I dreamt of him. And then the blue eyes instead of the red floated towards me. The flashes of fire and earth across my skin. The blue eyes startling me awake when they didn’t reveal the face I expected.
I woke with my heart in my throat, my bed was soaking wet from sweat. My t-shirt and boxers clung to my skin and there was a pounding on my apartment door. Or maybe that was my head.
I clutched my phone in my hand and there was new text.
Mysterious blue-eyed boy
The knocking started again, and bewilderment set in.
Yeah. I’d love some, when?
Two minutes ago? The pounding stopped at my door.
Mysterious blue-eyed boy
Open the door.
I was not awake, but I went to the door and opened it to find Sage standing outside with two cups of hot coffee from a shop downstairs and that gorgeous smile.
I looked at my phone then back up at Sage still not comprehending what happened. The vestages of my last dream lingered and everything was a blur.
I moved aside and took the coffee Sage offered me. His smile faded when he looked at me. “A little bird told me it was your birthday today. She said to come by in four hours. Is this all right?”
I nodded and sipped the cup. It was warm and smelled wonderful. I hadn’t realized the coffee downstairs was so good. “You look worse than before.” Sage whispered.
I sat down on my bed and fished out my notebook under the pillow and took it to the bar and sat down. “Was woken by a nightmare.”
Sage sat down next to me and watched as I pulled the pencil from the spiral bindings and opened to the last page. I sketched the new image from my dream. It wasn’t much different, only the color was different, everything else had been the same.
When the image was complete, I went to the bedside stand and fished out the blue pencils and colored the eyes in their new shade. I went to the bedside stand and fished out the blue pencils and colored the eyes in their new shade.
Sage was frowning at the drawing when I put the last pencil down. “All the others are red?”
I nodded. I was still processing it. “I was thinking about you when I fell asleep.”
Sage touched the notebook, “May I?” He looked at me, the fear in his eyes was apparent.
He pulled it close and flipped a few pages back, and then more, and then to the beginning. “The same dream every night?”
“It varies some, but yeah.”
“Jesus, Nox. Does anyone know?”
“Everyone does. I’ve been sketching them since I was 6.”
“Everything aside, they are pretty good.” Sage smiled at me and put his hand on mine and squeezed. “Can I help?”
I smiled. “You already have.” I held up the cup of coffee and ran my finger down the side of his clean shaven jawline. A visible shiver ran down his body and I grinned at his reaction which made me bite my bottom lip.
Sage chuckled. “So what do you want to do today? Mia texted me and said no one would make you work on your birthday. Something about rules.”
“More like tradition. But the rest of the day is mine.” I laughed to myself, when Sage gave me the cockeyed puppy dog look I answered the unspoken question, “I’m surprised Mia is pushing so hard. She is very big on me marrying and starting a family. Always asking when I’ll find Mrs. Right and settle down.”
Sage smiled. “Go get a shower and I’ll take you out for breakfast.”
I nodded with a grin. “All right.”
I took a quick shower. Or what I thought was quick anyway. I hadn’t considered that it might be 30 minutes under the water, I had zoned out a little under the hot stream against my skin. The hot water stung the fresh scars on my back. They had healed as they had formed but they were tender under the heat and pressure.
I wiped the mirror down and looked at my back in the mirror and saw two new pink welts, they didn’t look like they’d broken the skin, which was why there had been no blood. That they were still tender meant it was strikes in the same place. I pulled all the elements around me and pressed them like a cold compress to the welts in my back and I watched as the tender redness faded. It healing faster than normal.
Magnus couldn’t heal. Not in a traditional sense. A human would die from wounds if I were to do the same thing to them. I was providing the material for my body’s already rapid healing, it was still doing the work. It was the reason I had survived the vampire bite I’d told Walker about. It was when I first realized I could do this. I had received no new scars since I’d learned that trick.
The story goes, a vamp had taken a chunk from my arm. I was in such a rush to get to the infirmary in Boulder I hadn’t thought about it. I stuffed my wound full of the elements to keep it from bleeding and me from dying. By the time I looked down again it was healed. I thought it was a freak accident until I did it again with a knife wound I’d given myself in the kitchen. until I did it again with a knife wound I’d given myself in the kitchen.
There was a knock on the door, “You okay, Nox?”
I pulled a pair of clean boxers on and applied the swath of eyeliner. “Yeah. You can come in.”
There would be no lies. If he would leave me he needed to do it sooner rather than later. I was too attached already. I dreamt about him. He was prying hisself into my life and I didn’t want him to leave. It was better if he left afraid of what was in store now rather than later.
Sage opened the door and in the few seconds it took to allow him entrance Sage had seen what covered my back and he was hissing in pain as the door closed behind him. There was no one there, but he had locked it like he was hiding me from the world. It brought a frown to my lips as I applied eyeliner to the other eye.
Sage ran his fingers down my back and I froze. He pulled his fingers away, but I didn’t relax. “Do you want to talk about it?” he asked.
“No. But if you want to know I’ll tell you.” I smiled to take some of the sting out of my words.
Sage smiled and kissed the puckered skin between my shoulder blades. “When you are ready, I’d like to know. Can I help?”
“Help?” I asked.
He turned me around and took the eyeliner pencil from my hands and grinned. “Help.”
I shrugged. Sage traced the black pencil under my left eye.
I broke the silence and told Sage the reason for the scars that made up my back. “When I was five, I sparked – used my magic for the first time. My mother sent me here. My first teacher’s job was to insure I was safe to be around others. That I had complete control of my ability.” I swallowed hard and continued to stare at the man doing my make up because I could do nothing else and finished my story in a hushed voice. “He had to find what made me spark out of control. When he found it he used it from a year to insure I never lost control of my ability.”
“So for a year he beat you?” Sage barked and took a step back his hands clenched at his sides.
I nodded. “On the last day, he tried to hit me again, as one final test, before he did I sparked again. Except it wasn’t on accident. I did it on purpose to hurt him. When the fire alarms started fear lanced through me and I put the fire out. But it wasn’t an accident. I was six then. I went to the detention center for three months with mandatory therapy sessions with Dr. Silverman – Margo. When I returned to the general population of the Academy, I had a new mentor and was to repeat my first year of fire-starter training again. Which I was okay with. But that’s when the nightmares started. Sometimes when they come, I hurt myself like he used to hurt me. Margo’s studied the effects of the nightmare and I am the one doing it to myself.”
Sage was just staring at me when I finished. I looked down and waited for him to walk out disgusted. There were only two people in the world that knew my secret and neither of them would tell a soul. I was trusting a complete stranger with my biggest and darkest secret and he was just staring at me.
Two fingers touched my chin and Sage lifted my eyes to his. He smiled. He finished the other eye in silence. I couldn’t bring myself to speak anymore.
When Sage finished, he leaned forward and kissed my lips. “Why were the eyes blue this time?” His lips were still so close to mine as he stared into my eyes. All I could see were his beautiful eyes.
I whispered, “I’d been thinking about you.”
Sage frowned, but he pressed his lips against mine again and whispered, “I will never hurt you like that.”
I grinned at him when he pulled away. “I know. Or rather I didn’t think you would. The fear morphed from the demon in my dream because I’m afraid of you hurting me in other ways. It’s just my fear of rejection manifesting in the only way my brain knows how to process it.”
“Nox,” Sage smiled, “I won’t intentionally hurt you, now or in the future. I get that you fear being dumped, we all do. But we’ll talk about everything before it ends. Can we make that deal?”
I nodded. “Yeah.”
Sage grabbed my hand and lead me out of the bathroom door to my dresser. “Get dressed. Let’s get breakfast. I’m starving.”
I pulled on a pair of ripped blue jeans and a dark gray t-shirt that read ‘I make adorable babies’. When I turned to face Sage, he was grinning from ear to ear at my shirt. I walked to the closet and pulled out skeleton hoodie and pulled it over my arms.
Sage was shaking his head when I turned around, “You know it’s like 75 right?”
I nodded. “I don’t like my arms or back exposed.”
“You ready?” he asked.
I sat down on the bed and pulled on my Nike’s and nodded. “I am now.” Sage took my hand and entwined our fingers together. I picked up my phone, keys and my wallet and shut the lights off and the door behind us. This was the second date I hadn’t planned in the same amount of days.