After my episode, Aerolynn and I had gone back to bed where we made love once more. Only instead of it being fast and intense, it was slow and passionate. Long and endless. I had to fight back the urge to cry as I realized this would be the last time we made love before I left her. There was just no way I could stay after what had just occurred. She may be able to forgive me, but I could not forgive myself quite so easily. I held her tightly to my chest as I watched her fall into a deep slumber.
Once I was positive she was fully asleep, I hesitantly unwrapped my arms from around her soft, warm body. Even when she was asleep, Aerolynn radiated life. That was I wanted to keep seeing. That brilliant glow of life shining from her. Not the dull, cold feel of her skin from where Death had ripped it from her. The way I almost had. I couldn't bear to see that look of fear shining in her eyes again. I just couldn't.
I stood up from the bed and began searching in the dark for my clothes. I slid each item on my body still in search for my shoes before realizing I had kicked them off out in the living room from when we had first come in. I raked a hand back through my disheveled hair making sure my keys and phone were safely tucked inside my pocket. Then I quietly scanned the room making sure I had left nothing else behind. I didn't want there to be a trace of me when she woke up. Her heart would be broken enough knowing that I had left in the middle of the night, but that's ok. I would rather her broken heart be beating than have it broken and still.
I shuffled over to the bed and gazed down at her sleeping form. The pale rays of moonlight shone in through her bedroom windows between her curtains to cast her face in its delicate light. She was so beautiful. It made my heart ache even more to know that I would be letting her down once again by leaving her for a second time. I hadn't planned on leaving her again, but this whole thing had gotten out of control. I thought I could keep a better grip on the darkness, but I was wrong. I needed to get away as quickly as possible.
I reached out a hand to brush back the stray hairs from her face, but stopped myself within centimeters of her cheek. What if my touch woke her up? Or she turned over in the bed to search for my body and, not finding anything, it would jolt her awake? I couldn't have that because if she saw me like this
she would never allow me to leave. Not again. Especially not after tonight.
My fingers curled into my palm as I drew my hand slowly away from her face. I just couldn't take the chance. I gazed down at her for a moment longer before unlocking the door and quietly slipping out into the dark hallway closing the door behind me. Unfortunately for me, the light was on in the kitchen and I could hear the faintest sound of the television on coming from the living room. I sighed hoping that I wouldn't have had to deal with him, but it looked like I was going to have to. If he thought the worst of me? Then fine. I could live with that.
As I slowly made my way down the short hallway, I saw my shoes sitting beside one another next to the door. Aerolynn's clothes were sitting neatly folded on the kitchen bar. First, my gaze traveled to the left to see if Mason was sitting (or sleeping) on the couch with the television on. Nope. So my gaze switched to the right where I saw him leaning against the counter beside the fridge. His arms were folded menacingly across his chest; his dark brown eyes cast downward at the floor. I took a deep breath and approached him.
For a long time his eyes stayed glued to the floor making the entire atmosphere between us grow uncomfortable. But then he finally lifted his gaze to meet mine. I flinched back at the undeniable rage I saw burning deep within the young man's eyes. He was definitely not a happy brother right now.
"So, now that you have officially fucked my sister," he spat, "it's time for you to leave and get back to your glorious famous lifestyle?"
Good. He was thinking the worst. I could handle this. I tilted my chin back a bit and held my head high in confidence.
"A guy like me doesn't settle down with one woman. We come, we explore places and people, and then we leave. It's just how we do things. Your sister just happened to be one of the many people I explored," I replied with a false cocky attitude.
I braced myself waiting for her military brother to lunge himself at me and tackle me to the ground to beat my face in, but he didn't budge. Instead he just continued to stare at me in complete silence. The fact that he wasn't doing anything made me even more nervous than if he had acted out. That's when I saw the strangest thing. The anger that had been burning in his eyes
it slowly faded into sadness and sympathy.
He must have seen my brows furrowed in confusion because he sighed.
"There's no need to lie and pretend you're a jerk, Zak. I already have an idea as to why you're REALLY leaving," he explained.
I cocked a brow in curiosity folding my arms across my chest. I had to keep playing the cocky attitude. I couldn't back down. "Oh yeah?"
"Yeah, actually, I do. Nick told me all about your little demon. He told me about that darkness thing or whatever you had growing inside of you."
My eyes widened in surprise. He knew about that?
"Yeah, I know about it," Mason eerily answered the question in my mind. "Don't look all surprised. Did you really think I would let my sister date a celebrity without doing a little bit of digging into his personal background? You can't always take the word of the internet, you know. I figured Nick would be the best to ask since he's been with you since the very beginning."
" I stuttered unsure of what to say to that revelation.
"You what? Didn't think I would understand your situation? That I would throw a few punches out of anger and resentment towards you leaving my sister in the middle of the night after having fucked her?" Mason said.
I nodded. Before I knew what was happening, a fist met the side of my face with a solid crack. I stumbled sideways a bit before catching my balance. I clutched the side of my face as it throbbed with immense pain. Mason shook his hand a couple times before shoving both hands deep into his front pockets.
"What the hell man?" I snapped.
"I gave you what you were expecting. Don't tell me that punch came as a surprise to you?" Mason's lips twisted into a devilish grin of amusement.
I stretched my mouth open wide and rotated it in hopes of diminishing some of the pain his punch had inflicted upon my jaw.
"It doesn't, but I expected it sooner," I admitted.
"Oh you mean after the dick comment you made about exploring my sister?" Mason asked. I nodded.
The man shrugged his broad shoulders. "Too predictable."
"So you understand why I have to leave like this?" I inquired getting back to the more important topic at hand.
Mason shook his head. "Nah, man, not completely. I understand a part of the reason why, but my main concern is my sister. Do you understand what will happen to her when she finds out you left her again?" he asked with apprehension.
I nodded, releasing a sad sigh. "Yeah, I do. She'll be thoroughly heart broken."
Mason gave me an odd look before bursting with laughter. "Wow, man, you're funny. You think she will go all melodramatic teenager and hole herself up in her room to cry out her eyes and whine about how she won't be able to survive without you by her side?" He asked with a raised brow.
"Um, maybe?" I answered cautiously.
Mason's brows bunched together as he gave me a questioning look. "Do you even KNOW my sister at all? Have you not been paying attention?"
I merely stared at the man. DID I know his sister? I was pretty damn sure I did, but thinking back on it
I hadn't really discovered much about her except a little bit of her family life. And then there was the vague moment back at the MacMiller house where she had mentioned the ghost thing happening to her again. What had she meant by that?
Mason let out a disappointed sigh. "Let me ask you a simpler question: did she go all melodramatic like that when you left her the FIRST time?"
"No, I don't believe she did."
"Alright, so we're getting somewhere. Look, the point is, my sister isn't that type of person. Yeah, ok, she'll cry for a bit. Maybe even punch some things, namely me, but she'll get over it and instead get angry. And then it's YOUR ass that's in trouble because this time? This time she will hunt you down and find you for herself instead of waiting on that SLIGHT chance that you might return to her. This time she will come to you, only it won't be a happy reunion like it was a couple weeks ago. Well, before she got shot anyways," her brother tacked on.
I gulped looking away from those honest brown eyes. He was right. She would track me down. Then that just meant I would have to hide somewhere in a place that not even she or her brother could locate me.
My smoky blue gaze lifted to clash eyes with him. "Then I will deal with that if and when the time comes, but I have to leave. It's for her safety," I told him.
Mason stood there keeping his eyes locked with mine. I knew he was searching my eyes for more of an answer to the plethora of questions I'm sure he held in his mind, but there was none I was willing to give him. All he needed to know was that I had to leave this way because otherwise I wouldn't be allowed to go.
"You know why I have to leave this way," I quietly stated.
"I know. That doesn't mean I have to agree with it or like it. In the end, you're still breaking my little sister's heart and that is something I cannot forgive," he replied.
I nodded in understanding. "And putting her in harm's way because of this thing inside me? That is something I myself cannot forgive," I answered back.
Mason nodded and slid his gaze over to the hallway where, I presumed, he was looking at Aerolynn's closed bedroom door. Beyond that door, the woman I so desperately loved lie peacefully sleeping still surrounded by the warmth and comfort of her dreams. My heart twisted from the unbearable agony at knowing that when she awoke to find herself alone in that large bed
all of her dreams from the night before would be shattered.
Mason and I met eyes. A silent understanding passed between us. He would lie for my sake telling her I had left for selfish reasons. We both knew that if she knew the real reason I had left, then nothing would stop her from chasing after me. Neither one of us wanted Aerolynn to get hurt again. And by telling her that I had never truly loved her and that it was all a ruse to get into her pants? Then maybe, just maybe, she would hate me enough to not want to search for me. Maybe she would move on with her life and settle down with Luke. Maybe. So many maybes, but that was all we could hope on.
I turned away and bent down by the door to pick up my shoes. As I leaned against the door to put them on, Mason approached me.
"There's just one more thing," he said quietly. I finished tying my shoe and stood to my full height, meeting him eye for eye.
"Don't even think about coming back because if my sister hasn't already tried killing you by that time? I'll do it myself," Mason growled.
"Is that a threat?" I chuckled nervously with a raised brow.
A malicious grin spread across the young man's handsome face contorting it into something almost demonic.
"No. That's a promise. Now leave before I become not so understanding and instead kill you right here mercilessly."
I didn't even bother commenting. I merely opened the door and slipped out. Mason quietly shut the door behind me. The click of the lock was all too audible in the deafening silence of the apartment building. I trotted down the stairs and over to my car. I all but fell into the driver's seat as a sudden wave of fear and misery washed over me. I gripped the steering wheel tightly in my hands as I slammed my forehead against it. I slammed it against the steering wheel once more before just resting it upon my folded arms. Hot tears spilled forth from my eyes; my nose began to grow stuffy.
I didn't want to have to leave Aerolynn so soon after having finally gotten her back. I didn't want for her brother to hate me the way he did now. But most of all, I didn't want the darkness to kill his sister, my beloved, by my own hands. A yell of pure agony burst forth from my chest and tore its way out of my esophagus. Things would have just been better had I never gotten my fortune read. Then we wouldn't be in this mess. We should have never taken the case here. We should have never allowed the radio to announce a contest to investigate with us. So many things we should have never done especially me.
I laid my head back against the seat and closed my eyes as a single last thought was brought to the forefront of my mind. Whether it was by my own subconscious or whether it was the work of the darkness inside of me, I wasn't sure.
I wish I had never met Aerolynn.