XVI | Clouds and Round Edges

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Kaia had decided that it was possible for a person to own another's thoughts. She used to think that even if the entire world was working against her--as she often felt it was--at least she could keep her mind under control. It's a terrifying thing to realize that another owns even your innermost self. No matter what you're doing, you're thinking of him.

Kaia was standing in the shower. Well, more like she was leaning in it because she didn't feel strong enough to hold herself up without help from the wall. Rosy had hesitated to let Kaia do everything on her own, but Kaia had insisted. She wanted to be alone.

Well, no. Kaia didn't want to be alone; she wanted to be with Kaleb. She took in a shaky breath and stared at the spiral of red by her toes. Kaleb's blood was steadily twisting down the drain. "Kaia, dear," Rosy called, "Come on out now."

Kaia bit the inside of her cheek so hard she thought she tasted blood. It was a distraction, like the little sting of pain would be enough to win control of her mind back. But it didn't work. Kaia was still thinking about Kaleb as she squeaked the water off. She remembered his blood as she let the last few drops fall onto her face. Kaia even pictured his eyes as she stepped out and wrapped herself in a towel, slowly dressing like a zombie.

When she finally opened the door, weary, Rosy was hovering nearby, wringing her hands. "You look much better," she said, stepping forward and smoothing some of Kaia's hair from her face.

Kaia stared as Rosy fretted over her. The longer she looked, the more she understood how shaken Rosy was. Rosy's hands were slightly trembling. Her lips were pressed together like she was determined to hold back tears. "Are you ok?" Kaia asked, reaching up and taking Rosy's hand.

Rosy froze for a minute before she let out a deep sigh. It was the sort of sound that made Kaia believe that a bit of Rosy had floated up into the air, leaving her weaker than before. Rosy shook her head slowly, meeting Kaia's eyes. "I watched that boy grow up," she said, her eyes sad, "I saw him grow from just a baby to the man that he is now, saw all of the responsibilities piled onto his shoulders."

Kaia watched as Rosy's expression became fond. It was comforting, seeing that Kaleb had someone who cared so much for him. "He's had so much darkness in his life, Kaia, that it feels like a miracle to see him smile again. He's convinced that the whole world is simply bad, because how else could so many terrible things happen if it wasn't?"

Rosy sighed again and rubbed Kaia's arms, smiling sadly, "There was little I could do about it after his parents died. So I'm afraid it falls to you, dear, to help him see the truth: that there's light in the world if you look for it."

Kaia's heart ached, and she pressed a hand to her chest, nodding. "But he's...he's-"

"He won't die, lovely," Rosy interrupted as if she'd read Kaia's thoughts, "He'll fight. I've already noticed the change in him...because he's found you. He's finally found his light, and he'll do everything in his power to keep you close, even if that means telling death to go screw himself."

Kaia quickly reached up and swiped a single tear away, nodding. Rosy smiled warmly and pulled Kaia close. It was such an overwhelming hug, and for a moment it was all Kaia was thinking about, how warm she was. But when Rosy let go of her again, all of Kaia's worries came flooding back. "Where's my brother?"

"He said that he'd wait in the hall for you," Rosy replied, leading Kaia to the door, "He was quite worried."

Kaia smiled, following Rosy. As soon as the door opened and Kaia stepped outside, Cole was on her, asking her questions, "Kaia, can you tell me what the hell is happening? Why the hell do you know the Alpha of Whispers? And I swear to god I heard you say that he was your mate, but-"

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