Sitting around the oblong dining table, the roll of laughter ebbed.  Micah’s parents hadn’t aged a day to Eden; Lacey was still slender with short blonde hair, Jared was tall, muscular, with the thickest black hair she’d ever seen.  Caleb, Micah’s brother, now a junior at UVA, was home for the weekend. Micah leaned over informing her Caleb was into body building and swears up and down he’s not on steroids.

Eden wasn’t so sure; he was a giant.  After eating, the two families retired to the living room to visit.  Without a word to anyone, Micah slipped from the room.  Feeling more confident since his apology, she followed.  Crossing the front entry, she found him in the formal sitting room.  He stood with feet shoulder width apart, and hands clasped behind his back.  She hesitated. Maybe he doesn’t want to be disturbed.   I don’t think he knows I’m here yet. Maybe I’ll just slip out…

His body stiffened, a groan escaping, like he’d been punched in the gut. 

Micah, are you ok?” she asked, moving close. She was surprised to see his eyes were shut.  She watched as his brows furrowed deeper, creasing his forehead.

Is that sweat above his lip?  It’s like he’s having a nightmare…standing up.

“Micah,” she touched his shoulder.

His eyes flew open and searched the room.  Finally his gaze landed on her.  She dropped her hand.

“Eden?” he panted.

“Are you ok?”

“Yeah. Was I…were you in here long?”

“No, just came in.”

He swiped his forehead. “Oh.”

Trying to act like nothing had happened, she turned saying, “I still love it.”

“What?” His breathing was ragged.

“That,” she pointed at the painting behind the couch. 

Impressionistic strokes depicted a downtown street in Paris caught in a torrent of rain.  Her favorite part was the café, the round tables in the courtyard empty because of the inclement weather.  Inside the windows, she could see people gathered in the warm glowing restaurant.  She remembered each little scene at the white tables visible through the windows.  The young couple holding hands at one table, the single woman shaking her umbrella out at another, the man holding his newspaper up with one hand while drinking from a coffee mug, the waiter displaying a bottle of wine to another table, and the little girl with her face plastered against one of the windows with the look of yearning to play in rain while her parents chatted behind her.  The painting was on canvas, there was no glass, but she could have sworn in that moment she saw something, like a glimmer of light. 

Eden gasped: it was like the painting became a mirror, the reflection of a woman with long black hair was staring back at them.  Her dark red dress clung to her body, the skin on her face and chest had a pearly glow. The woman’s gaze shifted from Micah to her.  Her inky black eyes widened, her lips spreading into a bewitching smile as she raised an arm, extending one slender finger toward Eden.

She’s pointing at me!  Terrified, Eden opened her mouth to scream, but Micah muffled it with his chest as he pulled her to him.

A warm hand landed under her jaw, lifting her chin up to him.  “Eden, what did you see?” 

Being in his arms, his blue eyes studying her, their faces inches apart, she realized there might be another reason why her heart was thumping now.

She didn’t have time to answer, Brendon barged into the room.  He stopped short.   “Ah, mom wanted me to get you for dessert.”

By the time Brendon finished relaying his message, Micah had released her, and they had stepped apart. 

The AwakenerRead this story for FREE!