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As the glass-built elevator began to rise from the front of the apartment building, weak illumination in the darkened sky marked the beginning of dawn. It had been a few hours since our departure from Lantau, and it was only for the best interests of the humans on the island, as Murrain would put it.

This safe-house was no longer a haven, not since its exposure in the last few weeks... but it was the closest to Lantau, and a place where we could at least rest for the night. Kaliska may disagree with the pit stop, but I needed more of a break than she. I just didn't have the energy she did to keep moving forward. Some of us actually needed to sleep.

The elevator opened, revealing one of three vacated floors within the entire apartment building. As I stepped out, I turned to the left only to find Kali. She'd been standing beside the button panel, leaning against the wall for God knows how long with a half-empty water bottle in her hand. The grim look on her face suggested she'd been eavesdropping on the remainder of the phone call with Ben, but she neither said or did anything to confirm my thoughts.

"Can we talk?" She asked in an unsettling tone.

"If it's about Ben-"

"It's not about," She trailed off, trying to find the right words before finally raising her free hand and gesturing for me to stop talking. "Look, whatever you both talked about, I don't have the interest nor patience to discuss him, so can we please just drop it?"

"Alright," I leaned against the wall, standing in front of her as her gaze began to wander. "What do you wish to discuss?"

"First," She began to open the wedding pendant around her neck, "I want you to take your medicine."

"You have it?" I asked curiously, holding out my hand for her.

"Of course," She smiled before dropping a tiny pill in the palm of my hand.

"Did I take it yesterday as well?" I tossed the pill into my mouth and swallowed.

"You took it as soon as we docked," She twisted open the cap and offered the water bottle. I shook my head briefly, not needing or wanting the water to wash the pill down with.

"Don't say no," She pressed in a firm voice. "You need to drink it, Ash."

"I'm still saying no."

"I'm not asking for your permission," Her eyes flashed red. "Drink the damn water."

Without arguing further, I snatched the water bottle into my hand and stared at her briefly. She glowed, quite proud of her success as she eagerly awaited for me to finish the water and call it a day, but her expression dropped the second I flipped the open water bottle upside down. Her eyes remained lit as she held back the growl that she wanted so desperately to emit.

"My bad," I gave her a wry smile.

"Wow," She laughed dryly and offered a tight-lip smile. "Thanks for that. I really appreciate how much you respect me."

"This has nothing to do with my respect for you, and I told you that didn't want any water." I carelessly tossed the empty bottle across the hall. "But I guess we don't always get what we want."

"Yeah, considering I ruined your chance to be with Ben." She whispered quietly, and I had immediately regretted my childish actions. "I bet you would've drank it if Ben handed it to you."

"You think Ben would've influenced my apathy towards water and food?" I watched as she rolled her shoulders.

"No, that's not what I meant." She frowned. "I just don't understand why we're fighting about this of all things, and I know you don't trust me to wear your wedding gift as long as there remains Eden inside of it."

"I don't understand what this is about," I said honestly. "Is this about Ben or not?"

"It's not about Ben," She insisted.

"Then what's wrong, rabbit?" I stared at the fidgeting creature. "You obviously aren't ok, so talk to me. Tell me what's wrong so we can talk about it."

She stayed silent, unsure of what to say. The idea of going through her thoughts had crossed my mind, but there was no way for me to make sense of anything going on in her head. She never stayed focused on one thing, and just attempting to make that sort of mental connection would be foolish.

"Remember the other day when I got lost in that old memory?" She asked thoughtfully. I nodded once as she continued, "You didn't want me to tell Xion about our relationship and even though I couldn't understand why you'd want to keep it from him, I told you that I was ok with it. I mean, how was I supposed to know that you were trying to protect us both? I just thought you might've loved him more than you loved me, but I didn't know that at the time."

"Why do you sound like you're about to tell me some terrible secret?" I hesitated, trying not to say anything more.

"You completely ignored her name on the way to Lantau," She said quietly. "I didn't consider the fact that you may not have been sitting on that boat with me, that maybe you weren't completely yourself when we talked about Mai-"

"Let's not discuss this," I shifted uncomfortably as I pleaded for her not to continue. I couldn't even begin to explain how much it hurt to hear Kali start to say her name.

"There it is," She said simply, reaching out her hand.

"What?" I asked as her thumb brushed against my cheek.

"I feel it in your heart when I say her name," Her voice softened. "It's not a pleasant feeling, is it?"

"You fucked her knowing that I could feel your betrayal and anger with the bond that binds us," I argued but I only feel my voice weakening with every word. "What you did, Kali- you did it out of spite!"

"There's no excuse to justify my actions," Kali said with no distinct emotion. She simply rolled her shoulders and admitted to her mistake, "I messed everything up between us and I've regretted it ever since."

"I don't understand what this is about," I fought to try and comprehend the point of all this. "Not only do you think I'm still in love with Ben, but you also believe I hate you for fucking her while you were still mated to me?" 

"I don't know," Her eyes narrowed as she stepped a bit closer. "Do you still hate me for what I did to you?"

"I was angry," I frowned. "Devastated and, maybe, even disappointed by how you handled the situation but I never hated you."

"You're lying to me," She cornered me against the wall with her arms preventing me from moving out of her proximity. "Why are you lying to me?"

"I'm not lying!" I argued, not wanting to hurt her feelings.

"It's easy to lie when you've done it under the protection of the amulet for all these years!" She countered with the truth, "You want to protect me and my feelings? Do me a favor and don't lie to my face, Ash. There's no amulet to hide your lies anymore."

"What do you want me to-?"

"Tell me how it made you feel when I slept with her," She growled. "You said it yourself, Ash, we haven't connected like this in a long time and we both know that the amulet was the sole cause of it so just tell me!"

"You want to know how I really feel about your bedding with such filth?" I effortlessly knocked both her arms away and let my emotions get the better of me. "I hate you for fucking that immoral, unkempt whore in our bed. What did you think was going to happen after she finished screaming your name? Did you seriously think you'd get to fuck her without shame and that I'd tell you everything was ok simply because we were together?"

"Well, yeah." She half-smiled with an arrogant tone.

"You're seriously going to make light of the situation, now of all times?" My eyes narrowed.

"Only because I'm kind of turned on right now," She said at an attempt to make me smile. "Honestly, I'm looking at you... and all I'm thinking about is how much I want to hear you cry out my name while I-"

"This is your idea of talking?" Aiming to provoke anger was a rather odd way to go.

"No," She shook her head and gave an earnest response, "but in all seriousness, I know my actions affected you in a way that the only solution you could think to do was to hate me, and I wish I could take that pain from your heart but my power doesn't extend that far."

"This is what you wanted to talk about?"

"I want to talk about a lot of things with you," She sympathized. "But I've found this to be among the easiest topics for discussion because I know that my affair with this woman doesn't compare to the pain of losing Kylan or Yennefer's amulet, or even what happened with Xion."

"So you're not jealous of Ben?"

"Tsk," She rolled her eyes and cracked a confident smile. "I got the girl we both fought over. Why should I be jealous of that moron?"

"That's what I'm still trying to figure out," My words dropped the confidence from her face completely, leaving her visibly conflicted as she looked off to the side with great discomfort. "Ever since the day Denarius put his grimy hands on you, there's been no clear way to see what you're thinking. I have no doubt that you hate Ben for leaving you to suffer at the fortress, but what worries me the most is that you're completely fine with visiting that detestable immortal he left you with."

"I don't want to talk about him with you." She said clearly and guiltily, bringing the discussion to a sudden close.

"Ok," I said simply. 

If she didn't want to discuss the nature or complexity of her relationship with Denarius, she didn't have to. We made this rule very clear since day one, and I respected her decision to not talk about the events of her time in the fortress.

"I know you want to understand why," She began to panic, looking to give me whatever it was that she thought I wanted to hear. "But I did some things that I'm not proud of and he was always-"

"Shh," I hushed her as her panic began to dissolve.

She struggled with her words, desperate to control her own emotions. "I just want you to understand why I-"

"I know and we've talked about this before," I sighed softly and wrapped my arms around her neck, pulling her close. She relaxed almost cautiously, afraid and uncertain of how to respond. "I want you to talk about it when you're ready, not out of fear that you'll lose me just because you're not ready."

"Ok," She muttered, planting a soft kiss on my nose.

"Ok," I closed my eyes only to feel her lips continuously peck at the side of my neck.

Submitted: February 05, 2016

© Copyright 2020 JaayAnon. All rights reserved.


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