Dreams True Form
by Jessie Duncan
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"Brenna! Brenna where are you?" Kaidie called out. Her whole body ached and her head throbbed incessantly from the loss of blood.
"Brenna! For the love of God, where are you?" she couldn't go much further, her vision started to become hazy and she was dizzy. She walked as far as she could until she dropped to her knees in sheer exhaustion.
"Brenna..." she murmured.
Distantly she heard hoof beats and sighed wearily as she thought that Hadrian and his men had found her. She was too tired to care, let him kill me, let him drag me back to that castle, I don't care. She felt her body swaying slightly and thought about lying down but didn't.
"Over here!" she heard a man call. The hoof beats grew closer until they stopped next to her. She felt strong arms lift her up and cradle her against a warm, bare chest. She opened her eyes and faintly saw a handsome face, warm brown eyes, and a gentle smile.
"Who are you?" she barely whispered.
"Aye, hush now wee one, yer' safe now." His accent was thick, was that Irish?
"Please, please don't hurt me...please." And with that she fell into welcomed darkness.
She was running through the woods again, only this time her arm wasn't bleeding like before. Her legs felt so heavy though, she could barely pick them up but she had to, Hadrian was close behind her. She turned and saw him close behind her, she continued trying to run but the harder she tried the less she moved and soon Hadrian grabbed her. It was like a childhood nightmare of trying to out run the monster but the harder you tried the slower you moved until the monster caught you...and ate you up. She turned and looked at him and nearly screamed as his eyes glowed red and his teeth elongated to two sharp fangs capable of ripping her throat out if he wanted.
"I told you I would find you." He said to her. He leaned in close to her and Kaidence thought she could smell blood on his breath. He snatched her close and lunged at her, his fangs sinking into her neck. She screamed at that piercing pain that scorched her body. She felt him shaking her and calling her name but continued screaming in fear and pain.
"Kaidence! KAIDIE! Wake up!"
Her eyes snapped open and for a brief second she saw Hadrian staring down at her and she screamed again before her vision cleared and she saw Brenna staring down at her. Her friend pulled her close and held her, displaying a rare moment of affection.
"Shh...it's ok, it's ok, and we're safe now." She murmured against her hair. Kaidie clung to her and listened as her racing heart slowed to a more normal beat.
"What happened? Where are we?"
Brenna let go of Kaidence gently and sighed preparing to give the details of their escape.
"Well I ran in the woods like you told me to, but once I got there I had no freaking idea were I was supposed to go so I just kept going straight until I met Shade, who took me to were Lucas and some other people were waiting. After a few moments when you didn't show up and we heard yelling to fire Lucas and Shade went looking for you, Shade was the one that found you and brought you here." Brenna said picking at the soft blanket draped over Kaidie.
"Were is here?"
"Oh, it's a tavern called Firebird Haven. Cool name huh?" Brenna smiled.
Kaidence glanced down at her arm and saw it was bandaged tightly, she tried moving it and winced at the throbbing that immediately ensued.
"Were is Lucas?" Kaidence asked butterflies starting to flurry in her stomach. She didn't know how she would react to seeing him in the flesh, especially after all that transpired between her and Hadrian.
"He's right outside, he's been sitting in front of that door for like hours waiting for you to wake up, he wouldn't come in until you were awake. Nervous?" Her friend asked knowingly.
"No, why would I be? Oh shut-up, tell him I awake would you?"
Brenna smiled a knowing smile and left her friend to talk to Lucas. Kaidie gingerly arose from the bed and was not surprised at how much her body moaned and ached. She looked down and saw she was still wearing Hadrian's sleeveless tunic and pants, which now sported a large tear in the left leg close to her knee, were the doors of his castle had caught it. She knew she looked like a horrible mess and would have given anything for a hot bath and a change of clothes, but it didn't seem like that would be possible at the moment so she waited, anxiously, for Lucas. She didn't have to wait long. A quick knock on the door startled her and she turned as the door opened. He was breathtaking, exquisite beyond words. His ghost had been beautiful, a shimmering essence that had captured her, but to now see him in the flesh, in his body almost brought tears to her eyes. He walked in slowly and closed the door behind him; the two just stared at each other as if they were seeing one another for the first time. His dark brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail at his neck, he wore a loose white shirt with a tan leather vest over it and matching pants, and dark brown boots hugged his calves. His eyes sparkled like newly cut emeralds. Kaidie could feel her heart thudding like a jackhammer against the wall of her chest.
She was beautiful, more so then he had ever thought possible when he had first seen her in his lonely world upstairs in the store. Even in her disheveled appearance, with straw clinging to her hair, her baggy clothes that were loose and ripped, and her bandaged arm he found her to be the most extraordinary and stunning woman he had ever encountered. It was all he could do to keep himself from sweeping her up in his arms and kissing her like he had dreamed of doing for so long. He wanted to feel her body in his arms, smell her skin, feel her heat burn him, taste her lips for the first time, he just wanted to touch her, to make sure she was real and not just another dream. But he didn't move, he simply stood there and stared at her in amazement.
"Can't you talk?" she asked smiling. He nodded but didn't speak.
"Then say something to me, please." He still remained quiet.
"Alright then I'll start, my name is Kaidence, hi." She moved closer to him and held out her hand.
"How do you do?"
He looked down at her offered hand and, swallowing hard, took it into his own. He almost gasped at the feel of her palm sliding against his; it was too much for him. He yanked her to him and wrapping his arms securely around her he kissed her. Her mouth was sensually soft and ripe under his. He heard her softly moan and lean into him.
She had never felt anything like it before; it was like being swept up in a golden glow so intense it pierced her to her very core, warming her like the sun. His mouth was so gentle on hers, gently teasing her into responding to him. She wound her arms around his neck, oblivious to the pain searing her arm, and pulled him as close as was humanly possible. They remained locked in each other's embrace as he pulled back and looked down into her face.
"I can't believe your real, I mean actually alive and breathing." She said quietly. He smiled and softly laughed.
"Well I am. I can not believe I can actually touch you now, it seems like a dream." His voice was so rich and warm. She felt safe and comforted for the first time since everything had happened.
"How did you manage to get out of the castle?" He asked sitting down with her.
Kaidie felt her heart skip a beat at the mention of Hadrian's castle.
"How did you manage to get out of Hadrian's sight? I am almost certain he kept you under constant surveillance."
Kaidie swallowed back the nauseating feeling that threatened to overwhelm her. What was she supposed to tell him? She couldn't very well tell him the truth, that he had seduced her and they had had wild, passionate sex and that when he had fallen asleep she had slipped out. He would hate her, despise her, and never trust her again.
"I managed to slip out while he was distracted elsewhere. It was actually surprisingly easy...finding Brenna was the hard part. But its over and done with now so lets not talk about it anymore ok?" She said desperate to get off the subject. Besides not wanting Lucas to know what had really happened, she found it surprisingly painful to think about Hadrian and what they had shared.
"So what do we do now?"
"Tomorrow we start out for my fathers house. It's a long way from here, almost four days journey, but it will take us at least five because we are carrying you and Brenna, allowances must be made." He said gently stroking her face.
"Allowances? Brenna and I are perfectly capable of keeping up with you and your friends, don't make any allowances for us, we'll be there in four days." She said defensively surprised at how offended she was at his comment.
"I'm sorry Kaidence, I did not mean to imply that the two of you could not keep up, its just that its an incredibly hard journey, even for grown men who know the way, and we will be moving quickly to keep Hadrian off our trail." He tried to explain.
He was making her angry at his attempted explanation.
"Look, Brenna and I can handle ourselves ok? We will keep up with no problem all right? We just need a change of clothes, something to eat, and some sleep." She finished rising from the bed.
He followed her up from the bed looking almost stricken from causing her to be upset.
"Please Kaidence I did not mean to upset you, I was only trying to do what I thought was best." He said taking her into his arms.
She sighed and realized she had jumped down his throat for no reason when all he had done was try and make things easier on her and Brenna.
"I'm sorry Lucas, really I am. I am just really tired and defensive from escaping from Hadrian's castle. I didn't mean to snap at you."
He kissed her head, and Kaidence couldn't help but feel like he was treating her like a fragile doll rather then a flesh and blood woman.
"Its all right. Just lay down and get some sleep and I'll send Brenna in here when dinner is ready all right?" He gently sat her down on the bed and smiled as he walked out the room.
She stared at the door for a moment resisting the urge to pick something up and throw it at the door. She wasn't going to break; he should have realized that from the thorough beating sustained by Hadrian, she and Brenna both had come out bruised and battered but none the worse for wear. They had survived escaping from a castle that she was almost sure no one had ever managed escape from before, and yet he made she and Brenna look like simple, unable to take care of themselves, helpless, pathetic creatures in need of a strong man to take care of their every need.
"What is wrong with you?" Brenna asked when she saw Kaidie's face screwed up with her dark thoughts.
"Huh? Oh nothing." She muttered.
"Yeah, right. What's the matter?" she asked again sitting down next to her.
"Just...I mean geez...its not like we're two ditzy, airhead, cheerleaders. I mean we survived that fight with Hadrian, you survived Orion and came out not to bad, and we both got out of Hadrian's castle with just a few scratches." Kaidence said ticking off their achievements on her fingers as she spoke.
"Uh-huh and...?" Brenna asked not following.
"Well he treats us like we don't know anything, oh the big scary woods...how will we survive without you?" Her every word all but dripped with sarcasm.
"Are you talking about Lucas?" Brenna asked starting to understand now.
"Yes! Who did you think I was talking about?" Kaidie paused in her ranting.
"I didn't know. What did he say to make you so mad?"
"Just that it was going to take longer to get to his dad's house then normal because WE were with him, and that they had to go slower and make quote un quote "allowances" for us since we were girls. I mean come on, how sexist is that?" Kaidence asked almost yelling as she paced the room.
"I don't think he would even know the meaning of the word sexist, but I see your point. Look calm down and relax, lord knows you and I don't need any more excitement today. What did you tell him?"
"I told him that it would not take him longer to get to the house then normal, that we could take care of ourselves and keep up with no problem. That he didn't need to bother worrying about us we are more the capable of keeping up." She finished placing her hands on her hips.
"Which is true to an extent, but maybe he was just trying to be nice and make allowances for us BECAUSE of what we've been through. I don't know about you but my body feels like its been beaten six ways from Sunday, and the thought of that trip tomorrow on horses since we could probably never get there in a couple of days on foot, does not at all appeal to my battered body. Not to mention look were we are. In another world, a place were we have no clue as to what lives here and does what. If we were on our own do you know how far we would probably get...? I'm thinking all of three feet." Brenna said smiling. Kaidie sat down next to her friend and thought about the logic sense she was making. That was probably what he had thought, realized how much pain the two would be in and wanted to try and make things a little easier on them. Why had she jumped down all over him them? It wasn't like her to be so judgmental and take things the wrong way like that. She should have known he was only trying to help, that he didn't think of her or Brenna as dolls. She sighed and gingerly rubbed her bandaged arm.
"Your right...again. I don't know why I got so upset, it just seemed as if he was trying to make us look foolish or make us appear weak or something." Kaidie mumbled.
"Yeah well, its not like we haven't had a lot to deal with the last couple of hours. I can see how the stress would make you snap. Are you ok though? I mean besides feeling like you've been hammered into the ground are you ok?" She asked gently pulling straw out of her friend's hair.
"Yeah, I'm alright, just really sore and surprisingly hungry."
"Umm...look I didn't want to ask but I'm worried. When you were alone with Hadrian he didn't...well he didn't you know...hurt you...or anything did he?"
Kaidie looked at her puzzled a moment,
"What do you mean hurt?"
"He didn't force you to do anything did he?" Brenna asked worried.
"You mean did he rape me?!" Kaidie couldn't believe this.
"Oh god he did didn't he? Oh Kaidie..." she started.
"No! No he didn't, he didn't rape me." Actually far from it, she thought.
"Oh, thank goodness. I mean if he had I would have killed him, you and he were just together so long. What did happen while you were with him?" she asked.
Why did everyone have to know what happened with her and Hadrian?! The twenty questions was driving her crazy, everyone just seemed to have to know what had transpired between the wicked prince and her. She realized she couldn't even tell Brenna, the one person she trusted above all others what had really happened, Brenna would never understand.... she didn't even understand herself.
Kaidie rose off the bed and stared at her reflection in a dingy mirror.
"Nothing really. More insults, threats, an occasional toss across the room, but nothing really." She said quietly, still holding her injured arm.
"Yeah, right. I'm not stupid Kaidie, every time that creeps name gets mentioned around you since we escaped you get all...weird." Brenna gently urged her to turn around and look at her.
"So what really happened?" she quietly asked.
Kaidence looked at her most trusted friend and felt tears threaten to spill.
"I-I can't tell you Bre, I just can't. No one would understand, not even you. Hell I don't even understand myself so I can't expect anyone else to. Besides if Lucas ever found out he...well he would never ever look at me the same way again. You wouldn't either." Kaidie said refusing to meet Brenna's gaze for fear of spilling everything to her.
"Kaidie...did you do what I think you did?" Brenna said forcing Kaidie to look at her.
She bit her lip and said nothing, she didn't have to, Brenna could read all she needed to just from the expression on her face.
"Oh Kaidie...why? I mean did he have some sort of spell on you or threaten you?"
"No, no spell, no threats. It was just...god I don't even know how to explain it to you. I mean we hate, despise, loathe each other, and just as soon kill one another as to look at the other but when we were alone; it was just like there was this unearthly strong connection that slammed us together. When I looked into his eyes I saw how he hated me, but more then that I saw how he-he, geez this will sound corny but its about the only word that really fits, I saw how much he hungered for me. I mean it was a desperate, almost painful look of such starved longing, I had never seen anything like it before, but more then that was the fact that when he looked into my eyes I know he saw the same thing...and it scared the both of us. It was almost like even if we had truly, to the depths of our souls did not want to join like we did...we didn't have a choice it was beyond our control. And god help me Brenna, it felt so right. I mean more right then anything I have ever experienced in my entire life. So we slept together, two bitter enemies. When I woke up we were lying together naked and he was still asleep, I was almost tempted to stay with him, but I knew that when he woke up he would either kill me right then, or keep me till the newness wore off and then kill me. So I left, found you, and we escaped. That was how I got away from him, and that was what really happened when he and I were alone together." Kaidie turned to look at her friend who had resumed sitting on the bed in shocked wonder.
Kaidence felt sick, she knew that she had probably just lost her most valued and trusted companion in the whole world with telling her what had really transpired between her and Hadrian. Brenna sat speechless on the bed and just stared at Kaidie.
"Please say something, you hate me, you are disgusted, anything just say something." Kaidence begged.
Brenna opened her mouth several times trying to say something but only managed a squeak or two. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
"Ok...you slept with---Hadrian," the name left her mouth dripping with disgust, "and you felt it was right, probably the most right thing you've ever felt in your life, correct so far?"
"I don't hate you and I'm not disgusted with you, however I do have a few questions. You wanted to stay with him? Even after EVERYTHING he's done, not just to us but also to this world? I've been talking with some of these people and he has done some things I think even Satan himself wouldn't agree with. He's unbelievably twisted Kaidie; I mean sick in a way that rivals all the most screwed psychotics of our world. You wanted to stay with a man capable of such horrible atrocities?"
Kaidie looked down at her feet thinking of the man that had loved her and the vile creature that lurked behind those piercing eyes. She of all people knew the type of man he was, the demented creature that lurked beneath those impossibly dark blue eyes. But for the few hours they were together that uncontrolled, depraved monster that had previously tried to kill her had disappeared leaving not a single trace of itself. He had been gentle, passionate, and desperate for her, how did she explain that to Brenna?
"I know what he is, I have heard the horror stories, and believe me I am more then aware of what lies beneath that angelic face. I've seen it, seen its effect, and been a victim to it. But when we were together...it disappeared, I mean completely, there was not a single discernable trace of the demon we all know resides there. I can't explain it, but for those few hours he was...human."
"How do you know he wasn't using you for his own devices huh?"
"I don't know, that's why I left. He lies so much there is no possible way for me to ever be able to trust him I know that. I haven't forgotten why I'm here Brenna, and what transpired between us will not affect what I have to do. He won't get to me again; I've thrown up those walls that have protected me for so long. As far as I'm concerned nothing ever happened."
Brenna got up and faced her friend.
Kaidie stared her dead in the face, "Yeah really."
Brenna smiled and hugged her, relieved that her moment of insanity had only lasted those few hours and had not clouded her judgment.
"I won't tell anyone ok? Its strictly between us." Brenna whispered.
"Look there's a change of clothes in that dresser, get changed and meet me outside for some dinner ok?" Kaidie nodded and watched her leave.
She found the clothes in the dresser and began to undress. She closed her eyes and for a brief second let herself imagine that the gentle caress of her clothes coming off was actually Hadrian touching her skin. But it was a fantasy she only let continue for a moment before mentally slapping herself back to reality...she was here to destroy him, not love him.
Continued next week...