Jorah and Aleena held each other as they stood next to the floor to ceiling window in their bedchamber. Their eyes trailed Ian and Sonora as they left the city, their faces mirrored the sadness they felt in their son.
"I'd thought when Aunt Coral had given her approval the worse was over," Aleena said as she wiped away the tears that were coursing down her cheeks.
"Me too, darling." Jorah's voice was gruff with emotion, and though he'd tried to hold back the tears, he was failing.
"We can make her stay, even if he won't."
Jorah slowly shook his head, admonishing his wife. "You know as well as I do, that if she is not happy, he will not be."
Unable to watch any further, Aleena tore her gaze from her son's bent shoulders and buried her head in her husband's chest. "Our emotions are the blessing and the curse of Atlantis."
Head bowed, Sonora sat in front of Ian on his bike as they moved through the ocean to her home. His arms circled her as he drove. He had sat her in front of him, and Sonora hadn't had the heart to deny him this last bittersweet pleasure.
Neither one of them had spoken this morning. Sonora had spent the night tossing and turning. On more than one occasion, she'd gotten up and gazed out the window at the dark sea and wondered what it would be like to live there, but once the morning had broke, she knew the answer. It was the same one that she had given to Ian the night before.
When she had walked out of her room, Ian had quietly handed her something to eat and motioned for her to follow him.
Now, the ride back seemed both longer and shorter than she remembered. It was definitely less frightening, but much more tortured. Ian was a good man; she knew that now. A really good man. But to give up everything she had ever known, possibly forever, he would need to be better than a really good man.
Her feelings did not match his, didn't even come close to what he was feeling. And if she were honest, the intensity of his scared her a little. She could tell that by the pain she saw in his eyes every time she looked at him.
Her tears made their way through her mask and mixed with the salt water as they traveled back home. When they were close, they got off the bike and made their way to the surface.
They stood waist deep in the water, just out of sight of the beach, to say their goodbyes.
"Can I just--," Ian said as he reached for her hand and gently took it into his. His other hand slowly, lightly traced each of her fingers. For a while, no words were exchanged. Only the calls of the birds, the swells of the ocean and the inhale and exhale of their own breathing could be heard.
Keeping his gaze on the patterns he made on her hands, Ian said, "You take my heart with you. Treat it kindly, perhaps one day, you will bring it back to me."
"I'm so sorry, Ian. Maybe when I'm older." She reached out and laid her hand on his cheek. When he raised his eyes to her, Sonora saw more than sadness. She saw fear. The emotion, she could tell, was a stranger to him, he wore it so uncomfortably. Yet he was afraid. Afraid of losing her? Afraid of what his life would be like after she left?
The heaviness of this load weighed on her, causing her to lower her head so she couldn't see the emotion so clearly written on his face.
Tears dripped from her eyes and splashed onto their clasped hands. Sonora's voice broke on her words, words she already knew the answer to, "What is it you want from me?"
"I want you to feel the way I do. But if you cannot, I want you to go and never tell me where you are. Because if you do, I will not be able to stay away. I will come for you and drag you back to my home."
Sonora gave the smallest shake of her head. She didn't want to stay hidden from him. Ian put a hand under her chin and raised her head. Her gaze flew to his. Tears were flooding his eyes, but his tone was firm. "Do you understand?"
Sonora nodded. Her eyes searched his face, memorizing it before she looked down at their hands. Her small, pale ones in his large, darker ones. She squeezed his once, then pulled and broke their connection.
Turning toward the beach, she took a step. Just one, before turning back and flying into Ian's arms. Tightly embracing, Sonora listened to the thumping of his heart as her head lay against his bare chest. She felt him lay his head upon hers and said, "I wish..."
"I know." The words rumbled through Ian's chest, and she closed her eyes.
Once again she pulled away, then quickly turned and walked through the waves toward the beach. This time she didn't look back until she reached the shore, but try as she might, she couldn't find him.
A/N: Oh man, sorry I bummed you out. :(
I have added a foreword and prologue that you will pry want to check out. With a little nudge from my husband and daughter, I realized that what I thought was two stories was really two sides of the same one. As mentioned in the foreword, if you only want to read Sea Bound, you will find a complete story as it can be read as a stand-alone book. But if you are also reading the Sanctuary's Aggression series, you will see that this story will enrich that one and include some crossover characters!
How am I going to merge two seemingly entirely different stories, you say? lol. Very carefully! I have already been laying the groundwork. Maybe some of you have picked up on that. :)
Whatever you decide to read, I hope you enjoy it. :)
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Sea Bound (A Sanctuary's Aggression Novel)Science Fiction
#159 on Scifi Hot List. A Golden Pen, Pen and Ink, and Rose Award Winner. In this sci-fi fantasy, Sonora yearns for more than life has given her until the day a shadow becomes a guide to a world she could never have imagined. A new world that offers...