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Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  Young adult or teen  ➡  Romance  ➡  Paranormal

Blue Diamond

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Blue Diamond

 

One heart to give.

 

Two women to love.

 

Forced to choose between the two women he’s met whilst studying on a remote island, Andy makes the decision that feels ‘right’ to him, choosing the woman he knows he can’t live without, Rebecca. So that when Sapphire disappears in a flash of blinding blue light on a rain soaked evening, Andy spares little time and effort in searching for her, too busy trying to fulfil his hopes and dreams. Three years later, on his wedding day, he finds Sapphire’s parting gift to him and as his idyllic marriage turns to dust, he increasingly finds his thoughts returning to the mystery of Sapphire, for where could she have gone?

 

Blue Diamond is a 20000 word YA romantic short story, with a touch of the supernatural.

Copyright notice

Porter, M J

Blue Diamond: A YA Romantic Supernatural Short Story

Copyright ©2015, Porter, M.J, Smashwords edition

All characters and events in this publication, other than those clearly in the public domain, are fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the author, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent buyer.

 

Chapter One

He stood, his gazing switching between the two totally different, beautiful women before him. They were complete opposites; the one tall, blond, blue eyed and fabulously well toned; the other, petite, dark and green eyed with luxurious brown hair cascading down her small back. He had not known, and now realised that there was no way he should have known. They were so different, so unalike, how was he to know they were sisters?

When he looked at them individually he could feel his heart pounding with desire and exhilaration. He’d met them both within days of each other, and his love for both had grown quickly, although guiltily. How could he love two women in this way? He knew it was wrong, had forced himself to decide between them and must now face the consequences of his decision. He must find the ability to speak, to say what needed to be said. He didn’t want to lose them both.

Sapphire let out a small sigh and his attention shifted to her immediately. She was the tall, blond one; with the most piercing blue eyes he had ever seen. It was almost as if she’d been named for her eyes, or that her eyes had grown into her name.

She was wearing a long denim skirt that reached as low as her feet and yet somehow accentuated her shapely legs. She also wore a light and airy blouse in a blue to match her eyes, and again, whilst it should have made her appear un-shapely and unattractive, it had the opposite effect.

All that he took in in a mere moment for he was transfixed by her eyes and the deep sadness he saw there. He had said nothing and yet somehow she knew. She didn’t speak, didn’t utter a word of denial; simply walked away. Her head held high and her beautiful hips sashaying, as they always did, as she left him. He wanted to cry out, to call her back, to change his mind.

He didn’t.

He’d made the correct decision, no matter how much it hurt right now, and no matter that when he blinked he was haunted by the anguished look in her beautiful blue eyes and he knew that he couldn’t live without her sister; the petite brunette in front of him. She was looking at him with some confusion and he assumed that her sister had said nothing about the situation she’d so instinctively grasped on their less than fortuitous meeting together. He was overwhelmingly grateful to Sapphire, now there would be no awkward moments; no hesitations.

He reached out and took her small hand in both of his. Her face lit up with a blazing smile and he bent slightly to plant a warm, gentle kiss on her lips. In mere moments, it became passionate and they pulled away from each other only when they heard footsteps coming toward them along the dark and badly lit side-street.

He grinned at her, and she grinned back before stretching up on tiptop to kiss his nose and his eyelids gently and softly. Then with her face still faintly pink from their passionate, interrupted kiss, and the footsteps of the passing stranger dying away, she reclaimed his lips and they began where they’d left off. Yes, when he closed his eyes, he briefly saw Sapphire in his mind’s eyes, distracting him from his purpose. Soon, though, even her presence behind his eyelids faded away as he was consumed by the desire burning inside him, which was fuelled by her own ardour.

The intense feelings that overwhelmed him were exhilarating. Before, he’d always held back, always aware that it was wrong to be in love with two women at the same time. Now he let his emotions run wild; his hands entangled in her long curly hair; his lips tracing hers and then moving lower to kiss her neck; her collarbone and then back to her lips as she sought him out again.

He ran his hand over her tight body and felt her gasp as his hands brushed her breast as they attempted to more innocently find her waist. Instead he repeated the action and felt his desire rising as she touched his neck, his chest and finally circled his waist with her own hands. He needed to stop this before it became too intense; too difficult to stop; but he couldn’t. It was already too late. He needed her; all of her and he needed it now.

Bending down, he gently grabbed the top of her thighs and bought her up, close to his body. She was so light it was almost as if he lifted air. Only her reactions to his movements proved him wrong. She wrapped her legs around his waist tightly and he was consumed with an intense need to have her here and now, where they were, practically in the middle of the street, the very thing he’d been attempting to stop by picking her up so that he could carry her home without breaking contact. He wanted to get away from here. To be somewhere more romantic, less exposed and far more intimate.

He let out a groan of suppressed frustration and her mouth came away from his to let out a cheeky giggle. It worked. It broke the moment and he found himself more able to think clearly when their lips were apart. She nipped his nose with her teeth and wriggled in such a way in his arms that he knew she wanted to be put down. He obliged, his arms and legs shaking, not with the effort, but with his suppressed need.

Once he felt her hit the ground, she took his hand and began pulling him towards his temporary home. She obviously had the same wants as he did. He smiled in relief and his excitement flared as he followed her alluring walk down the street to the crossroads where they would turn left and soon arrive at his home. He idly wondered if his room was tidy, if he’d made the bed before he’d left in such a hurry, so short a space of time of ago, with his decision made after a day of agonising over it, and his resolve set. Only moments ago, and yet, so much had happened. He’d not expected it to end so well.

As they reached the crossroads he glanced left and saw a flash of blue, as the heavens opened amidst a crash of thunder and what he assumed was a spark of lightning. The rain lashed over them both and they ran doggedly though the rain to his front door. He had his key ready in his hand and they tumbled through the door in a wet, giggling embrace, both desperately trying to undress the other and both failing in their haste. He bent to kiss her nose but she moved and instead he kissed her shoulder. She then stretched to kiss his lips as he bent to reclaim her nose. They met, lips touching, halfway and all else was forgotten as they stumbled through the short hallway to the bedroom. He certainly gave no further thought to the flash of blue he’d seen.

 

He woke later, his arms around the woman he loved, feeling a tranquillity that had always been missing. She slept, on her side, facing him and he traced the contours of her face and then hesitantly her back and breast where they lay uncovered by his blankets.

Her skin was darker than his own and far less covered in freckles. He admired it as he compared it with his own and as she let out a soft groan in her sleep he felt his excitement rising again. Once she woke he would be able to reaffirm his desire for her or perhaps, he could wake her with it? After all, she was already ware of him as she moaned in response to his soft touched to her back, breast and stomach. The thought made him smile.

Then his eyes strayed from her beautiful face and he found himself glancing at the most beautiful and the largest sapphire he’d ever seen. It lay in the hollow between her breast and he wondered why he’d never noticed it before. It reminded him of something, something he’d seen recently.

And then he had it. As they’d walked passed the crossroads he’d seen a flash of the same colour. At the time he’d thought it was lightening. Now he wasn’t so sure. Immediately an image of Sapphire came to his mind and his thoughts of pleasure and passion died instantly. He knew without knowing how that it had been something to do with her and he felt fear, not of discovery, rather a fear for her. Something had happened to her and he needed to know what it was. Now.

He gently disengaged himself from the woman he’d vowed to spend the rest of his life with, knowing in that moment, and despite his worries for her sister, that when he returned he would ask her to marry him, and hope that she agreed. He didn’t care that they’d known each other for only a few months. He’d made his decision and he was happy with it – ecstatic with it!

Only a deeply profound fear was making him leave the warmth and joy of his bed with her now. He knew how much the sisters loved each other. They’d talked often of each other to him, before he’d known. He knew that tonight, out there, in the dark of the storm, the flash of blue lightening had not been blue lightening and that somehow, it concerned Sapphire.

Rebecca didn’t stir as he slipped into his discarded clothes and crept out the door. He hoped she’d sleep and would not wake to find him gone. It wouldn’t be an auspicious start to their new life together.

Outside the house the wind whipped and moaned. He’d never known anywhere so windy in his entire life. It was either windy or raining or both. It was very rare that the sun shone and the air was still, although those days were a glory to behold and enjoy and did, almost, make up for the terrible weather the rest of the time.

He slipped into his coat (which for some reason he’d not been wearing earlier when he’d been caught out in the rain with Rebecca, a sign of just how spontaneous his rush from the house had been) and opted for his sturdy green Wellingtons in place of his slowly puddling white Nike trainers of earlier. He also grabbed the torch from the side table. To live somewhere without outside lights was a little strange to get used to, but by now he had, and the torch lived permanently by the front door when not in use.

As he opened the door quietly, he switched the torch on and then had to grab the door to stop the force of the wind knocking the door into the wall. There was already a large dent in the wall from where it had happened so many times in the past, not only to him, but also to previous tenants of the student flat.

As he stepped out onto the front step he was assaulted with a freezing face full of cold, hard, fat raindrops. He pulled the hood of his jacket up and made sure the lapels of the jacket were up. He then slid his already freezing, rain-slicked hands into his pockets and hunched himself to face the onslaught of the weather. Why was he doing this, he thought to himself?

Pushing the thought aside he strode down the small front path with the cracked and uneven paving slabs. Water sprayed up from the floor with every step and he was pleased he’d put his Wellingtons on. If not, his feet would have been soaked, again, in mere moments.

The storm had turned the night black as pitch and he swung the torch in front of him as he was going. Even so, if he’d not known where he was and where he was right now, he would have struggled in the deep blackness of the night to know in which direction he should be walking. The rain was so intense it hit him in the face and practically drowned him. He closed his lips firmly against the rain in an effort to stop himself swallowing it. The rain fell so heavily he doubted if he would have been able to see anything if he’d been driving his car, even with the windscreen wipers on full.

He reached the end of the short, uneven path without misfortune and stepped out directly onto the road that ran in front of the house that contained his student flat. The water was gurgling noisily as it wound its way to the drain, down the side of the road. He stepped out further to walk in the middle of the road and realised just how much rain had fallen in such a short time. Even here, there was a good few inches of standing water.

 

His boots squished as he trudged through the water back towards the crossroads. He was glad now that he’d only recently replaced his old worn boots, otherwise he’d have wet toes for sure by now.

Once at the crossroads he stopped, briefly, to catch his breath. He’d hurried through the rain; desperate to check what he’d seen wasn’t true whilst being equally desperate to get back to his warm bed and even warmer Rebecca. Now he felt out of breath and not a little confused by his actions.

Looking left he expected to the flash of blue lightening again, in the same place he’d seen it before, but he didn’t. However he thought he saw an indistinct blue glow, further away, neat the car park for the tourists who visited the island. He couldn’t be sure. The rain was streaming into his eyes, stinging them. He wanted to turn back; to dismiss it as a fragment of his imagination as he looked back, longingly towards the road that would lead him home and then he strode out, in the opposite direction towards the light he thought he’d seen, trusting his half observed instinct.

The road was wider here and the surface water shallower. Even so he squelched as he walked, his Wellingtons making that plastic on water noise as he strode onwards. The rain tore into his face and he could feel it dripping from his nose and almost into his mouth. The few drops that landed in his mouth tasted good, almost sweet. He slammed his mouth shut again. He didn’t want there to be anything enjoyable about this hellish journey in the driving rain.

The car park came into rain-smeared view and he briefly turned the torch off. He scanned the rows in front of him. It was deserted, no cars. Then he saw it, a faint blue glow in the far right hand corner, as far away as possible from any of the residential houses lining the road. Leaving the torch off and attempting to walk quietly, he strode off in the direction of the faint glow. He didn’t take his eyes from the blue light, fearing it would disappear before he reached it.

Luckily it didn’t and he reached it in only a few moments to find Sapphire standing, back-lit by the faint blue glow. There was no other word for it; she was drenched from head to toe. So much water poured from her that it was almost as if she’d become a living conduit for the rain, easing its path to the ground so that it didn’t disintegrate on impact, the drops of rain so huge that those not benefiting from her intervention landed with an audible plop. Her long blonde hair was plastered to her face, her neck, her shoulders and her clothes simply stuck to her, revealing her beautiful curves in all their glory. He inhaled sharply. She was a beautiful woman.

It took him a mere moment to notice all this and then glance at her eyes. They were masked in shadow and he couldn’t see their dazzling blue shine. That didn’t stop him from seeing the sadness they held. It was so vast that he felt he could have drowned in them. He opened his mouth to speak. She immediately stepped forward and placed a wet, frozen finger on his lips. Her own smiled a sweet, sad smile that matched her eyes. The smile seemed older than her; somehow, it contained too much pain to have been from her short life. It made him wonder and his heart constricted.

No matter how much he knew he’d made the right decision, seeing her like this, so distressed, tore at him and made him want to crush her in his arms and kiss away the pain. He made a move towards her, his instincts replacing his carefully worked out reasoning of the afternoon. She stepped back, taking her finger with her. Where it had been on his lips, his skin burnt, not from the heat of passion, rather from the cold of her frozen touch. He was sure he could feel blisters forming in the wake of her finger. It was an unpleasant feeling, mingling with the constant drip of the rain.

He looked at her quizzically, unsure now of her intentions towards him and how he should react.

 

She raised her hand, one finger extended again, as if she’d place it back on his lips. She didn’t. He realised she was thinking, and stayed silent, waiting for her to speak.

The rain covered them in a downpour that was starting to leak down his back. He felt cold and suppressed a shiver. He would wait no matter the discomfort and he would try to control his slowly growing anger at her bizarre behaviour. She’d clearly been waiting for him ever since he’d seen the flash. She’d been stood here, shivering and partially drowned in the storm whilst he’d shared his warm bed with her willing and delicious sister. He would wait. He owed her that much. Maybe it would appease his guilt at his actions if he stood here and suffered a little.

Minutes went by and still she stayed silent. She seemed to be struggling to know what to say. On a few occasions she sucked in a breath and defiantly met his eyes. Every time she did, she quickly looked away and let the same breath out slowly. He wondered what she was finding so hard to say. Earlier she’d seemed to accept his decision, to be happy to walk away. Now he wasn’t so sure. He hoped she wasn’t about to make this even more difficult than it already was.

When she finally spoke he was unprepared and had to cast his mind quickly back to the here and now. He’d been daydreaming about her long, sinewy body in his bed, and he visibly shook himself to clear the image from his mind.

“Sorry, I didn’t catch that”, he finally had to admit as he knew there’d been a sound, had seen her lips move even though he’d been paying no attention to what she’d actually said. Her sad smile remained on her face, though it dropped a little and he knew that he’d again hurt her feelings without meaning to. Man, he was bad at this. His ran his frozen hands through his drenched hair and concentrated on what she was saying to him.

Her voice was soft, barely audible above the loud raindrops drumming on his hood and onto the gravel floor.

“I said I’m glad you’ve made the right choice”.

The words were gentle, no irony, and no recriminations. They didn’t match the look in her now hooded eyes or her bedraggled, soaked, and trembling appearance. She smiled at him. It was a beautiful, heart-wrenching smile. A smile that said, I understand, I love you and goodbye without her even opening her mouth to speak again. He felt his heart stutter and then restart again. What had he done?

She dropped her hand to her side and momentarily the blue glow around her dimmed. He wondered about that. Wanted to ask but thought better of it.

She put her hand in her pocket and withdrew something large, a rock or something. It seemed to now glow the same dull blue and it momentarily caused sparks to appear before his eyes, undoing all the work he’d done in adjusting his eyes to the black conditions around him. With his eyes temporarily unable to focus correctly, he felt her cold hand on his and a slight weight being placed in his right hand. Instinctively his hold on whatever it was tightened. He didn’t want to drop whatever it was. It was surely important to her and he’d already hurt her unintentionally enough tonight. Whatever it was froze his chill hand further, and the sharp edges dug painfully into his skin when he closed his hand around it.

She stepped closer, the cold emanating from her rain soaked body, brushing briefly against him as her cold lips whispered in his ear,

“Something to remember me by, I love you”, and then there was a blinding blue flash and when his eyes finally cleared from the after burn, she was gone, and he was left holding a faintly blue glowing rock. He opened his hand in wonder. It was heavy and it glowed the steady blue that had so recently illuminated her.

 

He looked up from his hand and then whirled quickly around. Where was Sapphire? He’d not heard her move, but she was gone. In his hand, the rock glowed brighter and then fainter, almost as if it had a heartbeat. He looked round in confusion and then spoke her name quietly. There was no response.

In the brief moment since the flash of light, the rain had finally stopped and the night felt strangely quiet and subdued after the noise of the battering storm. He realised he was beginning to feel angry in an effort to cover his confusion. He shouted her name and it bounced back from the sleeping buildings around him. In his hand the rock continued to glow and then dim. He didn’t understand any of this. What trick was she playing on him? Where on Earth had she gone?

With a cry of anger he flung the stone away from him into the hedges and brambles delineating the car park and marched home, water pooling all around him even though the downpour had ceased. There was a deep silence apart from the gurgling of the drains.

Where had she gone, and more, why did he care? He had Rebecca. He had what he wanted. In the still of the night he heard a cry that sent an involuntary shiver down his spine. It was primordial. He turned his torch back on and decided right there to forget everything that had happened since he’d left his warm bed and even warmer lover. He would have to notch what had just happened up to experience and forget the whole thing. Perhaps, after all, her acceptance of what he’d decided had not been as complete as he’d thought.

 

 

 

Chapter Two

The day was warm, still and quite frankly, perfect. There’d been no guarantee at all that the weather would be favourable for them. In fact going on past experiences, the odds had been heavily stacked against them.

As he opened the curtains in his hotel room, a broad smile lit his face. It was going to be a truly perfect day for his wedding. The sun was already high in the sky and there wasn’t a cloud in sight.

His heart skipped a beat. It’d been three years since he’d proposed and she’d jokingly accepted, not believing for a moment that he’s actually meant it. After all, they’d not really known each other long. A year later, he’d proposed again and in all seriousness, Rebecca had accepted that time, in all seriousness herself; and then the planning had begun. He couldn’t quite fathom out why it had taken so much planning and why so much time had elapsed. He’d thought that it would just involve a simple ceremony, some family and some friends. He’d been completely wrong.

Between his mother and her mother and Rebecca herself the wedding had become huge and the cost, ridiculous. He had gone along with it. He wanted Rebecca to be happy and for their wedding to make the ‘right’ impression on everyone. They were the first to marry amongst their friends and he knew that Rebecca wanted to set a high standard for them to follow, though God forbid, they ever managed to exceed it.

He’d have been much happier with more intimacy and less showing off. She wouldn’t have been. What the hell? As long as they both got what they wanted from today it really didn’t matter what cost her happiness. He wanted to make her happy. He’d worked hour upon hour in overtime to afford the honeymoon she wanted and he knew it would be worth every penny when he finally had her to himself again, and for three long weeks. It would be the same as when they’d first declared their love to each other. There would be long, lazy days in bed and hopefully equally long, lazy nights in bed.

Since they’d first met they’d not lived together on their own. To start with they’d been separated; she’d returned to her university course and he’d needed to finish his semester of research on the island. Then they’d both found jobs, but in different cities. The difficulty in getting a job had meant that neither of them could afford to turn down what they’d been offered. Pity they’d been at opposite ends of the country. Sometimes he’d thought he was having a relationship with his phone and his computer and not with Rebecca at all.

All that would change now. They were getting married and they were, finally, going to live together. He was relocating to London to be with her. They hadn’t bought a house, were renting a flat to start with. He hoped that soon he’d be able to persuade her to follow his dream of peace and quiet in the countryside and not a hectic city life. As of yet, she wasn’t particularly keen. He felt a small ray of hope as she’d chosen the island as the place for their wedding; the place they’d first met. He hoped it was the start of a change in her outlook on what was important and what wasn’t.

The hotel room gave him a view of the castle on its promontory and knowing it was too early to dress in his wedding suit, he shrugged into his black jeans, blue shirt and found his trainers. He felt the urge for some fresh air and a brisk walk before his breakfast.

At the last minute he grabbed his jacket and then gently opened and closed the hotel room. He didn’t want to wake any of the other guests. They might decide to join him and right now he wanted some time alone, before the chaos of the wedding took over everything.

 

He was glad he’d grabbed his jacket as he opened the hotel front door. It was still early enough outside for there to be a chill in the air, as there often was even in the summer. He knew it would warm up nicely later.

As he stepped outside he was greeted with the smell of the sea and a view, albeit sideways, of the priory on the island. He took a moment to absorb the beauty of the surviving arches of the ancient building before starting out towards the less ancient, but no less striking, castle he’d seen from his hotel window.

The way took him past his old student flat and he smiled to himself with remembered memories of his first few weeks with Rebecca. A goofy smile lit his face and he decided he’d let it shine and not contain it, as he normally would have. He didn’t like to let his infatuation with his soon to be wife show too often. Somehow, it never seemed the appropriate time for Rebecca’s liking. Hopefully after today, she’d no longer be embarrassed by the strength of his feelings for her.

Then from nowhere an image of Sapphire appeared in his mind and he couldn’t shake the images of her standing in front of him, soaking wet, in the torrential downpour, as he’d last seen her. He’d not thought of her for nearly three years and wondered why today of all days she’d reappeared in his thoughts.

He’d not seen her since that night, and neither, bizarrely, had Rebecca ever mentioned her, although he knew they were sisters. To begin with he’d wanted to ask, to find out if she was all right and where she’d gone but Rebecca never spoke of her and she was certainly not on the wedding list otherwise he was sure he’d have noticed her name and thought about her before today.

Inadvertently he felt his feet change direction, and at the crossroads, instead of turning right to carry on to the castle, he walked straight over, towards the car park where he’d last seen her on that fateful night. He couldn’t reason with himself as to why he was going there. He’d walked, and driven past the spot no end of times whilst he still lived on the island and on the many trips he and Rebecca had since made to the island, on wedding planning journeys. He’d never yet revisited the spot where she’d appeared to him, surrounded by a blue hazy light.

He remembered the light well. It had guided him to her on that night. He wondered about that now, and then he remembered the stone she’d given him. It had glowed with the same bluish light. What had he done with the stone? He racked his brains, remembering only that he’d not returned to his flat with it, and that he’d disregarded it somewhere on the way home. He felt bad about that now. Knowing how fragile the human heart could be from his own experiences with Rebecca, he hoped that Sapphire had never known that he’d callously tossed away her gift to him. It would have broken her heart. He realised now that he’d been cruel that night. He’d followed her and gone looking for her, and then he’d rebuffed her again, and returned to the arms of the woman he loved.

As he walked towards the car park, in the middle of the two-lane road, his thoughts jumped from one memory to another, between Rebecca and Sapphire and suddenly he was back on the beach on that fateful day when he’d first met Rebecca.

It hadn’t been a day made glorious by the sunshine. Instead it had been a more typical summer’s day, grey and hazy to start with, and then with a sea fret that had failed to dispel even though the sun warmed the air around it. The sun that morning had appeared as a dim shadow of itself, never clearly seen, but always there. There had been no wind and he supposed that was why the fret had remained.

Just like now, he’d been out for a walk, meandering along the paved roadway to the castle, through the castle gates and then skirting around the castle itself to find himself on the small sandy beach running around the entire island. It was a high tide day and there’d been few visitors as none had bothered to wake up early enough to beat the tide as it rushed in and covered the access causeway. He’d loved the quiet days and that was why he’d found himself meandering along, without a care in the world, pleased that no tourists or modern day pilgrims would disturb his thoughts.

Besides the beach there were a series of rocks of all shapes and sizes and he’d chosen one, not yet encumbered with sheep dung, and there he’d sat content to listen to the high waves lap gently in and out, and to feel the warmth from the hazy sun on his upturned face.

After only a few moments, he’d realised he’d not been alone, and suppressing a sigh of irritation, he’d looked around to find a young woman, a little further down the beach, doing the same as him, enjoying the quiet and soaking up the heat from the still shrouded sun. He’d wanted to be annoyed that his peace was disturbed but found he was unable to be, and that instead, she’d transfixed him.

The distance between them had prevented him from seeing her features, but they’d been something striking about her stance that had instantly stirred his desire and he’d spent long minutes debating over whether he should approach her or leave her to her solitude. He’d never been overly successful with the opposite sex, never expending much time or energy on trying to find ‘Mrs Right’. Whilst his friends and fellow students had spent every night out trying to pull anyone in a skirt, he’d been more content to have a good chatter with someone, maybe a kiss or too, or something a little more serious, but never with the intention of falling in love or spending the rest of his life with someone.

He didn’t doubt his abilities to attract the opposite sex. He knew he was a good-looking man. Rather, he wondered if he should approach someone based entirely on the outline of her figure, indistinct under the sea fret.

Luckily, the decision was taken out of his hands, as she stood up and began walking back toward the path behind where he sat. He’d thought she was going to walk straight passed him, with maybe just a nod of hello, but instead, she’d drawn level with him and he’d clearly seen her features; her deep green eyes and luxurious auburn hair cascading down her back. There had been an amused twinkle in her eyes as she’d stopped just before him,

“Trying to enjoy the quiet, were you? Sorry if I disturbed you.” Her voice had been light and airy, containing the humour in her eyes.

“No, no. Not at all,” he’d stumbled, his voice rough with lack of use so early in the morning. She’d laughed at his obvious lie, the sound strangely muted in the advancing sea fret.

“There’s really no need to spare my feelings. I was just as cross with you when I saw you walking onto the beach. But now … well maybe … we might have some fun together. I’m going to walk around the island. Do you want to join me?”

Without even thinking, he’d stood, more steady on his feet than his voice, which again had croaked,

“I’d love to.”

She’d held her hand out to him as he’d walked closer to her,

“I’m Rebecca. It’s good to meet you.”

“Andy,” he’d managed to utter, without his voice breaking. He’d taken her hand, its slightness apparent in his normal sized hand, and she’d squeezed it gently.

“Well, it’s good to meet you. Now come. Tell me what you’re doing on this god-forsaken island in the middle of nowhere, and I’ll tell you my own tale of woe.”

She’d slipped her slim hand through his arm where his left hand had been jammed in its pocket, and had begun walking around the island in a counter-clockwise motion. That day had been a whirl of delight as he’d talked and listened more than at any time in his life. He’d arranged to meet her the next night and had walked home with a huge grin on his face, happier than he’d been in a long time, but then, on the way home, he’d met Sapphire.

Only moments had passed since he’d left Rebecca with a chaste kiss on her cheek at the bed and breakfast’s door, when he’d physically bumped into Sapphire. He’d been so caught up in his joy and excitement at meeting someone new on his tiny island, that he’d been paying no attention at all to where he’d been walking.

Sapphire had been unloading heavy looking bags from the boot of her car on to the pavement of the main street. Not only had he failed to see Sapphire, he’d failed to notice the car or the large assortment of bulky bags and had barrelled into them at full speed, sending Sapphire and himself into a free fall that had only been cushioned by the large selection of black bags lining the floor. He’d attempted to grab her, as they went down in an untidy heap, and had succeeded in such a way that she’d landed on top of him and not vice versa.

She’d screamed as she’d fallen, but had pushed the long blond hair away from her face with a giggle as she’d looked around in confusion at what had happened.

She’d struggled to pull herself clear from him, and he’d attempted to help her stand without touching any part of her body that would have been deemed as inappropriate.

Finally, she’d righted herself and still giggling, had offered him her hand and pulled him upright.

“Well, I guess that’s what they mean when they say, ‘bowled off your feet’.”

Her voice had been as light and airy as the summer day, and her eyes as shockingly blue as the clear sky that now dominated the warming day.

Long moments had passed as he’d stood there stupidly, looking at her stunning face and cursing his luck for meeting not one, but two beautiful women on the same day. He’d felt an instant attraction to the blond beauty and belatedly stuck his hand out to introduce himself.

She’d eyed his hand with a slight raise of her eyebrows, and spoken,

“I think it might be a little late for that.”

He’d flushed at her words, before noticing the amused twinkle in her eyes. She’d been teasing him, and he’d been so flustered he’d not even noticed.

“Sapphire,” was the next word out of her mouth.

“Andy,” he’d managed to squeak before lapsing back into silence.

“Come on, you walked in to me, the least you can do is offer some sort of apology.”

“Sorry, sorry. Haven’t I said that yet?” he’d managed, only to have her laugh gently again.

“Um, no, I don’t think you did. Not that it matters. It would just have been nice to hear the words without the prompt.”

“Oh God, sorry. Yes, of course. I should have apologised straight away.”

“Didn’t you see me?” she’d queried, one shoulder shrugging with the question.

“Clearly not,” he’d muttered darkly.

“Not to worry. No harm done.” She’d turned away and scooped up some of the black bags from the floor.

“Here, let me at least help you with those.”

“They’re not heavy you know, just big.”

“It’s the least I can do. Now, where do they need to be?” Again, there had been an eloquent shrug and she’d begun walking away, back towards the door where he’d just left Rebecca.

“Follow me, and thanks.”

 

He’d not realised just how many of the black sacks she’d managed to fit into her tiny blue Micra, but by the time he’d made five trips to and from the Bed and Breakfast he felt sure that he’d more than made up for knocking her over.

It’d transpired that inside all the bags had been the bedding and towels needed to keep the Bed and Breakfast a firm holder of its three star rating. Once they’d unloaded and were back on the street again, he’d found himself asking her to meet him that night for a drink and she’d readily agreed. He’d walked away feeling only a little guilty that he’d managed to line himself up two dates with two different woman. But that had only been the start of his problems.

He smiled ruefully as he walked along the road remembering his few weeks of having two women falling over themselves to be with him. He’d had fun, and his intentions had been purely honourable. He hadn’t for a moment thought that he’d fall in love with both of them, and that those feelings would be reciprocated. Likewise the revelation that he was actually seeing two sisters, as different from each other as chalk and cheese, had never crossed his mind. His panic when he’d realised the enormity of what he’d done had almost made him give up both women. Luckily, sanity had prevailed, and he’d broken one heart, and kept his own whole.

The thought stilled him. Could he really think so callously about breaking someone’s heart? And if he could, then why was he now walking the path towards the spot where his last, fateful meeting with Sapphire had taken place?

He’d barely thought of her at all in the last three years, and this was hardly the first time he’d returned to the island. He wondered what guided his steps now?

He kicked disconsolately at a stone on the road, as he pondered why he was so wrapped up in the past on what should have been the happiest day of his life? The stone ricocheted out of the almost tame overgrowth and hit his foot painfully. He looked up abruptly. Why had that happened?

Trying to remember exactly where he’d kicked the stone, he strode into the undergrowth that boarded the road, using his foot to clear away the knee high weeds and grasses. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for. And then he found it. Buried amongst the tall straw like weeds, he saw what he’d left that night and he realised what had compelled him to walk this path again. The gem she’d given to him, it was here, and had been here all along waiting for him to find it.

He bent down and retrieved the hand-sized sapphire from the nest it had made for itself in the tangled undergrowth by the side of the still quiet road. Not a single car had passed him as he’d walked. No dog walkers, cyclists or lone hikers either. He was still completely alone in the early morning sun with nothing but the sound of the gentle breeze to mar the serenity of the day, and yet his heart beat loudly in his ears, and his blood rushed almost painfully loudly round his head.

The stone was heavy in his hand. It’s deep blue surface barely penetrable in the early morning light. He turned it from side to side, examining its multi-faceted edges, admiring the uniformity of its dull colour, whilst his cluttered thoughts resounded almost as loudly as his heart beat in his body. What was this? What was it’s significance, because surely, she would not have given him something so priceless and then seemingly disappeared, unless it actually meant something to her, or was supposed to have some meaning for him?

It was too large to make a necklace from. In fact, it was too heavy to do anything with other than have it as an ornament in the house, so why give it to him?

Absent minded, and still fighting the panic that had shot through his body at the poignant reminder of the night he’d broken her heart, he began to walk back towards his hotel room. It might still be quiet, but he knew that time was moving on and that soon he’d need to be dressed and ready and standing at the front of the huge crowd of family and friends Rebecca had seen fit to invite. He smiled sardonically at the thought of all the fuss this one event had created, and in his hand, the stone he held seemed to pulse.

He glanced to where his hand fisted over the gem in consternation. Surely it could not have stirred in his hand? Convinced his excitement, and trepidation for the events ahead had him imagining things, he walked confidently back towards his future, as the road he trampled slowly woke up with florists vans and the arrival of the first of his guests. He smiled at people he knew, and stared at people he didn’t, wondering if they were his own relatives that he’d not seen since he was a small child, or whether they were Rebecca’s. He was sure that by the end of the day he’d be exhausted with being polite to people he little knew, but at least, at the end of it, he’d have Rebecca all to himself.

The stone throbbed slowly in his hand, but he was immune to its lure, simply dumping it on the side of the dresser when he returned to the hotel room. Whatever it signified, he would deal with it another day.

 

 

As he’d expected, the day passed in a blur of speed. He remembered his vows, his bride was beautiful, the outdoor venue was astounding and the weather was glorious. Rebecca cried prettily when she placed his white gold wedding band on his finger, and he gave her a lopsided smile as he fought to hold back his own emotions as he reciprocated. Yet, at the end of the day, he could not remember what he’d said, or what order the service had followed, simply content to kiss his bride at the end of it all and know that she was his, forever.

He barely noticed that her elusive sister, who’d not been spoken about for three years but was an entity that hovered on the periphery of his consciousness, was noticeable by her absence. He’d not seen her in over three years, and although he’d discovered her parting gift to him only this morning, he didn’t consider it, so swept up in the seemingly unending round of events Rebecca had planned for the day.

The ceremony itself was almost a mar on the day, taking people away from the bar and the disco and the beach and the party games, ostensibly put out for the children to play with, but more often than not festooned with slightly too tipsy adults trying their hand at the oversize Jenga, jumping on the, luckily, adult size, princess castle themed bouncy castle and racing up and down the street on tiny space hoppers. It was a wonder that no legs or arms had been broken, although he was sure that come tomorrow, there would be many aches and bruises.

Even in her wedding dress, Rebecca had gleefully bounced up and down the street, her white stockings and garter in full view of all who chose to look, and her strapless wedding dress, decorated with lace and beading all down the back, slit to an almost indecent height at the side, barely containing her full breasts. He imagined that many of the pictures taken of her would need censoring, either by her, or by her slightly flustered mother. He hoped none of them made it onto Facebook or Instagram, or he’d never hear the end of it. He’d have to make sure the pictures he’d taken of her were stored away where she wouldn’t find them.

The wedding cake had been a towering inferno of delicately wrought pink roses, snaking all over the five layers of painstakingly made fruit cake, which his own mother had spent almost the entire last three years making, after she’d discovered just how much a wedding cake cost. She’d attended evening classes to learn how to make the roses, how to ice the cake, and how to make the tiny figurines that represented him and his bride.

They’d cut the cake gracefully, Rebecca far more on the way to being slightly too drunk than he was, and then they’d had their first dance to a song Rebecca had announced was ‘their’ song, although he could think of no single occasion that they’d ever listened to it before in any sort of remotely romantic situation. Perhaps, she’d decided this would be their romantic song of choice in the future. He must find out what it was.

Now, he sat in the quiet of their honeymoon suit in a local hotel he’d never stayed in before, admiring the beams on the ceiling and the antique four poster bed, and wondering if it would survive the activity he was planning next, whilst Rebecca sat texting her mother and her friends to garner fed back on her wedding, and to make sure it had been as good as she hoped it had been.

She’d been remarkably calm all day, but on the odd occasion, he’d found her checking on the caterers, the D.J. and the behaviour of the small bridesmaids, when she should really have been enjoying herself. He’d let it go during the day, appreciating how much effort she’d put in to making her wedding day as special as possible. What he’d not imagined was that she’d still be obsessing over it now, when really, he wanted to do nothing more than caress her naked shoulders, and litter kisses all over her long graceful neck, on full display because her hair was tightly bound in an intricate pattern of plaits and twirls all over her head. She looked stunningly beautiful, apart from her twisted face that bore an angry grimace. Perhaps, after all, he should have continued to ply her with alcohol as opposed to telling her to rein in the consumption of champagne for fear that she’d pass out in the bed, when he had other things on his mind.

Her immaculately shaped and coloured nails, tapped over the screen on her touch screen phone as her expression turned from angry to downright furious. Watching her, he sprang from the bed, hoping to avert an outburst. He sidled up besides her whilst she focused exclusively on the string of photos on her phone, and the comments that were flashing on someone’s Facebook account. He bent down and kissed her neck, unable to resist the temptation, and snaked his hand around her waist in an effort to cup one of her alluring breasts, so visible in her strapless dress as she hunched forwards on the magnificent antique dressing stool.

Absent-mindedly she slapped his hand away and in annoyance he reached for her phone. She stood abruptly and started to pace from one side of the room to the other. He suppressed an irritable sigh. There was nothing for it. He was about to be lambasted about something. Silently he cursed whoever had upset his bride.

“Can you believe what that arsehole Mary’s written on her Facebook page?”

Mary was one of Rebecca’s oldest and dearest friends, and also her most virulent critic.

“Look, have you seen it?”

The phone was thrust unceremoniously into his hand, and he grabbed her hand hoping to distract her with some kisses trailing up her long arms to her bare shoulder, but she walked away, to resume her pacing. He took a moment to admire her in her dress again. It was truly amazing and made her petite figure look curving and inviting in all the right places, her shapely right leg on full display because of the slit that extended almost to her tiny waist. He just wished he could get his hands on it, and on her.

Glancing to the phone, he looked at Mary’s Facebook page, which seemed to list an almost minute-by-minute account of what had happened during the day. It all appeared to be fairly okay stuff and he wondered what had offended Rebecca so much. Luckily she filled him in.

“Have you seen it, the bit about the food tasting of nothing and the caterers looking like monkey’s in a zoo in their get up. I knew I shouldn’t have invited her.”

He scrolled down to the entry about the catering and suppressed a small smile. Mary was right. The catering staff had looked a little strange in their slightly too small outfits, with barely fitting bow ties, and even tinier waist coats that had been covered in a tartan of green and red. Clearly, the staff had not been the regulars and by the end of the meal, most of the waiting staff had looked as though they were about to pass out because their collars were too tight. But how to tell his wife that?

Wife, he thought. That was a nice word to say. He wondered if he could get away with being a little blasé about the whole thing.

“Oh sod Mary and her bloody comments, will you come here. I’ve been waiting all day to get you on my own.”

Rebecca looked at him in exasperation and then abruptly burst into floods of tears, her seaming-less eye make-up leaving an immediate flood of black threatening to splash onto her three thousand pound wedding dress.

Great he thought. Now Mary had ruined his wedding night too!

He grabbed a handful of tissues from the ornate vanity table and walked towards her, holding them out as a peace offering, and she grabbed them and delicately dabbed at her face. Only the tears didn’t stop, and before he knew it, he had a sobbing wreck of a wife who was barely coherent as she brokenly sobbed words that he couldn’t quite catch. Surely this should have been the happiest day of her life so why was she crying?

Finally, and only after he’d held her and shushed her in his arms for about an hour, did the sobbing stop and only then did he finally catch what she’d been saying all along and with her words his heart first fluttered with joy and then stopped with the idiocy of it all,

“I’ll never be a bride again.”

With determination he took her delicate face in his hands, and kissed her thoroughly and determinedly, ignoring the smell of stale alcohol on her breath and her smudged eye make-up. And I’ll never have another wedding night again, he thought, as he finally interested her in the only thing that had made it possible for him to get through the day. She grew silent under his caresses and he decided that he would have to somehow lose her bloody phone on their honeymoon if he was to have any peace from the only to be expected, bitching about her wedding which would even now, be covering pages and pages on their supposed friends Facebook pages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Three

 

She met his eyes, defiantly, daring him to question her. He wanted to, desperately. Where had she been?

He glanced down at his closed fist. The blue stone she’d given to him on their last night together hummed lightly and vibrated to her proximity. It distracted him from her dazzling sapphire eyes, which had once drawn him to her, and now did again. He opened his hand and looked at the gem that illuminated his hand in a gentle blue glow.

Immediately he felt her soft hand in his as she delicately reached out and picked up the small stone. It responded immediately to her touch. The glow brightened painfully and he turned his eyes away from the candescent light, already seeing spots dance before his eyes.

He heard a soft laugh and when his eyes cleared enough for him to see, Sapphire had the stone in her hand and was laughing to herself, as tears streamed down her face. He had an immediate flashback to that fateful night so many years ago when she’d been drenched from the rain that flowed unendingly over her face and skin. Now her tears caused the water.

She’d still not spoken to him and he didn’t want to break the silence that hung between them. He didn’t want to say the wrong things or act in the wrong way. It was so good to see her, alive and well, that he could hear his heart hammering out an unsteady rhythm.

She’d not changed at all. Her hair waist long and blonde, her figure well toned, her eyes bright. He would have liked to reach out to embrace her, experience again the thrill of her touch as when she’d taken the stone. He knew that if he could hold her, take her in his arms, kiss her, and tell her he was sorry, his heart would beat erratically. He didn’t care. He’d welcome the agony of not knowing if it would beat again just to have her in his arms.

The silence between them continued and he simply stood and looked at her, waiting for something to happen. Eventually, her tears dried, and she picked the gem up, and put it in her mouth. He moved, quickly, to stop her. Maybe she didn’t realise what it was. He was too late, she swallowed and he could only assume that the stone was gone. He hoped she didn’t choke. It would be terrible to find her again, only for her to die.

Instead, she was suffused in the blue light from the stone, and he remembered the things he’d seen from the rainy night of their youth. The thing that had drawn him to her was a glowing blue light, identical to this one. That was how he’d found her, in the pitch black of the stormy night.

He couldn’t take his eyes from her. The blue light was pouring out of her mouth, her nose and her eyes. It should have been horrifying – a truly frightening special effect from a horror movie. It wasn’t. Instead it felt right, and it felt natural. Eventually the colour dimmed and he couldn’t be sure but he thought he saw a darker blue light settle inside her through her skin, and come to rest, still glowing faintly, where her heart should be.

He reacted instinctively. He reached out, above her gently heaving breasts, and placed his hand over the spot where the faint blue still pulsed. She didn’t stop him. His own heartbeat sped up at the feel of her and he realised that the blue pulse in her chest and his own heart were beating in harmony.

 

A gasp and he woke, his heart hammering painfully in his ears as he became aware of the sweat sheeting his face and cascading down his back where he lay entangled in the bed sheets.

 

What the hell was that all about?

At his side, Rebecca didn’t stir at his movements, continuing to snore gently as the sound of the ocean swept quietly through the open patio doors of their honeymoon suite, the grey light of dawn still some time away.

He swung himself free from the silk bed sheets and padded over to the veranda, trying to catch his breath and still his rapid heartbeat.

He wished now he’d not had that extra cocktail last night. Perhaps, a little more sober, he and Rebecca wouldn’t have had their silly argument and he’d not have spent the night dreaming of the woman he’d rejected for her.

His honeymoon was not quite working out the way he’d hoped. The hotel was beautiful, the peaceful beaches a joy to walk along, the sand golden between his toes. But more often than not, he found himself walking the beaches alone whilst his wife of a scant few days slept off another hangover from hell. He couldn’t comprehend how someone so small could polish off quite so many cocktails in such a small space of time.

That said, he wasn’t unconvinced that she was drinking from the moment she woke, muddle headed and green, to the moment she passed out hours later. He couldn’t understand it. This was the honeymoon destination she’d cried for, begged to come to. Now she was here she was bored and constantly moaning that there was nothing to do except drink and bloody sunbathe.

The lazy mornings of lounging in bed that he’d envisioned had failed to materialise, as had the equally sleepy afternoons and evenings. The sex, when they had it, was fantastic, but Rebecca could barely stir herself to kiss him, let alone anything else, and he was sick at heart. His disturbing dream only serving to highlight how unhappy he was.

After three years of certainty, he was starting to doubt his choice. It was not a comfortable thought when he’d been married for less than a week.

Moodily he returned to where he’d discarded his clothes only hours before, and shrugged into his shorts, t-shirts and trainers. A walk on the beach would calm him. With barely a glance at the object of the escalating snores, he snuck back out onto the veranda and climbed down the short flight of wooden steps, to the gentle beach. On a whim he discarded his only just laced trainers and left them on the highly polished wooden decking.

He returned hours later, not really sure what he’d find, but feeling calmer about his strange dream. He’d managed to reason it all a way as a sign of a little too much alcohol and a little too much stress and he was even prepared to accept responsibility for the argument of the night before. Anything for an easy life.

The sand beneath his feet had soothed his soul and the slowly rising sun had bathed him in a light so bright that he’d felt cleansed by it.

Walking back through the small crowd of people sunbathing on the isolated beach, he’d felt a silly grin light his face. No matter what, he was still ecstatic to be married. Last night was just a slight hiccup. He’d make it better if he needed to, or he’d hope that maybe, just maybe, she’d drunk too much last night to remember their argument.

Maybe she’d still be in bed when he got back, and he’d be able to climb back into bed with her, and wake her up slowly by littering kisses along her back or her neck. He felt his excitement rise as he walked, and then tip toed quietly through the open bedroom window of their beach side hotel room.

He looked first to the bed hopefully, but she wasn’t there. He walked to the bathroom only the door was open and she wasn’t inside. Turning full circle, he looked all around the room for any sign that she may have left some tale tell sign of where she’d gone. Finding none he felt his hard one good mood evaporate. Where the bloody hell had she gone?

He sunk into the comfortable armchair in the room, and closed his eyes as he ran his hand over his face. Why was this all going so wrong?

She was still smarting about her supposed friends comments about the wedding that had cost him and her parents a small fortune. She’d barely relaxed once on their ‘perfect’ honeymoon, apart from when she’d drunk so much as to be barely coherent, and last night, he’d snapped at her. Fed up with her partying and seeming inability to actually spend any time alone with him. When she drank in the hotel bar, or at one of the local tourist bars, she always surrounded herself with other couples, or even worse, single men. Where were the romantic leisurely dinners, and the even longer and leisurely days spent lying on the perfect and secluded beach? He wondered why he’d bothered with all the overtime to pay for the damn holiday.

Tears filled his eyes, as an icy fear gripped his heart. For all his stern talking to himself this morning, and his hard won optimistic outlook for the rest of the day, it appeared that he’d wasted his time. It was midday, and he knew where he’d find her – at the hotel bar. Whether he wanted to find her or not was another thing entirely.

Grabbing a bright striped beach towel from the side of the veranda, he strode down to the beach. He was buggered if he was going to wait around for her to appear, all red-rimmed eyes, and staggering on her unsteady feet. He would leave her alone. He would not be the one doing all the running and apologising after all.

He picked a spot on the beach close enough to the room that he’d hear when she returned, but far enough away that it might look as though he was ignoring her. Laying the towel on the beach, he slipped his sunglasses from the top of his head and shielded his eyes from the bright sunlight before sprawling on his back, using his arm as a pillow. The sound of the waves gently snaking up the beach, and the almost silence of the day, soon lulled him back to sleep.

Again he dreamed and in his dream the two sisters were strangely intermingled. It wasn’t Rebecca he had stayed with, but Sapphire, and it was Sapphire he now married and lay ensconced in his honeymoon bed with. Her long blond hair tickled his face as she lay in his arms, or astride him, or beneath him. Her soft voice spoke only of love and there were no recriminations about a wedding so small it had only involved a handful of people. But then, Rebecca strode into the room, shouting and red faced, her anger a palpable tension in the air. He didn’t hear the words she spoke but neither did he need to. And then she disappeared into thin air, and he was left again with only Sapphire and her soft words of love and her gentle touch.

He woke slowly, savouring the dream, enjoying the tranquillity it had brought him. He smiled as he woke, happy again and for a moment, forgetting that his dream was not a reality.

At his side a soft, warm body was moulded around him, a hand delicately working its way up and down his naked sun-drenched chest in hazy circles. He smiled with pleasure turning his head to kiss the blond head beside him.

A sharp gasp escaped his lips when he discovered the hair was auburn, and abruptly he remembered everything. Rebecca heard him and looked at him with longing in her eyes.

“I like it when my touch has that sort of effect on you,” she giggled, turning her head so that he could smell her alcohol infused breath. Pleased that she’d misinterpreted his reaction, he groaned aside his frustration at her early drinking, and instead asked the more pertinent question.

“Where’ve you been?”

“Well, I missed you this morning and thought that you’d probably be at the pool or having breakfast, so I went to find you. Only you weren’t there, and somehow, I found myself in the bar again.”

She giggled at his words and he closed his eyes in a calming effort. He really didn’t want to argue again, and her presence next to him made him fairly certain that she’d forgotten all about it. Deciding that sometimes silence was best, he turned towards her and gently nibbled her nose. She giggled again in response, and hoisted herself up on her elbows to kiss him deeply on the lips, her bikini clad body warm against his own. Groaning with the suppressed desire of the last two days, it wasn’t long before, even on their secluded strip of beach, it was time to move inside their hotel room.

Chapter Four

 

Walking through the front door of their flat after three weeks on a hot, sandy beach in Mexico should perhaps have deflated him, and he felt treacherous that all he felt was relief to be home. The honeymoon had certainly not been what he’d been expecting and for the entire flight home, as Rebecca had flirted with the guy sat next to her after a mess up with the reserved seats, he’d been tested beyond endurance. Her refusal to be moved from that seat when the furiously blushing stewardess had made the offer, had nearly been enough to have him marching off the plane and staying behind without her.

Her general grumpiness whilst they’d come through passport control and customs had forced him to silence that she’d failed to even notice so caught up in her moaning now that she’d landed and could pick up all her missed email and text messages about the wedding.

Why had he never noticed before that she was no way near as besotted with him as he was with her? He could only put it down to the vast amount of time they’d spent apart during the last three years, when he thought they’d both been striving to start their married life on a good footing. Clearly, she’d spent most of the time flirting and enjoying herself, whilst he’d slogged away at a job he’d hated and had made do with the odd weekend here and there with her, and the even more infrequent weeks away. Perhaps he should have realised that the face she showed him was always that, just a little show. He was getting to know the real Rebecca now and he feared he really didn’t like her.

She’d flopped on their oversized leather sofa the minute they’d walked through the door of their home. He’d wanted to carry her over the threshold as was traditional, but she’d barged her way past him as he’d fought with the luggage and was even now chattering away to someone on the phone. If she wasn’t careful, he might just intentionally lose her bloody phone.

The flat they’d found to live in was a comfortable size and in a good location, close enough to the shops and the underground but far enough away that there wasn’t a constant flow of traffic outside their window. Still, it was a far cry from the rural life he wanted to live. The solitary old oak tree in the front yard was the only piece of greenery for miles around.

Staggering through to the bedroom, he shoved the suitcases out of the way and climbed into the shower. It was nearly dark outside and he needed to get up for work tomorrow. Rebecca still had another week off from her job, but tomorrow for him was his first day at the University and he wanted to make a good impression. His marriage might be in tatters, but he could at least look forward to the job he’d longed for.

The water was a hot blast on his slightly burnt shoulders, uncomfortable, but nothing compared to the agony in his heart. Closing his eyes, and relaxing for the first time since they’d left the hotel hours ago, he felt hot tears running down his face.

He’d tried so hard all honeymoon to be accommodating and mindful of his new wife’s needs, but however he looked at it, she didn’t seem to want anything that he did. Quiet, romantic dinners had been off the menu in favour of raucous nights out in the local bars and clubs, and even spending time together on the beach had been a rarity. He’d thought she’d wanted the heat of Mexico to sunbathe in but really, she’d just used it as an excuse to wear as little as possible when they’d been out.

He knew he hadn’t looked at another woman all holiday. Rebecca’s eyes had barely looked at him. On occasion it had felt as though she’d have had more fun if he’d not been there.

A knock on the bathroom door had him hastily stifling his tears.

“Don’t use all the hot water. I need a shower too,” she shouted through the still closed door. Knowing he couldn’t physically wash away the dirt of the honeymoon that clung to him, he stepped out of the shower, and wrapped himself in a huge white towel. It felt as luxurious as the ones in the hotel and he hoped that they were a wedding gift, and not something that Rebecca had brought on a spur of the moment, flittering her money away whilst he’d been hard at work.

When he left the bathroom, she was perched on the edge of the bed, tapping away on her phone. Her eyes looked brighter than under the Mexican sun and he wondered, again, why she’d wanted to go there at all.

“Finally, I thought you’d maybe drowned in there,” she spoke as she hastily pulled off her clothes and padded naked into the bathroom.

“Well you could always have joined me,” he responded and she looked at him with a strange look in her eyes.

“Why would you say something like that?” she asked.

He looked at her perfect naked body and shrugged hopelessly, why indeed, he thought. She turned her back on him, and he flopped backwards onto the bed. It looked like the atmosphere at home was just as tense as when they’d been away. What the hell was he going to do?

 

Chapter Five

 

Sinking onto the sofa in their lounge, she held the smooth stone in her hand, marvelling at its deep, even colour, saddened beyond words by its very presence.

She didn’t want to ask him about it, or find out who’d given it to him. She already knew and the knowledge was a knife in the heart. She felt as though she bled with every single heartbeat, and had done so since just after the wedding ceremony.

She berated herself again for having gone into his hotel room after the wedding. They’d been no need. He was packed and ready to go and still she’d teased him until he’d let her inside the small room where he’d spent his last night alone as a single man.

His bag and case had been ready at the door. He’d simply planned on walking in, retrieving his possessions and leaving again. She’d leant into him, waiting for him to kiss her, to take her to bed and then she’d seen it and all thoughts of flirting and touching had fled her mind.

He’d been about to leave the stone behind and she’d let him walk out of the door without it. However, she’d stepped forward and placed her hand on its gently pulsing warmth.

She didn’t know what it meant or why he had it. Or rather, she did know what it meant but she didn’t know why he had it. Clutching the stone in her hand, she’d walked from the room on legs grown leaden and decided that she must do what she could to enjoy the rest of her wedding and her honeymoon, and yet she must find out why he had it.

Three weeks away with him had been agony. She’d not managed to find out anything from him, shying away from starting a conversation that she didn’t want to have. And yet, not knowing was killing her slowly inside. She wished she could ask him, but she couldn’t.

She’d been unable to sleep unless drunk to the point of passing out. She’d been unable to spend anytime alone with him for fear that he might say or act in such a way that the stone’s presence would be proved correct. She was miserable and sick of heart. The best part of the trip had been the flight home, sat away from him and with someone other than him, whom she could laugh and talk to without worrying about what every spoken word truly meant.

What did it mean that he had it, and thought nothing of it?

What did it mean for her future?

What was she going to do now?

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Six

 

The sunlight shone softly through the part open bedroom curtain, waking him naturally from his deep sleep. A smile touched his face. Besides him, Rebecca was nestled in his arms, curled against his chest, and for once, she wasn’t snoring.

A year, they’d been married for a year today. He couldn’t quite believe it. He’d worried they wouldn’t make it through the first weeks, let alone the first month or even first year. But somehow, after their terrible honeymoon, everything had calmed down.

The first night back from his honeymoon, he’d done something he’d never done before, he’d cried himself to sleep. Rebecca had showered and left him alone in their bed whilst she tapped away on her phone, or her laptop in the other room. Not wanting to draw attention to his hurt and unhappiness, he’d simply left her alone.

When he’d woken early for work the next day, she’d been fast asleep on the sofa, the TV on quietly and her phone discarded on the floor. In a moment of compassion that went against everything he was feeling, he’d lifted her into his arms and taken her back to their bed. She’d nestled into the spot he’d not long since vacated and he’d left the house feeling a little calmer. She might not have spent the night with him, but clearly, it hadn’t been intentional, as she’d had no blanket wrapped around her. She’d even reached out for a sleepy kiss before he’d left.

His first day at his new job had likewise been far easier than he’d thought and he’d returned home feeling less apprehensive than since the wedding. Rebecca had greeted him with a smile and a romantic dinner, and every day since then, some little thing had happened to make their relationship grow stronger. Maybe he’d returned with flowers, or a book for her, or maybe she’d appeared with a brochure detailing holidays in the countryside or had finally spent the time and money to buy a pair of walking boots to allow them to enjoy walking together.

That was what they had planned for their weekend. Today was their wedding anniversary and they were meeting up for a small celebratory meal with both sets of parents but tomorrow, they were off to the Lakes to scale mountains and spend some quality time together.

Besides him, Rebecca stirred and he planted a delicate kiss on her neck. She smiled, half asleep, and he took it as an open invitation when she didn’t rebuff his wandering hand under the bed sheets. Instead she smiled again as he trailed kisses along her naked shoulders and then began to work his way lower down her neck. A soft giggle left her mouth as she still feigned sleep.

Hours later they finally emerged from their bed realising that time was now a little too short for their liking. They needed to be the other side of London in less than an hour and that was a big ask. As they showered and dressed in a frenzy of activity, dashing around their home as they tried to find suitable clothes and shoes, they both kept distracting the other and stopping all together to cling together and kiss. Somehow they managed to not slip back into bed, and arrived, only half an hour later at the restaurant Rebecca’s parents had chosen.

On the tube journey they’d devised an excuse for their lateness and used it expansively when they noticed the disapproving looks on the faces of Rebecca’s mother and father. His own parents were shooting them knowing glances that brought a rosy glow to Rebecca’s face. His own brother and his wife joined in with the knowing looks until their baby son, squalling in his pushchair, distracted them. They’d not discussed it as such but everyone around the table knew that baby Will had been conceived a year ago today as well. As such, it was a double celebration for his family.

Rebecca cooed over the chubby baby when he quieted and the meal flew by remarkably quickly, his own family managing to just about ignore the slightly frosty atmosphere from Rebecca’s parents. He looked at them closely and noticed that they seemed to have aged in the last year. He wondered what was happening with them but decided he would simply ask Rebecca later. He was sure that he’d either been told and forgotten or hadn’t been told because, really, how often did they discuss either of their parents when they were busily going around their own lives.

As the meal drew to a close, his parents passed across a brightly coloured gift. His mother was clearly bursting with excitement at her gift and Rebecca eagerly wrapped the orange and red wrapping from it. She exclaimed in delight as she revealed an equally brightly coloured photograph album. As she opened the front page, a stray tear slipped from her eye and he leaned over to see what she was looking at.

It was an intimate picture of the pair of them from their wedding. Caught totally off guard, they were laughing at something, heads pressed close together, their joy shining from their eyes.

Rebecca flicked to the next page and discovered that the entire album was full of photographs they’d not known had been taken.

“We thought we’d save it for a special occasion. As lovely as the ‘official’ photos were, I thought that these showed just how much you love each other and enjoyed your wedding day.”

Andy felt his throat grow tight as they turned page after page of the photo album, finding shots of them stood quietly together, just staring into each others eyes, to a photo of him, waiting for his bride, a look of fear on his face. He was relieved to find one of Rebecca, her own anxieties clear to see on her slightly too pale face.

He stood and walked around to his parents to hug them in thanks and noticed that his mother had a teary eye as well. His older brother, in true big brother style, simply punched him on the arm as he passed.

Rebecca’s parents looked a little uncomfortable with all the emotion on display and he quickly helped himself to the still open photograph album in Rebecca’s hands and twirled it around so that they could see what all the fuss was about. Her mother’s face softened as she saw the first snapshot of them, and it wasn’t long until everyone had poured over the gift, laughing at some of the uninhibited photographs and cooing at others.

The meal only came to a noisy and confused end when baby Will woke and would not be shushed. With the stares of the other guests burning their backs, they bid a hasty retreat, laughing as they burst out onto the sun-drenched street into a noisy London Sunday afternoon.

Only when his brother, wife and son had departed noisily down the street, did Andy realise that Rebecca was caught up in a heated debate with her parents. He walked to where they stood, voices angry but quiet and as he put her arm out to slide it around her waist he heard the name “Sapphire” and his joy evaporated as he took in the haunted look on Rebecca’s face.

Whatever had passed between Rebecca and his parents, the mention of that one name appeared to signal the end of everything good for them. Their trip away to the Lakes was tainted by the spectre of her presence and when they came home, more obstacles blocked their path. He had a letter informing him that his position was subject to review at work and there was no guarantee that he’d retain his previous hours, working rate or job title. As it transpired, he kept his job but only by stint of reducing his hours by fifty per cent. The effect on their disposable income was immediate and caused problems from the word go.

There were jobs a plenty that he could have done to fill his empty hours, but he wanted to finish work on his doctorate, pushing himself as hard as he could to complete it, in the hope that once in possession of his PhD his department would reconsider their cutting of his hours.

Rebecca resented his loss of income, his extra time, and the hours that she said he ‘wasted’ on research that would net him nothing. She had no truck with the academic profession having found a way in the world where she could attract a good salary without having to work too hard, and an even better one if she put her mind to it. Which is what she now did, pushing herself to make up for the shortfall in her income, and with each extra hour she worked, she grew more and more resentful that he wasn’t earning the same salary as her, and that he was no longer meeting half of their expenditure.

One December evening it all came to a head when she arrived home from work late for an evening out. He was waiting for her and as she struggled out of her work clothes and into something new and expensive that she’d just grabbed off the rail on the way home, he queried how much the dress had cost. Her anger flared and she informed him in frosty tones reminiscent of the chill weather outside, that it was no concern of his how she spent her money and that if he didn’t like, he could just stay at home as she wouldn’t be paying for him that night.

Embarrassed because he had no money until payday, he refused to go and she went out alone with her cohort of pals for their annual Christmas meal. She arrived home drunk and full of remorse but he was beyond caring. Her attitude toward money was stifling him. That night he dreamt of Sapphire for the first time in nearly eighteen months, and when he woke with Rebecca at his side, he could not stop the sign of despair that audibly escaped him. Worst still, Rebecca had been awake through the night, as often happened when she’d had too much to drink, and she informed him that he’d been talking in his sleep. What he’d said, she didn’t say, but he could imagine.

The dream had been exceptionally erotic and he’d woken aroused and disappointed all at the same time. Yet it was not a dream just about Sapphire as Rebecca had morphed in and out of her with a dazzling speed that left him unsure if he’d dreamt more of one or the other. With certainty he knew that his failing relationship was looking more and more like his fault. He’s made the wrong choice nearly five years ago.

When Rebecca had left for work he’d lain in bed until struck by a thought. Shuffling from his bed, he’d opened and closed all of the drawers on his side of the room, only crossing to Rebecca’s when he couldn’t find what he was searching for. He thought it unlikely, but then he pulled open the top drawer and found the huge sapphire stone nestled in amongst a piece of deep blue silk. Not only had she taken his stone, she seemed to treasure it more than he did as well.

Sudden anger flared within him. It wasn’t hers. Why did she even have it? In all honesty he’d thought he might have left it on the bedside table in the hotel he’d stayed in before his wedding. He’d only been looking on the off chance.

He paced the room, the stone in his hand, seeming to pulse in time with his own heartbeat. Why had she taken it? What did it even have to do with her? And then he stilled in thought. What did she know about it and was it possible, somehow, that what she knew, was the reason behind her outrageous behaviour on their honeymoon.

He spent the day considering what he should do with the knowledge he now held. He’d picked up the huge blue stone, almost dropping it when it seemed to spurt into life, and then he put it back in Rebecca’s drawer.

When she returned home from work he was waiting for her, a meal cooked, and a warm bath run for her. He knew she’d be tired after her night out. Her tired expression flickered with delight when she saw all the work he’d put into making up for their argument the day before, and he breathed a sigh of relief, purposefully flicking through the photos in their wedding album whilst she bathed her hangover away.

He was sitting at the dinner table, his hand tracing one of the group shots from the wedding when she returned. He flashed her a smile.

“I always think there’s someone missing from this photo,” he said, pointing to the view of them all smiling in the bright sunshine.

“What do you mean?” she asked. She smelt of the bubble bath he’d doused the bath with and it made him feel sleepy just to smell it.

“Well, did we miss someone out? Wasn’t your sister there that day?”

Her expression turned blank then, not hostile, but not happy either.

“Sister?” she said, and he realized with shock that she was about to deny ever having a sister.

“Did I get that wrong?” he asked, trying to cover his shock before she saw through his weak attempts at fishing for information. “I thought you had a sister. Don’t you?”

“No, not a birth sister no. I grew up with someone, she was sort of adopted, but she disappeared, about the time I met you, and no one knows where she went.”

Her tone was just light enough to make it seem as though it wasn’t a problem to talk about, but he sensed some unease. He thought he’d been speaking in his sleep last night, but maybe he hadn’t.

“Anyway, put that away. I’m starving. I was too sick at lunch time to eat.”

He closed the photo album with a soft thud, and placed it back on the bookcase.

“I cooked your favourite,” he offered, a soft smile on his lips. He thought he might have found out more information but really, she’d told him all he needed to know.

Chapter Seven

 

He thought he’d manipulated Rebecca but when he returned from work the next day, she was gone, all her possessions removed from the flat, and on the photo album he’d been looking at only yesterday, she’d placed the blue stone.

He almost sighed with relief to find her gone. Her efforts at nonchalance the night before had worn a little thin and he’d been pleased when she’d gone to bed. The evening had been pleasant enough, but he thought they’d both known it was over.

He held the stone in his hand, feeling it’s warmth, and this time being prepared for the faint shimmering blue that seemed to spark from it. He knew this stone was something to do with Sapphire, and he knew that Rebecca knew what it was as well; only she wasn’t about to tell him.

All night he turned the stone over in his hands, feeling the warmth in it, and at some point, he walked to his bedroom window, the room with the best view of the sky, for all that it was obscured by the constant lights of night time London and he looked upwards, searching for something.

He stood for about an hour and then gave up in frustration. It was useless. He needed to be in the countryside if he was to stand any chance of seeing anything in the light hazed sky. He berated himself for giving up on his own dreams in order to fulfil Rebecca’s. He needed to start living for himself not for her, and he needed to know what had happened to Sapphire.

He stumbled to his bed, the blue stone beside him, and as he closed his eyes with exhaustion, he could have sworn he’d seen a thin vein like pulse of the bright blue light he’d seen on the night he’d last seen Sapphire.

 

He woke the next morning with the cold realisation of what had happened the day before, for a moment disorientated until he felt the warmth of the slowly pulsing stone, and he was reinvigorated with purpose.

He dressed quickly, he knew what he needed to do and he wanted it done. Sooner rather than later.

He checked his phone, surprised to see a message from Rebecca flashing away on it.

“We need to talk,” it simply said. “Meet me at midday by the bakery.” He felt a slight flutter of anxiety as he read the message, but it had been his plan to seek out Rebecca today anyway. He only hoped she’d decided to tell him what he needed to know without him having to beg for the information.

He checked the time of his phone. He had hours yet before the meeting. He decided to put his time to good use and hauling their honeymoon suitcases out of the cupboard, he began to pack his possessions. He’d decided he wouldn’t be returning to the flat, no matter what. He needed to return to the life he’d lived before he’d met Rebecca when little had mattered apart from his research and his love of living rurally.

As he packed he knew he’d made the correct decision. Most of the possessions in the flat belonged to Rebecca, not him. He had his walking gear and his music and research files, but little else. It was Rebecca who’d brought all the little touches, the plush cushions, the matching curtains, even the massive TV screen that he so rarely used.

He heaved the two suitcases down the stairs to his old, beaten up car. He’d insisted on keeping it, even in London where cars were little use on the busy streets. Now he was pleased. It was a very old estate car, but one that he’d be able to fill with his possessions and drive to wherever he needed to be in order to find Sapphire.

He was pleased he’d taken the time each week to take it for a small drive, ensure it still worked, and had kept the MOT and insurance up to date. There was nothing holding him back. Once Rebecca told him what he needed to know.

 

He locked the flat up tight behind him, ensuring all the windows were closed. He felt no remorse that he’d never see the place again as he slowly drove his old car the short distance to the bakery they’d so often used in their short married life. It was a little place, with a few chairs out the front, and a small bar running across the side of it, with some stalls for those too hungry to wait to get home to eat.

He didn’t see Rebecca inside, but went ahead and ordered her favourite pastry and cup of coffee. He did the same for himself. He didn’t have much money on him but he thought it a small price to pay for the information he needed.

She arrived on time, offering him a small smile of thanks for his forethought in ordering already.

“I don’t have much time,” she began, her voice quivering, looking anywhere but at him.

“I think you could make time for this. Don’t you?” he responded. He wasn’t angry, there was no need to be. Yesterday he’d been angry but it was all gone now. Rebecca held the key to the knowledge that he needed.

“Yes,” she swallowed nervously, “I suppose I can. But first, well first, I have to offer you an apology. You shouldn’t have been involved in this, this ‘mess’ in the first place.”

“I don’t need an apology. We should be adult enough to not have to apologise, to just accept what’s happened and move on.”

“Yes we should,” she responded with a touch of heat, “but then, this isn’t a normal break-up. This is something that we could both have avoided if we’d been a little more honest with each other.”

He wanted to react angrily, demand she not place the blame on him. This was something her family had allowed to happen to him, but he quickly reconsidered. Back at the beginning, then he should have been honest and told her that she wasn’t the only woman he loved.

He shrugged his shoulders by way of agreement, and she noticeably calmed at his ready acceptance of her anger.

“I didn’t know, not until I found the stone, that that was the reason you arranged to meet Sapphire and I that night. I thought her being there was some sort of strange coincidence.” She swallowed again. “Okay, I convinced myself that’s what it was. And to all intents and purposes I was right. For over three years I laboured under the same illusion as you, that we were meant for each other, had chosen each other, and everything that had happened with Sapphire was as it was meant to be. She was … she was in an untenable situation. We both were really. Everything was too late. Her people,” she swallowed again, her hand before her on the small metal table, “our people, didn’t have the required amount of knowledge to set in motion the train of events that transpired. It was … it is more the Elders of our people than ourselves who should hold the blame.”

Here a stray tear slid down her smooth cheekbones and he only just stopped himself from reaching out to arrest its descent.

“I didn’t know,” she moaned, the cry almost primordial. ‘I didn’t know that’s what was happening.”

“What was happening?” he pressed, “and what Elders?”

“She’ll tell you when you find her.”

“Where will I find her?”

“Where you first met her. She’ll be waiting for you, she always has been.” He didn’t understand her words, but her eyes had turned vacant and he wondered where she was.

“I didn’t know that in choosing me that night, you’d turned her affections aside. If I’d known, if I’d understood then none of this would have happened.”

“When did you know?” he pressed. He was still puzzling over her words, but whilst she was talking he didn’t want to distract her.

“The night of the wedding. I found her stone in your room. Why did you have it with you?” she asked. “Why was it there then?”

“What does it mean?” he asked, but she shook her head angrily.

“Why did you have it with you when you were marrying me?” her voice was rough, angry, and desperate to know the answer.

“I found it that morning, on a walk on the island. I’d,” and here he paused. “She’d given it to me on the first night we spent together but I’d discarded it, angry with her, and then on the morning of our wedding I found it in the undergrowth.”

Her gasp of horror was audible and he stared at her in shock.

“She gave it to you and you threw it away?” Her face was suddenly so angry; it was his turn to look away in disgust at his own actions.

“I didn’t know what it was. I followed her, I found her because she sent out a stream of bright blue light, I thought it was lightning but I also knew it was something to do with her. She didn’t tell me anything. I walked in the rain to find her.” His voice was growing angry now. “I left you asleep and I went to find her and she did nothing but mouth strange words and hand me the bloody stone before disappearing before my very eyes. She made me angry.”

Rebecca’s mouth formed an ‘o’ of surprise as he spoke.

“She was trying to prevent this,” she offered softly. “She knew. She always was the wiser one of the two of us.”

“What did she know?” he almost shouted, earning himself a stern stare from the owner of the bakery who wasn’t used to two of his regulars arguing in the street.

“She knew what we were doing was wrong. She tried to stop it before it was too late.”

“So is it too late?” he asked. He didn’t know if he meant for Rebecca and him, or Sapphire and him, but Rebecca knew.

“No, it’s not. She’ll be waiting for you. I told you that already. Finding her stone made something change. It shouldn’t be possible, but your love for her has kept her warm all this time after all. Go to her, find her, be with her. I’ll never see you again,” she offered, standing and turning to walk away from him. He wanted to call her back but didn’t.

“Be happy,” he called, and she turned to look at him once more, a radiant smile on her face.

“I will be.”

And then she was gone, and he knew she’d spoken the truth. He’d never see her again.

He picked up his pastry, surprised to find a stack of notes under the plate. When had Rebecca put them there? He fingered the money. They’d be more than enough for him to get where he needed to be. He turned to watch her tiny figure disappearing out of sight into the local tube station. Maybe she had loved him all along after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Eight

 

She sat, silhouetted against the pale glowing moon, in the place where he’d met the first time, only now it nighttime and then it had been early morning. She was so still he wondered how she could sit like that. Maybe she had her eyes closed; maybe she was lost in thought. She had her knees drawn up under her chin and her head rested on them. Her luxurious hair cascaded down her back and in places touched the pure, white sand behind her.

His heart contracted. She was beautiful. Even this view of her back was stunning. He almost felt as though he shouldn’t approach her; shouldn’t distract her from her reverie. But his need to be with her pushed him on. He’d been waiting for two weeks for her to appear, spending every day and night on the beach, almost doubting the words Rebecca had spoken to him in London. To finally find her was a huge relief.

He walked quickly towards her, not overly quietly; he didn’t want to make her jump when she did become aware of his presence, but it seemed that his consideration wasn’t needed. She already knew he was there.

He meant to sit next to her, to hold her hand. Instead he found himself sitting behind her, his legs out in front of him, a miniscule gap between them. She didn’t turn or start, just sat there staring at the sea where the waves lapped gently on the slowly slopping beach. How rare he thought. How often the waves raced up the shore, leaving a trail of destruction in their path, leaving behind marooned crabs and pieces of discarded seaweed.

He inhaled deeply of her sweet, spicy smell and slowly closed the gap between them. He’d not fully appreciated how much taller than her he was. He’d always thought it was Rebecca who’d been slight whereas Sapphire had been tall.

He managed to rest his head on her shoulder and gently encircled her with his arms. She simply melted into him, accepting his presence. She didn’t move or turn other than that. She felt warm, but only just, like the stone he held in his hand and which he’d placed on the sand before her.

He kissed her cheek gently and now she moved, imperceptibly, to allow his kisses a little more easily. He worked his way along her cheek, down her neck and along her exposed shoulder. She lifted her hands and clasped his in hers.

He continued to explore her shoulder, her neck and her cheek again. The wind blew gently and rustled her hair into his eyes. He gently extracted one of his hands to clear his eyes and then returned it to her hand. She clasped it tightly, in welcome, and he could feel the temperature of her increasing rapidly. She now felt as though she’d spent the day on a hot beach, her skin pleasant to touch.

He shuffled his position and continued the same exploration on the other side of her body. He kissed her cheek, her ear, her neck and her shoulder occasionally licking as he went, tasting her. She tasted of sea, sun and sand, of the dark night and the expanse of space that sparkled in the completing clear sky that covered their heads.

It was the first clear night for the last two weeks. He cursed himself for a fool now for not realising that it would need to be a clear night when they met again.

He closed his eyes in exultation, inhaling her scent and feeling her solid in his hands, not quite believing that after nearly five years, they were together once more, as though no time had lapsed between their last meeting and this one.

She still hadn’t acknowledged his presence in words and when she did finally speak, her words were a soft whisper, stolen by the gentle breeze. He wasn’t even sure he was meant to hear them and he didn’t ask her to repeat them.

He continued to kiss and explore the part of her body he could reach without moving, her cheek, her neck and her shoulders, all the time aware that beneath his kisses and under his touch, she was warming, turning from almost frigid marble to the warmth of a piece of lava.

When he returned to her cheek, this time, he felt something wet under his lips and realised she must be crying. She tensed under his hands. Panic gripped him. Why was she crying? Her hand gripped his harder and he returned the pressure, hopeful that his presence, his squeeze would make her realise his intentions now, his desire to be with her, his need to be with her. She completed him.

He carried on kissing her, trying not to draw attention to her tears. He hoped his touch was feather soft and eventually she relaxed into him again and a small gasp burst from her lips.

This time her words were stronger and louder when she spoke. Her tone was bitter.

“I want this. I want this so much. But you have to understand. I’m not like you. I don’t know what will happen.”

Her words confused him and he momentarily stopped his caresses. She tensed again inside his sheltering arms and so he purposefully resumed his kisses. She was being honest with him, at last. She was telling him what she knew. It should have scared him, just as the presence of the brightly flashing stone should have done, just as Rebecca’s warning should have. It didn’t.

“I’ve seen things you can never understand. I was sent here to find my heart, to find my other half, and I have, with you. When you left me I had to go away, to take my place as a failure – forever shining in the cold, black night, alone, just as all failed stars before me have. Cold and alone, blue with cold. I gave you my actual heart. My cold, frozen heart and you threw it away. You rejected me twice in one night.”

Here her voice cracked, and he squeezed her shoulders in a pathetic attempt at apology for the distress he’d caused her.

“But for some reason, you took it back years later.”

By now her tone was full of wonder and he realised that apology wasn’t necessary.

“I don’t know why, but that bought me back here. Something you did allowed me to come back.”

Her words faltered and he tried to understand what she was telling him. He wanted to speak, offer more words of regret. Everything that came to mind sounded tart and insincere. So he stayed silent.

In his arms she moved, shuffling around so that she faced him. She didn’t look at him but used her luxurious hair as a shield to cover her face. His arms felt cold, bereft without her building heat and he desperately wanted to reach out and reclaim her. The tears he glimpsed through her shield of hair stopped him, held him in place. She had things she needed to say. He could tell that.

“If we do this. If we become as one, I fear things will happen to you. I fear you will lose everything you have. I don’t want to be responsible for that. You can leave again. I’ll let you leave again. I think that would be better for you. It’s not what I want. Not at all. So I give you the choice, as I did before. Come with me into the unknown or get up and walk away from me. Now.”

Her words were uttered in an urgent tone, tumbling out of her and he knew it must be a terrible wrench for her. Again, he knew the words should scare him and that he should walk away from her. Only he couldn’t. The years since they’d parted had felt wrong, with hindsight, out of focus and forced. He’d never felt more alive than he did now and more aware of his feelings, needs and desires.

He reached out, tentatively, and brushed the curtain of her hair aside with his hands. Underneath, her eyes blazed an inhuman blue and he failed to stifle his gasp of astonishment. Tears streaked her face and gently, using his thumb, he brushed them from her face. She smiled at him, a bitter smile of anger and hurt. He brushed his thumb over her lips. They parted at his touch and he felt her superheated breath on her hands. He realised that he’d always known she was different, not of this Earth, and he didn’t care.

He smiled; a huge, overjoyed smile and she looked at him questioningly. He placed his index finger on her lips and leaned towards her, kissing first one eyelid and then the other, her nose, and her chin. As he leant forward to touch his lips to hers, she placed her own index finger on his lips, staying him. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see that it glowed the same alien blue as her eyes.

He kissed her finger, feeling a ripple of energy touch his being, and he whispered softly,

“I don’t care. I only want you”.

She gasped in joy, a gasp cut short by his lips on her. Gentle at first, and then more intense, more needy and desperate. She responded, eagerly, passionately, wrapping her body around his, entwining her being with him. Her heat melded him to her, and still they kissed, barely breathing, unable to tear themselves apart.

He’d never known passion like this. Need as great as this. It felt right. It completed him. He should never have left her. Never.

His mind slowly became overwhelmed only by the sensation of what was happening between them. He tore at her clothing, and she at his, desperate to feel all of her heat against his own, and abruptly they were lying nakedly together, legs and arms and heads intertwined.

He gasped with pleasure, just as she did. Abruptly, they were as one, every part of their bodies that could be entangled was.

Behind his eyes he saw things he could never have imagined; the birth of stars in a profusion of superheated blues, the deaths of suns in a blaze of dull oranges, planets torn apart and forming, their fragments mingling together, the explosion of rock meeting rock, comets flying at incredible speeds, their tails dancing with an explosion of brightest whites. He saw the birth of Earth, the formation of the moon, the red haze of Mars, and further, further away, the swirl of the Milky Way, the tantalisingly close view of another Earth-like planet, green and blue and marbled all over with high cloud cover, and suddenly he understood and he knew.

He opened his eyes and met the shimmery blue of Sapphire’s. Only with his semi-consciousness was he aware of the black expanse of space all around them, the chill that pervaded his naked flesh whilst fire burned between them.

He closed his eyes. He was home.

Blue light exploded between them, but he didn’t see it, for his eyes were gone, his humanity evaporated in the blaze of Sapphire’s light, now joined by his own.

He was home in the vast expanse of space and he would be there forever, timeless, united in love.

Meet the author

 

Enjoyed Blue Diamond? Then please try either the Unknown Serial or the Dragon of Unison Series, a fantasy series roughly based on Viking Age Iceland with a dragon, a wolf and two humans for main characters. Blue Diamond started life a number of years ago as an idea for a novel but has morphed into a short story.

 

M J Porter is (mainly) an author of historical fiction novels set in later (and now earlier)

Anglo-Saxon England. A keen history student, M J Porter has just completed an MA in History with an emphasis on primary source material and the way information is transmitted through time.

 

M J Porter can be found on twitter @coloursofunison, on Facebook, at www.mjporter.moonfruit.com, www.dragonofunison.co.uk, www.earlsofmercia.co.uk and www.chroniclesoftheenglish.co.uk.

 

Books by M J Porter (in series reading order)

 

The Dragon of Unison Series

Purple

Blue

Green

Red

Black

Silver

Orange (coming soon)

 

The Unknown Serial (young adult sci fi)

Part 1

Part 2

 

Stand alone short story (young adult supernatural)

Blue Sapphire

 

The Earls of Mercia (historical fiction)

Ealdorman

Ealdormen

Swein: The Danish King (novella)

Northman Part 1

Northman Part 2

Wulfstan: An Anglo-Saxon Thegn (novella)

The King’s Earl (September 2015)

 

Chronicles of the English (historical fiction)

Brunanburh

Of Kings and Half-Kings

The Second English King (coming soon)

 

Gods and Kings Series (historical fiction)

Hæ∂feld

Maserfelth (coming soon)

Winwæd (coming later)

 

 

 

 

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Blue Diamond

One heart to give. Two women to love. Forced to choose between the two women he’s met whilst studying on a remote island, Andy makes the decision that feels ‘right’ to him, choosing the woman he knows he can’t live without, Rebecca. When Sapphire disappears in a flash of blinding blue light on a rain soaked evening, Andy spares little time and effort in searching for her, too busy trying to fulfil his hopes and dreams. Three years later, on his wedding day, he finds Sapphire’s parting gift to him and as his idyllic marriage turns to dust, he increasingly finds his thoughts returning to the mystery of Sapphire, for where could she have gone? Blue Diamond is a 20000 word YA romantic short story, with a touch of the supernatural.

  • ISBN: 9781310938207
  • Author: M J Porter
  • Published: 2015-09-11 21:20:21
  • Words: 19282
Blue Diamond Blue Diamond