"...don't expect to have a home or a life to come back to either."
The words reverberated around my head, echoing like some dreadful music that one couldn't get out of one's brain.
Andrion's voice broke through the painful memory, saying "I'm sorry, Alissa."
What? Had I head him correctly? Whatever could he be apologising for? I really hoped he didn't think it was his fault this had happened: it wasn't. I would never blame him for something like this. Ever.
"Wh-what?" I stammered. I looked up, trying to discern what he was apologising for from his expression. I found myself suddenly caught by dark green eyes which held so much mystery and so much depth.
He seemed equally captivated by me because he didn't reply instantly. Instead, he looked into my eyes as if drowning in them. His expression suddenly became serious and intense. I stiffened slightly.
"I shouldn't have ... been so...," he began.
So what? But he didn't seem to want to finish his sentence anymore. He looked as if he was captivated by me. He leant in closer...
"I love him, Andrion," I whispered, afraid that I wouldn't be able to resist him if his lips brushed mine and scared about Matthias's reaction if our minds ever linked again.
He blinked. "I loved you, Alissa," he told me. "... It is hard to rid oneself of those feelings..."
I empathised completely. I wasn't surprised that he had trailed off: I would find it a struggle to talk to him at this proximity too.
I gazed back, helplessly lost in those depths of love which I so desired to be immersed in.
I felt myself leaning in towards him too. I so wanted to surrender to his will, allow him to possess me again, kiss him, feel his gorgeous soul.
I pulled away quickly.
"I cannot do this...," I said, shaking my head. I felt tears prick at the corner of my eyes. I was upset not only about Matthias but also about the fact that my feelings for Andrion were being reignited against my will and at such an inappropriate moment. "I can help you, but I cannot do ... this."
He swiftly too my hand in his.
"Please forgive me," he said, kissing it and releasing it. "I am sorry... I hate to hurt you. You ... are one of my greatest friends."
I wrapped my arms around his neck and buried my head in his shoulder. He held me tightly.
A few seconds later, we let go of each other.
"Right," Andrion said. "I think that first I shall take you to Tiffany so that you can see for yourself her ... goodness."
Andrion held his hand out. I took it and closed my eyes as we teleported to the human girl's prison cell.
When we arrived, I was shocked by the conditions the girl was being forced to stay in. There was barely any light and certainly no signs of any place to sleep except the grimy floor. Cobwebs hung from the ceiling, disgustingly dusty.
The girl herself was a pitiful wreck. Her brown hair hung limp across her shadowed face, her eyes appeared almost sunken because of the bags under them and she was horribly thin. I forced myself to look at her, not wanting to give the impression I thought myself higher than her or anything.
I crouched down. "Hi," I said nervously.
She looked up.
I recoiled in shock. Her eyes were totally empty.
"A-Andrion," I whispered, trying not to throw up. "Where is her soul?"
"Alezae took it," he muttered.
I stood up - too quickly: I almost fainted. Andrion steadied me. I glanced at his hands upon my waist and was filled with sudden longing. I forgot where I was and the horrific sights confronting me. I turned in his hold and gazed deep into his gorgeous eyes.
Time seemed to stop. Andrion seemed to have forgotten the scene as well.
We were leaning towards each other, pulled by an irresistible force into the centre of a tornado where we would be stripped bare of everything outside our souls.
Our lips brushed and I blacked out.
I awoke in Andrion's house. I was lying on his sofa.
He was gazing at me helplessly from across the room.
"Remind you of anything?" he asked shakily.
"Oh yes," I replied.
The first day. The day we had started courting.
I had been walking home from high school when suddenly I had been confronted by several dark angels. Their intentions had been very bad. Very bad indeed.
They had pushed me onto the ground, ignoring the fact that I was crying and telling them to ‘Leave me alone!'
A knight in shining armour, Andrion had come upon the evil ones.
Recognising his power and knowing him to be the rightful ruler of the land, the trouble-makers had scampered.
And then, I had fainted.
Andrion had brought me back to this very same room and placed me on this very same sofa, and after a little conversation (during which I was unable to say anything other than ‘You rescued me'), we had shared our first kiss.
"What have I done?" I asked, appalled.
"What neither of us could resist doing," Andrion replied. He looked like he'd suffered a great shock. He was staring at me both longingly and with horror, punishing himself for what he had allowed to happen while wanting to kiss me again.
"So, the girl..." I said, needing to change the subject before I made another mistake.
"Doesn't matter," Andrion said, straying from the wall he had been hoping to get support from.
I lost my train of thought. "Doesn't matter," I repeated dumbly.
"That's right," he said, fixing me with an intent stare as he approached. He had evidently lost all control. "All that matters is you."
"Me," I murmured.
He knelt before me. "You." He clasped one of my hands between his. "You have to do something."
"What?" I asked, willing to do anything for him just so those eyes would keep warming my heart. Something protested deep within me but I ignored it, completely captivated by Andrion.
"Look after my heart," he answered, before leaning in and turning my world upside down.