Although it’s already been a day since Selene somehow managed to lock away the magic within me, I still can’t believe how quiet my thoughts are. That, and my hands; I was so accustomed to the blackness, the sign of my magic, that I can’t seem to stop staring at them everywhere I go. It’s like I have someone else’s hand on my arms. I don’t recognize them anymore, and it still takes me by surprise every time I use my hands to do something.
Now, I feel a tightness in my chest as I sit in a chair across from her in the library of the Guild. Her white-blonde hair is tied back and she sits with legs folded to the side on the cushions. This is only our second session for meditation since we started yesterday. I glance to her left where Nik sits, watching. He has been a constant presence since I’ve come here, and yet… him sitting there, eyes trained on me, makes me feel uneasy. Why do I get the feeling he’s here because he doesn’t trust me?
“Clear your mind as best you can,” Selene instructs. “Tell me, what makes you happy? What do you enjoy?”
I take a deep breath, listening to the sound of the air going in and out, as she instructed me to do yesterday. I focus only on the breathing before I repeat her question in my head.
What makes me happy?
The first thing that comes to mind is Kaitlyn and I quickly flounder to clear that thought. There has to be something else… I think on it for a long while, but nothing really comes to mind. I didn’t enjoy much of anything in my youth, not since the accident. I sigh with a knot of frustration in my stomach when I can’t come up with a solid answer.
Selene hums, “Alright, how about things you don’t dislike? Perhaps that would be easier.” Nik chuckles and I feel like the butt of some joke.
I chew the inside of my cheek, trying to ignore him. Perhaps that is easier. A few things come to mind; I like coffee shops. At least… when there aren’t a lot of people in them. I remember the last guy I visited often in Quebec. He was an interesting man.
I liked my job. It was risky but interesting. But that involved the magic… I doubt I would be as good at it without that. Maybe I only choose it because of the magic…
I don’t dislike movies. People don’t have to talk during a movie. There’s no social engagement and that’s… pleasant. I’m beginning to see what a sad life I’ve led. Twenty-seven years of a pathetic existence without any hobbies or accomplishments other than being alive.
Why is this so hard? The question seemed easy enough, at first.
“It would seem we have some educating to do,” Selene muses.
“Educating?” I ask, raising my brow.
“Yes,” She smiles. “You have not experienced life, held back by your power,” She pauses, gesturing to my hands. “It seems an opportune time to try the things you have not done before.”
“Guess that’s a lot, eh?” I sigh.
“Lucky for you, I have almost too much experience,” She laughs. It’s strange. She sounds so… normal when she laughs. “Ask me anything. Perhaps I can help you decide what to try first.”
“Well…” Where do I begin? Didn’t Kaitlyn say Selene had been alive for a hundred years, or something like that?
“That is correct,” She answers my thought. “I’ve forgotten my exact age, but round about a century.”
“What did you do?” I ask, wondering what she could have possibly done with so much time.
She hums wistfully, looking up at the ceiling. “What haven’t I done? I was a nurse in the Great war. I think I was a teenager then, maybe in my twenties. I married a soldier, bore children… My first husband was killed in that war, as well as my sons. And twenty years later, I did it all again in the second war. I married an officer after the second war. Of course, he began to age and I did not. It was difficult for him, but I cared for him into his old age,” She pauses so I can process everything she’s said.
“You were able to find love during the war, even with your magic?” I find the story almost too good to be true, and yet, imagining your loved ones die when you cannot, that sounds beyond sad, almost worse than killing them yourself.
“Ah, but you forget,” She smiles bitterly, “I can die. I’ve died many times. That may be even worse as my friends and family would witness it, only for me to return again. Watching someone you love die, over and over… It does things to the mind. Horrible things. It took me many years to truly understand the toll it took on those around me.”
“How did you…” I hesitate, unsure if it’s a question she would want to answer, “… Stay strong, keep going? How did you not crack?” I ask nervously.
“I did,” Her eyes turn back to me with a softness I did not expect. “I spent many years in turmoil. Unfortunately for me, no matter what I did, I could not stay dead. Eventually, I decided enough was enough. I could wallow in self-pity for eternity, or I could keep living. One day, true death would come for me and I would wait for him,” Her eyes drop to the floor. “I never anticipated that when the day came, I would refuse.”
“Wait, you could have died and… stayed dead and you refused that?” I ask, confused. I don’t understand, if she’s lived for so long, wouldn’t she want death? What was it that kept her here, I wonder.
“I did want death, however, when he came, we were in the middle of the desert,” She looks to Nik. “For the first time in decades, I had started to care for other people without realising. I could not leave them, with so much at stake,” She chuckles. “After all, what’s a few more years when you’ve lived as long as I have?”
“So, the others here, you grew to like them?” I ask, wondering what could have happened in the desert to change her mind after all those years.
“I did,” She nods with a sly smirk. “Not that they would believe you if you asked them.”
“Can friends really have that effect on you?” I ask skeptically.
Her steely eyes bore into mine, “Love is the strongest force known to us. You would be shocked to know the things you are capable of for the sake of it. It can be a force for good or a source of pain. Often both.”
I scoff, “Yea, sure.” I’ve only experienced it as the later. I doubt it could really be as good as she claims. “It’s not like I’ll ever have that,” I mumble. Especially once the temporary block is removed. I doubt he would turn his gaze on anyone other than the fire. And even if I did get control over him, who out there could love someone like me without burning at my touch?
“Heath,” Selene leans forward, “Do you see your hands, how they are now?”
“Of course I see them. They don’t even feel like my own. They’re… normal-looking,” I say slowly, not sure if I get where she’s going with this.
“These are your hands. The blackness, that was him. Always him. Gain control, and this will be your norm. You are capable of this, whether you believe it or not. This is why we are chosen. We are given the privilege of magic and the strength to contain it,” She speaks with absolute confidence.
My eyes sting as I listen to her words. “Can that really be true?” Does she mean, all this time, that wasn’t me? The last eighteen years I’ve been him and not me? “But I… He didn’t start speaking till I met her. I’d never heard from him. I’d… forgotten about everything.”
“He didn’t speak, but he was there. You didn’t realise your own power. You did not have council. He should have taught you, but he is selfish. He doesn’t want you to learn control, he wants to use your body. You must not allow it,” Her tone turns stern.
My lip trembles, the realisation of it all hitting harder than I’d anticipated. He’d said he’d not be a part of the teenage years, so did he really just want to use me? Is all my life just a sad tale of woe because of a power I can’t control?
“How do I not allow it?” I ask. “If, as you say, is true, I have an eighteen-year disadvantage. He took advantage of the innocent nine-year-old boy who’d just been thrown off the edge by his brother and twisted my thoughts. Who’s to say any of what I am now is really me?” I feel a small seed of panic grow in my stomach at the thought.
Selene glances at Nik, who nods before standing up and walking out of the library, leaving us alone among the books. I watch him go as she moves to the chair next to me. I turn and eye her, curious and confused.
“Do you know my element, Heath?” She asks softly.
“Your element? It’s death, no?” I can’t recall if Kaitlyn mentioned it or not.
Her lips spread, amused. “No, it’s not. I am the Guardian of Spirit. The core of all elements. Do you know what that means?”
“Not really, no.” I don’t really know much about the other elements. I haven’t given it much thought, to be honest.
“It means,” She reaches over, placing her pale palm on my chest, “I can feel your spirit, your emotions, your intentions. I know when you’re lying, and when you’re afraid. I feel your pain as if it were my own.”
“That’s how you read minds?” I ask.
She purses her lips, “No. That appears to be another ability entirely. I have many gifts it seems, and it’s unclear which are linked to Spirit. I do not have a voice to guide me, nor do I have a feeling or ticking, or anything really.”
“You’re lucky then. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” Maybe that was a bit callous.
She laughs, her hand lingering. “I suppose it’s not, but I suspect the reason is simple,” Her eyes study me curiously.
I look at her, a strange feeling washing over me. I find myself unable to turn away. Her blue-grey eyes seem like deep pools, drawing me in. I try to blink, but… “The reason? I- don’t understand,” I stutter.
“Yes,” Her lip curls at the edge. “I don’t have a voice, because I have no other entity within. The Spirit is me, and I am the Spirit. Does that make sense?”
“You’re the Spirit? That’s… crazy, I mean… not really. I don’t really get it, no. How does that make you the Spirit?”
“When I was a child I had no magic that I knew of. I was painfully ordinary,” She leans back slightly, “Until the day I fell from the bluffs. I was awakened that day. There was never a voice or a guide, just the power. It grew with me as I aged, and still grows to this day.”
“So what are you the Spirit of? The elements? Or something else?” I can’t deny, I’m still thoroughly confused.
“I don’t know,” She replies quietly, with a smile in her eyes. “I’m still figuring that part out.” She glances down and back up again. “Tell me, what do you want to experience?”
The question… it seems strange. “Experience?” I feel my cheeks warm, finally finding the control to turn away. I look down at my hands, studying the pale fingers, my pale fingers.
“Don’t be shy,” She cooes. “What have you always craved?”
Easy for her to say. She’s had many lifetimes to learn how not to be shy. I try to make my voice speak, but it comes out more like a strangled whisper. “Everything. I want to… touch things and not burn them. I want to be touched. I… want to know love, to be happy. But…” Still, I don’t see how I can have any of this. The block is temporary. Who’s to say she could hold the lava back long enough for me to find any of that.
“Do you want to know how it feels to be with a woman, without him?” She asks boldly.
I turn, facing her with wide eyes, my jaw hanging open. “What?! I- I…” I stutter. Unable to make my lips form the words of my flustered thoughts. Is she serious?
“Yes,” She answers, holding my gaze. Again, I find myself drawn into them, sinking.
“He did ruin that for me… didn’t he?” I mutter uncertainly.
“Yes, he did,” She chuckles. “I may not be the woman of your dreams, but I can teach you how to treat one when you do find her.”
I can’t look away as my cheeks heat up at the thought. I may be twenty-seven, but it’s not like this is an everyday offer, even for a regular guy… is it? Girls don’t just walk around offering to teach you how to make love. I feel reluctant to say yes, an inkling of a feeling deep in my head that by doing so, I’d be taking advantage of her, like I did Kat.
“You cannot take advantage of me,” She laughs, a mischievous look in her eyes. “I’m not sure you even know how.”
She’s probably right. Besides, she’s much older than me, even if she doesn’t look it. I nod, slowly. “Yes, I suppose. It is something I would like to experience… I guess.” My heart pounds heavily in my chest and, for a moment, I expect my hands to become hot and turn black as they usually do. I shift to check, out of habit.
“Good,” She grins. “Let’s start with the basics.” Her delicate hand raises, fingertips resting on my jaw. My skin tingles at her touch, alert to the sensation as she pulls me forward with just her fingertips. I feel her breath, hot on my lips and my heart races in double time. “Start gentle. Learn to feel the mood and desires of your partner through their kiss,” She whispers, pressing her soft lips to mine before I can respond.
My eyes grow wide and I forget how to breathe. I suddenly realise how awkward it is to kiss with your eyes open. I try to calm my thoughts, focusing on the feeling of her lips as I let my eyes fall closed. They’re cool to the touch, or at least, colder than I’m used to… But gentle and strong at the same time, somehow.
I lose myself in the feeling, expecting to turn hot. I’m so used to my emotions triggering it that it feels strange not to. Her fingers fall away, grasping my hand. I flinch, worried for a moment that she’ll burn. She lifts my hand, placing my palm to her cheek. Her skin is cool, or am I getting hotter?
“No, you are a normal temperature,” Her voice rings in my mind.
My thoughts flinch, not expecting to hear her there while our lips are locked. I caress her cheek softly, feeling the edge of her jawline with my fingertips. I instinctively lift my other hand, resting it on her opposite cheek, reaching back into her hair and combing it with my fingers. Her lips curl into a smile. They taste like… cherries.
Her hands slide along my arms, drawing me closer. I slip off the chair, onto my knees in front of her. She smells like flowers, and her cool touch is strangely intoxicating. Her fingers slide through my hair and I shiver.
My hands move to her waist, shakily resting there. My mind is filled with the smell of her and I feel a need to touch her, to ensure this is really real. I pull my lips away, eyes fluttering open to look up into her face. I take a deep, ragged breath and rest my head in her lap. Why can’t I still believe this is happening? Is touching like this really so good or is it just my imagination?
“You’re doing well,” She whispers encouragingly, her hands combing through my hair gently.
“How do I know this is real and not just a dream?” I ask. I sound like a kid.
Her hands slide to my chin, lifting my head to look at her. “Do your dreams always feel so real? Have you harbored a desire for me before?” She smiles, almost teasing.
“Yes, well… usually, they are memories of my past. But, they don’t feel like this,” I breathe. I push myself up, wanting to feel her lips again. I gently lean into her, tracing my left hand down her sleeve and into her hand, clasping her fingers between mine. My heart flutters, my eyes, they feel like weeping. I don’t know if I’m happy or sad. Maybe I’m both.
She pulls back, her eyes sad. “You don’t have to do this if you’re not sure.”
“What?” I look into her face, confused. Did I do something wrong? I lean back, withdrawing my hands, filled with uncertainty.
“No, you didn’t do anything wrong,” She soothes. “It’s not my intention to make you feel you have to. You understand that, don’t you?”
I stare at her, mind blank for once. “I know that. I… I felt…” What’s the word I’m looking for? “Euphoric.”
She smiles. It’s so sweet. I can’t believe she’s the same person I’ve seen around these past few weeks. “Continue then, at your own pace.”
I’m suddenly reminded of Monica, from high school. If I had been normal then, I would have done things so differently. Even from the first time with Kaitlyn, if it hadn’t been for him, I would have approached it differently. I see that now. Lava has always taken a headstrong approach, but here, now, I see that taking it slow is much more… exciting.
I stand, joining Selene on the chair. I look down at her hand, taking it gently in mine and relishing in her touch. I bring my eyes back up to hers and give her a sheepish smile, “I guess, I want to continue, but do you?” I ask.
She tilts her head, curiosity in her eyes. “What makes you think I wouldn’t? You’re a handsome young man, you know.”
I falter, surprised to hear her say that. I feel my cheeks blush. I’ve never considered myself to have good looks. Surely she’s just trying to be nice.
She laughs, louder than before. “You think I go around handing out compliments to be nice? Do I seem like the type?”
“No,” I mumble. “But…”
Her fingers trace the line of my jaw. “I can be quite picky, you know. I don’t offer this sort of thing lightly.”
I stare into her eyes, taken. “You mean that,” I say. I know she can be reserved. She doesn’t speak much when the others are around. She doesn’t have to, being able to hear them think, as she can. I can tell from every response, she’s listening to mine as well. Yet, unlike before, I don’t feel all that bothered by it now.
I inch closer, tenderly reaching my hand out for hers. “May we… continue?” I ask softly, barely a centimeter from her lips.
“We may,” She giggles quietly.
I fall against her, tasting cherries on her lips. I feel her eyelashes flutter against my cheeks, tickling them while I rub her hand gently with my thumb. I let my thoughts wander with her touch. Beneath my hands, she feels slight, almost fragile, like I could break her if I push too hard.
Her skin is silky smooth and cool to the touch. I reach a hand up into her hair, gently working to untie it. As I pull it free, careful to not pull her hair, it falls loosely about her shoulders. I sift my fingers through it, feeling how fine it is, almost like sand.
As I lean in closer, I feel her subtle chest against my own. She’s neither muscular nor curvy, but still womanly. I blush as a passionate groan escapes my throat. I feel her lips curl into a smile, and her cold hands slip under the bottom of my shirt, raising goosebumps. I wonder what she looks like, under her clothes…
I pull away, opening my eyes slowly as I trail my hands down her arms to the bottom edge of her sweater. My eyes linger on her waist as I lift the hem up, revealing her porcelain-like skin. She lifts her arms up as I free her from the material. I inhale sharply at the sight of her. She’s beautiful, stunning. I nervously look into her eyes, as if to ask for permission before I touch.
She nods once, watching me curiously. I drag my middle finger across her navel, and up towards her black bra. I stop when I touch the rough lace beneath my fingertips. I bite the inside of my lip as I run my hand over the small bump of her breast. Again, I look up to her, wondering if it’s ok or not. She only smiles, raising an eyebrow. It’s like she’s waiting to see what I’ll do next.
Unlike the first time, with Kaitlyn, I don’t feel the raging uncontrollable passion that I’m sure was the lava and not myself. It’s not that I’m not enjoying this, it’s just… really different. A good different. There’s no heat, no danger. I feel excited and at the same time, in awe.
I finger the strap of her bra, sliding it gently off her shoulder. I do the same to the other side and lean closer as I reach out for her back. I hear a snap as she lifts her fingers and I jump as the clasp comes undone of its own accord. Her eyes smile with mischief.
“I’m too slow?” I ask, embarrassed.
“Not at all,” She giggles. “It amuses me to surprise you.”
I hold back a little laugh of my own, as I take in her delicate beauty. Leaning in, I place a hand on her shoulder and I kiss her lips. My hands slides down over her breast and I gently squeeze it, making my own heart race and my groins burn. She inhales deeply at my touch, encouraging me.
I suddenly feel overdressed against her. I shiver as I feel the fabric of my shirt lift on its own. I glance to the right, lips still locked and spot her hand twirling in the air beside us. That is strangely arousing.
I lift my arms to allow for it to come off and stand up, pulling her by the arms, gently to join me. I let my hands drop to her waist, fingering the band of her pants. She’s much shorter than me, the top of her head coming to my lips. I exhale slowly, fingers finding the button on her jeans and popping it undone. I slowly pull the edge over her hips, watching closely. I wonder if it’s really okay to be doing this… here, of all places.
Her hands caress my abs as she admires them, her eyes flirty as her tongue traces her upper lip. I feel my own lips curl in response and my mouth goes dry. I want her. “All the way?” I ask softly, barely a whisper.
Her gaze snaps up to meet me, “And then some.” Her lips twist unevenly, “You have so much to learn.”
I roll my lips, biting them together as her jeans slide to the floor. “Please teach me,” I beg softly, my breath uneven.
Her head tilts slightly, intrigued. “Take off your pants.”
I look down, unfastening my own jeans at her command. I pull them down and step out of them, kicking off my shoes and then my socks. I stand there, a little abashed, but also excited. Just looking at her, I feel hard. Her gaze wanders down and she bites her lip with a smile.
“You are quite lucky, aren’t you?” She teases, trailing her finger across my chest. “Some men would kill to look like you.”
I blush hard. “Really?” Such a dumb response. “I kind of never thought about it before…” I mumble.
“I know,” She whispers, pressing her chest against mine. “That’s why I’m telling you,” Her hands wander to my hips, lustful eyes staring into mine. “Show me how you would use it.”
I swallow hard, as if it were the first time… Well… it kind of is the first time… as me. I embrace her around the shoulders, pressing up against her. I rub my hips against hers, tilting her chin up so I can kiss her again. Stepping forward, guiding her back toward the couch, I lower her onto it and turn her sideways, kneeling on the cushion between her legs.
I run my hand along her leg, feeling her baby smooth skin. The scent of flowers smells stronger than before. I lean forward, hovering above her face as I gently press between her legs. Her grey eyes watch my face, the sweetness of earlier replaced with a hunger. She waits with a slight smile.
I can’t wait any longer either. I use my hand to help find her and slide in, easier than I expect to. She gasps in surprise as I exhale with the pleasure she brings me. Shivering from the sensation. I bring my hands to her hips, holding them gently as I slowly pull myself out and push in again.
Her head rolls back and she lets out a soft, melodic moan. One of her hands rests on mine, while the other reaches over her head to grip the arm of the couch. The pose arouses me further and I ever so slightly increase my pace. I lift my chin, relishing in the feelings she brings. I moan with her, in time with my hips.
A few moments later she shifts to look at me. “Faster now. Harder,” She commands. She pulls my hand away from her hip and places it over her breast. I do as she instructs, pushing harder, faster. I squeeze her breast, the tingling growing through my groins. She exhales with a grin. “Yes, that’s better. Keep going, faster as you reach your peak.”
I shudder within her as I do as she says. I’ve never felt like this before. I get faster and faster, unable to keep myself steady as I feel a climbing pressure. “I- I think I’m close,” I say hoarsely.
“As am I,” She laughs. “Now, let’s see what you can really do with all those beautiful muscles.” Her hand slips onto my ass, squeezing slightly. I clench at her touch, the pressure rising still. I moan, increasing the pace yet again as I fight for breath. I drop forward, hands on either side of her, pressing my lips to hers as I feel the climax arrive. She shudders beneath me. I’ve never imagined I could feel this way, and my chest heaves as I breathe through my nose, unable to bring myself to let her kiss go. She laughs slightly, arms wrapping around my neck.
I eventually sit up, sliding out from between her legs. “You’re a good student,” She winks, sitting up beside me.
My mouth hangs open at her strange compliment. “You’re a good teacher,” I correct, my heart still racing.
She hums, eyes tracing over me. “There’s still things I haven’t taught you, but we have time. You still need to learn meditation,” She points out, the original purpose of our meeting. “Have you thought of something that makes you happy yet?” Her eyes sparkle, head tilted to the side.
I roll my bottom lip between my teeth. “You,” I say with a small smile.
She smirks. “I can work with that.”
By Kayla West