There I was, standing in the marsh, breathing in the murky hot air. I had on my favorite PJ pants and a tank top. My long blond hair blew in the warm breeze, flying around my face in all directions. How have I come to be here? It was lovely, almost sunset, as the remaining rays danced off the murky water that covered large areas of the ground I stood on. Around me, swamp. The trees are tall, and covered with moss. I notice that I am standing in the mud, barefoot. This place has a strange moldy smell to it, and I could hear insects chirping and frogs croaking, I had been here before.
Glancing around, I see an almost beautiful landscape, made up of cloudy marsh water that reflected the darkening sky. The water was overgrown with moss, and the trees surrounding me seemed suffocated by the same fate. Green, everything is as green and shinning as the tiny fading rays of sun bounce around the air before finally settling into the distance. It had gotten colder instantly with the vanquishing light, and I was freezing. I was finally recovering from the shocking beauty of the strange place, and realized I was alone, in a strange place.
What is going on is all I could think to myself. Confused and cold I walked into the darkening darkness. After a couple of awkward muddy steps I tripped, over an exposed tree root. As my hands hit the cold water to brace myself, I realized I was afraid. A terrifying feeling swept over me as I stumbled to me feet frantically wiping the cold water from my palms. A branch cracks behind me, I hear something like footsteps, coming toward me. Frozen there, I can hear the words in my head, but I struggled to speak, is someone there? No reply, but the sound of movement is still there, behind me, in the dark.
I felt the fear more strongly now, I couldn’t turn my head in the direction of the noise, for fear of what I might see. The footsteps were heavy, and loud cracking the ground beneath them, I closed my eyes waiting. Waiting for what?
Would I run?
Could I run?
My legs started to shake as I tried to find the courage. My heart was beating hard enough for me to hear it, louder even than the steps that were drawing closer to me from behind. A pitiful whimper escapes my lips as I start to take a step forward. Then I heard the voice.
“Why are you afraid?”
The voice was friendly, and warm. Surprised, I turned my head quickly to confront my stalker. My eyes focused on two glowing dots in the near distance, blue like a summer sky, the light of the moon made them shine like blue gems, they reflected in the moonlight, as beautifully as they did in the sunlight.
Standing there, still half hidden in the darkness of the shadows and the trees, I made out a form, a man with crystal blue eyes, a familiar man. His eyes enchanted me as the moonlight shone wildly off of them. He smiled and I felt comforted, and safe. His smile swept away the fear I felt here tonight, in our strange meeting place. He is a tall man with wild, shaggy blond hair that glistened. He is very muscular, from what I could tell, and dark skinned. He wore a long sleeved cream colored shirt, under a dark velvet green vest, with silver stitching. The fibers in the stitching of the vest also reflected brightly in the moonlight. In comparison to me the man was huge in his stance, as I was a mere 5’5” in height. He had to be 6’2” at least. His features are flawless and dominant on his broad face. He has deeply set in eyes that glow even in this thick darkness where we stood. His nose is finely sculpted in proportion with his face, and his smile… He had an amazing smile. Pure white glistening teeth shone through his thick dark lips as he smiled at me.

“Why are you scared Val?” He repeated warmly, tilting his head slightly, still smiling. I shivered as I focused on the words, wrapping my arms around myself, as if it would warm me. He knew my name, and I felt afraid again, but not enough to try to run. This was the first time I had heard him speak, and I was caught off guard by his question. A gust of cool wind blew my long, strawberry hair across my face, blocking my view of the man. I quickly brushed the sticky wet strands away and looked up at him again. I shifted slightly backwards when I saw that he was much closer to me now than before. Close enough to see him more clearly in the moonlight. He was enormous and pleasant to look at, but still, I was uneasy.
“How do you know me, who are you?” I said to him, in a low whisper, as I stared up at him with curious eyes.
“You don’t have to be scared, it’s ok for now”, he replied through his luminous smile.
His voice wrapped around my name like velvet. The questions started overwhelming my thoughts as we stared for a long moment. He stood with his hands inside his front pockets, staring down at me. His eyes pierced mine, as if he could see my soul. His attractive smile locked me into place.
“Who are you?” I repeated, confused, and suddenly feeling very nervous as he seemed to look right through me.
His mouth slightly opened, ready to speak.
Before he could say another word he shot his head into the direction behind me. His face suddenly shifted to something unfamiliar, and violent. His lips curling up to reveal his teeth, blue glowing eyes squinted and focused. His hands flew out of his pockets into fists at his side, and a sound, a buzzing vibrating sound echoed from his chest loudly. His whole body was tense as he stared over my shoulder. I had started to turn my head in the direction he was glaring, until I felt his finger tips brush my cheek.
His skin was hot. I touched my face and it almost burned where he had barely grazed my skin. I was looking at him again, unfocused on whatever was behind me, concentrating on the low buzzing in his chest.
“You’re so warm. Who…..”
He reached out to me, still glaring and focused on the trees behind me. His movement halted my question and his hands met my shoulders. They were like blankets resting on my skin. He looked down at me and his face was instantly softer, eyes un-squinted and wide, and the buzzing sound faded into a low hum.
“Don’t fear me, or this place, I’m here to help you, and keep you safe through this. “
I felt my body melting under the tone of his smooth words, as he spoke he looked me in the eye, locking me into his grip. He had a powerful pull on me and I didn’t know why, or who he was.
A frightening growl filled my ears, the man’s glance was back at the trees behind me, his face twisted and violent again, I could feel his fingers tightening on my shoulders. I couldn’t look toward the deep growling I heard over my shoulder, he held me in place, and the humming from his chest had gotten strong again.
I could feel the air changing. The smell, the feel of it, coming from behind me like a wave. The smell was unpleasant, like garbage. The air itself stung on the backs of my arms like little pin pricks. His hand released my shoulder and he reached for my face, holding my chin in his hand. The burning it caused wasn’t unbearable or painful even. It was hot, by all means, but it didn’t hurt like I would think it should. His heat was comforting to me.

He said as he raised my chin to look me in my eyes, the growling still behind me. Looking into his eyes makes nothing else matter, like I’m under a spell, I’m not afraid, and the animalistic sound growing more intense behind me, is but a whisper in comparison to what his eyes scream to me. I’m completely calm.
He carefully, but quickly spun me into the direction of the vicious sounds, breaking me from my comfort zone inside his eyes, causing mine to snap shut with fear. With my back against his chest now and my eyes closed, I could still feel his hands on me, and his warmth on my back, and I could still her the growls, louder and closer to me now. The air, unpleasant smelling and cold, now stung against my face and I could feel my hair blowing against the man’s chest.
I felt him lean toward me, his lips next to my face. I could feel his breath on me, hot and pleasant, cancelling out the sour hot air coming at me now. My eyes still closed the growling still growing louder.
“Open your eyes,”
He whispered, his voice again like velvet warming my skin with his breath. In the moment it took him to speak, the growling was faint, like a blur in the background. As I struggle to open my eyes, the growling becomes more noted, as if I were coming out of a wonderful dream, into a nightmare. The dull growl in the background intensified into an un-ignorable screech. Fading from comforting, velvet heat, to cold vicious, vile smelling pin pricks on my face.
He let go of my shoulders the instant my eyes became fully open. And upon being fully open, I could see two dots in the trees, not far from me, shining bright, and yellow. I could see breath coming from where a mouth would be, if these were eyes. The warm breath made a misty fog in the cold air, steady and raspy. I could hear it breathing. I turned my head to hide in the man’s warm chest, but he was gone. I was alone, with whatever was in the trees, snarling at me, watching me with yellow eyes.
Realizing that I had no chest to hide in, I turned my face back toward the trees, toward the beast. I wasn’t scared, but anxious as the eyes followed me, hovering in the blackness, surrounded by the floating evaporating mist of its hot breath. As I stood frozen, waiting, the thought to run entered my mind again; however I was strangely drawn to the yellow glowing dots, as I was with the man’s bright blue glowing eyes. They attracted me, but in a different way.
An enormous black figure took a step toward me, avoiding any small ray of moonlight that would let me catch a glimpse. I couldn’t make out many details, just the yellow glow of the eyes, the mist of the breath and a white glisten shinning from long, sharp teeth, I guessed. It was huge and fear came over me again. Why he left me alone, I wondered as I watched the stalking creature, following me with its eyes. Why am I……?
It lunged toward me without warning, jumping high into the air, well above my head. It flew effortlessly, right for me.
The air began to swirl with a chalky blue color, an almost smoky texture, swirling around the beast as it flew toward me howling loudly. The blue smoke swirled in from all angles of my vision. I quickly threw my hands up over my eyes, as if to shield myself from the enormous figure flying toward me through the unnatural blue smoke and darkness.
Standing there, waiting to be killed, the howls from the creature start to fade, as if getting farther away, rather than closer. I feel the air starting to warm, as the howling turns to a distant moan, and I can smell sunlight in the air. The noises from the swampy place are gone, and I let my hands fall from my eyes. I was in my bed, lying down on my back with my eyes open. A poster of my favorite actor, Taylor Lautner, smiled down on me from the ceiling. I let out a loud sigh as I sat up rubbing my eyes frantically, trying to focus on my room. I could almost still see the blue chalky smoke recoiling and disappearing, evaporating into the air around me.
That was new, I thought to myself as I examined my room. Unnaturally tidy, as it always was.
I had dreamt about the young man before, almost as long as I can remember actually, always dressed the same, and always in the murky place that I had never actually been. It never had changed though, until now.
I twisted my fingers through my hair, still sitting there on the bed trying to imagine a reason why it had been so different in that place on this night… It’s never dark there, I thought to myself, still running my fingers through my hair. There is never anyone, or anything, there with us, and he had never spoken before this night. I had never been close enough to feel him breathe before. It usually went, him and I, alone in the marsh, in the sun. His blue eyes always on me from a distance and him always smiling, staring at me. That’s it, I wake up. Definitely a different story tonight.

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Chapter 1

Shaking off the remaining surprise, of the unexpected dream, I hopped out of bed. It was a school day, one of the last for me, as I was graduating this year. I’m 17, 18 in three weeks if you want to get technical. Just like every other day I walked into the bathroom to brush my teeth. I couldn’t escape the dream. I couldn’t shake it, so out of the ordinary, and scary. My body shivered as I remembered the cold, sour air on my face in the marsh. I’ve seen the marsh in my dreams off and on for as long as I can remember dreaming. I think it was my first dream in fact, because it’s the first thing I remember in my life.
My name is Vala Sahar Vinson, and everything I remember started when I was 6 years old. As a small child, I would play there in the marsh, with the flowers, in the sun. Only in my dreams, always laughing and smiling, always safe. As I got older, around 12 I think, I started seeing the young man. Always in the same clothes, he watched over me from a distance with his brilliant blue eyes. The dreams were never long, and he had never approached me. He never had before. I felt my body twitch as I remembered the other presence in the marsh that night. That had never happened either. I had never been afraid before, it was so unordinary. I must be watching too many scary movies, I thought to myself, and I never considered anything else. I spit a mouth full of toothpaste into the sink and continued brushing.
My eyes were dark emerald green today. Which meant it was cloudy. On sunny days they are lighter. I was disappointed because I didn’t mind the heat, or the sunshine.
My grandmother tells me that I have my mother’s eyes. I spit another mouthful of foam into the sink and turned on the water to wash it away. I couldn’t remember my mother, or my father.
I know that their names were Malica and Alaster Vinson. Married for one year before they decided to have me, and I ruined everything..
I rinsed out my toothbrush and headed for my closet, overstuffed with trendy, expensive clothes that my grandmother insisted on me having. All they did for me was make it hard to decide what to wear every day. I grabbed a pink, light weight sweater from the hanger. Still has the tags on it, imagine that. I took my favorite blue jeans off of their hanger and accidently brought the pair behind them down as well. They hit the floor in a clump and I was instantly annoyed with myself. I swept them up and replaced them. I’ve never been messy, or unorganized, not even as a young girl. I enjoy knowing where everything is. It drives me crazy when something is out of place.
I threw my clothes on and sat down at my mirror. I had a huge antique vanity in my room where I got ready for school every day. It was my mothers. My mother and father died within hours of each other. My mother, while giving birth to me. My father, in a car accident, while rushing to the hospital where she was. He was 23 and she was 22. They were very in love I am told, together since their sophomore year of high school. Always touching, and staring at each other. Apparently they never had a fight. Gran says they were written in the stars, meant to be together.
I picked up the picture of them that always say on the vanity. She was short, and had olive skin, her eyes green like mine. Her hair was dark though, not like mine. I am told I got the blond from my father’s side of the family, I will never know them. An exotic flu virus they encountered while traveling the world killed them all I am told. My dad had skipped the trip to be with my mother. He was a beautiful man. Much taller than mom, at least a foot, he had sandy blond hair that he kept a little long. His eyes were golden brown and his face was very handsome. He was very light in color compared to mom. At least I got her skin, I thought to myself.
I set the picture back onto the vanity and looked in the mirror. Examining myself, and comparing myself to my parents. I am exceptionally beautiful. I’m not conceited, but when you are told it your whole life you just know it. I’ve used my looks to get me things. My smile is very charming to men, and it’s hard for anyone to look away from my eyes once I have them there. Even women flock to me and tell me how beautiful I am. If they only knew that I envied the plain girl, sitting in the corner ignored by everyone. Would they leave me alone too?
I jumped as I heard the lawnmower kick on outside. I smiled, bet he’s been up two hours already doing lawn work, I thought. Jarrett, or Gramps, is with his lawn, as I am with my life, neat and organized. He spends every day in the herb garden, tending his plants, as if he couldn’t pay a gardener. Gran enjoys it as well. We have a huge green house on our property, and the both of them spend much of the day there. Did I mention we were incredibly wealthy as well? This did nothing for my attention problem. Not wanting attention.
I walked out of my room into the hall. Our house was, impressive to say the least, white walls, oak floors, and crystal lighting fixtures. This was my home. I turned the corner around the banister and headed downstairs. The stairs descended into the library where I studied for school and did my homework. Book shelves floor to ceiling. Some I had read, some I had never taken off the shelf.
Mostly my grandfathers old study books, and novels my Gran bought and never read. There’s a huge marble fire place on the north side of the wall in this room. The chimney runs up the house and attaches to the fire place in my room, a twin in design, the only two in the house. I had never seen a fire lit in either one, but they made beautiful center pieces for the rooms.
The house has 2 bedrooms, and two bathrooms upstairs. Downstairs there is the library, an overly excessive kitchen, dining room, formal dining room, a monstrous living room, and 2 more bathrooms. It’s very open and sunny. Windows on every wall, floor to ceiling. I’ve always lived here, with Marie and Jarrett, as long as I remember.
I could smell Maries cooking in the air as I entered the kitchen.
“I’m making scrambled eggs, I know it’s your favorite” She said cheerfully as she came into view.
“Sounds great!”
Marie was a small woman, with red hair, which was turning more silver in the past few months, she’s 63 this year. She had eyes almost like mom and I, but I didn’t notice the same color changing effects in Gram’s. Hers stayed evenly emerald all the time. She wore glasses that hung off her nose slightly as she watched the eggs blend around the whisk in her hand. “How’d you sleep dear?” She asked, still beating away at the eggs in the bowl.
“Not too good actually”, I replied, putting two pieces of bread into the toaster. She looked up at me with curious eyes.
“Really?” She asked, while slightly tilting her head to one side, she looked confused. I had always slept well, and very seldom had nightmares. She’s always telling her bridge club what a joy it was to raise me, easy she said. I slept through the night, every night, since I was born.
“Yeah, I had a horrible nightmare”, I said to her in a low voice. Remembering made my body tense, the yellow eyes flashed in my mind.
I jumped into the air as my bread flew out of the toaster.
“It kind of freaked me out obviously”,
I continued, smiling at Gran. She giggled playfully at me for jumping and continued cooking. I was rarely scared as well.
I ate breakfast with Gran, she would be in the greenhouse most of the day with Gramps, no surprise to me. I finished my food, and walked over to the sink to rinse my plate.
“Have a good day love”, Gran said to me with a smile.
I walked back to the table, grabbed my computer bag from the back of the chair and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“You too”
I walked out of the kitchen into the entranceway. I opened the heavy double doors at the front of the house, and walked outside into the cloudy day.
There was hardly any sun today, what a shame I thought. I followed the brick walk way through the yard along the side of the house, which lead to our garage, our three car with attached guest house, garage. The guest house overlooked the back yard, elegantly landscaped, thanks to Gramps. He favored palm trees, and Iris plants. We lived in an upscale suburb located in Miami Florida. The palms that Gramps loved so much grew perfectly here. They shaded the swimming pool, and the yard, tall with think full leaves that blew gracefully in the warm Florida breeze. I loved the sound of rustling leaves, blowing in the wind. It reminded me of the marsh; however the sights here in my back yard were very different from the ones I dreamt at night. I remembered the dark creature again, and shook the thought away before I could focus on it as I walked into the garage.
The best part about being wealthy is for sure my car. I had a 2009 Pontiac Solstice convertible, it was dark purple with all the trimmings. Chrome rims shined under the fluorescent garage lights. I had just gotten this car, early birthday present to myself I decided. I had always been able to get a nice car, just didn’t really care what I drove as long as it got me there. They were always nice, but never brand new, or something I particularly worried about. I always thought not having an elaborate expensive car was best for me in high school. The more money you have, the more people bother you. I wanted to tone down the popularity factor that I knew would possess me once I started public school. My Gran taught me at home until I was in junior high. I’m not a real people person; I have friends, if that’s what you call them. People who follow me around, wanting my attention, day in and day out in the halls of Sunny Side High School. It annoyed me really, how bad they wanted to talk to me, when all I wanted to do was blend into the crowd unnoticed.
I opened the door to the car, and noticed a smudge on the driver side window, my fingerprint I’m sure. Annoyed with myself again, I wiped it away. My laptop landed loudly in the leather passenger seat where I tossed it. I got into the car, it roared with power as I turned the key in the ignition. The sound makes me smile.
“Another day in paradise”, I said to myself in the rear view mirror.
I shifted into reverse and headed down the drive way.

I pulled into my usual parking stall at the school and raised my convertible top. Looked like rain today. I walked through the parking lot gracefully, and by myself. I could hear the other kids saying hello to me as I walked by. I wore a constant smile and repeatedly nodded as I walked through the crowded lot of chattering teen agers. I didn’t stop to talk to anyone as I walked. Just nodded and smiled in the directions of the voices. This had become natural to me, if I stopped to say hello to everyone that knew me, I would never make it to class. I would be forced to suffer through meaningless conversation all day. I didn’t like other teenagers, they confused me, messy and unorganized. Some of them were very unhygienic, especially the boys.
I noticed Shaun Riley standing across the lawn from me playing hacky sack with a small group of boys, freshman I guessed. Perfect example, I thought with a smile. They all wore oversized clothing which looked worn and dirty, accompanied by tilted baseball caps. Shaun was the tallest.
I made my way across the lawn toward the group, smiling, with a little flirt in my step. I always approached men this way, boys in this case, without even realizing it. In fact it was Shaun who actually noted the change in my step when approaching boys. He once told me that I had an instinct to be beautiful or something. Shaun was the only boy I talked to. We grew up next door to each other. You could say he’s my best friend. More like a brother.
He was a senior like me, and was born and raised here. He was cocky, and obnoxious. Traits I hated in most teenage boys, but made an exception for with Shaun, probably because we had lived next door to each other for 12 years.
“Look at you, king of the freshman”, I teased as I strutted toward him.
All four boys looked up at me with wide eyes as I spoke. The small toy fell from the air and hit the ground, un-kicked, making a soft bean bag noise. Three mouths hung open, and one smiled. The three boys stared for a long moment, mouths open, like boys normally do. Except Shaun, he didn’t treat me like I was anything special, and I liked that.
“See you guys later!” He said through his smile while walking toward me.
“Desperate for friends these days are we?” I said to him, still making fun.
“Hey!” He replied defensively, “one of them was a junior,
And besides, they could have worse role models then me.”
He said, half sarcastically.
I laughed at him while he struggled to get his back pack on. He was uncoordinated for a jock. He’s an even 6’ and has brown eyes and brunet hair that blows around in his face. I wonder how he can see sometimes.
“Shall we?” He asked looking down at me as he extended his arm for mine. As he always did.
“Let’s do this”, I replied looking up at him and hooking my arm onto his.
We walked toward first period arm and arm every day, sometimes skipped. I wasn’t silly often, but when I was Shaun was my partner, and usually the culprit. He would tease me all day when we passed in the halls. This annoyed me so much, but it was also fun, once in a while, to escape the endless rattle of noise and clouds in my head. I think people must have thought we were together, as neither of us ever got asked out. I didn’t mind, but often wondered if it bothered Shaun. It’s not surprising that people could think that, we are together a lot during school, and both of us are the popular loner type. Everyone knows us, but don’t try very hard to talk to us. Well, not me anyway, Shaun had a lot of friends, chatty teenage girls and smelly teenage boys. They didn’t talk to him when he was with me though. I think they all thought I was a intimidating, which is fine with me. People constantly asked him about me, he says he just changes the subject, which I totally appreciated.
I was a b****, and I wanted to be left alone. Is that really too much to ask? When I started here, people ran me down all the time trying to talk to me. Girls mostly, wanting to know how I kept my skin so lovely, and what kinds of make ups I used. “Do you wear contacts?”, and blah, blah, blah. If I were conceited, these conversations would have pleased and entertained me more. I truly get tired of being questioned by complete strangers, and would often totally ignore them as they tried unsuccessfully to attract my attention. My Gran and Gramp, along with Shaun, are the only people I have close to me. I want it to stay that way, at least until after high school.
I didn’t play sports, and I didn’t join any groups, however; that didn’t stop the constant invitations every year. I was a good student, graduating early in fact. Grams had apparently taught me very well, as learning was never a problem for me. I enjoyed it. I was among the top three students in my class and would be graduating with honors this weekend. Tomorrow would be the last day of my high school career, and it couldn’t come any quicker.
The bell rang as Mrs. Chantee wrapped up her lecture on the effects of a black President on our economy today, exceptionally boring. I quickly grabbed my books and headed for my locker. Shaun was there waiting, like every other day.
He was leaning on my locker, as I approached he looked up, raising one eye brow at me, “Do you mind if I come over for supper tonight?” He asked with a slight pout to his smile. “Mom and dad have been kind of at each other lately, and I just need a break.” He continued, looking a little more serious as the pout faded from his lips into a sigh.
I hadn’t ever seen much of Shaun’s parents. They both traveled a lot, leaving Shaun in the care of an elderly Hispanic woman named Calista. When I did visit, only one of them would ever be around at a time, and were almost always pre-occupied, usually on their cell phones, or the computer. They really never seemed to take much of an interest, as I never heard Shaun mention them in casual conversation.
“Sure” I replied looking into his serious brown eyes.
Shaun’s eyes were interesting as well. They had a slight undertone of blue to them, not often noticeable, kind of marbled.
“My dream, it was really strange last night, I wanted to tell you about it anyway. Do you want to ride with me or….”
“Why was your dream so strange?” He interrupted rudely, another annoying teenage trait.
“It was just….different.” I replied hesitantly, shivering as a feeling of terror, that I had tried not to remember all day, crept into my thoughts. Shaun was the only person I ever told about the dreams, I never even told Grams. I didn’t want her to think I was crazy.
“Different?” He asked with a confused look on his face, glancing away slightly as if pondering what I said. “Well then,” He put his arm around my shoulder, and smiled.
“Let’s go, l will ride with you, I love your car. Think I could drive?” He asked, glancing at me doubtfully.
“No way, it’s still too new to pass off the driver’s seat, sorry about your luck!” I said playfully dangling my keys in front of his hand as it hung over my shoulder. He swiped at them a couple of times before awkwardly shoving me off balance.
I turned the vehicle out onto the highway, as Shaun flipped through my CD case, mostly instrumental melodies and audio books. The music I had was very unlike the music other teenage girls liked. I enjoyed the blues, saxophones and pianos.
Shaun made horrid faces at each title as he flipped the pages, finally coming across an old hip hop CD that he had burnt for me in the 9th grade. I had never played it. He slid it into the CD player and turned the volume up. My ears literally screamed to be torn off of my head as the melody, or lack thereof, began to thump loudly from the back speakers.
I laughed as Shaun tried to rap along with the beat, not keeping up at all, making his words come out smashed together, slurred and off key. I wondered, as I drove, what I would do without Shaun sometimes, I hadn’t ever really thought about how much I cared for him before.
I wonder why I am doing it now, I thought to myself. That must be why I cared about him so much, he could make me laugh. A touch of humor was great for the serious, independent girl, when lost in her own head.
When we were younger, on the days I missed my mother the most, I don’t know what I would have done without his humor, and comforting smile. I don’t know how he can stand me. I’m so unlike him, and unsocial, but I was thankful he did.
I laughed again watching him bounce wildly in the passenger seat, making funny faces and hand gestures to the music. Trying to “get down”, as he called it, and failing horridly.
We arrived at the house and I pulled into the garage. Jarrett was there, scraping think green clumps of cut grass away from the blades on the lawnmower. He half looked up and waved with his free hand as Shaun and I got out of the vehicle.
“You know Mr. Rollin, I could really come over and do that for you if you would like.” Shaun offered as we approached my Grandfather who was still scraping the blade, his hands stained green by freshly cut grass trimmings.
Jarrett looked up with smiling eyes at the both of us and replied playfully, “If I let you do it, I would just have to come do it again.”
Jarrett, or Gramps, was a very tall man with thick dark hair that was cut short and he had chocolate eyes. His skin was dark and he had a nice looking, classic mustache, above his aging lips, he kept it well trimmed. I laughed at my Grandfathers comment.
“Must be liver and onion night on the home front?” Gramps asked as he looked up at us again.
“You got it sir! Mind if I stay? I love Marie’s mushroom ravioli!”
Shaun replied enthusiastically.
“Nope that’s fine. Tell Marie that I will be in shortly.” Gramps stood up to stretch. I walked over to him, tippy toeing to kiss him on the cheek. “How was your day?” he asked.
“One of my last, so it couldn’t have been better,” I replied seriously, reaching up to wipe my lip gloss from his face. “I will see you inside.”
The smell of vegetables steaming filled the house as we entered. Walking into the kitchen, Shaun behind me, I could hear Gran talking. She talked a lot when she cooked, and sang as well. She could cook anything. I had become a vegetarian at age 7, after trying to help Gran pluck a chicken. It wasn’t really the plucking that bothered me, but the way she twisted the head off so easily to kill it. I remember the blood squirting out of the neck. I don’t remember the rest of that day. Gran says I fainted and slept it away. Since then, I haven’t eaten anything that would bleed. When I see it, blood I mean, the texture, the color I get light headed and black out. Jarrett pokes fun at my weak stomach all the time. Gran smiled as Shaun and I walked to the table. She came up behind Shaun and kissed him on the cheek handing him a glass of milk. “Good to see you dear” she said to him and patted his shoulder. I could see Shaun’s skin turning pink as he smiled, “And it’s great to see you as well Marcie”, he was blushing. It was sort of cute.
After dinner, Shaun and I headed into the library. This was the room I was most comfortable in. The dark oak walls and green accents reminded me of the marsh. I had often sat in here and contemplated the meaning of my dreams. I’ve thought about the young man, trying to figure out a familiar face in my life that I could trace him back to. I’ve never seen him anywhere else, I’m certain.
“So, are you going to tell me about this dream then?” Shaun asked, as he sat on the large leather recliner in the corner of the room. The memory of pin pricks on my face re-entered my mind and I shifted awkwardly as I sat at my computer desk.
“Um….yeah.” I replied, slightly uneasy as I remembered the glowing yellow eyes, and the howls of my faceless attacker. How Shaun had not committed me to the crazy house after all these years of reoccurring swamp dreams, and mystery men in my head was beyond me. Maybe this will do it, I thought to myself, suddenly nervous to tell him about the new dark entity stalking around in my everglades.
“It’s just that….” I trailed off, trying to put my thoughts into words.
“The guy from my dreams, you know,” I continued, rolling my eyes, “figment of my imagination man?”
“Yeah, What about him?” He asked, curiously eyeing the way my body was tensing up.
“He talked to me last night” I said, while still staring down at the deep brown wooden floor panels that lined the room in circular patterns.
“Did he finally give you a clue then?” He said to me as he got up from the chair, examining me carefully.
“He just told me not to be afraid of him.”
I had at that moment decided not to tell Shaun about the beast in my head. He looked very worried about me.
“You’re just not yourself today Val, jumpy and uncoordinated, is there anything else?”
“I just feel like I’m losing my head sometimes.” A tear ran down my cheek. “I want to stop dreaming forever, but I never want to leave that place. It’s very frustrating.” I said through a forced smile. Trying to ease myself out of vulnerability, because vulnerable is not my style. I giggled awkwardly and wiped the tear away.
“I’m just so tired of wondering what’s wrong with me” I sighed and took a deep breath, closing my eyes to fight back the tears. Had Shaun ever seen me cry before? At that thought I realized, no one had ever seen me cry before, and I was instantly annoyed with myself.
“Hey,” he said, kneeling down to my eye level, “I don’t think there is anything wrong with you.”
He smiled at me, and brushed another fallen tear from my cheek with his finger. “I do think, however, that you should chill out about it a little. We’ve talked about it and it’s probably someone somewhere, in a place you barely remember. From your first 6 years.”
We had considered the possibility of my father being the man I saw in my dreams. As I got older, I disregarded his theory, as my father wouldn’t look at me, the way those eyes have looked at me. He was a younger man as well. I use the word man because he looks about my age, but has the presence and intensity of a mature being. He was the man of my dreams.
Shaun stared at me, waiting for a reply.
“As much as I wish I could just let it go at that, I can’t, he feels like my future, not my past.”
I finally replied, starring down again at the wooden, circular floor panels. The way they swirled reminded me of my most recent dream. The way the blue smoke crept in and out, swirling.
Shaking my head and blinking tightly once or twice, I took a deep breath.
“I’m sure it’s not that big of a deal Val, really, I’m worried about you.” Shaun said in a low, bothersome tone.
I could tell in his eyes he was starting to suspect something else, like maybe I was scared, not just confused.
“You’re not telling me something”, he said again softly.
I wasn’t going to mention the “animal”, as I had decided it was. It had to be a fluke. Just an infected memory of a scary movie I had seen, that’s it. He would never let it go if it only happened once, and I was freaking out so badly about it. I would wait to see what happened in dreams to be. As I was almost certain that there would be.
I stood from my chair, Shaun still kneeling, shifting his glace from me to the floor shaking his head. I stood silently.
“You know, I know you better than you think, and better than you want me to.” He said as he stood, slowly watching me as he came to his feet.
“Maybe so, but my ignorance is my bliss” I replied smiling.
He smirked at me with an, unusually, handsome smile. Handsome? I thought to myself surprised. Was I actually standing here thinking that Shaun was appealing to me? In any form other than friendship? Where did this come from, I thought again silently. It had to be the way he was comforting me tonight, and how nice and sweet he was be......
My thoughts were suddenly interrupted when I felt Shaun’s hand touching mine. I looked up at him surprised, as he was examining the skin on the back of my hand as he held it, still wearing the handsome smirk. He gently reached up with his other hand, and began tracing the lines on my skin with his fingertip. His right eye brow rose into an arch, and his smile became wider, still looking down at my hand.
I had never been touched that way. A thousand thoughts and feelings ran through my head as he lightly touched my skin. I watched his face as I stood there frozen, speechless. My body had a strange tingling feeling in it, and I couldn’t help but bite my lower lip. His hands were warm and soft on mine. I would have never thought, in a million years that Shaun, of all boys, would give me my first sensual feeling, but he did.
He caught me, looking at him, as his eyes locked into mine. I started to breath funny. He took a step toward me, and I felt air fill my lungs as I took a deep breath almost automatically, as if suffocating for a brief moment. Breathing most unnaturally now, I tried to take a step back, but I couldn’t. I felt glued to the floor. This wasn’t fear, it was curiosity. I wasn’t scared, I was anxious. How did this happen, I wondered, and then didn’t care.
He was now holding both of my hands, one in each of his. He shifted closer to me, slightly pulling me toward him, and our bodies met causing an even more intense tingle in my limbs.
Was he going to kiss me?, he stared into my eyes. Did I want Shaun to kiss me, did I know how to kiss? I asked myself. And if he’s going to do it he should just do it and sto….
Shaun Riley kissed me.
His lips met mine softly, interrupting my thoughts instantly with their warm touch. My body melted and I could feel my legs start to tremble slightly. He held my hands tightly as he tilted his head slightly to one side, our lips still pressing each other, I couldn’t help but close my eyes.
With a low, soft smacking sound, our lips separated, and he took a step back, still holding my hands. I’m not sure how long I stood there, with my eyes closed after he stepped away. I was a little dazzled I think.

I finally, my eyes opened and I was looking directly into Shaun’s.
I could move now, and did, taking a step back, and looking at him questionably. My hands fell from his as he released his grip and looked down at me.
“Well”, he said in an uncomfortable tone, reaching up to scratch the back of his head awkwardly. “Maybe I should leave now”
“Um, yeah, I will see you tomorrow at school” I replied, quickly shoving my hands into my pockets trying to act as if nothing had happened.
“Yeah”, he said, looking uneasy and tense. “Tomorrow, last day of hell”, he smiled childishly, and was blushing. I felt my face getting hot as well as I smiled back at him.
“See you tomorrow.” he said, and then turned around quickly, and stiffly walked out of the room.
I could tell he was embarrassed when he left. I walked over to the big chair he had sat on, and crumbled myself into it sighing loudly and twisting my hair around my fingers in thought.
I heard the front door close as Shaun left the house, and I smiled immaturely at the thought of him and blushed. I had let Shaun be my first kiss, however very unlikely to have happened, it was exceptional and interesting. I suppose it would have happened sometime, why not with my best friend. As the thought sank in, that I had kissed Shaun, I was absolutely annoyed with myself, but still couldn’t help blushing, and smiling.
Hey I like this! I love the plot and story line! Would you do me a favor and read my story in this group! Thanks! And I do really like this!
omg all i can say is that....THIS STORY ROCKS.....i wanna read more...more...
Hi Lauretta
I say once more I simply just love this story and i want to read more of it. I was thinking that are you ever thought that you write a novel of this story. Its really good. I have been thinking that i also would love to write thise storys which are floating in my mind, but its hard to get them out of my head. Im so inspired all of thise storys that i have read that maybe one day im finaly able to write those storys. Thank you for this wonderfull story and i hope that you write more of it. i keep reading it until i know how it ends. : D
oh, that was hot...hahah...and i liked it very much, i want more, im hooked to this story....more please ; D
Hi all. Chapters missing? I sign my contract this week, can't risk my Copyright until I know what I am allowed to leave online. Please keep following, I will post nws and updates when I find out more! Thanks everyone!

Lauretta Huffman
(Author Descent Into Eternity)
Copyright 2009




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