Nina, always an early bird, was surprised at how late she had risen. The grand father clock mocked her, showing the time as eight o'clock, drawing out each tick of the second hand. She flew round her room pulling on a light blue summer dress which was soft and without a bodice or big skirt. It was supported by a navy blue ribbon, that wrapped around her stomach, just under her voluptuous chest. the rest of the material just fell to the ground with no fixed shape. It was a lot more convenient, and although she wasn't planning to ride Midnight, she needed to muck out, and clean her grand horse. So she needed to be brisk getting changed.
She ran down the stairs towards the front entrance. Not stopping to enjoy the massive master-pieces that hung on the walls or the diamond chandelier in the "first room." Or the gold en-scripted writing on the front doors or the ever-lasting marble water fountain. She sprinted down the pebble road bare-foot that was lined with dense forest behind the manor. Avoiding stray geese and counting the seconds before her poor horse could have his breakfast. He was probably starving! She continued towards the stables until she reached the front door.
She glided to a stop at the sound of a voice. James? It was male, but I knew Leona and James were riding in the fields today. "Here you go, eat up gorgeous, ha-ha, your a right character!" Andrew? She was instantly in the stables ready to defend her horse. Midnight hated strangers! He even hated James! he loved Leona but only after years of bonding. Nina stopped short at the sight of her hostile horse neighing in pleasure as Andrew scratched her behind the ear.
The sight was beautiful, perfect, But I could not be deceived by Andrew. I still had to be icy. If I liked him, then he would just be another weakness. Like Leona and Anna-Bell? A voice in my head nudged. Ok, but this was more, this was out of my control, it... confused me. I liked to be in control. And I had already altered the future too much! But he made me feel... Good. I had not even eaten in the past week, I had not even thought of the bloody red flames that haunted my life... maybe-
(Please listen to "wide awake" whilst reading, strange request but please do!)
"Nina?" I turned my head to look at him abruptly, startled and unprepared, " I'm sorry, I- He was hungry, I-" Andrew stumbled over his words, but never once did he make up an Excuse."Thank you," The words slipped out of my mouth, before I could stop them. "Oh, your welcome?" Andrew looked confused and for the first time since the ball, He smiled at me, it was so innocent... and pure. It made me smile. I wasn't melting, I was floating. This wasn't in your face like the train, it wasn't consuming like the Ball. It was simple, subtle... sweet. Like the faint smell of lavender in the fields. Like a trapped ray of light in the middle of a dark forest. It was magic. Soul mates. I got rid of that thought, very promptly. But may be we could be friends.
"I appreciate you doing that for me," I said in all truthfulness.
"She's a beautiful horse," He turned to look at Midnight.
"I know." This was the start of something new, I could sense it in the air, a change, a switch of directions... A different outcome. No! I couldn't stop it though.
The next few days, was filled with talk of the ball, extra time with Midnight and a new friendship, including Andrew and me talking frequently. I forgot my thought about soul mates, It was too rare, and why would a heartless creature find a soul mate?? But a whole week later, some thing happened. Some thing I would never forget. Something I never could forget.
We were in the stables again... it was early in the morning, as usual, although we had never rode together. I never dared to ask.
"I'm sorry," Andrew said quietly.
"Why," The past week I had learnt how to talk to him, and hide my true feelings. The ones that were becoming harder and harder to ignore. I had learnt so much about this kind-natured, strong-willed, honourable, southern, country-boy. I never bored of his voice. Never tired of his help at the stables.
"I know I get in your way, but you see, I've never owned a horse before, and I know you don't need an extra hand, but I do enjoy meeting you here... but if you need space?" His southern drawl washed over me, before the words processed. what he was he saying? Space?? did he not know how hard it was to stay away from him? not to touch him? kiss him? comfort him!?
I couldn't hide it any more. With a sudden feeling of letting go, I whispered "I love you," I brought my hand up to my mouth. Had I just said that? My words rungs true, and they quivered in the air in anticipation, for an answer. Stupid, delusional words. He was so good, kind and true, and any way, who could love a monster? I needed to leave. I was suffocated by pain and hurt. Knowing I had fallen for someone who shared no such emotions. "I'm sorr-" I was cut off.
"I love you," His voice was soft but defiant. Lightness. Happiness. Comfort. A sense of rightness.
No words could explain it. I was crying in happiness and joy. There was a friendship and loyalty that now remained between us, as well as the passion that burned our body's. But both aspects of our world, shied away from the one word, that consumed us... Love. Its was no longer just a word. It was tangible! I could taste it, see it, feel it, I understood it, so completely. If some one had told me to chose between my life or his, I wouldn't be able to chose. Either way, we both died.
We were tied together. As a flame, I could always see the chords that hummed nonchalantly between people whom were bonded. If I was angry at a friend, the chord would glow a dull red. If me and a friend were being open and truthful, the chord would shine white. If I missed some one, the chord went purple. The new chord connecting us, was gold, not just connecting our hearts as usual, but our body's were covered in gold chords pulling us together, forming a cocoon around us. This was like my whole life, every emotion, summed up in every moment that passed between us. And so much more...
There was so much we had to face when we return to the manor, but right now, I was full of contented Bliss. . But a flame and human cant be soul mates, my mind nagged. This wasn't meant to happen. My friends would not under stand! That day... that dreaded horrid vision.