Chapter 19

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   I leaned against a counter in Leigh's clinic, staring at Keira, holding my breath. Leigh stood behind her, gently unwrapping her wing for the final time.

It had been a long few weeks. Every day my feelings for Keira grew stronger and every night, I would haunt the skies till I was exhausted, trying to reason with myself and believe that when this day finally arrived, I would have answers.

It took every molecule of fortitude I could muster to keep Keira at bay, when all I desired was to fold myself into her, create a universe where only we existed. We'd finally made it through to the day that would decide things. Keira's wing was healed and we would fly. And then anything was possible.

Leigh carefully loosened the wrappings. As they fell away, he tested her wing, gently pulling and stretching, asking if it hurt.

"No," said Keira, "It feels good. A little weak, but good."

"Then you should be fine to hit the sky again..." began Leigh. Keira's eyes shot up to meet mine, her face shining in anticipation. I realised my heartbeat was fast, pulsing in my neck and head.

Leigh went on. "...In a few days. I'd like to see you do some training and stretching, you'll have lost a lot of strength in the last weeks."

Keira visibly deflated. "But I'm fine? I'm healed? Why can't I just give it a go tonight?"

"You could," said Leigh, "But I'd really rather you take it easy. I'm not in the mood to patch you up again if you crash and burn out there." He gave a weak smile and turned to go. "I'm getting dinner on, I'll give you guys a call when it's up."

Alone in the clinic, I released a breath I didn't know I'd been holding. A reprieve. At least a couple more days to decide which direction to go.

Keira stood. "I need some air. Come with me."

We padded quietly up the stairs and Keira led the way out onto balcony. She stood against the railing, stretching her wings in and out. Even in simple denim shorts and a black tank, her elegance mesmerised me.

I leaned against the railing and asked a normal question. "Are you okay?"

A half-smile flickered across her features. "I'm not very good at waiting, Noah. You asked me to wait until I was healed." She pressed close to me, catching me off guard. "And now, I am." She tilted her face up to me and with everything inside me screamed to bring my lips down to hers, to recreate and expand on that single, remarkable kiss we had shared at the end of our date.

Instead, I pulled back. "I asked if we could wait until you could fly. It's only a few days off."

"No," she said simply. "It's not." Before I could stop her, Keira lifted herself up onto the railing and launched off.

"Keira!" I yelled, jumping after her with visions of broken bones and bleeding skin slamming through my head.

She fell, but only for a moment. Her wings snapped out tight, pushing against the air, moving her skyward. I could see the right wing was struggling, but only a little and she was quickly gaining height. I shadowed her closely, following her up through the cloud bank and only settling in beside her when I was sure she wouldn't drop suddenly from my side.

"That wasn't smart," I said, when I finally trusted my voice to come out level.

Keira looked over at me with an impish grin. "I told you, I'm bad at waiting. Come on, let's have some fun."

We flew like nothing I'd ever experienced before. We darted in and out of clouds, gasping with the sudden cool on our skin. We chased each other with a playful intensity, dropping as close to the water below as we dared. We glided and free-wheeled, looped and zoomed. Keira was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen in the air before. Eagles couldn't compare.

Eventually I could see she was tiring on her unused wing, so I led her down to the beach, just south of the house. A light rain had set in as we landed on the wet sand, both of us panting, exhilarated. My body took over. I pulled Keira to me, crushing her face to mine, tangling my hands in her hair. She returned my kisses just as strongly, her mouth open and willing. I felt her hands on my chest, her breath in my mouth. I was lost.

She pulled away without warning, her wet shirt plastered against her skin. In one swift movement, she pulled it over her head, along her wings and dropped it in the sand. Helpless, I moved in, running my fingers over her perfect creamy skin, tracing every line of her flat belly, her gorgeous shoulders, her long neck. I lay down and pulled her on top of me, watching the gentle swell of her chest rising under her black bra. Our lips met again, our hands everywhere and our skin damp and slippery.

It was well into the small hours of the morning. The beach was empty. We were out of sight of the house. We could have taken things as far as we wanted and not a soul would have known.

I would know, came the small answer from inside of me. So would He.

Something inside me broke. I couldn't make this choice. I didn't have to; it had already been made for me.

I sat up, pushing her off me and closing my eyes so I wouldn't have to see hers. "I can't do this."

"What?" Her voice was breathless, bewildered.

"I can't have you. I'm not supposed to." I pushed to my feet and began to walk back towards the house.

"What are you talking about?" she cried from behind me. "What did I do?"

"I can't see you anymore."

I felt her arms close around me, warm and damp. "Noah, please. Whatever you're feeling, we can work through this." Her touch was so gentle, her words so soft. I felt myself melting back into her.

"No!" I yelled. Yelling at myself, yelling at the situation. I shoved away and began to run.

"Noah!" I heard her cry but I couldn't comforther. I had to fly. I spread my wings and soared off as fast asphysically possible. I didn't lookback. I didn't know where I was goingeither, so I just kept my eyes on the horizon, sailing towards nothing at all,except a new day I couldn't bear to face. 

Oh Noah.  I find religious angst so fascinating - but putting beliefs to the side, have you ever had to break up with someone when you didn't want to?  Maybe your parents disapproved, or long distance was too hard, or one of you never wanted children and the other did - let me know in the comments!

All votes welcome, all comments welcome - I know this little love triangle is broken at the moment, but I promise to fix it eventually.  More soon, xxoo Kate

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