Part Six

            A mind that was not his sent a command for his body to move.  He clumsily lunged forward and scooped up her body.  Ari made Tristan cradle her head lovingly and look into her body’s eyes.  His touch was the first thing she wanted to feel and his eyes were the first thing she wanted to see. 

            Send me back, she commanded.

            “You must stay calm,” he whispered.  Tristan put his hand on her forehead, closed his eyes, and concentrated.  Ari suddenly felt like she was falling at the speed of sound.  The panic wanted to consume her but she didn’t let it.

            And then she was back.  Her eyes flew open and she began to gasp for air.  She felt like she was pumping air into a bicycle tire the more she breathed.  Then she felt like the world was shaking underneath her as she gained control of her body.  Ari was panicking now, grabbing onto anything she could find that was solid.  Thankfully, Tristan was there for her.  He was the calm in the center of her personal storm. 

            When the shaking had stopped, she relaxed in his arms.

            “Is it over, love?” he asked, caressing the side of her face.

            She nodded and sat up.  “We should get home.”

            Tristan helped her stand.  “I know somewhere that will get us home quickly.  Follow me.”  She fell into step behind him.  What she saw nearly stopped her heart.  Deep scars cut across her immortal’s back.  Dried blood had colored them a garnet so dark it was almost black.  Without thinking, Ari reached out and lightly brushed her fingertips against one of them. 

            Tristan screamed in pain and whirled on her, unadulterated anger flashing in his blue eyes.  “Never touch me there.”    The look on his face scared her.  Tristan was looking at her like she was the enemy. 

            “I’m sorry,” she whispered, cowering.  He took in her fearful expression and relaxed a little. 

            “Love, it’s not your fault.  You didn’t know,” he said.  The words were meant for him as much as they were meant for her.  Tristan sighed and began to walk again.  Ari followed him through the miles until they reached a cliff that ended in a sheer drop. 

            “Do you trust me?” he asked her.

            She nodded.  “We have to jump, don’t we?”

            He smiled wryly.  “Of course we do.”

            “Is there a certain thing we have to do, or do we just fall?”

            “You must think of the place you want to go and nothing but that place.  Then and only then, you fall.”

            Ari pictured his penthouse in New York; more specifically, she pictured her room there.  The dark wood furniture, the beautiful piano sitting in a sunny corner, her sheet music scattered on the hardwood floor and thick rug.  The rose that lay on the floor, its petals a myriad of purple, red, and blue. 

            “Are you ready?” he asked, breaking through her reverie.

            “Yes,” she breathed, concentrating.

            They began to fall.

The End

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