Energy was running low in this part of the city. Ice raced to snap power lines and freeze up pipes. While the people did what they could, only I knew the storm was about to cease and the weak sun reclaim their world. I might have used my gift a bit to help it along.
What else could I do?
Clearly it was no longer safe for me to remain trapped with Cain. I needed to learn more of the connection between him and Lissa. Otherwise I would have never been brought here. I was inexorably drawn to true love, fly to sap. And now I had broken the most important of all rules by getting involved.
Every time I thought of Lissa, I saw the blood in her hands and the hopelessness in her eyes and felt like I was dying all over again. This is why Cain’s gentleness affected me so, why I was the worst of people for savoring it while I could.
Cain did his best to joke and ease the awkward tension between us. His favorite and most annoying method were the endless sea of questions he plucked from me.
“Are you sick, Rona?” he asked me over breakfast.
I told him the truth, not imagining how confusing my answer sounded. “I am cursed.”
He pondered this through our first three games of cards. Even as he told me more stories about the club and his childhood by the sea I knew he was thinking of it.
At least he is giving you the answers you were looking for, my inner voice taunted.
Still, I learned how much he loved working on boats and how much he missed surfing the Atlantic waves. In my mind I could so clearly see him at one within the crest of a wave.
“You have to imagine power behind it, Rona. You can’t predict it. One minute you could be flying and the next you’re crushed,” he said.
After lunch he struggled with himself before asking, “You know my shaving mirror, the one in the shower?”
I peered up at him and willed the numbness to remain with me. Feelings were too dangerous to tamper with now and he mustn't see my nervousness.
“Well, did you know it’s broken? It shattered all over the floor when you fell in. The glass was covered in blood. But I didn't see any on you or any glass sticking out of your hands.”
“Sorry about your mirror,” I offered lamely.
“Why didn’t you get cut? Nobody falls on glass and comes out without a scratch.”
There was more behind his words, I sensed, a building need for things I should not tell him. I was certain then he had seen the shifting colors trapped within my skin.
“I don’t bleed,” I finally said and instantly regretted it.
With a quick rub of his hand through his unwashed hair he sighed. His eyes were blue as the emerald sea when they slowly rose to meet mine.
I suppressed a sigh as I closed my eyes and reluctantly opened myself to his emotions. Wild, untamed anger underlay the overwhelming love in his heart. My breath began to pick up in time with the images of high mountainous waves and tempests and when I tried to cut the connection, they pushed back even harder against mine.
This was new and somewhat frightening. I was unused to losing a battle of wills with any human. Instead of breaking the link, I felt another wave of desire and ageless longing, so strange for one so young, so new. I shuddered and drank deeply from his hidden feelings, unable to help myself enjoy what I hadn’t in ages. And what unsettled me most was, I could not tell whether this love was meant for me or her.
I opened my eyes abruptly and stood, too afraid to look into his eyes. I was too afraid he would see and somehow know what I had just done. I moved to stand by the window, then brushed aside the curtain and pressed my palm to the glass. Its coolness helped to numb my thoughts and slow the rapid beat of my heart.
How could you have been so stupid? I wanted to scream at myself for giving into the temptation to feed off his feelings. Now all my carefulness, all my efforts to squash away my weakness for their sakes had failed. In wonder I watched the heat from my hands thaw the window frost. My breath billowed in an opaque filmy layer around it.
The sun was coming back again, high above the snow clouds, though not as quickly as I had called for it. I could not control the weather like the Maker, only petition its actions. But I could manipulate circumstances to protect what must be protected at all costs. If I was going to protect Lissa and Cain’s love, the sun must come, I reasoned.