I found Talon in his room after apologizing to his parents for my late arrival. It was only nine thirty p.m., but I felt it was impolite, however Raquel and Gideon were not offended in the least. The children were still awake anyway. They were finishing up a movie in the living room when I arrived, but the moody Talon had sequestered himself to his room after dinner.
I knocked on his door softly. But there was no reply. I pressed my ear to the door and could hear muffled music. I knocked harder. This time the door opened and he was standing there with headphones wrapped around the back of his neck. He looked freshly showered, smelled the way Granny’s cookies made me feel, was only in a pair of black mesh shorts, and looked surprised to see me. We took each other in a few seconds, and I admit I took in his fine abs for longer than was necessary before I spoke.
“Can we talk?” I ask when I finally pulled my eyes back to his.
“Yeah of course,” he said. “Do you want to take a walk or something?”
“That sounds good.”
I waited for him to pull on a t-shirt he picked up off the floor and slip into a pair of sneakers. Gideon and Raquel didn’t say anything about the late hour or the inconvenience, because they knew as well as Talon and I did things couldn’t continue the way they were between us and this talk was long overdue.
Most of the others were in for the night, but twice we passed another living soul, once it was Paul and Cambry sneaking around looking for a place of solitude themselves, and another time it was Job Morgan doing some kind of ground surveillance of the camp that night. We chatted a bit with all of them. Afterwards, we slowly gravitated towards the lake, like we always seemed to do.
The night was warm but pleasant and it was too cloudy to see the moon or any stars. The forecast was calling for a storm to blow in overnight, which I secretly and irrationally feared would not pass until after our wedding. But right now I felt as though the calm before the storm inside of me. This conversation had the potential to be cleansing or devastating.
Neither of us spoke as we made our way down the dock and sat down. Talon had his phone using it as a flashlight, although the lights around the camp kept it from being completely dark. He shone the light out across the water and zig zagged it across the dock for distraction or entertainment while I rubbed my bare arms and worked up where to start.
“Talon, tell me the truth. Do you still want to go through with it?” I asked.
The light on the dock stilled and he looked up at me. “Why? Are you having second thoughts?”
“No. But I think you are. I’m sorry. I love you and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about practicing my healing thing because I was terrified this would happen. That you’d look at me the way you did five days ago. That you’d be angry and hurt. I didn’t want to hurt you or let you down. But I can see now I did just that by not coming clean sooner and I’m so sorry.”
I would not cry I told myself. My tears were not a fair weapon to use. They weakened him and I refused to drawl them now. But it was hard looking at him and feeling the regret and guilt.
“I am hurt and I’m angry, Mera. Not just because you kept it from me, but it’s mostly because I’m scared to death of you getting hurt. I can’t bear the thought of seeing you the way I did when I woke up in Mexico and you were dead,” he said softly.
I drew my knees up to my chest.
“I know. I feel the same way about you. But Talon, if I don’t learn how to control it, it puts me and you and everyone I love at even greater risk. Just like what happened with Levi St. John with my soulcatching powers. Fearing and denying something won’t stop it from hurting you. The best way to face it is with knowledge.”
“That scares the hell out of me,” he admitted. “You don’t scare me, Mera, but this healing thing does. It’s not natural.”
I laughed sarcastically. “It scares the hell out of me too. Did you really expect a natural relationship when you fell for a shifter?”
“I fell for you, Mera. You being a shifter doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change the way I feel about you. I love you for who you are.”
“Or what I am? Because it does matter Tal. It’s a part of who or what I am. Are you sure you want to tie yourself to me when I have no idea what I am or what I can do? I am a freak even among my own kind.”
My voice went up an octave or two and I struggled against my emotions. I was not going to cry dammit! I looked away from him and out towards the water.
I could hear him scooting across the deck until he was right next to me. Then he pulled me next to him and I almost lost my battle against myself. With his free hand he gripped my chin softly and made me look at him.
“I know who you are Mera. You are the most amazing person I’ve ever met. You are a far better person than I’ll ever be. And don’t you dare ever let yourself or anyone else convince you are anything else. You’re the most human person I know.”
“How can you be so sure what I am? I am freakin’ terrified Talon. I try to just roll with it and empower myself, pretend like I’ve got a handle on this thing, but I don’t know of any shifters that have all three of the talents, let alone can heal people by touching them! Vincent seems to think that I am the One Foretold. Like some prophesized savior to my people or something. But I feel like I’m the one who brings misery and dark things to those I love. I’m no one’s savior. I can’t even save myself and I’m barely holding it together.”