eyes red and swollen.

  I can't look Alex in the eye so I focus on Laylen and Aislin. "Yeah, I'm fine."

  "What happened?" Alex asks, trying to catch my eye. "Did you change it or did something... bad happen?" He thinks I'm upset because my dad turned out to be evil. Part of me wishes that was the case.

  I smash my trembling lips together, sucking back the tears, and manage to nod my head once.

  He hooks his finger under my chin and forces me to look at him. "What's wrong? I can tell something's bothering you."

  "I stopped him from changing the world's future." I release an uneven exhale. "So now it's back to what it was supposed to begin with before my father messed with it."

  "So everything's good." Alex is deciding whether he should be happy or not. "The world's not going to end? In ice? My father's not going to get what he wants."

  I squeeze my eyes shut and suck in a deep breath. "That's not all."

  He's hesitant. "What else happened?"

  Knowing I should tell him first, I open my eyes and ask Aislin and Laylen, "Can you two give us a second? I need to talk to Alex alone."

  They give me lost looks at they get up and do what I ask. Laylen looks like I've wounded him, probably because he thinks I'm keeping secrets from him.

  After the room is cleared, I turn to Alex and gather every ounce of courage I possess. "What I had to erase... what I had to allow to happen... what was originally supposed to happen is that... we... we sacrifice ourselves and die, killing the star with us."

  He doesn't utter a word. The clock ticking. The wind howling. And I can hear Aislin and Laylen upstairs talking.

  "So we say we love each other," he says with indifference. "And then we die and that's that."

  I nod, unable to speak.

  More silence goes by and then Alex abruptly gets to his feet. "I can't do this," he mutters and then storms out of the room and out of the house, slamming the front door behind him and it rattle the entire house.

  Seconds later, Aislin and Laylen come rushing into the room.

  "What happened?" Aislin asks, looking around. "Where the hell did Alex go?"

  Telling them is less difficult but still hard. When I'm done, Aislin runs up to her room sobbing hysterically. Laylen stays with me in the living room, but sits quietly with his arms folded.

  "So that's how it's going to happen," he finally asks in a quiet voice. "It doesn't seem fair."

  "I'm not sure it really is either," I say, wondering if it's a selfish thing to say or not. "But it is what it is. No more changing things, not when I know that it'll lead to something good."

  He drapes his arm around my shoulder and hugs me against him, kissing the top of my head before resting his chin on it. "Maybe we could fix it... Maybe we can do something else that would keep you guys alive."

  Shaking my head, I shut my eyes and clutch onto his shirt, telling myself to hold on and not fall apart. "There's nothing we can do. Everything is back to the way it was supposed to be and changing it will only cause more problems and mess up things." Even though I try to fight them, the tears start to flow and I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to stop them.

  ***

  In the midst of my crying, I somehow fall asleep and end up in my room. I recognize the familiarity of my bed when I start to wake up. My eyes are so puffy I think about not opening them again, but then I feel the hum of the electricity and make myself fully wake up.

  Alex is lying beside me, not asleep, staring at me. "Sorry, I was just..." He looks a bit guilty.

  "Watching me sleep," I finish for him, turning on the lamp. It's not completely nightt
ime yet but dark enough that I can only see the outline of him. I want to see all of him, savor the moments with him and everyone I care about.

  "It's not as creepy as it sounds," he says, starting to laugh, but the happiness deflates quickly. He looks exhausted, dark half circles under his eyes, hair a mess, clothes wrinkled.

  "No, it's pretty creepy," I attempt to joke, but fail miserably.

  "You don't have to do that." He rolls onto his back and stares up at the ceiling. "You don't have to pretend that everything's alright when it's not."

  "Don't I?" I whisper. "It hurts too much not to pretend."

  He rolls to his side again and lets his finger travel down my cheekbone to my jawline, finally residing on the hollow of my neck. "Never pretend with me, Gemma. Promise me you won't. Promise me you'll tell me what you're really feeling no matter how bad it is."

  I gaze up at his eyes that use to be so cold, but now give me so much comfort I can barely comprehend it. "You really want to know how I feel right now." I ask and he nods. I wet my lips with my tongue and then lean up, knowing that what I'm doing might be wrong, but it's what I want to do at the moment.

  Without any hesitation, I press my lips to his and kiss him intensely but deliberately. I expect him to stop me and give me a big lecture about how we should stay apart, that we should let the star survive as long as we can. But he doesn't and we both decide just to live in the moment. Live for the now. Live to live because any other way wouldn't be right.

  As he kisses me back with passion, he conceals his body over mine, his arms slipping upward and bearing his weight and my head is trapped between his arms. He's touching all of me but it doesn't feel like enough. I want more, but when I rush to rip of his clothes, getting caught in the heat of the moment like we've done so many times, he stops me by catching my hand.

  "Just enjoy it, okay," he utters softly with fear in his eyes, like he's afraid to do so himself. When I nod, equally as terrified, he leans back down and kisses me gradually but with so much intensity, I swear we're going to burn the house to the ground. I can barely get air into my lungs as our tongues entangle and our bodies weld together, conforming flawlessly. The kissing goes on forever, longer than I knew kissing could go on for. When he finally pulls back, he strips my clothes off me, going slowly and not tearing the fabric and I do the same to him, my chest heaving as I gasp for air, feeling things I've never felt before. I try to bury them, knowing I need to restrain what I'm certain is developing inside me, and toss his shirt aside. Then I gently trace my fingers along his perfect chest and impeccable stomach, feeling his muscles flex under my fingertips. He lets me study him, feel every part of him, then he lays me back down and does the same to me, his fingers drifting from my face, to my neck, my breasts, then to my thighs, his mouth trailing after his hand and leaving a path of heat all over my skin. By the time he's done, I'm gasping for air and my body is aching for him to be inside me.

  He must sense it to, because he situates himself between my legs and covers his body back over mine. "I want to say so many things..." he looks so torn. "But I don't think I can."

  "You don't have to say anything at all," I whisper, leaning up to kiss him. "I already know."

  He kisses me deeply as he thrusts inside me and my fingernails dig at the flesh on his shoulder blades as overwhelming passion, lust, want, and need consume me. For a moment I feel whole. At peace. Like I've done everything I've wanted to do. And as he rocks inside me, whispering, "Everything we'll be alright," part of me believes him.

  Chapter 33

  After having the most intense sex ever, I lie in bed beside him, face to face, staring at him, trying to brand his beautiful face into my mind so hopefully when I die, it'll be the last thing I see.

  "You know, I never stopped thinking about you," Alex says, resting his hand on my hip. "After you left."

  "I wish I could have thought about you," I admit. "But I didn't really think about much of anything honestly."

  "It's not your fault," he says, tracing circles on my hipbone.

  "I know, but I still wish I could have."

  It grows quiet between us and then he sits up in the bed and reaches for his jeans on the floor. "I want to do something," he says and when he sits back up he has a knife in his hand. "I want to make another Blood Promise."

  "What kind of a Blood Promise?" I sit up, intrigued.

  "One that will help us through this." He touches his finger to the tip of the knife and pricks it. "One that will make the impossible possible."

  I don't quite understand, but the silent plea in his eyes is enough for me to easily give into his request. "Alright, let's make a promise." I lift my hand that is marked with the scar of the original Blood Promise and hold it out to him.

  He slices the palm of his hand open, his breath faltering as he carries my gaze and the carefully cuts mine. With blood trickling out of both our hands, he presses our palms together. "EGO spondeo vos ero totus vox," The words pour out of his soul. "EGO spondeo EGO mos operor quisquis capit ut servo vos."

  When he's done, I wait for him to tell me what he needs me to say, but he lowers his hand to his lap and puts the knife on the nightstand.

  "That was a one-sided promise." I cup my hand to catch the blood but the wound is already healing up.

  "It was a one-sided promise that needed to be made."

  "But that doesn't seem fair... I didn't promise you anything back."

  "Trust me," he says with a sad smile. "I got everything I needed."

  Something about this is all wrong. "Alex, I--"

  "Please Gemma, this is what I need," he begs and I surrender to him, because really I have no other choice.

  Chapter 34

  After a good night's rest, I decide to go tell my mother what's going on, mainly because I want to inform her that my father wasn't evil like she said, that everything he did was for her.

  Alex is still fast asleep in my bed, so I quietly get dressed and slip out of the room so I won't wake him. When I get to Sophia and Marco's room where my mother is imprisoned, I sit down on the floor in front of her and stay calm.

  "I saw what happened," I tell her, tucking my legs underneath me. "Dad didn't want to be like Stephan. Stephan marked him with the Mark of Malefiscus and he had to do what Stephan said--he didn't have a choice in any of it."

  Her eyes widen as she scoots toward me. "That can't be true."

  "But it is," I say, trying to read if she's lying. "He had to do it. He had to change the vision and it all happened because he wanted to be with you."

  "He just wanted to be with me?" Her hands fall lifelessly to her side, her skin draining of color.

  "I changed it back," I inform her, knowing that she could tell Stephan, but that it doesn't matter anymore. "The vision he changed to end the world, I changed it back so it's not going to happen... all is saved." I'm not sure what comes over me, but I lose it and start bawling. I crawl toward my mom, disregarding that she has the Mark of Malefiscus on her arm and wrap my arms around her, seeking comfort from her like I'm a child.

  She puts her arms around me and gives me what I needed. A loving mother, but I'm not sure if she's playing the part or really being her. Either way, I take it.

  We remain that way until the sun rises and lights up the room. Then I pull away and explain to her why I'm crying. My voice sounds hollow as I speak, detached.

  "That's what he erased?" she asks after I'm finished and my tears have dried. "He erased your death and in return the world would end."

  "I think, either way, I probably would have ended up dying, but this way it's just Alex and me that die. And we take Stephan and all the Death Walkers down with us." I force a tight smile. "Which is a good thing, right?"

  She grabs my hands and suddenly her eyes are filled with tears. "You listen to me, Gemma Lucas, you are not going to give up that easily."

  "I--I'm not giving up," I stammer, stunned by her shift in attitude. "It's what happens. I can't do anything about it."

/>   She swiftly shakes her head. "There are always loopholes."

  "You always say that, but it was a vision--the only loopholes are to do what dad did and try to change it to something else, and all that will get me is a one-way ticket to being trapped in my own mind forever and I'll probably fuck up the future of the world again."

  "There are always loopholes, Gemma," she repeats, taking me by the shoulders and looking me straight in the eye. "Think about it. Your father took you into the Room of Forbidden, where no one's supposed to enter. You got me out of The Underworld, which isn't supposed to be possible. Your soul is reconnected, which was never supposed to happen. All those things were caused by loopholes." She pauses. "Just because you saw your death, doesn't mean you have to die... I'm not saying that what you saw won't happen, but that you need to find your loophole through your death...make it so you survive after the star's power fades away."

 
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