Paradise Chapter 1
Chapter 1: New World
Sky twirled, her eyes shut against the sunlight. Drops of dew splattered onto her face from the giant flower above her. Joy filled her chest—she felt like she could lift off the ground, fly, fly—
She opened her eyes to see the huge bell-shaped purple bloom drooping over her, her dress flowing out around her as if she were a spinning flower. She was free at last, completely at home—with him.
She stopped. Ember was leaning against the tree-sized flower stalk, a smile on his face as he watched her, his golden eyes alight with the joy she felt. The sparks in his eyes enticed her and she ran up to him, pressed her hands to his strong chest, covered by a purple silk shirt. He tipped her chin up, kissed her mouth delicately. Tipped her head sideways, and kissed down her neck. A shiver of desire ran through her. They'd waited so long—well, half a day—and now they were completely alone on this world, and they could do anything they wanted. Nothing could invade their happiness. She was free of the past—she wanted him—his touch didn't frighten her. If she'd still had a vestige of fear, this dreamlike paradise had washed it away with its incomparable beauty.
She yielded herself to him and he kissed down to the little hollow of her sternum. More drops splashed onto her face and she laughed, embracing him—wanting to take it slow but at the same time, unable to wait to feel his incomparable flesh against hers. To feel the aching pleasure of his lightning….
He drew back, pain in his eyes. Pain should not be in this place, she thought. It's supposed to be erased, like the scars…. She lifted her hand, ran it along his cheek where the lightning scars had been only a few hours before. Where Strike Vale, her father, had slashed lightning into him. They had been removed, along with her own scars, right before they came through the Portal to this world. She'd hoped he'd shed his guilt for giving them to her the last time they'd tried to make love—when she'd begged him to hurt her and they'd both gone too far….
An ache hit her heart when she realized that what had happened might not be repaired so easily, even in this beautiful place.
"I trust you," she said, to reassure him.
"I don't know if I can trust myself," he said. "Last time—I went too far—I hurt you." He looked down toward her stomach, covered now with lavender fabric, where the scars had been.
"That was my fault. You only did what I asked you to!"
"I should've seen that you didn't really want it."
"I should never have asked you to do something you didn't want. But even when we were together, I kept seeing—him—and I thought that if you hurt me, I'd only have memories of you left. I trusted you to hurt me, if that makes sense. Because you didn't want to. I was just so desperate—I wanted to get over it and be with you and now—I ruined it. I'm sorry."
"My Sky—you have nothing to be sorry about. I understand. As much as I can about…that. I wish I could go back and erase what he did to you."
"That's all in the past. We're together now."
"I just—don't know how I can do this without hurting you. I thought I had it under control, but now—" The pain in his eyes cut through her heart.
"We can take it slow."
He nodded. Took her hand and they walked side by side beneath the huge bell-like purple flowers, soft spongy moss beneath her feet.
After what had happened, she couldn't believe she was here, with him. It was like a dream. She never wanted to awaken from it….
The purple flowers gave way to pink ones, smaller bells clustered on stalks twice as high as she was. She reached up to touch one, sending a little rainshower onto her. Ember reached up and grasped the stem the flower was on, twisted it, and yanked it off. Then he handed it to her.
She cradled it in her arms, its petals much thicker than a regular flower, but still delicate, its veins radiating from the center of each petal, the stamen and pistil inside covered with pollen. She leaned in, and its fragrance floated up like perfume, so sweet and fresh….an indefinable scent she'd never smelled before, almost like this world had just sprung into being, created just for them.
He looked at her, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.
"What is it?" she said.
"You have—something—here—" He reached over and touched her nose, brushing off a bit of pollen.
"Oh." She dipped her hand into the flower and rubbed off some generous yellow dust. Then she brought it out and dashed a bit across his face. With the yellow stripes, his hair a bit disheveled, he looked like a tribal chief from an untamed world.
That's what we are in this place, she thought. We can be completely natural, completely free…As wonderful as he looked in his royal clothes, she longed to see him without them…his incomparable body beneath. But she needed to take it slow. Like he'd done with her on their wedding night.
He reached over the petal and took some pollen, rubbing it gently across her cheek. She laughed. "Now we match!"
He kissed her on the cheek. "We always match."
She looked up at him, struck by how different he was from her. His finely arched dark eyebrows, his smoldering eyes, glinting with the purest gold, the noble, elegant nose, the sensitive lips, strong chin and jaw—such perfection sent thrills through her. That she dared to be this close to him, let alone touch him. But he was here, and he was hers, and he loved her. Compared to him, she was just a nondescript creature, plain-featured, small, fragile….But somehow, he saw something in her. She couldn't question his judgement, but she still couldn't see herself from his eyes.
"I'm nothing like you," she said, fingering her hair.
"We complement each other." He touched her hair, lingered in it. "Like silk, spun from gold…." He leaned in and kissed her forehead. Looked into her eyes. "And your eyes—so many shades of amethyst…." He brushed her cheek with the back of his hand, as light as a butterfly's kiss. "So soft…." He drew back. "No, we're not alike—but that's a good thing. We fit together." He tucked his hand in hers.
They walked through some tall ferns, their lacy furls waving against the crystal blue of the sky. Then, a broad clearing spread out before them, carpeted with the spongy moss. In the center of it, a pool, as still as a mirror, reflecting the sky. Beyond it rose a wall of spiky-looking plants, twisting, entwining around each other, splashed with little bursts of red-orange flowers.
"Let's run," she said, and they ran together over the mossy ground, the foamy surface springy beneath her feet, wind blowing her hair back. Laughter bubbled up from inside her—light born from the darkness she'd escaped from.
She knelt beside the pool. Their reflections appeared, side by side. Her blonde hair framing her face—him, beside her, his hair dark as charcoal—Her skin, a shade lighter than his rich golden-brown, but still with a matching undertone of honey-gold….The sparkle in his golden eyes just as bright in her large purple eyes—her heart leaped.
We really do fit, she thought. We belong together! Relief pierced her heart—though still she could hardly accept that it could be true—that she could be worthy of him. But anything was possible in this place.
She reached down, almost afraid to disturb the water. Lifted her cupped hand to her mouth. Water flooded over her tongue, sweet as nectar. She turned to him, and he leaned down and drank from her hands.
She touched his face, and he leaned into her touch, his eyes closed. She ran her hand over his unshaven jaw, rough against her palm. Tucked her hand into his thick black hair, soft against her fingertips. He smelled like flowers…The water had done something to her, enhancing every sensation, even more than before. Her heart thumped hard—achingly so—against her chest. Desire built in her throat—she needed him more than ever.
He touched her chin with his fingertips, longing striking bright sparks into his eyes, warring with the shadows of fear. Fear should not exist in this place. Yet she couldn't pressure him.
He withdrew his hand, and lay back against the moss. She lay down beside him.
A cloud floated across the sky, shining with a prism of shattered sunlight—every color of the rainbow shifting, dancing like an aurora above her.
He faced her. "That is what you are—beauty beyond imagining, my Sky."
She smiled. "My Ember." She flipped onto her side, and laid her hand on his chest. Let a delicate shiver of lightning lace down from her fingers, crackling across him. Trying to let him know that she wanted him—that she trusted him. He had only hurt her when she'd asked him to—he didn't need to be afraid.
He twined his hand in hers, and his own lightning snapped into hers, merging with it. The first time he'd touched her with lightning since he'd burned her. A twinge of fear ran through her, but a mere sliver of ice compared to the inferno in her chest, consuming her skin.
Desire burned in his eyes. He needed her. She couldn't let a fear intrude on what they had—on this deserted, flower-dominated world, they could pursue their passion with abandon. No past. No one to interrupt. Nothing but each other to discover, without worrying about what he would do to her. Nothing but a trivial physical reaction to anything that gave pain.
She would give him what he wanted after what she'd asked of him last time. And they'd erase it with new memories. All their own in this beautiful place.
Her hand still laced with lightning—beginning to need some effort to keep it that way—she slid her hand beneath his shirt. Lingered there, letting her sparks melt into his stomach. He gasped. She lifted the shirt slowly, pushing it up over his pectorals—smooth as marble, sculpted—He grasped the shirt and lifted it over his head, messing up his hair as he did so, a bit falling over his face. His shirt gone, she pressed her hand to his chest, his heart thumping hard against her palm.
She took his hand, guided it to her. His hand pressed to her chest, above her heart. He reverently ran his hand down over the curve of her breast, down her waist, over her hip, then back up over her stomach, to where the dress hid the hollow of her navel. His hand rested there for a moment, before running back up to her chest—sliding his hand beneath the neckline of her dress, cupping his hand around her breast—she tensed like a stringed instrument, waiting to be played.
He withdrew. Unable to wait for his touch, she flipped onto her side, offering her back to him. His fingers brushed her skin as he unlaced the dress—then peeled the fabric off, gently slipping it down over her shoulders.
She faced him again, and, the moss soft against her bare skin, she pulled the dress the rest of the way down, and kicked it out of the way. Ran her hand down over his hip, back up again…..he twitched, as if shocked by lightning, although she hadn't used any. She caressed his face, letting lightning spread across her fingers. He crushed his lips to hers, and they met in a fiery embrace. Unable to wait any longer, they pressed together, as close to each other as they could, only their skin keeping them separate.
As they kissed, he entered her gently, showing her that he was in control even through his passion and she pressed hard into him, letting him know he didn't have to treat her as fragile.
Pleasure blazed through her—a supernova ripping her into a million shreds of white-hot light—
molten light poured out of her eyes and she screamed
Blackness shattered her.
Soft, gentle waves….she floated along easily….till she washed up on shore.
His skin, hot and damp beneath hers. The smell of him, sharp as pine—
His soft hair against her cheek. She opened her eyes to see swirls of purest black, mixed up in the evergreen of the moss. His golden-brown skin. Eyelash-shadows on his cheeks.
She turned—aching all over. A good ache, like she'd run a hundred miles. A cool breeze blew across her skin. Her hand was lying on his chest, stray sparks dancing across it. Remnants of their amazing journey together—she couldn't even remember it, it had torn her mind in two. She longed to remember, yet, it was something that could only be experienced once—unique, like all the times they made love—
He hadn't hurt her—they'd merged in harmony, in fierce unity—
His chest rose and fell. Her knee rested against his hip. How had it gotten there? She moved from her twisted position to drape her leg across his.
A pearl moon rose against the deep seashell lavender of the sky….
A few bright stars appeared.
How long have we laid here? Is it the same day?
No panic, just a question. A vague wondering winding into her mind after all they'd shared.
Spent of energy, she lay there with him, the wind stirring the water into sparkles….the pond whispering with the dying light of the sun in the west….beyond the twisted black vines…
He stirred. Turned to her, kissed her cheek. Then, he whispered against her ear, "Sky—I love you."
She opened her mouth, but no words escaped. Why could she not say the words? She loved him, didn't she? How could she not?
Her eyes caught something at his hip. Lightning-scars, veining up toward his waist. She'd been so consumed by him she hadn't stopped to realize that he still had the scars his great-uncle had given him. Why hadn't he had them removed with the others?
"What happened?" she said. "Why did you keep them?"
"Because Shade would find out. But I don't want to think about him here. I just want to think about what happened…" Concern crossed his face. "Did I hurt you?"
A smile tugged at her mouth, partly embarrassed, partly in reminiscence. "No, not that I remember. Do you see any scars?"
His eyes traveled over her body. He shook his head.
She reached over and slid stray strands of messy hair away from his face. Ran her hand down over his neck to rest it on his chest again. Desire rose in her. There was something about this place—even after they'd been smashed into unconsciousness, their energy had been replenished.
The pool lapping beside them, they flowed together, mingling, lightning racing down their bodies in constantly shifting arcs, snapping against each other, complementing each other—
They rolled over in the moss. Nearly fell into the pool. Escaping electrocution, they clung to the bank. Breath rasped into Sky's throat. She caught his eyes. Reached for him.
A shadowy figure stood on the other side of the pool in the darkness.
At first she thought it was just a trick of the light.
And then it moved.
Justice Lost- set in the same world (sort of)
- Justice Lost (Justice March Book 1), Evelyn Weibel - Amazon.com
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