Chapter Seven: Petrova
Getting attached is risky I reminded myself. So many times we all learned the hard way. I couldn’t help but feel a jolt of guilt thinking about Ward, how he changed when Kody was “culled”. The system we work in, it’s horrific. Sometimes I wonder if those that make the rules, those that enforce them ever feel guilty. The rules are old world, and this is a new world, ever changing but the traditions of the Touched remain untouched and inherently wrong. Or at least that is my opinion.
I flirted with a fine line that I didn’t know the boundaries of so often that it was a wonder that I hadn’t landed in trouble much sooner. Ward and I weren’t strangers in any way, but emotionally, we kept so distant that there often felt like a gulf, a canyon could be between us no matter how physically close we were at the time. I suppose that is why it felt so different.
It was nice to feel closer to someone, to not have that feeling filter up. Not ignoring how truly intimate we were being. Ymirxi was different, I reminded myself, not that, that wasn’t blindingly obvious. He was flirty and cheeky and so optimistic. Like brightness and light bouncing off of ripples of water cascading through the air.
“Just most things,” I smiled. He returned my smile moving closer, just a fraction. I looked into those brown eyes and just let myself stop thinking for a moment. Just a moment I promised myself. He leaned closer, his face so close to mine, his breath was warm on my cheeks, his hand slipped around my waist. When I kissed him I did something stupid. I let go of being in control of myself, I let go of controlling the feelings filter and how I needed to keep my distance. I let go of being cold. I embraced the warmth of a passionate kiss. Pulling apart for a moment of breath I could feel every inch of my skin burning. It was that burning that woke my muddled brain from its less logical thoughts.
“I, I can’t” I stuttered out the words barely hearing my own voice. The look on Ymirxi’s face, confusion was as clear as day.
“Can’t what?” he asked. Trying to coax me to look at him, it was the first time I was afraid around him, afraid I would lose control.
“I can’t get feelings involved. It would be stupid, you’re an angel for heavens sakes.” I could see him break into a smile from the corner of vision.
“No one said we had to get feelings involved, well, the emotional kind, not if you don’t want to.” His voice was calm and tender.
“I am a deeply flawed human being.” I thought out loud.
“Yeah, well, you’re more than just that you know… You are fun and kind and sweet and so sexy.” He had been stroking the back of my neck with his thumb, so gently it tickled.
“I didn’t know that angels ever thought…” for a moment my mind fogged again thinking about what it might be like to be with him.
“About physical love?” He grinned at me again.
“I was going to say about sex. But sure let’s go with that.” I tried to regain some nonchalance, some flirty wit that had escaped me.
“Oh I think about it; you have seen yourself right?” For a moment I see a flash of something human about him, hunger.
“I’m hardly a skinny supermodel, I eat more than I train.” I certainly do… I can’t help being a bit of a foodie, it’s a small pleasure in life. Given our schedules. Crap! The schedules.
“I know, but I like that, a little jiggle to your wiggle when you walk. Its enticing.” As sweet as the compliment was, my mind was very much elsewhere in that moment.
“I don’t know if I am flattered or concerned. But, I have to ask to go back, if I miss the lecture I am screwed, with all the coursework already and then training and patrol and we have to find out if they have got Leianna back.” I can’t believe I had forgotten about her.
“Woah, that was a 360 so hard I think I just got whiplash. Leianna will be fine.” He looked at me like I was missing something obvious.
“How do you know that?” I ask a little infuriated for a moment.
“I know who she is with, she will be fine.” I looked at him like he had just grown another head. “She will be safe where she is. There are worse places she could have found herself.” The boyishness had dissolved, a sadness washed his features for a moment. “I will take you back home don’t worry.” He stood up and offered me his hand “and if you ever need a new arrangement, I’m offering.” I felt guilty for him, for Ward and for myself.
I never quite understood where I stood, with Ward. It was never a good idea to begin with, but the emotions had to be cut from the equation, he had made it clear, doing whatever you like was fine by him. We weren’t together, together. That didn’t mean this didn’t feel a bit weird. I mean sure kissing a freaking angel is a whole new experience, but I mean kissing someone else. I know Ward does as he pleases. But I don’t really think of it like that. I don’t think of it any way. Not if I can help it.
Ymrixi paused now that I had stood up. “I wasn’t trying to get you into bed if that is what has you worried.” I gave him a look that said “really” while still hoping that it looked even the slightest bit flirtacious. “Ok so sort of, may have thought about it, but I want you to know, you are more than the physical, Ward is an idiot to not see what I do.”
I couldn’t help myself, “and what do you see?” Not sure if I was opening a can of worms but I waited for him to form his answer.
“I see strength, kindness, wisdom, gentleness, and a fierceness. You would go into battle for anyone, even those who don’t hold a place in your heart. You are wild and spontaneous and you are so bright, that when you smile the room lights up. I see hope. I see that behind this flirty banter you give, there is this softness and warmth, I suspect, that to be the person you hold in your heart most dear would be something otherworldly. You are otherworldly. Literally to me the otherworldly exotic. But I suspect being the man you love would be indescribable.”
I stood, unsure of what to say, he sounded so sincere so warm and comforting. I swallowed the lump in my throat away, and tried to hide the flush in my cheeks that seemed to spread across my face. I couldn’t, even though I tried. When he caught sight of it his smile grew, like Christmas had arrived early and brought him a surprise. The corners of his eyes crinkled a little with his smile. He had caught me off guard, this time when he leant closer, he kissed my forehead. Not my lips, for a moment that saddened me, but it was still a tenderness I wasn’t used to. A gesture of genuine care. I realised I hadn’t spoken. Instead I had stood here blushing like an idiot.
“Do you still want to go home?” he asked. I shook my head no.
“I have to, I can’t stay here forever, I am sure someone would eventually notice, you have already taken so many risks. So many chances, I don’t want you to get into trouble.” I didn’t want to be the reason he got into trouble. That would be too hard to justify.
“I appreciate your concern but-”
“But nothing, let me care for you in this way, you already have taken so many risks, I don’t want you to get hurt.” I tried to insist. As much good as it seemed to be doing, until he succumbed and stopped fighting me on this.
“Parting is such sweet sorrow” he grinned brightly making a little light of goodbyes.
“I’d rather not have a Romeo and Juliet ending though… I kind of like living…”
“Me too” he grinned and pulled me into his arms. The warmth was incredible. Like a fire that seemed to burn between us, warmth and skin and softness. I closed my eyes and pulled him a little tighter. I could feel a soft muddled feeling creep through my brain making me foggy and tired. Had I slept at all? I tried to resist the urge to succumb. It felt futile. “Don’t fight it Petrova, let yourself rest. You are safe, I promise.” The fog felt thicker and softer and so quickly fighting the urge to sleep took over.