Arroba: The Awakening - Chapters Six and Seven.
DescriptionChapter Six and Seven.
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Prohibited ComfortI pull myself up from the floor and stretch my limbs out like a cat. My knees crack a few times but the sensation is still wonderful after lying on the floor for so long. I walk out of the dark room into an even darker corridor, my fear lashes at me but I rein it in finding renewed confidence since my little summit with Ali. I'm just about to walk down the corridor to search for the room Levin is sleeping in when I hear soft snoring coming from the direction of the living room. Levin is led out on the sofa. His face is covered by his hair, one bare arm is visible, flung over the arm of the chair and a thigh peaks out from under the cover. I sit down in the chair opposite him and watch his still form illuminated by the faint glow of a light in the kitchen. It's utterly breathtaking and so very confusing to see him like this, looking so much like Alistair. Ali had cut off his hair recently so that, now distinguished between the two of them but I still have five years of memories of him with long hair in my mind. They all flood back one by one as I sit silently watching Levin. The very first time I saw him at that party, the next month when he tracked me down in a caf' near my house giving me some silly excuse about just happening to be in the area. For many nights after, us sitting up most of the night talking endlessly about nothing at all, long phone calls, his help and hindrance with my work, the day I saw his eyes lit with sunlight for the very first time and most of all' continuous flashes of him, sitting, walking, reading, painting, laughing' it is all there searing every emotion I have ever had and producing such unimaginable feelings inside of me; filling my heart. A heart that will be only ashes in a barren land without him. I lean forward and stroke the hair away from his face, slowly. With his eyes closed, without the goldenness of them present it is Alistair. They have to more than cousins, they have to be. I have just leaned back into my chair again when things happen quickly. His quiet snoring stops, his eyes flick open and he smiles, a smile that should never be directed at me and I have to look away and clear my throat. My words come out too quickly and I stumble over them, 'I'm sorry I woke you. I had a dream, Alistair came to me, not as in my imagination but as in he was really there. He said something about me not being able to touch him or the Sovereign would know he was gone. Does that make any sense?' Levin frowns slightly, then pulls himself into an upright position and smoothes his hair down. The blanket that was securely wrapped around his body now pools into his lap, leaving the very bare expanse of his chest naked to my eye. I look away as my cheeks flush red hot. 'I have never heard of such a thing, perhaps Alistair has found a way of contacting you and this was the way. You not being able to touch him would make sense because the Sovereign would sense any kind of strong emotion from him - you touching him would do that.' I nod to myself thoughtfully. 'He came to say good bye; that he is doing his duty but that he had to see me one last time.' I whisper. Levin reaches his hand out towards my face but stops mid flow and drops it back down into his lap. 'He is missing you as much as you miss him but it was foolish. He could have been caught; I didn't think my cousin was so ruled by his own emotions.' I frown at the accusation and disapproval in his voice. Alistair had come to me because he had to, he had risked punishment from the Sovereign to see me and Levin disapproves, why? 'You sound angry?' He looks away from me and his jaw clenches and loosens several times. Almost as if he tastes something bitter; reluctantly. 'These times are going to be dangerous enough for you as it is. You should have left yesterday and yet you are still here. It will only be a matter of time before they come to make sure you have gone. But not only that; this is going to be hard enough as it is without him dropping in for impromptu visits whenever he feels the need.' 'And you said I was the intuitive one.' 'I have my moments.' He says with a small smile. I look into his lovely face and realise with a jolt that he's my only ally here - yes Freya will help me but I have a feeling that if things get too hot then she will abandon ship. Levin on the other hand had committed himself to the end, he would help me, and support me but most of all he is my friend, genuinely. I love him just a little for that. 'Thank you for everything Levin. You don't know how much I appreciate it even if you did kidnap me.' I tease. 'Well I like to think of it as 'rescuing a damsel in distress'.' 'Oh I see, but there is one major flaw to your plan.' 'And what might that be?' 'Damsels in distress are usually rescued by the prince charming of her dreams to be taken away to a palace somewhere to live happily ever after. What have you done with my prince charming and where the hell is my palace?' He looks at me for a moment and then bursts into a roar of laughter that bellows out around the room. Levin cups his hand over his mouth to stop from waking Freya and continues to laugh until tears roll down his cheeks. Eventually he gets himself back under control enough to talk, through shaking breaths. 'I'm sorry I don't know what came over me' no, no that is a lie - I do.' He barks with laughter again and it makes me jump. 'What is so damn funny?' He takes one look at my superfluous expression and collapses back onto the sofa as his laughter takes hold of him, exponentially. It is such a good sound that eventually I begin to grin and then join him. I don't even know what I'm laughing at but it doesn't really matter, it's just one of those moments that you don't need a reason; you just need to laugh and need to release some - deeply wanted - endorphins through your body to make you feel better and it does. Eventually we stop and I feel light headed and relaxed; forgetting all about my worries for a little while ' it's the break my mind knew it needed even before I had. Trust me to find that release in the middle of the night - in the dark with Levin. I smile to myself as I revel in the good cheer. 'I'm sorry I laughed at you.' He means every word but there is a mischievous sparkle in his eye and he fights not to the let the grin pushing at the edges of his mouth to expand. 'Oh, so you were laughing at me, hey.' I jump up from my chair and launch myself at him. I land half on his lap and half on the sofa and I grab his waist and tickle. He squirms underneath me and wiggles but I'm relentless. I grab one of his feet next and he thrashes around saying, 'No goddess no not my feet'' his words breaking off as he fights for air. He pushes me to the ground onto my back so quickly I lay stunned and dizzy for a few moments. He traps my hands above my head with his and looks down at me, excitement and joy still dancing in his golden eyes. 'Missy, you went too far with the feet.' He chuckles ' trying his best to take the mic out of my English accent. 'Well I don't like being laughed at.' I pull a fake pout and he hangs his head grinning. 'How did Alistair tame you?' It is a question more to himself than me but I can't resist answering anyway. 'He didn't succeed as you can see.' 'Then no one stands a chance.' He smile lightens his words and my smile matches his, in every tone. 'Um, can I get up now please? I surrender I promise.' He looks at my hands trapped under his and I can quite clearly see that he seriously considered refusing. He looks down at me and says, 'Only if you promise not to touch my feet.' I bark with laughter this time, 'Of course.' I can hear the lie in my voice quite plainly just as he must be able to but even so he releases my hands and sits back onto his heals. I sit up and cross my legs in front of me. 'Thank you, that felt good to let go of some tension.' 'You are very welcome and anytime of course.' I smile at his sincerity. He is making things easier which is lovely because he really doesn't have to. I mean what am I to him? Nothing really and if anything he should resent me for causing so many problems for Ali but he doesn't; he is just so willing to accept me now which I am thankful for. It is just Ali that I wish would make things a little easier now - I love the fact that he came to me in my dream but it has made things difficult. If this really is it then I'm having a hard enough time trying to think it all through and come up with a plan without him calling in to bring my anguish back up to the surface and paralysing my mind once again. I hate to say it but that's harder. If I can just get through the next few days and cope with the spell-casting and evade any Amarian visitors then I will need a clear head. Ali coming and saying goodbye is very final and right now, I'm not going to accept that - full stop. He will see. 'What time is it?' I whisper. 'Three am.' 'Wow, it's not as early as I thought. We should try and get some more sleep.' I look towards the dark corridor and swallow hard enough for it to hurt. 'You really do not like the dark do you?' 'See there you go, being all modern, perceptive male again.' I try to make it sound as light as possible but faced with the prospect of spending the night in that dark room alone is bad. That fear seeps out into my words, only a little but enough for Levin to understand. 'I know you well enough to know that if I offer to help you won't accept it so this is what's going to happen. I am going to take you to my room, then I'm going to turn the bedside lamp on and lay down with you. We will not speak to one another because I know that will make it easier for you to feel more comfortable about the uncomfortable situation. Then you are going to sleep and tomorrow you will feel better for it, and you know it.' I stare at him opened mouthed. I open and close it several times but eventually, all I can do is nod at him. He gets up from the floor and pulls me with him by my elbow. I walk slowly behind him, desperately trying not to see anything in front of me as he saunters in front. His black boxers catch my eye once and I look away sharply being grateful for the lack of light as I blush brilliant claret. He leads me into his room by my elbow again, catching it the first time. It's very unfair to say the least that everyone here seems to be able to see in the dark except for me. He leads me to the end of the bed and his hand disappears from my arm. I have a fraction of a moment to be frightened and then the room is illuminated by the lamp next to the bed. Levin is already laid out on the bed by the time I look at him; he has his legs crossed out in front and his arms behind his head. The look on his face is relaxed and serene but it may as well be violent for all the good his, tranquil demeanour, does for my nerves. I stand at the bottom of the bed for longer than is truly polite. 'Levin'' I begin. 'No Dione, no talking or discussion of any kind until you feel comfortable. You need sleep, you can't do it alone so I will lay next to you. Now get into the bed and stop being silly.' I'm not use to this new authoritative Levin. Some silly small part of me thinks it's attractive but the more immediate part of me just thinks it's annoying. I huff and walk around the side of the bed and then suddenly realise that everything I have brought with me to wear at night is probably not at all appropriate if I'm going to be sharing the bed with Ali's cousin - That's it Dione keep reminding yourself exactly that' it is Alistair cousin - I hiss at, smoother and lock the voice in my head away with a passion I have missed from myself and turn around to Levin. 'I' uh well could you close your eyes please?' He raises an eye brow at me and his eyes drift downwards, not leeringly but more perplexed. 'Sure.' He does so and I begin to slip my clothes off one at a time. I grab the closest thing to hand in my hold all and I study it. A deep red camisole and matching shorts. It really is very skimpy but I have nothing else that covers me more so I finally take my bra off and then pull the night clothes on. I adjust the shorts of my little outfit until they cover more of my bum and then I look down at myself and sigh - why hadn't I brought something baggy, old and faded instead? 'Okay, you can open them now.' I turn to the side and gather my clothes from the floor. I fold them and place them in a pile on the chair next to me. I brush through my hair in long strokes for a few moments and then turn around and walk back towards the bed. When my eyes flick to Levin I have to double take. I stop dead in the middle of the room and say, 'What, what is it? You look like you're in pain.' My voice seems to bring him back to reality. His eyes drop from where ever they were staring on my body and he grips his hands into fists. 'No sorry, I was just day dreaming.' I shrug it off and climb into bed but I am not so blind as to miss the way his eyes linger on my legs as I throw them onto the bed and then slip them into the covers. His eyes flick back up to my face and he says gruffly, 'good night.' And turns over onto his side; facing away from me. I lay on my back frowning. He can be so bizarre when he wants to be. He had practically forced me to sleep in the same bed as him so I could so say 'feel' more relaxed and then he turns all brooding, moody man on me. I probably won't ever understand them. 'Good night.' I whisper. I turn over onto my right side and close my eyes. I try to sleep honestly I do but after a very long time of trying and seeing only Ali's face in my mind I give up and huff to myself. I turn back over onto my back and kick my legs around until I get comfortable. I feel so alert after my unplanned visit with Ali and then the conversation and laughter with Levin afterwards that now my brain won't switch off. I lean over the bed and rummage through my holdall until I find my little bottle of 'pills o' oblivion', but before I can get the cap open and one in my mouth Levin speaks from behind me. 'I can help you sleep if you'll let me? It will be a better alternative than those drugs.' I lean around and look at him, 'They are a natural sleep aid, not drugs and they work just fine thanks.' 'Please Dione will you just accept my help.' I debate it in my head. Part of me wants to say yes so I don't seem so childish and stubborn but that is exactly the problem; I really am that stubborn and, dare I say, a little childish at times. I eventually whisper, 'Yes, alright.' I throw the pills back into my holdall and lay down facing away from Levin. He scoots himself closer to me and slowly slips his arm in around my waist. 'Uh Levin, is that really necessary?' 'The physical contact is, yes. Now close your eyes and try not to think about anything.' I do as he asks and try to clear my mind but it's more difficult than I had expected. I hate to admit it but because the last time I had been held like this in bed was with Ali it does not help my attempting process of relaxation when all his warm arms do is remind me of that, throwing images up and sensations through my body. I eventually decide to ground myself; breathing in slowly through my nose and out through my mouth - imaging golden clean light coming in and black tension laced smoke coming out. A few minutes later and it works; my whole body relaxes into Levin's and he feels the moment that I have let go because he presses his face against the back of my neck and begins to whisper something so low I can't hear. His nearly silent words loop endlessly, a continuous wisp against my skin of vibrations and then his arm tightens around me but I'm passed caring because the sensation of his power as it softly trickles over the entirety of my body, is amazingly relaxing. His earlier silent words peak as does his power; it takes my breath away for a few moments but at exactly the same moment his words take away my consciousness and I sleep.