After speaking with the nurse, we let Andrei rest. I knew this would hurt him the most. That’s why I tried to stop Kat from leaving, but she wouldn’t listen to me. I worry how he’ll handle it. As we walk through the halls, I realize I forgot to tell Andrei about the new girl, Samantha. He probably won’t see her around unless he goes to the cafeteria, so I’m sure it’s ok.
My face feels stiff from frowning and I yawn with exhaustion. It’s been a long day. I look at my watch, 12:30am. Ughh. I need sleep.
Kaede and I decide to go straight to bed when we finally get to our room. I lock the door and turn towards the bedroom. Kaede stands in the window, the light from the moon making his silhouette look like a glowing shadow. It’s eerie and magical.
“He’ll be ok… won’t he?” he asks me. His voice is very different as he speaks, it’s not funny or confident, but rather weak and doubtful. I frown, walking towards him. He faces the window, so I stand behind him and wrap my arms around his thin waist. I expect him to flinch, I’ve never done this before, but he doesn’t. We’re too worn out.
“I don’t know, Kae. This all feels wrong and unknown. He’s taking it pretty bad, I think.”
“Yea… even for Andrei. She meant a lot to him. We all knew that. I… I’m worried about him, Car.”
“I am too.” I reply, resting my head against his shoulder.
“Well… I guess I’ll head to bed,” he says, patting my hand and turning towards the couch. I hesitate though, not letting my arms go.
“Kaede…” I whisper.
“What is it?” he asks.
I don’t know where this is coming from, but I can’t let go. “Will you… sleep with me tonight?” I ask him.
“Caroline, I don’t think now’s the time-”
“Not like that,” I interrupt him. “I mean, just sleep. Share the bed. I… don’t want to sleep alone tonight,” I whisper.
“Oh… Sorry. Yea,” he smiles in the dark. “I’d love to. It’s been a rough day.”
I give him a small smile and we walk into the bedroom. I move to the dresser, pulling out my P.J’s as Kaede takes off his shirt. I slip my nighty over my head and sneak a peek over my shoulder, catching Kaede slipping out of his trousers. I bite my lip, I shouldn’t be watching. My eyes linger a while longer before I turn my head and braid my hair.
When we’re finally dressed for bed we both crawl beneath the covers. I snuggle into his arms, resting my forehead on his chin, listening closely as our breathing matches and slows.
This feeling I’ve been having around him is growing stronger with each day, and now that he’s here, it seems a little overwhelming. I haven’t told him yet about the trial dreams yet, but ever since then, I feel like, if I lost him, I’d be feeling like Andrei probably feels right now.
I relish each breath we take together as I slip into a dreamless sleep.
Awareness dawns on me like watching a flower open up to the sun smiling down upon it.
I feel the warmth and softness of my converter surround me like a cloud. I snuggle into it, rubbing my cheek against the smooth warm … chest?
I bolt up, my body resisting the sudden motion from resting. Kaede lays sprawled out across the bed, one leg hanging over the edge, an arm too, the other stretched, snaked under my pillow where my shoulder had just been not five seconds ago. Despite my movement, he remains fast asleep.
I relax, my pulse slows, and I feel a smile on my face. He looks so peaceful, sleeping there, bare chest exposed, the covers barely over him. His hair has gotten longer too. His black locks look fluffy against the white sheets of my bed. They fall across his brow, nearly covering his eyes. I’ve never seen him with such long hair before, he usually cuts it. I wonder to myself why he hasn’t.
I sit there, watching as he breathes softly, expression restful and happy. I want to cherish this moment. I wonder what it would be like to wake up like this every day. I blush to myself as I lay back down, replacing my head on his chest. My braid falls over my shoulder and I feel his chest rising and falling with each sleepy breath. His pulse thrums in my ear, pressed against his breast.
I let my eyes close, feeling myself drift off again as I am lulled by his breathing and heartbeat. I dream of a summer breeze blowing through the windows, sleeping in with him, the smell of coffee wafting in from the kitchen. Birds chirping outside. The crash of something breaking as it hits a wall –
My eyes snap open.
“What was that?” I say aloud, without realizing it.
Kaede’s arm moves and I feel his hand on my exposed shoulder as he leans forward, looking at the door into our living room. His breath deepens as he wakes and his pulse quickens. I sit up, lifting my head off his chest, reluctantly.
“I think Andrei’s left the infirmary,” he says softly, voice a little scratchy from sleep.
“Oh…” I whisper, bringing my hand to my chest. I jump a little as my fingers brush the tattoo mark of the Guardians. I forgot it was there. I wonder if Kaede has noticed yet. It’s not exactly hidden.
Silence comes from the hallway and I feel myself begin to relax again, but there’s no way I can go back to sleep. Wakefulness has set it. I turn to Kaede and feel my cheeks warm at his smile. His eyes seem to glitter happily at me, almost cat-like.
“Did you sleep alright?” he asks gently, rubbing my shoulder with his hand. It feels… amazing. I feel goosebumps on the back of my neck.
“Mhmm, and you?” I ask him.
“Best sleep I ever had,” he grins.
Oh… boy… Everything in my heart is telling me to lean forward and everything in my head tells me to get dressed. I’m torn between keeping my morals and kissing his lovely angular face. I can’t decide, so I just sit there, thunderstruck or something. Is this… is this what Kaitlyn was talking about? Is this what poor Andrei had before… before all this happened?
As Andrei crosses my mind I suddenly feel guilty for imagining myself having this while he’s probably breaking in the room across the hall. My heart goes out to him and I resign myself, for his sake. I don’t feel like I should be allowed to be this happy when he is so distressed.
Kaede, though, has other thoughts, I think to myself as I feel the bed beneath me shift. He leans towards me, lifting my chin up with his other hand and tilts it upwards so that he can reach my lips.
My heart jumps as I feel his smooth lips on mine and I drop my hand to my lap. My body tingles like it’s charged with electricity and I inhale deeply, breathing in the scent that is distinctly his. His aroma fills my nostrils, clouding my senses. My will is weakened with each second that passes with his lips pressed to mine.
I feel him smile against my lips before he pulls away and my heart skips in response. I open my eyes slowly to find myself gazing into his glowing face. God… he’s so… adorable. I’m at a loss for words.
The corner of his lip twitches in amusement and I feel a delightful giggle bubble up from my stomach. I pull back as it escapes my lips and blush, covering my mouth with my hand. He laughs. I shouldn’t, but this is nice. I like it. No, I love it. I bite my lip, having a hard time suppressing my smile.
His gaze drops and I feel a little self-conscious as he brings his fingers to my chest, lightly brushing over the glowing blue mark. I look into his face as he examines the waves curiously.
“Is this the mark of a Guardian?” he asks softly.
“Yes, I didn’t get to choose where it went. I feel kind of… exposed,” I blush.
“It suits you. You look good in blue,” he smiles, looking up. Kaede’s smile fades a little. “He needs some space I think. It will take time before he can think straight. We need to give him space,” he says.
“I know, but I worry about him. He’s acting like she’s left him… like Sam did. But, there’s got to be something we can do, isn’t there?” I ask. “I mean, I’m a Guardian, like she is. Maybe we could track her down or something with magic.”
A thoughtful expression crosses his face at my words. “I agree. There might be a way, but, with all that’s happened, I don’t think we should force anything yet. Perhaps she’ll come back on her own, and Andrei will snap out of this, whatever this is. They need to grieve in their own way. It’s just inconvenient that running off is Kaitlyn’s’ way of coping with things…”
The atmosphere suddenly darkens at the mention of grieving and all the memories of Ryan and the past day come rushing back like a ton of bricks. That’s right. I sure everyone will snap out of this. And we can get back to normal. We can all be friends again, and find the other Guardians and keep everyone safe from people like Logan and the Master so that nothing like this ever happens again.
We’ve got to remain strong, for their sake. For Andrei and for Kat. For Ryan, who would want to see us all smiling together at lunch. Especially for her.
By Kayla West