Bound by duty, p.28
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       Bound by Duty, p.28

           Stormy Smith

  Part of me wanted to sob, but the larger part couldn’t stop the excitement. As we had driven farther and farther away from Esmeralda’s, I let my power slowly build back up so that Micah wouldn’t notice. It was impatient for me to find Aidan. I jumped from the Acura and took off running for the tree line. As I got to the edge, Aidan stepped out and l leapt into his arms. Our magic crashed together in complete bliss as we wrapped ourselves around each other, both physically and spiritually. He carried me back into the trees.

  I was hugging him as if my life depended on it. I had myself completely tucked into the safest place on earth. He smelled like ocean water and fir trees. He pulled me back a little and I pulled his head down and brought his lips to mine, not giving him the chance to talk as I presumed was his intention. It was as if stars were colliding. I could feel our magic completely intertwine. I could feel his confusion and relief. I could feel his love. His love.

  I gave just as much as I got, trying to convey to him everything that he brought out in me. How he had made me feel truly loved for the first time. I pushed every ounce of my passion and love for him back in those few moments as we did so much more than simply kiss. In that brief interlude, we were as whole as we could ever be. Aidan had captured my heart, and with him it would stay, even when I walked away.

  As our kisses slowed down and we finally pulled apart, I opened my violet eyes to find myself staring directly into his bright blue ones.

  “Hi,” I whispered, feeling shy suddenly.

  “Hey there, doll,” he returned, his voice low and thick.

  I slid to the ground and steadied myself, still not letting him go. Realizing just how bright his eyes were, I looked around. “Does Micah know?” Aidan shook his head. “No, that’s why I pulled you back here. I didn’t want to give myself away.”

  Aidan took my hand and led me to a bench just a few feet away. It was amazing how just the feeling of his strong hands holding my small ones made everything seem a little less scary. I batted away the fears and realities that were swirling in my mind. For just a minute, this was what I needed.

  “I thought you had a plan, Ame. Why did Micah set this up? What’s going on? It’s been almost a week since I saw you. You’ve completely fallen off the grid.” His anger and frustration of not knowing and not being able to control himself to try to help was seeping through.

  “Stop, Aidan. Don’t beat yourself up.” I hung my head a little. “There’s so much you don’t know. So much I doubt I have time to explain. I was so stupid.” Seconds ago, I was on a high like no other. Now, I was falling faster than a comet plummeting to the earth, just waiting to create a giant explosion. Just like a comet, I had no idea exactly how much damage I would leave in my wake.

  I looked up to find Aidan patiently waiting. “Oh, no. Don’t do this, Aidan. Don’t be good to me. Don’t trust me. You’re going to hate me.” I choked on the last words. Tears filled my eyes, blurring his face ever so slightly.

  “Hey,” he whispered as he tilted my chin up with his finger and pressed a kiss to my lips. “I could never hate you, Amelia. I love you.” I was staring into eyes the color of the brightest blue sky and hearing the words I’d longed for my whole life, but I didn’t deserve them. I couldn’t have them.

  I pulled my hands from his and stood. He winced and dropped his hands to his sides when I didn’t return the sentiment. I had tried, so hard, during our reunion to show him exactly how I felt, but I couldn’t give voice to it. I knew what lay ahead and it would crush me to say those words knowing I could never act on them. That they could never be truly mine to give him.

  I started to pace in front of Aidan, finally stopping to help in the only way I could before I crushed him completely. “Aidan, no matter what else you hear tonight, I want you to remember to go to Cole. Go to him and show him what you are. He’ll help you, okay? Are you hearing me?”

  He sat staring at me and then stood, stopping my pacing by placing his hands on both of my shoulders.

  “Amelia,” he said, emotion choking his voice. “My life has been completely turned upside down since I met you. I have something inside me I can’t control and know nothing about. I know how you feel about me, but you won’t say it. Micah Clair is driving you to me in the middle of the night and you’re dressed like you’re on a spy mission. You are the absolute best part of my life, I promise I won’t hate you, but I need you to just say it.”

  The tears were back. I stood there, looking up at him, knowing these words were going to ruin the only perfect thing I’d ever had.

  “Aidan.” I dug my nails into my palms, reminding myself that I was strong and could take the pain. Then, I let the words fall out. “When I was born, I was betrothed to the prince in the Immortal court. I am an Elder, a Keeper if you want to be completely accurate. I found out five days ago that Micah is that prince. I tried to stop it. That was my stupid, grand plan, but the only thing I did was piss off his very psychotic mother who also happens to be our queen. So, tomorrow, I leave with Micah. As his fiancée.”

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