This question is the basis for a two-part series of books very close to my heart, because I wrote them. They tell a complicated love story through the eyes of a teenaged girl; a girl who lives in a paranormal world where anything seems possible.
I’m having a FREE promotion of “Enchanted Awakening” Today (November 1st) and tomorrow, so feel free to head on over to Amazon and download it to your kindle!
Here’s a little preview:
It was one of those days where the sky was grey and stony. The trees were stretched back and quivering as if being drawn back on a sling shot by a weak elbow. What was left of the snow was just a ground cover of heavy slush which seeped through your boots and soaked your socks.
I used to love the winter: swallowing shocking breaths of air, falling back into the snow and looking up at the mysterious hazy sky, catching snowflakes on my tongue, and skating. I loved skating. That all seems so far away now; one day changed all of that.
It’s been over a year since I lost him. And I’d give anything, anything, to get him back. But I failed him that day, and nothing can change that.
The stormy fall sky overhead brews the last of its thunderstorms and soon winter will come again with its ghastly, hungry arms…
The snowflakes were falling, lush and heavy on our faces as we trudged to the old pond just behind my house. It was usually a half hour walk, but today the slush seemed to soak up our steps a few moments longer than usual. The sky was grey and white and weaved like the matted coat of a wolf; I loved winter days like this. And I loved him.
“Sheesh, can’t you hurry it up a bit?” Cameron turned round to look at me, his sultry face as if it were carved by angels. I raised a defiant eyebrow at him. He must have anticipated my thoughts because he quickly whipped back round and started running before I could lunge forward and tackle him into the snow.
“Yeah that’s right I can hurry it up a bit!” I shouted, still running at him and then screamed when he suddenly turned round, grabbed me and pulled us both over into the snow. We laughed as our breath struggled to return. He had one arm under my back and his hand was probably falling asleep but he’d never tell me that, he’d only ever mention it after I got up and the pins and needles set in. He was looking up at the sky which gave me the chance to take him all in. He had the most delicate curves to his face, a straight, small nose, an attractive, flowing jaw line, and these docile blue eyes, as cold as the Indian ocean. He brushed some messy blonde hair from his face and looked at me. My chest was still rising and falling heavily but I tried to hold my breath as steady as I could so he’d kiss me. He did, and it sent this glowing rush through me that I could feel burning hot in my cheeks. By now our faces were plenty damp with snow and I watched the droplets skydive from the tips of his eyelashes.
“What are you thinking?” I asked, always interested in what he’d have to say. At first when we started dating I thought he’d say something like sex or hockey, but it never was like that with him.
“Just thinking about you.”
“You’re always thinking about me,” I laughed, “I think you just say that.”
“Don’t you think about me?”
“All the time,” I told him. It was no exaggeration.
“So what about me are you thinkin?” I asked.
“Just about how I can’t believe what a beautiful girl I have laying here beside me.” He looked right at me as he said it, his eyes brushing over the curves of my face. He almost always said the most perfect thing like that. It still made my insides blaze when he’d say it. In my head I would question it over a million times… me? He thinks I’m beautiful? But I’d look into his polar-blue eyes and know it to be true.
“Anything else about the beautiful girl?” I smiled cheekily.
“Yeah,” He said, “She’s making my arm fall asleep!”
I scrunched up my nose and stuck my tongue out at him, pulled him to his feet and made sure I was a few steps ahead before I called, “Sheesh, can’t you hurry it up a bit?”
I darted forward, laughing as the slush squelched under my boots. I was doubled-over by the time I reached the clearing in the trees where the pond lay, trying to catch my breath. The air felt like frozen lava in my throat and lungs, a feeling, unlike most, which I loved about the winter. He soon caught up with me, collapsing in a heap on the ground beside me, and rolling onto his back.
“Ya still alive?” I asked, puffing out each word. In response he lifted from the elbow down of his right arm making a gesture with two fingers which meant a little.
“Good,” I smiled in response, “Cause I’m going first.”
He shook his head meekly. We’d had the conversation a few times already and he knew to what I was referring. I had told him that one day when we each grew old with age, if he left the world before me I would be following faithfully behind him. He tried to make me promise to keep living afterwards, but it was one promise I never could make, because I knew that I could not keep it. He continued to shake his head, a certain sadness in his eyes.
“Mmm-hmm,” I nodded my head smiling, knelt down and gave him an upside-down kiss. That’s how I won most of our disputes.
I slipped his navy satchel off his shoulder and rummaged around under the extra scarves and gloves we’d brought until I found my skates. He sat up finally, his breath returned. I handed him his black hockey skates. He weaved the laces back and fourth with the gentleness in which he handled everything, his attention fixed on them. When his attention was on me, I could feel it in every grain of my body; it was as if it were me and him against a white backdrop of nothing. He tightened the second bow of his skates and with a modest lift of his head it was just the two of us again.
The rain a few days ago had melted the snow atop the pond and formed a perfect glassy surface which my skates sliced across like silver. I sketched loops in the ice, letting my arms fly out from my body in my spins trying to contain all the happiness that threatened to erupt from my lungs.
He skated a few quick circles around the perimeter of the pond and moved with all the precision and speed of a leopard in the night. After his third round he took my hand and we moved unmindfully around the ice together. He warned me about a weak spot in the ice at the other end so we stayed on the half closer to the path from which we’d come. We were talking about our plans to go camping in the spring; thinking up everything our parents might say and how we’d convince them that at age sixteen and newly seventeen (my birthday being in October, his in early January) we were plenty mature enough to go. I remember also talking about my math teacher Mrs. Fox, and how much I loathed her.
“And then she was like… well maybe if you paid a little more attention and studied more!” My arms were flapping to transmit the frustration of it all and I could feel the pink in my cheeks. “Uggghhhh!” I finally breathed.
“You okay now?” He skated a few strides forward and took my hands.
“Yeah,” I frowned.
“You know you’re cute when you’re mad right?”
“Mmm-hmm,” I nodded, my soaked face so close to his that our noses were touching.
“And you know you’re beautiful?” He told me quietly. I could feel his breath on my chin. His voice looked like red crushed velvet, moved like the sun at daybreak and tasted like nectar. It was not just a sound, but a thing that appealed to every sense. Not only was his voice low and sumptuous, but how he used it; what he said, cured me. Things weren’t always this easy. There was a time when I believed no one would ever love me because of how I looked; but he changed that.
“And sweet…” He purred, “And smart, even if Mrs. Fox doesn’t seem to think so…” A quick breath escaped my nose as I smiled, “And wonderful… and you know what my favourite one is?” I shook my head just so he’d say it. “That I love you.”
The effect those words had on me was one of the most powerful things I’d ever experienced. I could hear them a hundred times over, and still I could feel them run through my body the way you can feel hot chocolate run down your throat on a cold day, warming you. They made me want to laugh, cry and burst.
“I love you too,” I whispered. And then we kissed, a kiss that was lovely and affectionate and escalated to blazing and hungry.
When I couldn’t take it anymore, I pulled my lips from his so that we wouldn’t get carried away. I wanted to be next to his safe, naked flesh. I was flushed and breathless and my whole body felt paralysed, stupid and wonderful.
“Had enough?” I asked playfully, pretending as if I didn’t want to kiss him just as much as he wanted to kiss me.
“Nope,” He smiled.
“Well then you’re gonna have to come get me!” I turned quickly on my heels and raced forward. I looked back over my shoulder and quickened my pace. I was a more graceful skater, but I knew he was faster. I pushed myself forward, still numb to everything around me. The dampness whipped against my face as I raced across the ice, avoiding capture by mere misses. That’s when I felt a crackle under my skates; it wasn’t loud but was enough to jar me back to reality. I felt my heart skip as the ice began to break under me, panic set in but I moved swiftly ahead. The cracking grew louder, tracing frozen lightening into the ice, and just when I thought I’d outrun the bolt, came the most deafening crack of all.
I remembered he was right behind me. My head by fear and instinct wrenched backwards immediately, and I saw him fall. For a second he was there; the white and blue of his ski jacket, his black slush pants, his blond hair tucked into his hood, and then the next there was just water. My stomach lurched in a way that made me feel more sick than I ever had and then it seemed that time had frozen; an incredible silence followed the storm on the ice. It was as if I were outside myself, watching my face frozen in panic, my deep breaths visible even through the thickness of my winter layers. Finally the shock wore off, and in its place returned an all-consuming sense of horror. I collapsed to my knees.
“Cameron!” I was hysteric, my breaths heavy and unstoppable; my hands couldn’t stay still and pranced around the ice in front of me. The seconds clicked by. I could feel the tears forming behind my eyes, my mouth warping in that horrible way it always does when I’m trying not to cry. I pounded the ice, tears beginning to stream, whispering his name over and over. I needed him. My cries grew frantic.
“Cameron!” I screamed at the water in tortured pain, my face now condensed in epileptic sobs. Everything in my throat strained to shout his name, the words scraping my throat and crucifying the still air. My lips were quivering, my body was shaking in a way I couldn’t suppress, I felt as if I were being choked to death. I crawled forward, wild with horror. His head broke the surface.
“Cameron!” I called to him. Relief and joy shot through me much too quickly.
“Don’t come any closer you’ll fall in.” His lips were already purpley, his teeth chattering but I could tell he was trying to sound strong. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to place my lips on his; breathe warmth into him; give him all the heat I had in my body; save us, at least save him.
A bitter wind crept up on the stillness. The mangled silver sky was being whisked away to make room for viperous purples. The trees, hovering like soldiers around us stood resolutely at attention. My eyelashes were no longer damp, but heavy with ice. Inside my damp socks my toes throbbed with the cold. I couldn’t imagine the mind-numbing sting of the water.
He was trying to grip the ice around him, but every time he’d nearly get his elbows on a piece it would give way. Each time a new piece broke felt as if I were being stabbed through the stomach and I’d reel with an indescribable pain. I scrambled forward.
“Here, grab my hand!” I reached for him, but before he could reach my hand the ice gave way around him and the water clawed him back under.
“Cameron!” I screamed. The rings in the water pooled where his head had just been and I wondered sickeningly if I’d ever see his face again. I got to my feet to run to the nearest tree; maybe if I could break a branch off and dunk it under he could grab hold. But just as I rose I saw a flash of blonde and his head broke the surface again.
“Try again,” I yelled at him, dropping to my knees and extending my hand. His icy glove grabbed hold. I cupped my other hand around it and pulled with both hands. Cameron struggled in the water. His lips turned all shades of pink and purple, I could tell the hypothermia was already setting in and I had to move fast.
“Come on,” I groaned, pulling at him with all my strength. He got one leg nearly up onto the ice. My fingers were frozen and stiff, not properly working but I held an iron grip. I wouldn’t let go. I pulled harder and when I thought I couldn’t pull anymore I pulled harder than that. The water was slowly freeing him. And just when it looked as if it might all be okay. The ice broke under me.