The room is nearly pitch dark, lit with only the light of the stars when I hear my phone buzz on the dresser. I sit up, crawling off the edge of the bed to retrieve it. Andrei snores softly behind me, undisturbed by my movement. I don’t know how he can sleep so soundly when we did basically nothing all day. I have too much energy left over to rest.
I pick up the phone and press the button, lighting the screen. There’s a text, but it’s not a number I have saved.
– Hey, it’s Heath. I got a phone. It’s my first time. –
I frown at the message, responding. – It’s the middle of the night. –
– Sorry, I know. I’m having a problem. I think I need your help. –
I feel a tightness in my chest and I glance at Andrei’s sleeping figure. – What is it? –
– I can’t sleep. It won’t let me sleep. Can you help? –
How can I help him? I can’t sleep either… – I don’t know. I’m still awake too, – I reply.
– Please. I don’t know what to do! Talking to you helps. –
I chew my lip. I want to go, but I shouldn’t. I’m so bored though… Laying here awake. -Are you in your room? –
– No… I’m not. –
At this hour? Nearly two in the morning? – Where are you then? –
– I went for a walk. I ended up in that place –
I put the phone down, pacing around the room. I shouldn’t. I need to rest. But… I’m not tired. The phone buzzes again and I pick it up.
– Please, I really need your help. –
Damn it. – Fine. I’ll come down. –
– Thank you. –
I slip on my flats and slip out of the room in my PJ shorts and sweater. I leave Scoria on the pillow next to Andrei, both of them fast asleep. It doesn’t take me very long to get to the cave. There are several shortcuts that only I know about. When I arrive, I find him in the chamber with the tools, waiting.
“Why did you come down here of all places? It’s not exactly the stuff of pleasant dreams,” I hover at the edge of the hall.
“That really depends on whose dreams you’re referring too, now doesn’t it?” he says smoothly, walking along the wall, toward me.
A sinking feeling washes over me. “I’m not talking to Heath, am I?”
“You haven’t since lunch, yesterday. I couldn’t resist the phone, really. Way too easy. And it seems to have worked too,” he smiles cunningly. He reaches out a hand toward me, the other still behind his back as he stops in front of me.
I step back. “No. I don’t believe that.”
“No? How can I prove it then? You tell me, little flame. This sounds like a fun little game,” he smirks, showing me his teeth.
“I’m not playing games with you. Let him go,” I demand, glaring at him.
He chuckles. “You don’t seem to understand. Neither does he. We made a deal back then, him and I; I help him, he helps me. He’s doing an excellent job of it. It’s been ages since we’ve had fun together, like this, you and I. Let’s just enjoy it a little, while we still can, hmm?” he leans in close, pressing his lips together into a thin smile. Before I realise it, I feel something on my back as he pulls me towards him. I look down to see the ends of a rope in his hands.
“What are you doing? No, we’re not having fun,” I push him away, but the rope around my back doesn’t leave much room to move. I turn around and grab onto the red rope and lift it over my head. I know there’s no point trying to burn it, it was designed to be fireproof.
He grabs my arm tightly while his other hand runs over my hair. “Why do you resist him? We both know you enjoy it. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of fun,” he says sweetly. “We could make it hot if you prefer.”
I swat his hands away, breaking out of his grasp with some effort. “This is wrong. I can’t keep doing this,” I argue, backing down the hall.
“Since when? How is this wrong? You were mine first. Go on, ask your little fire. I bet you anything, she’s excited as hell,” he smirks lustfully, his voice growling the last word.
He’s not wrong. I clench my jaw. “The fire doesn’t control me,” I shout back.
“No, but you should let it. She’s a wonderful thing. Besides, she’s so pent up. You’ve got more than enough energy to hold you over, don’t you? I know you so well, little flame. He can’t satiate you like I can. Let us have some, hmm?” he cooes.
“My energy isn’t for you, it’s for my baby,” I growl.
“A minor inconvenience, that. But I can forgive you. You always liked a good romp. Come on, you said you’d help him. I’m telling you how you can,” he places a hand on the wall next to me, blocking my exit.
“I will help. I’ll help Heath control you,” I scoff. “Don’t get used to it.”
“Ohh, this sounds like a challenge. Challenges are fun, wouldn’t you agree?” he’s suddenly on my face, lips locked on mine. I feel his hands on my waist, pulling me into him.
The fire urges me to give in, but I resist. I can’t. If I keep doing this and Andrei finds out… I push against his chest trying to break away. I feel my resolve chipping away, but I try anyway, for Andrei, for our baby.
I hear a growl come from his chest as he forces himself on me. His hand on my waist slides up under my sweater, cupping my breast roughly. He pushes his hips into me and I feel him pointedly. His hand gets hotter against my skin. The warmth entices the flame and I smell the fabric smolder against his arm.
I stomp on his foot, pushing against him one more time. “Are you insane?!” I demand as I manage to break away.
“I’ve always been insane. That’s why you like me,” He breathes heavily against my neck. I feel his mouth on my skin, tongue sliding up to my ear. His breath is hot, sending a shiver down my spine.
“C-cut it out, or I…” my voice doesn’t sound very threatening anymore. Damn it, body.
“Or you’ll what?” he taunts. “What will you do, little flame?”
I close my eyes, fighting with the fire. It wants so badly to be released. The sparks dance off my fingertips, betraying my control.
“Oh, fun! You’re getting creative. I like this,” he grins against my cheek. His fingers roam, sending tingles through my groin.
“Let me go…” I beg weakly. I don’t want to want this. I don’t want to hurt either of them.
“I will,” he purrs. “Once I’ve had my fun with you. Did you know, he never had it before you? You’re stuck in his mind just as much as your sweet flame is in mine. That’s what makes this so enticing.”
What? He was a virgin? But he seemed to know what he was doing! I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised… “That doesn’t make it any less wrong,” I disagree, and I decide to take a low blow. “Andrei was a virgin too.”
“Time? A virgin?” He scoffs angrily in my ear. “So you like them inexperienced, hmm? No, that’s not it. I know you like more than that,” he growls. “What is it about Time that you like so much, hmm? Pray tell. I’m ever so curious,” he hums, lifting my chin up with his finger and teasing me by hovering over my lips. I feel his hot breath, nearly cross-eyed as I stare back at him, orange rings aglow in his dark blue, almost black eyes.
I try to sneer. “He’s not a jackass, for one thing.”
“Ouch, that hurts,” he fake pouts as he pushes against me, hard. “Let’s not forget who can give you what you need. Time… is weak, feeble. Always has been, always will be. I, on the other hand…” he slides his fingers beneath my shorts, slipping them between my legs expertly. I feel a jolt of pleasure and I gasp involuntarily, to my own dismay.
“He’s not trying to use me,” I gulp, fighting against the rush of pleasure in my brain telling me to give in.
“And since when was that a problem? You left me as cold as an ice age without any explanation all those centuries ago. Don’t go making me out to be the bad guy here. You let him have his way with you. You had your taste and you couldn’t get enough. Why don’t you remember any of this?” he growls, sliding his fingers deeper.
I moan and feel my resolve slipping away, but I can’t resist one last shot. I look into his dark blue eyes, the orange flaring brightly, like fire. They sparkle with a tear trickling down his cheek. “Maybe the fire never really loved you,” I whisper angrily.
“Lies,” he states simply, clamping his mouth onto mine. I feel his hands slip under the band of my PJ shorts, sliding them down. He wastes no time in removing the clothing as he ravishes me with his firm touch, forcing me up against the wall. I lose the fight within myself, the excitement of the fire taking over my mind. Its hunger drives my hands to pull at Heath’s shirt. It’s tired of talking, tired of waiting. It wants him.
Heath cries out triumphantly as he reaches his climax, gasping for breath. There’s a shift in his expression I note as I watch him and he pulls himself out, leaving me to lay there, catching my breath. The fire slips away, satisfied. I sit up, pulling my legs up to my chest as I shuffle to the head of the bed away from him. He sits on his knees at the foot, hunched over with his head in his hands. As I move, he looks up, damp hair hanging in front of tear-filled eyes.
“I didn’t mean for any of that to happen. Kaitlyn, I’m so sorry,” he pleads.
I turn my gaze away. “I know, it wasn’t you,” I mumble, though it’s hard when they share the same face.
“That doesn’t what he’s done, what I’ve done excusable. I simply wanted your advice. He took over… I… I couldn’t stop him. Why is this happening to me?” his jaw trembles, his voice wavering on hysteria.
I hug my legs tighter against my chest. “I don’t know. I wish I did. You can’t entirely blame yourself…” I sigh. “I didn’t stop you. I could barely stop myself.”
“No, you tried. He uses his words like that. He does it all the time!” he glances to the side, a scowl on his face. “I’m not weak,” he whispers hoarsely. “Shut up!” He turns back to me, expression torn. “Kaitlyn, I’ve hurt you. I can’t apologize enough, but none of this is your fault.”
I shake my head, meeting his gaze. “I could have stopped it. Physically, I can overpower you. I struggle with my element too, I can’t let you take all the blame. We just… have to find a way to stop him from taking over. I don’t want to hurt you because of him.”
“If there’s no other way, I give you permission to. It’s the least I deserve. I just…” he looks down, a shameful look on his face. “I’m sorry,” he whispers again. “I can’t let this happens again, I should just leave. It’s not right!”
“I can’t let you leave like this,” I clench my fists. “I hate to think what he might do if you leave, if he would even let you leave. He seems kind of determined.”
“So, I’m just going to go insane?! Great!” he sighs, dropping his hands exhaustedly to his sides. “You might as well put me in a straight jacket.”
“I know you can beat him,” I insist. “Just promise me you’ll keep fighting.”
He looks at me, his eyes full of desperation. He gives me a crooked half smile. “I’ll try, but whatever I’m doing now isn’t helping.”
I sigh. I have no idea how long it’s been. “We’d better get back upstairs. The last thing we need is for Andrei to wake up before I get back.”
“We can’t go back together. He’ll find out!” Heath’s eyes grow wider. “He’s already suspicious from that blasted training. I’ll go up after. You go on,” he insists.
I grit my teeth. “Fine. Don’t wait too long. You need to rest too,” I slide off the cot, heading back to the hallway where my clothes lay forgotten on the floor.
“Kaitlyn,” he calls from the bed. I turn back as I pull on my hoodie. “I’m sorry. Truly, I am. I… don’t expect our friendship to remain the same. I’d understand if you hate me… I just need you to know that,” he looks at me with pained eyes.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I grab my shorts. “You think this is the worst thing someone has done to me? I doubt you could imagine half of what’s happened in this room alone. I’m not going to let the Lava do whatever it wants. I won’t lose you to him,” I hold his gaze defiantly. “And I told you, it’s Kat.”
He hesitates before nodding. “See you later, then.”
I slip on my shoes and leave the cave without looking back. When I’m out of his sight, I break into a run and I don’t stop until I’m back at my door in the Guardian wing. I pause to catch my breath before I crack the door open. I hold my breath and listen. When I hear his soft snoring, I let out a silent sigh of relief and slip inside, carefully closing the door and locking it behind me. I hesitate as I look at the bed. I desperately want to rejoin him, but I can’t yet, it wouldn’t be right. Scoria is still curled up on my pillow too, sound asleep.
I grab a towel and slip into the bathroom. I can’t undress fast enough before turning on the scalding hot water. I wash thoroughly, washing away the evidence, but it doesn’t feel like enough. I can’t wash away the ever-growing guilt, or the feeling of being dirty, no matter how hard I scrub. My skin is red and raw before I give up, sliding to the floor of the shower, defeated.
When the water starts to turn cold, I shut it off. It’s only then that I realise I’ve been crying too. I don’t know how to stop. I’m not sure what to do. My body shakes of its own volition. How can I help Heath and keep lying to Andrei? How could Andrei ever forgive me?
Both Caroline, and Andrei’s mother mentioned us getting married. If they knew… would they still think it’s a good idea? I doubt it. I doubt Andrei would even want me…
I crawl out of the shower, finding the towel. I will the fire to dry the dampness on my skin and my hair before I go back into the bedroom. I find a different pair of shorts and a soft long sleeve shirt and put them on. The exhaustion starts to set in and I crawl back under the covers, still uncertain. Scoria purrs and shuffles over to lay against the top of my head. Her cuddles bring me some comfort.
Andrei shifts as I lay down, his arms reaching to wrap around my waist and pulling me close to him. He breathes deeply, still asleep as he snuggles against me. A sob escapes my throat. He has no idea I even left. He reaches out to me even in his sleep, and I couldn’t even control myself enough to stay. I don’t deserve him, not anymore.
The tears soak my pillow until I fall asleep. The dream comes soon after.
By Krystyna Yates