The Logn Road Home, Ch 16: Off the Beaten Trail

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But finally, I was exasperated, and I had to ask her what the hell was going on.

You see, an empath isn't a mind-reader. I can feel what's going on inside someone, but that doesn't mean I necessarily understand their thoughts. If I know them well enough, it's not too hard to make an educated guess. For example, if some stranger nearby me is angry, I will feel their anger, but I will have no idea why they're angry. It could be they're angry at something or someone external...or that they're angry at themselves.

By then I knew the timbre and tenor and taste of Alice's emotions pretty well, but this revelation of her past had awakened something inside her that I'd never experienced before. I felt her fear and her regret and her pain and her disappointment, but I had no real idea what it was all about, except as a response to those horrible old/new raw memories.

She looked up at me with huge, fearful eyes, and I could feel her indecision. She was trying to decide whether to tell me what was going on. And that irritated me. Like she didn't trust me, again. As if I hadn't been working hard to earn that trust. But I took a deep breath and squashed that irritation down, not wanting her to be put off telling me anything because she'd felt my own irrational reaction.

"I'm scared, Jasper." Her words were like bricks, one by one, falling flat and heavy between us. She closed her eyes and swallowed before going on, giving me time to become even more puzzled. "I feel...I feel like I'm losing it. Losing my mind, that is. And I feel weak and...and..."

"What?" I kissed the tip of her nose, pushing all the encouragement and acceptance and love I could dredge up from inside me and letting it wash all over her; I felt her relax, her face softening."What? Tell me. Anything."

"I'm afraid you might not love me, if you realized how weak and vulnerable I am."

Shock. That's the only word I can use to describe what I felt then.

"Are you completely out of your mind?" I immediately regretted the words, but it was too late to take them back, and besides, it was ludicrous for her to even consider that.

She blinked. Bit her lip savagely. "Maybe?" She screwed her eyes shut, not wanting to look at me. "Who'd want someone like me? First a freak with no past. Now a freak with a past she wants to forget. The only part of me that's worthwhile is the part of me that's caused all the problems in the first place, and when I don't have it, I realize how very...I'm...worthless. Damaged goods."

I rolled my eyes and shook my head. "Silly woman." I ran my fingers across her cheekbone, stroked the line of her arm until I took her hands in mine. "Not to me."

Alice looked down at her hands, pulling them away from mine to wash together nervously in her lap. "Not if you realized how...how normal I am, if I didn't have my sight. My mind is all defective. And I'm nothing special, if you take the sight away. Which apparently isn't that hard to do. So why would you want me?"

"Alice," I growled, and I was not just growling for effect. I was starting to get mad, and she felt it: her eyes met mine, wide and a bit frightened. I shook my head, my anger building. This was silly. I had to nip it in the bud. Such things just couldn't be allowed to take root between us.

"Alice, I'll show you exactly how much I want you."

So I took her by the arms and I pressed her onto her back, holding her against the ground by her shoulders, letting her feel the full weight of me upon her for a moment; I felt her breathing quicken as she wondered what I was going to do to her. And I looked down at her, holding her eyes with mine, and I "opened the bottle" as Alice called it. I let it all out, let the fullness of my love for her envelop her, the depth of my lust and admiration for her saturate her, the complete insanity of my devotion cover her, compounded by the weight of my physical body on hers, which throbbed with desire for her, almost constantly. And then, as her eyes began to roll back into her head, I kissed her neck.

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