Broken visions, p.2
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       Broken Visions, p.2

         Part #3 of Shattered Promises series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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  I eye the crystal ball warily. "With just a crystal ball?" I look up at him. "How?"

  He takes my hand, his skin alarmingly chilled, and he carefully places the crystal ball my palm. "No, with this and your power."

  It isn't like any of the other crystal ball I've seen. The outer glass is crystal clear, allowing me to see inside to the center where a star-shaped center bursts with light.

  "I don't understand...." I'm transfixed by the crystal ball, unable to take my eyes off it, as though it's beckoning me to use it. "I thought my power was what ended the world?" I lift the crystal ball to eye-level. "This crystal has a lot of power..."

  "That it does." He shuts the lid on the trunk. "And when I say power, I'm talking about your Foreseer power, not the star's power." He stands silently for a moment, struggling to tell me something important. "I've done some things in my life that have led me to this place. Things that are unforgivable--things which you'll understand soon. But I need you to put the future back and fix some of those mistakes."

  I wonder if the evil in my blood came from him. "Unforgivable things?"

  "I can't answer that right now," he says. "Nor can I tell you how to use the crystal ball."

  It fills like I've been stuck in some sort of riddle world, where I have to figure out the answers from a bunch of stuff that doesn't seemed to be linked to anything. "Why can't you tell me anything?"

  "Because you have to figure it out on your own." He tries to offer me an encouraging smile. "You and I are unique cases. We can both travel into visions without the assistance of a crystal. With enough strength, you should be able to change the vision I erased and recreated."

  I'm dumbstruck, my fingers tightening around the crystal. "You changed a vision? I thought you weren't allowed to do that?"

  "You're not." Regret seizes his expression. "The vision I changed was so the world would end... And to this day, I regret it."

  Evil. Evil. Evil. The word echoes in my head. "You made it so the world would end? How...why would you do that?" I step back. Maybe he's still evil and he's getting me to do his evil work.

  "Relax, Gemma. I assure you there are good reasons for why I did the things. Granted, it's not an excuse, but at the time it seemed like it was the only option."

  I back away until my back brushes the wall. "There are no such things as good reasons for doing something evil." I shake my head, feeling the ache of another hidden wound.

  "You've never done anything bad that felt like it was the only option at the time?" he questions with accusation.

  I open my mouth to say no, but deep down I know it's a lie. "Yes, but..."

  "No buts. This isn't important right now." His voice is startlingly sharp, his hands balling into fists, anger controlling him. "What's important is that you fix it--change everything back to how it was originally supposed to be. You need to make sure the world doesn't end up like it did in the vision you saw."

  I shiver as the images surface, the one's I've seen of the world in its icy demise. "The one where the world ends in ice--the one where Stephan and Demetrius and the Death Walkers win?"

  He relaxes a little. "Yes, that's what you need to stop from happening."

  I want to argue with him more, but there's a voice in the back of my mind reminding me that if this works correctly, I'll have Alex back. I see the bigger picture of what my father was talking about and it makes him seem less evil, or me slightly more--I'm not sure.

  "Alright, but you need to tell me what to do, because I have no clue," I say, moving back toward him.

  He taps the crystal ball I'm holding with his finger. "Everything you need to know is in here." He places his finger to my temple. "And in here." Then he turns his back on me and starts to walk away. "It's time for you to go back. Good-bye, Gemma. I have great confidence that you'll be able to fix my mistakes."

  I start to chase after him, desperate to know more, but the walls around me bow in and out and the entire room starts to spin and becomes distorted like funhouse. My knees lock up on me and I can't move. My father walks further away from me and the tunnel begins flickering in and out of focus. I attempt to run after him again, wiggling my legs and arms and putting all my strength in it, but he just keeps getting further and further out of reach.

  "But I don't understand any of it!" I shout, clutching onto the crystal ball. "How am I supposed to change visions if what I've been taught is that they're not changeable? And how do I know which ones to change?" I stop fighting, my feet like heavy like bricks, and I'm submerged by darkness. "Dad, I don't understand!"

  "Don't worry." His voice seems to come from everywhere. "You will."

  Before I can say anything else, I'm being flipped upward and tossed into the darkness.

  Chapter 3

  Cold water splashes across my face and over my body, soaking my skin and my clothes. My body feels like it's been ran over by a truck and my eyelids are so heavy it aches to try and open them. The air smells salty and is filled with the soft lull of the ocean. For a while, I just lie there, trying to decipher what's going on because I'm too exhausted to move. But when water crashes over me again, I open my eyes just in time to see another wave headed at me. I scramble to my feet, hacking up water as I race up the beach and out of the ocean's reach. I can't believe what I'm seeing. The ocean before me, sunlight reflecting against it, and behind me, houses and people basking in the sand. I'm back at the beach house in Maryland.

  I would think that what had just happened was a dream, but I'm still clutching the crystal ball my father gave me.

  "I'm here, which means..."I sprint off for the beach house where Alex, Aislin, Laylen, and my mom are, at least from what I can remember. I'm just hoping that it worked--that I'm back to a place in time where Alex is alive, I'm not possessed and everything is good, well as good as it can be.

  I make it to the house in record time, panting, sweaty, but feeling better than I have in a while. I barrel up the stairs of the back porch and fling open the screen door. "Mom," I yell, stumbling into the kitchen. "Mom! Alex! Aislin! Anyone!"

  Silence.

  I hurry from the kitchen to the living room, calling out everyone's names, but the only noise comes from a grandfather clock in the corner of the room next to the sofa. Where is everyone? Did they go looking for me? Or did it... God, no I hate to think it, but I can't help it. My father gave me very little details on how this would work which makes me wonder if maybe Alex is still dead or something and that's where everyone is.

  After searching the entire house and not finding any clues to where they could be, I begin looking for a phone. But then I realize I don't have anyone's number so it's pointless. I'm about to endeavor out and start searching the streets when the front door opens and Alex enters, breathless. His dark-brown hair is messy, like he'd been raking his fingers through it repeatedly. His green eyes are wide and his lean muscles look taut through his T-shirt. His lips... God, his lips look so kissable.

  The sight of him nearly sends me to the floor, my heart slamming against my chest so forcefully I can't think. "You're alive," I breathe, gripping onto the end table to support my weight.

  He gives me a strange look, stopping just short of me. "Of course I am..." His brows furrow as he reaches out and his fingers spreads across my cheek. Sparks ignite. Dance across my skin. Elated. Alive. "Are you okay? You look like you're going to be sick," he says.

  "I think I am," I tell him, still stunned. Because my father did it. He reset time. He brought Alex back...

  All I want to do is touch him. Feel him. Run my fingers through his hair, along his arms, his muscles, feel the smoothness of his skin. I want to taste his lips. Let his lips taste every inch of me. But Stephan's words echo in my head, the consequences of us being together.

  When Alex moves to touch me with his other hand I step back, even though it nearly kills me.

  "What's wrong?" he asks, confusion swarming across his face.

  He has no idea.

  How can I tell him?
How can I tell the one person I've ever felt anything for that our emotions we have toward each other are wrong. That this amazing chemistry we have was never meant to be--that we were never meant to be.

  "We can't..." I shake my head, my stomach burning. I swear to God telling him is what's going to end me. "We can't..." I can't do this.

  Tears sting in my eyes, the knot in my stomach winding tighter. Blinding white heat ignites from inside me, so potent and toxic it feels like I'm on fire. The prickle appears, invisible but equally as toxic, piercing at my skin, telling me something I can't interpret just yet, or maybe just don't want to.

  "I can't breathe..." I choke. What is wrong with me? Something's not... right... I collapse to my knees, my fingers digging into my chest. "I... can't... breathe..." As I struggle for air, my vision spotting in and out, all I can think is, I'm dying.

  The next few minutes pass by in a blur. Alex rubs his hand up and down my back, whispering soothing words. It's going to be okay. You're alright. Just breathe.

  Just breathe.

  It's hard to breathe through the crushing ache in my lungs, my bones, everywhere. But after he gets me to the sofa and sits me down, I lower my head to my lap and take deep inhales and exhales, my heart starts to beat steady again and oxygen returns to my lungs.

  I sit up with my arm wrapped around my stomach, blinking as the blood rushes from my head. "What happened?"

  Alex is kneeling on the floor in front of me with his hand still on my back, eyeing me over with concern. "I think you were having a panic attack."

  I shake my head and scratch the spot of skin on the back of my neck where the prickle is going wild, the area a little tender. "It felt like I was being smothered."

  He moves his hand from my back to my leg. "Panic attacks can feel like that..." he trails off considering something. "But what I'm wondering is what happened to cause the panic attack? Is it because Laylen's still missing?" His expression slightly hardens. "Because I promise we'll find him. You're mom and Aislin could have found them already too and just haven't made it back yet."

  Sparks dance recklessly across my skin, reminding me of everything we are and never can be. "Find Laylen? Is he missing..." It dawns on me. I went back into the point in time where Laylen ran off, but I was never captured by Nicholas.

  "Gemma, what's wrong? You look like you're going to be sick?" Alex skims over my body, assessing every part of me, making the sparks more intense and the consequences of them even heavier. "And why are your clothes wet?" His eyes drift to my hand still clutching the crystal ball, our fingers brushing and sending a surge up my body. He takes it from me and rotates it in his hand. "Where did you get this?"

  Without even thinking, I extend my hand out and place it on Alex's arm. The electricity surges with contact. I stare at the window over his shoulder, the sunlight blinding but refreshing in the best way possible. "I can't believe it worked."

  Alex gets to his feet then sits down beside me with a concerned look on his face. "Gemma, I don't know what's going on but I'd really appreciate it if you'd explain it to me." He's trying to be patient with me instead of his normal, bossy self, probably because recent information about his father and what he did to all of us, including Alex himself, is affecting him.

  "Something happened to me," I tell him. "But I'm not sure if you're going to believe it or not."

  His brow arches. "I'm not really sure there is anything I wouldn't believe at this point."

  He has a point. So many crazy things have happened over the last week or two that it makes anything seem possible, but still, everyone has been telling us how changing visions is impossible and I just reset time. I need to explain everything to him and I mean everything, not just about resetting time, but what led up to the point that it had to happen, which means telling him about Stephen and my possession and the worst part--how we're not supposed to be together. How we can kill one another if we fall in love. But before I divulge this to him, before I give him up, I want him one last time. The prickle hasn't announced my love for him, or anyone else for that matter, yet and I'm not sure if it ever will, but what I do know is that Alex will more than likely put a stop to all the touching, kissing, cutting off the human contact I've been deprived off for years and I want it one more time before it's gone.

  So before either of us can say anything I lean forward and press my lips to his. I try to shut down the overwhelming heat, the passionate sparks, the scorching hot desire that tidal waves through me as I slip my tongue into his mouth.

  He kisses me back without any hesitation, as if he has no control over the situation or anything else, and honestly, I don't think either of us does. We're prisoners to our lust, want, need, a million different things that feel like they own me all the damn time and I'm giving in.

  "I surrender," I say against his lips, not really too him.

  But he pulls back, eyes glossy, filled with desire, an addict wanting his next taste, just how I feel at the moment. "Huh?" He cups my cheek. "Gemma, please tell me what's wrong."

  I want to tell him, but not yet. The greedy addict in me wants just one more moment before I give it all up. "I surrender," I say again, like it's supposed to mean something, and the flash of hunger in his eyes makes me think that it might means something to him.

  Suddenly he's colliding his lips against mine and everything that matters doesn't. Nothing else exists.

  Nothing.

  Out tongues tangle together, hands wandering all over each other's bodies. I forget how to breathe like I did seconds ago, but it doesn't matter. Let me stop breathing, because that's how it's going to be in a few minutes. As the excruciating pain of reality bares down on me, I suddenly get to my feet. Alex starts to protest, but I grab his arm and pull him to his feet. Then before I can stop myself, I move to tug his shirt off his head, but somehow in the intensity of the moment, I manage to rip the fabric in half, as if I've gotten stronger somehow. Alex looks down at his chest, shocked, and I feel the same way. But the shock fizzles as I take in the sight of his flawless muscles and fiery sun tattoo blazing on his skin--his Keeper's mark--and instead I trace my fingers along it, noting how fast he's breathing.

  His gaze lingers on my hands, then drift to my face. Something in his eyes causes heat to coil deep inside me and course through my veins like a powerful drug. He wants me as much as I want him and it nearly sends me through the roof. I'm about to smash my lips against his, unable to control myself, but he stops me, reaching for me. And like I did with him, he tears my shirt from my body, but with purpose unlike me. Then with one swift movement, he has my bra undone and moments later we melt together like liquid steel.

  I slip my fingers through his hair and tug on the roots, causing him to moan and start backing us up somewhere. Clothes come off on our way down the hallway, pants, boxers, panties, most of which gets torn to shreds. My nails scratch at his skin, claw at his back, as he bites at my lips, my neck, groaning over and over again, leaving teeth marks on my body that leave a wonderful ache along my skin. The twisted part of me hopes they'll leave scars, that way I can at least have a reminder of this when I'm full of emptiness again.

  We continue to kiss and tear each other apart, never making it to the bed. Instead he picks me up as soon as we step into the nearest room and slams me into the wall so hard I'm sure I'm going to have a bruise. But I don't care--I don't care about anything at the moment as I fastened my legs around him, allowing him to rock his hips and thrust deep inside me.

  "Oh God." My head tips back and I moan louder than I ever have as my fingernails dig even deeper into his flesh, cutting it open and causing blood to trickle out. Thankfully he's a Keeper, otherwise he'd have scars all over his body. I wish everything was that way--that if we were strong enough we'd escape getting scars, outside and in. Maybe then I could erase the scars of life. Maybe then I would know that when this moment is over and I know I can't have it anymore, my heart and soul won't be scarred.

  But I know that's not the case. I reali
ze as Alex kisses me, slipping in and out of me, touching me more than anyone ever has, that I feel more for him than I'll ever let myself admit.

  Then I ever can admit.

  Chapter 4

  After we both come together, we relax and finally make it to the bed. Naked. Sweaty. And exhausted. Alex is lying next to me, one hand to his side, the other in his hair as he smiles contently at the ceiling. I lie on my side and stare at him, the elation and bliss he instilled inside me rapidly dissipating.

  "That was..." he searches for words, catching his breath.

  "Amazing," I finish for him only my deflated tone doesn't match my word.

  He picks up on my depressed vibe and frowns at me. "What's wrong?"

  I shake my head, trying to keep my lips sealed, telling myself that it's okay to keep the secret just a little bit longer. But suddenly my conscience takes over and everything comes spilling out. Everything that happened to me over the last few days, or didn't happen anyway, but I dither around the most major revelation of all, at least when it comes to us.

  When I finish, Alex eyes are enlarged, his mouth hanging open, flabbergasted. "So what you're saying is that right now we're technically in the past."

 
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