XXI | Trust Me

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"Hi, Kaleb." Kaia was smiling widely, her eyes shining like she was the happiest person in the world. "It worked!"

"Um..." Kaleb felt like sleep was weighing him down, like a pressure behind his eyes. He rubbed them. "Why are you glowing?" 

She pursed her lips and shrugged, stepping closer and resting her hands on his chest. Kaleb looked around, confused and trying not to let her distract him. He had a bad feeling for some reason, like something was off. 

"This is a dream, isn't it?" Kaleb asked, looking around. They were in the woods still, but everything was blurry like he hadn't memorized it all that well and his dreaming brain was trying to fill in the details. 

"Absolutely," Kaia said, smiling, "That's why I'm happy." 

"Well, it's my dream," Kaleb said, smiling despite the dark worry festering in him. He touched her chin with his thumb, "Of course you'd be happy." 

Her smile faltered. "Of course." 

"Kaia, what's wrong?" Kaleb asked immediately, pulling her closer. He stared into her eyes, and they gave her away. Her dark doe eyes were where she kept her secrets. One need only look to see the darkness behind her light, that darkness that so perfectly matched his. 

Kaia's face darkened as she reached up and rested her hands on either side of his face. It was such a soft touch, and slow, like she was cherishing it. "I can't hide anything from you," Kaia said, her eyes sad. 

"That's my line," Kaleb said, tucking her hair behind her ear. God, she was beautiful. He had to be sure she knew that. He'd tell her every day from now until forever. 

Kaia smiled, a brief break in her sullen demeanor. For Kaleb, that smile was like coming up for a short gasp of air before being pulled under again. "I don't know how to tell you this, Kaleb, so I think I'll just come out and say it like ripping off a bandage." 

"This dream started out nice, but it's going downhill," Kaleb mumbled. It wasn't just a suspicion now. Kaleb knew. Something terrible was happening or had happened. Or would. 

She almost immediately broke into silent tears. Kaleb hurt looking at her like this. He leaned down and kissed her tears as he always had and always would. Kaia took a deep breath, and her voice broke when she spoke. "I have to leave." 

Kaleb, the day he'd seen his parents killed in front of him, had fallen into a deep, dark hole. He'd spent his life trying to claw himself out of it, but it had been too steep, too rocky. And then there was Kaia. She appeared above him, glowing and silver; he'd looked up at her like she was the moon, the only thing he could see far above him, another world outside of his hole. She was his moon and his hope. 

She reached down and pulled him out of his hole with graceful ease. The moment he kissed her, his world was bright again. 

And when she said she was leaving it was like sinking, sinking back into the dark hole he'd only just escaped, more and more every second. 

It must have shown on his face because Kaia's eyes immediately filled with worry. "No, no I'm not leaving leaving, Kaleb. Oh my god." 

"You promised you wouldn't," Kaleb said quietly, staring into her eyes, scanning them for an explanation. What was she thinking? Why would she leave him now of all times?

"Kaleb," Kaia repeated, her voice desperate. She stood on her toes and wrapped her arms tightly around his neck. She hugged him tightly, comforting him. "I'm not going to break my promise. I'm coming back." 

"I can't read your thoughts, Kaia," Kaleb said weakly, wrapping his arms around her waist. "So you need to tell me what's going through your head." 

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